Up in the tangled branches
of the mostly, barren trees,
I heard a squeaky sound,
"Would someone, help me please?"
I was looking and I found,
then I saw some movement,
high amongst all the limbs,
of a small, tiny creature,
I knew that was him.
A small owlet, colored grey.
Body moving, with the breeze,
kept repeating, pleating to me,
"Please, Sir, help me please."
Not being agile or spry,
as I used to be,
I climbed up, ever slowly
onto limbs of this tree.
I finally did reach him;
he said, "Thank you please,
can you unhook my claws,
stuck tight to the tree.
I did and quickly as a bee
he flew now I'm stuck
high up in the tree.
Help, I yelled very loudly,
I'm stuck in this tree.
Up in the tangled branches
The slab showed up unannounced, a 4 foot by 4 foot concrete square sitting at the edge of the little park I caretake, a mystery to me. Maybe the county had decided to bring in artwork, who knows, maybe a commemorative sculpture of me, Ranger Daddle. I know, not too likely given the fact the county may not know the park even exists or if they do, who is doing the maintenance. But a mystery, like winning the Lottery, is mostly about firing our greedy imaginations.
A week went by … then two. A month. No bronze Skeeter appeared one morning. No plaque. Nothing. Just that square of concrete poured apparently by hand in the dark of night either by aliens or South End tricksters. I mowed around it and pondered its meaning the way astronauts in 2001: A Space Odyssey pondered the Black Obelisk, knowing only that some intelligence had brought it, who knows whether for good or ill. All I knew was I wouldn’t be moving it, not a half ton of concrete.
After a few weeks I stopped paying attention to my mystery square, stopped guessing what its Maker intended, stopped seeing it at all … until a few days ago when the phone booth showed up, one of those rectangular booths from a time just before the cellphone made public telephones obsolete. Clark Kent would have to change in a McDonalds bathroom hereafter and every citizen, no matter how impoverished, would need to purchase a personal phone and a plan.
And yet … here was the Last Phone Booth on the South End, possibly in America, maybe even the world!! In my park. Under my care. Which, considering I do not own a cellphone, is Totally Apropos, as if the Gods of Wire Transmission or the Ghost of Alexander Graham Bell had anointed me Keeper of the Dial Tone.
Of course it arrived without a working phone, just a payphone with no incoming line off the street. Most gifts, if you think about it, come with strings attached. Mine did, but not the useful ones. Nevertheless, I’m the Ranger, an American Dr. Who with his very own nonfunctioning Tardis. I would find a Way, count on it, because that’s my job. The concrete square was, it turns out, my new purpose, better, I suspect, than winning the Lottery where the end of my days would be filled with South Enders begging for loans.
So the World Health Organization just declared a new psychopathology, Gaming Disorder, the addictive propensity to sit for hour after hour with an X-box, disdaining sleep and food and exercise. Good diagnosis, guyz! But you forgot to include Facebook, You-Tube, computer addictions, porn and cellphone. Maybe, just maybe, they’re really all one disease. Ya think?
I guess the Facebook zombies actually stop to eat. And it could even be argued that this social media is really social. A new social, I guess, no face to face necessary, just tweets and instagrams, nothing too up-close and personal. Tim Cook, the new warden at Apple, recently declared sitting at a computer terminal to be the new cancer. Thanks, Tim, for asking the troops to stand up. How about asking them to go outdoors and exercise? Or quit their carcinogenic jobs? Or get a life?
We’re rewiring our brains, no doubt about it. B.F. Skinner and the Pavlovian dogs, peck a button and the bait, I mean the reward, comes tumbling out, time after time, predictable as an IV of opiods. Try this experiment if you’re a doubter: put away your cellphone, turn off your computer, unplug the TV and peripherals and devices, see how long you can last before the shakes and the fevers start. I bet about an hour. We might be missing important stuff. You know, Trump, Beyonce, Oprah, the photo from a friend you rarely see, Trump, the latest movie star scandal, did I mention Trump? If I did, let me add Trump again anyway.
This is our reality now. We even made a reality show huckster our Leader. We get what we deserve, the old adage goes in regard to a country and its rulers. Times certainly change and now they’re changing in hyper-drive. If anyone thinks, myself included, that there will be a cure for this disorder, we got another think coming. In about two tweets.
Recently I ordered one of those cool robot vacuums called a Roomba. It’s pretty amazing. It will quietly clean an entire floor while only mildly terrorizing the cats. And when it’s all done, it returns to its charging station and goes to sleep.
Come laugh with your friends at Rio Hillman's No Name Comedy Tour! The tour will be at the Paddle Pub on Monday, June 4th, 2018 at 8:00pm! Free Cover! Enjoy some tasty dinner and drinks while you watch the show! 21+ event.
Address: The Paddle Pub- 4915 Lakewood Rd, Stanwood, Washington 98292
Please tell me your tale of woe,
On this bright and sunny day,
Of how you came to lie,
On the shoulder of the highway.
You lie there, as cars zip past,
As quickly, as if to fly,
With dust, a swirl, as they pass.
Did somebody, cast you out,
As not quite fit to wear,
Or if you were about,
To be thrown, into the air?
Strangling the top of my desk,
Like a great, white,
Ever groping Octopus.
Interruptions, by many;
Excuse me, it's the phone.
Oh, I'm sorry to tell you
But Mary had to go home.
It's your wife that's calling,
Are you leaving town today?
Tomorrow we have to budget.
Oh my God, let's runaway.
Right on! he was about 34
Dear person who never looks up while crossing the street, no matter how much traffic there is,
Hey, how’s it going? I hope I didn’t interrupt you from anything important. Please, by all means, go ahead and finish texting LOL to your friend Brad. Don’t forget the smiley face emoticon. Your text is far more important than anything I have to discuss with you. I’ll wait……… Done yet? Super.
Anyway, I just wanted to introduce myself. You see, I’m the guy whose car almost creamed you earlier today when you walked into traffic against the light and never once looked up. I doubt you remember me.
I can imagine it must have been hard to hear my horn blaring or my brakes screeching to avoid hitting you, what with that AC / DC song playing on your iPod at 175 decibels. I could hear them rocking away from inside my car with my windows up. I have to say, excellent choice in music, dude. Can’t go wrong with Highway to Hell – a classic.
You know, when I was young, I was taught that the center of the solar system was the sun. I now realize that my teacher lied to me – because clearly the solar system revolves around an eight-inch space between those earbuds of yours.
Okay, so technically I may have had the “legal” right of way over you, seeing as the light was green for me, and you had that annoying, flashing DON’T WALK sign that you probably missed since it didn’t flash on your cell phone. But hey, who has time to read street signs when they’re busy checking out their Facebook page, am I right?
Anyhoo, what I was trying to say is I apologize. I’m deeply sorry if my car’s front bumper photobombed the Selfie you were taking. Given that my windshield was merely four feet away from your ribcage when our paths crossed, I fear I may have ruined your Snapchat moment.
I must confess, I envy you just a little. You looked so at peace – so completely unbothered by the gridlock you created for all those cars behind me trying in vain to make it through the intersection. I am in awe of your composure in the face of a long line of irate drivers who would have happily made you into a hood ornament.
A lesser person would have been intimidated at the thought of 4,000 pounds of steel bearing down on them at the speed of a hungry cheetah. But not you. You were so courageous, completely undaunted. Even the screams of the maddening crowd didn’t shake your certitude that the urban seas would part to make way for your triumphant, regal crossing. Way to make an entrance, King Cell Phone Dude.
And I simply must applaud your amazing ability to keep your eyes focused downward during your entire crossing. As I was trying in vain to get your attention, your eyes never once wandered from your cell phone screen during your entire 36-foot journey from curb to curb. I doubt a nuclear explosion could have diverted your concentration away from whatever YouTube roomba cat video you were locked in on.
Ya’ know, sometimes I find myself having to stop what I’m doing and pay attention to other people around me who insist that I observe basic courtesies of a modern society. You don’t suffer from that affliction. Not one bit. It must be nice not to have to worry about anything outside of a two-foot radius of your thumbs. What’s important to me is that you were able to saunter across the street at your own leisurely pace, without having to worry about anyone else on this planet. I am in awe of you.
I hope our paths cross again sometime. Perhaps we’ll meet on an airplane. I’ll be the guy right behind you in line waiting for fifteen minutes while you attempt to squeeze a suitcase the size of a refrigerator into the overhead compartment.
But if I know you – and I’m pretty sure I do – you won’t notice me then either. And that’s okay. Because no matter how long you make me wait for you to place your special order at the drive thru or ask the bank teller to convert your collection of 2,578 pennies into dollar bills, it’s okay. Take your time. Please don’t hurry on my account. All that matters to me – and the other 25 people in line behind you – is that you focus on the needs of Numero Uno, buddy. Act like we’re not even here. That should be easy for you to do.
On behalf of all the people in this world who are forced to wait on the outside of whatever impenetrable magic bubble you live in, I just want to say, thank you for reminding all of us that your time is more valuable than ours.
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base - Click the image below to go to the View from the Bleachers website or click here: www.viewfromthebleachers.net
Author’s note: Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day, I thought I would celebrate with a true story about love and romance. Sometimes you never know when or where love will find you, as ts story proves. Their names have been changed out of respect for their privacy but the story is exactly what happened. – tej]
“Pardon me, sir. But do you play bridge?” That’s how it all started. A simple question, posed by a middle-aged woman to a complete stranger. To be more specific, Beth was emboldened to ask this question in Aisle 7 of the grocery store, somewhere between the shampoo section and men’s shaving cream.
“Um, well, uh, yeah, I do”, stammered the elderly man, confused by the query and not sure why this mysterious woman was accosting him in the middle of a store. His name was Ed – a kindly fellow, well into his 80s, with a warm, jovial smile. He was just minding his own business. But Beth was not finished. “My mother plays bridge. Would you like to meet my mother sometime?”
More stammering. More confusion. Mixed with an extra helping of embarrassment. Ed was caught in a deer-in-the-headlights moment. He had no idea what the correct answer was to this audacious inquiry. So, being the gentleman that he was, and not wanting to offend this lady in Aisle 7, he replied, in his noticeably southern drawl, “I dunno. Well, um, I guess that would be ahhhlrahhht.”
Apparently by “sometime,” Beth meant NOW. Because before Ed had time to ask her name, she was on the phone with her mom. “Mom, meet Ed. Ed, meet my mom, Margaret.” And then she handed the phone to Ed and walked away. Suddenly there were now two deer caught in the headlights – and neither of them knew what to say. Margaret wanted to say, “Beth, why are you trying to embarrass me? Hang up this phone this instant!” But Margaret was raised to be polite and instead told Ed, “What a pleasure it is to make your acquaintance,” hoping this awkward situation would be over quickly, never to be discussed again.
An agonizing two minutes later, Beth returned, relieved Ed of the phone, and gleefully said to her mom, “Doesn’t he sound great?” The next sound Ed heard was CLICK! Beth had just taken a photo – of him – to bring back to her mom. Beth took down his number and thanked him for his time. And poof! She was gone. Ed was confused. Very confused. What exactly just happened? Who was that woman? And what was it I was looking for in Aisle 7 anyway?
“Jessica, I think I just found a man for mom”, shouted Beth into her phone, as she exited the grocery store. Her sister was the less impulsive of the two. “What are you up to now?” she asked in a concerned, slightly disapproving tone. Their mom – Margaret – was a sweet elderly woman who had lost the one and only love of her life, Arthur, after almost four decades of marriage. He had passed away a couple of years before due to illness. Margaret was getting by, but Beth could see that the sparkle in her mom’s eyes had been gone for quite some time. Margaret was strikingly good-looking, despite her years, with a full head of smooth, silvery hair and a gentle smile that belied the sadness she felt now that her best friend was gone.
That did not sit well with Beth. So, without running it past Margaret, of course, she decided that her mom needed a man in her life. And apparently, what better place to find that man than in Aisle 7 of the local IGA? Beth drove to her mom’s house, a good 25 miles away.to show her the photo of Ed. “Mom, what do you think? Isn’t he adorable?” Beth was on a mission, explaining how Ed played bridge – “just like you, mom – oh, and he wants to meet you – in person!”
Margaret was completely flummoxed. What exactly was she supposed to do? After all, she had not been on a date with anyone but her husband in almost forty years. And it had only been a couple years since Arthur’s passing. Surely it was too soon. But Beth would have none of it. “Mom, Ed seems like a very nice man. And he has a charming southern accent and a kind smile. What do you have to lose?”
It took some time before Margaret got up the courage to say OK – and even longer for Ed to work up the courage to call her. A full month went by before they finally met. Ed showed up on a Sunday afternoon in front of Margaret’s home. There she was, sitting on her front porch in her nicest Sunday dress. Ed saw her and was smitten the moment their eyes met. “She was so beautiful. I felt like I was looking at Marilyn Monroe,” Ed gushed about their first encounter.
Ed thought Margaret was sweet and kind, and beautiful. He was right on all counts, of course. And Margaret liked Ed too, even his shiny bald head and his accent – which turned out to be from Arkansas. She thought he was the perfect gentleman. And no, Ed did not kiss her on their first date – as much as he wanted to, because, well, he was a gentleman. That date was almost two years ago. Ed and Margaret are still courting. And very much in love. But they are not ready to get married because, well, they want to take things slowly. Margaret’s cat Patches has given the green light, though, as she sits on Ed’s lap whenever he comes over to play bridge.
So, if you have lost your one true love in life for whatever reason, Ed and Margaret are here to tell you, don’t give up all hope. They will be the first to say that sometimes love can blossom again, even when you least expect it, no matter how many years have gone by. And sometimes it just might find you in the most unlikely of places, between shampoo and shaving cream in Aisle 7.
Happy Valentines’ Day.
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
To learn more about Tim Jones go to: www.viewfromthebleachers.net/about