Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Quail Eggs

One does not want to eat quail eggs straight out of a can.

I'm not sure when or how one does want to eat quail eggs. But straight out of a can ain't it.

That is all . . . .

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Area Woman Declares Durham Fire and Rescue Worker a Fire Hazard

An area woman had planned to make a quick stop at the North Pointe Kroger grocery store for a few winter storm necessities on Wednesday, when she encountered an unexpected obstacle. The woman, who would only give the name "Storchy," claimed that a Durham fire and rescue worker of unknown identity insisted on getting in her way everywhere she went.

“At first I thought he was deliberately harassing me,” said Storchy. “But then I realized that he just had his head up his ass.”

Storchy, 36, first encountered the fire and rescue worker in the soup aisle. “He was just standing there in the middle of the aisle, staring at the top shelf with his mouth hanging open. Then he calls out to his buddy, he says, ‘Hey, where’s the chicken noodle at?’” said Storchy.

“If he’d been any closer to that chicken noodle it would have poked him in the eye,” Storchy added.

Storchy attempted to walk past the fire and rescue worker, but could not. “He just kept wandering from one side of the aisle to the other, and he was swinging his arms all over the place,” Storchy said. “I was like, what is with this guy?”

Storchy said that she gave up trying to walk around the fire and rescue worker, and instead walked back down the aisle the way she had come.

“It took longer to get to the pickles that way, but I figured it was faster than waiting for the guy to realize that he wasn’t the only person in the store.”

Storchy had a near miss with the fire and rescue worker in the baking/spice aisle. “I’d just started walking down there when I saw the guy wandering around in circles near the cupcake sprinkles,” Storchy said. “I decided I didn’t need popcorn salt that bad and I high-tailed it on out of there.”

Storchy later collided with the fire and rescue worker when she turned down the cereal aisle. “You know how the aisles sort of have those traffic flow lanes like when you’re driving? Except in the grocery store you can’t see them but you know they’re there, right? Well, he was coming down the up side when I came around the corner and we just smacked right into each other,” Storchy said. “There was no way I could have avoided him.”

Several witnesses at the scene of the collision confirmed that the fire and rescue worker was entirely at fault.

Storchy later encountered the fire and rescue worker in the bread aisle. “I just wanted to grab some hot dog buns and go home. But there the guy was in the bread aisle,” Storchy said. “I thought about leaving the store right then, but I really needed those buns.”

Storchy tried to predict where the fire and rescue worker might walk next, but said it was impossible. “He just kept picking up random loaves of bread and squeezing them,” Storchy said. “He’d put a loaf of wheat bread in his basket, and then a few seconds later he’d put it back and grab rye instead.”

Storchy added, “He sniffed one of them. I don’t know what in the hell that was all about.”

At this point, Storchy decided she’d had enough. “I just remember saying, ‘Christ, this guy’s a fire hazard,’” Storchy said. “It was out of my mouth before I knew it.”

When asked whether she had the authority to declare someone a fire hazard, Storchy admitted that she did not.

“I felt so powerless. I guess I just panicked,” Storchy said. “I just wanted to get my hot dog buns and go home, you know? Something had to be done.”

“Anyhow, I don’t think anyone heard me,” Storchy added.

The Durham fire and rescue worker could not be located for comment.

Friday, January 05, 2007

I Am the Anti-Weegee

After spending a week knocking around Manhattan during the holidays, I came home to discover that almost none of the photos I took have any people in them. How in the hell does that happen? And what does that say about me? On second thought, never mind. I don’t want to know.

My relationship with NYC has always been a complicated one. If I’d taken up photography during the two and a half years that I’d lived in the city, I suspect that most of my photos would’ve featured hobos, crack whores, and suckers like this . . .

But if the latest batch of photos is any measure of my nostalgia level for my former home, it seems that a few years of living in the comparatively reasonable setting of Durham, NC have made me go all warm and fuzzy on New York City in retrospect. Heck, if anyone had told me eight years ago that I’d ever get all misty about NYC, I’d have told them that they were flat-out weasel-nuts.

Moving from my hometown of Milwaukee to NYC was a transition that was tantamount to whiplash. To me, life in New York seemed completely ass-backwards. Roaches were enormous, lived right in your house, and many folks acted as if they had a perfect right to be there. People insisted on calling them “water bugs” as if they were fat, chortling babies in bumble bee suits awaiting a Kodak moment in a wading pool. In contrast to the giant roaches were the shoebox-sized grocery stores, which were dirty and stank of armpits and rotten potatoes. Occasionally fresh produce from one of these stores would reveal unexpected bonuses, like the praying mantis that once rose up from a package of cilantro and began prancing about my cutting board like a Fosse dancer. Its tiny head was cocked coyly to one side and became even more so when I bashed it in with a meat hammer. This was an action that I immediately regretted, and one that was indicative of how big city life affected me. I’m not the type of person who kills tiny creatures just for shits and giggles. Since I’ve lived in North Carolina, I’ve cupped many a moth in my bare hands and shuttled it outside, away from the evil eye of my living room lamp. But, as Jackie Wilson once sang, “There’s no pity in the Naked City” and some poor bastards just have to learn that lesson the hard way.

The worst part about living in the city was that everything just seemed so damned complicated. There were no quick errands. If I wanted to shop for dinner, I had to walk 20 minutes to Astoria’s shopping district and spend two hours muscling my way through several different establishments (grocer, butcher, bakery, produce market, maybe another produce market if the first one didn’t have what I needed). Then there was another 20-minute walk back home with fifteen pounds of groceries. And laundry? Don’t get me started. Since the laundromat closest to my apartment consistently dirtied my clothes rather than cleaned them, I had to drag them to the laundromat eight blocks away and waste half a day sitting there, plugging quarters into machines that would either tie my delicates into sailor’s knots or incinerate them.

To the city’s credit, I found New York residents surprisingly friendly and helpful unless they were getting paid to be so. I had more than my share of pleasant conversations with folks on the subway platform or in grocery lines. All bets are off when New Yorkers are on the move, though. I was walking down Madison Avenue at rush hour once when someone bumped into me pretty hard from behind. I stumbled forward and accidentally caught the back of some woman’s shoe with my foot. The woman was in her late sixties, and obviously well-to-do. I apologized profusely to which she responded, “Why don’t you watch where you’re going, you idiot.” The Milwaukee Me probably would’ve slunk off into a dark alley and burst into tears, but new-improved New York Me replied, “Well, f*ck it -- I’m not sorry, you crazy old bat.” It’s a good thing there wasn’t a meat hammer handy, or I might’ve bashed her on the head with it.

But I spent this past week bopping around New York with the sugary optimism of a teenage girl who goes to see Christian rock bands for fun. When I walked down a block that smelled of urine and rotting trash, I grinned and said, “Ah, yes! That’s the New York I remember.” I turned on the shower to find that there was no hot water for the second morning in a row. “Ha! Good ol’ New York livin’,” I said, as I splashed ice-cold water from the sink onto my shivering torso. I made eye contact with homeless people. I accepted fliers from giant hot dogs on street corners. I sat right next to the stinky man on the train and didn’t budge.

New York City, I discovered, is quite a wonderful place when you know you don’t have to stay there. It’s kind of pretty, even.