Friday, September 04, 2015

when there's a party, it's really hard for me to watch them, so they tend to get whatever they want to eat, which in most cases is sugar. i find it hard not to let down my guard a little, talk to the grownups, let them tear around and burn a little energy. in this case the park was in a wide open public square only a couple blocks from the school. it was a friend of the littlest, who is seven; most of the kids were about seven, but the nine and ten-year-olds found kids to play with too. there were frisbees; there was mud; there was a playground and a large obstacle course. the last of the week's hot, intense sun was just going down in the west. it was still in the high eighties; it had been over ninety all week.

and not a drop of rain, hardly, the place is parched. the city waters the parks, and they do a pretty good job, so most of the parks have some green grass in them and are ok to walk or run on barefoot. get away from the parks, though, and it gets pretty crackly pretty fast. on my walk around the other park, the wide open one, i come to some dry patches and they have my two enemies: stickers and goat's heads; these are sharp and hurt even calloused feet. but they are even harder on me if they get up between my toes, where it's not calloused, because up there the skin is soft, they're sharp, and it's real dry, so they'll split open in a minute.

the kids do pretty well in large crowds; a couple of kids worked on making them mad, but for the most part they played hard, ran hard, had a lot of fresh air. by fresh air i mean dry, sunny, afternoon air; it has some dust in it, but it's mostly just hot. then they ate a lot of ice cream and popsicles, and cookie cake. sugared up, is one way to put it. they're kids. that's what kids do.

the area is all excited about its first football game. people are impatient with this sense of hope, that we might win a few, when in fact it seems that other schools in the division take it all way more seriously. places like kansas and oklahoma, and even baylor to some degree, seem to care so much, so passionately about football, they'll raise millions from their alumni, and earmark it all for football. in the old days one team could beat another if they had better players, but nowadays the team with a million is more likely to win. why? 'cause they can buy better players. and it's all supposed to be free of money's corrupting influence, but it's not. a million bucks can buy a football championship, and it does.

so everyone out there is wearing red and black, and there are red and black streamers all over campus, and they've covered the will rogers statue with red streamers. he, of course, was riding his horse into the sunset, but they noticed that that put his rear end facing lubbock businesses, and decided they better not erect a permanent insult. they moved his rear end around until it faced their rival, texas a & m - everyone could agree on that. and they continued decking him out with red streamers before every home football game.

overall i'm ok with texas. i walk home at about two every afternoon, and it's been so hot that i jump in the shower, again, the minute i get home. i take one in the morning, and another at night, so this is my third. but i've come to love hanging around a dark cave-like home, fans and a/c on, otherwise rejecting the busy world. outside, the ambulances, police, heavy traffic, big trucks, drunken students, you name it. we're kind of glad to be tucked in, our little cars pulled up against the house, with the world's trouble finding a home elsewhere. it's a wild weekend here, these home games; everyone's around, everyone's drinking, just about. the passion is spilling out.

tomorrow, the game will be at two. people will be well over-drunk by then, and even more so, during the game and after. it's a game we should win, but might not. so that raises the question: does that change the nature of the drinking? or the violence? or even the traffic?

i'm more and more of a spectator as time goes by. it's what writers do. hey, read my story, next post down. it's texas all the way. stay tuned...


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