Sunday, April 05, 2015

easter day i've spent transplanting holly bushes and very little else; i was overcome by a kind of tiredness brought on by getting enough sleep, two nights in a row, for the first time ever. last night i was having pretty wild dreams, and it made me tired to jar myself awake and return to the world we know as reality. fortunately the egg dying and egg hunts went off pretty well. the kids filled themselves with candy and ran off to do kid things, and left me to my holly bushes.

i had to put the holly bushes to the side, because my wife planted two big salmon-yuccas at the front door entrance. i call them salmon-yuccas because of their color, but there is a lot of sun there at the front door, and the hollies i could tell weren't incredibly happy anyway. now that they're virtually in the shade they can spout their red berries and thorns and just relax a little, since they don't have to guard the doors. one always hopes these things will survive a transplant, but one never knows.

all the other stuff going on, and i've more or less taken a break. i'm almost done writing about half-dozen things, but all are stalled in their own way. i was going to renew my tlevs press page, but it too looks overwhelming to me, and i'm out of ideas except that it needs some change. and finally, there's insulating the garage and growing a garden, but although i did some insulating over the weekend, and have actually made some progress, i still have a long way to go and can't really move the last of the stuff over from the old house until i have a little more room in the garage.

now that you've made it this far, and read patiently about the boring stuff in my life, i'll share some of the wilder stuff, that we're still in many ways recovering from. there was a student maybe two years ago who made some threats, e-mail, obscure, just under the radar - it was hard to pin him down exactly but when he made an e-mail threat to my wife, chair of the department, and it included her kids and family, i took notice and did research. the guy was not on the web in any form, and i could not find out what he looked like. she and the police were pretty sure he was behind the threats, but that was based on his choice of recipient - he was the one who had all these people in common, and had in turn creeped each one out. but they couldn't prove the e-mails had come from him, and he denied it. finally in a confrontation involving some of his accusers, him, and the police, he agreed to leave school while he was allowed to graduate and finish his course without coming on campus, and he did; he went back to houston.

the local police were alerted to the fact that he had come back up to town from houston and might look to be causing trouble. his phone pinged from our neighborhood, but fortunately, we had moved, and anyone who was around didn't necessarily know our new address, even though we were only six blocks away. my wife actually went over to the old house twice on thursday, but we can assume they didn't cross paths, or, if they did, that he didn't take the opportunity. we can assume either that he had it out for everyone, in coming up here, or just wanted to visit; he was being called up in a hearing in houston and had simply skipped out. but as the police were checking up on our whereabouts and condition they received a call that he was dead. now we can guess that it was a suicide, but i've spent the weekend checking the news for a report, to no avail. if he killed himself on thursday the local media were left clueless, and that could be a habit for suicides, but i would have thought they'd say something.

in fact the guy is now thoroughly cleansed from the media; there's no mention of him whatsoever. it's as if he never existed, and i find that kind of creepy, because i'm pretty sure, based on what i know, that he did exist. we were left relieved and without even ever being aware we were in danger, as we'd more or less forgotten about him for a while, until some detectives knocked on our door. i recognized the name right away. but the minute they mentioned it, they also mentioned that they were pretty sure he was not longer a problem for us.

the picture i get from my wife is that of a kid who never figured out how to connect successfully with the people he liked, or even the ones he didn't; he'd sent threats in various places, and had creeped out a whole variety of people. he complained that two girls in his class were bugging him, but he sat in the front row and they ended up in the chair's office complaining that he was bugging them. various people reported that he was a problem; the police had followed him around for a while. yet he had never really followed through on his threats; he hadn't hurt anyone as far as we knew. and when he did, his victim was himself.

the question remains of why there would be a media blackout. i find myself more educated about the pool of random crimes in this city over the weekend, and also about the passel of people who just happened to have died, here and in houston, since about thursday. but his name comes up zeroes in every search. he's not in there. if he died, the world is clueless. and who knows about his parents? did they never find out? or come up and identify the body? is that perhaps the holdup?

it got warm again today, after a little respite in which it actually rained a bit, we had a storm, and it cooled off for perhaps a day. good time to transplant holly, but april in texas often brings up serious wind, shift toward warm and dry, and an intense sun one can only hide from in the days. my mother has found that she has melanoma, and though she is old enough that it's not a crushing blow, the warning has been sent to all of us, with our scottish blood and skin issues - protect thyself, it's a cruel sun. she got it, she thinks, from detassling as a teenager. i mention that to people around here, and they don't recognize it, but they all know melanoma. texas sun is hard on us white folks who settle down here, and spend whole summers out by the pool. as we got to the middle of the day, i shrank back inside and rested some more. i think you have to give yourself some space to get over the traumatic things in your life, like for example being saved by the simple circumstance of having moved randomly, and not left a forwarding address. we have no idea, of course, that this exactly saved our lives; perhaps it was only a coincidence. but the phone pinging in our neighborhood is still an image that sticks with me, as for example some of the great horror movies, before cell phones, like "i know who you are and i saw what you did," early version, which left us on the edge of our seats and gave us nightmares for months. some of those nightmares, i think i just got again, though they took a very strange form and totally disoriented me before i even had a chance to wake up. and now, i can't help thinking about the kid, and a life of being totally alone, friendless, no tools to make and keep friends, and in fact only one well-honed tool, that of eliminating oneself entirely from the internet.


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