Friday, September 09, 2005

Clamperland Diaries

One would think that Clamperland would be free of governmental red tape. After all Clamperlanders believe that simplicity is best. So, when I went to Clamperland's County Office, I thought that my little problem could be fixed in a matter of minutes. Boy , was I wrong. It just goes to show you that in Clamperland, life is never boring. And as the grumpy fifty-something woman behind the counter educated me, "Yes, young man, life is a learning experience." For some reason I felt the need to snort. But instead, I just shrugged and left, determined to defeat the Clamperland bureaucracy.

"She sure didn't want to give me any dang help," I said, with as much of a country boy twang as I could muster. "It's always best to try and sound like a local," I thought.

"Oh, you had to deal with Pig Lady," he said with a Texas twang. Clamperlanders have Texas twangs even though most of them have never left California. It must be because their ancestors came from Texas or Kansas or one of them thar places. Or maybe they just listen to lots of country music.

His name was Fred. He looked like a computer nerd from Silicon Valley, but I had the distinct impression that he never ventured out of Clamperland. His desk was in the back of a real estate office occupied by two bleach blond women who both looked at me like I was a Martian when I barged into the office.

Fred was a piler. He had piles of papers and books everywhere. He had little horn-rimmed glasses and a hair cut that made him look like Bill Gate's younger brother. He handed me his card. His title read, Assistant Paralegal. "Assistant to who? " I wondered. Why would two underworked real estate agents need an Assistant Paralegal. My intuition told me that he must have earned his "degree" through a correspondence course.

"Pig Lady?" I said.

"Yep, that's what we call her - Pig Lady, because she looks like a pig and she acts like a pig."

"Oh," I mused. "I guess when you mention it, she did look sort of like a pig, and she was kind of grumpy."

"Yehhp," he said. "You know, I'll tell you something." He leaned forward from his desk, his eyes looking both embarrassed and naughty. Looking around, first right, then left, he made sure that no one was listening. "Last year, she-," hesitating he made one more check around the office. He seemed downright chagrined to tell me what he was about to tell me, but he just couldn't help himself.

"Wo," I thought. She must have been an axe murderer or at least she was having an affair with the mayor.

Whispering, "Last year, they put her on what they call them - ," silence, "them ANTI-Depressants. It's the only time I ever seen her smile."

Stunned, I had the look of a surprised raccoon. "That's it!" I thought. Then the laughter came. I couldn't stop. "Well," I said, "they should have kept her on 'em, I guess."

"They sure should have," he said. "They sure should have."

About three hours later, after wading my way through the intricacies of real estate law in Clamperland, I returned to the County Records Office, the domicile of the fabled Pig Lady. As I waited at the counter, the same middle-aged woman that treated me like a buzzard on a shit wagon that very morning, suddenly appeared before me - twelve inches from my face. When I first heard the name Pig Lady, I kind of thought it was mean. But now as she stared at me with those steely blue eyes, I realized that she truly did look like a pig. Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against pigs. I think they're kind of cute - that cute upturned little snout, those doe eyes, those perky ears.

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