Monday, April 25, 2011

Conversations and Embellishments to Varying Degrees

Got a late call on a Friday night. One might call it a last call, as it was most definitely ‘after hours.’ It was the “snoop-dog” from nextdoor going off about the street light, that’s evidently been out for awhile, in front of the triple-wide. Seems when she takes “Shug” (cutesy abbreviation name for her mutt Sugar) for a walk in the night they feel frightened. “THEY?! Mrs. Focker? Come on now. Did Sugar tell you how afraid she is to walk the gang-infested, evil streets of our community or did you simply witness her scrawny, toothpick-legs shaking with fright? Shug is just ‘effin happy to get out to take a shit! And maybe when I do get around to fixing the light, you can see well enough to pick up that shit for a change.”

Pulled up to the park BBQ around 3:15 p.m. with the single intention of making a courtesy appearance and bolting.
Since it was supposed to start at 2:00 over the hill at “Punkie’s,” I figured arriving an hour late would mean it would be going strong and of course, it had been highly necessary for me to pound a couple stiff ones before my arrival. As I circled his car-less driveway and carport, he saw me from the back screened porch and hollered, “HEY! Where ya going? I got the T.V. going inside with surround-sound and all, and I got New York steaks up my ass and nobody’s here!”
“All the way up there, Punkie?” I yelled back.
Through his laughter, I then drove back to my place “to pick up some things.” There was no way in hell I was going to sit there just the two of us.
When I returned his mother-in-law, a chain-smoking, Cocoa Cola-pounding woman with a voice like she’d swallowed half a gravel pit, was seated outside, also Marie, uninvited, was there with her walker parked next to her, and my pals, The Griffiths, whom I had secretly invited and even offered a cash reward if they’d go. Jack Griffith was putting away the beers as quickly as I was the G &T’s while his wife, my saint-of-a-friend, was carrying on with small talk.
The conversations varied from personal embellishments to shameless park gossip and to be perfectly honest, and that is my sole purpose of these writings, I can’t recall most of them. Each time I stood to offer my thanks and excuse myself, someone would ask another question to rope me back in, “So, when they gonna fix the god-damn roads? Or what the hell’s up with the talker at 11 that doesn’t shut-up?”

I do remember one story…Punkie talking about how he hauled ass on highway 101 in his motor home after he and Kathy got married …”Yea, Kathy was in the passenger seat, mom at the back table havin a smoke and we passed some sucker on a Harley. Kathy yelled, “Baby, did you see that dude’s face when you passed him goin 90?
It was funny as hell.”

There were lots of “no-shows” which of course was sad even to a trailer park manager like me whose skin is tough as leather.
You see, every time I enter these types of situations, I enter with a conflicting heart.
It’s like when I first arrived those years back and I immediately baked caramel Bundt cakes for everyone and offered free English lessons in the laundry room.
No one gave a shit. No one showed up because they don’t give a shit and because you are an authority figure and God knows they don’t trust authority figures. And why should they?

“You got the best view in the park, Punkie.” I heard my friend’s hubby say.
“Damn right I do.”
“You see that big yellow house way over there up on that hill?
See the tree to the right? Well, that guy uses all white xmas lights every year and it is pretty. Damn… it’s a gigantic display and once I tried to see what he had ‘cuz I wanted to out-do him, so I took out this telescope my nephew got me at Second Chance Mercantile, and I was looking through it at his decorations, and I’ll be damn if I see him and he’s got binoculars and he’s lookin right at me! I yelled, “Kathy, he’s lookin at me and my decorations right now! So I looked through and he waves at me, so I wave back. The next day, I drove all around those hills and I found his god damn house right there off Pleasant Road!”

I smiled and thought to myself… your nephew and I shop at the same second-hand mercantile, Punkie.

-tpg

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Poison Pie & Any Way You Spell It, It Always Comes Out CLAMPITT

Though I live in a trailer park, you must know there isn’t a morning that goes by that I don’t appreciate the birds that wake me up singing, even at 1:00 a.m., for this morning their awakening took me on an undiscovered trail...
Coming out of the closet, any closet, requires bionic strength. But this particular one is up -close-and-personal-gigantic which means I hope you are all sitting down.
So, I was born in a whistle stop (no longer such) where the Los Angeles border meets up with the Ventura County line. My grandparents, along with their two kids, one of them being my mom, arrived dirt poor in the middle of the Great Depression like tumbleweeds rolling in on a dust ribbon. Grandpa immediately went to work picking lemons to make ends meet.
Anyway, the closet…
So my mom grew to be beautiful and was crowned Miss Oxnard before she met and married this dashing police officer that drove a motorcycle and wore leather. They met after he pulled her over for “excessive lane changing” and totally smitten, she fell in love with the SOB…I was born in a wagon of a travelin show…just kidding.

Consequently, one thing led to another, and I was born (closet door beginning to open), Valerie Fern Clampitt to a beauty queen and an Okie from Muskogee.
Yep. CLAMPITT, and I bore the burden and subsequent abuse of that surname my entire childhood, through my adolescence and into my early twenties until I had had enough;
Heard enough renditions of Come and listen to a story ‘bout a man named Jed, a poor mountaineer barely kept his family fed, then one day he was lookin for some food and up through the ground came a bubbling crude, oil that is, black gold, Texas tea…
Enough teasing and taunting, enough of being called Elly May and enough of my good old dad’s not-so-pretty ways of parenting. He finally disowned me right after I graduated from college (nice graduation gift, pops.) so I disowned the name Clampitt. Legally.
Completely disowned until last night when, due to insomnia, hot flashes and a rapid succession of thoughts, I stayed awake from midnight until almost 5:00 a.m. researching my Clampitt ancestry.
And oh my, what twisted and savory lives my kin have led! The rogues and villains, such as Elias Clampet of Gloucestershire, England, who was sentenced to death for stealing sheep or the Texan/Okie brothers, Les and Jes Clampette, who spent most of their lives in and out of prison for making moonshine (my kindred flesh and blood soul cousins) and an array of wagon train cowboys and, most likely, trailer park vagabonds that have made me who I am today!
My personal favorite was one, Catherine Anne Clampet - b 1819 and who, during The American Civil War, baked poison pies after her 12.5 year old child was shot dead in her own home by soldiers.
Evidently, there was a "HIT LIST" after the Civil War, put out by the feds, which contained names of those that had been bad. Catherine Clampet Sanders was on it because of her poison pies that she baked and fed to many a soldier that came by in the days and even months  after the senseless killing of her child. It was silent, sweet retribution for her son’s death.

Well, closet doors need to be opened; hell, they need to be blown apart at the hinges. And, you know, there’s something calling me to continue my investigation...
For today, I salute you and your name and the stories that lie waiting to be told.
~tpg clampitt

Friday, April 15, 2011

Two Bratwursts

Space 3’s grandson only gets invited to a party one time. Then it’s over.
No more after school treats or skateboarding adventures with pals.
No more G I Joe explorations in the dunes behind the park.
No more pricking index fingers and becoming blood brothers at age 9.
Space 3’s grandson is a holy terror. I kid you not.
I have vivid memories of him yelling at me,
on numerous occasions, in this young, scratchy, psychobabble-sounding voice from the top of the hill,
HEY! Hey you! Can you find my toy? My sister threw it over there.”
I look.
“No, I don’t see it.”
NO! Not there! Over there!” “HEY! Hey, do you live there?
HEY! Who are you talking to? What’s your name?”
“HEY! Why won’t you talk to me?

Space 3’s grandson is like Chuckie meets Gage Creed, except I haven’t seen any weapons yet.
Though he’s but a lad,
sometimes I am more afraid of him than the dude at unit
27 covered in Roman numeral tattoos.
Drinking more helps, that and closing my windows when grandma’s babysitting.

Let’s move on to something of a more international significance.
How about my friend and yours, Mr. Kobe Bryant?
NBA’s Stud Muffin, King of all Kings, his Royal Highness ship, Man of the Year, Tiger’s BFF. Everyone knows he didn’t rape that woman way back when. (Did you see what she was wearing?)
And why do we know that?
Because he said he so… “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Oh…wait…No, wrong liar.
But unfortunately for Kobe, media cameras caught his homophobic, potty-mouth in action, so he can’t totally deny he’s a gay-basher and that he enjoys using the F-Bomb now and then. (See clip on my blog for proof.)
But, he’s one helluva player.
No, I don’t mean with ‘da ladies, I mean on the basketball court!
But the pathetic thing, in my trailer park girl opinion (and I do have one!) is that the blogs, tweets and articles that followed Bryant’s nasty tongue were centered primarily on the usage of the F-Bomb in sports and NOT on the homophobia that is rampant as Bed Bugs in our society.
I mean if he had attached the N-Word to the F-Bomb, imagine the outrage, the explosions, the financial repercussions, the hatred! Or how about the K-Word to the F-Bomb? And folks imagine the position the NBA would have been put in then.
A $100,000 dollar fine? I think not.
After all, $100,000 is pennies; a bag of Jelly Bellies to a Bling Man like Kobe.
Now, hear me out…
I think a better punishment just might be 200 mandatory hours, 24/7 with
Yep, you guessed it…Space 3’s grandson.
-tpg

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

White Vinyl Fat Man Trucker Mud Flap Decal Sticker and Other Topics of Interest

I was in the parking lot at CVS yesterday and saw this mud flap decal on the rear window of a cowgirl rig. It resembled one of those distasteful white playboy silhouette decals that the dudes in Prunetucky have on their 4 X 4's but slightly different because this particular decal had this fat-bellied cowboy who’s sagging in all the wrong places. The dude is leaning back as if tanning and sort of strutting his large, unattractive sack of stuff, in the same pose as the dreamy girl bunny. And I thought to myself, “Why didn’t I design this ‘effin decal. It’s genius.”

The park’s a sleepy hollow tonight. All septic tanks have been pumped. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have gone home. The Meals On Wheels vehicle with the dead battery has been jumped. Aww. Vita bona est on Flamingo Lane. Yes indeedee.
One would think that I’d fine solace and that my mind would move into idle and coast through the evening like a kid on her skateboard going downhill, wind in her face, but no. My brain is on over-drive, fifth gear, going up-hill at 100 mph!
In fact at 2:45 a.m., I was anxiety-ridden, wide-awake and surfing the guide. Came across a show entitled Eliminating Stress and Anxiety so I clicked the enter button on my remote. An ad blinded me through the dark; an ad for Midwest Center, a place to “free one of life’s stresses and those spacey feelings like you’re just not there or you just gotta run.” According to Lucinda Bassett, the center’s founder, there is hope.
Folks, you must take 4 minutes out of your day to watch the You Tube of Lucinda that I’ve attached here on my blog site. This woman is the new Angela Merkel. (the first woman to become chancellor of Germany and in fact displaced our very own Condoleezza Rice as No. 1 on Forbes list of 100 Most Powerful Women) In fact, Lucinda might very well be crowned the next female prophet of the Christian world replacing Huldah.
It took time for me to locate Huldah. Actually, it’s not an easy task to locate powerful female figures in Christian, Jewish or Muslim faiths, but
I won’t go there.
Ms. Bassett has really found Nirvana through her work at her own center and I for one have placed her photo on my sacred women's altar where I light candles and burn sage each morning in honor of significant women who have influenced my life.
The reviews are mixed of course...various testimonies posted range from people who have called for the “Free CD” and received a bill for $519.00 and then taken to collection for not paying, to those who absolutely loved Lucinda’s 7-audio package and were looking forward to a slightly less-stressful Christmas.
You be the judge and have a stress-free day friends!
-tpg

Friday, April 8, 2011

Highway of Life

Today’s generation, when bored, goes to Facebook, right?
Me too, but I think my generation goes to Craigslist more. Surfing the bargains that could potentially make our humble shacks the mansions that HGTV creates in Curb Appeal or Holmes on Homes, or the classifieds with jobs we dream of but are not qualified for. Boredom struck me the other day somewhere in between unit 6’s dog getting loose fiasco in which Erika’s toddlers were terrorized and Mr. Guzman having a full-on verbal boxing match with the Waste Management Recycling lady who was blocking his driveway for nearly a half-a-second…
Going directly to the For Sale section of Craigslist, I began randomly clicking on items I don’t need but have to have and came across this ad (copied as written by the seller):

Hot Pink Stripper Pole
This is a one of Kind lil Mynx hot pink adjustable stripper pole. I bought this in Hollywood brand new for $500.00 a year ago. I love it but I'm moving to Austin, TX in a couple months and eliminating my truck load. Selling it for only $300. Works great, and is adjustable for any roof size, easy to set up - im a girl and I did it. LOL. any questions or you're interested please give me a ring- 209 681 1369

Torn between my moral fibers and my curiosity of the dark side,
I phoned. Just kidding. But I did want to.
I sat in my high back recliner conjuring up all these questions for the girl moving to Austin who loves her pink pole so much but can’t take it with her.
Friends, you know if it was purchased in Hollywood, it must be good and this is why I have left the number for you in case she might still have it.
In addition to my thought that we are a generation now addicted to Craigslist, name-brand alcohol and fitness courses, I have come to believe we are also a much more polite generation than the young generation who will one day be in charge of my social security and health care when I am rocking on my porch and drooling on my cotton nightgown.
No, I really do believe this and the proof comes every damn time I get in the car. The younger generation are rude Sob’s that ride our asses, cut in front of us, pass on the right side of the road, multi-task while steering with an elbow, drive out entrances and in exits, blast what they call music out open windows, eat and text while simultaneously conversing with all 5 unbelted passengers and never offer a wave of thanks when you let them go first at a four-way stop!
Whew, I needed that. Of course, I know I’ll get flack from my younger readers, but hey, bring on the conversation. Isn’t that what America was built on; healthy debates and eye-opening conversations that stretch our imaginations and encourage our creative thinking?
You betcha, pals! And these are important issues to examine.
Have a good one today and be safe on the highways.
-tpg

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Space 13... You Gotta Love Her

Space 13 has come to my unit only twice in 6 years.
The first time was about two years ago and I was impaired slightly thanks to an ice-cold gin and tonic. I was basically having a concert with a karaoke machine that I had picked up the weekend prior for 5 bucks at a “No Early Birds” yard sale.
Singing at the top of my lungs, and half way through the line “You can hear it from the people they call us, gypsies, tramps and thieves…”
She knocks.
Flustered, she apologizes for her late rent and then as if there was a burning fire in her belly, she starts in sharing about the Christian Revival her and her “live-in” just attended in Three Rivers, Ca.
The second visit was last night right at the effing tip-off of the Women’s NCAA Final Four Semi-Championship game. I was braless in my flannel “pj” bottoms and spaghetti strap tank. Cocktail in hand, I swing the door open with same confidence of Cher in a halter dress. Perhaps it was the fact that I had been cheering robustly and the sounds could be heard from the open kitchen window, “GO STANFORD!!!!!”
But when I flung that door open, she looked nervous.
You see, space 13 is a nervous woman.
She lives her life in service of Jesus, yet she has absolute no security in the fact that she has been “saved.” I mean if you already have a punched entry ticket to heaven, and God has a seat for you in the front row, why the hell are you a nervous wreck every damn month when you pay your rent a day or two late? If the nervousness stems from the obvious (the park manager is a lesbo) then you really have nothing to fear because remember Tina, there are no lesbians allowed in heaven.
One would think there’d be a reason for yesterday’s unannounced visit; a reason of emergency in nature; like maybe an electrical outage causing flames to her mobile or a dead possum trapped under the skirting of the abandoned unit next to hers…but no. Her reason was this:
“I heard you were moving to Idaho or Iowa, one of those places...well...Anyways, I just wanted to say good-bye.”
Hmmm… Tina. Guess you haven’t attended any 12–Step meetings to break your addiction to gossip lately. “Hi, my name is Tina and I am addicted to spreading unsubstantiated and false rumors about others and my life has become unmanageable.”
Tina is forty-something.
She and Curt moved into her mother’s robin egg blue trailer when Ida was sent to an assisted living facility in a nearby town.
She’s an adamant believer in Jesus, Hamburger Helper and sweatshirts that have teddy bear appliqu├ęs. She doesn’t hesitate to let her neighbors know
that her mother is totally crazy because of her interest in ghosts, the after-life and supernatural events. Ida's favorite author is Edgar Cayce not Paul.
Tina bites her nails to the quick and lives with Curt who is cause of much shame because Curt is still married to someone who lives out of state.

There’s a giant cloud that hangs over your head when you are a trailer park manager;
a cloud that is heavy, dark and has a big banner sticking out of its fluff that says, “Hate me. Gossip about me cuz I’m a meanie.”
Because of that, you don’t get many hellos, good-byes or invitations to family gatherings,
but I did get a call from Tommy and an invite to his annual pre-summer tri-tip shindig.
When he called, I wasn’t home but his message was straight to the point, “Hey…(slur) hey thar…(slur) it’s Tom.meee. 'how you? (slur) Say... we’re fixin (slur) to have some beer and tri-tip (slur) uhhh (slur) lil party… wull, nuthin big (chuckle) don’t ya guys worry (chuckle) thought (slur) you’d come this year (slur) give me a call.
Laaaater…”


Tri-tip isn’t my preferred protein.
Never really has been. But I can’t imagine Tommy marinating me a tofu steak.

Odd as it sounds, though…
I can’t imagine not going.
I'll bring the Keystone, Tommy.

Wishing you the satisfaction of all your impulses!
-tpg