Bert’s on my case about the blog.
“Too theoretical,” he sniffs. “Too metaphorical. You should write about real life.”
“I’m doing the best I can,” I reply.
“I know,” he sighs.
“Hey, give me a turn. I could tell stories.”
“Not sure I’m ready for that.”
“Who’s the coward here, anyway?”
“Okay,” he sighs. “But if you’re not careful you’ll lose them.”
“Shut up, Bert.”
“I’m just saying.”
Then this morning something happened and I decided maybe he was right and I should give him his chance.
So here it is, Bert’s first post:
So I’m walking down the street, heat rising off it in waves, and a cop car passes and pulls to the curb fifty yards ahead of me. Then a second cop car arrives from the opposite direction and does the same thing.
Two cops get out in their blue uniforms and their heavy black belts.
Poor guys, I think. In this heat.
They cross the street to where a couple stands on a lawn, arguing.
The guy is yelling at the woman. The woman yells back, waving her arms. Two little girls stand under a tree in pink sleeveless tops, holding hands and crying.
Inside me thoughts and impulses spring up, boink boink boink, like cartoon dandelions invading a summer lawn:
(1) I want to about-face and walk back down the street. Avoid upset. Reduce anxiety.
(2) I can’t about-face. What if someone notices. What’s his problem?
(3) I want to go to the two kids. Sit on the grass. Calm or distract them somehow. They stop crying, I’ll feel better.
(4) Can’t do that either. Dad might punch me. Mom might scream. Cops might whip out their handcuffs.
(5) I hear my own thoughts. I get mad. Handcuffs? Steve. Chickenshit. Seriously.
(6) I get mad at whoever called the cops. (In full projection mode now.) Mind your own business, Sir or Madam. Leave these people alone. Also, I’m trying to take a walk here.
(7) It occurs to me Sir or Madam is probably scared too. Why they called. Calling’s just their version of the about-face I wanted to make. Officers, please remove this. Now I regret I got mad at them.
(8) I think of the cops. What’s it like, standing there, trying to calm angry people in this heat? Are they trained for this? How? Instruction manual? Rehearsal in a steam room? And are they screened adequately? Do more people get shot by police in the summer?
(9) I notice I’m writing all this down in my head. Make them see what a control addict sees.
(10) I about-face, walk home to type it out before the heat melts what I’m thinking.
Moment to moment control issues bloom, boink boink boink, like a gazillion dandelions.