Saturday, October 15, 2016


(Made ya look)

Note: This week's installment of "Throwback Thursday" is on Saturday due to circumstances that were pretty much out of my control; kinda like my life. I do try and keep my posts on schedule, but this was just one crazy-ass week.

This is another of my older blog posts that Facebook burped up today was first posted on October 13, 2013. It's amusing and has a few facts, but like many of my posts written during that time, it is also some attempt at some sort of observation and possible understanding of human nature. I'm not too sure that I'm always successful. I barely understand myself from moment to moment.

JC, Alex and I were feasting on taco salad this afternoon and watching football; a “fambly tradition”, when JC got a brainstorm. These are always terrific fun; today it was “hey! let's check into one of those Swifter-Bristle Steamboat things.” One of the reasons I really enjoy him, is he is one the best word and name-manglers I know. It only makes the confusion richer in my life. James Thurber (in a short New Yorker article, published under the name “What Do You Mean it Was Brillig?”*) once had a maid who was like that, and he used to regularly joust with her, along with his dictionary.
*The entire essay can be read at this Google link in one sitting for free. It's funny and about as astute a piece of human analysis as anything I've ever read.


Today, this would pass for random; back then, it was called "whimsy." Whatever it is, I still cackle like a hyena every time I read any of James Thurber's writings or see his cartoons. 

(Also, the uproar over the use of the term "pussy" by Donald Trump this past week besmirched a term that was originally meant to be used in quite another way. A "pussy cat" could be a very cuddly, and warm female, as it could also, as seen here, be used to mean a bunch of catty females. Whatever way it was used, it was never really meant to be used in the manner Donald Trump used it; lowering it to the status of "cunt". There, I've said the "c" word, but that is the big, fat elephant in the room everyone is avoiding. I don't want to get into a thesis of why assigning names to genitalia or to genders themselves is an issue here; but as James Thurber brought it up, I thought I'd better address it. I'll write about it soon, though, rest assured.)

While the three of us are not nearly so entertaining as James and Della in the story, we did manage to work up a good laugh about shared and non-shared things and went right off the tracks, tangential-wise. A phrase my father and Edwin Newman would just cringe over; but the fact remains the Swifter-Bristle thingy is just another white elephant that will sit around here and collect dust and we already have plenty of that. I guess that's what the Swifter-Bristle takes care of, but Jesus Christ on a, well, a bicycle, JC had purchased and was going to work on: 6 bicycles, 4 or 5 separate bicycle tires, several tubes that “fixed” themselves (then why did he need to fix them?) and, a bunch of rusty tools that he bought for a dollar or two, here and there, from “Angel,” one of the neighborhood “entrepreneurs,” who kind of speaks English, and apparently has the super power of magnetic fingers. He's disappeared and has either been deported or is in the Orient Road Jail; it all depends on which branch of the Nebraska Avenue Grape Vine you choose to believe.

So, as we ate and jabbered away - talking over one another, getting up for sodas, more taco salad, more napkins, hot sauce, and general yelling at the Bucs to “throw the ball” and “kick the ball”, or armchair coaching at it's best, certainly, a Sunday afternoon at it's best - I started in on, why we needed this Swifter-Bristle thing and reminded JC of the bike pump. Not to mention the 3, not 1, but 3 bug sprayers with pumps that lay unused while the roaches have parties and conga lines in the kitchen after-hours. Plus, I recently found another mini-pump under the kitchen sink. This I can understand; apparently, we're still not over the trauma of “Bedbug Apocalypse.”

After the bicycles sat in the back of the apartment, taking up very valuable real estate, he finally conceded, that no, he was not the next Orville, nor Wilbur Wright and sold the whole kit-and-kaboodle for I-can't-even-remember-how much money. He may have paid someone to get them gone. Hell, I may have paid someone to get them gone. It was clutter at it's finest and it was threatening to overtake the house, much like kudzu vine does, in the deep south, in the hot muggy summers of the United States. If you stand still long enough; it will overtake you and you're history. Your corpse will only appear as so much dry vine-y deadness in the shape of a screaming person, in mid-screech, the following winter. But I digress.

This isn't the worst I've ever seen, but it grows at some phenomenal rate, like 60 feet per season, or in 3 months. Kudzu vine is EVERYWHERE in Florida and is a non-native species. It has also been found in Canada, eh?

After we got through laughing about the bicycle pump, because it survived the Great Bicycle Pogrom of 2012, we started laughing about leaving things around and getting them stolen, because that happens around here, a lot. It's not just Nebraska Avenue, it's the fact that this is a poor area and lots of people are inherently dishonest. But, for every dishonest person, there are just as many giving and caring people.

I truly believe that; last week as I was sitting in the Bus Transfer Station waiting to go to my Neurologist appointment, a young man, almost a kid, who had just been released from prison, or jail was sitting on a bench, holding his belongings. He didn't have much and looked miserable and lost; he had just a bag with a few items and I knew he'd been incarcerated because he had on the shoes all prisoners in Florida wear upon release; blue canvas, with white rubber rims. An older homeless man, a type of “Veteran” who knows the ropes and there are lots of them in Tampa and I'm sure every where, walked up to the kid. The older man was holding a big, fluffy blanket. He held it out to the kid and said something. I couldn't hear, but it was probably something like, “Here, kid, you look like you could use this blanket.” The kid's eyes lit up. The two spoke for a few minutes and the older man got on my bus and off we went. I guess there are angels every where. That guy is one of Tampa's. There are a few of them here.

Anyway, when we lived at FSJ, you had to put your name on EVERYTHING edible that went into the fridge, even in your room. People didn't just put their names on stuff, they put warnings on their items. “THIS IS BUBBA'S DO NOT EAT! ILL KILL YOO!!!! Or, "This is Shanequa's YoGurt + Will Poisen U B 4 U finish!!!!" Of course, the challenge being too great, the whatever it was disappeared and was consumed.

I had all my “fun” food stolen. Stuff like Hot Pockets, and Geno's Pizza Rolls. I bought healthy stuff for salads; that went bye-bye. Names and warnings meant nothing. We had one girl who stuffed everybody's stuff in her back back and would eat it frozen in her room. Just crazy. One guy purchased two beautiful NY strips with his food stamps and just stuck them in the fridge in the “men's” house. He just went to take a pee and came back to find Crazy George, pan-frying one of them and eating the other one raw. A huge brawl broke out in this tiny kitchen with iron skillets and fists flying and people hammering on one another with meat tenderizers, because when two people fight, it's as if auditions for West Side Story dancers were being held, only the dancers were really bad; the fighters pretty much sucked, too. Oooh! Fights at FSJ were always glorious!

Then, the TPD would come and the music would stop. Anyway, once I bought some American Cheese Slices for the rock-bottom price of .69 cents a pack. They were a color and texture not found on this planet; like some kind of hybrid;
 orange-red-chartreuse-dayglo-yellow and they hurt my eyes to look at them. So, I put just the teeny, tiny, tip of my tongue to one of the slices. It still hasn't grown back yet. Just kidding.

I think we're no more than a few degrees from Radioactive with this cheese. Actually, the cheese I put in the fridge provided its own light.

Looking at that color told me that the slices probably weren't fit for human consumption, so I put them in the house fridge with a sign that said “FREE!!!” That was in December of 2010, when I first got my Food Stamps. When JC, Opal and I left FSJ, after we all had received our SSDI and we found a suitable place to live in August of 2011, I believe those same “cheese slices” were still lurking around. They may still be over there across the street, because no one ever cleaned out the fridge. I shudder to think what that's like now; more than likely, the Haz-Mat people have hauled the whole mess off. There were several things not of this earth that appeared in that kitchen with “FREE!!” attached to them. Some of the inhabitants were not from this planet, either, including myself. Good times! Good times! But, I have wandered, once again, tangential-wise.

D'you remember the bicycle pump? We immediately started to scheme about how to put this to work. We'd already had our fun with why hadn't JC sold it. He says he's been trying. I give him the ol' fish eye and he says “That's because it has something to do with the fact that you haven't put it on eBay,” which this is the first time I'm learning about eBaying his white elephant, but JC says that's because “I sleep all the time.” As if, ha! So, I didn't ask if he tried to make an appointment with my secretary, because I already told him I fired her last week, because she screwed up all of his doctor's appointments. Ain't retirement a gas?

This is the latch-key car wash across Nebraska Ave., 33602 from where I live. Tis a real dive and all sorts of nefarious goings-on, do indeed, go on. But they charge .25 cents for air!

So, I have come up with the bright idea of returning to the old days, when competing gas stations would have GAS WARS. Seeing as how the government is shut down, or posturing or huffing and puffing, we, as Senior Citizens (Creeping Jeezus, that is so NOT right to say, let alone write - I mean the whole being called "Senior Citizens" thing; the government be damned!) that I must take a stand. I have decided that until the time comes that I can either, a) con someone into printing some of my ravings and paying actual money for them, or b) find someone who is willing to accept the incredibly high costs of personal injury insurance just to have me on a stage to play my viola, due to blindness (I am so pulling THAT ONE out of my ass) that I am Challenging the Car Wash to an AIR WAR!

That's right, folks! Just turn the corner and I'll fill up your tires. You can't see the meter (because I'm not a professional-type picture-taker, by any stretch of the imagination), but this is a professional-type air pump. You can tell by my awesome advertising that I am a pro!

So bitches, it's on!