Tuesday, April 03, 2001

"1st gear..........its all right,
2nd gear..........hold on tight,
3rd gear..........make a right
FASTER.......its all right!!!" Brian Wilson

i just recently bought a new car, and of all the odd happeneings surrounding this act (including a hardened salesman, sniffling over a wreck just off the lot)....only one really stands out in my head: whenever i asked to testdrive a 5-speed no one ever said "Do you like blue or black?" i got a "You dont want a 5-speed"..."do you know what a 5-speed is?".... "What does mom think about this?" (the fact that mom tagged along for emotional support does not not make this comment less disconcerting), and a "we have plenty of nice AUTOMATIC vehicles to choose from."

like most odd occurences, i treid to put this one in the context of our bass ackwards american culture...
i feel we have culture that is inbibed with conveniences....elevators, dishwashers, drawstring trashbags, calculators...the list is long... the fact that i even bought a car is a testament to convenience...i can wake up later, dont have to walk or stand or wait for the bus and the train and i dont have to talk to anybody....thats convienient.

an automatic trans is a modern convenience...and like most conveniences (call me old fasioned) something is lost in translation. when i was forced to take the CTA to work, i had to participate in my environment before and after work...i didnt leave one closed building to end up in another in no time. i interacted with others...ooogled women, talked to little kids, read, listened to the lap lap of the train, drank a beer (after work...after), took a breath, unwound, let someone else drive....

the "inconvienience" of a 5-speed car yields some pretty cool stuff... no one can drive it but you (and your enlightened friends), it demands a greater understanding of road conditions, handles better in rain and snow, more control over speed and torque, better gas mileage, more pick-up, and the feeling that youre really driving a vehicle.... the stop and go aspect of automatic cars is like driving a go cart at the winsconsin dells.....kids stuff.

before you condemn me to the cellar where they lock andy rooney up for 6 days and 23 hours a week, heres the point:

take the stairs.




Monday, April 02, 2001

Forever Young::::::::::

"i wish that i knew what i know now,
when i was younger" --the faces?

"oh i was so much older then,
im younger than that now." Bobby Dylan


The tallies are in, and I never thought id say this: i wish i could go back to high school. this insanity was precipitated by a chain of events....no i wouldnt exactly call it a chain, maybe a heap of events dealing with my proximity to youth in all its splendor and stupidity.

friday nite, a couple of my step-sister's friends (shes my age) OD'ed on what i think was Kedimine, or K as the kids call it. one of them died, and the other, my sister's ex-beaux of many years, survived (though the jury is still out whether he will be consuming solid food ever again). because my family was so distraught over victor's death and brad's hospitalization, no one was able to speak, let alone take my step-brother to his waterpolo game or pay attention to his performance. this is where i come in.

my brother's name is also mike, and though he is 6'2" and about 200lbs of muscle, he is "little mike" and i am "big mike" going back to the times when i, 8 yrs his senior, could deter an onslaught from him by holding him at arms length with the heel of my hand against his forehead. Little mike, as i still like to call him, goes to the same high school i graduated from (count' em) 6 short years ago: this was my first return since then.

i always get somewhat nostalgic when returning to the old country, but this was really intense: some kids i went to school with and hadnt seen in years were dead, forcing me to return to my high school, to which i hadnt returned with reason (story for another time). Dropping little mike of at the locker room where i once had a locker, and roaming the halls i had distained for what seemed like an eternity was too much. the oddest thing was: it looked like it was so much fun....the girls were adoreable, the place was bursting with crazy sexual tension, and real hope, without all the stupid pramatism we hate. why would adults who once attended this place overdoase on elephant tranquilizer? why did i have such a terrible time in school? why did i try and be old when i was young, and young when im older? were are all the memories of this place so stained with anger and sadness?

looking back now, i had so much weight on my shoulders for being a well liked, well adjusted, honor roll student. why am i even more carefree now that i have adult obligations? man if i knew then what i know now............

the game was pretty uneventful, to be honest, it could have been a barn burner, but i wasnt paying attention, and i dont think barn burners are possible in a pool....ti was concentrating he parents who attended....they knew all the kids names and their parents and yelled and shouted and stomped with anger as their kids got dunked. unfortunately, theres no reason for my father to go apeshit on the sidelines of my life any more, "tell that boss off, give it to em mike!!!! tell him you want more money!!!! that car dealer's gypping you, buddy!!!!! give him whatfore!!!!" not gonna happen....i wish i appreciated it when it was a daily part of my life.

i know this is a rant, without much rhyme, reason, or point for that matter (thus the heap instead of the chain), except that youth and age is such a paradox.....see the dylan inscription. i was so old with fear and anger and apprehension in my youth, that i could not apprecite the fineness, the hopefullness, the reckless abandon, the poignant spike of youth in the vein. now in age, when i should be considering having little acas'....i want to be young, and am younger than ive ever been. this explains the catastrophy of a couple of grown men destroying themselves for no reason but inexperience....second stupid youth.

the other day i was insulted when engaging in conversation with a slightly older woman, i was told that she may "take advantage of my youth." now, i kind of like being too young....i hope i regress right back into the womb.

m