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Thursday, June 1, 2006
On The Bright Side...
I've moved to a new office in our building, one with a window. It's been a couple of years since I've had natural light in the workplace, and I'm still adjusting. "Glare Management," I've been calling it—if I have to squint to see the monitor, I have to learn not to struggle with it, just to adjust the blinds. It's a nice problem to have, I realize. The view is really quite pleasant.
It's also a very lovely skyline when the city lights come on at night. Unfortunately that means I've been working late enough to see it. Perhaps that's just glare management from a karmic perspective. If everything was always bright, I'd miss out on the shape of everything else. The dark shapes the light, the light shapes the dark. And so it is.
This post is brought to you by the fine folks at Sleep Deprivation.
Monday, May 29, 2006
Please Do Not Shit On My Doorstep.
It's been a couple of weeks and the planter barrels The Boyfriend got for the front of the house are still intact. I almost hesitate to post about them for fear of jinxing something; I'll check after this is posted and discover that junkies have dug all the plants up, even the big juniper in the back, in a quest for some long-forgotten stash. It's like crazed squirrels digging for a stash of nuts. They say squirrels forget where they bury half their nuts; I suspect the crack addicts forget even their own names. A Handy Tip: they're not in our planters.
I do my best to walk a line between tolerance and territoriality. I know that it's hard to live on the streets, for whatever reason one has come to that. But it's not my job to give people a place to shoot up (and leave their needles in our planters—which makes gardening an interesting proposition) or to defecate, or to take out there aggressions on the begonias, or to store the possibly-stolen goods they'd later sell on 16th Street. I will not be intimidated by someone's vague threats over a broken lamp that had dissappeared from a cache of broken items to sell left under our window.
We went to the nursery and asked a nice woman for recommendations on hearty, spiky, unpleasant plants that might keep hands out of them. We were hoping to find something like the Broken Bottle Plant (Sato fracta) or the Annoying Pest flower (Lacrima molestus). She suggested poison oak, and we knew we had met a kindred soul. It's nice working with a nursery that understands questions like, "Will these plants survive when people pee on them?" The Boyfriend did a nice job planting them, but we're trying not to get too attached, as they could go at any time. "Don't name a food animal," we'd remind ourselves.
I went to get a cup of coffee yesterday and when I arrived home, I had to ask a woman who was setting up some kind of red leatherette case and her friend, who had just gotten a disposable lighter from a neighborhood bar-goer, to move on from our steps. The woman with the case was nicely dressed. She had also placed a heavy-looking package on top of our Ajuga repens. "I apologize," she kept repeating, as she gathered up her things and left. I don't want you to be sorry, lady; I want you to be able to get help. I'm not sure exactly what she was about to pull out of her case, but I somehow doubt a diabetic would choose our basement steps as the place to test and medicate herself.
The planters have helped some. I have to remind myself not to take it personally or else I'd never leave the house. But when there's feces of unknown origin on the sidewalk in front of your door, it's hard not to wonder if it's me.
Similarly, when I discovered that spammers had started defecating in my comments here, it soured me a little for posting. I happened to check last Saturday and found over a thousand comments had appeared in just under two hours. I still have a list of over 200 IP addresses to blacklist. In some ways it's my own fault for not fixing the broken windows of this neglected site in the first place. But just because there's shit on your doorway doesn't mean you can't leave the house. You just have to get out the hose and gloves and do a little work.
And if that doesn't work, consider the poison oak.