the circular runner

Posts Tagged ‘Bay Area’

My Crime Against the Rich and Famous

In humor, life, observations, writing on February 20, 2012 at 6:41 am

I’m old. It’s official. It’s not just the achy back or the sore legs after a long run. It’s the little mental habits I’m inheriting from my parents, namely my dad.  The latest mental tick is my complete and utter disdain for litter bugs.  My anger at seeing litter is context-driven, admittedly.  I certainly don’t like seeing litter on the beach or in the redwood forests that I have been forced to hike through with my wife.  But I don’t feel angry when I see litter in those places.  My anger, my wrath, comes out when I walk to work in the projects. Often, I see some young guy in a hoodie walking ahead of me eating something, and when he’s done, he just tosses the wrapper down onto the ground like it’s no big thing. He probably thinks that his neighborhood is already full of trash, so what’s one more wrapper?  Or maybe he’s not even aware.  Probably the latter.

Either way, I can’t tell you when this feeling took over, but at some point, I started feeling it. My father is a neat-freak. When I was a kid, he had this habit of walking into my room at random times with two cards in his hand.  One had the word, “cosmos” on it, the other had “chaos” written on it.  He’d drop the former on my bed when the room was neat enough, the latter when my room wasn’t.  I almost never got the cosmos card. What can I say? My dad is nuts, and I’m not that neat and orderly.  But still, I get pissed when I see people litter where I work, so maybe I am.

My father, I’m sure didn’t think he was being nuts. He’s told me that he wanted to instill in me a sense of appreciation for neatness.  Maybe that’s at play for me when I see the young guys littering.  And then again, maybe it’s just sadness—sadness that the young men I see don’t care or haven’t been taught to care for their neighborhood.  It may not be the most beautiful place in San Francisco, but it’s a hell of a lot more beautiful when it’s not covered in trash.

Which leads me to my crime against the rich and famous.  It’s not really a crime. It’s a silly thing on the face of it, a minor act of rebellion.  (My dad was also a bit of a minor rebel.) As I’ve mentioned previously, I spend much of my weekends working in some very wealthy neighborhoods.  Another habit I should mention here, though no one inherited from my father: I always chew gum while teaching, and I always chew the same gum—DoubleMint.  When I leave a house, I often, not always, but often, throw that piece of gum out onto the street.  It’s tiny. Another habit: I only chew half a stick of gum at a time.

So I chuck the tiny piece of gum, I litter in my own way, in these very beautiful neighborhoods. And I’m not being absent-minded. I’m intentionally doing it.


I can only imagine that I’m seeking revenge for the young men in the hoodie. I’m evening the playing field.  Trash in the inner city, trash in the suburbs.

I said my dad was nuts, right?  I also mentioned I’m becoming him in my old age, so what do you expect? At least I’m not showing up with index cards and Greek words printed on them. At least, not yet.  For now, I’m fighting for social equality one half-stick of Wrigley’s at a time.


update: a new site, a new published story, and other bits of news

In life, media, Uncategorized, writers & books on June 24, 2011 at 6:01 am

step right up...

This week, I’ve been struggling with the flu.  I’m slowly on the mend, and I’ve been wanting to share a few things.  Not to be all SF-Buddhist-lite, but it is easy to take your health for granted.  Being in bed when all I wanted to do was write is heartbreaking.  (How’s that for melodrama?)

In any case, a few things of note:

1.  I have a new site that I think is much more reader-friendly and which will allow me to make changes/updates/additions to new work.  So please check out the site and tell me what you think.  Here’s the link:

2.  I’ve just had a piece accepted by Quiet Lightning, a pretty groovy monthly reading series here in SF that also publishes an accompanying anthology called Sparkle & Blink.  I’m honored.  The events are great and well-attended.  That said, I am a little nervous because I am no performer.  Still, I’ll make do.  Gots to get the word out.

3.  If you’ve been keeping up with the blog, then you know that a few weeks back, I made this pact with myself that I would write a flash-fiction piece every week for a year as part of this group of writers on Tumblr called, appropriately enough, 52 Stories,   This past Monday, I posted again.  So that’s 3 down, 49 stories to go.  I don’t know why, but these past couple stories, I just seem to be using the space for fables of a sort.  I like fables, so I guess it makes sense, and the site only allows 1000 words–it’s the Tumblr crowd, after all.  But I didn’t see this fable/children’s tales thing coming.  That said, next week’s story, which I hope to have done on Sunday, is currently titled, “The Boy Whose Hair Wept”.  So that gives you an idea.

4.  Last thing: I may be up for a pretty great job teaching creative writing to young adults.  I can’t give details right now, but keep a good thought.

OK, that’s it for now.  Time for me to take another Benadryl and sleep.


In Uncategorized on May 19, 2010 at 7:55 pm

I feel it often.  I didn’t used to, not like I do now, and I fear that it just will get worse as I get older.  I remember a few years back, my father making a comment about life just being boring, and I remember realizing that this was proof: he was depressed.  Now, a decade later and nowhere as old my father had been when he told me about his boredom, I’m feeling it creep in, and it scares me.

But here’s a question I ask myself–one that still does not bore me and in a perverse way give me hope.  Is the boredom I’m feeling the same emotion that my students are expressing to me.  I spoke about this class last week–they’re the hotshots I teach twice a week.  I teach in a vocational school (I think they’re called career colleges now) and I am teaching some of the kids who have agreed that they want the AA so they can go on to a four year college.  They’re smart kids–there’s no doubt about it, but they constantly are complaining about the readings being boring.  Everything’s boring.  Even a kid who loos like a nerd, a soft-spoken kid who wears polo shirts buttoned up to his Adam’s Apple, even he is complaining.  I don’t want my kids to be bored.  That is by no means my goal, but there it is.  They are, and I, the person who is supposed to help them along with their educations, though not bored, know whay they’re feeling.  At least I think I do.  And yet I’m unable to do anything about it.

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