Not Dog the Bounty Hunter

With an apartment complex across the street, a university nearby, bus routes, bike paths, and an exercise trail all within walking distance of our house, our corner lot sees a fair amount of pedestrian traffic. Before our landlord went all Paul Bunyan on us, the poorly mulched area that sits to the left of my front door used to have an Oak tree there to provide shade all the way to the street corner. Now, the lack of majesty that sits outside my door these days is now punctuated by a smattering of dog poop dropped not ten feet from my front door. It has to be some pedestrian who uses this street as their route to walk their dog, but I haven’t noticed anyone who walks their dog on regular basis in a while.

The other day, I was driving back home after dropping off the kids at school, wishing I could run into whoever was allowing their dog to drop feces in my yard. I was working out the logistics on how to confront this unknown individual and the appropriate amount of ire to be used. There’s a certain amount of moral leverage in being the one whose yard is being desecrated. Ideally, I figured with a touch of bass in my voice and a properly cocked eyebrow, I could have this dog person, apologizing and picking up their dog’s poop while singing numerous apologies in my direction. I’d even go in the house and bring out a bag for them to take their crap with them, because at this point, using my garbage can would not be acceptable.

A bit too much pleasure was derived from working out this scene in my head, and it came to an end when I turned the corner to my street and saw a woman walking some poodle mixed mut in the vicinity of my house. I parked in front of my house and got out in a slight huff. She was an older lady, and she was instructing this dog to do its business on the fire hydrant in my neighbor’s yard across the street. While I was upset about the poo in my yard, I wasn’t irrational enough to confront this lady on what most likely was a coincidence. Still, I was annoyed, and I wanted her to see that her dog’s public relieving of itself was unacceptable. I shut the door to the minivan with a bit of force, and screwed my face as if to look serious. But all I could think to do was I raise my right and arm and say “Good morning!”. I said it quick, and loud, and tried to sound annoyed though. She responded, like any normal person with a good morning herself, and all I could do was paste on a smile and wave again good bye.

Death of A Minivan

It was doomed as soon as we signed the finance papers; the youngest daughter at the time was able to walk around the back without stooping in order to not bump her head. Over the course of time, I broke one of the sliding doors, the mechanic broke the other sliding door (long story), I busted a mirror, I broke a tail light, and the wife was sideswiped by a van full of unidentified hooligans who obviously lack the courtesy and skill necessary to drive on the road.

The abuse and neglect we’ve heaped on our minivan is shameful; and still we depend on it to shuttle us back and forth to obligations formal and informal. I guess it was giving us signs that it was done fighting the good fight a few years ago when using the left turn signal would make the right turn signal blink and vice versa. Still the minivan showed up and showed out for another year or two. It wasn’t until late last year that more serious signs of wear and tear began to show. All manner of liquid leaks and burns from the engine, and we’ve put several months worth of car notes into repairs that have barely prolonged the inevitable. The end is nigh, and all I can hope for is that the minivan goes peacefully. The scenario I prefer at the moment, is that I walk out Monday morning, turn the key and nothing. I drop my head, shake it just enough to let the disappointment fall from my forehead, and mutter to myself that’ll do pig, that’ll do.

Public Display

When I was younger, the pursuit of and the possibility of sex seemed a constant fixture in my underdeveloped brain. As a young man, getting close to, almost having, and actual sex with someone other than myself was high on a short list of needs. It was why, when I was at that age, I was willing to do almost anything, anywhere given the possibility of it. My willingness to commit private acts in public places was quite high back then; the back of movie theaters, parked cars on dark streets, well, those were the only places I’d be willing to try something. Now that I think about it, I wasn’t that big on all of that, I was just more willing to do something stupid back then, than I am now.

I’m not an exhibitionist, so the thrill of getting caught or putting on a show for the people was never a turn on. Couple that with the fading libido of a man my age, or as I call it, tired, and the thought of any sort of indecent act in public is for the most part off the table. Nevertheless, people who are attracted to each other and have low levels of inhibition, find ways to put their lack of self control and good taste in our faces on the daily basis.

I think about this now because as I made my way to work this morning, I was passed by a man in a lesser minivan (a late model Kia Sedona with a cracked windshield), who seemed to be getting violently fellated by his lady passenger. Initially, when they passed me, I wasn’t able to put together what was happening; from my vantage point, it just looked like a woman doing her best impression of a deranged chicken, pecking in some dude’s lap. It wasn’t until they were a good 50 yards ahead of me and she threw her head back, hard and quick, to get her hair out of her face that I finally figured it out. She then sat up and pulled her hair back into a ponytail. I figured she was readying herself for some serious work, and pressed the gas to get my peeping tom on. She didn’t continue, but the driver kept his foot on the gas and weaved further and further away into the traffic ahead of me.

I removed my foot from the accelerator, put aside my voyeuristic urge, and conceded myself to the doldrums of my soon to be started work day. Only meth heads would do such a thing so early in the morning I thought. Weaving in and out of traffic like some sex crazed lunatics, no regard for themselves or anyone else obviously. Oral sex on an interstate highway? During rush hour traffic? Did the driver not care about the woman’s safety? Was she not a human being? Did he not consider that there were other people in the world, who were possibly not high and not horny, and not satisfying their urges in traffic like savages even though they might want to?

Am I asking too many questions? Doesn’t matter. What kind of world would it be if we were all riding around in minivans getting our oral stimulation on? Heaven maybe? May be?

Quest for something better

I’ve grown to love minivans. There are at least three minivans I can think of, that I would drive even if I didn’t have to drive around a family full of hooligans. But there is one minivan that I’ve never liked, which is surprising because I think they make a great line of cars.

What Nissan has designed to represent their company in the minivan market has always been unattractive to me. Previous iterations of this minivan looked like some poorly designed space pod that didn’t understand what its purpose was. Nissan tried to make the minivan sexy, and while it is possible to make a minivan look kinda cool (see Toyota’s Sienna), sexy is not the end game when talking minivans.

But the Nissan Quest, in my opinion doesn’t look cool. To me it looks like a half-aborted bread box with wheels on it. And while the reviews seem to be mostly positive (despite the lack of cargo space, no flat folding seats, or the ability to seat 8), I still hate it’s existence even though I’ve never set foot in one. Maybe Nissan can throw me a loaner car for a few months to change my mind though.

Strangers In the Night

Got them DVD's

I live in an ‘urban’ area. I won’t get into the politics of that word and what it implies (partly, because I’m not really sure), but at the moment, I take it to mean dealing with some undesirables (people, places or things) more often than I would like. Let me also note that I’m certain that the list of undesirables I would find in the suburbs would be equally disturbing, but that is neither here nor there.

Now, I’m all for entrepreneurial endeavors and folk making a way out of none, but not so much when it involves pulling dollars from my already slim pockets for sub-par product. So when a mysterious man in a generic black fitted and gold tooth creeps up on me in his black Dodge Charger on blades at the gas station , I put on my meanest face when he simply asked “Hey, how ya doing? You looking for some DVD’s?”. I have to admit, the nicety “how ya doing” threw me off for a millisecond, but I was able to re-apply the screwface and add the appropriate level of bass in my voice when I replied “Nah man.”

And that was it. He snaked through each section of pumps politely asking the patrons whether or not they needed the newest latest DVD’s on the bootleg scene. I took a blurry pic of his Charger to capture our exchange.

Your name is Marcus isn’t it?

My wife just had a birthday. In the interest of protecting all parties involved I won’t divulge her age, but she’s a year older than me and I’m thirty-eight. So anyway, we went out for dinner. I wouldn’t say it was romantic, but in some circles it might qualify; it was dimly lit, there were no kids present, we drank wine and made light conversation. It was nice. It was expensive too, but it was nice.

Of course we did happen to overhear a rather chatty daughter prattle on to her father and who I assume was a friend of hers about: meetings for work, friends who are tolerable when they’re sober, and making art designs in the leftover ashes and cigarette butts in the ashtrays at grandma’s house back in the day. Don’t worry, she said it didn’t seem gross or anything (playing in an ash tray and all) to her at the time. She didn’t know why though. It was nice.

They eventually left, we asked for the bill, and finished our bottle in that order. The greeters became adieu bidders as we exited the building and walked out into the mild Houston night. We discussed the evening and what we could do. More drinks? (more money = no) Go to listen to some music at a bar? (sounds like drinks and money = no) Pragmatism and a thin wallet prevailed in the end, we would head home, the long way, a mild compromise.

But before we could turn the corner to head towards the awesomeness of the Dodge Caravan, we heard footsteps and a call “Sir!” from one of the hostess’ “did you forget your wallet?”. She held the wallet above her head and wore an inquisitive look to indicate her concern. I turned around, checked my pockets, pulled out my wallet “No, here’s mine right here” and held my card holder above my head to indicate everything was good on my front. I thought to myself “that was nice” and we continued walking towards the yet to be washed awesomeness of the minivan. As we came within ten feet of the Caravan, our concerned hostess was back again “Are you sure you didn’t forget your wallet?” she began opening the wallet and pulled out a man named Marcus’ identification. “Your name is Marcus isn’t it?” and she showed me his I.D. I guess this dude looked like me, but I couldn’t see it. I re-assured her it wasn’t mine which seemed to embarrass her and then she apologized. No harm done, but I should have checked to see if there was money in it before I told her no. She was nice though.

Flying with the Pigeons

This is random, and well, it’s random. I haven’t been driving the minivan as much as I used to. The morning routine has become radically simplified with the addition of a second vehicle as well as having two of our school aged children ride the school bus. So my moments in the minivan aren’t as frequent as they used to be unfortunately.

But back to the randomness. On the way back home from dropping my son off to school, I came across some pigeons. There was a small flock (I guess they were a flock) of them milling about around some leftover food in the street. I was driving slow because I was in a school zone, but didn’t brake for these pigeons because pigeons know better. I expected them to scatter while I drove through and then double back to whatever it was they were eating. Instead, they scattered and flew the same direction I happened to be driving. For a brief moment, maybe 5 or 6 seconds it felt like I was flying. I don’t think we were in any formation or anything, but…I told you it was random.

Kind of felt like the opening credits to Dr. Strangelove.