Schmooze

Pat begged me to come to her party. I had to accept or she would be hurt. I arrived early so there would be fewer people there: fewer opportunities to schmooze. Schmoozing ain’t my thing.

After I exhausted myself making small talk with two women, I slipped into the back yard. I sat on the porch steps, breathing in the quiet, building up to go back inside.

An old Mustang, maybe a ’68, drove slowly down the side street. I could see two people inside. The passenger slid his body out the window, sat on the door and pointed a gun over the roof of the car at Pat’s house. He started shooting. I launched myself toward the ground and began crawling toward a tree amid the gunshots and shattering glass. Terrified screams. . .

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Getting gross

I’m not getting it. Movies are getting gross. Why? It’s disgusting. Do people crave that? By gross I mean pirates with the face of an octopus or whelk shells, covered with barnacles and other gross special effects. You know the movie I’m talking about. Sure Johnny Depp is priceless and charming and sexy in the lead role, but really, did it have to be so scary and stomach turning? What’s the point?

Kids cartoons don’t have cute characters any more either. The characters are misshappen, disgusting, and plain gross. The angel of death a lead character in a kid’s cartoon? Please, explain that to me. . . .

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Go to the zoo

Someone with a much younger and less discerning brain than mine convinced me it would be fun to go to the zoo on a July afternoon. Nothing moves on a hot July afternoon except a misguided human and creatures such as seals whose home is in water. It’s not mad dogs and Englishmen: even the wolves and hyenas were sleeping in the shade.

How many 20 oz. bottles of water can you drink in one July afternoon and still not need to pee? I can give you a definitive answer to that question: a lot!

But still, it was fun. It was fun seeing . . .

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What’s a word worth?

Suppose you spend 10 years collecting freely available information. You edited it. You rewrote it. You gave it a slightly different spin. When you had a great big encyclopedia of information compiled in one spot, someone came along and wanted to lift it, word for word, and use it elsewhere. Free. Would you go for a plan like that?

Me either. But someone is busy trying to convince me to do that. The sad thing is, if they go ahead, even without my permission, I have no idea what rights I have to make them stop. Not many, I think.

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Frank Lloyd Wright

A green and brown mirror with geometric shapes reminiscent of a Frank Lloyd Wright design hung above the leather couch. I first saw her reflected in that mirror, almost by accident as she passed between the stairs and the dining room behind me.

She was willowy of body and limb. If thin fly-away hair could be called willowy, she was willowy from head to toe. My quick glance didn’t reveal anything unhealthy about her thinness. She looked strong and moved with confidence. I had expected someone weak and ill looking.

Steve, sitting on the couch facing me, saw her also. “Estelle, come in here and meet . . .”

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Taxi

I grabbed the first taxi in line as I exited the airport. It stank of stale cigarette smoke. Too late I noticed a sign on the window proclaiming that this was a smoking taxi.

At 10 PM there was little traffic. The driver drove like he was on the autobahn, rather than a rather quiet American freeway. He launched into a ranting speech about the state of politics and what should be done to fix everything he deemed wrong with the government. Then he turned off at an exit that would not lead to my destination.

“What are you doing?” I said, “This isn’t the right way.”

He smiled at me oddly in the rear view mirror and said, ” . . .

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Sandy

children playing at White Sands National Monument
Those kids are not floating on air. They are on sand so white you can’t even see it. The sand is slow today. There was a rain so remarkable the governor went to Alamogordo to remark on it. Now the sliding at White Sands National Monument is a bit slow. But fun is possible if you figure out how to drive your cardboard sled just right to get down the gypsum slopes in a hurry.

Here’s the secret. The front flap of cardboard is like a brake. You hold it up to go and drop it to stop–suddenly! If you fall of during the abrupt stop, that’s even more fun.

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Days Inn

The same woman, the same forced laugh, the same path by my not-in-the-least soundproof door. She started around 9:30 and went by at least once every half hour until 3 a.m. She liked yelling at people in distant reaches of the motel.

She stopped at 3 a.m. exactly. I know because that’s when I opened my door and smashed her head in with a heavy wooden chair from my room. I had a bit of trouble getting it lifted up high enough to really twack her good, but the weight of the chair was most satisfying in its downward path.

It wasn’t quiet, as I’d hoped, after that. More people yelled and ran around a lot, causing an uproar. Then the police . . .

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Easy Mac

There’s a nine year old in my house. For a month. It’s insane around here. Luckily I love her more than air.

Her idea of a great meal is to toss a package of Easy Mac in the microwave and eat up. She’s always fascinated by the way the mac comes out of the microwave all lined up. “Like crystals or fractals,” I always say, when she remarks on it.

I wonder if someone could create a science lesson on crystals or a math lesson on fractals based on boiling a bowl of macaroni in a microwave for 3 1/2 minutes? It always strikes me as a lesson plan gone to waste when she stirs in the cheese.

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Terminal Delays

I arrived at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport right on time. I had a nine-year old in tow. After an interminable line in the blazing sun to check our bags, we reached the Arrivals and Departures board. The flight was scheduled to leave two hours later than anticipated! Within in a few more minutes the delay had stretched to three hours. “Weather in Houston,” was the mantra from the airline officials. Our two pilots sat in the gate seating along with us. Soon every one there was threatening violence against someone who admitted to carrying a chocolate pie. Airline officials promised pre-boarding exceptions to anyone bearing chocolate pie. That doesn’t entertain a nine-year old for long, so we cruised the local eateries, including Amy’s Ice Cream . . .

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