The Line Starts Here

Musings On Life, Typos Included

He was such a nice guy! or was he?

The recent revelation in the news today have given me pause for thought. (What else is new?) What revelation you may ask. That those around us are may not be as they appear. A man by the name of Pedro Hernandez, not to be confused with any baseball players of any era, has been questioned in the missing child case of the 70s. Hernandez’s guilt or innocence has yet to be proven but the story made me question for a moment how I think or refuse to think about others. Little Ethan Patz  was a mere 6 years old in 1979 when he didn’t return home from his first and last walk to the school bus. This moment in time started, or highly contributed to the consciousness around missing or exploited children. He was white, from middle class roots and was “oh so cute”. When many of us were little bunchkins in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, we were allowed to run free exploring the in’s and outs of neighborhoods.  We would zip off on our bike for hours and hours (without crash helmets), eat anything the neighbors offered, often hang out with unsavory characters and not come home until the sun set or we could hear a parent yelling our name. That is how before computers, cable television or parents actually talking to a child about something meaningful, we learned about life. Yes, there was the occasional punch in the noodle or the bike fall that knocked your breath out or the food that gave you a tummy ache and sometimes even a groping hand or two but that’s a later discussion. But did we ever, ever think people were evil? I did a little random online search and found hundreds of quotes from neighbors and friends of convicted serial killers, slashers, pedophiles, cannibals and all around evil doers and not one single person, including wives knew them to be anything but a nice neighbor, a good neighbor, super nice guy, very friendly to me, always smiled when I saw him. As taught to me by my first children reader, we will use he as the dominant pronoun.  He watered our lawn, walked our dog, gave our kids a ride to school, watched our house when we were gone. The degenerate often has parents who care, children who love them, a spouse who adores, intimates at church, a job and last but not least the worries and cares of everyday work and home life. Wait a minute, this sounds like 90% of all the people I’ve ever met. If a wife or child doesn’t know someone is a bad seed, how should I know they are? You see, it is the responsibility of all of us to know those around us. I don’t mean snooping around through folks trash or searching web sites for criminal records. I mean getting to know others. Sense how they make you feel, converse even if you don’t talk on a deep personal level. Let’s protect the children around us, not with more personal physical restriction but with awareness. You know when someone gives you a creepy feeling. The old adage, “I wouldn’t want to be in a dark alley with him” has some merit. You know when someone looks at a child a second too long and all the other odd behaviors. Let’s be vigilante of” the weird” around us even if they have a house, spouse and kids. Even relatives or educators.  With more consciousness should come less abuse and with less abuse comes real safety. Not the smothering bubble of individual protection but the larger cloak of community safety.

Rip me off in America

In Northern California where I live, food shopping has now become a luxury for the rich. Don’t worry about the fact that I can’t shop at my beloved “Health Food Stores” because I can’t afford them, even though I was at one time at the genesis of this cutting edge or back to the past form of food shopping. Bins of flour and assorted grains possibly contaminated with bugs but at the bulk price a steal compared to Piggly Wiggly, Kroger,  A&P and Safeway.  Cheeses in big blocks cut with semi clean knives and wrapped in Saran Wrap. Sprouts grown in the back and bagged to be taken home with local veggies and home grown breads. “Sigh” she says as she comes home from the latest incarnation of Health Food. A Fairfax Ca. store that outdoes the villain that is Whole Food Market. (Whole Food please do not waste your time suing poor misguided Doris) The opulence of this store was enough to put me in a catatonic state for hours when I arrived home, “with empty hands of course”. You see I could only afford my delicious cup of coffee and my sticky bun if I wanted to be sensible and eat as much as I needed for the rest of the week. What is my problem you may ask? It was beautiful, a corporate dream. Beautiful polished woods, floor to ceiling and track lighting that rivaled a Hollywood movie scene. Isles and isles of colorful healthy products lined up so perfect as to make the Virgo I am squeal with pleasure from the organization. Unblemished fruits and vegetables calling to me fresh from their misting showers and polishings from young cheerful college students. But alas I resent the corporate takeover and co-opting of hippie dippie food. One has to pay for the lights, camera and actions of all of us who want to eat fancy salad bars, freshly cooked pizza’s, designer ice creams, trays of precooked food, cappuccinos and display cases of desserts and it will be us. Four (4) cheap items approximately thirty five (35) hard earned dollars. Give me a break. I can’t afford to really buy groceries there and neither can you if you are on any kind of a fixed budget, make less than a high end wage or just plain don’t like to waste money. So off I went to Grocery Outlet and trudged through the crappy isles looking for food that had a “close to expired shelf date” and revenge was sweet. I scored with several high end items and have been eating good but that doesn’t stop me from crying knowing I really in good conscience can’t shop in a store, as beautiful as it may be, that charges much more than it should and makes health food an experience for the rich. Shame on you Capitalism, once again..

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