Saturday, June 10, 2017

What in Tarnation?

I was in grade school when I began fantasizing that I would write a book. I am still fantasizing about it. For a couple of years on the daily commute I noticed three-letter combinations on license plates and imagined a science fiction world where people were given only 3-letter names. Each individual letter represented a ton of information about that person including social status. If a person's status changed by egregious actions, a particular letter in his name would be changed. I found all the names of the principle characters while driving I-70. I imagined some plot changes when a group of subversives began naming their children with any number of letters. It was fun to amuse myself with this fantasy but eventually I decided the stigma of a letter for bad behavior had already been thoroughly covered by the Scarlet Letter, and there are a least a million books regarding subversive behavior saving a society in spite of itself.

No matter where I go my imagination fills in the missing gaps on people I see. I either make things up entirely or I muse regarding what their lives might be based on clues in their clothes or appearance. The latter has caused serious trouble for me a few times. The worst happened in a full Dillon's parking lot. I never park in the handicap spaces though I am sorely tempted (pun intended) at times but I always look for the closest space to save myself the agony my ruined knees. So, I pulled into one of those spaces marked with diagonal lines in a triangle - not truly a parking space but with all the other cars around it, it could have been and should have been. As I parked I noticed the lady directly in front of me exit her car. She stood in the open door drumming her fingers on the hood. She was a very attractive woman and nicely dressed. I took my time getting my things together as I continued to watch her. I wondered who she was waiting for - her husband or her children? I thought she must have a good job based on her car and her clothes, and thought she was likely a manager or department head. She was one of those people who would look impeccably dressed even wearing sweat pants. She had that air about her. I thought she was a very pretty woman and I was imagining a terrific life for her as I slowly got all my stuff together. When I finally got out of my truck, much to my utter surprise, I discovered she was waiting for me! The first thing out of her very loud and angry mouth was "I know you saw me getting ready to leave this parking space!"

WHAT?!!!

How in the world could I know she was driving forward from her parking space? It was broad daylight and her lights were not on. I did not see her car moving. And furthermore, I am absolutely NOT the type of person who would rush in just to cut off another person. I was instantly angry at being falsely accused of being an asshole! Oh, the shouting match was on. The louder she shouted at me, the closer I got to her. I was so incredibly angry at the audacity of this woman - the same woman I had just been casually admiring and imagining in a fine life indeed. I was so angry that when she threatened to kick my ass, I became deadly calm, put my face right in hers and literally growled, "Go for it." If she had made one tiny move in my direction, I was going to tear her up and go down fighting.

I believe she realized she was messing with the wrong old fat lady then, so she backed away from me but it did not shut her up. She continued to shout and berate me from a safe distance. I suddenly realized how ridiculous all of it was, and turned on my heel. She shouted louder at me, and from a very safe distance she hurled the final insult at my back: "Fuck you and your mamma!" Really? What does my mother have to do with any of this? I do not notice anyone else who may have witnessed the shouting match, but I walked right past a very old black man who laughed at me the entire way. He could laugh all he wanted because from his perspective, he just saw an old white lady get chewed out by a younger black lady. Little did he know how close he came to seeing an "aggravated" assault by both parties!

Imagination can get a person in trouble in unexpected ways but it remains my favorite pastime.

I have been matching vocabularies with a Scrabble app on my new dumb phone. I am delighted to win over the computer 9 out of 10 times, even with no cheating using the internet for J or Z or Q words. It is a maddening exercise because it often will not allow words that I know for certain are "real" - words that can be found in the real dictionary. The computer plays words that are, as far as I know, nonsense! The dictionary embedded in the app often offers no definition for suspect words, either! Bah! Humbug!

Here are just a few of the words that I considered nonsense but the app allowed: Kail, Toits, Guid, Tolu. There are so many more! In an act of desperation I began playing letters in correct word structure to see if I might happen upon acceptable words. This morning I discovered "slurb". I had never seen the word before but apparently that is a term for a shady (as in undesirable) suburban area.

Here are some of the made-up words I have attempted to play and - just for fun - their imaginary definitions:

Skathen - the act of skidding across the path of oncoming traffic after falling off a skateboard

Doehobe - a group of female deer gathering at the side of the interstate prior to crossing

Gatsh - the indentations left in the forehead from wearing a hat backwards

Hihen - a small step stool used for reaching the top supermarket shelves

Divehidi - The spurious demeanor of any White House Press Secretary, as in divehidian

Odios - a term of farewell when your friend's destination is an undesirable location or situation

Oeop - Post-op for patients when the surgeon is in a hurry to leave

Prear - the act of driving in reverse using the rearview mirror

Venaex - the charm and beauty of horses

Dustal - the characteristics of hardwood floors in country homes; Megadustal when located next to an Orc mining operation

Neveril - a small weed that grows in an established houseplant's soil

Post Script: Just for fun, I googled each of these and was surprised to find there were returns for all of them - a lot of acronyms, some anime characters, some proper names, and some close spellings. I just made them up from scrabble letters. I think there is nothing original left in the whole wide world. Post Post Script: Kail, toits, guid, and tolu are not recognized by the embedded BlogSpot dictionary either!