Pittsburgh

This is not the entry I wanted to write next. I have a lot to write about that I can’t write about yet, a lot going on, a lot on my plate, and it’s getting close to two months since the last entry in this blog, which I didn’t even write. I want to respond to that entry. I have too much going on.

It’s a Saturday. I’m supposed to be grading but it’s hard to grade on a day like today. I used to live in Pittsburgh. Tree of Life is off of Shady Avenue, I’d drive by it every time I went to Squirrel Hill. I don’t want to think about this today.

Fucking AR-15.

I got asked to help out at a tournament at the golf course, because they had to fire somebody and two other people quit and they’re shorthanded, so. I woke up late today. We bought blackout curtains for the bedroom, in response to the city finally fixing the broken streetlight in front of our house but replacing the busted normal halogen light bulb with a fully functional neutron laser. Then my phone died overnight because I again forgot to clean out the charging port, which occasionally gets clogged with pocket lint and golf course dust and animal fuzz, and so I slept until 10:00 a.m. and because I was behind schedule didn’t wake myself up by reading the (horrible, awful, no-good) news like I usually do, so I didn’t know about the Pittsburgh shooting until my wife told me.

They’re getting progressively closer to my exact location, it seems. Tracing my past lives, narrowing in on me. Orlando night club, I used to live in Orlando, never really went downtown, though. Church outside New Braunfels, well New Braunfels was essentially San Marcos, really, it felt like right in our back yard. This one, though. About a mile and a half from our first apartment in Pittsburgh.

Savannah, y’all best be taking cover.

I sprayed down golf carts with a hose with three holes in it as fast as I could, with the holes in the old, cracked hose spraying water into the air, and I’d walk through the spray and get my feet and legs wet if I wasn’t paying attention, and I wasn’t, mostly, because it was a shotgun start, meaning everybody scatters to their various starting holes at the beginning of the tournament and everyone starts at the same time (presumably to the sound of a shotgun which would echo across the whole course) and then they sort of play musical chairs around the course until they’ve played all the holes, but then this also means they all finish at about the same time, so suddenly there’s seventy golf carts to wash and put away, and there isn’t much time to pay attention. Which was fine. I worked as fast as I could because the faster I worked the less I could think, but even now my socks are still damp. The skies were gray all day.

You know that feeling when you catch yourself doing something utterly menial like dumping warm beer out of three half-empty cans at once so that the trash bag doesn’t leak nasty trash liquid all over you when you pull it out of the bin, and there’s some degree of satisfaction to doing even the menial job correctly, at least correctly by your own standards, but then you remember it doesn’t matter at all because somewhere else in the world people are getting shot and dying in what is literally supposed to be a sanctuary, a safe haven, and there are now funerals to plan and relatives to notify, and if you went to one of these funerals and stayed after because you didn’t actually know the person, you just used to live nearby and wanted to show some support, and you tried to help out in a community-affirming sort of way by cleaning up after the wake or whatever, and someone else cleaning up beside you picked up three half-empty cans of warm beer or soda or water and threw them in a trash can without dumping them first, and you said to them, You know, if you dump them out first you don’t have to worry about nasty trash water spilling out of the bag when you take it out of the bin later, they would have every right, nay, the duty, to punch you repeatedly in the throat?

Eleven dead, as of now. AR-15 and a couple handguns. All Jews must die.

How did my country get swallowed up in so much hate? Haven’t I been here, living here, this whole time? How did this happen under my watch?

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