Sunday, May 13, 2007

on the lam again

A sinkhole swallowed me last week. Fortunately I didn't sit well in the catacombs of its stomach, so it retched and retched until it managed to spit me out. Back above ground, most things seem the same as I left them. Some things have changed......

The world is jaundiced. An even blanket of yellow dust covers everything around me and gives me a miserable sinus headache. Every time I get behind the wheel of my black SUV, I curse the ever present pollen that paints the hood and plasters the windshield. Spraying the washer fluid and jamming the wipers into gear only makes it worse - a sludge that resembles some one's urine after a heavy night of drinking and failing, yet again, to properly hydrate. It's nauseating, so I usually squint through it from point A to point B.

What else? Oh, the bee population appears to be in decline. Perhaps admitting this will not make me any new friends, but I have contributed to this factor. You see, I'm anti-insect. Ironically, I also loathe spiders. You'd think I would like or at least tolerate spiders since they rid the world of most insects, but no. The whole lot of them can go to hell for all I care. If I spot a bee (or a spider for that matter) at my house, I drop everything and make it my sole purpose to destroy it. Every once in a while I pose this question to myself - what if there were giants roaming the earth who decided at random to snuff out little humans like myself? And for a second, I empathize with these pests, but the empathy is fleeting, and next thing you know I'm wielding a tennis racket, shoe, or rolled-up newspaper. There's this crew of bumblebees loitering in my back yard. They hover in certain corners of the yard, occasionally coming over to the patio to buzz me or the Jackal. I mean, these pricks are coming into my yard trying to intimidate me with absolutely no clue about my vicious backhand. Two or three of them learned the hard way when I slammed winners and sent them to the afterlife. As for the rest of them - their days are numbered. Naturally my wife chalks this up as yet another demonstration of my insanity. But seriously, I'm amazed by the whole bee issue. Fast forward about 10 years and Whole Foods will be stocking its shelves with free range honey and activists will be raising hell over bee farm and other mass methods of honey production. Maybe not, but stranger things have happened.

Suddenly so many people are shocked about this Alec Baldwin voicemail message to his 11 year old daughter. Did I miss the memo about celebrities having their shit together in the personal life category? I don't see how this makes people shudder. If anything, it brings them down to earth with the rest of us where yelling at kids or veering off the path of perfect parenthood happens every day. Now this cat feels the need to apologize to the world and says he wants to give up acting so he can pursue more philanthropic goals in the world of parental estrangement? Alec, most of us never really pegged you for dad of the millennium or a saint. Your absolutely stunning and beautiful performance in Glengarry Glen Ross, when you ripped apart a gang of two-bit real estate salesman, demonstrated your ability to dig deep and bring the anger. It was too good, too real, so we knew you had it in you. Look - I am not saying it's cool to say that kind of stuff to your kids, but it happens now and then when you are human.

Speaking of being human, I have a story. Friday I managed to leave my work baggage at the door and got home with the idea of taking the Jackal out on a bus adventure. Mom would be getting off late, so what a way to kill some time! Naturally he was thrilled about this plan. The trip would require two legs, which was no problem. One of the bus lines goes right by our house, so we grabbed that bus and smoothly rode to Connecticut Avenue where we got off and waited for our transfer - the L2. At the bus stop, the Jackal pointed out birds, cars, people, coffee shops, strollers, bicycles and every other obvious thing that surrounded us. It was so cute, and I soaked up every bit of it. Then my cell phone interrupted - a work call. So much for edging into the weekend unscathed.

About 5 minutes into the call, the L2 bus pulled up, so I gathered the Jackal in one arm, collapsed stroller in the other, and wedged the phone between my shoulder and ear as I approached. Somehow, I have no idea how, the driver didn't see me behind the three other passengers who boarded and essentially closed the door in my face, eliciting an "Oh no!" from the Jackal. Since I had no hands free, I kicked the bottom of the door, and cracked the window. Well, this didn't seem to get the driver's attention because he edged the bus along to the intersection. Naturally I was pissed but couldn't react because of the work call in my ear, so the Jackal and I planted ourselves back at the bus stop. That's when I noticed the bus I just inadvertently vandalized with my child in my arms had stopped and passengers with scowls on their faces were pouring out the door. As it happened, the driver decided his vessel was "out of service" due to the broken window and ordered the passengers off. I learned this from one crusty old man who ignored the fact that I was on the phone and howled, "You broke that window, so he kicked us off." Then the driver approached me and pointed out what happened in what sounded like the form of a question: "You broke a window?"

At this point I decided it would be a good idea to scram lest I find myself talking to cops, so I shrugged my shoulders and slowly sauntered away from the scene. In my wake the disgruntled commuters probably cursed me. I have to admit I giggled as I pushed Jack in the stroller through nearby alley ways en route to another bus stop further down the line. Always the bus system loyalist, the Jackal was naturally pissed and confused and asked several times about the bus and its whereabouts. "Forget that bus." I explained, though he could not possibly understand. "We're on the lam, my friend."

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