This Is Truly The Best Of All Possible Worlds

 

“That’s the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.”
Charles Bukowski, Women

Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

PICOLÉ Pops, Deep Ellum and Bishop Arts

Low Prize Food Mart

“It is a damn poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word.”
― Andrew Jackson

Spring Valley Road and Coit, Richardson, Texas

Tremendous thunderstorms rattled the Metroplex with pelting rain and shattering lighting late last night. Unfortunately, all flights going east were canceled from Love Field and our son Lee couldn’t get home to New Orleans. I drove through the weather to the airport to pick him up and bring him home late last night.

So we had another day with him for the holidays. We decided to go eat at Noodle Wave, one of our favorite places to eat – fantastic Thai food, along with great service in a surprisingly artistic and comfortable decor. It is located in an unfortunate strip of lower end shops and restaurants inspired by the cuisine from five different countries (including Thailand).

I have gone to Noodle Wave often and parked in that lot many times and I’m sure I’ve stared at the sign of the LOW PRIZE FOOD MART more than once without realizing that they meant PRICE. I did a quick internet search and all the text referring to the place is LOW PRICE. The only pages that LOW PRIZE FOOD MART is mentioned in in their applications and renewal for their liquor license.

I can’t believe that someone would make a mistake like this in a sign so big and in a busy location – I prefer to think of it as a clever, ironic, and hipster statement about the inevitable failure of consumer culture.

But I know I’m wrong.

 

 

Faded Sign

I an old man,
A dull head among windy spaces.

Signs are taken for wonders. “We would see a sign”:
The word within a word, unable to speak a word,
Swaddled with darkness.

—-from Gerontion, by T.S. Eliot

Design District, Dallas, Texas (click to enlarge)

Design District,
Dallas, Texas
(click to enlarge)

There was a sign here once, on this very wall. I’m sure I must have seen it long ago when I passed this way before, when it was here, when it was whole, when it was relevant… to something. But what was it? What did it mean? Why is it gone now?

What terrible disaster befell the owners of the sign? It might have been a sudden death, an unexpected and unprepared tragedy. Most likely though, it was a slow dissolution over time, a deliberate failing covering decades, sluggish yet inexorable. Like the frog in cool water I imagine the involved never really felt the change, the lazily rising boil, an unseen poach of doom. Or maybe they felt a shadow of cataclysm, a hidden fear, dismissed as paranoia or lack of confidence, or deliberately ignored out of a fearful inability to face the inevitable.

Was it a proud name? A bit of art? Bright colors? A splash of neon phosphorescence? Clever typography?

It doesn’t matter, really. What is gone is gone. Dust is dust.

What you see now is all there is: cracked plaster, empty mounting holes circled with spall, streaks of rust stain on dusty stucco. The cold wind howls by.

Some might look at the bright side – maybe the missing sign is simply an indication that success was so sudden and bountiful the denizens were able to depart for greener shores.

I doubt it, though. This looks like a place that you visit on the way down, not heavenward.

The remains hint at letters, but are indecipherable. The past does not fit well with literacy. Entropy is not lucid.

Then I am on my way again. Maybe some day another sign will grace the wall.

Or at least a fresh coat of paint.