please stop tickling me

In which we laugh and laugh and laugh. And love. And drink.

My Photo
Location: Portland, Oregon

Otium cum Dignitatae

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

This is Never a Bad Idea

My very favorite scene in the movie version of "Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas" is where Dr. Thompson is sitting at the revolving bar in (what they just narrowly miss calling) Circus Circus, with a clown, and a chimp.
"Yep, this is where the magic happens," says the clown.
"But seriously," says Thompson, "How much for the monkey?

Or the scene in my own life, where I'm sitting with the owner of The Grand, who is both a scum-And-douchebag, as he describes his ongoing plan to corner the diamond market.
"You're crazy," I observe. "The entire industry is controlled by, I think, one maybe two families."
But this man is the owner of a bar in southeast Portland. His waitresses will openly talk about the fact that they had to blow the guy to get a job there, and how that was openly discussed as being the price of employment at their interview.
In short, king of all he observes, and to be taken seriously for the moment.

The scene, in short, is where you awaken, sort of, in the middle of a completely absurd situation, only sort of ask yourself-how the hell did I end up here?- and sort of roll with it, understanding that there isn't any better understanding to be had in town.

I'm walking through Vaseline Alley, coupla years ago, and I'm set upon by Tahn, who I tell that I'm sick as twelve dogs, and need to go buy some ibuprofen. She immediately locks into step with me, talking all the while.
We enter a drugstore, and as I'm looking for what I need, she is attracted to a particular display somebody put a lot of love into. It's a conical shelving unit, loaded down with generic pharmaceuticals, and surmounted with a giant, purple, stuffed elephant.
She starts pokin' at the damn thing, and I'm immediately distracted from my perusal. I'm already expecting something horrible to happen, as is the lady behind the counter, and the only one who is having a good time is Tahn, I suspect, as she keeps reaching for that damn...
"Tahn? Jesus-TAHN?" She manages to not only dislodge the purple stuffed elephant from its perch, but take a whole lot of pill bottles with it, in a big, embarrassing crash.
The lady is already upon us, as I'm trying to say 'sorry' through a swollen throat, and Tahn is saying, in this tiny Vietnamese voice, "i was just trying to see your...ted-dy..."
"IT'S AN ELEPHANT!" is what the counter lady has to say.

I know that one. It's where you say something since you're a little too in the moment, and nothing makes sense anyway. One day years ago when I worked at the hospital, I'm taking the stairs, as I only have one floor down to go, and yank real hard on the door...
dragging out, by one arm, this tiny Asian nurse, who had been trying to use selfsame door, and is briefly airborne. "I'm uh, sorry..." I said.
"The door's...Open." she responded.

Or years later, when I was washing dishes at a local eating establishment, and one of the waitresses comes in and puts down a plate covered in egg yolk. Being a dishwasher, I take the plate, rinse it and put it in the machine.
A few minutes later, she's back. "Where's my egg plate?", she demands.
I try to explain that the painfully obvious result of putting a dirty dish down next to the dishdog has occurred, and I couldn't have had any idea that there would be a problem with this, but...
No. She's off on some weird rant regarding her plans for the yolk-y dish, and how the hell could I have been so stupid-
"Don't call me talented!", she screams, "You don't even know me!"

Sometimes all it takes is walking into a house. One time I had the misfortune of walking into a house where the main entertainment seemed to be this girl I knew well enough to know that she wasn't mad at me or anything, and who had decided to begin our interaction that day by repeatedly slapping my face and yelling, "THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKIN' ABOUT!"
God, I hate American pop culture, I thought, but outwardly was trying to come to grips with what was actually happening to me. Was she angry? Did she, of all things, actually have a grievance with me and this was how she was expressing it? As my mind struggled to get this one figured out, it stopped, and a long afternoon of basketball watching began.
Later, I asked her what the hell that was all about. She was genuinely shocked (and more than a little sorry) that I hadn't gotten the joke. There was something in there that I was supposed to understand, and had failed.

Even more so in the same vein: this time at a party where I knew almost no one. There was a room in the back where someone had placed an enormous tank of nitrous oxide. The hippies were enjoying the laughing gas, and I figured I'd just join right in.
Nitrous is strange in that not only are you depriving your brain of seriously needed oxygen, but you're also spending a lot of time laughing your ass off. Small wonder I've seen people go crosseyed from it, or just pass out altogether. All the same, I figured that here at least, were people I could talk to with a reasonable expectation that they wouldn't find me weird.
Yes, but...I stepped on toes. Gently. It was eventually pointed out to me, once I had a snootfull, that there was in fact a five dollar cover charge. I hadn't been told about it, but that seemed reasonable to me, and was preparing to pay, when I'm approached by The Girl With Bilateral Myopia.
It just makes you look insane when only one of your eyes can reliably look forward. It doesn't help that most of the people I've met with this one really are crazy, too. I knew her, or I knew her twin sister, who didn't have the sideways-looking eye, and wasn't crazy.
The man who approached me had been calm and understood that it was all just a big misunderstanding. Or he was some cheap lot-rat scam artist who decided to ask the non-hippie for some money in a really novel way. Didn't matter. He and I were cool. But that doesn't mean that others can't air their own personal grievances with me...And she says;
"People like you...One minute you're playing basketball, and the next you're beating your children." She said this in a highly accusatory tone, regardless of the surreal nature of the accusation. Funny thing is, I know who she was talking about, probably: The Indy-rock Amish Asshole. More on him later, maybe.

While chopping vegetables one day at Lena with Eona, as usual, the hi-fi was all set on the Beatles. It wasn't on at the moment, but I just sort of said, conversationally:
"I used to be cruel to my woman. I'd beat her and keep her apart from the things that she loved."
Eona just keeps chopping, not looking at me, then stops, looks at me sidewise with a little smile and says, "Man you were mean!"
"But I'm changin' my scene, and I'm doing the best that I can..."
Like I said, "Getting Better All the Time" wasn't even playing, but that's not the point.

Not sure what further to say here. I have lots of stories like these, in which the irrational point of view is running the show, mostly wielded by those whose thinkin' apparatus is perhaps not what it should be, or whatever. Just felt like sharing.



Post a Comment

<< Home