Even though I've moved to the big city, I can't forget the wheat farm where I was raised. The color of San Diego stands in contrast to my small home. Here are the aqua tones of a seaside city and the loam of Spanish-style walls. On a wheat farm, the shades are subtle and sepia -- the crop was tan, our tractor a dusty red, and our old Ford pickup mostly black. There was a dent on the fender that was gray primer. I put the dent there when my dad was teaching me to drive and the clutch got away from me. Instead of the brake, I stomped on the gas and crunched into a gatepost by the road. Dad wasn't mad. He pulled his green ballcap off, smoothed down his thin hair, and looked at the post and truck and said, "Well, it'll give us something to do next weekend."
On rushed mornings, when I need to get to work fast, I'm sometimes stopped before I get to my car. Wind rustles the long blades of grass by the sidewalk and, resist as much as I can, the sight paralyzes me. I go back to those spring days of harvest on the farm, when Dad gave me my first cup of coffee and we stood in the yard. The breeze rustled the tall stalks as we stood in the morning light. We knew we had a long day of work ahead, so we savored the smell from our mugs and the soft whoosh of the wheat. A few times a year, I'll be late for work because of the brew in my hand and the stirring little patch of lawn in front of my apartment.
It wasn't the sentimental perfection I've described so far. We had our problems. I slammed screen doors. The old man, frustrated by the confident ignorance of his teenage son, swiped the dishes and food and silverware and water off the table to crash against the kitchen tile. I remember him standing there next to the broken mess on the floor, pointing to my room, and the simplicity of his command. All he said was, "Go." And that's all he had to say.
To tell the truth, I made all that up. I didn't grow up on a wheat farm. That was all fiction. I was a goofy kid who was raised by TV. I'd put my Batman mask and cape on and watch GI Joe every day until I graduated high school. But the wheat-farm story is better for picking up chicks.
WHAT I WILL AND WON'T WATCH THIS WEEK
Thursday, March 30
Rock and Roll Pastry
FOOD 9:00 p.m. Country music is really only good for "varmint stew," and that's an acquired taste. For a mean brioche, one must seek the "music of the devil."
The Planet's Funniest Animals
ANIMAL 9:00 p.m. My ears are rotational. They turn independent of the orientation of my head. Their evolutionary purpose was to alert me to dangers, but I now leave them turned downward so I can hear better when I talk to myself. My ears were also pointed and covered in a fur the color of rust until several procedures by plastic surgeons corrected the look of them.
Friday, March 31
The Dog Whisperer
NGC 8:00 p.m. Starting the first San Diego Dogsled Team has been slow. No one else has signed up, and I don't have a sled. All I have is the dogs and a driving will to compete. The "spirit of competition" is what I call the wafting smell from my studio apartment.
Saturday, April 1
The Bicycle Thief (1948)
UCSD 4:00 p.m. What do I have to do to get the bicyclists of San Diego to wear baggier clothes? I'm sure those spandex shorts shave a few seconds off your time, but the tight fabric coupled with your bent-over position affords me a view of your anatomy that should be reserved for emergency-room doctors. Sure, it's your right to do it, and it's in the name of fun and sport, but I have the right to wear panties with little pink flowers under a skirt and lay on a park bench with my knees pulled up to my chest, but that doesn't mean I'm going to do it. Well, now that I think about it, if you can't beat them, join them.
Sex and the City
WB 11:00 p.m. Whoever is marking up Sarah Jessica Parker's face on those giant bus-wrapping billboards please report to the San Diego Reader office. I will give you ten dollars for every advertisement in which you've made her look like a gap-toothed pirate.
Sunday, April 2
Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer
CNN 8:00 a.m. I figure I can wait around for a werewolf to bite me or I can take the lead and work toward a goal. My fingernails have grown into protective claws, and I've sharpened my teeth. I'm encouraging the growth of body hair. My hunting grounds range from City Heights to North Park. By next week, I'll be a true "child of the moon," and I'll do my night-roaming pantsless. If the police interfere, I'll "turn" them. I doubt silver bullets are standard issue.
Monday, April 3
Psychic at Large
SCIFI 10:30 a.m. I predict this show will suck. If my prediction is correct you owe me 200 dollars.
TLC 6:00 p.m. Not a lot of people know this, but Martha Stewart keeps a symbiotic relationship with a small bird. He sits on her naked haunches and cleans her. Without her he would starve; without him she would be covered in ticks and parasites.
Tuesday, April 4
The Golden Girls
LIFE 1:00 a.m. Some people think I should be embarrassed by my fantasies about Blanche. But I'm not. My love for Miss Devereaux will not be covered up like the frosty tips of her hair. You need no bifocal lenses to see my desires. A hearing aid isn't necessary to listen to my heart. Marry me, Blanche. We'll move to Boca Raton and buy a golf cart to buzz us to the mailbox.
Wednesday, April 5
ESPN2 7:00 a.m. Always keep pizza in the trunk of your car. If attacked by ninjas you can pop the lid and point to the pizza. Ninjas find pizza irresistible. When they're inside happily munching on a slice of pepperoni with extra cheese, you can trap them.