My son the conservative

The other day I came home from, work, and right when I walked in the door Trevor started telling me about these people on the MMORPG he is playing currently (Lego Universe). It seems that some of the guys online have gotten smart, and started begging the other players for money, claiming they couldn’t kill many of the monsters because their characters were too weak. Trevor had zero empathy for this guys, sniffing out their scam right away. He told me his character was no stronger than theirs (the game lists this stuff for all to see), and yet he was having no problems with the monsters. His indignation at their actions, and his delight at telling them off, was a wonder to behold. It  reminded me strongly of the many conservatives I’ve run across and they way they talk about welfare. “I’m not going to give my hard-earned money to someone who’s too lazy to work.”

My son, the Republican.

A new character is coming

I think I have a new character coming out of my head, and let me tell you, he is not a nice one.

Last night I had two nightmares. The first one was one of those where you are scared not from anything specific, but because you are suddenly overwhelmed in a swirl of chaotic madness. I woke up with a shout, and a deep sense of someone lurking. That was at 4:30 am. God only knows why I didn’t wake up Teri or Trevor. I got up to pee, and check the house. I’d been sleeping in a awkward position (in fact, I’ve been sleeping poorly this whole week), so I chalked it up to should/back pain as the cause, and went back to sleep.

The second one was after I turned off the 6:30 alarm, and went back to sleep. I dreamed we owned an older house. I think it was situated on the end of the block where we lived as kids in Fresno (on San Carlos Street). The house was dirty, old, and grey, the color of ancient wood bleached by the sun. I was in the bedroom unpacking stuff when Trevor came in the room shouting about the goldfish. I ran into the hallway, and found myself up to my ankles in water. I started grabbing fish, and putting them back in their travel bag, when I noticed the hose. Someone had taken a garden house from outside, pushed the end though the window into the hallway, and turned it on full blast. I asked Trevor if he had done this, and he apologized. Then I yelled at him to run and turn it off.

It was when I was going out the front door that I saw the man. He was young (in his mid 20s) with shoulder length or longer straight blonde hair. His face was long and thin, his look severe as if he was unhappy about something that was preoccupying his thoughts. He was rolling across our back lawn in roller blades, clearly on our property. He looked to be about 6 feet tall or taller, but it was hard to tell because of the blades on his feet. He circled around the house checking us out and dodging all the moving boxes laying around. Then he rolled back to a trail heading off from the rear of our lot. I asked Trevor if this was the person who put the hose in the window, and he nodded his head saying that the man had threatened to beat him up if he said anything.

Like I said, not a nice guy.

The thing is, I don’t know who this guy is. Yet. I had a story idea this week, a type of blind justice based upon a reformed criminal that can see the ghosts caused by other’s crimes, but this guy doesn’t seem to fill that part. For one thing he was clearly comfortable with what he was doing, as in having no emotional understanding of the creepiness of his actions. This was not “fun” but dead earnest actions to accomplish something. Perhaps to try and move us off something he thought he owned, like the house. This is more in keeping with a antagonist then a protagonist, but I don’t know. He is not a nice character, and I don’t fancy writing about him. But I bet I will anyway.

Late night train ride

Last Friday I ended up working for a client later then normal, staying until 10:30. Most of you know I take the subway and/or bus to work whenever I can. This particular client is right across the street from the Hollywood/Highland station on the Red Line (the subway). Late night on a Friday, and especially at a popular tourist stop on a warm summer evening, I expected to find the station crowded with the typical Europeans, Aussies, and American tourists. What I found instead were the workers; the hidden part of a modern city.

I thought I was heading home, but instead took a small detour into the hell of the working poor.

Waiting for the trains were all the security officers, janitors, and other people who come into the city late at night, and clean up after the rest of us have left. This is the shadow city, the other city. The part you normally do not see as their work happens after you and I go home. It was like I had wondered into a different town, one more Kafkaesque then the one I normally inhabit. Gone were all the suits, and the bright colored people. In their stead were tired mostly dark-skinned automatons. The late night, and harsh light giving them an almost zombie like appearance. Starring into space, the fatigue behind their eyes was palatable. I saw several bow their heads, and fall asleep on the short train ride to the last stop, their heads bouncing with the motion of the train, but their bodies too tired to wake up. The whole ride had this subdued air, with even the few teens on board unable to bring up enough energy to overcome the fatigue of their fellow passengers.

Getting off the train in “the Valley”, I was relieved to climb that last big set of stairs. The moonlit air above ground was warm and its comforting light invigorated the people as they left the station. We were back in the real world, the normal one. Kids hooted and hollered, riding their skateboards, or just running around to expelled the rest of the zombie energy from below.

As I boarded the Orange Line (and long articulated bus) I saw smiles all around. It was still late, and we were all still tired, but the dark pallor of the underground had lifted.

Full fathom five

When my father died,
he took with him,
things I will never see,

Yet are as much a part,
of the man I am,
as these lungs which help be breathe.


For some reason the term Full Fathom Five fell into my head today, so I looked it up on wiki. Reading the Shakespeare poem/song that is the source brought to me a whole host of emotions, all associated with the death of my father, and my father-in-law. Hence the poem above.

As I write this, I am 48.  On the whole I have found being older to be a great benefit. Its as if the dross of your life is burned away slowly by time, leaving nothing but the hot undiluted self behind. Every year I feel like my thinking becomes clearer, at least in terms of being me, while my surety that the world runs only a particular way falls off more and more. That is, I am more sure about myself, but less sure about everything else. This I think is a wonderful trade-off, a nice balance of pride and humility. Something I actually look forward to, and see as a benefit that more than overcomes the physical imperfects that also come with age. But there are parts about becoming older that are not so fun. One of them is burying your parents.

It is easy to assume if you are male, and over 18 that you are in fact a man, but I will tell you right now, you really do not know what it means to be a man until the day you bury your father. That day, and all the days that come after. That is when you really sense the full weight of manhood resting hard upon your shoulders.

My father does not lie five fathoms down. One was sufficient. And let me tell you, that one fathom is the heaviest amount of dirt I have ever felt.

So the other evening Teri and I were sitting in the office at out respective computers, doing something like surfing the net or writing email, when Trevor walked in and start sniffing us. First he came up behind my back, and sniffed around my neck and shoulders. Then he went over to Teri, and did the same to her. Its a bit unnerving to have a 10 year old walk up behind you and start smelling you, but we are used to our son being slightly eccentric. (For instance, he will not refer to either Teri or myself as Mom or Dad. He only calls us by our first names) Since it was near his bed time I think we both thought he was tired, and trying to get our attention so we could tuck him in bed. Rather than be upset, we both stopped and turned to him asking “What are you doing?”

“I’m sniffing,” he said with a smile. “Sniffing for guilt.”

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