Thursday, November 16, 2006
(old blog from the myspace)
I haven't really talked to my best friend since her birthday in early October. We had a falling out in August and recovery has been slow at best. This is a woman with whom I can have a four hour discussion every Saturday even when absolutely NOTHING has taken place in the intervening week. So it has been strange not to communicate with her but then, for a while, talking was even stranger. We've been trying to reconnect and have been playing a little half-hearted phone tag as a result. She's got a new beau to keep her busy and I'm dating graduate school (no, not SOMEONE at graduate school or the WHOLE graduate school. Basically, 'graduate school' is my surly, crappy, boyfriend and it keeps me busy) so it has been easy to avoid an actual conversation.
I don't normally mention this kind of thing much in a venue like the web-log. It is personal, and not just to me, so I won't say much more about it…except, one way that she has been able to keep up with me as I go incommunicado is to read my blog. The danger in judging my life by the blog is that I appear spend my days going from a party to witnessing a misdemeanor to another party and so on. It's kind of disturbing and I hadn't noticed the trend until she called me last night. I was glad to see her number on my cell phone and, although I was otherwise engaged, I answered her call.
"Hey, I'm not ignoring you but can I call you right back? I'm busy."
"Sure!" She sounded cheerful, "What's going on?"
"I'm filling out an incident report with police"
"Again?" she said.
"Well I just got done reading your blog."
"Ah, right. Yeah, again. I'll call you right back, kay?"
This is why it is important to keep your dear friends around for the rest of your life. If you lose them, then who will remind you of the patterns in your world? I would have completely missed the point that I was participating in an incident report for the second time in less than two weeks. I was caught up in the moment.
That particular 'moment' had started about 45 minutes before the incident report. I was watching TV. It was showing me a story about a man who wakes up every day in the same day but with the ability to affect different (violent) outcomes. I liked it; it's a lot like graduate school. You wake up every day with a sense of what you are going to do differently to achieve success and instead you learn six new ways to screw up your data. But back to last night, there was a lot of noise in the TV show that sounded like a windshield being bashed in with a baseball bat so when that same noise was talking place outside my apartment, I didn't notice it at first.
When the TV switched to showing me a commercial of children smiling in silence I realized that there was something wrong on my street. I jumped up and looked out my living room window to see if my car was okay. It was. Then I looked across the street just as a man who had been crouching on the ground looked up at me and started running down the street. I ran to my back room and watched him run. He made relatively slow progress since it was raining and he had chosen to run down one of the few really steep streets in Birmingham.
I ran back to my front of room to pull on a pair of jeans and to call my downstairs neighbor. She came outside with me and we went over to the car in question. To my surprise, it looked fine and for a second I felt sort of silly. Other neighbors were coming out of their apartment buildings including my neighbor, Fred-the-Grillmaster.
"Ohhhh, lookit that tire!" someone said and then I saw it. The front tire of the car, a cobalt blue mustang, had been punctured. Looking down the street we could see another car that had lost its front tires and was pointing nose-down into the asphalt. I was surprised that it made so much noise to slash a tire. It was a dull popping sound and I had expected to see broken windshields when I heard it. I called the police and told them that we thought we had seen the guy who was responsible; they said they would be right out.
By the time the police arrived the mustang had finished sinking into the road. Three of its tires were slashed as were three tires on the SUV a few cars down. One of the neighbors knew who owned the SUV so the owner was now standing out in the street with us. He was barefoot and wearing a t-shirt with the sleeves cut off. I don't say this to criticize his outfit, (I was wearing an oversized, bright red Dale Earnhardt Jr. nightshirt over my jeans) but rather to point out that he was mad enough that the rain didn't even seem to faze him. The mustang belonged to his girlfriend.
When this piece of information was revealed, the rest of the neighbors all exchanged a look. Fred asked Mr. SUV if he and Ms. Mustang had any enemies. Mr. SUV swore that this was not a possibility, they had just moved to Birmingham and no one knew his girlfriend's car. Fred tried to look like he believed Mr. SUV. It was funny to watch the two men interact. Mr. SUV was about 6'4", white, and extremely skinny. Fred is black, about 5'7" and weighs around 300 pounds. He had just returned from his job as a janitor and, because he walks to work, he was wearing a yellow rain jacket that reached his past his calves and a matching yellow rain hat. Imagine the love child of Paddington Bear and the Gordon's Fishsticks Fisherman.
The police officer who showed up only contributed confusion to our little group. He was fairly young, early 30's at the most. He walked over to the first car and said,
"Oh, geeze! Oh man! What is WRONG with people? That guy must have been a real slimeball; I mean…that's a MUSTANG!"
This was not encouraging to hear since: a) he must have learned his dialect from watching the Andy Griffith show and b) the murder rate in Birmingham has jumped in the last month to several killings a week. One might imagine that there are more disturbing things happening in the city than a few slashed tires but then, maybe it is different when it is a mustang. I'm not really a car girl.
When he was done riling up the car owners with more exclamations of regret, the police officer took our statements. We gave him conflicting descriptions (he was tall/ short/ white/ black/ young/ older/ clean-cut/ had a mustache) and when we were finished he asked each of us if the guy looked like "a real wacko" or "a total slimeball".
Frankly, I was starting to suspect the police officer. Who says "slimeball" and "real wacko" under the age of 60?
It was around this time that my best friend called. I was giving my home address to the officer and I stuck around for a few minutes just to see if Ms. Mustang and Mr. SUV would own up to who might have slashed their tires. There were two cars parked in between theirs and a total of about twenty cars on the street which were left unharmed, pretty coincidental coincidence. However, no additional gossip was revealed so I went back into my house in time to see the hero of the TV show wake up once more to the same day only this time he had been shot in his chest.
The TV ended the story, changing to Birmingham local news and a trial involving a triple homicide. I turned the sound off and thought about how I would write about the tire slashing in this blog and what I would say to my friend when I called her back. There have been a few other happenings in my life aside from parties and misdemeanors. A little bit of stress, some academic failure, some academic success, a sinus infection, some old heartbreak and a few funny stories along with worries from the family at home. Somehow those things have gotten left behind when we try to talk lately. My phone rang and it was her.
"Hi!" she said, "So I couldn't wait to hear about your latest incident report! Wait, are you okay? What happened?"
"Oh, it was no big deal. Someone had their tires slashed and I saw the guy. I think it was the police officer drumming up business for himself or maybe a jilted lover getting revenge. It doesn't matter really."
I gave her the synopsis of the evening. She told me her reaction to the Greyhound bus story. We paused. It was there again, that sticking point. For several minutes I talked while I stuffed my mouth with an entire roll of Mentos, three at a time. We chattered a little, making inane jokes, and then I finally took a deep breath and said, "You know, really things are okay. I'm mostly fine these days. There have been one or two things going on though. Listen…."
And she did.