These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

numbing control

let it be known that i enjoy a nice, cool glass of jack and coke. it's no secret, really. if mixed well, it's refreshing. if too much of the sour mash is added, then things begin to look a little odd and sounds are muffled.

in the past few weeks i've encountered myself on the verge of too much. don't get me wrong, i'm not shit-faced drunk or anything. i know what's happening and wake up fine the following morning. as i said, i'm on the verge.

recently we were at a downtown establishment and found ourselves with $2.25 drinks. what a deal, we thought. we must take advantage of that. normally these drinks are double that cost.

i zipped through one pretty quickly and started on another. at that point we found out that there was an error adn the drinks were only that price for special guests. we were not included. afterward, we got one drink at full price (the second free). then i went and started ona third one.

i should have known better. i began sipping at it and realized halfway through that things were beginning to happen. i was beginning to feel detached, sensewise. that's the best way i can describe the feeling. there was no spinning room or upset stomach or anything, not even slurred speech (although i doubt if i could get behind the wheel of a car).

i think my internal alarm went off. it's the alarm that tells me if i continue sipping on that jack and coke, you're going to lose control. so i put the brakes on. it happens most times.

over the past months when we get together to do various things and i get my drink on, i slow it down. i begin to sip slower and infrequently.

after this last time, we came back home and sat around and talked for awhile. that's all it took. my head cleared, the voices sounded unmuffled and i was back in the room.

i can't be out of control. i need to be in charge of my faculties. i guess that's why i can never get drunk, i mean shit-faced drunk. if i lose it, then who knows what will happen. god knows, i won't know because i won't be able to control myself.

so raise your glasses and three cheers to my internal alarm for letting me know when it's time to chill it out.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

back again

i returned to something that has become a love for me -- seeing and working with the migrant kids in the summer migrant program.

this time i went to mrs. owens class of fifth-graders and dawn and i did some work with them. it was fun. they were smart and respectful and it was another good experience for me and hopefully for them, too.

i created a fake news story rife with errors. they had to find the errors and then we went over the material together.

they had great questions for meat the end. i mentioned the importance of proofing and editing and pointed out the correction section of the paper. well, as it turned out, there was a mistake in an article that appeared monday. one of the girls was in a picture for kids healing kids and she pointed out a mistake. it said she was a third grader. she's actually going on to sixth grade. so i returned to work at noon and and typed up the error for wednesday's edition.

i slipped into steph's class again and had a little fun with the kids. i helped juan out with some questions and listened to marlynn read a book before i had to leave.

i brought copies of the kids healing kids article for juan and arlette, who i quoted in the article. they were very pleased. this is the second time juan is in the paper. arlette might hve been in it before, too. before i left, arlette said, "thanks for making me famous."

this evening our intern went out to check out some catecism program that involves migrant kids. he comes back shortly after 7 and tells me, "you've got quite a reputation."

i didn't know what he was talking about. then he said that after the migrant kids found out that the intern worked for the sentinel, about 10 rushed to h im and asked, "do you know mr. garcia? do you know mr. garcia?" then they started telling him about the monkey poo story from last july. i couldn't believe they still remembered i. the intern said they knew it prettygood.

it feels nice to have made an impact with these kids. they like me and i like them. we've bonded in some strange way. i know steph and dawn are having a positive impact on their lives. i'm glad to contribute my little bit to their lives and hope that some wil remember me in some way as they grow up. perhaps as they're struggling with a paper in college or reading some funny story.

i feel quite blessed to have had these kids dropped in my life. they're special, more than a diversion or simply something to do. i believe i've got a stake in their lives.

yeah i know, i sound like i'm full of it. but i think i m ust disagree with you here.
this is a good thing. a very good thing. and i'll enjoy further communication with them.