Tag Archives: Southern Indiana

It Just Slippered My Mind

9 Jun

                    The other day when I got out of the car going into  Barnes & Noble’s   I was appalled  to see that I was wearing a slipper on one  foot and a shoe on the other. I immediately thought of the All in the Family episode in which Archie Bunker told the   story of how he was so poor as a child that he had to wear one old boot and one worn shoe to school.   All the other kids teased him–  calling him Shoebooty.  There I was– Slipshoey.

                    For me just thinking about something has become the  equivalent of doing it. When I think about something I plan to do,  it seems as if I already did it and my thoughts get stored like a real memory. 

                  Evidently I was distracted while changing shoes.  I was only glad that  none of our   children were around to witness this, since it would have been conclusive proof that I had completely  lost my mind, as they have long suspected.  Wearing one slipper in public would be the final nail in  the coffin of my credibility.

                  When they were little they would ask me all sorts of  questions and considered me the fount of all knowledge and wisdom.   Now they regard me as completely clueless and  ignore any of  my advice,  while completely subscribing to any claptrap they find on the internet or hear from one of their peers. Even when they think I might actually  know something, they say,  “Just leave your expertise at the door.” I know this arrogance of youth  helps them establish  an independent  identity, but they still seem a little too eager to abandon me on some ice floe.

              When I noticed the two different shoes, I considered staying  in  the car, but I really wanted to look at   books, so I told my wife, Diane that  I was going to pretend that I had a sprained ankle.  I limped around Barnes & Nobles, taking pains to never look  at my shoes and  occasionally giving a subtle grimace.  I am fairly proficient at limping. I learned to do this convincingly at  high school football practice, just in case our coach was in one of his frequent  foul moods and was looking for someone to take a an extra lap.  

           Having one dark brown slipper and one light brown shoe was like wearing two different colored socks.  When comedian Steven Wright was asked why his socks didn’t match,   he said they did,  because  he went by  thickness instead of color.   

            Such faux pas  are  pretty common for me.  Like the time in high school I discovered the macho green beret I was wearing came from my sister’s old Girl Scout uniform or a few years ago  when I went to an important meeting wearing my sweater inside out. I may not be  Einstein, but I  do occasionally dress like him.

             Regarding embarrassing shoe mishaps, back in the days when we were young and poor,  we attended a church where you had to kneel  at the altar railing during communion. In this position  the rest of the congregation  could get a good gander at the bottom  of your shoes. It seemed like  this  would always happen on the Sundays when I was wearing my only pair of dress shoes— ones  that had a noticeable hole. Evidently all was not well with my sole. I would be anxious during the whole service and  tried, without  success,  to edge out a couple of old ladies,  so I could get to the side railing to decrease my potential audience.

            I suppose I do need to pay more attention to things.  Just the other day I  lost my wallet, again. This usually happens just as we are about to go out the door. Then I wish I was able to call my wallet,  like I do my cell phone,   when I misplace it. After the usual five minute of  hysteria, I finally found it–  in the washing machine. Our kitchen table is still cluttered  with ID cards, dollar bills, scraps of paper, and unreadable debit card receipts that are drying out.  

                Diane (Miss Perfect) is always warning me to check my pockets. I graciously  do not mention the numerous occasions she has left her purse somewhere,  or the time  it was mailed back to us in a bright red and white three-piece box, from a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant  inSpringfield,Illinois. Everything was intact. Miss Perfect certainly lives a charmed existence at times.

             I’ve been thinking  about the Barnes and Noble fiasco and maybe I should just give up and wear some of those bright yellow Crocks®  all the time.

 

Motel Indiana

26 Mar

                   I’m staying in Indianapolis for a conference and I’m wondering why they held meeting this at a hotel so close to the airport. Nobody is actually flying in to attend it and according to my calculations a window-rattling flight takes off approximately every seven minutes. I have enough trouble sleeping away from home. I should have suspected something was up, when I saw the compact disc player next to the bed with a special CD that played relaxing sounds. There were also sleep tips printed on the CD jacket and it came with a little pouch containing ear plugs and an eyeshade. It seems like our rooms always have something wrong with them, like noisy air conditioners or toilets that overflow.

                Once coming back from picking our youngest son up at college, we stopped at one of the low cost national chain motels. The AC was so loud, I had to ask for another room. I always feel embarrassed and am not very assertive in such situations, but the noise was unbearable. We moved to a new room down the hall, that was quieter, but a few minutes after we hauled in our suitcases, I noticed something usual high on the wall. After studying it a while we determined it was a live bat, so I had to tramp back down to the front desk to beg for yet another room.

                       When I first came to southern Indiana several years ago, I stayed in a motel for a couple of weeks, while we tried to sell our house in Florida. We were economizing, so the accommodations were far from luxurious. I remember that for entertainment there was cable television and domestic disputes in the parking lot. The cabled tended to fade in and out, but the fighting was pretty much nonstop. When the cable would go on the fritz I could play “Name that Stain” as the carpet was a veritable Rorschach of undeterminable splotches. I was afraid to walk around the place barefoot, so I always put my shoes back on whenever I got out of the shower. I laughably had what was called a “no smoking room” and occasionally I would walk out to the nearby highway for a breath of fresh air. Once I found a cigarette butt actually tucked into the sheet. I believe the “no smoking” referred to fact that the room was not actually on fire when I moved in. I also had to change rooms after the large bathroom mirror fell off the wall scattering minute glass particles all over the room. Dodging the shards, I felt like Bruce Willis in Die Hard, trying to maneuver so I could get to the phone to report the disaster. Scott, the unfortunate teenager the office sent over to clean up the broken glass, said that a new mirror usually cost $55. Evidently they replaced quite of few of them in this establishment. I was impressed as Scott seemed very experienced handling hazardous materials. The night manager, a tough and dangerous looking girl of about 19, skeptically accepted my story that the mirror just fell off the wall, and moved me to another room without a hassle. Scott said they were probably just happy that I didn’t have my next-of-kin suing the place for negligent decapitation.

                     According to Scott, who was a fount of information regarding vandalism, a new front window ran $330. He said a trucker, a few doors down from me, had recently broken one by flinging a hammer at his partner, an ingrate who had the audacity to duck. Afterwards the trucker staggered over to the office and slapped down four one hundred-dollar bills, like he had been through this drill before and it was an everyday room service charge. I was happy to switch rooms. In my old room everytime some motel guest would dial an 800 phone number my phone would ring. I got calls all night long since most of the motel clientele was unable to grasp the “dial 9 first for an outside line” concept.

                        In my new room the phone was completely inoperative, which was fine with me. I was also glad to get away from my neighbor. He was a man about thirty years old, with a week’s growth of beard, and dark sunglasses, who would squat barefoot in front of his door smoking cigarettes for hours at a time. I didn’t mind the smoking, but all that squatting and those bare feet started to creep me out. I quickly learned it is best not to look inside other people’s motel rooms as you pass by. My neighbor’s room, for example, resembled the high cluttered van of a serial killer on the lamb. After I was there a week or so I decided that it was too risky to use the motel laundry room. First I had to walk by “squatty” on the way over there, and on one visit I was accosted by a guy trying to sell some kind of super duper cleaning fluid for $40 a bottle. Before I could stop him, he sprayed the fluid on one of my tennis shoes. Unfortunately it worked so well, that my shoes no longer matched. I wasn’t about to pay forty bucks to clean the other shoe, so I had to walk around for weeks with one gleaming white shoe and one yellowish grimy one. The funny thing was that my room wasn’t all that cheap. We ended up renting a pretty nice duplex apartment for much less money. There must be something I was missing. Perhaps they replaced the stale cinnamon pinwheel breakfast with Eggs Benedict and didn’t tell me, or maybe that was a piece of chocolate on my pillow, not a blood stain.

Learn all about the Floyd County Art Scene: Take Terry Stawar’s Current Events Quiz In Current Magazine (page 34)

27 May

http://www.branchsmith.com/eBook/CNHI/24222_CNHI/24222_CNHI/flash.html