We were at some mall. It might have been Independence Mall in Independence MO, but it might have been somewhere else. We were in fourth or fifth grade I think, meaning we were nine or 10 years old. There were escalators.

We were on a school field trip. We attended Blackwater R-II Elementary in Blackwater MO. Blackwater MO still has less than 300 people. Even the townies, who we country kids sometimes called “city slickers,” lived in a town they could walk across without too much trouble, even on a hot day.

The K-8 (Kindergarten through Eighth Grade, about 13 years old) school is still operating as it was then. Our class, admittedly one of the smaller ones, had 10 kids in it by the time we left for separate high schools.

Many of us had seen escalators before, not in Blackwater, but elsewhere, on clothes buying trips, or visits to relatives in cities, or the odd vacation. But one girl in the class got excited about them that day and she kept riding up and then back down. The teachers had to pull her (okay, and the rest of us who followed along with her) away from them so we could leave the mall.

She was a little eager but I know where she was coming from. Escalators are cool. They are stairs that move and you often find them in places that sell stuff or where you get on the airplane. There’s still that bit of big city sophistication to them, even though they’re to be found in my medium sized uni town.

There’s that little bit of danger there too. Moving stairs say “you could get on me and go up or down, or horizontal but faster (if you’re on an even cooler “people mover”) like always, or you could get pulled into these relentless metal jaws and die screaming as horrified shoppers watch helplessly.

It’s a trick to look cool getting on and off the escalator. I like to think I handle myself pretty well on them, like I know what I’m doing, like I’ve been nonchalantly riding moving stairs all my life. To make escalatin’ look good one must move effortlessly, without thought, like some European movie businessman or chic model, like an escalator.

Kenny was energetic and outgoing last night when we stepped out of our car and met him on the sidewalk. He’s always energetic and outgoing, but I think he might have been a little more of both last night. Kenny is the long time bartender, he told me almost 14 years, at our “home bar,” McNally’s.

Kenny’s last day at McNally’s is Friday. He’s planning to spend the summer at least hanging out with his young son (also a Kenny) and working around the house. So if Kenny was a little more energetic and maybe a little more joyful last night he had good reason.

I used to go to McNally’s at least once or twice a month. Since we’ve had kids and life (that old cliche) has changed we’ve gone less and less. Now we’re probably doing well to pop in every two or three months. These days we take the kids with us and order a big pizza (Wise Guys Pizza is excellent and it’s in the same building) and a couple of beers. There’s not as much yelling and there’s a lot more time between drink orders than there used to be.

We’ll keep going to our bar even though Kenny won’t be behind it anymore. I hope things go well for him and we all live close so maybe we’ll see him around.

H went through an anti-strawberry phase. It lasted, I don’t know, a year or two. I was baffled when he told me he didn’t like them. It had never occurred to me that someone might not care for them. Much less someone I know, someone I’m related to, one who bears the imprint of my genetic makeup…

We had a strawberry patch when I was growing up. It wasn’t big, it was in our yard, and I don’t think it had anything else in it. We also had a garden that we called “the garden” and “the potato patch” where we grew squash. Gotcha! I’m kidding, The Potato Patch was for potatoes (Dan Quayle is out there somewhere).

But I could understand it. Strawberries, especially the bigger ones or maybe different varieties, can have an off-putting texture. They can get a little tough and, I don’t know, mealy.

And I always thought they were outrageously sweet but I used to dip the bastards in sugar. Anything is sweet dipped in sugar. Your toe would be sweet dipped in sugar, come to think of it…

We were at my brother’s and his wife’s place over the weekend. There were some strawberries there and H was chowing down. I said “so you like strawberries now?” He shook his head yes because his mouth was full. We finally had to tell our boys to quit eating all their aunt and uncle’s strawberries.

So Katie picked up some strawberries at the store the next day. They are sitting on our counter now three days later, nearly untouched. She can’t seem to get the boys to eat them.

I generally have liberal opinions on economic and social issues. I think there should be a social safety net (there can be disagreements about what that entails). I am in favor of public education and programs to assist the disadvantaged. I think our society is wealthy enough that nobody should be hungry or desperate due to sickness.

I hold these stances in spite of many others who do. Because self proclaimed liberals can be the most sanctimonious, morally superior, self righteous, authoritarian, censorious, politically correct, whiny baby bitches in the fucking world. Sometimes listening to a liberal go on about some evil in the world one could be forgiven for thinking they’re listening to some churchy social conservative.

If a group of libertarians and a group of liberals both called me up and asked me to go for drinks at the same time, on nothing other than the knowledge of their politics, I’d go with the libertarians. We could argue about politics and probably no minds would change, but we could also talk about anything else and I wouldn’t have to worry so much about one of them getting all butthurt over the wrong word or phrase or going on some superior rant about some earth shattering injustice that the rest of us have never fucking heard of.

Now there are cunts in every group and I’m sure libertarians are no different. And I am admittedly ignorant of libertarian groups and culture, so I could be way off base here. But I’m betting at the end of the night, if most of the night was focused on anything other than politics, I’d enjoy the libertarian night and regret the liberal night, hangovers aside.

“There was no driver in the car”

A couple days ago my latest order from Amazon showed up in our hot little mailbox. Included was a package of the razor blades I use with my safety razor and a DVD. The movie contained upon the hallowed disk? 1977’s “The Car.”

I first saw The Car a few years ago on Netflix. It fell off Netflix not long after and I was left only with memories, and the trailer which can be watched on YouTube.

I was prompted to finally order the movie when horror host Svengoolie featured it on last Saturday night’s show. Here I’ve been The Car-less for years and for the low low price of 10 US bucks I own the disk and can watch it whenever I damn well please.

What evil drove me to possess this film? I won’t argue too much some of the film’s shortcomings. If you are the type who can’t get past the idea of a killer car going about killing people in killer car fashion then this movie probably isn’t your cup of, dare I say, 10W-30.

But if you dig some suspense in a story that’s well paced or you like your horror movies not covered in blood and gore (in this case for the most part bereft of both) The Car might be right up your alley.

Another visitation tonight. More people that I went to school with losing a parent. I remember the years where every summer a bunch of people I knew got married. Then I remember the time where, for awhile it seemed I kept hearing of separations and divorces. Now its parents dying.

The next wave I guess is the inevitable. There have been a few already. Of course a few didn’t make it out of high school, a few more out of their 20s. Since then its been a trickle. It’ll be weird when it really starts hitting.

Or maybe it won’t. I haven’t been witness to outrageous horrors. I haven’t witnessed a war or a genocide or any momentous natural catastrophes up close. But I’ve thought about death a lot since I was pretty young. There are others no doubt who’ve thought about it more than me but still I might have thought about it more than one should. And I’ve no idea how much one should. And who would decide how much is too much? A board of psychiatrists? The necromancy guild? The Surgeon General?

I don’t like funerals. It’s not the whole death thing as much as the clergy. Their schtick is horrible and worse, boring. I don’t care for weddings for the same reason. The droning of the pastor (or whatever this one titles him or herself) is, if not insulting then insufferable. So I usually go to the visitation.

But I went to a visitation a couple of weeks ago and now there’s another one tonight.

I dropped lil A off at daycare/preschool this morning. His Mom usually drops him off, his school being near her work, and I drop off the oldest boy H at his school which is nearer our home and my workplace.

A week or two ago Katie’s car’s dashboard lights started warning us about the brakes, the steering, localized warfare in a rural area on some other continent, and the apocalypse. Katie had an appointment this morning to get it looked at so I took lil’ A to school.

I remembered which building he belonged in but there are two classes in there, but they are usually all in one big room in the morning, but he switched from one to the other at some point, and there are two doors but it doesn’t matter if you pick the wrong one because you can hear the kids playing and yelling and you can walk on down the hall to where you’re supposed to be. And so as usual we didn’t take the direct route but we got where we were supposed to go.

Lil’ A gave me a huge hug, two huge hugs in fact, and wouldn’t let go until a teacher volunteered to watch out the window with him and wave to me as I left. That is usually the way it goes when I drop him off. I’ve had other teachers tell me that clinging behavior is common when little one’s routines are shaken up, for instance when a different person who takes them to school and picks them up.  Like so many behaviors I don’t know where it comes from or what it means.