Saturday, September 26, 2015
Mikayla leaned out of the school bus window.
"Ms. Wagner, is this your only job?" she asked, matter of factly.
"Do you go to another one after here?"
"No, Mikayla....I'm lucky...I only have to work at one job at a time...."
She nodded her head as if she was mulling over the concept of an adult that doesn't have to work day and night to survive.
"Mr. Roberts!!!!" another girl screamed, jutting her head through the window.
"Bye! Bye!" she yelled.
He smiled and waved.
Another head popped out of a window.
"BYE...daddy" the third said with a sneaky smile.
Mr. Robert's eyes widened as the bus pulled away and off to the Housing Authority apartments.
I read the email with a mix of sadness, frustration and extreme pissed-offness. It was from someone I've been antiquated with through activist stuff. It referred to your garden variety American Jew as a "Zionist" and was filled with vitriolic nonsense, knee-jerk anti-Semitic nonsense that was intended to school me in some way about the evils of those darn Jews and that my involvement with any of THEM made me one oppressive motherfucker. I needed a break. I stood in the shower when again, the metal ring that holds our shower curtain and surrounds our claw foot tub came crashing down around me. I climbed out, soaking wet while water sprayed everywhere, disguised my nudity and walked into the kitchen. I smelled electrical burning and noticed smoke, not steam, smoke billowing from the dishwasher. My phone was beeping with texts saying that both of my co-workers would not be at work tomorrow. I flipped the breaker and left the room, determined not to enter the back of the house for as long as possible.
I watched the video of a group of our students rapping and dancing around a community pool. I clicked it again, and again and again and again. It was infectious, cool, and a song about the joy and ease of making friends. It is quickly becoming an internet sensation.
I stood on the corner of the autobahn in front of the school at seven-something in the morning, trying to help kids survive the morning Frogger game of dodging cars in the crosswalk. The mysterious station wagon that is definitely up to something nefarious came wheeling through again, its incredibly wide bulk filling the street, tinted windows raised, red accented rims spinning and both spoilers on the hood raging. Everyone cleared the street.
My niece turned eighteen on Thursday. At the stroke of midnight, she met up with a photographer at an abandoned building and took a series of creative photos to commemorate her birth. Hours later, she got one of the coolest tattoos I have ever seen. I have decided whatever I did on my eighteenth birthday was completely lame.
As I ran into my second favorite beer man while buying some um, beer, I had to comment on how well his sweet, inky-eyed son is doing in Spanish class.
"Awww, thank you!" he responded.
"It will be great to know who his teacher is going to be!"
Uh yeah, the random, six weeks into the year fucked up quitting by his principal teacher. Awkward.
Something was definitely up with the toilet. As I struggled over and over again to make it flush, I thought of the other video I saw this week from another extremely talented kid from our school who is already an internet sensation. It extols the virtues of valuing creativity in a wildly cool way. It's inspiring, really makes you think that the only thing that is really important in the world is tapping your inner imaginative being and nurturing that instinct in others.
Hands occupied by plunger, my mind's eye pictured the boy's face commanding me to "Dream, motherfucker, dream".
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
"Now you need a million dollars!" my favorite beer man commented as I bought a 12 pack and a Mega Millions ticket to rein in the beginning of my week long fall break.
"You get two days off A WEEK! And you are always on vacation!"
"Yeah, I get benefits, too. And a pension".
"Don't worry, I'll settle for fifty thousand, doesn't have to be a million" I added, picking up my 12 pack AND my lottery ticket.
"I take you to India when you win. But be sure to save me some of those beers. I will be by later".
"It's on. Don't worry, I've got your back".
I stood in the new snake house at the zoo, staring at the Black Mamba. I hate snakes, but always go to look at them at zoos where they are safely enclosed behind glass. Or I hope they are enclosed....whenever I see an empty habitat half of me wonders if the thing just escaped and is slithering around me on the floor.
I've broken up with my family, well at least everyone except my mom. Or maybe they broke up with me. I am sure it is the kind of thing that could be argued, like most break ups. Sometimes it is a relief. Sometimes I think of the years of traveling together and dinners together and wonder how everything has come to this. I have a terrible feeling that things have gone beyond fixable.
Alec and I celebrated nineteen years together on the thirteenth. People find our relationship unconventional because we are not married and we do not own nice furniture. We have never shown an interest in kids, which I think adds to some belief that we have circumvented adulthood. Fine by me. I actually think you cannot get more conservative - a nineteen year relationship that started when I was twenty-four. What do people want, high school sweethearts? I bet Alec was pretty hot in high school.
The weather has started to turn remotely fall like, the sky looking like it did on September 11th, 2001. It was if Al Queda waited until one of the prettiest early fall days to do their business. It is my favorite season. On a whim I set a tent up in the backyard, thinking it would be fun for Lola and I to sleep outside in the cool weather. I was surprised when Alec wanted to join us. The three of us climbed in and zipped the door shut, laying outside in the middle of the city. Just a block away, I imagined the lions and tigers of the zoo sleeping under the same sky.