Sunday, July 09, 2006


Running for mayor

[Western Massachusetts, June 26-28, 2006]


My friends Lynn and Abigail live in a small town in the eastern foothills of the Berkshires, in Massachusetts. It's one of those towns where everybody knows everybody else. There are only a couple of restaurants in town, so you're almost automatically a regular just by living there. And with the premium on keeping good relations with the neighbors, you can't go into a restaurant and say, in a loud voice, "don't get the asparagus omelette -- it's going to be canned asparagus!"

Lynn and Abigail had an out-of-town guest who said just this in the local restaurant. A guest who said this and then closely examined the waitress about other menu items. When they were alone after this incident, Abigail said to Lynn, "you know we're just going to have to go back there as soon as we can and apologize."


That's what it's like in small towns, as well as smallish cities like mine, and even in big cities at your own version of Cheers bar, where everybody knows your name. Doesn't it suck when your visitors blow into town and screw it up for you?

I've come up with a phrase to describe the situation when you flip the bird at people who turn out to be your near-neighbors whom you will no doubt encounter again. I call it, ironically, "running for mayor."


"Running for mayor" doesn't necessarily mean you're being impolite. Sometimes you may be in the right, like when you scream out the window "HEY! there's people trying to sleep!" at your backyard-adjoining neighbors who have just launched a major barrage of bottle rockets along the fence line at 12:30 a.m. on July 2 in early anticipation of the Fourth of July. I'm just saying, you don't necessarily pick up the votes that way.

The phrase can be used in the non-ironic sense, when you're trying to guide the behavior ofl your out-of-town friends when you take them to your local hangout. "I need you to try to act like you're running for mayor."


Above and below: "Gas ... Eat" -- Carm's Restaurant, Chester Massachusetts.


it certainly happens in the Big City. The final time I visibly flipped the bird to a rude motorist, he happened to be the VP of my department.

sibtu - "Sib, tu?" An archaic phrase when trying to determine if two people are related. The phrase nearly made it into Shakespeare's "Julius Ceasar," but was cut for unknown reasons.
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