Rachel Starnes

Theft and independence

photo / danesparza Creative Commons license graphic 

I’m trying to imagine the look on the face of whoever stole my credit card number as they roll up to the Selma, California, Wienerschnitzel this morning for what has become an almost daily pilgrimage. Their likely agenda, based on my husband Ross’s and my recent profanity-laced examination of the last three weeks of our online credit card statement:

11:30am: Roll out of bed and throw on some flip-flops for a hearty drive-through breakfast at Wienerschnitzel.

Noon: Hit up Wal-Mart for the day’s first $400 shopping spree. [Suspected purchases: stacks of bad top-40 CDs, XL yellow tube top, power tools, crate of Huggies for miscellaneous spawn, Natural Lite beer].

2:00pm: Stop by Valero to gas up the monster truck and buy cigs and Slim Jims.

Lord of the Flies at the neighborhood bus stop

Lord of the Flies at the neighborhood bus stop At this point, any adult would be justified in yelling at this little shit, perhaps addressing him accurately as, “Hey, you little shit,” but I was exhausted, breathless, and stunned, and trying to think how to address the kid without profanity and coming up with nothing, and then, THEN I think I hear this, muttered under his breath: “What are you looking at, bitch?”

Custom fit

Custom fit But every time I come back home, the message is clearer: Austin is different from most of Texas; urban Texas is a whole different world from rural Texas. With every anti-Bush bumper sticker, every cross-dressing hobo, and every vegan diner I pass in Austin, I realize that what used to look like plain, old home to me is in fact consciously, and even aggressively, weird compared to much of the rest of the state.

So a rabbi walks into a bridge club meeting…

So a rabbi walks into a bridge club meeting... In one way, I suppose this is comforting – there’s a chain of command established now between the Navy and me and our extended family, and a set of considerations we’ve agreed upon that will minimize the possibility of confusion. But in another way, it’s exceedingly bizarre to choreograph, in advance, the most tragic moment of one’s life.