Monday, March 2, 2015

Boy Talk, Part 468: On Inspiration

Quick, take a picture of that! I said to Oliver when we pulled up to a stoplight before entering the Target parking garage.

Why, Mom? he replied, Why do you need a photo of a homeless guy's stuff?

Well, to tell you the truth, I am inspired by the things that I see and then the photos that I take, I replied, I'll often take a photo and then look at it later and write off of it. 

I waxed inspirational, then, the kind of blather that I'm sure my boys tolerate only by the skin of their teeth. I think I mentioned the video of the homeless man that I'd watched last night, like tens of millions of other people -- the one where a homeless man on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles is shot dead while being "subdued" by six LAPD. I can't tell you, Reader, how frenzied I felt while watching that video last night. My heart was literally pounding, and while the boys watched over my shoulder, I might have even screamed how much I hated guns and cops and this whole country. I went on and on, basically freaking out about the fact that thousands of people, many of them mentally ill, live in squalor on the streets even as people drive past in cars that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, blather, blather, blather. I might have cried, openly, I was so upset. But that was last night, and when I saw crap strewn all over the street outside of Target, I immediately thought of the video and knew that I wanted to write about it, somehow, if only to struggle with my own ineffectual place in all of this. Because, really, who am I to hate this situation and have no real power and even, sometimes, inclination, to actually do something about it. To tell you the truth, I feel like an asshole for complaining without a means to really help.

Today, I didn't say any of that -- I just made the comment about inspiration and writing and creativity when Oliver asked me why I wanted a photo.

You're a creative person, I said, what gives you ideas and inspires you? He thought for a moment, and then turned the dial of the radio up nearly all the way as we drove underground into the parking garage. All the Single Ladies was blaring out of the speakers in my sexy white Mazda, and I instinctively turned it down as low as it had been turned up. Let's face it, Reader, I'm not a Beyonce fan.

Mom! Oliver cried out and turned the knob back up. You don't turn DOWN Beyonce, you turn her UP. THAT'S what inspires me! He started dancing and bobbing in the seat next to me, doing his moves, and I was inspired, Reader, to actually join him.


  1. Dancing is never wrong. Ever. Sometimes it is the only thing we can do.

  2. What to turn down. What to turn up. These are the questions.

  3. I think Google ate my comment - something about Oliver continuing to be my hero, Beyoncé being danceable, being inspired to help the homeless but not really knowing what to do knowing that many are mentally ill and not knowing where the help is...

  4. Bringing some food is always good...

  5. The juxtaposition of the homeless man and his wheelchair against those posters selling Zadig & Voltaire handbags....well, that's exactly what you were talking about, right? It's a great photo. I haven't watched that video of the cops subduing the guy. Just no stomach for it. As for Beyoncé, I don't know that song at all, but as Ms Moon says, dancing sounds like the perfect response in that moment.

  6. I think it is so wonderful that Beyonce inspires Oliver.

  7. Here in Vancouver, Canada, a manager of a coffee shop chain went out and threw water all over a homeless person who was sleeping outside of his store. Yup. But having said that, Vancouver also has the only safe injection site in North America, however much our conservative government wants to shut it down. Sigh, etc.
    - Karen

  8. my children are always an inspiration to me.



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