Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Pull of the Moon

So, on my way in to the parking lot to order a birthday cake at the grocery store, a woman made me slam on my brakes by pulling out in front of me. Then, she proceeded to give me the finger. I honked. She gave me the double finger. I honked some more. She shook the double fingers.

Very mature, don't you think?

Oh, it gets better. Then, I decided the cake could wait and I followed her for five or six blocks. She didn't like that. Guess what? More fingers, but never more than one on each fist at a time. Then, she got on the phone. I got a little nervous.

Is it illegal to follow an arrogant driver for five or six blocks?

When I approached a sign that said 'One lane only - expect delays,' I peeled off and went back to my regularly scheduled programming.

I realized how stupid I'd been as I calmed down a bit. There are arrogant drivers everywhere. It makes no sense to engage with them. Some of them are downright dangerous. This one was.

Then, dropped off Nick at karate and went to the library. Guess what?

There was a guy in a pink sweater and brown corduroy pants dancing, kicking, and cursing at the entrance to the library. I got back into my car and sat there for a bit.

'Well, crap,' I thought. 'Do I have a right to hang out at the library or not?'

So, I went and sat my butt down right at the entrance and read my book. I'm reading 'FBI Girl' by Maura Conlon-McIvor. I like this book. It reminds me of Bill Bryson's 'Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.'

It didn't take long for the pink sweater dancer to curse his way past me again. I held my ground, though I made eye contact with a couple of mothers scurrying past dragging their children a little faster than their tiny feet could go. Pink sweater dancer was cursing God, insisting to the air to his left that he had every right to tell God to 'fuck off.' He slipped into the library.

Curious and angry, I gathered my things, got up, and went inside. I was not in the mood to give up ground today. The library should feel like a safe place to go, as should the streets, so I patrolled, my phone in my hand, ready to dial for help if pink sweater dancer harassed anyone.

Then, I got distracted by the rows and rows of books. I looked for 'A Song for Julia,' a book a friend had just finished. No dice. I looked for a new audio book and found 'Letting Go' by Philip Roth, an author another friend is always pushing. I'm half through 'A Canticle for Leibowitz' by Walter M. Miller Jr. and I don't want to get stuck without anything to listen to as I do dishes. I ambled along, looking at titles that were recommended. I touched other books, tried to keep myself from checking out yet another title since I was in the middle of 'FBI Girl,' at the beginning, really. Then, I headed to the checkout computers.

Two police officers were gently drawing pink sweater dancer out the door. My irritation rose again and after I checked out Philip Roth, I went over to the Information Desk.

"Do you happen to know of a forum to discuss the safety of people going in an out of the library here? I've seen the police here five or six times in the last ten times I've come. I'm getting uncomfortable with it and I'd like to know what's being done to address the problem."

The librarians were helpful. They listened to me, made some suggestions, and gave me an address at the library where I could send my concerns. I'll probably write that letter. I don't want to give up coming to this library, but I'm getting a real sense that it's going to belong to the crazies soon, or maybe it already does. It pisses me off.

About then, Mike texted me and said he was ordering our usual from the pizza joint and could I pick it up. I could, I texted back.

At the pizza place, when I signed for a single pizza, I was confused. I told the guy I wasn't sure what 'our usual' was since my son had been asking for different stuff lately. He handed me a single pizza box and asked me to sign the slip. The bill came to $26!

"That's a lot for just one pizza," I told the cashier. He checked the bill and nodded his head. He asked my first name and I told him. He nodded and showed another cashier how my order had been confused with another one.

A tall blond woman came in and waited patiently while the two cashiers tried to work out my problem. The first cashier asked for my last name and I told him. He showed me the pizza. It had onion on it.

"My husband would never have ordered onion. He can't eat onion," I said. He looked at the computer again.

"Can you tell me your name again?" he said.

"That's my order," the polite woman said, leaning forward just a bit and looking at the onion on the pizza.

The second cashier looked at the polite blond woman and smiled as if to ask her to wait her turn. I told the first cashier my name.

"That's my name too!" the polite blond woman said.

"Well, it's nice to meet you," I said and held out my hand. She shook it and we all laughed.

When Nick got done with karate and we got home safely with our pizzas, I was relieved somehow.

"Did you know it was a blue moon tonight?" Mike asked as we walked up the stairs.

"Yeah," I said, "and in another universe, I have a dented car, the wrong pizza for the right name and I danced with the pink sweater guy at the library."

"What?" Mike said.

I swear, Mike will never understand me.

Thank you for listening, jules

Monday, August 12, 2013

Under the House

I hope my friend won't mind if I steal her status for you:

"Crazy comes in all forms... I just hope it doesn't show up on my doorstep someday."

I wanted to tell her that crazy lives under house and comes up through the floor as a nag and a temper tantrum. Crazy screeches around you on the interstate and gives you the finger. Crazy boxes you in in the parking lot and yells at you in the library. Crazy sneaks in at 4:18 in the morning when you've realized the mistake you can't undo. Crazy is there, always silently waiting outside your door. But crazy is  deep inside your own soul. Crazy is there too, just beyond the darkness.

When you're lucky, or maybe just smart, kindness rules and crazy becomes the injured and ignored child that you were, when you needed someone most and he didn't come along until you were twenty-six years old and you had nearly given up. And at that moment, you could look at the top of his head and know that this is a kind man, and that maybe, between the two of you, you could keep crazy at bay, outside, on the road where crazy belongs.

Thank you for listening, jules

Saturday, August 3, 2013


I don't believe in housekeepers.

Oh, they exist. They seriously exist. I just don't believe that people should hire people to clean their shit.

The basic problem with hiring people to clean your shit is that it's your shit and when someone else cleans it, you tend to start thinking that you're better than they are. After all, why else would you be good enough that you can leave your shit all over the place if you weren't seriously more important than the ones who clean up their own shit, not to mention the ones who clean up their own shit and your shit too. 

The problem I have is that all the people at the resort where we stayed were of separate classes. If they were young (and beautiful) and from the forty-eight states, i.e., Caucasian, they were making espressos or working at a cash register or behind a desk where they could sit there and smile at us. The management hired a few good looking Hawaiians, i.e., Caucasian-looking, to gather towels and greet people at the door. If they were a more traditional Hawaiian or, God forbid, Philippine, Mexican, or otherwise immigrant with an accent, they were supposed to be invisible and pick up palm leaves and plumeria petals from the grounds at 6:00 am or show up to clean your room after you've dirtied breakfast dishes and vacated to lie on chaise lounges by the pool. You've left socks on the floor, piles of sand where your kids took off their bathing suits yesterday, and bits of toothpaste gumming up the bathroom counter and sink. When you return, you notice that the beds have been made, but unless there's a grain of sand on the floor that irritates your foot, you pay no attention to the fact that the dishes are done, the garbage has been emptied, and your towels are fresh. Your shit has been cleaned and you weren't supposed to see that it was a person who cleaned it. 

So, what about dining out? What about vacations? What about when you're sick? Oh, it's not easy. It's nice having a break from cleaning up your own shit. It really is.

I guess my idea is that all of us deserve that kind of break, so if someone has a job of working in a restaurant and can still afford to take two weeks off each year to go somewhere beautiful and have other people clean up their shit for a while, then it doesn't sound so bad. But if some people get to have it all and the rest are stuck with the shit all day every day, then it's not a good plan.

The other thing was that I did see the housekeeping staff and I would have liked to see them of mixed races, not just Hawaiians and recent immigrants.

Oh, who am I kidding? I started reading 'Eddie Would Go' by Stuart Coleman. The beginning of the book tells about how the Hawaiians were persecuted, how their culture was forbidden, how they were made to clean up shit for the white folks. It talks about treatment of the recent immigrants too.

And there I was participating in all that by going to a resort for a week-long vacation. It's confusing, you know? I wanted a break from cleaning up everyone's shit. I was willing to pay for a break, but there I was, being served by the ones whose culture I came to experience. I didn't want slaves. I wanted to feel a part of a tribe, or at least to watch and admire it for a while. I didn't mind picking up my own socks.

Thank you for listening, jules

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Complaining in Paradise

How can I complain in a place as beautiful as Hawaii?

Oh, I can complain.

We missed the fire dancing show tonight and there isn't another one until after we leave.

I don't like the chairs around our dining table. They're hard to scootch forward.

Nick is still sick and he's a bit of a bear too. We've had a number of talks about having a decent attitude toward people even when you're sick, especially when he reminded me of people I stopped being friends with years ago because they were snooty.

I want to go out to eat. Oh, this kitchen is really nice and I like that we've saved some money by eating in, but I'm tired of eating in. I'm tired of sitting around in this villa. Yes, I said that. Am I spoiled? Yes, I'm spoiled. If Nick absolutely had to be sick, it was good it was in such a nice place. Plus, the Hawaiian breakfast sandwiches were great! Hickory flavored SPAM! Oh, right, complaining. I'll get back to the complaining.

I have to get up in the morning for our kayaking adventure, but I can't sleep!

Last complaint, I promise.

Tomorrow is our last day! We're not going to get to do everything. I hate when there are so many things that we still want to do and we've run out of time. In order to fit it all in, we'll have to kayak, see turtles, find a fire dance show, paddle board, shop, eat out, and head over to that historic town to see what's historic about it. Oh, and I want to see lava even though Mike said that lava is on another island and it isn't erupting right now.

Don't you hate when you get near the end of an amazing vacation and you already start to mourn going home before the amazing vacation is over? I hate that too.

Thank you for listening, jules