Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sometimes you get a bad feeling

It’s weird, but that happened to me while I was using the WiFi at North Star Mall, the other day. I was seated in the “free” area under the escalators, locked into the Apple Store’s hookup, when I noticed an attractive young man saunter up to the area, look at me as I looked at him and then sit in a chair near me, casting me little glances. I was in the middle of handling some e-mails so shrugged him off. Besides, he looked too much like one of my cousins -- trim, athletic, blondish hair, face that’s vaguely Slavic and Irish -- for me to do anything more than appreciate he was nicely put together. I’ve never been into incest, even one step removed, and the few stories where I’ve come across that turn me off immediately and get shunted aside.

But then he struck up a conversation with me. About his cell phone. Nice smile. Focus on me. All but screaming, Make a move. And my first thought is, “What the fuck’re you up to?”

Listen, I’m a realist about my looks. I come across as a genial older man who cold easily play Santa Claus, my psychoses and neuroses so deeply hidden they aren’t immediately visible to anyone who’s just met me (it usually takes people a few months -- years to find out about that). I’d have to drop 75 pounds to be happy about my weight, and other factors far more difficult to deal with keep me from even beginning to think I’d be attractive to a cute guy. So alarm bells went off and I finished my e-mails and said good-bye and left.

You see, I think he was a cop or working with them. And I’m probably being paranoid, but I could just see it being a case of, “Let’s go back to the toilet and have some fun,” and BAM, I’m in cuffs for public indecency. Or “Cost you $50” and I’m hit for soliciting prostitution. After all, this is Texas, where the GOP is trying to reinstate anti-sodomy laws and outlaw divorce, and where the board that determines what text books get bought for state schools decided to cut out any mention of slavery being the cause of the Civil War in their history books and tout a hypocrite like Newt Gingrich as an historic leader instead of Martin Luther King, Jr.

What’s interesting is, this little incident kicked BC-3 into gear and I’ve begun rewriting what I have so far to figure out what I still need. Eric’s back to being Eric and Allen’s begun to reveal his self-serving versions of events. Brendan’s pissed, but I think he sort of understands. Me being in Texas is rhyme and reason enough to finish “Bobby Carapisi” and use the casual hatreds in this state to set it up.

I almost wonder if I have a vendetta against Texas. It may well be. But the truth is, I lived here most of my life and consider it my home more than I do California, where I was born, or England, where I lived a while, as well. And I hate that I’m finding my home, where I used to think we were different from the rest of the country, was probably always as two-faced as I see it now.

I went to my grandmother’s grave, yesterday, on the south side of the city by the San Antonio River. Nana. She was a life-long, yellow-dog-Democrat born and raised in Texas who despised the GOP, from Lincoln on down. Her consistent comment about them was, “They’re for the rich man.” And they consistently prove her right.

Nana was strong willed enough to be the first college-educated and then divorced woman in the family, and raise two girls on her own while working as a nurse long before nurses were paid a decent wage, and could be flexible enough to work around society’s limitations. She needed a house but she had no cash or credit, so she swapped two vacant lots she kept in the divorce for the down payment, even though they were worth twice the amount she needed. She learned how to sew and could make a buck run three times ‘round the bock before it was used up. When my grandfather refused to pay his child support and the American judicial system wouldn’t help (he was living in Jamaica, I think, and had a new wife and infant son), since he was a Mason she contacted them and got them to make him pay up (if you want to be a Mason, you take care of your family; no ifs, ands or buts). She never owned a car but did her grocery shopping at a small corner shop where even though it was a bit more expensive, she could run a tab and not need transportation to the nearest grocery store. She dipped snuff as her one bad habit and lived to be 79 on her own terms…and I really think she’s more my mother than my mother, sometimes…actually wish she had been. I might have gotten more of her abilities off her than I did. But now all she has left to show for her life is a small granite plaque over her ashes in a bit of land at the foot of her mother’s grave. What’s crazy is, I think she’d be happy for that being all there is to it.

Anyway, it rained while I was out there. Poured. One of those steaming rains you get in the tropics where the temperature remains way too high for comfort. And I sat in the car and thought about her, and when it was done, I washed her stone with my red bandana. And in doing so declared war on Texas-think. I know she’d understand, Nana would, because all that is wrong with the US today can be found in Texas, in spades.

Rambling. I do that when I’m here and have to make myself back off it. But "Bobby Carapisi-3" needs to be done. And POS is ready to be written once I have it completed so I’m not going to freak out about it.

Sometimes you get a good feeling, too.

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