Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Wasteland: Or, The Story of My Life

You gotta do what you wanna do/Go where you wanna go
With whoever you wanna do it with.

- John Phillips, "Go Where You Wanna Go"

Do what you wanna do/Go where you're going to
Think for yourself, 'cause I won't be there for you

- George Harrison, "Think for Yourself"

If ever there was a day that capsulized the meaninglessness of my mortal existence, and how it all adds up to missed opportunities and a big waste of time, it was this past Thursday.

After staying up late the night before to watch the Washington Wizards lose to the Cleveland Cavaliers on a last-second King (Lebron) James shot and then attempting to find solace by staying up even later to watch the first four episodes of the very hip anime series Samurai Champloo (from Cowboy Bebop creator Shinichiro Watanabe and now airing on the Cartoon Network as part of their "Adult Swim" lineup), I overschlept and arose at 11. So much for a morning jog or running errands.

I had an ear doctor appoint at 11:45, but the last time I went he made me wait for over an hour and a half, so I wasn't worried about beating the clock. I arrived a Noon, and still had to wait for a half hour. It was beautiful out, nay GORGEOUS, and there was so much I wanted to do on my lone day off this week. And yet there I was sitting...waiting...reading drole news dross about Baltimore's never-ending public works construction in the Baltimore Sun. During my last visit there was no newspaper, and I was so desperate I picked up Redbook, even reading the recipes I'd never cook, and read two Highlights magazines cover-to-cover.

I got up to leave, but as I approached the secretary's desk to get my parking ticket stamped, an attendent called my name. "Thomas Warner?" Just in the nick of time.
The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part

- Tom Petty, "The Waiting"

"Come this way. Dr. Kaplan will be right with you."

But he wasn't. He was probably still at lunch. I pulled out my Mark Jacobson book, Teenage Hipster in the Modern World (a book I can't sling enough praise at - Jacobson is a great writer and covers fascinating subjects, from Legs McNeil to Pam Grier to the gritty Sleazoids, Hookers, Pimps, Junkies and Grifters of 42nd Street), and started reading about the cantakerous Chuck Berry. Basically, Chuck Berry is a prick who does what he wants to do whenever he wants to do it. But hey, at least he's not wasting time "shining" (as he terms playing "Uncle Tom" to the demands of the world) for the masses. The Mayor of the town he's performing in wants to meet him? Tough luck, it's not in Chuck's contract. Jimmy Carter wants to meet you? Again, talk to the hand. Chuck shows up 5 minutes before the show, plays exactly 55 minutes, plays The Great Twenty-Eight songbook, then hits the road, Jack! I could see what he meant. Right or wrong, Chuck wasn't gonna be stuck in a doctor's office on a beautiful Spring day, held like a prisoner in a waiting room, watching the trees sway in the wind, while the good doctor was at lunch or whatever. WWCBD - What Would Chuck Berry Do? The answer was obvious.

After 15 minutes of this, I got up and left, walking by the next door office, I could see Dr. Kaplan in there shooting the breeze with a co-worker. Whatever. Nice guy - I bear him no ill will, as we often bonded talking about various fine Vodka brands, but his office's setup annoyed me. Guess I'm old school. An appointment for 11:45 shouldn't mean 12:45. I'm from the literalist "It is what it is" school, not "It isn't what it isn't."

As I made my way to get my parking stub stamped for real this time, the secretary blubbered, "But you're next, Mr. Warner."

"I know," I said, "But I just want out. I'm hungry and it's nice out, and everytime I come here I have to wait for an hour and I just don't have the time to waste." Too much time on my hands? That's a Styx song, not my life.
They'll zip you up and dress you down
Stand you in a row
But you know you don't have to
You can just say no

- Alex Chilton, "The Ballad of El Goodo" (Big Star)

Free at last. Thanks Chuck, thanks Alex, thanks Tom, thanks George, thanks John!

Related Links:
Chuck Berry (Wikipedia)
Emily's Cowboy Bebop site
Samurai Champloo (official japanese site)
Anime News Network's Samurai Champloo page
Teenage Hipster in the Modern World (Bookslut review)
Teenage Hipster in the Modern World (Amazon.com)

2 Comments:

Blogger mckora said...

Neat story. I can not stand waiting either.

Are you aware of any groups in Baltimore that link their blogs? I'm new to this and have heard from friends and family in other locations that this is fairly common.

2:13 PM  
Blogger Bob Andelman said...

You might enjoy this exclusive audio interview with LEGS McNEIL, in which he talks about his books, Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk and The Other Hollywood: The Uncensored Oral History of the Porn Film Industry ; and much, much more.

9:24 PM  

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