Saturday, December 9, 2017

Christmas Tradition a short story

Tradition by Phil LaMancusa
These holidays my tradition is simple; there’s She and me and the critters.
 Three days before Christmas I make a big pot of chicken vegetable soup for dinner; we eat well and I thicken the leftovers with a blond roux and refrigerate them; I’ve also shopped for eggs, waffles, wine, coffee etc. We take a trip to Family Dollar where we’ll spend a whopping ten bucks each for Christmas presents for eachother.
            Christmas day I cook breakfast and roll a pleasant pie crust and bake a big chicken pot pie. The pie bakes, breakfast is served and we haven’t gotten (or will get) out of our pajamas. We will putter about the house, watch “It’s a Beautiful Life” for the two hundredth time and eat pot pie with cranberry sauce.
            Our gifts will be assembled around the floor heater and we’ll wrap and later rip open and giggle lots; staying the children that we never grow tired of being. Even if I leave the house I will not change out of my jammies and slippers; I will wake lazy, stay lazy and go to bed that night having been lazy all day.
            Oh, Did I tell you about having ice cream and cheesecake and sitting on the porch waving at the neighbors?

Gifted a short story

Gifted by Phil LaMancusa
It was a dark and stormy night. Literally. I was nursing a bad liver and a broken heart a week before Christmas; going to assuage my heartbreak by making some Christmas pudding, and having procured a bottle of brandy for the recipe. Cheap brandy.
One hell of a storm put an end to that enterprise by issuing a lightning bolt the size of Cinemascope, effectively killing the electricity in households as far as the eye could see. The phone rings and it is her; asking after my welfare. What am I to say: “I’m f**king miserable”? Not me, not after a ruinous affair in which she gets off Scott free and I get the dirty end of the stick.
I ring off and open the bottle.
Eight hours later I wake up gibbering like a gibbon, being held to a chair by four people. I’ve had a black out, scared everyone in the house out and was captured heading for my car. Somebody gives me a phone number to call.
I call and was told that the service is free and that I can learn a lot about myself; I begin with the introduction “Hello, my name is Phil and I’m an alcoholic.” My best Christmas gift is a little wooden nickel that proclaimed that I had sobered up.


Po Boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
Carnival Care Chaos
That reminds me of the time my daughter Hypatia sent her son to stay with me during Carnival, his name is Boomer; she named him Boomer, short for Boomerang, because she swore that as he was being born that he actually tried to do a 180 to get back inside her womb. He was eleven when he showed up on my doorstep; well, show up isn’t the exact word for it, there were a series of communications, phone calls, emails and texts gone wild and wide, missed and otherwise, that I alone was guilty of overlooking and consequently ignoring. In short, I had taken myself ‘off grid’ for my sanity and well being. One afternoon I received a call from my neighbor “there’s a kid sitting on your porch and I don’t recognize him/her, you ‘specting somebody?” In New Orleans, ‘specting can be either suspecting or expecting (or a combination); so, I was a little apprehensive when I pulled into my parking space.
“Yo, G-Pops!” and I knew who that was. “Sup Boomer?”  A rangy kid who was generally up to no good, blue eyes looking over Ray Bans, a fauxhawk mullet hair cut, oversized plaid wool shirt over a Grateful Dead tee shirt, faded jeans and CT high tops. He was slouched in an un-natural position in a wicker chair, lap top computer in the crook of his leg; “do I hafta steal Wi-Fi, or you got a password or what?”
“Fine thanks, how’re you and what in Sam Hill are you doin’ here?”
“Well, oh grand patriarch of mine, it seems that I’ve been given a hiatus from boarding school, mother dear is off on a water aerobic yoga meditation macramé bikini retreat located inside an Indian casino and nobody home but the goldfish and the Ficus Benjamina tree; so, not wanting to pull a Macaulay Culkin, I caught the dog (Greyhound bus) and came on down, don’t you ever answer your phone, email, OR texts? I could eat a cow, let’s get some chow and chew the fat”.
I’m not sure if you remember when you were that age. Your hormones are starting to wake up, your voice is changing, your face is erupting (or threatening to), your feet are growing along with your nose; you’re too old for kid stuff and too young for adult past-times. For the entire stay I would be peppered with questions, opinions, wishes and rejections of anything thought to be below the dignity of this little ruffian idiot savant man-child.
Remember when your mind was full of whys and why nots?  When your life was full of new tastes and newer situations, there were no basis’ for preconceived notions of experiences and of not taking answers like “because I said so/ know so” because they were no answer at all? When you were more feral than house broken, more curious than educated and more insecure than proud of who you were and, where you were going was a dark place because you had no conception of what the road ahead could offer?
In the couple of short weeks to follow, I was to relive my own preteen coming of age with each “why can’t I, why should I, tell me why and how come you can and I can’t?” query that only the young can come up with and get away with. I got back in touch with the boy that I was entering a grown up world where adults had all the perks and I had none. Add to that that the kid was more electronically savvy than six of me and could out run, out eat, out talk and out sleep me on any given day and you have an odd couple worthy of Neil Simon.
When was the last time you gave over your world and spent every waking hour considering the needs of one other person? Try it and you will run the gamut of emotions from insult to impatience; petulance to selfishness of a high degree. Being on call or AWOL to/from the person that is in a position of being the most important biped in your life whether you want to be in that situation or not. You cannot any longer do anything without first considering how it will effect/affect that one other person. And I, so full of self esteem and being the spoiled brat that I am, took that on because simply there was no one else around to foist that responsibility on to.
Oh, I have friends in nursing homes that need visiting, neighbors that can always use a helping hand, volunteering, cleaning and straightening, and projects that I have left half finished or neglected up the wazoo; but, I can still even at my age, turn my back on f**k all, get a cold one at Liuzza’s By The Track and watch Jeopardy in the early evening and to hell with accountability. Not so when you have a full time whatsis that you’re learning to accept as a major part of your twenty-four hour day. It’s very trying to make that change; you have to reach down into your inner Zen, turn on your outer mild mannered countenance and in general just suck it all up for the common good. It was a lesson in both of us growing up.
We parted as friends, as buds, and we each wanted time to freeze and keep us together; but he had school and I had work and we swore that we would someday live together forever and there were a few tears on both sides as I saw him off (on a plane, dammit!).
So this Carnival season, which includes Valentine’s Day, remember that it is NOT all about you and there are people worthy of your devotion. It’s never too late to give someone else (and yourself) a happy childhood.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Hurricane 2017

Po Boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
Nate the Great
Missed by That Much
            Fred: (to the porch) “Hey guys, y’all ready for the storm?”
            Ned: “We got cigarettes and beer. We okay”
            Ted: “I’m just gonna get drunk, pass out, wake up tomorrow and it’ll be over.”
            Ned: (to Ted) “Kinda like your first marriage, huh?”
            What can you say about a hurricane to hit New Orleans that simply didn’t? You can’t say that we weren’t adequately alarmed or under prepared as a city; Jeez, we did everything but erect a dome over our heads and lay in the MREs. A state of emergency was declared; National Guard were stationed; shelters were opened for the homeless; it was a full moon on Thursday and the tides were rising, time to break out the staple gun and trash bags!
            The rumors of impending doom started around Wednesday and by Friday we were all in a tizzy. I got caught up in the spirit and shopped on Thursday and Friday as if for a siege; Rouse’s, Winn Dixie and Whole Foods parking looked like used car lots and the stores were crowded as they are at Thanksgiving time.
            The folk shopping at Rouse’s had big bags of dog food, bottled water, Abita Amber, diapers, Jameson and an army of deli prepared foods. The lady in front of me had pre-baked bread, sliced turkey, cheese, Styrofoam plates, gallons of Arizona and a family size jar of Blue Plate Mayonnaise. Pandemonium reigned with cash registers ringing in the buckaroos, two liter cold drinks, ice, charcoal briquettes, movies renting at the kiosk.
At Winn Dixie, Budweiser was the king of beers, batteries, sliced bread, canned Dinty Moore, Kraft Mac n Cheese, cigarettes, and chips, with checkers checking I.D.s for booze sales; cases of water, cat litter and soft drinks jammed into overflowing carts. One man’s cart had dozens and dozens of canned vegetables, spaghetti, sauce and canned imitation parmesan cheese (plus two half gallons of cheap bourbon). Cars circled the parking area like buzzards looking for spaces and places, shopping carts littered the lot like abandoned life jackets and there was the smell of fear in the air; men gunned their motors, women looked apprehensive and kids cried out for attention.
Whole Foods had a run on Kombucha, soy products and La Croix flavored sparkling water. Spring water by the cases were stocked and sold, pizza dough, ciabatta bread, rennet free cheese, mock chicken and black bean burgers quickly evaporated. The Millennials stripped shelves and stood in line as if waiting for lifeboats. The entire hot bar was packaged and taken out, sushi swam into kids shopping baskets, IPAs shouldered by man buns and tattooed ladies bagged trail mix from the bulk section. I saw a man getting two cases of their $2.99 Merlot; it was a non GMO donnybrook of epic proportions.
We closed the shop early; there hadn’t been a customer in two days; Jonestown in the retail arena. We moved plants inside, stacked sandbags, left extra food for the feral cats and set the alarm on ‘prison break’ mode. We charged our cell phones, took down wind chimes, duct taped trash cans, froze odd containers of water and filled buckets for cooking and flushing; caught up unprepared, we improvised flash and candle lights, cooked enough for an army, parked the car on higher ground and watched the weather channel like storm ghouls; it looks like it’s headed right up our assets, to hell with the rent, let’s just hope we all get out of this alive.
The mayor comes on the Teevee and tells everyone to get off the streets, in turn twelve city officials, from levee board, Corps of Engineers, police and State troopers assure us that we are prepared, as a city, to ride this one out, “been prepared since before this thing had a name”. Sewerage and Water board officials boast of our repaired pumps and drainage. I’m mesmerized by a woman mirroring the dialog in sign language and wonder if she’s really signing or faking. All channels are riveted on the catastrophe to come which will turn out to be a hurrah that never came. Schools were let out early, festivals were cancelled, dinner reservations were revoked and the Treme Center closed the swimming pool. Hizzonah imposes a curfew that is almost immediately rescinded due to the public’s lack of interest and participation.
We wait on the porch with our neighbor Judy; we’re prepared, we have liquids, solids, hammer, nails and the Sunday newspapers that were printed early because of the impending storm. Nothing happens. Seven, eight, nine o’clock; not a breeze in the eaves; that early afternoon squall was not a harbinger of things to come. The streets are quiet with my neighbor Gallivan (and his dogs) over at his girlfriend’s house to ride it out and others on our street hunkered down. There’s a quiet hurricane party across the street and hardly any traffic to speak of.
By this time, I’m half lit, and back in television land even Margaret Orr has left the building, leaving the second string to mop up. I pop another PBR and switch to the Great British Baking Show. I feel incomplete, left at the altar; I understand the anguish of the deflated soufflé at the competition, my glace has lost its shine, and my mille-feuille has mostly fallen.
In the morning, naturally, it’s a beautiful day and life goes on as if nothing happened, which is exactly the case. Except, I take myself aside and remind myself in no uncertain terms that I need to be grateful that we dodged that bullet while others have not been so lucky; there’s fires out west and earthquakes and other hurricanes that have really f**ked with people’s lives and here I am getting out of bed looking forward to my coffee and New York Times. Blessed be that we were spared; now let’s see how we can help others less fortunate.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Restaurant Lingo

Po Boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
A la Mode
Café Quips
             I weave into The Hummingbird at dawn’s crack—the cashier-- yells to the cook/server: “burn one with whiskey, cuppa Joe!” and I sit, knowing a well done burger on rye toast and a cup of coffee is on the way. Mama, I’m home.
Pair of drawers; Adam and Eve on a raft; wreck two with frog sticks; gimme a Pittsburg with wheels; one Blue Plate, 86 Eve with a lid and fire table twelve; hubba hubba!”  All restaurant lingo; ask any waitress that’s spent time slingin’ hash front of the house or a shoemaker that’s worked a left handed spatula on a turn and burn hot line.
            “Comin’ through; make a hole; on your ass; I’ll burn you!” is food service speak for ‘get the fork out of the way (!)’ and anyone who has done time behind an apron (and who hasn’t?) is familiar with words strung together like short-hand- commands barked in kitchens  indicating instructions to avoid mayhem or confusion. Unless I’m totally ignorant of the way kitchens around the globe will work efficiently, there are probably the same types of phrases used in Brighton, Brittany, Bangkok, Bombay, Bangladesh and Beijing; equivalent to verbal skeet shooting, they are power punches to your cerebral cortex signaling immediate action on your part in a cacophonic madhouse. There may be such thing as a quiet kitchen-- I think-- perhaps in a monastery.   
Pearl divers in the pit (dishwashers) are rattling racks of utensils, computer terminals are spitting out tickets, the wheelman barking “all day”s or “dragging kitten fish for my four top!”, pots and pans beating like timpani on fiery stovetops, oven doors being slammed open and kicked shut, the hiss of steam, the smell of sweat and the prospect of bloodshed and temper flare ups are all part of the job, and when someone yells “HOT STUFF!” they ain’t talking about your mama. The dash and dare of demented dervishes; timing food orders, getting food ‘right’, in line, on time and everyone at the table being served in the same minute is an art unapparent to customers. In the dining room it’s all a Vienna waltz; in the kitchen it’s like a prison riot. I’ve been part of both sides and I kid you not.
            “I need this on the rail, put a wiggle on it, rush me an order of fries, where’s that steak, fire the salad, goddammit, who’s got table three? Soup’s low! ORDERING!” is part and parcel of communications between gourmet gladiators and hash slinging heroes alike. 
            To work the front of the house in the home of the brave you have to know the difference between a deuce and a dumpster, a four top from a fork lift, a banquette from a biscuit. You have to know that when a cook slides a plate at you and says—no matter how softly—“hot plate” that they are very seldom joking; that when a bartender says – loudly—to the world: “PICK UP!” you turn to make sure that they’re not talking about you; when someone at your back yells “behind you!” they’re not getting fresh. You dread the triple seating that can occur during the rush; shift double backs; you grow to hate campers; you’re constantly on the lookout for dine and dashers and roll your eyes at that verbal tip.
.           Approaching the kitchen is as demeaning as asking for alms: “Chef, do we fry in peanut oil; is there any dairy in the soup; can we make that gluten free, can we split the main course, can we heat up this baby bottle?”
“The customer says that this is not medium rare; they say they found a hair; they said that they didn’t like it (but they ate most of it); here’s that ice water you wanted”.        No matter what capacity you work in a place of eating it’s an exercise in humility and in training running the gamut of a sadomasochistic pecking order survival course. “Tenderfoot is in the weeds; her food’s dying in the window; she’s buried, slammed, in the sh*t”. “PANS DOWN!! ORDERING!!”
            The more experienced staff members can be cruel to newbies; in many cases it’s a get tough or die sandbox mentality with managers looking on to see where/who the weak links are. Schedules are arbitrary and nebulous in logic; you work when you’re needed and ‘cut’ when you’re not. It’s easy to cop an attitude and become cynical about the whole dining experience; I believe “kiss my grits” is an apt way of putting thoughts into feelings.
            The examples that the media and motion pictures have portrayed gives us pause to consider the workings of food service as anything but cheap theatrics; Mel’s Diner; Franks Place; Frankie and Johnny, Chef, Feeding the Beast, Julie and Julia, Burnt. The Cook The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. Babette’s Feast; Chocolat; A Chef in Love; Like Water for Chocolate; to name a few, showing romance, adventure, mystery and buffoonery.
 Books like Kitchen Confidential; Roasting in Hell’s Kitchen; Heat; The Soul of a Chef; How I Learned to Cook. Kitchens, White Heat, The Perfectionist, The Apprentice and Iron Chef all show how being a chef is a man’s job. A job that goes by title and demands no disrespect; as usual, a woman in the same position has to work twice as hard for less money (and be capable of being twice as malevolent) to accomplish the job and will still be excluded from ‘celebrity’ status. Waiters must use guile, charm, dexterity, intuition, resourcefulness and bladder control to survive.
From a long and exhaustive tenure in food service I can look back and say that it is theater, an ad lib performance that happens every shift of every day;  the cast assembles, the curtain rises and the person in charge looks knowingly and announces “Show Time!”


Free People of Color

Po Boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
Free People of Color
New Orleans’ Third Society
            It might be important to note, as we reach our three hundredth birthday, that New Orleans is not, what can be considered, an old settlement/colony and that for over two hundred years before us the societies that fashioned our world here were in full swing; long before Sieur de Bienville brought the first two slaves (George and Mary) into the French outpost that was in the crescent of the river that the Ojibwa Indians called misi zibi or Father of Waters.
            The period of exploration and land grabbing was pretty much a white man’s undertaking and the subjugation of ‘primitive’ peoples (indigenous American, African) for pleasure and profit was part of the modus operandi of the male Anglo explorers and exploiters. It goes without saying also, that a shortage of European women did not deter the conquering heroes from exercising their sexual impulses with whatever female happened to be on hand; Indigenous Americans were harder to handle and soon were either displaced or destroyed, however, the slave trade was well established and provided ample opportunity and supply of feminine companionship. As a result, Africans, as time went on, were subjected to a genetic melding with Europeans, these mixed blooded Africans multiplied in numbers and became a new culture and class of citizenry; and they needed to be reckoned with, much for very practical purposes.
            Exploring and evidencing was part and parcel for this third race of peoples to fit into Anglo/Afro society, and the complexities of this racial bridge had astounding consequences. From the beginning of our French and Spanish occupation-- with the occurrence of manumission and the outright ability of an enslaved person to purchase their freedom-- a class of peoples did arise throughout our colonies and was labeled Les Gens de Couleur Libres--- Free People of Color (FPC). As time went on, classes within this class gave rise to definitions and labeling concerning the degree of proportion of blood—Black compared with White--that these Creoles of Color had running through their veins. Mulatto (50% African); Quadroon (25% African); Octoroon (1/8 or less); “not all Free People of Color were Creole and not all Creoles were free people of color but over time there has been some tendency to conflate the two, or use the word to refer to people of mixed race, which many but not all free people of color were” (LSU libraries).
Generation after generation, through the systems of outright taking of concubines and the more formal Placage arrangement, placed women of color into the arms of European men--perpetuating the systems themselves.  And, with the rearing and educating of the resulting offspring and subsequent societal mobility as a side effect, not only was eventual freedom a likelihood but, the ensuing possibility of economic security and solidarity from this closely knit society (FPC), as well, was practically guaranteed.  Against all odds the FPC actually thrived and prospered. ‘On the eve of the Civil War (1862), in New Orleans alone, there were 18,000 FPC owning and paying taxes on $15,000,000.00 worth of property.’ (Le Musee de f.p.c.) That’s literally between ten and fifteen percent of the population working in professional capacities, as artists and artisans, opening businesses, owning land and in some cases purchasing slaves for personal use.
            As first generation American and a northerner to boot, the scope and importance that FPC had that influenced not just the United States in general, but New Orleans in particular is somewhat beyond my ken (and possibly yours); however, I can tell you from what I have read and can understand, if you are going to understand this city to any degree, you need to know how FPC formed the foundation of our world here; the very fabric of our Joie de Vive.
            That being said, me expounding what I know about the FPC would be like you listening to a child trying to explain what’s inside a book by looking at the cover; however, I can tell you how to find out the whole story of the FPC from the people who study and live this historical American phenomenon; they are here in New Orleans and hold the pieces of the puzzle that make up who we are, where we came from and where we’re going.
            For sure you could just go to Professor Google and that would end up with inaccuracies, confusion and besides it would keep you from discovering the real deal. There’s a place that you can physically go to and have an immersion that will leave you wiser in spirit and intelligence while opening up your heart and your mind. It’s Le Musee de f. p. c. at 2336 Esplanade Ave. New Orleans, La. open Wednesday through Sunday; call for times and to book a tour 504-323-5074
            Book a tour? Yes. Situated in a wonderful Greek revival (I call it a) mansion are documents and photographs and art work and a knowledgeable staff that gave me more information in forty-five minutes than I could digest in weeks. From the French Quarter it’s about a twenty minute walk or bus ride or whatever, past stately large homes and shading oak trees where at one time many FPC had homes. The neighborhood is called upper Treme, where also, FYI was an enclave of Greek, Lebanese and Syrian peoples; but that’s another story. Heck there are more stories here than you can shake a stick at.
            So, there you have it (or as much as I have room to spill out to you) for those of you that want to know more about this city than red beans and rice on Monday and where to find a decent happy hour; know this: unless you learn about our heritage (s) here, you will never fully understand New Orleans.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Unnecessary Rudeness in New Orleans

Po Boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
City News
Unnecessary Rudeness
            Headline: “Piglets That Are Saved from Burning Barn are Served as Sausages to Firefighters”. Think about it. You might say that that’s rude on so many levels; but, that’s who we are; we live in a very disparaging and insensitive world, it’s self preservation, self meditation and self medication.        
Should we be ashamed? Not at all; it’s part of our DNA, it’s in our blood. We make fun of the ridiculousness of life. By overtly and/or covertly disregarding the feelings, interests and well being of others-- concentrating our attention on our own well being-- we keep the: “I’m alright, so I don’t care; I don’t care, so I’m alright” machine well oiled. It’s so Jake Paul (and his 10.5 Million subscribers), it’s so… us. For example:
            Alrighty, you’ve read the article explaining that the Millennials vote could make political policy here? Yes/no? The Millennial population in New Orleans is approaching six figures and if they all voted for the same agendas, the city government would be run the way that suited them best, they could accomplish policy like legalizing marijuana or raising the minimum wage. Survey says; Millennials don’t vote. The same people, who do vote unfailingly, unfailingly vote for the same candidates; it’s like the winners of reader’s choice votes in publications that always go to the same faithful ‘favorites’. We need to raise the voter turnout to more than 40% to be able to move forward.
Onward.  It’s positively a rumor that a great American highfalutin grocery store with the bins for trash, recycle and compost throws everything in the same dumpster (except cardboard boxes) and continues to wear the green halo with their higher prices, non GMO stickers and a social scene reminiscent of that Safeway Grocery Store in the marina section of San Francisco.
            Stop me if you’ve heard this: You live in a nice neighborhood; you have great neighbors; your rent is reasonable; you have a decent landlord; the place isn’t in great shape; but all things considered, you count your living space a blessing. If something minor needs repaired, you fix it yourself and call upon the landlord as seldom as possible; you pay your rent on time and there’s been no significant raise for the number of years that you’ve lived there. In short you’re happy; been happy, want to stay happy. A property down the street goes on the market and is snatched up. The construction, destruction, demolition and rebuilding of the structure goes on for months complete with dumpsters, port-o-lets and worker’s double parked trucks. Granite counters are loaded in, lawn service, security systems, paint, pavement and minimalist foliage are appointed; there’s an apartment in the back that’s worked on and gussied up.
            Dust finally settles and an ‘Apartment For Rent’ sign goes up. The price-- on the sign-- is asking for three times the rent that you’re paying! It’s the ultimate ‘bend over and grab your ankles’ kick in the rear for you and your neighbors; you fanaticize that when your landlords see a sign like that they might wonder why they’re being so lenient on you. It’s evident that the new owners are either going to use the rent to pay off their note and contractors or they’re gonna flip the place. Kiss your mule goodbye; your hood has been infected with the germs of ‘repurposing’
Cold business: A streetcar stops at N. Carrolton and Orleans Ave, disgorging six passengers, four of whom spot their bus on the opposite corner; it happens that these four are of a certain age and cannot move as spritely as they once did. They wave, they yell, they cross against traffic and without any concern for personal safety. The light changes. The bus pulls off leaving them breathless and frustrated by life. Probably the bus driver didn’t see them and everyone else on the street did? Unlikely.
Questions:  Besides being razor close to no basis at all illegal; how about a street camera citation sent from the City of New Orleans from Tempe, AZ. whose penalty needs posted to Cincinnati, OH? This benefits our city… how? And, how does raising our sales tax help the working poor?
            Winner, winner, chicken dinner: A car pulls up in the parking lot. The motor continues to run. The car door opens and closes and no one gets out. The car pulls out. You look over and see that they merely wanted to deposit on the asphalt: a. the contents of their ashtray; b. drop off their fast food Styrofoam cups and containers; c. dispose of their kid’s dirty diaper or d. all three. Or, how about that mystery canine (hopefully) pooper that was not followed by a human scooper that leaves the droppings of the animal in path’s way? Where’s a Block Captain when you need one?

            What about the personal insults that we take every time we take our automobiles for a spin? Being cut off, boxed in, blown at, stink eyed and tail ridden. Try getting from here to there without talking to yourself. That oversized load in front of you that slides in and out of its lane and when you speed up, pass and get out of its way (because they might be inebriated), find out that they’re on their phone, yelling at the kids in the back seat and/or putting on eye shadow.
            And on and on and on; you’ve probably got hundreds like these and I’d like to hear about them; either for commiseration or just to let me know that I’m not nuckin’ futs.  Seems to me, empathy and compassion are rationed and rationalized; and the world, by and large, is ready to put egocentricity first at the expense of other’s feelings; we’re all ready to laugh at the pie in the face, the slip on the banana peel or eat sausages made from rescued piglets.
            Write me.