Collecting More Eclectic Ephemera, and Someone Lost a Shoe on the Interstate

shoesonpowerlines

 

I don’t understand how shoes end up on the Interstate.  I have heard the urban legend that states that tying a pair of shoes together and tossing them over a power line indicates that someone nearby is selling the reefer, but I don’t think that the median of I-71 would be a good place to score some chronic.

Another theory I have is that the nimrods one sees on the freeway (usually teenage kids) who like to put their feet on the dashes and out car windows occasionally have a shoe blown off, which would constitute one of those “actions lead to consequences” sort of lessons.   As in, your mother is going to kick your butt sideways when she realizes you just lost one of a pair of $100 Reeboks.

Then there is always the prankster possibility- Jimmy’s sleeping like death in the back seat, so now’s the time to chuck his DCs out the moon roof.  Fun and laffs-laffs-laffs for everyone, except Jimmy, who will now have to wear his little sister’s Hello Kitty pink flip flops for the duration of the vacation.

hk sandalsOh so manly.  Not. But, not being a man, I wish they made these in adult women’s sizes.

 

I can also understand tossing footwear out the window when and if it smells like six week old rancid pork chops that have been marinating in horse piss and used cat litter. This actually happened on a road trip to North Carolina with my parents and my then teenaged son.  The POMC wears a bizarre size- 13 AA- so when he finally finds a pair of comfy shoes, they cost out the wazoo (and he is even more cheap than I am- except with his motor sport needs) and he wears them until they literally fall apart.   I remember these shoes all too well- a pair of highly distressed and duct-taped Etnies that I had once had to special order and paid $100 + for, but by that time they had been worn, used and abused until the very thinnest pieces of soles remained.

Etnies-Kingpin-Black-Lamy2

The Etnies were nice shoes when they were new- but not after 2 years of Steve-o abuse.

And they smelled.  Horrible.  I came much too close to paying a brief and intense visit with Cousin Ralph getting a whiff of that, and I have almost no sense of smell.  It had to be deadly for anyone with a normal sense of smell to be anywhere near that funk.

So when Steve-o decided, somewhere on I-71 in rural Kentucky, that it would be a good idea to remove the shoes, peel off the socks, and let his bird claws air out, a green and thick stench wafted through the Venture van like a malevolent, pasty sewage-y fog.

footsmell

 

I thought Mom was going to hurl right out the passenger side window.   It is only by a Miracle of God that she didn’t spew the Burrito Supreme and Taco Salad she’d just scarfed about an hour earlier at Taco Bell all down the side of the van.  The sight of used Taco Bell splattering down the side of the van and onto the freeway coupled with that evil green miasma that was permeating the interior of the van would have guaranteed a mass uprising of various stomach contents.

 

burrito supreme

I’m sure it doesn’t taste as good on the way back up.

Traveling alone does help one to avoid the hazards of traveling with others- noxious smells, dangerous driving, and the unappetizing visuals of  blood relatives who are dead to the world, open-mouthed and snoring like freight trains.

I rather enjoyed my solo road trip to NC last week.  The only thing I really didn’t like was all the rudeness and bad driving I encountered on the way home.  Apparently assholes are universal, or they were having a convention on I-75 northbound all through Kentucky.  I don’t know why everyone in the south seems to think they are NASCAR drivers or some crap.

I was also able to avoid tourist traps and kitschy restaurants by bringing my own chow and only stopping for gasoline and to get coffee and pee.  I didn’t encounter any worthy souvenirs this way, but then again I didn’t end up getting taken for various overpriced hillbilly swag.

fish finder

That was almost a sad thing, failing to bring back some sort of memento.  Next time I take a trip like that I should make it a point to stop off at some of those shops along the Interstate just to see if there is anything worth having other than homemade fudge, moonshine (now legal in Tennessee!) or shot glasses.

hillbilly moonshine

 

The Frequent Whizzer’s Club, Deaf is Not Dumb, and What Fools Believe

I survived.  500 miles, give or take a mile or two, is not a terribly short trip. I managed to get back in just about 9 hours, which is not bad time for someone who gets a bit wigged out by mountain driving, and is doing good to drive 200 miles at a time without having to stop and whiz.   Central Ohio is flat.  I have no problem with driving in the city, but I don’t have to deal with either curves or grades too much here.  There’s something unnerving about mountain driving when you’re not used to it.    I’ve seen a bit of the carnage that comes off the rural Interstates, and it’s not pretty.

The route I prefer is about 30 miles longer than going via the WV Turnpike, but I don’t go on the Turnpike for a number of reasons.  First of all, the Turnpike is a toll road.  Second of all, the speed limit is 75 and should be 45.  The last time I drove the Turnpike the speed limit was 55, and that’s way the hell too fast for those curves and grades.  Perhaps if I had a suitable rally car (i.e. VW GTI…) I would find the curves and grades exciting, but all I can envision in the Yaris is being blown off a hillside by either a big truck or a nice gust of wind.  42 MPG has its trade-offs.  Weight is one of them.  The Yaris is a light car with a moderate suspension, which is optimal for most road trips, but not for extreme mountain driving. Wind is its nemesis.  I have no logical reason to drive the Turnpike, and no pressing reason to find myself stranded in the middle of WV.  Let’s just say hotel accommodations down in the hollers can be a bit primitive, and the nearest trauma center is clear the hell back in Columbus.

I’ve been around body shops way too much.  I  often visualize the worst.

Granted, this dismembered Audi met its fate on the Autobahn, where there are very few speed restrictions.  I don’t see any blood and guts though, which meant that German engineering must count for something.  The driver likely survived.

Taking I-71 to I-75 to I-40 is the least offensive, though not technically the fastest route.  Most of that route takes one through the rolling hills of Kentucky- lots of horses and tobacco fields and, as Jerry was quick to point out, truck stops with $30 a carton cigarettes. If I had to take the Turnpike, it would be a few miles shorter, but any time gained would have been spent scraping the crap out of my pants.  The worst part of the trip is that stretch of I-40 between the Tennessee border and where my sister lives, in Old Fort.  When you see runaway truck ramps, going downhill is a tad bit disturbing- especially when Dad’s driving and he’s pushing 90, changing lanes, and laughing like a teenage kid.

This scares the living hell out of me.

Speaking of frequent whizzing, I don’t think Dad can make it 100 miles without having to whiz. I thought I was bad about constantly having to hit the head, and Mom’s not much better, but geez! I swear we stopped about 8 times on the way down, including munching as well as whizzing, which is why it took us 11 hours to get down there, in spite of Dad mistaking the Yaris for a rally car and doing about 85 all through that nice little stretch of I-40 from the Tennessee border all through NC.  The Yaris is not a rally car.  It will do 85 in the mountains, but suffice to say it’s ill advised.  I’m glad I was sitting in the back seat, trying to distract myself with the DS.

Suprisingly, Sheena is not weird about touch- as long as she can see you.

I’m still trying to get it through my own thick skull that Sheena can’t hear at all.  Many dogs with her coat pattern are deaf.  All puppies are born deaf, but if her deafness is inherited, she simply never acquired hearing at the age of two weeks like normal dogs do.  She compensates amazingly well, but knowing she’s deaf makes her shortcomings easy to understand.  She survives on what she can see and smell and even feel (she is very sensitive to touch and vibrations.)   Motion is a huge trigger for her.  Her peripheral vision is amazing- but stand directly behind her and she’s oblivious.  If she can’t see you, and you don’t stomp on the floor behind her, she has no idea you’re there.  To me that would be a scary way to go through life, but she has never known anything different.  You deal with life using what you’ve been given.  Sheena has survived and adapted remarkably well. Somehow she’s ended up incredibly outgoing and affectionate.

OK, a little original artwork of mine, in honor of Miz Izz.  Black cats are awesome.

I’m not much of an artist.  Sometimes I like to scribble about, and this actually looked kind of cool.  Of course, black cats are always cool.  If I were required to have a tattoo, which I’m not, and I don’t see it happening, I wouldn’t mind a cool design like this.

The 1950’s were such an innocent time.  Hell, all the TV on back then probably was educational.

Today Motorola’s claim to fame is cell phones, but back in the days of black and white TV, it was a popular brand.  This ad (and all those lovely “More Doctors Smoke Camels” ads) only goes to show that advertising is exactly that: an attempt to convince you to buy crap, even if it might kill you.

1950’s TV- no TruTV, no Investigation Discovery or Science Channel or History Channel.  That would have to have sucked, but not knowing any better, kids went outside to play.  Even in the 1970’s the TV landscape- at least for kids- was pretty bleak.  Mom didn’t mind us watching Mr. Rogers or Sesame Street.  Saturday morning cartoons such as the Flintstones, Scooby Doo, Tom & Jerry, Bugs Bunny, Fat Albert and The Hairbear Bunch were OK too, but usually she turned the TV off when Soul Train came on.  Soul Train was not appropriate, because 1. the girls didn’t wear enough clothes, and 2. they “dance dirty.”

Mom had no idea how much worse the world of “dance” was going to get.

Mom grew up in Catholic school, so I can understand her distress at this girl going braless, and shaking her booty, but this was long, long before Marion County got a Wal Mart.  If you want a true clothing FAIL, that’s the place to go.

And it doesn’t mean “Fantastic.”

Have you no self respect?