Sunday, August 6, 2017

Observations in a Waiting Room

Andy Boy Broccoli asked for a ride to a dental hygiene appointment at a Gentle Dentistry location in Hopkins, Minnesota.  Yes…I said, and plotted a route that bypassed The Lowry Tunnel…through downtown and somersaulting down Olson Memorial Highway to Highway 100, et cetera, et cetera.  And the perfect prop for sitting in the waiting room? a library copy of Richard Brautigan’s Revenge of the lawn and other stories of surreal import.

honeycomb whorl, blue leaf fandango

My first observation, before Mister Broccoli was called into the inner bowels, while filling out the pertinent medical insurance slips this and that:  I was the only person in the waiting room with an old fashioned paper bound book (old fashioned flip phone in the front pocket of my cut offs).  The lady that had gone out to check something in her parked Mercedes Benz flashed an iPhone that she alternated between screen scrolling, and making and taking phone calls.  The regal looking African American fellow that had arrived on our heels with a dog tired look on his face finding that he was late for his appointment, and would be fit into the schedule if he cared to wait…smartphone.  A teenage girl waiting for her mother to reappear was playing games on an iPad, and various pedestrian types engaged on various pedestrian mobile devices flicking through page after page of…what? not sure…heads bowed in reverence and fingers flicking...

Mercedes Benz lady announced to the desk, “I have two daughters inside…one has lots of anxiety…I’m going outside to make a phone call…make sure they know I haven’t left, if they come back out into the waiting room.”  And sure enough, the daughter with anxiety written all over her face appeared through the mysterious door into the waiting room.  Her mom quickly pushed through the glass door from outside to greet her, “Are you afraid…are you scared?”
“Don’t worry…when you go back in, they’ll stick a needle in your gum, so you won’t feel anything.”
“It’s going to be alright…oh, your brother is calling…Hello…no, you can’t order a pizza…absolutely not…there’s Mac n Cheese in the freezer…oh, I thought you liked that? it’s the good kind with cheddar cheese…well, you can’t order a pizza…good bye.”
And then the other daughter…older than the anxiety girl, and seemingly oozing confidence.  The mother asks her how it went…she says, “I talked the whole time…”
“Well, you know me…” and that seemed to satisfy the mother.

photosynthesis percolation...

Meanwhile, Mr. Broccoli had been summoned, and I began reading about Jack and bees and bees stinging Jack…
The bees somewhere along the line had picked up the habit of stinging Jack two or three times a year.  They would sting him in the most ingenious ways.
Once a bee got in his wallet and he went down to the store to buy some food for dinner, not knowing the mischief that he carried in his pocket.
He took out his wallet to pay for the food.
“That will be 72 cents,” the grocer said.
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” Jack replied, looking down to see a bee busy stinging him on the little finger.

Honey bee buzz thrum...

Looking up, as the front door opened, a middle-aged woman stooped and dragging an oxygen tank arrived at the front desk.  After the usual pleasantries, she turned and surveyed the waiting room, and (of course) made a bee line to the chair next to me, “Excuse me…sorry,” she said sidling past and easing into the seat to my left.  Oh good, I thought to myself, she seems harmless enough, and polite.  But then the talking to her large mobile device began in earnest.
“Oh ho…I don’t think so…I’m not going to buy you…ahahahahah,” and so forth. The girl across from us, quickly inserted earbuds and spiraled into a reverie of her own.  And then the oxygen lady’s tablet fell from her hands tumbling onto the floor, “Oh ho…butter fingers, that’s me…come here you…everything seems to be fine…nothing broken? oh, goody…now what do you want to sell me? I don’t think so…eheheheheh.”

One eyed rabbit? or squinting rabbit? you decide...

By now, I had arrived at page 50…The Scarlatti Tilt…
“It’s very hard to live in a studio apartment in San Jose with a man who’s learning to play the violin.”  That’s what she told the police when she handed them the empty revolver.

While Django tiptoes with two fingers...

At any moment, I expected Salvador Dali to enter through the front door…mobile device in hand and magical moustache twitching!  And then Andy was back, and we were practically twirling out the door into the parking lot.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Past the slough...memories and stained glass sun catchers

Search Bees in the Western Art Glass Etsy shop

Once upon a time, I was twelve years old and riding the train from Minneapolis to Winnipeg by myself. This was the summer, upon returning, that I discovered ham on rye. Little did I know that this would be the happiest time of my life. An entire summer with my grandparents to myself in a small town in Saskatchewan. My grandfather was the high school custodian. His claim to fame? after he retired, and they built a new school in the town, they named it after him...I enjoy the cosmic juxtaposition. Meanwhile, my grandmother nurtured my best behavior...something my authoritarian father was unable to do with thick leather belt spankings...and canoe paddle whacks!  A glorious summer....

Past the winged black birds dive bombing...the old elementary school and the skating rink where his mother curled. In the back lane the lads were digging a tunnel, while Buckshot Davis explained the birds and the bees...tenuous and mystery shrouded. Retracing steps...stories from the abandoned shell...footsteps and clarinet.

...while a squirrel nervous tail fidget stutter step like some kind of Pistol Pete...sudden memory of accompanying my grandpa into the dim cafe owned by Chinese immigrants in small town prairie town. wooden sidewalks. smoke hung from the pressed tin ceiling like cumulonimbus clouds. Dominoes and bell shaped glasses of dark amber beer. and outside the heady aroma of Spring seeping from emergent photosynthesis. and eventually my sixth grade teacher, Miss Fink, aroused an unknown sense of perfume and nylons. Drawing little cartoons...intoxicated.

The back lane behind the sheds (one converted into a bedroom for me) of my grandparents house...dirt and rutted brought you to Buckshot Davis' Pops petrol station. Directly on the other side of the lane...the Langenburg Museum. A giant garage...neglected for years, had allowed the gang of twelve year-olds from town to get inside. We discovered a trapdoor into a bare room with a couch and chair. This became our clubhouse. Many hours were whiled away with squirreled comic books, soda pop and potato chips.