Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Mad Monsignor

It was the JROTC's fundraiser and tribute to veterans at the bi-annual Vets & Cadets event last night. Along with 75 or so cadets, Youngest did his part serving. Pete helped with the raffle and I did four hours of this, that and the other.

An hour or so into the event, it was time for the POW and MIA Missing Man Ceremony. A young cadet read the words about the meaning of the empty table. [Don't know what it's all about? You can read about it here.]

It's a powerful time. The explanation of the missing man is as powerful as any prayer given by any random priest or, yes, monsignor, in all the Catholic churches and all the Catholic high schools which rent out space for events like this one. And it was at that precise moment that the Director of Mission and Ministry at the school knocked on the door I was standing near.

His car was blocked, you see. And that rightfully so angered him. Someone in what turned out to be a pretty sweet grey BMW with license plate beginning with 7JBF had parked in an area with a no parking sign. He passed the lowly woman and went to a tall man and explained -- loudly -- his predicament. The man tried to appease him, saying he'd make an announcement as soon as this ceremony was over.

The monsignor could give a rat's ass about waiting. "I'll make the announcement myself," he said. "This clearly isn't a school event. Everyone here knows to follow signs."

I maneuvered him outside -- where his car was parked on the fuckin' lawn, dudes! -- and got the license plate of the offending car and he followed me back to the room.

"Do I need to make the announcement? I'm an hour late. Did you hear about the shooting of the police officer last night in San Francisco? I have to go see him."

I tell him -- again -- that we'll make the announcement. Could he please just wait one more minute?

A nicer woman tries to appease him by engaging him in conversation, "Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about him. I hope he's okay."

Gruffly, the monsignor notes the officer will be fine but, really, who the hell are you people and "I can't wait to meet the owner of that car."

When the ceremony is done, the tall man and I make the announcement. I quip about how Christian the monsignor is and how I hope the owner of the car makes it back alive.

My immediate reaction was to write a letter to the school and the monsignor and tell them exactly how fucking rude that man was. I'll grant you the guest should not have parked where he did. But, honestly, the demeanor of this man of God, representing not only the church but the school as well, was so inappropriate.

I will not write a letter. I will not get the JROTC blacklisted because the monsignor is a mighty dick. The world is filled with mighty dicks. I bet they have their own club. And their own secret handshake. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

I Believe

It is Youngest whom I want most of all to understand. He who has become so wrapped up in the election hysteria, watching debates as intently as I do and keeping up on the news nearly as much. He who wears his Trump T-shirt and enjoys entirely too much the interactions he has while wearing it. The fact that we know he wears it as an ironic statement does almost nothing for my disapproval of his wearing it. And, while I recognize that I am the adult in this relationship, I let him continue to wear it and fight his battles. I will value his political engagement and set aside the rest.

Or maybe I won't.

I won't.

He said to me last night that it is inexcusable that the Trump sexual harassment accusers waited as long as 30 years to speak up. He completely discounts the Jessica Leeds's story about her encounter with Trump on the plane. He can't imagine anyone not speaking up at the time.

But I can imagine it. I lived it. For more than a year, more than a decade ago, I was harassed by a man in a position of power. And I did nothing about it as a means of self-preservation. I needed the job. I hated being in the situation I was in, no doubt about it. But I sucked it up. A number of us did. There really felt like there was no recourse.

Ultimately, when he went way too far with another woman, it all came crashing down. And you know what happened to him? Nothing. Sure, corporate sent him for a bit of counseling and he gave up drinking (at least around any employees for awhile). And he continued to run the company. And he continued to make me uncomfortable until I finally had the chance to leave.

Dear Youngest, it happens. The strongest women among us suck it up because we see what happens when we don't. Nothing.

It's time to bin the Trump shirt, honey.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The (Nigerian) Prince and I

Incapable of allowing Bruce Springsteen to come to town for any reason without me getting within earshot or eyeshot, and having been locked out of getting tickets to his one-on-one interview when they went on sale, I turned to my old favorite, Craigslist. Some non-responses to my queries, a "no" response to another one, and a couple of possibilities.

The first one said he wanted about a quarter of the price everyone else was asking. It was clear why when he texted me that he wanted to have me send him the money through moneygram. Um, no. I even posted on FB: Why, yes, CL Springsteen interview ticket seller. I'll happily send you money through moneygram. #WhatCouldGoWrong #bruuuuuuuuuuce

Come on. What kind of fool do you take me for?

The second one I had multiple email exchanges with and then name exchanges and then PayPal name exchanges and then the money and ticket exchange.

That last sentence is nearly 100% true. The part that isn't true? I never got the ticket. He got the money via PayPal but then he stopped communicating with me. [Sexist pig that I am, even though I had been exchanging emails with "Jenny," when it became apparent I'd been duped, I assumed it was actually a guy. Truth be told, he's probably a pedophile, too. Terrorist? Easily.]

The slowly dawning realization, trying to be held back by the desire for it to just be some glitch but I'd still get the ticket and hear Bruce, was painful. I had already planned on going to hit people up for a ticket outside the theater if I didn't get one before, so off I went. Bitter. Filled with shame. Kicking myself. What an idiot!

But, hey, it's Bruce. It's Bruce.

So I let it go and hit the pavement hard with BFF Lori, harassing all of the ticket holders with pleas of "Got just one ticket to sell? Please?!" "Need just one ticket!" "Hey, you got a ticket to sell?"

At 7:26, Lori went in to her high-priced StubHub-purchased nosebleed and I stood out by the entrance. I held the sign hastily written by Lori and I besieged all passers-by. At 7:30, show time, a guy stopped as he went by, said, "What'd you say?" I said, "Do you have an extra ticket to sell?"

He didn't.

What he did have was an extra ticket that he pulled out, handed to me and said, "Here, have this one."

"Really?! No, I have to pay you something," I said.

"That's all right. But you'll have to sit next to me," he said.

So I did. Just a few seats shy of dead center, three rows up in the loge.

Thank you, Brian of Benicia! You're the real prince.

Friday, September 30, 2016

More True Crime (Ideas)

Depositing the sophomore at UCSD and the freshman at CSU-Fullerton, I hit the road about 6:30 p.m. For the first few hours, I went back and forth about just driving a couple of hours north or going the whole 400+ miles in one fell swoop. Better to have the lonely ride home behind me than in front of me.

So I drove. As is nearly always the case, traffic and road closures near about Patterson (Pop. 42 maybe?) had my adored mapping companion noting it could get me home at 1:15 a.m. instead of 2:20 a.m. if I just exited now. Now.

I did. Dark as can be. Driving on what I now realize were essentially ranch roads. At one point, the driver-in-front-of-me-with-the-same-mapping-companion shot past the road marked with a couple of twigs and pulled down into the shoulder embankment. No cars behind me, I managed to brake, throw it into reverse and pull onto Twig Road 23 ahead of my now-lagging road mate.

A total of 20 miles out of my way, then back on the highway, and I still beat the 1:15 a.m. estimated arrival by a few precious hairs. [That is one of the primarily reasons we use GPS systems, right? To beat the estimated arrival time? No?]

How hard could it possibly be for someone to hack that app of mine and wait until it's late and dark and I don't know where I'm at and I'm traveling home along unfamiliar territory and just send me off on a road that doesn't ultimately lead me back to the highway? What if, say, my husband was tech savvy and decided that the life insurance policy I have is mighty enticing? What if, as we were communicating via cell as I made my way north, he put his evil plot into action?

Here's hoping I didn't give him any ideas.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Criminal Intent

A friend of mine is adept at plotting crimes. She doesn't actually commit them, at least as far as I know. [But can anyone really ever know?] She just wonders how to pull them off.

Awhile back, Pete and I had a command performance with the US Postal Service when we took Youngest to get another Passport. They only last for five years, so he needed another one to get him through to the age of majority. You bring a picture, a birth certificate, proof that you and the father are who you say you are, and your kid. Then you swear that the kid is yours. A short time later, the Passport arrives.

And off you go.

It's that swearing the kid is yours that got me thinking about how remarkably easy it would be to bring any similarly aged kid into the Post Office and attest to the kid being your offspring. With that one Passport, that kid is golden. No other proof ever required. Give him one of the notarized birth certificates and the Passport, and he is officially my kid.

All it takes is two people who had a kid at some point to take a birth certificate and any kid into a quasi-governmental office and swear the kid is yours. For all anyone knows, there could be plenty of sleeper kids out there already, Passported up and ready to rock. Or worse.

For the record, I do not have a sleeper kid.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Greatest Catch of Her Life

I was walking to work through Frank Ogawa Plaza this morning. (Yes, that Frank Ogawa Plaza. It really is quite beautiful.) A bunch of high school kids were playing a pick-up game of team Frisbee. I looked up from Pokemon Go long enough to watch 45 seconds of the action. A Frisbee was thrown far, far, too far for the 16-year-old girl to reach and catch. Only, wait a minute, she dove and caught it. Applause and cheers burst out. The looks of amazement and, yeah, achievement were visible on her face.

Waiting for my bagel at the deli, it occurred to me what a sad state of affairs it would be for that girl if that catch was the high point of her life to-date. Worse still, what if it was the highest point of her life she would ever achieve? None of her fellow players, friends and rivals alike, will recall it ever again, really, unless prompted by her in days and weeks to come. "Remember that catch I made the day we went to City Hall for a field trip? That was awesome!"

I told myself to remember that catch so someone beyond that girl remembers her glory for the rest of her days.

[What can I say? I was hungry. And when I'm hungry, I'm not a happy person. I'm better now. I'm sure she'll go on and have a most magnificent life.]

Monday, September 19, 2016

What You Learn in 1,009 Miles

  1. The time to take a kid to college is far shorter than the time it takes to get back after drop off.
  2. The Central Valley is as Christian as it is Spanish-speaking.
  3. The one palatable radio station will play songs you hate but you will make a deal with yourself if you can just hear any song you recognize, you will listen to it until the bitter end. Praise Jesus. Alabado sea el SeƱor.
  4. If you leave Fullerton without bringing anything to drink with you, you can make just one stop for gas, bathroom and a drink three or so hours up the road and not need to stop again until you pull into your driveway.
  5. My remarkably different oldest children live on remarkably different campuses. Too few toilets remain a similarity.
  6. Drop off is gut-wrenchingly difficult. Two in one day just doubles the fun.
  7. The trip register really does show I drove 1,009 miles in 42 hours. Which means saying 1,009 is the answer to life, the universe, and everything might get you partial credit on the quiz at the end of this post.
  8. My kids -- all three of them -- are really fun to be around.
  9. If you hear "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" on the radio somewhere around Patterson, you will sing loudly. And cry.
  10. I do owe the time of my life to Pete. I need to focus on making sure he knows that, particularly as we enter our 18th (I think) year of marriage. Happy Anniversary, hon!


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