Aug 27, 2009

SCREWBALLS, TALKING, DRIVING

Left: Screwball?

If not, I think that batter better hit the deck.




The young like to say, “That’s so random.”

At a dinner party, a husband says about his wife: “She’ll find something to wipe.”

At another dinner party, a sixty-something mother is trying out loud not to worry about her forty-something son, who’s recently divorced from someone named Susan. Aging mom says, “He’s got gum wrappers from when he was dating—you know, other girls, not Susan.”

Two of the greatest inventions of the last few decades are the TV clicker and air conditioning in cars. Yet a surprising number of people—smokers or not—keep their car windows down in hot city traffic. Why? The noise, the grime, the heat. It can’t be true that all those air conditioners are broken. Maybe there’s a secret outbreak of claustrophobia that CNN hasn’t discovered. Maybe “breath of fresh air” has been re-defined to fit our times, to include sucking suet.

In case you haven’t tried it already, next time you’re sitting at a red light, watch the cars making a left turn toward you. Yes, most of them cut it too close. But also look at the drivers’ faces. Compose their story in your head. Where are they going? Where are they coming from? What just happened? Is anyone having a happy moment while turning left? Once again those lines from W.H. Auden: “Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd. Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.”

How about the woman sitting behind you, on her cell phone, performing a full-blown soap opera or declaration of war? How can a mouth move that fast, that aggressively? Is it just gusto? Enthusiasm? Her whole head bobs like a chicken on crack. And the free arm is flailing with such vigor that she could be roping a calf. What’s the story of the day between her ears?

I hear someone shouting, Why a woman, you stereotyping pig?

Because that’s the picture I’ve seen, far more than once. The men are having a contest with themselves to see how close they can come to my rear bumper—or my left taillight as they whip around me. Some women do that too, but their mouths aren’t curled in a snarl. They’re having a happy moment, and space is irrelevant.


4 comments:

Cafe Observer said...

Banjo, I'm not doing anything.

btw, if i were a pitcher, a screwball would be in my arsenal. And, I recommend German Shepherds over boxers, and certainly over any cat.

BANJO52 said...

Welcome, CO. I don't disagree about the dog choice, but I'm curious, why the Shepherd preference? I've never had one.

My daughter just came through with her chocolate Lab, and my last dog was a yellow Lab. I gotta admit they're my favorite. I'd say English bulldogs (my first dog in adulthood or "adulthood," but they're just too sickly and slobbery.

I have no idea how to throw a screwball, by the way, but it sounds good. Better than a hard slider, down and away?

altadenahiker said...

I don't have a cellphone and talk on landline as little as possible. On the other hand, I'm damned chatty on the internet.

glad CO is here. I understand him 50 percent of the time; you probably understand him the other 50 percent.

BANJO52 said...

And never an overlap in the middle for CO?

I'm impressed that you've held out so long without a cell phone. A couple of my friends have just recently broken down, gotten one, feel something like shame or even guilt about it, and refuse to turn it on (unless there's a potentially urgent reason--change of plans in picking up a kid or meeting somebody for breakfast, etc.).

Maybe it's about (in)tolerance for uncertainty--who is where, and when, and what that means for me, that I should be . . . where? . . . when? I hate to admit it, but I've come to like this channel for revision, clarification.

But clearly a lot of people are pretty much addicted to cell phones (for the record, I just avoided the obnoxious symbolism of "addicted to cells," though frankly I kind of like the notion), or they're just addicted to talking. Anyway, I guess it's no secret how Twitter came to be . . .

Maybe it's inevitable that any blogger has to think about virtual vs. spoken conversation from time to time. An obvious advantage to the Net is that you don't have to think, speak--OR LISTEN--at any given moment. Is that a good thing? How similar are our online and real selves, our second lives and first lives? Maybe there are fewer typos in second life . . . .

Now WHO did you say was chatty online?

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