Walking out of my house right at the moment a non-Google Street View camera car drove by.
Learning that the last battle of WWII was fought by the U.S. Army with the German army against Nazi loyalists (via Sammy/Wikipedia).
Hearing an animal-rustling sound in our dining room cabinet but not wanting to investigate without backup or a self-defense device. And not wanting to prematurely terrorize the creature(s) inside.
The blue paint-skin on a convertible peeling off, revealing yellow underneath.
Waiting for my friends on the patio of a restaurant. A couple in their mid-fifties were the only other people there, smooching and drinking BYO-Miller Lite. When one of them went to the bathroom, the other one, a white, blue-collar-looking guy approached me. He showed me the Navy tattoo on his forearm and told me, when I asked what he does in the Navy, that he’s an active duty machine gunner on the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier, home on shore leave. I don’t think he was delusional or fucking with me, but I can’t rule it out. Here are some of the things he said to me (paraphrased).
“I like Trump.”
“I like Putin, too. He’s strong.”
“I used to be a Democrat.”
“When we [the Nimitz crew] go back, we’re going to Russia. […] They’re gonna bomb us in Syria.” [I replied in disbelief.] “Well, that’s what my phone [the news] told me.”
“The Cold War?” [I had said the current situation with Russia feels like a new Cold War. He didn’t know what the Cold War was, maybe the biggest red flag that he wasn’t who he said he was.]
“What I really wanna do is fuck North Korea up.”
“Never call it a boat.” [I had jokingly referred to the USS Nimitz as a boat, knowing that’s incorrect but thinking he’d get it.]
“The other day, these three Hispanic guys were making fun of me at the bar. I kinda smacked one in the face. Then my buddy punched the other one. I don’t wear no Band-Aids.”
“That’s my problem with them. They’re violent.”
Me: “It sounds like you just met a couple of assholes.”
Here’s where it crosses a line. Warning. “The problem in this city… [looks over shoulder] is these n*****s shooting everybody. They’re selling drugs to whites. They’re just shooting all the time.”
“The other day, they killed this guy over by the Blue Line. I think he was gay.”
Looking around, my heart pounding, even wondering whether I was on a candid camera show like What Would You Do? (The opening in his Miller Lite box was big enough for a camera.) Weighing the feeling of obligation to respond against the feeling of obligation not to engage with racists.
Me, responding to the word and not the fucked-up notion in general: “I’m really not comfortable with that language. I don’t think it’s okay to say that word.”
Him, deciding whether to be pissed at me or keep his white-guy camaraderie going: “You know what, you’re right. I shouldn’t use that word. [pauses] These blacks are shooting everyone and selling drugs.”
Me: “You know that not all black people shoot people and sell drugs, right?”
Him: “You’re right. There are some good ones.”
“I smoked crack twice.”
“You [me] look like a sportster. Do you play baseball?”
“When I get in jail they let me out quick.”
Me: “Why? Because you show them your Navy tattoo?”
“No. They just do [alluding to whiteness, I think].”
Me: “Are you in jail often?”
How it struck me that he seemed desperate for connection with another white dude, even at the expense of his own beliefs. He backed away from talking positively about Trump when I didn’t go along. He admitted he was wrong to use the N-word. None of those concessions really changed the way he thinks or made him less likely to punch a Latino person in the future. But they did reveal this desperate, dumb, borderline pathetic (but ultimately angering, presumptuous, entitled) desire to connect with someone. As long as that someone is a white guy like me.
Playing on my childhood playground [8-26-18] with my friends.
The cat walking alongside us, seemingly showing off by running up trees and then pausing dramatically, who turned out to be my bandmate Henry’s outdoor cat.
Obama’s comments on the anonymous Trump staffer op-ed: “The claim that everything will turn out O.K. because there are people inside the White House who secretly aren’t following the president’s orders, this is not a check. They’re not doing us a service by actively promoting 90 percent of the crazy stuff that’s coming out of this White House and then saying, ‘Don’t worry, we’re preventing the other 10 percent.’”
The Noisey interview with Gerald Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo (via Austin Kleon):
Casale: “I saw the blood running out of Jeffrey Miller and Allison Krause from their exit wounds in the noonday sun [during the Kent State shootings]. I was closer to the gas-masked National Guardsmen than they were but the Guard shot over the heads of the crowd I was in and killed and wounded students behind us. Later I would theorize that I lucked out because the Guard was made up of guys the same age as myself. They might have not had the guts to shoot at students so close to them that they could see our faces clearly.”