Posted tagged ‘small town’

Friar Versus the Gray Heads Part III

May 14, 2008

Man, some people in this town just don’t know when to quit.

If you recall, a few months ago I wrote a letter to the Splat Creek Chronicle, bitching about the crummy store hours and the bad customer service we get in town.  This was hardly what I’d consider ground-breaking Op-Ed journalism.   But my editorials riled up the townsfolk and the debate lasted a good 6-7 weeks, with angry letters flying back and forth. 

I even experienced my first Senior Stalker (see Friar Versus the Grayheads Part I and Part II).

I thought this whole kerfuffle had finally (and thankfully) fizzled out, until I opened up this week’s paper.  There is was:  the main editorial, almost half a page, quite obviously devoted to me.  

It was implied that the store hours in town are not that bad,  that I should shop ahead and plan for holidays, and that I should get to know the town better instead of going to the “Big City”.  

You know, I was ready to let the whole thing drop and move on.

But now, I might just have to write another letter.  

(…you wanna piece of me? )  

Oh, this is ON.  

This is SO ON !!!! -)

 

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A Honkin’ Good Time

May 5, 2008

 

 (Based on some notes from a few years back, when I lived near The Thousand Islands.)

The Canada geese have been playing “Musical Back Yards”.  Last week, they mostly hung out in the neighbor’s yard.  This week, it’s been mine. I walk down the steps with my bag of Wonder Bread.   They come running like dogs, honking in anticipation.  It’s chow time.

The “young’uns” have now become surly teenagers.  Their goose down is falling out and their feathers are growing in.  They’re in their dorky phase, halfway between chicks and adults.  Not unlike the similar dorky phase that 15-year old humans must also suffer through.

About 75% of the chicks still talk baby talk.  

Cheep! cheep! cheep!   

Awww…isn’t that cute? 

Somewhat less cute are the ones who are learning to talk like their obnoxious parents

Hiss! Hiss! Hiss!  

You really have to admire these critters’ chutzpah.  They don’t like you.  They really don’t.  If they had claws and teeth, they’d probably attack you.  But they only have feathers and beaks, and they REALLY want your food.  

This puts their pea-sized bird-brains into conflict, and they don’t know quite how to act.  There’s something ridiculous about being scolded by a large bird who’s spitting crumbs at you from the bread you’ve just given them:  

“Hiss!  Hiss! Hiss!  I HATE YOU…May  I have some bread please?…Hissssss!  No, seriously.  I HATE YOU.  More bread, please…Munch. Munch. Munch.  Thank you.   BUT I HATE YOU…Hisssss! “

Ma Kettle starts running after another goose, hissing, with her head down.  Junior sees this, pauses for a few seconds, and joins in.  Yet another prime example of kids picking up bad behavior from their parents.   What is our youth coming to?

Alpha Flock has a monopoly on the bread market.  They surround me, the larger adults standing guard on the edges, preventing others from getting too close.  I try to move around to give everyone a chance to get fed but Alpha Flock moves with me, maintaining the perimeter.

Alpha Flock’s enforcer is a dominant male I call The Big Bastard.   He’s a jerk.  He wont’ take food from my hand.  He’ll just stand there hissing, bobbing his head back and forth like a cobra.  He always has feathers in his beak from biting other geese.  He routinely attacks other chicks 1/4 his size.   What an asshole. 

If anyone comes too close, the signal is given.  Honk!  Honk!  Intruder alert!  This gets Ol’ B.B. riled up and he chases the perpetrator, biting and hissing.   Mine, he says.  The bread is all mine.  Once he bit poor Aunt Gertrude on the butt and held on and wouldn’t let go. They ran across the yard like they were trying to start a conga line.  

Of all the geese, there are just two nice ones.   I call them Gentle Sandy and Little Elmo. These two don’t hiss…they just stand patiently, waiting for me to dole out the bread which they take gently out of my hand. 

They’re my favorites.  I end up giving them most of the bag.  The Big Bastard gets none.  Screw him.  

Feeding time is over.  I notice the grass around me is a vibrant green, due to all the fertilizer.   Cigarette-sized white and grey turds are everywhere.  The perimeter of goose shit is slowly approaching my house.  It used to be a good 20 feet away,  now it’s almost at my front door.  Does this mean I’m being accepted into the Alpha Flock? 

Perhaps so. 

For I am the Provider of the Wonder Bread.

Another Small Town Moment…

May 4, 2008

Believe it or not, we actually have a Subway in town.  Tonight I went to buy some food around 9:00 PM.   The store closed at 10:00, so I figured this would give me ample time.

There were three of us in line.   As usual, there was only one brain-dead teenager working the store.  It took 10 minutes for her to get around to making my sandwich.  When it was finally done, I asked to have my sub toasted.

“Sorry, sir.  We shut our oven off.”

“What?  You have got to be kidding me!”.

“No.  We shut our oven off at 8:30.”

“But you close at 10:00!”

And then the snarky little 16-year-old rolled her eyes at me, and said:  

“Do you know how HOT those things get?”

Moral of the story.  If you want to buy a toasted sub, make sure you get to the Subway NINETY MINUTES before it closes. 

This message brought to you by Great Moments in Customer Service.

Sigh.   Only in Splat Creek.

The Lottery Bat

May 4, 2008

 

 Oh, no.  

Lottery Bat.

All I wanted to do was pop in the convenience store and buy a drink and a paper.  It’s my lunch hour and I don’t have too much time.  But now I’m stuck behind a Lottery Bat.

I should have known, when I saw her checking the sign that announced how big the next jackpot was.  But I had to go to the back to find the milk, and now she’s beaten me to the cash register.  

So now I have to listen to this 98-year-old gnome hold up the line and buy lottery tickets by the dozen.  This is her whole life.  This is her Wildly Important Goal.  This is WHAT SHE DOES.   She is a LOTTERY BAT.   

“I’ll have an Encore, a Double-Plus Encore, three Qwik-Picks, another Nose-Pick, one of the Scrabbles…no, make it two Scrabbles.   A Crustacean Super Special, a Bingo…another Gigantor Lotto, three Six-Forty Nines, a couple of Sixty-Nines, and two tickets for the Fallopian Draw…”

She just goes ON and ON.  The poor clerk is struggling to keep up with her purchases.   

Okay, Friar. I tell myself.  There’s no sense in getting Type-A.  She’s just an old lady.  It won’t matter if you have to wait a few extra minutes.  So I walk around the store, killing some time.  After a while, the Lottery Bat has quieted down and starts searching through her Old-Lady purse.  Finally!  Maybe I can buy my *&$%@# paper now. 

And then I hear it. 

I hear the dreaded, horrible noise.

Do-dee-do-dee.    Do-dee-do-dee.  Do-dee, do dee do deeeeeee! 

It’s the sound of the lottery machine announcing a winning ticket.   Oh great! Now she’s cashing in her winnings.

Un-freaking believable.  These seniors have the ENTIRE DAY to shop and run their errands.  They could buy their tickets and cat food anytime. But NOOoooo!  It HAS to be during MY lunch hour!  (Or right after work at 5:00 PM).  

I swear they do this on purpose.  They must have a Spidey Sense when we’re in a rush.  I can just picture it:   Grampa Dentures and the Lottery Bat are sitting at home watching Matlock (or whatever it is that old people do) and suddenly one of them says:  “Hmmm…my trick knee is acting up…I sense a young ‘un who must be in a hurry.   Quick…to the CODGER-MOBILE…we must hold up the line!”

 I’m watching her cash in her winning tickets.   2 dollars here.  10 dollars there.  It’s all adding up.

Do-dee-do-dee.    Do-dee-do-dee.  Do-dee, do dee do deeeeeee! 

Do-dee-do-dee.    Do-dee-do-dee.  Do-dee, do dee do deeeeeee! 

Do-dee-do-dee.    Do-dee-do-dee.  Do-dee, do dee do deeeeeee! 

This is pretty amazing, when you consider it.   I rarely buy tickets, but when I do, I hardly EVER win.  Not even 5 bucks.  But Grandma Moses has just cashed in three winning tickets in a row.  How many did she have to buy in order to achieve this?  What does she do…spend her entire pension check?    

Do-dee-do-dee.    Do-dee-do-dee.  Do-dee, do dee do deeeeeee!  

My God!  HOW MANY TICKETS does she have?  And of course, she won’t take the the money and leave.  No.  In order qualify as a Certified Lottery Bat, she needs to use her winnings to buy even MORE tickets.

“I’ll have another Cash Draw,  three Hop Scotches,  a Free Quickie, Sixteen Power Plays, and the Radio Bingo…”

The infernal lottery machine jingles on.  I think this is how Dante described the 5th Circle of Hell.  

Do-dee-do-dee.    Do-dee-do-dee.  Do-dee, do dee do deeeeeee! 

Do-dee-do-dee.    Do-dee-do-dee.  Do-dee, do dee do deeeeeee!  

Oh, for CRYING OUT LOUD!  She’s not anywhere near done yet.  I put down the milk and paper and bail out.  I buy a slice of pizza next door and walk up and down the block.   I come back to see if I can still buy my freaking paper.   I’m afraid, I’m very much afraid, yet I MUST peek through the store window…

…and The LOTTERY BAT is STILL THERE…buying tickets!

AIIEEEEEEE!!!  I drop my pizza, and run screaming in terror down the street.   Other seniors (possibly Lottery Bats themselves) point their fingers and hiss, some cackling with glee.   They start approaching me, but I retreat back into my office building, slam the door, and bury myself in work, trying to pretend all of this never happened. 

Now I’m afraid to go out at lunch.

Damned Lottery Bats(Shudder!).

 

Small-Town Radio

April 26, 2008

 

In Splat Creek, you can pick up the radio station from Poutine-Ville, an hour away, in Quebec.  

You gotta love the home-made commercials.  Like when an English Monsieur Carreau gets into a dialogue with a French truck driver called Ti-Boc about the new restaurant on the highway.  For those of you unfamiliar with French-Canadian culture, Mr. Carreau is not too far off of “Mr. Square-head” which is a mild slur against the English.  Ti-Boc is the American equivalent of “Bubba Joe”.   

The two of them will chat simultaneously in both languages and it’s kinda confusing.  But whatever your background, I’m sorry, you haven’t lived till you’ve heard the Ti-Boc commercial. 

During the evenings, people phone in their requests on a first-come, first-serve basis.  The station sticks the songs onto a computer that runs all night.   

After 8:00 PM, you never know what you might get.  It could be something decent.  Maybe Zeppelin or The Eagles.  The next song might be “Chim-Chimeree” from Mary Poppins.  Or the theme song from the Brady Bunch.   (I shit you not!  They routinely play TV theme songs!)  Or you might end up with a recording of “Toothless Joe Tabernaque” playing his tappin’ spoons at the Upper Carcajou Fiddle Festival.  

Saturday, all day, is Bluegrass gospel music.  But not the cheerful fun kind like they play on Hee-Haw.  These tunes are the creepy kind that whine and drone on.  

It reminds me of Deepest Appalachia, where toothless idiot-savants duel with banjos, mate with their sisters, and the fat sheriff might give you 30 days on the “county farm” for  having a broken taillight.  If you’ve seen the movie O Brother Where Art Thou?  you can relate.

Let’s not forget the stellar cast of “professional” deejays.  (Did I forget to mention this is an “all volunteer” station?)  

On one of shows, Great-Grampa Gargamel hosts a “Psychedelic Rock and Roll” show.  This might sound cool, but it’s not.   Not unless you like to hear someone talk through their dentures about the Byrds or Bob Dylan.  I suspect Great-Grampa was already in his 90’s when the Beatles broke up.  

I love the lady on Sunday afternoons.  A ball of fire, that one is: 

“It’s…uhhhh…ten minutes after two…And…hhh…what was that last song?…(20 seconds of silence)…Banjo Zeke and his Hillbilly Orchestra…playing…uhhh…I seem to haveforgotten…(where is it?)…uhhhhh…No, wait…here it is…”Nearest to thee, Lord Take my Shotgun or I’ll blow your Head Off”

“…The weather forecast for Poutine-Ville…(10 seconds of silence)…I’m looking out the window…its sunnny…uhhh…uhhhhhh…..the thermometer says 26 degrees…that’s warm, I think…Let’s play…uhhhhhhhh…another record.”

I”ve saved the best to last: Radio Bingo.  

Ho-Lee Shit.  As if Bingo wasn’t boring enough to see in person, imagine hearing on the radio, and BILINGUAL.  With the microphone right next to the Bingo machine, so you can hear the noise when the balls turn:

“(Rumble rumble rumble)… BEE….EIGHT…..BAY….HWITTE…(rumble rumble rumble)…..GEE…TWENTY FOUR….JAY VAINT KAT….(rumble rumble rumble)…OH SIXTY SEVEN…OH…SWASSANTE DEESE SET……(rumble rumble rumble)…”

Do you get the idea…?

I was listening to this once, driving my car.  And, not unlike watching a car crash, I had this morbid curiosity and for the love of me, I could NOT turn off the station. 

“(rumble rumble rumble) ….EYE FIFTEEN….”

Finally, after several minutes, I snapped out of it and turned the radio off.  

Twenty minutes later, I thought surely, the Bingo was done now…For God’s sake, nobody with a good conscience would put anything that heinous on the radio, for THAT long. Mabye the music computer is has started again..maybe they’re playing Def Leppard or Wayne Newton right now. 

So I risked it and turned the radio on again:

“…(rumble rumble rumble)….ENN TIRTEE TWO……ENN TRAWNTE DEU………(rumble rumble rumble)…”.

ARRRGH!   They were STILL at it!!!   

And God knows for how long, because I shut the radio off (after resisting the urge to drive into the oncoming headlights).

You know, there are certain things that should just NOT be allowed on the air!  

Where is the CRTC when you need it?

 

 

The Friar Versus the GrayHeads: Part II

April 18, 2008

 

Well, it seems my on-going feud with some of the local seniors is town is slowly fizzling out. Though I seem to have gained my own local Deep Friar Fan Club.

Week 7

The previous week, I had suggested that some stores might want to extend their hours till 5:30.   Well, there was no mention of me in the paper this week.   Nobody wrote in about how I insulted the whole town, or how I should go back to the Big City I don’t like it.   (Gee, I can’t help but feel somewhat neglected.) 

But the town is still buzzing about me.    My buddy said he overheard people discussing my editorial at the post office.  My neighbour said he heard two Mommies debating the issue at the day care.   Not to mention countless people have been approaching me at work, and are continuing to tease me by asking what I think of the Cheezi-Mart this week.  

The best, though, was when I got another long-winded phone message from Hugh McDepends.   Apparently, he spent the last 2-3 weeks driving around town, and took it upon himself to check out all the local businesses and the hours they kept.  He pointed out to me that most hours are, in fact extended to 5:30.    And that I should have done my “homework” before I submitted my last editorial.   (Well, that’s why I said “some” stores…but oh, never mind.)

Apparently (according to Hughie) I’ve really “put my foot into it”  this time….and I was going to catch a “load of crap” from the town.  He also mentionned that he came by my house to see me…but that I was out, and he’d try to get back to me later.  He re-iterated several times that I’d be “catching a lot of crap”. (That’s probably the worst curse word he’s ever been allowed to say)

Great.  So now I have my own senior stalker…

Old Hughie actually DID come by the other day to see me in person.   He seemed harmless enough.   But he was obviously on a MISSION.   He (get this!) apologized to me, because he had wanted to get in touch with me sooner to inform me about the store hours, so that I could properly report the facts, before writing into the paper.  It might have saved me all the “trouble” I got myself into. (Ooohhh..the seniors are mad at me!)  And he hadn’t seen my car for several days,  he was almost worried if I had gotten “driven out of town”.  

You know, some old people have WAY TOO MUCH free time on their hands.

A few more minor incidents.  My old landlord stopped his truck and called out to me on the street.  He thought my letters were hilarious.   Then, even today, as I was lining in the liquor store, someone sarcastically asked me “Are the store hours here long enough for you?”.

Sigh.  Only in Splat Creek.

This town really needs something else to bitch about.  Wonder what else I can write about next?   Hmmm…maybe I could rant about the Seniors getting a discount at the local donut shop.  

But knowing Splat Creek, that might get me shot.

Chickens….Sometimes.

April 16, 2008

To follow up on my earlier posting about trying to buy a chicken in Splat Creek….

I was fortunate enough to be at the Cheezi-Mart yesterday during day-time store hours.  And I found out that YES, you actually CAN just walk in and buy a deli roast chicken, unannounced, without having to reserve ahead.

Providing, of course, it’s during the day.  And forget about doing this after 3:30 PM.   

And even then, I was told, this will probably only be until summer time (after which, I presume you’ll probably have to “reserve” a chicken for lunch too).

For crying out loud.  WTF is it with this town, that chickens are in such short supply?   (You’d think we were asking for Lobster Thermidor or something).

 

To Mr. Cheezi-Mart Store Owner:  It’s just a…Roast…F*$#ing…Chicken.   Did it ever occur to you that you could…maybe…ummmm…COOK SOME MORE?

Mabye I should write a letter to the editor, suggesting this to the town.  

Better not…though. (I might incur the Wrath of the Grayheads again)