Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Well now, THAT was fun…

No, really! Other than a change of venue, that is.

My Friend Jeff™ had originally suggested that we meet at a little place called The Garage Café, which would have managed to combine several of our usual themes—the place is a tiny row of mid-1920s garages that back in the day housed the Duesenbergs and Stutzes and Stearns-Knights of Birmingham’s swells who lived up the hill a bit in the ritzy apartment blocks on Highland Avenue. They had a concierge of sorts who would telephone down to the garages for the car to be brought up the hill, or the chauffeur would traipse down and get it himself. Over the years it went through the normal cycle of disuse and abandonment until a local architect (and Fellow in the American Institute of Architects) named Fritz Woehle (pronounced “way-lee”) fixed it up and turned it into a combination sandwich shop/juke joint/antique gallery/art studio/architect’s office. Probably one of the most interesting and cosmopolitan collections of stuff you’re ever likely to find. It’s one of those places that’s famous across the country, yet completely unknown. Ghosts of old cars, good food, architecture, odd chatchkies—fits pretty well our normal oeuvre. And with notoriously odd hours.

Drove in right behind Jeff, only to find that it was closed, and would not open again until tomorrow at 3. ::sigh:: Three p.m.?! Whatever.

We decided to go back over to Oak Hill Bar and Grill in Homewood, which I have now grown terribly tired of. Not that we’ll be able to go back—we tipped according to the service we received, so I’m sure we will not be welcomed back. Of course, after your patrons have decided not to come back is probably not the time to be concerned about them, but hey.

And it took forever to get there for some reason. Usually, Birmingham traffic can be counted on to move as swiftly and signal-less as the Talladega Short Track, but today it seemed all the Over the Mountain moms had taken heaping double fistsful of Valium before strapping on their Navigators. Glacier slow. Parking was tough, too. The past three times I’ve been down on The Curve, parking has opened up quickly, but today I had to park up beyond the crosswalk, which forced me to try to be a good citizen and wait for the signal instead of jaywalking like I normally do.

Got in, sat down, order up a fake Philly cheesesteak and home fries (only five kilograms of carbohydrates and saturated fat) and got down to business.

“So, how is it you know [insert Sugarmama’s Real Name here]?”

(As you recall from my lunch a couple of weeks ago with s.m., she swore up and down that Jeff hated her, based upon their interaction in the brief period of time they worked at the same firm. I assured her that Jeff hated nobody. Especially her.)

“Oh, GOD, how I hated her! I have NEVER fought with someone that I WORKED with like THAT!!”

Well, sugarmama, what can I say. I was dead wrong.

Jeff never did go into any details about the exact nature of their conflict, other than it was exasperating and caused little cartoon puffs of steam to come out of their ears. Much worse, however, is that my cover has been blown a bit.

As I have mentioned on a number of previous occasions, no one in my family, no one I socialize with, none of my non-computerized friends, none of my coworkers, not even the lovely Miss Reba, know I type this steaming pile. Although known to an audience spanning the globe, I live a secret double life in which the words ‘Possum’ and ‘Blog’ are never uttered in any sort of conjunction.

And now, I had breached that wall of my own volition…

“Hey, wait a minute—how do you know her?”

Oooooops—if he figures this out, he’ll be in here all the time looking around and being all smart and everything...

“Well, you see, Jeff, it all started because of my online pornographic website…” We chuckled and I absentmindedly looked out the windows, hoping the subject would chan… “So, really, how do you know her—I thought she worked at [a shockingly large local company]?!”

“Oh, she does—and it just turns out that she knew you and said you probably hated her.” I continued to try to shake him off of exactly how I came to speak to her about him, but he would have none of it. “But how do YOU know HER?” “She writes an Internet journal thing, and you know, I was surfing around looking for local stuff and found her one day and we wrote back and forth and I found out she had worked with you at [Jeff’s Current Employer] and what a small world it is and all. You know.”

“And she thinks I hate her?”


“What was it I said when you mentioned her name?”

“That you hated her.”

“Oh. Awww, I don’t hate her hate her. But she worked over in the [other division of Jeff’s Current Employer, which is run by a tiny little dictator] and…”

“Well, I told her if you really DID hate her, it was nothing really personal; you just didn’t like anyone who had anything to do with him!! All better now!!”

“Whatever.” Indeed. And at least I think I threw him off the trail to this Possumy treasure trove.

(In case you’re wondering why I don’t let anyone know I do this, it’s because people tend to act different if they think you’re going to go blab about it to someone else. By being sort a fly on the wall, I get much better material. Not that you can tell.)

Anyway, blessedly the food got there so I could change the subject, which as is the normal case, swung about between 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supremes; coffee can mufflers; bringing up boys (one of which his wife will be bringing out in December); being geekily non-athletic (him, not me--I am geekily formerly-athletic); house painting; what’s wrong with General Motors (what ain’t?); fruits; firemen; the new Dodge Sprinter van (to be spoken about in loving detail in another post); incredibly poor service in not-quite-so-trendy-now neighborhood eateries stemming from the apparent sense on the part of the staff that customers should be grateful for being allowed in the door to eat your palatable, but not spectacular food; why were there so many really attractive blondes sitting in the chairs outside and why I was not alerted; the late Mr. Hale, an ancient former coworker who smelt of Old Spice and phlegm and who went recently to his reward; concrete paving patterns; and finally, if leaving a 10% tip is too high to show utter contempt, or only just high enough to mark us as a couple of rubes who can’t figure a tip right. I vote rubes, which is why I would rather not go back.

We jaywalked back across the street and swapped magazines—I got the September and October Car and Driver, and he got a stack of stuff four inches thick. Which I figure should entirely make up for being the subject of derision and ridicule once this gets posted!

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