Wednesday, February 18, 2015

on the quaker facebook somebody asked what everyone was giving up, and of course some people pointed out that we're quakers, we don't believe in that kind of symbolic relationship to religion, like putting ashes on our foreheads or celebrating special saints. some people live in predominately catholic areas, so maybe they just feel like it's a question everyone's asking each other anyway, or they're ribbing each other with it. i said i was giving up trying to make any sense out of anything. that of course assumes that making sense out of stuff is a kind of luxury, like cigarettes or steak, that one can go a week without, in order to publicly proclaim one's religion.

the weather shows signs of turning to spring here, with little green things poking out of the ground, but there's been more snow, and less dust, than usual, and also it's colder. i'm wondering when the dust storms (new mexico land transfers) will show up but so far we've had a little brisk northerly cold wind, but not much else. no dust to speak of. lots of fresh air as i go walking around the neighborhood, and go for my walks at night.

it was a half-day at school so i spent a hard afternoon home with four rambunctious kids and their guests, all wanting to try out the new trampoline, also trying to fix a toilet at the same time. i should be able to fix a toilet, being sixty and all, but it's taken me all day, for some reason, and that's because i keep taking a break to check my facebook or mess with the kids or whatever. or do this. and the afternoon just keeps drifting along, later and later, with the dogs nervous about all the visitors and wondering when it will be 4 30, and they finally get fed. what i absolutely hate is to get involved in trying to do something which i consider uninterruptible, and being interrupted constantly. so i put it off. i figure i'll get to it late at night. but late at night, i'm real tired. i go for a three-mile walk that tops off what i've done during the day (usually 1-2 more) and i'm totally beat. my one or two uninterrupted hours become wasted hours.

one of my neighbors is quite wealthy; he has a silver sports car convertible and a silver cadillac, old and fine car, and he's a developer who has built many a hotel around town, a little controversial. so one day he comes down our street in the open convertible with a garbage can in it, and lots of other junk, piled up the sides, and right away i thought he was being kicked out of his house. why would he not take the good car? actually i think he has three or four cars, but it was a sight, the convertible, piled high with stuff. what i didn't figure is that the recycling is right around the corner from our new house, and i'm not used to that, so actually he was taking the recycling. i laughed at my own assumptions, the way i read into stuff so quickly. i'm just as bad as anyone, i look at people and think what i want to.

which reminds me of the pecans; lately i've taken to grabbing five or six of them every time i see a pile of unharvested ones at a house on my path. usually i take them out of the road but i'll take them out of the parking too, especially if it looks like nobody's been grabbing them. so my pockets are constantly full and sometimes when i walk, i'll grab a couple of them and squeeze them together until they crack, and then pick away at them so as to get something to eat. but walking around with hands in a full pocket, especially as unshaven as i am, tends to attract attention too. lately a policeman pulled up alongside me and i couldn't help feeling he was staring me down, as if someone had called and complained about a scary-looking guy walking around. i wear my tech hat partly to show my good-old-boy allegiance, so i just looked right back at him for a while, and he left. you can tell the suspicious people by the way they behave when you get in their face, i'm sure he was thinking. anyway, whatever he was thinking, he had better things to do than find out who i was. i'm out there all the time.

but, says my wife, not so if you're black or hispanic. just walking around, or looking too much at things, can get a person in trouble, and you never know what they might interpret as 'suspicious' or hiding something. things happen, and the community organizes to survive it, or cause it as the case may be. could have been any of those neighbors that called him, even the developer himself, whose house i now walk by both coming and going. i'm getting to know the pecan trees, though, since their pecans have distinct shapes and are of different kinds and shapes. slowly, i'll learn what these are. they still all taste the same. and also, sometimes i manage to get the nuts out whole, while other times, i'm left using what's left of fingernails to try to get little pieces out of where they're tucked in. there's always a supply, though; when i get bored i can change my route, and find dozens more trees, similarly left to drop their nuts, while we wonder why people let such a fine crop just sit there all winter. light pecans, and black coffee, and long walks in the cold night, that's what i'm up to. not that i don't have better stuff to do, just that, well, i kind of fell into it.

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