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. 

FLASHBACK

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!

FLASHBACK

“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.
~tpg

4 comments:

  1. So glad you're "calling it as you see it." Joseph Campbell once wrote, "A hero is a person who does the best there is in the worst of times." So proud of you for turning in those chain-saw tree cutters...reminds me of my old growth forest-protesting days in Oregon. Here' a couple of lines from the Eugene, OR, Register-Guard article I wrote: " I don't know if I want to cry or scream, but I can't sit still. It's not my land, it's not my trees. I know all that. But somehow, I feel that there's a spirit dying out there today." Thank you, thank you, for caring...for taking action...for being who you are...for preserving that fragile spirit living in the trees. You're one in a million... Whatever, it all starts with just one. Keep on feeding the good wolf and we, your loyal readers, will work to do the same.

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  2. Today your blog was a roller coaster of fun, serious, thought-provoking stuff. I kept wanting to think of other responses to those "boys". People like those, and others are just plain ignorant! Sometimes it's just so exhausting to try and educate them...so some we do, and others...well, no matter what we say or do...they will always be ignorant assholes.

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  3. So much to do.....and is there enough time? Perhaps....but I would say that it is all our land and trees and the rest to care for. That we belong to it too. A beautiful connected DESGN that we are compelled and even screaming and crying to care for better.
    You are an inspiration to care for things better and to stay 'awake' and aware that the little things matter so much. Your writing matters in that way.....sharing what you see and feel from your post up in the trees next to the squirrels and woodpeckers.
    And then the inner voice in you that wants to say things that a chainsaw would...but you hold it back in that awareness of kindness to give a little more space for those who are still maybe learning to care more.
    Love you.
    Shem

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  4. i can relate to this so deeply that it made me teary to read it:

    --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.” --

    It's what makes us the tree-hugging hippie chick, the crazy dog lady (or cat lady), the annoying girl who tells people they are wrong when they bully someone, the loudmouth who calls people on the shit that wrongly impacts others, the narc that complains about cruelty - to animals, the earth, humanity.... it IS a cross to bear, there is no doubt. It's not that "they" are always wrong and we are always right (well, maybe it is! haha), but it's that "they" are not always as compassionate and once that light is on in your soul, you just can't turn it off for any animal, person, tree, butterfly...

    So glad you are my soul sister. xoxo

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