August 28, 2005 scottcjones

Was taking my bike out through the basement exit yesterday–per co-op rules, anything you can’t carry has to go in or out through the basement–when I saw a man letting his dog shit on the tiny wedge of grass in front of the building.

I rode by the man, on my out to the park. Then decided, Fuck this. I stopped. Turned back.

“Excuse me,” I say, trying to be polite. “Did your dog just take a shit back there?”

This is one of those third-person, disembodied moments, when I can’t really believe I’m doing what I’m doing. It’s like I’m seeing myself do this, and I’m rooting for myself, hoping it all turns out OK for me.

Guy stops. Looks at me. Sunglasses. Vintage T-shirt. Unshaven. Jack Russell terrier. Douche all the way. “Did she shit?” he asks.

Did she shit? I saw her shitting from 20 yards away while riding a bike. Give me a break.
“I think she did,” I say. I motion towards the turds in the grass.

He stops. Sighs. Turns. Looks at me.

I say, “I live here. In this building.” To explain why I’m complaining about turds on the lawn. I motion towards the building.

He looks at the building. He looks at the turds. I wheel my bike around, and I’m about to ride off, when he says, “Hey, you’re riding your bike on the sidewalk. That’s against the law.”

“What?” I say.

“Yeah. You’re breaking the law right now. And when you rode past me, while breaking the law, you almost HIT ME. You almost RAN ME DOWN.”

At this point, I’m facing the other way. Towards the park. He’s backtracking, moving towards the turds, his dog in tow. “Hit you?” I say, looking over my shoulder. “I didn’t even come close.”

I step on one of the pedals. I’m about to wheel off.

“What did you say?” he says.

Now I am wheeling off. “I said I wasn’t even CLOSE.”

He mutters something, but by this time, I’m already on 35th Ave., riding into the wind, towards Flushing Meadow. I’m pumping hard, full of adrenaline. I’m pissed. Really pissed. I ride, faster and faster, thinking of all the things I could have said, but didn’t.

-If you don’t want to clean up your dog’s turds, you shouldn’t own a dog.
-Give me your address. That way I can stop by your building later and take a shit on your lawn.
-Hit you? If I hit, belived me, you’d know it.
-Now clean up your dog’s shit, and get the fuck out of my neighborhood.
-And don’t let me ever see you on my block again.

I burned off all my adrenaline at the park. Most of it. 90-percent of it. When I rode back to the neighborhood, I checked the lawn for the turds. Sure enough, they were still there. I was winded, sweating, too tired to get pissed off all over again.

Since this happened, whenever I go down to the street, I’m thinking about this guy. This douche. Always thinking about him and his fucking Jack Russell. I walk around feeling a mix of bravado and cowering fear. I hate that I’m thinking about him. Hate how this whole thing has tainted my formerly friendly, peaceful neighborhood in a weird way. I’m always half hoping I run into this guy again. And always half hoping I don’t.

July 28, 2005 scottcjones

Was sitting at my desk having a cup of coffee yesterday morning when the kitten, as is her habit these days, leapt onto the desk and began her search for pens, paperclips, rubberbands, batteries, etc. Basically anything she can knock to the floor and bat around for 10 to 15 minutes.

As she surveyed the desk, she spun around, turning her backside towards me. Her tail happened to be hoisted high, giving me a bird’s-eye view of her butthole. And there, pinned in the halo of fur surrounding her butthole, was a dark pebble of poop.

With all the time she spends grooming herself, and, in particular, grooming her crotch, I figured I’d leave the pebble there and let her take care of it. It was only a matter of time before she found it. So, I went about my morning, sending various emails, etc. An hour went by, and the pebble was still there. Two hours…and the pebble was still there.

Finally, by noon, I figured I had no choice but to help her out a little.

“Hold still,” I said, gently lifting her tail. With nervous fingers, I plucked the pebble of poop off of her. Once the extraction was complete, the kitten let out a polite meow, which I interpreted as, *Thank you.*

If this isn’t true love, I don’t know what is.

July 21, 2005 scottcjones

An ice cream truck has been patrolling my Queens neighborhood nearly 24 hours a day for the past month, always blaring a Casio keyboard rendition of “Turkey In the Straw.” I get so fucking depressed during the summer months. It’s not just the overwhelming heat and humidity in New York, the blinding sun. It’s picnics, watermelon, BBQs, fireworks, popsicles, parks, beaches, pools, margaritas, camping, state fairs, badmitton, hot dogs. It’s ice cream trucks that play “Turkey In The Straw” all night. It’s summer culture itself.

And it’s the way people are hellbent on doing something, going somewhere, desperate to make something, anything, happen. The way everyone is always determined, no matter the cost, to have themselves a ball. The way the newsanchors on the local channels are always pretending to beg the weatherman for a sunshine-filled forecast. (The sun icon used on the screen is inevitably a smiling face.) The way everyone is forever asking one another, “So, what are your plans for the weekend?”

Implying that to not have plans is somehow abnormal.

Well, fuck you. Those are my plans.

There’s something false in all this relentless cheeriness. Something that doesn’t ring true to me.

One of my neighbors invited me out to his Hamptons house. A college friend tried to get me to go down to Breezey Point in Brooklyn last weekend. Still another invited me to a cookout in his tiny backyard in Park Slope.

Thanks, but no. Instead, I draw the blinds. I run the air conditioner. I sit in the dark and watch DVDs. I drink beer and play videogames. I get more pale, more mushroomy, by the second. I rarely go out, and only then if I absolutely must. (For more beer, or DVDs, or kitty litter.)

Sometimes I think I suffer from a rare brand of seasonal affective disorder. Only instead of being afflicted during the dark, bitter months of winter, as most people are, I get it during the summer.

Or maybe I’m just on my way to becoming a cranky old fuck.

July 18, 2005 scottcjones

So I got a cat. A kitten. 10 weeks old. 2 pounds. She was a street cat who was rescued a few blocks away from my apartment. (It’s a rags to riches story; she was homeless, but now she’s moved on up to my deluxe apartment in the sky. And yes, I’m quoting The Jefferson’s theme song.)

I named her Humtum, but I usually call her Pewey (which is short for Pewey-head). I’m not sure why I do this.

I love her dearly, but she’s a pain in the ass sometimes. I’ve got steel wool stuffed into cracks and crevices around the apartment, which is designed to keep out bugs and mice. Pewey has made it her personal mission to locate every bit of steel wool she can find. This drives me insane, and I’m terrified that she’s going to eat some of it. And she climbs all over my keyboard when I’m at the computer. This was sort of endearing at first, but quickly became annoying, especially whenever I’m on deadline.

I realize that she won’t be a kitten for very long, so I wanted to make sure that I properly record her kittenhood for posterity. So I follow her around nearly every day with a camera, snapping pictures of her, trying to catch her in the act of napping (not hard to do), or doing something cute.

One day last week as I followed her from room to room with my camera at the ready, it struck me that there might be something more than a little sad about a 36-year-old man alone in his apartment in Queens trying to take photographs of his cat.