Thursday, December 4, 2008

Grandpa Vern and the olfactory bliss of yellow cab.

My Grandpa Vern was a wonderful character. He loved golf, manhattans, and cashews. I know he loved golf and manhattans because he and my father got along like old college roommates. I also know he loved cashews because he would eat a handful of them and kiss my cheeks while he chewed. mmm the sweet smell of cashews and nut-dust on my cheeks. 
(There's gotta be another way to say that.)
He had a love for cardigans, much like myself. I think he may have owned every Lacoste cardigan sold in the last 60 years. He was a storyteller--another way I take after him. We both like to tell stories that are all about the means, as opposed to the end. A lengthy re-enactment of something so funny you almost had to be there to understand the hilarity of it all. 
My Grandma, a sweet/fragile/white-haired/religious fashionista was the center of his universe, and he, was hers. Her beef stroganoff recipe took more than a few hours to make, and she insisted that everyone enjoy helpings that nearly spilled over the fancy classic-blue glass plates. She would take a small portion for herself-she never felt the need to stuff her small frame-and listen intently to my Grandpa's stories with her hands folded delicately on her lap  and a smile on her face that made you wonder what it would be like to be completely and utterly smitten for nearly 50 years. Maybe it was the side-by-side twin beds they slept in for the whole of their marriage; or maybe she knew someday he would see her face and not know he ever loved her.
Their "a-frame" Tennessee home always reminded me of snakeskin and chocolates. Chocolates, because my Grandma let me have them for breakfast (we both have a violent sweet-tooth) and snake skins, because I found so many in their mountainous landscaping that I was scared to leave the driveway. 
How does this post have a thing to do with the "olfactory bliss of yellow cab", you ask?
I began that lengthy description so as to help you imagine the smell of my Grandpa Vern's cologne--and somehow ended up with more lines than originally intended. Anyway, my Grandpa probably smelled as stout-or brut, perhaps- as any other elderly man. A refined, spicy-lavender smell of Lacoste cardigans and skillfully gelled and combed hair. It always reminded me of a fierce campfire, not that they ever bore any such connection that I remember.
It's the same smell that overwhelms  me every time I close a cab door. It reminds me so much of my Grandpa that if I knew the history of the air in that particular cab I would surely take a giant whiff to remind me of him and his cashew breath. 
Unfortunately, this public, brut smell instantly gives the cab driver undeniable power. He drops the meter, and maybe hits the "fuel charge" button an extra time. Will I question him? Absolutely not. That would almost be like questioning my Grandpa (which is something that just didn't happen). Even worse, it would be like questioning my dead grandpa. So what do I do in this situation? Pay the extra $2.50? Well, you're damn right I do. How dare I question this man that wears such a refined cologne. It may sound a bit too passive to you- but it makes me laugh- and I politely let the driver know that if it is easier to pull over here I can walk the rest of the way, thank him for the smooth ride and wish him a wonderful day because he has surely made mine a bit better.

an old blog post, to get the wheels in motion

Duct Tape Bandit and Other Worthless News

Before I ramble about the amount of worthless news on popular news sites, here is my disclaimer:
Worthless news makes me angry. I do, however, read it (or stumble upon it) quite regularly and continue to read it as I follow link after link, after link, to more ridiculous "news" stories. Someone is getting paid to write about the things of no importance that I read when I am avoiding the job I get paid to do. At least they are doing their job, right? And if I'm not laughing about how stupid the people in the stories are, I am probably honestly laughing because it's funny.

When I actually had a use for my car before I moved here, I listened to NPR's Morning Edition quite regularly--so the news was abbreviated into the few things that were pertinent and the entertainment was left up to A Prairie Home Companion, Writer's Almanac and Car Talk. Since I have moved to Seattle, there has been little or no use for my car, and consequently no radio. My apartment (which is quite modest and leaves much to be desired--like hot water, for example) has left me with just enough money to support bad habits and drinking festivities...leaving nothing for a TV, cable or internet. Aside from the fact that I am 3-4 days behind the rest of the world, my computer is now completely obsolete (unless I am getting a few bars from "Office54g"). Most of my news-reading now comes from my work computer when I am so bored that I am willing to sift through msnbc's website, or when my Mom calls me from Illinois because she has been woken up by an earthquake and I laugh at her until I get a call from Max saying the same...then I may pick up a newspaper and catch up on my worldly news. 
So I guess all of this rambling is supposed to be leading to how angry I get at the pointless and unimportant news that is so thickly spread on most news sites that I can't seem to find actual important information. It took me a good 5 minutes to find out the primary results for Oregon--and I knew what I was looking for! Instead, the list of stories that follow the top news consist of things like "Stowaway scorpion stings young girl at Wal-Mart". Yes, the stories are really stupid, but if they come with a video I can't help but watch it. I am pretty sure that most of these videos are the result of locating the closest person to the so-called incident that has the worst grammar or the best "gangsta slang". Take this video of the "duct tape bandit", for example. It could only get better if he had followed every sentence with the word "son". 

"Look at me, do I look like a duct tape bandit, son?? I ain't no duct tape bandit, son."

He should've taken the owner's advice and put a plastic bag over his head instead.