Archive for February, 2018

So, this is what seven hours sitting in my car is like

February 23, 2018

My oldest kid’s high school doesn’t have bus service (though grades k-8 do, go fig) so I drive him to school every morning and pick him up in the afternoon. Same with his little sister and her head start program. These school shootings strip me of pretty much any imagination I have for how much control or power I can exert over their lives. I had just taken my little girl into her head start class. She doesn’t want me waiting around any more while she works at signing her name. She tells me to go. I still get a hug. So there’s that.

Then I’m sitting in my car in a mostly empty parking lot, looking at the woods that border the place. It’s a bucolic setting in a small town. I sit there with the car off and I don’t want to leave. I don’t have a gun. I don’t even have a stick. If someone showed up with an assault rifle the biggest obstacle I could be would probably just be a very heavy carcass the gunman would have to climb over. But I still don’t want to leave.

I saw parts of the CNN town hall. I’ve caught bits and pieces of the news. It’s pretty much the same inane crap from the right that we hear after every shooting. Anything to protect the profits made from selling high powered assault rifles and to keep mainlining fear and horror to white America, I guess. While goosing them with Rambo fantasies of taking down rows of poorly prepared and theatrically dying gunmen.

I hear about the deputy who stood outside of the school for four minutes rather than enter the building. I hate him but I also empathize with him. It’s his job, but he’s probably got a relatively small pistol and he’s expecting to turn a corner and face a crazy bastard slinging, well, what he was slinging and decked out in surplus body armor. He’s looking at his death sentence. If he has a family he’s looking at his widow. If he has kids he’s seeing his own now fatherless children. He’s seeing his own death. I hate him because I know I can’t count on my own police to walk into danger to protect my kids but I also frighteningly agree with him. I wouldn’t want to walk in there either.

I think of how it’s never mentioned that all of those years ago Columbine had a guard and it changed nothing.

I sit in my car and I don’t want to leave. One of the little things in my daughter’s cubby to take home is this flying heart they made the day before and the wings are cutouts of the imprints of her hands. Her little hands and I remember how it felt the first time her little fingers curled around one of mine, I think of how it feels when her hand now holds my hand instead of just a finger. I can’t imagine what the families of the 17 deceased are going through right now. I don’t want to imagine it. I don’t want to know it. I don’t want to leave the parking lot of my little girl’s school.

I think of an article about elementary schools practicing lock down drills and how three nine year olds have the job of pushing the teacher’s desk in front of the door while the teacher gathers the rest of the students at the back of the room. How three students have volunteered to stand at the front of the group, to shield their friends. We have nine year olds volunteering to die for their friends.

And the response I see is that we need more guns. We need teachers with guns. If only more people had guns. I think of the deputy with a gun who refused to go into the building. I think of the armed guard at Columbine who was busy investigating something in the parking lot while two kids massacred their classmates. I think of the nine year olds volunteering to stand in front of the horror. I think of the hands of my little girl and how they feel in mine.

None of this conversation makes any fucking sense.

so, it’s free, right?

February 6, 2018

Alright, I don’t know if this just a part of me that’s always been or something that has emerged since I lived in Cleveland for a few years. Over the weekend the wife and I went to McDonald’s and we’re sitting in the drive-thru lane waiting to order. Over the winter our local McDonald’s has been undergoing a renovation. A new exterior (a strange minimalist thing that embraces nothing of their past but the color red in one place), and what looks like a revamped interior. It was extensive but they managed to stay open through most of it, though their drive-through was too much of a hassleĀ  to bother with until they the vast majority of work was done.

We’re sitting there, we’ve just ordered and I’ve inched ahead a bit to try to establish my position in the line. Their having split the drive-thru into two ordering lanes is more of a hassle than it’s worth. I hate it. Especially with the geriatric set who make up the majority of our town. They are either old and perpetually confused and hazardous or filled with sururban small town rage and drive like ass-hats. Civility is a foreign concept. Or it’s Ohio’s lack of a cohesive driver’s training program. Maybe.

But we’re sitting there and I look off to the right and there is a low dumpster sitting there, partially filled with empty cardboard boxes, the sort you see vinyl siding come in (long, low, and skinny). I comment that I’d like to grab our old couch tonight, haul it over, and just chuck it in. The wife chuckles. Then I see a small pile of lumber next to the dumpster.

And here is where I expose myself as probably having far more sketchy ethics than my wife. I mention getting out and grabbing the lumber. There is some cut plywood, what looks like a whole sheet, or near a whole sheet, and some 2x4s. My wife disagrees.

Wife: I don’t think you can just take that.

Me: Why not?”

Wife: It’s on private property.

Me: But it’s by a dumpster. It’s junk.

Wife: But there’s a pod right next to it.

Me: It’s not in the pod. If it wasn’t trash, why wouldn’t it be in the pod?

Wife: Because this is a small town.

Me: Well, in Cleveland we would have already filled that dumpster with junk and grabbed anything useful left laying around after the work day would be gone.

Wife: You don’t live in Cleveland any more.

Am I so entirely in the wrong in seeing some lumber next to a dumpster and thinking it should be up for grabs? I always saw that as how you tell people that you are throwing something away, but if you want it…well, you don’t have to physically haul it out of literal trash to get it. Or maybe I’m just thief.

So, what can I say?

February 5, 2018

I’m trying to come up with something to write about, something to react to, and I’m failing. I’m looking at yahoo news, I’m seeing what is trending on google, I’m checking my twitter feed….and nothing.

What’s really on my mind is that I’m cold and consciously trying not to eat just for something to fill some time. It’s what happens when you have come to lean on food as the crutch to help you through everything, and I mean everything. Nothing even sounds good right now but I still want to eat it.

The boy is home. All he wants to talk about are video games. He’s 14 and they are his world. I pick him up at school and he’s always alone outside. I pass kids grouped in twos and threes, I pass couples being couples, kids being kids. I see him alone, passing time until he can play whatever game he’s wanting to play – none of them really stand out to me, and after awhile all of the pokemon whatevers just blur – or watching some guy on youtube play video games. Which I really don’t get.

I have to leave and get baby girl in a few minutes. I’m putting it off as long as I can. I just don’t want to go. I don’t want to get in the car again today. I hate driving and dealing with everyone else on the road. This doesn’t happen often but right now the actions of others just seems unfathomable and scary. Like they are going to swerve across two lanes of traffic for no reason but to sideswipe me before careening back into traffic, a trout breaking the water then disappearing beneath the sheen.

A trout breaking water. I want to go somewhere there is a trout stream, just to watch the stream.