Monday, April 6, 2009

Taxes, and Taggers


First stop this morning was to get the taxes done. That has always meant a refund from both the feds and the state. Not this year. Even with the small income I've got, I ended up having to kick out over four hundred bucks more than what they've already taken. Bummer.

But the rest of the day was just too damn fine to let even that keep me pissed off for long. I took out some aggression on the weeds in the back yard, and now the yard looks better. After that some errands. Trader Joe's has these pita crackers that come laced with some weird addictive substance that got me weirdly addicted so I went over there to get my cracker fix, and copped a decent stash- enough to last for a few days if the wife doesn't find them.

Mary was home when I got back from TJ's. She was out back in the gazebo preparing materials for the pre-school art class that she teaches. She was measuring out red, yellow, and green colored sand, and mixing it with glitter. Booger the cat was there covered with dirt and dry grass, doing her cat best to be helpful. She sat on my feet as I stepped up to the table. I scratched her head, and she swatted me with her claws. That's my cat. I wanted to go hike, but Mary had too much stuff to do. And I thought better of going up the hill again, and took the easy way out with a stroll down the tracks. The puddles are dry; the mud is gone, and guys on tractors are mowing the four foot high weeds. That will pretty much end all the scenic beauty until next year. Nothing but bare dirt, and taggers from now until the end of fall.

Taggers. I hate the bastards. I'm actually not a total curmudgeon when it comes to kids getting crazy. And that railroad easement has been a place where kids have been 'getting away with stuff' for a long time. When I was in high school, we used to ditch out and go over there to get buzzed, drink beer, or just get away from school, sit under the low trestle, and have a smoke. Back in the day I enjoyed many a quart of beer, and not a few reefers along that weedy easement. But no one would have thought of painting all over stuff, thus drawing attention to the place, and what we were doing there. That would have been like advertising: "We're doing illegal stuff here! Ha, Ha, Ha!" I mean- what a bust, as we used to say.

Now, of course, every square inch of block wall, and even the discarded scraps of cardboard, and plywood that get dumped there end up tagged. Like the windows at Time Out Burger. Etched. Or the toilet seat in the rest room at the local supermarket. Or every dumpster, every trash can, every bus stop, every place where someone isn't vigilant about cleaning off the graffiti. Tagged. The city actually has at least one full time employee who does nothing but "graffiti abatement" as it says on the truck. He drives around towing a pressure washer, and carrying rollers, a camera, and tons of neutral paint. I asked him if they ever catch the taggers. He said yeah, they do. They match up the photos he takes with stuff they find at the high school, and in the possession of kids who get rousted by the cops. Sometimes it comes together, and they nab one. Sometimes. But mostly they just keep painting it over. Sisyphus, and the stone. And so it goes, on this gentle day. One more feature of life in the last days of the world as we know it.


JWM

1 comment:

mushroom said...

In Cali,, doesn't "refund = IOU" this year anyway? Could you ever have imagined the Golden State saying, "We're a little short right now. The check is in the mail"? Maybe Arnie could hit the Check-to-cash place? Maybe they could get a car title loan on the the state's fleet.

I don't understand the graffiti either. We did used to throw empties at road signs, but that was more a game of skill. I had one friend who could hit three out of four from the driver's side over the top of the car. My claim to fame was standing on the hood of my Chevy and bending a stop sign double.

(Why, yes, I was in an altered state of consciousness at the time -- funny you should ask.)