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This morning the boys asked me a question about hot air balloons and I realized that they'd never actually seen one in real life, which got me to thinking about my home town and hot air balloons.

When I was about ten or eleven, some rich guy in our town bought his very own hot air balloon and he used to fly it around town. The problem was, he had never flown one before so, as we'd ride the bus to school in the morning or coming home in the afternoon, we'd see it flying over head, scraping the tops of all the trees, sometimes hovering just a few feet above the bus. Whether it was because he was afraid to go too high or because he had no idea what he was doing, he never turned the flames up enough and so he'd drift over the center of town, barely missing the steeple on the Congregational Church or people's chimneys. Eventually, he'd get stranded on the roof of the Stop and Shop or he'd get stuck in a tree, and the fire department would have to come and rescue him.

This went on for a couple years -- you'd see the balloon and think, "I wonder where he'll get stuck this time?" Eventually, he disappeared. I often wonder what happened to the guy, if maybe he finally learned to fly the balloon and that's why we never saw him anymore, or if the fire department finally got sick of rescuing him and either told him to knock it off or just left him stranded somewhere, stuck in the uppermost branches of some tree, somewhere in the town.
janradder: (Default)
Every now and then, I think about those things in shoe stores that are used to measure feet. I really have no idea why, but I kind of miss them.

I remember going to Shoe Town when I was a kid, in Waterbury, and my sister and I would pull off our shoes and then sit in one of the chairs with our mother, waiting for a salesman to come by. Soon, he'd be there, carrying his foot-measuring tool, and he'd slid up a stool in front of us that had a little foot rest for us to put one of our feet on so he could help put the shoe on and lace it up. He'd lay the measuring tool down on the floor and have us stand on it. I still remember the cool feeling of the metal through my sock. Then, the salesman would slide a few dials and knobs to get the exact length and width of our shoe and, even though my feet were unbearably ticklish, it was an almost delicious sensation.

With the correct size determined, the salesman would speed off to the backroom and return with an assortment of shoes for us to try. After he'd lace them up for us, we'd stand and he'd check to see how much room was in the toe and then we'd walk around the store, up and down an aisle, to see how it fit. Once we'd gotten the shoe we wanted, we'd either wear them home or the salesman would box them back up for us.

There was something soothing and pleasant about the whole experience and I always looked forward to getting new shoes. Maybe it was just the fact that I was being waited on -- that someone else was putting my shoes on for me and even tying them up. Regardless, I really liked getting new shoes.

There's an old-fashioned shoe store a few blocks away from us where I can get an inexpensive pair of high tops. I usually go there every year or year and a half for a new one. The store is populated by old shoe salesmen, most of them in their seventies, and they sit around on chairs, waiting for a customer. There's an area over in the corner where you can try the shoes on and they even have those measuring tools. But, being an adult, I always know my size and there's little to no chance of it ever changing, so there's never a reason to get my feet measured. Still, sometimes I think maybe I should go in one of these days and pretend I've forgotten.
janradder: (Default)
On Valentine's Day, in 1989, because neither of us had ever had girlfriends, my friend Mike and I threw wads of wet toilet paper (some filled with a variety of different food condiments) and water filled condoms from our eighth floor window in New York at all the happy couples we saw walking down the street.


Jun. 6th, 2008 10:49 am
janradder: (Default)
I very rarely have dreams that I remember now.  Maybe it's that I'm not sleeping that well or that I'm just getting older.  The ones I do remember tend to be those long drawn out anxiety type dreams where I'm trying to get someplace or organize something or they're just dreams where nothing really happens.  Last night though, I had two rather involved dreams.  The first was where [livejournal.com profile] haddayr and the boys and I were invited to Thanksgiving dinner at the house of a former high school classmate.  The two of us never liked each other (in fact, I suspect that LIz hated me quite a lot.  As for me, I was never her biggest fan) but for some reason we went and we all had a great time.  When it came time to leave, Liz said goodbye to everyone with a smile and a hug but was very cold with me, giving me a stern frown and putting out her hand to shake, clearly unhappy that I had enjoyed myself as that was not the intended consequence she had had in mind when she'd invited us.

Afterwards, apart from the family, I had to get back to some rendezvous point.  To get there, I sat down on this plywood platform with a bucket seat that had a lever to raise the vehicle up from the ground and a wheel with which to steer it.  In order to get the vehicle to fly, though, you had to believe that it could -- there was no propulsion system other than your belief and wishes.  I thought about the plywood lifting up off the ground and it did a little, after which, I pulled back the lever to get it to rise further into the air, then I thought about it flying forward and it did.  I cruised along above a road that I had driven earlier, watching the cars, careering past treeless mountains and over treeless plains, a  landscape very similar to the Scottish highlands.  It was exhilarating, my windless journey, the earth racing past as I flew through the sky propelled only by my thoughts and imagination.   As I flew, I saw many biplanes.  There was some sort of show going on and pilots from all over had brought their biplanes to fly and show off.  Seeing them, I thought how Arie and Éiden would love to see them and thought about telling them later when I met up with them.  At one point, I was worried that I had lost my way, but I hadn't and eventually landed at my destination.  Once there, the whole family was going to fly in these contraptions but we never got to as I woke up from the dream.
janradder: (watt)
I passed the 200 page mark of my manuscript tonight (a little over 70,000 words).  And I'm feeling pretty stoked about it.  I've been spending the past couple of days writing about Psychos in Love, the movie I worked on when I was fifteen.  In writing this I am finding myself amazed at how much time can really change as you get older.  I'm thinking back to these sections of my youth that seemed to take so long when they were happening and I'm realizing, in writing them, that they only lasted a month or two and I have to stop and think about that to make sure I'm right because even my memory of the events seem like they lasted longer than that.  My grandparents tell me that time moves even faster for them.  I seriously can't imagine that.


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March 2012

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