September 6, 2010

Memories of the Maw

When I was in college, I worked part-time for the public TV station in Dallas. Over the Christmas holidays, I worked full-time (seven hours a day, six days a week) at Northpark Mall, hawking public TV subscriptions in a booth stuffed with Muppet premiums.

“Lady! How much dat Big Bird?”

“You go stay with that lady over by Bert and Ernie and mama be back in a while.”

Most weeknights (four to eleven) I worked solo. No break. Saturdays I worked ten am to eleven pm and generally enjoyed the company of a co-worker. Breaks were left up to us.

For at least two weeks out of each of these months that rolled around every December, I was still doing schoolwork — final papers and exams and everything. I remember one Saturday I spent polishing a paper — in Spanish — on the stereotypical figure of the Moor in Anglo-American literature while hustling public TV subscriptions and listening to my co-worker sing songs from the “Super Fly” soundtrack.

comments

  1. Deron Bauman on September 6th, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    I love the variables that contrive to create the texture of a moment, how incontrovertible they feel, and how quickly they become invisible.

  2. Carole Corlew on September 6th, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    The mall experience. A fake universe under a roof. A biodome in disguise, probably observed in secret by the aliens.

  3. Deron Bauman on September 6th, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    can I interest you in a cruise?

  4. Sheila Ryan on September 7th, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    No. Thank you. But I just realized something that amuses me and shocks me ever so slightly. If you had passed your toddling years in Dallas instead of heathen lands, Deron, you might have been one of the kids shunted off to me and Bert and Ernie while mama shopped. Say, in 1974 or 1975.

    Not that your parents would have pulled the “You go stay with that lady over by Bert and Ernie and mama be back in a while” stunt.

    But. You know.

  5. Coop on September 7th, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Do I remember this? I think I do.

  6. Sheila Ryan on September 7th, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    I think I remember it, too.

  7. Jan on September 7th, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    what Carole wrote
    bonus points to you for having some sort of social objectives

  8. Deron Bauman on September 7th, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    you just blew my mind.

    but yes, actually in ’74 we were in Tehran. in ’75 Sana’a.

  9. Sheila Ryan on September 7th, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    Deron, the interesting thing is that it does not blow my mind in a bad way to ponder the possibility that your toddling self might have toddled up to the booth where I swapped Muppet toys for PBS donations. I just imagine it as a wrinkle in time.

    I remain convinced that I am ageless, which is probably one of the seven warning signs of a delusion for which there is an acronym.

    Jan, I’m not sure I had any social objectives. I probably believed that I did at the time, but in truth I was just working my way through school.

  10. Deron Bauman on September 8th, 2010 at 12:14 am

    I would like to visit the alternate universe where that was a reality. we did have our Luby’s serendipity, however. no one can take that from us. muppets or not.

  11. Sheila Ryan on September 8th, 2010 at 12:17 am

    They can shutter the Hampton Road Luby’s, but they can’t destroy the dream.

  12. Sheila Ryan on September 8th, 2010 at 12:20 am

    Y’all, Deron and Amy and I met before we knew one another. At a Luby’s Cafeteria in Dallas more than ten years ago. If that makes any sense. Or even if it doesn’t.

  13. Deron Bauman on September 8th, 2010 at 12:22 am

    whether it makes sense, it happened.

  14. Sheila Ryan on September 8th, 2010 at 12:30 am

    We made it happen.

  15. Deron Bauman on September 8th, 2010 at 12:33 am

    Sheila, next time you are in Dallas, let’s go to North Park and stage it, playing ourselves.

  16. Sheila Ryan on September 8th, 2010 at 12:35 am

    Deron, we’re on.