"I would not like nights so bright you could not see the stars." -- Akira Kurosawa

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Atlanta
I grew up in a family of Southern storytellers. Back in 2004, I started Whole Bean to continue the tradition in a new medium. Over the years, I've written about families and friends, peculiar situations, extended road trips, recalcitrant home appliances, and many things for which I'm truly grateful. I hope you enjoy your time here.
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Even the Crazies Have to Eat


I suppose that when you get right down to it, strange is in the eye of the beholder. I'm a fairly flexible guy -- I live in a big city, and certain things are just taken for granted. In most cities, there are neighborhoods that have a reputation for hosting the more theatrical types. They're entertaining to visit, and in many cases, they make downright nice places in which to live. Our suburban neighborhoods come with their own rather predictable casts of characters. The suburban versions drive minivans, drink Yellow Tail wine, and play a lot of golf -- that sort of thing.

But lately, there seems to have been an unusual development, or maybe it's just that it's always been there and we've only now started to notice. It appears that at certain times of the day, generally the later the better, you've got a whole different cast appearing in the revue. My daughter noticed it first. One night, we were out and about in the suburbs when we decided to stop into the Kroger supermarket for a few items. We made our purchases, and when we got back to the car, my daughter said, "Wow, Dad...did you notice all the sketch people in there?" Well, as a matter of fact, on that particular night, I certainly did. Indeed, it was hard to miss them. They weren't ordinary sketch, they were a cut above.

The same thing happened again the other day at the BP station. We were sitting there in an overtly suburban neighborhood when two odd people in a late model luxury car pulled up for some overpriced gas and started wandering around the pumps -- not really pumping any gas, just browsing, if you will. But hey, it was all good. They weren't bothering anyone, and strange people have to fill up their gas tanks, too. At least that's the way we see it. There are certain things that everyone -- regardless of planetary origin, costume, or mental stability -- just has to do.

This stuff is to be expected, because it's not like we live in the middle of nowhere. In fact, Atlanta is often more like being in an ant colony, albeit one with nice landscaping. There are just so many people around that some of them are bound to be out there on the fringe. Any of you who have been here recently know that we probably have at least one of your transplanted relatives living among us. Hopefully, it's one you like, because otherwise, it's probably one of these people that we're seeing meandering about the cookie aisle in a state of delirium.

Speaking of...it's 10:30 PM, and I need to go to the Kroger, but I guess I'd better pick out something a little bit flashy to wear. After all, you never know who you're going to run into over there.