Friday, July 24, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Soda and Cat Food

Nearly every time I go to the grocery store, any grocery store-- I am not too loyal there-- I see at least one other customer with a very limited selection in their cart.  I have conducted only a very informal survey, but this appears to be a Gob Zone phenomenon.  About 75% of the time the only thing this shopper has in the cart is soda.  20-oz. 6-packs of soda, usually Mountain Dew.  What does this say?  "I drink Mountain Dew for breakfast, lunch, and dinner" or, "My food budget is really tight, so all I could afford today was Mountain Dew."  ?  Another thing about these single-item shoppers: they put the soda IN the cart, whereas the multi-item shoppers who but the 20-oz. 6-packs will generally hook the soda over the top edge of the cart, so there is more room in the cart for other things.  Like food.
The other single-item shoppers are in search of cat food, lots and lots of it.  This example also touches on the great affection many people in the Gob Zone lavish on their pets, but I am not prepared to blog about that.  Yet.  Anyway, why isn't cat food just included in the regular grocery shopping along with other things like shampoo, food, laundry detergent, and... soda?

Monday, June 15, 2009


Today is Junk Day, one of my favorite Gob Zone traditions.  The official term is something like, "large item pick-up/ trash collection".  Whatever.  It's JUNK DAY!  This is the day we all put out our broken chairs, old mattresses, waterlogged coffee tables, well-used baby equipment, and rusted grills.  I talked about it with my neighbor for weeks beforehand this year in great anticipation.  Plus, they moved the date, so we had to wait longer than usual to unload all our debris-- I mean, large items.  
I used to be a junker.  But I wasn't really deep into it, just scored a toy tractor for the kids and a rocking chair from my other neighbor.  I knew junking wasn't for me when that broken rocker sat out on my porch for a year, waiting to be fixed.  I put it out for the next Junk Day and that was the end of it.  I don't even look twice at Junk anymore, unless I happen to drive by it a lot.  This year I didn't pick up anything.  
You sometimes see older men driving around in older trucks with temporary "walls" extending upward from the truck's bed.  This must be so the truck can hold more of the large items these guys find so interesting; these vehicles have got loads of patio furniture, baker's racks, old TVs, lamps, bikes, suitcases, lumber, scrap metal, and old windows all piled up.  What fun!  I have no idea where they take this stuff or how useful it could be, but I know there must be someone out there who is better than me when it comes to broken chairs.  I love this tradition!! 
People even put their things out early, and in a little bit of a display fashion, so the junkers will see it and stop to check out the goods.  This is a great system, a win/win.  People get to clean out their garages or basements, other people get free stuff, and there is less garbage.  Fantastic.  I love secretly peeking out the window to see somebody stop and help themselves to my junk.  It's like I won a prize when something is hauled off and given a new life.
I'm pretty sure my neighbor put out a dresser today that we put out a year or two ago.   And I am still have two matching chairs in the basement that need to be fixed up.   They could be really nice.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The What Zone?

Not too long ago I posted a recipe for gob cake for my friends and family to enjoy. After reading their questions and remarks it became clear to me that not everyone knows about The Gob Zone. What is the Gob Zone? The Gob Zone is, by my definition, a particular slice of southwestern Pennsylvania with all its unique traits, one of them being a dessert called a gob. Though I may mention a gob here and there, this blog will mostly be about those other unique traits I have encountered over the last few years, as a spouse of someone who grew up in the Gob Zone. Call me an "embedded journalist", a "transplant" married to a "boomerang", a fly on the wall. I sometimes feel like Alice, saying, "Curiouser and curiouser!" Let's take a look at the Gob Zone.