Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Roseanne, the Zombies and the BUG

Hack Hack Cough Cough
It has been rather cool here in East Central Florida for the past week and I managed to contract one of my dreaded every-other-year colds that tend to put me on the skids for a couple days. When this happens I bravely face my illness with as many potions and powders and pills as I can get my hands on.  My goal is to survive through over-the-counter induced coma. I pile books next to my bunk, add blankets to the pile and say my farewells to my dogs and my woman and then crawl into my nest to meet my fate.

Trailer Park Benefits
We don't have a Health Plan here at the Park; in fact, if anything, it would have to be called an Unhealth Plan. Besides, I am far too bold and manly to report to the hospital for a mere chest cold. Not me. What I do is take a bunch of pills that look vaguely like Christmas candy, drink syrups that taste like nothing else in the world and then spend two or three days catching up on my reading, sleeping and alternately whimpering for mercy and howling for more soup or orange juice or whatever else enters my feverish head.

The Bad English Patient
The Blonde is always very indulgent for the first couple of hours. Once she realizes I actually do have an illness and not just a more worser than usual hangover, she suddenly remembers a bunch of errands and shopping she forgot to do and then disappears for the next couple of days. She ain't no Florence Nightingale, but I admit that I am the worst patient in the world and if we were Eskimos, there would be an ice floe somewhere out there with my name on it.

But that was three days ago and now here I am, typing merrily away with only an occasional rumble in my chest and that delightful sniffle thing that doesn't warrant an actual nose blowing but makes you snert and sniff and wish for warmer days.

Irregular Programming
As an inveterate Bicycle Nerd I hang out at a Site called Old Ten Speed Gallery. Over there we are like those guys in High School that really did believe that Esperanto would one day be the One World Language, instead of Klingon. But our language is bicycles and OTSG is like that saloon where everyone knows your name. In the course of yacking it up about an old Schwinn Caliente a frequent contributor mentioned that Roseanne Barr and John Goodman are appearing in a pilot episode of a new TV series. This time the plot centers around life in a Trailer Park.

I know what you are thinking. You're thinking “Hey! Trailer Park Cyclist! You live in a trailer park!”

Or maybe you're thinking, “Esperanto? What's that? Some kind of soup?”

Or, “ Remember when this Blog used to be cool?”

Hold on. I have to blow my nose. Did I mention that I have been sick?

Hooray For Hollywood
So anyway, these Hollywood big shots are going to try and illustrate in a touching and humorous manner what I live with everyday. They will get it wrong, of course. These guys are so far removed from this layer of strata that they can't even imagine what really goes on. Me, I came to trailer living late in life, as many do. But most of those other elderly trailer dwellers have sold their homes up North and came here to live in pretty nice trailer parks with golf carts and swimming pools and clubhouses where they all get together and do all that hokey crap that you do when you retire. Whatever it is. I don't know. I only say it is hokey because I went to one of those places once and in the clubhouse there were a bunch of people only marginally older than me actually doing the Hokey-Pokey. No, really.

The Whispering Pines isn't a retirement trailer Park. It isn't a place where elderly people come to hang out until, You Know. I guess those big fancy retirement parks are like luxurious ice floes.

The Whispering Pines is more of a place to come and not wait for the Big Sleep, but rather to embrace it.   Most of the people here are pretty drug-addled. The advent of these super-strong downers like oxycontin or whatever it is has created a new American Class. While the middle class is shrinking, we now have the Rich, the Poor and the Zombies. Government subsidized medical programs are shoveling these Zombie Pills into the eager maws of the impoverished like Manna from Hell. I see it everyday. The sheer volume of these pills is unbelievable.

I don't expect to see a lot of Zombie episodes on Rosanne's new show, but it would be pretty cool if there were. In fact, unless I break down and buy a TV, I probably will never even see a single episode.

This is all a little depressing. Probably aftershocks of the meds I took for my cold. Did I mention...

Meanwhile,  Back At the Bicycles...
In the world of bicycles, frequent commenter and Horticulturizing Cyclist Dee was kind enough to answer my query as to what she has been up to Down Under:

To: Trailer Park Cyclist:
In my copious spare time I am the president of the James Cook University Bicycle Users Group. A couple of years ago the Uni got a new high tech central cooling system, and all the old individual cooling plants were set to become redundant. The cooling plant for the library was housed in this great little building I had always liked, so I contacted my facilities management people and asked if it could become a bike shed when the old plant was removed. To my surprise and eternal gratitude they thought that was a great idea, and they spent a lot of money to make it happen. It needed a new concrete floor, and a roof (I guess it never had a full roof before) and they partitioned off a workshop and added lockers. They wanted to add showers but there was no plumbing available. I almost lost the project at that point because they figured if I couldn’t have showers I wouldn’t want it, but they were so wrong!

Anyway, many meetings and good will later it is all happening. Took us a fair time to get the community bike shop concept going, because it needs volunteers. I got tired of waiting for interested people to come together and went out with another employee and gathered up all the abandoned bikes at the colleges and put them in the shed, and now lots of people are really excited to have bikes to play with, and the workshop is starting to take shape.

O-week is next week, and we will be selling cheaply anything we get fixed by Wednesdays market day. As for the rest, I figure I will invite students to choose a bike, join the BUG and do it up to keep for free themselves. I just love all this. I am a terrible doer.

But NOT a terrible Zombie.  Good work,  Dee!  JOIN THE BUG!

That's it for now.  

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Hack Attack


  1. TJ,

    Sorry to hear you're under the weather - hope you spring back stronger than ever. With the respiratory problems I have it's easy for me to get bronchial infections, but I've been relatively lucky this winter (knock on wood).

    That Dee sounds like a pistol - you've gotta love people who get things done. Sounds like a great idea.

    I swear, when I first saw that photo I thought it was someone assaulting some bikes with a plumbing snake. I'm glad I was wrong.

    Waiting for spring...

    Steve Z

  2. Yeah, that would be pretty disturbing. Those cordless grinders are scary enough, though. They go through a cable like butter.

  3. Hope you get well soon and get back on the bike Velo Brother. Your comments about Zombies makes me think of my favorite new T Shirt ( article about Dee and the good work she is doing down under, although I gotta say I have no idea what they are doing with that drill and those bike kind of look like they are in some minimum security bike prison :-)

    See ya in the ole OTSG Saloon

    1. Yeah, Buddy, see ya there. I liked that zombie t shirt.

  4. THanks for sharing Dee's story. Sorry to hear the weather has found you and caused your distress. As for Roseanne, there is no way they will come close to capturing the culture and general ambiance of your corner of this wonderful world. They will never understand.

    Hope the magical chemical concotions do their thing and you are riding again soon.

    1. Thanks, Dan. One of the producers of the original Roseanne show was from my home town. In fact, the background for the opening credits of the old show was photos of streets in Evansville, In, where I grew up.

      That producer, Matt Williams, wrote a play called Between Daylight and Booneville, which takes place in a trailer park. I think. It's been a long time. I better check before I misinform.

      Yeah, Dee is Doing Good Work and I always like to spread the news when something goes right for once.


  5. Wow, there are sure a lot of Whispering Pines trailer parks in Florida.

    I'm glad I found your blog. You're a good writer.

    1. I'm glad you found us, Kenny! Yeah, it takes a lot of Pines to Whisper about everything that goes on in these Florida Trailer Parks.

  6. TJC - What great writing form, brother. Your cadence is near perfect. Love it. Now for the real work...

    Soon enough with ground will heat, the sun will tighten up and you will smell the warm salty breeze coming off the water. And as you hit the back fifty and turn for home you will smile and remember that winter bogged down several thousand miles go. And then the hammer will drop and everything...everything just got better.

    Yer pal

    1. Thanks Zig, and you are right,as always. I tell ya, man, lately I have been feeling the call of the road and have been just distracted as hell. It is no secret that if I saddle up and head out it will be a one way trip. But it all is a one way trip anyway, isn't it?

      I just finished my submission for the new Ride book and I can't tell if I got it right or not. I like it but it is an odd piece. Maybe too artsy. I'm going to e-mail it over for your perusal. Don't pull any punches. You were right about the barbecue sauce after all.

  7. Good call TJ on sharing the Dee story with us. I'm with Steve, much respect for anybody who has vision to get things done.

    Good to hear you are back on the mend. It is a test of personal faith, but I am still about 70% sure that summer will return to the northern Rockies....sigh

  8. I hear ya, Jim. It's this time of year that I get impatient.