All and all, it was a fulfilling drive today. I think I am the better for it all.
All and all, it was a fulfilling drive today. I think I am the better for it all.
But his facial hair was trimmed as neat and artistically as the hedge around a well-kept garden. His beard was was a half-inch wide ribbon that traced his jawline, then avoided his chin and mouth by curving up into a mustache that came down on the other side of his face to follow his jawline back up toward his ear.
He did not bother with mending his clothes or fret over decent shoes, but his beard was his pride and joy, his sculpted, crafted, artistic statement to the world. With a beard so lovingly cared for, so perfectly rendered, what did he need to bother with that other stuff?
I only wish I had one thing about me that I could take such pride in, that I could put before the world and say, "This represents me. This is my glory. Behold me. Admire me. Adore me."
Today at the stoplight, I noticed that the pickup truck next to me, once again, was being driven by a Chocolate Labrador Retriever. I assume it was the same dog as last time.* He did not have his Redneck in the back of the truck today. I wondered where the Redneck was, and hoped he was okay. I worried that the Retriever had taken to the vet and had him put down. But the Redneck looked like he was only in his late 30's or so, that that seems a bit premature, unless he was very sick and the dog didn't want to spend the money to treat him.
The Lab was keeping one eye on the stop light while he used one paw to search the radio dial for something interesting. I wished him good luck; it was the top of the hour and all stations were on commercial breaks.
When the light changed and the Lab took off, I pulled into the lane behind him and was delighted to see that he was, indeed, a good and responsible dog. On his rear bumper was a sticker that read: PLEASE SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR REDNECKS!
*on this day: http://www.livejournal.com/users/
A group of laborers for a road construction project were gathered on a grassy patch not 6 feet from the traffic. Two of them were faced off in boxing stances, with their fists up and their heads lowered. I thought they were just playing, at first. Then one of them through a punch and the other reciprocated. Sadly, the light was green and I didn't get a chance to stay and watch.
I should mention that these were not young men. The younger of the two looked to be in his 40's, and the older one looked at least 50.
It's been years since I've watched a fist fight. Maybe even as far back as high school. But the fights back in school were passionate fights about girls and insults and a need to burn off excess testosterone, with flailing fists and anything goes kind of rules. Heads got banged into lockers and faced crunched into the concrete of sidewalks. This was a measured match of bare-knuckle boxing between two very calm pugilists. I so wanted to see how it turned out.
I was rooting for the older guy. No particular reason, besides that I admired that he was still willing to throw it down at his age.
It is just over 34 miles from my driveway to my favorite space on the 3rd floor of the parking garage at my office. In that 34 miles, I move from rural areas to a small town to affluent suburbia to outlying squalor to solid working class subdivisions to slums to a neighborhood slowly undergoing the pangs of gentrification. I pass though barrios and a burgeoning little Vietnam, where new shopping centers are going up with an Asian grocery store and dozens of Vietnamese restaurants.
I love taking in the changes. The little Vietnamese shops are all new in the last year as that community has grown roots in the Northwest Houston area. I am currently watching a bank building turn into a Spanish language church a couple miles from my office. It has actually been a church, but has still looked like a bank. Now it is undergoing an amazing renovation that leaves no doubt as to what it is, and few clues on the outside of what it was before.
I always think as I drive by it, what would Jesus say? "You've turned a den of thieves into my Father's house!"
Even if Jesus doesn't get a kick out of it, I kind of do.
I have a guilty secret to admit: blind people are my favorite handicapped people, because they don't mind if you stair at them. I love that. You can study them, take them in, watch how they react with their environment, and they never get offended.
People are interesting and intriguing to me. I like to watch them, but you usually have to pretend that you aren't seeing them at all. If you strike my fancy to watch, it means that I find you interesting, like a painting or a work of art. I am taking in the poetry of your movement, your conversation, your clothes, your features. It is a compliment, but only I know that and I can't explain to you that it is because you wouldn't understand.
The woman was young, but large. She must have weighed twice as much of the man. She wore her brown hair pulled back in a pony tail. His hair was long, past his shoulders, and braided into corn rows. She was white, while he was what I call "ethnically ambiguous." They both wore baseball caps. He walked on the outside, his arm bent at the elbow so that she could grasp his upper arm for guidance.
They were a poem, walking along the side of the road.
Maybe someday they will make it into my notebook, and then into one of my readings.
But today, they are just a picture in my mind, my memory of this morning, walking along the side of the road on and October morning in Texas.
Why aren't more people laughing?
Sometimes I think I'm the only one who notices that we are all actors in a dark comedy. Not only is it okay to laugh, it's healthy. Really, people - just go ahead.
But rather than home, maybe I could go somewhere else. Just drive until I reached someplace beautiful, and sit there and write and daydream until the sun went down. Maybe I could drive all night, even after the sun went down. Settle somewhere else, become someone else. Someone interesting. Someone with pizazz.
I wonder how long it would take people to notice that I was gone?
For a Friday, this sure does feel like a Monday.
By the time I pulled into the parking garage, I was mentally exhausted and feeling low on fuel. Caffeine should help; it usually does.
The silence in my head is giving me a headache this morning. The silence is so loud I want to cry.
I'm worried I may be losing my mind. Usually when that happens, I find it in the nearest gutter and I can retrieve it. Still, that first moment when I notice that my mind is lost always causes a bit of a panic, with me frantically looking everywhere for my lost mind. It always turns up, either in the gutter or in the last place I remember being and having a rational thought.
Last night, I found it in the couch cushions.
My own plate is a standard state issued plate - Y95 BYS - which I remember as "You and 95 Boys," which makes no sense but it helps me remember it. What, pray tell, would I do with 95 boys? Unless said boys happened to be between 17 and 19 years old, nice looking, liked older women and weren't very picky about how the older woman looked. Then I could think of a few things.
Gotta go. Can't type. Daydreaming...
On the other hand, the only think to keep me from driving as fast as I wanted to was the risk of hydroplaning. Cops HATE to get out of their cars to harass you in this weather. So, for that reason if nothing else, I kind of like driving in the rain.
The hydroplaning thing is scary, though.
It wasn't just the other drivers, it was everyone. The passengers wore them. The laborers in the back of the pickup trucks wore them. Even in the children in the back seats wore them. Everyone.
For some reason, this make me feel very, very vulnerable.
Life is mocking me because I was supposed to put the trash can out this morning, but didn't.
Though, considering that this is me we are talking about, a day without weirdness is like a day without caffeine - things are going to be off kilter until I get some in my system.
Now I'm going to be paranoid, waiting around the office for the weirdness to show up. Think I'll have another diet soda to tide me over until it does.