August 19, 2017

Chicken Club (tm)

Many stories from the Old Place involve Antwan. He was a 1983 Toyota Tercel -- one of those unfortunate models whose paint started sloughing off within a few years of its manufacture. By the time middlesis acquired him from a friend, he'd already gotten several coats of silver spray paint to augment his rapidly-departing factory finish.

Before he was mine, he spent a fair amount of time in the grittier parts of the City, where his original owner was a late-night copy editor at the local newspaper. Not long after she got the car she realized that people were hanging out in it while she was at work. She'd get into the car after her shift at the paper and it smelled like gum, or there would be a cassette in her tape deck that wasn't hers. Kinda spooky. This happened pretty regularly.

Anyhoo, a few years later I was lucky enough to acquire this prize automobile that did truly change my life with his steadfastness and reliability. And he needed a name. I was reminded of an old friend from the Irish bar who worked in IT at a hospital. When he got bored, he'd run database searches on different stuff. This was *around* 1985. He ran a search to see what the most popular baby names were that month at the hospital. #1 baby name (boy) was Antwan. I held onto that as a favorite name of my own and bestowed it on this new-to-me car.

As I have mentioned earlier, I wore Antwon down to the nubs. He had 183,000 miles on him at the end. But just prior to this I'd come to fully appreciate the humor in what a homely vehicle he was. I'd park around the corner if I was parking at an internship or applying for a job. And I pretended that I needed to carefully lock him, as if anyone would steal him.

I will say that this is wholly unlike the approach used by my old boyfriend's cousin who in 1987 drove a late-60's Dodge Dart with a towing sticker on the window. He kept it there so it looked like the car was going to be towed soon, and there were junk food wrappers and newspapers and a baseball glove and Neetsfoot oil, as I recall, in the back seat. This added to the air of abandonment. One day he drove us to the Met, parked in the red zone, and we looked at art for several hours, before returning home. The obnoxious stuff you do in your 20s...

Back to obnoxious stuff you do in your 30s. One day, while shopping at the 99c store, I came upon a pile of rubber chickens. The bummer was that they were stiff, not like the floppy one I had imagined I would some day own. Disappointment turned to joy as I considered all of the things I could do with multiple rubber chickens that even I, living on State Disability, could own. I bought several. Gave one to my sister, and put one in the car. Not long after, I realized the similarity in shape between my chicken and another friend's The Club anti-theft device. Hence the Chicken Club (tm) was born. Every time I parked I would dutifully whip out the Chicken Club (tm), wedge the steering wheel between the chicken's little beak and put the other part of the steering wheel between the legs. It may not have protected the car from theft, but it cracked me up every time I used it.

Here it is in action, so to speak. Today a friend sent me a portrait of me in Antwan, pulling away from a parking space in front of the Petroleum and Atomic Workers' Union Hall next door to our house, with the Chicken Club in its resting position, on top of the dashboard.

I needed to tell his story.

The Post-Bear World

We're a month out from our encounter with the bear, and it seems as if bears are everywhere. In the news, in a gigantic flag that hangs from the rafters of my office building. The story has gone a bit viral with my friends, who ask me to retell it for friends who haven't heard. When I tell the story my stomach gets a bit crampy.

Mrguy has had a similar reaction, which is hard when you are already a naturally hyper-vigilant person. But I guess that when you've been surprised inside your cozy vacation home by a 600lb animal it makes you feel as if it can happen anywhere. You spend a whole lifetime training yourself *not* to consider every shadow a threat and then there is a bear in your living room, standing on the sofa, and on the third floor, using the sink in the bathroom. 

It makes you rethink things. I used to find survival manuals at estate sales and give them to my brother-in-law for fun. Now he's actually been in a life-or-death situation with a bear. And I can assure you that none of the manuals cover how to react when encountering a bear in the third floor hallway.

5 days after the bear I got my period. First one in 8 months. Mrguy said the bear scared an egg out of me. One month later, I got my period again. I texted my bandmate. She responded "Damn bear".
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