Archive for July, 2011

Twentysomething Brigadoon

As we roll into Pittsburgh, it’s as though a Shankha trumpet announces our arrival from Mount Washington, awakening my friends out of their moderate, thirtysomething lives and regressing them to their wild twenties for a weekend. Simultaneously, local pubs are warned to ready their booze-slinging A-team for the coming onslaught.

Shortly after, we arrive at my favorite pub and before I sit down at the bar there is a quadruple shot of Rumpleminz placed in front of my projected seating arrangement. Collin gives me a terrified, ‘please mommy don’t let the bad man hurt me,’ look and I respond by saying to the bartender, “Give him a Jamesons.”

Collin shoots me another, far less cuddly, glance.

I feel a trite guilty and look back at the bartender, Turner, and say, “Make it a double.”

Collin’s face goes from confused, to angry, to the look a guy gives in a slasher film right before he realizes that he should have called the police and not gone down into the incredibly creepy basement with a butterknife.

Like that man, Collin shall pay for his crimes.

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The Find Air Conditioning ASAP Tour of DC 2011

The Over 30 Roadtrip rolls into Washington DC through air so thick and damp that we have to drop an anchor. DC is the muggiest place I have ever been in the real world (Florida doesn’t count – ever). Three minutes outside in the heat and I morph into a sloth. We trudge through streets that are like a jungle and Collin and I are in a gooey national geographic special searching for red-bellied lemurs and the elusive hot dog stand.

But there are monuments to be viewed.

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The Over 30 Roadtrip!

I pull the pick-up onto the PA turnpike (Hell’s Road) at a safe and reasonable speed. Collin is reading a fantasy novel. Kenny Rogers is telling us all about a gent who knows when to hold ’em. We are supplied – 2 ham sandwiches (with mustard), 2 apples (Granny Smith), 2 granola bars (1 chocolate, 1 peanut butter), a bag of blueberries and 2 Capri suns (kiwi strawberry – 100% juice)

The only thing that worries me are the apples – I have forgotten to bring floss.

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Upgrade to Biz

6A, a window seat, on DELTA flight 104 is more technologically advanced than my laptop and any car I have ever owned. The control panel alone sends me into a neolithic shame spiral.

Before I can sit, I am offered a choice – champagne or orange juice. The decision is made with disturbing ease.

My aisle-bound cohort could be Hagrid’s stunt double in the Harry Potter films. I tell him I’m a nervous flyer and he laughs and waves over an attendant. Hagrid explains my predicament and I am embarrassed by the fuss. He can tell that I am a rookie. She comes back with a rocks glass of Irish whiskey. I am prancing towards intoxication and we have not yet left the ground.

Oh my God, I think as I sip (gulp) down the whiskey, welcome to the big leagues.

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The Cottage of the Spider (Chalupa Pavouka)

I was writing at the kitchen table of the small cottage when a sense of dread drew my attention to the wall. A large moth was fluttering along the baseboard. Before he could get into the air, a plump black spider came out of a cave-like hole with ridiculous speed, grabbed the moth and sped back to his lair with him.

A moment later, the spider came back to the entrance of the hole, booty tucked under his right four legs, and gave me an intense glare that proclaimed – you’re next, you two-legged bastard.

He disappeared into the hole again. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sit with My Friend by the Fire

It was my third day teaching English as a Second Language when I substituted a lesson for a girl I had a crush on. Her name was J. The lesson was at a large electronics store on the outskirts of Prague. It would take me over an hour to get there and there were two barely pre-intermediate students. I knew these details before accepting, but I had grown infatuated with J so if she had asked me to eat glass I’d have put on a bib and pre-dialed 911. Forty seconds after agreeing to cover the class, she threw in a caveat with a word that men so richly desire to hear.

“My boyfriend needs help rearranging furniture.”

I knew what that meant – first one rearranges furniture, then one utilizes furniture. Alas, I was bitter.

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The Šaš (pron: gosh with a sh – Shosh)

“It’s been found that 52.3% of people who have lumps on their genitalia have been doing garden work,” the man says this with absolute confidence. He is immense and sitting behind a desk smoking a cigarette. His face flab jiggles with every movement, partially concealing that a portion of his jaw is missing.

There is no way to fully appreciate the man’s voice. He has a slight lisp, almost slur, which sneaks out of the side of his mouth as though he’s trying to convey a prohibited secret. Imagine Marlon Brando if he were a character on the Muppets. Each sentence rivals the last in its grandeur and extended syllables.

This man is The Šaš, and The Šaš is my doctor.

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My Friends, My Courageous Cat, World War II and a Dairy Queen

It’s a cool morning and I’m sitting in my home office, a breeze is coming through the open balcony door. I am drinking strong coffee and have just eaten a bologna sandwich with mustard. Běla the cat is asleep on my lap and Django Reinhardt is playing with unfair, three-fingered grandeur. I am reading about World War II.

All is right in my world.

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