Friday, February 12

It's The Journey

• Had to go to the bank this morning, and at some point it hit me that they'd plowed the side streets overnight, including my own little street, which I'd already driven down without noticing. Now, we got about a foot of snow here, which is no big whoop if you have anything approaching an historical perspective or a long-term memory, and it fell in 2-1/2 stages, the first and biggest of which was over last weekend, so it was even less of a problem than it would've been otherwise, and even Mayor Gregory G. Pyle, USMC, managed to handle it. Problem is, though, that when you get that much snow here it tends to stick around a few days, which gives people, and news hairdos, time to talk about it, and after a couple days they have to say something besides, "Above average snowfall, wasn't it?" and "So much for Global Warming!". And what they say, typically, is "How come the roads haven't been scraped clean enough for you to break an axle in the pot holes underneath? Huh? Huh?"

Then this, by virtue of repetition, becomes The Stupid Local Political Chatter That Won't Die of the Week, and within a couple days the Mayor is forced to send out a henchspokesman to either explain, or explain away, the fact that the city ain't gonna plow your goddam side street, like ever, because we just don't have the resources. And, they might add, but don't, if you had the fucking juice you'd be on the plow list already, so shut th' fuck up.

And this Mayor's had to work overtime at it, because he's Mr. Principled Frugality when it comes to campaign speeches, sewage treatment, or greenspace; just about everything, in fact, besides trying to convince us that generations which won't have voted for him, probably under any circumstances with their benefit of hindsight, would appreciate paying for "his" "vision" of a few $ billions worth of solutions to other counties' commuting problems. Channel 8, for one, has assigned a reporter to the High Cost of Road Salt beat ten months of the year, just to keep up.

So I wasn't even paying attention, and when it suddenly dawned on me that I was driving on cleared roadway, I thought about how I'd seen the Mayor's mouthpiece three times in the three previous days spouting the number of miles of surface streets in Marion county, and how they never ever plowed beyond secondary routes, and, well, sorry.

Indianapolis has had one "Democratic" mayor (think Evan Bayh, but with human warmth) since we've lived in this house, and, well, one since I've been old enough to vote, which is pretty much what the Republicans had in mind when they annexed the county forty years back. He did it without fuss; my street got plowed twice while he was Mayor, when there was something like 15-18" of snow, enough to start preventing people from getting out. He, it follows, was run out of town because the statehouse Republicans fucked up property taxes. His predecessor, the legendary Incontinent Privatizer Stephen Goldsmythe, once ignored a snow of that size. Period. Said he'd ignore it, then did ignore it. Told anyone who asked that it was his business how the city spent its money. He then came about as close to being defeated by an African-American woman with no money or name recognition above 38th Street as is theoretically possible. Which, of course, convinced him it was time to run for governor. Publicly, I mean; he'd already been doing it in private since he made Eagle Scout.

Now, a couple things occurred to me immediately after I noticed the road thing: One, that the difference between Democrats and Republicans is that Democrats disappoint you by what they do, whereas Republicans lie to you first and then do it. The second is that, while California and its thirty-years of crackpot budgets are the harbinger, Indiana is that Great Midwestern open laboratory where you see just how this stuff will play out when it's run by people who slightly mis-heard the story and are short about ten-fifteen IQ points.

• This, then, was the dystopian reverie which I had broken at the stoplight at SR 37 ("Gateway to Beautiful Hamilton County") by the enormously happy dog occupying the back seat of the car in front of me. We were sort of bonding through the intervening auto glass, and it occurred to me that the whole world loves a gregarious scavenger. In daylight.

• And I was getting a wad of cash back, on the grounds that I'd forgotten to ask my Poor Wife if she needed some scratch, which apparently gave the teller an impression, so she asked, as I was tucking it away, "Are you going out to buy your wife a present?"

"Nah. Her birthday was a couple days ago, so I get to slide by. It's what attracted me to her. I used to ask every woman I met, 'are you an Aquarius by any chance?' and they all thought I was just into astrology."

Hope that made her weekend. Wait, I hope somebody else makes her weekend, romantic old fool that I am.

• Then I nearly drove into oncoming traffic on the way home when Maria Bamford popped into my head (specifically this sweet little reworking of a stock routine she did on John Oliver's stand-up show a couple weeks ago):


Kordo said...

Oh, Riley, I like her! Dark humor; is there any other kind? Kinda reminds me of Sarah Silverman, but with timing and good material.

TM said...

I believe that's the first time I've ever laughed out loud in response to someone saying "I don't feel good!"