I notice differences in how we all handle the mahjong tiles. Pat and Amy treat the tiles with something bordering on reverence. They silently select tiles for discard from their racks and place them gently on the tabletop, in a dainty almost whispering motion. Sue and I place our discard tiles down so they make that clicking sound I have always loved hearing. Betty flings her tiles onto the tabletop with a throw-away motion befitting the worthless items they are.
Aunt Mercy put down her tiles, one at a time. I-T-C-H-I-N. Aunt Grace leaned closer to the board, squinting. "Mercy Lynne, you're cheatin' again! What kinda word is that? Use it in a sentence." "I'm itchin' ta have some a that white cake." "That's not how you spell it." At least one of them could spell. Aunt Grace pulled one of the tiles off the board. "There's no T in itchin'." Or not.
Formerly these harsh cells in which the discipline of the prison leaves the condemned to himself were composed of four stone walls, a ceiling of stone, a pavement of tiles, a camp bed, a grated air-hole, a double iron door, and were called "dungeons" ; but the dungeon has been thought too horrible; now it is composed ofan iron door, a grated air-hole, a camp bed, a pavement of tiles, a ceiling of stone, four stone walls, and it is called "punishment cell.
I lay there silently, hoarding my small dignity. I did not ask about the gate or the closet. I did not question the bedtime ritual where, on the cold bathroom tiles, I was spread out daily and examined for flaws. I did not know that my bones, those solids, those pieces of sculpture would not splinter.
The sickness rolled through me in great waves. After each wave it would fade away and leave me limp as a wet leaf and shivering all over and then I would feel it rising up in me again, and the glittering white torture chamber tiles under my feet and over my head and all four sides closed in and squeezed me to pieces.
I step back further, until I feel cold tiles against my back. It is then I get the glimmer that I associate with memory. As my mind tries to settle on it, it flutters away, like ashes caught in a breeze, and I realize that in my life there is a then, a before, though before what I cannot say, and there is a now, and there is nothing between the two but a long, silent emptiness that has led me here, to me and him, in this house.
I think the comic that's gotten me the most feedback is actually the one about the stoplights. Noticing when the stoplights are in sync, or calculating the length of your strides between floor tiles - normal people notice that kind of stuff, but a certain kind of person will do some calculations.
I learn immediately from any speaker how much he has already lived, through the poverty or the splendor of his speech. Life lies behind us as the quarry from whence we get tiles and copestones for the masonry of today. This is the way to learn grammar. Colleges and books only copy the language which the field and the work-yard made.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Mercury is kind of a funny metal where it does neat things when you're playing around with it. They proceeded to play with it, some of it spilled down on to the floors, the carpets, the vinyl, tiles -- mercury being a hazardous material now, they called us with concerns so we started the process of finding out the actual exposure to the school itself.
The only sense we still respect is eyesight, probably because it is so closely attached to the brain. Go into any American house at random, you will find something - a plastic flower, false tiles, some imitation something - something which can be appreciated as material only if apprehended by eyesight alone. Don't we go sightseeing in cars, thinking we can experience a landscape by looking at it through glass?
Why don't you just go run to your room and cry little girl or better yet kill yourself?' Cora spat out ferociously. 'Oh honey, if I was going to kill myself I'd do it right here out of spite just to see you get down on your knees and wash the blood off the tiles and haunt your ass til kingdom come.' Sienna spat back with even more ferocity.
(Rude Scrabble) You played this game with your parents?" he asked skeptically. Yep. And Mom always won, the dirty bitch. I guess being older she'd been around more than me and Carrie, " Sophie said, extracting replacement tiles from the box. "Although I don't know what Dad's excuse was. lack of imagination, I guess. Your turn.
Arin, you're not listening. You're not thinking clearly.' 'You're right. I haven't been thinking clearly, not for a long time. But I understand now.' Arin pushed his tiles away. His winning hand scattered out of line. 'You have changed, Kestrel. I don't know who you are anymore. And I don't want to.
But between the images, we are privy to the real-life action being played out on the set. Peeta's attempt to continue speaking. The camera knocked down to record the white tiled floor. The scuffle of boots. The impact of the blow that's inseparable from Peeta's cry of pain. And his blood as it splatters the tiles.
Gradually the awful truth dawns on you: that Santa Claus was just the tip of the iceberg - that your future will not be the rollercoaster ride you'd imagined, that the world occupied by your parents, the world of washing the dishes, going to the dentist, weekend trips to the DIY superstore to buy floor tiles, is actually largely what people mean when they speak of 'life'.
When you're betting for tiles in an archery contest, you shoot with skill. When you're betting for fancy belt buckles, you worry about your aim. And when you're betting for real gold, you're a nervous wreck. Your skill is the same in all three cases - but because one prize means more to you than another, you let outside considerations weigh on your mind. He who looks too hard at the outside gets clumsy on the inside.
Colter searched for original Mexican tiles to use as patterns for copies, and during the search, a barrel of old tile letters was found in a cellar corner. She decided to use the letters on the walls of the Cocina Cantina to spell out old Spanish proverbs about eating and drinking. Above the bar was "A vuestra salud" [to your health], and in another room, "Not with whom you were born, but with whom you pasture.
Virginia L. Grattan
Si tienes un Suee±o y quieres hacerlo Realidad;... Empieza a Trabajar desde ya, y no te quejes, ni te engae±es. Todo tiene un Precio, El Triunfo tambien; y se llama : TRABAJAR MUY DURO, EXPONERTE AL DOLOR A DIARIO Y APRENDER A CONVIVIR CON e‰L. Todo lo deme¡s son ' Recetas ' Inocuas, Baldeas e Ineºtiles ".
Fernando Gonze¡lez y Lozano
The vestibule door opens onto a June morning so fine and scrubbed Classira pauses at the threshold as she would at the edge of a pool, watching the turquoise water lapping at the tiles, the liquid nets of sun wavering in the blue depths. As if standing at the edge of a pool she delays for a moment the plunge, the quick membrane of chill, the plain shock of immersion.
There was a message written in pencil on the tiles by the roller towel. This was it: What is the purpose of life? Trout plundered his pockets for a pen or pencil. He had an answer to the question. But he had nothing to write with, not even a burnt match. So he left the question unanswered, but here is what he would have written, if he had found anything to write with: To be the eyes and ears and conscience of the Creator of the Universe, you fool.
Today, unlocking the room and stepping into its dusty embrace, it struck her - the bareness, the cobwebs in the corners, the dark squares on the walls where the maps had once hung, the intricately designed tiles disappeared in filth, the urn-less, roseless emptiness, the laughter that once was. Sighs everywhere, and echoes, the papery trail of ants through the ancient wood, the still, suspended sheets of dust, and through it all, those memories, still alive, still alive.
Master Dongguo asked Zhuangzi, "This thing called the Way - where does it exist?" Zhuangzi said, "There's no place it doesn't exist." "Come, " said Master Dongguo, "you must be more specific!" "It is in the ant." "As low a thing as that?" "It is in the panic grass." "But that's lower still!" "It is in the tiles and shards." "How can it be so low?" "It is in the piss and shit!
Lanzarme con otro libro es tan grave como enamorarme, un impulso alocado que exige dedicacion fane¡tica. Con cada uno, como ante un nuevo amor, me pregunto si me alcanzare¡n las fuerzas para escribirlo y si acaso semejante proyecto vale la pena: hay demasiadas pe¡ginas ineºtiles y demasiados amoreos frustrados.
The first job of the historian and of the journalist is to find facts. Not the only job, perhaps not the most important, but the first. Facts are the cobblestones from which we build roads of analysis, mosaic tiles that we fit together to compose pictures of past and present. There will be disagreement about where the road leads and what reality or truth is revealed by the mosaic picture. The facts themselves must be checked against all the available evidence. But some are round and hard--and the most powerful leaders in the world can trip over them. So can writers, dissidents and saints.
Timothy Garton Ash
Samuel! Are you alright?" A vision of Samuel being brained by the falling bars rose up before Simon's eyes. Samuel's voice rose to a scream. "GO AWAY!" Simon looked sideways at Jace. "I think he means it." Jace shook his blond head in exasperation. "You had to make a crazy jail friend, didn't you? You couldn't just count ceiling tiles or tame a pet mouse like normal prisoners do?
I AM FED UP, DRAINED OUT, TAKE A BULLET, BLOW MY BRAINS OUT LET ME END IT, LET ME STOP IT, TAKE MY BODY ON THE ROOF AND DROP IT I AM IN A MESS, I AM IN A STATE, MY SITUATION IS FAR FROM GREAT I AM ON A DOWNER, I AM AT THE BOTTOM, TO BE HONEST I'M FEELING ROTTEN I'M ON THE FLOOR, I'M ON THE TILES I'VE LOST MY TOUCH, I'VE LOST MY STYLE, I AM ON THE EDGE, I AM ON THE BRINK, IMAGING BLOOD DRIPPING DOWN THE SINK I MISS MY GIRL, I MISS MY FAMILY TOO MUCH COCAINE TOO MUCH BRANDY WHERE IS ALL THE ROMANCE, TOOK HIS LIFESTYLE I NEED A BRAIN DANCE, I NEED A WAR CRY
It was pleasant to wake up in Florence, to open the eyes upon a bright bare room, with a floor of red tiles which look clean though they are not; with a painted ceiling whereon pink griffins and blue amorini sport in a forest of yellow violins and bassoons. It was pleasant, too, to fling wide the windows, pinching the fingers in unfamiliar fastenings, to lean out into sunshine with beautiful hills and trees and marble churches opposite, and, close below, Arno, gurgling against the embankment of the road.
E. M. Forster
So I stood up and did a handstand on my Guru's roof, to celebrate the notion of liberation. I felt the dusty tiles under my hands. I felt my own strength and balance. I felt the easy night breeze on the palms of my bare feet. This kind of thing - a spontaneous handstand-isn't something a disembodied cool blue soul can do, but a human being can do it. We have hands; we can stand on them if we want to. That's our privilege. That's the joy of a mortal body. And that's why God needs us. Because God loves to feel things through our hands.
So I stood up and did a handstand on my Guru's roof, to celebrate the notion of liberation. I felt the dusty tiles under my hands. I felt my own strength and balance. I felt the easy night breeze on the palms of my bare feet. This kind of thing -- a spontaneous handstand--isn't something a disembodied cool blue soul can do, but a human being can do it. We have hands; we can stand on them if we want to. That's our privilege. That's the joy of a mortal body. And that's why God needs us. Because God loves to feel things through our hands.
The whole right side of his face was smashed in, concave forehead and crushed cheekbone and one eye bugging precariously from a broken socket. He was purplish-black, and dirty white: Maggots seethed from every pore and crawled across him in excited wriggly piles, blowflies waving and blooming and wilting, the bits of bone they'd scraped clean glinting like tiny mosaic tiles. Scraps of jeans and a leather jacket clung to the sticky seething mess of his flesh. He was big, big shouldered, a good foot taller; chit-chitter, he went, even standing still.
Joan Frances Turner
In itself a wall on which a panoramic view of a non-existent world is drawn does not change. But for a great deal of money you can buy a view from the window with a painted sun, a sky-blue bay and a calm evening. Unfortunately the author of this fragment will again be Ed-but even this is not important, because the very window the view is bought for is also only drawn in. Then perhaps the wall on which it is drawn is a drawing too? But drawn by whom and on what? He raised his eyes to the wall of the toilet as though in hopes of an answer there. Traced on the tiles in red felt-tip pen were the jolly, rounded letters of a brief slogan: "Trapped? Masturbate!
A la estacion se la comen las casas adosadas y luego los campos se comen a las casas, primero vaceos y despues salpicados de ovejas. La gente se quita el abrigo y enciende los porte¡tiles y se oye un suspiro colectivo. Al otro lado del pasillo una mujer abre una bolsa de patatas con queso y cebolla. Parpadea y se mete cinco en la boca. Se hacen pedazos y suenan como los pare¡sitos de la radio.
It was quiet in the cell. Rubashov heard only the creaking of his steps on the tiles. Six and a half steps to the door, whence they must come to fetch him, six and a half steps to the window, behind which night was falling. Soon it would be over. But when he asked himself, For what actually are you dying? he found no answer. It was a mistake in the system; perhaps it lay in the precept which until now he had held to be uncontestable, in whose name he had sacrificed others and was himself being sacrificed: in the precept, that the end justifies the means. It was this sentence which had killed the great fraternity of the Revolution and made them run amuck. What had he once written in his diary? "We have thrown overboard all conventions, our sole guiding principle is that of consequent logic; we are sailing without ethical ballast.
[On Chopin's Preludes:] "His genius was filled with the mysterious sounds of nature, but transformed into sublime equivalents in musical thought, and not through slavish imitation of the actual external sounds. His composition of that night was surely filled with raindrops, resounding clearly on the tiles of the Charterhouse, but it had been transformed in his imagination and in his song into tears falling upon his heart from the sky... The gift of Chopin is [the expression of] the deepest and fullest feelings and emotions that have ever existed. He made a single instrument speak a language of infinity. He could often sum up, in ten lines that a child could play, poems of a boundless exaltation, dramas of unequalled power.
You know, you spend your childhood watching TV, assuming that at some point in the future everything you see will one day happen to you: that you too will win a Formula One race, hop a train, foil a group of terrorists, tell someone 'Give me the gun', etc. Then you start secondary school, and suddenly everyone's asking you about your career plans and your long-term goals, and by goals they don't mean the kind you are planning to score in the FA Cup. Gradually the awful truth dawns on you: that Santa Claus was just the tip of the iceberg - that your future will not be the rollercoaster ride you'd imagined, that the world occupied by your parents, the world of washing dishes, going to the dentist, weekend trips to the DIY superstore to buy floor-tiles, is actually largely what people mean when they speak of 'life'.
Everyone lives in two worlds, ' Maggie said, speaking in an absentminded sort of way while she studied her letters. 'There's the real world, with all its annoying facts and rules. In the real world, there are things that are true and things that aren't. Mostly the real world s-s-s-suh-sucks. But everyone also lives in the world inside their own head. An inscape, a world of thought. In a world made of thought-in an inscape-every idea is a fact. Emotions are as real as gravity. Dreams are as powerful as history. Creative people, like writers, and Henry Rollins, spend a lot of their time hanging out in their thoughtworld. S-s-strong creatives, though, can use a knife to cut the stitches between the two worlds, can bring them together. Your bike. My tiles. Those are our knives.
The Butcher's Shop The pigs are strung in rows, open-mouthed, dignified in martyrs' deaths. They hang stiff as Sunday manners, their porky heads voting Tory all their lives, their blue rosettes discarded now. The butcher smiles a meaty smile, white apron stained with who knows what, fingers fat as sausages. Smug, woolly cattle and snowy sheep prance on tiles, grazing on eternity, cute illustrations in a children's book. What does the sheep say now? Tacky sawdust clogs your shoes. Little plastic hedges divide the trays of meat, playing farms. playing farms. All the way home your cold and soggy paper parcel bleeds.
Home is where I take up such a tiny portion of the memory foam; home is a splintered word. His pillow is a sweat-stained map of an escape plot, also a map of love's dear abandon. (When did he give way, at which breath?) Forgiveness may mean retrospectively abandoning the pillow and abandoning the photograph of someone with curious eyes, kissing my toes, poolside. I paint my toes Big Apple Red. I don't know what to do about the shock of red nails on clean, white tiles except get used to it. (And when he gave way, was there room for feelings or the words for feeling?) While I brush my teeth, I can see him in my periphery at the other sink. The outline of him lulls and stings. (And when he gave way, was it the end of the beginning of suffering?) I draw his profile near, I make him brush his teeth with me, he spits and makes a mess. I could love another face, but why?
I see them standing at the formal gates of their colleges, I see my father strolling out under the ochre sandstone arch, the red tiles glinting like bent plates of blood behind his head, I see my mother with a few light books at her hip standing at the pillar made of tiny bricks with the wrought-iron gate still open behind her, its sword-tips black in the May air, they are about to graduate, they are about to get married, they are kids, they are dumb, all they know is they are innocent, they would never hurt anybody. I want to go up to them and say Stop, don't do it-she's the wrong woman, he's the wrong man, you are going to do things you cannot imagine you would ever do, you are going to do bad things to children, you are going to suffer in ways you never heard of, you are going to want to die. I want to go up to them there in the late May sunlight and say it, her hungry pretty blank face turning to me, her pitiful beautiful untouched body, his arrogant handsome blind face turning to me, his pitiful beautiful untouched body, but I don't do it. I want to live. I take them up like the male and female paper dolls and bang them together at the hips like chips of flint as if to strike sparks from them, I say Do what you are going to do, and I will tell about it
Healthy Choices Hold still Keep quiet. Get a degree to learn how to talk saying nothing. Catch a good man by being demure. the one your mother chooses. Let him climb you whenever his urge, amidst headaches and menstrual aches and screaming infants. And when he bids quick, turn over. Hold still. Make your tongue a slab of cement a white stone etched with your name. Kill your stories with knives and knitting needles and Clorox bleach. Hide in your mysteriousness by saying nothing. Starch your thoughts with ironed shirts. Tie your anger with a knot in your throat and when he comes without concern swallow it. Hold still. Keep desire hopeless as ice and sleepless nights and painful as pinched eyelid. Keep your fingers from the razor, keep your longing to sever his condescension safely in your douchbag. Turn the blade against yourself. Don't twitch as your slashed wrists stain your bathroom tiles. Disinfect with Pine Sol. Hold still. Keep quiet. Keep tight your lips, keep dead your dreams, keep cold your heart. Keep quiet. And he will shout praises to your perfection.
The collar of Lars of Tassla fell away and clattered onto the tiles. katriana felt unable to breathe. Her neck, so long encased with the symbol of Lars' ownership of her, seemed paradoxically to be suddenly constricted. She felt naked. Naked and abandoned. Her head sank down to lie across the hardness of the anvil. Her entire body shook uncontrollably as she felt all security evaporate from her world. How many minutes she lay there she could not with any certainty say. Yet, eventually she became aware of one tiny point in the cruel world surrounding her. It was a scent. His scent. It entered her. It stroked inside her. It pulsed against her pain until she acknowledged its presence. Her eyes flicked open. And then she saw him there, sitting quietly beside her, watching her with all the intentness that she loved so much in him. His face was still set in the neutrality he reserved for formal times but his eyes were flashing with... with some emotion kept hidden behind his Master's mask. katriana struggled to read the look flowing from deep inside his eyes. She awkwardly rose to kneel before her former Master. Her body and her breasts were offered. She could not do otherwise whether or not she wore his collar. (A Master's Dilemma, eXtasy)
Oh. I get it." Abby laughed. "This is where you bid on someone to wash your car." "Naked, " Charli said. "Or check the shower tiles." "Also naked." Abby laughed. "I'm guessing that as long as there's wet and naked, we're all good." Fiona let out a long sigh. "What was that?" Charli asked with a lift to her perfect brows. "Have you got a victim-I mean a participant in mind?" Fiona glanced across the hall. "Have you seen Jackson's fireman buddy?" "No." Charli looked across the room. "Should we?" "Too late, " Fiona said. "I've got first dibs." At that moment, Abby noticed the Wilder boys walk across the front of the room near the stage. Individually, they were stunning. As a group, they looked as appetizing as a decadent box of chocolates. Abby couldn't tear her eyes away from Jackson. Put him in a fireman suit, a tux jacket and jeans, or a simple T-shirt and cargo shorts, and he took her breath away. Truthfully, she liked him best in noting at all. "Holy guacamole." Charli gestured to a tall, dark, and devastating man walking with the group. "Is that who you are talking about?" Fiona nodded. "I want to lick him up one side and down the other like a cherry Popsicle." "Honey, you bid as high as you can go, " Charli said. "And if you run out of money, you just let me know. I'd be happy to chip in.
My child, I know you're not a child But I still see you running wild Between those flowering trees. Your sparkling dreams, your silver laugh Your wishes to the stars above Are just my memories. And in your eyes the ocean And in your eyes the sea The waters frozen over With your longing to be free. Yesterday you'd awoken To a world incredibly old. This is the age you are broken Or turned into gold. You had to kill this child, I know. To break the arrows and the bow To shed your skin and change. The trees are flowering no more There's blood upon the tiles floor This place is dark and strange. I see you standing in the storm Holding the curse of youth Each of you with your story Each of you with your truth. Some words will never be spoken Some stories will never be told. This is the age you are broken Or turned into gold. I didn't say the world was good. I hoped by now you understood Why I could never lie. I didn't promise you a thing. Don't ask my wintervoice for spring Just spread your wings and fly. Though in the hidden garden Down by the green green lane The plant of love grows next to The tree of hate and pain. So take my tears as a token. They'll keep you warm in the cold. This is the age you are broken Or turned into gold. You've lived too long among us To leave without a trace You've lived too short to understand A thing about this place. Some of you just sit there smoking And some are already sold. This is the age you are broken Or turned into gold. This is the age you are broken or turned into gold.
From the pleasure podium of Ali Qapu, beyond the enhanced enclosure, the city spread itself towards the horizon. Ugly buildings are prohibited in Esfahan. They go to Tehran or stay in Mashhad. Planters vie with planners to outnumber buildings with trees. Attracting nightingales, blackbirds and orioles is considered as important as attracting people. Maples line the canals, reaching towards each other with branches linked. Beneath them, people meander, stroll and promenade. The Safavids' high standards generated a kind of architectural pole-vaulting competition in which beauty is the bar, and ever since the Persians have been imbuing the most mundane objects with design. Turquoise tiles ennoble even power stations. In the meadow in the middle of Naghshe Jahan, as lovers strolled or rode in horse-drawn traps, I lay on my back picking four-leafed clovers and looking at the sky. There was an intimacy about its grandeur, like having someone famous in your family. The life of centuries past was more alive here than anywhere else, its physical dimensions unchanged. Even the brutal mountains, folded in light and shadows beyond the square, stood back in awe of it. At three o'clock, the tiled domes soaked up the sunshine, transforming its invisible colours to their own hue, and the gushing fountains ventilated the breeze and passed it on to grateful Esfahanis. But above all was the soaring sky, captured by this snare of arches.(p378)
When a fine old carpet is eaten by mice, the colors and patterns of what's left behind do not change, ' wrote my neighbor and friend, the poet Jane Hirschfield, after she visited an old friend suffering from Alzheimer's disease in a nursing home. And so it was with my father. His mind did not melt evenly into undistinguishable lumps, like a dissolving sand castle. It was ravaged selectively, like Tintern Abbey, the Cistercian monastery in northern Wales suppressed in 1531 by King Henry VIII in his split with the Church of Rome. Tintern was turned over to a nobleman, its stained-glass windows smashed, its roof tiles taken up and relaid in village houses. Holy artifacts were sold to passing tourists. Religious statues turned up in nearby gardens. At least one interior wall was dismantled to build a pigsty. I've seen photographs of the remains that inspired Wordsworth: a Gothic skeleton, soaring and roofless, in a green hilly landscape. Grass grows in the transept. The vanished roof lets in light. The delicate stone tracery of its slim, arched quatrefoil windows opens onto green pastures where black-and-white cows graze. Its shape is beautiful, formal, and mysterious. After he developed dementia, my father was no longer useful to anybody. But in the shelter of his broken walls, my mother learned to balance her checkbook, and my heart melted and opened. Never would I wish upon my father the misery of his final years. But he was sacred in his ruin, and I took from it the shards that still sustain me.
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There was no Disney World then, just rows of orange trees. Millions of them. Stretching for miles And somewhere near the middle was the Citrus Tower, which the tourists climbed to see even more orange trees. Every month an eighty-year-old couple became lost in the groves, driving up and down identical rows for days until they were spotted by helicopter or another tourist on top of the Citrus Tower. They had lived on nothing but oranges and come out of the trees drilled on vitamin C and checked into the honeymoon suite at the nearest bed-and-breakfast. "The Miami Seaquarium put in a monorail and rockets started going off at Cape Canaveral, making us feel like we were on the frontier of the future. Disney bought up everything north of Lake Okeechobee, preparing to shove the future down our throats sideways. "Things evolved rapidly! Missile silos in Cuba. Bales on the beach. Alligators are almost extinct and then they aren't. Juntas hanging shingles in Boca Raton. Richard Nixon and Bebe Rebozo skinny-dipping off Key Biscayne. We atone for atrocities against the INdians by playing Bingo. Shark fetuses in formaldehyde jars, roadside gecko farms, tourists waddling around waffle houses like flocks of flightless birds. And before we know it, we have The New Florida, underplanned, overbuilt and ripe for a killer hurricane that'll knock that giant geodesic dome at Epcot down the trunpike like a golf ball, a solid one-wood by Buckminster Fuller. "I am the native and this is my home. Faded pastels, and Spanish tiles constantly slipping off roofs, shattering on the sidewalk. Dogs with mange and skateboard punks with mange roaming through yards, knocking over garbage cans. Lunatics wandering the streets at night, talking about spaceships. Bail bondsmen wake me up at three A.M. looking for the last tenant. Next door, a mail-order bride is clubbed by a smelly ma in a mechanic's shirt. Cats violently mate under my windows and rats break-dance in the drop ceiling. And I'm lying in bed with a broken air conditioner, sweating and sipping lemonade through a straw. And I'm thinking, geez, this used to be a great state. "You wanna come to Florida? You get a discount on theme-park tickets and find out you just bough a time share. Or maybe you end up at Cape Canaveral, sitting in a field for a week as a space shuttle launch is canceled six times. And suddenly vacation is over, you have to catch a plane, and you see the shuttle take off on TV at the airport. But you keep coming back, year after year, and one day you find you're eighty years old driving through an orange grove.