24 June 2015

the mean cowboy

"what do you expect me to do with this?" he held out the silver buckle in that half-accusatory, half-apologetic way that only someone with one foot out the door can authentically pull off.

"expect? i am done expecting things from you."

he wanted to throw it at her, then. just flick his wrist and let it fly, bounce it off that smug eyebrow.

"this is the one that belonged to your father." he managed to push the words out between clenched teeth. "the one that belonged to your father."

she started to cry, then. she'd turned away, but he could tell by her syncopated breathing. satisfied that he could still hurt her without really trying, he silently slid the buckle onto the dresser and walked out of the bedroom.

04 June 2015

water, money, and DVDs

on the way home i heard this story on the radio about how the detroit city government is shutting off people's water. not randomly, of course. these people haven't paid their bills for quite some time. it's like 18,000 people in arrears on their water bills to the tune of $47million.

i can't find a transcript for the story, and i don't remember if it was last year or before that - but - most of these same people were not paying their water bills in a previous time. at that time, the water department arranged to put them on payment plans, so that they could keep their water on and so that the city could recoup some of the cost of filtering and piping the water out.

so, these people have been given a lot of help towards paying their bills, but i get it -- detroit is a pit of poverty, so where are they supposed to get this money to pay for this water?

at this point, i am feel pretty compassionate and wondering if i can help these people out and whatnot, when they make it personal and start talking to one particular detroitian. she's a single mom of a nine-year old girl, trying to make ends meet. during the past year, her daughter has been sick and in the hospital, putting even more pressure on funds. she talked about robbing peter to pay paul, choosing between water or food or electricity or medical bills.

part of the story captured her calling the water company to find out her total balance and to see what she could do to keep the water on. her total balance is $587 and now i am totally on board with writing her a damn check. tell me where to send it, kai ryssdol -- tell me where to send the check!

and then, just like that, in a blink, i am over it. why? well, as this single mom continued to talk about what she could do to get some money to pay part of this water bill, she said she guessed she could pawn the DVD player.

okay. what?

see, this where it all breaks down for me. why the hell haven't you already pawned the DVD player? why the hell do i think you should pawn your DVD player? back and forth i go.

on the one hand, how can you keep a luxury like a DVD player when you can't pay your bills? on the other hand, if you were to pawn it you might get like $50, and how far will that go? i guess it comes down to making an effort to get your bills paid. if you have a DVD player, have you made that effort?

i want her to prove her worthiness before i spare any more compassion, not to mention that money i was on the verge of forking over. if i were to pay her water bill, what then? maybe she's really in need, but that DVD player is testament that she's not. i could pay her water bill and then she'd go out and get more DVDs.

on the one hand, that's terrible. she's cheated me and made a fool of me. on the other hand, why do i care? on the other hand, why am i reading so much into one (likely near worthless) piece of technology? on the other hand, why isn't she (or the reporter) reading more?

there will be no conclusions today.

03 June 2015

a few limericks

there once was a girl named patrice,
whose clothing was all of a piece.
she liked to look good,
as any girl would,
so that's why she mostly used fleece.

a rainbow contains many colors,
red, blue, green, and the others.
you know them by heart,
so i won't start
naming them, one and another.

most anything goes with fried taters.
beefsteak, boiled eggs, alligators.
eat 'em all up,
each night when you sup,
cause nobody likes tater haters.

if star wars were fact and not fiction,
yoda could be a teacher of diction.
if that were the case,
i'd laugh in his face.
cause yoda always talks all backwards and that's really messed up.

01 June 2015

smells like vanity

my car has always had this particular scent. not a new-car smell -- when i got it, it wasn't new. it's more of a formerly-driven-by-a-smoker-but-i've-been-detailed-with-sweet-soap smell. it's hung in there through years of hauling fast food and sweaty bodies and babies and groceries. it's more prevalent when the car's been sitting out in the heat - like getting all hot and bothered brings it out or something. yeah, the heat brings it out, but it's always there. i don't know where it comes from, how it gets replenished, how it fights off other odors and consistently rises to the top. all i know is, it's how my car smells.

until the end of last week.

a couple months ago, out by the mall, this girl nicked my car pretty good. she wanted to come into the lane i was in, and being as our cars are each comprised of a car's worth of molecules, both her car and mine couldn't occupy the same spot on the space-time continuum. go figure. so, she scraped up my right rear quarter panel, and long story short, i had it repaired last week. at the same time, i had the peeling clear coat on the roof repaired.

first thing i noticed when i got in is my car now smells like a mani-pedi salon. it reeks of paint and associated chemicals and the sorts of places where these products abound. i've had repairs done before, and the mani-pedi odor generally dissipates quickly. i believe the difference this time is that i elected to have the roof repaired, which means more of the car was exposed for a longer period of time. longer exposure means longer dissipation time.

it's soon, only been a few days, so i still have hope that my car's unique smell will win out.

i do have hope. i do.

i do.

but... oh, i hate to admit it! the roof repair wasn't about function. nope. it was about my vanity. i didn't like how she was starting to look, so i had her "fixed" - i took her in to get her grey dyed away because i couldn't stand to watch her aging. and now my vanity may have cost her a bit of her uniqueness! i hope hope hope i didn't destroy it altogether. reaching for everything, i may have lost one of the most special things of all.

that's it, see. you can't have it all. you have choose and you have to be careful and wise. choosing one thing could preclude another altogether or alter it in some altogether unexpected way. you can't just make some spot decision. you have to think it through.

and, vanity is rarely a satisfactory criteria.