A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Little Punks

Behind my house is a beautiful allée of trees, bordered on one side by a park, and the other by a basketball court. The court used to be for tennis, but that was when neighborhood gentrification was at its height. All the tennis-playing nobs either never materialized, or have fled back to the suburbs.

And anyway, this is Springfield, home of basketball. It's what everybody plays. Even an elderly Chinese couple who trade baskets almost every evening, sometimes with a moon-faced little toddler girl between them.

I don't mind the noise from the court; actually, I like it...as long as it's happy noise. The kids can giggle and scream as loud as they want, as late as they want. Play rap and salsa, too, if they feel like it. It's the soundtrack of my summer, as I'm usually in the back of the house--kitchen or loft--with the windows open, or else in the yard, whenever the weather's nice.

But I draw the line at profanity. Not an occasional expletive, but a constant stream of four-letter words, in two languages. After forty-five minutes of it, I'm ready to throw rocks at the little punks responsible.

And they are little punks. The older kids are fine--even the drunks in the park are fine. If they get annoying, I just ask them politely to keep it "G," and they always do. The younger ones, though, only get more in-your-face when spoken to by an old white bitch.

I'm not a prig--I can talk any one of them under the table in three languages. But I choose where to go blue--and a playground in a highly-populated residential area is not one of those appropriate places.

Still not sure what this old white bitch should do. The security guard hasn't been helpful, nor the managers, nor the cops on the beat. The court is basically unsupervised, and noone wants to take the time to work with these pubescent punks. I see kids just like them at the YMCA every day--same age, same backgrounds. Just as competitive, just as excited. But they can somehow remember not to curse--because they know if they do, they'll be thrown out.

I'm still brainstorming this. Meanwhile, maybe I'll wear headphones.


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