Thoughts as I scan the bus for sex

October 29, 2008
Chinese lady I vacillate on; she slides in the seat in front of me; sits. Asian, Chinese, a plus right off the bat. She wiggles out of a dark gray coat, fringed on neck with sharp gray fake fur. The body, rail thin, nice. Very nice. Peach sweater; creamy, hugging her boniness. Her thighs must be exquisite; the tendon must poke through the skin high up the thigh. An extreme turn on. The face, though; rather protruded mouth and teeth, too boyish; androgynous, but not in the way I like. Too much of my mother in that face, somehow. Could not make love to that body staring into that face. She’s a non-starter.
Her Chinese friend boards. Far more rounded face, mouth recessed. This is better. She smiles at the other and makes straight for the seat. She is directly in front of me. Black braided ponytail flaps over seat, inches from me. My face catches the breeze. Curiously I smell nothing, not even a light oiliness. Middle-aged, still retains some youth. Soft face fighting wrinkles, mostly winning except high on the neck. I know this problem. Some freckling. Some weariness. Average body. Could be good. Friendly, slightly addled maybe. Spoke to this woman for the first time last Friday (it is Monday now); a rainy morning. Rain starts conversations. Place was a bus station shelter; both of us waiting on transfer ride. “You ride your bike?” Not in the cold rain, I say. Summer rain, yes. She works where I do, she confirms. Enthusiasm seems overshadowed by preoccupation; or maybe a communication gap. She struggles with English. I struggle to hear. I nod as if understanding. I don’t. Don’t know if there’s a vibe. She spoke to me first, so maybe there is. Don’t care much, I guess.
Older red-headed lady boards; always sits near front in perpendicular row of seats. Catty-corner to me today; affords nice view of her. Tallish, lanky. Bony. Not old, per se; a hint of Desperate Housewives in her. Always provocative shoes with her. She likes shoes, I know; remarked last week on the leopard print pattern on the ancient woman’s shoes. She liked them. So did I. The ancient woman did not ride today; very erratic appearances by her. Too bad, I like her, smeared lipstick, greasy face and all. Could be her gigolo if she had the cash. So the redhead’s shoes today are pointed black boots; very hot. Really tiny points, long tapering. Red hair, darkish, slightly unruly, matted with spray; hardish. Business-like bearing. Black skirt. Dark red nail polish. Thin, lovely fingers. Not long, not wrinkled, soft. Hand model hands. Face thin, nose thin, lips average atop slightly jutting chin. Blue eyes; blue eyes and red hair. Unusual, fascinating. Balding a bit at the parted hair, white scalp drowns out the lingering strands. Betrays age. She reads through delicate frames; blueish-tinted frames, complements her eyes. Jowlish on neck, though. Could lose this; probably unable. Can’t be helped.
Would I? With her? Probably.
Men in back, the usual group, talking loudly. Well, just one—the opinion leader. Thinnish man with golden wire specks, light voice projects well. 60, 50; he counts down the likely trajectory of oil barrel cost. AIG, rated triple A, he exclaims, who saw that coming? He wonders. Manly talk. Very important.
Much blowing of noses today. Curiously, I haven’t this problem.
Last stop before the expressway. The big boned tall brunette. The one with the baggy tired eyes she tries to cement over with makeup. Hands and face made of Styrofoam. Odd complexion, texture. Not appealing. But her sadness draws me. Hair brownish with red hints, medium length. Smart enough, doted over, but accidental enough to appeal. Pudginess hinted all over, but mostly in hands and face. Solidly built lady, not overweight though. Face canine somehow, St. Bernardish, There’s a jowl but it’s solid, not turkeyish. Seems natural with her face, somehow. Not unattractive, this lady, but something transvestite-like about her. Mannish; the beefy jaws and hands emphasize… Much eyeliner on brow to emphasize femininity. Everything on the face slightly mannish somehow, yet unmistakably feminine. I wonder if she knows? Smartly dressed. Turtleneck sweater top, black. Pearlish necklace (more than one?) A lapel pin or delicate broach, perhaps, affixed over breastplate. Can’t tell, obscured by pearls. Large ring on left hand, a blueish stone in a hefty gold mount. She clasps a tissue in those stubby, mannish Styrofoam hands. She sits next to the redhead. They do not speak; they are not friends. Both business-like ladies. Both weary. I feel for them. I want to let them know it’s OK. Maybe they know better.
She rests her left arm on a smart little black purse. Can I see a gator-skin texture on it? Not sure. The handle rests down on her hard light tan skirt. The skirt stops above large knees. Her knees out, and below the bend a tantalizing few inches of a muscular, tannish lower leg. They rise out of high black boots. Stiletto-type heels, pointed toes. All of this very intoxicating. Could stare at this for the whole trip, and longer.
She grasps a metal rail with her right hand while the other rests on the purse. She crosses her legs. Too much. Skirt hikes up on beefy hard thigh. She knows, yanks it down a bit. She thinks, stares at nothing but her thoughts. Looks up, then down. Seems dissatisfied. Her mouth seems lazy, lips pursed. Have never seen her smile, I realize. I feel for her.
I vacillate on her. Would I? Probably.
I now think of a Venus-like quality to her face; stalwart, like something on a coin or bill, or Brigitte Helm. But looser, flabbier. That Styrofoam quality undoes it. She rouges over it, slightly too much.
-Evan

Still on hiatus, a brief update

October 23, 2008

Your ole pal Gravy has been swimming with the tide lately, sopping up life’s drippings on my rickety, flimsy fragile liferaft, inadequate perhaps to the task of navigation. It’s going to be awhile longer before I can get back to this business of blogging. My life continues to be in tumult; the gravy makes for thick wading. I’m moving ahead, but the high viscosity is a challenge. Divorce looms and a rebound romance has failed, but there are other lovely people who’ve gained my eyes, ears and maybe my heart. And my existing friendships have strengthened. Everyone I know is getting the whole story, and they all have advice. I listen, and let the ideas bounce around, making echo sounds off my inner skull, because my brain has turned to mush and can’t absorb them too very well. I’m a dreamer and I hope. Romance is all that matters to me right now. All very interesting, and all very time consuming. But hey, at least it’s life, moreso than blogging, and lots more interesting, yes?

-Evan


A Frivolous Posting About Kleenex

August 19, 2008

It’s a time of great jubilation ’round the office. Snot has its best friend back—Kleenex. Yep, for about four months our office underwent draconian cost-cutting measures and hygienic tissues were the first to go (the toilet paper, such as it is, was spared). Apparently money was found in the budget to bring back this great American invention. I know, as an environmentalist type, I should be appalled by the very existence of Kleenex: cut down trees and make snot rags out of them that, once used, go right back into the waste stream. I will say that, having been without them for so long, my usage of them has decreased, sort of the same way that car drivers adapted and cut back on gas usage when the cost rocketed above $4 a gallon.
I know what some of you are thinking: an employer has no obligation to provide nose wipes to its staff. But once something is expected, its taking away does seem a slight – a lowering of the quality of life; yet another cutback in a series of morale-lowering indignities. The funny thing was that people simply shifted their nose blowing from the Kleenex to paper towels in the public kitchen and toilet paper in the restroom, so I don’t know if any real cost savings was realized by the absence of Kleenex. Anyway, welcome back old friend of my disposable society. -EG


Another Cat Posting Nobody Cares About

August 14, 2008

I take a lot of pix of my cat Abby because A.) I thinks she’s damned adorable and B.) She’s a pretty easygoing subject. By relying on natural light instead of the flash I’ve gotten her to not be afraid of the camera—and the pictures look better. I’ve got a lot of pix of her, but for now I’m posting these few only, mainly just to see how they look online. Ah, the life of sleeping, eating, shitting and being loved on. -EG


An Orgy of Tomato Goodness as the Garden Comes a Cropper

August 13, 2008

Fresh tomatoes in abundance adorn my daily table. This is my best crop ever. Fresh salsa and tomato-laden entrees are nightly dinner fare. After the backbreaking initial work and the tenacious nurturing the rewards of growing one’s own are many. I’ve been making sandwiches and tortilla wraps with Boca spicy organic chicken patties and combos of my own garden tomatoes, peppers and store-bought lettuce, ranch dressing and cheese. My fresh salsa recipe is simple: cut up a medium-sized tomato and supplement with a couple of grape tomatoes to add a tinge of sweetness, cut up a little onion (I only had some dried onion lately, as the pix attest, but they will do), cut up some of my home-grown jalapeno peppers, add a little black pepper and some cilantro (dried will do)—and that’s it. This is pretty basic, but the freshness can’t be beat, and the chunkiness and texture differ from the slimy store-bought stuff. Note that I had to use a champagne flute for my Sauvignon blanc because I finally broke the last of my wine glass set. Anyway here are some pix from some healthy, low-fat meals of the past few days. -EG


What Do You Discuss at the Water Cooler When the Water Cooler’s Contaminated?

August 11, 2008

What you’re seeing here is the aftermath of an inconsiderate bitch—the water cooler equivalent to Seinfeld‘s infamous double dip. She evidently mixes Kool-Aid in an empty spring water bottle and the purple Kool-Aid residue left inside the bottleneck after she has consumed it manages to get transferred straight onto the public water cooler spigot when she goes to refill her water bottle by sticking her bottleneck up and around the spigot—thus contaminating the water dispenser for everybody in the entire building who uses the cooler. And this picture roughly shows what it looks like. I tried to get a better picture, but was rushed and did not want to be seen taking it. In essence, this woman may as well have stuck her tongue and lips up to the water dispenser and started sucking directly off it. We get to taste her lovely germs either way. And the thought that it comes from this particular skank’s maw makes it even more nauseating.

-EG


The Valid Response You Entered is Not Valid; or, WTF is with the Louisville Free Public Library Automated Phone?

August 9, 2008

The Louisville Free Public Library has a cool service that informs you by automated phone call or email when a requested book has arrived at a branch for pickup. But when you try to end the call, you get the following weirdness:

Library robot: “Press 9 to end this call.”

Me: (Presses 9 on phone).

Library robot: “That is not a valid response.”

Huh?

-EG


Good Ole Fun With the Relatives in Fern Creek; or, Am I Really Related to These People?

August 7, 2008

This whole thing is going to sound insufferably snooty, as any story that leads off using the word “insufferably” inevitably must.

The thing is, I was pretty much dragged by my mother to a family reunion this past Sunday, gathering together those on her side of the family, of which she is now the patriarch, the oldest living survivor. There would be no avoiding this. Whatever else may have been on my calendar for that Sunday was worse than secondary – it was stricken from the record.

So I met with distant aunts and uncles and cousins several steps removed from my ability to remember, faces that in some cases I recognized but could not put names to, many of them layered with a new coating of shopworn leather wrinkles.

I mostly sat and watched heavyset adults and kids splash around in a nice big pool, while family cliques grouped off in comfortable familiarity to eat and yak. And NASCAR was revved up on the big screen TV in the basement, to one side of the NASCAR paraphernalia on wooden and glass shelves. If there was a book of any consequence to be found in this house, I never spotted it.

These were my kin, my blood, residing in a part of town that, however clean and groomed most of Fern Creek is, gets the bad rap in Louisville as the stomping ground of barbarian rednecks. That, of course, is not fair, but my overeducated, superior-feeling ass could only see in the lives of my relatives too much evidence to support the stereotype.

They were all courteous and harmless; conversations remained safe and dull. I was no help, but neither did I hinder things. I sat and ate the grub offered, happy that there was plenty enough to offset the lack of a vegan main course. Lots of bratwurst, hot dogs and cheeseburgers went uneaten. In my carnivorous days, I could have polished off at least a couple of those.

The highlight of the day, for me anyway, was when one of my distant aunts and uncles picked up one of the empty bottles of Shiner Bock I had consumed and placed on a table near them. The party was BYOB, and this slightly upscale hefeweizen was what I had chosen to bring along. The way everyone looked at it made me feel like Cinderella in rags at the ball. This was the land where watery, aluminum-tinged Bud Light ruled. “That ain’t one of those beers that’ll put hair on your chest, is it?” asked one uncle. “Well,” says I, “since I already have hair on my chest I don’t have to worry about it.” Another distant uncle picked it up and stared at it, quizzically, eyebrows furrowed in a sort of uncomprehending, baffled, slightly distressed attitude. He passed it to a distant aunt who did the same, holding it up and looking at it, like the early man in 2001: A Space Odyssey trying to figure out new uses for a bone.

I immediately was reminded of that scene in The Gods Must Be Crazy where the Kalahari man picks up the Coke bottle thrown from an airplance and wonders what the hell it is. I mentioned this to my sister, and she laughed.

Is it fair to say I’ve outgrown these people, or merely grown differently? But no, one would have to grow, period. I couldn’t see any evidence of it in their cases, and saying so here makes me sound like an arrogant upstart who’s gotten above his raisin’.

And that makes me feel guilty, but it also makes me confused. I want to be sociable, genial, open to the experiences and lives of others. But I can’t help but be judgmental, elitist. That’s just the way it is.

So, maybe my relatives are bigger than me because I doubt they harbored such corrosive, cynical, jaded, unhealthy thoughts.

And that might mean that maybe I can learn something from them. Maybe we look at each other like we would strange Coke bottles fallen from the sky.

-EG


The Fix is In – Soaring Winter Heat, 2008; or, Just Who Says So? And If We Know So Much Now, Why is Nobody Acting to Avert It?

August 6, 2008

Here we are in the summer of 2008 and already at mid-year, the local and national news has been fed the directives from its corporate masters and informed us that winter 2008-2009 will be appallingly expensive if you, as a human being who needs to avoid freezing to stay alive, want to heat your home. So, I want to know, who told them this? Where has this information come from? Which executives sat down and decided that home heating will be expensive this winter? Give me some names! Who are they? How do they know so far in advance what is going to happen? The media never tells us. We’re just told that the word comes somewhere from on high, so get used to it and tough shit if you don’t like it. History tells us in times of heavy speculation, prices soar. Guess what’s a popular commodity for speculation right now? That’s right, oil and gas. The fix is in folks. Let’s see if the corporate-owned politicians in either of the corporate-owned political parties will do anything about it when it hits. And, since we already know so much in advance, why is nothing being done these many months in advance to stop, avert, or ease the situation, or ensure fairly priced energy to average citizens? We have several months to take actions, but instead we’re just told we have several months to brace ourselves. Last winter, people had to borrow money to heat their homes, or got so far behind in their payments that they’re still playing catch up. Why are basic necessities that used to be manageable, marginal expenses in the monthly family budget, like heating and health care, now luxuries affordable only by Rockefeller types? The more deregulation we’ve gotten, the higher things have gone—which completely puts the lie to all the BS right-wing promises. Old people and families will freeze this winter, but that’s OK; it’s the free market, after all, and that’s the highest good to which we can aspire. Right? Remember when those Enron energy managers were overheard on an infamous telephone tape laughing at making a killing by shutting off power plants so that California’s grandmothers would have to pay out the ass for electricity? It’s happening again, folks. And what kind of answers do we get from apologists for this kind of system? None, just the usual nonsolutions, defense of the energy status quo and tired diversionary epithets: “Communist!” “Socialist!” “Whaddya want companies to give the energy away for nuthin’?” So, just what kind of fucking country and world is this becoming? Who runs the law in this country, corporations or citizens? Congress can pass a price cap in two seconds if we all demand it. But that won’t happen because we know who really runs the country. The Boston Tea Party looms; the warm cushy mansions harboring the fat and satisfied few will be invaded; the revolution is coming folks, and I’m there. -EG

Home Energy Prices Are Expected to Soar (at New York Times) http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/06/business/06fuel.html?ref=business


See How He Uses a Spanner to Tighten That Nut; or How to Change a Worn Out Bicycle Pedal

August 5, 2008

In a world where all men are superheroes and the norm is to walk around town wearing your Superman suit, there is one among them who, unknown to all, has a secret. At a moment’s notice and at the beckon call of distressed cyclists everywhere, one of our supermen can secretly and swiftly transform himself into his seemingly banal alter ego: Bicycle Repair Man. Wearing ordinary work duds and meek and mild in appearance and manner, he goes about the task of fixing broken-down bikes, to the astonishment of all the superheroes who’ve gathered around. “Why, he’s mending it with his own hands!” exclaims one. “See how he uses a spanner to tighten that nut!” cries another. In the land of supermen, it seems, the ability to affect simple bike repair is an Herculean ability that eludes them.

His job complete, Bicycle Repairman rises from his stooped work position and confidently snorts up a loogie in throat-lumping pride as he walks off triumphantly. “All in a day’s work for … Bicycle Repair Man,” he states, with perhaps a slight sense of false humility. Another good deed for mankind achieved.

Bicycle Repair Man is the twisted creation of Michael Palin and the Monty Python’s Flying Circus troupe, one of my favorite skits from the classic British comedy show. Unfortunately, I can’t call upon this guy whenever my bike suffers critical structural distress. It’s either shell out the $30 and leave my bike in a shop for a week to work its way through the ever worsening repair schedule backlog, or do the darn thing me-self. As most repairs aren’t major, I most often opt for the latter – and learn a new skill or two in the process.

After three years of continuous, vigorous use, my Schwinn 26″ Ranger mountain bike finally saw its pedals reach the end of their useful lives. The left pedal had completely failed – the outer plastic shell had cracked open to the point that its inner metal shaft was exposed and sticking out, causing the pedal to start drifting away from the crank arm and making for a very loose foot grip. The same process had begun on the right pedal, though not to such an advanced state. In any case, this was a very hazardous situation that needed correction.

Walmart had the goods: a pair of generic Bell bike pedals in the $6 – $7 range for both (though I really had to hunt for them among all the detritus on the bottom floor shelf that had fallen off the hooks above, seemingly undisturbed for months by any attempts at straightening up by store personnel).

The gist here is that bike pedal repair would seem simple, but is not so much. Screw off the old pedals and screw on the new ones, right? Well, not so fast, Bucko! It was actually a bit harder than expected, so let me lead you through the process. All told, this process took me about an hour.

What you will need:

* WD-40
* typically a 5/8ths inch spanner (open end of a solid wrench; forget about trying this with an adjustable wrench – it doesn’t work; bike shops have a special wrench for this, but I don’t have one and you probably don’t either)
* a mallet (yes you will have to do some pounding; barring that, a hammer should do)
* soap and water to clean your greasy hands when finished.

The old rule, “lefty to loosen, righty to tighty” is not necessarily true with pedal removal and installation, so chuck the idea out the window. The right and left pedals are threaded in different directions, so pay close attention.

The left pedal (that is, the pedal on the left that you would see if you were sitting on your bike and looking down) is the one that presents the most difficulty. This pedal is loosened to the right, or backward toward the tire (clockwise); this is counterintuitive to the usual wisdom. And I can guarantee you the pedal’s interior metal shaft will be screwed so tightly into the crank arm that it will seem to be fused solid; seemingly impossible to unloosen.

Step one: Spray WD40 into the pedal screw-in area on both sides of the crank arm (do this for both pedals), and go into the cool house for 15 minutes and eat or do something else while the loosening, lubricating action takes place. This cannot be hurried along.

Step two: Lay the bicycle down on a solid surface. The crank arm will want to turn clockwise as you are trying to unscrew the pedal in the same direction, which makes for a clumsy grip. You will have to improvise here on how to stabilize the crank arm from turning. I used part of one leg to stop the crank arm action and used the other leg to keep the rest of the bike from moving around.

Step three: Take the 5/8ths inch spanner (I assume this is a common size) and grip the screw end of the pedal shaft at the crank arm and start pulling clockwise. If nothing is happening, pound the spanner with the mallet and try not to hit your hand as you hold the spanner in place (which I, unfortunately, managed to do once). After about 6 poundings I finally got the thing to loosen.

Step four: Do the same procedure on the right pedal except follow the old adage “lefty to loosen” (counterclockwise).

Step five: Install the new pedals. your new pedals will either be of one piece and will fit right into the crank arm threads or will come with an adapter piece that first screws into the crank arm (with the pedal screwing into the adapter). Mine was of the latter type, with the adapter. IMPORTANT: do not screw in the pedal or adapter until you make sure you are using the left and right pedals and adapters. The threading direction differs on both, so make sure you check for “R” and “L”, which should be marked in the outer edges of the adapter or pedal. Remember again that the rules about threading direction that applied when loosening the old pedals still apply when screwing in the new ones. If you have to force the things in or notice that the pedals or adapters are not gripping the threads, then you are probably screwing the wrong way. Duh!

The results of this repair/replacement is that I have pedals that—because of the adapter piece—stick out a little farther than my old one-piece pedal mounting assembly did. Nonetheless, a test drive proved that it all felt right. It was certainly better than trying to turn a loose and crumbling pedal.

I can’t vouch for the longterm durability of the Bell pedals, and if you want to get fancy schmancy on style and price and such then you might want to explore your options further at a bike shop. But I didn’t have time to do this, the emergency called for quick action and I bought the first pair I saw. The Bell set says right on the package that it will fit on vitually all bikes. And in this case the claim was true.

Anyway, it’s all in a day’s work for … Bicycle Rapairman (snorts prideful loogie, spits).

-EG