You know what else irritates me? When people say they’re going to “do” a food item. “Yes, let’s see… I think I’ll do a grilled chicken sandwich.” Do it? Why don’t you go fuck yourself?
I’m sitting in the library, trying to write, and there’s a woman over there beyond the Mystery section talking to her daughter (I believe) on her cell phone. She’s just going on and on about garlic sauce and an upcoming wedding reception. It’s been at least ten minutes so far. And all this is happening at a regular conversational volume. In a library!
And now there’s some girl behind me doing something on her phone, and it keeps making a sound like water dripping. Know what I mean? I’m fixin’ to have a stroke.
When I was a kid old ladies would come running at you if you made any sound at all in a library. Now it’s just game-on. You could probably bring a boom box up in this bitch, and start blasting the Jesus and Mary Chain.
I’m here because Toney and I are kinda-sorta arguing. We’ve been together for so long we don’t really argue full-on anymore. I mean, who has the energy? But these were the final words spoken, before I left the house and came over to this loud-ass place:
Me: That’s crazy.
Her: What’s crazy?
Me: What you just said.
Her: No it isn’t. There’s nothing crazy about it.
Me: It’s insanity. …I’m going to the library.
So, there you go. It’s about as heated as it gets between us these days. With the kids it’s a different story. That’s sometimes a whole other level of exasperation. With them there’s sometimes shouting.
Occasionally I just feel like selling the house, quitting my job, and buying an old Winnebago. Then Toney and I could hit the road, and drift from town to town. Maybe pick up a fast food or grocery store gig here and there for gas money, and move on. Just go Dr. Richard Kimble on this deal. I’m tired, my friends. Emotionally tired.
Oh great! Now there’s an old guy in here who looks like a 5 foot 6 prawn, asking about how the microfiche machine works. What’s the story with old men and ancient newspapers?? They fucking love ‘em. In a few minutes he’ll have that piece of 1965 technology fired up and running wide-open. There will be a loud fan, and continuous whirring until the place closes at 5.
I’ve been trying to write a novel, but it isn’t going anywhere. I’m a mess. I’ve seriously considered going to counseling of some sort. I think my insurance will pay for six visits, or somesuch. Have you ever done that? I haven’t. I’ve also never had a massage; I’m fat and would likely fart when prodded. But I’m getting off the subject…
I’m thinking about going back to a project I started years ago with a literary agent. She guided me through the process, and at the end… I’m not sure it even sounded like me. All the Surf Reportiness was cooked out of it, and it wasn’t very funny. It was technically well-written, but there wasn’t enough fun. I blame myself, of course, ‘cause that’s the way I’m wired. I should be able to perform under any circumstances.
In any case, I’m thinking about going back and tackling that thing in the standard style. I’ll just self-publish it, and it’ll at least be a good time. This has me excited a bit, for the first time in a while. Today, anyway. And yesterday.
There’s somebody now loudly humming the Jeopardy! theme song. If you think I’m exaggerating this stuff, you would be mistaken.
Speaking of counseling, there was a joke in the first chapter of Crossroads Road that caused a reader to get super-pissed at me. It was something along the lines of “I’m not really a psychiatrist kind of guy. I’m from West Virginia.” That’s all it said. I thought it was funny, and still do. But this person got all offended, demanded a refund from Amazon, etc. Good times.
The microfiche machine is now roaring, and a man – possibly Korean – keeps sighing in a theatrical manner. I don’t believe the two things are related, but I’m not 100% sure. BTW, one of my favorite band names of all-time is Teasing the Korean.
I’ve recently spoken to two people who have never been on an airplane. That amazes me. Wonder if they ever had a massage? I should’ve asked them. Also, a woman told me a few days ago – in the tone of a proud hero – that she’s never been to New York City. She’s lived here all her life, about two hours away. Why?? I sincerely don’t understand.
What things have you never done, that might surprise us? And what things have other people told you they’ve never done that surprised you? Use the comments link, if you’re so inclined.
I’ve never skied, water or snow. I’ve never had Lucky Charms. I’ve never seen any of the Godfather movies. I’ve never smoked a cigarette. And I’ve never been on a cruise. What do you have on this one? Please share.
And I’m getting out of this place. It sucks. …Holy shit, a woman just walked in with a pillow that looks like it came straight from her bed. In a library!
I’ll see you guys again soon.
I’ve never been to NY either but that gets remedied in November. Anything I need to check out besides the obvious?
I’ve never had a massage, mani/pedi or a mud bath. I don’t think there is anything that I haven’t done that you’d find especially odd.
Talk about aggravating, this laptop I bought has a flipping whacked out space bar. If you don’t hit it hard it doesn’t work. And my typing skills are bad so I’m looking at the keyboard instead of the screen like normal humans and when I do look up, I have to go back and fix shit.
Don’t know if this is obvious or not, but get a slice of pizza at one of the many places called Ray’s. I’m partial to Ray’s at 8th St. and 3rd Ave. And one slice is enough; they’re big.
I will definitely try a slice of Ray’s, thanks!
No, fuck Ray’s on a slant. You want to go to John’s Pizza on Bleecker.
There are lots of places called Ray’s nowadays. All under different management, all claiming to be “the original.” I like the pizza at that one.
Anyway, the one I really need to try is Totonno’s in Coney Island. Or really, any place that has a coal-fired oven.
Alice in West Virginia says
My Dell laptop does that, too. I wanna chuck it.
Don’t bring a car. I took a car tour of NYC and saw the front door of the Empire State Building and a lot of other famous stuff at ground level. Parking is 20 bucks an hour in most places if you don’t know what you are doing.
We’re flying in and using taxis (sorry StlSteve) and other forms of public transportation.
This is trivial and touristy, but walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. I live three miles from two world-class beautiful bridges (Tacoma Narrows), but they are eclipsed by the Brooklyn Bridge, which combines function, panorama, and geometry in a way that few structures in the world do.
When you get to Brooklyn Heights, you get a terrific view of lower Manhattan, especially if you make the walk at sunset. Pack some food and a couple backup highballs: it’s a three hour round trip if you stop to enjoy the vistas.
Drove across the Nutsack river bridge twice yesterday. On my way to Lynden and again south on my way to the Pilot truck stop in Ferndale, where I am now. Those wacky natives named the river Nooksack knowing we would help with the translation. And yes Walter, there are much better bridges than the Nutsack.
Welcome to the Great Pacific Northwest. You probably know that the Nooksack language is part of the Coast Salish languages which go back about 9,000 years, which is about 8,000 years older than Old English. So their Nooksack has considerable seniority on your nutsack.
Next time you’re up Whatcom way, check out Nooksack Falls. They are lovely and, if you listen closely, they speak a little Salish.
I get up here quite often. I have met a few of the Comefuckme. Port Townsend and Toledo are always fun and the Tukwila mall holds memories. And yes..the rich history of this area and 9000 ago in New Mexico the Tewa were drawing dick pictures.
By coincidence, I once drew a dick picture on the Tukwila Mall (it used to be called Southcenter before malls lost their romantic allure) on the south exterior wall of Nordstrom. This either demonstrates the enduring cultural appeal of art or the timeless persistence of 16-year-olds.
This also demonstrates the endurance of southwest artifacts and the transience of those of the northwest. Our marine weather provides a built-in eraser. O where are my cock and balls now?
“I’m a mess. I’ve seriously considered going to counseling of some sort. I think my insurance will pay for six visits, or somesuch. Have you ever done that? I haven’t. I’ve also never had a massage; I’m fat and would likely fart when prodded. But I’m getting off the subject…”
Lines like these keep me coming back LOL!!!!!!! (for real)
Keep up the good work Jeff!
I’ve never been on a cruise either. Never made or ate a smores.
I hate loud people so if I was in that library I may have gone postal.
My last rant with beloved was along the lines of the microwave smelling like an electrical fire was about to erupt. I yelled about getting rid of thevgoddamn appliance and he said it was still functional. I think I left in a huff exclaiming Go ahead and burn the tucking house down. I’ll be in Rhode island.
My life is in shambles, man. I hate my new job.
The Qweezy Mark says
Doesn’t that suck, when your new job sucks? That’s not redundant, as it is truly double suckage. I’ve got something similar going on right now.
Franky T says
I’ve never gotten a tattoo, never been convicted of a crime. And never joined the mile-high club. I take that back, I did join the mile-high club, solo!
I’m quite proud that I’ve never been in a taxi. Also I’ve never had a massage for similar reasons that you mentioned. F that!
I’m in NYC right now, visiting my mom.
I have never visited a Disney property.
Me neither about Disney. Have no desire to part with my money.
Never had Lucky Charms? Never?? That’s just not right. As a teenager I sometimes ate an entire box for breakfast.
I empathize with your emotional who-gives-a-fuck-ness. Sometimes this world just feels like a continuous nut shot.
I’ve never had cotton candy. I’ve never watched a reality show or competition show. I’ve flown in a four-seat airplane and a helicopter.
I’ve piloted four-seat airplanes many times, but I’ve never set butt in a helicopter. I think it would be fun to learn to fly one, but who has that kind of money?
I’ve never smoked a cigarette or anything else, except cigars. I’ve also never eaten mayonnaise. I have had a pedicure quite a few times. I highly recommend it. And speaking from one fat guy to another, go get a massage. They’re used to people farting, and it feels awesome. Just don’t expect a happy ending.
I agree that farting feels awesome.
Never had a manicure or pedicure or an anal bleaching or a massage. Can’t see that happening.
I have been on dozens of cruises, they’re just floating hotels that take you to some sometimes interesting places. I’ve never gotten sick. Great way to travel between Europe and the US when the ships re-position in the Spring and Autumn. Better than flying – that’s how you get sick!
Never been on a cruise. Have no desire to be on a ship with thousands of other people. Not my idea of fun. In fact, I don’t particularly like most people and, in particular, loud people.
I’ve had 3 massages and hated all of them. The masseuse (each of them) never. shut. up! Thank God I didn’t pay for these massages; they were all gifts from various friends.
I would have exploded if I had the experience you had in the library. I’m afraid I couldn’t have kept my mouth shut. I would have gone off on someone’s ass in a split second. I can honestly hear every sound you have described. I did laugh like a hyena, but only because it didn’t happen to me. I like the sound of silence. I live alone. I rarely turn on the TV. I read…a lot. I have a cat. Cat’s don’t make noise or bark. I love my life as far as it being very quiet.
I loved every single word in Crossroads Road. I will read anything you write. You bring joy and laughter into my otherwise quiet life. Thank you for that.
Jeff go for the therapy. With insurance I get one hour for $15. I off load all the bullshit of life to a person who really doesn’t give a shit about me. I don’t have any diagnosed mental problems, fuckers can’t figure out what box to put me in, and being able to say,out loud, your weirdest thoughts is quite liberating.
I worked at the American History Museum in DC and I never got over how people are allowed to behave. When I visited as a kid it was like going to church. Now adults and kids alike are yelling and running. Hell, they try to steal the clothes off the mannequins if its not behind glass.
I worked in the college library in the microfiche dept. The microfilm machines were some bad mo-fo’s and most asshats would never rewind. It was semi new tech back then so I slept a lot. Mrs. Gaeta ran the dept and I still laugh at her nickname Mrs. Alla-gaeta.
Alice in West Virginia says
I’m sure the lady who brought in the pillow didn’t get any sleep with all that whirring and phone conversation.
The older I get, the more inclined I am to shush someone. I’ve no patience.
Alice in West Virginia says
I’ve never been on a cruise. I imagine cruises are full of loud talkers.
Mark Littleton says
Never learned how to drive a motorcycle and I’ve never seen an episode of “Friends.”
I never watched Friends either.
I help people use microfilm machines every day at work. It is not so much old people now. It is more about people doing research for fracking companies.
That is somehow not particularly comforting.
There are a few things that I deliberately haven’t done. At the top of the list …I’ve never been on a cruise. I hate crowds and to me, a cruise is a crowd of impatient, rude people and their undisciplined kids being required to share a very limited amount of floor space with me. Cruise ships typically carry around 2,000 passengers but the bigger ones can carry over 4,000! With all-inclusive booze and meals, that many people in a confined space raises the likelihood of potentially rude behavior. Add the possibilities of a random on-board fire, the captain running the ship aground, an on-board Noro virus outbreak, picking up the Zika virus from some Caribbean island mosquito and the cruise experience has all the appeal of a very large theater fire.
It is my experience that rude behavior and cussing in public is the new normal. Also, wearing your pajamas to a doctors office while simultaneously emitting BO and halitosis is also in vogue.
There are many things I have done only once, never to be repeated (like holding a large firecracker, a $35 haircut, driving in Manhattan, etc.).
Driving in Manhattan is a lot less stressful if you’re in a rented car.
Speaking as someone who did it 5 nights a week for 3 years, driving in Manhattan is a lot less stressful if you’re in a fucking tractor trailer
I can tell you’ve given cruising a lot of thought. It just always seemed like prima facie hell to me. And out of pure curiosity, why were you holding a $35 haircut?
Mr. T says
Driving in Manhattan is a pleasure compared to driving in Center City Philadelphia. At least New Yorkers know that the lines painted on the streets are there for a reason.
Spent three years in Center City. It’s clear those lines say, “Park right here in the middle of the fucking street any time you want for as long as you want.” I was commuting from the Great Pacific Northwest, but I only rented a car the first trip. Center City is for walking (if you’re sufficiently agile to avoid the drunks who somehow drive through the faux parking lot).
Never been on a cruise, had a massage, done any drugs other than grass, been west of the Mississippi, seen a broadway show, been to any foreign country except Canada, went skiing, been on a fishing boat, been mugged, met any celebrity except athletes…wow, suddenly my life seems so much more boring!
I strongly recommend crossing the Mississippi, especially if you can get a ride on one of those pole boats — not as many of them as there used to be.
Phil Jett says
I’ve never skied, water or snow. I’ve never had Lucky Charms. I’ve never seen any of the Godfather movies. I’ve never smoked a cigarette. And I’ve never been on a cruise. I have never had sex with another man.
I’ve never been to Spain and I never met Hoyt Axton, regretting the latter more than the former.
“God Damn” John!
Lee Harvey Ramone says
you old Spain-hater you!
To be fair, I kinda like the Beatles.
Purse Workout says
I’ve never been on a cruise. Norovirus? Not my thing.
Manicures? Only had one when a friend asked me to be a “client” for her while she practiced for her license. I sat there the whole time thinking “Why would anyone do this by choice?” It was excruciatingly boring and almost every woman I know has a weekly manicure. I feel like I’m missing some estrogen.
Crossroads Road? Loved it.
Don’t let the world wear you out Jeff. Those of us who are not taking cruise ship vacations or getting our “nails did” need you.
1) “. . . almost every woman I know has a weekly manicure.”
2) “Crossroads Road? Loved it.”
With respect, I was trying to imagine the Venn diagram that describes these two sets of people. I suppose I know fifty women professionally and personally well enough to guess whether every woman they know gets a weekly manicure, and about whose likely reaction to Crossroads Road I might predict with some accuracy. (OK, my syntax needs some Borax, but please stay with me.) I don’t think there’s any overlap. Like Sherlock Holmes, you might be unique and, as Watson said, it might be just as well that you are.
I mean no ill. Some worlds just shouldn’t collide.
Wisey in Ttown says
I’ve never “done” any food.
Apparently some dude on twitter did a McChicken sandwich over the weekend.
Never learned how to swim.
You may want to reconsider that one! You never know when it may be a life threatening decision.
Turd Ferguson's Twin says
I’ve never had a massage either.
I’ve never been on a cruise, and hopefully never will.
I’ve never gotten a tattoo, which seems to put me in the minority these days.
I’ve never shaved my ball hair.
The last time I used a library was 2005. I had just moved to a new town and didn’t have internet or an address or anything. So I went to the library to get addresses and maps of the utility company. It was pretty miserable then. The only people in there were employees and people walking through to tet to the coffee counter.
Now the library is less about books and references than it is about shit like Nerf Battles and ice cream afternoons. The first Saturday of every month our library has “Ice Cream Afternoon”. I’m told a bunch of children go and have an ice cream party while movies play on a wall screen. An ice cream party? At a library? That seems out of place, but maybe they are watching movies about the Magic School bus, or the adventures of Dewy and his decimal system.
However, there is something worse. Apparently since people don’t check out physical books as much anymore, the library had a lot of empty space. So they consolidated the books into one side of the great big book room, and put barricades all over the other side. People can rent out the barricade side for airsoft and nerf combat games. I don’t want to be doing research on exploding head syndrome just to get pegged in my grill by a foam dart.
The coffee counter that used to be there has also gotten really big in the past decade. There used to be a sign on the primary road that said “Library->” Now it’s got a billboard like sign on the street with a giant arrow pointing the way to “Jessie’s Caffeine Bordello” with a little tiny “library” sign beneath it.
I work in a library that includes a retail coffee shop. I never thought I would see that.
Lee Harvey Ramone says
I’ve never tied a yellow ribbon ’round the old oak tree.
Tied yellow ribbons around a lamp post in front of our house when my Mom came home from cancer surgery.
Root 66 says
I guess I’m one of the oddballs for never having been on a commercial airliner. It’s not that I’m afraid of flying, it’s just that I am incredibly cheap…and I never go anywhere! I have been on a B-17 flight, though. It was awesome!
I have also never been to New York City, nor do I have any real desire to go. I simply hate crowds and crowded places.
And even though I’ve never been on a cruise, I would like to try it, just to say that I have done it. However, I would probably spend the entire voyage with my head hanging over the railing performing the “technicolor yawn” or wind up like the folks on “Gilligan’s Island!”
I’ve been to New York City. I just don’t see the attraction of the place. It reminds me of a giant ant colony someone ripped up out of the ground and turned upside down. If I never have to suffer another minute in that incredible shithole again, it’ll be fine with me. And don’t get me started on New York “pizza”. One of my sister-in-laws went on about it, so I had to give it try. Give me Chicago deep dish any time before what she ordered for us in the ant colony. Pizza Hut was better. I’ve also had what passed for a massage, from a woman I knew years ago who needed to use me for massage practice. I wasn’t impressed. Although I have owned and ridden Harley Davidson motorcycles for the best part of 40 years, I’ve never gotten any tattoos. I can’t stand putting up with the TSA security theater crap related to flying, but I equate commercial airliners with large airborne busses. I fly a paraglider, so flying isn’t an issue. Never been on a cruise, because the whole structured vacation thing just doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t drink any more. But I used to. Boy did I used to. And I guess that at one time or another I’ve tried every recreational drug known to man. More than once. Except that toad licking thing. Never licked a toad. Never shaved my ball hair, but the crabs got me awful damn close. Flea and tick spray from the pet section burns like a motherfucker, but those little bastards just jump right off. And even though I rarely comment, because I never have anything productive to add, I can honestly say that in the history of the internet I have never found a website that I find as interestingly entertaining as The West Virginia Surf Report.
Phantom Railfan says
The librarians at my usual public library told me they are no longer allowed to “shush” people because “it makes for a hostile environment.” Seems like libraries, in order to retain some semblance of relevance, have been remaking themselves into something resembling a community center. I was told if I needed quiet, I could utilize one of their “quiet rooms”–for a fee, and only if I made reservations in advance! Guess where I haven’t been back to?
I’ve never eaten sushi, never watched GAME OF THRONES, never owned a Prince album, never seen GHOSTBUSTERS, never been to a haunted house type-attraction, never paid to reserve a quiet room at a library…
Been on a cruise, it is true that it is like a big floating hotel with no exit. Everything is included except for alcohol. They strand you and charge a shit ton of money for beer. Not going back there again. Test drove most drugs, didn’t like any of them. Shaved my ball hair once. The doctor requested that I do so prior to the vasectomy.
See, that’s where you’re doing it wrong 🙂 You book with drinks *included*, so you can spend the day at Mayan ruins or the volcano or whatever all while knowing you have unlimited martinis, air conditioning, and a prime rib waiting for you back on board. Celebrity is the best brand for this, their ships have excellent bars.
Taiwan On says
Teasing the Korean. Awesome. Jeff, it is definitely time for another band name slash album name post. There is a sign hanging by a VFW hall around here that is apparently an advertisement for a weekly “Meat Raffle”. Band name or album name? I’m thinking that it’s got to be a band name.
Theatrical sighing must be an Asian thing. I’ve got a new boss who grew up in Taiwan that does the sighing thing… or maybe they pick that up from their ESL teacher…
If they could fuck themselves, they wouldn’t need to ‘do’ food. Next time somebody says they will “do” a food item, depending on foot item, ask them how it scratches the hell out of them when they stick it up their vagina or jam their pecker in it. I garantee they will think twice before saying they are “doing” a food item again.
I have never been on a commercial air plane. Nor a cruise. I have never been to the west coast.
March, march, march across Red Square;
Do all the things you’ve never dared.
. . .
Empty our pockets
Missing all our appointments
And turning up unshaven
Old cigarette papers
stuck to our pants
leaves in our hair.
Let us not
worry about the payments
Let them come
and take it away
whatever it was
we were paying for.
And us with it.
Let us arise and go now
to where dogs do it
Over the Hill
where they keep the earthquakes
behind the city dumps
lost among gasmains and garbage.
Let us see the City Dumps
for what they are.
My country tears of thee.
Let us disappear
in automobile graveyards
and reappear years later
picking rags and newspapers
drying our drawers
on garbage fires
patches on our ass.
Do not bother
to say goodbye
Your missus will not miss us.
. . .
Damn, haven’t read Ferlinghetti in years.
“Poetry is the shadow cast by our streetlight imaginations.”
If Ferlinghetti isn’t a national treasure, then America has no national treasures. I’ve made three pilgrimages to City Lights bookstore over the last 45 years. “A Coney Island of the Mind” was my gateway drug to the Beats and to poetry in general, including Wallace Stevens and T. S. Eliot. I understand that, at 97, Mr. F still spends some time in his office on the second floor of the store. He abides and he endures.
Think Kerouac was my intro, but that was 50 years ago and my memory fades with each passing day; tho I do remember rewriting an Eliot poem with a roomie once to make it more obscure.
Engineering major here; I don’t know poetry from pottery. Although my mom is a Milton scholar. I read a little Bunyan as a wee lad.
Italians: I know Bernoulli and Volta and Marconi; Ferlinghetti, not so much.
I spent 40 years in commercial IT, much of it in management. I used to include a poem on the back of my weekly staff meeting agendas, just to remind us that experiences indistinguishable from magic were not confined to sufficiently advanced technology.
I guess “The World is a Beautiful Place” is Ferlinghetti’s best known poem. If you’re not familiar with his work it’s a nice place to start. Reading time: 90 seconds.