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June 28, 2008

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

On the eve before I depart, my mind is a chaotic storm of random thoughts racing around, but one melody rises above the rest. For days and days Iíve been thinking about this dog and her girl and the song that inspired.

Itís been something that only Ithaca can bring: a song Iíve never heard of followed by the song on the radio that I canít get out of my head and then a barrage of near misses with the girl and dog, leading to a completely coincidental run-in that belongs in the movies and in my column.

Itís been a series of weeks now, beginning with some of the worst pick up lines I have ever used, intentionally or unintentionally. The sad part is that I knew what I was doing before I did it and still went ahead with lines that should never be spoken, and strangely I was rewarded by witty comebacks and undeserved flattery.

The poorly framed non-pick-up left me contemplating something that wasnít and the image burned on my retina remained for days longer than it should have, coming unbidden to my sight at the strangest of times; some conversations replay over and over, like the chorus of a pop song, frustratingly repetitive and always with the same ending.

Within the conversation was an allusion to another song, one that I didnít know and didnít catch until the radio gods saw fit to grace me with knowledge. Eureka! The moment of epiphany, the chord resolved.

Then I had something, a new verse, but the band had long departed. I was looking everywhere for the girl and her dog, not that she would care about some guy she hardly knows hearing her song for the first time and wanting to share it, but the need was within me.

Itís Ithaca; happenstance is statistically improved, but I thought my window was closed when she walked outside of the restaurant where my mother, sister and I sat eating. Me with the song in mind and the dog in view and a burning desire to speak a few simple words.

After all had failed, picture me walking around like Chief Joseph ďI will ride and fight no more,Ē my head down and my spear tip pointed at the ground, I sat at the bar where I have sat 100 times before to order a beer, when next to me is the very objective of my subconscious existence: the origin of my mindís soundtrack sitting on the next barstool. Inconceivable, I was there for sound-checks; I should have seen her come in. I should have noticed her at the bar before walking over; I should have seen her before sitting down.

Unbidden, without forethought, an improvised second verse began, ďHey, you own Yoshimi!Ē And even though I would have wanted it to be a planned, seemingly accidental encounter, it was truly accidental. Sometimes itís better to be lucky than good; while my preference is to be good, Iím OK with being lucky when it silences the constant refrain in my head.

So this column goes out to the little puppy and the woman that owns her, with thanks to the Flaming Lips.

Her name is Yoshimi
she's a black belt in karate
working for the city
she has to discipline her body

'Cause she knows that
it's demanding
to defeat those evil machines
I know she can beat them

Oh Yoshimi, they don't believe me
but you won't let those robots eat me
Yoshimi, they don't believe me
but you won't let those robots defeat me

Those evil-natured robots
they're programmed to destroy us
she's gotta be strong to fight them
so she's taking lots of vitamins

'Cause she knows that
it'd be tragic
if those evil robots win
I know she can beat them

Oh Yoshimi, they don't believe me
but you won't let those robots defeat me
Yoshimi, they don't believe me
but you won't let those robots eat me

Yoshimi

'Cause she knows that
it'd be tragic
if those evil robots win
I know she can beat them

Oh Yoshimi, they don't believe me
but you won't let those robots defeat me
Yoshimi, they don't believe me
but you won't let those robots defeat me

Oh Yoshimi, they don't believe me
but you won't let those robots eat me
Yoshimi, they don't believe me
but you won't let those robots eat me

Yoshimi