Friday, May 30, 2008

Assholes are Vital, Let's Learn to Love Them

I'll preface this post by saying I'm an avid bike rider.

I choose my vacations based on the availability of bike trails in the chosen locale. I paid a month's worth of rent for my bike and I am not sorry for it. That said, I'm not a part of the activist bike culture, demanding new trails and threatening to sue wayward motorists and whatnot. I feel like, if you could bike instead of drive, you should, but if you don't that's okay. And, if you do, be as courteous to pedestrians as you want drivers to be of you is all.

So, this happened today, and I'm not sure what to do with it. I was standing outside of my building with a woman whom I've seen and talked to on several occassions. I like her. She's nice, and my dog likes her dog. We were talking and both our dogs were with us, when a man and his two daughters rode by on the sidewalk with their bikes. Now, I know you shouldn't ride your bike on the sidewalk. BUT, I admit, I do it from time to time. When I see people ahead, I get off and ride in the street, but sometimes it's just easier because of stop signs and whatnot, to be on the sidewalk.

That said, if you ARE on the sidewalk, it calls for hypervigilance -- we bike riders are held to a higher accountability on the sidewalk by virtue of what we ask of drivers on the road.

So, anyway, my associate and I were talking, and at the passing of the three bikes, she said, to me, but loud enough for them to hear, something to the effect of, hey don't run over my dog, idiot. And then, this crazy thing happened. The father, turned around and said, "Who are you calling a fucking idiot?" (This, said in front of the daughters he is--and I may be wrong, because I'm no parent--charged with caring for and providing a good example to. (Yes, both of those clauses ended with a preposition. Whatever. So?)

I said nothing. But I should have. That whole interaction was wacka-wacka-wacka-wack. (<--for my hip hop friends) Because, the thing is, yeah, you ARE NOT TO RIDE YOUR BIKE ON THE SIDEWALK. But the other thing is, they approached us around a corner from behind, and perhaps would have changed their course had they had time. So, I was not personally offended by them riding by the dogs. But, that's not to say someone else wouldn't or shouldn't have been. That's not even to say someone else shouldn't have referred to the trio as idiots.

But here's the thing that's wrong. Had I been the father, at that point, rather than spewing expletives (and ones that, had he heard his daughters say, he might have reprimanded them for (<--again with the prepositions)) I might have used this as a learning and teaching moment. But, I don't walk the earth with privilege in my back pocket and entitlement in my front, so I can't say that he is/was even capable of thoughtful response by virtue of both his gender and race. Yes, I said that.

The thing is, we all live in the same neighborhood. Here's a thought: that makes us neighbors. Neighbors are folks that disagree and don't always get on with each other, but they are still neighbors. We have a vested interest in the harmony of our 10 square blocks. That means that even the folks who yell at another deserve a measured response and one that is faced towards resolution, rather than escalation.

I'm not saying my conversing-companion was right--I wouldn't have said it, and to be honest, it didn't bother me. But it's okay that it bothered her, and yeah, she could have said something different, or something less audible, or, just held it in and chewed on it at home. I am saying, though, that I'm disappointed that I let my surprise get the better of me and didn't intervene to make the interaction more constructive. I do believe that there exists a point in every interaction where thoughtfulness, neighbhorliness, human-ness, and a desire for harmony can turn escalation into peaceful resolution.

That dad is probably not even thinking about this now. His girls probably said, "Yeah, dad, you rock. You told those ladies." And, that's sad. And, I'm sad for myself that I didn't say, "Wait." Just, "Wait." Sometimes that's all it takes.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Who are these people and why don't I know them?

Who are these people and why don't I know them?

Probably because I'm 1000 years older than them.
It's Smoosh. They Rock. Seriously.
You can listen to them here.

Who else rocks?
Her, hard. With a fucking ukelele:

And, you can listen to her here.
And the thing is? She's so great, and so vulnerable that the whole time I'm watching her on YouTube, I just want to say (see Jesus Walks)clean up that room, young lady?! ... But in a nice way. Trust me that you'll love her shit. It's the bomb (and I don't mean that ironically--it will blow your f'ing mind.)

And what else, you say? There's more? Why yes, there is:

And, here is her voice.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Trying to Love You, Louis

I'm trying to remember to love you, Lou.

That's all I can say right now. I'm trying to finish the biggest sweater (Celtic Icon) ever made -- a lesson in the value of swatching which I'm sure I'll forget once I get to work and open my package from Habu-- and Lou is trying to make me crazy. I hate that he's getting older (or, that he is old -- it's 17 years now) and it makes me sad that he can't move as quickly and that the stairs are a burden for him. The only reason I live where I do is because it's on the first floor, and there are only 4 steps in and out of the building. He is not grateful, however, and just now, walked in the bedroom, looked at me for a second, and then went and puked on my Danskos. Nice.


Letters to Grace - 5/21/08

Friends Far Afield
I do some part-time work for a great woman in California named Grace. I've never met her in person, yet I count her among my greatest friends. I do love her. She is generous, funny, patient, and one of the kindest people I've never met. Some of my emails to her and hers to me are funny, and I want to keep a record of them, so I'll do it here. Here's my note to her of 5/21/08:

Hi, Grace. Here are the other two xxxxxx files for you, and an invoice. Give Molly a nuzzle, or a scriggle (you know what that means) on the belly for me-- my poor old dog Lou (17 years old next month!) has recently lost his mind, and deicded to pee wherever he wants... in the HOUSE! I'm too angry with him to give him a cuddle or a scriggle, though I did clean out his eye boogers tonight. Gross, and though he's less than thankful, it needed to be done. He just cost me $800 for "tests" this weekend (which is vet speak for bilking the sucker clients. That was couch money, so now we all sit on the floor for another month. What an ass.).

Lou just got up a few minutes ago from his bed (I have SIX of them so he can sleep comfortably in the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, den, living room, or sunroom (who's the boss here?) and walked nonchalantly to the living room to pee into the non-working (thank God) fireplace ... like that was okay. Oh, my old dog is lucky I Iove him, because I want to punch him in the face a little bit. I'm single-handedly keeping the papertowel industry alive. The vet thinks he's just either just getting confused in his dotage, or doesn't want to wait for me to get it together to walk him. Personally, I think it's passive aggressiveness, but there's no vaccine for that. Meanwhile, my cat, Eli, is sleeping on top of the ironing board, which would be reason enough to put the ironing board away when I'm not using it, and yet... I don't. How many times do I have to iron something only to find it covered with cat hair before I just fold the thing up and put it in the closet? (By "the thing", I could mean Eli or the ironing board. Still deciding.)

Anyway, see what you started? Get a dog, and then I can talk about is dogs and pets. Send me news of Molly. I'm pretty sure she's going to be your permanent pet/companion, because it's super hard to give them up after they've been with you for a few days. That explains my menagerie -- I don't even like them that much, but here they are, shedding, and snotting, and oozing all over everything! My recommendation? Leather furniture, polyester clothing, and some delicious dry white wine (to drink after you've cleaned the first two!) Best - j


Why PBS is the Shizznit

I worked at PBS headquarters for about a year or so -- part time while I was in law school, and then for a bit the summer after graduation. It was THE BEST job I ever had, and I say that, even loving my current job ... a lot. As an organization, they have a lot to teach other companies about living the mission. And so, I'm always surprised at how hard it is for PBS to garner guaranteeed funds from Congress every year, and how people decry their programming as left wing and whatnot. It struck me tonight that, FOX was airing a re-run of Gossip Girl while that left-wing craziness that is PBS was THE ONLY station I searched that was airing a Memorial Day concert honoring soliders, men and women, lost in battle. Interesting.