Friday, July 29, 2005

Notes From Flyover Country

- I know "flyover country" is a pretty condescending label that usually gets applied to Middle America by cosmopolitan-and-proud types on the coasts, but I can't help but feeling like one of those people as I survey the scene in my new hometown of Suffield, Ohio. I should have known this would happen when I was taking the highway through Akron and saw a city bus with a "SCAT" sign on the side. Of course, SCAT is an acronym for Summit County Area Transit (or something like that), but being Captain Irony from the Big City I couldn't help but giggle. And it happened again earlier today when I drove past Hustler Turf Equipment. I can't help it, I guess- and I'm a big fan of the Robert Rossen movie. While some might ask the question, "what kind of dirty mind would think of porno mags automatically when he sees the word 'Hustler'," I can't help but ask, "what kind of person would name a business with little regard for the potential negative connotations of the name?" I guarantee that nearly every teenage boy who sees the sign thinks the same thing I do.

- Went shopping with my mom yesterday, mainly so I could more easily find my way around the local stores if I had to buy something. Little did I suspect that I'd end up spending nearly ninety minutes inside a Marc's. For those of you who don't know, Marc's is a kind of discount retail emporium that sells a little bit of everything- groceries, health and beauty, home and garden, etc. But the real bargains, as I found out yesterday, are to be found in what's called Aisle One. Aisle One is a catch-all of all the week's sale items, and unless you're the bargain-shopping type, it's pretty much hell. Think plastic kids' sporting goods next to travel-size toiletries next to school supplies next to (I wish I was kidding) cheap lingerie. If you have the stomach for it, you can spend pretty much all day in there. My mom, happily, confined herself to about half an hour or so. But still, I was reminded of a fundamental difference between the two of us- our shopping philosophies. Years of living on my own have made me the kind of shopping who will buy only what he needs, whereas my mother is fairly compulsive in her bargain shopping (actual quote: "I might as well buy two of these basting brushes while I'm here"). One of the few arguments I've ever gotten into with my mother came when I was a senior in high school and I was in a store with her for some reason, and she insisted on buying me another backpack in spite of the fact that mine was perfectly fine. Her reasoning? Why, "it's such a deal," of course. But I wasn't having any of it. I liked my backpack, there was nothing wrong with it, and I'm still using it almost a decade later. Later, I felt kind of bad, not only to get into an argument with my own mother in public, but also because it seems like such a petty reason to argue. But some ideological gaps aren't easily breached. Anyway, a question for any parents out there- is bargain-shopping a typical obsession once you have kids?

- I've also decided to maximize my earning potential by getting a second job while I'm home, which should have the added bonus of making me feel slightly less down on myself. So today I went around to various local business to pick up applications. Checking out the four area banks, I noticed there was not a single male teller or manager working this afternoon. Of course, this may have simply been a coincidence, and there could very well be male employees who just weren't scheduled today, but it seems a bit of a stretch to me that there wouldn't be ANY guys working in banks here.

- The local library is TINY (seems weird that I'd capitalize in this case, but nevermind). They didn't even have a copy of THE LONG GOODBYE- the book, I mean. Or any of the other Marlowe books, actually.


Kevin D Wevin said...

Hey there!

Don't be self-conscious about applying for a bank job, just because you're a guy. I always see at least one male teller for every three female tellers at each bank I go to. So if you apply and get the job, you will be that one male teller!

Also, funny you should mention Chandler's Marlowe detective series. I am just finishing up FAREWELL, MY LOVELY, having been on a crime fiction/film noir binge for the last 5 or 6 months. Do you recommend THE LONG GOODBYE?

Paul C. said...

It's not that I'm self-conscious that I'm applying. What am I, 7 years old? I just found it odd, and perhaps emblematic of a more, well, old-school approach to job-related gender segregation here than I'm used to from living in Columbus. Or maybe not.

Also, THE LONG GOODBYE is the best of the Marlowe books. But it helps to read them in order, I think, as I did. Then the final two books- THE LONG GOODBYE and PLAYBACK- are much more effective. In particular PLAYBACK benefits from knowing where Marlowe has been, since without that knowledge it feels slight and sort of minor as a mystery.

Donna B. said...

Do shoot me before I become your mom. Or my mom, for that matter.

The bargains-and-kids connection isn't without merit. One tends to become vaguely worried just about all the time that you will be caught without that one thing that your kid needs, or wants -- the thing that will prevent a meltdown or public urination incident. So you do tend to buy stuff "just in case."

But buying backup things that people don't want and don't need is another matter entirely. That's called "hobby shopping." Some people got it. Some people don't. Count yourself and your wallet lucky that you don't.

Champaign American said...

Ahhh...Shopping. I hate it so much that when I am forced to go I now have a portable TV that plugs into the cigarette lighter while my wife wanders throughout the store. We also got walkie talkies with a 5 mile range and I tell her to radio me over at Best Buy etc. to come pick her up at Linen's and Things when she's done examining every fiber on their wide selection of fluffy towels...

Paul C. said...


awesome you came over. I'm sure my mother means well, and I'm just guessing that the just-in-case shopping she does is probably just a residual habit from her days as a full-time mother of two. Still, it's a little jarring to see it happening now, even when both kids are fully grown.


I hope you at least got some good DVDs at Best Buy. Yes? No?

Champaign American said...

Yeah I have a small DVD collection so far.

Tom Naka said...
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Askinstoo said...
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