Dontcha hate it when...(revised)

you get unwanted visitors? On your blog, that is. Not uninvited, because hey, it's a public place, so everyone is invited, right? At least in theory. But there are always those people who you'd just rather not visit. Somtimes they're people from your real world life, sometimes they're online folks who've discovered your blog but, for one reason or another, don't want to show themselves; not a troll, but a commited lurker who seems to take pleasure in keeping tabs on you anonymously. A reader who reads not for friendly interest, but to see how s/he might be able to use what you write to mess with you. More intrusive than a lurker. Hmmm. An interloper - yeah, I'll refer to this person as The Interloper. Times like these, I'd love to make Pink Slip Central a members-only site. (Just another reason I'd consider abandoning Movable Type - it doesn't support password protecting my blog. Actually, there is a plugin that appears to do it, but it's way too complicated for me to attempt. And I've considered IP banning, but I don't have the full IP address, only the first several digits and the domain, and I don't want to block an entire domain.) So for now, I must remember that people are reading.

Addendum: I realize that my intentionaly obtuse reference above may have made some of you wonder whether I was talking about you. Let me assure you: if we know each other, online or off, and have had communication of any kind regarding this blog (comments, email, telephone calls, conversations in person, etc.), then you are not the target of my comments . The Interloper is one who likes to think s/he is visiting anonymously and unnoticed. The Interloper is wrong.

Oh, and hello, by the way, from Philadelphia, where I am staying with family for the week and where I merrily packaged up all of my liquids and gels this morning and shipped them via UPS to my new house to avoid losing all of them at the airport this weekend when d and I fly up to NH.) It's always something!

The Gang's All Here

The year I started first grade at Horace Mann, we got a rental, a bungalow, on Hudson. My room had pink carpet and a water bed. It was one of the first versions, supported by 2x6’s and no heater. I used to chase the bubble from corner to corner. My neighbor, Neil, poked the bubble, just at the edge, not too deep. My mother found the hole after she stepped into my room in the dark, backlit by the lamp in the hall. She swore and left the room. I had no idea. The leak was slow, and like my nightmares, came at night. Neil denied it. His mother fascinated me. She was British and wore aprons when she cooked and insisted on sterilizing the backyard plastic pool with scalding water from her kettle. It would mix with the cold water and create brief warm spots. Neil and I would fight, in the mottled light beneath a huge and dying Elm, for the places and pretend we had peed.

Dougie lived four doors down and had a burr haircut. His hair was platinum and I could see right through it. He wore Tuff-skins, t-shirts, and taught me how to ride his bike and how to jump chain link fences to get to the field behind our neighborhood. There we watched giant ants move methodically over the red dirt, flattened pennies on the railroad tracks. Ms. Johnson lived in the apartments across the field. She would play go fish with us, feeding us Alessi breadsticks, and powered milk for snacks. Once, she went on vacation and came back married. He cheated at cards, but insisted on snack cakes for treats, so we didn’t complain. When it was really hot, she would agree sit on her balcony and watch us in the complex pool. I felt sorry for Neil; his mother wouldn’t allow him to jump the fence. Dougie would tell him that she couldn’t really know, but he was afraid to defy her matriarchal order. Neil’s parents met while he was stationed in the Air Force. A snapshot wedding picture sat on top of the television. He was shorter than her, balding, and uniformed. Her cat-eye glasses reflected the flash, she held his arm loosely, posed.