No time like the present

It was a busy day and for some reason known only to the trickster gods  — notice how they are all trickster gods, not trickster goddesses — there was so much writerly stuff going through my head: lines for stories, lines of dialogue, titles, descriptions. And in true writerly fashion, I repeated them in my head, installing them in my memory so that I’d remember them and write them down when I got back to the car.

But by the time I got back to the car, I’d lost my mind and didn’t remember a thing except for titles. Even when I closed my eyes in the midst of all the busy-ness on the streets, words and thoughts were coming at me but for that same reason known only to the trickster gods, I could not write anything down. Not one of them.

I always write them down, but this day I did not. All the thoughts I thunked that day are gone. No time like the present to forget what just passed, I always say.

Now it’s possible that my want to write any thought down was lost when we decided to stop and do something about a domestic dispute situation we happened upon as we were driving home from running the dogs at the beach. Seriously, how can I think about writing when strung-out words “I hate this room I hate this crackpad place…might as well kill us all now!!” were thrown out of the second story window along with torpedos of shrieks and screams bouncing off building walls and falling into my car through open windows?

We turned the car around, conferred with a couple who was equally concerned and who were walking home with their dog when they happened to hear the screaming from way down the street and the guy of the couple, a cool, thoughtful-looking brown man was adamant that something had to be done and we all agreed. So the cops got called and as we were all waiting and talking, a young woman stuck her head out of the window of her second floor apartment across from where the action took place and told us it happens all the time and that there are two kids in there and we all wondered why she did not call the police.

We talked and waited and saw police cars go by and we yelled up to the screaming woman’s open window that we had called the police, then the screaming woman stuck her head out to say that she was fine, that she was just mad and we all said we were worried for her and she said no reason to worry, and when the cops parked down the street, we went to get them and bring them to the right place and three police officers went in and one came back down five minutes later with a young man in handcuffs who got steered into the back of the police cruiser and everything about it was all so stereotypical, like every story and script you’ve ever read except perhaps the four of us and the three dogs who did not let it go by as Sunday morning noise to ignore.

And I thought of the stereotypical scene I witnessed and was in some small way part of; me, an immigrant kid to this city full of immigrants where everyone is different and everyone is the same. I’m an adult and still identify as an immigrant kid.

I wondered about the lives of the two children in a small one-roomed apartment above a block of buildings owned by a Chinese man, (it would bore you how I know that) in a part of the city I went to high school in and drive by when I take the dogs to the beach: a building with bachelor apartments, and one of those houses a young, chubby white mother with long blonde hair who hates that place and screamed at the young black man out of frustration and despair, screamed in anger to kill them all and after that, for all the writerly thoughts I thunked, after that start to the morning, I could not write a single thought.

And so I wonder where this experience will show up, in what thing I will write, because it will; it’s a real story, a non-fiction story, with real people.

But it’s so much more than a story: it’s real life.  The young woman with the long blonde hair, her face all red, wiping tears away, trying to assure us she was fine, there was no problem and the angry young light-skinned black man with a scowl on his face, his knapsack rifled through by the black cop, while the female cop, an older, square-faced woman with short hair stayed upstairs with the woman and her kids and the baby-faced white cop came to take our statements while the three dogs sat on the sidewalk waiting for the humans to get moving again, back to the present time.


About FS

Toronto, Canada. Writing about slices of life, the moments and minor details of which come into awareness or out of imagination and the spaces inbetween.
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