Friday, June 29, 2007

Tune in next week when....

Susan goes to Becker Iron & Metal looking for interesting scrap iron! AND, ruins (if "ruins" means "to make authentic and 89% more cool by dirtying up and banging around") her extra stompie Frye Boots!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Good Evening, My Nemesis

I came home from the library with Louis Theroux's new book Call of the Weird. Theroux is a documentary maker from the BBC who has developed some kind of fascination with American Weirdness. This book is a follow-up to his series of documentary-ettes called Louis Theroux: Weird Weekends. Of course, I was compelled to dive in immediately, so I made a cup of coffee and sat on the porch to read. (It occurs to me that only a weird person would drag coffee out on an Alabama porch in the summertime.)

I looked up just in time to make out a familiar figure walking up the steps to the house next door. I couldn't resist. Laura, I said. Are you looking for your cat? She told me that her cat had gone missing when she had to go away. I assured her that her cat, albeit now the baby-mama of some wild ghetto kittens, was fine. The neighbors had been feeding her. She was relieved and walked down the street to find her.

She looked good. Beautiful even. A little less emaciated, still thin. Shiny hair. A denim skirt with a white t-shirt and a belt and espadrilles. Lipstick. She wouldn't have looked out of place at the Big Church on Sunday, but I'm willing to bet she would have felt it. You look good, Laura, I said. She told one of my neighbors that she'd been in rehab. I can't think she has been there nearly long enough, though. She's living downtown, now, with the same boyfriend. The cynic in me thinks she's clean for a week or two, but I hope that maybe, just maybe, this will be it for Laura. Godspeed, Girl. Angels on your body.

It comes at a weird time for me. Someone in the neighborhood set up a Google group for the folks living down on 15th Avenue. It got pretty popular pretty fast, and now there are something like 80 members of which I am one. These are some strange folks. Mostly upper-middle class, many yankees, most democrats. I'm not sure why they're here, though. Most of them seem to hate the Southside. The buzz of the past month has been about a house at the end of the street occupied by a group of fraternity boys from UAB. Or, more specifically, the beer bottles they leave in the yard, the window they broke the "illegal" fence they erected and the "party basement" they are building. (Just how the posters know about their basement is unclear.) Let's make a petition, one poster implores us, to get RID OF THEM! I have an image in my mind of a reality show: Survivor Southside! Better pick up your trash, or your neighbors will VOTE YOU OFF THE STREET! It sours my stomach. It literally makes me want to thump somebody. Right up a side of they head, if you know what I mean.

I want to reply to their posts, but I'm not sure how much difference it would make to them that I would literally have to walk past four crackhouses to get from my house to the frat house and we live about 300 yards apart. (Not to mention the felony sex offenders.) I want to hold their faces under water for just a minute and say You KNEW this wasn't a nice neighborhood when you MOVED here. WHY EXACTLY DO YOU STAY? It's the Paris Hilton scandal of the neighborhood and the "media" can't leave it alone to cover, for one measly minute, the fact that every night of the year someone is cooking a fix under a bush somewhere on their street. I don't think there was this much reaction when the police found a murder victim in the alley behind their houses.

This makes me think of the marvellous idea someone had to move here and plant a church for the city! For Southside! We'll LOVE our neighbors! What a bunch of naive crackers we turned out to be. What a colossal failure. The best of my life.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Iron Pour P.S.

And yes. It's true. David and I participated in our FIRST IRON POUR on Sunday. So, of course, there is more to follow about that. And of course, my hubby is HOT in welding leathers and a hard hat. Handling molten iron. Whew. (Even my friends said so.)

Two Faces Have I

All of the art I've wanted to make lately has had some sort of dual nature. Some sort of perfection contrasted with some kind of deformity. I'm dreaming of a perfect wing and a broken wing. I'm thinking of an angel's face with a scar running down the middle. My next sculpture is going to be a tree with a broken limb. An iron tree. That's a contradiction in itself, maybe.

I'm a creature of contradictions. I guess we all are. Something in me wants to bring evil to myself. I want to eat too much. I want to drink too much. I want to watch too much television. And that's a good day. Sometimes, I want to get in the car and just drive till I can't anymore. At the same time, something in me really wants to take two handfuls of life. I want to do art. I want to write. I want to be with friends. I want to celebrate my marriage. I want to pray. As I walk this path, I pray that Jesus will draw me to the life. I pray that he will save me from the dark. It scares me to admit that there is something inside of me that wants to kill me. But, I know it won't. It can't. Maybe that's what this "being saved" is about. Saved from hell? Sure. Maybe even better, though, is being saved from that three-stranded evil (flesh, devil, sin) that's wrapped around my soul. Saved. Delivered. Entirely. No matter how hard I try, I can't won't kill myself. But I might always want to.

I think I've really grasped life twice in my life. The first time was when I begged God to save me. The second time was when I married David. I want to live. And I want to live abundantly. I have life and death set before me. I choose life. Now, I pray I'll be able to make the little lifeward movements my everyday existence requires. As a habit and a way of being.