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Wednesday, 26 May
Mean Street

Last night the wife and I chose the venerated path of righteous laziness and decided to go out to to a local C-average Mexican restaurant rather than confront our rather denuded fridge. The path is not always an easy path.

For one thing, it's not so much a path when you drive there. Confronted with the choice of making the journey (a crushing 15 minute walk! Uphill! In the . . . balmy evening!), we wisely chose to take the car rather than risk anything like shin splints, rapid breaths, or exertion of any kind. We went down to the garage and climbed into our sad, embarrassed car, which huddles amongst the gleaming SUVs, BMWs and assorted other beautiful vehicles, trying not to be noticed.

In the Harry Potter books, which I have been reading lately (I have this thing about resisting literary phenomenons until the fire has died down--it's stupid), and enjoying, the little wiz-kiddies all have wonderful pet familiars, such as Harry's gorgeous owl or Hermione's disturbingly ugly (but nimble) cat.

In this context, our car is Ron Weasley's narcoleptic, tatterdemalion rat named Scabbers. The rat, I mean, is named Scabbers. Our car is named "car." But I might secretly start calling it Scabbers as a tribute.

I kind of get off on Scabbers. The rat. The car, eh, not so much.

Anyway. We drove up to 15th and found some parking, and I locked up Scabbers, who sat there looking forlorn as usual, with his ass pointing right at a shiny white sports car. Be proud, Scabbers! Your ass is literally right up in that fucker's grill. (I think ill of people who have nice cars, mainly out of purest jealously. I'd like to have a nice car, but I'd really rather not pay for it. So in the end, it's much easier--not to mention vastly cheaper--to simply resent people I've never met.)

And so we walked a block or so, heading towards the restaurant; I had visions of Cadillac margaritas tickling my skull, which probably made me careless. Normally, I'd be more adept at picking up danger signals, but not that night. We approached a coffee shop, whose doors were flung wide, and patrons spilled out onto the sidewalk, sitting at little round tables. They were all looking inside, not having individual conversations or anything: they were being attentive to something.

I failed to pick up on all these dire clues, and before I knew it, I was writhing on the sidewalk, screaming in agony. You see, the coffee shop was having an open mic poetry night. And I walked right into its awful-rays emanating from the open doors. "Bone in the night/And brass in the day/She ate my hair then/Parchment will not stay." I saw a young man with curly hair saying this into the microphone, and I flopped about like a mackerel, horribly aware that I had let my guard slip. The wife, clearly enjoying my tendon-snapping throes, laughed gaily at my misery; she's a peach, but every now and then she gets back at me for my habit of fraudulently insisting that she is "stinky." This was one of those times, and she cackled as I wailed: "MAKE HIM STOP! THIS IS 2004! ALL THE COFFEEHOUSE POETRY READERS SHOULD HAVE BEEN MURDERED BY NOW!"

My bad assumption. The torture continued. "Slippery night/Overbite/I remember Ted Knight." I beat the sidewalk helplessly with flailing arms, inadvertantly achieving a rather nice 7/8 rhythm that was lost on the rest of the onlookers, who soon turned away from my suffering for more, more ghastly verse. "Deep under the night-awning, I surrendered to mercy/Before emerging once more to clean the soul-gutters/That were so beautifully filled with weeping leaves of light/It is a rape." I confess without shame that it was here I passed out.

The wife told me later that she finally took pity on me--being unconscious and all--and rescued me by kicking me stoutly in the ribs until I had rolled out of earshot of the poetrocities. I woke up in the restaurant, staring at a plate of crisp tacos and a nicely sweating glass full of margarita.

"You blacked out," she said nonchalantly. "Eat your tacos."

"I don't know if I can eat after that," I whined. "Plus, my ribs hurt to fuck."

"Poetry," she replied in a wintry tone, "it can fuck you up. The old guys knew that. Maybe you learned something tonight."

I sure did. I can make my own goddamn tacos at home from now on.


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Comments

My God! I'm so glad you're okay. I once got caught INSIDE a coffee shop having a poetry reading.

I share your vehement dislike of popular literature. I figure, "Most people are stupid, so anything that most people like must be stupid as well."

I continue to think this even though I am repeated proven wrong.

Comment number: 003280   Posted by: KOTWF on May 26, 2004 05:58 AM from IP: 65.78.218.110

"Poetrocities" is perhaps the best new word I've come across this year.

Comment number: 003281   Posted by: Nick on May 26, 2004 06:28 AM from IP: 64.238.64.1

I too am tickled purple by "poetrocities". Good work!

Comment number: 003282   Posted by: Jake on May 26, 2004 07:11 AM from IP: 216.150.202.33

This wasn't Victrola, was it? And you weren't heading to Jalisco's, were you? If so, you were right in my hood, and I can't believe you drove to Jalisco's...I've always been so disappointed in their food. That place down on Pike (near what used to be AroSPACE and across the street from the skateshop) is at least a tiny bit better? Maybe?

Comment number: 003284   Posted by: Ariel on May 26, 2004 08:02 AM from IP: 67.42.85.52

This wasn't Victrola, was it? And you weren't heading to Jalisco's, were you? If so, you were right in my hood, and I can't believe you drove to Jalisco's . . .

Sweet Jesus. You're right on all counts. What can I say? The wife wanted Mexican, and even Jalisco's beats La Cocina, which I'm pretty sure grinds up old tires for taco meat.

Really, we're just dumb. If we had any sense, we would have just gone to our default restaurant, Machiavelli's, which never disappoints.

Comment number: 003285   Posted by: Skot on May 26, 2004 08:33 AM from IP: 140.107.123.110

There are some days I read Skot
And other days I do not
But I never watch TV
Now he likes Harry Potter
And surly baby otter
But not poetrocity

Comment number: 003286   Posted by: 7/8 on May 26, 2004 09:37 AM from IP: 66.160.108.162

I have read *every single* Izzle Pfaff posting and I just do not get the "I never watch TV" reference/joke. Please put me out of my misery and explain...

Comment number: 003287   Posted by: al on May 26, 2004 09:52 AM from IP: 24.17.126.123

Someone a while ago commented on the incomprehensibility of a post due to the fact that he didn't watch TV (the NYPD Blue post), and people jumped on him.

It's no big deal one way or the other, but let's not pick fights, okay? Everyone onto the Slip 'N Slide.

Comment number: 003288   Posted by: Skot on May 26, 2004 10:06 AM from IP: 140.107.123.110

I never play on Slip'n'Slides. Oh, I used to, but then I figured out how much time I was wasting when I could be doing more productive things like lifting weights and writing some new poetry for open-mic night at Victrola.

Really, it has been liberating to toss out the old Slip'n'Slide. Well, that's just figurative. I still have the Slip'n'Slide, of course. But I no longer slip or slide on it. Rather, I only use it to lose my footing and then move rapidly along its surface with a minimum of friction. It's turned my life around, really.

Comment number: 003289   Posted by: Dave Adams on May 26, 2004 11:11 AM from IP: 146.7.42.38

I'm with you, brudder. Not that the poetry is neccessarily that bad. At least its disposable. Its the nauseating faux-ingratiating mental masturbation that throws the peristalsis into reverse.
Heck, if they don't know, can't they just shut up about it?

Comment number: 003290   Posted by: Scarlet Pimpernel on May 26, 2004 11:41 AM from IP: 24.82.23.235

La Cocina, which I'm pretty sure grinds up old tires for taco meat.

Goddamn you skot, I don't rip on your peoples' white bread and bologna sandwiches, so why do you bitch about our rubbery foodstuffs? WHY DO YOU HATE THE BROWN MAN?

Comment number: 003291   Posted by: avogadro on May 26, 2004 01:22 PM from IP: 24.75.116.128

Ehm....Scabbers...your car....
How far are you into the Harry Potter books? How much do you REALLY dislike your car?

Comment number: 003296   Posted by: Eva on May 27, 2004 12:08 PM from IP: 24.157.162.76

Ah, I'm a poetry reader myself. I'm proud of it, normally, but suddenly I feel the need to go throw myself under a fast-moving (ha!) Greyhound bus.

And poetrocity is almost as good as boiled despair.

Even when you piss me off you have me pissing my pants with laughter.

Bastard.

Comment number: 003298   Posted by: Tracy on May 27, 2004 02:50 PM from IP: 152.15.164.144

Pay attention to Eva. Unless, of course, you've already read all the way through HP and your car really is a transmogrified Death Eater.

Somehow it all fits . . .

Comment number: 003300   Posted by: Anne on May 27, 2004 07:17 PM from IP: 4.60.158.225

As it turns out, I was about fifty pages away in the Harry Potter books from finding out the truth about Scabbers when I wrote the above. However, I will still insist upon thinking of my car as a large, amusing lazy rat, rather than as a treacherous wizard in hiding.

What a bummer. I really enjoyed Scabbers. However, "Pig" is shaping up to be just as amusing.

Comment number: 003301   Posted by: Skot on May 27, 2004 11:42 PM from IP: 216.162.193.63

funny. we ate at La Cocina on tuesday. I join Ariel in mocking Skot for driving to Jalisco.

Viv and I often eat there, but we walk... allllll the way from 12th. I'm partial to Galerias for the hoity-toity mexifood, but I've been going to Jalisco long enough that I know things like, "That guy got married about two years ago," and "This is where the overweight gay couple sits." So I guess I have some sort of investment in the joint.

And Ariel, the other place is called 'La Puerta.' I love that there are soooo many mexican restaurants in this neighborhood.

When will we have the woefully underfunded Skot Kurruk Appreciation Night, and where?

Comment number: 003314   Posted by: mike on May 28, 2004 03:48 PM from IP: 216.173.212.237

Aw come on. Open mic poetry was the blogging of the '80s.

Comment number: 003317   Posted by: Miel on May 29, 2004 01:00 AM from IP: 151.203.59.244

Watch who you call ugly, dude. < a href="http://members.tripod.com/~Violet_Hilton/pets.html">Our cat looks pretty much like what Hermione's cat is described as (or so I'm told, never read the books myself.)

Comment number: 003328   Posted by: CG on May 30, 2004 10:37 PM from IP: 68.161.87.215

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