Where Did The Normal People Go?
Current mood: angsty
This has been building up for a while. Where are the “normal” folks? Where are the people who look like they… (deep breath) …don’t reek of smoke, bathe regularly, get their hair cut by professionals, get their hair cut more than twice a year, wear clothes that don’t advertise NASCAR or a snowmobile, have all their teeth, have skin that isn’t grey, completed the 12th grade, don’t talk with a Tennessee back-hills accent, don’t wear Treebark camoflage, don’t distrust the police, don’t despise “collidge boys,” don’t fear computers, don’t date their cousins, don’t live in a trailer, don’t feed their dogs better than their kids, don’t swear in daily conversation and don’t part out dead cars for money?I swear to gawd, I don’t fit in where I live because I’m college educated, well-dressed, relatively well groomed — hell, I’ll sum it up as “middle class,” in mindset if not in actual income. But it’s true, I don’t fit in here, not even a little bit. Buckley, Michigan is truly a town of good, honest, hard-working hicks — and I mean that in the nicest way possible. Folks here have been by-and-large good-natured and pleasant, just working-class, that’s all. Buckley has been a great place to live for the past two years, and I feel like I’ve been accepted by the community, even while I don’t fit in with the community. Kind of like I’m acceptably different, I guess.
But the more I look around, the more I feel like I’ll never even LOOK like a local unless I start wearing Carhartt’s and a RealTree camo hat, shave my beard but grow a mustache that covers my mouth, get some wraparound Dale Earnhardt-style sunglasses and wear them everywhere, and ditch my Volvo for a Chevy Truck. And even then the illusion will be shattered as soon as I open my mouth, and out comes “Pray tell, but what might we be having as accoutrements to this entree?” and not “Whutcha got fer sahd diyushes?”
Okay, so I work in a hospital. Sure, I’m a computer nerd there, but I get out and about, and I see patients and their families in the hallways. Lately, by gawd, it seems like they’ve pushed the rock out of the mouth of the cave and tumbled into town. I don’t know what makes people’s skin that awful gray color, but I’d guess it’s a combination of cigarettes and cheap beer and incest, if I had to guess. I’m seeing the people where I chant to myself: don’t catch this elevator, don’t catch this elevator, don’t catch this– “What floor ya headed for, sir?” Dammit! After sharing an elevator for three floors, it reeks of stale ashtray so bad I have to drink from the water fountain to wash the taste out of my mouth.
And it’s not like the exception is the guy missing his front teeth — but sticking his tongue through the gap. No, they’re everywhere, and people wearing clothes that look like they’ve been washed recently are the exception. And what’s the deal…I live in Michigan. We’re 20 minutes from the 45th parallel — the halfway mark to the North Pole. So stop with the shit-kicking Tennessee accent already. Yew ain’t in yer mamma’s shotgun shack annymore, Billy-Bo-Bob. Yew is in de North, wit Ya-yunkees, and yew’d better deal wit’ it.
So I look around at my neighbors (speaking in a larger sense here, not just folks on my street) and what does it look like they value? Toys (snowmobiles, dirt bikes, jet-skis, quadrunners, etc), pro sports, NASCAR, smoking, going to the bar, hunting, country music and pickup trucks. What do I value? Providing for my family, making my yard look good, buying a home, culture (interesting food, music like jazz, artwork), raising my kids. Where do I have to live where I’m the normal one, and I can have a conversation without feeling like I have to censor every other word lest I get “the look,” or one of the oh-so-common “stock replies.” As follows:
Them: “What do you do?”
Me: “I fix computers.”
Stock Answer: I don’t know how you can sit in front those things for hours.
Them: “What are you listening to?”
Me: “Ella Fitzgerald.”
Stock Answer: How can you listen to that? Put on some Hank Williams.
Me: (drives up in, washes, or is seen near our Volvo)
Stock Reply: That sure is a fancy car.
Them: “What’d you do last weekend?”
Me: (any answer other than “not much.”)
Them: (facial expression like they just watched an elephant crawl out of a Coke bottle.)
So really…where are all the “normal” people?
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Okay, I love these things, too.
Current mood: working
1. What is the best way to get over someone?
– – Ladder. No, wait…helicopter. No, wait…promotion to management.
2. What makeup do you wear on a daily bases?
– – I’m a dude. So only a little bit of eyeliner and some blush. 😉
3. Is your AIM away message on?
– – I don’t use AIM.
4. If you could eat one meal for the rest of your life, what?
– – Lunch. Breakfast is too early and wouldn’t carry me until the next morning.
5. Where would you like to be right now?
– – Juneau, AK
6. Do you like being in group dates or single?
– – Never done either…dunno.
– – Oh fer gawd’s sake.
8. Anyone on your mind?
– – Yeah.
9. Who was your last hug?
– – baby girl…the youngest one.
10. Who’d you get this survey from?
– – Margie
11. Do you currently like anyone?
– – Yeah.
12. Ever told someone you loved them and not mean it?
– – I don’t think so.
13. Ever been told you were loved by someone who didn’t mean it?
– – And just how would I know that?
14. Last person you hugged?
– – Didn’t you ask that already?
15. Have you ever been used?
– – Yeah, I think so.
16. Have you ever used anyone?
– – I dunno. Probably. Hope not, though.
18. Have you ever been cheated on?
– – Not as far as I know.
19. Is cheating acceptable in a relationship?
– – No. Doesn’t make women any less attractive, though.
20. Who’s your current best friend?
– – Don’t have one.
21. Who was your first real best friend?
– – Jenny Marcus, wayyyy back in Elementary school.
22. Are you still best friends with that person?
– – Nope.
23. What is your biggest fear?
– – Death.
24. Who was the last person to call you?
– – Nobody calls me.
25. Longest phone conversation?
– – Back in college, my wife-to-be and I tested the limits of a cordless phone battery.
26. Are you hungry?
– – usually.
27. Do you smoke?
– – No. Uck.
28. Want anything now?
– – A sandwich. A nice house. An Oxygen sensor for my car. Happiness in my home.
29. Last time you cried?
– – Almost 3 years ago.
30. Reason for the last time you cried?
– – Delayed reaction to losing my mom.
31. Ever done something really stupid?
– – Yup.
32. What can’t you go a day without doing?
– – Breathing. Being sarcastic.
33. Do you miss anyone?
– – Yup.
34. Do you think someone is thinking about you right now?
– – No.
– – Better than the alternative. And sunrises are beautiful.
– – Three of ’em. And a boy. He’s the oldest.
– – Yes it is.
– – Cold. Pretty though.
– – Don’t have much use for those.
– – Boss! Boss! De Plane!
41. Last song?
– – Crush, Crush, Crush by Paramore
42. Last movie you watched?
– – Pirates of the Caribbean, At World’s End.
– – 3/16
44. What are you doing right now?
– – Besides the obvious…shirking work.
45. What should you be doing right now?
– – Work. Duh.
48. What means the most to you?
– – The sanctity of human life. Honesty. “Form Follows Function.”
49. Ever been in love?
– – Yup.
50. Do you believe in love at first sight?
– – Yup. Do I believe it’s practical? Nope.
51. Are you keeping a secret from someone that needs to know the truth?
– – Keeping a secret…oh, yes…what a tangled web. Need to know the truth? Nope.
52. Are your parents divorced?
– – Yup. One of ’em’s even dead.
53. Eye color?
– – Blue-ish/Grey-ish
54. Hair color?
– – Brown-ish
55. Winter or summer?
– – Spring. Nyah!
56. Night or day?
– – Either. Without night there can be no dawn.
57. Biggest mistake you’ve made recently?
– – So many mistakes, so little time.
58. Are you currently wanting any piercings or tattoos?
– – Want? Yes. Gonna get? Jeez lord no, they use needles for those!
59. Last time you had soda?
– – Lunch. Wait…now.
60. Do you believe in kissing on the first date?
– – Love to say yes…in practice, no.
65. Do you believe in sex on the first date?
– – REALLY love to say yes…in practice, I’ve turned it down. Damn these old-fashioned morals!
66. Where will you be in 4 years?
– – Same place I am now…but maybe in an office with a window.
67. Do you have your future planned out?
– – Loosely. The destination is circled, but the route isn’t inked in.
68. Do you want to get married?
– – My wife would prob’ly object.
69. Describe your life in one word?
– – Alright.
Life Is A History Lesson…You Learn It When You’re Through.
Current mood: thoughtful
One of my friends’ blogs spurred this. And since I only have like seven friends, they’ll know exactly who they are…no matter. Anywho, they opined that their dad had seen history. I hold that we all have, we just don’t realize it.When I was born, Nixon was president. I was one month old when Apollo 13 flew. I was two when the Munich Olympics were terrorized. I was three when Vietnam ended, and four when Nixon resigned. I was five when the Apollo/Soyuz mission flew. I was nine when Skylab fell out of orbit. I was seven when Star Wars was released.
I was nine when Iran took our people hostage, and eleven when they were released. I was ten when John Lennon was killed, when Mount St. Helens erupted in Washington state, and when Pac-Man was unleashed. I was eleven when Reagan and Pope John Paul II were shot, and when MTV first aired. I was sixteen when the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up, and when Chernobyl melted down. When the Berlin Wall fell, I was 19.
I was twenty when we fought Desert Storm, and 21 when the Soviet Union broke up. I was 19 when the World Wide Web was created…but first “surfed” it when I was 25. I was 21 when Nirvana put grunge on the air, and 24 when Kurt Cobain killed himself. I was 28 when the Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal and subsequent trial happened. I was 27 when England gave Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China.
When the FBI burned down the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, TX, I was 22. I was also 22 for the Rodney King trial and subsequent LA riots. I was 25 when the Federal building in Oklahoma City was bombed. I was 27 when Princess Diana died…also when Mother Teresa died. I was 29 when the Columbine school shootings happened, and at the turn of the millenium. I was thirty-one on “9/11.” I was 32 when the Space Shuttle Columbia broke up over Texas on re-entry.
And on and on. I’ve seen the landing of robotic rovers on Mars, and a second war in the Middle East. I’ve seen the President of the U.S. appointed to office — not elected. I’ve seen the arrival of electric-gas hybrids in the mainstream market. I’ve seen at least two more countries become nuclear powers.
I’ve seen a lot of history in my life, even if it takes looking back and going “wow, I guess that was bigger than I thought.”
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