Friday, March 10, 2006

Spare Change

2 Cents: The coffee dive that Hoop and I frequent is under new management. When it was first bought out they assured us, "Nothing is going to change." Yeah well, Hershey said the same damn thing. It's not just spilled milk... Every week we come in for coffee, something is drastically different. "Backstreets" used to be dark and dank, full of hand-me-down furniture, stale smoke, and bad art. The walls are yellow and mauve now. The floors have been covered over with wood paneling and decorative rugs. You can sit down without feeling like the couch might suck you in for keeps. It's awful.

When we arrived at "Backstreets" last night, Hoop made a beeline for a new video game that had been installed. I set out to try and rediscover the place. I thought, it's like an old lover you haven't seen in awhile. Of course they've changed, but you've been intimate. There are bound to be characteristics that have remained the same, right? My biggest comfort is that the ceiling hasn't changed. It's always been my favorite feature. It's just a series of cheap styrofoam tiles, like the kind you see in schools, but these have been painted and decorated into works of art by customers.

"Backstreets" used to sell the tile spaces off for $20. You could put anything you wanted on it, as long as you didn't take it out of the building. There are drawings, paintings, poems, and pictures. Some have pieces that hang off of them. One is decorated with Barbie parts and little plastic guns. One has a large Paper Mache face coming out of the center. My favorite is nothing more than circles of paint that reminds me of the fuzziness you get before leaving a dream. You could sit and stare at those tiles for hours without seeing all there is to see in them.

It's not long before the tiles are gone. I can feel it. The new owners think they're revamping the coffee house, but what they're really doing is gutting out its history. I can't say they don't have good intentions. In the jumble of new things to see last night, I did find a replica of the
Leg Lamp in Christmas Story and a large collage painting with a hidden penis in the middle. Hoop was not amused when I pulled him over and tried to engage him in a game of "Where's Wanker?"

The point of this little rant is that we're losing our culture. My town used to be nothing more than a tourist stop, filled with family restaurants and eclectic shops. The Mom-N-Pop diners are closing as more and more people buy into the convenience of "Chili's" and "Longhorn." The eclectic shops are selling their buildings, unable to compete with the "Wal-Marts" and "Targets" of the world. We're becoming cookie cutter. Soon they're going to manufacture towns out of molds like Playdough... It's OK to accept change. But never forget at what cost.

Things That Make You Go, "WTF?"
1. "Whenever I get a persistent hard on while at work, I just tuck it into my waistband."
2. "Before my parents adopted me, they thought about getting a monkey."
3. "I'm not square! I have friends on the internet."
4. "I bought the boat, I just forgot to set sail."
5. "I feel like my head just exploded Strawberry jelly. When what I was really expecting was Blueberry."

A Penny For Your Thoughts: Check out the website for Peels and find out what location near you is carrying it.

Daily Hoop Conversation:
(While out talking with the neighbor)
Neighbor: Wow. Look at the ring around the moon!
Hoop: We should get the camera.
Tink: The batteries are dead.
Hoop: We don't have batteries in the house?
Tink: Nope.
Hoop: You have batteries we could borrow.
Tink: Oh my God.
Everyone: ...
Neighbor: So, anyway.

Have a fantastic weekend all!

21 Comments:

At 10 March, 2006, Blogger mamalujo1 said...

Tell me something. With your wonderful powers of observation, how do you deal with the inevitable stress? One way that is obvious to me is your ability to describe your world with such clarity, humor, irony and intelligence. Do you ever wonder how many other people out there are as perceptive as you; and then do you worry about feeling that there probably ARE other people out there who just don't see with the clarity and understanding the way you do? Do you ever wish Adam and Eve hadn't eaten that fruit? Do you wish I would quit asking questions!?

By the way, I suggest you get one that plugs in. Sounds like you go through a lot of batteries. Lucky fucker.

 
At 10 March, 2006, Anonymous gb said...

Now THAT comment above was DEEP!!! This place is filling up with intellectuals!!

 
At 10 March, 2006, Blogger V said...

Wow, how sweet of him! oye.

I totally agree about the cookie cuttering. There needs to be balance. I feel like everytime I visit my old spots, something is becoming ~the same~. It's sad. Did you say anything to the owners? Maybe you can chain yourself to the ceiling or something?

 
At 10 March, 2006, Anonymous TB said...

Your depth and wisdom coupled with such a great comedic sense never cease to amaze me.

 
At 10 March, 2006, Blogger mama_tulip said...

You know, when I was a teenager going "downtown" in my hometown was fun. There were cool shops to mooch around in. There were diners. There were stores that had been there for YEARS, shops that had started roots and had caused other shops to spring up. It was cool.

Downtown there now is a ghost town. Shops closing up left and right. Empty storefront windows. It sucks, and I hate it.

But -- this:

"Whenever I get a persistent hard on while at work, I just tuck it into my waistband."

...made me piss myself.

 
At 10 March, 2006, Blogger Chris said...

Ok, where are those 5 WTF things from?!

Argh - the cookie cuttering is maddening. Pretty soon there won't be any reason to travel, because everywhere will be exactly the same.

Heh, that's one of my favorite Hoop conversations so far!

 
At 10 March, 2006, Blogger Tink said...

Mamalujo1: 1. Have I told you lately how fantastic you are?

2. I never regret the gift/curse of observation. But how I wish I could share it with someone else somedays!

3. I would NEVER hook myself up to a direct power source like that. I can see it now, "Electrocuted to death by vibrator." *Shudder*

V: "Chain yourself to the ceiling" LOL. They'd probably bring out the bats and play piñata with me.

TB: You're my role model in the wisdom department Teebs.

Mama T: It makes me sad for the next generations. They won't even know what they've missed.

Chris: I was waiting for someone to ask! Here's where the "WTF" statements came from:

1. Hoop
2. A friend
3. Our company IT person
4. The receptionist
5. Myself

 
At 10 March, 2006, Blogger Jay said...

I just hate it when people buy a dive and "fix it up". When I went to college at the U of Ark. we would go down Dickson street and go bar hopping at all the dives.

Now people have bought up all the bars and shops and remodeled and it is all so "yuppiefied" ... yuk! I hate it now.

 
At 10 March, 2006, Blogger Odd Mix said...

There is a trendy coffee shop in Arlington, VA which is frequented by a very eclectic clientel. It is in a quaint little brick building of Quincy (I think). If asked, the owner will sometimes be willing to show you a picture of the building in the late '30s or early '40s - when it was the headqquarters of the local Nazi party. There is some irony there.

 
At 10 March, 2006, Blogger Jess Riley said...

Now what I want to know is, what on earth is Hoop doing at work to get such a persistent hard-on? LOL!!!!

On a serious note, I also feel a huge sense of loss whenever a local shop or diner closes and a new restaurant franchise opens. One of my favorite dive bars in my city (actually a whole row of dive bars we used to frequent in college) was bulldozed a few years back and replaced with a sterile strip mall containing a Big Apple Bagels location, a Tumbleweed franchise, Curves, a tanning salon, and a credit union. I still dislike driving past.

 
At 10 March, 2006, Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

I'm a little disappointed. I thought Hoop said all the WTF things. He's losin' it. There was a day he would've OWNED all those. Damn.

Wal-Mart is leading the demise of our country. I wish I could stop shopping there.

 
At 10 March, 2006, Anonymous Amanda B. said...

Have you seen the new Burger King "Big Buckin' Chicken."? That shit fucks me up.

 
At 11 March, 2006, Blogger Mignon said...

I had some other things to say about your coffeeshop sentiments, but before I could finish your post Jim called me outside to take a picture of the ring around the moon.
Weird. Really weird.

 
At 11 March, 2006, Blogger EE said...

LOL....Tink you seriously crack me up. I totally LOVE your conversations w/ Hoop. Crack me up.

That's such a bummer about your coffee shop. I hate when that happens. The ceiling sounds really cool.

 
At 11 March, 2006, Blogger Foo said...

Dives always make the best hangouts. Give me a joint with a sealed concrete floor, mismatched chairs, and tables with sugar packets under the feet to keep them from rocking. Give me an old monaural jukebox with 45s from no later than 1977. Give me a Galaga machine over in the corner next to the rest rooms and a worn pinball machine with a left-side flipper that sticks about every fifth time. Give me longnecks in a tin bucket full of ice. Give me faded snapshots of the regulars in cheap frames screwed to the wall.

 
At 11 March, 2006, Blogger wordgirl said...

I love the leg lamp.

 
At 11 March, 2006, Blogger Iamadesigner said...

I have a hard time with change as well-especially that kind of change. I grew up in one of the most tourist-y towns in upstate ny-I have always been thankful that they never allowed the chain restaurants like McDonalds and Subway to move in. Even here in NYC we have 2 Kmarts....2!!

 
At 12 March, 2006, Blogger eric said...

when i was in high school, we had a similar places whose name was officially "marvin's."

but ... there was no sign that said "marvins." only a neon sign that said, "EAT."

so we called it EAT.

e+

 
At 12 March, 2006, Blogger Cheryl said...

Tink, I think there are enough of us eclectic types to preserve the unique cultural experiences of the past that it won't happen to it all. We stand firm in preserving it, and the history and stories behind it. Never fear, we oldies (but goodies) are still here!
You need to visit St Louis (my hometown) some time. There are oodles of places like that to visit.

 
At 12 March, 2006, Blogger Peevish said...

Oh, that was priceless! Thank you for sharing that!!

 
At 13 March, 2006, Blogger Ditsy Chick said...

You mean the batteries in the remote right?

There are a whole lot of towns that have lost their favorite local diner spots.....one of our favorites in Blackfoot, Idaho. Betty's shutdown. It was so sad.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home