Sunday, June 10, 2012


Across the street from my apartment complex is a condo development where two very good friends of mine live. I noticed last week that there is now a huge iron fence that connects two of the buildings where, for the two years I have lived here, there was none. This fence also blocks a direct path from the street to the inside of the complex. When I asked my friends about it, they said that the fence was essentially a prop. People had been cutting through the streets of the complex, trampling grass and leaving garbage on their way from one side of the street to the other; the fence was put in place to deter this behavior but in actuality, you just have find the latch on the gate and open it. There is no code or keypad or key necessary. My apartment complex has the same thing in place but we do have a keypad code to get in. However, when I first went to look at an apartment there, the landlord gave me the code. I wasn't signing a lease yet, I hadn't even seen him in person yet but he gifted me with the four digits necessary to enter the complex. In the time I have lived there I must have given the code to everyone who ever visited me or picked me up. I have given that code to food delivery men, furniture delivery guys, those not for profit organizations that pick up donations. So, essentially, the code is the equivalent of a scarecrow: it looks imposing and is meant to deter one thing from coming in but is really just full of old straw and pretty useless in terms of security. Yet I feel so utterly safe in my apartment complex. It is a little stupid, really. These repellents we set up in order to completely fabricate the notion of being safe are interesting because we create them and we know what we are doing when we create them and still we buy into them. So much of our lives is mired in pretensions of our own design.

Lately I've been thinking about how I do this in almost every aspect of my life. I build these blockades out of excuses and the infinite reasons I can invent as to why I can't do something and it makes it easier for me to not even try. I'm afraid of all those nasty crows, just lying in wait to pick apart everything I wanted to see grow. But my scarecrows are proving to be ineffectual. Or maybe they are too effectual since they are working on me, too. Mostly, I don't go anywhere near my own life, preferring to just hang out by the side. I'm jealous of people who take risks. I need to leave things up to the elements sometimes. I suppose it is just a matter of deciding to do exactly that. How hard can that be? I may be too old for baby steps so why not just jump head first? Also, why do I always picture that anti-drug commercial from the 80s that features a girl jumping from a diving board into what is soon revealed to be an empty swimming pool?

I always thought she looked like Andy McDowell.

At the moment I'm looking out the window of a sleepy main street that just about 12 hours ago was spilling over with nightlife. I'm not as hungover as I probably should be. I got a little rejected last night but I'm kind of enjoying this mini-feeling. It means I did something I normally would not have. I like that. What can I say? The sun is shining, my head feels clearer than it has in a long time and the barista just offered me a free sample of some Guatemalan coffee they just French pressed. Life carries on and on.

1 comment:

  1. i know what you mean about not taking risks. It's hard! Why grow when we can just moulder, right? ;-) I wish I knew how to break through those obstacles.