Wannabe Vigilante

As I sit here typing this on our front stoop my husband is reading “The Killing Joke”. As you all know, I’m more of a Wonder Woman/Supergirl kind of fan, however, there are times when my inner Batman comes out.  Admittedly I was obsessed with the character as a kid.  

In our neighborhood here of late we’ve been having issues with some neighbors breaking and entering into apartments, stealing things, and ransacking private spaces.  

One particular neighbor was evicted from his residence for his recent behavior, usually fueled by alcohol, and what I am assuming to be bitterness. Since he has been kicked out, he has been staying in a tiny gazeebo (the one feature of our entire complex), sometimes with a suitcase.  Then the day came where he was so drunk he passed out behind the laundry facility,…ten feet from the gazeebo.

His staying in the gazeebo and passing out didn’t warrant a call to law enforcement.  His day came when he ransacked a neighbor’s apartment, calling him a racial slur, then trying to lure said neighbor’s kids into the gazeebo.  

The cops ushered him out once before, then again after the incident with the kids. Believe it or not, this former tennant is only one small problem in a neighborhood full of criminal ongoings.  

It has become so bad the decent neighbors approached my husband and I about forming an official neighborhood watch where we go on patrols to keep the thieves at bay.  

Is it time to move you say?  Yes.  Can we afford to move?  No. Not until our lease is up in December.

My husband has been patrolling a few nights a week, sometimes by himself which makes me nervous and unable to sleep. This doesn’t help on nights when I have to be up at 4:30 am.  I’ve been trying to wrap my head around it and trying to figure out a way to make this neighborhood better.

Last night was the first night we went patrolling together.  He showed me where he and the neighborhood watch have figured out where one culprit lives who has been breaking into cars. He’s been using his bike as a quick get-away vehicle and has done so without being exposed, until last week.  

As we walked “the beat” we rounded into the parking lot of the apartments where this kid lives.  My husband then showed me which residence.  This kid didn’t do a very good job in covering up his window.  There was a sheet haphazardly hung in front of the window exposing parts of his home.  There was a scent of blackberry vapor in the air.  I approached the window as my husband said, “That’s illegal, ya’ know?”

Then the dark side of the Quirk came out.  I said, “If this guy is willing to go into our neighbor’s apartments, into their cars and steal things that don’t belong to him, then we should have every right.”  (Every right to see into his life.)

He kind of just looked at me with a cautioned grin, wondering what had just happened and where I had gone.  Don’t get me wrong, usually I’m not an ‘eye for an eye’ kind of person, but living in a horrible neighborhood has opened my eyes to having to stick together for the good of the community and unfortunately wanting to bend the rules. Especially when the safety of children is involved.

As we were having this conversation, a car started and the headlights came on.  We tried to hang out at the corner of the building, even though I wasn’t successful in my venture of jumping up at a distance to see above the poorly hung, makeshift curtain. We looked guilty of something way more sinister.

The person drove past us, probably thinking we were just as shady as the person we were trying to keep at bay.

We moved on the foot path trying to see any other markers of behavior.  Luckily this night we didn’t have to stay out too long.  The prostitutes, pimp and drug dealers were all behind closed doors conducting their business or hopefully just sleeping.

Last night we slept well.  Then my husband woke me up.

The cursing, child lurerer was back in the gazeebo this morning with a soda.  I was still in bed, my brain tired of all the nonsense in this neighborhood and all the crap the kind and good people here have been forced to see and endure.

“He isn’t supposed to be here”, I said.
“I don’t think he’s with it enough to understand that.” Sobering words from my husband.  The evicted guy has been known to be inebriated 24 hours a day.

This time my inner Batman stayed at bay. Out came Catwoman, possibly Harley Quinn.  I had entered new territory.

“This is a time I wish I had a BB gun. I could lay down on the porch, where the weirdo can’t see me, and I could aim the gun between the rails. ‘POP! POP!’ right on his butt.”

My husband kind of grinned again, “Those things hurt worse than you actually think.”

“I know.”

My theory is it wouldn’t tear the skin.

“OR, I could use a paint ball gun.  When it hit him we could then call the police and tell them to follow the guy with the paint splotches!”

He kind of giggled at the idea.

“Or we could sit with a soda in the gazeebo across from him, and if he spoke to us, we could say, ‘Did you hear that?’ We ignore him, making him think he’s a ghost.”

My husbands face lost any trace of a playful smile.  “That’s sick and twisted.”

“You married me!”

Then he remarked, “If we did that though, it would give him the idea or license to do whatever he wants to see what he can get away with.”

“Dang it!  Why do you have to be right?”

I’m out of ideas readers.  What would you do in this situation?  

10 Books

Recently I was challenged by a friend to list the top 10 books that have had a major impact on my life.  Because I’m a verbose person and take challenges seriously, I couldn’t just answer his request with a few blanketed answers. Here they are in no particular order with their explanations:

     The Outsiders is a book you get something out of at different stages of your life.  Recently for a class we re-read the classic, it was mind blowing to find out it was written by a 16 year old.  

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     Eat Pray Love.  This is a great book for any one who has ever experienced divorce and tried to make sense of it.  This book made me want to travel, get lost, make new friends and then write about it.  It taught me how to put some of my past behind me and work though some life lessons.

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     If you ever want to impress a literature professor, drop the name Rex Stout.  When I finally resided alone in my apartment in St. Louis I knew I would be restless at night. The answer to listlessness was found in a fabulous mystery The Sound of Murder.  It was originally written in the early 40’s at the dawn of industrial espionage.  With quirky characters and a foresight of an upcoming industry in a new material called plastic, the setting Mr. Stout paints in so surreal yet believable.

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     The first book I remember falling in love with is, I Mean It Stanley.  This is the book my parents started reading to me and by the age of two, I had it memorized page for page.  Every night I asked them to read it to me before bed, each word drilling it’s way into my brain.  When my Grandparents came down for a visit, my Parents suggested to my Grandma she should read me a book that night.  So I retrieved this book, sat in her lap and as she turned the pages I started reciting the text.  My Grandmother was a lot like me, she was a former teacher and had a sense of wonder.  She thought I was reading the book.  She didn’t know my parents tirelessly read this to get me in the habit of a sleep routine.  She looked in amazement at my parents thinking I might be a genius.  Then my Dad cracked a smile and the gig was up.

And I Mean It Stanley

     Everyone needs a good Doctor in their life.  Mine had the last name of Seuss.  My first grade teacher asked everyone in class to pick their favorite book to bring to class and read.  I poured over my selection at home. It was between Fox in Socks and 101 Dalmatians.  In the end I chose Fox in Socks, mainly because in the beginning of the book, Dr. Seuss goads the reader with this graphic:  Fox in Socks     How could you resist?  At the young age of six I wasn’t willing to back down from a challenge and for once settled who won the tweedle beetle battle with paddles on poodles eating noodles.

     If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What am I doing in the Pits? This book I read because it had been sitting in the drawer of my Parents’ end tables and was begging to be read.  The cover wreaked of late 70’s artwork and humor.  I was 17 when I first picked it up, read it on a Journalism class trip to Chicago and for the first time in a long time was caught laughing out loud to a joke no one could hear.  This book appealed to me because I felt displaced, and Erma Bombeck made sense of everything.  Life is a bowl of cherries

Batman a Death in the Family was my first experience with a gritty plot only capable of taking place in between the pages of (at the time) my favorite Super Hero’s life.  Little did I know in comic books characters can perish at the hand of a madman armed with a crow bar.  Until then I was only exposed to characters who died of natural causes.  This may have been when I learned the word bludgeoned250px-Batman_Death_In_The_Family_TPB_cover

     Any Archie comic EVER.  In the 80‘s and early 90‘s Archie was all I ever read during the summer, sometimes in between Garfield books I checked out at the library.  I devoured these wishing I could be Betty Cooper. Unfortunately, one of my best friends growing up had blonde hair, where I learned the ugly truth, only she could be Betty because she had the correct hair color.  These books taught me blondes had more fun and brunettes were snooty, confusing my idea of what a woman should be.  Eventually along the way I realized these were just characters and nobody should have to be compartmentalized into either image.  Instead I developed a crush on Jughead and a love for art by trying to re-draw the images.  Archie comics also helped to forge the way for me in a literary sense.  The featured cover below is the one they published an interview I did of my Aunt. Archie Comic

     When my parents realized comic books were no longer just a hobby but something that could cause my two loves to collide they wanted to help.  They purchased two books by Will Eisner in which he states the best scenario for comic book writing is when the artist and the writer are the same person.  If this isn’t the case, he goes on to illustrate what can happen when people get their ideas mixed up.  Even if you aren’t into comics, it’s a wonderful book explaining the process with beautiful illustrations.Will Eisner

     The next book is something everyone needs to read to understand how to become a better writer, even if it only pertains to correspondence.  The Groucho Letters is a book of letters exchanged between Groucho Marx, some of his colleagues and son.  This was a gem I discovered at my parents house.  It probably belonged to my Grandma and one of my Aunts at one point.  One specific part in the book stuck out to me.  Groucho had built a rapport with a fellow funny person who was at the time living in Maine.  By the third letter of catching up, the friend wrote to Groucho, “The town is so boring the tide went out and never came back.”  This book goes to show how friendship can bring you unexpected things, like the gift of laughter or witty writing.

Groucho Letters

     To my friend, hopefully this answers your challenge. To my readers…what are some of your favorite books and which ones have influenced you the most?

 

Random Thoughts

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When I told my sister -in-law I was off the Facebook horse she asked how she would know when a new Quirky Girl post has been written. Simple. I told her a light would shine brightly in the sky for her but unlike Batman my signal would be more apt…a silhouette of just my glasses. Then again maybe this is not such a good idea. People might think we are signaling Groucho Marx and we all know that isn’t happening. Not only would Groucho probably belittle our little poke at pop cultural phenomena he wouldn’t show up because he has the audacity to be deceased.

If Ferns were capable of having cognizant thought, they could come together and write a script for their own television show called “Fronds”.

If you have landed on this blog expecting pictures of Miley Cyrus dancing, you’ve obviously not spell checked yourself. You were looking for “Diary of a Twerky Girl”.

I have an irrational fear of Neil Diamond. It might have something to do with my former boss blasting his music in the store at decibels no one should have to experience. When his music plays, images of a middle aged gentleman belting out vocals with such gusto to the extent his chest hair pops out of his shirt come to mind. There really can be too much of a good thing, just look at Elvis.

Liberace had some of the coolest bedazzled boots and shoes. Ringo Starr and Steve Martin come in second just because theirs are generally more practical. (Check out their Twitter feed!)

It would be cool if for one day my co-workers and I could talk like Sammy Davis Jr. or Lawrence Welk. However as my co-worker pointed out, we might have to explain the impression in order to exhibit them in front of younger customers.

On the way to work, I have a hard time deciding what song I would sing during my imaginary audition on The Voice. I’m waiting secretly for a follow up show to The Voice called, “The Backup”. The scenario plays out like this; three people get a chance to win and go on tour with the coach of their choice. My odds are better in this version, if I don’t know the words I just mouth the words while the other two contestants sing. Who was off key? No one would be able to figure it out…unless the other contestants don’t know the words either. I really didn’t think this through, scratch this it’s a terrible idea. Nobody would be entertained by trios of contestants silently flapping their gums.

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What random thoughts have you had this week?

Daily Post: Converse-ation

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I was in the middle of a growth spurt and had outgrown my tennis shoes. We went to JC Penney to pick out a new pair. This was the usual trip for my family, if either of my parents or myself needed new shoes, we would almost always go to Penney’s. There I laid eyes on the black Converse shoes emblazoned with the yellow Batman symbol. Having collected the comics, seen the movie a million times and perfected my impression of Jack Nicholson’s Joker, I knew I had to have them. I had always wanted to be a superhero. As you know, my best childhood friend always made me the Veronica to her Betty, I always wanted to be the good gal, the goody two shoes, the girl I was deep inside. This was my moment to get shoes to represent the good guys.

We finally found a sales person to help us. After they had gone to check the shoes sizes in the back, unfortunately there were none in my size. What they did have in my size were the nasty, maniacal Joker shoes. The shoes were actually more visually appealing to me; after all they were in two of my favorite colors, purple and green, but in my heart I just didn’t want to be the bad guy. Out of reluctance, I said yes to trying on the bad guy shoes they had in my size.

They fit and they were comfortable. Suddenly I didn’t mind being the bad guy for once. I found myself doing more Joker impersonations to my bestie on the bus; you know, the one that always had to be Betty. The next day as I stepped onto the playground at recess, I spotted my nemesis, another classmate had a pair of the coveted Batman shoes. Suddenly I was elated at the good fortune of having to get the Joker shoes instead. As far as I knew, I was the only kid in my grade with these shoes, therefore it made me feel a little bit special and like I stood out from the crowd.

My next favorite pair of shoes were also Converse. It was my fourteenth birthday and I was celebrating with family and friends. I opened up one of the presents to reveal Converse sneakers in a black and white gingham checked pattern. My parents couldn’t decide which set of shoe laces to put in the shoes before wrapping them, either black or white, so each shoe had a different color. Seeing as it fit my quirky personality, I left the shoes as they were. The following Monday I went to school and once again had that special feeling you get with a well fitting, comfortable pair of new shoes. Little did I know, my “Betty” friend really loved my new shoes as well.

About a month or so later she had asked to borrow my Cross Colors shirt and my new Converse sneakers. Seeing as she was one of my besties I said yes. This is the moment when I realized I had a problem with saying no and being assertive. About a week later she had returned the shoes and they had a crack on the side in the rubber where the shoe bends enabling the wearer to walk. I wasn’t necessarily angry or mad, but found myself with a sudden tic, much like Sheldon Cooper gets when something isn’t right or out of place. I suddenly found myself suppressing my inner bad guy after having found the crack on the shoe. I guess you could say since I never wanted to be the bad guy I was suppressing my inner Hulk, but I digress. I had forgotten my bestie had two different sized feet, one was bigger than the other thus wrecking only one of my shoes.

The memory of these last pair of shoes came when I found them last month and remembered the crack (which is still there) and when I found my Cross Colors shirt which I didn’t get back until a full year later after my friend had borrowed it when the fad had passed.

To this day, I have tried to find substitute shoes for these two particular pair of Converse, but they just don’t make them the same anymore. I wore these shoes before it was cool to wear these shoes and before hipsters even existed. It was like my history with these shoes were part of the history of the fashion with these shoes; thus in a conceitedly way, making me the ultimate hipster.

What were your favorite shoes and what memories are triggered by them?

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