There was a murder attempt on my life last night and I was saved by loud playing digital sampling. However, before we got to that let me start by saying, I am scared of mice. Seriously, very, frightened by them.
Do not read the rest of this post if you haven’t read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair because I am going to give a huge spoiler alert. The book ends with a poor immigrant boy in Chicago drinking the left over beer at a stadium to keep himself warm because he knows he will spend the night sleeping in the frigid air. He is cold, numb, and drunk and doesn’t feel it as the rats eat him alive. Mice scare me and I think they are going to eat me alive. I logically know this most likely will not happen, that doesn’t mean I don’t fear it regularly. I have nightmares about it. However, I am not scared of rats. I used to train rats to play basketball at a local children’s science museum.
I live in a duplex with two lovely roommates an Irish woman, Aisling, I meet in China and a friend, Zak, I meet here in University years ago when we both volunteered at the student radio station. The people who were living in the other half of the duplex moved out a few weeks ago and within a week of their move we saw a mouse on our lower level. I screamed, jumped and felt dirty. Like a good Republican, I wanted the problem to go away without actually having to deal with the problem. I gave Zak money and asked him to please buy mouse traps. Zak purchased humane traps which turned out to be worthless as we never caught anything.
A week or two later, Aisling saw a mouse in her room. She too freaked out and threw a blanket at the mouse…this was a successful approach in not doing a goddamn thing. Aisling, ran out and spent $45 dollars on at least 2 different traps, multiple mouse sound deterrents and poisoning. Still we seemed unsuccessful at catching, trapping or killing any of my nemeses.
And then yesterday…I saw a mouse in my room. I screamed,cried and flailed my way downstairs to get one of the sound deterrents. I didn’t and don’t want a trap because even seeing my executioner (aka mouse) dead, scares me. I placed the little electronic device that is designed to produce a sound that will keep the mice away, into my surge protector and contemplated praying. Within an hour a mouse would run over the device and over my barefoot and into my closet. WTF? I am sure my screams could be heard down the street. Zak came into my room to protect me and I was grateful. He searched my room but we (he looked, I curled in the fetal position) could find nothing. It was too late the fear was in me. At the slightest sound and repeatedly I’d call Zak into my room. For sure the mice were gathering and planning on eating me alive, these had to be the sounds I was hearing.
I think Zak grew tired of defending me from every creaking sound I heard (imagined) and so he suggested I play some loud music so I wouldn’t hear any movement in my room. I slept with my laptop in my bed and played at maximum volume: Girl Talk, Rancid and a bit of Envelope. The only reason I recall hearing any Envelope is that in one of the songs I heard, had what sounded in my mind like paper being rustled by mice scheming my homicide. I did the only logical thing, I could do in such a circumstance; I screamed bloody murder. It was a terrible night. I did not sleep well last night but I am too scared to go to bed just yet.
I was walking in my neighborhood with Lorenzo and passed a dog barking behind a fence. I was startled and walked faster. Lorenzo stopped me and said “The worst thing you could do is ignore a dog barking at outside of his home. All he wants is what we as humans desire, and that is to be acknowledged. The worst affront is to ignore his existence”.
Today, as I was cycling home from work, a dog ran along the fence and barked fiercely at me, the hair along his spine in high alert. I looked over at the junk yard dog, smiled at him and said “Hi Baby!”. The dog’s hair fell, his tail wagged, and he stopped barking but continued running along the fence with me although it now seemed happily. I guess we do all want to be acknowledged.
I admire many women, but allow me to tell you about one that I hold in very high esteem. A lovely woman Claire, today (at least on this hemisphere of the earth), we celebrate her birthday.
Claire once knocked on my dorm room and told me that she wasn’t sure if she had culturally misunderstood something or if someone was being racist, and asked me for my “American” opinion.
Claire is from France, interested in learning about others and had asked a college student from Alabama what Alabama was like to which he responded “You can’t piss without hitting a nigger.” Sometimes I think if she weren’t French, she wouldn’t have tried to be tolerating and understanding nor would she have assumed that perhaps she herself had cultural misunderstood. She assumes the best in others and first attributes misdeeds as to perhaps a misunderstanding on her part.
I of course got to tell her “Yup, that is just some straight up racist shit” to which she nodded and said “I thought so”. However, I admire her for trying to assume the best in people…a quality I do not have.
Four years ago I rode in Columbus’ first World Naked Bike Ride. We started at the bike co-op. Unlike later years Pedal Instead (which FYI are both super awesome organizations) wasn’t there to valet our bikes, we didn’t have a real planned path, or too much planned anything. Having not felt comfortable being nude on High Street, I wore a bathing suit bottom and sports bra, and had body paint around my abdomen and back that was supposed to look like animal print. It rained while we rode and was invigorating. I came home high on adrenaline.
This year, I’ve struggled with whether to go or not. I talked to my friend and journalist Aaron Cynic who covered the Chicago World Naked Bike Ride last weekend. I sought advice from him as he enjoyed the ride and kept a journalistic arms length distance. I love the World Naked Bike Rides but here in Columbus they have become associated with a group that I fear has encouraged gentrification with all the negative connotations. A group that participates in both institutionalized and overt class warfare.
Here in Columbus the ride is starting and ending at the same site that held the paint yourself as an Indian with small pox and drink whiskey at a “thanksgiving” party a few years ago. My objections to the party never gained apologies I was only ostracized as the dick who takes things too seriously. These same people throw up their arms in protest in “a hey can’t we just have fun” argument? Hells yeah we can have fun, but can we not do it at the cost of ousting a community or at least maybe have a discussion about it? Trust me I want to ride in the streets in my swimsuit and enjoy the carnival attitude of it all, but I can’t do it when it is hosted by a group of people who are racists. By racists I mean people who have done racist things, been called out on it, and continue to do it.
After much deliberation, I’ll reluctantly be bowing out from this year’s ride. Maybe you all need a talk with Andrew Ti.
Sunday, biked to the quarry with a group of triathlete friends for a practice swim followed by dinner at Lavash Cafe.
Monday, went to the Gateway movie theater for the free monthly movie put on SBB.
Wednesday, ran on a trail path for the first time followed by a refreshing swim in Alum Creek. Then with the friends who’d taken me for that run and swim got to have a fabulous picnic they put together. Lucky for me he is an amazing chef and she a gardener—that is to say it was a kick-ass fresh spread.
I know just last week I was complaining about Columbus, but it really is a great place, and I do have some awesome friends here. I’m looking forward to the summer.