I’m Headed to Bed

But before I go, I’ve just got to say a couple of things.

1.  It’s wrong how much I enjoy sleeping lately.  Can you become addicted to sleep?  I think a lot about sleep during the day.  I’m not tired now, but I’m going to bed because I enjoy sleeping.  I’m sure the novelty will wear off, but I’m still in the “Holy shit!  This is why people do this!” stage.

You know how, when you first start having sex with someone and it’s all like fuckity fuck fuck fuck all the time.  Oh, I wonder what it would be like to have sex here or here or in this position or that position or with this foot in the toilet and that foot propped up on the sink and you come in from under like that, with that rope attached there and the chainsaw carefully pointed over there and I’ll have the flaming pinecones balanced like such…

That’s how I am about sleeping.  I want to try it everywhere.  At different times.  I think about great sleep when I’m not having it and don’t want to be distracted by anything when I am.  I envy the dog her honk-shoos.

2.  I received a ludicrously delightful invitation today.  If it pans out, I’ll tell you more about it.  But it’s just one of those things where you go, “Wow, this is not how I thought my life would go.  Ha, ha, sucker!” though, I’m not sure who I’m saying sucker to exactly.  I guess me.  Anyway, it’s not even that big a deal but it’s still weird.  And cool.

3.  I love my bright afghan.  That is all.

Though Short & Fat is Wrong about Being Short & Fat…

He is completely right about this.

Aside from the guy on the subway in New York who smelled like pee and sat on my lap insisting I give him a dollar while everyone else tried not to make eye contact with him, I have never seen more aggressive beggars than I’ve seen in Nashville.

You can approach me, but when I ignore you or say “no,” that’s the end of it.  Don’t ask me again.  Don’t get in my face and call me a bitch.  Don’t follow me.  Don’t knock on the windows of my car.  Don’t try to get in my car.  (All of which have happened to me.)

In other words, making me afraid is bullshit and not the way to go.

I’m sympathetic to the fact that there aren’t enough services in Nashville for homeless people.  And I’m sympathetic to the fact that there are people who’ve moved downtown who are babies about the fact that there are also homeless people downtown.

But I’m more sympathetic to the fact that certain folks have gotten the idea that it’s okay for them to try to intimidate women into giving them money.  And I have repeatedly observed folks being much more aggressive with women than they are with men.

And I’m tired of being afraid of the homeless people on our streets.

I’m ready to help with reform or whatever, but in exchange, really, back the fuck off.

The Death of the Small Town & More Suffering Heaped on Poor People

I went to bed at my usual time and somehow slept through my alarm. I woke up to NPR telling me that the feds are talking about raising the gas tax 40 cents a gallon. I don’t know how it is where you are, but that’ll raise gas around here to almost four dollars a gallon. This, they claim, will encourage people to use public transportation and also raise money for our crumbling bridges.

I, myself, like to drive. I find it soothing and adventurous. Driving takes you places.

And, in a country as large as ours, I’m suspicious of any government efforts to keep us from traveling. It’s much too easy to forget about the on-going suffering in the wake of Katrina if you can’t make plans to travel to New Orleans or Biloxi. It’s easy enough to believe that sticking a wall up between here and Mexico is a solution to our immigration issues if you haven’t seen neighborhoods bisected by it.  You can turn a blind eye to what goes on, say, on the south side of Chicago if you’ve never gotten lost there.

There’s something about having been to a place or having the ability to go to a place that makes it more real.  Makes you feel tied to the people there and concerned about what happens to them.

And so, it concerns me when I see the government suggesting that we all need to do less traveling.

No, really, we need to do more, so we can keep an eye on you.

I read this post over at Nowhere, IL and it made me kind of sick to my stomach (even though the post itself is, in spots, pants-pee-ingly funny).  Three reasons.

1.  Cairo should hold a place of importance in our national imagination.  This is the town Huck and Jim were aiming for–a port large enough to have steamboats that could take Jim to freedom.  We shouldn’t leave it to die.

2.  I would love to own a house and I could afford a $20,000 house.  But the places with $20,000 houses don’t have jobs.

3.  It reminds me that the Midwest is slowly dying, emptying out like a bucket with small holes.  I have mixed feelings about growing up in small Midwestern towns but I don’t want to see them become ghost towns in waiting full of only the people too poor or drunk (or high on meth) to leave.

I am opposed to increasing the tax on gas because it so disproportionately affects the poor.

And yet, clearly, we need to do something.

Here’s what pisses me off, though.  Again, this is another case where it’s made out to be that poor people just aren’t compliant.  We’re refusing to take public transportation.  We’re refusing to curb our fuel consumption.  We must be made to feel the real costs of our energy problem before we’ll do something about it.

I live a ten minute bus ride from where I work.  I work at one of the largest employers in the state.  The bus comes by twice.  Once shortly before six and once shortly before seven.   There’s such half-assed public transportation in my city of 500,000 people that I cannot get on a bus during prime commuting time and get to my place of employment.

I can’t take a train to Memphis or Knoxville, even though there are train tracks that go to those places from the place I live.

I can’t get on a commuter train on the weekend and even get near Mack’s house.  I could get on the train to go see Coble, but someone would have to drive me home.

My point is that we’re going to institute punitive levels of taxation in order to get folks to change their behaviors and most of us have nothing to change our behaviors to.

Here in middle Tennessee, if you live out and work in (as most people do in order to find affordable housing), you’re especially stuck.  They’re not putting up $120,000-$150,000 condos here in the city.  So, sure, well-off people who feel the pain of rising gas prices can just move closer to work.  But for folks who aren’t that well off?

What choices do we have but to sit and watch yet another chunk of our budget getting eaten away?

And the thing is, it’s not just the gas we put in our cars.  High gas prices get passed along to us in the cost of goods we need.  I’m already paying $5 for a gallon of milk that even 18 months ago I was paying $3 for.  What’s it going to be when they factor in a forty cents a gallon further tax on fuel?

The rich can hold out a lot longer than the poor.

So, damn, America, if you’re going to tax our only means of getting around to the point where we can’t afford to get around, that’s going to really suck.  If we can’t have cars, can we at least have some buses and trains?