Thursday, February 8, 2007
Did you hear the story about the man who used to walk his dog past the White House every day? Every day he'd pause at the gate and ask if Mr. Bush was home, and every day the guard would tell him that Mr. Bush no longer resides here, Mr. Bush is no longer president. Finally one day the guard got angry and asked why he keeps coming back and asking to see Mr. Bush, when he tells him all the time that Mr. Bush no longer resides here, Mr. Bush is no longer president. And the man responds that he knows, he just enjoys hearing the guard say that over and over. And the guard snaps to attention and says yes, sir, see you tomorrow, sir.
711 days left until Bush is out of office. She can't even write that here without thinking of 9-Eleven. 911 used to be a call for help, but these days they ask people to call 311 if it's not a matter of life and death. 711. Iraq. Afghanistan. It's life and death, Mr. President. Convenience. Every Stewarts, Cumberland Farms, and 7-Eleven with at least two gas tanks out front.
Sick. Eating little. Out drinking with friends. She had friends then, thirty-eight years ago, some of whom she's still close to. But she was coming home sick night after night. The body she'd abused for years getting back at her.
Oh Thank Heaven for 7-Eleven. Don't make her sick. That jingle was introduced in 1969, the year she moved to New York. She didn't own a tv, she didn't listen to radio, she didn't have a car. God knows where or when she heard it. There was a Grand Union (willing to cash checks) and bodegas on every other corner. Those first months, living in a residential hotel, she bought a quarter pound of shrink-wrapped ham or salami, two rolls, and made that lunch and dinner. Once in awhile there was Tad's Steaks, $1.99 for a greasy steak and sensible baked potato. Edible then, as she doesn't think it would be now. Sick. But she was in New York. She was thankful. Don't tolerate, exterminate. That was her father's slogan.
7-Eleven. Convenience. Quick in and out. Open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. back in 1946, that's how they got the name. But most are open 24 hours now. She would have said they're what she knew growing up in the 50s, but there were no New Jersey franchises until after she left. She knows there was Cumberland Farms, and possibly Stewarts, though Stewarts was only a hot dog stand, with root beer. Now, even in Granville, NY (population less than 7000) there's a 24-hour Price Chopper, with a 24-hour Super K-Mart less than 20 miles away. She stopped there tonight for batteries and garbage bags. Convenience.