Sunday, March 31, 2013

Phone Fun. (GBE 2 98)

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the telephone.  Is it useful? Of course it is. But as I have gotten older it is more of an annoyance. It never fails that I will sit down to eat supper when… “RINNNGG”. ( Mine actually makes a weird electronic noise, but I digress.) I always respond: “Now what?” and then go pick up the handset and look at the Caller ID.  Do I know the number?  No? Talk to voice mail.  And most of the time the machine at the other end will recognize its brethren and promptly hang up.  I’ll then be like Grumpy Cat and go “Good.”

I wasn’t always like this.  When I was a kid, the phone was a source of fun.  When my family moved to Orlando in the late 1960’s, our phone number was a transposition of a local restaurant. Family dinner was interrupted more than once by diners wanting to make reservations.  My brother and I were always happy to oblige, my mother usually being too drunk to notice.  It took the owner a little while to figure out and he offered to pay for our number to be changed. But we moved back to Atlanta before that happened.  

Later, I had a phone number that was shared by an Asbestos Removal company in Miami.  I had an answering machine in those days and I would get calls from Schools and Government offices asking if I wanted to bid on projects.  I don’t do construction, and especially don’t do construction in South Florida in the middle of summer.   So, I had that number changed.  

The best number of all was my work number when I was a Payroll Supervisor for a large government agency.  It was one digit off of: 3 other government offices, the local HIV clinic, and the Middle School I attended in Orlando.  How’s that for the past catching up with you? But I really didn’t mind these calls.  It was a nice break from the angry employees calling about their paychecks.  I would just route them to their correct places and go back to my coffee.  

I think that is what is missing.  There is no fun in a misplaced call anymore.  But I think I may have come up with a solution.  A phone app that will automatically route the miscreant call to a number where “It’s A Small World After All” is played on a closed loop.  And to make it better, make a number that will not disconnect.  So when the snarky bill collector calls, all he can do is put on his ears and join in. 

It’ll be great.  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Two Flowers (GBE2 97)

Two very
Very small flowers
Lie bored in the garden
Watered in the Spirit
Warmed by the grace of God
Watch them grow
Blooming out
To start a seed
For two very
very small flowers.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Buzzwords (Blogophilia 5.6.2)

Good morning and welcome to Orange Inc.  My name is Joe Task and I started this company.

Most people compare us to that other fruit company.  The one that makes computers.  People think they are so great and they changed the world with their "innovative" products, like phones and media players and junk.  But in reality, it's my company that began the nightmare.

We manufacture Buzzwords. 

We took the normal things in offices and homes from around the world and using our patented fraction distillation grammatical methodology (patent pending) and renamed them.  Our words serve to make people seem more businesslike and "professional".  Yes, we invented the "Forward Thinking Manager".  We turned a simple letter into a "Personal Communications Statement." And turned mass layoffs into "Right Sizing and Redeploying Our Human Capital".  All this to support a "Lean Environment", which allows for "Revenue Supluses" to accrue to our "Stakeholders".  

Whatever the business term, we turn it on it's head.  Customers become "Revenue Sources".  Your salesmen are now "Client Facing Experience Engineers".  The Accountants are "Process Tracking Specialist.  Anyway, you get the idea.

Our mission is to have people so confused that they don't realize a "Domestic Pleasure Intervention Director" is the hooker your husband hired last night and a "Property Application Specialist" is the burglar that took your mother's heirloom ring.  And we counter the resentment by our Revenue Sources by deploying "Property Security Directors" to escalate their concerns to our "Harmonizing Executive Locating  Level and director Saton L. Beelzebub.  Mr. Beelzebub is also my boss.  I signed everything over to him after losing a poker game in Vegas.  Yeah, it sucks.  Or should I say a "Less Than Optimal Outcome". 

I guess I better live up to my name. 

Damn it, Lucifer!  Can't you keep the coffee warm?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Nightmare of Daily Living. (Blogophilia 5.6)

I live in the suburbs along with the rest of the corporate sheep.  We put up with our bosses and hold our anger at the ineptitude and stupidity. Then we are released at the end of the week to hustle, bustle and consume the fractional distillates of our corporate culture.We hit the bars, wishing we were on Mars and away from the madding crowd. But we have been trained by the masters to worship things over people.  And this is what we get:

Mall Madness

My favorite description of Hell is from Dave Berg. He was a freelance writer best known for his strip "The Lighter Side" in MAD magazine. In one of his books, he describes a room with a banquet table that stretches as far as the eye can see.  It is sumptuously laid out with the best food and drink available in all the world. The guest are all gaily dressed and starving.You see, their arms are locked in a right angle, making impossible to feed themselves.The only way they can eat is to feed their neighbors and they are too mean to do it. So they sit and stare and wither away.   

Isn't this really how the nightmare begins? With the inability to consider our neighbor and in doing so bring harm to ourselves?

As I get older, I realize why my late Brother ran away to Alaska. He did it to get away from all this crap. To go up to the far frontier where nobody cares. Of course, I still do resent his cutting off of all contact. But that is typical of my family.  Five people, born in five different cities, leading five isolated, and very interesting lives.  That is what we know and how we live.

I never completely bought into the Corporate culture of power games and image, either.  I saw it destroy my Father.  Watch him get ready to go on the road to sell what ever trinket, beverage or financial instrument he was handling.  Half the time, he was really escaping my Mother, bipolar and alcoholic, resistant to all attempts at intervention. But it was a cowardly act, because it left the siblings to attempt to make sense of the midget on the sofa, and her anti Semitic babbling about how the world was evil and the world would come to an end. Yeah.  I  got cynical, depressed and self destructive.

And then I realized, when all is said and done we all end up in the same place.  Dead.  We might arrive there quickly or slowly. Violently or peacefully, but we get there. I've met actors, movie stars, corporate executives and jail inmates. All have made this journey interesting. 

What comes next/

Monday, March 18, 2013

Debbie (Blogohphlia 4.6)

The cup sat there, white steam rising slowly from umber depths. Smells of frying pork and eggs drifted into Debbie’s nose. Slipping her hands around the cream colored cylinder, she wondered how long since the waitress filled it?  It must not have been that long, it’s still hot.  

How long had she been gone? Five, maybe six days?  The only reason she pulled into this diner was she needed to pee.  It just didn’t seem right not to buy something from here. Looking out the window, she saw the Watertown city limit sign and another one saying thirty miles to the Canadian border.  

Tucson was dream and in the past. Montreal was the future. There was about $200 left, enough to get her across the border and into the anonymity.  Two years of savings spent in a week.  But it had to be done.  The sight of James and Maritza entwined in her bed had enraged her. She’d known about their affair for a several months. But to have them not even show enough respect to keep it out of her house was too much.  Their moans were so loud they hadn’t heard her come in with the hammer and they were so high anyway, they never reacted.     

Had the bodies been found, yet? There hadn’t been any news reports. She had to assume not. Even so, it may be awhile before the connection between Debbie and the migrant workers would be made. Enough time to cover her tracks and maybe have a little fun.  For no reason, tears began to stream down her cheeks.  She was so tired.  

She was startled by the scrape of the chair next to her.  A small, thin man in an ill fitting security uniform had sat on the stool just to her left.  Balding with a distinct ginger comb-over, he resembled every defeated loser she had ever met.  The scent of loss and longing were all around him.  She just looked down at the cup and hoped he wouldn’t notice.

The little man placed his order.  The waitress brought his cup of coffee and he tipped the sugar jar into it. Stirring the cup slowly, he glanced over towards her.  And he began to stare.  She hated when men stared at her, like she was some product to be used.  This one was no different, she could tell.  He moved his stool a little closer.

“So, Baby.  What’s your sign?

Not that old line. Oh, I’ll go along. 

 “I’m not ‘Baby’. My name’s Debbie, and I am a Capricorn.” She said, sniffling a little.

The man look surprised he actually got a response.  “The name is Chuck Pearson.  I’m a Gemini. I just got off work and there usually isn’t anyone here yet. Did you know you were pretty when you cry?”

Yep. Trying to get somewhere. But he did have a nice voice. “I’m just tired and my eyes water then.  Oh, who am I kidding.  I’ve been on the road for days and I really just need an ear.”

Chuck studied Debbie’s fine featured face.  It was better than any of the local girls, to be sure.  But the lady had the weight of the world on her.

“Why should a pretty lady like you should be so sad?”

“I left my husband.   I caught him with a little Mexican bitch back in Arizona.  I just packed up and left.” Debbie knew the Rube would take this story and she wasn’t disappointed. 

“Well, I heard once that things just don’t happen, they are made to happen.  Whether that’s true or not, I’m not sure. Anyways, the No Good will regret losing such a rare gift as you.”

Debbie smiled and knew the Rube would be good for something. 

“You know, if you want me to be with you until your next shift, that’s alright with me. It;s been a lonely trip, loving someone is a better way to be."  

Chuck put a twenty on the counter and they left, arm in arm. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

After The Sale (Blogophilia 3.6)

 “Hey, Heidy and Howdy, It’s your randy, dandy late night DJ, Harry Handy spinning the tunes you want here on W.O.F.T., Old Farts radio, keeping all of us in the Geritol set soothed with the music of our youth.  It’s Grand Ol’ Opry night here at the Fart. All the crying and driving songs you’ll ever want to hear.   That was Ol’ George Jones with ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today’.  Next up: Conway Twitty, with ‘I’d Love to Lay You Down…”

Yay, Tears in Beer Country on the radio.  Best way to wrap this day up.   And it had been a successful day, too. A parade of ladies in sundresses and shifts linked with their bored boyfriends, who only purchased the pretty stuff to keep the peace.  She sure didn’t mind.  Once is not enough, Ladies.  Keep it coming.  The take was probably six or seven hundred dollars for the day.  Bills were going to get paid this week.  Woo Hoo!  And it was going to be a busy couple of weeks rebuilding for the Chattanooga show, for sure. 

                “…I’ll come out and say it now.  I’d love to lay you down…”

“Mmm… somebody to lay me down.  Yeah.”  The joint had been traded for some rhinestone studs that Kari had been holding for a year.  It went well with the bottle of Riesling she had stashed in the VW’s fridge for breaking down the tent.  Smooth and slightly bitter, she hadn’t had any this good in a long time.   It even made the wet trash in the park smell like a good man. Shoot, she’d take the girl with the snake tattoo.  She looked and smelled yummy.  Gently stoking along her lap, she felt the familiar thrill.    

                “…lay you down and whisper the pretty things a lady loves to hear…”

It didn’t take long.  It never does when all you have is yourself.  The tension built quickly as she imagined the girl’s raven hair scattered along her breasts.  Her hips rose and fell and then stopped. She glanced at the mirror wondering if other old maids let their inner slut out?  A seed had landed in the pit of her philtrum and she wished the girl was there to kiss it off.  Shuddering, she became aware she was hungry.  She looked at the clock on the phone.  It said 1:45.  Looks like the greasy diner tonight. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Eyes (GBE2 94)



Out from a

Paneled background

Sad and hopeful that

An escape can be found

From the evil world he sees

In a home that looks wonderful

Deceiving all that see the gilt cover

He leaves tonight with his girlfriend

Disappearing into the mist

Leaving Mother speechless

Grasping an image

Of hopelessness