Yesterday, I rode my bike to the neighborhood mailbox. I rode over the bridge, past Hulk Hogan's new house, across
The guards name was Dwayne. Dwayne is a moderately handsome black male. He has a faint accent, somewhere in there is the lingering trade winds of the Caribbean Islands, but his English is mostly impeccable. Mostly, only because of the long pauses he takes before answering questions. When I was bicycling back on to my
Dwayne and I started to chat a little, stopped in between by the cars he had to open the gate for. Occasionally, the conversation also paused, as I had to swat away sand flies who were viciously biting me as we spoke. I guess Dwayne is used to them, he didn't seem to mind the swarms circling around our knees. All part of the job.
A black Bentley pulled up. Dwayne, who usually recognizes everyone by their last name and car, had to talk to the gentleman in the very expensive automobile for a moment. The man in the car was young, playing music loudly, wearing sunglasses at dusk. Dwayne asked who he was visiting, I didn't really listen to the conversation. The man sped off, mostly indifferent to his surroundings.
This morning, October 31st, I looked for a job on
I went to work-out this evening with my Dad, and his Bulgarian trainer at the
No one rang the door-bell. I guess most of the kids had already stopped by while my mom was still here. I took a shower, but as I came out I noticed some kids chatting outside. I peered through the window in my front door. I overheard a few things they said. "Yo, come on, hurry up." That didn't alarm me. Then, a child's squeaky voice, "I don't want to go to jail." some more young voices off in the distance, I didn't really see any of their faces. It occurred to me they were probably going to egg my new neighbor's expensive car, not my Honda of course!
I went back to my room, organized some papers on my desk, and then took a look through my window. Oh no! My car was covered in toilet paper! Furious, and filled with rage, (Rage, Goddess, sing to me the rage of Eric!) I, still wet from the shower, put on some shorts, ran to kitchen and grabbed two eggs out the refrigerator. I was going to teach these little bastards a lesson. Dripping wet, half-naked, I ran down the street, shouting at another family if they had seen who threw toilet paper on my car. They didn't seem to understand my question. Then, as I planned to run further down the dark street that same family started to walk to my door. I had to turn back to fulfill my role as the candy-giver-outer. They were in front of me as I walked back to my house. I passed them, it now occurred to me how ridiculous I looked, holding two eggs, no shirt, and galloping to my front-door before they could ring the bell. The children's mother stood in the street bellowing at a car in the distance to slow down. The kids grabbed the last of the Blow-pops. When asked if they knew who "tricked" my car they replied that they thought it was decoration for the house. That was certainly an unexpected answer.
As I was handing the candy to them, one of the eggs dropped out of my hand, and cracked, clear albumen and yellow yolk spread between my toes, under my sandal, and on the floor near the front door. All I had accomplished now was egging my own house, the vandals were far away at this point. At this point, to my surprise, my anger had been quieted. I think it was the puzzlement in the children's eyes. There was some innocence there. Who was this man, half-clothed, running around outside his house looking to throw eggs at people? Who am I, what have I become? I said Happy Halloween, and slunk back to my bathroom to wipe off the egg, and to wash off the mess in the living room where it had broken. I promptly put the other egg back in the refrigerator.How could I have thought of THROWING an egg at PEOPLE? What the hell was wrong with me? After I cleaned up, I walked outside to get a closer look at my car. It was fine, just a little toilet paper (clean) that took about two seconds to take off. On top of that, it was double-ply Angel Soft. I was struck by how thoughtful the kids were who did this. There was so little of it on my car it was almost pathetic, it felt like my heart was breaking. The feeling of seeing a sick kitten, or driving by one's old elementary school after so many years, crept into my mind. What thoughtful kids, to think they were scared they might go to jail for this? God, what innocence. I was suddenly happy for them. To think to say the word jail, not prison. To think that they would be caught at all. Innocent mischief. I was in awe that they would fear being punished for something like this. It was too quaint.
I sit here writing this with one thought in mind. It is a quote from an assignment Ms. Borona gave to my ninth grade English class. This is a response that was written by Rachel Neuhut that I have saved in the inside cover of the book for almost nine years.
"Phoebe asks Holden what he wants to do in his life. He claims that he'd like to be the "catcher in the rye." There is a poem which makes him picture innocent children playing in a field. He wants to stand there watching them all day. Then he can catch them as they fall over the edge of the cliff. Holden seems to want to take care of anyone who is still innocent and hasn't learned the reality of the world Holden considers phony. He is afraid the poor ducks in
Next year I'll leave their toilet paper on my car overnight.