Reblog Time at Down the Hall…
New post on bluebird of bitterness
I’M GOOD AT GROCERY SHOPPING. I’M NOT GOOD AT DANCING.
Everybody has those little slices of life where they excel and others where they stink like the next morning in a fraternity house. No matter how hard we try to master a certain skill it evades us.
IF THERE IS ONE WAY TO SPEND A DAY that can make you contemplate several versions of crimes ending in “icide” it is driving from Terre Haute, Indiana (That’s French for “Road Work Ahead”) to Cleveland, Ohio. I’ll save you some time here – its 391.8 miles according to Google.
The most direct route from Point TH to Point C is via Interstate 70 to Columbus, Ohio, and then by Interstate 71 north to your final destination – The Marriott Whatchamacallit in Cleveland. There is only one – no – make that two flaws in that plan.
UH, OH! SOMETHING IS WRONG.
I smell gasoline.
I should not be smelling gasoline
The only good part of this is that I am in the car and not in the house. Even with that bright spot in my otherwise explosively aromatic world I know that something is wrong with the car.
Since my knowledge of things automotive could fit in a flea’s navel and still have room for three caraway seeds and a copy of “The Wit And Wisdom Of The Three Stooges.” I decided to seek Professional help.
Throwback Thursday – “100 Years Of Turning Left”
AUTO RACING IS BIG, VERY BIG IN INDIANA. This year it is even bigger.
“Why, Oh, why?” I hear someone ask.
The reason is that this year is the 100th edition of the Indianapolis 500 race. This year, as in every other year, 33 cars will tear around the 2.5 mile track for 500 miles – turning left the entire time.
Throwback Thursday from March 2017 – “The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be”
I WAS SCANNING THROUGH THE PAGES OF THE WALL STREET JOURNAL the other day. That’s not something I do all that often. If I want financial information anything in The Journal is at least a week old. That would be like wondering if your tub is overflowing, but waiting a week to check on it. By that time your ceiling may be collapsed and the parakeet drowned in its cage.
What I did see that tickled my interest was an article about how the future was going to be different than today. Really? I didn’t know that Carnak The Magnificent worked for The Journal.
Obviously the article was written by someone right out of college who has been living in a Reality Bubble until last week.
Of course the future will be different than today. Otherwise Time would be one long Today. I suppose that it would eliminate the need for things like the TV Guide and the expiration date on my milk carton.
As yesterday moves into today so will today trickle into tomorrow. Things change as New Ideas coalesce in fertile brains. Technology will continue to make “The way it has always been done” into a memory, and I will throw away that leftover Mac & Cheese that has suddenly turned blue.
When Daimler had coffee with Benz, and Ford and the Duryea brothers made their first automobiles the Buggy Whip makers of the world got nervous. They could see the future
staring them in the face. The Future did them in and someday, maybe tomorrow, it will be the same for the car makers of today. Some bright and curious person will come up with a way to make, “Beam me up, Scotty,” a reality. “And while you’re at it, bring the dog in too.”
It will happen. Of that there is no doubt. It may not be “Beaming.” It might be something simpler, like faster cars unusable by drunks, teen drivers, or pizza delivery guys.
Personally, I’m looking forward to tomorrow and I’m hoping that it is different that today. Today? Been there, done that. Tomorrow offers an unlimited range of opportunities, amazement, and giggles.
I guess that some people might be afraid of tomorrow, any tomorrow. Well, I hate to be the one to break the news to you, but there is no way you can avoid it without permanent repercussions and probably ruining your clothes
It is vital that the Future be different from Today. Without that difference there would be no progress of any kind. Of course, the Future being different doesn’t mean that it will always be an improvement over Today. We hope it will be better, but History has shown that there are no guarantees. You win some, you lose some, and some – you break even. For every “I Love Lucy” there is a “My Mother the Car,” lurking in the shadows.
I guess that the writer for The Wall Street Journal has not yet experienced a sufficient number of tomorrows to notice that the future is always different. He seemed so surprised in his writing, as if no one had ever told him about it before. He’ll learn and I’ll find something else to read.
If the Future wasn’t different then every weekend would be just as unpleasant as Mondays and that is not acceptable.
WINTERTIME IN INDIANA – ICY COLD, SNOW UP TO YOUR VASECTOMY SCARS, AND DEER EVERYWHERE. You can’t do much about the cold temperatures and it is pointless to worry about the snow. It is all of those deer that make things scary. They are everywhere and they all seem to be part of a suicide pact.
Maybe all of the 87 million deer within the Terre Haute (That’s French for “Look out, here they come!”) city limits have reached their own personal breaking point and have decided to end it all by leaping into traffic.
The number of deer/motor vehicle collisions around here is just plain ridiculous. The result is measured in bent metal insurance claims and venison hot links.
Zero wins – Two losses.
HOT DOG! HOT DIGGITY DOG EVEN!
Don’t tell anyone, but I am seriously considering coming out of Retirement. Why you ask? Because the job of my dreams has opened up and I think that I am the ideal candidate! If I work things right and put my best foot forward I, your friend and charming as all get out dude, might just be the next “Hotdogger” driver of the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile! Oh, yeah!
Eat your heart out.
The official job title for the lucky person chosen to drive the Weinermobile is “Hotdogger” and it is not a term to be taken lightly – at least not in my world. You can call me “Mister Hotdogger.”
The Toyota is starting to have “Issues.”
I guess you could call it “Mechanical Problems,” but the car is running and moving OK – I just better not try to go anywhere if it is raining or snowing heavily.
The wipers stopped working in Mid-Drizzle yesterday.
Throwback Thursday from September 2015 – “She Just “Sort of” Robbed The Bank”
I WAS CHATTING WITH THE USUAL SUSPECTS the other day when the topic of bank robbery came up. Sometimes they scare me. This bunch of Geezers couldn’t rob the Food Bank, let alone an actual – “Money in the vault, Can I see some ID, please,” type of bank. This group would be called the “Don’t forget to take your meds gang.” Even so, they would be a bigger threat than a person I once knew who really did try to rob a bank.
About ten years ago B.R. (Before Retirement) a female coworker whom I knew and liked working with, called in to her Supervisor one sunny morning. She said that she was going to be in a little late because she “Had some business to take care of.” Little did we all know that her “business” was knocking off a bank.
While I and everyone else at work were getting ready for another day on the job, she was out pulling into the parking lot at a local bank.
From later reports it went down something like this –
My coworker drove to the bank, checked her .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun to be sure it was loaded (it was), got out of the car and walked up to the front door of the bank. At this point things began to fall apart for her.
She pulled the handle to open the door – nothing. It wouldn’t budge. The door was locked. It was locked because, in an effort to rob the bank and still get to work, she got an early start to her day and arrived, fully loaded, before banking hours. The bank wouldn’t be open for another half hour.
There is an old adage that says, “Plan your work and work your plan.” My friend, the would-be bank robber, skimped on the first part of that. If this plan was to be as easy as 1 – 2 – 3 you can’t skip the 2 and go straight to 3.
So, there she is – standing at the front door of the bank, holding her shooting iron, and she can’t get the door to open. It was then that she made the decision to try again another day. Perhaps it was best to just go on to work like nothing had happened. No harm – No foul.
While she was standing there contemplating her “Plan B” the people who worked in the other bank, just across the street, witnessed this entire fiasco and had already called the Terre Haute Police Department. Terre Haute – that’s French for, “Mama don’t ‘low no bank robbin’ round here.”
Before she could get back to her car and go off to work, she found herself surrounded. It was not even 8 AM and her day was not going to get any better.
Since she never really robbed the bank, they couldn’t charge her with that crime, but they had a list of others to present her with.
It turned out, upon further investigation, that she had lied on her job application – in that part about “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” She had done some hard time a few years back for some other failed misadventure. This, of course, made her possession of the .45 caliber semiautomatic weapon a serious “No – No.” Added to that – she had no Concealed Carry permit for the gun – which was not registered anywhere. At least she did have a valid driver’s license – but the car wasn’t hers.
Fast Forward about three years –
I was tooling up and down the aisles of a store in town when I hear a voice behind me call out, “Hey, John!” This happens a lot to me. It is usually a former client or parent thereof – not this time. I turned around and there was our own local Bonnie Parker Wannabe.
“Hi, John. Remember me? We used to work together.”
Now this was one of those moments when you really don’t want to say the wrong thing. So, of course, the first words out of my mouth were,
“Sure, I remember you. Where you been keeping yourself?”
“Oh, I’ve been out of town for a while.”
Courtesy of the State of Indiana.
I really don’t remember the rest of the conversation.
I always enjoyed working with her. She was friendly, confident, and easy to get along with. Lucky for me she never needed an accomplice.
Throwback Thursday from August 2015
I THINK I SAW EVIDENCE OF A MIRACLE THIS MORNING.
I was driving down Wabash Avenue, heading toward home after morning services/brewing at St. Arbucks, when I stopped at the red light. It was then that I saw it.
Across the intersection at the crosswalk, leaning up against the light pole, I saw a single aluminum crutch. “Shades of Fatima,” I said to myself. “Right here in Terre Haute (That’s French for “What the heck is that?”).
Nobody would absentmindedly forget that they were using a crutch and just walk away and leave it there. Nobody would think that they didn’t need the crutch and just abandon it at the corner. It has to be a relic of a recent miraculous event.
Picture if you will – an injured, ill, or otherwise disabled soul galumphing down Wabash Avenue using their new aluminum crutch for support. What was it that happened at the corner of Wabash and Brown? There were no reports of miraculous visions, cosmic phenomena or angelic choruses in the area. Whatever happened must have been extremely private.
Our Hobbler got to the corner and had to wait for the green light when something happened that caused him/her to become restored to full bipedal status. Was it a vision, an apparition that delivered a cure or merely a warming glow that entered and told him/her that it was time to ditch the crutch?
How in the heck would I know?
I saw the crutch leaning up against that pole and I knew that it couldn’t be accidental – no matter how much you’ve been drinking. In fact, the more you would drink the more you would rely upon the crutch to get you home. And besides – I didn’t see any drunken bodies lying there on the sidewalk.
Ergo: It has to be a miracle.
OK – I admit that another possible explanation or two exist but, really… does anyone think that the crutch may have been placed there as a gag? Or was the crutch thrown there from a passing car? If that had happened, the fact that it landed upright, neatly leaning on the pole, would be yet another miracle.
No – the only logical answer is that Divine Intervention took place at the corner of Wabash and Brown today – and the beneficiary of that intervention is toddling around town and doing just fine, thank you.
Miracles like this don’t happen every day, especially at the corner of Wabash and Brown. If such miracles did happen every day more people would notice and there would be crutches leaning up at almost every intersection.
Of course, what the future holds for that intersection remains to be seen. Who knows if there will be more miraculous events there and that a devout following will turn it into a place of pilgrimages? If that happens the Mobil station at the opposite corner will see their mini-mart business really take off – Soft drinks, snacks and little plastic crutches made in Korea. It could turn into another Fatima or even a Super Target.
This isn’t like those people that see the face of Jesus on their taco or grilled cheese sandwich. This is a real, tangible aluminum crutch standing up at the corner. Those things don’t just walk there all by themselves. Somebody in need had to have gotten that far and then said, “Oh, I suddenly feel better. Aw, screw it. I don’t need no stinking crutch. I’m outta here.” Not poetic or very liturgical, but what do you expect at a busy intersection?
Today – one person leaving a single aluminum crutch.
Tomorrow – a shrine to Our Lady of the Crosswalk.
It could happen.
“You OK, Sport?”
The voice came from beyond the light. Luco opened his eyes and put his hands up to block the painful beam.
“I said, are you OK? Oh, Hi, Luco.”
“What? Who is it?” As the light was lowered Luco dropped his hands.
“Luco, it’s Dave Mulroy, from over at the Park Station. They got a call about a crazy man on the Buena Vista steps. I was nearby, so…are you OK? The reports said you were yelling.”
“I’m sorry. I’m fine, Dave. Just not ready to sleep yet, I guess.”
“Do you want me to give you a lift?”
“No, thanks. The walk will do me good.”
“OK, Luco, but be careful.”
The police officer pressed the key on his radio and spoke into the microphone on his lapel.
“4210 here. Everything is fine on the 5150 at BV Park. Just a husband afraid to go home.” He shook Luco’s hand, walked down the steps and drove off into the night. Luco stood up and headed in the opposite direction, up Haight Street, toward home.
While he was quiet the rest of Haight Street was active and alive with the sounds of a weekend in the city. The traffic on both the sidewalks and the roadway was bumper to bumper. It was too much for Luco. He turned left at the corner of Ashbury and walked past the Gap store, up the hill to Waller Street. On Waller he left the crowds behind. His way home on Waller, a residential street, would be quiet, with flowering trees hanging low over the sidewalk. His change of route made Dennis Thayer smile, if you could call the tilted stretch of his mouth a smile.
Dennis had watched Luco sitting on the Park steps in the rear view mirror of his van. He had shadowed Marlee and Luco from the moment they left Martin Macks, watching them, and getting angrier with each touch and shared word. He couldn’t hear them, so he supplied his own obscene dubbed in dialogue. In his mind he was sure that they were exchanging the details of what they were planning to do with each other’s body.
When Marlee went inside alone and Luco moved over to the stone steps by the Park, he was certain that it was to make a drug buy to spark their greasy rutting.
“God bless the Police for ruining their plans for tonight,” he said to no one. “And now I’m going to ruin their plans for good.”
He watched Luco move wearily up Haight Street and pulled out into traffic to follow him home. When Luco turned off and went up the hill, Dennis had to make a quick change of plans. He stayed on Haight, sped up and made his left turn at Cole Street, several block further on. He backed his dark gray Dodge van into the driveway of a brightly painted Victorian house. Its vibrant colors were muted by the darkness. The van was all but invisible in the shadows, and it offered an unobstructed view down Waller Street.
The comparative silence of Waller Street was welcome as Luco walked slowly, pausing to take in the aromas of the blooming lilac bushes. This had been an amazing night and he knew that his life was never going to be the same. Dennis Thayer was forming a similar thought as he saw Luco step into the pool of light under the streetlamp at the corner of Waller and Cole.
Luco stopped and looked at the small cafe on the opposite corner. They were still open. He thought that maybe a cup of chamomile tea might help him get a restful sleep rather than spend a fitful night, exhausted but restless. It was only two minutes from home and here he wouldn’t have to wait for the water to boil. In the van, Dennis was drumming his fingers on the steering wheel and talking out loud to Luco.
“Come on, come on, come on, come on, you son of a bitch. I saw her first.”
Luco stepped off the curb, set to jaywalk across the intersection. His tired eyes focused on the warmly lit interior of the small cafe. Dennis turned the key in the ignition and slipped the van into gear, headlights off.
Luco looked around and saw that there was no traffic for at least a block in any direction. His path was safe.
When Luco was halfway across the intersection, Dennis pulled out of his driveway hiding spot and pushed the accelerator toward the gray carpeted floor. He was giggling.
The next two seconds seemed to move through glue. Luco heard the roar of the van’s engine as it revved up. He turned to look and saw the van coming straight at him. He was trapped; not knowing which way would be his salvation. Dennis flipped on the headlights. He wanted to watch this.
Luco desperately moved to his right, hoping to get out of the way. Dennis matched his move. The headlights were blinding Luco. The survival instinct took over and Luco made a wild dive for the space between two parked cars. Dennis anticipated him and got there first.
The right front bumper of the speeding van hit Luco while he was in midair. His right hip took the force of the blow and lifted his body higher above the pavement. The off-center impact made his body propeller through the air. Head first; Luco hit the hood of a Ford Tempo. His shoulders peeled off the wiper blades as he bounced across the windshield.
Still airborne and spinning, he flew over the sidewalk and slammed, spine first, into the large window of the cafe. The plate glass shattered, sending jagged shards knifing into the crowded room. It was a glittering rain of shrapnel.
The van veered back into the center of the street as Dennis felt the satisfying dull thud of Luco’s body against sheet metal and chrome.
It was chaos on the corner of Waller and Cole. Inside the cafe, the flying glass had instantly killed a young man seated by the window. Several other customers were injured, cut and bleeding on the black and white checkerboard floor.
It was five minutes before the first ambulance arrived. It was ten before anyone noticed the man in black lying outside in the planter box, hidden in the flowers.
Dennis didn’t stop until he reached the parking lot at Ocean Beach at the western edge of the city. He needed to check if the impact had done any damage to his van. He carefully inspected the chrome work and painted areas for any scratches.
“Perfect. That was positively surgical.”
Driving along the ocean, up the hill past the Cliff House, perched high above the crashing waves, and then down crowded Geary Boulevard, Dennis turned on his radio and heard a deep voiced announcer reading a news story about a hit and run accident in the Haight/Ashbury District. Dennis whooped loudly and hit the horn when the radio said that one man had been killed.
Speeding through the heavy traffic, he headed back toward The Haight.
At home, as he drifted off to sleep, he smiled.
“Today has been a good day.”
Dennis Thayer slept well and dreamed of flowers and gardens.
In the apartment below, Marlee was dreaming and working out her conflict between loyalty and desire. She dreamed of Luco and Phillip. She was making peace with one and love with the other. Her brain was showing her the way to clear the path to tomorrow.
In her dreams, for the first time since Phillip’s death, she felt enthusiastic about the future, not just accepting. She had hopes that there could be, would be, should be, days, weeks and years of happiness ahead for her. She also decided that upon waking she would pull her cello out from under the bed and see what music came out. It was time.
THE OTHER DAY AN ACQUAINTANCE OF MINE moseyed up to me and asked me about the license plate on my car. What is on the car is called a “Vanity Plate” – a customized message for which I pay extra every year.
The plate on the Toyota reads: “KRAFTY.”
My acquaintance asked me what that meant, or to quote him – “What’s that all about?” If we had actually been friends he would have already known.
I explained to him that KRAFTY has been my nickname since childhood. It was a rational play off of my last name. Duh! He then asked me if I had any other nicknames. I didn’t know what he was fishing for, but I played along.
THIS MORNING AS I WALKED into the Friendly Confines of St. Arbucks for my morning coffee I saw that The Usual Suspects were already deep in prayer, or whatever you want to call all of them talking at once.
When I slid into my pew it became obvious that they were all worked up about the Kroger store – just a Molotov Cocktails throw across the parking lot.
It seems that a number of early shoppers had been parking in the Fire Lane and the Handicapped (Gimp) Parking spots illegally.
“HOLY LIABILITIES, BATMAN!” Yet another reason to stay off of Interstate 70 has just reared its ugly head. The first “Driverless Car” has come to Terre Haute (That’s French for “Who is your insurance agent?”).
Maybe it is a coincidence or someone is making a sly statement, but the headline on the story in the local fish-wrap reads thusly: “First Driverless Car Hits the Market in Terre Haute.” Given the recent problems with this new technology “Hits the Market” may be more prescient than they think.
Do I love Chili Dogs?
Do Chili Dogs love me?
They taste so good going in, but on the way out they can make for a loud and sleepless night.
I just saw an equivalent to a plateful of chili Dogs and my mouth watered up like the Vegas. It wasn’t food although it looked good enough to eat.
IT LOOKS LIKE ST. ARBUCKS HAS A BIG NEW ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN UNDERWAY. From deep within the secret laboratories in Seattle 91825 comes something they are calling, “Blonde Espresso.”
I have no idea what that means.
I do know the meaning of “Blonde,” and I know what “Espresso” is, but I don’t understand the pairing of the two.
Blonde Espresso? Is that like “Jumbo Shrimp” or “Governmental Efficiency?” The two words clearly seem to contradict each other. I’m a bit “Profused” as opposed to being “Confused.”