Monday, October 11, 2010

Eee by gum!

I was standing outside the McAnnalley Takeaway the other day, waiting for the chips for our Sunday lunch when I noticed something interesting about the pavement. It was literally covered with dried up, old blobs of chewing gum.  I'm a relatively deep thinker and began to ponder the significance of this. I'm guessing that a large amount of the gum had lay there since the shops were built way back in the 20th Century. It would probably need a scientist and a carbon dating kit to confirm this. I'm really intrigued. If only gum could talk - think of all the stories it could tell. There are so many questions I want answered. Who was it that spat it out onto the footpath? How long had they chewed it? Did they blow bubbles with it? What history lessons could the gum teach us? Who has walked over it? What colour was it originally? What became of the original gum chewers?  Are they still alive? Had only one person chewed the gum or had the same piece been shared around a group of kids? Confession: When I was a little kid I once resorted to scraping some fresh gum off the kerb and giving my jaw a bit of a workout before I swallowed it. Now that's recycling at its best!

All very haunting thoughts, but there is one thing that really started bugging me. The takeaway shop is in a block which has a dairy on the corner (for the non-NZ readers, a "dairy" is a corner shop that sells milk, bread, candy, lotto tickets and adult magazines wrapped in plastic). It seems to me that the dairy is the obvious place to buy gum so why would there be so much gum art surrounding the shops? It doesn't make sense. If you've only just bought the stuff, why would anyone spit it out right after buying it?

Speaking of gum art, I've just read that there was a guy in London mysteriously turning old gum into works of art. He was a "gum-guerilla", a phantom, and nobody knew who was doing it for a while. He could have been any "homeless guy" squatting down, inspecting the asphalt.  Now here's someone who speaks my language! He can see the beauty in the ugly and has produced brilliant masterpieces such as this:

Sadly, the rest of London didn't see the merit of his works. It took a while to find him but he was actually arrested for it. Now I think that's much more disgusting than gum on my shoe.

It was the first day of a new term back at work today and my head was still swimming with all these questions when I was in Mr Wi's class. Some kids were googling "How do aeroplanes and birds fly?" and my curiousity peaked.  I wanted to know what exactly keeps an aeroplane from dropping out of the sky because if you ask me, that's just not normal. Some of the boys tried to explain things about engineering and such but I have ovaries so can't possibly get my head around any of that stuff.

"Okay," I interjected "how does a bumblebee fly? It has a fat body and tiny little wings. It just can't do it."
"But it does Miss"
"I dunno, it just DOES!"
"Well what about ants then?"
"Errr....Miss? Ants don't fly."
"Yeah, well how come if I were to fall off a cliff I'd just go *SPLAT*! But if a tiny ant falls off a desk it just keeps going? And what about a car driving off a bridge bursting into flames while a hotwheels car falling off the shelf is fine?"
"Errrr.....Miss? Aren't YOU supposed to teach US things?"
Fair point.

Being the first day back at school meant that the technicians have been upgrading the school computer system again so during the forty minutes I was waiting to log on (I'm not exagerating. It really did take forty minutes!) I turned to Smiley and asked her what she thought about the gum. "Why is there more gum on the pavement outside the dairy and takeaway shop than anywhere else?" Smiley rebooted her computer for a second time and thought for a moment. Then it came to her. "Clearly the chewers arrived at the dairy with their gum and bought a pie, so they had to spit it out. Or maybe they bought chocolate." Of course, how obvious. This is why Smiley is in charge of the laminator while I only get to staple scrap paper into notepads.

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