It's that time of the year again. I'm often accused of seeing things differently than my fellow Wheelingites. So here's an interpretive glance at common things you might see during the holiday season. Basically, it's a... here's what you see, here's what I see.
You see a matronly woman at a restaurant. She's wearing a lovely Christmas sweater that says "Grandma's my name and Spoiling's my game.
I see this same woman. She is a corpulent woman who's having lunch at Eat'n'Park. While 30 people are waiting to be seated, she argues with the waitress about the quality of a buffet item. Apparently, there wasn't enough ground beef in the massive pot of chili. Flabbergasted, she exclaims, "It was all beans!" She demands some face time with the manager who's busy cleaning up some kids puke near table 16. She is adamant and finally gets her 10% off (before tax & tip). The total cost of her buffet and water with extra lemons was $4.99. Come hell or high water, she will get that 49 cents back. Sensing victory, she struggles to her feet. Totally out of breath, she looks at the people in line and mutters, "Usually, the service and food here is pretty good." Then, she goes next door to the Cold Stone Creamery and buys a double decker banana split & hot fudgalicious sundae to go. The total bill comes to $13.73. This fiscal discrepancy doesn't seem to phase her.
You see a line of young children getting their picture taken with Santa in the middle of the mall.
I see an elderly male on the sexual offenders list. He is wanted for multiple felony parole violations in WV and PA. But here at the Ohio Valley Mall in St. Clairsville, he's off the radar. His breath wreaks of Jim Beam. Surely remnants from closing out a dive bar the night before. He's about ready to go on his Camel smoke break which will significantly add to the atrocious stench. As he massages the inner thigh region of children ages 3-7, he mentally salivates when the children tell him what toys they want for Christmas. Each child is a unique experience and Santa's erection goes undetected underneath all that fanciful attire. Santa's real name is "Bill." Bill likes to hear what the kids want. Bill knows what he wants. Later this afternoon, the state of Ohio will add him to the registry. But it will be worth it.
You see a father and children on I-70 heading up to The Highlands to do some much-needed shopping.
I see the redneck father who has everybody crammed in his pick-up. He purchased a top-of-the-line Durango with all the bells and whistles. With no money down, he pays $399 per month and will own it outright in 8 years. He chain smokes with the windows up while his three children sit in the back. Nobody gets to sit up front. That seat's for his spittoon. A glorious brass relic from World War I. This priceless family heirloom/tobacco receptacle has been passed down from 3 generations. You would think that either cigarettes or smokeless tobacco would be sufficient. You would think wrong. Both are necessary to simultaneously achieve that heralded nicotine buzz. His over sized, ill-fitting, trapezoid-shaped ball cap reads, "USA - LOVE IT or LEAVE IT." Not to let the ball cap entirely steal the spotlight, his t-shirt reads "WORLD'S GREATEST DAD."
You see a car heading up to Oglebay for the Festival of Lights.
I see a four hour line of traffic in every conceivable direction. Somebody runs out of gas half way up the hill. The grandma thinks the car broke down and frantically dials 911 as the kids in the back seat weep uncontrollably. "But Gran-Gran, I want to see the Kwissmas Twee!" She barely makes it into Stratford Springs. The car is towed to the nearest parking garage. Alas, all it needed was a gallon of gas. The gauge on her 1989 Cutlass Cierra had been broken since 2004, but she forgot all about that. Her lapse in judgment is understandable. Just too preoccupied with the spirit of the season. Me too, I suppose.