Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I'm lazy and I'm bored.

I am sitting at my desk waiting for the next 10 minutes to pass so I can get on with my life. From far across Cube Land there is a loud sound, cutting through the white noise. It sounds like an unbalanced load. An old washing machine, filled with tennis shoes, in the middle of its spin cycle. I want to know what is causing the sound, I can't imagine what it is. But its winter and I'm in a dark mood and I feel lazy and bored. So I decide to keep sitting here and wondering. Mystery is more dramatic. Or I'm lazy and I'm bored. Yeah, that's probably it. Blah.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Eyewitness

Her apartment smells of soup, from many pots past. Every Wednesday she precariously carries an enormous cast iron stew pot to the fellowship hall at the Jackson Avenue Baptist Church, just three blocks away. Her soup is a favorite among “The Poor People.”

Every day at 8 am, she likes to gaze out the living room window and drink her coffee. She often stands there for hours, drinking her coffee, watching the gulls rummage through the dumpster near the parking lot.

Sometimes it takes her up to 6 days to get through a pot of coffee. She makes a pot and then saves the rest in the refrigerator. She reheats the coffee on the stovetop and fills her blue coffee cup half full. The cup is then topped off with milk (Carnation Condensed) and 6 teaspoons of sugar. Really, it is an au lait, but she doesn’t know what that means.

The braided rug beneath her feet used to be her mother’s. A wedding gift from Sears, bought from a catalog and delivered by a friend, James, who worked there. It is faded blue and yellow and green and brown and almost worn through in one place from hours of standing in front of the widow in her living room. She herself was married once, at sixteen, but she hasn’t seen her husband for many years. “Don’t mean nothin’.” She picked up the phrase during the Vietnam War.

Today, while staring out the window and drinking her coffee, she sees two boys, roughly 10 and 14 years old, and a man, an aging toothless junkie she often sees hanging around the parking lot, approach the dumpster. They are talking. Suddenly and without warning, one of the boys, the oldest and tallest, grabs the man and starts punching him in the face. The oldest then holds the old man down while the youngest repeatedly hits him with his fist. The youngest reaches into his sweatshirt and pulls out a knife and stabs him in the gut. The oldest then retrieves something from the man’s pocket and spits on the man’s face. Both of the boys run away.

The man lies there bloody. His chest continues to rise and fall with breath. His eyes are open and blinking. He is alive, but doesn’t move.

The man sees her staring at him. He doesn’t say a word. He just stares back, occasionally blinking. She and he remain there for at least 30 minutes, staring at one another. She doesn’t take one sip from her cup and he doesn’t move from his slumped position.

She wants to help him. She considers picking up the telephone and dialing 911. But she doesn’t. She knows what happens to people who run to the police. They fall down cement staircases while they’re taking out the trash. Their apartments catch on fire in the middle of the night. They get hit by cars while they’re walking Brunswick Stew to church.

If that were to happen to her, who would feed The Poor People?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Eep! I can’t take it! Too...much...cute!

I have just discovered that my Asian baby post is not novel. Turns out that the folks over at The Daily Asian Babe have discovered way before I have that Asian babies are the cutest. Unbeknownst to me until today, that photo I used is from their fine website.

Whenever the clouds are gray and the thunder is loud and scary, drop by their blog and drool over the Asian baby of the day. But be careful, this website has been known to induce the immediate need to bite a baby's toes or cheeks.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Deal with it.

I don't care what anyone says, Asian babies are the cutest. Call me racist. Call me un-PC. Call me Angelina Jolie. I don't care. Asian babies are the cutest. I'm sure that 1 in every 100,000 Asian babies is born ugly. I'm sure there's an Asian baby out there who would make me want to vomit. But I'd say that, overall, the odds are not in favor of a butt ugly Asian baby. Whether the baby is from Thailand, The Philippians, Tibet, China or Japan, I'd bet my bottom dollar that it's cuter than your baby if you're a Caucasian. (It’s the Cauc before the Asian that makes them ugly.) Hands down. Without a doubt. Undeniably. Asian babies are the cutest.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

A Conversation Overheard in a Japanese Restaurant

"Things aren't so good between us. He basically thinks I'm a crazy stalker bitch. I've tried to call him to ask him what I did wrong, but he won't return my calls. I just don't get it. We had something special, but he won't admit it. He's labled and shunned me."

"Oh, Nat, I'm sorry. I can't believe he labeled and shunned you like that."

"I know. I never would have thought that Matt was the type of guy to label and shun. So, now he's hanging out with Leslie all the time. Its gross. I mean, I introduced them."

"Are you still friends with her? Does she know that he labeled and shunned you."

"Yeah, we're friends. But I don't have the heart to tell her."

"You should tell her. He's an asshole."

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Me No Tengo Metra, the Premier Commuter Rail System Serving Northeast Illinois, Monthly Train Pass

Yesterday, in front of a nail salon in my office building’s concourse, I came upon a man giving what appeared to be a presentation. He was positioned before a window sign that diagrams the locations of pressure points in one’s feet and hands. At first, I thought he was a nail technician, giving a talk explaining the ancient art of Reflexology.

"Um, train. Me no tengo train pass! Um, monthly pass. I do not have. Lost, please. Stolen. Stolen train...Choo-choo! Choo-choo! ...monthly pass, um, lost. Um, Me no tengo train pass..."

His words, heavily accented, echoed through the rather desolate marble hallway with a piercing staccato lilt. The lecturer had only 3 teeth and donned with a well-kept dandy mustache. He was dressed in a white ski jacked with a large “Polo Sport” logo embroidered across the back. He gestured wildly with every word that exited his mouth.

His audience, presumably a group of Asian tourists with their cameras, backpacks and overabundance of shopping bags, was listening politely and attentively to his speech. As confusing as the oration was, they were focused on their host, patiently listening to every word of his faltering speech. The few instances he was able to construct a full sentence they nodded encouragingly and in unison.

It was a beautiful site--a panhandler’s dream--an audience who listened, no matter what was said or the method of delivery.

I wanted to tell his spectators that this man was trying to con them into giving him money, but I didn’t have the heart. Despite the underlying dishonesty of the scenario, to witness that level of kindness on the part of the tourists was to catch a glimpse into something so rare and wholesome, it must, instead, be relished.