[VOID] Pandapeople

Ron Resnick (rresnick@dialogosweb.com)
Sun, 21 Jun 1998 14:44:22 -0400

This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

This message, sent to fork-noarchive, apparently never made it
anywhere went sent yesterday. It also hasn't bounced back to me.
Rohit, have you disabled fork-noarchive? Ron.
Content-Type: message/rfc822
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Content-Disposition: inline

Message-ID: <358C9A80.EBB2B886@dialogosweb.com>
Date: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 01:30:40 -0400
From: Ron Resnick <rresnick@dialogosweb.com>
Organization: DiaLogos Incorporated
X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.04 [en] (WinNT; U)
MIME-Version: 1.0
To: fork-noarchive@xent.ics.uci.edu,
Riva Resnick <resnick@actcom.co.il>
CC: Barbara Dill <BDill@dialogosweb.com>,
Scott Laflair <laflair@nortel.ca>
Subject: [VOID] Pandapeople
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

In the great tradition of nomadic lowlife barcrawlers,
here's my attempt at the avante garde [VOID] artform.
If you other FoRKers don't find it up to the standards set by Rohit,
tough noogies, I ain't him. I'm not even trying to imitate.
I'm just mildly having fun and mocking about.

Actually, the barcrawling VOID artform has existed long before
Rohit - Ernest Hemmingway excelled at it,
as did Tennessee Williams. Was everyone as outraged
as I was that 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' didn't make the top 10
film list last week? Neither did Dr. Zhivago. Sigh. You no-necked
monsters, Hollywood critics, - how dare you list 'The Graduate'
and not list 'Easy Rider' as the classic 60s pic? I mean,
I like Simon & Garfunkel, and I like Dustin Hoffman, but really now!
Lawrence of Arabia makes the cut, but Zhivago doesn't? Where's
the epic righteousness in that?
And just where was 'Rebel Without a Cause' anyway? The picture
that proves that even an actor who descends to Gilligans
Island and Mr. Magoo (Jim Backus) can achieve greatness.

So, anyway, back to VOIDness.

Well, as you know by now, my 777 did arrive at SFO. With
rental car arranged, off I go. First stop - Target. That damned
stuff I bought last time out ain't no good! Gotta exchange.
Noam's shoes are the wrong size, and the replacement burner
for our gas barbecue didn't fit either.

Some people buy stuff at the store, take it home, don't like
it, and come back and exchange it.
I'm no different - I do the same! Only for me, that sentence
above involves crossing the frickin atlantic ocean round trip.
The most amazing thing is, I think I could actually get *used*
to that. Buy something, schlep it across 10 time zones, decide
it isn't quite right, schlep it back again and exchange it for
one size larger. Oh, and don't forget your receipt.
Thank you - come again!

Well, with that chore done, it's time to email Barb back
in Cincinnati to ask her to pick up the dry cleaning I forgot
when I came out here, so that I can grab it from her next Monday
as I rush back through town, on my way to Columbus to make my
way back to Toronto, then Israel. And, another email to set
something straight with my dentist in Cincinnati, because doesn't
everyone who lives in Israel have a dentist in Cincinnati?

And I'm thinking: I live in Israel. My family is there. My 'stuff'
is there. But my friend Scott in Toronto has a bunch of stuff
I bought at Ikea in the trunk of his car, that I need to rendezvous
with him at Pearson to pick up Monday night between flights, and
Barb has my dry cleaning in Cincinnati, and I left a bag full
of yet more junk in the hotel in Covington Kentucky to
pick up next week, and right now, I'm
in California. There are bits (atoms?) of me strewn all over the place.
And the oddest thing is: This plan all seemed
to make sense when I was making it up. After all, why schlep
Ikea junk from Toronto to Cincinnati to California,
just to schlep it back again? Dump it in Scott's trunk
and pick it up in 2 weeks!

And then I decide what I've been deciding for my whole life. I just
have too much damn stuff. Notice how often the word 'stuff'
or 'junk' shows
up above? I think I'll take the Ikea stuff and the Covington
stuff and most of my other stuff and just burn it all. Brad
Cox says a lot of weird thing, but his fascination with
'property consciousness' isn't all that misplaced, I'll say that much.

Well, so by now the irate among you are wondering who the hell
the pandapeople are, in my subject line? I'm getting there, be

So, after Target, check into my hotel, send drycleaning and 777
and dentist emails,
a quick shower, and head out for some dinner. Houlihans. Your typical
chain bar/restaurant type place. Think O'Tooles or Kelseys or
whatever mick name they use for these places in your neck of the woods.

And the place is really dead, for a Saturday evening. The food
is fine though, and a number of Anchor Steam drafts sets the tone.
(And it's a short walk across the parking lot back to my hotel
and my Cardhu for those worried about California's finest.)

And the girl at the bar is smashing. Since it's so dead, she's not
busy, we start making small talk. She's only been working there
a week, it's her first Saturday night. So she makes some
crack that I could volunteer to go out by the side of the road
with a big sandwich board, advertising the place and trying
to drag clients in. So I say, 'yeah, with a panda suit, right!"
And she looks at me, uncomprehendingly.

So I tell her 'yeah, back east they hire people to dress
up in full body Panda bear costumes to stand outside hair
salons with sandwich boards, to attract customers.' And
she's still looking at me funny. 'Back east? New York?'
'No', I say, 'Toronto. Canada.'.
'Canada?!' she says, 'that's not east, that's north!'
So then I realize who I'm dealing with.

I'm sure I've seen the pandapeople in the US too, though.
Getting paid minimum wage, dressed as teddy bears or panda bears,
bouncing around on the sidewalks like idiots,
informing you that you can
get a trim for $11.99, and a perm for $29.99. They bake
in their polyester suits in summertime, and they freeze in them
during winter. This is a year round gig. Neither hail, nor sleet,
nor snow, shall keep the pandaman from standing in the slushy
sidewalks. I know this
unique species inhabits a stretch of Queen St. in Brampton, right
off Kennedy Rd. But I'm sure I've seen them elsewheres too.

Well, so back to the bar, still making small talk as I finish
up my last Anchor Steam, explaining that Canada does lie to the
north of San Carlos CA, but that the vast majority of it happens
to lie to the east of San Carlos CA, too, as it happens.
"Oh", she says. I don't even dare bring up Israel. So a bit more
smalltalk, how I'm staying in the hotel across the parking lot,
how she's
in Menlo Park, and I realize she's flirting with me! And this
is weird, since I'm not used to being flirted with, and this is
like the 3rd time in the last week something like that has happened.

On the 777 today from Chicago, I was sitting beside a schoolteacher
from Vermont. The school year had just ended, she had graded the last
exams, and she's off for 3 weeks in San Francisco. Some kind
of program for HS science teachers to learn
about how to set up interesting science experiments and demonstrations
for their classes. She's originally from small town Ohio, lives in
small town New England, and it's
her first trip to California. And she starts asking me about me.
Oy. So I give the usual spiel about Canada/US/Brazil/Israel/we'll-
figure-it-all-out-one-of-these-days, and show her the pictures
of Riva & kids I have on my laptop.
Turns out, she's single, has a cat, and is frustrated with
the cutbacks in high school education, the lack of interest her
students display in basic skills like long division,
the knives they get caught with in school
(in rural Vermont, for chrissake!), and how she's really interested
in how Internet and distance learning can improve the state
of high school education. And is fascinated by my saga of
dry cleaning in Cincinnati and Target refunds in California,
and having babies in Brazil, and generally jetting around.
She actually thinks it's all romantic, the poor dear.
Oy! Rohit, why don't you just appear on these flights and
switch seats with me when these things happen? I'm not interested!
I'm happily married, and not flirting. They're all yours.

BTW, Rohit, speaking of flirting on United,
do you read the '22 A&B' artices in the United inflight magazines?
Just curious. They're the best damn things in the whole silly pub.
I've managed to read 2 so far - both excellent.

So, after this unusually long road trip, 3 weeks down and 1 to go,
I'm really missing home. Two nights ago I was talking to Riva for over
an hour on the phone, just not wanting to hang up. We've been
married close to 8 years, together for about 10 now, and we've
rarely been apart for more than a couple of days, until these
last few months. Basically, this situation sucks. I wanted to conclude
this [VOID]ness with one truly real thing. In the presence
of all the strange and wonderful people reading these words,
as witnesses, to affirm to my darling wife, my eshet chayil:
"I love you!".