Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Babes in Fur Clothing

On the road again! Gianna and I headed off like Thelma and Louise today, driving from Austin to Amarillo in order to sell books to our pals at Hastings. What is there to see as one drives across this part of Texas? Roadkill, mostly. Towns with mockable names (Bangs, for example). Plenty of places to dump a body. Good times.

We drove Gianna's car on this trip because her newer model vehicle has the Sirius Radio, and there are huge, gaping holes in tolerable radio in places like Goldthwaite, Zephyr, and Lomena. We don't have cell signals either for much of this drive, ruling out staying in touch with accounts through our phones or Blackberries. Gianna and I share a fondness for absurdity, and "schadenfreude" is my favorite word. Satellite radio is a dream come true for those of us who love the human train wrecks that are the publicly dysfunctional individuals who call in to talk shows. Pure delight.

Before we stopped at this fancy little bistro known as The Olive Garden for lunch in Abilene, we were reveling in the awe-inspiring skills presented on a call-in show known as Animal Intuition. Check it out--a pet psychic. This woman named Sonya Fitzpatrick, who sounds like Mrs. Doubtfire with an ever-so-quaint English accent, takes calls from pet owners and "communicates" with the kitties and pooches. Apparently she has a show on Animal Planet too. According to her website biography, this woman talked to the animals at her house growing up in Merry Old England, but "turned off" her ability to chat up the critters when her father slaughtered three of her friends (geese) for a family feast. Heh. And I don't follow psychics, but is it normal (using "normal" exceedingly loosely, given the context) for a psychic to switch on and off her powers? Seems weird to me. Anyway, goose-free young Sonya became a fashion model, the career of choice for all shut-down pet paranormals I'm sure, but when she moved to these United States and ended her modeling career, she took up her pooch patter once more. Really, her story is the American Dream. She throws in lots of cute British expressions and refers to callers as "Dahhhhhhling." She described a caller's five dogs "babes in fur clothing." It was magic. Every pet loves his or her current owner, about half of them have changed their food at some point, and dogs can't tell us how old they are because they've never attended school and therefore can't count. (I would argue that most of the people from my hometown did attend school and can't count either.) My favorite caller told Psychic Sonya that her dog was nervous going on walks and asked why, and Psychic Sonya said--are you ready for this?--the dog was scared of something. Most excellent.

What could top a couple of hours of mindless pet drivel? How about multiple hours of the Dr. Laura Schlesinger Show?! Oy vey. She yelled at the callers, and I mean every single one, and not one single caller was correct. Her show is brilliant in a warped Woody Allen sort of way. Only people looking for abuse would want to talk to her seriously (as opposed to Gianna's and my desire to call her ironically), so it's alright for Dr. Laura to belittle her callers because they are screwed up. Dr. Laura yelled at a woman whose mother was dying, she yelled at the woman who didn't want to divorce the husband who spent too much time with his friend, and she yelled at another woman who complained about her husband spending too much time with his friends since she didn't want to support her man. It's horrible and sad, but we listened to the nonsense for hours.

I would love to listen to a blend of the crazy pet psychic woman and the crazy pseudo-shrink verbal abuse of Dr. Laura. Can you imagine a woman calling in to figure out what her cat is thinking, only to have "the cat" scream at her for not standing by her man and not buying the right kind of kibble? I would listen to that...but only if I'm on a road trip where Lubbock is a high point. And I can just imagine what my cat would have to say to me through Dr. Laura as the medium.

Bless the Sirius Satellite Radio. I can't wait to hear the offerings during our drive home.

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