Wednesday, March 13, 2013

March 13, 2013

Criminal Journal: March 13, 2013

     Ken Knight, to whom I’m dedicating this new journal, took the
photograph on the facing page. He calls it “Arsenal.” It’s supposed to show me armed to the teeth, ready to confront the next criminal who breaks into our bookshop at 1310 Glenwood Avenue, Greensboro, NC 27403: Glenwood Coffee and Books.
     I had just described the latest break-in and the bizarre police response to Ken–and to Andrew Saulters (whom I’ve renamed “Andrew The Good.”)*
Of course I dramatized the Event, the way I do. Ken and Andrew were laughing at my presentation. Ken said, “You should put that story in all your journals, Al.”
     “I certainly will,” I said, “All of them!”
     Then Ken said, “You should begin a new Journal. Criminal Journal.”
     He was probably thinking of all the break-ins we’ve had in this bookshop in a part of town with a bad reputation.
     This morning, Ken said I should call it “Crime Joournal.” But Criminal Journal I’m thinking, might make the reader think I’m the criminal–and so it’s a funnier title. Criminal Journal = a journal by a criminal.  Crime Journal is obviously, even at first glance, just a journal about crime.
     Ken and Andrew The Good were amused by the arsenal of stout sticks and broom handles, a 2”x4” I had assembled with which to protect myself and my bookshop. Ken whipped out his Smart Phone, the way people do these days, and he snapped the picture on the facing page. Then and there, he e-mailed it to me for use in my new journal. Phew, this technology!
* My first “re-naming” I just remembered was in my freshman year in college (1953), when there was this friend of my brother Dave, just too good to be true. His name was Jerry.  He was such a “oody Two-Shoes” that I renamed him “Noble Jerry.” Soon, everyone was calling him “Noble Jerry.”
It’s hard to believe I’ll be able to fill up an entire journal with “Criminal” undertakings.    
     For sure, I’ll begin with descriptions of the three break-ins. And how I’m feeling right after frightening intrusions. Two nights ago, I was awaken out of a sound sleep by a man standing right over my bed! For I sleep here, in the office of the bookshop. To save rent of course. No one has any money these days (except the one percenters.)
     Dave Reed says I may be entitled to “Section Eight” support from Welfare–in order to get a real apartment. My living quarters in the bookshop hardly even include a bed–I sleep on a couch with my cat, Glenwood. The room is filled with office supplies, file cabinets, two computers, bookcases . . . It’s an office after all. And my sleeping couch, which is usually piled with books, too. There’s a big desk. And it’s a little room to beign with. There’s no heat or hot water. No kitchen or stove. A dormitory-size refrigerator my friend, Sarah Mae, gave me. I use a clever little “pizza oven” for my all my stove needs. No, I don’t eat too well. Food Stamps, you know. $125 fifteenth of every month. It’s the 13th today, and of course my $125 is long gone. Prices at the local (ugh) Food Lion have gone up considerably since the recession began. And a poor neighborhood’s supermarket is always priced higher than the one you middle-classers whop at. For example, I live on hotdogs, and my favorites are Hebrew National (seven to a package). Food Lion charges $5.00 a package. But the middle-class fancy supermarket (Harris-Teeter) only charges $3,50.
     I don’t own a car. It would take me well over an hour via bus transportation to get to the Harris-Teeter. The Food Lion is a short 15-minute walk away. I bring my four-shweel buggy along with me, so I don’t have to heft heavy parcels back “home.” If you can call it a home.* Since the Laundromat is right next to Food Lion, I often add dirty laundry to my buggy–it gets washed while I shop.
*For more on the subject of car/nocar bus transportation, my “buggy,” my bicycle, see my journals: Bus Journal and Bike Journal.
     Bus Journal has been used at the local state university as a textbook the past six years, but the teachers tell me they’re not using it anymore.  Just as well, because I hate colleges and the academics who teach there. It’s pretty stupid to be a student these days, too. More and more bright kids are wise enough to drop out, and the best don’t even bother going. Of course their class-conscious parents practically imprison them and kill them if their offspring don’t (gulp!) attend college! My friend,. Antonia, is typical; she told her son if he didn’t attend college, she’d kick him out of their house and not give him a penny. Her bribes have given UNC-Asheville one more college freshman! Next will be all the resentments and misunderstandings, drug use, conflict, of such strong-arm tactics (“criminal”? As in Criminal Journal?)

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