Recently FIERCE surprised me with this lovely Awesome Blogger Award.
I got an award! Can you believe that? I barely lifted a finger and I was awarded for it! (Actually I barely lifted two fingers - as I am a gifted hunt and pecker... what's up with you people who use, like, ten? pffft. waste of energy. me and my two fingers can get an entire post up in less than a week.) Yes, I was presented this wonderful little award for doing - not much.
Don't you love those awards which require little or no work of the recipient? Me, too. No Q & A. No thoughtful reflection. No neck/chopping block action. Well, come to find out...
This award is not one of those.
Nope. Winners of the Awesome Blogger Award have to get up in front of the class and explain a few things. They have to tell their secrets and then name seven other bloggers whom they feel are Awesome Blogger Award worthy, too. (like I'm suddenly an expert?... the hell?...)
Well, I'm going to play along here because FIERCE has obviously placed a great amount of weighty responsibility on my blog shoulders and I don't wanna look like I'm buckling under the load. But know that I am seriously fidgeting behind this podium and that soon you will probably be fidgeting behind it, too. Now with no further ado - Thank you so much, Fierce! (for making me get off my ass. Mark tried and couldn't do it with a crane.)
Here are seven things about me that my wonderful readers may be dying or not dying to know:
1. My man is a National Geographic Explorer. IKR? I am a National Enquirer Explorer. He's tan and weathered and I'm fluffed and feathered. We really make no sense, but we totally rock the casbah!
2. My imagination is Vi-VID! and I always remember my dreams in great detail. Not only do I not watch scary movies because I am a chicken, I even hide in the kitchen from their previews on tv. All I need is the general idea of a psycho plot and what my head'll come up with would give Rob Z or Quentin T nightmares. It is ssso scary, living with my brain.
3. I brag. Oh wait. You knew that. But I only do it on my computer. Face to face I am a reasonably self-loathing person (disguised as a social butterfly, just like the next guy.)
4. I get girl crushes on lesbians that look like hot guys. I know - go figure.
5. I really miss my mom and my dad and my dog. They all got old and died. I never broke down about it (which really worries/frightens/makes flinch those closest to me) but I wish they were all still here.
6. I struggle to not hate hate-mongers. (Fox News raises my blood pressure and makes me want to see dead people! - but only a specific few. OK, not really dead. Just afflicted with some serious tummy aches. I guess some of you may already know that about me. Sorry for the violent outburst.)
7. My favorite CD in the history of Earth is Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. Old stuff I know, but hey - that's me. That's how I roll. So imagine my surprise when I became stupendously addicted to... you're not gonna believe this... SHe. Daisy. Yep, but only their rendition of Jingle Bells. Yeah, Jingle Bells. Trust me, this one's got me stumped, too. For some reason, that song can just take over my entire body and make me happy to my toes. Another mystery to me. (The song should so totally be used in anger management therapy.)
Still there? Thank God ... we all survived it. I apologize if #6 creeped you out or made you think I was goin' all rogue on ya.
OK, so now I will pass this AWESOME BLOGGER AWARD to the following newly discovered (by me - which is not to say that they are new - just new to me... mmmkay?) bloggers.
Awardees, here are the rules you must follow (a small price to pay for such an award!)
1. Thank the presenter of your award.
2. Copy the award.
3. Post it in your blog.
4. Tell us 7 things that your readers don’t know about you.
5. Link 7 new bloggers.
6. Notify winners of the award with a comment on their blog.
7. Keep being an awesome blogger!
AND THE WINNERS ARE... (when I call your name, please stand, take a bow and give us a little parade wave) ***drumroll please***:
1. Always a Drunk, Never a Bride... 2. Only One Way Down 3. Everyone is Entitled to My Opinion 4. Beauty School Dropout 5. Asleep Under My Desk 6. Low-Water Mark 7. A Bad Case of the Dates
Congrats guys! You're great! Now review the rules again, pass this award and write on...
OK, so I get a semi-frantic call the other night from one of my closest friends (like since-the-FIRST-era-of-halter-tops-bell-bottoms-and-lava-lamps close.) She is a currently unmarried friend and her semi-frantic call was regarding ... let's see if you can guess ... a man. I know. It's inconceivable. (Side note before we go any further, let me say that I love men. So though this post may read like an anti-guy rant sporadically - it's not, mmmkay?)
Now it's important for you to know that this friend is like my sistah. I'm totally in her corner - that's just how I roll - but reality is calling. So to say that she has trouble with relationships is like saying the Titanic had trouble with cold water.
Anyhow, she and this guy (we'll call him Atty) have dated on and off for around a year and with regard to their relationship, she's suddenly starting to feel a bit of pressure to either do something or get off the proverbial pot. (I think the pressure is coming from that nagging little 'you're not getting any younger' voice in her head.) But at this point, we are not sure that Atty even wants a committed relationship with her. So her concerns - which I would optimistically refer to as RED FLAGS THE SIZE OF TEXAS - may be irrelevant anyway.
I tell her that whenever I'm feeling pressure to take action, I take that old tried and true approach - the Pro & Con List - and I suggest she start by trying that. Everything gets quiet for a few seconds while she's thinking. Then she begins to rattle off a few of the reasons that she believes any type of exclusivity with Atty could actually be harmful to her health (as in she could stab him, be convicted, go to prison - unhealthy).
Here are a few of her concerns: 1) Atty is super stingy with his cash and rarely pays for her food/drinks/discount movie tickets (he even pulls that lamest of caveman lines, "Oh no. I musta forgotten my wallet. So-rrrry.") 2) Atty places his kids above her on his list of priorities (hey - his children have their own mortgages now) 3) Atty places his three dogs above her on his list of priorities ("can you take your own car - I'm bringing Hewie, Dewie and Lewie in mine"...) 4) Atty never cares if they wake up together, and has even indicated that it's ssso much 'easier' if they don't. (he probably leaves his socks on) 5) Atty makes little effort to initiate getting together or dates (what do you even call that? lazy? brilliant?) 6) Atty runs and hides in the closet when talk turns to their relationship or any associated feelings (he fidgets, whines and eventually doubles over in pain if the word 'love' looms - clearly not a chartered part of his vocab) 7) Atty never sends her anything (no sweet emails, no funny cards, has never sent even one flower (really? this guy is from which century? which planet?)
Ahem. Ahhhh-HHHHEM. Are you kidding me! I'd fall over and look like a flounder if I subjected myself to so much lop-sided action.
Ok, it would seem stunningly obvious that this guy is just not that into her. But did I mention that when they are together, he parades her around his friends, business associates and family, and is the king of the PDA? Yeah, so there's that. And then there are the numerous times she has tried to finally classify this farce as a failed launch attempt and move on. When that happens, Atty has a fit and emphatically begs her not to do it. He never makes her any promises of change, he just sits up and begs like a poodle. And she sits down and buckles. Like a noodle.
I know. This whole thing is nuts. Hell yeah, I wanna slap her but she's bigger than me. (Plus she'd probably scream like a girl.)
Let us repeat: GIANT RED FLAGS. TEXAS. Times seven. Scratching my head. I ask her, "So is there an up-side to your relationship with this guy?"
She responds, "Yes there is. I really like him." (OK. This is good. That little 'like factor' will come in handy when the Depends show up.) She adds, "He's tall and fit - like me, he's good-looking and we dance well together. He's successful, he has a cabin on a lake, and we laugh a lot." (OK, I totally get that one, too. Lots of laughter in any relationship can extend it's shelf life and trump almost anything - especially if you're stuck in a cabin on a lake. But note that I said 'almost'.)
You see, there seems to be an underlying 'but there's something MAJOR missing' in her tone. So next I ask what she feels she is bringing to the loveseat or why he should want to commit to her. She then launches into (dare I say... yeah - it totally was...) a frightening little diatribe about what a great catch she is. She says he doesn't know how good he's got it with her. I asked for some examples.
She lists: 1) I am an off-the-hook, amazing cook (this I know to be fact - truer words were never spoken) 2) he would never have to clean his house again (... k... but wait... isn't that why God made Merry Maids?) 3) I have terrific friends which he enjoys (nice. but will not increase his life expectancy) 4) I will perform any sex act he wants (waitwaitwait. stop the car. really? any sex act? my, that's quite the little bonus item. you swear?) 5) well, I will perform almost any sex act as long as I'm in the mood. (truth comes out) 6) the sex is fantastic, so I really wish he wanted to do it more often. (hmmm. me thinks there's a pesky little contradiction in there somewhere)
At the end of her spew I offer a few words of 'me-wisdom' (which, truth be told, has resulted in more than one trip to the ER - this one may be for me) and I am SO hoping that afterward, the proverbial rays of light will shine down on her from the heavens and the angels will joyfully sing, "ah - AHHHHH!"
While she's regrouping, I see an opportunity to say, "Pick your poison, Cupcake. Either accept the crap and enjoy the good stuff, or split that atom, fling open the door to your lab and yell, "NEXT!"
I remind her of our buddy, Jeff, and his fav t-shirt which reads All of the perfect and available men are GAY... Yay!
I took a breath, allowing her to get a word in edgewise. Nothing. Good. "As I was saying, do you really think that a man is looking for a relationship that will clean house or cook? Seems to me that any man that you would want, would want an interesting, reasonably independent woman who can have fun, is low maintenance, and will never, ev-ER corner him to talk about 'feelings'."
I added, "Do you really want to keep searching/dating (something that she is not all that great at - so I'm hopeful that this long overdue convo will carry on peacefully and end well) or do you feel that the pros with Mr. Atty - he's an attorney in case you hadn't guessed - outweigh the cons? If not, then have him draw up a restraining order and present it to him."
Then there's dead silence. Uh-oh.
"So whadaya think?"
"Are you still there?"
"You. did. not."
Damnnnnit! She did. She went and hung up on my advice.
(I'll let you know what happens when she calls me back - in a year or two.)
Fall is here, and with October's drop in temperature, out come the hats and gloves, the leaf piles appear and the woodsy chimney smoke fills the air. In Me-ville, this is the most wonderful time of the year. I know. Andy Williams would argue, and once December rolls around I'll agree with him, but for now, it's all about the crunchy leaves under my boots, my breath visible in the air and an underlying current of spooky things.
In the small southern town where I grew up, not much has changed over the years. And I've noticed as I've traveled, that so many small towns across the U.S. have numerous things in common, one of which is that they don't evolve a whole lot. I like that about them. On the picturesque tree-lined streets where I spent my first 12 or so years, the lovely brick and wood houses have not been yuppy-ized. I'm not sure why, but I am pleased with this lack of change. The town is still all pretty much a colorized version of Leave it to Beaver land, and that's good with me. I go back and visit from time to time and am always pleased to discover that there is nothing to discover. (No upgrades needed here, thank you. We're good.)
Well, with the exception of one major change that I stumbled upon a few years back. My old elementary school, St. Clair Elementary, has been converted into luxury condominiums. Thankfully no extreme exterior changes were made. That beautiful old one-story red brick building with all the giant double hung windows, tall doors and high ceilings feels no different than it did when I attended class there for 6 years as a child. It still sits proudly beside a lovely park with huge oak and elm trees which seem to lead the parade and rule the world during Fall. The creek at the edge of the park makes the setting perfect.
I can remember my school's build up to Halloween each year. Around October 1st it seemed that the primary focus of all of our teachers was to create a festive Halloween spirit. Each classroom would be involved in it's own spooky project and our Halloween decorations would adorn every wall, door and window. We played creepy songs on record players (did I just say that?), we told scary ghost stories and turned all of our art supplies into witches, goblins and ghosts. What fun!
Walking home from school each day, we would plow through layers of fallen leaves on the sidewalks under our feet. Piles of raked leaves would burn and smolder in street gutters, filling the crisp, cold air with that unmistakable smell of fall. The trees were bare and whether the day was sunny or gray, Halloween was fast approaching and we could see and feel the evidence of that everywhere.
During these first days of October, my friends and I would plan our routes for trick or treating - weeks in advance. We noted which neighbors would be out of town (dark - no candy!), which houses had new owners (no idea what to expect!), homes with new babies (lights out early - don't be late!), even which homes had experienced a death in the family that year (should we go there or not? Our parents would make that call for us).
And then there was the handful of 'Witch Houses' in our neighborhoods, which we classified as such for a variety of reasons. Some had the whole creepy, dark and foreboding thing going on. Others were simply large old mysterious houses, occupied by grumpy old owners who would shoo us away if we happened to unwittingly take our games of hide and seek, or freeze tag onto their property. A few houses may have been labeled as 'spooky' only because their owners were rarely seen.
It's strange to remember the way our imaginative little minds processed thoughts and ideas back then.
One thing is for sure. Halloween and trick or treating spawned my insatiable passion (fetish) for houses. For weeks I looked forward to the moment that I could walk up the sidewalk and look through the windows of these old houses as we approached the porch to ring the doorbell and shout "Trick or Treat!". I anticipated getting a glimpse into the house more than I did receiving the candy it's owner would undoubtedly bestow on me.
Each and every house on our route had something that I wanted to see or experience. Yes, I was the goofy little bunny or princess (always something pink - ehhhk!) who would linger and lean in to look around as our Trick or Treat-ees had completed their end of the deal and were attempting to close their doors. I was ever ready to jump if we were invited into a foyer or living room. Each house had it's own feel and smell and I craved the experience of being inside any of them! (See? Fetish.)
Trick or Treat for Unicef. I was a Unicef rock-star. Collecting coins for this cause boosted my candy high for sure and gave trick or treating a whole new level of importance. I loved that!
Watching "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" during the week before Halloween was a huge treat, too. Back then there was no cable (gasp! I did it again!) so TV Guide told us what to watch and when. Just like Rudolph, Frosty, the Grinch and A Charlie Brown Christmas in December, this was an October tradition.
As was carving the pumpkin and placing it on the porch. The nightly lighting of our jack-o-lantern (we never called it that... only 'the pumpkin') was my dad's job and he made a great ceremony of this process for me each evening, once it was dark out.
Does anyone else recall a particular type of 'candy' available only at Halloween... the orange wax harmonica? And the red wax lips? Anyone? Anyone? I know. Buh-zar, but hey! There ain't no accountin' for some peoples' taste... or memory!
How about an old song which we learned in 2nd or 3rd grade music class that went: Stirring and stirring and stirring my brew. Ooooh-ooooh. Oooooh-ooooh. Stirring and stirring and stirring my brew. Ooooh-ooooh. Oooooh-ooooh. Tip toe. Tip toe. Tip toe. Tip toe. BOO!
OK, Ok. I digress. But this is about memories of childhood Halloweens (and wanting to be 7 again!) So please indulge me and feel free to share yours, too. Try to top me on the candycorn-o-meter. (I double dog dare ya!)
After Tuesday's post of bitching about an upcoming trip to somewhere below the equator, I need to make clear one very important point.
I am not a destination snob. Honest! I'm not a homebody who sits all day watching the Travel Channel and armchairing judgments about far away places around the world - from the comfort of my overstuffed La-Z-Boy. I love to explore! Anywhere! I've even gone (sort of willingly) onto the Yukon River several times, so puh-leeze, do not mistake me for a 5-star - where's my pillow mint? - sissy, umkay? I like to be off the beaten path and miles away from the nearest tour bus. It's just that on my 'Places to See Before Somebody Shoots Me' list, South America is sleeping peacefully under a few dozen other snoozers. (It's the language thing.)
Now granted, I am fully aware that the people of South America totally rock the Casbah. I have many friends who travel there often and the South Americans have a great rep for being kind and caring. Even to North Americans! So I am definitely looking forward to meeting the wonderful people there. But on this journey, after landing in Lima, we will be no where near the big cities. While I'm aware that English is common around the world, I need to be prepared for small villages (where hopefully we won't look like food -kidding!) and the possibility that nobody can - or cares - to speak English. And beyond meeting the people, yes, there are lots of areas in Peru (Machu Pichu - duh), Bolivia (The Death Road - yeah!), Brazil (um, Rio - hellllo!), etc., that I would love to see. It's just that I don't want to see them now. I want to see them later.
You see, currently I am simply more open to concerns of whether there is any white wine handy to remove the red wine that I just spilled on my pants (yeah, it works!) than I am to what species of bug is stuck squirming in my sweat. Ehhhhk! How do you say yuck in Spanish!? Oh, yeah... ¡Yuck!
Call me crazy but the idea of extreme heat and unidentifiable flying/crawling/swimming things THAT DO NOT SPEAK MY LANGUAGE is not floatin' my boat just now. Though I'm working hard to get over it. Perhaps after I learn more from my new BFF, Rosetta, I'll be better prepared to scream, "WTF is that?!" in Spanish - and understand the answer. Once I am comfortable with everyday phrases such as, "Did you mean to go this way?", "Is there something in my hair?", and "Where is the hospital?", then my back pack will be stuffed (with bug spray and band-aids) and I'll be ready to go.
But until that time (which, hopefully will arrive before January), let me remind you that I AM LAZY. So naturally I'm dreaming of the U.K. and other places where some form of English is the primary language. Oh, and where spiders with fur don't live.
My Spanish lesson is calling and I'm letting it go to voice mail. Boy, am I gonna be in trouble for that.
So The Jon has decided to go check out the Amazon River in January and has included me in his Peruvian adventure. We will be in Latin America for almost a month so he believes we (I) should speak (and understand - key point) the language. With this thought (fantasy) in mind, he has purchased the Rosetta Stone for Latin American Spanish and is expecting me to spend an hour each day 'in class' (just because he gets up each AM, walks to the gym, works out for an hour, walks to work, spends 9 or 10 hours saving the planet, then walks home and prepares his dinner - and I don't. Please excuse my own language but - WTF?).
Oh, I know what you're thinking. You think that because I am a stay-at-home-bum, kept woman or pampered pooch, that I should be his beck and call girl. Pffffft.
OK, I'm kidding. I get it. I do. His request for me to learn Spanish is not unreasonable since he's totally got my back. And I know I should be grateful for this trip, and I am. Sort of. But you see...
The problem is that I do not learn well those subjects with which I have no interest. And I have no interest in learning Spanish because I have no interest in checking out the Amazon. Hell, even if I DID want to go, I wouldn't want to learn Spanish. Not that I have anything against Spanish - it's a lovely language which I realize could come in handy when in Spanish-speaking jungles. But I am lazy. Therefore, expecting me to dedicate an hour of my busy bon-bon popping (cream puff if you prefer - I'm easy) day to something I am totally NOT INTO, is a stretch which could land us both in a beddy, beddy, bahd place. If I'm at the helm as translator, that is.
How do I know this about me? Because I took flying lessons before and guess what I learned. That I did not want to fly. I aced Flight School, passed the FAA written exam and ever-thang (scored a 97! I'm not a total slouch...), but still learned first and foremost that I did not want to fly. My ex-husband wanted me to fly, but me? Not. So. Much.
(I'll bet you guys thought I was going to say that I crashed a plane. Ha! No way. Only an ultralight. But that was way before I ever thought about flying an actual AIRPLANE. And nobody was hurt... though I must say it was pretty weird to suddenly be above some really tall trees when all I had planned to do was taxi. I'm pretty sure that a hippo wouldn't have landed much harder than me and that silly ultralight - and it was said that while falling, we looked like one.)
See, I'm the opposite of a control freak. (Did I mention that I AM LAZY?) I like to sit back and watch others control my fate, ya know? Well, that's not entirely true. If I sense pending doom I will usually recall that I forgot to feed somebody's (?) cat. Buh-bye. But you get my point. Me? Translate? Really? OK, well... he asked if you want to swim a roasted shoe with mustard and sewing. Not really. He said you need to take me to Paris...
Speaking of Paris, The Jon has taken me there twice. He was born in France and I was not. He speaks a wee bit of the language and I do not. And I cannot tell you how many times the wonderful people of France have told me that the next time I visit their country, I must speak THEIR language. Sure thing, ami. When cochons fly!
Actually I would almost like to learn French. But remember? I am ... what...?... right!... Lay-Zeeeeeeee.
So being the really lazy travel partner that I am, here I sit, blog, blog, blog, hoping that I don't get an unexpected mid-day visit from you know who. But in case I do, you'll be happy to know that I am prepared with my headset on, all plugged in and ready to pull up my minimized Rosetta screen. Hola querido. ¿Cómo fue su día? ((*-*))
Ooooh. Just saying that has made me feel all creepy guilty. This means I gotta go to Peruville now. So I'll check back after I'm all schooled up. Hope you guys are having a great day - ¡Gracias para está aquí!
Wow. I just looked, and I have 3 lovely followers - and a cat!
I'm honored (and kinda creeped out) that anyone is following me. This is just my third post, but because of you, I've decided that I like blogging, and that now I'm going to make a concerted effort to be a good blogger. (That 'concerted effort' part is way good for you guys. Really.)
When I first thought about blogging, I really didn't consider that there would be so much interaction with other bloggers. I never read blogs or knew anything about blogs, other than hearing some snarky references to them periodically on the news. So I always thought of blogs as your basic, run of the mill rant-spaces or cyber venting zones where I could just show up, be self-absorbed and cynical, then return to Glenn Beck (not really). I certainly did not expect to be so entertained or become connected. I must admit that now I look forward every day to reading what you all have to say!
Let me give you a wee bit of background ( but mostly make an excuse for what you may experience here). My former day job required that I cater to strangers - with lots of money that I wanted - for 10 or 12 hours a day. So at the end of the day, you could not pay me to interact with another human unless it was food or alcohol-related... meaning that they were bringing me some. Now that I'm a stay-at-home-bum, I've gotten ssssso much better.
Psyche. Now I'm actually going all hermitty. It's just bizarre.
But nevertheless, I'm giving blogging a shot. I've discovered that your blog world here is indeed a fun place to hang out (thanks for letting me in), and even though I'm fairly (stunningly) anti-social, let me say that I'm grateful that you ladies and cat are here with me. You are witty, and smart, and cynical (I hate that about you) and kind. It's the coolest place really.
I just ask that you forgive me when I don't reply to your comments right away. I get distracted easily, so as with my emails, voicemails, and text messages, my responses to comments may get bumped for other activities (such as sleeping, staring out the window or nothing.) Please don't be offended. I hope to be as attentive as you all are someday. I'm not counting on it and neither should you but I'm hoping.
Meanwhile, please remember that I really appreciate you, and that I think you are all scathingly brilliant! Cheers -
Yes, I just threw up in my mouth. That was after reading my buddy, Mark's TMI about a drinking incident involving Copenhagen (not the one in Denmark - the one in his back pocket). Or was it a Copenhagen incident involving drinking? (Either way, my stomach is still turning as I hunt and peck here...)
Anyhow, his waaay TMI story reminded me that in my checkered and polka dot past, I have an alcohol-related chew story, too!
OK, so we went to this big fancy party - evening gowns, tuxes, blah, blah, blah - and afterward we go back to my buddy's house to consume yet more alcohol and attempt to play cards. We park ourselves around the kitchen table in all of our sparkling finery (Hell yeah, we're white trash! - well most of us are white), and he promptly pulls out his Cope. Or was it Skoal? Those were the dark ages, I can't recall... Anyway, so I'm watching him carefully place this wad in his lip and I'm thinkin' 'Wow, I've never tried THAT. I want some!' So I grab the can and ceremoniously reveal that I think I want to try it. Geez! Youda thunk I'd offered up the sacrificial virgin AND a Whopper. Lemme tell ya, he knocked over his chair, his beer AND his broken carburetor as he scrambled to get on his feet. Oh, he was all over that - "Somebody grab the camcorder!" he yells, then says to me, "Here, let me help you with some" as he cranks out my lower lip and stuffs a wad the size of Rhode Island in my totally virgin kisser.
Well, words cannot describe. I never even closed my mouth. Once that crap was in and I experienced the stunningly stunning smell, taste and feel of that nasty-gram in MY face, I leaned over the table, pulled my lip back out and watched as that s*** fell out in a series of slow motion 'plops' onto a new deck of cards and a stack of WHAM CDs.
I can remember screaming "Geh ih owwwt! Geh ih owwwt!" - no, my tongue would not go near it or even down the street from it. (can't imagine what the neighbors concluded)
Of course I didn't remember the event the next day. There was no evidence of tobacco in my teeth (because back in the day, if I drank, I got bombed, I barfed. It was my standard M.O. - sorry if your shoes ever got in my way. For this reason I ALWAYS brushed my teeth before passing out.) And with no evidence or memory of performing the highlight event of the evening, I didn't believe them when they said I'd crossed over. So you can imagine my delight when the video tape surfaced. Oh, thank GOD for that. I'm pretty sure it was one of my buddy's proudest moments (guys, I was in sequins. Visualize.) He probably still has that tape.
My blog buddy, Mark, has me thinkin' about 'homeless people imposters'. You know, the super laziest of all entrepreneurs - the very lowest in the entrepreneurial food chain. They drive their gas guzzlers or take cabs to a point a few blocks from their favorite corners, and then they use the time it takes to walk to those corners to get into character. They'll stand on their corners for 6 or so hours, Monday thru Friday, and guilt the kind and gullible workers of the world into dishing out dough for them. Enough to keep their scallops wrapped in prosciutto and the premium channels on their flat screens. I'm pretty sure most of them have time shares at Hilton Head and Vegas. They probably shampoo with Pureology.
I am bothered by these folks, too. Seriously, WTF? I guess I shouldn't begrudge them that I am paying my share of taxes and contributing to theirs, too. After all, I could get up each morning, not brush my teeth then go to a corner and shake in people's faces a used Starbucks cup I'd dug out of the trash. I could swat at invisible crap all day. No one is stopping me from joining the ranks of the 'pretending to be destitute'. Problem is, I just don't think I'd be all that convincing.
See, my encounters with homeless people have been fairly limited. When I was young and dinosaurs roamed, I was a hotel desk clerk and there was a homeless guy who hung outside our entry. He told passers-by that it was his birthday (every day), and that all he wanted was a watch. Under his long sleeves he had 20 pounds of watches. His thing was jumping up and down and singing "Happy Birthday to Me" and acting not right. He was a local star and even though we locals knew he was a just an energetic con, that didn't matter to tourists. They saw him as an energetic icon, and felt that since he entertained them, he should be paid for his efforts. We had another guy with big hair and a purple coat who went around screaming obscenities and playing a guitar. I would have to cross the street periodically to avoid his verbal assaults and sad strumming, and he was arrested regularly. And that's all I got with regard to up close and personal with HPs (not talkin' printers here). So given that my exposure to them has been infrequent, I'll just tell you the three things that I have observed about the real ones AND the fake ones, respectively: #1: a real homeless person trusts no one. If you walk up to one and offer something that you believe they will be eager to receive - like a scarf, a burrito or a Wet Wipe (as if!) - they won't take it. They may try to take something from you that you are not offering, and they may simply look at you like you are a door knob then stomp off or run away. #2: they can be very mean. I had a homeless guy cuss me out - creatively using verses from the bible - for offering him my belt. (Hey! I was subjected to a view of his flaming diaper rash while walking behind him with my Frison Biche and my Wolfbane Puck To Go. Extremely disturbing - not to mention unappetizing.) #3: they do not like each other. They totally don't have each others' back. Nope, quite the opposite. It is every man for himself out there. They often hiss and spit and slug it out like seagulls fighting over a French fry.
But when it comes to the FAKE homeless guys, though they may not show any signs that they are stunningly mental, they will show signs that say, 'God Bless' or 'will work for food'. #1: they'll take just about anything you offer - like a belt to cover the brand spankin' new Calvin Klein boxers that are hanging out of their not-really-all-that-disgusting cargo pants - which you know are frauds because they couldn't stand in a corner on their own. #2: they are very nice to you, usually telling their buddy, God, to bless you or something. #3: they have their closest pals out there with them, even though they may be hiding from you behind a bush, a trash can ora real homeless person. They are indeed a band of brothers. Completely unlike our group of genuine non-homies. Long story short, fake HPs will kiss your ass. Real ones will kick it. This makes me wonder... could the majority of real HPs simply be just plain effed up beyond repair? I mean who in their right mind would consciously choose to live under the bridge with a bunch of smelly people and the voices in their heads, too? Or in a Maytag box (which you'd no doubt have to drag with you everywhere to keep some really nasty guy from moving in), at the corner of 52nd and Lexington, right? Come on, they'd have to be nuts to stay in New York or Detroit if they were homeless because if they weren't crazy, they'd be kickin' off their two sizes-too small snow boots and walkin' to Miami! In flip flops! There's a thought; perhaps beside every interstate, we should create a Walk to Miami lane. A Miami Walkway or Miami Trail, if you will. That way, these folks could make some real progress toward... something. A brighter future, perhaps. At least a warmer one. We know that they probably log a few dozen miles each day as they shuffle about on their street corners anyway, so why not help them actually get somewhere?
Shoot, if I were homeless, I'd be on my way to Key West. No winter coat stuffed with yesterday's news for me, thank you very much. I'd be hangin' out with Hemingway's cats in Warm and Sunny Shores with a revolving set of cashed up tourists passing daily. I'd convince the local authorities that I was harmless, maybe slip 'em a one every week or so, and rake in the cash. I'd put a sign around my neck, too, which would say, "I accept travelers cheQues.".
OK, so back to the issue of mental illness, alcoholism, etc., surrounding the majority of REAL HPs in any city, you've gotta wonder, "what's the answer?" Well, the good city of Seattle claims to have it. The answer to homelessness. They have a 40 million dollar, Ten Year Plan (Google it) which they believe will get the HPs off the street and back into a more useful place in society. Hmmm. I dunno. I'm kinda down with the NYC idea of shipping HPs off with a one-way ticket to their destination of choice. Heck, I might even become homeless for that. I've always liked the idea of living in Paris, but who could afford the airfare? And regarding the dilemma of fake HPs, all I can say is this: you'd have to be crazy to want to be homeless and even crazier to go out and pretend that you are.
As for the REAL homeless folks, the ones who really are incapable of functioning 'normally' in society at the moment, let us remember the words of Bruce Willis... I mean Bruce Hornsby... in his song, "That's Just the Way It Is". Or Everlast's song, "What It's Like". Cause I think I can safely say that thankfully, THAT is not 'just the way it is' for most of us, and that the same group of 'most of us' really doesn't have a clue about 'what it's like'. Oh, I didn't really offer a Wet Wipe. That was my mom.