Archive for the Thoughts Category

Chauncey’s Favorite Things!

Posted in Thoughts on February 27, 2015 by Admin

a work in progress for nancy marion elwell.

the sound? wth happened to the soundtrack? sigh. back to the drawing board…

chauncey fave things scooter

COMCAST ABSOLUTELY MUST BE STOPPED

Posted in Thoughts on October 10, 2014 by Admin

Later I may come back and outline what mergers of this size mean for the future for all of us — and I may even type my own tale of woe and deceit and everything BUT *high-speed cable and internet* — but for now I am just going to paste this very important message from fightforthefuture.org

It’s not cool to sign petitions. But they DO work. Adding your voice to a petition tells the powers that be that you too disagree with the world becoming a terrifying place run by 3 major companies who bought out every smaller company and will battle each other to the death for world control via being the sole supplier of the world’s needs. So stop surfing of checking facebook for 2-3 minutes, get your priorities together and risk being uncool, and add your name. Or a fake name if you are a conspiracy theorist. It is safe, fast, and effective.

And if you have kids then you OWE THEM your best efforts at saving the future for them.

————————————————————————————————-

There’s good news! Thanks in part to the response we helped generate, the FCC has extended the deadline to receive comments about Comcast’s attempted internet takeover untilOctober 29th.

50,000 people have taken action already. The FCC will be surprised by this kind of response to a merger question, but the deck is stacked against us so we need to go all out. Can we count on you to help us get to 100,000 comments by the end of this week?

Click here to submit a comment to the FCC opposing the Comcast merger that would dismantle Internet freedom.

Read the email below for more background, and please forward this to your friends and family. It affects all of us!

Urgent: there are just a few days left to stop Comcast from taking over Time Warner Cable and signing a death sentence for net neutrality. Click here to take action now.

This one really requires no explanation. The most hated company in the US is trying to take over the second most hated company in the US, in a move that would raise our cable and Internet bills, stifle online free speech, and make them one of the most powerful lobbies in history. [1]

This merger is bad for EVERYONE, and there is tons of opposition, even from within the FCC. We have a real chance at stopping this but we have to act quickly. [2]

The deadline is next week! Click here to stop Comcast in its tracks.

Comcast is already the largest and most powerful opponent of net neutrality, online privacy, and Internet freedom. They’ve been caught several times abusing their “gatekeeper” power as an Internet provider to further their own interests. [3] If the FCC lets Comcast forcibly absorb Time Warner Cable — the second largest Internet provider in the U.S. — they will control access to information in nearly 6 of 10 people’s homes (more if you’re only counting truly high speed Internet). [4]

Millions of you have sent comments to the FCC in support of net neutrality. We’re asking for your help again because if this merger goes through, Comcast gets even more powerful — in the marketplace, online, and in Washington, DC. If we don’t stop this takeover right now, we’ll be fighting an uphill battle on net neutrality and online free speech for years to come.

Will you sign? Click here to submit a comment opposing the Comcast merger.

After you sign, please forward this email to everyone you know and share the petition on social media.

Here’s the link one last time: http://www.battleforthenet.com/comcast?org=fff 

[I, Petunia] Not for sale; Decency II

Posted in Documentaries, Honesty, I Petunia, Life is like Christopher Guest said it was, Life Performance Art, Literary, Love Thy Fellow Man, MANNERS, Mockumentaries, Narcissisim, Non-Selective Empathy and Compassion, Petunia, Philosophy?, Regretful Human Behavior, Thoughts with tags on July 20, 2013 by Admin

A work of fiction, by Petunia Jablonsky, to be presented in serial format, a few sentences or paragraphs whenever… our attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.

 “The important thing is to write and to keep writing…for when you start you won’t stop until your story has been told, and you never know what you might find along the way, or at the end. You have a gift. Certainly all the money stolen from you — from “family” no less, and including the man you’d called “dad” who kept the money your Grammie left for you, excusing it by saying, “I’m keeping that money; I earned it by being stuck with a sick woman all my life”, and the brother you’d always protected and who’d stolen well over half a million dollars for you because his life is devoid of the things that matter more than money” — means you bought and paid for these stories, so write them and don’t stop for a minute. Do not edit, do not re-read, just write forward and never look back” 

I, Petunia, often think of the good times, the hilarious times, the great times, regarding both of these aforementioned situations and peoples.

When we first met at the wedding of a friend we clicked immediately, in a good way and a true way, not a heat-driven or cheap way. We laughed and danced and smiled and laughed again. I left with him and his friends, a hilarious couple, all of us exuberant and unwilling to let the evening end, and my friend K drove back alone, without minding or worrying, as these were all friends of friends. On the way to an after party of some unknown shape or destination they suddenly pulled over to the side and so we pulled over behind them. They got out, so we followed suit. We all looked at each other, still laughing, not knowing or caring why we’d stopped, and because our radio was blasting Brick House we all began to dance on the sidewalk as cars drove by honking and staring. After a few minutes of this we all, without a word, got into our two respective cars and simply resumed the drive as a mini convoy, still laughing. The days that followed were heady, hilarious, epic, swoonful.

I digress… I promised to just write and write and this is easy for me as I, Petunia, do not write so much as let my three typing fingers do their jerry-rigged thing, loudly as I am often told, on the keypad. There never seems to be any communication between mind and fingers; they just go, seemingly of their own accord. After years of promising that today is the day I will get back to my blog, I, Petunia, have begun, and I will honor that promise and neither rein in my fingers or look back. Editing is not an option.

… So, according to the 48 year-old ex-brother (8 years older now than in the title of that aforementioned Steve Carell movie that I shamefully snickered about)  who, until he got the/our father, incapacitated by stroke, (it was in the newspaper, as such things are) to sign over the house that the martyr already half-owned in addition to his half-ownership of all the bank accounts and funds (he is not very bright but he is crafty. My mistake was never seeing the crafty side and believing a diligent church-goer would never lie, steal, or chat) by way of legal maneuvering,  was reportedly couch-surging, yet I always had my hand out. And he finished that fabrication up with, “Ya know?”, as if anyone “knew”, or would ever believe that I was anything other than what they knew me to be, and saw for themselves, all along.

I get reports from… let’s see.. (counting), 5 states. I pretty much hear most of they say, though they likely believe I am universally ostracized as the results of their efforts toward that end; that the wife is “openly-loathed” to the south and “barely tolerated” to the north; that her husband, my ex-father, is not allowed private conversations and she is often on the other line listening; and that of all the family friends who’d loved my mother (may she RIP, and who would be utterly-appalled at all that has transpired since her passing), and who’d attended her funeral and wake and all the parties over the years that only 2 friends and 3 relatives were at the wedding. The Mole (the new “stepmother”, who the martyr had once called a golddigger, pushy, manipulative, and not at all a nice person) calls herself a widow, but sometimes, after her 4th or 5th drink, she refers to her deceased husband as her “ex”. Once friends of mine had offered to pay for a private investigator, sure that something other than a lie about widowhood would turn up about the woman whose being made the hair on my arms stand up from the first meeting when she’d smirked at me upon introduction, but I declined. It doesn’t matter any more. Or maybe some day I will accept. I prize my clean conscience above all for I, Petunia, cherish my untainted integrity above all. Money can’t buy shit, beyond material things.

“Oh, he (the martyr) stays at the house when they let him and sometimes he stays at her place” (her being The Mole; the misogynist new wife and perhaps, hilariously, my stepmother, who once followed me to a place out of earshot and asked, faux innocently, if I saw a dermatologist for the “rosacea” that I had no idea that I was burdened with, and them smirked at my shocked expression) — “he just flits about. The two of them are thick as thieves, always giggling over things and buying each other gifts for each others’ homes (this from back when he had a home, where he paid actual rent, rather than sponging) and talking decorating, like a couple of old queens”.

A hilarious, and highly ambitious, lie, that of me having my hand out, considering the source and considering that I have supported myself all my life, in my own apartments, since I graduated from high school, including paying my entire college tuition and rent at the same time, working two jobs till I cut down to one at age 35 which is, coincidentally,  the age at which he finally moved to his own apartment, after finally growing tired, in his own words, of his friends calling him a “Mama’s boy”.

At around this same time he began his scheming with the estate lawyer — “I can take a day off work and drive out from Boston to go to the meetings if you like. But I have already used all my days watching mom while you and dad took vacations so if you don’t need me then I won’t bother. I trust you“. Fucking hilarious last words, now — to not only get the big prize, the house, but also to get every penny meant for me.

“Mom always made the shittiest steaks. They were so thin and tough.”

“WHAT?  The Martyr, can you possibly not know how poor we were? Did you think the whole, “Hey! Let’s have breakfast for dinner” thing was because pancakes from a ready-made mix with fake syrup were so delicious and healthy? Why do you think dad always worked two jobs and we didn’t eat in restaurants and every vacation was spent in tents a short drive away? Do you not remember all the talk of medical bills killing us and being why Grammie and Grampie slipped mom money, because dad was too proud, then, so he said, to take their money? Were you that self-absorbed?”

The Martyr is a bit obtuse and self-occupied, but I guess I don’t blame him. I will get to the why of all this.

One night, late…

“Dad, can I talk to you? I am wondering if you can maybe tone down all the talk of ____’s kids living in McMansions (my word/take, given the size of the houses as compared to the little lots they were built on) and making so much money? The Martyr has told me that is greatly upsets him and makes him feel like a failure so I am wondering if, for his sake, you can sorta tone it down. He has talked to me about this and so I am asking you on his behalf. He is very sensitive, as you know.

Also, WHY don’t parents ever brag about how their kids turned out to be such kind people, or brag about the volunteer work they do? Remember the time Nate (not my older brother’s real name, may he RIP) came to you and suggested that you become a contractor since you do construction in your part time anyway, and because you would make so much more money? You blew up at him, you were so very angry at that, and lectured him on how money is not as important as doing what you love, and how you love teaching so much regardless of what it pays and will never worship at the altar of money. I totally do not get how that aligns with all the mentions of whose kids are making the most money and what fancy material things they have, as if you are in awe of that.”

“Dad, can I talk to you? The martyr is freaking out because you are suddenly using The Mole’s name in every sentence and he is having trouble adjusting to the fact that you are dating someone other than mom. Can you just try to sort of ease him into the situation? I have no issue with this woman and look forward to meeting her — and my philosophy is the more the merrier — but TM is freaking. He is till not over mom’s death so maybe just try to be cognizant of that and try to scale it down? there is nothing wrong with it and we all do it but in this case it is causing him to jump up and run out of the room a lot, lip trembling. Could you do that?”

NEXT: THE “HILARIOUS’ JOKES ABOUT THE FUNERAL PLOTS, AND MORE…

I, Petunia, will be back.Every day, as promised to my therapist, whom I will call Theresa, bc she has been my Mother Theresa.

PIXY103.com

Some Beautiful work…

Posted in art, Artists, BUY LOCAL HOLIDAY GIFTS HOLYOKE MASSACHUSETTS, BUY LOCAL HOLIDAY GIFTS NORTHAMPTON MASSACHUSETTS, Honesty, lessons in Art, LOCAL WESTERN MASS ARTISTS, LOCAL WESTERN MASS HOLIDAY SHOPPING, LOCAL WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS ARTWORK FOR SALE, LOCAL WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS HOLIDAY SHOPPING, Love Thy Fellow Man, MANNERS, Special People, The meaning of life, The Process of Art, Thoughts on December 16, 2012 by Admin

that I felt I must share.

I have been following Tracey’s work for years and delighting as it gets better and better. Her use of color is astonishing  and her composition is delightful and yet mysterious!

Someday I am going to own a Tracey Physioc Brockett.

“On my Home Health visits I see the effects of war, the wearing down of age, the ravages of disease, the entropy of life. As well as stories of pain and loneliness, of loss, there is love, joy, beauty and above all hope. Sometimes when I am tired and overworked, I forget to look out the window as I drive, to see the sights. Sometimes, as when I am working with a profoundly deaf woman, it is the light streaming through an old window pane and onto a glass ornament that can spark us to look deep into each other’s eyes. At night, when I am exhausted I ask myself, is this all there is? To eat and sleep and get up and do it all over again, to dress and wash and settle people for the day? Is there a future for this planet where we have done such wonderous things, where there is so much incredible beauty that it makes me hungry for it, even as it is plundered and disregarded, where so many people are taken advantage of, or, worse, ignored? Then I pull out my colours and let my mind quiet, and I paint for all the hurt and beauty of the world. I can not know if it is enough for the future, but it is enough for the NOW.”

~Tracey Physioc Brockett

Tracey Physioc Brockett

Cricket, 2012
Tracey Physioc Brockett

For more work see her website at http://www.physioc.com/, and for mer musings, see her blog at http://physioc.blogspot.com/

Tracey Physioc Brockett

Slow Turn diptych, 38 x 50 inches acrylic and oilstick on paper, 2012

Diagram B; Tennis
30.5 x 31 inches
acrylic and oilstick on paper, 2012

FOR MORE CLICK HERE

For Kevin, who begged

Posted in Thoughts on December 13, 2012 by Admin

For Kevin, who begged

THE KEVIN SERIES: Intricate Polychromatic Art Speak for Incongruous Fun Torturing Kevin

Posted in Activism?, Adventures and Interludes, Being a Virgo, Communication, Confusion, Life is like Christopher Guest said it was, Life Performance Art, Literary, Narcissisim, Pest Control, Philosophy?, Photoshopping Kevin, Special People, The meaning of life, The Process of Art, Therapy, Thoughts with tags on November 26, 2012 by Admin

An old image I found years ago:

which was then modified for an old blog post:
https://benigngirl.wordpress.com/2008/04/05/intricate-polychromatic-art-speak-for-incongruous-fun-and-conflative-prophet/

recycled for THE KEVIN SERIES.

THE KEVIN SERIES: Dissecting The Projectile Photshopping Opus Of My Muse, Kevin

Posted in Activism?, Adventures and Interludes, Being a Virgo, Communication, Confusion, Life is like Christopher Guest said it was, Life Performance Art, Literary, Narcissisim, Pest Control, Philosophy?, Photoshopping Kevin, Special People, The meaning of life, The Process of Art, Therapy, Thoughts with tags on November 26, 2012 by Admin

This is part of a new series I have only just realized I have been working on for days and which I shall post here as both intellectual fluff and bloggerly filler, as I slowly find my way past the crushing pain (I live with NINE herniated disks/sheer pain, daily) and back to the habitualities of blogging regularly.

This blog has been untended for some time yet I realize that with this sort of Spy vs. Spy relationship I have going on Facebook with my pal Kevin, I have created a series of artwork which should be shared with all, for Kevin says and does the craziest things.

After a grueling day spent posting about politics (which hurts my head, even to simply post that which I have observed, for posteriority) my brain needed an exorcism of sorts and so I made ART. I have a new muse, Kevin who, much like Dwight Shrute, is a farmer. Kevin is my muse. Kevin pretends to me angry about this, he rants, he raves, he threatens, and yet if I miss a day he starts baiting me which I smartishly recognize as begging for more.

Also, this is how my brain works:

And so, I present the new and ongoing series (until I become apathetic), Photoshopping Kevin. It begins with random photos stumbled upon in the interwebs and takes on a life of it’s own. So each opus shall include the before image.

I call this one, Dissecting the Projectile Photoshopping Opus Of My Muse, Kevin, With Identities Blurred.

Before:

After:

COMEDY BRILLIANCE — The Presidential Debate as lipreading musical

Posted in Thoughts on October 18, 2012 by Admin

Oh, if only the debates were this peaceful, this gentle, kind, and most of all, POLITE. Seriously, I could go on for paragraphs about manners today and the lack thereof. But I will spare you that.

This is a MUST SEE.

found at The Chawed Rosin (fabulous blog name!) by way of Susan Anton, who seems to always find hilarious and amazing things.

Linty Vignettes

Posted in Thoughts on September 28, 2012 by Admin

The truth is a battle of perceptions. people only see what they are prepared to confront.

The oddest things seem to stick in one’s memory, vignettes of sorts, funny little remembrances that seem simple, in some cases, and of a revealing or resonant nature in others. Some of my snippets of memory seem to be benign in most ways and sometimes possibly even like pointless snatches of conversational lint from days long past. Some only have meaning — by way of hypocrisy, foreboding, omenation (it stays), or revelation — as seen in Life’s figurative rear-view mirror. These are some of the bits of memorial lint I keep picking out of the navel of that which is my mind. There will later be a quiz as to the inherent meanings, or not.

All during my childhood my parents had these particularly close friends whom I will call Roy and Agnes. We prefaced their names when addressing them with Aunt and Uncle till we were old enough to use first names without being “fresh”, and though we used these familial titles we were not actually related.

Roy and Agnes lived about 2 hours away and once every few months we’d pile into the family car — at one point a yellow station wagon with contac paper-y wood paneling and a few dent-y flourishes that I was to young to appreciate as a half-formed person striving to conceal my meager life in a very wealthy town — and go for a visit.

At other times the family car was either a white or dark green late-model VW beetle into which all 5 of us would cram; me in the rectangularly-upright luggage space behind the tiny back seat because I was the smallest and also because my younger brother, “Norman” — a seemingly well-mannered yet very insecure and delicate boy — would be absolutely aghast at having to suffer the indignity of sitting “back there”, and so I always took that space so as to avoid the ever-crumpling face, which prefaced the inevitable tears. Norman also cheated, egregiously, at Monopoly, yet my older brother and I were forced to play with him anyway because of the delicacy, the crumpling and the tears, but that does not figure into this story.

Roy and Agnes were snappy, funny, edgy even, and hilarious. Roy had a little plane and once flew over our house and did flips. I think it must have been pre-planned because I happened to have all my neighborhood friends assembled and proudly fibbed that “I go up in his plane all the time, I even get to do flips!”, though I’d not have been allowed to do any such thing, not ever.

It was always nice to see them and never ever dull. They had a snappy rapport and both gave as good as they got. I idolized both of them, and would send long letters to Agnes, as a little blogger with an assortment of Aunts as my audience, for most of my life. Yet of all the fun times we had with them in various places, one sticks out; we were driving to an air museum, just Roy my father and me, and were in Roy’s huge boat of a car. It was not fancy, just huge with a long hood. Roy was being his usual hilarious self and yet his mood entirely changed when I asked why there was a small glazed ceramic flag pin stuck in the middle of his speedometer. Roy then launched into a tirade about, ” All the *&$%@ people who drive over 55″, (these were the Jimmy Carter years of gas conservation by way of “optimal speed limit”), and explained how he’d glued that pin right at the 55 mark as reminder for the what and why of the speed limit, because at least he cared about our country. I’d not ever noticed this sort of over-patriotic righteous behavior in any adult, and was somewhat shocked, as his ceaseless chastisement of all other drivers seemed unhinged, overzealous at best, though I snickered at the language and the fact that my father seemed unwilling or unable to rebuke him for it.

For the rest of the ride Roy continued to unleash a torrent of spicy indictment on every driver who passed us, punctuated with sign language and expletives while, for effect, I clutched my imaginary pearls in horror, as my father’s jaw twitched. The air museum was a bust as both adults seemed tight-lipped and so our tour was a perfunctory one, followed by an oddly quiet ride home.

Over the years I saw less and less of Roy and Agnes though I kept up my letter-writing. The replies were often brief, consisting of, “Please write more letters” (the standard, and sometimes only, reply from my chorus of letter-receiving Aunts), news of marriages and grandchildren, and commentary on the weather.

When I heard the news that Roy had died I immediately thought of that one day and the behavior I’d neither before nor after seen. I also remembered all the good times, the plane buzzing over our little house, and the laughter. Yet I noticed that my parents were unusually silent when I asked about the funeral arrangements, which seemed very odd as all I’d ever heard was how my parents, “thought the world of them”.

I pushed till I got the story; Agnes had made her daily trip to the hospital to see Roy in what would be his final hour, and had found the woman from the house next door — the house next door to the one she and Roy had shared for 50 years — at his bedside, sobbing and holding Roy’s hand.

The Road to Hell Is Paved With Unwanted Ceramic Owls

Posted in Confusion, Fellow Human Beings, Philosophy?, The meaning of life, Thoughts on September 26, 2012 by Admin

An exercise in/of unfinished and unpolished fiction, with interspersed summary of Babbitt, by Sinclair Lewis — a brilliant parody of “idealistic” middle class life from the perspective of one man’s (aka, everyman) delusional self-satisfaction arisen from self-perceptions of “superior social standing”, materialism, and delusions of grandeur as derived from comparison between oneself and others  — courtesy of sparknotes.

On April 20 1920, dawn breaks over Zenith, a Midwestern town bustling with new skyscrapers, automobiles, and factories. George F. Babbitt, a 46-year-old real estate broker, reluctantly awakens from a recurring dream about his fairy girl, a slim maiden who fulfills his fantasies of being a “gallant, romantic youth.” In reality, Babbitt is a middle-aged, rather pudgy family man. His home, replete with all the modern conveniences, is located in Floral Heights, the middle-class residential section of Zenith.

Petunia was in the parking lot of her boyfriend’s office building, waiting. It was a small and nondescript one story building in a suburb well outside the big city where he evidently made a lot of money, but she had little interest in money — a taste she would never acquire —  though she worked at the plush corporate headquarters of a purposely snooty worldwide women’s fashion retailer. Petunia’s responsibilities sometimes included making copies of the buyer’s sheets for clothing purchased in China and marked up, for example, from an $8 purchase price and sold through their catalogs and stores for an end price of 98$, to women of a certain self-satisfied confidence like that of the women executives at the retailer, who, according to their oddly loud conversations while in line at the cafeteria, would wear their new garments to garden parties on the expansive grounds of stately homes, or weddings in which the bride would carry pink roses and the place settings would be marked by monogrammed green golf tees. She often wondered if the green tees would ever make it to a gold course and why these women never smiled. Petunia did not aspire to this world. It did not seem like much fun. In fact, Petunia would never fail to be surprised upon encountering those who did aspire to this life, and this would become a lifelong series of such surprises from what she thought of as unlikely sources.

The morning newspaper calms his agitated nerves. He reads it aloud to Myra, but only the popular society column interests her. Babbitt grunts at the praise heaped on Charles McKelvey’s parties at his lavish home. Myra hesitantly ventures that she would like to see the inside of his home. Babbitt asserts that Myra is “a great old girl” and states that it is regrettable that he didn’t keep in touch with McKelvey after they graduated from college. Babbitt kisses her before leaving for work.

Grumbling to himself at Myra’s desire to associate with “this millionaire outfit,” Babbitt exits his home to start his beloved car. He wishes he could dispense with “the whole game.” He doesn’t mean to be irritable, but he constantly feels tired.

While waiting for her boyfriend, Fred, to exit the building, Petunia watched his co-workers parade past the car. Some seemed startled at the sight of her behind the wheel because she was definitely not Fred, yet she was in his unmistakably very bright red car, but then they kept walking.

Petunia liked her boyfriend’s sense of humor, as well as the fact that she had met him once as a child while camping in another New England state, the one he was from, which made him seem more down to earth and where he would register the red Porsche he’d be driving when they would meet again years down the road. The car she sat in now was also red, though not as expensive as the Porsche would be. This one was registered in the town he actually lived in, also outside the big city, which he shared with 2 other very aggressive salesmen. The term “salesman” made her think of Rotary Clubs, Fuller Brushes, and the novel, Babbitt, by Sinclair Lewis, who also lived in that other New England state at one point.

Babbitt is first and foremost a parody of post-World War I middle-class American culture. The name of the town, Zenith, implies that Babbitt’s community views itself as the highest point of American civilization. Zenith worships the world of business: its skyscrapers, factories, and automobiles are symbols of rampant commercialism. Babbitt’s home is a miniature representation of the American middle class’s worship of material objects. It has all the modern conveniences, including an alarm clock blessed with all the latest technology.

One might think that Zenith’s gleaming, modern skyline and Babbitt’s slick, modern home imply that Zenith is indeed a wonderful, interesting place to live. However, Babbitt’s fantasy fairy girl reveals that Babbitt is dissatisfied with his life as a middle-class family man. The description of his house reveals that its sleek, modern appearance is just that–appearance. It is designed to show off the occupant’s wealth more than anything else. Lewis states that Babbitt’s house lacks the aura of a home, that it is as impersonal as a hotel room. He compares it to an ad in a magazine for “Cheerful Modern Houses for Medium Incomes,” further emphasizing Zenith’s empty commercialism. Lewis’s description of Babbitt’s house reveals the monotonous conformity of the American middle class. All of Babbitt’s modern household appliances are the “standard” possessions of his class. Babbitt’s house is simply a mass-produced, standardized symbol of middle class affluence. It is like every other prosperous middle-class house in Zenith and presumably like middle-class houses all over the country.

Petunia had the fancy red Saab because her Hyundai was in the shop, and Fred, her boyfriend of several months, had let her drop him off a work in the morning so she could drive to her own office. When she got to her office she’d not been able to get the key out of the ignition so she’d had to leave it unlocked while she ran to her desk to call his office. It turned out that Saab’s must be in reverse with the hand brake on in order to be able to remove the key. Everyone had a good laugh at that. When her boss saw the car she’d advised Petunia, “Marry that man”, but at 21 Petunia felt too young to get married.

[Babbitt’s wife’s] entire outlook on life is heavily influenced by the middle-class worship of material objects, as her argument with Ted about the family car further reveals. Like many other middle-class college graduates, she is more in love with the idea of liberalism than anything else. Ted is obsessed with nice clothing, cars, and girls like other middle-class sons. Again, Lewis emphasizes that the materialistic middle class favors appearance over substance.

Petunia “liked” liked Fred but his friends intimidated her as they were all of the aggressive salesperson type and all talk was of money and commissions. Petunia had convinced herself that Fred was different despite the book on his shelf titled, “How To Dress Rich”, which she thought somewhat hilarious, especially the part about wearing the oh-so-obvious cravat. Petunia’s dress was from the Dress Barn in the same town as her office, but she thought it looked good enough, given the compliments she’d received. It was not her size but it was cheap and flowey so she’d gotten it anyway. Fred had said he’d liked it the last time she wore it.

They’d gotten off to an odd start as weeks had passed since he’d first called her just two days after meeting her in a bar downtown and she’d had been unable to accept his offer of dinner due to firm plans to go to her hometown for her brother’s birthday. She’d then heard from Fred weeks later only because one of the friends she’d been with at the bar that night had been dating one of his co-workers and had suggested they all four go out. They laughed a lot.

Babbitt’s diatribe against Verona’s “liberal” opinions and his reaction to the morning paper clearly indicate that he has few original opinions. Rather, his entire belief system is based on the opinions of his community, often absorbed without question from the newspaper headlines. His middle-class hubris is revealed in his empty diatribe against giving the poor “notions above their class.”

A few minutes before Fred finally emerged from his office building, a woman had walked by and had made a point of staring at Petunia as she sat in the driver’s seat. The woman seemed older than Petunia by six or seven years with a somewhat dated yet preppy dressage and hair which had obviously been blown out straight and set on rollers; women still used hot rollers back then. The woman lingered longer than might be polite and Petunia had the odd feeling that her own hair and dress were somehow not acceptable to this woman. Petunia’s hair was not styled, nor straight.

When Fred, who was a year older than Petunia, had finally emerged from the nondescript one story building, he’d seemed troubled — a different person from the extremely happy guy of the night before and that very morning. Petunia made some small talk yet Fred remained distracted, troubled. Finally Petunia asked what was wrong, to which Fred replied, “Jennifer, our secretary, just said that she saw you in my car and that you “don’t look like my type.” Fred seemed disproportionately unnerved and in Petunia’s mind she saw the book on his shelf.

Years later at another downtown bar near her apartment Petunia and a friend would bump into Fred (after an embarrassingly unsuccessful attempt to escape through the back door, thwarted by a security guard), and he would regale them with stories of having been cleaned out in his divorce from a woman named Jennifer, joking that he’d gotten nothing but an unwanted ceramic owl received as a wedding gift, adding that he could not recall from whom it had been given.

When the bar closed they’d have drinks on his friend’s large boat docked nearby — named for the business scam by which it had been purchased, a scam not to be divulged yet to be hinted at repeatedly — and have non-conversations about material things. The next day they would take a ride in the bright red Porsche registered in the other New England state to save money, and when Petunia picked a long blond hair off the seat and remark that she must be shedding, Fred would laugh and say, “No, I am sure it was already in the car”, and Petunia would be glad to get home.

Petunia would remember this decades later when a friend would say, “So, Jane asked me the other day (imitating a falsetto-ish voice), “Oh, is Petunia your new best friend now?”

Although Babbitt is quick to demand that the poor stay in their assigned place, he and Myra harbor a desire to move into the elite circle of the McKelveys. Myra wants to be invited to their parties. Babbitt criticizes the McKelveys as snobbish highbrows, but it seems that his criticism is merely a means to salve his bruised ego at being excluded from their world. Lewis implies here that typical Americans, regardless of their class, are obsessed with excluding those less fortunate, as well as gaining the acceptance of those more fortunate…

…despite the pleasure he seems to take in his affluent lifestyle and its accompanying symbols, he seems rather dissatisfied. He mutters that he would like to dispense with the “whole game” as he leaves the house.

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