Jan 082008
 

Usually, when scouting the field for some good subjects, I employ the ‘shoot & run’ tactic, an effective choice if you don’t mind angry cries and blurred images.

But today, when I was skulking around Brookline in the spring-like weather, taking my new Diana+ camera out for a test drive, I saw a photographic opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up; to walk away would have plagued me with nightmares of regret. A man was leaning against the brick wall of Kribel’s Bakery, smoking a cigarette. He looked middle age with sandy hair — styled loosely in a rockabilly coif — and tattoos and he sported tube socks that would have made Christina swoon; he looked like he was trying to grasp on to the last few strands of punk mentality that life had alotted him, like maybe he had gotten married and his wife was trying to force him to "grow up" but they compromised on a few accessories.  

As I approached, I recognized him as the baker from Kribel’s; I had seen him just a few weeks ago when I stopped in to buy a cake for Kim’s birthday and I remember promptly calling Henry to inform him of my new crush. I knew I needed his picture. But I didn’t hide behind a car or garbage can. I didn’t act like I was trying to "fix" something on the camera as I strolled past, looking skyward and murmuring "Tweedle dee dee." I didn’t pretend like I was taking a picture of the awesome brick wall next to him. I didn’t distract him by baring my breasts.

No, I walked up to him, caught his eye, and asked, "Do you mind if I take a picture of you?" I wanted a real photo of him; not streaks of his blue shirt, or the ground, or the sky, as I tried unsuccesfully to be covert.

His hand froze, cigarette midway to his mouth, and he repeated my request. "Can you take MY picture?" He looked around to see if anyone had heard. I didn’t make up a story about being a photography student. I didn’t pretend to be a tourist. I told the truth.

"I just got this toy camera, and I would really like to take your picture." OK, maybe I slipped in something about a fake portfolio. And that I wanted to fill it with faces of Brookline, a community that’s so dear to my heart. But for the most part, there was no nose-growing. He said yes, and two old men sitting nearby on a bench scurried away into a store, probably afraid they were next on my hit list.

Jesus Christ: enjoying Pixar movies, mending charred bridges, and now asking for permission to photograph someone in lieu of flat out stalking? What’s next — helping old bitches across the street? Don’t worry — I was terrorizing unsuspecting pedestrians with my Holga in another part of Pittsburgh earlier today, so it’s balanced.

Dec 152007
 

After much careful deliberation, a considerable amount of mulling, and a brief engagement with hemming and hawing, I have officially decided to participate in No Name Calling Week. This futility workout will begin on January 21, at which point I will shelve my Tourette-ish need to call Henry an ass-fucking moronic dick-shitting piece of trailer trash with a second-grade level spelling proficiency who washes his underwear in a creek. I will not tell Christina she’s a dumb fucking fake Mexican lesbo God-fearing lame rapping banana-stuffed cunt. I will not call my child a Little Asshole.

Luckily, I can still punch the shit out of Janna.

I will be monitored all week by Henry, Christina, Janna and I guess I’ll have to tell some people at work, since that’s going to be a very crucial chunk of the week.

“I’m going to win,” I boasted to Henry.

“Somehow I don’t think the point is to win a prize,” he said, yet another ounce of his faith in me fluttering off to Heaven.

I think I might be biting off more than I can chew. I also think this is intended for school kids.

Dec 072007
 

For the past week, I’ve been doing this really obnoxious thing where I brag about how awesome I am. Mostly this has been happening at work. Anytime I know the answer to something, trivial as it might be, I get all sore-winnerish and shout about how my innards are made of awesome.

"Did you just make coffee?"

"Uh, yes. Because I’m full of awesome."

I bet it’s really charming to be on the other side of that.

Tonight, I was telling Christina about how my son has been a little asshole lately. "He keeps grinding his teeth, and when I tell him to stop, he fixes his eyes on mine in a stubborn glare and does it harder," I complained.

"You know what they say," she schooled. "Your kids end up being two times what you are."

"So Chooch is double stuft with awesome?" I asked.

Oct 272007
 

I’ve been fighting with a new neighbor over parking courtesy. I realize it’s a trivial thing to risk stroking over, but I have pent up anger and agression and the situation presented itself as the perfect way to let it all out. She and I had a very strained discussion about it last Sunday, but I sort of kept my cool, as I was holding the hand of my toddler and he sees me ranting and raving enough as it is.

The gist of it is that the landlord told her that the center space is hers, but I’ve been parking in that space for eight years. Typically, when I come home from work and wherever, she’s in that space so I have no choice but to park in  the one next to her.

This morning, when I was leaving for school, she was also in her car, about to leave. However, I gunned it and shot out of the driveway before she had a chance to blink, totally cutting her off. Dumb fucking bitch.

Then I stewed about it all during my Calculus class.

When I came home, she was still gone, so I shot down the driveway into my old space.

A few minutes ago, she came a’knocking. Henry answered the door, but she requested to speak to me personally. I joined her on the porch, after Christina gave me a sad glance, silently pleading with me to be nice.

And I was nice. Sort of. Through gritted teeth. We hashed out our differences — I told her I wasn’t happy with the way she came at me last week without even introducing herself, and she countered with the fact that when she first saw me a few weeks ago, I was slamming my front door and yelling about how I always get screwed with parking. ”

I mean, I saw that and thought ‘A-ight, she’s pissed off at someone, maybe me.’ Of course I’m not going to come up to and say ‘Hello, my name…’ at that point.

Henry and Christina were listening to the whole thing from inside, and when I came back in later, Henry said, “You DO have an attitude, you know” and Christina quickly echoed his sentiment. Then they talked about how I get so unnecessarily angry over nothing, simply because I crave tension and conflict. I know, and then I wonder why every muscle in my being is taut enough to snap.

Anyway, the neighbor explained to me that the only reason she’s been making a big deal about wanting to park in the middle is because the landlord has been drilling it into her head. Apparently, he keeps dumping all these rules on her without telling the rest of us (she said he also told her that none of us are allowed to park on the road, but we all do it because she’s the only one he told), and by doing so, he’s effectively pitted us all against each other. Realizing that it’s the landlord on which I should be directing my hostility (I know where I’ll be on Monday), she and I started over by going through friendly motions of introducing ourselves.

Her name is Toya, and I guess she’s not too bad. I still hate Ruth though, who hasn’t been talking to me for a few weeks now, god only knows why. Fucking fake nurse.

From now on, I’ll be parking my car on the street, to push my landlord’s buttons.