More March Idleness





When I think about all the mid-March (mis)adventures I’ve had, I just have to shake my head. I wrote about the time on the roller coaster the other day, but it’s hardly the only one.



One March we went exploring Mammoth Cave National Park. We found one of the tour leaders who promised to take our group to “paths rarely traveled.”

Sweeeeeet!

Except, it wasn’t. Idiot got us lost, and have you seen the size of Mammoth Cave? It’s like 793 miles underground! And no one had checked the flashlight batteries, or thought to bring extra, so the lights eventually failed and we were plunged into total darkness.

Sitting there in pitch-blackness, listening for real and imaginary creepy-crawlies drawing ever closer, I couldn’t help but remember that palm-reader I’d sat for at the State Fair the previous Summer. Only then did her word strike home: “Beware the (tour) guides of March!”

*****








I went to St. Louis, determined to see that magnificent parabola, spanning out as a gateway to the West. I wanted to take a Selfie with the great structure, so I got right up close, but others had the same idea, and there was much pushing and shoving. End result: my face got scraped (badly!) against the reinforced concrete of the behemoth monument. It was just like that 97-year old Lebanese woman told me on our blind date: “Beware the sides of Arch!”


*****




My last semester in high school, I worked part-time for a college textbook store. We would schlep textbooks from Georgia Tech to the various other college textbook stores in the area.

Even with several stores in the Atlanta area, there were only so many textbooks to lug around each week, which left the store truck idle. The boss made use of this by taking other delivery jobs on the side. More than a few customers seemed shady, and transactions were often in cash; not sure how legal some of them were, but that was above my pay grade.

Anyway, this one time we had a pick-up of three whole hogs - I kid you not - to be delivered to some church group for a Hawaiian Luau. They were specialty pigs, prepared a certain way, and came with a spit and everything. The pickup was in the Northern part of Atlanta, in an old warehouse district.

As smart as I was, I was woefully ignorant about some things; meat included. (Years later, when I worked at a Deli, I thought the chicken wings were only the flat pieces, the bigger drumettes were...well, drumsticks. From little chickens, I suppose. I told you; I knew very little about meat.)

I walked into the warehouse by the back door - all our off-the-books pickups seemed to be via the back door, and called out, “You got those three heifers for me?” I don’t know if I was nervous, or if I honestly thought heifers was the name for pigs instead of cows. I suppose in the end it wouldn’t’ve much mattered.

In those days, Atlanta had a tradition of putting a bunch of designer wedding dresses (Vera Wang, Jimmy Choo, Chanel….and I’m only reasonably sure one of those names makes awesome wedding dresses) at super low prices.

The catch: the dresses were all lumped together, without any rhyme or reason, like a liquidation sale or what I imagine a Burlington Coat Factory to resemble. First grab, first get.

They would put all these dresses in a weird spot too. Every spring the dress sales would start making the news, and women would line up hours ahead of time to get a $8,000 dress for $250. (I have no idea if those figures are accurate; I just remember that everyone would always rave about the savings, while complaining about the cattle drive nature of things. DON’T get ahead of me!)

Turns out, that shady warehouse district is where the next great wedding dress sale was taking place, but someone knew someone, and anyway, three young women were getting an early gander at the merchandise, and in fact trying on wedding dresses when I entered THE WRONG BACK DOOR and called out: “You got those three heifers for me?

As I lay on the floor helplessly, trying to withstand the beating without any broken bones or vital organ damage, I couldn’t help remembering the psychic I ran into at a McDonald’s playground not too long previous. It had seemed so strange at the time when she reached up and took my face in her hands, searching my eyes earnestly, suddenly blaring out, “Beware the Brides of March!”



Credits - Thanks to Persephone for the pictures




and don't even get me started 
about the supposedly-dead butterflies: 
Beware the hides of Monarch!

BEAST of a day





Today found me in a contemplative mood. I got to thinking about something that happened a year ago…..

I live near King’s Island amusement park. Perhaps unwisely, I went there, and even though I knew it was stupid, given my body, I wanted to ride a roller coaster so badly. One specific roller coaster.

THE BEAST.





Many years ago, when we had just moved to America, we stayed in London, Ohio for a few months, and I remember commercials on TV talking about THE BEAST - the largest roller coaster in the world. I knew it had probably been passed by now, but it still held a place in my childhood memory.

And it is still huge!

So, I sneak on (ticket-guy paying no attention) and right away I knew I was in trouble. I can't latch the safety bar! I can’t even pull the bar down over me!

Curse my giant frame!

I leave it up, figuring I'd use my center of gravity to "shift" my weight when needed. This works...at first, but as the turns got faster (AND harder), it became harder to shift. I began falling a half-second behind each time the coaster zigged, zagged, swerved and swooped.

Finally, the ride goes upside-down! I manage (by luck more than skill) to get my leg wrapped around the bar, but at that moment, the ride stops dead in its (literal) tracks!

Malfunction?

Power outage?

A cabal of mine enemies?

Angry gods?

Roosting chickens, arriving at their residence of record?

Who the **** knows!

I'm dangling from the TOP of THE BEAST; the only thing holding me from plummeting - a very uncomfortable safety bar wedged behind my knee! It hurt so much, I might have willingly fallen and taken my chances, but the gravitational forces my body exerted on the situation made it impossible to move in any direction!

[Not for nothing: but “gravitational forces my body exerted” is the best largeness euphemism in a long while.]

I'm hanging there, contemplating my soon-to-be grisly death, and I can't help remembering an odd event that happened a few weeks earlier.

I was in a Wal-Mart parking lot, and I walked by this ancient-looking Italian lady. (I knew she was Italian because she was talking to her daughter or granddaughter or great-great-granddaughter at 847 miles an...excuse me: DCCCXLVII miles an hour; not even Spanish can be spoken that quickly.)

As we passed each other the woman went stiff as a board. She grabbed my arm with that scary old-person strength, looked me straight in the eye and hissed: "Beware the Rides of March!"



[Credits: Thanks to my sister for help with storyboarding
               Thanks to Persephone for help with pictures
pictures: King's Island - "The Beast" in the 1980s
 Painting: "La morte di Cesare" by Vincenzo Camuccini (22 February 1771 – 2 September 1844)]




Et tu, Beastay?