need human hair for an art project. If you're planning to cut your hair
(and I must say, you really could use a trim) then you could participate
in this unique opportunity for an interactive multimedia project. Write
me to get info on where to send your hair.]
down U Street last night, I saw a woman in tight black running shorts
and matching tank top standing out in the gloomy street in front of poseurbar
Chi-cha Lounge . As I watched, she began stretching
her legs, as if in preparation for a race. A couple times she got down
in a runner's starting position, legs tightly folded with her head up
and fingers barely touching the asphalt. On an inaudible signal, her butt
shot up in the "get set" posture, and she launched forward into
a few running steps. Then she slowed to a walk, returned to her original
position, and began preparing for her race again. I stood in front of
the liquor store, fascinated, wondering if she was going to get hit by
an oblivious driver when the lights changed up the street and traffic
came our way. As an emergency medical worker, I would instantly render
aid if she was injured, but as a jaded city-dweller, I didn't feel I could
The runner again
went into her starter's crouch as traffic approached from behind. She
was in the narrow lane alongside parked cars, with a lane of traffic just
to her left. A white car approached from behind. As it passed her, she
exploded into a full sprint and raced the car down the length of the block.
She nearly kept pace with it, falling behind as it accelerated towards
the green light at the next intersection. Then she broke off and began
walking back towards her starting line. I continued on my errand.
city people will do.
I grew up in
the country, where one could engage in the far safer sport of racing trains
in the comfort of one's own car. I never tried it, since I proved to be
remarkably adept at destroying vehicles without any outside help whatsoever.
I think many of my views of humanity were shaped by a narrow span of time,
perhaps twenty minutes in my sixteenth year, after I slammed my car into
a guardrail on an Interstate highway entrance ramp. Shaken but uninjured,
I stood by the wreck, frantically signaling drivers to stop and help me.
No one did. I cursed every passing car with increasing incredulous furor
as they went on with their business while I waved and implored pathetically
beside the crumpled front of my vehicle.
Along came a cop, who let me
sit in his car while he wrote me a ticket. Several months later, I painted
the picket fence around the home of the lawyer who accompanied me to court.
Every nook and gap in the fence held bristling nests of earwigs, possibly
the most loathsome insect imaginable, that spilled out in writhing masses
as I swept the brush over their hidden lairs. They fell into the grass
at my feet with disgusting little pit-pit-pit sounds as I frantically
attempted to stop up their small holes with paint. Slimed with bright
swatches of whitewash, they wriggled their pinchers and otherwise cursed
me in the language of insects.
I was found not guilty of reckless
driving: the fault for the accident was clearly mine, but apparently did
not rise to the level of the charge. It took me about three days to paint
the fence. While the court could have slapped a few expensive points on
my teenage insurance policy, I knew that ultimately, a more ancient form
of justice was in operation.
I was once denied entrance to Chi-Cha because I was covering up my grubby
hair with a baseball cap, which the bar forbids because, as the hepcat
waiter told me, "we want to create a lounge atmosphere." After
I capitulated and doffed my lid, the owner, whom I know, tried to ease
my foul humor by giving me a promotional baseball cap he'd received
from a beer company. [back up]