Monday, June 21 2021

walkie talkies, youtube, and waiting at applebees

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Dear Journal,

Shoot this summer cold into the sun.

Sip. Sorry, Mr. (or Mrs.) Virus. Seeing as you've decimated by feeble immune system, I'll try to remember to address you with more respect. I just wanted to humbly acknowledge that we're entering a new week, marking almost a full week where you've had complete run of the place. Let's just level with each other, Virus. We all have a job to do. I'm just trying to write code, keep a journal, watch after the kids, and keep my house clean. You're just trying to reproduce inside me forever or until I'm dead. I truly think each calling deserves dignity and respect.

But it's time to move on, Virus. You've already squeezed all the good pieces out of me. What's the point of all the coughing and fatigue? Are you toying with me? Is this a victory lap? Are you just having a laugh watching my outdated immune system cobble together an attack plan?

Look, Virus. I'm going to just get on with my day. You are stuck with me just as much as I'm stuck with you, buck-o, so get ready for a boring workday. Seeing as I'm drinking coffee for the both of us, I had better get a refill.

Sip. Good morning, people. Happy Monday, happy day-after-father's day, and happy summer solstice. I really hope you have managed to steer clear of this summer cold, and I hope that you found some interesting ways to relax and decompress over the weekend. My weekend held the status quo - working on the computer, cleaning up around the house, and resting on the couch. This cough and congestion has me returning to the couch often, but all this sitting around has made me stir crazy. The other night, I decided to go for a walk.

We had a small dilemma, though. Marissa needed to borrow my phone as a second studio camera. I remembered the walkie talkies we bought for the last art show. After loading them with a fresh set of AA batteries, I placed one in Marissa's hand. "OOOOOh," she said in amusement. "This will be fun."

The walkie talkies breathed new meaning into my late night walk. I made it my mission to find their absolute range, and at the same time explore the neighborhood in a new light. I started down our street, walking deep into the neighborhood. The signal cut out a few blocks away at Union and Marquette. "I'm turning around now," I chirped back. I circled back up Milwaukee street, and after I reached our house I hooked a left on East Washington. Muscle cars and motorcycles roared by while I waited to cross at the intersection. "I think I'm going to check out those new developments by the clinic," I mused over the radio.

I walked to the corner of the clinic, then back behind by the new development around the Union Corners brewery. What a strange development. After finally getting a firsthand witness of one of these "mixed use" developments that are taking off in Madison right now, the idea just feels doomed. Restaurants and bars open up into a cozy, well lit pavilion, but just on the other side of the sidewalk, a neat row of apartments and condos. "I don't see how it's going to work," I said over the walkie. "I would feel like I'm drinking a beer in somebody else's front yard."

"That sums up pretty much every Facebook rant I've seen," replied Marissa over the radio.

I crossed a bustling East Washington again, turning at my old bus stop. I briskly walked past the shadowy abandoned bar. The windows loom, darkened by dust. Haphazard piles of wooden furniture seal the door. "Ray's bar is so creepy," I reported.

After I returned home, I decided to play a small prank on Marissa. Standing in our backyard, I rambled into the walkie - "You know Ray's bar is actually kind of cool, I poked my head in there and there's a cozy table around back. I'm hanging out there - ope, sorry sir. I didn't mean to wake you up." I proceeded to reenact a half-assed scary encounter with a squatter at the abandoned bar. I didn't feel like my performance was convincing, but it was moving enough to make Marissa's heart race. She greeted me at the door with a stiff punch to the shoulder.

This morning I doodled a map, using red lines to mark the range of our radios. "Maybe we should get bigger radios," suggested Marissa. "It would be cool if we could talk to each other across town.


We slept in on Sunday, and Rodney and I would spend most of Father's day on the couch. We discovered a new YouTube channel Taylor made for his four year old interests - scenes of super hero's racing cars, motorcycles, and jet skis in elaborate obstacle courses. The most impressive thing about it is that the videos are made entirely with Grand Theft Auto mods.


It was our destiny to go out for dinner. As a half joke, I suggested Applebee's, but it started to sound like a good idea. The next thing we knew, we were waiting for our reservation in a cramped corner sitting area. Our ten minute wait turned into twenty. The group waiting beside us started to back talk the hostess.

"You told us ten minutes twenty minutes ago," they scolded. A new couple entered the restaurant. "It will be a thirty minute wait," said the hostess quietly. There was an audible gasp in our corner. An elderly man stood - his brow furrowed and arms crossed. "This is ridiculous," he sneered.

"We just don't have enough staff to sit everyone right now," said the hostess, trying to assuage the uprising. The patrons began to trickle out. We left too, but not without an understanding nod and a quiet "Hang in there," to the exhausted hostess.

Brass Ring to the rescue. Of course Brass Ring was open. Of course they had high chairs, good beer, and a corner booth by a scenic rain speckled window. The music was good too.

Chump of the week? That's a no brainer. I'm going to have to hand it to the guy who lost his cool waiting for a table at Applebee's last night. Look, angry Applebee's patron. Maybe you're a totally reasonable guy, and we just caught you in a low, hangry moment. But that doesn't excuse the behavior. You were still caught red handed being an angry chump.

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great Friday, everyone.