Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Oh, the things you'll see...
I commute about 50 miles or so each way to work. I also make side trips to Charleston on the weekend for hockey games & other social functions. Thusly, I spend a lotta time in the car, watching the world go by. Some of this time is spent along Rivers Avenue and sometimes down Remount Road, target rich environments for people-watching. I’ll be blunt: I see a lot of really strange shit around town, and it’s some of the best free entertainment you could imagine.
At about 6:30 AM every weekday, I pass by the blood plasma donation place on Rivers, and it’s amazing to see how many people are already lined up outside the place in pouring rain, searing heat, life-sucking humidity, and the occasional bone-chilling cold snaps…no matter the weather, there’s 7-12 people waiting at the door at least 30minutes before it opens.
I saw a dude walking down McMillan by the Navy hospital carrying an entire set of free weights on his shoulder. I saw a guy downing a 40-ounce malt liquor at the bus stop at 7AM and it was pouring down his throat so fast that there were no air bubbles coming back up into the bottle. I’ve seen no fewer than a hundred people in various stores this past year shopping in pajama pants and slippers. I’ve seen weaves in shapes that only occur in modern art sculptures and Food TV sugar-spinning competitions in colors that simply do not occur in nature. And the giant transvestite hooker waving to all the truckers on Spruill? That’s priceless.
Breakfast of Champions! Chock fulla complex carbohydrates...
But is it art?
My wife’s favorite spotting was the 225-pound or so woman wandering Rivers in microscopic Daisy Dukes with her ass cheeks hanging out, and a size 2 boob-tube with multiple rolls and muffin tops displaying the rest of her goods to traffic. My personal favorite was the guy shambling down Remount jeans shoved down into red cowboy boots, with wild hair and disheveled beard, and covered by a cobalt blue terry cloth bathrobe.
Oh yes. I gotta have me some of that.
The guy who cut us off today on 78 while sucking his thumb? He may have seen us if only he’d had a rearview mirror, but he spent his mirror money on those ridiculously huge rims on his battered 1993 Town Car. He at least stopped sucking his thumb long enough to flip us off after we blew the horn at him. Also today was the unkempt woman with a head full of plastic curlers waving to passers-by from the parking lot of the Dollar General.
One can’t forget the tiny little bright red Honda Fit equipped with a giant set of Bumper Nutz hanging off the rear, the SUV over by Northwoods Mall sporting rims with crucifixes in the metal, or the guy with the giant map of I-26 and the surrounding area painted onto his car. That’s just one of the myriad examples of oddly painted cars around Chucktown and the surrounding Lowcountry. There’s the truck painted like a pack of Big Red. There’s a car done up in John Deere green and yellow, with matching leather seats. There’s one done up like a bag of Skittles, and another one with a glittery apple on the side with the name “Apple Bottom” painted on it.
As seen on Ashley Phosphate Road. Somewhere under that body kit was a Ford Explorer.
Now, to be fair, there’s also a number of cleverly-decorated pickups out there with giant lettering on either the front windshield or the rear; take your pick. I’ve seen DANGER RANGER, CORN FED, POTTED MEAT, HI-TEK REDNEK, and the ubiquitous COWBOY/COWGIRL UP (despite a notable lack of cowboys and ranches in South Carolina).
I was struck funny by the women’s thongs with CANCER on the front; all I could think of was crabs. I was nauseated by the canned tripe and pork brains, and just utterly dumbfounded by the butter sculpture in the shape of a turkey. I mean, who really eats canned stomachs and brains? The labels look straight out of 1958, and they very well could have been on the shelves since then. The turkey made of butter is just plain tacky. Sure, it’s a bit campy, but would you be able to look at your dinner host with a straight face after sitting at the table for your holiday feast and seeing a sculpture carved (or molded) from cow-squeazins shaken into a solid mass globule?
Sure, pal. YOU eat it. I ain't going there.
Seriously. Sculpted butter. Again, is it art?
The world around is us filled with all sorts of sights, from sublime to extreme. Take a spin around town and see what disturbing images sear themselves into your retinas…
As seen in the Rivers Avenue Wal-Mart at 2AM on a Saturday night.