Around The World In A Day

I learned a few things this morning. I learned that the bookstore at 123 East Main St. is not open at that time on Sunday morning. I learned also that there is a bearded man in an orange shirt on East Main Street in Rochester New York who would very much like to know if you have an extra cigarette he might have.

Extra? I don’t even have one.

I wanted to show Mom the previous living situation. We could only gaze into the lobby, but I think she understood the gist of my living standard for the past four years. Especially after man in the orange shirt asked us a second time on the pass the other way up the street if we had an extra cigarette and then in front of the music store where one man on a bicycle had already successfully cajoled a dollar from one of these four or five young Dave Matthews Band fans, and when a second, not on a bicycle, approached to ask them where’s HIS dollar, the first man on the bicycle commenced to school the second gentleman on his bad form.

This was on a Sunday morning.

Thank you all for helping me clarify to my Mother that her help and my dear Grandma’s help in getting me moved elsewhere was a good idea. I severely appreciate it.

I did get to show off the gem of the neighborhood, Hart’s grocery. Grabbed one of my favorite morning staples, the Natalie’s Grapefruit Juice. You should go there and buy one because they are the most best things around.

They even taste good without vodka. I’m not kidding. And, for some reason, I can’t find a single drop of the product in my new neighborhood. I’m going to take this to you, Lori’s Natural Foods. I want my Natalie’s gapebook juice. It’s dreamy.

Anyway. So after that we took East Ave. to Clover to all the way to Honeyoye Falls, so that was quite the scenic route. Tried to show Mom the house she rescued me from buying but couldn’t find it. She said hey. We’re here. Let’s go to Canandaigua. (She is still working on pronouncing that town’s name without getting that little cramp in her neck and then somehow saying “Canada-booger-freestyle-wheat-thin.” We’re working on it. I cannot wait until we graduate to “Ganondagan.” I can’t even say that one yet without the eye twitch and the sweating and all.)

(I don’t even ask my Mother to say “Rehoboth” anymore. Her doctors insist. It’s “that beach in Delaware” or weeks of steroids.)

So we went to Canada-booger-freestyle-wheat-thin and there were boats and a beach you had to pay five dollars to get in. And we went to Wally’s for lunch and they apparently like to blare the local country station at you while you consume there excellent food in their weird little dive. I of course had the full-on Wally Burger, my Mother had the chicken cordon bleu.

We crossed the road to walk up and down and some broad yelled at us about taking the crosswalk, although we did not hold up traffic a bit. I showed her my bare ass. It was magical.

Then I said, but we’re 14 miles from Geneva. And we went.

Geneva, I think, is an improvement over Canada-booger-freestyle-wheat-thin. I find it not a bit ironic that, just miles from Ingersoll’s first home are some really beautiful churches, really, they are stunning, and in this tiny lakeside place. Geneva downtown is open and lovely, and pleasantly hilly. This to me, with my limited knowledge of the geography, is the start of wine country, and I only know that from several attempts previous to visit Ingersoll’s house in Dresden (New York).

I mentioned Dresden to the cheerful, helpful woman at the Geneva visitors’ center (open Sunday), and how the place is basically a post office, Ingersoll’s house, and some kind of military installation. Yes, she says. Long since decommissioned, and boy was that a hit to the area. Wow. I had no idea.

No sightseeing heading back. Full-on thru-way, baby Then a beer on my deck. Then a fine meal at the finest bar in ROC, the J.B. Quimby’s.

I think if the goal was to give my Mom a good snapshot of the area as she daydreams about where to spend her life in future years now, I think we did okay.

Yep. I think we did okay.

*

In Other News
As I punched up the elevator, a neighbor of mine was talking in the lobby on his mobile device. He said, “so, what do you think of Big Brother? I think they’re going to get rid of that girl…”

I said “SHHHHH! I haven’t seen it yet!”

And I wasn’t kidding. Off to watch it now. What a stupid thing to do, and yet,

My Brain Feels Numb and Awful

and I need a good read. I have thumbed through the Netflix menu enough lately. I have suffered the idiocy of Big Brother enough. I am still a month away from a new season of Grey’s Anatomy. The only thing worth watching on TV worth a darn is season three of Halt and Catch Fire, which I eat up like they’re Snacky Smores and feel so fortunate to be able to stream on SlingTV, a streaming service which is really coming into its own these days.

This having spent the last two months binge-watching Mad Men on the Netflix. So you know how you feel when you finish one of those. Spent. Rudderless. Existentially fraught. Like someone just burned the full fuse. It is a beat-up feeling.

The problem being that even mediocre literature in television is few and far between. An art piece like Mad Men or Breaking Bad or even Louie doesn’t often show its brassy face. The demand that television encounters, the vacuous black hole it orbits, so immense that they will throw anything in there to fill it.

I have a constant need to feed my brain, and I keep looking to television to do that, and that’s foolish because it can’t. The more sustainable brain diet is books, ya see, is what I getting at.

Besides, I done set up a new reading nook.

IMG 2329

So I need a good read, and as fortune has it, tomorrow I will be near 123 East Ave. See, my Mom is in town for the weekend. I want to show her my previous life, so we’ll trek downtown first probably. And me, I need a new book. My brain itches.

Mom seemed to dig the new place. We sat on the deck and drank beer, she a Rolling Rock, me a Founder’s Session IPA. Then we drove to the farm and DOD put a trout on the grill and I did fried green tomatoes with remoulade. It was a fine repast and a good preparation for adventures tomorrow.

Category: Arla

In a few weeks, I’m going to get in my car and drive for three hours to the best place I’ve ever known, and one of the big reasons I’m going there is to sit on a new bench.

In our own Star’s Hollow, known as Edinboro, there are benches available as memorial tributes. Ours will read: “Barney and Arla Gwynn. Home at the lake forever.”

The bench will reside beside a childrens’ playground that is just across the street from her house, where she spent countless hours watching the little rascals swing and slide and scream. The tribute will now provide parents a place to take a load off while they’re watching their little rascals swing and slide and scream. It’s perfect.

What I’m learning following her death is that when somebody as vital to you as she was to me dies, you start learning more about them. I had never truly considered, for example, that when I, her only grandson, was born, she was 44 years old. And that when her husband died, she was 62. Which means she lived in the widows’ weeds for 30 years. Nearly a third of her life.

I think of this not to be maudlin, but because it leads me to understand her better. During her life, I could never understand why she insisted on traveling to Florida every year, or why she stayed in Edinboro, or why she never got rid of anything. It was because she was still leading the life that she and her husband led. I think my Grandma was forever motivated by the life she led with her Barney. I think she did many things because that’s what they used to do.

My Grandma G was born April 25, 1924, and she stopped refusing to die on May 26, 2016, at 92.

I have been spending ever since trying to write about her here. She was probably my most loyal reader, after all, and she would be upset not to find her passing noted in this space.

I first started writing about it by scouring the obit. It was all I could do. I hadn’t lived it long enough yet. And so for months, I’ve been working on one long piece here about Arla May Gwynn.

But I’ll never get that finished. Because, honestly, and I am somewhat surprised by this, but honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever finish mourning her. So. Stories will come. I will need to write them down.

Arla G isn’t just one entry. She’s a category.

One that will probably be heavily used next week. Thank you for listening.

I Don’t Get Ear Worms. I Get Ear Cobras.

This is what my brain has been doing all day long.

I didn’t ask my brain to do this. I didn’t say hey. You can listen to that Bosstones song and sing the refrain of Bob Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay” over it and it makes perfect sense, so brain, you should play that all day long while you’re trying to, you know, resolve the woeful woes of tech admins all over the world. Nope, there it was, all day long. WHERE DID YOU GO lay lady lay HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

It’s not easy being green.

(Today it was only two songs at once. That was lucky.)

A Nice Productive Day

new_gogglesSo now I wear bifocals.

I’ve been meaning to take care of the glasses thing for a while now. Have been aware for some time that not only am I nearsighted now, but I’m farsighted, too. Got up this morning and decided to run over to Lenscrafters and get it all settled. Ran over, got my eyeballs looked at, picked out the frames, not to mention a pair of Ray-Bans. Came home to my new apartment and did a few things, then got the text that the glasses were ready. Drove over and got my oil changed. Walked to Bar Louie for a beer while that was being done. Then picked up the car and went and got my ears lowered. Then over to the farm for supper. Where my brother whipped up a perfect dish of greens and beans.

And he educated me about a musician named Paul Gilbert. A guitarist I had not encountered yet. A guitarist with the balls to cover Loverboy.

What perked my interest in Gilbert was to learn that he worked with Billy Sheehan in Mr. Big. Billy Sheehan, as in, the dude who did those amazing things on the bass guitar on Eat ’em an Smile.

I didn’t tell my brother that David Lee Roth is the only reason I know who Billy Sheehan is.

Brother made a mean greens and beans. In case you’re not familiar with the dish, which is an upstate NY staple, here’s how it goes. Dice some onions. Get some nice Italian sausage and roll it up into balls. Cook those things. Throw in a few cans of pinto beans with all the juice. Season. Then throw in a bunch of greens, such as spinach, cale, or chard. Allow the vegetables to wilt.

Serve with lots of bread and wine.

That’s what I had for supper and yes, you are jealous.

So then DOD and I retired to the TV room for a movie. Whiskey Foxtrot Tango starring Tina Fey.

Friends, I have not seen such an intelligent, funny, wonderful film in a while. I think I would put it next to Jenny Slate’s Obvious Child in terms of its sheer excellence. One of my favorite films recently. You should watch it watch it now.

It was better than Birdman.

So. That was my day. How are yoU?

Pizza on a Paper Plate

ded_truck300

This is a dead pickup truck.

Dead. Zilch. Not pining for the fiords. No va. A Ford Ranger that no longer, um, ranges.

There is nothing like having the truck you’re traveling in die on a busy interstate road. Yeah. Pretty terrifying.

Here’s what happened.

So, today was moving day. Out of the crappy shoebox, into the comfy one bedroom. The movers showed up promptly at 8 a.m. They had me out of my old place in two hours in into my new place by noon. Feeling confident having knocked that sucker out pretty quick, I joined my DOD for lunch at Bar Louie down the road. This is thanks to Sheridan Bros. Moving, by the way, they were excellent.

Bar Louie is pretty froo-froo. DOD had the booger. I had the salmon sliders. The girl who served us at the bar was not born. She was created in a laboratory. It is an utterly nice place, and I do not often feel comfortable in such places. I think the Bush twins would enjoy it very much, however.

So the movers didn’t take my R2-unit (my portable air conditioner) because it was full of water, and I had no idea how to get the water out. I didn’t want it anyways. My new place has a nice wall unit that I am enjoying as I write this entry. So, I offered it to my DOD in support of the family’s favorite cause, No One Left Behind, which in Rochester is basically my Rebel Girl Mom (we have always been uncomfortable with “stepmom” so I have just now decided to refer to her as my Rebel Girl Mom instead. She knows why.) and her husband, my DOD. Basically, NOLB provides assistance to fellas from Afghanistan (and their families) who helped the United States during the war by acting as translators. Said gentlemen are now targeted for death in that country and need whisked out of said country ASAP. Remember that when Donald Orangefartblossom craps all over immigrants. These are folks who helped us and who now need help landing gracefully in these Untied States.

So my DOD drove the Ford Ranger downtown with me to secure the AC. He helped me drain it, and we loaded it on the truck. We got as far as past the Pittsford exit when the truck stopped. Dude was able to pull to the side, but it’s a busy road.

We were both pretty terrified.

So here’s the amazing thing. For 17 years, my now departed Grandma G (I will be addressing that soon) has purchased me a membership in AAA. My DOD’s had lapsed, but I still had mine and had my card on me. I called. The agent was helpful as could be and in fact put a priority status on our ride since we were in a bit of an unsafe situation.

Our man J.R. was there in 20 minutes.

So, back to the farm. The agent on the phone was cute and trying to get us to take the truck to a garage. Very funny. Let’s take a 21-year-old pickup truck with a shot transmission to get repaired. Nope. We just carried her home. Said a few sacred words. Misted some smoke over her. Read the kaddish.

DOD drove me back to the new place. I set up the futon and moved some crap out of my way. I realized I didn’t have any food (one leftover salmon slider and some hot dogs weren’t cuttin’ it). So I went to get wine and frozen pizza (what else would I want after a move?) and came back, expecting to set up the TV and spend the evening chilling.

Except I couldn’t find my shoes.

I’m working tomorrow (dummy. should have gotten PTO tomorrow, too.), and they would not approve if I showed up in Crocks.

Sigh. Back to the previous residence. For shoes. Grabbed a few other things too, of course (there’s always a bit left behind after a move, a fact meant only to add to the annoyance level of one of the most annoying events a human being ever experiences).

So. I did that. Drove all the way back for shoes. And the croissants I’d bought. I got back in and moved a few other things around and

TOOK

A

SHOWER

and now I am eating the most delicious pizza I have ever had off of a paper plate and that’s moving

In Other News

There’s this windows store (windows like that glass hole in the wall, not like the operating system) that advertises on TV here, and the guy says his windows are so great, and then he stands on a window, and then he goes, “I not only stand behind my windows, I can stand on them.” And then he stands on this window that’s elevated by two beams. Then he goes “Can you stand on THEIRS? Maybe. But it’ll cost ya.” And believe it or not, the guy is not Donald Trump.

Black Lives Matter

I keep trying to fill in the blank with some really clever simile but just can’t finish it. “Answering #BlackLivesMatter with #AllLivesMatter is like…” I just can’t. Just can’t do it.

Because it is stupid.

“Black Lives Matter” is a response. It’s a response to a country that for centuries told black people, through its institutions, through its laws, through its culture, that their lives did not matter. That in fact at one point, they were not considered as humans, but as chattel. And after that, it was, you can’t sit there, you can’t drink from there, and you most certainly cannot swim there. We are a country that has spent quite a lot of effort creating a problem out of a segment of our population who for the most part did not even have their blood lines end up here of their own will. I don’t have to lecture you here further. You probably dig it. Comparing the experience of any other demographic to that of black people in the Untied States of America is a foolish errand. That experience is unique and incomparable, and to your average honkey like me, it is downright unfathomable.

Though I do try.

Having said all of that. I do find it troublesome that the issue of such extreme police misconduct is being tossed around so enthusiastically as an issue of race.

Because that ain’t the real problem, folks.

We got a stiff reminder of the real problem in, say, July 2013, when George Zimmerman was acquitted. And the reminders have been quite prolific since.

The real problem is that, at some point, and I don’t know when it happened, this crazy country decided that police officers and even jackass wannabes like Jorge Zimmerman, do not have to account for murder.

And that shouldn’t just scare black folks. It scares me. And it should scare you, and you, and you too, and U2, too.

Police officers, who in some circles might and should be referred to as “peace officers,” can kill you now and not even have to sit across from a judge. That’s a problem that should unwarm the cockles of all our hearts, not just those of my beautiful black brothers and sisters.

I think if you kill a person, you need to see a judge. You need to experience some level of legal proceeding. I don’t care if you are a cop, a wannabe cop, a black person, a white person, a Democrat, a Republican, a Freak, or Bruce Lee. If you kill someone, you need to go to court about it for some kind of lawful reckoning.

It’s not racial harmony we should be buying the world a Coke for, kids. It’s simple accountability. Cops are not made to account for things like this, and that, my friends, is what’s so incredibly horrifying and should be horrifying to me and you and a dog named Boo.

(By the way, I’m Verbal Kint at the beginning of The Usual Suspects, not at the end. I like cops and think most of them are just dandy people. But this legal system needs to hold them accountable as they would you or me. That’s the outrage.)