Every day for the last seven days, it rained. Every day for the next seven days, it's going to rain. Today is sunny and 80. So ChinchillaBoy and I decided to walk our doggy Sparky today.
It is early evening. We walk up and down our new street, talking about our day. I say "our new street" because we just moved here less than a year ago. It is a small dead-end street filled with small, old houses. We only know a handful of people here so far. This is different from our old street, where everyone was always outside, working in their gardens, or taking a stroll down the street in the evening. I knew everybody and everybody knew me. I miss that. This new street is always empty. No one walks their dogs and no one cares about their garden enough to actually work in it. Three of the houses are up for sale.
As ChinchillaBoy and I walk briskly down our street, we hear someone calling from a house we just passed. Finally, a neighbor talking to us, about time!
The man opens his front door to yell, "Come pick up your dog's shit!", slams the door, and disappears inside his house.
We're puzzled. We walked past that house so fast, Sparky couldn't have even gone #1. Still, the neighbor sounded angry enough, and I don't have a man to defend me anymore. I don't want any trouble. So we come back. I pull a grocery bag out of my pocket, bend over, and pick up some random dog's poop. We toss the bag into a garbage bin on the street corner, and continue walking. But it no longer feels the same. The mood is gone. We go back home.
We've all had those. You know, when something happens at your work or in your group of friends, and all of a sudden you realize how easily you could walk out of this job, out of this group of friends, and never see these people again?
Sometimes, though, it creeps up on you, rather than strike you like a lightning. Like I used to hang out with this group of people for ten years. A year ago, a few of us got together at a bar to celebrate one of the girls' birthday. It was right after I separated from Mr. Goldie. Everyone in the group was totally accepting of me. They were even giving me dating advice. So, we're all talking, beer is flowing, when one of the guys says to me:
"There's just one thing you need to know - if you go out with a black guy - that's it for you. No white guy will want you after that."
Being a programmer, I was curious about the logistic of it all:
"How're they going to find out?"
He looked at me earnestly. "News travel fast."
I'm standing there, still trying to process what I just heard - is it still the twenty-first century or have I somehow hopped into a time machine and caught a ride back? - when my friend offers these parting words:
"Don't you worry. There are plenty of white guys that are hung, too."
By then, it was midnight, and I had to work the next day, so I left. I don't remember thinking anything pompous on the way home, like "I will never associate with these people again, I swear!" But somehow, I cannot bring myself to go out with that group again. I've tried a few times, and I just can't. I've given up trying. Good-bye, group.
Or take my church. Thirteen years I was a member of this church.
Then, as I wrote a few posts ago (which was actually also two years ago), my younger son and I went to see Jesus Christ Superstar. We bought tickets through my son's eighth-grade Sunday School class, so we sat with like forty people from our church. Two rows full of my fellow church members, the priest and his wife in the center, parish council members next to them, and so on and so forth, all the way down to ChinchillaBoy and myself sitting next to the aisle.
By that time, ChinchillaBoy had proclaimed himself an atheist and stopped going, but I was on the fence still. I would say to myself, I've been in this church for so long. My kids grew up here. I have friends here. A social life. How can I walk out on all this? But back to the show. So we're sitting there watching Jesus Christ Superstar, and the kid who played Judas was absolutely amazing. I mean, really it was a young kid, a short scrawny young guy, and he was an absolute genius. The singing, the acting, he was excellent in every way. His name's James DeLisco. So, finally, the show ends and it's the curtain call.
James DeLisco comes out and the audience goes totally batshit. He gets a standing ovation. Except in our two rows, everyone's sitting.
I look at my fellow Sunday School teachers and I see something odd. They're doing like these little motions with their butts. They're lifting their butts an inch or two out of their chairs, then bringing them down again. What the hell? And then I realize. They want to give James a standing ovation, too, but they're afraid to stand up in front of the priest and parish council, because it's Judas.
You don't stand up for Judas.
So of course, I stood up. So did ChinchillaBoy. And, two minutes later, so did half the people in my row.
After that, I had no problem leaving this church. I cannot explain to you exactly why, but I suddenly no longer cared if I'd see those people ever again, or not.
I'd like to close with a profound bit of wisdom, but I don't have any. You can youtube Delisco or something, if you'd like.
This kills me. Every book I've read lately, to prove his deep, philosophical point, the author has to kill a dog. I've been reading Slaughterhouse Five today, great book, but then what does Vonnegut do? He kills, not one, but two dogs. Terrible.
The guy I dated last summer, gave me a copy of his favorite book. It's called A Straight Man, it's rated 4.5 on Amazon, and it's boring as hell. Feel free to skip the rest of this paragraph, as it contains spoilers. The book's characters all work in the English department of a low-rating university. Throughout the book, they all worry about the upcoming layoffs, which, in the end, do not happen. Also throughout the book, the main character cannot take a piss, which, by the end, he does. What a page-turner.
So what does the author do to kick the action up a notch? He kills a dog. A lovable, goofy, trusting canine. My favorite character in that whole book, by the way.
I swear to God, one day, I'll be a published writer and I will write a book where no dogs die. The hump, they frolick, they chew on random household objects, and they all manage to remain alive. Or else, what a novel idea, there won't be any dogs in the book, so, none will die. Because I'll be so famous by then, the book will come out, in spite of it violating an honored literary tradition. People will read it and they will be all like, Hey! How come no dogs are dead? What a letdown. I want my money back! And I will be all, Go fuck yourselves. And, while you're doing it, may a rabid dog bite each one of you where it hurts the most.
Seriously, at the rate fictional dogs are dying, they'll be an endangered species soon enough. There have to be better ways to make a point.
In our writing class they say: "write about something you know, something that really happened to you". But none of this happened to me. It just occurred outside of myself somewhere as I watched, amused. So I shouldn't probably submit this story to my writing class.
It all started in a Thai restaurant. I was on a date. The place was on this street that's great for people-watching, if you get a table by the window. We got a table in a corner by some giant plant. So I sipped my white wine and stared at the plant, while my date looked at me.
"I find it extraordinary," he said, "the way, when you and I sit across the table like this, sparks fly!" And he poured himself another glass of white.
I looked around the room and thought about my dog Sparky. We did call him Sparks at home. What if he really could fly? He'd probably have this look on his face that is a mixture of extreme surprise, fear and excitement. Where would Sparky fly to? As he sits in our yard and stares at the sky, what places does he dream of? Where does he want to go?
"Love that smile on your face," said my date.
Which brought me to the matter at hand. Today, I wanted to tell him that it was over. It was not working at all. I'd been planning to do this for a while, but didn't know how to say it to him. He looked so happy right now, like a flying dog.
One time on a hike, I sat down and I heard, A moth and a flower were having a word. The moth said, "I'm not that attracted, you see, You're just another blue flower to me. I was flying through the woods, I was hungry and beat. You looked like a good place to rest and to eat. You know the red rose? That's where I'd rather be, But she's too selective, she'll never have me. So let's keep it simple, and let's keep it plain - I eat here, I rest here, I eat here again. It's easy and perfect, so why complicate? Open up, by the way. It's about time I ate."
The flower just stood there, not making a sound. A few of its petals fell down to the ground. I got up and went back home to my family. They're just some kids and a dog, but they care about me.
I stopped writing two years ago for a variety of reasons. Mostly, too many people IRL knew about this blog. When I realized I was getting three hits a day from Mr.Goldie's best friend's wife, I quit posting. Thing is, I had too much crap going on to share it freely with my real-life friends and colleagues.
I'm pretty anonymous now, as far as I can tell.
No one will probably read this, but so what.
I won't be moving to Wordpress, because I can't afford to pay for this thing. Ever since Mr. Goldie and I went our separate ways a year ago, I've been on a budget.
Being on a budget is not as bad as it sounds. That's how most of this country lives.
The kids and I lived in an apartment for a while. I liked it; they didn't. After I failed at getting my apartment management to allow Sparky to live with us, I bought a house. The downpayment ate all my savings, but it's totally worth it. My monthly payments are in fact the same amount as my rent used to be. It's a tiny, cheap house. It's perfect for our small family.
I have pretty colorful neighbors on my one side. The neighbors on my other side are selling. They got old and had to move in with their kids, as they cannot live on their own anymore.
A few more things happened over these two years. I left church; I went to the 2009 Mensa AG and loved it - will be going again this year; LilProgrammer is going to college this fall and is getting a shitload of merit awards! Full tuition and a small part of room and board. How bout that?
I took an online writing class and graduated with a recommendation for an advanced course. Still saving up for it. Nothing published yet, though.
I have very cool kids. I'm not going to be writing a whole lot about them, but they're pretty awesome.
I will post pictures if I ever find my flickr pasword.