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2005-02-18 @ 4:05 p.m.
associating with the criminal element, large and small

So I was calmly laying in the couch, after watching the Michael Jackson “I’ll sleep on the floor in my sleeping bag” Creepfest Dateline last night, when the news came on. I’m an avid news watcher, both local and national. I think I got that from my Dad. Even though he wasn’t very educated man (he dropped out of school in the 9th grade), he watched the news religiously. And when the news went to a 24 hour a day format, like on CNN, it was hard to tear him away. Of course, my mother, on the other hand, probably wouldn’t have known about the 9/11 attack on NYC, unless the news coverage interrupted a James Brolin Movie of the Week.

So the local news clicked on and there it was. A police photo of a woman in one of my groups. She had just tried to burn down her apartment building. And not only that, she was described as a Serial Arsonist, and then with one of those handy dandy graphics that news channels are so fond of, they showed all the fires she had started around town in the last 15 years.

By then I had knocked the cat off my chest and was sitting in an upright position with my heart beating rather rapidly. I had just seen her Monday. About a month earlier she had expressed concerns about living in her apartment complex because “somebody” kept starting fires there, and her sister was going to try and get her a new apartment in April.

SHE WAS STARTING THE FREAKIN’ FIRES! Argh!! Because according to the news, 2 other fires had occurred in that same building since September, and they had pinned them to her, since they had her M.O. (mode of operation). Christ. This last one though, was the most serious, as in, people could have died. The apartment complex is only about a mile and a half from my house. Yeeks. Guess I’m glad we didn’t have her light the candles on my birthday cake last week.

Wednesday was pretty sedate. I had an appointment with my client. Last week I had screwed up royally when I arrived at her house and she didn’t want to go out. The whole point of my job is to get people out of their houses. I felt frustrated, but didn’t want to be a Nazi about it, so we just talked for about 45 minutes, while I choked on her cigarette smoke. When I got back to my office I listened to my voice mail and realized she had called and canceled our appointment but then I had just showed up anyways. Dork! I had come directly from “A”s appointment and the gym and not checked my messages. That’ll learn me.

This week was a little better. We went to the god-awful Burger barf King for lunch and then walked around the mall. She’s slowly coming out of her shell a little bit. We even went into a goth shop with sex posters and marijuana paraphernalia and I assured her that I was probably the only person from my organization that would have gone in there with her.

On Wednesday night, I went to my drawing class. It was remarkably full for the week after one of my theme weeks (Mardi Gras). Usually attendance falls off dramatically after one of those weeks, but there were over 21 people there. Unfortunately, it was kind of a boring. No Charlemagne the Obnoxious French Guy, who I find amusing and we had one of our usual really skinny models, who somehow managed to keep her nipples erect for the entire hour pose. I wonder how she did that?

She was also the same girl as we had for the recent Australia Day. “Ace”...the Androgynous one. Other than being prodigiously furry, she looked pretty girly to me.

Thursday morning, which I thought was going to be snowy, turned out OK, and I was able to get to “A”s group. And damn if I can remember what we talked about now. I should really take notes. I was still feeling under the weather from my appointment Tuesday. I’m having a really bad case of the midwinter blues which I get every year, and then on top of that, I have this really huge, seemingly insurmountably thing that I’m trying to deal with. And “A” only has one solution, and I just can’t quite bring myself to do it.

But during group I brought up the impenetrable wall thing that I talked about in my last diary entry and Mysterious Paul was all about that. He said he has one too, although he compared his to a shell, which only has so much air left in it and then when that runs out, you die. Yikes! At least mine has a little air circulating behind it. And it’s not terminal.

I did talk to Mysterious Paul before the group, and we once again talked about movies. I told him the movie I had been trying to think of the week before, had been “Sideways” and he nodded his head. He said he had seen it twice and really liked it. And then I said, “Oh you would, its a guy movie”. And he said, “No its not.” And I said, “Of course it is. It’s totally a guy’s movie. Its about nothing but guys pursuing women, sex and drinking” and then he nodded his head and grinned slightly and said, “Well, I guess it is then.”

After group, as we were all filing out (there’s 6 of us), I had to stop to talk to “A” for a second, and Mysterious Paul departed. But then when I walked out of “A”s office, Mysterious Paul was just kind of hovering near the outside door, you know, kind of like (ahem) waiting for witty to possibly come out. So we chatted briefly as we walked to our respective cars. I had the strangest feeling he was either going to invite me to go over to the yuppie grocery store to have a bite to eat (we used to do that as a group, early on) or maybe even possibly invite me to a movie or something, but neither happened.

That would certainly be killing two birds with one stone, huh “A”? Of course, you have already told me that he’s too young for me, amongst other things.

After a brief breakfast thing at Mickey D’s, I headed over to the gym. I think I have sufficiently recovered from the pummeling massage I got last Saturday and I really wanted to get on the treadmill. I had gone on Tuesday, but had cut things short since I was still very sore. The treadmill went well. Did my usual mile and a half. I then changed into my bathing suit and headed for the whirlpool. I stayed in there until some old Speedo’d dude with an artificially huge package was making a b-line for the whirlpool and I got out. I don’t like show-offs.

When I got in the locker room, it was over run with mommies and little kids. The mommies with strollers exercise workout had just ended. Damn. I hate getting undressed in front of kids, particularly little boys. As I’ve mentioned before, I think having a little boy as old as 5 years old, is just too old in a room full of women in various stages of undress. It creeps me out. Several times I’ve looked around as I was taking off my bra and some little kid will be standing there gawking. Its very disconcerting. I’m just getting to the point where I can change my clothes in a locker room. I couldn’t do that in high school. I was too inhibited.

So when I got in from the pool, this woman with two kids was blocking my locker. Fine. I’ll just wait. I’ve seen them before. The little boy, who is at the maximum age of 5, if not a little more, is a little terror (Think the bratty twins on “Desperate Housewives”). And then there is a little girl about 2. She’s cute, but just wanders aimlessly by herself, all over the locker room. The bitch-mother is totally oblivious to everything but herself.

I stood there for about 5 minutes....waiting. The bitch-mother was yelling at the little boy because he put his shirt on inside out. She was ignoring the little girl as usual, who locked herself in one of the lockers from the inside. Did the mother see her do that? Doubtful. I was wondering how long it would take for her to notice she was missing. But in the meantime the little boy was screaming and yelling and jumping up and down. Once she pulled his shirt off, he took off running, smashing into people all the over the locker room. She then bellowed at him and he quickly came back and launched into a major temper tantrum, stomping both foot in apparent defiance. I was wondering if she had even noticed that her little girl was missing yet? Nope.

It was then that I started to notice that I was feeling a little cold just standing there dripping wet, waiting to get to my locker, so I finally said aloud, “I’ll just wait.” She glared at me and turned her back, as I attempted to move closer to my locker. The kid didn’t move of course, because all kids consider themselves the center of the universe so I said, “excuse me”. He didn’t move. “Excuse me, honey.” He still didn’t move, so I just stood there. Suddenly, as part of his ongoing temper tantrum, he flung himself backwards and stomped on my bare foot with his sneakered foot really hard. OWWWW! Little fucker.

But did I say anything? Nope. Did the mother say anything? Of course not. Did she do anything, like possibly apologize for her little kid’s apparent bad manners? Fuck no. Guess that kind of behavior is AOK, in the von Rude Family household. She then just walked away, saying over her shoulder, “I’m going to blow dry my hair.” Did she attempt to bring the devil’s spawn with her? No. Did she express any alarm over the fact that her daughter had now been missing for about 10 minutes (i.e., trapped in one of the 175 lockers)? No. Was she even aware that she was missing? No.

As soon as the von Rude family was out of the way, I quickly opened the locker door and let the little girl out, and she didn’t seem any worse for the experience fortunately (I would have needed therapy and a clonopin drip) and then I got dressed.

When I got out to the front counter of the YMCA, I asked for one of the Comment cards that you can fill out about any concerns you have about the gym, and I sat down and wrote a blistering commentary about mothers letting their kids run wild, and how the locker rooms aren’t a playground. And how people shouldn’t leave their kids unattended (another time I found a 2 year old wandering out by the pool by herself and when I brought her into the locker room to her mother, the mother basically called me a liar).

I mean, I realize kids are a hand full, but letting them run full throttle through a locker room full of women, many of them elderly, having them opening dressing room doors, crawling under dressing room doors, gawking at people dressing, locking themselves in lockers, wandering out of doors to the pool area while you’re ignoring them and talking to your friend about pilates is just fucking irresponsible. And I have seen it over and over again. These aren’t isolated incidents. This isn’t your living room, mom! This is a public place!

It just gets really annoying. I was never allowed to act like this when I was a kid. I would have gotten the snot knocked out of me, if I ever attempted to run in a public place or scream or throw a temper tantrum.

But I doubt if anything will change. They probably won’t even put my comment card up on the board. Too incendiary, you know, kind of like that woman in my group.

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