Sunday, May 28, 2006

The art of writing


How quickly can a week go by. That is 7 days,or 168 hours, or in 'RENT' terms, 10080 minutes. And within all that time, I did not have a moment to sit down and post. I could not fathom the idea of writing a book. I am not completely sure whether it was time, because I do not remember any moment during that time when I thought, "hum, let me write about that". How do writers do it?

But in all honesty, I have been thinking about making myself sit down and writing a book. It does not have to be published. It would be for me, and anyone related to me, or acquainted, who will make me want to feel good by reading it. This notion is not new. As a junior in college one of our professors made us write down our long term goals; 5 years, 10 years, 20 years. I do not remember what the first two goals were; I bet they dealt with work, and I am pretty sure I somehow forgot about them. But the last goal was about writing a book. That was 21 years ago.

So throughout all these years I have always thought about a story to tell. How do you start? What do you write about? And why? Just to entertain? To entice? To tease? To teach? Involving the crowd into your story, taking them to another place, making them laugh or cry is part of the essence of writing. And what genre will I choose? I am not a horror or mys(t)ery 'KING'. While I am a romantic, I am not sappy enough to write a love story. And worst yet, while I have a good sense of humor, I would not be able to write comedy. Therefore, at the end it would have to be a book about the things related to my career, which I would love to do, and/or some sort of non-fiction based on things that have happened in my life. Sort of ala James Frey, but without the lies.

Many close friends have laughed and wandered at some of the things that have happened in my life. They say they are things that only happen in movies. I definitely agree with plenty of those assessments. I will soon sit down and consider starting that book.

In the meantime, these thoughts have made me very curious. I read so many things from so many of you. If you are reading this post, I would like to know, if you were to write a book, what would you write about?

Barry Bonds passes Ruth with 715th* home run


Barry Bonds passes Ruth with 715th* home run.
There is no exclamation mark at the end of that sentence; if any, maybe a question mark. And yes, that number carries an asterisk. No one needs to see it; its bigger than the 800 pound gorilla in the room.

I do not tend to write about the strong feelings and opinions I have on sports and politics. But this one needs attention. This topic is as simple as name asssociation; I say a word, you give me a name. If I say Baseball, many will say Babe Ruth. If I say steroids, many will say Barry Bonds.

Here are the facts; Barry Bonds testified to a Federal Grand Jury investigating Bay Area Laboratories Co-operative (BALCO) that he bought and used substances known as the cream and the clear. Substances found out to be steroids and human growth hormones. But that he thought they were just flaxseed oil and a rubbing cream for arthritis (there it is.. flaxseed oil, if only Ruth Knew). The Federal Government prosecutors also presented Bonds with documents detailing a calendar of steroids use with his name on it(steroids like birth control pills must be administered on a schedule), billing details, and a possible positive laboratory test (you would perform the test to make sure the steroids are going undetected). All this information is found on the book Game of Shadows (you may also click on some of the links on this story and follow the archives on the San Francisco Chronicle website).

How are these the facts and not inventions of the two writers? The same Federal Government has handed out subpoenas to the writers of the book in order to find out how the secret testimony of a grand Jury was leaked out. If you are not familiar with the proceedings of a Grand Jury, witnesses are subpoena and deposed in order to prove the government case; in this case the target was BALCO, not Barry Bonds. In their deposition witnesses cannot incriminate themselves if they are not the target of the probe. However, confessing to wrongdoing can ruin their lives. On the other hand, if they lie, they run the risk of setting themselves up for purgery. That is why witnesses will use terms like 'I never knowingly ....' Still, an investigation on Bonds possible perjury started less than a month ago.

So now that you have your hard fact you may say that Baseball did not have an active ruling on steroids, so it is not Bonds fault. That McGuire and Sosa reaped the benefits, and now that they are out of baseball, they wont be punished. However, the commissioner recently said that an investigation of steroids used in baseball may lead to ban these players from any relationship with Major League Baseball; read, no presentations, no signings, significantly less money to be made (ask Pete Rose) in the future since they wouldnt be able to do anything that bares the emblem of MLB... which is pretty much everything baseball.

As a little kid I remember watching the news of Hank Aaron hitting home run number 715, and becoming the new home run king! I must have turned to every TV channel looking for the replay. Aaron faced racism, death threats and ignorance. I was a kid and I could not stand up for his dignity. But I am not going to turn my face away from that dignity being trampled by the selfishness and hipocrisy of one man who claims is the victim of a racial injustice. NO Barry, you are commiting the injustice. Aaron, the ever humbled man has not lauded Bonds nor has he made any negative comments. It took Bonds 2000 less at-bats than it took Aaron to hit 715.

Today, Barry rejoiced in his 'record' while running the bases. Only one of his 'teammates' came to meet him. On his mandated after-game interview, with hallow eyes darting around rather than someone focus on what he was saying, he thanked his teammates. But, it is well documented that Bonds is one of the worst teammates in baseball, even sitting separately from them in the locker room. He also said that he wouldn't disrespect Aaron's record; I certainly hope so. He was lucky that today he was playing in San Francisco; anywhere else (but Oakland, accross from the bay in San Francisco) he would have heard the boos. At least, I was preparing myself to do that, as he starts a three day-games series here in Florida tomorrow. So much for the hipocrisy of life; him to them, and viceversa. I was ten years old in 1974 and in awed of a sportsman. Today I am sad to see that the circus is still in town, what should be a celebration, is not. And I should have been looking forward to cheer a hero, instead I will jeer a zero.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Things that make you go HUMMmm!!


I decided late yesterday that I needed to take a day off. Maybe more, but I have some meetings scheduled during the next few days and therefore, need to prepare. There were some 'domestic' things I needed to tend to also, that seem to vanish from my mind when I'm wrapped up in work (like scheduling an appointment for my car to be serviced). So I took a vacation day today, slept in (Sunday nights are my worst sleeping nights) and treated myself to Starbucks this morning.

Besides an airport, there might not be a better place to watch people than at a Starbucks. I have a pound of their Verona coffee beans at home, but its nice to relax at their place, with my newspaper, sipping, watching, and having a nice orange-cranberry muffin. It provides a nice environment to absorb a lot of things that make you go HUMMmm..!

First of all, is it really the coffee that makes us go there? You should see the line forming at times. For Christ sake, its $1.40 for a cup of regular coffee. Allow me to quote 'Joe Fox'; " The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don't know what the hell they're doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall! Decaf! Cappuccino". He might have a point.

While I sipped and enjoyed my relaxation state, I noticed a man in his late 40's who walked in, and sat down in one of the retro looking couches. Time goes by and nothing happens; he has picked up one of the sections of a left over paper and is looking throught it, but at the same time his eyes were darting around. FBI, CIA, Terrorist?? - I wondered. HUMMmm.. Nah!; none of the above. I decided he is a member of one of the many dating sites in cyber space. I know this because a woman walked in looked around without recognizing anyone, when all of the sudden the man said her name in a question form. They sat down, they ran through the gamut of nicetries, but later on I saw no connection and their body language spoke of 'I want go, but I don't want to be rude'. I enjoyed watching the exchange. It made me also wonder, HUMMmm, are they both completely single?

A very young looking girl walks in, mid 20's but not older, with what it seems to be her daughter. She is outstandingly good looking! White - see through sort of capris, that revealed her very small (Victoria Secret) lavender - thong underwear. A spaghetti strap blouse contoured to her definitely enhanced breast, which makes her a D cup in what otherwise would be a small 34 inch frame (if at that). Her clothes spoke of someone just getting out of bed, but you could tell they were not inexpensive. Her arms were a very feminine testament to a membership in some gym. The 'baristas' said hello to her by her name, and this reminded me of when I used to be a regular at this place and all the workers would welcomed me by name. As I observed her interaction with her daughter, who seemed to be around 6 years old, I noticed no ring on her finger. I wondered, HUMMmm, what does she do for a living? whats the story of her life? That is it, no other thought. And not that I wanted to think bad, just a real curiosity of that.

Finally, I see this lady in line; she seems a little bit edgy, impatient. She goes grab a bag of coffee and asked the cashier, out loud, how much it cost. The cashier, stunned for a second or two, stops charging the person in front of him, looks at the coffee, then at the board and answered her question, "$9.99". She starts pulling out money from her pocket, and she says 'here is $11.00' and starts leaving in on top of the glass counter that houses the pastries, and turns around and walks out. Of course, the cashier stops whatever he was doing, and so did the person assisting the cashier, and they took care of logging transaction in another register. In the meantime, everyone in line had to wait; including the person standing in front of the cash register with money at hand. And this makes me wonder, HUMMmm.. what in the world makes people think they are ENTITLED to do things like that? Am I entitled to voluntarily take her out of her misery? HUMMmm..how many years would I get for doing it? Would the jury side with me?

And as I started writing this post, I started getting hungry. And while thinking that I have only had sort of a continental breakfast today, I started thinking if an Egg McMuffin would have satisfied me more this morning. Maybe I could stop by and get one tomorrow. But then I wondered, HUMMmm, how healthy could an Egg McMuffin be. And thought that maybe the 'hot cakes' would be a better choice. Well, I am afraid not. Here is a link to the Nutritional Facts from McDonalds; Egg McMuffin, 300 calories, Hotcakes with syrup 520, with no protein value whatsoever.

Things that make you go HUMMmm!

PS..Please stop by "Hale McKay"s blog "It Occurred To Me" and wish him a quick recovery (see his comment at the end of my last post).

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Help!


I just got arrested for possesion of good looks. They are holding me at the station saying that only a SEXY person can come and bail me out.....
ARE YOU CUCOMING OR NOT???????

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Too close for comfort?

You might have seen it on the news; I know CNN and FOX ran stories. Last Wednesday an alligator attacked and caused the death of a 28 years old south Florida woman who had gone jogging early evening. 3 fatal attacks in a matter of 4 days here in Florida.
You will likely have a better chance of being struck by lightning (by the way Florida is the lightning capital of the world).

Before these attacks only 18 fatal attacks have been recorded in Florida throughout history. The total number in the US equals 25. Why do I refer to fatal attacks, and write that the alligator caused the death of this woman? Because contrary to popular believe, alligators do not feed on humans (they find us too salty) but their modus operandi of taking their victims under water and doing 'death rolls' can easily cause death. In the case of this 28 years old woman, the lose of blood after losing her two arms, caused the death. She was found floating, but her lungs were not completely filled with water as a drowning victim's lung would be.

These encounters might seem so far away from civilization. But they are not. This incident took place along **MY** jogging and biking path. A little bit past my three mile mark. The canal runs east to west. One of many in South Florida. Many created by the Army Corps of Engineers which brings water from the Everglades and Lake Ockechobee (that big hole that you see just south of central Florida on any map) to support the infrastructure of that 'civilization'. The everglades itself is just about 3-4 miles further than where the attack seems to have taken place.

Let me use the actual pictures to give you a better idea. The over pass that you see does the following; 12-14 miles east (this picture looks east) completely straight up along the canal, and along I-595 you find Downtown Fort Lauderdale, its airport and port and the beaches. If you head out west, you have to cross over 80 miles of road throughout the Everglades to make it to Naples, Fl. Heading south on I-95, or to the right of the picture above, some 30 miles down the road you find Miami. Do you see that yellow dot on the map? Above you'll see NW 8th St; I live on the quadrant above that. And on the picture above, if you look at the right hand, middle of the picture, right behind the two men standing waist level, you'll see the path. While it can be as deserted as it looks (there is two-lane state road next to it), many of us use it for recreational purposes.

Having lived here since 1990, I know that the gators make their ways into the canals, and into the man made lakes that adorn 98% of our communities; especially when there are droughts that force them into looking for alternative methods of feeding and/or habitats. Last year, one ate a dog that was just on the back yard of a house. Therefore, everytime I go on a run, I am always looking at the canal. I will admit, more out of curiosity than precaution. However, when I am on the bike I worry a little more because, at that speed, encountering a gator crossing the path all of the sudden, would not provide good alternatives (except that if I was 15, I would probably try to jump over the reptile with my bike).

This particular young woman seems to have sat down by the edge of the canal. Another of the victims in the state was snorkeling in an Ocala lake. Alligators do not go out of their way to attack humans. So while these encounters might seem like something out a fiction book, trust me, with a little of common sense, they become a very small preoccupation for some of us.

UPDATE
Those last two picture on the right were emailed to me by Lori; believe these were taken by the chopper following the Gator in the Ocala, Florida attack. Thanks Lori. Reporting from Florida with my correspondent in Georgia, "Tony-out"!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

HMD!

Happy Mother's Day!!

Sons and daughters.. call your mom and say you love her...
Mothers, spend time with your kids, hug and tell them you love them.. you don't know what tomorrow brings.
If you are stranged from your mother, call just to say hello..
if your mother is decease, say a prayer, and call your aunts, sisters, etc!

Happy Mother's Day MOM!
Happy Mother's Day SDH!

Friday, May 12, 2006

A message from beyond.



ring..ring...
ring.. ring..

Hola!!
This is the QWest operator, Is this Tony Melendez?
?? - One and only!
This is a collect call from Oceania; do you accept?
Oceania??? Isn't that a ficticious place in London? Who is calling?
He says he is name is George.
Hummm... ok.. I'll play .. patch him thru.

Hello Tony..? This is George Orwell.
Reeeally.
It is, I am calling you from the next world.
The next world?? You mean that besides 1984 now you are able to predict the next world??
No stupid, from the afterlife.
Stupid??? I was not the one that came up with a pig revolution. What is this anyway, my recreation of Haley Joel Osment "I 'hear' dead people"? By the way, how is Old Major?
Listen to me, you must resist the Brotherhood.
That did not do any good to Winston or Julia. Besides, people are getting shot on hunting accidents. What is this your idea of an obstinate logical fallacy? You were off by 20 years my friend; So what if you called it in the 1940's? By the way George, did you ever get any royalties from The Matrix?

ring ring...
ring ring..
George, I've got to let you go... I have got call waiting and.. oh, I'll explain call waiting to you on the next life. Also, and before I forget, I am not sure if at the end of Animal Farm you were calling those running the totalitarian government pigs or dumb like animals...

Sí?
Qwest operator with a collect call for Tony Melendez from John Steinbeck.
Hum, someone has been dusting off the classics.
Hello Tony, I saw you had been looking over some of my books recently.
John with this immigrant protest I wanted to quickly go over "Of Mice and Men". Just wanted to remember the story of George and Lennie, and the their quest and lost for the American dream.
Did you ever read Joseph Heller?
Sure, "CATCH-22", I aced that test in high school. The main character was an innocent man wrongfully jailed in order to keep fighting a war that had no reason. He portrayed the idea that only the mad fight the war, but if you're not mad, then you should be smart enough to know you need to fight the war. A long winded story with the moral that rationalization (not reason) can be used for the wrong purposes when the general population does not protest against such use or lack the sense to recognize the dangers of such a technique...... hum.. I think Im getting the notion here. John, why do dead people use Qwest to call anyway?
They did not give up personal information of telephone records.
Aaaahhhhh...

ring..ring..
ring.. ring..

John I've got to go, my call w.... , I'll chat with you later.

Buenos Dias!!
Mr Tony Melendez? This is the ATT operator, you have a collect call from Richard Nixon.
I do?? OK..
Go a head Dick
Tony, I read your blog where you say Jimmy Carter and I were at the bottom of your 'good presidents list', until just recently. You need to know that I am not a crook.
I am not sure if at your age and situation you are still a crook Dick.
I ordered the Watergate break-in to find out if there were any Al-Qaida connections.
Really? I failed to turn in my report because the dog ate, Im sorry because I thought it might be related to Al-Qaida also. Listen Dick, You ran out of rationalizations long time ago, what do you think you are doing?
It seems to be working for some people; not even I abuse the NSA that much.
I am not sure for how much longer; soon only 2 out of 10 people will need to wake up to the realization that this administration is becoming more totalitarian, taken civil liberties away under the pretext of a war, and making unilateral decisions without much regard to our system of laws which is already in place. And the rationalization that we have not been attacked since September 11th is getting very hallow. Before then, we had not been attacked since I was born, and this non-sense was not taking place. I moved away from my parents long time ago. If I wanted it to be controlled, I would have stayed with them. By the way Dick, why are you using ATT?
I have a penchant for having my personal conversations recorded.
I see...

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Taking off the Gloves!


THAT IS IT! I'm done! I am taking off the gloves!!

I have been trying to deal with a personal situation in a tactful way; trying to spare pain, confrontation and escalation. But there is no choice! I am shouldering the burden, the pain, and at the end, I am going to be the one to basically lose? No way! Either I take the gloves off or spread the pain. And it is not pretty when I take the gloves off.

Say you have a very close, intimate friend. You share a lot of things (emotions, secrets, fears, etc). You have developed this friendship throughout 7 1/2 years of your mature life. You'd give anything up for this person. You do not count the ways; you do not expect anything in return. You would basically die for this person.

Now, you have another very good friend. You introduce them; you ask one of them to look out for the other one when you are not around. You talk to each one of them about the other. They act like strangers around you, until you find out that they have had their own 'friendship' going on, and were keeping it away from you. You feel like an idiot; a fool. Disrespected. You inquire about this, and they deny it, even though you knew they were together the day before. After the initial denial, no one opens up and gives a satisfactory answer. Everything gets spinned back to you; "you're too intense".. Immediately after the confrontation you get an email saying "Im sorry". Then 2 days go by , another email comes in: "I am sorry to tell you, its better if we are not friends anymore". WHAT???

You naturally ask your friend about this. You are told the friendship needs to cool off. 6 months go by, you try everything to be nice, while at the same time give space; you even call and say "I miss my friend, can we forget about the situation". That is not an easy task, but because this is what the role of a friend calls for, you undertake it without much self doubt. You are there to catch your friends when they fall, and they should be able to do the same.

You call your friend because you heard your friend is sick. You do this in two consecutive days, knowing that if there is no answer at least the caller ID will record your miss call; no call back, no even an email. Mind you, you had send an email over 10 days ago and you have not gotten a response. Is this a cool off or a "puck off"?

So I might have called out my friend out on a situation, which obviously was not of his/her fondness. "Who are you to question me on this?", or "how is this your business?'. I even dared questioned how special was really our friendship, to which I was told "dont insult me with that question". But, here I am; trying to mend, to learn, to understand, to be the friend who sticks thru tick or thin, rather than turning my back and walking away. I told you, I would die for this person.

But, for anyting in life, I cannot live without reason. And without it, I am losing my patience. What kills me is the lack of sensitivity towards the way I feel; independantly of whether I am right or wrong. No approach to see how am I doing; no pipe-smoking offering. So based on that, why not throw this thing out in the open? Take the silk gloves out and put the boxing gloves on. You might ask, why not walk away, just like the email said. But I ask, is that what friends do? One walks out without much care as to why? And the other one just lets it happen? Is it really not my business? Does my friend at least owes me an explanation? The common courtesy to sit down and say 'something'?
One of the things that makes me special is my decisive way of not letting my intimate friends down; why should it be any different now?

Friday, May 05, 2006

3Ms (Most Memorable Moment) series
Two years gone by...

Friday, May 7th, 2004....

I had just awaken in a hotel in NY, opened up the curtains and looked at the beautiful skyline of Manhattan; " wow.. 40 years ago my mom was walking those streets, just 2 months pregnant with me", was my first thought. The afternoon before an undescribable stomach ache had overtaken me. I can now call it a premonition. I gathered my bags as this was my last day of a week assignment and went to work. Around 0940am, my cell rang. My dad's cell flashed on my caller ID. I knew immediately; there was the call I had feared all my life.

"Hello?" Silence. "heellloo"?..
My Dad's voice trembling tried to utter my name.
"Dad, whats wrong with mom?"- I inquired trying to make him get to the point.
"Your mom is not doing well" were the words.
I have known my dad too long and have seen him make these sort of calls before; he was understating. Little did I know that he was in his car driving behind the ambulance that was taken mom to the hospital.

Mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2001. The illness, thank God, never got her sick. The week before May 7th, my dad had called worrying because mom was losing too much weight. I pleaded with her on Thursday April 29th to go see the Dr., despite her reluctancy. On friday she saw her Dr., who made her come to the hospital on Monday and tuesday for some treatments. I spoke with her that tuesday to see how it went; she was in the best mood. My dad still recounts how funny she was on the way home. That was her last tuesday.

While sitting at a gate awaiting my flight to Puerto Rico, I called my mom's cell and my aunt answered. Two hours have passed by since dad's initial call, and my aunt said that she had recovered and was sitting up in her 'emergency room' having some soup. " Do you want to talk to her?" My aunt asked. "no; just do me a big favour (then I broke down ) tell her that whatever happens, to wait for me." My aunt confessed later not daring to say those words to her. It didn't matter.

While sleeping on the plane 'an electrical glitch' woke me up for a few seconds. The non-smoking sign flashed on and off. This sign should be on the entire time. I looked at my wacth in order to capture the moment;a few minutes before 3pm. I was born a few minutes before 3pm; I learned later that around that time my mom's body had shut down for the second time. The first being in the morning. I arrived to the hospital around 525pm to find a comatose body which showed signs of life when I started talking. Although I had ran to my dad first, where I encountered for the first time a very distraught man, he had had more than he could handle and didnt want to go to the room with me. It was just an only son and his mother. I talked to her for about 10 minutes, saying everything I thought I could say, trying not to waste time drowned in tears. When I was done, her vitals spiraled down.

She had waited!

We had the burial that Sunday; Mother's Day that year. The way I wanted it; no better honor. The fourth commandment. The clothes I wore that friday and sunday are now only worn on those days. The hospital Visitor's name tag, still glued to the inside of my ash-grey blazer. God wanted me gone that week. If I would have been at work in Miami, I would have been at the hospital by 1pm. The pain would have multiplied for all of us. Was my stomach ache my spirit's recognition that I had just said goodbye too my mom?

Appreciate your loved ones, and the ones who love you.. we never know what tomorrow brings.

Two years gone by...

UPDATE
After writing my post this afternoon, I found The Ed Blog.Please pay him a visit, especially his "100 bloggers 1000 bucks" post. Ed has engange in a fundraising campaign and is doing the Relay for Life in Dearborn, Michigan THIS weekend, which benefits the American Cancer Society. And if you happen to see this on or after the weekend, still visit; Ed is asking for a $10.00 donation to carry your blog name one lap during the raly. But since this is more about fund raising donate whatever you can! I am sure Ed will appreciate it, and so would I! Also, I found his blog thru Kate's blog at Someone else's Horoscope. Kate, just like me, lost her mother to cancer.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bigotry, Blurry lines and Blind Justice


This past weekend, while laying out at my community pool, taken advantage of a very glorious day here in South Florida, and catching up on my reading, I witnessed a very ugly scene. One that, still today, when I think about it, boils the blood in my veins.

There is a black family which lives a few houses to the right, and across from my town house. I do not know if all 8 kids that I see playing football or other games in my street belong there. Remember, this is South Florida, and it is not uncommon for people moving in from the Caribbean to do this when they first get here. Lord knows I have a few Hispanic relatives who have done the 'sardine in a can' style of living for a while. This family seems to be Jamaican (not only the accent but the flag on the car gives it away), and they all seem to go in and come out of the same house.

The kids, ranging from 8 -17, are just that, kids. They play ball without much regard to balls smashing cars, or them running into something. Not to mention the need to create loud screams. At the pool, they are some sort of a menace. Running wild around the edge of the pool, screaming, wrestling, splashing. When I go in there and see them in the pool, I know its not going to be a quiet time. Plus, unsupervised, there are times when I have to intervene. I do this in a didactic, non-threatening way. This is definitely a pain in my butt; but they have as much right to be there as I do. Not too long ago, one white adult literally 'bullied' the kids out because they were being too loud. As I was leaving, I told him he could have made his point and act like an adult at the same time.

However, this past Sunday another white male adult did not see their playing as their right. Either that, or like many adults, he thinks that because now he is an adult, he has all the answers. He brought his 7 years old daughter to play. Obviously, this quiet girl, was not going to join the rough horse playing of the boys. To the contrary, she was sort of in the way of these kids playing inside the pool. Not only that but his father sitting outside, was also subject to the effects of the situation.

Here is how I approach my life; if its raining, and I don't want to get wet, I don't go out. The same when I go to the pool; I try to sit as far as possible from the splashing to avoid my books and materials being ruined, while allowing the kids their space to play. But it might happen. So as I was reading my book, I heard the father's first contact with one of the kids " YO, HOMEY, you are getting me wet". My eyes lifted from my book, under my sunglasses, towards the man in a piercing stare; but he wasn't looking at me.

He started asking about their parents, but not in a firm voice, and no one seemed to listen to him. He did not push the issue. There is a rule that says children cannot be unattended at the pool. As the play kept going, he kept getting splashed, the nerf football landed by his girl too many times. What else could you expect. He had enough. He stood up and was resolute to show who was boss; 'Why are you people so loud? This is a residential pool. It belongs to those of us who live here, and we don't like it being that loud. And you are not supposed to be here'.

He was livid! The kids got quiet and scared. The little girl was also scared, continuously staring at her dad. I was working myself up for a big argument. I was afraid because I was so angry, I did not just want to argue. But, how do you berate someone on a racist issue in front of children? While thinking of what I wanted to say and do, he started using some mild cuss words and accusing the boys of taking 'I do not know what' from his wife a couple of weeks ago at the pool. Well, that made me paused, but then I realized that if that was true, or so important, he would have made this his issue since the beginning.

I also realized at that same moment that one or two of the kids had left the pool and ran home to tell their parents. I knew what was coming next and did not want any part of the action. I gathered my things, got up, looked at the man, whom I was ready to tell off, but I also saw his daughter, still looking; frightened. When his eyes met mine, I shook my head in disapproval and disdain, and walked away in obvious disgust. As I was reaching the gate I could see the boys' mother charging towards the pool with the contingent of kids who wanted retribution right behind her. "Are you the man cursing at my kids?" she angrily barked. "No, that will be that guy over there", I replied as I pointed to the man. But, right before I opened my mouth, I heard one of the kids say, "not him mom; he is nice". Before I kept walking, I said "ma'am he deserves what's coming, but he has a point, an adult should be here your kids".

I do not know how the showdown went. All I could think was about the little girl frightened by his dad's myopic and racist actions and consequences. And I thought about these little kids' life, for I had seen two adults already MIS-treating them not for being kids, but black kids. But all that did not matter as much as yesterday when I came in from work; one of them was in his bicycle, and as I got out of my car, he said "nice ride sir", I smiled, looked up and told him "Thanks! Make sure you study and work hard to get one also!" It was his way to gratefully reach out to this NICE male white man!