Thursday, January 15, 2009

The road goes ever on and on....

....sometimes, I wish my several readers could pile in the van with me when I'm on the road.

Not just because your presence would alleviate the boredom that causes compulsive license plate memorization and the effort to sing entire Broadway shows, but because some of the special, shimmery weirdness of certain moments is lost in translation when I bring them home to you.

I have a miniature one of these in my purse. I keep it there to jot down things that happen or that I see, so I can bring them to you later. A combination of various illnesses, travel, and the Apocalypse Now-like disorientation that accompanies Christmas (without as much psychopathic demagoguery or Marlon Brando) prevented me from writing out of my wee composition book. As I turn the pages, I find the following gems:

Archibald Pothole State Park. LOL!! This was less funny when I looked it up and discovered that the Archibald Pothole is a geological formation and NOT a guy named Archie Pothole.

Do Not Taunt Happy Fun Christmas I stopped for lunch in Shamokin Dam at your run-of-the-mill Chinese buffet, but it didn't take me long to figure out that this one had very, very special music for the Christmas season. Or rather, someone locked a group of aspiring Chinese pop stars in a room with a handful of 'Christmas phrases' and encouraged them to write some songs, accompanied by holiday-tinged drum machine tracks that said less 'Happy Holidays' to me and more 'Gitmo punishment cell'. Every song sounded like the instruction manual to electronics bought at the dollar store. I accepted a special dose of karma in a version of 'O Happy Day' that was obviously learned phonetically by non-speakers of English. I am abundantly repaid for walking around circa 1985 singing '99 Luftbalons' in German.

The Twisted Bitterness of the Non-Fat I popped into a local coffee shop on a very cold, miserable day to treat myself to something hot. I placed my order and chatted with the barista while she made it, and just as she was fitting the lid on the cup a woman walked up to the counter.

"What did you just make for her?" she said, jerking her thumb in my direction.

"Hot chocolate," the barista replied.

"I figured it was too good to be true. Give me a fat free, sugar free, vanilla soy latte."

The hell? I was sort of dumbfounded. WHAT was too good to be true? Had she hoped to lick the little metal pitcher? Was she going to offer to go halfsies? Why was she so angry?

Dog Dominance and the Brinkmanship of Ducks I had an appointment way out on the rim of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. I thought it'd be kind of neat; most of the houses out there are little cabins and I hadn't been out there in a while. The neatness wore off as the elevation increased and it began to snow. The weather gets crappy up there fast. I find the little dirt road, find the cute little cabin with the laughably narrow driveway, and park. The snow is coming down in earnest and as I climb the porch and greet my customer, she says she just wants to smoke a 'quick cigarette'. Um, okay. I shift nervously from foot to foot while she languidly draws on a cigarette the length of a CB antenna and tells me all about moving to Savannah, and I exclaim my wonder at her good fortune just loudly enough to mask the sound of my clipboard making contact with the skull of a patchy, smelly akita that has just mounted my leg. Its a bit like getting humped by a frat house sofa.

"Oh, " she said, smoking, "don't worry about him. He's just establishing dominance."

I put lawn furniture between myself and the dog and grab the screen door handle with a "WELL! Let's get started." After a torturously slow process and lots of asides that made me want to alternately go to church or take a nap, the customer looks out the window after another Springer-esque anecdote about her family and says, "Gee, you'd probably better go, hadn't you? Its getting bad out there. " Uh, yeah, thanks. I make a k-turn in the driveway, coming within an inch of her chimney and slide back out of her lane onto paved road, which is by now completely covered. Creeping down miles of empty road, with no company except steadily increasing snow and moaning, frigid wind, I am lost in thought. Then there are ducks. Right in the middle of the lane. They'll fly away. Won't they? WON'T THEY? I get within 10 feet and they are still both just standing there. Does duck sepukku usually involve the 1999 Dodge Caravan? I hit the brakes and skid around them. The ducks remain, gray shadows in the whirling snow.

I always forget to ask, but please stop on over to Humor, throw me a vote (or smiley me above) and check out the other folks (like Himself) who are ranked much, much higher than me because they always remember to shake what their mamma gave 'em. (Heck, sometimes they'll show it to you!)


Jenn Thorson said...

I'm grateful you keep writing in that notebook. Excellent weirdness.

Father Muskrat said...

show it? what? what a dirty link you have there at the bottom of that post!

Shieldmaiden96 said...

Jenn-- its one of the perks of this job that keeps on giving

FM-- Hey. You put it out there to be admired, now didntcha.

Jonny's Mommy said...

The bit about the dog is hilarious! Oh my gosh! Tell me, were you in Ridgebury Township? Sounds very familiar and like something one of "those people out 'dar" would do and say! :-)

Shieldmaiden96 said...

Nope. I was out near a certain 'canyon' and a certain state park that rhymes with Leonard Harrison. Oh,wait. Never mind.

Prefers Her Fantasy Life said...

WOW! Besides Black 47 we have a lot in common. I also keep a little notebook full of weirdness in my bag, we're both on the snuggie bandwagon (hard not to be, right?) AND we're both award-winning humor bloggers. I left you one on my post today. Long overdue. Cheers!

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

Can you imagine meeting as guy, "Hello, my name is Archibald Pothole" BW AHAHAHAA!!!!!

And do you really need to risk your life to spare a couple of lame ducks? Get it? Lame ducks? HA HA!!! I kill myself.

Jocelyn said...

Is it wrong of me to want you to mount a camera on your rear view mirror, so you can just talk and record and start video-blogging?

Isis Uptown said...

Based on a post you left elsewhere, I wanted to call your attention to my blog about my "Jeopardy" games, including why I wore my hair in braids. I don't address my "freakishly large jaw," as that's genetic.