Out of pure nervousness and jumbled thoughts, I find that I don’t have a real topic to string together ten minutes of thoughts on. For starters, I am about to embark on my ‘be a better teacher’ semester with at least four tasks outstanding and a 5th I just barely have a grip on. The plan was to walk into the classroom with a full heart and empty to do list, but I see now that this is a pipe dream. The same can be said of my idyllic sense of romantic love. That hasn’t exactly gone the way I planned either. Here is a sad truth, folks: If you don’t take care of something precious, you run the risk of damaging it. Maybe that damage heals over time and maybe that damage forms a foundational crack that eventually changes what you have forever. That part remains to be seen, I guess.
- Last night was the first night in a while where I went to sleep without the aid of meditation.
- Two things I don’t understand: Our cultural obsession with Beyonce and how no one seems to recognize that Rihanna out performs Beyonce on the charts constantly.
- It is my opinion that I have fairly poor taste in men. See, the guys I find to be the least interesting to hang around tend to be the most successful. Should I become the old male spinster I will be setting up my female friends with the guys I dislike.
I’m going to rant about so-called fake news here for a minute. In doing so, I’m going to give a shout out to BBC and BBC America. I cannot recognize your target audience and that is cool. That means that you are casting words to a large net and hoping to, at least in spirit, report in an unbiased fashion. I truly feel like other news outlets are quickly closing ranks and targeting specific political or demographic audiences with how they report and what they say. It is all politics and profit, of course. I’m not just talking about FOX news. I’m talking CNN as well as MSNBC–all of them are in this strange ‘not fight’ for viewers. By that I mean that they are not competing news networks. Each carves out its own niche and speaks directly to that audience with the news and ‘truth’ it feels it ought to report and will get the viewers to return. FOX has its pro-republican slant, CNN has its grounding in ‘liberalistic’ storytelling and globe hopping. I say ‘liberal’ in quotes because I don’t know what that means other than not republican. It is the basis of this binary exclusionism that is core to the American political process–us and not us. Defining the not-us as a catch all category is as important as gerrymandering to preserving the strength of the ‘us’.
Okay there, I ranted.
- The hardest thing for me to accept is that I might not be right or might not be enough, which in turn means that I might wind up alone. I think that is my greatest fear. Not to die alone, because I have family and friends who will be around me. No, to live alone. I want to experience the world and explore and make connections globally. The act of doing that alone is a far different venture than the act of doing it with another person who you care about and want to be with every day of your life.
Earlier my dog snuck downstairs to have a pee. One the carpet. It wasn’t as if he had to go. He’d been out before that doing his business and hadn’t struck out towards the water in hours. No, this was malicious intent. This was calculated vengeance for a bath or some other perceived slight. This was a classic case of an old dog up to his new(er) tricks.
I considered all the possible repercussions for such behavior and found myself caught in the old trap: What do you do to a dog who so blatantly wants to screw with your lifestyle as, apparently, a vengeful stand vs. perceived mistreatment? The answer came quickly: Murder. No, not that one. Nothing? Yeah, that one. I did nothing. I cleaned up the spot, thought about kicking him, stared him down a good one, and watched him scamper off to likely piss somewhere else.
See, the dog, Chopper, is an old Yorkie who has the run of the place when I am gone. I don’t crate him, because I have a cat who isn’t crated who will torture him. I know this because he was once a crate dog and the previous cat did indeed torture him, wagging her butt at him in sheer mockery of his situation. Then she would scamper out the doggie door–his door–to prove how much of a bad ass she really was.
So I don’t crate him. Notice he has a doggie door, so the pee is a choice. Bad choice–for me at least. No, instead I rant-blog about a situation that remains far out of my understandable control. At least Buddhism teaches me that this too is impermanent.
- For reasons I do not pretend to understand my post from yesterday apparently did not publish. There it was sitting on my screen with the big old publish button, though I am quite certain I’d hit that button before. Maybe the blog didn’t want to go out. Shy blog.
I think it is safe to say I cannot stand grading. The idea of it makes me sick. It feels like i am forcing writers to adhere to strict protocols that, while in some way bettering their writing, kills their creativity. Maybe this is tied to the fact that students today write to the rubric. I wrote away from the rubric. I wrote around it and often completely over it.
I’m also kind of over the blog today.
- I am kind of relishing my role as hype man on the youth football squad. I like getting those kids pumped up.
- I liked Iron Fist less…
- The whole thing felt like it was staged to introduce their take on the Hellcat character. How very ‘Agents of Shield’ of you.
- My kids follow me around. Cool. Except, if I don’t go to a room where there is entertainment, I am entertainment.
- I am going bald a lot faster than I thought I would. Damn you, stress.
- As weird as it sounds, a cat licking your hair is as nice as a really pricey scalp massage. My cat used to do that before she died.
- Another fun fact about me: I love water best when it is hot.
- Okay, that is 10… minutes
I have privilege.
Whenever I step on a court or a field there is a level of respect offered to me that doesn’t go to non-black players. Without knowing me and despite the pregnant-like gut, I am considered a top athlete. I have access to scholarships and opportunities that others will never have. I am looked to in order to join circles that lack faces that look like my own, so those circles may be able to say they know my people and my plight and, above all else, my privilege.
It has been this way since I’ve gone to predominantly white schools. There remains a baseline assumption that I can ball, no matter the sport. This is often accompanied by an assumption of a skillset that I largely do not possess. No, I cannot hotwire a car. No, I don’t know how to find a dealer. No, there is no cousin in prison (anymore). These assumptions afford a certain level of privilege and respect in certain environments. As I said before, I am never the last one picked for a pick up game though I often should be. Instead I am looked to as a natural leader, a captain among inferior men.
Thus is my privilege, one born of athletics and a presumed toughness that makes me right for the court. After all, weren’t my people bred to be bad ass? Did we not survive some of the worst persecution and torture known in the history of man? don’t our ancestors bear the scars of whips, the PTSD of the master’s touch?
Are we not children of the oppressed?
I write these words as an echo of recent quarrels. Listen to a middle class white student and you will here a constant refrain: They are the oppressed and we, the minority, are the children of privilege and handouts and opportunities that they were never afforded.
Perhaps in a sense they are right. There is no minority scholarship for middle class whites. There is no expectation of Physical prowess or street smarts. They lack the privilege into which I was born.
But this does not mean they lack privilege themselves. Perhaps they ought to acknowledge theirs as I have mine.
When you find yourself at Walmart yelling at the clothes, you know you’ve hit rock bottom. I was there today. Standing in the sports clothing aisle in a San Diego Walmart muttering to the clothing, “Who wears this crap?!” Unfortunately one the people who wears ‘this crap’ was standing right by me and took offense. So, that happened. It happened at the tail end of an afternoon I want to forget.
It all started when I opened my suitcase and realized I didn’t have any pants or shirts. This is of course fine while on the beach itself but in the long run it wasn’t working out. I needed stuff. I didn’t want to buy a million dollars worth of clothing so I opted for local stores. Nothing local worked, because XXL is basically unheard of anywhere near the beach. Eventually I got so frustrated that I wound up in a Walmart far far away trying to buy a few things I’d actually wear. This meant sportswear that I could wear while coaching, working out, etc. The stuff that was there was so unwearable that I spoke out loud and out of turn. Seriously, I often buy Walmart gym gear and this stuff was beyond trash. I said as much. Fortunately there wasn’t a fist fight, just me looking like a jerk.
There’s a lot of that happening lately…
My kids are bored. We have every ball known to mankind, a hoop, bikes, skateboards, skates, over 200 matchbox cars with tracks, four different gaming consoles, a computer, a bouncy house, cable tv, the internet, netflix, and an in home library with at least 400 kid-friendly texts.
Still, my kids are bored.
The problem is not even as simple as ‘they have too much to do’ the problem is a lack of attention span coupled with the need for constant direction. They rather I lead the activities all day long, telling them exactly what to do and when vs. have the freedom to take advantage of the ridiculous amount of stuff they have access to here. As a parent it is hard to be ‘on’ 24 hrs a day–especially when you work from home. I cannot get any work done because I am far too busy keeping them on track and out of trouble. I’ve tried the ‘let them do their own thing’ method and the result tends to be me walking out of my office after thirty minutes to a wrecked house. In fact, I slipped upstairs for a 10 minute write-a-thon with the full expectation that they are going to wreck everything in their path. I can still hear the seven year old screaming his tiny head off as I write. His voice is the loudest and his needs the greatest. I suppose that is a fundamental part of being the baby.
This behavior has to change. They are still young enough to learn a new way to act. It is still important enough that they find out how to deal amongst themselves while the grown folk are working. At this point there is clearly an expectation that I’m going to be their so-called Cruise Director for the rest of eternity, and I don’t want that job. There are more important aspects to being dad than that.
- I created a new category. I call it ‘rants’ and I think it will be very populated in the coming weeks. Rants make me feel better, just like writing makes me feel better. Therefore when I write and rant the effect doubles!
- I’m going back to pursuing the Torathae. I stepped away yet again, because I was struggling with the races and where to start. I think I’ll start with a map and abandon this focal notion of what the world looks like that seems to be keeping me in a non-progressive state.