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A nine year old pickpocketed me, and I wish I were joking

February 1, 2016

jeansToday I parked the car and walked up to the kids’ elementary school, to pick up my two youngest. There are usually a couple-few dozen people waiting around the exits to pick up their kids before the bell rings, and today was no exception.

RING goes the bell, and kids and teachers start to file out of the doors, waiting in packs or finding parents and heading out. I feel a little tickle against my left buttcheek.

Now, let’s stop right there. Post-bell-ring is always a mild madhouse, and the kids are none too careful about bumping and brushing up against you as they bulldoze toward their designated adult. But. (1) I’m long in the habit of checking my pockets any time someone brushes up against me. Maybe it’s growing up in a bad neighborhood, maybe it’s world travel. Who knows. (2) This was different. This was little fingertips dancing quickly across and away.

Unpause. I watch the little girl who had brushed past behind me walk eight feet away, and slip something very covertly into the hand of a woman – obviously standing and waiting for her kids – standing with arms folded, leaning up against a pillar. The little girl looks directly at me and moves away. The woman looks directly at me and looks away.  I keep watching, through my sunglasses and under my hat. After about a minute, the woman unfolds her arms, and from that hand tucks away a folded set of bills into her purse.

What. The. Frak.

She looks at me again, and begins to walk away across the parking lot, surrounded by a group of kids and parents. I can’t actually tell if the little girl is with her; I’ve been watching the adult too hard.

I follow, catch up with her.

“I saw what you did. I saw what she did, and I’m telling you: don’t do it again.”

She is adamant, puzzled. “What are you talking about?”

“You know exactly what I’m talking about. I saw her, I saw you. Do not do this again, or I’ll get the authorities involved.”

She denies again. I say, “I’m not going to make a deal out of this right now. But I’m telling you, stop.” I walk away.

A crossing guard asks what’s up, and I tell her. She is flabbergasted. She does not know who the woman is. With so many parents around, that’s no surprise.

Freeze frame again. We humans have a bad habit: we like to reverse-engineer things we’ve seen, either to fit the facts we want to be true, or to unfit facts we don’t want to be true. I don’t want there to be a 9 year old girl at my son’s school who is being taught to steal. I don’t want there to be a woman that is so clearly serving her child so ill. I would far rather be wrong, so I start to think, “was I even carrying any money? Maybe I’m wrong, maybe she’s just handing her change from school lunch or something.  Maybe…”

Nope. I’m not going to do that. I know exactly what I felt. I know those definite looks I got. I saw the money. I saw it all.

Unfreeze.  I could have made a bigger deal. I could have demanded the money back. I could have let it go without saying anything. But I think I did exactly right, exactly what I – with the benefit of hindsight – wanted to do. A bigger deal would have caused a scene and led nowhere. Demanding the money, or worse, grabbing the woman, would have started a fistfight in the middle of a bunch of children. And I can’t even identify the denomination(s) of money I had in my back pocket. A $5? Two $1s and a $10? No earthly idea.

But I remember well enough what the woman looks like, I think. And I was wearing a freaking fedora and sunglasses, if you can but dig it. Maybe another day, I’ll be wearing a light pair of jeans and reading glasses, with my hair tucked into a ballcap. Maybe there’ll be a $5 pinned to the inside of my back pocket, just sticking out where you can see it…

Things I Love: Stitch Fix

January 7, 2016
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I’ve been getting shipments of clothing every month or two for the last year or so, and I can say definitively: I still really love Stitch Fix.

It’s a service that styles you specifically, sends 5 pieces to you at set intervals (I chose every other month), and you get to pick and choose what to keep. If you keep nothing, you’re just out the $20 styling fee. (You do have to send back the unwanted stuff pretty promptly, so if you sign up, make a habit of doing it right away.)

If I sound like a commercial, it’s because I feel genuinely how commercials WANT you to feel: excited, satisfied, pleased. I first heard about Trunk Club, and got really excited. People will shop for me? And send me things!? YAY! Yeah, Trunk Club was only for men at the time. Pbbbtht. So when I later heard about Stitch Fix I got excited all over again.

Things to know:

  • Shipping is free.
  • You set the frequency of shipments. I’m at every other month right now.
  • The clothes are not what I would call cheap. But (1) you can customize that too, and (2) for me, I’ve gotten to the point in life where I’d rather have a few good articles of clothes than 50 $5 t-shirts.
  • It takes time to refine your profile, and for your stylist(s) to get to know you. Your shipments may disappoint at first, but refine and stick with it.
  • You get a pretty big discount if you keep all five items in a shipment, but I have yet to like all five.
  • I think they do a LOT of things right: all of the above, plus guiding you through choosing general style preferences, asking them to eliminate things you don’t want (like shoes) or colors/fabrics/patterns you don’t like (animal prints, ugh), and so on.

Here are a few of the things I’ve kept recently:

stitchfix1 stitchfix2 stitchfix3

The shirt is comfy and adorable, the blazer is SUPER comfortable, and the wrap dress is cute enough that my daughter and I have agreed to share it. Looking forward to my next shipment in March!

A parent’s midnight toast

December 24, 2015

Here’s to the nights we all but forget about once they’re past a certain age: the 1am coughing, barfing, crying, inconsolable kids that really feels the injustice of getting sick on vacation.

Here’s to webmd, for confirming we’re doing everything right.

Here’s to the place across the street that has NyQuil and vapo rub.

(No toast for the urgent care clinic that closes at 7pm and opens at 9am.)

Here’s to the other two kids who manage to sleep through the fiasco, even in the same friggin hotel room.

Here’s to the sick kid, finally installed on pillows in a dry bathtub, asleep at last.

And here’s to me, dammit. Sometimes I’m a hero, a puke-and-snot-spattered saint.

#Mansplaining: Give me definitions and examples

December 16, 2015

There’ve been discussions and debates lately. So, give me your definition of mansplaining, and any stories you’d like to pass on, please and thanks.

Keep the discussion civil, folks.



One example:

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Now 

December 15, 2015

They made us afraid, they made us need them. And then they told us what to do.


Edit: this is exactly what I meant to say: 

  


And for good measure:   

  

  

  

Dear gun-toting anti-Muslim Irving guys…no, Dear Everyone

November 25, 2015

I read that you staged an armed protest in front of a Mosque.

You’re not helping.

If a group of Muslim Irving residents showed up in front of your church on Sunday to protest something, and they were carrying guns like that, you’d shit your pants, call the police, and duck-and-cover. So yes, I’m pretty sure you understand that showing up to a protest with guns is not helping.

The Dallas times has this:

Wright, who is convinced that America is due for a Paris-style attack by Muslims, also posted the addresses to his personal Facebook page, a couple hours after he wrote in another thread: “We should stop being afraid to be who we are! We like to have guns designed to kill people that pose a threat in a very efficient manner.”

A friend replied below the list: “Abide by it [the consitution] or be treated as the treasonous filth or invaders that you are.”

You’re still not helping.

One: I am ALL ABOUT you protesting anything you like, at any time. You’ve got the right, and you absolutely should, no matter how strongly anyone disagrees with you. Let’s hear it for the freedom to protest!

Two: Mixing your second amendment rights with anyone’s first amendment rights seems like a bad, bad idea. Put your guns away and stop trying to scare people.

Three: Publishing people’s home addresses on the internet is always a dick move. It’s an invitation to harass and terrify. You are, in effect, budding terrorists. Congratulations, dicks.

Four: That internet friend who will treat constitution-haters “treasonous filth or invaders” does not, I suspect, have due process and official justice in mind. Encourage your people to abide by the law, in addition to not being dicks.

Five: All of this applies, no matter what we’re talking about. Whether it’s Sharia law, or gun control, or a spelling bee, or equal rights, or a tax hike, or a new bike law, or Black Lives Matter or All Lives Matter or Macy’s isn’t hiring enough redheads…I don’t care. Protest, yes. Intimidation, no. Doxing, no. Law, yes.

-An Irving Resident

Guns, guns, guns – a side note on a strawman

October 13, 2015

One of the major arguments I’ve seen against gun control is basically, “Well if you take away the guns, then people are just going to use something else. Like bombs!”  (Let’s set aside for the moment that “taking away the guns” is kind of a strawman argument*, because I’m not arguing that the USA should or would or could do so.)

I’ve been thinking about this. I think, of course, that this argument is total bullshit on its face. It’s not a good argument to say that X shouldn’t be banned because people will use Y, which is also banned. “We should not ban heroin. People will just turn to meth!” Well, meth is also illegal. An argument for making a thing illegal – or in the case of my actual suggestion, making a thing more regulated and therefore more difficult to obtain and stockpile – does not depend on the alternatives available. A thing should be banned, or regulated, or not at all regulated because of that thing.

As a further side note: I also think that even if this argument weren’t total bullshit on its face, I rather like the odds of some dipshit blowing himself** up before he gets to the chance to do it to others, as opposed to a gun – which is relatively safe to the shooter. Yes, yes, I know that bombs can be silly easy to make. But (and these are just my thoughts…remember that I don’t think bombs should be part of the gun discussion), a good bomb, or a timed bomb, or a bomb that could, say, be placed inside an elementary school to maximize destruction to the kids there…these are far more difficult things. Far, far more difficult than walking into your local K-5 with a couple of handguns and 100 extra rounds.

But again. Bombs don’t have a damn thing to do with the gun debate. Stop talking about the stupid bombs. What we’re trying to do is to make it more difficult for people who are likely to become violent, to do large amounts of damage.

-J

*It’s only kind of a strawman argument, because I AM suggesting we make it harder for people likely to commit violence to get hold of guns. I get that. It’s something else entirely that people think “fewer guns = just as much violence via bombs”.

**I will stipulate that there are some violent women, if you stipulate that the vast majority of mass murders are committed by men. So shut up about the gender use here.

Previous blogs on guns include Part 1 and Part 2.

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