A summer tale....Enjoy :)
The only adventure that deserves to be in this letter, Joe, took shape when I came out of Safeway. I finished shopping at 5:07 pm EST, and glided onto the sidewalk, which was quite pleasant to traverse, save for a few soaked cigarette butts squashed under tire. I beheld one ominously moist, though fashionably gray sky.
I squelched an embarrassingly rational urge to bolt for home. My abandoned plan, mind you was heavily influenced by the fact that exactly one concrete square is conspicuously absent from the mossy, downward-spiraling sidewalk leading there.
You see, this slat gone AWOL lays bare a swollen thumb-shaped patch of dirt, which consists of little more than earth. And yet, I brag a splendid collection of Bazooka wrappers painstakingly extrapolated from this selfsame area. Since March of 2004, I have ravished it like a federally-endorsed Indiana Jones. And what do I have to show? A fistful of waxed paper and a treatment-defiant case of ringworm.
Water, friend, such as that lurking in the distinguished gray sky, changes any respectable, self-sufficient dirt into a notably unpleasant material. Yet, my ethnocentricity precedes me! If one is an ambitious parasite or a hard-charging weed, I wager the transformation is jolly-well convenient.
For a power wheeler like me, Joe, this...this...this "mud" (more commonly referred to in archeological circles as "Sticcious Muddacia) bitches up an otherwise titillating ride.
On that head, not long ago I found myself spinning my wheels (kindly forgive the cliché--- fatigued though it is, it does carry the sour aftertaste of factuality). In the SM (From this point forward, the writer invokes the hard-won, though obscure privilege of abbreviating both "Sticcious Muddacia" and "mud" in this fashion). Play along, Joe. It'll save us both about half an hour). Where was I? Oh, yes of course. Spinning my wheels in the SM! The kingpin of our tale. Or, might we discover together that SM is indeed one gritty theme, a single dark element of the profounder truth...a truth we shall stalk, puncture with bullets, decapitate, and mount on the west wall of your den for future reference?
In the interest of tidy penmanship, I shall make a long-ass story petite/medium by cutting the shit about my having sunk in the previously cited SM and becoming the uproariously embarrassed target of a spontaneous rescue mission organized by seven compassionate but poorly coordinated red faced gentlemen who accidentally skidded across the shoulder of the road to extract me from the muck into which I had dumbly tread although they were all seven painfully late for a graduation ceremony I knew because even in my vulnerable state I gathered no one dresses in such a piteously itchy fashion unless they are begrudgingly enroute to an hyped-up event conducted in the sauna moist gymnasium smelling of prudish sweat and borrowed perfume doused too liberally and too late for spring but too early for fall and featuring the apathetic lip syncing of a school anthem unfamiliar to graduates faculty staff family and maintenance personnel much less Aunt Eunice particularly Aunt Eunice in fact who sings it in Latin because she thinks it's sacred in Latin.
Anybody sharper than a bowling ball sees where I'm headed. I learned a peach of a lesson from the Ditch- and Seven- Three-Piece-Civility-Sensitive Suits Incident. It is a peach I would pass on to my children, were I not barren, and declared an unfit mother by the West Virginia Board of Parole and Retroactive Family Planning until September of 2013. Remember me, Joe, and tell that crack hound eccentric "mutt-baby" of yours---Prospero, is it? Whenever possible he should beat feet before the SM can puddle.
What, then of this afternoon's ill-tempered sky? It spat water, willfully foiling my escape! What was a satisfied shopper to do? I cannot lie, for I was satisfied (though a hairsbreadth shy of delighted). I carried $11-worth of foodstuffs and sundries, most non-perishable, provided they are immediately refrigerated. I tell you shamelessly, Joe---there were eight rapidly warming turkey dogs in my lap (the searing irony of which will soon be evident). There I perched as an edgy wind pelted spiteful oval droplets upon my milky blue cheeks. Three of the little bastards got a clean shot up my nose!
Even the turkey dogs were torqued! Approximately 26 minutes had gone! I know, because I asked a touchy guy for the time. He was bolting out of the Chinese place, clutching a Happy Meal under his arm and biting a complaint form between his teeth. Everybody's in a hurry to go nowhere. Twenty-six minutes? I was going inside, friend!
Loitering is no longer looked upon with favor in America. Lolling about in various centres of trade was once counted a worthy occupation. The early twenty-first century Sitter, however joins an ominous subculture of suspected terrorists who can neither board an airplane with potato guns, nor enter a Subway on Doubles Tuesday wearing trench coats.
Furthermore, Starbucks (a proud appendage of Safeway) offers astonishingly sparse seating. Their toy furniture is implicitly intended for consumers of coffee and other Starbucksical products. In the event of crowding, "I got dibs!" doesn't wash there, either. Don't ask me how I know, dude.
I sprung for the $1.79 Regular Joe. I had to! Not because I'm average. Nor am I pedestrian. Why, then? Because I am impoverished (in a hip, earth-conscious way). Is it me, or is a buck seventy- nine cocky-wild steep for a flimsy cup of hot, brown water? I was determined not to be victimized! I allocated ninety cents of my tab a security deposit on the tiny chair I was to occupy for the next 2 ½ hours. The other eighty-nine cents I coughed up for rent. (Free coffee, Joe!)
The bagger at Express Lane 4 was eyeing me. I knew it wasn't because he appreciates my quaint attractiveness. He's been prickly ever since that rhubarb last March, when I got an innocent-faced can of mace confused with the Smoked Cheddar Easy Cheese (with the drip-free spout) and playfully opened fire in the Feminine Care aisle. Jumpy lad.
What could I do but make camp? As I squished in, I realized this was, in fact another Pivotal Moment in my life. I was forced to ask myself a disturbing question: "Am I grotesquely fat, or have I jammed the bulk of my left pelvic region under a plastic piece of child-size furniture again?" I had asked myself this same question Wednesday at Chuck-E-Cheese. I had lied then. And again, today, I lied.
My Kiddie table was angled a dirty footprint west of the automatic exits. I breathed in the doors' swish, heard tan, sandaled feet cross the threshold. I nursed coffee with the street savvy of a homeless individual waiting out a blizzard. I cheered the parade of walkies, dropping their high arches into thin rivers of rain.
"No!...said the sun marked children in their wrinkled, Liberty flag print, sunk below ass-
crack shorts...Oh, MOM....it's R A I N I N G!"
The tired mothers winced, shouldering babies, clutching wet bags of bread and oranges, wilting at the thought of running the windy 1500 yards to their hatchbacks.
Thier undereyes sagged, the wheels of their shopping carts turning lazy half twirls, screeching reluctance. It was as if none of them had ever known the sky to be moody.
I watched children leap across fat, wide puddles, their hands and fingers spread in hats over their matted blonde heads. They turned their faces upwards now and again, agape at the merciless heavens...
...And John Denver crooned through the tinny white speakers above me:
SUNSHINE ON MY SHOULDERS MAKES ME HAPPY...
I laughed richer than any woman saving coffee, loitering at Starbucks without a ride home can afford to laugh.
I pulled out my mini marble notebook and collected bits of this Doorway Drama. It was crying out, "Poem!"
The next hour disappeared. I scribbled. A grandmother's untied sneaker, thick, musical adjectives for those sounds....wheels, footsteps...rain...of course, rain, the puzzle design a few stray drops of my Average Joe left on the foam cup, my blood type, bra size, social security number (You know how I forget those at the most inopportune of moments, Joe).
What the fuck do they put in Starbucks coffee? There was so much buzz in that drink it made my brain twitch! My teeth were playing "Chopsticks!" I nearly cut a deal with my friends the turkey dogs for the triptofan.
I braved a battery of unmentionable gastrointestinal complications. I was two hours and thirty-seven minutes into The Rain Mission. Management was vigilant. How many ladies' room visits would they grant a hanger-on such as I? (At least seven. Now you know...case you're ever in a pinch).
Back at my kiddie table, I spied a few more of the downcast, absorbed the damp hollow vibe of their self-inflicted weariness.
This lingering, this lukewarm drink, this poetry had nearly Ceased To Be Funny. It was from the last sweet whisper of joy, the close of this comedy, rather than from the sky, that I took my cue.
I rolled onto the splashed white concrete.
No wonder they're huffy, Joe. We poets always hog the best parking spaces.