Greetings once again comrades! I hope that everyone survived Thanksgiving and are now steeled for that annual horror show known as Christmas. As some of you may recall, I have absolutely no use for Christmas. None. Every year I wonder why I don't just blow town just to avoid it. Next year I may just do it. But I think I'm pretty much stuck this year as I have committed to cover at work for folks who are traveling or want to spend time with the kids. However, despite my enmity toward all things yulish, I have already managed to get some presents. I am pretty well ahead of schedule. This is all to the good. The sooner I can wrap this up the better.
It was pretty slow last week. Not really much to report. So here are some random thoughts on a cold afternoon:
Children's Opera? "Hansel and Gretel" the so-called "children's opera" by Englebert Humperdinck ( and no, he is isn't the guy that sang "Delilah") is currently being performed by the Opera Theatre at Wildwood. I went to a recent performance. I hadn't seen Hansel and Gretel since I was a kid in college and had forgotten the details. Having seen it again, I'm not sure why opera companies all over the world do H and G at Christmas. Hell, I don't know why it's considered suitable for children. Follow me.
The opera begins with Hansel and Gretel doing chores while singing about how hungry they are. Being children, they quit working and start horsing around. Gertude, the mother enters and in a fit of rage because the children have not finished their chores accidentally breaks the pitcher of milk from the neighbor's cow that she had saved for their one meal. She then sends Hansel and Gretel off into the deep forest to gather strawberries so that they will at least have something to eat for supper. And with that, she falls asleep at the kitchen table.
Later that afternoon, she hears her husband Peter coming back from town where he has been selling the brooms he has made. He is drunk and singing loudly as he approaches the house. Once inside, he inquires as to the whereabouts of the children. Gertrude tells him that she sent the kids off into the woods and that she doesn't care if they come back at all, so ticked is she.
Peter cannot believe this news. "Don't you know there is a witch in the woods that eats children?" he bellows. He brandishes a broom at Gertrude as if to strike her. Gertrude gets him to chill. The terrified parents head off into the woods in search of Hansel and Gretel but not before Peter comes back into the house for one more pull from the jug.
Let's see. You have starving kids, a mom with anger issues, a father who drinks during the day who also threatens to beat his wife. And this is in the first act! This sounds more like your average Saturday night in West Virginia than a beloved staple of the Christmas season.
The Brothers Grimm indeed.
And a very pleasant Good Morning to you, too! I was walking back home after my run this morning when a late model Camry slowed down in front of me on Kavanaugh. The driver shot me a bird as he crept by. His face was contorted with anger, much as Gertrude's was in the first act of Hansel and Gretel, come to think of it.
I wasn't sure that I recognized him but I thought he looked a little like the ex-husband of JY. Now, RY has no reason to be mad at me. I had nothing to do with his wife's decision to give him the boot. Indeed, I think I've seen her once since July or so. Still, divorce is hard on folks and it can cause a person to think crazy things.
I called JY to report what I thought I had seen, my theory being that if he was acting crazy around me, he's liable to act crazy around her. She told that it couldn't have been RY because their daughter reported that he wasn't even out of bed at the time I was out running.
So who the hell was the guy that flipped me off? And why was I the target of his ire? I'm certain I have no idea who he was. I was on the sidewalk so I wasn't in his way or anything. Was he cuckolded by a man wearing tights? If so, it wasn't me that led his significant other astray. I have led a recent personal life of admittedly uncharacteristic relentless probity. I have not been anywhere I have no business being (apart from the new William-Sonoma store down the street) and I haven't been with anybody I have no business being with.
You see more of that crazy kind of shit here in the People's Republic of Hillcrest than you used to. Just the other night around dusk, I was panhandled on Kavanaugh as I was taking a walk. Young kid. Didn't look like a homeless person exactly but he did have that sort of "I'm nuts" look in his eye that you always like to see when you are confronted.
I thought he was going to hit me when I told him that I wasn't carrying any money. In fact, he started following me after I walked away. I stopped and just stared at him. Now, I am not a particularly brave man. But I also figured that with all the rush hour traffic going past us, I liked my chances for turning this punk into somebody's hood ornament.
He muttered an expletive and crossed the street into the Kroger's parking lot. At least there's an off-duty cop over there.
But you never used to see that sort of thing in this neighborhood.
But back to my guy this morning. Dr. GG happened to call about then. I told her what happened. She is leaning toward this being a random brush with a nut other than somebody that has it in for me. She also rightfully viewed this as an object lesson about leaping to conclusions since the guy I had earlier thought was the perp had a solid alibi.
Divorce makes some people crazy. So do the holidays. I guess I happened to run across a victim of one of those social maladies.
And this is only the 2nd day of December.
Strength. Give me strength.