Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Philad-- Ooops, sorry, The Spokane.

Some time between 1987 and 1993, David Ives wrote a play entitled "The Philadelphia", about an anomalous bit of reality in which everything that can go wrong, will. You need to get to work on time? You bus will be cancelled. You want a cup of water? A simple sandwich (that is, in fact, on the menu, and might even be the special of where you're eating)? "Oh, we don't serve that here..." This is what a Philadelphia is. It is the state of never getting what you want.

But what if it's not quite that bad? What if the state you're in is one of only being half-fail? What if you get what you want... sort of.

Say, you go to Starbucks. You've been craving, for one insane reason or another one of those horrible iced blended coffee monstrosities that I lived on over the summer after oral surgery. You really, really want something frozen and blended and covered in caramel syrup. You order your Venti Caramel Frappichino, fork over five or six bucks, and wait. And what comes is...

Well, it is coffee. There is caramel syrup on it. But the barista has somehow heard "Frappichino" as "Machiado". So what you get is a strong coffee with a head of foam half again as tall as the coffee itself that's hot enough to burn your mouth off. So instead of a nice cold frozen thing covered in whipped cream and enough caramel syrup to give a small country diabetes, you get a hot and unsatisfactory mess of foam and sit bitterly in the corner trying to simultaneously enjoy what you did not order, avoid the strange looks coming from a girl you quickly realize is your professor's daughter, and read your book, all the while thinking that this would have been better had the barista screwed up completely. True story, there.

Or, say, you've been nearly late for class for a week, get sick and miss a day or two, and then, when you finally don't feel like shit, the one day you make it to class on time, dragging yourself out of bed by the hair of your toes and slithering into your clothing before trekking across the athletic field in the beginnings of a snowstorm, you find that class has been pushed back a half hour, and starts at ten rather than nine-thirty, and you realize that you could be in bed right now, staving off the cold and illness.

Your parents, knowing that you like those freaky milk-chocolate oranges, go out and get you three of them. In dark chocolate. When, for all practical purposes, dark chocolate should only be used for mint, and mint alone, and under any other circumstance is so strong it actually hurts. But you have to thank them and eat them anyway because, while it wasn't what you wanted, it's chocolate, and it has orange in it, so you like it, right?

It's a book, it's fantasy! You like fantasy books! Read the fantasy book I bought for you!

Thankfully, to be fair, my mother has never bought me a Gor book.

It's half-right. It's almost what you wanted. But it's just wrong enough to be crushingly disappointing. 

I've had these every once in a while. Most recently, last week. This, I'm afraid, is the source of that long rant about coffee up there.

So. It's not exactly a Philadelphia. So what is it?

In honor of my hometown (Ad Slogan: Near Nature, Near Perfect. It's not.) I've begun calling this sort of thing a "Spokane". It's almost what you want. But really, it's not what you want at all. As for the town itself, it's a nice looking, moderately sized town with a relatively low overall crime rate and a pretty view.

Until you realize that, living about 42 feet from my school (a K-12 Homeschool Outreach centre) is a man convicted of first degree rape of a child. And he's just the nearest one. Within a three mile radius, there are upwards of fifty convicted sex offenders. And the gods only know how many other various criminals. Yes, we have a relatively low crime rate, because all the criminals from all over that side of the state come to Spokane to serve their sentences and go to trial. Meanwhile living in the area around the courthouse. You can live there, and avoid them, really, but there's really nothing to do there. When people ask me what there is to do in Spokane, my most common answer is "Leave".

It is this way in which the town can almost be what you want, almost be a place to raise a family in, almost have entertaining places in it, that makes it the perfect location for this mini-dimension of not quite getting what you want.

With that, I leave you, for now.

1 comment:

  1. Dark chocolate is amazing! Not just for mint! 70% cocoa, 80% cocoa, and 90% cocoa are all delicious. (100% is a bit... yeah, I'll agree with you on that one.)