The biggest news this week was that I finally told Chris where babies come from. Mostly. Since he is only eight years old and still refers to his penis as a weiner, I had trouble using technical terms like vagina and instead told Chris the baby came out of a birth hole. (To all the women reading this, I’m sorry. I panicked.) At first Chris thought I was referring to the derrière, but when I explained that babies did not come out of a woman’s butt and that there was a second opening, he emitted a shriek of horror that pretty much guaranteed that if/when the day comes that he finally does see a vagina, he will either run screaming from the room or refer to it as a birth hole.
Also this week, Chris received his first report card of the year. Four B’s and six A’s, including an impossible 114% in Spanish. Which is funny since Chris cannot speak a word of Spanish and when telling me about the recently celebrated Dia de Los Muertos (or Day of the Dead), he told me it was the day “you put out cookies for all the dead kids so they could come back to life”. I don’t know about you, but I’m not baking a bunch of cookies so that creepy ghost children can roam around my house like extras on the set of The Walking Dead.
The front steps of the church where I work is a popular meet-up spot for the city’s homeless. This past Tuesday we were hosting at least eight of Pittsburgh’s most notable grifters, including a couple making out in a manner that could only be described as voracious. When I went out to clear the steps one of the guys told me to “fuck off”. After I said that I would not fuck off, he muttered “faggot” under his breath. One-Legged Scooter Woman found this funny and laughed. I hate One-Legged Scooter Woman. Long after the others had left the steps she sat there glaring at me as if to say, “Go ahead. Tell the woman with one leg to move.”
She is part of a revolving cast of characters at the church that includes Crazy Black Lady with the Orange Shawl, Blanket Man, and Dirty Old White Woman with No Shoes. Crazy Black Lady with the Orange Shawl stops into my office several times a day to let me know that if I need anything she’s right out front on the steps. It’s a real comfort. Blanket Man is just that–a guy who haunts the streets of Pittsburgh wearing a blanket as if it were the finest of caftans. I once saw him walking near my house (miles from the church) and I got so excited I took a picture of him from my moving car and then texted it to a friend.
Dirty Old White Woman with No Shoes is arguably the smartest of all the panhandlers. She straddles the property line between the church and the library, leaving each business to think that she’s the others problem. She is there every day, sitting on the pavement with no shoes, picking at her dirty feet with her hands, and then shoving those same hands into people’s faces as she asks for a quarter. The other day when I was leaving the church with Chris, she briefly stopped picking at her dirty feet to ask if Chris was my son. It was sweet and I would’ve been genuinely touched by the moment had I not been sent into a Purell panic when I noticed she had taken Chris’s hand asking him if he had a quarter.
Later today we are driving to Chicago for the weekend to see a friend in a play. Eight hours in a minivan. Myself, Todd, Chris, and our friends Tom and Jackie. I have known Tom since I first forced him to be my friend back in junior high school twenty-six years ago and Jackie since she played a cow (or was it a horse?) in a play my Dad wrote more than fifteen years ago. Together with our complex histories and unique personalities we make up the cast of a Horton Foote play…as written by Charles Busch.
Poor Chris. Like so many of our adventures this trip promises to keep him on the psychiatrist’s couch well into his first midlife crisis.