Friday afternoon I drove up to spend the weekend with my old pal Chris (Varjak of “‘s Center of Insanity and Death” fame). He lives about three hours from here, way the hell up in Pennsylvania. Traffic wasn’t so great, as apparently The Police were in Hershey Friday night. I’m not sure if they were even having a concert; it could’ve just been people showing up to follow them as they toured the chocolate factory.
Speaking of The Police, think they’ll actually do any of their old songs on this tour, or will Sting bully the other two guys into performing shit from his solo career? Would “Desert Rose” be improved with Andy Summers on guitar? Could it possibly not be?
Anyway, Chris lives near Wilkes-Barre, which is larger than Hagerstown and home to a more diverse variety of poverty, but otherwise very similar to my hometown. Like Hagerstown, Wilkes-Barre was once a major railroad hub that still bears a few scars from the sad death of that industry. Driving around last night, Chris pointed out a large area in the middle of town where nothing existed but a few recently moved-in businesses. The area as once a great rail yard; there’s even a massive stone bridge soaring over it, a bridge that once was necessary to move traffic past the yard, but is now redundant and rarely used. Chris supposed they’ll tear it down eventually. Also like Hagerstown, Wilkes-Barre has put some recent effort into revitalizing their downtown area. We drove by a new theater located at the town square (a theater, in town — imagine!) with a ticker-style LED marquee that was bent at several odd right-angles and ran way too fast for anyone to possibly read.
We spent the weekend watching Mystery Science Theater and a few episodes of Extras and Arrested Development, and played some baseball at a quiet local park (and, Ashley suspects, braided each other’s hair). We went out to eat one night, ordered a pizza the next, and talked comics and sci-fi and Harry Potter. Ashley had gotten an advance copy of the last Potter book at the library a few days before it was released, and I got to sneak a peak at the last chapter and epilogue, to get an idea of how it ended. What power I felt, knowing that I could divulge the details to Chris at any time and completely ruin for him the experience of reading the book.
I left for home today around 2:30 and got back to Ashley’s a little after 5, whereupon we promptly went out to eat at the Red Bird. A lovely weekend away, but it’s nice to be home. I missed my kitty, and you bet your ass I missed my girl. Speaking of whom, she told me a bit more about the crazy puppet man she mentioned in her article yesterday. Apparently the poor bastard’s out of his mind. He once sat through a Smithsburg town meeting, trying the entire time to interrupt and make a statement, always being hushed and told to wait until later. At the end of the meeting when the council finally called for any other new business, the dude jumps out of his chair and begins to speak . . . through his Abraham Lincoln puppet.
. . .
Good night, ladies and gentlemen.