Director of Intent

April 25, 2009

South Newberg

With the rains spacing themselves apart, Baby Boy and I have begun a nightly ritual of walking the streets of South Newberg. Each walk is a beautiful venture into the heart of a community that is mired full of beauty, contradictions, diversity, and sometimes the oddest shit you can imagine. It thrills me that his some of his first major neurological connections are being made in such a place.

A snapshot into yesterday's walk will touch upon some of the story:

The poor kiddo had been running a high fever throughout the latter part of the day and was just not happy with anything that Gwen or I would do to satiate him. In response, I figured that we could go for a longer walk than normal and maybe get him to sleep in the process. The added benefit was that if my hands became cold, I could use his forehead for some quick warming.

I loaded him and two blankets up in his car seat/stroller contraption, tossed on my shades, and we hit the road. As we pulled left out of the driveway, we passed by three reserved women that seem to make their walk the same time we do every night. Per usual, I said hello and was greeted with absolute silence. Maybe some kind of xenophobia. Maybe they do not like the cut of my jaw. On the other hand, maybe they don’t like Baby Boy's.

Passing through the awkwardness, we came up on the huge expanse of playing fields. There were a few whistles going off as groups of kids were chasing soccer balls, but otherwise it was empty. I loved how the setting sun was shining on the baseball scoreboard, as if keeping it warm for when it is kicked into rampant use during the next couple of weeks.

Edwards Elementary loomed ahead, alongside a pathway we always use to cut over to the next block.
We went by a couple of adolescent kids, all seemingly caught up in how they looked to one another and focused solely on what they were doing right then and there. The lone girl of the group kneed one of the guys squarely in the tailbone, and my money says he probably deserved another.

The flowers and trees are breathtaking right now. Between the colors and the wafts of fragrance, I was digging it all.

After taking a few minutes around some trees, our walk continued eastward and put the sunset to our backs . We passed houses displaying American flags, most of which still had their Obama signs stuck in the grass. My favorite bumper stick of the day read: "I'm too poor to vote Republican." What made it even better was the fact that it was on a newer Audi. Fantastic.

We crossed River Street and made our way further east where the houses become shabbier and the lawn ornamentation changes from a political nature to that of the Maytag variety. A couple of nice kids rolled by on their bikes talking about the Blazer game that night. We shot the shit about Brandon Roy and they cruised on to play a little ball of their own.

Nearby, a small litter of kids was playing on a trampoline/bed mattress hybrid. I would have taken a picture had it not been for the sketchy parental overseers nearby. The last thing I needed was for them to think I was with Child Protective Services. To their credit, they may have been sober enough to deal with one of the kids had they landed on one of the many lawn tools surrounding the makeshift jungle gym.

The kiddo was still wide-awake, so we ducked into the 9th Street Market. This really is the place that time and general maintenance had given up on long ago. The Korean guy behind the till took just enough time away from the transvestites on his television set to eyeball our stroller with suspicion. To ease his mind, I said I'm just here for a drink and proceeded to pull a Vitamin Water out of the lone cooler near the front of the store. I gave him a five-spot, and he had to dig through a mountain of intermingled coins to produce the correct change. When it was all said and done, he smiled briefly while pointing at the screen, commenting that the gorgeous woman we were looking at was actually a man. I mentioned that she did a great job, and left just as the store was filling up with a bunch of kids hunting down an ice cream fix. On the way out, I caught him checking the undercarriage of the stroller and smirked at him.

With our driveway three blocks away, I cut over on a detour to buy me a few more minutes to get the Baby Boy into sleep land. That is when I saw the white trash pinnacle of the day. As illustrated in the blurry photo, it was of a good size truck literally rolled up on a car. I wanted to get a better shot, but the leering gazes of the presumed owners kept me from setting up a tripod.

We crossed River Street yet again, this time staring straight into the sunset. It was getting cold and the little one was far from sleeping, so we marched home.