My son was very talkative before school today, but he’s always chatty. He was telling me about a new song the mystical, all knowing Ms. Patty had taught in school, asking me if I knew it. “It goes Pol-wice Polly-wog. Pol-wice Polly-wog…or somethin’. It’s a Chwrismas Song,”. I was scanning the memory banks for some obscure carol that contains the words “police” and “pollywog”. You see, I have an annoyingly large collection of music lyrics stored in my head. It doesn’t really matter what the message is, if it’s set to music, my brain absorbs it. Unless, it’s useful information…if it’s useful, my brain shuts off. Music lyric retention is my super power. It’s a blessing and a curse.
My talent would work very much in my favor if I were ever a contestant on Jeopardy! and there was a song lyric category. I can confidently say, I’d run that shit. Now, this will probably never happen, because it involves voluntarily signing up to be a contestant on Jeopardy! This is where my little fantasy ends, because I’m not gonna do that. If Congress accidentally took a bunch of acid and decided to initiate a game show draft, thereby forcing me take the on-line exam and…let’s say I did make it through the selection process and got on a show that had such a category, you’d be in for quite the treat. If I could get through the first two steps of this mission and the last part didn’t materialize, I can assure you that I would entertain you with my artfully signed name and dazzle you with my ability to give the wrong answer. Given the chance I’d like to ask Mr. Trebek why he insists on pronouncing the word Sophomore; “Soph-A-more”? I wait all year for the High School Tournament, so I can feel like I’m incredibly smart and that condescending, know-it-all, silver haired, prick ruins it by distracting me with his oddly emphasized speech patterns. Damn Canadians, they’re all the same.
Up until the invention of the smart phone, my phone would ring in the wee hours of the morning; on the other end would be a friend, a very drunk friend. This friend, who has no concept of time because, as I pointed out…they’re drunk, would say something like “Haaay! Haaay, can you hear me?” as loud bar sounds blare in the background. “Listen, I’m sitting here trying to figure out what the name of this song is. You’re the only one I could think of that would know….can you hear it?” Usually, I couldn’t hear the song, but I had to wait a little while to communicate this, because the friend had removed the phone from their ear and was presumably holding it above their head, thinking they were improving the chances of the music being heard. Drunk people think that this is the best way to collect the sound waves floating through the air, I’m not sure whether they think their bodies act as a giant antenna or what. The only thing I was ever able to hear was my friend yelling “Oh my God! I love this friggin’ song!” and the murmur of other people talking over the clinking of glasses. After the intermission my friend would put the phone back in talk position, I’d say “I couldn’t hear it,” and they would proceed to poorly sing it to me, in all of their slurring glory. After several minutes of being serenaded, as sad as this may sound, I was always able to identify the name of the song. I was thrilled when someone finally designed a phone app that could do this job for me. I sleep much more soundly. Thank you Shazam, wherever you are.
I was trying in earnest to figure out what song my son was talking about when I pulled out of my driveway and almost ran over my neighbor. This is not something that is abnormal. Although I may not be the world’s best licensed driver, it is she that is to blame for near bumper contact, most of the time. She’s a strange bird and I have never been one of her favorite people. I don’t particularly care; I’ve never intentionally done anything to her to make her dislike me. Unless she reads my blog, in that case, she has every reason not to like me, now.
I’ve mentioned before that I believe she is a certified whack-job. We’re all weird in some way. Take me for instance; I do some pretty strange things, sometimes unconsciously. I’ve been told that my normal expression conveys a message of confusion. It is not uncommon for a complete stranger to walk up to me in a location I am very familiar with and ask me if I’m lost. This never happens to anyone else I know, so it qualifies as weird. I also collect horrifically ugly socks. Sure, I might be very well coordinated on the outside, but inside my shoes lies a knitted secret. The uglier the sock, the more inclined I am to wear them. Right now I’m wearing some lovely red and blue ones that go straight up to my knees and bear the image of cartoon monkeys. How’s that for a visual?
Along with my neighbor’s affinity for walking her dog in her jammies at all hours and talking to herself, she displays a lot of other quirky behavior. She’s a compulsive gardener, and I don’t mean she likes a well-manicured lawn. I mean that I have come home at three in the morning to find her laying in her front yard, trimming her grass with scissors by flashlight. I have also seen her drag out the vacuum cleaner and vacuum her driveway and street out in front of her house. My parents have lived in this house for almost 20 years, it was apparent she was a little off when we moved in…either she has ramped up the crazy or I am just getting more observant. She seems to do a good job of hiding her insanity from the other neighbors on the block, but not me…I’m on to her.
I’ve seen her engaged in many a pleasant conversation with Bob, the neighbor that lives across the street. I think I’ve had a neighbor named Bob in every location I have called home. If you don’t have a Bob in your life, I recommend you get one. They’re aces. When she talks to him, she looks him in the eye and never makes a bee-line for her front door when she sees him coming. It makes me wonder, what does Bob have that I don’t? It’s very strange. I have never tried to engage this woman in conversation, but still she avoids me like the plague.
Maybe she hates me because she’s always sneaking up on me as I back out of the driveway. It’s almost like she wants me to put her out of her misery. My neighborhood came equipped with a sidewalk, you’d think after a few years of being in my blind spot as my reverse lights come on, she’d learn to use it. Or maybe she hates me because I have been in my backyard and heard her berating her husband from over the fence. “My mother was right, I should have married Arnie Shenkowitz” seems to be her favorite insult. Arnie, if you’re out there, I’m sure you’ll be happy to know you dodged a bullet.
Today, she wasn’t walking her dog; she was seated in the road, again with scissors, trimming her grass. People are not supposed to be in the road, so I’m not sure why she got all bent out of shape when I tried to use her as a speed bump. I rolled down my window to apologize for not seeing her, but I didn’t really mean it and she didn’t really accept it. “Ask her, Mommy! Maybe she knows the song!” my son directed from over the seat. “I don’t think she’s in the mood for Name That Tune, Buddy”. “Why not? You always wisten to music when you mow the lawn”. “Yes, and I always use the lawn mower when I mow the lawn. I think she might be Jewish”. “Does that mean she can’t use lawn mower?”. “No, it means she might not know the words to a lot of Christmas songs”. “Oh, why can’t she use a lawn mower?” I didn’t have an answer for this one aside from the obvious “She’s off of her meds,” but I didn’t want him to repeat that. He ended his questioning and started caroling again. I realized, halfway to school that “Pol-wice Polly-wog” was his rendition of “Feliz Navidad”. While I appreciate Ms. Patty’s efforts in trying to make my child multi-lingual, I was hoping he’d master English before he went on the bastardize another language.