Wednesday, June 19, 2013

so apparently there's a new way of protesting in turkey that's based on the tactics of "the standing man"...he's the guy who, in the heat of battle, when protesting was outlawed and punished, simply stood in the square and looked at the government buildings in protest. a kind of non-violent statement, based on the cultural agreement: everyone knew what he meant, what he was saying, what he was protesting. millions were mad at the government and were trying to decide how to show it; most visible ways, i.e. shouting, carrying a sign, etc., were being punished.

i would like to be a standing man here, but there's no cultural reference. it's not like millions of people are mad at obama for the same stuff i am; in fact, more of them are mad for other reasons. so i would stand there silently, facing a post office maybe, and nobody would have any idea what i'd be doing. some security guard would ask me what's the point. i'd have to think of some story, then he probably wouldn't believe it.

we believe in freedom of speech here, but there are certain methods we prefer, and if your method is unconventional you risk all the possible things that can go wrong when people don't know what you're up to. i have friends who are very political on facebook, but i'm beginning to not see them, or not respond so strongly, kind of like the guy who's in the post office every day, with a sign that protests some war or specific misdeed of the government. pretty soon you put him in a category in your mind, you say, oh yeah, that guy's always here, he's been protesting that war for years, and you don't even read his sign anymore. which is a shame because, he might be right, or, he might change his sign.

the other night a thunder and lightning storm came over the baseball field, but nobody was willing to call off the game, because they were sure the storm would pass to the northeast of us, and not hit the field. it was this big wide open field southwest of lubbock, the beginning of the countryside, across the fields is this one low-slung house whose strategy clearly is to be so close to the dirt, that any uplifting wind fails to blow it away. flat plain dusty field goes out in all directions. little kids were out there getting ready to play a big championship game. though the storm started in the north, and was passing to the east of us, it seemed to be getting bigger and creeping toward us, in the southeast. but nobody made a move; it was kind of a giant game of chicken. i caved first. i pulled my kid out of that game and started driving north toward town. i got to the crossroad about two blocks north, and it was already raining. five more blocks east, and it was hailing, pounding on our window. i pulled over at one point trying to get the car under an awning so as to prevent hail damage, but that seemed futile, so we slogged on. we drove through puddles a couple feet deep; it doesn't take long for the rain to gather. back at the baseball field, it's possible it never rained. but they did call off the game.

it's good times for baseball, in general; the eight-year-old plays catcher; he gets hits occasionally; he's in the action; he becomes better at all his skills, and the team wins often enough that they don't seem to be too hard on each other when they don't. there's a team that never loses: the mets; we play them tonight for the championship. they've beaten us every time so far, and it seems they've beaten almost everyone else too. such is life, though. our team hates the mets, and that seems natural, but mostly they have a good time and play their best, and the cool dry texas nights are a good backdrop. i yell my cheers from the sideline. keep calm and hit a homer! keep calm and get 'em out! that kind of stuff. maybe i'm pressuring them too much. the young fellow doesn't seem to suffer much from it, though. in fact, sometimes he's unclear on even the basics: what score it is, why you have to hold up when you're on first base and someone hits it in the air. it's a learning process. they work on it; they teach each other. coaches sometimes can't make it to the games, and they have to teach each other.

i thought about jumping in, but i had another boy in the hospital, and i was a bit distracted. they needed a pitcher, and one coach refused to pitch because he was worried they'd lose and hold it against him. i had no such qualms, but i'm a lousy pitcher, too, so it's just as well. they won last night anyway. the night was dry and cool, and it was after ten when we drove home on the southwest lubbock streets. around ten, it turns to a nightlife-type crowd, i'm sure. but at that moment, it seemed quiet, expectant, as if the wind would blow in another round of weather...which is exactly how it seems to work.


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