Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff

Archive for October 2010

CLOSING DAY

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“Have a good winter,” she said.

“You too,” I replied, not realizing exactly what she meant.

Then it quickly struck me. She said, “WINTER, not DAY…Have a nice WINTER.” This wasn’t the customary well-wishing you expect from the friendly salespeople at Highberry Farms.

Looking around I saw that most of the pumpkins were gone. The bins were empty of vegetables. The cupboard was bare so to speak. That’s when I realized that this was ‘goodbye.’ At least until next spring. They were closing down for the winter.

We drove to Smith’s Apple Orchard. The chalkboard out front had SOLD OUT scratched in beside all of the apple varieties. Inside their bins were empty too, except for squash. The last of the apple pies were baked and being scooped up by the few customers that were there. Along with the fresh baked pies, the ladies were grabbing the uncooked frozen pies to store over the long cold months. This was Smith’s last day as well.

Down on the beach, the steel poles for the snow fences are up. Most farmer’s fields are harvested. Hunting season opens tomorrow. Armen’s is closed. There are no motorcycles. Traffic is normal.

All is quiet. Southampton sleeps.

On this last day of October, the town readies itself.

Winter is coming.

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

October 31, 2010 at 4:14 PM

‘SIGN GUY’ NEVER QUITS!

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It didn’t look like much as I drove by. Just a small orange  blur on the sidewalk in the place where the ‘Sign Guy’ use to sit. But, on closer inspection it was what I thought it just might be…a pumpkin carved with the big guy’s unmistakable handle.

I should have known. The Southampton ‘Sign Guy’ would never let Halloween go by without putting in an appearance either by proxy or in person. He just might be out there tonight.

If not – his spirit is.

 

'Sign Guy' in his Halloween costume.

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

October 31, 2010 at 1:28 PM

BACKGROUND MUSIC – I.E. – NOISE

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Sunset at the harbour mouth, Southampton.

There was a time when you couldn’t get on an elevator without the all-pervasive presence of some innocuous music playing somewhere behind your head. You were forced to listen to sugary, non-imaginative arrangements of popular standards and top 40 songs. It was called Musack and it came at you relentlessly in malls, offices, the dentist’s chair, airports just about every public place you can think of. There was no escape. After a while it turned into a non-descript din you became use to…white noise.

Lately, though, I’ve noticed that Musack has morphed into something bigger, with much more variety, louder and so much more annoying. The Internet is partially to blame, as are those who generate their own tailor-made ‘mix-tapes’ for their places of business – particularly restaurants.

Restaurateurs are under the impression that I like to listen to their choice of music while dining. They seem to think that my meal will be more enjoyable if their ‘mix’ is played loudly. To make sure my dining experience is further refined they place speakers everywhere and then direct me to a table directly beneath them.

A restaurant is not a dance club. I don’t need to ‘feel’ the bass. I don’t care to bob my head to today’s ‘hits.’ Gangsta Rap is not my thing. Country & Western is not for me. Loud, annoying music does not make a meal enjoyable. It is intrusive. It gets in the way of conversation.

At the point when the server comes and asks, “Is everything to your liking?” I usually say “NO, turn the *&^%%%##### music down!!!”

Why not just play harmless ‘New Age’ nonsense. Jazz Fusion would be nice. So would simple Classical favourites. The Internet has all kinds of non-invasive music to choose from. Or, maybe just don’t play anything at all.

The natural background sounds of the restaurant would be fine with me. Let the establishment generate it own sound – let its own room tone become white noise.

That’s all you really need.

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

October 24, 2010 at 1:16 PM

RETURN OF THE ‘SIGN GUY’

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Ralph Dymer is back at his usual post.

Only this time the concrete bench has been replaced by a lawn chair and a TV Tray.

You will recall from my September 29 entry – The ‘Sign Guy’ Against The Establishment – that Ralph lost his beloved bench to disgruntled neighbours and Town bylaws. But he vowed to return. And he has. Out front – in his usual spot – waiting for the school buses so he can wave at the kids as they lean out the windows waving and calling out to him.

The lawn chair is a fair compromise. The TV Tray holds, among other things, his cigarettes and a portable radio. He’s not totally happy with the wobbliness of the old tray but he says he can’t complain. Ralph is just happy to be back acknowledging the honking horns and passers-by with a big smile.

Ralph plans to hold the fort until Thanksgiving. So come on by before disappears to hibernate for the winter.

Awesome indeed!

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

October 4, 2010 at 4:29 PM