It's Miles again. It's late at night, or early in the morning. I've been up too late making faux-Afrobeat songs in Reason (please forward any decent cowbell samples in aiff format to perfectpanther["at" symbol]earthlink.net) and my hands smell like hair product from twisting my hair, which is my habit for when I am nervous or thinking hard about something.
This is probably my last post filling in for the Tinyluckygenius. I think we've all had a good time, and I feel like I've accomplished some goals (posting almost daily, providing at least a glimmer of entertainment value), though every one (posting while "hilariously" drunk, writing anything of significance). Here it is.
Saturdays at my job entail cleaning up after shrieking hordes of rural Midwestern middle school dance teams tearing through racks of discount clothing like packs of vengeful, perky Vikings. It is an ugly scene. A couple of times a day random middle-aged female customers will approach me from out of nowhere, apologizing to me for having to work where I do, for Fate and the State of Illinois Department of Employment Security conspiring to station me on the battlefield where human civilization looses daily a bloody fight against $2.90 tank tops.
But my Saturday lunch breaks are usually my favorites. I can watch the bucket-drummers across the street. I can watch the guy who dresses in tin foil who stands completely motionless on top of a box with a boombox playing Michael Jackson, and I can watch the tourists who throw money in the guy's bucket and shoot long stretches of vacation videotape of a guy standing completely motionless on a box.
A lot of the time the anti-Arab protesters are out. They stake out a piece of sidewalk in front of the Border's next to the Water Tower, two or three middle-aged men (almost all white, almost all vaguely middle-management-looking) standing behind a banner that says "All Arabs Are Terrorists" staring resolutely at nothing while knots of human traffic coil around and past them, a couple more trying to hand out leaflets on why America should stay out of the Middle East and hope that everyone who lives there will eventually blow themselves up. Maybe they've given up hope on their mission, or at least their spot in front of Border's, because the other day there was a different group proselytizing on their corner. This group was also a bunch of white guys in wire-rimmed glasses, but they looked more IT. Their signs were of a much higher quality: four-color process cardstock placards showing a group of retro-looking flying saucers shooting energy beams at the earth. Out of the energy beams rose a Chain Of Life illustration; an amoeba giving way to a multi-celled protozoan giving way to a fish, all the way through a dozen or so intermediate steps (I'm almost positive there was a cow involved somewhere) up to homo sapiens. "Aliens Created Life On Earth," said their signs. "Science Replaces Religion." I think they were Raellians. I don't think they knew they were only half a block from a Toynbee tile, which was a nice extra dash of sci-fi madness to those who know or care.
I smoked a cigarette and watched them trying to talk to pedestrians passing them by, trying to tell them, I guess, how much an alien invasion would really improve everybody's life. They were passing out pamphlets, and even though I wanted one for a souveneir, I didn't go over. I've been spending a lot of time recently trying to Know My Limitations and Trust My Instincts, to Learn A Lesson from life, and sometimes trusting your instincts means knowing that you're not really at a point in your life where you should be hanging out with ambassadors from UFO cults.
Posted by Miles Raymer at April 20, 2004 05:34 AM | TrackBack