Holy balls, I'm in Baltimore: W-Balls, W-Balls, W-Balls

I went to Starbucks today. That was my first mistake. But Starbucks is in Barnes & Noble, and I was in Barnes & Noble, and I wanted a chai latte, so I asked the girl for a chai latte, so when I was walking home and I took the first sip and it was a regular, you know, coffee latte... that pissed me off. Then, I spilled it on my Corey Feldman's center for the arts t-shirt, and that pissed me off a lot, eh? (Get it? Latte? Holy shit, I hate my jokes.)

I think I'm supposed to be at the point where ironic t-shirts no longer have that much appeal. And that's true, in a way. I feel a little bit weirder than I used to about wearing my "Lucky U" shirt with a Care Bear on it that seems to emphasize the idea that the girl wearing it freshly legal (and if not Irish, at least drunk).

What's the point of all this subtlety? It oughtta just say "No jail for fucking me!" I mean, that's just creepy. What got into these Care Bears? But really, I think the reason I feel trepidation about wearing it is, it's so short that it sometimes rides up in the back when I sit down. And since I'm not usually wearing a thong, it doesn't put over the right impression.

Plus, I can't wear the shirt my friends made that says "fuck art... LET'S DANCE!" (ripped off from Stephen Malkmus couture) next to a stenciled graphic of a tuxedoed Dolph Lungdren, because I'm afraid some militant Christian will see me wearing a shirt with a curse on it and give me a lecture about The Children. But what about The Children?!

You know, they're praying away the murders now. I saw it on the news. A group has taken to the streets to pray on the corners. They want to bring God back into the communities, because the amount of murders in Ballmore recently eclipsed 200 for the year. And it's only August. So this group goes up to cars stopped at traffic lights and gives them fliers through their windows. Seriously. That would scare the shit out of me, if some guy came at me in my car when I couldn't move and started talking to me about murder through the window, right?

"Pray, because of murder! PRAY!"

And I'm sitting in my car listening to "Inner City Blues (Make Me Want to Holler)" trying not to cry. Surely there are saner methods of community outreach.

Murder is kind of a big deal in Voldimort. Tonight, a newscaster relayed a story about a woman whose home was invaded. A nice home. In a nice neighborhood. She came back from the grocery store, and two men demanded money. When she said she had none, they took her upstairs and raped and beat her. "Fortunately, the woman survived" said the newscaster, tying it all in with the murder statistics and the ongoing mayoral campaign. The last line of the story, which he tried to swallow as a footnote, something fundamentally paratextual and besides the point, was, "Since she was held around the throat by one of the men, some paralysis occurred."

Holy balls, I'm in Baltimore. Who the fuck are you?

The headlines here are incredible. Just from today. "Vice Principal Killed as Suspect Flees Police." "Convicted Baltimore Hit Man Gets 30 Years" ("He was indicted with 10 other individuals who have pleaded guilty on similar charges.") "Police Identify Man Shot in Annapolis." More than 200 murders. It's only August.

On my birthday this year, "Teen Arrested In Death Of Murder Trial Witness." ("About a dozen witnesses in city murder cases have been slain since January 2005 and dozens have been murdered since 2000.") Three days ago, "Former Canton police officer Bobby Cutts, Jr was indicted by a grand jury for the murder of his girlfriend and her unborn child." "Observers have voiced concern that homicides could go over 300 this year -- the first time since 1999."

(Baltimore's NBC affiliate is WBAL. If you're me, it's impossible to think "WBAL" without thinking "Snoop Dogg." "You're about to go downtown, bitch, right here on the station that plays only platinum hits, that's 187.4 on your FM dial, if you're lickin' nuts, W-Balls." "Everybody's got to hear the shit on W-Balls, W-Balls, W-Balls!")

So today, I bought a book of stupid pithy little short stories in facing Spanish / English translations. In the next two years, I have to learn two foreign languages. Which is sort of a fib, because all I have to do is learn two foreign languages well enough to pass translation exams on them with a dictionary, and translating romance languages is pretty easy. What a shocker, "persona" means "person." But I'm conflicted. Because I'd actually like to be able to speak Spanish, all preterito and subjunctivo and imperativo and shit. I mean, I've taken five years of it, and all I have to show for it is the ability to read half-page parables called "The Math Fiasco" about a kid who doesn't get an egg... oh, what it's about doesn't matter... without that much help from a dictionary.

And it's weird, how we change, because I'm having fun trying to learn Spanish again, tussling with the words I used to know but can't for the life of me conjure up. I hated Spanish in school. I mean, it's easy to hate languages in school. That's one of the fundaments of coming-of-age fiction in the last five hundred years. Learning Latin as a schoolboy is for the birds. You just sit there while the professor snaps his fingers repeating verb conjugations endlessly until everybody's ready to tear off their tops and spray beer at each other with Judas Priest playing in the background. Even Flaubert wrote about it. (You know, you say it "Flowbear..." I hate my jokes.)

Plus, our Spanish teacher was an absolute nutjob who once told me -- during class, mind you -- that the reason Christianity was more valid than Islam or Judaism was because, quote, "I know that my savior rose from the grave." I believe she had her hand on my shoulder at the time. She would go on and on about the New World Order, and how Alan Greenspan -- really, Alan Greenspan -- was the only reason the fabric of moral humanity and the beautiful, magical, protective canopy of the status-quo hadn't been shredded into tatters by debauched Leninist lesbians all rising up under the auspices of a totalitarian regime so maleficent that it would surely come for her first. She also had a mentally disabled kid. She had him exorcised, when he was a baby. I think that may have been a taxing time for her. Once she yelled at me about the atheism of Karl Marx for a while. I don't remember why.

In retrospect, though, it was a horrible idea to go to a high school that didn't teach French. Which is a little like saying, "I should have started training for the luge sooner, because the Winter Olympics are coming right up." But it's a lot better, in this discipline, my discipline goddamn it, to speak German, French, or Latin. I would kill to speak Russian. And I want to be better. You know, that's kind of the point.

I also bought a book by one of my future-professors. I'm not sure why. I would be pathetic as the student who tries to anticipatorily parrot a professor's opinions, and I don't much feel like disagreeing with the professor's opinions, so hopefully it will be that ultimate wash, that mother of all pushes, that heavenly tie, that great breaking-even that has to now constituted all the sweetest moments of my life: an enormous waste of time.


This line from Confessions of a College Callgirl just made me laugh: "How awesome are 19th-century hooker names? I mean, before you ever slept with Bauld-cunted Poll, you knew what you were getting." Really good blog.

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