Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dispatch From Escalatorville: Grieving, Reprieving, Pet Peeving

About mid-August, during one of my evening walks, I was approached by a drunken bicyclist who stopped to offer me a warning:

"Those College Girls are making it rough tonight, man - but you don't want them anyway, don't go get crabs from one of them (Insert Name Of Local College Here) girls!"

After acknowledging that I had no intent of such a thing, I walked on.

However, as an Alumni ["Class of Blah-blah-Four" - I think (give me a break, I drank A LOT that summer)] - I felt for a second that perhaps I should report the incident to my Alma Mater. Goodness knows what might happen to the good name of the college if it became a habitat for those parasitic poachers of pedantic privates.

Less Steam, More Punk.
Folks that see me on a regular basis can attest to the fact that I am not exactly up to date on modern gadget trends and popular devices. I'm what you'd call a retro techie. I still play records on a near daily basis, and the only electronic gaming system in the house is an Atari 2600 (circa the year my wife was born).

However, the lovely Bess and I do have cellular telephonic communicators, which we will soon have to get upgraded. As a technophobe, of course I am wary of this. I do like having the ability to text and to talk to friends/family/government agency switchboard operators - but that's really all I desire in such a unit. I don't need to access the net from elevators or parking lots. Nor have I the urge to "update my status" constantly or broadcast when I've just walked into Schmengies House of Big and Tall Falafel*. I'm just not programmed for that type of living. I needmore apps in my normal life before I get them on my phone.

*On a side note about modern tech - Spell Check thinks this word should be either "Falwell," " Falstaff," or" Faulkner"

Eaves Dropped
Working in tourism retail, as I do, I get to listen in on snippets of conversations that occur between family members. Most often, what I hear are folks arguing whether Uncle BoBo deserves the three dollar or seven dollar charm bracelet. However, the ones I enjoy the most are the disjointed rejoinders spoken by folks, such as grandmothers or friends of parents, whom have volunteered to journey into the store with youngsters - while giving "a break" to the childs progenitors.

"Oh, you wanna find Mommy? I'll. Take. You. To. Mommy..." I heard one woman state, creeping me out more than the kid - after the childs relatively subdued (yet still loud) objection to their company.

However, I recently heard possibly the most disturbing phrase uttered from the lips of a woman stating to her baby, in that baby-talk that we all adopt when confronting anyone under the age of four:

"Ooh, you could take that apart, eat the pieces, and it would choke you, yes it would."

At least we're teaching our children honesty at an early age.

Alternate Tune-ings
Sometimes songs have to be played at the right time - after all, don't you too think it's a bit odd when you're listening to The Who's "5:15" and you realize that its only 4:42?

Also, I'm all for the occasional "re-interpretation" of classic songs, but I think we need to police ourselves a bit better. It's only a matter of time before someone comes up with a Drum N Bass remix of "Abraham, Martin, and John."

I always enjoy when the radio announcer reads that a highway report is sponsored by a fast food entity or donut shop, then has to begrudgingly tell us that traffic is indeed HEAVY.

"The idea is to die young as late as possible." ~Ashley Montagu
The house we rent is located directly beside a baptist church. On Sundays (and on Wednesday nights when they rehearse) we love to hear the church band. Since the church itself is literally 10 feet from where I write this, the sounds of their services carry quite well. Joyful and boisterous gospel accompanies the Fire and Brimstone preaching during typical weekly services, among other events.

Of course, there is also an occasional funeral. On crowded church days, it's not unusual for overflow parking to occur directly in front of our house. It's a bit unsettling on funeral days however, as I've opened the front door to greet a hearse just sitting there, waiting. Quite an ominous message, if I do say so myself.

I don't mind the funerals so much, as they are generally a celebration of life and are imbued with the jolly spirit that flows during the churches regular service. A few months ago, however, there was a funeral for a younger parishioner. the funeral was proceeding as they usually do, until suddenly, a heart-stopping wail came from inside the church. I believe that it also came from deep within this poor woman's soul - for days I could not unhear her cries of "My Child! My Baby! Why, Jesus Lord God, Why?!?"

The memory still haunts me. The sounds of her anguish and loss has made me reluctant to ever attend another memorial service. Not if I ever have to witness this in person, instead of simply being an ear-stretching neighbor.

Thus, I offer this precursory request to my friends and family: stay healthy. My heart nearly breaks at the mere telling of this story, and brings back memories of those I have already lost. I cannot imagine how I will survive should this occur to any more people I actually know and love. Now, I expect you to all outlive me - and I plan on making it to at least 98 or so.

Go to B-Deck immediately! I repeat: Go to C-Deck immediately!
It's well known that Abraham Lincoln was loved by everyone [Not everyone. He was assassinated, remember? Ed.], thus, he remains the source of great party quotes. For example, in his Gettysburg Address, he decreed that government should be "of the people, by the people and for the people."

I wonder if Congress and the Senate have a smudged copy. A lot of them seem to be reading it as "F the People, Buy the people, Abhor the people."

Watching all the infighting and playground bullying in Washington D.C., I think we might take heed of another ripper from Honest Abe: "Can we all just get along?"

Very Interesting, Your Papers, Please.
I think a lot of folks would agree with me that there seems to be decline in traditional, respectful, honest journalism. Unfortunately, there don't seem to be any reporters willing to write about it. Then again, I live in a city where the local paper is printed 40 miles outside of town. A paper which advertised itself as "Not your average mullet wrapper." At least they admit to being a mullet wrapper.

However, the mindset is such that the paper will still mark any female citizens accomplishments by emphasizing that the achievement was made by a woman. Then again, this is a city in which the tour-tram drivers speed up a little as they pass through the historic African-American neighborhoods where M.L.K. walked and spoke - all the while touting the towns importance in the struggle for equal rights, as if it were actually over.

Also, A nice place to visit.
Despite my consistent criticism, however, I do love living in this coastal burg (i.e. I love to go camping, knowing there's a great chance of snakes and/or poison oak). I'll leave you this time with a couple more snapshots of my adopted hometown:

Seen on the street, through a monster truck window, around 9PM on a recent weeknight - a clearly exhausted middle aged man handing over a fistful of cash to a half naked woman. Of course, I assume he was reimbursing her for Surfing lessons, but why take care of that payment so far from the actual beach?

Also seen on the street, at 1045AM on a Sunday- a college age bicyclist heading back into the neighborhood balancing an 18 pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon on his handlebars. That's a definite Augustinian weekend.

Escalatorville loves you, hang in there.

Z.F. Lively,
Linguistic Recidivist
(we write back)