A Bird’s Eye View of Mo’Bay

Rough go for the Slovenian today.  Normally, I have to keep her from going after the refrigerator, but today, the ol’ Frigidaire attacked her.  Tough loss. 6-3, 6-3.

Here is a bird’s eye view of Montego Bay today:

Hundreds of flip-flopping, colorfully-plumaged tourists descend gangplanks and head into over-priced shops in search of something with imitation dreadlocks or sentimental or alcoholic.  Two streets over, in a back alley, three shoeless children attempt to kick a sewn-rag soccer ball into a glass-shattered window and blurt “yea mon” with the sort of reckless irresponsibility one expects from youth.  Nearby, a barefoot woman sweeps last night’s bug infestation out into the unpaved road.   Off in the distance, waves the color of Olympic swimming pools crash on silky white beaches.   Red-eyed locals stroll lazily about, their relaxed attitude often misunderstood for carelessness.  An omnipresent marijuana scent melds with jerk chicken and burning trash to form an aroma known simply as “very Jamaican.”  With an open palm, a political representative pops into vacant tourist shops in expectation of his daily bribe.   With great power comes great reward and there are no superheroes here.  Melanin-lacking Brits wander aimlessly through the streets in hopes of acquiring sunscreen gloopy enough to ward off the unbearable solar rays.  In Jamaica, such translucence is rare and slack-jawed children gawk at these pallid foreigners as though they’ve seen a ghost.

Beneath banana trees, sugar-cane-sucking taxi drivers conspire on the day’s cab rates, those with the genetic gift for greed winning out.  Through the lush greenery, reggae rings out the redemptive claims of Bob Marley and other homegrown prophets.  Outside a government admin building, green and yellow national pride droops from a rusty pole while unchecked mosquito hoards seek out unprotected tourists for dinner.  Poolside, several unfortunately-dressed seniors stagger drunkenly as they push the limits on Jamaican rum, their slurred tropical drink requests sounding more like an illiterate’s scrabble game.  Over-sexed honeymooners rub coconut-oil atop bare breasts as onlooking locals smile knowingly.  Fierce-faced tourists dig deeply into puffy orange pockets in hopes of securing enough Jamaican dollars to subsidize their ungodly cab fare.

Flowing water is ubiquitous here, the way smog and pretension are ubiquitous in LA.  Two teenagers head out onto the hillside to cut chronic buds for the evening’s concert.  In the meantime, a soccer game appears to be breaking out on the golf course but two of the home team’s strikers are engrossed in a mental undressing of three professional tennis players who just happened to wander by sporting thongs, shades, and walks that your average hooker would envy. Along honk-filled highways, three tour buses transport overpaying glass-pressed-faces to visit natural rivers and man-made zip lines and rum-processing plants in hopes of earning enough tips to purchase re-soled shoes and un-torn jeans such that next week’s tourist group doesn’t feel like the local homeless folk are taking advantage of them.  The native insect population enjoys international human cuisine the way Hunter Thomspon hits illicit substances.  Parrots squawk. Outside Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, a woman’s hands lock onto her bikini top as she drops 110 feet to be vomited/launched out into the Caribbean.  Her hands fail.  Drunk boys laugh.  Fastened to an interior floor, the iconic Jamaican Bobsled hosts hundreds of giggling tourists who somehow feel a photo in this thing allows them to experience Jamaican history and is still going to be funny in twenty years.  An airplane lifts a small rooster tail from the sea as it crosses just feet above the beach on its way to Mo’Bay airport.  Everyone pauses to watch, and smile.  Oceanside, propped up with a strawberry daiquiri, an American tourist taps his keyboard and reports on the happenings amidst a Caribbean culture.

Headed home tomorrow.

By ccxander

Rum Blogging

9:24 p.m. and the Caribbean waves are rocking me to sleep.  94 degree weather with 95% humidity means I’m spending the majority of my days in some sort of water.  Today though, the Slovenian girl battled a tough Brazilian.  First set 6-7.  Scorching suns, however, can wilt a South American spirit.  Final two sets, 6-1, 6-1.  Into the quarterfinals. My player, 6’2″ left-hander whose physique resembles a WNBA baller, plays a somewhat larger girl/refrigerator whose stature statistics read like something out of an upper level math course.  192 centimeters and 187 pounds plus a size 13 shoe and a serve pushing 125 mph. The girl/Frigidaire doesn’t so much walk as plod.  Her grunt has a Neanderthalic thing about it, and there may or may not be more hair on her ass than mine.  But that’s tennis these days: Big women in big shoes with big balls.     For the local Malibu crew, Anu is also in the quarters!

Tonight I tried my first Jamaican culinary concoction: Fried plantains with rum ice cream.  I have been eating it for a while now and it’s possiblee the best thing I’ve ever tashted.  They poor a lot of rumm in the ice cream and it’s sho good you bearley feel it.  Truth ish, you could probably eat thissh shtuff fourever and not even kno yur getting drunc.  The plaintans are relly gud too but I am csinderng having moor ish creme becuz it jusht tastes grate. Aneeway, I recmend yu all tr’i it befoor yu dye.  🙂

Match time 9:30!

By ccxander

A Treatise on the Ethical Implications of Tropical Resorts Displaying Fish Tanks

Montego Bay, Jamiaca.  The clock’s little hand is somewhere northeast and I’m dining on the white sands of this tropical island.  There is a low swell in the tide and, to date, I’ve witnessed two jumping fish and a teenage girl whose doing with her bikini top the thing I do with my light switch when I’m bored.  To my immediate left, an unattractive little boy is losing a battle with his ketchup – the condiment appears to be at war with his face – while his parents prove lobster tails can offer infinite gustatory pleasure.  Beside them though, sits the center of my attention and a philosophical dilemma.

Should tropical resorts display fish tanks near the ocean?

By itself, the question is rather innocuous, but viewed through the watery prism of the ichthyological inclined, it’s rather cruel and unusual. All day, this imprisoned marine life swims about its tank, staring out over the Caribbean.  Worse yet, sixteen feet away, international tourists are loading their plates with the marine life’s grilled offspring and baked ancestry as they look on in horror.  One can only imagine the fish mind in such a predicament.   I think there is an injustice being perpetrated upon the fish.   If we’re being fair, natural parks don’t have zoos, and especially not ones with barbecues.

Clearly there’s an alternate argument here.  These fish are for display only, spoon-fed – there’s literally a spoon involved when Mildred T. Perkins dips her scooper into the flaked cuisine for tanked animals – and the red-carpet stars and starlets of the fish community.  Condiment-covered children gawk and point and press imitative fish-faces up against the glass and blurt phrases like “Cool, he looks like Nemo” and “Check out the fins on that one”, which has humorous – and difficult to squelch – sexual undertones for your average adult male.  Point being, maybe the fish take pleasure in their circumstance.  But, maybe not.

Dangling an ocean full of freedom so nearby is akin to torture.  The whole macabre scene of the buffet and the sea is like death row with windows.  Picture this: Little Gil is making his way around the blue coral castle and headed for the far glass pane while trying to avoid Vinny and Paulie – friends from the Mediterranean on loan here from Club Med and hatching a scheme to bring some percentage of the fish food home to Nicky the Fin – the Godfish with the torn dorsal – and hoping to end up spending the night with Rosita, a Latina blowfish (you know how rumors get around) who just happened to get caught up in the mix when Millie Perkins first cast her net into the sea.  So Gil is swimming and gives that sideways glance out the window that we humans do on heavily trafficked freeways, when he notices his best friend Barry  – last name really is Cuda but that’s too convenient for this fish tale – he notices his best friend Barry steaming on a plate with a pile of rice covering his right eye and a broccoli stalk shoved up his ass.   Meanwhile, Vinny and Paulie are whispering something about “Barry sleeps with the humans” and Gil is considering making the great leap out of the tank and trying to flop his way to unbridled freedom.   If you were Gil, wouldn’t you?

Anyway, I’m driving hard at something here.  The culturally considerate and internationally accommodating tropical resorts should really consider the various ethical implications involved in displaying fish tanks near oceans and buffets.  I’m not sure if it’s right or wrong, but there sure is a lot to think about.

Match time is 9:30 a.m. tomorrow.  The 5th seed from Brazil awaits.

By ccxander

Slammin’ and Jammin’!

Woke up to Slammin’ and Jammin’ this morning – downtown Reggae-fest – commenced upon the clock’s verticals.  Red-eyed Rastas and tipping-over tourists stagger street-side in search of something green and smokeable.  If one breathes deeply enough, a small cough erupts, followed by the desire to laugh at nothing for hours and then to eat.

It is 7:15 a.m. and I am perched atop an oceanside villa and experiencing culinary impossibility.  For the uninitiated, almond pods fall from trees and it is customary to rock-pound them without crushing the nut, thereby gaining the fare. The act is akin to breaking an ice cube in half, or splitting the atom, or resolving the national deficit.  Thus, I’m starving, and the idea that the consequence of my hunting and gathering ineptitude is a morning with no nuts, is so post-modern it makes me crave a hearty bowl of Life. (cereal)

The sun’s parabolic movement is southwest.  Warm winds carry a vague phycology smell and I can feel the steady pulse of steel drums.The Slovenian girl I’m coaching has a day off, which means we spend two hours practicing, an hour in the gym, an hour scouting her next opponent, and then suffer the indignity of a beachside massage while drinking something willful.   Wretched, isn’t it? 🙂

We are returned from a short day at the tennis resort.  The buffet was exemplary but since I’m not a food critic…. I’ve spent much of my time here fighting the desire to employ pirate speak.  Sure, Jamaica was a pit stop for African slave- traders on their way to America, but for me, the Caribbean will always mean Cap’n Jack Sparrow ‘s puppy-dog-gaze-and-Keith Richard’s-like-speech-pattern, stumbling around the island sands in search of buried treasure.  The idea of holding a mango rum and blurting out a gnarled ARRRGGH! provides unyielding temptation.

A quick note: The Jamaican tournament director is low on funds (read: cheap bastard) and refuses to supply bananas for the athletes.  One dedicated potassium aficionado – she of 192 centimeters – while suffering from electrolyte-depletion, took it upon herself to scale a nearby banana tree and shake the thing for all it was worth, thus supplying the competitors with sustenance for the 3-hour marathons in this Hades-like heat.  I just wanted to say thanks in writing, and if they ever cast King Kong again….

ARRGHHH!!  There, now it’s done!

By ccxander

Distant bells ring out six a.m. A pumpkin glow ascends into a sky the color of faded 501’s.  There is a light breeze and for the last four-hundred seconds, I’ve been in the midst of a Jamaican minute.  Along the Montego Bay highway, Shaday Brooks – she of the stained white tank-top, red bandana, tattered leather sandals and a skirt that looks like its been over her head a few times – sells sugar cane stalks to tourists.  I am willing, able, and a high-glycemic junkie.  Five minutes later, life accelerates before me.  The conversation makes me rethink an ethical issue.

“Mon, why you crash da’ car into mine, mon?”

“What you smoking’ brudda’.  You crash da’ car into me.”

“I be smoking’ da same shit you smoking’ brudda.  We bot’ know who be crashin’ heya”

“Where you get yo’ Ganga, mon?”

“O’er der’ in da’ mountain.”

“Yea dat’s good smoke der’, eh?”

“Ya mon.  Ay, what we be arguin’ ’bout a second ago, mon?”

“I don’t remember brudda.”

” ‘Ave a good one mon.”

“Ya mon, you too.”

There are plenty of folks in Washington D.C. making moral decisions based on religion, upbringing and some historically based social construct.  And I’ve always been pretty anti-drug in my beliefs.  However, watching these Jamaicans fall into instant amnesia as a result of a bong hit or six, not to mention the laissez-faire diplomacy each instituted during the argument, one can’t help but be swayed by the arguments for marijuana legalization.  Just imagine a nation of folks so wasted they can’t remember crashing.  The speed limit here is 30 mph, mostly because no one is lucid enough to realize how friggin’ slow they are going.  Plus, how many times have you heard about Jamaica at war with another country.  Doesn’t happen.  Yup, I’m just about swayed, except I’m Italian so…Legalize marinara.

The Slovenian girl I’m coaching won again today. 6-0. 2-6. 7-5.  Match summary: Great start, brain fart, near shart, ended with a work of art.  Tomorrow a day off.

P.S. When a mosquito bites a previously bitten mosquito bite, is that like me having leftovers? I look like the ol’ Dots candy!

By ccxander

D’wan’ Jerk?

6:35 “Chef no come today, mebbe.”  This from my host.

Beneath sharp sun rays, I am running, for exercise, for health, for something to eat.  Thousands of years of evolution and here I am hunting for food because early-morning-shift chef, Mr. Terrence, decided to bogart one joint too many last night and couldn’t figure out how to get up when he fell off the floor.

“D’wan jerk?” is a culturally confusing phrase.

American version : Do you want to take this scumbag I’m sitting with?

Chinese version: Would you like a happy ending?

Jamaican version : You want chicken, mon?

It is 7:15 a.m. and nothing would make me happier than an omelet, but in Jamaica, apparently you gotta’ “jerk chicken” first.  I’m not sure if that solves the eternal “which came first” debate but it certainly sways the argument.  I am bathing in the combined film of sea and sweat.  The chicken was nice.  The jerk who served it wasn’t.

My cab driver, ”Country,” is back this morning, driving me along the “elegant corridor” to the courts.  His ability to complete two sentences in one long breathless syllable makes me envious, although I’m not sure whether he just told me there was a “scooped fox” left on the road or something more aggressive. (Stupid Fucks).

Match time is delayed so I am heading out to the Caribbean for a swim.  At near-body temps, cerulean blue waters crash with a will.  Beyond the waves, coins of sunlight glint off the water.  There are no pirates here. I am waist deep into something sapphire and it’s probable the jellyfish stings won’t last long.  On the plus side, they provide a nice accompaniment to my mosquito bites and I’m beginning to look like bubble wrap.  To the courts!

The Slovenian I’m coaching wins the first set 6-2.  She is battling a horse of a woman from the Czech Republic – the girl is a pleasant combination of Chewbacca and Frankenstein, (nice smile though) –  and the power level is astronomical.  I’m sweating worse than a high school kid writing a love letter.  In the distance, Bob Marley croons and I  think everything is gonna be alright. Second set 6-2.  She comes off the court with a hug and I feel like I’ve been slapped in the face with a wet shammy.

Main draw tomorrow.

By ccxander

Let the Games Begin

It is 6:01 a.m. Above a rising sun, cement-colored cotton candy clouds rumble an impending storm.  Green leaves drip last night’s humidity. As I head to breakfast, aggressive geckos scramble along stucco walls.

“What time does the restaurant open?”

“Som’tim the guy come six tirtee.  Som’tim no.”

“….”

I’m presumably here to coach a professional athlete and now suffering a complete lack of coordination – attempting to control stick shift with left hand while navigating left side driving. Right turns come with that feeling you get when you see an unattended toddler stumbling toward a pool.  At some point, I’m assuming the pants-crapping stops, right?

There is a scent here – a blend of coconuts and burnt toast – that suggests too much sun.  My host tells me to negotiate everything – start at $5 and go from there – because “dey gon’ charge you biggun’ cuz how you look.”  I mentioned the healthy hotel rate.  She didn’t laugh.

“Country” – that’s my cab driver’s name – “Country” took me along the main highway today. Pretty crazy to hear a brutha’ tell me the story of Rose Hall’s White WItch, the woman who brought slaves from Africa to work on her plantation.  Fella’ had a tear in his eye and he might not have been the only one…just sayin’.

Player lounge.  Thirty twenty-something female tennis players all headphone-wrapped, Facebook-locked, nitpicking at doughy breakfasts.  Rain does that to tennis players, and in Jamaica, it’s wet, the sort of liquid that sticks to your skin like a cloth, filmy, wet that makes sucking sounds when you pull your shirt off, soaked. The girls talk twenty different languages and most of the communication resembles people making faces to monkeys at the zoo.

5:00p.m.  The sun is dropping into the Caribbean.  The Slovenian girl is on court hammering serves past her opponent. First set 6-1.  I have been hosting my own battle. Mosquitos 34. Me 3.  Forty-five minutes later we both have blood on our hands.  2nd set 6-4.  Time for the gym, and dinner, and reggae nights. Tomorrow’s match time 9:00 a.m.

By ccxander

MY KINGDOM FOR A MUZZLE!

It is 8:35 a.m.  I am in 21F –  window seat for those “in the know” – directly adjacent to Little Ron.

Little Ron is cute – chocolate brown eyes, tight little corn rows, the Toys ‘R’ Us wife-beater we’ve all pondered purchasing, not to mention the sagging 501’s you just know will become gravity-reduced when he transcends puberty, and shoes that light up.  Little Ron is two-and-a-half years old and a contender for the loudest and most enduring cry ever promulgated upon a five-hour domestic flight.

Just past 9 a.m. The child’s parents now have grimaces resembling those commonly seen in hospital enema rooms and there is a faint fecal smell coming from Ron’s nether regions. 20 E has twice turned around to glare, his raised eyebrow and descended lower lip silently screaming “ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?” Little Ron smirks and shoots for broke on the decibels.

9:45 The actual level of bellowing breached by Lil’ R goes unrecorded, although two grey-haired domestic partners in Row 13 physically pop up like Whack-A-Mole rodents and make a rather dramatic display of pulling out their hearing aids. A mother from row 17 has strolled back with a clenched fist and offers two Nyquil to LR’s mother.  She refuses the offer and tilts her head south as the woman just sort of stands above her, hand still outstretched, begging in a way that only desperate homeless men understand. A stewardess strolls by to offer a sympathetic smile, to which Ronnie’s mother shrugs her shoulders as Lil’ Ron reaches for something Pavarotti-esque.

It is 10:30 in the morning and there is a running dialogue permeating the cabin. Pharmaceutical phrases abound – Prozac, Valium, Nitrous, and something violently alcoholic are mentioned – along with shotgun and a strong right hook, followed by some not-so-subtle chuckling.  Just off the wing, a bird zooms past and, amongst the various pained passengers, there is a building theory that Ron has summoned forth a pterodactyl mating call.

Halfway over one of the Southern States, Ronnie’s shrill screams have reached a religious zenith.  Passengers invoke “JESUS CHRIST” and “OH MY GOD” with reckless abandon and it’s possible Row 25 is hatching a plan to spike the baby bottle.

Four hours in, our stewardess – clearly an independent Avon representative and carting around 75% of the company’s products on her face – began systematically checking the plane’s windows, presumably for cracks.  The little shit’s mother is now practically suffocating the kid, an act which infuriates the boy and causes the screams to break into a sort of bad high-school band rhythm.  A long line has developed near the first-class restrooms – LR is closer to the rear of the plane – and at least two passengers have begun searching for parachutes.  Like some bad improv act, several cabin members compete for the best analogy.

“He’s like a school fire alarm on crack.”

“No, it’s like holding an ambulance against your skull.”

“He sounds like a wounded moose.”

…and so on, until the group breaks out in laughter and declares a winner when a rotund man exits the lavoratory and exclaims, “It’s the sound that kid would make if he had to do to me, what I just did in there!”

It is 1 p.m. and the Captain has just asked the cabin to prepare for landing.  Tray tables and seats ascend into upright position. Frenetic passengers gather their belongings and hurl relieved sighs. Little Ron is still screaming, although his voice now sounds like it’s been scraped on a cheese greater and there is that post-game football coach thing coming on.  A Ricola wouldn’t hurt.

1:30.  The aisles are full.  Beneath sweat-soaked shirts and a smelly diaper,  Ron’s mother and father make quiet apologies.  The child is curled up against his mother’s breast, his half-mast eyes indicating sleep is imminent.  The moment is my crack, my dark chocolate, irresistible. As the final passengers file out, I smile at the mother, ask permission to lean-in,  tilt my head lovingly towards the boy, scrunch my lips close to his tiny ear, and scream, “WAKE UP, RON!”  As I exit, a stewardess gives me a thumbs up and a smile.  Behind me, I hear Ron start to cry.  As I reach the gate, fellow passengers tote wide grins and applaud.

Jamaica beckons.

 

By ccxander

My Day at the Podium

Thirty slack-jawed faces sit atop awkwardly slumped bodies.  Half-mast eyes reveal several students skimming the surface of sleep.   Above the chalkboard, the clock’s arrows resemble the ring and pinky finger on my right hand.  From an open palm, a head succumbs to unchecked gravity and smacks against a wooden desk.  Two muffled giggles ensue.

” – and what interests me is how you get there – ”

As he speaks to the room, CC Xander can feel his armpits swamping.  Dangling from the bottom lip of the classroom’s worst student, a string of saliva is now pooling into a near-perfect oval. Food coma is rampant and a faint digestive smell exists.  On the leeward-most row, a tank-topped sixteen year old is trying to control an undesirable erection and suffering the sort of embarrassed and acne-laden angst your average teenage boy knows all too well.  Behind him, a cheerleader is air-tracing his shoulder tattoo.   On the clock, the fourth finger ticks one degree east.   Xander experiences intellectual numbness the way crack addicts experience withdrawal.

” – because ultimately you have to come to some conclusions about yourself. About your principles.  And it’s pretty fucking hard to know where to turn for all that, right?”

Hoping his erection will subside, the driver’s licensed kid is flexing his thighs.   From a distant desk, there is a sucking sound.  The class’s regular teacher gnaws on one of her cuticles with canine intensity.  From the back row a hand ascends above a gentile head decorated with very uncool spectacles.  Adjacently, a peer crosses his legs and turns away.

Half-closed (pessimistic perhaps) eyes open wide above a voice. “The Church teaches us what is right.”

Xander locks onto the intrusion into his now-unconscious ramblings.  Moral majority nitwits permeate secular education and despite Xander’s efforts to introduce original thought into America’s classrooms, religious dogma has a history of credibility – this despite the fact that facts have nothing to do with faith.  Zealots are a lost cause, mutually.  Still, working through the arguments might help some of the kids so:

“And you are certain your religion is correct? That your moral foundation is irrefutable even though it may fly in the face of other religions, religions which have billions of followers whose faith and commitment is on parallel with yours?  Are you so devout that you won’t allow for the possibility that other ethical systems might prove more effective, or at the very least, more intriguing?”

“What God says is incontrovertible. I follow his word.”

“Your God?  Or Allah? Or Yahweh? Or Buddha? Because you rest on a tenuous foundation if all of your principles are based on faith.  More importantly, if you haven’t come to your own conclusions about things, and I mean really worked shit out in those young brains, you are headed for a miserable life. The word “screwed” comes to mind.”

His erection deflated, the grateful teen shifts in his seat.  A classmate massages the bump on his forehead.  The cheerleader considers the possible sexual positions which would allow her to visually access the tattoo during intercourse.  Back by the water fountain, a girl is having a go at herself, the dry skin flakes lifting off her forearm with every side-to-side nail scratch, the red swelling of her forearm becoming brighter and brighter until at some point the whole thing resembles a baboon’s ass with a dandruff problem, poor kid. Time is now flaccid.

“What I’m driving at here, in a bright red Ferrari mind you, is that you have to start thinking about this stuff.  You can’t just go on trusting news sources or parents or peers or religions or anything else that preaches some moral philosophy, because when it comes right down to it, when the feces pummels those spinning blades, you need to know where you stand, on your own terms, irrefutably.”

Xander steals a look at the clock. Big hand lifting Southwest.  Time is almost up on several accounts.  He touches the cotton at his sleeve’s edge and stares out at the numb class, wondering if anyone in this generation has the intellectual wherewithal to say anything inspiring.  A Spanish boy in the middle of the room appears to either be pondering a fly on the ceiling or searching his cranial cavity for something to grasp.

Twirling her hair, the cheerleader chirps “But who really cares about that stuff?  Most of us aren’t going to be in your situation, probably none of us I mean, really.  So, so what if we don’t have principles and stuff.  I mean, yea, they’re important and stuff, but we don’t need them now, and probably not soon, and you know what I mean, er, not really?”

The dull ache of something intestinal twists inside Xander.  The nerdy kid removes his lenses and rubs the bridge of his nose.

“It’s not a matter of whether there will come a time where you need principles.  Understanding how you come to conclusions informs every decision you make.  And most of you, in fact I’m wiling to bet all of you, have no idea where you get your opinions on things, unless you start to think about it, at which point you’ll start to get a little peeved…sorry I mean pissed off… that no one ever told you to stop listening to them and to think for yourself, which is in itself a command, so it sort of negates the whole thing, but then, you get the point, I hope.”

Clock’s extended hand and tattooed boy, once again, both point vertically. Aluminum legs grate against laminate flooring and students shuffle backpacks from seat to shoulder.  Cuticles clean, the teacher lifts a manicured hand Northward and points toward the imminent bell.  Someone belches.  At the head of the classroom, Xander stands waiting for the stray student who feels compelled to approach and tell him how well he or she related to his words.

There is a mass exodus of humanity as students tumble through the far door, their squished arms and hot breath hitting each other with the sort of innocent behavioral malaise one expects from youth, the inappropriate ass-grabbing and arm punching and intermittent giggling all part of the maturing process, all happening as Xander watches the Spanish boy approach.

“I just want to say thanks. I mean, I sort of, you know, I kinda get what you were saying, in a way.”

“I see.”

Xander sees the fidgeting fingers and averted eyes conveying this boy has already lost something of his innocence.

“My Dad, you know, he sells drugs to some people that shouldn’t be around our house, and, you know, I mean, I have two little brothers that I’m sort of like the real father to, and then the other night things got pretty bad and I think I just wanted to protect my little brothers, you know, and so, I, you know, like turned him in.”

“….”

“Did you feel lighter when you did what you did?”

“Lighter?” Xander pauses.  “Hmm, good question. I’m not sure I’d use the word lighter so much as cleaner, like I’d been relieved of something dirty.”

“Yea, I get that.  Anyway, thanks for speaking today.”

“Listen, you did the right thing, ok.  Sometimes it sucks, but one day twenty years from now you will look into the mirror at your life’s memories and you’ll know you were way more mature in your youth than most people on their deathbeds. You did good.  No matter what the consequences, you did good.”

Spanish pride appears in a lifted lip,  the subtle swell of a chest,  a quicker step.

“Thanks again. See ya.”

By ccxander

LIGHT SPEED AHEAD

Read an article today stating scientists at the high-energy physics consortium have discovered a particle that travels faster than light. Clearly there are those who would find this uninteresting, except, it sort of puts things in a whole new light (pun intended).  Einstein may have been wrong.

We might be able to tap into some of that power and shoot out into the universe to see how it was actually formed, time travel crap.  More importantly, faster than light – meaning that whole George Lucas sequence with the deforming stars and the “Hold on, Chewie” long shot may have been spot on – implies we might hear something happen before we see it happen.  Now, I don’t know about you, but if I knew I was peeing on the toilet seat before it actually happened, there’d be some happier people in my house, not to mention the whole notion of solving the “light in the refrigerator” riddle.

On a similar note, there’s been a lot of recent speculation on the nature and origin of dark matter.  Maybe it’s just particles traveling faster than light.  Perhaps there is a whole universe of rapidly moving beings out there who live in shadows and laugh at the sloth-like humans trying to figure out why 5 mph speed limit increases require legislation.  Maybe the whole archetypal battle between light and dark is just some Darwinian exploration of speed – “you are so slow I can see you.”

It’s probably ironic that I’m going to finish this blog entry and then try to make it back to bed before my light goes out, but then, irony is going to disappear in the near future.  After all, if I can know something before it happens, irony may not ever exist again.  Poet Dylan Thomas wrote “Rage, rage, against the dying of the light” an I’m thinking he might just have been ahead of his time.  Ironic eh?

By ccxander