gritty

by tobias crabtree

the biggest problem with bad news is that it’s hard to know what to do with it. do you share it? i mean, then someone else has it as well, and it doesn’t make anything better, not really.  so do you hang on to it? just let it rot inside ya? i personally like to take my bad news for a nice long run or a cold ocean swim. i treat bad news like a training partner that i want to ruin. sometimes it works, but it really sucks if the bad news turns out to be tougher than me. oh man, then i tend to spin out a little. i always tell myself that someone, somewhere is dealing with something bigger and tougher than anything i can imagine, and i know i’m right about that, for sure.

tonight i walked up 4th ave to rose. there’s a whole foods on the corner there and i needed some greens. i built my expensive little salad, walked outside, told a fella i didn’t have a smoke to offer him, and sat down at the next table. he stared hard at me to decide if i was lying about the smoke, so i said i wasn’t lying. he blinked, got up and walked away. somewhere down the sidewalk there was loud laughing, i think it was coming from behind a grocery cart piled enormously with anything you might imagine.  what i noticed about the laughter is that it wasn’t the kind that is from something good, it was the kind that comes from a person that has nothing left to do but laugh. like the kind of thing a person might do as they were lowered into the fire. and man, it went on and on. i finished eating and glanced up to see a dreadlocked man with big hands walk into traffic, long steady strides, while cars locked up their brakes and people laid on their horns. i walked down the walk with my bottle of newly purchased goddess dressing and some greek yogurt. a young kid cussed out his girlfriend in spanish on the corner. a cute girl rode by on her bike with her 9′ longboard in tow.  evening had set and dark was coming on. in the distance i could hear the hidden laugher, still laughing.

there’s this, on a single tuesday night on 4th and rose. and there’s a million things more. i know there’s good stuff going on. of course there is. but maybe it’s like when i’m sad, how i can only hear the sad songs and the happy songs somehow seem kind of stupid and off key. maybe that’s just how we are as a species, we see best through empathetic lenses.

sometimes i gotta look elsewhere. i go outside of the human predicament to look for some kinda light in the dark. all i need’s just a little, you know, like even the slightest glow can keep you from falling in a hole. i look at the old dogs that are full of lumps and weird bulges and i see how they wag their tails. or like the redtailed hawk i saw flying in the thick red smog hanging over highway 10 as i drove into the heart of LA.  hell, i even find comfort when i see the moon remain so faithful to her ocean. the fact that we can’t last forever leads me to believe that it might be worth our while to appreciate what we got, while we got it.

tonight, while i sleep, i’ll be breathing the same smog that that ol’ redtail was flying through. i am alive in this world with all the whoevers and all the big-timers and the mean ones and the beautiful ones. the ones that hurt unimaginably. the ones that will live and die sucking on a silver spoon. the ones with the evil hearts. the ones with enough good to carry us. the moms. the sweetest of sweeties.

one of these days i’m gonna work this all out, make it better. it really would be nice to fix things up a little bit around here. yeah, that’ll be a good thing to do and i’m gonna.  but first i think i should probably try to figure out if that laughing wasn’t coming from inside my own head.