I was talking today with my work-mate about temporary storage space ("You Store It, You Lock It, You Keep The Key!") - he's a rocker off-the-job, and he said his band back in New Jersey used one for practice! I'd heard of people setting up "boiler-room" offices in them (just desks and phones) but this seemed excessive - he said there were five other bands doing the same thing there! Plus, in the unit next to theirs a family was living, in the area around their car. This wouldn't've been possible in the one I had for a month in Virginia - the controls were too strict. T hates these places, just because he has one full of all his and his wife's extra gear - he thinks they'd get rid of that stuff if they didn't have this easy storage alternative.
I was thinking about that glorious October day in 1972 when I hitch-hiked down to North Carolina. C drove me around to the bottom of the Beltway in his Falcon with U, where they let me out in the morning sunshine - I was going to visit my brother H at the small college he was attending down there. Arlo Guthrie's "City Of New Orleans" was still on the charts then, and it was my theme music for the trip - I sang the song, thumb outstretched, walking backwards along the shoulder of I-95:
"Good Morning, America, how are you?A New York City cop and his family picked me up & took me most of the way. His wife slid into the middle and I sat next to the window, at times with some trepidation. He did all the talking, railing against acid rock and such-like, while fiddling with the radio, occaissionaly hollering at his cringing children in the back seat. Actually the ride wasn't as bad as it sounds - at least, I arrived intact! That evening, H and some of his school chums took me to "Zabriske Point" at a midnight show. The next day I was out on the freeway again, this time to catch a pre-arranged ride: L had received a van (which we called "de truck") from his Dad, and he was heading home from another small North Carolinian college - for various parental reasons his first year of college was there in the mountains at the extreme west of that state.
This cold I have has me down. Yesterday I left work after less than an hour to come home to bed; today I went in for the whole day but still feel lousy. But while there I was inspired to write up this addendum to my Profile page. On the way home I stopped at that loathsome temple to American consumerism: Wal-Mart. I've been looking around for some cheap flip-flops <1> and I just haven't been able to locate them anywhere - here, in this tacky emporium, for sure I thought - no such luck. I walked up and down aisles heaped to overflowing with luridly-tinted plastic rubbish, crowded with fat & ugly people, the air filled with the sounds of babies wailing and Spanish or accented English - true Hell. If you ever hear of a fertilizer bomb detonation outside a Wal-Mart, I could be the prime suspect <2>. Across the street, more of the same ambience at Target, but they had acceptable plastic sandals for $2.75.
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<1>to wear in the gym shower to prevent catching the plantar wart virus again Back
<2>It's not simply their low-rent merchandise, of course - Wal-Mart's guilt runs far deeper than mere aesthetic crimes (although that's also a factor, as we shall see). The problem with Wal-Mart is their method - open this huge store on the edge of town, offer the same stuff (at prices a little cheaper) that the people are used to buying on Main Street at "Mom & Pop" stores, eventually putting those little shops out of business. Then they raise their prices, and give Mom & Pop minimum-wage jobs. And one of the other casualties was the little record store; now Junior can only get the tame, Top 40 CDs (and only those without the Parental Advisory stickers) at the Wal-Mart Back