Lots of sirens in our neighborhood lately. Too many sirens. Earlier this week, I looked out the front window at about 10 pm to see an aid car tearing down the hill that runs by our house. The next morning, the Jawa and I left for Zoo Camp, only to find chaos at the main intersection of our little "downtown." A police car was parked halfway out into the intersection. A bunch of people milled around while the cops talked to some young kid. "Look Dad, it's the fuzz," said the Jawa, solemnly. Two fire engines broke up the next night, barreling down the hill while I was watching "Sportscenter."
And a few weeks ago, we left for the taqueria only to notice a helicopter hovering over our street. It seemed to be hovering directly over our house. We stopped and watched it, as I wondered what illegal activity we had participated in without knowing. "It's not a police helicopter," said Sandra Bullock. It was from a local TV station, which was different from the time about a month ago, when the Jawa and I arrived home after school to find a police helicopter hovering over the hills behind our house.
After dinner, we came home and switched on the TV. As if in a movie, our explanation immediately appeared. Speaking live from a park four blocks away, the reporter told us that three people had been shot at around 4:30 in that afternoon, two adults and one 11-year-old. Nobody knew the motive.
Life in the almost-city. I'm not complaining, but too many sirens lately.
Sitting up tonight, switching back and forth between ESPN Wednesday Night Baseball (Mariners 8 Dodgers 5) and various music channels, I noticed that country music singers seem much happier than the people on MTV, BET or even VH-1 Classic. Their videos often resemble picnics or barbecues, with lots of happy people dancing around in shorts.
I was up alone because the Jawa had insisted that S. Bullock go to bed at 9, his bedtime. She's been mostly gone this week, due to work commitments, so he has been given a full dose of me. This means poor meals and televised sports, with some Uno thrown in. So tonight, as he often does when she's been gone, he asked that , rather than staying up with me, she go to bed at 9 so they could lie in our bed and read. It's very cute, but he'd better enjoy it now. I remind him (more and more often with each passing year) that as he gets bigger, I get older. Soon I will not be able to easily hoist the sleeping Jawa up from our bed and carry him into his own. That will be a sad day, full of overwhelming reminders of my own mortality, indeed.
What in the world is wrong with Maury Povich? Several years ago...okay, 25...our local CBS affiliate ran a series of teaser commercials containing the phrase "Who is Maury Povich?" My mother, who, despite her massive determination and drive, often possesses an impish sense of humor, knew who Maury Povich was. Each time the commercial ran, she announced loudly, to whomever else was in the room, "I KNOW WHO MAURY POVICH IS! HE'S MY COUSIN JANIS' HUSBAND'S COUSIN!" Which made him our cousin, or at least that's what I told people.
Mom went so far as to call KCBS and tell them, "I know who Maury Povich is!" only to be met, I am sure, with confused silence. They asked. She answered.
Besides being Don Povich's cousin, Maury was then a news anchor. He came to Los Angeles, lasted awhile, and then disappeared. The Povichs were a journalism family, and included Hall of Fame sportswriter Shirley Povich of the Washington Post, plus my (actual) cousin Elaine, who has worked at many newspapers and the AP.
Maury married Connie Chung, making her every bit our fake cousin as Maury. My mother met them at some cousin's wedding, where my grandmother, who was not known for enthusiastic outbursts, enthusiastically introduced them to everyone.
Since then, I'm afraid, Maury has lost his mind. I see him when I'm at the gym, climbing endless steps on the Precor thing. The hanging TVs often play his show. Maury, seriously. You were once an anchorman. Granted, it was local news, but it was L.A., at least. Now you spend your time sitting around in a v-neck sweater and a white t-shirt, reading the results of paternity tests while overweight teenage girls cry under an assault of profanity from the faux gang sign-flashing losers who told them all along that the baby wasn't theirs.
You get accused of sexual harrasment, Maury. You act all soothing when two sisters prepare themselves to tell their mom that they've been prostituting themselves and darn it, they feel okay about it. You're feeding the beast, Maury. You've sold yourself out. Unlke Jerry Springer, you once had aspirations of respectibility. You married Connie Chung, for crying out loud, the original prototype for the cheery, Asian-American female TV journalist. That's j-o-u-r-n-a-l-i-s-t., Maury. You know, like you used to be.
Thank God my grandmother didn't live to see this.