Friday, March 31, 2006

My ambivalent feeling toward children has already been well documented in this journal. I am an only child and have no cousins anywhere near my age. Children are a foreign entity to me. I don’t know how they work. I don’t know how you play with them. Do you taunt them with string like a cat?
So, having a five-year-old girl to baby-sit was a favour I agreed to with great trepidation. The evening though went well enough. First plan of attack was an animated movie. It was an interesting experience to have every scene of a movie explained to you moments before it appeared on the screen. It was an hour and a half of déjà vu. Afterward, I showed her This worked a treat and I was in the home stretch, but then catastrophe struck. She was scared to use the toilet by herself. I suggested that she go in by herself but to talk to me the whole time while I stayed in the living room. This worked well and through the ten minutes we covered such important topics as Mimi1 and a summation of the film we had watch. Then a call came.
“I need some help wiping my bottom,” She said. A wave of fear washed over me. I was not ready for this. I steeled myself and entered the toilet to see this tiny human perched upon the huge toilet who had not only taken her pants down but everything else including her socks were thrown to the floor. She must have read the look of fear on my face. I admitted I had never done this before. She responded by asking, “Don’t you wipe your butt?”
“Yes.” I chuckled.
“Well. You do it the same way,” She informed me with a precocious and knowing tone. “I’ll hold on so I don’t fall off.” She firmly gripped the toilet and put her chest to her knees. I mustered my inner strength and admitted that, from this day forth, if the question came, “Have you ever wiped another person’s ass?” I would not be able to truthfully say no. I unrolled the normal dosage of toilet paper, considered the mass for a moment, and returned to double it. I did this once more for good measure until my arm looked like it was going to a costume party as a Q-tip.
“Ohh. You use a lot of toilet paper like me. Mommy only uses a little bit.” The deed was done, and the little kid looked at me, smiled, and said, “You did good.”
After a quick naked victory dance, she put her clothes back on and returned to kitten war. The only other hiccup was I had no idea how to put her to bed. I suggested that she go to bed and asked if she was tired. The response was negative and when the mother returned at one in the morning, the child was still happily clicking on kitten war.

1) Mimi was clearly the cutest of all cats on kitten war.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

A perfect life is an impossibility, but perfect moments do come. I had all the windows open and was cleaning the house while listening to a Charles Mingus CD. I was quite content tidying the house for the gaggle of italians and other sundry foreign nationals that were coming over tonight. When the CD ended I heard two children's voices mimicing the song that just played. They were riding their bicycles in a circle around the Sikh temple's parking lot improvising their own jazz with 'doot-doo doos' and 'dee-dee-dees'. It was a beautiful sight. They just kept going around in a circle singing the saxophone sounds into the empty sky oblivious to everything but their joyful song and their peddling feet. It was perfect.
It would be a sign of mental imbalance if a person bought some test tubes, wore a white lab coat, and started calling himself a scientist. Yet we must endure anyone with an asymmetric haircut calling himself a musician. It takes even less to consider yourself an artist.
I have never wept during a physics lesson or in front of a calculus solution. Scientists and artists share a creative drive that I admire. What the scientists have that artists lack is a metric for evaluation and a more regimented training. There seems to be more of a reverence for their field. Bad science is an aberration to them. It is therefore a shame that it is art that speaks to me more. I must endure the vanity published writers that accost me in equal number to the schizophrenics1. If I had a loaded gun for every writer I met who didn’t like to read, I might only have three guns, but I’d be missing three bullets and the world of literature would be that much richer for it.
One time I rode a horse that doesn’t make me a cowboy. Why would anyone think that an occasional doodle on your days off from the coffee shop makes you an artist? Art is much harder than science in some ways. That lack of methodology is difficult for the everyday creation of art. So, why would anyone think it only takes the occasional dalliance to produce it? It pisses me off to no end to see work publicly displayed that took more effort to hang than produce. Chagall’s common critique is the only one worth producing, “That’s pee-pee”. Further analysis and critique would only bring oneself needlessly a few seconds closer to death with that moment and breath being thoroughly wasted.

1) At least the schizophrenics have multiple personalities to talk about rather than just the dull self-important “buy-my-book” one that writers have.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The memory of a lesson in politics.

'How did politics come up?' I thought to myself trying to stay focused on what she was saying. The full meaning of her words hit my beer addled mind.

"How could you vote for him? He's a fucking monster. If he had his way, you'd would be locked in your home squirting out more little conservatives to go and kill brown people when their oil companies need to maintain 15% profit growth. The only time you would be allowed away from your kitchen would be to go pray at the state funded mega-church with stained glass filled with corperate logos." That was only the beginning of my unstoppable rant that pretty much could have been summed up as "You are a girl, therefore you should have voted for the democrat." Through this diatribe, I failed to notice her expression had changed from engaged conversationalist to one of a person smelling rotten vegetation. Eventually, my lungs and brain exhausted themselves. It was only then that I knew I was going to lose this argument one way or another. There was an exaggerated pause and what came next still makes cringe.

"Who the fuck are you to tell me who to vote for! A woman's right to vote is the right to vote for whoever the fuck you want to. Not who some middle class momma's boy thinks you should because he read an article by Chomsky that week." Then she punched me. A serious right jab to face that had enough muscle to make me see stars and blackness. The next instant, while I held my aching jaw, I saw a very justified and angry girl leaving the bar.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Here's why the internet is okay in my book. It lets you find old friends from your past with great ideas like:

"One of my friends created a game called "Edward 40-Hands." You should try it sometime with your wife: duct tape a 40 oz. bottle of malt liquor to each hand; you can't remove them until you have consumed them!"
The couple I met last night did not speak each other's language. One spoke Slovak. The other, Czech. Yet they still could communicate. There is something romantic and metaphorical about this, and I would hate it to be ruined by someone explaining the differences between the two languages were trivial. Let me keep in my understanding of this world, two human beings share their existences and communicate their humanity in their own language and are still understood by each other. It gives me hope that all those thoughts I fumble out with my own words may be comprehensible to someone else despite the rough hew of our English words and grammar.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

A joy, a fear, and an observation

The joy.

The kids around here are little bastards. Cheeky to the extreme. Their antics are usually restricted to setting fire to rubbish bins, yelling and throwing pebbles at each other, and abusing bus drivers. Last night I was crossing the street and saw one little bugger dancing and acting the fool in front of the large windows of the tesco grocery store. He was dancing and sticking out his tongue at the people in the queue inside the shop. As he was doing this a friend of his came behind him and pulled his tracksuit and underwear down to his knees. For an instant he continued to dance before quickly returning his cloths to the nonexposure position. I could not help but laugh out loud. The poor kid was bright pink with embarassment. I sputtered out apologies as I passed him, but was still chuckling.

The fear.

Today, I passed by an office building. At each window there was an employee at his computer. If you put oars at each window, that slave galley could rule the Mediteranian. It reinforced my deepest fear of living out my life chained to a cubicle producing nothing but days closer to death.

An observation.

There is a woman on my bus route who is as horsed face as one can be without hooves. Added to this, she dresses in loud clothes and wears make up too garish for a pre-teen girl. The two attributes in isolation would ruin anyone's looks. An ugly woman dressed plain is just a plain ugly woman. A woman dressed and painted so gaudy would undo any beauty naturally given. Yet, the two in tandom gave her a compelling style. She would have made a great portrait. I would prefer seeintg her in fashion magazines than the pediphillic porn they usually use to slog handbags and shoes.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A couple of friends and I were having coffee at a little shop that served gelato and fancy liquors. Next to our table was a couple. She was tall and elquonat with sharp spanish looking features. One could imagine some aristicatic ancestry. He was all american. He was dressed in the standard uniform of the american jock. Baseball cap, t-shirt, khaki shorts and sandles. We couldn't help eavesdropping on their conversation. They were having a sofistcated conversation about art and culture that compliments overpriced coffee and fancy tarts. All of a sudden you could see he was distracted from the conversation. He watched, with fearful recognition, two other jocks leaping out of a jeep that had just parked. He fumbled to keep hold of the conversation thread with the girl but it was obvious the mirage was about to vanish.

"What's up assface?" The two newcomers chorused. The conversation changed from Camus to kegs and lost the female's participation and any chance the poor boy had with her.