I have tried and tried to get these kids karate lessons, but the Bane of Small Town Life strikes again.
Apparently, small town businesses don’t need customers. I’m not entirely sure how this works, as they still have rent and electricity bills, but it’s the truth. Because if they needed customers, they might clue in the customers about some of the finer details of the business, such as, oh, let’s say, hours of operation.
I’ve been here almost nine years and I still can’t get the hang of it. There’s a mysterious barber shop that has no hours posted, no name of the shop on the door, and no phone number. Somehow or other you’re supposed to just know when the shop is open and come in for your haircuts. I’m pretty sure women are banned from entering the shop, unless they’re bringing in their sons for haircuts. And there’s only one haircut on the menu. You’ve seen it, if you’ve ever watched an episode of Mad Men. Sometimes, I’ll be coming home in the early evening from a night out gallivanting at the local diner and see a small glow of light and a few old men in the barber shop through the ripped plastic shade.
The karate place is like that, too. I’ve tried for years to crack the code of how you get your child enrolled, but there are no hours listed on the door, and I always seem to miss being there when actual people are there. There’s a phone number on the door, but no one ever answers it. Oddly enough, they do have an answering machine. I fell off my chair when I called and reached the answering machine. It was the first business that I called in town that actually had an answering machine.
I left a hopeful and breathless message on their machine, but they never called me back. I tried two more times, sounding more and more despairing with each message until I finally gave up.
A few months ago, just before we promised lessons to the children, I drove to the place, hoping to find a person to talk to. I couldn’t believe my luck when a man walked up to the business, unlocked the door and went inside. But by the time I got there from across the parking lot, he’d already locked the door behind him. The children and I stood at the glass window looking sad and pathetic, like hungry orphans outside a Dickensian bakery, and he let us in. He told us about the classes and I gave him my email address so I could get their newsletter.
But I didn’t write down the times, assuming they’d be in the newsletter.
That was a mistake.
Today, when I finally got around to reading his newsletters, there were no times listed. Such a let down. Trying to figure out the class times has been a three-year quest.
But today, finally, my quest comes to an end. For on this auspicious day, I found his website. And after looking through 6 different categories (Home, About, Upcoming Events, etc.) I eventually found the hours. Sweet success!
Back in the olden days, before the internet, we could never find anything.
We just walked around in perpetual ignorance. There are a number of high school and college-aged people who read this blog solely for the fodder for their history essays they’re required to write. They use me as a source for what it was like in the olden days. You know–the olden days: back when we had to wait for the annual showing of The Wizard of Oz on TV, and then we felt the bitter sting of disappointment when we realized Oz wasn’t all that wondrous on a 12 inch black and white tv.
A few years ago MTV had a reality tv show where they made teen/twenties live in the 70’s House. They had to sit around listening to Captain and Tennile on their transistor radios and play board games with each other. I only caught a couple of episodes, and from what I remember, it was pretty fascinating.
Back in those olden days we just gave up and never learned anything new. It was too much effort. I mean, what is the average speed of an African swallow? I don’t know! And I still don’t know. My internet connection just got wonky and won’t let me use Google, so I can’t find out.
But what’s more irritating than not knowing the speed of a swallow, is that I can’t look up the exact quote. Hang on. I’ll ask Darling Husband. He has the whole movie memorized. And if you don’t know what movie I’m referring to, then why are you reading my blog? Obviously we’d never get along in real life, so how can you possibly like my blog?
What is taking Darling Husband so long? I typed a whole paragraph while waiting for him to show up.
Still waiting. Hurry up, Darling Husband! Remember when the internet was all dial up? Asking Darling Husband for my google information is like having dial up. So slow! Finally! Here he is, and here’s the quote:
Oh no. Now he won’t stop. Oh please stop talking about swallows and coconuts. And now he’s using different voices. Yet another pitfall of having no internet access. Once you’re done with someone, you have to be all polite and let them finish their thought. You can’t just click away from them right in the middle of a sentence like you can with youtube.
Back in the past, if you really wanted to know the air speed velocity of a swallow, you’d have to call the Smithsonian Museum or Oxford University. And how would you even know what the Smithsonian’s phone number was? Only people who actually lived in Washington DC had telephone directories for DC. You’d have to wait for the library to open and see if they had the phone number to the Smithsonian. And if they couldn’t find it, then I honestly don’t know what you’d do. Wait for your next school field trip to DC, I suppose.
Not only were people’s phone numbers hard to find, people themselves were hard to find. Do you realize, there were only about 2.5 billion people on the planet when I was in school? You could travel around entire cities for years and years and never meet anyone else. You’d have to get on your CB radio and go through all the channels hoping to find someone to talk to. And there were these vampire-zombie people hiding all day, and you’d have to burn their bodies or they’d gather round your house at night. But then, the virus they’d gotten that turned them into vampire-zombies mutated and …wait. That’s the plot for I am Legend. The book. Not the silly movie. I’m still irritated at the most recent movie adaptation (there have been 3). They took an amazingly awesome ending and ruined it. Just ruined it. The ending of the book was twist-ending perfection, and they toned it down into a drippy-dopey-sappy ending. Very disappointing.
Let me end with this:
Here’s the opening line of one of the karate place’s newsletters:
“Dear parent’s and student’s…”
Oh, please tell me that you can see what’s wrong with that. You can, right? The apostrophes! Oh, the apostrophes!
Ok. It’s simple. Two times to use an apostrophe:
1. You’re lumping two words together, as in: What is happening? = What’s Happening?
2. The word with the apostrophe owns something, as in: Be careful not to scratch Jackie’s Captain and Tennile record.
If it’s not two words lumped together, or if the word doesn’t own something, no apostrophe.
If I catch you using improper apostrophes on an essay that I evaluate, I will make the correction in red ink. Because back when I grew up, teachers used red ink when you were wrong, just to make you feel really bad about yourself. And then they’d point and laugh at you and make you stand in the corner with a Dunce cap on your head.
Picture of the day:
Speaking of the Olden Days, today we found an arcade place at a local mall with arcade games from the 70’s to now. Darling Husband played some sort of old Star Wars Destroy The Death Star Game. He didn’t know it but the kids were totally ignoring him while he played and playing on their DSs.