I was on my way home recently, just one in a long line of cars on the freeway off-ramp, when much to my surprise and delight I spotted a swarthy fellow of rather diminutive stature standing on the median. He held in his hand a long wooden pole, roughly the dimensions of the hanger rod in a clothes closet. Along the pole’s length were inserted a fair number of short, slender dowels pointed upward at what I estimated to be 45 degree angles. From the smaller rods there dangled all manner of inflatable plastic toy — over-sized wooden mallets, dolphins, Power Puff Girls, baseball bays and assorted unidentifiable creatures that appeared cheerful despite their indeterminate origins. In addition to the Staff O’ Air-Filled-Fun, the gentleman also stood beside a shopping cart virtually over-flowing with conveniently packaged bags of oranges and peanuts.
From where I sat, with the air-conditioner blasting, the stereo cranked up to annoying and the windows closed, I couldn’t hear what Median Man was saying, but I assumed his English as broke as a mountain back. Yet despite my unattractive and biased assumptions, I was still able to surmise that the items in his possession were all for sale!
“Thank God!” I thought to myself (because unless you’re Carrie White or Uri Gellar or John Edwards — the psychic not the douchetard . . . okay, the psychic douchetard — or something, it’s rather difficult to think something to someone else), “I was just about to drive miles out of my way to Citrus Legume Inflate-O-Rama to replenish my supplies … but you’ve saved me from making that trip!”
Okay … fine. If I’m going to be honest, what I really thought was. “Inflatable toys and hard-to-eat-while-driving-snacks?? Really????” Who’s idea was that? I mean seriously, who was sitting at home one night when that brainstorm hit: “I bet people in rush our traffic would LOVE to blow up toys while cracking nuts and eating oranges! Because there is nothing that says ‘Daddy’s home and needs some alone time with Mommy’ like a blow up toy filled with peanut-citrus scented air.
I understand roadside flower sales on Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. But, aside from contemplating how one cornered the inflatable-toy/orange/peanut market (which usually only happens when I’m drunk and annoying my friends), I have little interest in blow up dolls or peelable, salty snacks. And don’t wash my windows, either, okay??? You want to make some money?? Wave a gallon of milk, a dozen eggs, some shampoo and conditioner or, for the love of all thinks holy, how about a box of tampons, for fuck sake???!! I would hand my first born (if I had one) out the window at 3AM rather than shuffle into CVS at that hour for an jumbo box of super-sized and a bottle of Midol.
Seriously?? If you want to make a buck in this country, think hormones and the related products and/or snacks. Because we will shank your ass for some ice-cream or a Milky Way, but a bag-o-peanuts??? Ummmm … not so much …