(no subject)

I was looking at people walking around with cellphones glued to their ears (heaven knows I do it often enough myself) and, as usual, I travelled, in my mind, back in time to when I was a very young gastropod, growing up in central Florida, when most of central Florida was still orange groves and there was no Disney World, no Sea World, no Universal Studios, and Busch Gardens had no rides but only the animal park and the brewery. I got the animals, my dad got the free beer. Sometimes, for kicks, we would switch and I would get the free beer. My mother would look on disapprovingly and admonish my father. "Joe!" she would exclaim in a shrill voice.

I grew up next door to another tourist attraction called Cypress Gardens. In the original gardens there was a small structure tucked away in a corner. Inside, it was air conditioned. A huge picture window looked out over Lake Eloise and the view was framed with cypress trees and spanish moss. There were a few chairs scattered around the small room and, in front of the window, a big console with nothing on it but a phone handset and some simple instructions. It was a toll free long distance phone line. You would pick up the handset, give the operator the phone number you wanted to call, in the US, and you would be speaking with whomever you wished while you enjoyed the beautiful view in air conditioned comfort. Dick Pope, the creator of Cypress Gardens, knew that word-of-mouth advertising was the best you could get and was worth the cost of a few long distance phone calls. It was brilliant. When I got tired of climbing the giant banyan tree and dipping my toes in the Florida shaped pool I would go to this little room and cool off in the air conditioning until some snow bird came to call Aunt Gladys back home in Jersey and tell her all about the friendly squirrels and the girls wearing colorful antebellum dresses and the Electric Boat Ride!!

Another thing I see a lot of are iPods. For some reason this takes me back to high school, where I, a mollusc in the prime of life, still had long wavy dark brown hair and deep almost green hazel eyes. I still have the eyes but the rest, as they say, is histree. In my senior year I decided to take Music Appreciation as an elective since it seemed an easy A. In fact it was and the poorer students, those with attitude problems (as they say), and who would be played in the movies by Judd Nelson, would take the class so they could goof off for an hour and achieve an easy C. That poor teacher.... I wish I could remember his name.... I also wish I could remember the name of the dark-eyed beauty, raven black haired and olive complected, who never wore a bra and who set my teenage sluggy loins afire with her.... Where was I? Oh yes, that poor teacher. It was clear that most of his students were of the type aforementioned. Having little appreciation for more than one or two types of music, and certainly not interested in actually participating, they would sleep through class, or cut up, or laugh at certain movements in certain compositions. I, however, had grown up in a household with older parents. In my house Lawrence Welk played on the black and white television (an old Zenith) every Saturday, and Montovani, Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass, and Buck Owens played on the record player. You didn't hear Janis Joplin, ELO, Queen, or the BeeGees in my house until my sister got a bit older. Anyway, the point is that I was able to appreciate some of the music the poor teacher was playing. Well, when the teacher saw that I actually got some of what he was trying to impart he just lit up. Every 20-something reading this journal just turned to each other and shouted GAY!!! I suppose he could have been, but I never gave it a thought at the time and he never tried to merlester me as Eric Cartman would say. No, he used to loan me his PDQ Bach records. You know, PDQ Bach? Peter Schickele? Never mind. If I had had more of a music education at that time I might have caught more of the subtleties in the PDQ Bach records but, as it was, I enjoyed the class, I had interesting conversations and made an obviously very lonely man happy for a time, and I made an easy A. I wonder if they still have music appreciation classes and if everyone uses iPods in them, now.
  • Current Mood: nostalgic