Roads to Tunica lined with blank billboards for a mile:
Gurley road in Marks, MS lined with old tractors (the sky is full of dustbunnies on my camera sensor):
Empty pumps at gas station in Marks, MS:
Did you hear the story on the radio about Emily Dickenson and her dandelion garden? They are growing weeds at the New York Botanical Garden in her honor. She said she herself felt like the wild flower and used to give people bouquets of flowers with her poetry tucked inside (sounds like all the emails I send). I’ve actually been using the mature dandelion in an informal de-puffing ritual to bring about all of my wishes and hopes for years now. It is my most sacred superstition.
I found this on my walk today – over half the wishes left on it:
A woman walking by asked “oooh does it have a ladybug on it?” Please. Nobody is THAT lucky.
Don’t you want to live forever?
That’s what I ask my car every time before I turn the key. The ignition lock cylinder is kind of like a ready-to-retire lady of the evening – a little too loose for use. These things wear out after a lot of turns so each ignition could be the last (or the last until I come up with the lordalmighty knows how much cheddar to fix it). Great White, as she is known, is fifteen years old and needs inspirational talk every day – mostly with open-ended metaphysical questions. She likes to be driven around on Sunday mornings so she can listen to Car Talk (I told you she was old) and she loves Steve McQueen and H.B. Halicki. She hates any new VW Bug customized with flowers and is unimpressed with tailgaters and bikefreaks. What can I say?
I was behind this sculptural masterpiece on my drive home today:
One blue, one black, and a push broom. Gorgeous.
Once I see something compelling, or once I have one of my compelling thoughts (that come to me so often if I updated this blog as they came I would blow up the internet), I have to fight off the urge to start a whole new website or blog – why can’t I just keep KayeKillA as a catch-all? This is why one of my goals is to tidy up what they call on Fast Company and Wired my web presence. But it isn’t a habit easily broken. Just today I had two truly great ideas for two different truly great websites.
The first one would be another submission based blog – it would be or WILL BE called “Bugbite or Blemish?” and it will be a comparison kind of blog like “Homeless or Hipster” but on a close-up level. People can send in photos of strange bumps on their skin and the audience will have to determine if the bump is an insect bite or just a blemish (aka: pimple – god dang it - I love the word pimple). This would be stepping outside of my comfort zone because I usually leave gross humor to aspiring comedians and men (usually no diff). But it wouldn’t really be that funny if one of the featured bites was from a cottonmouth or black widow now would it?
The other blog/website would be creative nonfiction reporting of child abuse sightings. Stay with me here, I don’t mean the really really bad kind, I just mean the arm-pulling and back-of-the-head swatting that happens in retail areas. The kind that is uncomfortable enough to make you take note and scary enough to make you stay quiet. Quiet until you get home and take up the mightiest weapon of them all! The PEN! Or in this case – the keyboard:
She didn’t plan on squashing her child in front of me. Otherwise she wouldn’t have bothered putting a cute ball cap on little toddler Timmy and neglecting her own appearance before making her Target run. If you want to look like you know what you are doing when roughing up a kid in public, you should dress in bruncheon-to-business casual and NOT a tie-died t-shirt with terrycloth shorts. Wardrobe is at least 75% of parenting credibility - sense of humor, haircut, and body weight make up the other 45% and this lady was a failure to the nth. Had she hit Timmy on the side of the face while wearing slacks or jeans with pumps, I would have thought the little bugger deserved it. Instead, she made her first smack across the side of the poor kids face while her fupa, draped in purple, orange, and gold rubberbanded-Rit glory, was wrestling with a mass of plastic bags full of consumer goods in the back of an SUV. When she turned to make sure little TimTim was good and hit and damn scared, the look on her face broke all the security cameras and headlights in the parking lot. Car alarms went off, glass shattered and fell on red plastic shopping carts and made the sound of sixteen hobbits asking in a rhythmic whisper, “have you ever seen a face so ugly? have you ever seen someone so fat?” And I wondered what the three year old did to get cold-clocked by his jumbo momma and I saw him crying and noticed his orange drool and then the answer came to me: Timmy ate a piece of candy. And from the looks of his mother, she is supposed to get ALL the candy.
After she emptied the shopping cart she focused her attention on emptying the face of her criminal son. My view was partially eclipsed by an ass large and true as the bumper of a Suburban, but I still saw little Timmy’s face transform from innocent tot to Lemonhead posterboy under the unbridled wrath of her ferocious face-pinch. She could have squeezed China up from the Memphis earth with the way her thumb raked into his cheek I tell ya and it still wasn’t enough, she had still not produced any proof. So she used the sausagey pointer finger on her other hand to scoop out a small, wet orange ball of candy. She scooped and flung it out across the parking lot in one pissed-off-to-holyhell swipe, leaving Timmy with a tear-wet, abuse-red perplexed face watching the coral cannonball sail across twenty car lengths, though a cracked window in a honda four-door, and into the lap of a belted-in tyke named Teddy. Who grabbed the treat, showed it to his mom in the front seat and popped it in his mouth.
They drove off but no one could hear because Timmy was crying and his mom was overdoing her point by screaming about how she already told him something about not doing something and no one stopped to tell her if she was so good telling him stuff then maybe he wouldn’t have to get pinched in the cheeks like that. I certainly didn’t. I thought for a minute to use some Flip video HD space to catch the live drama but thought better of it because I kind of think I have TMJ and can’t have people pinching at my face in the cheek/jaw area – why risk it. So I just sent a telepathic sympathy message to the kid: “Sorry lil Timmy, thems the breaks. Shouldn’t have been born to a bad mommy. What were you thinking?”
I took a bus full of delta elders on up to Little Rock for a day full of tourist fun on Friday. Our tour guide met us at our first museum stop sweating in a wrinkly golf shirt and texting on his cell phone. His professional guided tour was focused mainly on the following historical topics; the double-decker McDonalds where Clinton used to run to get his Egg McMuffin, how well he (the tour guide) takes care of his three babies, and the problem with all the deadbeat baby daddies today. It was a very authentic Arkansas tour. My crew was clapping and ummm-hmmming for him. I think they would have been happy having lunch back in West Helena at the Burger Shack but it’s good that we spread some sunshine around the state capitol and, besides, now I can confirm that Bill Clinton is in the Arkansas Black Hall of fame:
I was at one of my working-people-strip-mall lunch joints sitting by myself in a booth when two ladies (ladies meaning middle-aged gals pushing all the buttons in Ann Taylor Loft cardigans) sat in the booth next to mine and exchanged fun gift bags for whatever occasion they were celebrating (the new SATC movie? I do not know). Then they prayed. Prayed and gave sincere thanks for the blessed seven dollar lunch and their blessed lives and their divine luckiness and the sacred spirit that consecrated their gift bags and the holiness that they share in their friendship and their blessed certainty of not burning in hell.
Then, naturally, the discussion shifted to Facebook and texting. I’m testifying here that the conversation went from prayer to gossip in half a bite of a burritto. I would write exactly what they said for the sake of entertainment but I didn’t catch it all - I’m pretty sure it was just, “Facebooked…facebook..texted me… texted her…then facebooked….then texted. ..toxic people…oprah…facebook.”
The day before and nearly a hundred miles south on the riv over in Arkansas I was at the Burger Shack because they claim to have the best coke* in town when a gal (meaning skinny old woman in jeans with smoking wrinkles) came in and asked for a bag of ice. The worker grabbed a plastic bag and took the big metal scoop from the ice machine and started filling it up while the gal took out her checkbook and scribbled out a check for a dollar twenty-nine. The whole thing went down like they had done this before many times. Like there was a cash register slot for small checks.
Such are the midday habits of gals and ladies.
*Note: It was a delicious Coke but I think that the check writing gal is on to something and the secret is in the ice.
B is back and he bought me a note card set, a bracelet, and a Sprinkles cupcake bake kit. So obviously I forgave him for leaving me alone for a week to deal with the boxes, slow heating shower, and the At&t Uverse/CIA Surveillance people (they have been to our new place five times). I did tell him the cupcake kit was positively worthless unless we had brightly colored mixing bowls so we went to Williams and Sonomoa and filled that gap too. My life is complete. For now. I do still have to work.
Forget the money, there are many meaningful differences between my old corporate/sales job and my new office/nonprofit job. In a good sales job, your company will send you an inspirational book (and maybe an ipod) every month or so -- stuff like Zig Ziggler and Spin Sales and Who Moved My Cheese and all other kinds of books made out of those posters with pictures of eagles and waterfalls and single words like “courage” and “endurance”. All of my coworkers had florescent white teeth and a pre-programmed conversation about how they just “love to learn” and how they even go so far as to “learn one new thing a day.” At first I thought, who needs to verbalize this sh*t? What are we going to talk about next? Stepping outside of the box? Thinking creatively? But now I understand – they are not to be blamed. Once you learn that learning is marketable, therefore desirable, its like lip plumper or a full bleed business card.
So can I help it if I have carried over my own undeclared, unselfconscious love of learning new things to my southern-state-paced non-profit job?
Today on my drive to work I learned that there is an old cemetery (with a name that seems to be missing vowels) on Airways that I never noticed before AND there are two small patches of bamboo near my beloved industrial park. Bamboo can grow three fet in a day! Those patches could have been planted two days ago! I also learned that Jello cups can have as little as ten calories no matter the flavor, the Mississippi River raised eight feet this weekend, my officemate doesn’t do movies, and there is a new tv series staring everyones favorite Scientologist skater as an Elvis Impersonating Memphis cop.
What did you learn today?
A wise old bluesman once told me (in a documentary video) that if you in a hurry, you in a hurry to die.
I found that out many times over last week, and it is a miracle that I lived to write. If you rush around, terrible things will happen, like you will open a door on your foot or lock yourself out of your house or sign up for the Army or smack a neighbor in the face or pick a bad ice cream flavor.
The other day I wrote of the memories triggered by sound. Today I tell the tale of memories triggered by scent. The smell of Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Shampoo reminds me of being in Jamaica when I was 12. Drakkar Noir reminds me of my first dozen (or so) boyfriends. Coconut reminds me of happy sunny beach times (ages 10-present). Burnt oil over gasoline and dirt sends me back to the Livingston County Figure 8s. Jasmine and Honeysuckle remind me of the hilly walk to Dodger games. And the smell of hospital gowns reminds me of terrible horrible smelly barfy times.
I had to put on a gown yesterday (to get an ultrasound of veins in my arm) and as soon as I lifted the shapeless country-kitchen-hued fabric to my body I smelled it – the smell of high-pressure industrial rinse, alcohol swabs, latex gloves, and the remainder scent of hundreds of sick bodies trapped in flocked cotton. Ooooh eeeww. What a smell. I nearly tossed my cookies on the spot. It’s a good thing the ultrasound tech was an anti-social mute - I had something to focus my hatred on. Her makeup was the icing on a hostess cupcake. The yellow ones.
Turns out my veins are full of red gold and everything is pumping like an oil rig in the Gulf so I continue on my path to eventually getting institutionalized for phantom migraine auras with no known cause. At the very least I take comfort in knowing that you can wear your own pajamas (and not hospital gowns) in most looney bins.
Another thing on my mind is the upsurge in people riding in the backs of pick-up trucks now that the weather has gone from sunny to fire. Save full exposure for hayrides or convertible Miatas people. It is uncomfortable to get caught at a red light or in thick traffic behind a bunch of dudes looking right at you, truly worse than a school bus full of teens traveling from a band competition. Teens are easy, you can ignore them or toss your hair or flip them off or wave your Chauncey Billups bobblehead out the window so they will have something to text about for days. The white t-shirted dudes in the back of a F-150 are another story. Their only interest is leering and they don’t care who knows it, “I’m standing up in the back of a pick-up truck – yeah- whacha gonna do bout it. Might do some lawn work. Might have a drank.” You know the look. It’s the look of early summer in Memphis.
Ernie Harwell passed away while I was catching up on Gossip Girl. That is a shame. He hasn’t broadcasted a game for years but that changes nothing - his voice is the sound of everything I (and probably a few million other Michiganders) remember about being young; summertime living, lakes, horseshoes, drives home from the grandparents, getting shushed by my father, bless you boys-ing, crackling AM radio, pop-up campers, and Kirk Gibson.
I took the D90 for a walk today. I really wanted to get pictures of people and their dogs (particularly people walking around holding little plastic bags of their pet’s doo – that kills me!) but I only had time to get used to the camera's easy-peasy settings – so I stuck to street trash and trees – taking one picture with the fancy camera and one with my little snapper, a three-year-old Lumix DMC-FX3. Here are my findings:
Socks Found in Street
The Nikon on top and the lil Lumix on the bottom:
Scraggy Magnolia Tree (Pre-Blossom)
And a Lil Blossom
Nikon on the left, Lil Lumix on the right.