Tuesday, August 14, 2012

about a week into life in lubbock now, or maybe two, since we got here around the first (and it's the fourteenth as I type), and just the other day some guy from a car yelled at us, on the street, about race, as we (as a family) were crossing 19th street. That was immediately followed by a woman who also yelled something, but it wasn't clear to me the relation of what she said to what he said, since I didn't hear her at all, though it seemed she was saying it to us rather than to him. my immediate reaction was to come home and become more radical, to set me feet in the clay so to speak and dig in for a long fight. the world is full of people who don't agree with or approve of the races mixing, or walking together on 19th street or wherever, and i could just mildly go my own way and let them go theirs; it's not like i'm going to change their mind in any way, or make them understand something that was previously incomprehensible to them. in fact it's somewhat surprising to me that i went seven years in illinois without hearing any such comment, but this could be because my memory is fuzzy, and i admit that i didn't even fully hear the one i'm referring to here in lubbock. who knows what the guy said? or the woman for that matter. it doesn't really have to affect me at all, since it wasn't said to my face and i didn't hear it clearly, and in fact i'm better off not reacting to cowards, since if i told them how i felt they would circle around, confront me, and spin their wheels in my face as they drove off and that would be the best possible outcome. better off to pretend they were talking to the wind.

lubbock has a steady breeze and in fact the other night a storm passed through and we got a bit of rain which made everything greener, temporarily, including things i should have watered and things the neighbors and the city water every day or almost. it also energized people; it seems there's more traffic, people drive aiming for the puddles; people put their foot on the gas in their trucks, shooting into the refreshed, warm steamy air. and by steamy i mean that this is relative, since it's usually quite dry, a little water on the street makes a kind of temporary sheen, as the trees are quick to absorb what they can and the narrow leaves open out for a bit to take in whatever is there. the steady breeze kicks in and the following day it's hot, dry, and a bit windy, as usual, and all the living things kick back in to survival mode, ok it's hot & sunny again, but i will survive.

i'm beginning to reject the definition of stay-at-home parenting as fighting kids' natural impulse. the natural impulse is to skip a nine-o'clock breakfast and eat something at about eleven, and then get real hungry around three and eat as much as possible. this of course ruins parents' dinner plans and also, by the way, leaves them wondering where the people are, at about noon when we would like to prepare them something we would call "lunch." but the natural cycle is what their body tells them, and, even when, and especially if they go to school, three or three thirty is that devastating time when whatever is in the kitchen gets sucked right up much like a vacuum cleaner might take to a living room carpet. so the question is, do you fight this and impose with an iron fist, a morning-noon-evening schedule, or do you go with the flow and let what happens happen? in our case the lazy river is a consideration; we want to go, we leave here at about five fifteen; we want them to have food in the belly so as not to want to come home immediately; so, sometime i go with the flow. ok, i'll feed you in the late afternoon. i'll even give you whatever you want. i'll be a little less attached to what we call "dinner." i'll watch the natural cycle take its course.

big accident today at eighty second & quaker; it's amazing to me just being in a city, where houses burn down, people get killed, things happen at a slightly greater volume than they did in the town i used to live in. i've taken to checking the news, and even reading about this stuff that befalls people in our midst, people in this city. almost a quarter million folks around, though it's not exactly clear to me where they are, since i haven't found a clear downtown, and have only a fuzzy conception of where they go, where they work, where all the traffic is. our little part seems to be university-ville, for sure, but what do i know. for example my wife asked me if we could be considered to be on the south or the west side, and yes, in a sense, we are both, but also we are neither, since we're in the middle of town, and town grew out so much to both the south and the west, it left us back in the old part. so i couldn't even answer that question.

my son comes down and watches his video in the chair next to mine. it's about the game minecraft or is it mindcraft i'm not sure. at one point the guy is saying, well you can pray, but if you do, you'll get this kind of nausea, nausea will set in. so after the movie is over i asked my son, what's with this nausea? nausea, he says, is when the screen becomes fuzzy, and you can't quite see your environment very clearly anymore. it's the price you pay, i guess, in this kind of circumstance. why would you want to pray? maybe to make your character stronger, he said, as a kind of defense. or to heal an injury, he says, created by a zombie or a skeleton or one of those other bad guys they've let loose to get you. these guys, he said, mostly attack you at night. but night is an artificial construct, night happens every ten minutes or so, when you are playing, and it doesn't matter if you chose to play at some time that we would call "night" here in real time, or if it was what we would call "day." it's a kind of construction of night, imposed by the game-makers.

the conversation eventually leads to how any given character can blow up part of his environment in various ways, one of which is to actually become an enemy, or a zombie, or whatever these bad guys are. this is where my memory becomes a little fuzzy, because as he's talking i imagine a kid who gets used to becoming bad guys, and blowing stuff up, and as i did with my older kids i challenge him to assure me that he won't grow up, and choose to become a bad guy and blow up his neighbors, rather than say, walking over there and working out whatever his problem is. at our sister university, down in the steamy part of texas, this just happened when an elected official served papers on some guy on fidelity street in some small town, and got blown away in a resulting gun fight. in a world where automatic weapons are freely available, and boys spend lots of time in these alternate worlds where one just a bad guy and blows up one's environment, i guess i shouldn't be too surprised. i would pray a little more, but i'm not sure i can handle the nausea. fortunately i washed all the old windows in this ancient house, and now, the clear sunny days, the entire view, is quite clear. this includes the dead tree out front, which i suppose you will see, if you haven't already, and the suns that the previous owners left, hanging on the wooden wall, giving us interior courtyards with the image of suns on them; you will see these also. the rearview mirror shots i do for my lubbock site, don't know quite what i'll do with that, but i will say that people from here ought to be able to go there, and see a little of my perspective, hard or jaded or whatever, whereas here they'll get more of a ramble, more of whatever i'm thinking. more later.

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