Saturday, February 25, 2006

Travels With Uncle Bunny

Even on the road, I've found that if you pay close enough attention, something stupid is bound to happen. Often its quite intentional, sometimes inadvertant but always unique in that you're in unfamiliar surroundings and bound to react like more of a bigger jerk than you already are.

Years ago I was travelling in upstate New York with my then girlfriend and soon to be wife and later to be ex wife. Well, that wraps that story up neatly, doesn't it?

All right, I'll go on. We were "antiquing" which is a euphemism for "let's take what little money we have and give it to a toothless old man in New Paltz who smells of cow flop and he'll give us a rusty, dented bucket."

Antique stores lined the road, interspersed with ATMs, strangely enough. Some were old barns, some storefronts, some private homes where weird Uncle Al had been relegated to an upstairs bedroom with the door locked and "Jeopardy" tourament of guys that live with their moms put on to keep him quiet. We only had to stop in the front yard, jump out of the car and tug the door open to enter another delightful emporium of wonderful things that the town would not pick up, even on heavy trash day. We were beside ourselves with joy and could not wait to get to the next little what not shop. We tugged open one door and saw the most delightful antique bed, all made up with an antique blanket and adorned with an antique pillow. There was an antique nightstand and an antique lamp on the nightstand and in the corner stood an antique chair. Yep, the whole thing looked like a perfect store window advertising a modest, upstate bedroom. Trouble is of course, that's what it was. A bedroom. Not a store. We slunk out of there right quick. Upstaters have a more determined idea of firearm ownership than us city boys and girls do.

Once, in New Orleans, my friend Jerry and I were sitting outside at Cafe du Monde one morning, caffeinating off a nasty hangover we both had. It was a lovely morning or at least seemed to be through the blur that was still my vision. It had rained during the night and the sun was now out with a slight breeze blowing the front away from us. The wind was gentle and cool and blowing out TO the Mississippi so our nostril hairs remained relatively straight that day. The Beignets arrived and Jerry had ordered extra powdered sugar. He praised the arrival of the food, the plate of powdered sugar and made a great flourish of dunking his first Beignet into the stuff just as that gentle breeze got a stiffy on. Did I mention Jerry is from New Jersey?
Did I mention powdered sugar and a breeze? Did I mention that I was downwind and was now the whitest white boy in the Big Easy that day? Yeah, thanks Jer, what exit you from again?

Flash forward to Key West where, thankfully we had left Jerry behind in Jersey as there was always a breeze blowing in from somewhere and I shudder to think of what he could have launched at me in an airborne way.

Just off of Duval Street, or maybe it was on Duval Street: at some point walking down Duval you no longer know nor for that matter care. Anyone who's been there knows what I'm talking about. Anyway, off or on Duval is a little shack that houses a store called "The Chicken House." It sells, for some reason, chickens and chicken-related paraphenalia. Not chicken gutters or sexers or feeders or beakers, but chicken towels and handbags and plates and such. Whimsical stuff that says "Let's take what little money we have and give it to a toothless old man in Key West who smells of cow flop and he'll give us a rusted, dented bucket, with a chicken on it." In order to pull in more customers cum suckers, the Chicken House had put a large cage out on its front porch with, of all things, a chicken in it. Well, a rooster actually but we're urbanites. This rooster happily walked around its large cage and people would stare and not put their fingers in between the bars and every now and again the rooster would go slightly wild. There was a little toy " Barney" doll in the cage. The rooster, on going wild, would jump on top of the "Barney" doll and try to dry hump the thing. As if this weren't enough, the sudden movement would click off something in "Barney" that caused a voice chip deep from within make the freaking doll sing "I Love You, You Love Me" all during the dry hump, stopping once the aforementioned poultry fornication had stopped.

The Chicken Store could make a fortune if it sold pants. I damn near moistened mine laughing so hard.

Finally, let's head back to upstate where, after we had bought all the dented rusty buckets we could afford, we headed down the road to the charming Bed and Breakfast we had reservations in. We met the charming Innkeeper who told us we had a charming little room in the lock keeper's house. I secretly leered at my girlfriend. "Lock Keeper's House" sounded just this side of kinky and we would unwind here among the rusty bucket traders and get a little experimental, if you know what I mean. The room was "back up the road" and we charmingly followed the charming innkeeper up the charming road in our charming car and she deposited us, yep, right in the bedroom we had earlier inadvertantly walked into.

OK, so we were not going to experiment tonight. We were going to double bolt the doors and put up a hastily lettered "Not A Store" sign in the window. After all, could we have been the only idiots in town?

Well we didn't have to worry. Not that we weren't disturbed but, the Efficient Bunny, while in the bathroom that night, brushing his teeth, found out how charming and dangerous turn of the century, re-modeled lighting can be. There was a pedestal sink, there were two sconces, each with a switch. Instead of turning one off at a time the way normal people would, I grabbed both switches and turned them off simultaneously. That, of course, competed some bizarre 110 volt short circuit that I was only too happy to conduct. The only flexible part of my body, my midriff, shot out and bashed itself into the charming and electrified pedestal sink.

Yes, that was one of our quieter nights, comparable to twelve years of marriage I should think.

Bunny (ouch) on.


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