Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day In Cleveland

Today I write to you from a coffee shop in Shaker Heights, Ohio, just a few hundred yards away from my parents’ home in University Heights, Ohio, suburb of Cleveland. The perenially lame Goo Goo Dolls (NOTE: Their first couple albums were actually decent in a Replacements/Ramones rip-off sort of way, but who remembers those at this point?) serenade me in the background. In England and Canada (and probably some other places too), it is Boxing Day, but here in suburban Cleveland it is that gray day after Christmas when I am doing little other than plotting my next slow move and maybe typing a bit.

I haven’t done much other than family stuff, though I did make it to the mall on Christmas Eve, where I quickly downed a Chick-fil-A sandwich (original recipe) served to me by a woman who was standing next to a woman who has been working at that same Chick-fil-A for- by my estimate- over twenty years now. Even twenty years ago she had a way about her that suggested she was just looking to get out of the house more than actually needing whatever Chick-fil-A pays by the hour, but that’s just me guessing. In those few and brief interactions we’ve had over the years, I’ve rarely had the gumption to ask for more than a value meal.

As is usually the case when I find myself driving a rental car like I am during this visit, I make myself a mix CD or two for those times when I don’t feel like navigating the local radio dial. One of the songs on the mix I whipped up this time around is “Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl” by the late (I’m guessing), great (I’m suggesting) Looking Glass. The song- as you might know- is about a bartender or cocktail waitress in a bar frequented by sailors. It’s catchy and it tells a story. What more can you really ask for in a pop song? Every time I hear it though, I can’t help but question that lyric about how Brandy serves the sailors “whiskey and wine.” Whiskey- sure, that makes sense. Sailors drinking wine though- isn’t that a little, um, gay? Something tells me the sailors walking into the bar and ordering a nice Pinot Grigio are sitting at their own table. Don’t get me wrong- I like wine, even a nice Pinot Grigio. But if I were a sailor, it would be whiskey, rum, and beer all the time. Also, I might wear an eye patch and punch people for no apparent reason. Then again, who am I calling gay? After all, I’m the one listening to “Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl)” in my rental car.

In other news, my friend Maureen’s brother was out driving at night in Illinois or Minnesota (I forget which) and hit a rabbit last week or maybe the week before. He looked back to see nothing lying in the road and assumed the rabbit must have survived the altercation. When he walked out to his car the following morning though, he found out otherwise. Poor little guy. That just looks painful. And I’m sure a wild rabbit dying in the grill of a Mercedes is a metaphor for something or another, but I just can’t think of what that might be right now.

In still other news, my rock band Valley Lodge has just been sent some dates for our Japanese invasion. The details are still being sorted out, but as of this writing we are supposed to play shows in Osaka, Nagoya, Kyoto, and Tokyo in March. Hopefully it will all go off without a hitch and our plans for Japanese domination will be realized. I will keep you posted on this and other topics soon.

Dave Hill


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