Few days ago I let my son press the shiny button on the scratch-off Lotto dispenser. The Lotto dispenser is bright yellow/red with flashing lights so draws kids (or kid-like adults) like Joe Camel. I want my son to understand the joys of vice as early as possible, so I try to teach him collaboratively about gambling. He picked a one dollar ticket.
It won $100.
Mommy has some new shoes!
Then today I get an email from one of my favorite presses, Rose Metal.
My collection “How Some People Like Their Eggs” won the Rose Metal Press Third Annual Short Short Chapbook contest!
By the way, I am humbled by the finalists. I read and admire their work often.
Forthcoming in summer 2009!
I feel like the vandal who stole the handle! Time for nachos, as you surmised.
I’ll tell you why I eat here.
First, I love when people randomly add apostrophes to words on signs. NACHO’S. Very nice.
Second, the sign is a microcosm of an ideal world–life as it should be more often. Fine, fine, have your steaks, seafood (if you eat seafood this far inland, you are an idiot or simply don’t understand seafood), sandwiches, but what belongs atop any sign listing available food?
(But Sean, why is beer on the bottom? It isn’t! Beer is a drink to go with your food. It is the ONLY beverage listed, so it’s actually on the top, the only beverage even to make the marquee.)
Lunch was amazing. Here is the skinny:
I was eavesdropping (all writers do this, by default) and a couple were discussing being on government disability. They were strangers, at different tables, so yelling across the restaurant. It was a small town thing–you just talk personal stuff to people a table over, etc. I get it, no big deal. The woman yelled out, “I’m on disability. I have a hole in my brain from a car wreck. I can’t remember nothing. Sometimes I lose my coat, like that.”
The man said, “I tried 2o years ago. They wouldn’t let me. I am the ninth kid in the family and six of us are on disability, but not me. That can cause resentment.”
Ok, interesting conversation. Whatever. I just kind of reading my paper, listening, waiting for my nacho order. The subject matter wasn’t expected or unexpected, in my opinion. It’s small town Midwest. It’s a day in the life.
A young man walked in and sat down with a woman and said, “Well, I just got laid off.” He ordered a strawberry margarita. Hell, why not?
Then a man, middle age, 40ish, Colts jacket, all of that, walks in with 2 kids, age maybe 7 and 10. The kids say the usual, “Can we order cheese dip, dad?” and “Wow, these booths are spongy, dad!”
Whatever, kid stuff.
Then the man drops the real reason for the lunch. The mom-and-I-are-divorcing-but-we-still-love-you talk. Straight out of a Carver story, right? (though Carver mostly left kids out of stories. Scratch that. A Lorrie Moore story.)
And whatever, it goes on, kids have questions about logistics, where to stay, driving times, but this was the most powerful part, the part that made me think, “Sean, all your preconceived ideas about these people are yet another sign of your own ignorance.”
The one kid, no more than 10, sits back in the booth and busts this out: “Dad, this makes me feel like Morocco. Every morning I woke in Morocco with this oppression. This feeling of gloom and oppression in the air I just couldn’t shake. Like a film over everything. I was so happy to leave Morocco.”
This goofy looking (as goofy as any 10 year old–the shitty haircut, awkward body, etc) kid in Anderson, Indiana is making a tragi-beautiful metaphor of his family’s disintegration and he choose a morning in Northern Africa, the blue feelings upon waking.
Well, hell, that was/is about the best/worst thing I’ve experienced in a while.
Today was 5:36 pace miles X 2. A few sprints thrown in. Decent flow on the treadmill. Good pain. I run to feel pain. So, I was happy.