October 25, 2006

Tales from two cities.

My wife reminded me about an interesting pair of stories. The first happened during a trip to Tokyo for a meeting a few years ago. I went out for a walk one evening and found a cool kind of a Godzilla rock dragon toy to bring home for F. I paid and left as the store was closing and wandered onto a side street. A Japanese girl walked up to me and started talking, smiling, I thought maybe she was a high school student. I tried to understand what she was saying. She was holding her fingers up and talking about 60 something or other. '60, yes' I said, helpfully. I seemed to be doing just fine. Then a 60 Watt bulb lit up above my head as I realized what she was trying to negotiate. I said 'no', smiling, still trying to be friendly, and she wasn't getting it so I said it again without the smile, and she slugged me in the arm below the shoulder, a pretty good one. I decided it was time to walk back to the main street.

Another time I was riding my bike home from the train station in Lund. The bike rack is on the side of a little park with trimmed mulberry trees and a fountain, and everyone rides through the park, across the path to the road, even though there's a little sign saying that's not allowed. In all these years I've never seen anyone walk their bike there. In Lund if you're on two wheels you do as you please-- the students lead by example. The path is pretty wide and there was an old lady with a cane on one side of the path. I slowed way down so I wouldn't startle her, and rode on the far side of the path. I was going so slow that there was nothing I could do when she carefully raised her cane and hit me with it, like a Sioux warrior counting coup. She was saying something too that I couldn't make out. It must have made her day.

Picture of Clemens Square in Lund where I park my bike.

7 Comments:

At October 26, 2006 6:29 PM , Anonymous Papa Twister said...

When your wife reminisces about you being punched by a whore, it's time to have a mid-life crisis. I suggest forming a rock band.

 
At October 27, 2006 9:56 PM , Blogger Matt_J said...

Great idea Papa T. You play an instrument? Doesn't matter-- all that matters is attitude. Our first song is going to be a cover of Johnny Cash's Mean Eyed Cat:

I give my woman half my money at the general store I said, "Now buy a little groceries, and don't spend no more." But she gave ten dollars for a ten cent hat And bought some store bought cat food for a mean eyed cat.

When I give her ten more dollars for a one way ticket She was mad as she could be Then I bet ten more that if she ever left She'd come a-crawlin' back to me When I woke up this mornin' and I turned my head There wasn't a cotton pickin' thing on her side of the bed I found a little old note where her head belonged It said, "Dear John, honey, baby, I'm long gone."

When I heard a whistle blowin', and the big wheels a-turnin' I was scared as I could be I put on my overalls and I headed to town Gonna bring her back with me.

I asked the man down at the station if he'd seen her there I told him all about her pretty eyes and long, blonde hair He spit his tobacco, said, "I'll be dad blamed...... I believe I did see her leavin' on the east bound train."

I bought a round trip ticket on the east bound train I was broke as I could be But when I come back, gotta buy another ticket Gotta bring her back with me.

Well, I got off the train somewhere in Arkansas And I worked up the guts to call my Mother-In-Law She said, "I'll tell you where she is, if you act right." "She's workin' four to twelve at Trucker's World tonight."

When I walked in she saw me, and she took off her apron And she grabbed her goin' home hat She bought a ticket with her tips And now we're curled up on the sofa, me and her....and that mean eyed cat

 
At October 27, 2006 11:39 PM , Anonymous Tim said...

I'm just glad she didn't slug you in the arm above the shoulder

 
At October 28, 2006 8:16 AM , Blogger Matt_J said...

below the shoulder...as opposed to below the elbow...grasping for words: bicep. This is why I need an editor.

 
At October 28, 2006 7:33 PM , Blogger Papa Twister said...

Sad song... My wife wants to kill my cat. I had you pegged more for a Joe Ely type. I play guitar, and I also write about music. When it comes to country, I'm more of a Gram Parsons/Flying Burrito Brothers/Steve Earle type. Uncle Tupelo also used to put out some interesting stuff. I have a track of Uncle Tupelo playing with Joe Ely that I bet you would love.

 
At October 30, 2006 4:34 PM , Blogger Matt_J said...

So you tied the knot!
Joe Ely is the man. Well I used to think that anyway until I listened to those tapes one too many times and now I can't get that warbling saw sound out of my skull(Dallas is a woman who will walk on you when you're down...

 
At November 01, 2006 11:20 PM , Anonymous Fanch said...

Hej!
I just want to tell that the pictures from clemence park comes from http://www.photos-suede.com/ where you can find other pictures from Sweden. It would be very nice if you can add it just after the link to the pictures :-)

Fran├žois

 

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