Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
We'd just strolled back from the new farmers market with some organic veggies and handmade avocado soap. Unusually warm for August. Everyone was out enjoying the nice weather on the leafy avenues of semi-suburban Oakland. We were shooting the shit with some of our neighbors when one (a mother of three unruly but loveable boys) mentioned how bored she was with summer. The other neighbor essentially shot her down, although I doubt she intended to be quite so forceful. She pointed out that we (meaning us affluent Westerners, I suppose) had nothing to complain about compared to all those suffering in the world. We have it so easy compared to, for example, the mothers losing their children to Israeli bombs in Lebanon. To say it was overkill as a response to an offhand remark from a tired mum wishing her kids were back at school is an understatement.
The first neighbor isn't totally insensitive to the problems of the world. Nor is her biggest problem the fact that her kids are home all day during the summer, not by a long shot. She was just making conversation. That's a luxury many of us enjoy, but that none of us can really afford. We can turn off the TV, put down (or never pick up) the newspaper. But like the mother (a different one) that I heard about recently, who has recently decided to hold her son's Bar Mitzvah in Israel, our ignorance has the potential to make us look very silly indeed. This is one reason I try to be aware of what's going on in the world, though it often makes for depressing reading.
Later that same day we crossed the Bay to drop off some birthday presents for a young friend who's turning nine. She's into football (or Sawkir as these Sherman Tanks call it) so we got her a book on the subject penned (or ghost-penned) by football's Mr. Nice Guy, Gary Lineker. It was a British book but had obviously mucked about with for the US edition - in other words, they'd put a girl on the cover. The rest of the book was devoid of any reference to the idea that girls might want to play the game. And it's been twenty-five years since the release of Gregory's Girl! Did Bill Forsyth teach the world nothing? Luckily, my young acquaintance is growing up in America, where she can have upstanding female football role models like Mia Hamm. If she was born on the other side of the pond, her only avenue into the world of football would be to hang around shit upscale nightclubs with her gear hanging out in the hope of achieving the ultimate in status positions in tabloid Britain, that of Footballer's Wife. Unfortunately, this means she'll probably never have her own line of $400 designer jeans like Victoria Beckham's got.
A mate of mine told me he and an accomplice used to drive around LA late at night in a beat-up '75 Mustang deliberately crashing into parked cars. They would only pick new, expensive cars and obviously didn't hang around to witness the outcome of their actions. Apparently there's a right way and wrong way to trash parked cars: you don't want to hit the bumper straight on because you run the risk of getting tangled up on it. The best way is to drive perpendicular to the target, or to arc into the car in a sort of sideswipe.
Now whenever his car breaks down he remembers stupid shit he did when he was young and wonders if he's being punished. A sort of Carma if you'll allow that terrible joke. I don't really believe in superstitious shit like that but I know a lot of people do. I can't help thinking that if karma existed a lot more people would get their just desserts. There are too many cunts getting away with too much evil shit for karma to be real. Maybe they will pay for it in the next life or whatever but I'd much rather see them suffer for it now. Besides, I would hope that if there is some kind of cosmic force or being controlling everything they've got bigger fish to fry than punishing some forty-year-old dude for some juvenile destructive shit he pulled when he was a teenager. I have to hope that because otherwise I'm in big trouble myself.
I turned 36 last month. Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm a young 36, but I'm no spring chicken by any stretch and I'm not getting any younger. It wouldn't bother me in the slightest except I'm starting to notice a disturbing trend in people that stick around here for any length of time - they get health problems. Right now at least two longtime MRR contributors are suffering from debilitating illnesses. It seems that if you're a punk and you don't live fast and die young, you're going to end up getting really sick. So I'm starting to look for an exit strategy. I don't want to join the corporate rat race because those over-fed fucks just get heart attacks and I'm Scottish already so I don't need to increase my chances of that. I'm looking for a new lifestyle that I can get into where I'm not going to get sick. A secondary benefit to jumping ship will hopefully mean that whatever new scene I adopt, the only other men my age won't be the sort of people who post photos of their record collections online and are unable to hold a conversation with the opposite sex.
Technorati Tags: soccer, karma, ageing punks