Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ramseur St, Durham, 12:30 pm, Sunday

There are a couple of blocks off of Fayetteville St on Ramseur St near my office which have loading dock/warehousing space, some of which have been converted into offices.  A few weeks back I drove along the blocks to see what else they had been converted into.  The answer?  Churches.  1 or 2 appeared to be African-American congregations, the other were hispanic ("Casa de Dios, etc.").

During the week the area was kinda empty. But what, I wondered, would it look like on Sunday, around worship time.  This weekend, though the day is lovely, I found myself headed back to the office for a few hours, so on the way there I stopped over and had a look.

The answer?  It was packed.  Not a place to park anywhere. In fact, a couple of churches had parking attendants.One would imagine that when the weather's even warmer then today's 57 degrees, they could roll up the grates and have open air worship, but not yet.

But at one of the black churches there was a guy standing at the door craning his neck in, apparently unable to fit in there. And there were a couple of brightly dressed hispanic girls in a parking lot jumping rope.

A couple of blocks away, a group of teen boys sat around on a picnic table doing nothing, like a scene out of The Wire.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

CHHS, 8:15 am

It was cold and rainy out in front of the high school, but there were still maybe 200-250 people waiting (including parents) to get kids in to take the SATs.  Hell, probably more.  Lots of idiot high school boys wearing shorts, whatever the hell that's about.

I had forgotten an umbrella (I always do) and Natalie of course has no raincoat (she lost hers and refuses to buy another), but we took shelter under the umbrella of the mother of a friend of hers, a nice Chinese girl.

I had been nervous about Natalie feeling wierd in there with a bunch of high schoolers, and a little bit guilty about pushing her to take the SATs in the first part, her being only twelve and all, so I was really happy not only to see lots of her peers there, but to see that they had segregated a whole hallway just for the middle school kids who were applying to the TIP program, like her. That was awesome.

And then there was the matter of being back at CHHS.

And while I was there, I ran into the daughter of a friend of mine. Her sister is going through chemo now.  And the ex-wife of another friend, who's gone through a pretty acrimonious divorce and about whom I hear pretty crazy stories. But I was at her wedding back in '94. And then I ran into a woman I used to sit next to in Latin back in that very building some 30 years ago, and we would flirt a little and make fun of this asshole, who is himself now a very rich Republican guy.  And this woman's husband was killed some years back in a pretty violent way, so she's now a single parent and a doctor to boot.

In short, life, memories, emotions.  And now there's snow.

Hogan's Heros

Somehow I was reminded of Hogan's Heros not long ago, so Graham and I have been watching episodes on YouTube. It was really funny at first, but it has started to wear on me a little.  Graham has maintained his level of excitement, so I'm trying to stay on it.

It confuses him a little, and I must say that I understand why.  The big joke is, continually, that one thing or another threatens to move the prisoners or Colonel Klink away from Stalag 13, which would be the worst thing possible, because life is so easy for the prisoners there, and so good for the allies!  So Hogan is always alternately trying to make Klink look good, or bad, depending on which way the wind is blowing. There's a lot of subterfuge that washes over the aspie 9-year old. But it amuses him to no end.

I had never quite realized that the show basically only ever shows 3 Germans as regular characters:  Klink, Schultzy, and the lovely Helga, with whom Hogan is always making out (thank God she didn't take up with Bob Crane in his later, porno-master days). That's how they kept the budget low. Only about real actors needed to be paid regularly, 3 Krauts, and 4 allied soldiers (Hogan, Lebeau, the Richard Dawson character, and the goofy American who builds bombs).

Friday, February 15, 2013

Silence of the lambskin

I was at the dentist the other day for a filling, and before putting on her gloves and getting started the dental assistant asked me:  "are you allergic to latex?"  So I said, "what would you use if I was?  Lambskin?" It was funny.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Citizen of the world

Today I got a Facebook message from my good friend Eric who lives outside of Rome, wondering if I'd be going to our college reunion in May.  So I finally got Skype set up on my phone, and tried it by calling my friend Mattie, who lives in Berlin. Turns out he was in Norway, we chatted a bit.

Later, as Natalie and I were sitting outside the public library at the mall sharing a cup of coffee, there was an Indian grandmother type sitting across from us, chilling in a nice sari.  And then a Chinese woman -- toting an improbably large and old windows laptop of some sort with a lot of tape on the keyboard -- asked if she and her two kids could sit next to us on the couch. The kids watched a video.

I had this warm citizen of the world feeling, even though I was at the same mall I first shopped for jeans at maybe 40 years ago.

Mr. Stupid Nobody

Many years ago, when Graham was meeting someone for the first time, he would introduce himself as "Mr. Stupid Nobody."

Then there was another moniker he gave himself, something like "Space cadet broken down trainwreck."  These days, he mostly prefers Graham.