Friday, October 2, 2015

Forty-Something Years in Ninaland

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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Cars, Trumpets, T.V.'s Oh My!---Repost

Our old Zenith T.V. with my trumpet on top...

I did some stupid things as a kid.  Like one time while at a red light my mom was driving and listening to music.  While she wasn’t looking I may or may not have moved the gear into reverse.  When the light turned green, we started moving backwards.  We didn’t thankfully bang into the car behind us but for some reason my mother started freaking out!  She fortunately moved the gear in time to save our lives.  Later that night she told my father and it was one of the few times I got spanked. 

The real problem I had with the situation was that I was never told:  Don’t randomly put the car in reverse! I did a horrible and terrible thing, but I had no idea what I was doing.  I was just messing around.  I to this day protest that spanking!

Of course later, when I learned how to drive I may have repeated my mistake.  The third time I went on the highway with my family and a family friend I may or may not have reversed on an exit ramp because it was the wrong exit.  I mean in my defense, as everyone in the car started screaming, including me, no one was behind me. No one was behind me people!  Look we didn’t die or anything.    

I got my driving permit early.  Not because I was a good driver, but because my father was blind and needed to be driven around.  When I used to drive the car in the beginning with my father, he would hold on to this bar on the door and he looked like he was praying.  Oh he was definitely praying.  I almost killed us a couple times; he was losing his eyesight at the time.  I was going to lose my license because he swore he would take a pair of scissors and cut my license up into tiny pieces if I ever tried to kill him again.  At the time I didn’t know what the big deal was. 

However my problem may have been hereditary. How can I say this without actually being accused of libel?  When my mom came to America she was used to the cars driving on the left hand side of the street because that’s how they do it in India.  In fact while learning to drive she may or may not have automatically started to just go into the left lane, ignoring oncoming traffic.  My father was teaching her to drive at the time; he was fully sighted and fully scared for his life!  They in the end decided to get a driving instructor, I mean I can’t imagine why! 

However once when my mom was driving our family to Bangkok Cuisine, she was taking a left U-turn.  Instead of turning at the proper place, she might have driven over the median, I mean over the flowers in the median and just said aloud to herself, “Where did that come from?” when she felt the car jolt.  My family was silent; I mean we were scared silent.  She turned that car like it was not really happening!  This actually happened and I lived to tell about it!

Before I had to operate large machinery like cars, playing was the biggest job I had as a kid.  I used to ride my hot pink Huffy bike all through the neighborhood.  I used to sing and dance to Madonna tunes in my best friend’s basement all day long.  Of course no amount of singing has led me to be in tune.  At all. 

Imagine pretending like you are Madonna all day long? Of course we didn’t dress like her because that would have been a different kind of pretending.  But the fun never ended.  I mean when I was young I could watch T.V. for like four hours at a time.  Now I watch it for four minutes and realize there is nothing on about four hundred channels.

In the old days we had to get up to change one of five channels and we were glued to the T.V.  We had an old Zenith T.V. that had a knob that you had to screw to channels like VHS.  The screen was kind of roundish at the edges.  It was quite the antique.  People’s heads looked a little oblong.  It had an antenna on it.  

When I was like eleven we got a new big screen T.V.  It was one of the first of its kind and it was so fancy it had oak wood cabinets on it.  I think it cost three thousand dollars.  That was a fortune in the eighties.  That’s a fortune now.

They bought the T.V. for the whole family but they told me it was my birthday present.  I was truly touched.  It was awesome.

Speaking of touching: well I was just hanging out innocently watching T.V. one day.  I went up to the T.V. for some reason or the other; I was trying to adjust the antenna on it.  The screen had these grooves on it.  My nail must have gone over the grooves on the screen and some of my hot pink nail polish made a spot in the middle of the screen.  This was a couple days after we got the T.V.

Let the record show that it was DRY nail polish.  I did not put my finger on the T.V. when my nail polish was wet.  Of course I had no idea that I made that spot but my parents started to notice this hot pink spot on the T.V.  What was it they asked?  Was it a bug?  Did the T.V. come like that?  I had no idea.

To this day, they think I took a bottle of nail polish and purposely painted the T.V. screen.  Do you realize how weird and crazy they thought I was? What normal well -behaved child decides to start painting a brand new T.V. with hot pink nail polish? 

I was accused of doing that because many years before when I was five I had painted the stairs with orange nail polish with my friend.  And that my friends; was not my idea even though I got spanked for it.  So no one obviously believed that I didn’t purposely put nail polish on the T.V. screen.  It became a joke in my house many years later. 

We tried everything to get it off, we even put nail polish remover on the screen.  The remover created a three dimensional effect to the hot pink spot.  That spot was there twenty years later, when the T.V. stopped working.  Many, many, years later they still don’t believe I didn’t do it on purpose.  One day my parents were like, “Just tell us the truth, we don’t even care at this point.”  But I stood my ground.  I told them them the truth! I’m telling you the truth!  Why do you doubt me?

Of course before the big screen T.V. stopped working, when I was sixteen my mom decided that she was sick and tired of us bringing food into the living room.  She thought we were ruining the couch and the carpet.  She knew what was driving us to go into the living room: it was the infamous T.V. with the hot pink stain on it.

So she one day took a pair of scissors and cut the cord of the T.V. in front of us, very dramatically. That was it; we had no T.V. in the living room anymore.  My sister and me were shocked and dismayed.  It was like she had shot the T.V. with a gun.  It was done.  We were either too young or too stupid to realize that you can fix a power cord.  We did not dare anyways because she screamed, “There will be no more T.V. in this room!”  She might as well have burned the T.V. down because we didn’t use it for like ten years.  We didn’t use a three thousand dollar T.V. for ten years because someone cut the power cord.   

When we finally fixed the cord, by then the T.V. just didn’t work due to other malfunctions.  I don’t understand OK?  I don’t understand how a T.V. just sits there in a living room for ten years and then brakes.  The T.V. man said it would cost two thousand dollars to fix the T.V.  We are Indian after all is said and done; we ain’t paying nobody two thousand dollars for any kind of labor and parts.  It was enough that we paid more than that for something we never used.   We had someone later gut the T.V. out and we now use the oak cabinets as oak cabinets.  The whole thing enrages me for various reasons.

First of all I’m accused of putting nail polish graffiti on the T.V.  Then someone who will remain unnamed takes a pair of scissors and just cuts the cord of the T.V.  There are no repercussions for that human even though I was terrorized for the nail polish ‘situation.’  I know my mom is a doctor and all, but this was not an umbilical chord.  This was my life.  My T.V.

We had two other T.V.’s in the finished basement etc.  But that was the cool T.V.  Now we have five T.V.’s in our house with cable and hundreds of channels.  The only problem:  There is nothing on T.V.  I have to watch Netflix shows that are hooked up to my computer if I want to watch anything interesting.  We have another big screen T.V. in the living room.  However it is not plasma or anything fancy.  At this point it seems old fashion. 

We didn’t have no Internet, but man I never will forget…

Kid Rock sings that.  He was right…I will never forget those times before technology took over the world. 

Remember when you just listened to music a lot instead of surfing the web?  When I was twelve and this whole nail polish ‘incident’ happened, I was also playing the trumpet.  The thing was in music class we had to pick an instrument.  All the girls picked like the flute and the clarinet.  I may be feminine, but I’m no sissy.  I wanted to play the saxophone.  My music teacher told me I wasn’t good enough to play the saxophone.  He wasn’t going to teach an untalented freak like me the complex saxophone.  In his defense, music was not my forte.

So I picked the trumpet.

I would practice in our Livonia home, in our unfinished basement.  I would play to my own tunes.  I tried the music sheets but reading music was like math.  I wasn’t particularly fond of it or good at it.  Let’s just say in terms of the trumpet, I was last chair.  I would hoot that thing and it would resonate throughout the house, throughout the neighborhood I suspect and throughout eternity I think.  Have you ever heard a person play the trumpet out of tune?  It’s like a loud death.

One day my parents sat me down in the kitchen.  “We think maybe you should stop practicing,” one of them said.

“But you bought me a trumpet for three hundred dollars!” I protested.

“We think you should stop practicing!” they both said.

That was the end of my trumpet career.

What’s funny is my sister played the flute.  She was a genius at it.  They would not buy her the flute; they rented it for like ten years.  They probably paid three times the price of that flute in rental costs.  She played the flute into adulthood like a master.  She is very musically inclined.  YES we are related!
Yes I still have the trumpet.  Do you want to buy it?  Do you know anyone who does? Yes we still have the Zenith T.V., anyone want to buy that?

I got to get rid of these things before I get the urge to play them again. 


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