fredag, juli 14, 2006

Living Next to the Y

Perhaps it’s the human capacity for self-inflicted torture rather than opposable thumbs that truly separates us from the lower beasts. Why else would we hold office jobs? Watch, in the way one watches an accident site for signs of gore, yet another facile report about Star Jones?

Yesterday, already baking from a day in my apartment/kiln, I set out for a hill run. It was 3 pm.

The YWCA kids, who are alright, thanks, were making their spirited walk around the building to the neighborhood park. They pumped their arms. Some of them spun abruptly, as if outwardly completing a dance routine that had gone off smashingly in their minds. Per usual, one kid was demonstrating his skills in the martial arts.

Now, if I’m to believe J-horror films, M. Night Shamalama’s commercials, or those absolute nutters found everywhere—parents—children are the scariest thing on either side of the mortality line. And, yes, whispering children are fairly creepy. And children with greasy black hair crawling out of wells to murder you are, indeed, creepy.

Not long ago, coming back from a run, I’d passed the sidewalk art the Y kids had done outside the International House (a place on the block for Asian exchange students). The chalk drawings showed smiling girls in pigtails with arms outstretched, dogs barking at the sun, cars with disastrously shaped wheels. One image, though, gave cause for alarm: it depicted a boy shooting a girl in the head. Brains were even bursting out the other side.

I’d thought about dropping a note with the Y, asking them to take a closer look at what the kids were drawing and whether it indicated anything they needed to be concerned about. I wrote this short letter in my head. I write letters like that (in my mind) all the time. I'm almost a community leader. Almost.

Three days later, I passed the same spot. We’d had a brief bit of rain in the interim. The violent drawing had gone away. All that remained was a thin ghost of the smiling girl in pigtails, stick arms outstretched.

So here I was going for a run and sweating before I’d even started. Sweating simply from the act of opening my Gatorade.

I crossed from the convenience store and headed, as they say, for the hills. (Well, hill.) This put me in the same line with the kids heading for the park.

One girl walked with a blanket, and I mean like a down comforter, clutched at her throat. The extra corner of fabric acted as a hood, very clandestine. She walked hunched, as if against a wind. And as I neared, she began to sing:

I-ee-I farted

On the second “I farted” line, a second girl joined in. I hoped for a round, but a round did not develop.

Today’s Distraction: What does Jon Pack approve and disapprove of? This blog kills me. Pack eschews writing in favor of subjects, a main image for an entry (the thing he’s either approving or disapproving of), and a thumbs-up / thumbs-down image of himself. From Randy Moss to Randy Moss’s smoothies, the Wimbledon streaking tradition to pesto, the sound of flip-flops to smoking while bicycling, Jon Pack has an opinion and he’s not afraid to share it. Dear god, please visit the site. Just scroll. Having flown a rather uncomfortable transatlantic flight on Icelandair, this entry is currently my favorite.
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