Friday, 12 June 2009

The Ouslem Bird (and other such nonsense)

Tired and bored with my own company I took myself to the Sarasota Mall on Thursday afternoon to lollygag and people watch. These are favourite activities of old farts such as I.

It was a sad mission. The Mall was “dead”. “Yes Virginia, there is a recession”.

There were few people to watch, and the four “anchor” stores (J.C. Penny, Sears, Macy’s and Dillards were devoid of customers).

I did see a middle aged couple testing a mattress in Sears. I hung around, hoping to witness something naughty, but they simply lay there, apparently bored with each other’s company.

Yes, they lay there for 20 minutes at least. The mattress salesman was nearby. I could tell that he was also bored. I also knew that he knew that there would be no sale. The couple were simply tired.

I too was bored and tired, but I had no-one with whom to share a mattress. (Well, there was that cute mobile ‘phone salesman .... but of that you do not wish to hear!)

Lollygagging over, I left the Mall. Still bored, I decided to find a new route home. I was close to Palmer Ranch, and I truly believed that one or other of the roads on the ranch would take me across to Clark Road.

Belief was not enough.

For I spent 15 minutes on Palmer Ranch behaving like the “Ouslem Bird”.

“The Ouslem Bird?” you ask. Yes indeed. My Dad told me about this bird. He told me that it flew around in ever decreasing circles until it flew up its own rear end.

( I did not fly up any rear end, but after a quarter of an hour I found myself back at the Mall!)

[Another version of the Ouslem Bird story is that it fed only on Mustard Seeds and Red Peppers, and so had to fly backwards to keep its rear end cool!]

Back to the story. I got lost on Palmer Ranch. And in that there is a tale.

Palmer Ranch consists of many gated communities. Each “community” is distinct, with gorgeous villas condos or apartments.

But there is no “there” there.

No corner stores, gas stations, restaurants or civic buildings.

Nothing at all, save gated communities.

I suspect that these communities are rife with regulations (rich republicans love regulation!). I would not dare fart if I lived on Palmer Ranch.

Palmer Ranch is named for Bertha Honore Palmer. I’ll tell you more about her tomorrow.

In the meantime, please do not fart, and whatever else you do, never fly backwards.

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