Saturday, January 29, 2011

Name Calling, California-Style

Yesterday, I watched a boy of about 12 hurl his backpack repeatedly at a chain link fence until it finally cleared the top. I briefly considered helping him, but realized that I was even shorter, a fact I tend to overlook most of the time ~ I think of myself as a tall person traveling incognito. He then climbed over the locked gate and landed hard on the concrete school playground.

He wasn't hurt so I started to walk away when another boy passing by yelled, "You look like an illegal alien!" I thought he was joking as the other boy had surmounted a tall, locked fence. The first boy picked up his backpack and took off across the school yard. "Illegal alien!" yelled the boy on my side of the fence. "ILLEGAL ALIEN!!" Transported by his own cleverness, he yelled it several more times as he continued on his way.

It seemed a strange epithet, especially since the kid doing the name calling looked Hispanic while the climber was Black. One can only guess at the family situation which would make "illegal alien" the worst thing a person could be, or call someone. I guess with determination, we can always find something to make us feel superior to someone else.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Thinning the Herds

Like a highly skilled sharpshooter, Alzheimer's is taking out one part of Flip after another. I arranged to sell most of his musical equipment as he can't use it any longer, and it takes up precious space in our small apartment. There is too much for me to transport, some of it heavy, so someone came from one of the guitar shops to look it over yesterday. Today, she called with an offer which was considerably less than I expected as we have a small fortune invested in this gear. Although some of it has hardly been touched as it was purchased after his abilities began to disintegrate and is in mint condition, it is still officially used, and the store needs to make a profit when reselling it. Flip and I agree that musical equipment should be used.

I was also forced to factor in my own attachment to his guitar gear because of my memories of him playing music. Flip was a fantastic guitar player who actually jammed with Jimi Hendrix in Maui when he was 19, but maybe removing the visual reminders will be less painful for both of us. I know that my memories are not worth money, but being offered so little seemed to imply that they are not worth very much at all. It's hard to separate Flip from Flip-the-musician, though. He has made music all his life, and more than anything else, it has defined him.

"How can you tell the dancer from the dance?" WB Yeats