Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Now It Can Be Told

Talk at book club today turned to President Obama's memories that made him identify with Treyvon Martin. He was profiled as a teen, followed around in stores by suspicious clerks. He heard the clicks of car doors locking when he walked through parking lots, saw women clutch their purses a little tighter when he came near. Several of the Bookies confessed that they had done the same thing, and now felt bad about it. I confessed this story that trumped theirs.

I had gone to Tampa, some 20 years ago, to get some paperwork from the Sheriff. I was directed to a substation in Ybor City. I got lost, and found myself in College Hill, a particularly scary section of Tampa that showed evidence of firebombs, burned out cars, and a total absence of people on the street at noon. I saw a building that had a flagpole, slowed down and saw that it was a Tampa police station. I pulled into the parking lot, and went to ask for directions to the Sheriff's station. I walked up to the door, but it was locked. I looked in the windows of the door, and saw policemen and others working, but they ignored my knocks and yelling.

I turned around to see a large black man running toward me. I tossed him my purse, and he caught it.
He laughed, came over and returned my purse, and said "Let me walk you to your car. This is a dangerous neighborhood." I said "I'm so embarrassed. I was afraid of you." He said "Don't feel bad. All those police in there are afraid too. They don't take walk-ins in this neighborhood." I felt better, but I still felt like a fool.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Smell memories

Took a break from blogging while I got a new hip and took up journaling, instead. In a book. With a pen. Just for me. I didn't think anyone but me would want to know about my adventures in helplessness. (Hey Frank, would you get me off this bedpan?)

I'm getting pretty used to after-market parts. Three hips and a left breast, not to mention a couple of teeth. I'm also getting over funny looks when I walk Romeo by looping his leash over CJ's scooter. He gets to run, I don't have to worry about getting yanked off my feet and bounced along behind him. One old lady still points and snickers. Fuck you, lady.

Summer is here in full force, with blinding heat and blinding rain. It happens every year, and every year we're surprised. Finally had to replace the air conditioner. This followed 6 weeks after replacing the car.
We grew up without air conditioning, or TV, or washers and dryers or freezers, but now we're spoiled. We lived at the beach with the windows open, and our memories of that time are rose-colored.

The air smelled of ocean breezes, tinged with DDT from the mosquito truck. We ate canned beans with our fresh fish, and washed our clothes in the kitchen sink. We put light bulbs in the closets and even the piano to fight mildew, and mothballs were scattered everywhere,

Today we put sunscreen on first thing, so we smell of coconut. A little hairspray adds a whiff of mango. The spray of "OFF" is necessary to ward off mosquitos, and if you add cologne you might explode. Someday our kids will remember these smells with nostalgia.