Friday, April 24, 2009

The Catch

Yesterday I sashayed over to Ridgefield to check in with Brat Marcin the pencil-wielder. The air was bright but still cool up in the hills. We agreed that spring has been painfully slow in coming this year, but maybe it's us -- we're getting older and losing patience. Neither of us could ever stand waiting in line or sitting in traffic anyway, but now we even shake our fists at the bare branches and curse at them for not budding. Part of this is schtick, part is real. Who can afford another ghastly utility bill? Let it be warm, dear god.

Even though work is scarce and money has turned to guano -- Marcin told me another art director he knows got canned yesterday -- the world is hardly as bleak as we paint it. After all, a caricature is all about exaggeration. He asked me if I wanna go to this fish place for lunch -- we've always had a good time there. I said, "Sure. Maybe they'll have those crab legs we like."

This all got going during the Reagan years when greed was good. When the Free Market Boys dropped acid and built a stairway to heaven, littered with junk. Those SOBs gave My Generation a little plastic and boy, did we go to town. A twenty-five year shopping spree. Now all we do is talk about our medical problems and try to auction off our toys.

As we got into the car, he pointed to his house. "New roof. New mailbox. Gotta replace the edging between the garage and the steps. Took care of the flood in the basement. Just finished payin for the kitchen. You see that house. Hell, it used to be an investment. Now it's a ball-and-chain."

He took the back roads. It's a pretty ride -- a tangle of yellow forsythia, willows showing tufts of green. Mallards splashing in a pond. Daffodils and tulips sitting up in their beds. Funny how a little color can raise the spirits. He turned on the stereo -- Ian Dury and the Blockheads. Reasons to Be Cheerful, part 3.

"All this craziness started with Reagan. Hollywood on the Potomac. The Great Communicator puts on a brown suit and out-guns the Russians. Effin Star Wars. Capitalism wins. Hell, the economy may be a lot worse now, but the mendacity was worse back then. And the mass delusion. At least now people are wakin up, thinkin maybe continuous growth ain't so good."

We pulled into the lot at The Catch, lickin our chops for some crab and fried clams. Through the window we saw a guy on a ladder painting the ceiling. No tables or chairs set up. The place was closed. We couldn't believe it. There was a little sign taped to the front door telling us that a bar was gonna open here in a few weeks. Shoot, what happens when your favorite restaurant closes down? You eat at home? That's why they call it a depression, poot. Cause it's depressing.

We took our appetites over to a pizza joint at Copp's Hill Plaza and stared glumly at the cars crawling along Danbury Road. I thought to myself, History never ends and never really repeats itself. Marcin and I dug into a grotesque portion of melted mozzarella. Then again, someday it might.

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