Author: winter b

Midday Matinee – Why do people run?

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. My youngest daughter was in a car accident this morning. She’s okay, so let me start with that so no one wonders or worries. Shaken, but fine. And so, apparently, is the car. Mostly. But you can imagine what I felt when the phone rang this morning while she was on her way to college and her first words weren’t “I’m here,” but “I was hit.” Man, you can pack a lot of panic, fear and terror into a split second. Then, “I’m okay, the car seems to be okay. But the lady who rear-ended me just drove off.” She did? What the hell are some people thinking? More worried about an insurance claim than whether the person in the car they just hit is okay? Okay, maybe she panicked and ran. But she left my baby on the road, shaken, unsure about whether she was okay, whether her car was okay, and not sure what to do next. Years ago when I backed into a car in a parking lot, the first words out of my mouth as I leapt out of my car were, “Are you okay?” Seems to me to be the most important thing. You’d think. Instead a scared 18-year-old was left to drive her car...

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Midday Matinee – Infinite possibility?

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. For a professional writer, there’s nothing quite like looking at a blank page, whether it be a piece of paper or an empty document on your computer screen. It is at once and immediately a troubled love affair. It’s blank, it calls to you. It cries, “Fill me up!” And you answer, “With what?” Your hands itch, your mind spins, casting out ideas like a nervous fly fisherman trying to make exactly the right strike. You must write. The impulse won’t leave you alone. And that’s when the real trouble begins. You’re incapable of just staring at a blank page, but it daunts you. Something needs to go there, but every time you try to type a sentence, you delete it because it’s not right. You try not to think (if you’re a novelist like me) that that first page is just the first of another 300-400 you must write. Sure you wrote a synopsis weeks ago, and sold it, but that synopsis is not what wants to pour out of your mind and your fingers right now. Where to begin? Perhaps the most daunting question of all. If you don’t start in the right place, in the right way, you’ll wind up throwing out dozens of no-longer blank...

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Midday Matinee – The DMV shuffle

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. I’m appalled beyond words after an hour at the DMV yesterday.  The new rules aren’t the fault of the clerks at the DMV, but it’s almost impossible for some folks to get or renew a driver’s license these days. I sat there watching one person after another turned away.  In an hour, that was an awful lot of people. These days you need: your old driver’s license, a social security card, a birth certificate or passport, and two utility bills mailed directly to you in your name (spouse’s name won’t work) to prove who you are.  Oh, and if you changed your name, i.e. got married or divorced, you better have proof of that, too. One woman I talked to was on her third trip to renew her license.  Everything was back in her maiden name as a result of a divorce, but her license had her married name.  She had long since lost the papers (these rules were instituted only this January, and most people get auto-renewed once, for a total of twelve years) and she was living with her father, which complicated providing enough utility bills etc in her own name.  And despite the divorce decree, they wanted proof that she had gotten married in the first...

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Midday Matinee – Three years in Paradise

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. I once lived in paradise for three years.  I was a kid, so I didn’t think of it that way, but I sure enjoyed it.  While my parents suffered in a house so badly built that snow blew in between the walls and foundation until we had indoor drifts, while the heating system was so poor that I’d wake in the mornings and find ice in sheets on the inside of the walls… I lived in paradise. There was a creek out back.  We used to jump off an overhanging tree limb into the water, and I remember being so scared the first few times that I couldn’t make myself let go.  After a few painful belly-floppers, I even learned to hit the water feet first. There was plenty of fishing, too.  We had cheap rods and reels, and many days we’d hunt for juicy worms and sit on the bank for hours, catching strings of sun fish.  Most of them were too small, so we tossed them back, but we often caught big ones too, and by the age of eight I was able to clean my own fish and even, sometimes, put dinner on the table. Following that creek led to an old dam.  Whatever it had...

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Midday Matinee – Scenes from a coffee shop

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. I am sitting in my favorite coffee shop sipping my four shots of espresso (guaranteed to amp me up enough that you could probably run a toaster by plugging it into my ear) when I hear a bit of an ado from the vicinity of the counter.  A woman, voice raised, is dumping bile all over the barista because, “I always get Earl Grey tea, this is not Earl Grey, and you messed up yesterday, too!”  The barista, looking like a deer in the headlights, apologizes profusely and pours a fresh tea. News flash: this coffee shop does not and never has brewed Earl Grey tea.  They make only two blends, one green and one black, and neither are Earl Grey.  But the poor barista can hardly tell her that. Things settle down, people come and go, ordering their preferences in nearly infinite variety.  It always amazes me that so few orders get screwed up.  The baristas know the regulars, greet them warmly, and if possible have even started to brew your drink before you get in the door. My four shots are almost gone and I think about going to get another four, but there’s a line now.  The lunch hour rush has begun to arrive.  Sixteen shots?  Did that guy actually say he wanted...

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