Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves

My mind is a battleground among gypsies, tramps and thieves.
The gypsy section is imaginative, colorful, feisty, secretive, not entirely trustworthy. It propels me away from boring meetings and boring, intrusive people. I pack up my attention and relocate, employing my own inscrutable language.
The tramp part of my brain exists on minimal sensory input, never staying focused on anything. It collects scraps of thoughts and ideas and seldom ventures into social interaction. Sometimes it puts me in a fugue state, makes me sloppy and unkempt.
Because I am a writer, the thieves in my mind are there 24/7. I steal from everyone all the time. I own your chagrin, your joviality, anger, embarrassment, regret. I squirrel away your posture, tone, style, your walk, I know your ringtone and shoe size. I catalog all your facial expressions. I do this so quietly you are unaware what is happening.
Mostly, I steal your best witticisms, your long, entertaining stories, your irony, ad libs, sarcasm, your best jokes and anecdotes. I'll use all of this in my work because I am a writer and this is what we do.
The thieves in my brain have just subtly stolen these very moments from your life.

Vacation Disaster

My wife and I wanted to do something different on our vacation, so we volunteered to work for a traveling carnival stopping in our town.
The leader, a burly, cigar smoking man named Hos, told us we'd get a bed and three meals a day in a low end motel out on the highway. Hey, we said, it's only for two weeks. It won't kill us.
To make a long story short, it was a disaster. Arlene and I broke out in hives whenever Leatherman was around. An allergy to leather skin? The Fat Lady propositioned me half a dozen times. Arlene flirted with Elastic Man. The Two Headed Goat Monster squirted milk all over my new Avengers t-shirt. Bedbugs abounded. The animals, especially the snakes, were cranky. The Flying Ambersons, the high wire act, came down with violent hiccups, throwing off their timing.
The food was awful--we ate at Arby's all 14 days. The Human Torch miscalculated and burned his shins during a show. I was asked to fill in, but fire scares me, and, besides, I hurt my back wrestling with one of the carnies out of boredom.
The clowns were drunk from noon on, The Human Porcupine accidentally punctured some kid's balloon, leading to a fight between him and the father. Arlene and I were exhausted and frazzled by the end of the two weeks.
One of our tires was slashed. I'm guessing it was the ringmaster, whose tights were so loose you could see his butt crack. He didn't seem appreciative when I told him.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Keeping the Beat

Whenever I attend music festivals I sit in my lawn chair and try to keep the beat. I watch the people around me bouncing, bobbing and snapping fingers. I have an issue bopping and snapping at the same time. This is especially embarrassing at jazz concerts.
I have no trouble keeping the beat at Sarah McLaughlin concerts because basically there is no beat. Just a string of long ethereal notes that put me to sleep.
I could get all metaphysical here and analyze the beat that guides our lives, bit hell, I can't even snap my fingers and bop, so back off on the philosophical ruminations.

Last Lady Standing

I love my Aunt Kate. Every year she enters a town wide baking contest with over 75 entrants. This year more tension than usual was in the air. The judges circulated, taking notes. For some reason, just before results were announced, Annette Nunez got into an argument with Milly Washburn, last year's winner. This led to pushing and shoving, which quickly spread.
My Aunt Kate is not a violent person, but she won't back off if attacked. Someone made the mistake of ambushing her and squirting her with a cake icing gun. My Aunt whirled, foam coming out of her mouth. She reached under her table and pulled out her state of the art Westinghouse super 50-Z Auto Icing Gun with quick reloading option, used by Navy Seals at parties.
She went to work, firing from the hip.The force knocked them to the ground. She wound up the last contestant standing. Unfortunately, she was disqualified and later arrested and charged with baking battery and baking under the influence.

Tip of My Tongue

I have decided to just make up words and let the listener figure out my meaning. I am damn tired of having words at the tip of my tongue and be unable to think of them. I will make up names for the same reason. I will pronounce all this confidently so no one will question me.
A sentence like "There is no plausible reason for her to act that way." becomes There is no bobile reason etc..."
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers are my favorite band can easily become Hubert Flinkwaller and the Bonebreakers.
You know, sometimes I'll run the tip of my tongue over my teeth and pretend it is Napoleon inspecting the troops. If there is a tooth missing I will attack my gum with said tip and pretend Napoleon is having a snit fit.
Hey, I have time on my hands and a restless tongue.

Pathmark Card

Pathmark is no longer using the plastic discount card, which means I removed it from my keyring, leaving eleven other cards inserted among my numerous keys. This is a problem. I have two doors to get into my condo, each requiring different keys.
I have to use intricate fingering to get to those keys and usually when I get out of my car I have to pee. So I'm standing there hopping, squirming, fingering and hating my life.
Sometimes I make it, sometimes I don't. Of course I could eliminate the problem by removing all discount cards from my key ring, but who does that? Who is crazy enough to leave the house without a fully loaded key ring?
But I thank Pathmark for making my life's journey a tiny bit easier. And perhaps a bit dryer.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Stroller Terror

We both moved at the same time. She with her stroller, me crossing in front, tripping over it.
Watch where you're going! You'll hurt my baby!
For a few moments I was silent, taken aback. How many times breeders have slammed into me with those vehicles from hell, I've lost count. I just chalk it up to the sense of entitlement they feel. If their kid is the essential priority for them, why isn't it for the rest of us. I rub my ankle and shin and move on.
We were among a group of people surrounding a tent at a multicultural festival. Evidently tickets had been sold for a raffle and this dedicated mom pushed to the front, demanding to know what number was called, in between chastising me.
In the process she left the stroller and kid two feet behind her, out of sight, vulnerable to anyone wishing to whisk away her precious baby.
This whole 'kids come first mindset', always, under any circumstances, when did that start?
This is how I will die: crushed under the weight of a dozen double strollers at a Tupperware giveaway at some outdoor community come together celebration. That's why I always carry ID.