Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
We've been pretty lucky with travel in this trip. Easy flight to Cleveland, Lyfts with no memorable occurences in The Cle. Our first driver in Columbus was exactly the right level of personable. Last night, our luck ran out.
Driver #1 picked us up where we were staying, and as we got in the car, said "Oh, you're going to Old Mohawk? I love that place. I always tell people the last time I was there I was picking someone up and I heard this CRASH. And I thought "What did I hit this time? I'm always running into or over something. You know those cement balls they put in front of buildings to keep people from crashing into them? I've hit two! One of them broke something that dragged under my car for a week!"
I must have said "Huh." really judgily because he didn't speak again until we got out.
Driver #2 picked us up after our delicious dinner (with surprise cameo by Scott motherfucken Woods) and started taking to us before we even got in the car, and is still taking to us now. I know now about her life in the B.G. ("that's Bowling Green" she reminded us all twelve million times she used the abbreviation), she was born in Indianapolis, she's been to Boston once because her mom loves history. She majored in philosophy, and had been thinking of going back online to OSU because she's "too old for campus shenanigans". The formerly Sears Tower gave her good public transportation directions fifteen years ago but she's not sure if they would now. Her aunt is very generous and keeps giving her things she doesn't need. She currently is looking for a home for her friends' goats but she doesn't know for sure if she has any friends who needs goats although she has one friend whose goats committed suicide but she doesn't know if her friend can get her step parents permission. Her generous aunt's name is Kate. She's been to Walden Pond once and because of her(?) it's a National Park now where you can't use motorboats. She doesn't like driving in cities. (Bad choice of occupation for her. ) San Francisco has the tenth deadliest airport, and her mother doesn't want to tally about it anymore. She then explained the difference between every beach in The Bay Area. She likes bookstores but only if they buy used books so she can get credit.
This was, maybe, a seven minute ride. I now know more about her life than I do about Comrade's.
#3. Was great and uneventful.
This morning, they are paving the streets around the house we stayed at so we walked a few blocks away before requesting a Lyft. The driver showed up and I said "They're paving the roads in that direction. But you can go ar--" and then she drove directly into just paved road, hit a cone, and turned the radio on. Christmas music. She dropped us off three blocks away from our destination, saying "All GPSes broken today." as Bruce Springsteen's "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" kicked into the chorus.
We are now on a bus headed back to Cleveland.
Comrade: "Remember when we went to Vegas, and my mom asked if we were going to get married while we were there?"
Comrade: "She didn't ask if we were going to get married in Cleveland."
One of the big draws when we moved to this house (don't worry, this isn't going the way things usually go when I start thinking about living situations), aside from having our own laundry machines in the basement, was proximity to a locally owned diner.
I think diners are fine. Comrade thinks breakfast is The Best Ever Possible Meal, and would eat there daily.
The first six months we lived here we went twice a week. It's a perfectly fine diner. The food is acceptable. The service is tolerable. They don't make anything great, but you're also not likely to find a mouse head in your eggs benedict (though, if you did, it would at least be less bland than usual).
While we were in Vegas we went to three separate places that did great breakfasts, and thus any desire I had to go to the diner vanished. I'm no linecook, but I can make eggs better than them. They only serve waffles on weekends, we have a waffleiron seven days a week. Beverage selection at almost any diner sucks if you don't like coffee (and it's never good coffee, anyway) and/or orange juice. Any form of juice I can get from any grocery store is accessible to me at home.
Really, the only reason to go to the diner is because it is almost always filled with The Worst Customers, and it's sometimes fun to take notes on them.
Somewhere, a few months back, I have 3/4 of a post of some of the most batshit dialogue I've heard outside of a comic book store or a poetry slam. Like, some real treasure trash opinions. Nothing politically problematic, just absolute horrible takes on mundane subjects being discussed by four people who probably get a lot of food thrown at them in public.
Last month, there was an incredibly awkward gay date happening in the booth behind us, where one person was so obsessed with being cute and charming, that I had to close my eyes and breathe slowly to keep from hurling a napkin dispenser at him.
Many times in the last few weeks, Comrade has woken up and suggested the diner, and I've said I'd think about it. But by the time I came to a decision, he'd eaten, so we didn't go.
On Friday, we went in. I didn't recognize any of the servers besides the person I assume is the owner or day manager, and we were directed to a table. Nothing really happened. Nobody around us was loud and awful. Our mediocre food came at roughly the amount of time it should take to prepare mediocre food. We finished it, caught some pokemon, talked about our upcoming trip, and were thinking of leaving when our server led an older white couple toward the table and said "Is this table okay?"
And the old white lady let out a sigh that only someone who imagines she deserves servants, and secretly thinks antebellum times Weren't That Bad, can muster and said "I suppose it will have to do."
I put my phone down and took my jacket off. I debated ordering another Coke.
They didn't say much of import for a couple of minutes. She mostly complained about someone named Lucy who was "just exasperating." (I'm sorry, Lucy, I'm also certain it isn't you.)
And then the server came over to take their order, and Granny Entitlement said "Can you change the music? It's so loud. Can't you put on some smooth jazz?"
I didn't like the satellite station they were playing. It was folky garbage from the 1970s. But I get the appeal of it. It's fairly indistinct. The songs blend together. They're recognizable to people above middle age. And they sure as fuck aren't loud. I'm pretty sure it was all acoustic.
The thing is. If she was 70 now, (maaaaaaaybe she could have been early 80s?) then this is the music that was out in her twenties or early thirties. So, it's not like "I Don't Understand This New Music." And she didn't say "I"m sorry but Paul Simon once attacked my sister with a toaster, and Leonard Cohen sounds like someone put the record on the wrong speed, could you please put on some Motown or Broadway musicals?" She basically said "Any music with any sense of artistry sounds Loud to me, and I won't be forced to listen to it. So I'm demanding this restaurant find a station that plays music based on one of America's truly original art forms. But don't play the original stuff. That was made by (and who knows what she'd say her, but it would probably be innacurate, and it would defnitely be problematic). Nay. Play the subgenre populated almost exclusively by white people who subsist solely on porridge and raisins and who don't realize that noodling on a saxaphone while turning in circles is cute when an otter does it but a human caught doing it should be as ashamed as if they'd been caught masturbating to pictures of themselves photoshopped near famous landmarks. Spokem word poets shouldn't really shit on performers from other genres, but I feel like Smooth Jazz musicians are a safe target.
Nobody should force an entire restaurant to listen to smooth jazz at 2pm on a Friday.
The server said she didn't control the radio, but she'd see what she could do.
For a brief, Wonderful moment, the Ramones "Blitzkrieg Bop" played, and I imagined Betina Neverworkedforaliving having an aneurysm and dying right there in the diner. But, alas, after a mere verse, the music changed to smooth jazz.
"You know," I said to Comrade, "We don't work here. We could totally walk by their table on the way out and say 'People like you shouldn't be allowed out in public. I bet your grandkids can't wait to put you in a really cheap nursing home.'" (This is something I would obviously never actually do. But I do love imagining doing it.)
Comrade nodded. "It's not like they're going to tip the server anyway."
But we just put our coats on and left, though I did eyedagger the woman and shake my head at her. I hope I gave her something she spent the rest of the day complaining about to her husband.
I've been living with Selina for most of the last 14 years. She and Goose each have/had their bad habits but they never understood counters/tables or eating food that wasn't in the bowl. I couldn't train them with treats because they would only ever eat the treats when it was placed in their bowls.
Polly gives no shits about counters or tables. If she can stand on it, she's going to jump on it and see what's there. We tinfoiled the entire kitchen counter for a week and a half before I saw that she was still jumping up on the counters, just not when we were in the kitchen watching her, so I removed the tinfoil.
But now that Selina has seen Polly on the tables, she has started hopping up on tables. And she has seen Polly investigating plates and bowls so now she does it. (She still HATES Polly but she's learning from her.)
Friday night/Saturday morning, Comrade and I woke up to a crash. Comrade wandered around and came back with the report that Selina had knocked a spoon off the living room table.
This was not the case.
She had, in fact, hopped on to the living room table and pushed off a bowl that had been in the center of the table.
I grew up with ugly blue 1970s Greek inspired (but definitely not actually Greek) plate and bowls. They were grey with cauliflower inked plants. Plates aren't a big deal to me. I'll eat off napkins, paper towels, paper plates, plastic plates, and ugly blue 1970s Greek inspired plates. It doesn't matter.
At some point in the 90s, my family upgraded to modern white plates and bowls with a dark blue rim.
I don't remember any plates from when I moved off the Cape in 1999 and when I moved to Cambridge in 2011. And I only remember the dishes from The Crooked Treehouse because they were the aforementioned 90s dishes gifted to me by my father.
When I got back from Bad Times In Florida, 2019, many of my belongings had been put in storage, but the plates didn't make it. It's no big loss. All of the actually important things were rescued, and I could have totally gone back to that house until July 0f 2021 when they finally started taking the house apart (nobody went into that top apartment for over two years, my roommate's old AC hung out the window the entire time, and I could see my old bookshelves still standing in there from across the street) to get them if they mattered.
When I finally got that crappy little apartment in JP, I had no furniture, and I didn't yet know that The Crooked Treehouse had been preserved while the family fought over which piece of shit owned it. You, my very cool friends, helped me raise enough money to afford/donated things like a bed, pots and pans, towels, and other things that hadn't made it out of The Crooked Treehouse, and that I couldn't really afford to buy myself (since my employer at the time stole thousands of dollars from me in wage theft, which he has decided he doesn't need to ever repay, but you know, he's a "nice guy").
My coworker, who is less a "nice guy" and more of a Good Person, was helping another friend empty their parents' apartment out after one of them died. She arranged and moved four dining room table chairs, a couple of end tables, two standing lamps, and a very comfy living room chair to my new place, which I've moved twice since then (and she helped me move both times). I also went through that apartment's cabinets and took flatware, glasses, and a set of 1970s yellow and white dishes called the Sundance pattern, which was in circulation for two years before being discontinued. I don't know why I like them. I'm not super into yellow, but I do like plates that feature geometry as opposed to flowers.
They have also come with me through the last two moves. During our first few months together, Comrade broke one of the four bowls, and we both scoured The Internet looking for a replacement, which is when I learned they were discontinued almost half a century ago, and weren't around for very long. C'est la vie.
Friday night, Selina broke one of the other bowls, which means there are only two left. (I think we have eight small plates, and six large plates with the same pattern.)
Comrade has saved the pieces, but there's a dozen pieces, not just 2 - 5 so I don't see it being worth reconstruction.
But I did go back online and saw that there were two auctions, each for a set of 4 dinner plates, 4 salad plates, and 4 bowls last year. One went for $500. One for over $1000.
I'm not alone in liking that stupid pattern.
(Don't worry, this doesn't end in me asking for donations to buy a fucking salad bowl. That's not where I'm at in my life.)
While searching, I found THE LAST SUNDANCE SALAD BOWL ON THE INTERNET. (It didn't say that, but I looked. It's the only one I could find. And I couldn't find any in 2021.) $20 on Etsy. I bought it.
But for $80, I could get a whole nice set of new dishes/bowls from the same company that made the Sundance set. They have three or four more modern designs that I could probably care about, given time. So why the Sundance nostalgia? A couply thing since I met Comrade fairly soon after getting them, and we've used them ever since? Something to focus on as a post-coma new life thing? I appreciate and like the chairs and tables, but wouldn't be at all sad to replace them.
I don't know.
I just know all this introspection is Polly's fault for teaching Selina new, awful habits. Selina is already a scratcher, but I try and catnip the scratching pads every week or so, which tends to get her to focus her sharpening there, and it's always worked.
Polly rolls around in the catnip, and then goes to scratch the couch. I put scratching pads in front of the couch legs, and she pushes them out of the way to scratch the actual couch.
Last night, I dreamed that we clipped her nails.
What a waste of a dream.
"I have this idea. What if I took the laziest Green Day song, slowed it down to lullaby speed, and played it on mandolin with wind chime percussion?"
-- some soft voiced white girl at a coffee house who sold their CD to our Lyft driver
I know I'm getting old because people are posting pictures of my favorite "underground" pop punk bands from my twenties, and every member looks like either Kenny Rogers or Willie Nelson.
I don't take Lyfts too often. I'm not made of other people's money. But while my usual ride is away, I've been using them for rides to work. Today, for the first time in six years of using the service, I got the same driver. And it's a driver I had last week, who I almost posted about because of his aggressively playing white 70s singer songwriters.
He's got a Beach Boys fan vibe. Like his favorite Beach Boy is probably Mike Love. One of Those People.
Nothing to speak of this week but last week, as we passed my old street in Somerville, he slowed down to tell a Cigarette Smoking Youth that his car was parked in front of a hydrant.
Cigarette Smoking Youth, as was predestined, floated the Cigarette out of his mouth to sneer "Go fuck yourself."
"Would if I could, man. Would if I could." Beach Boy Fan said before slowly pulling away, and turning up the volume on Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog.
My Boss, Literal Statement: "Wow. The roads look clear, we should actually make it in early today. Should we stop for bagels?"
My Boss, English Translation: "Wow. There is very little traffic. We should make it to the store early. How can I make us late?"
Years ago, I ordered a book from a publisher I like. And they very nicely gifted me a copy of another poet's book.
I didn't read it. Because I thought I remembered that, once, that poet and I had each gotten a lift home from another poet. My house was first, and I got out, and went in to my poet-filled apartment.
I noticed that the car filled with other poets in it hadn't left my driveway, so I looked out the window and saw a poet pissing on my steps. For no reason. We had no beef. But we had a bathroom. A bathroom I would have been happy to let him piss in, provided he at least aimed towards the toilet. But, no, this fucker had pissed on the steps to my apartment.
Today, I picked up the book, and started to flip through it, and thought "Oh no. This is not the same poet At All. I have made a mistake. I like these poems and this person isn't even from Boston. I'm a dick."
Then I read further and this poet Was From Boston for a while, and they totally definitely absolutely pissed on my steps for no reason.
But their poetry is pretty good. And I wonder if they threw in the free copy of their book as a weird but welcome apology.
There's a not very interesting q&a session with Christopher Eccleston that's only notable because the closed captioning replaces the word "dalek" with "garlic", leading to two great quotes:
"Garlic comes to mind because I was able to show a very unpleasant side of The Doctor"
"Often we bully when we're terrified, and The Doctor is terrified of garlic."