Wednesday, December 24, 2008

holiday haiku

I love writing Haiku.
It forces you to put your thoughts into a mathematical format - five syllables for the first line, seven for the second and wrap your thoughts all up in a big five syllable finish.
When I worked for the department store which shall not be named, we'd have Haiku writing contests and email them back and forth to each other.
My lack of employment forced me to spread my holiday spending over a period of several months rather than my usual December 24th shopping spree at QuikTrip, so I was done early. 
Tree decorated? Check. Presents all bought and wrapped? Check. Cookies baked? Check. Toilet cleaned? Check.
As a consequence, I've had time on my hands to delve into the origins of Haiku and compose a few of my own. 
According to Wikipedia (I know, I know . . . I'm a Wiki head. Shut up.):
"Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry, consisting of 17 Japanese on (a phonetic unit identical to the mora), in three metrical phrases of 5, 7, and 5 on respectively, and typically containing a kigo, or seasonal reference. In Japanese, haiku are traditionally printed in a single vertical line, while Haiku in English usually appear in three lines, to equate to the Japanese haiku's three metrical phrases. Previously called hokku, it was given its current name by the Japanese writer Masaiko Shiki at the end of the 19th century."
What could be a more seasonal subject than December 25th?

I wrote these on the bus today:

No money for gifts.
I will Simonize your car
when it gets warmer.


I'm a smart shopper!
I won't buy Rock Band 3 when
air guitar is free.

and my personal favorite

It's Jesus' birthday!
He knows what his present is
because he's Jesus.

Domo Arigato. Have the happiest of holidays, y'all

Friday, December 19, 2008

miracle on harrison street

I never believed in Santa.
I know that sounds preposterous, but it's true. I was a pretty reality-based kid and to my mind there was just a total lack of evidence as to his existence. 
For starters, my mom was (and is) left-handed. She has the kind of distinctive penmanship that can only come from a person that has to curl her left arm all around the paper to write. Strangely enough, Santa's handwriting looked exactly like Mom's. So did the Tooth Fairy's handwriting.  And the Easter Bunny's. 
Secondly, we didn't have a chimney. We had a space heater with a 6" diameter pipe that went up to the ceiling. Even if Santa could have managed to squeeze himself down the pipe, he would have ended up burning his ass.
My Mom didn't work, mainly because my Dad wouldn't let her. He thought people would think that he wasn't man enough to support his family if she did. I lived a block from my grade school and would come home every day for lunch to find more presents under the tree. "Where did these come from?" I'd ask. "Oh, Santa happened to be in the neighborhood and dropped these off early so he wouldn't have as much work to do on Christmas Eve," my Mom would reply.  
It was a big day when the J.C.Penney's Christmas catalog came in the mail. Mom would sit down with me to try and get an idea of what I wanted for Christmas. "What do you want Santa to bring you?" she would ask. "This, I guess," I'd say, pointing at something random. "Are you sure you don't like this better?" Mom would say frantically, pointing at the one she'd already bought. "This is much better, don't you think?"
I thought that kids who believed every Santa with a fake beard was sent down as a personal emissary from the Big Guy at North Pole were saps, but I didn't want to be the one to burst their bubbles. I'm pretty sure my sister believed - we really never talked about it. Our conversations were usually about who was the cutest Beatle.
So, I put cookies out for my Dad to eat and read the notes that my Mom left.  
And I never told my parents.
May your holidays be joyful, surrounded by people you love and people who love you. 

Friday, December 12, 2008

get on the bus that takes me to you

My car is dead.
Not exactly unrepairably dead, but the cost is certainly beyond my meager unemployment income and the value of the car. That means Metro and I have become close personal friends once again. 
David pities me for having to ride the bus, but I actually kind of enjoy it. I grew up in a small town and public transportation is a fairly new thing for me. I had been riding the bus off and on for years - usually when the weather got too bad to risk sliding my car into something - and rode Metrolink every day when I worked downtown, but this the first time I've had to rely on Metro as my sole form of transportation. 
Metrolink is relaxing, clean and a bit boring. Everyone is so polite and nothing unusual ever happens. 
Metrobus, however, is a show on wheels. Every kind of person in the world is there, having loud conversations with each other, arguing with the driver about transfers, yakking loudly into their cell phones about highly personal things, lugging packages and kids down the aisle. I always see something either entertaining or disturbing on the bus or at the bus stop. 
My favorite bus experience happened about a year ago when I was still working downtown. It was cold, there was snow everywhere, gas was creeping up in price, so I had been riding the bus to work a lot. One of the major places to catch a bus downtown is on Washington under the walkway between Dillard's and St. Louis Centre, both now closed. Just about every bus line passes through there at some point.
It was dark, it was snowing, I was tired and waiting for my bus to show up. An older gentleman with what sounded like a Bosnian accent walked up and asked me if the Gravois bus had been by yet. I told him that it had not, and that was the bus I was waiting for. The conversation went rapidly downhill from there:
HIM: Where you live?
ME: (guardedly) Um . . . Tower Grove.
HIM: I have seen you there. You have husband?
ME: No. I live with my boyfriend.
HIM: I kill your boyfriend.
ME: What? Why?
HIM: I kill your boyfriend, then I be your boyfriend.
ME: (backing up) Okay . . . . well . . . . Bye!
HIM: You know why?
ME: (regrettably) Why?
HIM: (putting his hand on his crotch) I am really hard right now.
I was too tired to do anything but laugh uncontrollably. He looked hurt and shuffled off into the darkness. 
St. Louis is such an automobile town, and Metro just announced that they're cutting a bunch of bus routes next year, so eventually I will have to buy a car.
I'm still gonna ride the bus, though.
It's the cheapest show in town.