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I had a stomache ache most of last week and considered the possibility that some of the locals might be poisoning me as part of a larger Munchhausen by Proxy scheme. A fair part of last week I was power sanding old paint off partially rotted fence boards and so I also considered that while a few select locals might be poisoning me, I might too be poisoning myself by breathing funky old powderized shit seeping in under the dust mask.
Some locals said there was something going around effecting people similarly, stomache aches all around, so at that point it came to me that either this local Munchhausen conspiracy is bigger than I thought, or, I just got a run of the mill tummy-ache, which as you well know is caused by the conspiracy between the airlines and the drug companies who are splitting the profit created by all the upset stomache medicine that is sold as a result of the airlines dusting the skies with mild poisons.
These ideas are part of my general day to day brainstorming sessions which occur while I'm working in the hot sun with a stomache ache. If you knew what the gentle breeze on my right shoulder felt like right now you would say--hot?! boy you don't know hot...and you would go on with some tale that would exceed any possibility I could ever experience, but you'd have to be in the deep south to be saying it so, god bless you for surviving all that.
I'm letting details overwhelm me again so I'm trying to get in touch with that, you know, work it out, become all that I can be by eliminating ridiculous bullshit from my path. Pretty obviously the most ridiculous shit in my path is me so get out of my way me.
Yeah I got more senseless prattle, like you had to ask?
Hammering nails with a hammer that moves along arcs parallel to the ground is hard if you forget the primary tenet regarding success for any venture--keep your eye on the ball, or in this case the head of the nail which you are intending to smash into the wood with brute strength and only moderate finesse. Focus, smash. Focus, smash. Focus, smash.
If jealous nearly ex-husbands of persons you are only friendly with drive by--try to look menacing and smash some more, don't forget to focus.
A Love Story
I was talking to the chef last night about New Orleans and he's got a bunch of stuff stuck in his head about it too, remembering kids with guns jacking him outside a nightclub and how they all parted cordially when he admitted to spending all his money at the bar and how when he said he was all fucked up the kids said, yeah, that they were too.
He used to lend his football to this kid in his neighborhood and one day the kid came back with a gash on his cheek from fighting off these other kids who wanted the ball.
I was telling the chef about an email I got this week from my friend still in New Orleans. She said these two murderers we know are back from their exile in California, and one of them has three times this week threatened with a gun one of her boarders, a near college graduate, a young man very close to escaping the street that swallows whole so many others.
The chef told me when he left he bought the kid a new leather football and said encouragingly that he hoped to see the kid on TV playing pro football someday and the kid looked at him first like he a damn fool and then took pity on the chef and his naivete and said sure, maybe that would happen. The chef was trying to describe something that you can't even cry away. That something that sticks. That briefest of moments when you really do see in someone's eyes the soul of them, their very essence of being, and it speaks only of despair past and forward.
I told him of this teenage girl I knew who lived around the corner in the projects and how beautiful and confident and smart she was and how I naively suggested to her one day that she would escape the city that care forgot and she said matter of factly that she would never get out of there. She had a baby last year at sixteen and I'm sure the kid will know, among other things, much love.
Did Jesus Recycle?
You toss down into this 200 foot long rectangular pit all your household garbage and when you're not looking some guys with machinery come and scoop it out and take it somewhere else.
Across from the pit is one big container, like a boxcar without wheels, open at the butt end, and into this big container people stack or throw their newspapers and by looking at those newpapers you sometimes feel the whole weight of it, the folly of printed expression multiplied by all the tons of recycled and mostly unread paper.
Next to the container are dumpsters, one each for plastic, green glass, brown glass, clear glass, and aluminum cans.
Once, a long while back, I had a couple sections of newspaper in the floorboard of my truck and I just tossed them into the trash pit. This local guy admonished me and I felt stupid, not only for my ecological lethargy but for not picking the guy up by his ears and tossing him into the refuse pit. At the time I was just relocated from the heart of a mean city and there in that city such an admonition by a well-intended citizen would have resulted in at least a return admonition such as--mind your own f-ing business, b-tch. (The person was a man but lucky for me the lexicon of my era allows me to use the B word for both sexes, and goddamn it, as well it should).
I'm going to admit now that I cut flowers and put them in vases and then enjoy the way they look and try not to feel too much like a girl because of it even though I'm sure being a girl is a fine thing but if I have to be one I want to be a lesbian. And the truth is I probably could not have picked the guy up by his ears because the guy was not short enough and I'm not sure how strong I am but safe to say I'm stronger than I look, which is to say I don't look all that strong, but the combination of not looking all that strong and picking flowers is a thing I don't want used against me. Or being a sexist pig, I don't want that used against me either.
I'm at this place I eat at a lot and as often as not I'm the only one there, not because the food sucks, but because I eat at off hours, and I'm standing behind this woman who is ordering at the counter but I have left a gap so that people (occasionally there are inexplicable rushes of customers) can pass and look at the prepared sandwiches in the glass counter.
And the guy comes in, only I don't recognize him because it's been months and months since the discarded newspaper incident. He pauses right before the gap, and let me say here I left plenty of room, room enough for a XXL kind of person. I'm up against the chips is what I'm saying, the wire rack is almost piercing my side (if you think I'm coming this far without a Jesus metaphor you are not only wrong for thinking it, you can go straight to hell.)
He pauses in front of me with a querulous look and I back imperceptibly further into the chips. I would have bled if I chose any more of a backward direction.
He speaks to me in a tone both concilliatory and reprimanding and as if he were speaking a foreign tongue I just looked at him, giving him a brief instant in which to consider the possibility that I may be without the sense of hearing, or, an actual foreigner who does not speak a lick of the local dialect, and will soon be pointing at the menu on the wall and hesitantly counting out the funny looking currency in his pocket.
The guy is starting to look--or at least sound--somewhat familiar to me and I finally get what he is saying. I am improperly queued. I should be wrapping towards the glass sandwich case instead of straight behind the one other customer but I'm not sure if this is what he's saying or for that matter why the hell he is talking to me at all.
The only unsolicited words I want to hear from other human beings are these: I love you, would you like another sandwich?, and, save room for dessert.
So I just asked the guy (by now he has occupied my space longer than I like for a guy to), are you asking me if I know what I'm doing, or what? And he says yes more or less and gives me some instructions which I'm simply ignoring and I say yeah mane, I'm just waiting to order, I don't need to look at the sandwiches, I'm having lasagna. He moves on towards the sandwich case finally, looking like a holy roller who has just failed at converting another lost soul (mind your own f-ing soul, bitch) and I say ( Not knowing why I am saying it, I feel like a man who has lost all context) "we can co-exist peacefully,"
But then, and now, I'm not sure if that is true. There's only a few of us living around here. I'll see him again I guess. See how that theorem proves out.
Ok, first, just a reminder--I am not in New Orleans anymore, I have moved to Virginia. As to why I haven't changed my page, made up a new name, or at least changed that damn picture of the feral New Orleans cat, Shorty, I can't say, or maybe I can, but won't.
With this page I can go to what is called a referer
(<World-Wide Web> A misspelling of "referrer" which somehow made it into the HTTP standard. A given web page's
referer (sic) is the URL of whatever web page contains the
link that the user followed to the current page. Most
browsers pass this information as part of a request.) log and see how many people have had this page come up on the list that any given search engine might provide for things the searcher is searching for.
I used to write more about some people in the urban New Orleans ghetto and some of these people referred to themselves by using the N word and this I would report. At the same time I used to work with rednecks that used the N word pretty frequently and this I would also sometimes report. I say "sometimes report" because frankly I think there may have been stretches that lasted for weeks where I heard the word everyday and I just could not report this because it was beginning to hurt my feelings in a way that had some of the elements of hopelessness.
One day I got curious what would happen if I googled the word, the word is "nigger," if you didn't know, and my page came up number one (it was a horrifying moment), and from then on I tried to use the word less because, not in all cases, but in many cases, I don't want to mingle with people who search for the N word.
I was going to write about this anal compulsive Virginia dickhead I ran into for the second time but it seems I've gotten sidetracked.
Anyway, I just checked my referer (sic) log and to whomever searched for "email addresses of New Orleans pushers" I can only tell you I don't have any. I mean, I left my email address with some of the lads on the street but I haven't heard from them. With varying frequency I check the Times Picayune online to see if any of the lads have been murdered. That some of them have been on the other side of the gun, this I already know. Which I report to you as warning because I'm getting ready to give you not email addresses but actual street addresses so that you can meet in person that which you seemingly hoped to meet in cyberspace.
Stand on the southeast corner of Dumaine and Rampart. Lean against that building for a minute. Smoke a cigarette. If you don't smoke, you should start. Look in the windows of that building. It is a fancy restaurant, the last bit of fancy you shall see. Walk north, zig-zag easterly north-easterly through Armstrong Park, exit the east side onto St. Philip, continue north into the Treme neighborhood, cross Claiborne (overpass) and continue north for several more blocks. You should roughly be in the 1800 block of St. Philip. Or you can be on one of parallel streets like Ursulines or Dumaine or St. Ann. From there walk north, east, or west for twenty blocks or more and if you don't find the pusher you're looking for then my condolences to your family and may you RIP.
I am on the verge of missing this wave.
I got some chores to do. Everytime I pause I think of a new one.
Put the masterbedroom back together from last week's painting of it, vacuum a bit, blow off the sidewalks, cut some flowers, do the dishes (let me start that right now), brush my hair (done), move the sprinkler around the tennis court, check the pool, lock the pool fence, pick up dead limbs around the house, take the key out of the jeep, gather up all the different colored beer bottles from both houses and separate them by color for recycling bins at dump, haul trash to dump, vacuum up minute broken glass bits from upstairs bathroom floor, and remove broken picture.
This is starting to seem like a lot, and maybe I won't have enough time to accomplish all this before the owner's show up.
Ok, I just moved the sprinkler, and the pool I already did earlier, so...but...
...have to lay board across hay and seeded entrance to tennis court so no mud tracked on it. Telepathically communicate with approaching children of owner not to walk through wet hay, ha.
By the way, it's 62 degrees and sunny, in August, so it's not like I'm complaining, even though you aren't really inclined to swim when it's this cool, which isn't a complaint, I'm just saying.
So as it turns out I probably should have missed this wave.
The Folly Of Backspin
Yeh-uh, it was on impulse that I drove along the fence line in search of knowledge regarding fences. I was on my way to take a shower and I thought--I'll just drive my truck where I've never driven it before, look at fence, ruminate, and then go back to the house and clean up so I'll be fresh for the evening's beer drinking. I might have thought that I would be wiser for this experience, a wise old beer drinking fool, scratching his chin and chuckling about all the tidbits of wisdom floating around in his skull.
One might occasionally ruminate before doing stupid things, reconsider motivation, and finding none, abort mission.
I however don't always aspire to avoiding stupidity.
Off the path I saw standing water, drove just beyond it and to an elevation lower than it and turned in its direction. This I did to avoid getting stuck in the mud. I drove into a soggy bog to avoid getting stuck in the mud. And what I discovered was something wonderful, a world of untold mystery unfolded before my eyes; it was a magical time encapsulated inside a few ticking seconds; my heart beat wildly as I gazed upon the profile of her fulsome breasts (they say a man has a sexual fantasy every fifteen seconds).
But my fantasy was just a brief prelude to self-degrading, vitriolic, profane self-abuse. I cussed myself. You stupid f-ing d-head.
I walked to the top of the hill where the vaguely eastern-european day helper was sweeping the porch and I said, come on son, we got work to do, and I briefly described the predicament, telling him we would use the little jeep and try to pull the truck from the mud. You will try to use little jeep for this purpose? the vaguely eastern-european day helper said and I just grunted back, yeh-uh.
The little jeep has mostly been considered a toy for ferrying about the property visiting dignataries and it was a long shot to consider that it would have the strength to pull a medium sized truck stuck, or unstuck, in mud. With the broken-english-speaking vaguely eastern-european day helper driving the jeep and me behind the wheel of the truck and a tow rope between us, we conspired to extricate.
This proved to be a successful venture followed by me feeling so much the wiser. I showered but decided not to shave so there would be a few gray beard hairs to scratch that evening while I drank my beers.
The vaguely eastern european day helper said, now we play bocce? Sure kid, I said, and proceeded to school him regarding the folly of affected backspin.
Cute Furry Rodent
It is an ongoing battle in which I climb up this hill imagining every morning the hideous beasts from nightmares caught in the frail store-bought snare only to be confronted with mostly empty traps licked clean of the peanut butter enticement.
And when not empty the captured beast turns out to be a little country mouse. You've seen the cartoons which depict the differences between the smart-talking, wily, city mouse and the barefoot, simple-minded country mouse. I know you have.
Except that the country mice out here are naked. I mean they are not wearing suspendered dungareees, sporting straw hats, or clenching between their dead jaws, a corncob pipe.
The score, not that this is a battle with a clear sense of winner and loser, is something like 14-3, in favor of the mice. Of course the 3 equals dead mice and the 14 is just a dab of licked clean peanut butter from an unsprung store-bought mouse trap. So clearly, the stakes are a little higher for rodents around here.
I have tried two slightly different versions of the standard, snap-your-neck mouse trap with equally unpredictable results. I sense there to be a master mouse who goes as yet untrapped, who may in fact be luring his lesser foot soldiers into scenarios of guaranteed expiration. It is the sense of this master mouse which has me peeking with clenched teeth into this kitchen every morning, expecting something horrific, like one of those modern experiments gone awry. Not just a mouse with a human ear growing from its side but maybe a miniature human head, that looks like Dick Cheney but speaks like George Bush and smokes cigarettes, like Laura.
But no, not yet. The three dead ones have all been cute--grey, furry, petite, non-threatening even in their horrific poses of surprise demise.
Nothing caught this morning. Score 16-3.
Ten Times Better Or Worse
Where you start from is important. I was in a bar for dinner last night and four of us were positioned such that we could have been friends if in fact we were not complete strangers. Three men, one woman. The woman was drinking beer and an occasional novelty drink that disparaged the nationality responsible for most of my favorite alcohol drinks.
The man on my right soon bowed out after the man on my left started making nice with the woman across from me.
The man on my left was the alpha-male and down about the bottom of stout number one I become the fly on the wall instead of a human being. He and she exchanged enthusiasms about the mundane and I thought but for the grace of self-consciousness go I.
After the man and woman came down from the initial exhilaration of "hey, look at us talking like old friends" the man went into an apparently non-exhaustive litany of have you been to this bar or that bar and the woman for the most part, hadn't.
The bartender brought my burger and with apparent sincerity said doesn't that look good, and it did look good, in fact it looked much better than it tasted.
The bartender says Ricky Williams quit football to smoke pot and I said oh give the guy a break, that's too much an over-simplification. I have never been a huge RW fan but I like him for being a quitter, laying on beaches around the world, being nice to his kids, contributing to communities and saying FU to a sport that given its own natural order would have chewed him up and spit him out.
The woman across from me I knew from listening had a kid and when she said don't you think he has a responsibility to sports-loving children not to promote pot-smoking I realized a chance to make points by saying yes but I said no, I don't think he has that responsibility.
The alpha-male was acting all dumb like he didn't know what was going on and I could only suppose he did not follow football so I queried him on this and he got a little snippy, like of course I follow football, I'm a beer drinking alpha-male. I filled him in on the specifics. He got rolling and a little steamy and red in the face and said don't you think maybe he's just looking for press coverage so he can promote his lifestyle and make more money...and I'm like, no I don't think that, and he gets a little more steamed and I say hey chill mane, and he says all Mr. America now, that he doesn't know anything about pot and I say well it ain't nothin, I can school ya if you like. This got a chuckle from the woman and a hand-waving, head-shaking, no, no, no, from the alpha-male.
So Ricky Williams has personality disorders. So he likes pot. So he has personal experience which allows him to compare the prescription anti-depression drug, Paxil, to marijuana, and proclaim that the weed is tens times better for him. Your kids will get over this.
The bartender also thought Ricky had responsiblity to the kids, not to be a pot-smoking drop-out. It's not that every once in awhile you should consider that everything you know is wrong, you should consider it every morning.
I have set up these gadgets two nights in a row. The way these gadgets work is you spread a little bait, I use peanut butter, on a metallic part that is connected to a metal arm that holds in check this spring mechanized noninvasive guillotine arm that actually works more like a catapult from hell, and when working properly, will snap almost in two the neck of the rodent in your kitchen. Sometimes it gets him by the tail and you have to chase the panicked clacking around the house for awhile before your work is done.
But I come up here in the morning from my mouseless, cat-occupied dwelling down the hill and the metal part is licked clean of peanut butter and the trap is unsprung.
I could bring the cat up here (even though the owners don't really want cats up in here) and set him loose hoping he still has a bit of the hunter spirit. Though it may be that the only thing he is hunting at this point in his life is time. The time when I pour his kibbles into a bowl in the morning. Or the time at night when I play kung fu warrior with him.
Alas, this is the nature of what I now consider travail, the unsprung trap, a mild (frankly non-existent) resentment towards the well-fed mouse, so let it all be considered fine and good.
I'm down by the road in front of a palatial estate power sanding fence and drinking beer in the early evening and people drive by and wave but I can't see them that well because my goggles are fogged over and paint chips are stuck to the fog so for all I know the people may be shooting me the finger.
The bus driver stopped by earlier and asked me if I was the owner, which was a nice opening because then after he left I imagined myself the owner for a few minutes and it wasn't all bad. I am replacing rotted fence rails (and sanding and painting) and he wanted to know what I was doing with the discarded boards, (rough sawn oak 1X6s), and I told him they go to the burn pile. He wanted some because he thought there was some good wood in there and who am I to argue that? I told him to stop by sometime, he can have all the burn pile fence material he wants. His talking to me on the road was backing up traffic and after realizing this he moseyed on. The one held up car crept behind him. She did not wave but may have shot me the finger.
Some people that pass by know me but I don't always know them. "I saw you out front," people will occasionally say and I stock-response them with, "oh, that was you.?"
Nobody ever extends out to me an ice cold beer on a warm summer night.
The Beatles were a very popular group and many of their songs are very short, and sincere. So this is me being short and sincere. My motivation is not to be popular. I'd just as soon you shot me the finger.
Eating Out Alot
If you hear every word spoken at a gathering it is similar to hearing nothing at all or like hearing white noise interspersed with names and places and things and punctuation.
Over breakfast I'm wondering will that woman ever shut up, enough already with the fascinating minutiae, check the glazing of her eyes across from you. When she said then what happened she meant will you please shut up and let me eat.
And then later, I'm eating out again, at some other place, and this player comes in licking his chops. This guy won't shut up either but at least he's hitting on a young woman, has a purpose. The guy had that single-minded manner which both fascinated me and horrified me at the same time. I was jealous of his confidence but glad I don't have it, glad I am not burdened by yet another dubious talent. Sensitivity being the other one I have. Okay, maybe that's not a talent.
The girl to her credit was not gushing, although probably flattered and maybe a little horrified like me. The dude was GQ off the map though, and probably affected that Miami Vice look back when that was popular. Guy just passing through thought he pick him a local flower, nothing wrong with that I guess as long as I don't have to watch the courtship. Here's my card he said, undaunted by the fact that theretofore she had not uttered one encouraging response to his blather. Right before I left I thought about stabbing the guy in his face with my butter knife, but only in that light-hearted cartoon sort of way that wouldn't require stitches.
I usually clean up a little before going to this place but today I hadn't, just kind of shook the dried paint flecks from my hair and clothes and went on with it. Another young woman, an employee, she said to me, gosh Jim, you look a little frazzled today. I kind of get a kick out of candor, regardless of the message. Thank you T, I said, you by the way look very nice.
For the second time this week a man came up the driveway and asked could he fish the pond. I said no.
I was second coating the white picket fence around the pool and I heard the sound of car wheels on a gravel road and then a two honk blast. Yeah, let me just stop what I'm doing, it ain't important. The man drove a small truck and if every man has a theme song this man's song would have been that dueling bangos bit from Deliverance.
He stayed in his truck and I kept my distance, bare-footed and shirtless and armed only with a paint brush taped to a stick. My ribs glinted in the noonday sun. He looked me up and down once in that way that reminded me of lonely truck drivers from back when I was a kid hitchhiking. He said he was staying in the truck because he been bit by a dog once and I used that creepy manner I sometimes use and said "well we ain't got a dog but it's better to be safe."
He said he would only use a fly rod and would catch and release but I dismissed his hopeful intentions with an I don't care about all that. I told him he was the fourth person to come asking for fishing priviledges this week (a lie based solely on the fact that I like the sound of four better than two) and that I didn't see what all the attraction to that little pond was. "I fish it every once in awhile and only catch the same damn sun perch each time," I told him.
The gardener came by later to water plants that I had not only already watered but had also painted a bit. "I should have ripped those out of the ground, why you plant something before I second coat the fence?" I bitched. Sometimes I think she playing with me, pushing my buttons on account of she knows I feel somewhat friendly towards her and she bored with whatever else she got going on. I myself am not that bored. I intend to proceed along the path of respectful behaviour. But don't come over here bothering me with your can I fish the pond shit. This ain't Mayberry RFD and I ain't Andy. And if you come up that driveway and stop me from whatever I'm doing it better be cuz you bringing me some food or beer. The gardener and her boyfriend have both intimated that I should be more hospitable, get out more, invite more people in, become more in tune with Rappahannock ways. Yeah, well, in due time. Until then though, tune this.
All I said was I ain't getting enough calories and the next day this local chef who works a place that for breakfast pretty much only serves egg sandwiches brings me out this plate heaped high with his own version of mac and cheese with some homefries, edges blackened and sauteed, with onions and red and green peppers. I ran a chainsaw for a couple of hours after that and hauled brush for awhile and still had that mac in my belly.
But protein, where's my protein? So I go back to the place today, and not wanting to work the situation, when he asked me what today I just said I could have that egg sandwich I guess. He said you like meat, yeah, mushrooms, yeah--man I eat everything. I paid for a egg sandwich and my coffee and went out to the dining room and sat so I could see the baby robins up in that nest outside the window but I think they gone now.
Tourists from the city come in and I like a good tourist in a controlled environment because I am easily entertained. This dude's wife looks very healthy and happy and I enjoy being around healthy happy people even though I'm a little grumpy from being up late at Wolftrap doing that Ponty/DiMeola/Clarke concert last night. I had seats that were so good they wouldn't even let you drink beer in them so I drank my thirteen dollars worth of beer up on the lawn and went back and forth to my seat and the bathroom all night. Girls and boys wait in the same line and use a bathroom with one toilet and everybody in the beginning puts the seat down. If there's a dude behind you you soon realize it is not only impractical but obnoxious to put the seat down. People in the line ask you how you digging it and you, or, I rather, insult Jean luc Ponty but then go back to my seat and have him show me what an idiot I am. The three of them did short solo sets and Jean luc's was the best I've heard him but that's only comparing to once, twenty-five years ago. It was very much like liking Paul McCartney on the Concert for George dvd after not liking him for 35 years. Al DiMeola was ok and Stanley Clarke is phenomenal.
So the dude with the beautiful wife is himself beautiful, no other way to describe certain people. That dude, with his light French accent and perfect proportions and easy-going manner has never had a moment of self-doubt. The two beautiful people have in tow two ordinary people, one of whom gets stuck almost apologizing for a past life which included a non-glamorous job. By the time that happened though I was almost finished with today's treat, which turned out to be a steak and cheese and mushroom omelet, homefries, and a little salad with lettuce, tomato, and small pieces of marinated hammered chicken breast.
The beautiful wife leaned over the booth in front of me and apologized for her husband who she predicted was going to long for my meal. He did. He said he was jealous and I took a bite and said you should be. His pitiful little breakfast came out a few minutes later and he leaned over the booth again and I shooed him and his little girly sandwich away while licking the chicken marinade off of my lips.
The Karma Gardener came by and offered a bag of greens because she had too much and I took a bag gladly. My cup overfloweth so I offered half my greens to the pretty couple but the Karma Gardener gave them their own bag.
Springtime in the country means baby bunnies, crisp clear blue skies, greenery, flowers blooming, bees buzzing, fawns in the meadow, and dead birds in the backyard.
I saw a dead bird in Mr. BC's backyard yesterday and sometime later, all of this occurring in bright broad daylight, the dead mangled bird was gone. Do bunnies kill birds and later cart off to some underground den their lifeless stiff mottled bodies? I don't think so.
Do baby deer leap flaking rotten fences (where are the ambitious handymen?) in the daytime, swat birds from the sky, and then hide in the bushes until that lollygagging handyman turns some corner so they can retrieve the ornithological carcass, take it into the woods and engage it in some primitive pagan ritual? I cannot say for sure, but I think not.
Do birds kill other birds? This would seem likely. But do they then remove the bodies? I could read up on that but I've got to get to work soon (the more I survey the fences out here the more I exclaim, to myself mostly, holy damn cow.)
At present time there are no cats out here, except for mountain lions and bobcats, and no dogs except for coyotes and hamster-eating gardeners pets, and no foxes except for foxes, no skunks except skunks, fish yes but none that fly or that I am aware of having mortal grudges against birds.
The sun rises, mysteries abound.
Pretty Nice Environment
Birds chirp, gentle cool breezes blow, green mountain ridges everywhere I glance.
The first time I came out here, last August, I brought with me a New Orleans Times Picayune photo and stashed it in the kitchen cabinet right over there in front of me. It showed the muzzle flare from a machine gun being fired at someone off camera at an NO area carwash, the scene caught on the carwash's survelliance camera.
The camera showed two guys pretty clearly, which aided the police in quick identification and subsequent arrest. As it turns out the shooters were mistaken as to the identity of the people they were shooting at and besides that, no one was killed. At trial last month prosecutors were not able to find any actual human beings to back up the id made by the camera and so the judge let the two guys on camera and a third guy go home.
The one guy, 19-year-old Antoine Johnson--"A man now considered the city's most wanted suspect is accused of shooting at a 13-year-old boy late Tuesday before slipping back into the obscurity that has shielded him since he allegedly killed a man and wounded a teenage girl two days after his release from jail last month." (tara young, notp).
Police note that gun violence has increased dramatically in the area surrounding Johnson's home and hideouts (in the BW Cooper) since his release.
A woman I like but not like that has asked me if she could ask me over for a home-cooked meal sometime and this she was asking me while I sampled again the fare at an area eatery, near to which she was doing her laundry, and slipping into for drinks. I said sure, even though in our brief conversation there was not even one exchange which implied the mildest simpatico between us, the most glaring example of which is that she almost had me wanting to defend Dick Cheney just for the mean-spirited sake of it. (The new bartender was playing Incubus on the sound system and I, ever polite, said, no, you don't need to turn it down.) Not that it is without precedent but it has been awhile since I have felt so totally un-got. Sigh.
I should make clear though, that this is a pretty nice environment in which to be alone.
In the end the final mechanical inspection for the Rocheblave house, the one I had been for so long dreading, amounted to ninety seconds of small talk, a glance around, and a handshake. The inspector remembered me from--well, you know, it took me years (4.2) to finish this job--way back and had wondered if I'd ever finish. He even went way beyond the call of duty and without telling me set in motion all the steps which resulted in the last official detail, the release of the permanent electric meter. I had to make some calls to verify this, a thing (phone calling) which overcoming fear of impresses me well beyond the proportionate difficulty of the task.
The permanent meter does not really perform any differently than the temporary meter but I would not be able to leave here and rent the place out with a temporary meter. And the temporary meter, attached to a four by four pounded into the ground in front of the house was so Beverly Hillbilly, on a property in a neighborhood surrounded by attempts at improvement, even if all attempts at improvement are seemingly overwhelmed by the general ghetto nature of New Orleans.
I have been given the Rocheblave ribbon of completion, which I wear proudly on a uniform not at all replete with ribbons of completion. M on Dumaine is taking care of some business for me that requires multiple phone calling and this I divulge as a preemptive admission against partisan politicians who may try to keep me from my bid as rightful landlord of the white house, on the premise that I did not earn my ribbon of completion. I ain't maybe all that I could be but I feel most earnestly that I earned my ribbon. Requiring assistance is not a weakness. There, I said it.
I have a few odds and ends to take care off, a piece of wood to put here or there, and a little painting to do inside and out (It is raining all day everyday this week so I'm wishing me luck.) Got to get some carpet in the bedroom (can't pick it up because of rain); make one last haul to the dump; get the AC checked; do a change of address; pay some bills; load up the truck; take some pictures; go to the park; can't afford crawfish this year; have some keys copied; of course procrastinate to the very end; say a goodbye or two; go up on the roof and check it out; watch my last two Netflix DVDs, part 1 of 50 Years War: Israel and the Arabs, and Fog of War; drive away.
Weekend In New Orleans
In New Orleans news reporting sometimes the headlines will read "5 shot within 4 hours," and other times such facts must be pieced together by faithful readers, and supplemented with TV news. It was from TV that I got the numbers I wrote about the other day, 7 shootings, two of them deaths, in a two-day period ending at 5p.m. Saturday.
So the good news is the city is experiencing a period where there are not shootings and murder every day of the week. The bad news is the shootings we are having here are relatively high profile: children armed with guns murdering other children; teenage bystanders getting hit in crossfire; 8-year-old girls being shot in the back; a pregnant local girl killed by stray gunfire on a Mardi Gras parade route; a Jazzfest tourist murdered near the fairgrounds; aging rock stars chasing purse snatchers and being shot in the leg; cars burning on the side of the road with bullet-riddled bodies in the trunk.
A large part of the yearly murders in New Orleans are gangster killing gangster. As long as their aim is true and no innocents are nicked in crossfire, nobody, as far as I can tell, really gives a fuck about these murders. We won't admit it but we think it is cost effective justice. The perpetrators are scary people we can't seem to or don't want to understand. Born of us, maybe, but these hoodlings are foreigners on our soil. They cannot be of us because then we would be of them and that is too scary to conceive. We suppress the memory of 200--400 murdered bodies every year and glorify the travesty of the occasional tourist or upstanding citizen who will every so often get shot dead in New Orleans.
I think the criminals are either crying out for help or are merciless purveyors of irony because over the years sure as a local politician or police chief reports that crime is down the next month is filled with bizarre and heinous violent crime. Most recently our police chief was all over the local media patronizing all us dumb locals with his poor imitation of the Gore/Kerry sigh of condescension--murder is down by twenty percent people, I don't know what to tell you, you people who persist that crime is up, this perception that crime is up is wrong. Well Ok, I stand corrected.
By the way, Sunday, about one in the morning, I heard four loud gunshots, maybe two blocks away. No sirens, no subsequent reports from the media. Today, in Tuesday's paper, is an unrelated Sunday shooting that resulted in death, in Central City at 4th and Daneel.
So, a Monday headline could have, but did not, read--New Orleans weekend, at least 8 shot, 3 dead. We are not allowed to behave as if it is pertinent but all the victims may be presumed black, and poor.
And now, late in the succeeding week of a weekend where 8 people were shot, I feel not too much at all about it. It is a completely forgotten series of events. We all have our lives to get on with; there is no point in remembering. And our consciences as represented by media coverage are quiet. I would like to suggest that there is something wrong with all of us for forgetting so easily but that's all I'm going to do is suggest, I'm not going to point any fingers, or indulge in self-recrimination.
Lastly, almost daily NO media updates inform us that justice will be served if you are stupid enough to kill a very white tourist. There is motion towards trying as adults the four teenagers involved in the Jazzfest slaying. First the 14-year-old shooter has to pass a psych exam and then it must be proved the juvenile detention system will be incapable of reforming the alleged young killer. So if the kid passes all his tests and the state (juvenile system) fails its' tests, then ostensibly there will be a go ahead for the adult-style prosecution of this 14-year-old. In which case the state will undoubtedly begin conversations about the death penalty. I have been on record as not being against every instance of state sanctioned death so I would have to in this case look again at the facts, see what I feel.
Ok, well, I've thought about it. I think we should just round up all bad people, and kill them. Then only good people would have guns, and the world would be safer, for, um, more killing. The benefits of this in New Orleans would be immeasurable. If only good people were doing the killing then killing would be a good thing. It could be celebrated. We could have more parades, more tourists, more money, more guns, more killing, more parades…