Tag Archives: Direction

Where Am I?

The question isn’t is this embarrassing. No, the question is one of degree.

Just how embarrassing is it to get lost in your own “hometown?”

Even worse, this isn’t the first time it’s happened to me. I’m beginning to think I might have a problem.

The first time was when I was in junior high school. (For those of you unfamiliar, that was the school between elementary [k-6] and high school [10-12].)

We had some friends come in from out of town. They wanted to go to Six Flags over Texas, which was just outside of the small suburb of Dallas where I grew up.

We managed to make it there all right, with only a few minimal disruptions. The problem came when we headed home and there weren’t any more signs leading us to our destination. This was (way, way, way) before cell phones or the like, so we were on our own. The older kids from out of town didn’t know which way to go and they looked to me for answers.

I turned around to see who they were looking at behind me. I had a vague notion of the direction to go, but it wasn’t all that good of a vague notion. I was asked — repeatedly and forcefully — how I could live in a town and not know my way around it. Mostly it was because I wasn’t driving yet and spent most of my car time with my nose buried in an actual paper book.

We didn’t starve to death. We eventually found our way home (hours and hours after curfew, but the parents had been too busy partying to really worry) and all was good.

Until the last weekend when I got that horrible flashback feeling. My friend, Pitt (who I’ve known since high school and who recently moved here from Pittsburgh) and I were headed to a fundraiser put on by the P Strong Foundation to raise money to support research into rare cancers.

I was in the driving seat, a position with which I was intimately familiar considering I’d been driving for more than three decades. I thought I knew my way around Charlotte. Turns out, I was wrong.

Pitt, who’s been here less than two years, knew where the event was. It was Pitt who knew where to park and how to get from the parking garage to the Bal Masque Gala at the Marriott City Center.

The first one I can blame on youth. The second time? I’m still going to blame that one on youth. Not my own, of course, but my young dudes. See, I’ve been so busy rearing the young dudes since I came to Charlotte fifteen years ago that I never got a chance to really know my way around the city. Unless you counted the areas around the Chuck E Cheese and other young-dude attractions.

That counts, right? You dudes are buying that, yeah? Right?

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Invasion Of The Giant Lego Dudes

by Richard

They come from out of the sea! Giant! Mysterious! What are they? Will mankind survive first contact with the . . . Giant Lego Men?

No, seriously. Well, partially seriously. I don’t know about invasion, but there really are giant Lego dudes washing ashore all over the place. The latest incursion was on the beach of Siesta Key Village in Florida.

The Lego dude was about 6 feet tall and looked just like a regular-sized Lego man. Only much, much bigger. And with the words “No real than you are” printed on its chest.

Now, you might be forgiven for thinking this was probably the only occurrence of its kind, but you’d be wrong. Identical Lego dudes also washed ashore in Zandvoort in the Netherlands in Aug. 2007, and another one was found off Brighton Beach in England in November of 2008.

That’s the giane Lego dude from the Netherlands. He seems like he’s having fun.

A quick websearch of the words “no real than you are” turns up the website called www.egoleonard.com. So, the site’s written in Dutch, but via bablefish translation here’s approximately what it says:

My name is Ego Leonard and I greet you from the virtual world.

A world which for me stands for luck, solidarity, everything green and blooming, and without rules and restrictions.

Recently, my world has been flooded with luck-seekers and those who want power.

Many new meetings in my virtual world have left me very curious as to your surroundings.

I am here because I thought of your world and wanted to discover and understand it.

Show me all of those beautiful things which your world has to offer.

Be my friend, and tell me tales, take me on your travels to beautiful landscapes, show me your words and gestures.

Okay, not too creepy.

Although I love the idea that there are more of these things floating on the oceans of the world, adrift, heading in the general direction of nowhere, to eventually wash up on shore in front of befuddled beachcombers. It makes the world a much stranger place. I like that.

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The Cruelest Month

I hate February. I really, really hate February. And it has nothing whatsoever to do with dreary days and cold-as-heck nights. No, my problem with February is the television schedule. This is the month that has both American Idol and Survivor on to torment the willing and to drag the unwilling down into reality-show hell to suffer and suffer and suffer and suffer.

My wife, known to me as rassen frassen snargle gsuer gar drassen, loves both American Idol and Survivor. And when I say loves, I am not in the least exaggerating. I’ve a feeling that if either of these shows had bodies even slightly less hideous than Quasimodo’s, she’d leave me for either of them in a heartbeat.

For years, I thought she was without flaw. Well, without flaws that I would be able to mention and still be alive a couple of moments later at any rate. But then this reality show craze hit and I realized she has a severe deficit in determining what’s good versus what’s crap. I know. I know. I probably shouldn’t complain too much since that’s probably the flaw that let her get married to me, but this thing is killing me.

It was pure bliss when she was away in Italy for nine days for a conference. I didn’t watch four hours of American Idol, nor did I watch the season premiere of Survivor. I loved it. I could watch television without fear of my ears rupturing or my ears bleeding. Then she came back. Not only did she have to catch up on what she missed, but then she had to start watching that week’s shows. Over the last week or so, I’ve been subjected to at least 10 hours of American Idol and three hours of Survivor. This thing is killing me.

Sure, I’ve developed defense mechanisms like reading a book so intently I hardly notice what’s actually playing on the television, but that only works for so long. Then she’ll ask me a question or make a comment and want a response. I can only say, “Huh?” so many times before things start getting lofted in my direction.

The thing that gets me the most, though, is how invested she is in these shows. She picks favorites and hurts when they don’t do well or thrills when they make the right move. Over the course of a couple of months, just a couple of hours a week, it’s like these shows become Banquo’s ghost here at the house. They’re always hovering around in the background, flavoring every conversation, dulling every meal.

Yeah, sure, I could go into another room, but, by golly, my favorite chair is in the room with the television and I’m not giving that up. Old? What do you mean, old? Whatever. I’m not giving up my chair. It’s too comfortable.

Of course, now I know what Michael Palin really meant when the Spanish Inquisition called for the “comfy chair.” Yeah, that can be torture.

— Richard

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