Wednesday, September 7, 2005

So I sit down at the computer tonight and this big spider is dangling next to my screen. I am not a fan so I grab an arrow sitting on a pile of stuff I should really be doing something about someday and carefully pick it up. Of course it drops in my freshly poured glass of water. I toss the bug on the other side of the room because there is another pile of junk I need to get rid of between me and the window that doesn't make me fell too confident about stepping over it while balancing a big icky bug on the end of an arrow that suddenly seems to damn short.

It can get comfy in another corner.

Five minutes later it's right back where it was, dangling over the water glass. I'm reminded of Jaws V or whichever one had Michael Caine in it. I turn to get a longer stick, like maybe the curtain rod I've been meaning to install for months but haven't because I'm too damn busy, but right now it's missing. I go back only to find the little bugger gone. Probably hiding in wait. Okay, maybe this is more like Jaws II.

While writing all that there was a noise outside that sounded like someone trying to break into the underground garage. I go and check it out and sure enough there are two people there who look like they shouldn't be there. One of them hears me and starts walking away, the other hisses for her to come back and soon follows once he realises her footsteps are only getting further off. I called the cops to file a report just in case. We've had a lot of break ins down there.

Still no spider. Fingers crossed.

Hurricane Katrina. I'm making a donation tomorrow, and what's better, this time it will be out of pure spite. Allow me to explain. Fifteen years ago my sister and I were visiting relatives in Manhattan. One of my cousins I hadn't seen since I was a toddler was also there, she was from New Orleans and was visiting with her mom for a few weeks. We had a great time. Her accent was really catchy too and it drove everyone nuts that I was talking like her in no time. I really liked her mom too who seemed so much nicer than her sisters who for the most part, I have to say I haven't always gotten along with. We called them our aunts but in fact they were our grand aunts. Something about our grandfather being older than his six other siblings but marrying late skewed the ages of the offspring so I'm not even sure how we're all related, we just call each other cousins because we're closest in age to each other.

This can explain the friction I guess, seeing as how the "aunts" are from a much older generation and tend to have somewhat older ideas. Based on how they dressed, this era was purely Eva Peron and their attitudes matched perfectly. Adding to the generational confusion were these ladies' ability to hide their age extremely well, always hovering in that nebulous early forties region. In fact they look the same today than they did twenty years ago. It's frickin' weird.

Anyways, my cousin's mom seemed a lot cooler and nicer and less inclined to play the usual head games and manipulative power plays of the other aunts so I got along with her very well those few weeks.

That is until one afternoon we stopped at a bakery for some bread. Us cousins got ourselves some extra treats and with mine I ended up with a few dimes left in change. On the way out there was an old homeless guy asking for money. I had these dimes in my hand so I gave them to him and smiled. A few steps down the sidewalk and my cousin's mom walks next to me and is just angry like I've never seen her before. "Why did you do that?!" she bursts out. "What?" I ask wondering what the heck I did wrong. "Next time I see you give money to some bum and we won't be walking on the same side of the street together. I've never been so embarassed!"

Then she stormed off. I of course was stunned at this. How can you get upset over giving a panhandler a few dimes? It turned me around on how I saw this woman. I was really disappointed.

Flash foward to last week. I'm watching the reports leading up to the hurricane and hoping everyone gets out okay, including my cousin and her mom who I haven't been in touch with a whole lot since New York. It's a few days in, after the city is flooded in toxic sludge I get a call from mom saying the Louisiana relatives all got out fine but lost everything. They're back in Manhattan, staying with the aunts until they know where they'll be going next.

And that's when I got a whole new perspective on what happened all those years ago. My cousin's mom wasn't just scolding me for handing out a few dimes, she was yelling at me for being nice to this man, a man she wouldn't acknowledge even existed. It was a shitty thing to do and even shittier example to set for those younger. But thankfully her admonishment never sank in. Even when I don't have any money to give, I still offer a smile and a few words. It's the right thing to do.

And so is depositing a chunk of change to the Red Cross.

Nyah nyah.

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