Friday, June 24, 2005

Hot Child In The City

Took the gang out to Sundown in the City last night. Mic Harrison, formerly of the V-Roys, opened, with some loud metal band helping him out. The headliner was an Australian named Xavier Rudd, who played guitar and aborigine instruments that I can't spell simultaneously - really made some amazing sounds that pleased the Aging Hippies in the crowd. I liked it the way I like Jack Johnson's music. It's pleasant listening, good for work, but it doesn't grab me by the earlobes the way Elvis or John Prine does - the words don't really seem to be that integral somehow. And I don't mean that as an insult. It taps into a different part of my head - it's restful somehow.

Anyhoo, incredible people watching! Goth kids, preppy kids, kids who climb on rocks, chic grandmas, the afore-mentioned aging hippies, young hippies, Yuppy scum, anorexics by the dozen, and me and mine sitting in the middle of it all. I really didn't mean to stare. And I don't think of myself as nosy, per se, more interested in my fellow creatures. The rather plump lady chugging beers in a too-too tight pair of denim shorts was talking loudly about how her husband shouldn't buy her anymore beer because she couldn't stand up anymore - when Xavier Rudd starting grooving, she did too. As God is my witness, I have never seen anyone attempt a lap-dance standing up. And I hope I never do again - but it was like a train wreck. I couldn't look away. She's grinding into her husband, frontways, backways, sideways, sometimes with a rose between her teeth, sometimes chugging beer. Now and then, she'd take a smoke break, and some twisted part of my mind wondered if she could do other tricks with her cigarettes. I guess she had a good time. I know she's got a massive hangover this morning. I'd bet $5 that she passed out before any actual sex happened and I'd bet $10 that her husband was glad.

Since all these folks I'm watching are strangers to me, I make up their stories. The skinny girl puking in a trash can was holding a bottle of water, while her pony-tailed boyfriend held her hair out of her face - they looked like New Hippies to me, so I figured they were doing 'shrooms and that made her sick. Or maybe a bad veggie burger. She made a quick recovery.

The anorexic girl curled up in a lawn chair, while three older men stood talking around her - she was a trophy wife gone repentant, hating the middle-aged paw that caressed her bony shoulder in ever more possessive fashion. The kids with the pink hair - well, that was the most interesting thing about them. The gray-haired punk in combat boots was most likely a stockbroker (albeit a very cool stockbroker) reliving his wild youth, but somehow, aren't we all? Man in Green T-shirt was headbanging so hard I thought he was going to hurt himself, or somebody else - he looked an awful lot like an ex-boyfriend of mine, had time stood still. That ex-boyfriend would've been dancing just like that. Deja vu all over again.

And that was Sundown in the City.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

In Cars

Do you drive? Or do you pilot? You can drive a car, you can drive a truck, you can drive yourself crazy, but you pilot a van. Or at least I do - something about the way I'm placed at the front of this long cabin, surveying the sea of pavement ahead. Yes, it's a powerful feeling, a feeling of controlling destiny and passenger safety. In the driver's seat of my Plymouth Voyager, I feel just like Captain Kirk heading out to kick some Klingon ass. Phasers on stun. Engage the warp drive, Mr. Sulu.

I spend waaaaaaaay too much time in my van.

But the Green Bean blew up the other day. And I found myself driving a truck. Not an 18-wheeler, but an old pickup truck. An authentic truck, not some chrome-brilliant richboy's toy, but a real work truck. The kind of vehicle you can haul stuff in: 2X4s, shovels and rakes, lawn mowers, giant sacks of dog food, dogs, the annual deer carcass if you are of the hunter persuasion. And the view from the driver's seat changed.

In my van, I put on my sunglasses, crank up the stereo and recognize no one. I'm cruising. Sure, maybe I've got 4 kids screaming at each other and throwing food, but I'm cruising. In the truck, with the windows down (no a/c - this is a man's truck!), I'm right there in the middle of it all, smelling the tar on the pavement and hearing all these punkass fart mufflers. And my fellow truck drivers are recognizing me as one of their own. I get the Nod of Respect. I get the Wave of Brotherhood (nevermind that I'm a sister). They let me cut in front of them, because they know it's gonna be tough to hold that clutch on this grade in this traffic. I could get used to this. Courtesy, good ole boy style. In my van, I'm invisible, partly by choice but mostly because there are gazillions of vans in all the colors of the rainbow being piloted by my contemporaries, forty somethings (ouch) with kids and groceries. The truck made me visible, at least to other truck drivers, and ya know, everybody likes to be noticed now and then.

I'm thinking we van-o-moms need some of this camaraderie. Like motorcyclists do that low wave to each other in passing, we need a gesture of recognition.

Suggestions welcome!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I love....

Little baby ducks. Old pickup trucks. Slow movin' trains and rain. Thank you, Tom T. Hall.

Baby ducks are cute, aren't they? Especially when they're all fuzzy and yellow and peeping around the park. And then they grow up into the monsters from hell that hiss and chase me around the walking trail. I'm warning them all - well, all of them that can read - I've got pepper spray, and I'm not afraid to use it!

10 Simple Pleasures

1. rain on the roof when I'm sleeping. a cat purring at my feet makes this ultra-cozy. and waking up and realizing I don't have to get up anytime soon - icing on the cake.
2. cold vanilla ice cream on a hot cherry turnover
3. beer on the beach, under a strong summer sun
4. squishing barefoot through a summer rain -this is a lot more dangerous than it used to be, so watching those big fat summer drops implode on a puddle is almost as satisfying.
5. walking my youngest daughter to school, feeling the trust in her little hand which is growing bigger every day, so this is a fleeting treasure, as it was with her brothers and sister before her.
6. watching my silly old dog run. she does that just for the hell of it sometimes, and if dogs can smile, well, she's smiling when she does it.
7. making somebody else laugh out loud, especially my husband. the last time he did was when I told him he was allergic to the word "God" unless it was immediately followed by "damn." He's a very tough sell.
8. getting all the words AND the question on the Word Scramble puzzles in my local paper. I can either do them all immediately or not at all.
9. green lights all the way to work.
10. a freshly-washed vehicle.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A Modest Proposal

Today is June 1, 2005, which is commonly written as 06-01-05. I'm going to spend the next two weeks either writing 05-??-05 or 06-??-06. Do you have this problem making the monthly transition? I've got a solution.

Let's get rid of the months. Let's just have 1/2005, 2/2005...365/2005. See how simple? Only one real change per annum. With this hole in the ozone layer, climates have changed and seasons have slipped off the track. April showers bring May flowers? Fuhgeddaboudit. April blizzards bring May showers, mudslides, mosquitos and the occasional avalanche. We redivide the calendar to more accurately divide the year. The Naughts, those first hundred days, begin in the dead of what was formerly known as winter. The Hunnerts take us from the frosty first days of what used to be spring into the pleasant part of the season formerly known as summer. Next up, the Binerts (or 'berts), from day 201 to 300, encompass both the Dog Days and Halloween, which I think would make that whole Back to School thing a bit more believable. Who can look at wool in August? Rounding out the year, we have the Trinerts, which would be mercifully short, so that we can look forward to the coming of the Naughts again come 01/2006. And we'll toss that Spring Forward/Fall Back crap while we're at it.

Are ya with me? Write your congressman.