there's a young lady i help in the writing lab. one day i was feeling sorry for myself, that i had lost my mother, when in she comes with a story about losing hers. it happened to her in high school. she had a job, and was going to high school, and was paying the bills, since her mom had become increasingly sick. well, the upshot of it was, she lost a few years of high school. she never quite learned how to write, which is why i saw her again today, and she never quite mourned her mother either. she was too busy. she was holding body and soul together, trying to go to college, getting what she needed to keep on going. when i told her my story we both kind of cried softly in the lab; we almost did it again today. i told her to hang in there. i gave her lots of writing advice. she can pass and will. i consider her a hero. she survived a high-school life in which her mom suddenly needed intensive personal care, and she had to keep a job, and she had to find a college to go to, etc. you have these people who are walking around, being young, who have gone through incredible battles already. and you never know who you'll find.
walking home, i fell in step with a guy and started talking to him. he was a former baseball player; had been in the yankees' system. he'd gotten injured a few too many times, he said, so he went back to school. he loves the game though, he'll never be able to stay away from it. he'll probably be a coach of some kind, maybe prep or college. he seemed to be ok with that. baseball was great; it was his life.
at this one place along my walk, an old caboose sits behind a high wooden fence, and the trees are blooming spectacularly all around it. i'll show, when i upload my pictures, but it's really quite a show, the old santa fe logo, the high room of the caboose peeking out above the high fence. this is my new corner; i no longer cross at flint and nineteenth, the place of so many nightmares, and fairly constant accidents. i now cross at boston and nineteenth, and it seems much more orderly, predictable, stable. however, i must say, sometimes there are pieces of cars strewn about at the lights, that have been swept off the road and now just sit there in the sun as i wait for the walk sign. one day there was a toyota insignia; it had fallen off a car that had been in an accident. that particular walk sign talks to you; i believe it says, "walk sign is on, crossing nineteenth street," but i believe that only because my wife told me that, when in fact, i stood at that corner, listened carefully for as long as i could, and finally concluded that i would never understand what the voice was saying, but that as far as i could tell, it sounded like "walk like a dog, crossing nineteenth street." though i knew that was wrong, i heard that for a long time, because i didn't know what else to hear.
taking that route, i can daydream a little longer, because the light is predictable, and rarely dangerous. i no longer wildcat-cross the street, or go at the deadly corner with unpredictable maniacs. i have a slightly quieter, calm walk every day, slightly longer, and it's made me feel better, and sleep better. i've also taken to pulling dandelions at home, cleaning up dog poop, and spending as much time outdoors as possible. the air is fresh; the wind is constant, and spring is popping. the dogs and cats both seem to be full of life, and wanting lots of action. outdoors i throw the ball, and they tear around, and we all sleep better at night.
the class is going well as usual.