Monday, September 8, 2008

On and Off, Left and Right, and Friendship as a Rheostat

It’s 11:50am so it must be time for the DSL to go down. Yep. Clockwork. I’ve called about 20 times in the last month about this and get various answers and solutions that seem to always lead back to another phone call. But, you didn’t come here to read my whine about this.

I told myself that I would write a bit this morning, post it, and get my ass outside to do some work. The long to-do list just gets longer.

12:00 noon and the DSL is back up. Magic. Whine enough and things happen.

Whining works in poker too. I sit there for 40 hands with 93 off, type in “JFC! Can I get a fekkin hand?” and get a baby run, just enough to give my stack a bump and keep me at the table for another 50 hands.

12:07pm. DSL down again. WTF? Lunch time for Tech Support. “Rebuffering Stream” pops up on my iTunes. I can feel my frustration building. Music tilt. I’ll have to revert to my playlist. I should stay away from free jazz for the moment. No Ken Vandermark.

I listen to music while I play poker online. That’s about the extent of my abilities to multitask. Sometimes I take my iPod to the casino to tune out or to re-energize. My dear wife has put some great music on the thing, all designed to get one singing and swinging. I have downloaded a more ambient selection, and I find myself returning to hers time and again.

12:19. Back up. A techno beat, much like the music my son creates. The kid is good.

So, a half hour into this and I’m having a hard time figuring out where this post is going. I had intended on writing more about the Friday night home game, focusing more on the banter. No iPod needed for this game, as it is usually a laugh riot.

As I wrote in the previous post, M showed up late, a little toasty after a woman friend’s birthday party at a bar. He had a glow about him. He tells a story about climbing up on the bar and starting to do a strip tease. He unbuttoned his shirt, took off his belt and dropped his pants zipper to half-mast. Women started putting dollar bills into his pockets and his fly. When it was over, he put all of the dollars into the bartender’s tip jar. After I relieve him of the majority of his chips, he looks in his wallet for more money, finds $14, digs into his pockets and finds a crushed dollar bill.

My dedicated readers might remember that M is the guy who had the heart attack. M likes me. He respects my play. This means a lot to me. In fact, I think it is fair to say that most of the guys in this game like me. And why not? I’m a nice guy. Still, the test came at the game last week. Fresh on the heels of the Sarah Palin speech (the debut, not the multiple reiterations and continued insistence on things that have already been found to be untrue, such as selling the jet on Ebay and her initial take on the Bridge to Nowhere), we started talking politics. The discussion was lively, as if I had a chance to go on FOX Noise and debate the sound bites. Of course, nothing was resolved, and most folks dismissed outright anything I had to say. Except for P. This week he said that I had made a good argument, and in fact I stated my position better than anyone else at the table. However, he was still going to vote for McCain. I was fine with that. Folks out here, away from the big metropolitan areas of the state, are largely conservative. I understand why. I still think they’re drinking the Kool Aid, but I understand why. They think I drink the Kool Aid too. Still, we come together for other reasons, just as the other farmers in the area would rather talk about harvests than affiliations.

So, the air was cleared and we went back to our banter. It was my turn to deal and P asks about the tattoo on my left forearm. He states that he’s never noticed it before. It is a single, straight black line, about 3/16” wide and 2 1/2” long. “It’s my ode to minimalism.” That’s my standard reply when I’m asked.


“Well, you know how most folks get very elaborate tattoos? I wanted something simple.”

M chimes in: “Minimalism, huh? Well, if you were that clever to think up that, then why bother with getting the tattoo at all? Seems the idea is enough.” We had a good laugh. M was confusing minimalism with conceptualism.

How did we get started on politics again this week? I was still waiting for the cash game to start. L, King of the Donks started it. He wasn’t at the game the week before. “How about that woman’s speech? What did you think bastin?”

“You mean Palin?”

“Yeah. I was going to vote for Obama before, but that was a great speech.” Lord. I steer clear.

P asks me to retrieve one of his beers from the fridge. I say sure and F asks, “So, is bastin your bitch now?”

I reply, “Call me a bitch again and I’ll come over there and slap those glasses off of your face and then cram them up your nose!” I said it with a smile. One can say almost anything with a smile and get away with it. (“ He worked as a community organizer. What?”) The table roars with laughter.

F says, Whoa! I thought you were a peace-loving Liberal.”

“This is the new breed of Liberal. No more bend-over-and-take-it-up-the-ass nice guy.”

L asks, “Hey, where’s your hat?” He’s referring to my Dead Guy Ale hat. The hat that makes me aggressive.

“I forgot it. I don’t need it anymore. It’s a new day.”

1:23pm It’s been almost an hour since the DSL last went down. My frustration has dissipated. Hell, I’m almost hopeful. Maybe it will stay up for good. Right.

2:20pm. Neighbors called and needed some help. These neighbors are good friends of ours, a couple women who aren’t as spry as they used to be and they’re still trying to maintain a cattle herd and a sizable flock of sheep. Their log splitter is on the fritz and couldn’t load it into the back of the pick up to take it for repairs. No sweat. I pulled and one of the women pushed. And just for the record, I suspect they’re Reagan Democrats.

And the DSL is down again. Oops, it’s 2:26pm and it’s back.

I take down a big pot from F, and this time he calls me a bastard. I pick up a folding chair.

1 comment:

PAPro_SandMan said...

Jeez... Your home game makes me wish I could find another one. Maybe I should move your way.