Saturday, January 26, 2008

Overheard #10

Nurse: “My daughter’s husband is not into those weird names, so they named the baby Jimmy. I just love interesting names, though, and I think they should have been more adventurous."

Me: "What did you name your kids?"

Nurse: "Well, (sheepishly) I’ve got a Michael, Jennifer, and Regina. Now, Regina’s a little different I guess. My husband never was into those weird names either. But I did have fun with my dogs."

Me: "Yeah?"

Nurse: "Yeah. We’ve got Shakespeare, Molly, Abbie, and Budreaux."

Me: "Budreux?"

Nurse: "Yeah. Everyone who meets him wants to correct me and call him Boudreaux, but I say ‘No, it’s Budreaux.'"

--Yes. Technically, this isn't an Overheard. I am engaged in the exchange, not eavesdropping. But I'm continually amazed at what people tell me. Especially when they're taking my blood pressure.

On the Floor Under the Hill

There are books that have been, should be, and will be written about the Under the Hill Saloon in Natchez, Mississippi. It attracts me the way few other places have in my travels. It’s like a fine bottle of bourbon: Beautiful when capped. Pleasing to admire. Once opened and poured, it awakens, burns, brings laughter, and, in excess, darkness.

For this post, I’ll simply focus on a detail.

I didn’t ask the drummer his circumstances. Maybe he forgot to pack a stool. Maybe he packed it, but because the band was so crammed into the corner of this late 1700s-built bar, a stool couldn’t fit. Nevertheless, there he was, inches from the floor, camouflaged by his shirt and a Mardi Gras-ed Christmas tree.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Overheard #9**

Woman: "It's a shame you didn't bring your teeth."

Man: "Huh?"


--A couple I guess to be in their 70s. The three of us are the only customers at Desposito's, a little seafood dive on Isle of Armstrong, GA. The joint is known for steamed shrimp. Unfortunately for the man, however, they don't just melt in your mouth.

**my current favorite "Overheard"

Rules are Rules: Shell Mart, Dadeville, AL

I’m not sure what I love most about this sign. Imagining Management click the “Wanted" scroll template on her Print Shop program. Imagining her creative writing process. Did the message come to her while she sorted soft packs of Salems above her head? Did she self-edit while typing--choosing “male gender” to avoid redundancy? Did she believe that phrase lent weight? Authority?

Did she hold down Shift+1 six times--six exclamation points--pause, and decide on one more? For emphasis?

I assume Management is a she.

Why would a dude be that upset about Mens in the Womens room?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Overheard #8

"I don't know, Debbie. All I know is that when they pulled him over, he had a suspended license, and they took him in."

(Then, to a tall bearded man in a black cap)
"Hey, Wolfman, how's it goin'?"

(back into the phone)
"What? At the BP. Yeah, I just saw Wolfman."

--Right off I-16 near Tarversville, GA. I'd say this balding guy was in his mid-to-late 40s. I'd say Wolfman could have everything in my wallet.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Moral Lesson from the Quik-Pak Store

I only intended to photograph the hand-scrawled instructional note taped to the shelves at a convenience store near Afton, Oklahoma. But after looking at the picture, which included the movie Betrayal and the Napeez diapers, I realized I captured a symbolic image from which we can all learn: Infidelity plus the embarrassment of asking for protection leads to big responsibilities.

Overheard by Someone Else

A friend of mine in Virginia shared the following:

"Probably five years ago my son and I were at The Diamond in Richmond for a minor league baseball game. Not that we particularly cared, but the big attraction that night was Ted Giannoulas, the Famous Chicken from San Diego, who has entertained at baseball games for a several decades. Round about the seventh inning The Chicken began signing autographs seated at a table on the concourse and a long line soon formed. We were just sort of standing nearby observing when a family came walking by us. One of their children, a little girl, was crying about something, and her mother snapped.


But then she followed it up with this classic:

'Don't embarrass me in front of The Chicken!"

Poet Laureate of Damascus, VA

“I was farred yesterday.”
“Yeah, farred.”

Dennis needed a cigarette and a sympathetic ear. So when he wandered out to the back deck of the Old Mill Restaurant—a deck with tables overlooking the Laurel River, where dozens of ducks were paddling—he found an ash tray and me.

The details of his sacking were complicated. He had had surgery. His company expected him back, but his doctor hadn’t released him to work. There was a misinformed receptionist at the doctor’s office, and his boss had been out to take his job.

Although he was only drinking sweet tea, Dennis confessed that he was enjoying some nice painkillers. Without segue, he told me he was a poet and that his best poem was inspired by a log church and written for a girl he dated right after his divorce.

“I had thoughts,” he said and winked. “She didn’t have those thoughts. But I had those thoughts.” This poem was meant to soften her heart.

He recited it for me line by line.

I got Dennis to tell me where the church was—the Laurel Valley Community Church on Laurel Valley Road—and I drove out to it the next day. His poem was printed in fancy script and framed inside the vestibule.

“In a mountain meadow lies an old log church
Weathered and cracked with time
And through its doors have passed
Many lovers through the ages of time
Then one day two lovers appeared and walked down its aisle
And one stopped and asked, “Will you
be mine”
While the other whispered, “Till the end
of time.”
As they knelt before the alter
Their souls became as one
For they knew their love would last forever
Beyond the ages of time.”

Existential Musing at the Pittsburgh Airport

When we walk, we are walkers. But standing just happens to us. When we are spoonfed, are we eatees? Do Sunday VH-1 marathons make us watchees?