Monday, August 20, 2012

The Wolf Inside All of Us

So, I am hiding out in Peet’s because these dudes across the ravine are revving up extensions of their manhood,their chainsaws, and the noise of the saws accompanied by
the sounds of cracking and snapping branches where heron, woodpeckers and squirrels land, nest and romp, makes my heart ache and my eyes weep. 
Before heading out to Peet’s, I was beside myself. 
I yelled across the ravine at the hombres “!?Tienen Permitas!?   I was crazed. 
Saw red, the color of blood. Had to put on my Wonder Woman bodysuit and flex every bit 
of muscle I could locate.
I phoned the City of Monterey Planning and Development Commission who, after transferring me 3 times, finally connected me with Deputy Forester Robert Reed.
Reed told me he needed an exact address before he could investigate.  In my hoodie, flannels and slippers, I headed out.  It was a bitch to locate because all the houses are set way back, beyond winding driveways and tucked behind old growth foliage. Eventually, I locate the tree murderers 
after several drive-bys, U-turns and mistaken-house-identities. 
10 La Selva Court” I report back to Deputy Reed when I locate the site of the executions.
Reed informs me he will investigate and get back to me.  It’s a big NO NO to cut trees in Monterey County, especially cypress and oaks. I hope they nail those bas@!*ds!
So, where was I? 
Exhausted and pissed that life is so damn cruel, sad and folks so ignorant at times,
I head to get some respite and feed my caffeine addiction.  Believe me, it’s a cross to bear. I try to turn my head and just focus on peace, love, little yellow daisies, groovy sunsets and all the sweet things of our world that make us all say, “Awww.”  I try to wave the American flag and be happy and proud of all that is as perfect as a professionally wrapped Christmas present, but it’s a challenge for me to close my eyes to what’s not perfectly wrapped.
I try so hard not to notice. I try so hard not to care. (Meiko)

Many times, at the trailer park,  I could have turned my head, let the calls go to voicemail, looked the other way.  But quite often, I stared cruelty right in its ugly, seething face … 
I tried to avoid it; the bitter, but of course, the bitter is often unavoidable. 


Space 10 calls inebriated at approximately 3:45 pm, evidently he would have phoned earlier but he had just got home after a full day of subbing in a second grade classroom in Watsonville.
He was lit.  Lit and pissed.  Which, based on my childhood, is a bad combination.
Now, space 10 complained on a regular basis and most of the time, I let the message machine listen. But sometimes I faced the ugly monster head on and it’s during those times you find out what a big girl you actually are.
“Rafael, what’s the problem?” I place all fear and annoyance in the back seat and put the car in drive.

“The guy at space 5, Jose, called the cops on me…I was just over there…at the party and he called the cops…kicked me off his property…”

I had met with the Monterey County sheriff the night before. 
It appears he crashed space 5’s private party, making a complete ass of himself; gorging on tamales 
and carnitas, drinking Coronas by the armfuls and stumbling into the guests, especially the ladies in tank tops. 
The sheriff, who knew my "favorite" tenant by first and last name, just wanted to inform me that he escorted him home, tucked him in and warned him if he returned to the party, he’d arrest him for disturbing the peace.

“…Ralph… Pull it together.”  I scolded him like a I would a puppy who got into something he wasn’t supposed to.   “You gotta have an invitation to attend someone’s gathering, you know that!”

“… I know, Valeria, but he’s an as*@!h#@*.”  His voice slurred like nobody’s biz.
 “…I know, Rafael, the world’s full of them. Now go to sleep!”

And the world is.  Like the assholes with the chainsaws, like the folks I saw teasing and harassing a fat woman, like the dude who torments his neighbor’s barking dog
and like the four middle age men sitting across from me right now at Peet’s.

They are intentionally loud, most likely because they didn’t get enough attention when they were little boys. They're obnoxious.  Their jokes are racist and stupid.  Their voices slice my brain like my third grade teacher, Mrs Rogers, fingernails on the chalkboard.  A fifth one joins them, but the cafĂ© is crowded and there isn’t a vacant table or chair to be found.  
(If there had been, I would have moved.)  Not an empty chair except the one across from me 
at my table.
“Hey, babe. Can I have this chair?”  The fifth one has the audacity to say to me.

Babe.  My thoughts work fast, and in that fastness, I must choose if this is my World War III today
or not.  Do I put back on my Wonder Woman tights and flex every feminist muscle I own or is it 
one I overlook?

“Sure. Prick. But, I’m Wen’s babe not yours.  Help yourself.” is what I want to say.
But instead, I smile a half-smile; you know those kinda fake, courtesy grins,
 “It’s all yours.”

It’s a tightrope; the choice to look at the painful and try to make a positive difference or simply turn our heads, close the newspaper, turn off the news, walk away.
Sometimes, it’s all about self-preservation, ‘ya know?  But sometimes, it’s about humanity.  
Yours. Mine. The less fortunate.  One of my favorite artists is Lucinda Williams. Yep, she's dark, 
often gritty, but she tells it as she sees it...
As you walk along the sidewalks of the city
You see a man with hunger in his face
And all around you crumbling buildings and graffiti
As you bend down to tie your shoelace
Sirens scream but you don't listen
You have to reach home before night
But now the sun beats down it makes the sidewalks glisten
And somehow you just don't feel right
Hold me, baby, give me some faith
Let me know you're there let me touch your face
Give me love give me grace
Tell me good things tell me that my world is safe
You pass by bars with empty stages
Three o'clock drinkers fall by
Chairs are placed on top of tables
As you brush the hair out of your eyes
A woman stops you with a question
So you drop some money in her hand
She sleeps in doorways and bus stations
And you'll never understand
Hold me, baby, give me some faith
Give me love give me grace
Tell me good things tell me that my world is safe

Shit.   The world is full of bad news.  Yes, yes, my sweet little fairies, of course it’s also full 
of flowers blossoming, little children singing and puppies finding their forever homes.
Don’t freak out all you hippie mamas!  But let's face facts:  
The world also needs our immediate attention.  
Just one small step every day.  One offering to one individual, an animal, a littered sidewalk…
just "one-a-day" is all it would take to make an Xtreme change! 
Let’s see now.  According to the World Bank, the world’s total population is currently 6,973,738,433 (obviously organic because of deaths and breeders)
But imagine if every single person practiced one act of selflessness, one random act of kindness, one hour at a soup kitchen…just "one-a-day." Whew!  My math skills are lacking, but I’m pretty sure that would be a helluva lot of positive change!


“Good morning, Marilyn.  How’s it going today?”  I once asked space 27, a senior resident on State Disability and Medicare, whose own kids rarely call or visit.
“Oh, they changed my doctor appointment again and I can’t get in for 2 months
now.  My daughter said she might try to help me get in to see her doctor sooner, but she’s real busy because of her work and kids and all, that I don’t know when she’s be able to help me.” 
(“Your daughter hasn’t called or come by in well over 6 months and she lives in the next damn town.” I think.)
“I wanna work outside, got lotsa weeds growing, but my back is in a bad way today.”

Later that day…
I had the park maintenance man landscape Marilyn’s entire back lot. Done.  I even bought some
6-packs of cosmos, daisies, and nasturtiums and had him create some colorful beds.  
It took him only 2 hours and I didn’t give a shit about what the other residents might think. 
Yep, I play “favorites.”  Always have.

We all ache, deep down inside, for a part in a play where we can succeed.  We just need to care about something bigger than ourselves.  We need to care about the things that truly matter and we need to find our ‘big-girl’ voices and ‘big boy’ voices about the things that need our help.  
We need to speak up, shout out and make some ruckus!  We need show more interest in inequity, poverty, disease, education and the environment more than we show interest in Kim Kardashian’s new Botox treatment.  
At some point, we need to let go of our past and the injustices therein, but not before we understand that we are connected and linked to the repercussions (of those injustices) that still exist today.  
We cannot ignore.  We must not ignore.

You know sometimes Facebook is a total waste of time; a sucking of one’s soul into the abyss.
But other times, you come across some true words of wisdom…

I think if we walk, eyes wide open.  Walk with purpose and devotion.  If we feed the wolf inside that is good and exudes hope, kindness, humility, love and perhaps a little furor… 
Then and only then, will we see positive change each and everyday.
Just calling it as a trailer girl sees it.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Boycotts, Girlcotts, Apricots, Cumquats (Just Kiddin)

Trailer Park Barbie
When I was a little girl, I had all of ‘em:
Barbie, Ken, Midge and Skipper. I had the Barbie Dream House and Ken's Convertible too. One year, Santa even brought me all the clothes for Skipper's prom and the ultimate, extreme piece of wardrobe: 
Barbie's wedding gown.
But I never had Trailer Park Barbie.   
I'm sure lots of us can relate to her though; especially her duds, plastic rollers and eye make-up.  I hear she comes with some very cool accessories too;  Ajax and a bucket, a 20 oz. can of Keystone, and 10 cats, none of which are neutered.
I didn't grow up in a trailer park, but I did live in one for 7 1/2 years.  So did my daddy, my mom and my brother. Well, mom lived in a pre-fab when she left my dad, but was fortunate enough to park it on her own lot not in a park.
I did, however, grow up with orange/mustard shag carpet, faux paneling and frozen T.V. dinners. 
It wasn't until I entered adulthood, that I actually went to restaurants that served various ethnic foods. Our big treat, on Sunday afternoons, was lunch at Kentucky Fried Chicken because the one in our town had a patio for outdoor dining.
We certainly never ate Indian food; never heard of it, which reminds me of the other night. We decided to go to Ambrosia, a yummy, delightful Indian restaurant in Monterey that makes killer cocktails, Tandori chicken and garlic naan.
Aloo Sabzi
After taking a big bite of their hot, spicy aloo sabzi, my mom-in-law snatched up her glass of Cabernet (interesting choice over her water) and told us, 
“Wow, that's hot.  I’ll just soak my tongue in my wine.”  
I love that line.  
Trailers might say, "I'll just soak my tongue in my beer"  Of course, it makes no difference as long as the soakin is easing the pain.

Speaking of 'easing the pain', I'd like to soak a few heads in a 10,000 gallon tank of skunk piss; namely Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A.  Now, I'm not saying Mr. Cathy doesn't have a right to speak his opinion and give his money wherever the hell he chooses. (In 2010, Chick fil-A donated over 
2 million to organizations that are anti-gay, including one called Exodus which "helps men and women surrender their sexual struggles to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.")  Yep, that's his right.  And it's my right to not only bring this awareness to y'all, but also to save the millions of chickens slaughtered annually by Chick fil-A.  We all are privileged to these kinds of freedoms in this country; even those damn tax-paying gays. 
But you know what, buckaroos?  
Mr. Dan Cathy hasn't experienced much hatred, discrimination or bigotry in his life.  
Who exactly is Dan Cathy?  Well, he's a husband, father, gardener, musician, Sunday School teacher and a member of New Hope Baptist Church.  He has money. Lots-o-dough.
So did his pappy.  And it doesn't take a brain surgeon to guess that his grandpappy and great grandpappy did too.   Check out the Cathy family website where you'll meet Truett, Trudy, Dan and Bubba (who lists himself as family man, adventurer and connector)
The Cathy family are all dudes ('cept Trudy a 'course) who've never had a need, reason or desire to boycott anything.   You know why? 
Okay, I'll just say it.   Because, like the Romneys, Bushes, Rockefellers, Kennedys, Gettys, Fords, Gates, Bertarelli's, Abramoviches, Mittals, Hiltons and the Westons (just to name a few); the Cathys were all born with shiny, gold spoons in their (health-insured) mouths; white and filthy rich.  
And like too many in this powerful and controlling (the 2%) minority,
they've never been in a place where their very heart, soul, livelihood depended on utilizing the tool known as a boycott.

There have been numerous effective boycotts led by the world's oppressed. One happened against the estate land owner, Charles Cunningham Boycott, when in 1880, as part of its campaign for the "Three F's" (fair rent, fixity of tenure and free sale) to protect tenants from exploitation, the Irish Land League under Charles Stewart Parnell and Michael Davitt withdrew the local labor required to save the harvest on Lord Erne's estate. When Boycott tried to undermine the campaign, the League launched a campaign of isolation against him in the local community. Neighbors would not talk to him. Shops would not serve him. Local laborers refused to tend his house, and the postman refused to deliver his mail.  And guess what? It hit right where it counted, in his rich pocketbook because his workers wouldn't pick his damn potatoes and that incurred a loss for Charlie of about 10,000 pound sterling.  At that time, that was a shit load of bank.

Mahatma Gandhi

One of my all-time heroes led a major boycott. 
The boycott of British goods by Mahatma Gandhi, known as the swadeshi policy—the boycott of foreign-made goods, especially British goods. Linked to this was his advocacy that khadi (homespun cloth) be worn by all Indians instead of British-made textiles. Gandhi exhorted Indian men and women, rich or poor, to spend time each day spinning khadi in support of the independence movement.  This was a strategy to inculcate discipline and dedication to weed out the unwilling and ambitious, and to include women in the movement at a time when many thought that such activities were not "respectable" for women. In addition to boycotting British products, Gandhi urged the people to boycott British educational institutions and law courts, to resign from government employment, and to forsake British titles and honors.

Some boycotts in our history have been tragically misused.
Boycott of Jewish Shops by Nazis
While so many others, have been for the good of humanity.

Cesar Chavez Farm Workers Boycott

MLK Bus Boycott in Montgomery

The gay and lesbian communities have held boycotts since the Sodom and Gomorrah times. Why? 
The same reasons people of color, Jews, women, poor, (minority) religious groups, animal rights activists, fat folks, handicap individuals and all other oppressed groups have…Because of the severe and on-going hatred and discrimination against them.
Wealthy, white, straight (or those in the closet) males laugh out loud about boycotts.  They spew their ridiculous views about something they have never participated in and know little about. 
They say, boycotts are petty, ineffective and unsuccessful. They try to trick us into thinking that a boycott harms rather than helps.
Not true. 
Chick fil-A Boycott
Boycotts have been most successful in ancient times, as well as, present day and the recent boycotts of both Amway and ChickFila by the LGBTQ community is no exception.
The anti-gay National Organization for Marriage fervently hides its 501(c)(4) donors, but still has to disclose the donors to its Education Fund (the Ruth Institute), its 501(c)(3). Last year, ThinkProgress reported that NOM had received $500,000 from Douglas DeVos, president of the Amway company. Fred Karger, fresh off the presidential campaign trail, has launched a boycott of Amway and all other subsidiaries owned by the DeVos family. In his letter to DeVos, Karger invited Amway to settle the boycott by donating comparable funds to LGBT equality organizations so as to be ”a good corporate citizen and work toward full equality, fairness and respect for everyone in our great country.”
In 1977 lesbian/gay businesses joined an AFL-CIO boycott of Coors, citing Coors' history of support for attacks on gay rights. Sales of Coors beer plummeted in the gay community. 
In response, in 1978 Coors adopted language against discrimination on account of sexual orientation in employment, and has offered small sums of money to lesbian/gay organizations in order to recover beer sales and improve Coors' public image. But Coors has never stopped funding right-wing attacks on gay rights. 
LGBTQ Boycott

Girlcott is a neologism that combines "girl" and "boycott" to focus on strictly female boycotts. The term was coined in 1968 by American track  star Lacey O'Neal during the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, in the context of protests by male African American athletes. Speaking for black women athletes, she advised that the group would not "girlcott" the Olympic Games, because female athletes were still focused on being recognized. 
n. A boycott that includes only female participants.
Example Citation:
"Yet the women—equal partners with the men in providing the product—receive only 63 per cent as much prize money as the men. That is a lower percentage than at any other grand-slam event. 
The difference . . . is generating adverse reactions among increasing numbers of fans and commentators and it has led many of the players to consider a 'girlcott' of Wimbledon."
—Billie Jean King, "Why women deserve equal pay," The Times (London)
The term girlcott was revived in 2005 by a group of young women in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania protesting what they deemed sexist and degrading T-shirt slogans on Abercrombie & Fitch merchandise.  
The Asian community led one against the clothing company as well.  
A & F called their T-shirts "humorous" but I, and the thousands who effectively boycotted, call them "dumb, racist, lookist, ignorant, degrading and offensive." Did they have a right to print them? 
I suppose so. 
Do the multitudes have a right to a full-scale "girlcott?"

"Don't be a marshmallow. Walk the street with us into history. 
Get off the sidewalk. Stop being vegetables. Work for Justice. Viva the boycott" Dolores Huerta 

"When you're listening to the Internet, the discussion is taking place in real time. We're able very quickly, sometimes in a matter of days, to pick up on what consumers are saying. If there's certain issues, like safety recalls or any mention of a boycott, we can set up an alert, so that we can alert a company or a brand so they can be on their guard and be ready to react,
if that's what it takes."
Sue MacDonald

"We are expecting that with this national boycott we will be able to further gain some respect, dignity, and improve the lot of the immigrant community."
Javier Rodriguez

Historically, here's why the oppressed boycott: 
It beats taking a police-issued semi-automatic weapon into a movie theater, school, Sikh or a Chick fil-A and killing people who hate you. 
I, for one, don't need weapons.  Shit, don't we have enough semi-automatics, bombs, drones, knives and chains on the planet; enough to hate, maim and mutilate a zillion times over?   
For today, my weapon is boycotting
I realize I can only do so much, and that I live in a very complex world. 
Yet, for me to boycott a person, place or company that chooses to endorse hatred, feels mighty nice; kick back, feet up, belly-rubbin nice.
I may be a girl from a trailer park, who used to play with Barbie's, but I ain't no stump.
We each must decide which soul we want to feed. It's that simple.
Boycott Chick fil-A for their monstrous donations to anti-gay groups AND their abuse of millions of chickens.

Now, I’ll just go soak my tongue in my wine. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


 Trailer Park Girl writes of life at a trailer park, and life way beyond the park.  Her blogs are filled with soap box rantings, politics, observations of people and situations, soul-searching, senseless musing and crap like that.   
She pushes you to look inside yourself, and almost always, make you laugh out loud.
~ Anonymous (review)

So I'm sitting in my hair salon, where Lonnie is working some damn good magic on my hair.  As I sit with the dye on my head, ( something I swore I'd never do when the gray began its formation of a small, persistent army) I search for a magazine that grabs me.  I have absolutely zero interest in looking at Vogue or Elle with all the anorexic ladies the world see as beautiful. I pick up Harper's July 2012 edition and thumb through to the section called "Findings."
I love Findings.  It's like a "quickie" when you don't have time for hours of sex;
breakneck, to the point and satisfying.
Findings offers up a bunch of facts and recent scientific discoveries from all the major global
laboratories, universities, etc.  It's one or two gratifying, factual sentences without the fluff...
Recent discoveries, research-based suggestions for your health, advancements with this global study or that and yada yada yada...
My favorite finding, which caught my eye and provided me with one of those
"things that make you go hmmm" moments was this:
"Vanilla yogurt gives mice glossier coats and bigger testicles."
All you gentlemen reading this should make note, then get your asses down to Food Max and stock up.
Me after just 4 days of eating vanilla yogurt
Vanilla Greek Yogurt has been my favorite foreva and as you can tell, it's working.
I'm thinkin that because of my gender, somehow it directed itself to a different body part, yet in the general vicinity. 

Note to self: When you shut a door on "blood family" aka ‘kin’ some 44 years ago, they shut their side of the door as well.

I suppose the wisdom lies with the ability to truly know doors.
Intuition has something to do with it.  Understanding too.
But most important, in this writer’s opinion,  is effort.  
I made no effort to know my kin
Let’s take a walk down Self-Examination Lane for a moment.
For many years, I  blamed everyone else for slamming their doors on me.
How dare they?
I wrote 'em off like a boring church sermon and knew they had their reasons;
She's a “left-wing radical, hippie-lovin, trailer trashin, forget the 9-5, care-free, artist freak, dyke” for starters.  SLAM!
But then last weekend, I saw them again, at my aunt's funeral. I went to see if sealed doors could actually be pried open.  I went to see if there were any findings worth discovering.
I went to say, "Do we have anything in common after so many years?"

My childhood memories are filled with their faces, their laughter, our kid-pranks.  I loved Sunday afternoons; running with my cousins through the clothes and sheets that our grandmother had hanging on the line.  I loved playing hide-n-seek in the "apartment house" next door.  I loved the peach cobbler made from scratch.  I remember sneaking into grandma's room with my cousin Desi, carefully opening the dresser drawer and looking at her dainty doilies and scarves. I can still smell grandma's scent.
Then one Sunday, I think I was 9 or 10, my father informed us that we were no longer going to grandma's.  SLAM!
A very important, loving and established door shut. And that door has pretty much remained shut for 4 decades; shut through graduations, marriages, births, celebrations and deaths.

I went out of hunger. I went on a thread of hope and possibility.  I tried to make an effort, taking with me the understanding that life is what it is and the past is the past, and really all we have is this single moment.
Then of course, there's the intuition. And I held steadfast to that too.  Intuitively, I've learned that when you are sincere and come from a true heart place, people will meet you halfway.
Doors quite possibly can be opened.

Now,  I'm not talking about Facebook friends.
As social networking sites, like Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Linkekum become more integrated in our modern culture, some people think that the benefits outweigh any downsides, while others believe the dangers are more pressing and hazardous than any upsides.
Personally, I dig it. All of it!  I dig the exposure, the information, both factual and fiction, comical and stone-cold serious.  And I dig the doors which, for me, especially via Facebook, have been both slammed in my face, but more so, opened wide as a fat baby's mouth.
The "friend request" component is an interesting thing, isn't it?
Awhile back, I received a plethora of these requests from the long lost people in my life; those that I hated in high school and college, so why the hell would I want to "friend" them 40 years later?  Anyway, it's a door.
But rather than taking a handle or turning a knob, one sits in front of a keyboard and decides,
with the click of a button, to confirm or deny a request.   I had my old boyfriend, his best friend and his wife all "friend request" me.  Oh! They were thrilled that I confirmed. They sent long private messages of excitement at the prospect of "connecting" again and possibly seeing
each other.
Then they read my Facebook wall and personal profile. UH  OH! Tisk. Tisk.
Seems they're still lovin the Lord at The Southern Baptist Church on Las Posas Road, the very one I attended in my teens.  And guess what? They don't much take a liking to queer folk.  SLAM!

But, I've had so many cool doors open as well;
former students, old friends, people who I will probably never sit with or share a glass of wine, yet, we share news, political articles, jokes, photos, and as maple syrupy as this may sound, messages of inspiration and hope. But Cliff Stoll, a Berkeley astronomer, who has been using the internet since 1975 has a different thought. Cliff once said, "Spending an evening on the World Wide Web is much like sitting down to a dinner of Cheetos.  Two hours later your fingers are yellow and you're no longer hungry, but you haven't been nourished."
One thing that cannot be disputed.  The doors that are opened, via the internet, are limitless. 

Intuition, understanding and effort.
Intuition in which our senses clearly speak,"Offer a buck to a homeless person, (small door) but don't invite them to move in with you." (big lesson)
Understanding that the whole door opening and door closing thing cannot be "hinged" with expectations.
And finally, effort.  You cannot plough a field by turning it over in your mind.
It takes effort.  There's a line from a song by The Indigo Girls that says, " gotta tend the earth if you want a rose."

May doors open for y'all today.