Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Mucking Around

I have so much to complain about that I don't know where to begin. First of all, I finally got a break in my schedule and I'm not doing anything with it. Don't you hate that? I know it's okay if I watch a movie here and there, but I'm tired and I've been watching too much. Now, the TV is off, but I want to lie down and watch another one. I really do.

How are you supposed to know when it's fatigue and when it's simple procrastination?

And I need to clean my window screens. They're full of dead bugs and spider webs. There are some things about living with forest on three sides that makes life feel futile. No matter how many times I clean them off, the spiders just rebuild, as if I have just mucked out their stalls, thank you very much.

The sky is blue and I don't think we've had enough rain yet. It isn't supposed to rain until Friday and that night, I'm supposed to be going to a fundraising event that I think won't be my kind of thing. I don't know these people very well yet. I just don't. I don't feel comfortable. I want to say they aren't my kind of people, but that's not true. They're decent people who work hard and support the kids, but I feel out of my element. 

Coffee. Maybe a good cup of coffee would help. Maybe I would get to work. Maybe I would find that niche of friends within the fundraiser group. Maybe the spiders will just have to wait to have their stalls mucked out until another time.

Thank you for listening, jules

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Is Football Healthy?

Why did it have to be football?

I know that there are millions of football fans out there so bear with me. I know that most kids get through football safely. I know that he could go on to college with his brain intact. I know he's not likely to have lasting brain damage, but the concussions. There are so many concussions. Thirty percent of all NFL players will have permanent brain damage. How many from high school football?

Football is a violent sport. It's fun to watch, but why? The game is designed so that boys and men can run around and take each other down, a battle. Can you compare football players to gladiators? At least it's not to the death, but am I sacrificing my child to simple entertainment? This is the first time Nick will be doing something that draws more than just parents of the participants. People are going to stand around watching him mow other kids down. People pay the most attention when someone gets injured. That's when the game stops and everybody looks more closely. What do I remember about the year I dated a football fan and sat (and slept) through hours of football on television? I remember the instant replay of Joe Theismann's knee being jammed backward. That's pretty much it. Oh, I remember how fast Refrigerator Perry could run, but I remember that knee being turned inside out over and over and over until it nauseated me.

Football is a team sport. When Nick got good at karate, no one knew. It was expected that he stay quiet about it. He wasn't out in front of people, showing his skills. He just wasn't. Oh, I could brag now and then, but people don't know how dangerous his skills became. The whole philosophy was to stay quiet. In football, the better you are at mowing the opponent down, the louder we're supposed to scream.

Nick told me himself that being good at football might make him popular. He reassured me that it wouldn't change him.

Is it terrible of a mom not to want her child to be popular?

It is terrible. I know. I just think he'll be healthier if he isn't popular. I just want my boy to stay healthy. So sue me.

Thank you for listening, jules

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

That Crazy Lady in the Parking Lot

I yelled at a heroin addict yesterday.

Mike and I had stopped by the market after a beautiful walk at the falls with Teddy. The setting sun had made a rainbow in the spray and I found a Pacific treefrog that waited while I stared at his greenness. I was feeling good.

Then, on the way home, I realized that my dinner plan wasn't going to work since it was late, still summer light but a school night. We needed to stop.

Mike and I walked out of the store with a loaded cart, milk, bread, rice, a kielbasa, sour cream, sparkling water. As I wrestled my cart over a curb, a man appeared at the slot where the grocery carts belong. We wrestled with the cart too, but I knew not to speak to him.

First, there's a silhouette to a heroin addict, gaunt and hunched. Usually, a hat and heavy clothing cover bad hair and lesions on the skin. This one had both. He didn't walk as much as shuffle. If he had smiled, he might have had one or two teeth left, but I didn't smile at him. Heartless, I know. If I had come close, I might have smelled that chemical smell. Not a chance in hell. I won't go near that smell.

I've noticed that the fleshy woman who sells drugs at the library is nearly unrecognizable these days, thick dyed hair replaced by stringy gray hair and weight dropped to anorexic levels. I once went into the restroom at the library and she was there. The stench was overwhelming. I didn't even want to pee in there. I was afraid I might catch something.

This man could have been her new twin. He seemed short. I didn't want to meet his eyes. There is no soul in a heroin addict's eyes. He placed a heavy crate into the grocery cart and shuffled across the parking lot. He was headed out the lane when it hit me.

I get angry. Over and over other people, not me, have given them opportunities. You can call me a cold-hearted bitch now if you want. Lovely people offered cash for work to the 'homeless,' an honest day, a few dollars here and there, a free cup of coffee. Over and over these people have stolen despite their charity. The till was taken. The poor church was robbed. People have begun to carry their purses after services and warning others to do the same. I've been told the drug addicts only need a chance, some charity, a good turn, an offer of rehab.

These drug addicts don't want to be saved. They want their next hit. Quitting is hard. Their brains are rewired.

I stood in that parking lot, staring at the man stealing a grocery cart from a friend that owned the store. How much do those things cost? What kind of crap was getting all over it that I didn't want touching my groceries? Who the hell did he think he was?

I got mad.

"Hey! You!" I yelled. "You can't take that cart. That belongs here."

"Phil and Mona said I could." He shuffled a little bit closer to the road.

"No!" I shouted. "That cart belongs to Jim. That cart belongs here in the parking lot."

"But Phil and Mona said I could have it." He looked at me. I didn't look away. I usually look away. Drug addicted eyes have no depth. A wild animal's eyes have more depth.

"You need to leave that cart in the parking lot," I yelled, gathering steam. I rolled my cart toward his. Mike swept four bags of groceries out of our cart as I pushed by.

The man shifted his eyes away. He lifted his crate out of the cart. He scrabbled away. His crate looked heavy. He moved quickly across the street.

I nested his cart with mine and turned it back toward the store. There I tucked it in with the others. I put one foot on the automatic door to open it.

"There's a guy outside trying to take your carts."

"Who?" the cashier said. Customers, the cashier, and I looked at a man trying to hide around the corner of the building across the street. He still wanted his cart, but he knew we were looking.

"Okay, thanks," the cashier said.

Customers went back to their shopping after staring at me for a moment, not with awe, but with amusement, holding a certain distance.

I was the crazy lady that yelled at drug addicts in the parking lot. Great. This is the cost of drugs in the community. My future is cut out for me. That crazy lady.

Thank you for listening, jules

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Hell of Being a Football Mom

Can I complain for a minute? Can I? Isn't that what this is for, so I can complain without looking bad in front of my friends?

I'm not a football fan. I'm just not interested.

Now, my son is on the football team and I have to pretend I'm interested.

If only Nick had decided to really go after his black belt in karate. He's a brown belt now. He's lethal. I love watching Nick at his karate.

If only Nick had decided to paddle our canoe every day over the summer. I could walk around the lake or along the river four days watching him paddle a canoe.

If only Nick had an interest in music or art or wanted to swim the English Channel.

Why did it have to be football?

Since practice has started, I've been waiting for him in the stadium seats looking out over a sea of red jerseys. Which color socks did he wear today? Were his practice pants grey or black?

Oh, I can spot him in a sea of red jerseys. I can. He's the one at the back of the pack, one of the few that looks like he belongs in those shoulder pads I want to call a cage. Most of the other boys look like kids in costumes on the field. In the distance, without proper perspective, my boy looks like the classic football silhouette. He's not tall yet, but he's thick and, according to his coach, as strong as an ox.

But now I'm dedicated to watching him play.

The family was eating out the other day and there was a football game on the screens over Nick's head. Football. Of course.

I found myself looking for a guy with Nick's silhouette, following his moves, watching for signs of either injury or enthusiasm. I found myself watching each play for this NFL version of Nick. I kept worrying when he got hit hard. I kept wanting to ask him if he still loved the game after all these years.

Football is going to be hell.

Thank you for listening, jules