Brad & Heather's Journal

Sunday, June 11, 2006

No more cars

Somehow I got myself into it and it’s weird really because I am not really the activist type. I mean I have opinions – lots of them and I am extremely pig-headed when it comes to my way of thinking, but my ideology is mostly about me. I live my life the way I think it should be lived and try to leave everyone else alone – unless they are doing something illegal or throwing trash in my yard or something. So, like I said starting a movement is pretty out of character for me, but I did. I started the Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive – meaning for the whole month of June anyone who signs up parks his or her car in the garage and leaves it there. It’s tricky… even after only a week and a half, but here is the weird part. Besides the obvious (saving gas, treading more lightly on Mother Earth and all that) it is making a real difference in my life. Walking is a revelation. I walk everywhere now. And, you notice so much more when you aren’t rushing by at 55 miles per hour or 30 miles per hour. I see people out working in their gardens. I notice that a house has a new coat of paint or that my neighbor has a lawn gnome. I can take the bus too – and have. Some places are too far away, but it’s making me wish that I lived somewhere without a car. I wish I could just walk to everything I needed and be done with the whole driving thing. It’s funny – when I was 15, I wanted more than anything to drive. Now, I want to walk…. Weird.


Friday, June 09, 2006

Fight Club

I just renewed my (very cheap) membership at my gym. This is one of the oddest places I have ever seen. It's very un-gym-like, at least the way most gyms are now...there is no carpet, no A/C, no lockers, no showers, no bank of TV screens. The only mirrors on the wall are ones that used to be sliding doors on someone's apartment closet (you can still see the little wheels at the top). If you have seen the movie "Fight Club," you get a good idea what it's like. Dark. Lots of exposed beams with nails sticking out, the back room (free weights) with a concrete floor dimly lit by bare lightbulbs hanging down on black electrical cords, a few fans spinning lazily around--the big industrial kind of fans. In short, it looks like a good place to get murdered. But I like it. For a long time, I liked it because it was really cheap and really convenient (right across the street), but now I like it for its oddness. I like that old guys come in there to workout wearing jeans and flannel shirts, like that the most muscle-bound guy there steps outside between sets to smoke cigarettes, like that the reminders to replace the plates are on hand-lettered signs duct-taped to the wall, like that the attic of the building has a boxing ring formed by a piece of clothesline. Sometimes I wish I belonged to a nicer gym, wish that we had more equipment or that what we have would stay fixed. But I also like to think of this place as one strike against sameness. You know, the way every mall looks alike, every Wal-Mart, every McDonalds, every new house, every new singer, every new band. Sameness abounds, and I guess people find comfort in the generic. I don't. In fact, it creeps me out, like the whole country is turning into a Stepford Wife. So, even though the nice gym five miles away sometimes beckons me, I think I will stay with my small, crappy one. I might even take boxing lessons.


Friday, June 02, 2006

Pet Deathwatch

Okay, I can’t have frogs anymore. Cats, fish, cockroaches… I can handle. For some reason the care and rearing of tadpoles and frogs seem to elude me. We now have a serious graveyard in my backyard, of course all commemorated by Popsicle sticks tied together with ribbons. Every morning I stumble into the kitchen and peek into the fish bowl. I’m sure I’m giving him an anxiety disorder the way I have him on deathwatch. The Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches seem fine too, although I’m not sure I would know if they were ‘not fine’. How can you tell is a cockroach is sick? See? I’m obsessing.
The other thing I can’t stop thinking about is the fact that summer is now here. When I lived in Maine, I used to get so excited when the flowers would come out and the berries would start to grow. Now that I live in Texas, I feel a sense of doom hanging over me. I know soon it is going to be a kajillion degrees outside. When I was little, I remember it being so hot here that the rubber gaskets around the car windows would melt, sending little rivers of black goo running down the glass. I think I have reverse SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Instead of getting down when the cold sets in, I find myself moping around at the end of spring. By September I rally a bit. Once October hits and the leaves start turning and you can get awesome apples and Halloween is just around the corner, I am good.
Guess I had better go check on the fish again.