Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: Eye of the Beholder

BENNINGTON -- She walked into the gallery outfitted in a green hat, weathered blue jeans, a black leather jacket with lamb's wool across the collar, and a patch covered her right eye.

She just finished chalking a bit of inspiration in the Graffiti Vault when AGD dug in.

"I'm a reporter by trade. I ask questions. Mind if I ask about your eye?"

Suzanne smiled and said yes. She's quite used to it by now.

It happened 20 years ago during a freak accident on the road.

The South Jersey native who moved to Bennington recently said she and her boyfriend at the time were in his Jeep that broke down. A friend roped the front of the Jeep to the back of his truck's trailer hitch and started to pull away.

And that's when the steel hitch broke and exploded like a bullet straight for the Jeep's windshield at speeds of at least 100 miles per hour, the doctors told her.

The hitch smashed through the windshield, slammed into her right eye and lodged halfway into her head.

"I went into shock immediately," Suzanne said. "My boyfriend saw me and turned white as a ghost and his jaw dropped, but he held it together as best he could and told me that there's just a little scratch."

She's had 20 surgeries, the most recent one to fit the right socket with a prosthetic eye.

"It worked for Sammy Davis Jr.," AGD told her, and Suzanne laughed.

"So, can you tell when people look at your patch and are genuinely interested and when they're kind of freaked out, or if they're assholes when they're talking to you because they're just humoring you?"

"I've been doing this for 20 years," she said. "I can spot the assholes."

The biggest one, she said, was the boyfriend at the time. She dumped him after he cheated.

About an hour after Suzanne left Fiddlehead, a middle-aged fella by the name of Dale Ross walked in with the purpose of buying a Kentucky wood cutting board for his daughter. He was in the gallery a few weeks ago and liked it and decided to pull the trigger yesterday.

As if the experience with Suzanne wasn't interesting, now AGD stood in front of a man who didn't begin the conversation till he sidled up to the counter, set down a container after opening it and pulled out his ears.

"I can't hear anything without these," he said while filling his ears with tiny microphones.

What's next? AGD thought, is someone going to have a snap-on nose like Jacko?

Here's the cutting board Dale bought for his daughter, who lives in Colorado ...

Want a cutting board? Click HERE

... and as AGD rang up the cool cutting board he talked up Dale about how Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper became the most popular man on the planet in pot smokers' eyes because he made it legal yesterday to spark up.

From Alamosa to Arvada, Boulder to Bonanza, Durango to Denver, Grand Junction to Gunnison, Yampa to Yuma to all of the ski towns in between, stoners galore got Mile High yesterday without fear of recrimination. Not much different than the Washington State stoners who, days earlier, turned the Seattle Space Needle into Amsterdam PNW (here).

AGD wondered how Hunter Thompson might have celebrated over in Woody Creek had he been alive to see the day drugs were legalized -- in a blaze of glory, no doubt.

Dale said he takes advantage of Vermont's medical marijuana law but that his script comes in the form of pills that they make him jittery and don't really work all that great. He doesn't want to take them anymore. He also doesn't want to live in his sweet paradise home that faces one of the ski mountains because of the astronomical property taxes -- so he's moving back to Colorado soon as he can.

Right around that point is when Dale pulled out his ears, put them in the can, closed it and walked out into the deafness of Bennington.

AGD began snapping photos yesterday for "Chalk It Up!" volume 2.

Suzanne will be in the book, as will Jacqueline Bezzant, a Bennington Mormon, who chalked it up in the Graffii Vault ...