Sunday, August 05, 2007

Yesterday the air was so poisonous that I ended up not going into the city. It was as if a big gray-white sponge were stuck to the sky. Hot, muggy, smoggy and still. Today seems a little fresher.

Random notes on race: Oakland and the Bay Area are diverse--that's why I love living there. And Massachusetts is not. I didn't notice that so much growing up--it was just the way things were--black people were mostly in Roxbury, there were only a handful in Lexington, except for the Metco kids who got bussed in to our suburban school where they ate at their own lunch table and were seldom (never) in my A.P. classes.

We had a great time in Massachusetts this trip with my family, but saw very few black people--or any kind of people of color. And at this point in my life, I notice. At the train station, waiting for Amtrak we even caught ourselves counting--"Okay, there's one." "There's another one--but he's working as a janitor."

This phenomemon of segregation is a weird, silent disease--it's just an absence of color, a sea of white and pink and blonde and red hair, which we blend into seamlessly. After spending years in inter-racial couples I notice it especially. When we got to New York, of course, we were back in diversity-land--and what a beautiful rainbow it is. We both noticed, not just that there were a lot more black people--but there were tons of well-dressed, professional-looking black people, visible in every walk of life. In the museums, in the tony 5th Avenue shops, everywhere. It felt good.

Meanwhile, C flew home yesterday to find someone text-messaging him from my missing (now presumed stolen) cell phone. The messages were obscene and anti-Semitic. He made an executive decision to suspend service for which I am very grateful. I had just assumed the phone was under the bed somewhere and I would find it when I got back, and wasn't it stupid of me to have mislaid it just before traveling, but no, someone must have picked my pocket, or...I can't imagine. Scary.

The juvenile tone of the nasty messages makes us think it was a kid, but whomever the thief was also used the word "schmeckle," a Yiddish word for penis; how would they know that? C has been reading the new T.C. Boyle novel called "Talk Talk" which is about identity theft and the book is putting the fear of God into him about all the bad things creative miscreants can do if they put their minds to it.

I also found out that a lama named John--I forget his last name--used my poem "At the Corner Store" in his new book. Can't wait to read it. And I want to read "Eat, Pray, Love," by Elizabeth Gilbert (maybe use it the next time I teach Memoir) which my friend Carla says is amazing, and a book by a woman physicist, Lisa Randall, about Unravelling the Mysteries of the Universe or something. I've been dreaming on the new play(s) while I'm here--it's a very creative place. C and I could see spending a few months in N.Y. someday, if we could swing it--maybe an apartment-swap of some kind...

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