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Audrey

October 2008

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Knoxville

Shit I Wrote Over the Summer for Non-Fic Writing

Pallid Refuse

Hello there and thank you for choosing Levittown, Pennsylvania as your summer vacation destination. Before you depart, there are a few things you should know.

Founded in 1951, Levittown is a three-of-a-kind place. One in New York, one in Puerto Rico, the other, right under your feet. As, what’s considered by many, the largest suburb of Philadelphia we’ve sort of become a race unto our own. Levittowners have their own indigenous dress, mannerisms, and little idiosyncrasies.

Around here folks refer to their neighborhood as ‘sections’. When William Levitt designed the town to have different developments, each with its own name and streets all beginning with the same letter. For instance if you were the Whitewood section you would come across the street names Wildflower, Winding, and Water Oak. Then of course there’s the drive, every section has a road named after it and is called the drive, from this road you can access any and all roads in that section. Another tip for traveling in Levittown is knowing your landmarks. No one gives directions by streets as they tend not to remember the names of half of them. Again, landmarks here are a bit, unconventional. We go for the large, loud, and assuming. A dance studio in a shopping center with a huge couple painted on it is one such marker. The Paso Doble. Another the Cow Barn, it has since been converted into all manner of things but once was a convenience store, shaped like a barn with, you guessed it, a life-sized cow on top. Classy. And when asking for directions don’t forget to punctuate your sentences with ‘yo’, ‘dude’, and ‘yous guys’. It may go something like this. “Yo, can yous guys tell me how to get from the cow barn to this dude’s place over in Indian Creek?” Now remember, practice makes perfect.

As you navigate the fair streets of Levittown please be advised to mind the potholes. There should be one every six feet. With your new grasp of Levittown dialect you will now be able to locate a seedy mechanic which you’ll need to have your front end repaired after driving these roads. Trust me.

Oh but watch out, any time you drive through a residential area you will undoubtedly nearly run over a minimum of three children. Don’t honk the horn, it only makes the angry. These wild creatures can be found just about anywhere as their territory can span from the basketball net on the curb in front of the house (because the safest place for children to play is most definitely the street) to the nearest Wawa and baseball field. These specimens are highly volatile, prone to swearing, throwing balls, rocks, or as typical ignoring your presence as you to pass them riding down the middle of the road on their ten speed. Their numbers tend to decrease with age due to school and jail. Try not to slow down too much as you pass though, it gives them a chance to grab onto your bumper, tiny fists locking around metal as they trail you on skateboards. Again, this is where a good mechanic can come in handy.

All that traveling must have made you hungry, so you’ll surely want to stop in somewhere for a quick bite. The best food can be found at the sports bars as they are the pinnacle of cultured refinery in these parts. As every Levittowner knows if you can’t walk out after a meal with a six pack, the place is clearly a slum. So stop wherever you are and look around, chances are you’re within thirty feet of one or more bars. Now use what I taught you and approach the nearest stranger and demand, “Yo, where can I get some wings and beer man?” Before you actually enter the establishment be forewarned that patrons don’t take kindly to outsiders. To be truly Levittown you need not only to talk, but dress the part. For men be sure to wear your hair short, although it will be difficult to tell tucked under the requisite Phillies hat. Ripped or dirty pants with double layered t-shirts cuffed at the sleeves are the traditional dress. Neck tattoos are also a must.  And if you’re a lady be sure your entire outfit is two sizes too small. Tramp stamps and tongue rings only enhance your demure beauty. Your hair should be pulled back into a ponytail tight enough that you feel physical pain and the back should be scrunched. This is accomplished by squeezing the strands while still damp and unleashing a full can of hairspray onto it. This will ensure your hair remains immobile even in the unlikely event of a hurricane. Now that you’re in you’ll need to know what to order, wings or cheese steaks will be your best bet for a delicious and nutritious meal. If you’re looking for anything organic, vegetarian, or any vegetable or fruit, may I suggest you leave town. Quickly. On to beverages, don’t expect to find iced tea or a diet Coke, there are no such things as designated drivers as everyone lives within walking distance, even the bartender. Asking for wine selections will ensure you get mugged before you can say Pinot Grigio so stick to beer. Choices are But, Miller, and Yeungling, and since carding leads to less beer sales it is an outdated practice so be sure to tell junior to drink up. Once you’re finished there be sure to dump you to-go beers in someone’s front lawn. This is absolutely socially acceptable, empty out your car’s ash tray while you’re there.

Now that you’re back on the road, but wait- you see flashing lights behind you a hear screaming sirens. First of all, don’t panic, sirens are merely a background noise in this town, like birds singing, and horns honking. Like those other noises, the cause of them is completely ignorable, so don’t pay them any mind. No need for you to take time out of your busy schedule to pull your car over to let these guys through. Who do they think they are anyway? They’re probably just on their way to arrest your best friend’s sister, the ‘dancer’, or barge into the meth den next to in hopes of making an arrest. Please note, this never, ever happens.

Of course, now that you’ve been here you’ll for sure want to make your stay permanent. No need for realtors, one hundred fifty thousand in cash will do just fine. All the weak of heart highfalutins are moving out anyway since things have gotten ‘too ghetto’. Moving in at this point ensures that all your new neighbors are of high status in the Trenton Bloods. Some key home owning practices include decorating your house at the holidays to rival that of the Griswold’s. This is Christ’s birthday, your neighbors can sleep in January. This is the time when you unplug that glorious, glimmering, rainbow spectacle and stow the lawn reindeer in the front bushes. Why take down lights that took you three weeks to put up? Another thing, don’t feel an urge to mow your lawn with regularity. Only once your Labrador stops being visible when he goes out to use the bathroom is it time for a trim. While you’re at it, just rolls the mower over the cracks in the driveway to get the grass growing there too. Edging is for the richies who can afford to pick up Jorge and Miguel at the local Home Depot. It is also crucial that you have minimal interaction with your neighbors. They’re way too loud, have an absurd number of children, and always park in front of your house. Be sure to in turn, make a lot of noise, have just as many unruly children and park in their yard. The only chances of a block party here are if one of your houses burns down. Then be sure to wake all the kids to go outside and watch. Deterring the police and fire units are always fun.

Not all is fun and games for Levittowners though. As a resident you’ve got a very important job to do. Voting, and rooting for the Eagles. Both seasons kick off at about the same time. This is marked by green beer, Eagles jerseys on sale at the supermarket and men in suits roaming your neighborhood. Ah-ah, but down that broom. These fellas aren’t Jehovah’s Witnesses, they’re politicians. They too, live here and if they could just have a moment of your time, would like to speak to you about your voting preferences. This is a much shorter speech than that of your fate in the kingdom of heaven and is thus acceptable. Chances are you’re related to one of these smarmy men so be sure to put at least one sign with their name on it, per square foot of land in your front yard. Also be aware voting for them is totally optional. Game day attendance however is not. Don’t worry about prior commitments because everything in town will pretty much be shut down. Only the state stores and supermarkets will being doing business and the game will even be on there should you run out of Mike’s Hard Lemonade or ranch dip. Keep in mind this is a one religion town, any evidence of you supporting another team will have you deemed a witch and burnings will ensue. To prevent this from happening watch every game, travel to the Linc at least once a year, getting thrown in the stadium’s jail is a plus for then you will be with your own kind, men with beer guts painted green and black, bird heads tattooed on their arms, reeking of beer and chanting every other word of the fight song.

Made it through all that? Congratulations, you’re officially a Levittowner. No we’ll need you name and finger print, we’re booking you and taking you downtown.


Comments

if this is levittown i don't even want to see the short and surly tale of croydon. god i love a good shit show. :)