Saturday, July 23, 2011

If you seek a pleasant peninsula

We got in around 3 P.M. yesterday, my dad ducking out of work to pick us up at Metro after a chintzy Spirit flight ("Greyhound of the Sky").

We watched half a Tigers game, ate jackfruit carnitas and had half a handshake with Ian and Geoff over twitter.

Headed out to swim at the pool of a friend-of-a-boyfriend-of-a-friend, some guitarist named Daniel who played with guys from Foghat or something. Out west of Saline, off of Scio Church, after a long dirt road. I think I left my sunglasses there.

Then today, we headed up to Lansing. Which has meant awkward conversations about medical marijuana, some sort of artichoke casserole, and community theater.

The show was Flaming Idiots, which had nothing to do with The Flaming Idiots, whom I like. "You know, jugglers?" No, no, no.

The director, fresh from success at CMU, wanted to make a farce that was really about developing characters (or so he told City Pulse) and it was a hot mess of over-acting, under-writing and just a general failure to understand the mechanics of comedy. It involved a deaf chef based on a terrible Carol Burnett impression, a buffoonish caricature of Hispanic that only lacked for the bee costume, and a granpa hitman who looked like a Tim and Eric extra.

Even the heckler was baffling — during a HAMLET scene so overwrought that Jon Lovitz would have suggested toning it down, some guy yelled, "Let me guess, a midsummer night's dream?" Which nonplussed the cast, and I blamed the director for until Amy told me it was just some guy who didn't even talk through the rest of the play. I can only assume that was some secret phrase that let Eugene he'd been caught in flagranti and would be stabbed after the show.

Still, even when live theater's bad, it's still pretty fun, and I'd rather watch an amateurish farce (which at least makes me feel nostalgic for all the amateurish farces I was in) than an amateurish drama, which are usually about poverty or literacy or abortion or all three, and are usually of the opinion that these things aren't bad so much, as can be overcome, especially literacy.

The biggest problem was that for some reason, community theaters haven't yet realized that they're about a thousand times better when you have the liquid lubricant of comedy, beer. Or pot too, but it was going to be hard to get stoned with Amy's folks there.

Luckily, since we needed an eye mask for Amy, we got to get high in the car, then stop at Taco Bell all on the way to Meijer.

Taco Bell was, as befits all semi-suburban highway exit sprawls, the place to people watch. I came in as the European was having a jocular discussion with the clerk about what sour cream was, having apparently already placed his order. It's the kind of mindless friendliness that America does really well, the sort of sheep dog enthusiasm for introducing those poor benighted foreigners to our magnificent dairy products dispensed from caulk guns.

The black teen next in line broke in, calling the the counter clerk out — "How you gonna not take my order? Don't you see me standing here? What's the deal, man? Don't you think I want food? What you think I'm at Taco Bell for?"

The man and the clerk both looked sheepish, and the clerk took the black guy's order. Maybe I've got a finer sensitivity to service industry discomfort, but the counter jockey kept trying to ask if there was something that the guy would like for free, and the guy was too pissed to pick up on it. Like, "I can give you a complementary large drink," and the guy just says, "I said a small drink. How come you not listening?"

I tried to explain all that to Amy when she came in, but she got caught up in listening to the conversation between the teen cook, a slight, greasy girl in that black with purple piping uniform, and some hefty 20-something who had ordered 17 tacos. And I couldn't be too loud about it, since the folks were right there.

Despite not having lived in Michigan in a couple years, eating Taco Bell while wandering through Meijer is still pretty boss.

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