Tuesday, October 28, 2008

i always tell people i grew up in ohio & pennsylvania, and it's true, though i graduated from high school in upstate new york, and by 'ohio' i mean i was born in cleveland, and really spent much more time, over ten years, in toledo; by 'pennsylvania' i mean 'pittsburgh' as that was where i was in junior high. but recently i heard the city of philadelphia being compared to cleveland, in that the entire city hasn't won a championship of any kind since the 80's, whereas cleveland goes all the way back to the 60's easy, but philly is of course getting a complex. when i was in pittsburgh, one didn't wear black converse tennis shoes because that meant you were from philly, but even then i wasn't quite clear on whether that was supposed to be bad or good. today i have a slightly better view of philly, actually a kind of nostalgia, and am happy to notice that my good friend lowercase dave is back there on a visit, sending twitter updates every time he gets back on the bus, allowing me to live vicariously, him getting a free bus ticket, i presume, in return for his tireless work here for the big grey-dawg bus company.

so he manages to put just enough in these tiny twitter messages to give me a good picture, of him busing around the great state of p-a, northern half or southern half, whatever, with obama more or less tailing him, and bad weather all over the place; the game, the world serious game in which the phillies were all set to become world champions for the first time since the eighties, was suspended, due to crummy weather that was due to last two days; it won't be finished 'til tomorrow, which could throw the whole world serious into the great halloween weekend holiday, which includes dia de los muertos, shut the bars in carbondale weekend, saints' day, guy fawkes day, maybe even sadie hawkins and election day, all wrapped up in one long cold weekend, the whole ball-a-wax. and what is baseball doing trying to finish a season in november? i got no idea, but i myself am beginning to smell turkey and getting ready to vote hard, but try not to break the machine, try to play fair and not let any dead people get involved as we are wont to do out in illinois. this will happen roughly a week from tonight, the election i mean, by then a great end to a great holiday season, i hope.

so my view of p-a is basically this, that the cold rainy stuff always catches up to you right around halloween, excuse my rambling, but we kids going out, we'd try to get a lot of candy, etc., and half the time you had to figure out how to have a decent costume over a huge bundle of warming-type winter sweaters & stuff that you weren't used to wearing. and this made everyone a little slower, colder, & hungrier for candy, much of which was gone before the night was out. now fast-forward to adulthood, and i'm trying to get ready for halloween back here in the land-o-obama, but there are complications. one, i work too much. two, i always put off costumes until the last minute. three, i'd rather this world serious would just end.

so this game last night was tied 2-2, and was suspended, kind of like just held up, indefinitely, until the weather got better, which surely wasn't going to be tonight. now if this had happened to the twins, say, they might have to wait until may. but philly, maybe they'll have one more good day, or at least one more precipitation-free day, before may. and maybe philly will win, maybe they won't. i do actually like them, those phillies. my heart is with lower-case dave, at least when i open twitter. i can feel it much like i would if it were the indians in there. but i like tampa bay too-last time i was in tampa bay, i lost my wallet, and my wallet saw more of the place than i did, and came back to me anyway. last time i was in philly, i was going home for thanksgiving, wondering how the p-a turnpike could be so long, and me just starting it.

the mountains of northern pennsylvania are vast, beautiful, foggy, cold, lots of grasses and woods and deer antlers on roofs of old trucks, also it snows a lot, especially starting now, and even so you always take the mountains rather than veer south, go through philly and hit all those tunnels on the turnpike through the mountains in the south part of the state. it's a big state, and real pretty, and cold, but i think obama will win. hang in there obama- only one week to go.

as for the phillies, they could be suspended there, one minute away from a big win, for who knows how long. that's the way life is, you never know what's going to delay you next, when the next boxcars are gonna come down the tracks. it reminds me of driving around carbondale. generally you take the routes with stop signs, because even if someone's around, and you have to make a full stop, you don't actually have to sit still. on the other hand, if you take the main roads, you go faster of course, but then you actually get lights, and a red light will actually make you stop, no choice, just sit there for a minute maybe. then there's the train, cuts right through the center of town; that's real suspension, you have to sit there 'til all the boxcars are gone, look at the graffiti, which we don't see to much of around here, count the boxcars maybe, and notice that everyone around you, some of whom i would know of course, are all, at that moment, suspended in carbondale, cars idling at the bricks near the tracks. but such is life. you can be in a hurry if you want, but, the real test is, how you behave while you wait, whether you blow your top from the pure boxed-in, tunnelish nature of it all, or whether you sleep on the bus once in a while. 'i spent a weekend one day in philadelphia,' said w.c. fields, and that was before the days of twitter. one time i drove back there, with a friend, and had to leave the car, an old opel station wagon, in a small town in p-a, in the mountains, clearfield i believe it was, and take the bus home. they say you always get offered drugs for sale in the cleveland bus station, and that was certainly true for me, going through the northern part; that one time at least, and the weather was bitter cold that time too. but hey, cleveland has been suspended for more like what, 45 years, no baseball championship in sight, so, with that kind of bitter weather, lack of good train graffiti, what do you expect, i passed 'em up, of course, but i remember thinking, this is where i'm from, i just want to look around a little, and i did look around, said no to the guy, and breathed in a little of that cold wet late-fall eastern-time-zone kind of air. but then, got right back on the first bus west, back out here to the high plains, the river valley, where everyone knows, when it's the high holidays, the big season, you give up your baseball, go out & get some candy, 'cause winter's coming, and it's time to hibernate. a snickers bar, i'll settle for a snickers bar, and maybe a memory or two; good luck to dave, and here's to memorable trips out in the old stomping grounds. turn up yer collar- it's going to be a long one.


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