Thursday, June 12, 2008

a week of summer scars.

Running at 7:30 a.m. around the LSU lakes. As I am rounding a curve in the lake, a gigantic gold SUV plows around the same curve, but he's headed toward me. Thinking he does not see me and because he is SPEEDING, I get over into the wet grass to run, slip, fall, scrape up the palms of both hands, my right shoulder, both knees, my right shin, get a bruise on my right hip, and there's blood. Thanks, asshole.

Has this guy not heard about the triathlete who was just killed while riding his bike on River Road? Why is he speeding around the lakes - on a residential street where ALL DAY LONG people run, walk, bike??? I get a lot of adrenalin after the fall, and I run while working out my anger. I decide that rather than stay mad at the individual SUV-driving-speed-demon, I really should be angry at the institution that is Louisiana State University. If you're going to tout your nice campus and lakes, you should provide a decent running/walking/biking path. What? You can't dedicate like .3% of your athletic funds to a path??

I go home, put the dogs in the car to take to the vet, and Ruby gets so excited she cannot contain herself. She shits in the passenger seat. I pull over, clean it all up. We get back in the car, get to the vet, and. Drum roll. The vet's office is closed.

Choking child at kickball game. I give a three-year-old the Heimlich maneuver. I am so disturbed that I have insomnia all night.

I go to a spinning class at the Y downtown. I get so excited about finding a parking spot so fast that I bolt out of the car and to the Y, forgetting to load quarters into the meter. And I had specifically put change into my purse before heading to the Y. I get a parking ticket.

Later, c. and I load his truck with boxes we have packed up for the move. We take them over to his parents' house to store until the actual move. On the drive to his parents, I think back to the music that played during my spin class. I wonder aloud what ever happened to Ricky Martin. c. is having trouble remembering the song "La Vida Loca." I remind him of the lyrics, and he interrupts abruptly to command: "Never sing that song to me again." I laugh and tell him, "Girls like that song." "I am not a girl," he answers.

When we finish unloading boxes, we go eat some dinner. When we get home, our neighbor bolts out of his house to tell us that two thirteen-year-olds (or that's how old they looked according to the neighbor) broke into our backyard in perfect daylight not five minutes after we'd driven off. They tried to steal the scooter c. borrowed from a friend. He's been driving it to work to save on gas money.

(According to the cops, and conveyed to us by our neighbor, dealers are paying kids twenty bucks a pop to steal scooters because it's an easier way to deal. They load up the seats, deal and then discard the scooters.)

The kids have screwed up the ignition switch and kick stand pretty badly. Apparently, it happened sort of like this: One neighbor sees two kids park their bikes outside of our fence and sees them get into the yard. She sees another neighbor across the street and alerts him. One of them calls the police. Then a third neighbor starts yelling, "GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE!" and scares the kids who bolt out of the yard. One takes off on his bike; the other takes off on foot. The husband of the woman who first saw the kids gets home. He and the shouting neighbor get in their trucks and CHASE the two kids down over many blocks. One kid gets away, and the other, they follow home. He runs right into the lap of his mother.

I think the neighbors get some sick thrill out of scaring "these two black kids." Because, they just turn around and drive home. If I had chased two kids down and saw one land in his mother's arms, I would have walked right up to her and said, "DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR CHILD HAS BEEN DOING THIS EVENING?" Otherwise, what's the point? Hell hath no fury like a pissed off mother.

The neighbor also reports that the cops show up with another "little black kid" and ask if he is one of the kids. "No," they have to disappoint. He's not one of them. The neighbor then explains how the cop scares the shit out of the kid they'd picked up many blocks away and when they let him go, they don't bother taking him back to where they found him. The neighbor has some demonic delight twirling around in his eyes as he relays this all. Great, I think. If he wasn't a punk-ass-thief before, he will be now. He gets to go tell his friends how the asshole cops picked him up and shouted, "WE SAW YOU DO IT. YOU SEE THAT," (cop points up to roof of house) "THAT'S A VIDEO CAMERA." I mean, why not get into trouble if you're going to be accused no matter what?

Regardless of all the details, and the weird excited way our neighbor talks about chasing the "two little black kids down" just after he tells his wife, "Get your pregnant ass inside!" (so romantic), I do feel violated and frustrated. I see these kids walking up and down the street all day when I'm working at home. Teenagers with not an ounce to do during summer vacation except to scope out houses they can rob. What are you supposed to do? Tell them to piss off and stop staring into people's yards? Tell them, "You're not welcome here. Go home." Tell them, "Go find something productive to do in this god-forsaken-town where there is nothing available to do if you're not of a particular income level?" I mean, where are the public pools? I don't know. Maybe I am totally naive.

I just thought of what to tell them: Go shoplift at the mall. Steal from the man if you're gonna steal. Maybe not. They'd need adequate public transportation to get to the mall in the first place.

Nothing terrible has happened today. In fact, c.'s Puerto Rican friend from grad school is getting into town today for a wedding, and I can't wait to see him.

I also met with the editors of Country Roads today. I decided that, no matter how busy and unfocused moving is making me, I should get in a few last freelance articles before I head off to Austin. So I'm doing one for Country Roads and one for Sweet Tooth too.


I've heard this notion that just before you go to bed you should remind yourself of three good things that happened to you during the day. It's supposed to dramatically improve your mental health, and there's some scientific study behind it. Since all I did is whine in this entry, I'll think of three good things that have happened this week.

1. The Country Roads editors liked both of the story ideas I pitched, and I realized, to my delight, how much pitching a story is about the art of bullshitting.

2. I started working with a trainer again, and in the place I am training there is a trainer who looks like Iron Chef Michael Symon and also like he could have once been a bouncer at a circa 1982 punk bar. The trainer I am working with, a young guy, was telling a story about how, four or five years ago, he accidentally got caught up in a mosh pit when he saw some girl get punched and went to help her. The Michael Symon trainer commented, in all seriousness, "Mosh pits are a dead art." He is probably between 38-40, and when he said it, I thought: That dude knows exactly what he is talking about. He is so outside of my stereotype of what a trainer should be that my day was completely made

3. While I was packing up my office, I started reading old high school notes. In one, a friend asked, "Have you ever melted gum on the radiator?" She described picking old gum stuck to the bottom of desks, putting it onto the radiator and how it gets gooey in a matter of seconds. She ended the note with, "I can't really think of anything else to say." Reading these notes made me remember how bored I always felt in high school and how bored all of my friends seemed to be. And today, I think they are some of the most interesting people I know. The girl who wrote about the gum is an artist, a painter. Another friend is an actress. Two friends are producers. I guess I am a writer. Those are some pretty interesting paths to take considering how bored everyone used to be. No? I guess bored people learn how to make their own fun in the world.

Oh. A fourth good thing worth mentioning:
4. I am really glad that my neighbors were all so on the ball and observant about the little thieves. It might not seem so, but I am really appreciative.

SONGS: Cruel Summer, Bananarama and La Vida Loca, Ricky Martin

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