Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Mar 07 2003

I came quite close to overdosing on old disasters …

I came quite close to overdosing on old disasters yesterday. For some reason, everywhere I went online yesterday led me, lemming-like, to a website concerning some tragedy or other. First there was a Metafilter thread on disasters old and new, which led to extensive examination on my part of the Morro Castle, the Beverly Hills Supper Club, the Cocoanut Grove, the Iroquois Theater, etc.

When I finally broke away from these facinating yet gory stories (The Morro Castle in particular would make for an excellent movie setting, wouldn’t it?) and escaped to my usual daily reads, Wendy starts going on about disasters, which of course sends me back to the Exploding School in Texas, etc. It didn’t help that the weather yesterday was cold, windy, rainy and generally dismal. Workers are dismantling the entire ninth floor of a nearby building with amplified jackhammers, apparently in the hope that the 10th through 14th floors will magically stay up until they build a new ninth floor in its place. I tried to cook dinner again but realized that my culinary success the other day could be attributed to luck and a good appetite after missing lunch that day. I was smelling imaginary smoke everywhere.

My online experience today has been relatively disaster-free, unless you count the cross-cultural marriage crises in Taidong . Instead, I’ve been looking at old Howard Johnsons, a move prompted by the news that the Hojo’s in Times Square is finally closing down. I spent a lot of my childhood in a car, either moving somewhere or another or driving up through Texas to visit either my grandparents in Oklahoma or my sister at college in Nacadoches (recently in the news because bits of Columbia tended to fall there) or my brother at college in College Station. On the longer trips, we would stay and eat at roadside motels, and often these would be Howard Johnsons. I developed a Pavlovian warm feeling every time I saw the huge, low-slung red roof, because it invariably meant food, rest, TV, a much-needed piss break (although those tended to be in anonymous fields or disgusting gas stations), and, if we were lucky, a swimming pool. For some reason, the food always tasted better at the Hojo’s, although I cannot recall a single dish I had there.

My co-workers are marvelling at a portable stereo someone brought in to the office. “It’s got 3D sound!” the manager who sits behind me exclaimed as he shuffled through the stations on the radio. I try to be objective about such things, but there seems to be an endless line of such occurrances lining up to prove that Chinese people cannot function without something Very Loud nearby. I cannot for the life of me figure out how Chinese people in the US got that “quiet and studious” rap…

Ah, they’ve set it to 99.7FM, my favorite local station, which plays classical by day and jazz at night. Much better. I’ll just shut up now.

posted by Poagao at 3:42 am  

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