Sunday, January 29, 2006

Physician Heal Thyself

I was standing at an intersection, along with a fellow pedestrian, waiting for the light to change, when a woman pulled up to ask for directons. She had just named a street I'd never heard of, when another car appeared behind her and honked loudly.

She moved on, probably fearing the fierceness of the horn and the hulking size of the SUV. The man next to me turned and said, "I have no patience for people who are not patient."

Then he paused, smiled, and said that his previous statement didn't make at whole lot of sense.

Sometimes the problem and the cure are the same.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

All Things Antiquated

This week has been a blast from the past. Without going into any detail, I will tell you that I used a typewriter (okay so it was electronic, but still a typewriter). Someone who saw me using it referred to it as a "chicken clucker".

And I drove down the street, finding myself marveling at an incredible sight: a man talking on a pay phone. I don't know which was more incredible--that the pay phone was still there and being used or the fact that I was really intrigued by this strange custom. As if I didn't grow up seeing and using pay phones. It really hasn't been that long since pay phones were everywhere. There are fewer now, of course, but it is not as if they have all been wiped off the planet.

It really does not take a lot of time for us to become unaccustomed to things that were once quite routine.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Spaced Out

People are crazy.

We all know it and say it. Of course, we can hardly be objective, since we are people too.

The other day I was backing into a parking space, when I paused because I saw someone running towards my car, on the driver's side. I panicked for a moment: Did I run over something? Or someone?

The woman who appeared at my window, knocked and demanded that I roll the window down. By now I knew that I had not killed anyone or anything. I refused to roll down the window. She insisted, and was rather nasty.

"Just roll down the window!!!"

I said no, and told her I could hear her fine from inside the car. Wait a this a carjacking, I wondered. Is a middle-aged white woman trying to jack my car on Wisconsion Avenue?

She looked at me with disgust, and finally backed away. As she left, she yelled,

"I want your parking space!"

Puzzled, I finished easing my car into the space. This woman, stopped her car at an odd angle, left it almost in traffic at a busy intersection, put the hazard lights on, and came to knock on the car window of a stranger--all for a parking space. A space that was not even available because I was backing in and not out.

Out of concern for my own safety, I did not roll the window down. But obviously the woman was not interested in her own safety. She left her car almost hanging out in traffic. And she wanted me to roll my window down, not knowing who I was or what I may have had in my car. Plus, she was very close to my car, never thinking for a moment that if I put my foot to the gas and turned the steering wheel, she could be injured. And yet in this very precarious situation, she thought it was a good idea to yell at me, a person that she did not know. Good thing for her, I have no interest in violence, be it senseless or even somewhat provoked.

The quest for a good parking space is just a part of urban life. And like an oasis in the desert, you are likely to see many that are just mirages. But whatever you do, don't go crazy and start banging on people's windows.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Absorbed into the [main]stream?

Yesterday the Washington Post reviewed a new downtown DC bowling hotspot and the reviewer complained that although the place said it wanted to attact an "ethnic" crowd, he mostly saw African Americans. Adjectives/categories like "ethnic" are annoying, but I was still suprised to read that black folks are no longer fit into this subset. According to the article we are no longer "ethnic" and (at least in the establishment mentioned) are allowed to break the rules.

A main talking point so far has been Lucky Strike's dress code, which bans skull caps, athletic wear, baggy white T-shirts, "excessively baggy" clothing and "excessively long" jackets and shirts. Despite all the talk of targeting ethnic groups, I have to say that most of the crowd last weekend -- and much of it on previous weekends -- was African American, including a number of guys wearing baggy sweatshirts and jeans.
-Washington Post, Weekend section,

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Sibling Revelry

I was informed that something I wrote was not quite accurate. So although there are no corporate sponsors for this blog, there are guest artists. Today's featured performer is my brother.

In response to the the entry Shared Memory (December 15, 2005) he wrote:

For the record I did see that food at the Econo Lodge and there was one stairwel that smelled like funky feet boiled in liquidified Haggis.

We really don't have the same mind, however. Despite the fact that in a recent game of Scattergories when pressed to think of a fruit that began with the letter "H", one of us wrote "hot apple" while the other wrote "hot pear".

And before you ask, it is supposed to be revelry (not rivalry).