Monday, August 05, 2013

In Which I Am A Poor Excuse For Mister Rogers

Last year at around this time, give or take a few months, I took you with me on a walk around my town.  (I think more than a few readers didn't really understand that it was, in fact, really my neighborhood in which I found every single one of those signs I pictured.) This year, though, I'm not out and about as much as I was before.  It seems like I'm either down with a migraine or getting over one, or there's something else taking up part of my day.  Add to that a healthy (unhealthy?) dose of Sloth, and there could be a maximum security prison under construction around the block unbeknownst to me.

 Probably, it wouldn't surprise me.  Ours is an old neighborhood--or was, until the mainstays started dying off.  Now it's a little schizophrenic.  The Old Guard died, and their heirs, already ensconced in homes elsewhere, couldn't always easily sell the parents' house in a cold real estate market.  Our street is now an odd mix of rentals, New People, and suddenly, children again. 

Rick and I are now The Old Guard.  We are The Mainstays.  And hell be damned sure I don't want to die on this street.

But it's funny.  Every once in a while, this town can make me laugh.  Not at it, but just laugh.  I stopped at this stop sign because, well, it's a stop sign, but also because of this:
I swear that this had to be printed on an old dot-matrix printer.  Part of it was colored in with pink marker.  Who does this?  This isn't Justin Bieber's advance team doing guerilla marketing in Northeast Ohio towns of 50K.  Jared got this pic for me when we were out on errands, and then another day, I drove around looking for any more of these fliers.  None.  Honestly, I felt bad that I didn't tell anyone to tell anyone that Justin Bieber's new single is coming soon.  This helps me feel better, and I hope that little eight-year old girl and her friend had a lot of fun that afternoon in her family room.

"That's so random!" one of my students would say about the next sign I happened upon.  I feel like it is, except it looks like a fair amount of work went into it.  It was tacked up on a telephone pole at a busy intersection about a block away from the hospital.  It was at a stop street, so it got a fair amount of attention.  It either fell down or was taken down about a month after it appeared.
I think the signature/tag on the bottom right reads "Smash," who I guess is the creator of both the sign and its sentiment.  Why or how Smash was moved to create and then hang this sign, we will never know.  That's what I love most about it:  knowing Smash is out there, ready to Take It To The Streets when he/she is so motivated.

You know how when you go to the DMV/License Bureau to renew your driver's license, and you look at the people and wonder, "Where the hell are all these people from?"  Because, you know, they look like someone hosed out the drunk tank at the jail and told them all to wait there.  Or like it's Central Casting for a show called "My Life On The Streets."  These are The Neighbors You Don't Want To Know. It's bad enough that there's proof positive that They're Out There.  You don't want to have to stand behind them while they "git a sticker fer th' trucks."  And how is it that so very many of these individuals own boats?

But I wouldn't mind catching a glimpse of Smash on a late-night sign-hanging run, sign in hand, staplegun safely cached in a hoodie's tunnel pocket.  Or seeing the two little Beliebers giggle as they run and scotch-tape their sign on a nearby post, clapping and hugging each other when they're done; then sharing an earbud each to listen to Justin himself on a pink iPod while they dance.

They're my neighbors, after all.

header image here


  1. Your town is so much more interesting than mine. I mean, all I've seen is a sign where they were selling babies at a yard sale, and a plus-sized white woman riding a children's bicylcle (oh, wait - that's me!).

  2. The telephone pole one looks painted on. So maybe it was painted on a chunk of wood that was later nailed to the pole? Intriguing to say the least. Always interesting to try to imagine who wrote it and why. That could be a new game at the DMV: which of these people might have put up the weird signs in my neighborhood?

    Given your powers of observation, it's a shame you were not living in Ariel Castro's neighborhood. On second thoughts, that's probably a place you would not want to live in, much less die in.

    I limit myself to observing the rapidly changing demographic in the condos where we live. About 75% are owners, with a mix of young couples and oldsters like ourselves. The rest are tenants, and a Very Mixed Bag. One particular owner will and does rent to just about anyone, and we have had to flush out a few prostitutes and drug dealers. Charming. The HOA board has just made a new ruling that all landlords must submit background checks on future tenants, subject to approval by the board. They mean business, too. Their latest campaign is with an organization called Poo Prints: all dog owners must have DNA samples of their dogs taken so they can identify who isn't picking up after their pets and issue a fine. That's gonna work out really well, since the worst offenders are... usually tenants. :-)

  3. Anonymous6:12 PM

    "Where the hell are all these people from?"

    That was my exact thought as I stood in line at the DMV last winter. It was trippy, just like the signage in your town. Fun idea to post about that which is posted. Always love random.

  4. Ally Bean--It's scary, isn't it? I guess I should be grateful that I never see the DMV People anywhere else.

    Ortizzle--Yes, that sign was a small piece of wood stapled onto the pole. In the earlier post I referred to, the Smile sign was the same.

    The Poo Prints thing is odd. So, I imagine they gather up the offending dog poop and send it to a lab someplace that tests it; wait for a test; then finally, when the results come back, they can triumphantly fine the owners? How long does this tedious process take? Do you think it's worth it, ever?

    The whole Ariel Castro thing happened in Cleveland proper, about 25 miles east of me. It, of course, dominated the news here unceasingly, and I was transfixed by the recent sentencing hearing, esp. Castro's rambling statement. It was like watching a documentary about a sociopath or psychopath. The day those girls were found, I couldn't believe it. So many years! And they were in the same place. It was remarkable.

    There is unfortunately a culture in neighborhoods of not getting involved, period. That might change now.

    Bug--Your bike is cute. I bet there are a ton more odd signs to find if you are on the lookout. Or if you have time, like I do. I was trained early on by lots of car trips as a child to be observant. It's ingrained now.


  5. Now there's a great job! Working at Poo Prints matching dog poop to DNA samples, and then having to call Smash and tell him that it is HIS dog who is defiling the beautiful roadways of your town.

    In light of this discovery I'd say that Smash and his pit bull are literally "Taking It To The Streets."

    Good luck to the enforcers at Poo Prints when they try to collect the poop fines from Smash...


  6. Now there's a great job! Working at Poo Prints matching dog poop to DNA samples, and then having to call Smash and tell him that it is HIS dog who is defiling the beautiful roadways of your town.

    In light of this discovery I'd say that Smash and his pit bull are literally "Taking It To The Streets."

    Good luck to the enforcers at Poo Prints when they try to collect the poop fines from Smash...


  7. Nance,

    I'm sure you'll understand when I say that I thought my comment was so interesting I posted it twice....

  8. Nancy, Nancy, and Nancy--Be firm in the knowledge that the level of your comments is such that they don't need to be posted twice to be appreciated. But I'm leaving them all up just for you. LOL.

    Funny that you see Smash as a pit bull owner. I see him as too angsty for that. I see him as the owner of an old family mutt that still sleeps in Smash's room the way he did when both were pups.

    Is Philly getting this awful, cloudy and on-off rainy/humid weather? Even at 75 I had to put on the AC because of the soupiness of the air. What a crappy summer for weather.


  9. Yes, we have the same soupiness in the air here. You know, Chicken Noodle, Cream of Mushroom...

    Smash and I and his dog,Brutus, are enjoying a bowl of Vegetable Beef at the moment.

    Wish you were here!

  10. I wish they'd had cell phone cameras when we were living in KY in a small farm town in the Bluegrass in the early 1990s. We lived downtown near the courthouse with a mix of young people like ourselves who were romantically fixing up old houses and some of the original/older residents who'd moved in in the 20s and 30s. There was a guy down the road who was named Carl Lester (last name unknown but since it was the South, we used his first 2 names) who periodically put his house up for sale. He had a big piece of white scrap wood upon which he had spraypainted the phrase, "House for Sell" using one of those stencils people used to use when making posters. He also sold a variety of yard decor, most notably the Peeing Silhouette Man, which was accessorized with a piece of bent wire (to suggest the pee, you see.) Wish I'd been able to head up north while I was in Ohio and actually meet you in person. I suspect we would still be talking if I had. ; ) Maybe next year?

  11. MsCaroline--Oh, how lovely to get together and chat. We can only keep trying.

    The Silhouette People craze lit here briefly. The house across the street--which engages in yard tchotchkes, much to my chagrin--had the Guy Leaning Against The House. I suppose that was far better than the Other Craze, which was the plywood Fat Lady Butt, the thing painted to look like a sizeable woman bending over to reveal her pantaloons. (Because of course women still wear those. No they don't.)


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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