August 8, 2011

Life's juxtapositions

Sometimes life happens. This is a blog about writing, but it's also my personal blog, so sometimes I may ruminate over life for a bit. This is one of those times.

It's brutally hot here in Charleston right now, and has been for quite some time. It's hard to go outside in the heat of the day. You sort of feel like you want to pass out. We were on our way home from work yestrday afternoon. Charles was driving, Zoe was eating Fruity Cheerios and I pulled my phone out of my purse. I had an IM on Google Chat from my brother Daniel, so I opened up the app.

(Please note: I am dramatic. These events are highly dramatized, I'm sure, but they're a reasonable approximation.)

"So, there's a riot going on in my street."

Whew. Life stopped for a second, and I suddenly remembered all the news reports we'd just heard of the riots taking place in northern London, so far from where my brother lives in southern London. How could they...why are they...

Turns out the riots are much more widespread by now, at least on some minor levels. Yeah. Daniel was in his flat with only his cat, I was an ocean away and couldn't help, and riot police were on his street.

The horror!!!


So I stayed completely calm (yeah right, I freaked out) and IM'ed back to get details. There weren't many; there were some kids on the street (if you're British, you say "youths"), and riot police, and there were some smashed windows on local buildings.

Shortly thereafter, our car, our reliable Toyota which hasn't given us a day's trouble in eight years, started to shake. Charles looked at me. "Why's it running so rough?" Then, "Shit, the engine light's on."

Then we smelled something burning.

Three miles from home, Charles pulled into a gas station parking lot, and I called my mom to ask her to rescue us.

So now imagine me, standing in a Quizno's, waiting for my mom, instant messaging my brother who is watching a riot happen, and laughing as my daughter hops between the different colored tiles on the floor.

Then imagine me at home, trying to cook tacos while messaging my brother who is watching a riot happen, while Charles is out waiting for the tow truck, and Zoe is watching The Sound of Music for the hundredth time in the past three days. While she dances to the "So Long, Farewell" song. While she and I sing "Climb Every Mountain" at the top of our tone-deaf lungs. While I chop onion and tomato and try like hell to NOT WORRY about my stupid old Toyota (I love my car!!!!) or my crazy ex-pat brother.

Imagine the absurdity of the laughter and the drama, all rolled into one short series of moments. I realized I was the only tension relief for Daniel so I kept him up to date on Zoe's dance steps, while he kept me up to date on the youths and the riot police.

Life is so bizarre! How does that stuff happen? Something so far from home can hit so close to home and then home can be so ridiculously absurd. Stranger than fiction, harder to understand than James Joyce, and just utterly...unusual.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

That sounds like a crazy evening. It seems to go that way sometimes...when it rains it pours. It's fun that Zoe can keep things light and fun. I hope your brother is okay...and your car.

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