Friday, February 20, 2009

Listmania!!! Top Ten Things I've Seen On Walks Around My Adelaide Neighborhood

By Bub

#6. Dead Parrot – I saw a dead parrot in the middle of the road and it was amazing. It was pink and grey and I couldn’t find its face. I guess what I liked about it was that it was like watching Santa Claus porn – that special moment when a mythical benevolent thing becomes subject to the human (or parrotic) frailty of existence.

#5. Painting – There was a treasure trove of trash in front of a house. I almost took home a pretty painting of a Roman servant but I knew Mary would make me take it back. Then I saw this giant mural – 4X6 ft. It was a play on the Sgt. Pepper’s album cover but mostly with celebrities from the 1980s. There was a stocking-armed Madonna, a red-leather jacketed Michael Jackson, ET, Cindy Lauper, Chewbacca and The Fonz. There was even somebody the caliber of, if not the actual, Scott Baio. It was really the worst collection of ‘personalities’ Sgt. Pepper style I had ever witnessed (and I like all but one of the figures named [ET is such an asshole]). They were all standing in the foyer of this red carpeted mansion with winding staircases. But the coup-de-grace was that in front of everybody, giving the illusion that the celebrities were on a metaphorical ‘stage’, was a man in a director’s chair, back toward me, facing the group. And on the director’s chair a name was inscribed. So this painting was making the assertion that this director was responsible for all pop culture for the past 40 years at that point and especially in the 80s. That director – F. Fellini (in case you would confuse him with Z. Fellini). Now I’m not saying Fellini wasn’t influential but to lay blame at the feet of Fellini’s director’s chair the first music video to feature Captain Lou Albano, and tens of millions of annoying Chewbacca imitations seems at the least unfair. But it is really spectacular when you see it in mural-form.

#4. Globe – At yet another spectacular trash pile I found a globe. This globe was probably meant for children because it was made out of hard plastic, the land was embossed topographically and the borders were obvious approximations. What’s more is that the globe part of the globe was translucent, and the top opened up so that you could store things in it. And inside the translucent globe were at least 100 hair curlers. This juxtaposition was as jarring to me as any surrealist painting I had ever admired. I can’t quite relate what this said to me. Maybe you could offer your favorite interpretation (favorites only). But it seemed profound. And it is my number four.

#3. Suspicious Man – When I worked as a home care provider for mentally retarded persons I used to smoke cigarettes on the back porch of one of the houses I worked at. And one time I observed a man jumping off of the second story rear deck from the house across the parking lot and then another man storming out onto the deck followed by a distressed and ashamed woman. That was pretty great. But this one may top it. I was on a late night walk; it was about 11:30 p.m. I turned a corner and saw a guy standing on the sidewalk about half a block in front of me. He was talking quietly on a cell phone next to a parked car. I walked toward him (on my walking route). Once he realized that I was a person and I was walking toward him, he turned, opened the back door of the car and jumped in face first. Then he just laid there, as if I wouldn’t notice, on his stomach with his feet dangling out of the side door, silent as I walked by. It was so great that I took off running after I passed him and didn’t look back.

#2. Cricketers – This is so near the top spot because it is the only one with a relative happy ending. This very evening on my walk I strolled past the local Australian rules football oval / cricket grounds. When I first passed, it was dusk and there were strapping Australian dudes practicing their cricket. I didn’t think anything of it other than ‘I probably shouldn’t cut through the oval or those guys will kick my ass’. So I didn’t and I escaped relatively unscathed. I continued my walk. My destination was the field next to the race course where man-made springs nourish the grass and cool the surrounding air by about 3 degrees Celsius. The temperature topped 115 F today and I wanted to cool off during my walk. I got there, realized that they weren’t watering tonight and headed home. By the time I got back to the football oval it was dark out. The coast looked clear so I decided to cut through the grass. As I was crossing, I discovered in a secluded corner near the exit gate what looked like a pile of garbage (as you can tell I am pretty keen to look out for interesting piles of garbage on my walks). As I got near I realized that is was not garbage but two of the strapping cricket dudes from earlier laying together in a near embrace on a blanket admiring the stars. I tried to pretend I didn’t see them so as not to disturb, but as they understood that I was walking right by them they began talking loudly about cricket. I wanted to tell them that it was ‘ok’, and that ‘I support their forbidden love’, but I was still kind of afraid they would beat me up. So I said nothing, but I felt happy to be privy to a secret that their other cricket buddies would probably never be.

#1. The TV House - There was a house with trash all over the front yard. Bags of it, scattered debris, appliances, any kind of trash you can think of. It was sort of late, so there was no noise in the neighborhood. Except that there was a tsunami of sound coming from this house. It was so loud that several blocks before I encountered it I had braced myself for some sort of frat party. But I didn’t see any people at this house. When I approached it the noise was almost deafening. The screen door was shut but the front door was open, revealing an entire wall of TVs. There were nine of them, stacked Hollywood Squares style. Four of them were tuned to the four local stations. The other five were tuned to static. All of the volumes were turned up to full blast. It was so awesome. I felt as though I was about to stumble upon a mass grave at any moment. I felt like I was talking my evening walk in Baghdad on Mars. It was the single most surreal experience I have ever had. And it’s #1!

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