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Friday, February 25, 2011

Oh, Wait. Turns Out She Has A Point.

In a manner that continues to astound me, even if I am pretty sure I understand how it works, we’ve reached yet another Friday.

And Minneapolis, its cold and benumbed hands clasped in supplication, inches toward the spring we were promised.

Spring! Still months away but taunting in its nearness. When will the snow leave? When will I be able to leave the house without first dressing for possible disaster? And where is ol’ Rightie, the glove whose mate, Stinky, was rescued from the snow-plowed mountain range in front of the house?

And what about Naomi?

There’s just no way of knowing these things – unlike the many things we will now know thanks to my iPod…

What? You’ve not heard of this? My dear, how do you live? For it is written (in my notebook) that the Friday morning’s commute holds the answer. My iPod, set on shuffle and played Friday morning, holds clues to the future…

Shhh. Play along, won’t you?

Stranglehold by Ted Nugent
Plastic Seat Sweat by Southern Culture on the Skids
Cobrastyle by Teddybears
Ford Mustang by Serge Gainsbourg
Keep the Car Running by Arcade Fire
Train in Vain by The Clash

The Motor City Mad Man? Plastic seats, Mustangs, Cobras, running cars, and trains?! What?! What’s that, Magic iPod? There’s a ticket for me, and I should start packing?!

Holy Hannah, this whole divining-the-future-by-my-playlist thing is fantastic!

And that reminds me of my friend Maryna.

Maryna is from Kiev, Ukraine, where apparently they speak a language other than English. It’s crazy, but there you have it. Her English, while heavily accented, is, for the most part, pretty darn good. She’s an intelligent woman, physically beautiful, and a good little drinker.

She also makes a mean chicken soup.

One of the truly charming things about Maryna, however, is that she is learning the majority of her English from her husband.

This could be a problem.

“You see Mike?” she says to me. “He ees broken man.”

I look at Mike, who grins at me. While it is true that he has back problems, he is not what I would term a “broken man”.

I laugh. “Did Mike tell you that?”

“Yes,” she says. Much of what she says has a downward inflection, as if the information she has to share carries great sorrow.

“Come. Come,” she says, patting the seat next to her. “You seet. You are hungry? I feex beet and potato salad. Maybe you like some herring.”

“Maryna, baby, she doesn’t want the beet and potato salad.”

Maryna looks at me expectantly. She very much wants to feed me. “Why not? Ees cold salad. Ees new year salad. Very good.”

I’ve seen this salad. There are layers of beets, onions, fish, mayonnaise, potatoes, maybe olives.

This salad. It does not speak to me.

Mike, standing behind Maryna, grins at me, blue eyes sparkling. He shakes his head. “You do not want the beet and herring salad,” he mouths, silently. “Trust me.”

I trust him.

“Please,” Maryna says. “Keed ees at Grandma’s. We dreenk. We eat.”

“OK,” I say, “Let’s drink and eat.” And Maryna runs upstairs to empty the fridge, returning with trays of food and drink.

“Mike,” she says. “You see Pearl’s car? Ees piece of sheet.”

My mouth drops open, and I turn to Mike. He closes his eyes and shakes his head, smiling. Maryna continues to load food onto my plate, buttering a slice of pumpernickel bread for me, then laying a slab of cheese and some sort of Ukrainian bologna on it.

“Eet’s true,” she says, handing the bread to me. She shakes her head, the sight and sounds of my dreadful little car heavy on her head. “Ees piece of sheet.”

My car. A 1998 Honda Accord. While it runs and has heat – and is fully paid for, mind you – it is a terrible little car in all other respects. The front end is held on with shoelaces, wedged into place with balsa shims. The driver’s side window can only be rolled down one-quarter of the way. The passenger’s side door – a hitchhiker’s nightmare come true – only opens from the outside. The heat is on either full blast or not at all, and – perhaps my favorite aspect of The Little Car That Could – it makes little noises when you steer it, like R2D2 with indigestion...

Yikes.

Maryna’s right. The car is a piece of sheet.




Have a good weekend, everyone. I’ll be here tomorrow if you’re not busy…

49 comments:

Sarah said...

Love the R2D2 reference!

George said...

It's like I was there with you.

jabblog said...

What interesting friends you have!

NotaSupermom said...

Beets and herring. What's not to like?

Bossy Betty said...

Keep trudging towards spring. You are gaining on it!

That salad. It did not speak to me either.

Simply Suthern said...

A piece of Sheet is great when you are 3 sheets to the wind.

I drive a 98 Lumina. She has had all those probs at times. A little TLC is all your baby needs and she'll be the little car that will.

Better check that ticket. It might be headed north.

Camille said...

Never too busy for you Pearlie Girl. Loving the visual of the the shoelace and balsa shim front end repair. Now that speaks to me this morning...and the salad? - Not so much.

Oilfield Trash said...

Way to through in a R2D2 reference.

SparkleFarkle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeanie said...

If I ate that salad I fear it would be speaking to me for a long time afterward.

SparkleFarkle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SparkleFarkle said...

Probably the onions, herring, mayonnaise, potatoes, and sometimes olives serve to stifle the flavour of the beets, which in my estimation always taste like dirt. Sorry, Maryna, I do not want to go to there!

Your car sounds sweet! I half-expected you to say it runs on feet, the way Fred Flintstone's does!

Yaba daba doo and have a great weekend!
SparkleFarkle~~~~~*

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the laughs! You brighten up my mornings with your wit!

Your car sounds like an old Datsun I had at one time. It had rust on top of rust. If you lifted the floor mat, you could see the road passing under you. The body was held together with chewing gum, wire and spit, but the engine was great. Ran like a top.

Now, about your car.

This must be your second car as I can't see Liza Bean Bitey (of the Minneapolis Biteys) taking it out for a spin, not to mention using it while she's conducting her nefarious business activities. It doesn't fit her image at all.

Take care and keep the funny stories coming!

Cindi

Ponita in Real Life said...

Spring? It's nowhere near where I live. I woke to -30C this morning, with winds making it -40 which is the same in both C and F. Just be glad your car window only rolls down a quarter of the way and not up... that just wouldn't do in the winter, even with the heater on full bore!

alwaysinthebackrow said...

I would expect beets, herring and potatoes from Ukraine, but did not know that they would use olives. And not all together.....ugh. Almost as bad as lutefisk, sushi, or sardines, oh my! I love that you are getting the full use from your car.
I could use a ticket right now. If there are two, could we go together?

jenny_o said...

Your car. She ees tirteen years oldt. Vat do you expect?? Borscht! (doesn't fit, I know, but it's fun to say and type)

jLow said...

okay . . . if playlists are foretelling the future then my future looks very mellow indeedy.

Sue said...

My Piece of Sheet was a 1997 Honda Civic. Drove that thing into the ground. Man, I loved that Piece of Sheet.

Symdaddy said...

I hate Friday!

Ev'ry one gets a weekend off and I have to work!

It's weekend like this one that I hope Pearls iPod gets busted up!

(Sorry Pearl! Ya know I'd buy ya a new one.)

Cake Betch said...

Hahaha is that what she actually meant to say though? Did she mean banged up or something? LOL!

Eva Gallant said...

I don't think I'd even try to have a conversation with that salad! But you need to consider doing something about that piece of sheet! lol

Belle said...

I love the sound of your friends!
We had a weird, warm January and I thought we were gonna have a great winter. Unfortuantely, February is now the January we should have had.

Betty Davis said...

I used to have a little Datsun like that. It was a great little car. It would plow through the snow when other cars were sliding into the ditchs. Once in a while, I had to get out to kick the headlights to make them come on and I never went anywhere without a very large screwdriver that I used to pound on the battery cable connector when it got too corroded!

Jhon Baker said...

I've had that car - but not a honda - a Chrysler new yorker that I drove into the ground with love and pride.

WrathofDawn said...

My piece of sheet was a little bright red 1991 Toyota Corolla with manual EVERYTHING except transmission. You couldn't kill it with a stick. It was broken into multiple times, the last time I suspect with a screwdriver. That one left the locks inoperable. The red was beginning to turn orange. It had had many, many bits and pieces replaced. It had over 120,000 kms on it. It even survived a 90kph encounter with black ice that spun it 180 degrees and left it wrapped around a reflector pole on the highway.

Sadly, our maritime climate finally did the body in and I had to get rid of it. In 2003. 12 years is some kind of record in this climate. If I lived somewhere less humid, though, I suspect I would still be driving it. The car may be gone, but that pole is still tilted to one side, BTW.

Chelle said...

That salad sounds like the sculptural interpretation of my ex mother in law.

Pat Tillett said...

the car may have been a piece of sheet, but your stories never are!!!

If "Stranglehold" can't get your blood pumping in the morning, than nothing can.... turn it up!

Tracy said...

Pearl,
My goodness, you lead such a unique life :)

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Hahahaha! Hell I want more Maryna entries, even if you have to make them up. :) Piece of sheet, indeed!

Also, that salad? Not speaking to ME either. Well actually it is. It's yelling, "GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN!"

Douglas said...

Your Accord sounds like my `52 Studebaker. I had to actually tie a wire (heavy duty) around the passenger door post That window didn't work anyway so the wire didn't interfere with anything except the rear window. The rain would come in that passenger window and be sopped up by the bared stuffing of the front seat. It was bare for two reasons... one was that it had been torn before I got it and the second was because my then girlfriend dropped her cigarette on the seat and it smoldered for several hours. I did not have to tie the bumper on, though, that happened with my current car when it was about 2 years old.

You make those memories flow, Pearl, you really do.

Lana Banana said...

you SLAY me, pearl, dear. you really DO.

zamdei, me grow up and bee you.

and maryna? me take her home. now. lav her.

Susan in the Boonies said...

Did you know that one of the all time favorite recipes of Texans everywhere is called Texas Sheet Cake?

It's true. I could not make this stuff up.

But, then, they're not Ukrainian. They're Texans, by the grace of God. :-D

Sausage Fingers said...

eets a piece of shit will live in my noggin for at least the weekend.
have a good one...

The Jules said...

Maryna's husband should teach language skills to all those poor souls not blessed with Englandish as their primary langauge.

Luckily, I learned good England when I were a children.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Between and Maryna and your i-Pod, we are all the wiser. Happy weekend.
xoRobyn

Willoughby said...

Thumbs down on the salad for me. I'm not a fan of Herring.

Thumbs up on having a vehicle that is paid for, even if it is a piece of sheet!

Gigi said...

that salad is speaking to me - but it's not telling me anything good! I've also had a piece of sheet car - apparently, it's a rite of passage. But if it's paid for then that car is golden in my book.

mrwriteon said...

Now, if your 1998 is a piece of sheet, my '92 is a huge piece of sheet by default, I guess. Now, since 98.8 percent of the population of the Canadian prairies is Ukrainian I might mention they are all good little drinkers, they also make terrific food and have weddings that go on for days and days.

Mamma has spoken said...

Well at least it's not held together with duck tape and bungy cords. Seriously, I keep passing a car that has duck tape on all the windows and a bungy cord keeping the hood and trunk down.

becca said...

love your ipod playlist

On My Soapbox said...

"....Ees peece uff sheet"
Love it! I may have to use that later, like, after drinking.

Cheeseboy said...

Who are these Teddybears of which you speak? I'll have to check them out. Nice work w/the Aracade Fire.

Maryna sounds like my kind of girl - chalk full of gritty awesomeness. Her broken man is probably a lucky man.

David L Macaulay said...

you do have some great character up north - do you really have names for your gloves?

Kal said...

No one feeds you better than the Ukrainian people. My mother is of that tribe and I spent many an hour finishing off beer bottles for my aunts and uncles while eating perogies and kubassa. Don't even get me started on bread wrapped in beet leaves...HEAVEN. And they know when a car is a peece of sheet or not. Trust the Ukrainians.

Lazarus said...

In Ukrainian "sheet" actually means Volkswagen. Great post!

lisleman said...

Southern Culture on the Skids - shows up again - I believe I first heard of this band on your blog.
You do a great accent in written word form.

tattytiara said...

Aw c'mon, it cheerily beeps and boops for you. That's gotta be worth something, right?

Tracy said...

I think I too would have stayed away from that beet salad :)

Tempo said...

..and how else would you learn about adversity? cars like that teach us something new every day. Ive had a few like it (no Hondas) but cars without brakes, without clutches...and me, without the good sense to NOT drive them anyway!