Tuesday, May 29, 2007

It Runs in the Family

It's Saturday night and I am frantically getting ready to head to the art center for the final performance of "Macbeth." My mother has agreed to babysit Arabis for the night and is sitting at the table with my daughter, eating dinner.

From in the bathroom, I hear the following conversation:

Grandma: "Arabis, do you know how to scare a bee?"

Arabis: "Bee!"

Grandma: "You sneak up behind it very quietly and a great big voice yell, BOO BEE!"

Arabis: (giggling) "Boo-bee! Boobie! BOOBIE!!!!!!!!"

(Thanks, Mom.)

In other news: I promise a full post with updates very soon. My life has been crazed these past few months what with moving into a bigger live/work space (in the same building), rehearsing for and performing in a 13-show run of "Macbeth" in Berkeley (just closed this weekend), another possibly big thing in the works that I can't talk about right now and Arabis's second birthday. A lot has been going on. But I miss this forum and I miss everyone (Hi, Boogiemum!) and look forward to being a regular presence on the Interschnitzel once again.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Conversations With My Daughter

Me: Are you my evil minion?

Arabis: Yeah!

Me: Are we going to take over the world?

Arabis: Yeah, yeah!!

Me: Is Mama a benevolent dictator?

Arabis: Eh (shrugs shoulders).

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Living on the Freeway

Some of you local San Francisco Bay Area types may have heard of an accident recently involving a tanker loaded with gasoline and a particularly grueling stretch of freeway. What you may not know is that I live, oh, less than half a mile from the section of freeway in question. And now, thanks to the powers that be, all freeway traffic that would normally be bypassing my lonely stretch of industrial West Oakland is hurtling down the major thoroughfare in front of my house at freeway-like speeds.

I've watched the news the last few days (those of you can be as aghast as you want to find that this is not a normal occurrence for me) and listened to traffic reporters gratefully relating how traffic has been lighter than normal. There was even a mobile news van set up on the corner for about six hours on Monday with a reporter going on camera every hour or so. Had I known what kind of hogwash they'd be spilling, I'd have run out there with Arabis in tow and given them what for.

"How's this traffic affecting the neighborhood?" Ross McGowan of KTVU asks the anonymous reporter hanging out at the Arco station up the street.

"Oh, it's no big deal. It's great for small businesses," our clueless correspondent replied.

There is, wait let me count, *ONE* small business between the two points on the detour and that is (da-da-da-DAH, you guessed it!) the ARCO Station (known in the neighborhood as Crackhead Central).

The reality is that between the cars racing down the street, the exhaust that has easily trebled (if not more), the noise pollution of horns, engines and screeching brakes (not to mention the almost constant drone of the helicopters overhead) have made this a nightmare. The irony of the entire situation is there are other routes one could take that go through less populated areas and shorter distances. One news report does have the decency to urge drivers to "Please use extreme caution while driving this detour route as it makes it way through neighborhoods with children playing and going to school." But judging from the behavior of the drivers outside my window, that is not happening.

I inadvertently drove above the site early Sunday morning (probably less than six hours after it occurred) while going to breakfast, having heard nothing about it previously (other than the incessant helicopters {which in my 'hood could just signify a big drug bust}). It was the most frightening thing I have ever seen. Instant flashbacks to the Loma Prieta earthquake. Especially since I live right in front of the site of the old Cypress Freeway structure that collapsed in that disaster.

Who knows how long this will take to fix, especially with a purported shortage of steel (most of which is going into the new Bay Bridge currently being built). Estimates range from six weeks to months.

Free public transit on Monday was a good start, but it seems it's going to take more than a little freeway collapse to get folks out of their cars. Until then, can anyone recommend a good air filter?