Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2019

Archive for the month “July, 2015”

I Know I Complain A Lot

motel foodI’M WELL AWARE THAT I COMPLAIN A LOT. I don’t like to complain all the time, but I think that I only complain about those things that fail to rise to even my modest standards. I’m really not all that picky about most things.

I do subscribe to something put forth by Voltaire many years ago.

“The most important decision you will ever make is to be in a good mood.”

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Just Throw It Back

atariEVERY WEEK ON FACEBOOK I see people posting old pictures of themselves or their kids – or even their dogs and cats. The pictures of themselves invariably show them looking pounds slimmer and without any gray hair. The dogs and cats look about the same – just smaller.

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Next Time I Gnaw My Leg Off

camdenfoodWHENEVER WE FLY TO TEXAS we have to go through either Houston or Dallas. Given the choice we’d rather deal with the airport in Houston – mainly because Dallas is the complete and utter Ground Zero for ineptitude, confusion and “No Way To Run A Railroad.”

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18 For Lunch

phone booth crowdedIT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO CARRY ON A CONVERSATION over lunch when there are 18 people huddled around the table. It can be hard enough when there are only two people, but the additional sixteen can really throw a monkey wrench into the process.

It ends up sounding something like this:

“So, how have you…seen my green beans, they…flew in last Thursday on…your Aunt Martha just before she…slid into third base.”

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A Good Question From A Nine Year Old

escargotWE’VE BEEN DOWN IN TEXAS for a few days – visiting family and sweating like Rosie O’Donnell in the buffet line at Circus Circus. I knew that this trip would be a good source of material for the blog.

I was not disappointed.

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What A Wonderful Idea

20130702_184921I WAS REALLY STUMPED about what I should write about for today’s blog posting. There were plenty of crazy stories in the news – like the guy who was arrested for trespassing when he was discovered sitting naked in the middle of a pig sty, incredibly drunk. His only explanation was, “I really like pigs.”

No, I didn’t want to use my bandwidth trying to understand that.

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Batteries And Burgers

WHEN I WAS A KID, back when dinosaurs roamed the earfive guysth, there weren’t that many things that depended on batteries. Cars, of course, but after that it was down to transistor radios (under 30s – look it up), and some toys.

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Let’s Play, “Spot The Flaw In This!”

inverted JennyABOUT EVERY SIX MONTHS or so we get a piece of mail from the Postal Service touting their “Stamps by Mail” service.

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Flintlock Rifles Marinara

flintlockTHIS MORNING I WAS SITTING and sipping my coffee after services at St. Arbucks with a collection of The Usual Suspects. The topics of conversation ranged from old TV shows to local politics, to the condition of the streets in San Francisco.  Why they care, I don’t know and my info on that particular topic is at least 13 years old. But that doesn’t really matter to them I think.

And then I made a mistake.

I asked one of The Suspects, “What’s new in the wide world of firearms?”

Given the fact that this fellow is a retired Marine who has, shall we say, a gun collection. He is the person to ask about things like that. Other people might call his collection “Large enough to tip the balance of power in Central Asia.” I’ll just say it is a large collection – really large

His response to my question surprised me.

“What’s new? I don’t know. I know more about older weapons.”

Then another Suspect jumped in, asking, “What is the oldest gun you have?”

This was not a good thing to do. I had the feeling that I was going to be having lunch there.

“My oldest weapon? Why, I have a flintlock rifle from the 1800s. It was made in Italy.”

Now, I’m certainly no expert on firearms, but I don’t think that flintlocks were in active use by then.  Maybe in Italy. I didn’t know for sure, but I was afraid to ask our expert.

Knowing that there was no way in Heaven that his answer about the Italian rifle was going to settle the issue – I braced myself.

“Let me tell you about that rifle…”

I knew it. I just knew it. This was going to take a while. Call home and tell your loved ones that you’ll be late.

The next five minutes were filled with a detailed account of his trouble changing the flint in this antique rifle. At least that’s what I think he described. It was hard to tell. He was using a jargon that was new to me and my brain was trying to save itself by doing the cerebral equivalent of holding its breath.

When he finished his story about the Italian flintlock rifle I knew nothing more about that weapon than when he’d started. He might as well have been speaking in Lithuanian.

I’m just grateful that things like that don’t happen very often. I don’t want to make Mr. Arsenal feel bad or unappreciated. I like him and, let’s be honest, if things go South and the Society crumbles like a stale cookie, I want to know someone like him. And I want him to like me.

I know that I have a propensity to be a bit of a smartass. I also know that, if I’m not careful, I can be a truly verbally offensive person. I don’t mean to be like that – it just happens. So, I try to watch myself. I don’t want to upset the people around me. Some of them are younger than me. Some of them are bigger than me, and some of them are considerably better armed than me.

But Wait! There’s More!

infomercialI WAS SITTING AT THE KITCHEN TABLE the other morning, minding my own business and eating some grapes, when I turned on the TV and came in halfway through an Infomercial.

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Is Tarzan A Methodist?

20150715_101444AS YOU HAVE FIGURED OUT BY NOW, if you have been reading this blog for more than a week, I am a guy whose roots are firmly in the ground of live theater. My education and training and forty years of stage work have made me into a theater geek of sorts. And I’m fine with that.

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Clink, Clink. Sip, Sip

coke bottle birthplace signI HAVE DECIDED THAT FOR TODAY I would sing praise to Terre Haute, (That’s French for “I’m sorry, we’re out of Pepsi) and the many things that have made it famous – more or less – kinda – sort of.

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Run That Past Me Again

20150710_181342I WAS INSIDE THE LOCAL Toys-R-Us store last Friday evening. My wife, the lovely and more socially adept, Dawn, was going to a baby shower on Saturday and wanted to pick up a few small items. I was going along to carry the bag. I’m good at that.

As Dawn was actively looking for the right stuff I was just wandering along and looking around with a lost look on my face.

And, oh, what wonders did I see.

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It’s Haircut Time!

kim-jong-uns-haircutI GOT MY HAIR CUT ON MONDAY. I needed a haircut a month ago, but with all the travelling and such I never got around to it. My head was beginning to look like a Chia Pet version of myself.

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It’s “Lime Green Wednesday”

LEOPARD-AND-DIKDIKI PICKED “LIME GREEN WEDNESDAY” for no particular reason. If Black Friday can have a color, so can this super-duper sale day. If you want to call it something else, go ahead – I won’t object.

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I Can Smell Them

theater in the roundA FEW DAYS AGO I got into a discussion with an acquaintance about what it is like doing a play in “The Round.”

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I’m A Rebel – Honest, I Am

creatureofhabitIF SOMEONE, SOMEDAY, decides to write my biography it will be the dullest book ever written.

I admit it – I am not a very exciting person. I move slowly – even more so in cold, rainy weather like today and my brain is marginally creative, operating as it does within the boundaries normally occupied by an 11 year old boy.

And I am a creature of habit.

It’s not that I don’t like change or that I am afraid to try anything new – it is that if I find something I like or that works for me I see no need to change. That can make for some very snore inducing days for those nearby.

I was reminded of my predictability this afternoon when I stopped by the Chapel at St. Arbucks to come up with about 500 – 700 words for this blog.

I pulled the Toyota into the same gimp spot that I have pulled into for years. I walked up to the counter to place my order and the young barista beats me to the punch, saying, “Venti Green tea, iced tea, unsweetened.”

“Yup.”

I handed her my fancy-schmancy St. Arbucks card as she adds, “In the mornings you order iced coffee and in the afternoons you order iced tea.”

“Yup.”

That pretty much sums it up. I’m a coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon kind of guy. That gal has me pegged accurately.

What would happen if I broke with tradition and ordered the tea in the morning and the coffee after lunch? Would lions lay down with the lambs? Would dogs begin to consort with cats? Would the Chicago Cubs put together a winning season?

It’s hard to tell. Maybe something – maybe nothing.

I find that there is a certain comfort in my regularity. It cuts down on my decision making time allowing me extra moments for quiet reflection on the world at large. It certainly speeds things up at St. Arbucks. There are mornings when I walk through the door and my iced coffee is already sitting on the counter waiting for me. They see me pull into the parking lot and they put it together. There have actually been a few days when more than one barista has seen me coming and there are two coffees waiting for me.

“No extra charge. Consider it your free refill.”

The only variation in this morning ritual comes about when there is someone new at the register. I give them my order and then, per their recent training, they ask me my name.

“My name is Spartacus.”

“My name is Chuck Finley.”

“My name is Heisenberg.”

I try to mix it up for them. Most days when I do that one of the experienced baristas will blow my cover.

“Don’t listen to him. His name is John.”

See? Even when I try to break out of my habitual rut somebody pulls the rug out from underneath me.

On most Friday evenings my wife, the lovely and more diversified Dawn, and I have dinner with a couple of friends. We always go to the same restaurant and sit at the same table. When it comes time for me to place my order someone will speak up for me. They are invariably correct.

A few weeks ago I surprised them all and changed my order. I said, “I’ll have what she’s having.” It was a change, but just a small one because she ordered what I usually do – but I asked for raisin toast instead of rye.

I’m a rebel.

As I write this I am seated in my usual chair at St. Arbucks. Beside my computer is my Venti, green tea, iced tea, but I set it on the left side of the table this time.

I’m trying, people. I’m trying.

The Shirts

hawaiian-shirtI ADMIT IT. I’m not the most stylish guy on earth. I dress simply – not that I’m Amish or anything like that. In winter I wear turtlenecks and sweaters and in summer I wear Hawaiian shirts. And I’m cheap.

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Have A Great Vacation

breaking badWE ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF SUMMER now and, if you haven’t already, you are thinking about taking a vacation. Should we go to the mountains, or the seashore? Perhaps this summer we should go to Europe – anything but going to your crazy Uncle Harry’s “lodge” again. My skin still hasn’t cleared up from last year.

Las Vegas is always a fun destination – if you can avoid the temptations of the slot machines and the “All you can eat” buffets. Remember one thing – they don’t build those big resort hotel casinos with you taking home the money. You have a better chance of busting into Area 51 and having coffee with E.T. than you do of hitting a jackpot big enough to pay Junior’s orthodontist’s bill.

Vacations are fraught with all sorts of dangers – some big, some small.

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Decaf Day Care

daycareONE OF THE THINGS I LIKE about going into St. Arbucks for coffee in the morning is that I never know what I’m going to see.

“St. Arbucks is like a box of Forrest Gumps.”

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