Karma, where art thou?

Phoenix is the Shithole of the Southwest.

Certain neighborhoods are worse than others. There are trashed-out gang-infested ghettoes that you don’t want to drive through even in daytime and if you must, do so with windows rolled up and doors locked.

Phoenix (Arizona) has a particularly low breed of human being — as this newsmaker today reminds:

Police seek man who robbed victim in wheelchair at ATM

A black guy in a hoodie stood behind the 63-year-old victim in a wheelchair while the person was using the ATM inside a convenience store.

Then the suspect grabbed evidently the cash and fled.

The video, which clearly shows the crime and assailant’s face, has been released. However, I do not wish to pollute my blog with images of that pos.

I mention this item because it follows a similar story earlier this month.

A man was arrested trying to steal a wheelchair from a woman sitting in it on the light rail train.

Again: The victim was IN HER WHEELCHAIR.

Takes a Special Breed of Scum to target the handicapped, the immobile, the elderly.

But that’s Phoenix.

You’ll say “but that shit happens in any big city.”

That’s true to a degree.

Some American cities are much worse than others.

There are places where crime per capita and violent crime far exceed the national average. There are hoods where even the police with their best weapons fear to tread. Chicago. New York. Los Angeles, Phoenix, for example.

I’m really disturbed by this black dude stealing from the wheelchair-bound victim at the ATM.

My morality and conscience and integrity tell me it’s wrong.

My compassionate heart tells me it’s heinous because it is a disabled person who was targeted.

My street smarts tell me this motherfucker will not be captured. Like trying to find the needle in a massive haystack of thugs. Anyone with information’s requested to call Silent Witness. Good luck with that.

My spirit wants to believe that karma will come to every criminal — probably not in this lifetime but another.

But I don’t know that I fully believe that.

I’ve seen too many shitty people lead great lives, comfortable lives, full of wealth and abundance and lifestyle riches and freedom from incarceration deserved.

Karma, where art thou?! Get your butt over here, now!

Anyways, to both these wheelchair victims, I want to extend my heartfelt compassion and say I’m sorry. I’m sorry there are pieces of shit in humanity.

They make me ashamed to be human.




Red flags in the laundry room

No, not colored fabrics spinning in the washer.

Yesterday I did laundry.

Before you say “sounds as exciting as watching paint dry,” lemme explain.

Doing laundry at my apartment complex is dodgy.

There are 4 washers and 6 dryers (both coin-operated) for some 150+ residents. It’s a dicey proposition. Will a machine be available? Will it work? Will the coins feed in properly?

Recently one washer sat out of commission for weeks when the water failed to drain. It’d been emptied of its clothes but the stench of dirty sitting water is one I can’t scrub from memory.

I and I alone had the helpfulness and common sense to tape a large note onto the machine alerting management and fellow residents to the problem.

There sat the note sat like the standing cesspool water for weeks until annual building inspections forced the repair. It’s back in operation. For now.

Also, the laundry room’s a bit grimey — ironically.

It’s not only large lint blobs scraped off dryer lint screens scurrying across the floor like gray rodents — why people won’t dispose of them in the large trash can provided is anyone’s guess but mine’s “sheer laziness.”

It’s the black, white and gray crap resembling pellets, pebbles and droppings that are best left unidentified fallen from the ceiling vent onto the machines and countertop.

And the linoleum tiles — white, originally anyhow — could stand being replaced. Or at least deep-cleaned. Which I reckon the laundry room’s not seen in 10+ years.

Lastly, the laundry room borders an extended-stay motel with some pretty. sketchy. characters. Location, location, location — not a favorable one.

Soooo. While I’m certainly glad not to have to haul my laundry to a public laundromat, I do use the machines downstairs with heightened awareness and sometimes nose plugged for unpleasant odors.

Yesterday mid-afternoon I arrived with my bag — nowhere near Santa’s size! — for the washer. Two residents — a couple in their 20s — stood at the dryers.

Immediately the dude — a friendly chatty fellow — announced:

“We just had our clothes stolen.”

“What?” I asked for details.

All his girlfriend’s clothes had just been taken from the dryer. While the machine was still operating.

So not even after the load had settled so the thief could pick ‘n’ choose — not that that makes this any less wrong! You’re adults so hopefully I needn’t inform you that stealing women’s intimates from dryers is a thing.

But this was the whole shebang. Whooosh. Stolen in mid-cycle.

She was noticeably and understandably upset and off to the management office to report it.

(Not that that would change anything. There are no cameras anywhere on the property, the laundry room’s open 24/7 to all residents and anyone passing by, including nefarious characters about the hood …)

While she was at the office, the dude and I continued chatting. He “regaled” me with further headlines.

A few days earlier, a woman in the parking lot had her car stolen at knifepoint.

Around 2 a.m., the dude was awakened by a woman screaming. He ran out to help. Police arrived. Whether she’ll ever see her SUV again … sigh. This is Phoenix (AZ). Armpit of the Southwest. Poor girl.

Crime is not uncommon, particularly in my area. Yes, I live in a bit of a ghetto. It’s not Gangland Compton (CA) with bullets flying but it’s not safe either. Diligence and eyes and ears wide open at all times are essential. This is true in life generally but amped-up attentiveness is critical here.

The dude in the laundry room wasn’t done.

His girlfriend also had an Amazon delivery stolen.

Someone else had signed for it and off they went! Dude didn’t provide details (though I pressed) so I can’t comment — save to say that, like her laundry, that theft too was wrong.

To recount: Stolen Amazon delivery. Car stolen at knifepoint. Full load stolen from the dryer.

All within the past 5 days.

I took the red flags about the laundry-room incident to heart. I didn’t let my load sit in the washer for even 1 minute! I arrived early just to stand and wait for the cycle to complete.

As for the dryer, it’s moot. I line-dry on my 3rd-floor balcony.

And you BET I insisted on the uppermost floor for a reason when I moved in 10 months ago! S-A-F-E-T-Y.

I appreciated the red flags waved by the dude in the laundry room.

I appreciate that he has a brain, which is very atypical in this Snowflakes generation. (His girlfriend, on the other hand, seemed not so much …)

I appreciate that he imparted information helpful to me and any resident. Again, not a typical Snowflake move. This I attribute to his profession (law enforcement).

As a natural detective (and would-be investigator if I could do life over again), I really appreciated that we met. It made my afternoon.

I returned to my little studio with more than my laundry load intact — for which I’m grateful on the heels of that theft within the hour.

I returned with a reminder that my living environment needs an upgrade.

And this is part ‘n’ parcel to the BIGGEST demand facing me in 2020: a relocation that’s certain to be cross-country.

Uggggh, the weightiness of it all. I’m Atlas shouldering 10 globes on my back.

BUT! At least I still got a shirt on my back! One that I give freely to no one unless I deem so …. and certainly to no thief.




To be polite, bugger off, 2019!

Fuck off, 2019.

That’s my tongue-in-cheek (or not) overall sentiment about the decade’s final year.

I don’t do retrospectives or resolutions. Not properly anyhow.

I do however reflect and contemplate quite considerably. I have goals and changes for the better in mind for 2020.

Toward that end, I haven’t a defined road map — perhaps I should.

I’ve not outlined a step-by-step course from Point A to B to C, which successful folks and “life coaches” and achievers (Tony Robbins for instance) agree is imperative, the path forward.

I’m Pisces. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants. Rather swim by the fin of my tail.

Fuck off, 2019.

It’s been a … profoundly traumatic year.

I paused to ensure the right word. It is.




Illuminating in the same way that stepping across a minefield illuminates the location of explosives.

No stories here. No explanations — long-winded or short.

2019 has been on par in sheer intensity and gut-wrenching soulful upheavals as 2017, when a significant unidentified individual passed. I’ve neither processed nor recovered, not even close.

In 2019, the events, losses, that which was made known and brought to light — all involving individuals still living — cast a different shade of red and black than the loss of 2017. (In truth, 2017-19 been an intensely rugged painful 3-year run. Statistically does that bode an upturn? Hmmm …)

Death of a significant individual is grief for sure.

It is very very very hard. This I know from having walked those trails more than once.

Death of a relationship with an individual who’s living is harder.


There’s a finality to the former. A certainty that you shan’t  meet again. You shan’t see him or her walking in through the door. And yes, that’s part of what makes physical death so painful — for the living.

But the important person who still lives … who still walks the earth yet for whatever cause and reason, just or otherwise, “kills you off” … that’s a stabbing to the heart, a twisting of the knife.

Death by rejection hurts more than death by another’s shedding the body.

There, I’ve said enough. Perhaps too much.

So, 2019, fuck off.

I know you’ve had your highlights. Your good points. Positive developments. Including a marvelous train trip that won’t be forgotten. Is held dear. Is one for the books.

These good things do not go overlooked. Or undervalued.

Yet the candle flame or match struck that I hold lit beneath a mountain of rubble after an earthquake cannot be seen.

Not by a rescuer. Not by a best friend or soul mate.

Not even by God, who long ago it was established doesn’t give a shit, stands back and allows incredible human suffering.

All-powerful all-knowing force who won’t intervene. Some helpful loving guy, eh?

The only person who can see that little flame beneath this HEAVY unmovable and unmoving rubble is me.

I like this imagery. Should contemplate it as 2019 ticks down into finality.

In 26 days.

633 hours.

38,013 minutes.

But who’s counting?

Dear Phoenix: Not all grass comes in baggies

Smells speak stories.

Stand in the middle of my small studio, shut your eyes, better yet blindfold them, open wide your olfactory sense. What story are the smells speaking?

You’ll likely notice in order:

Pollution. Very dirty air. Among the worst in America, in fact.


I live in the thick of metro Phoenix (Arizona). A massive sprawl of 5+ million residents officially; many many many more if one could count the uncountable illegals.

Amping up the prevailing odor of dirtied air is location. I live a stone’s throw from an interstate — one of Phoenix’s busiest — as well as alongside two major surface streets.

So you see, location plunges me into a Sea of Stink.

Carry on with your blindfolded smells tests.



Some 200+ apartments comprise this huge complex. Smoking’s not allowed in apartments. So smokers puff away on their patios, in entrances and stairwells and scattered outdoor spaces.

If you crave an occasional fag but want to avoid insane prices for a pack, step outside. Soon enough you’ll inhale all the secondhand smoke you desire.


Big check.

Not gonna sugarcoat it. This neighborhood and complex are a bit ghetto. Not that I fear a bullet in my back exactly.

But there’s a definite edginess. Sketchy characters. Police cars in the parking lots aren’t uncommon. Once I gently approached to thank them for their service. Surely this location helps fund their paychecks.

Dope smells are routine, especially at night, after management’s left. Arizona’s not yet a legalized-dope state but is well on its way due to the MASSIVE unrelenting influx of Californians. (Bye-bye Arizona, so sad.)

So if you wanna toke for free, step outside or open your patio door and inhale. See, young people comprise the majority of residents. There’s a smattering of us senior citizens who to passing observation seem harmless enough. No knowing what pasts they embody.

So yeah, drugs get dealt, drugs get toked in this hood. Just keep it away from me and my spaces and we’re good.

Then …. then …

I was stopped in my tracks by a new story … brought on the wind when I opened the patio door this morning.

A fragrance assaulted my nostrils — one, sadly, rendered unfamiliar, foreign even, in this ocean of concrete and cars.

The smell of freshly-cut grass.


A classic. Evocative. Earthy. Soothing.

Gotta be in the Top 5 of beloved scents. Who doesn’t recognize it? Isn’t moved by it? Who doesn’t have a story, a childhood memory, experience, fondness for that whiff of green blades?

And, personally, a longing for the smell.

It reminded me of life beyond these thick walls of concrete and gridlock that’s swallowed vast flat stretches of desert. And that monster of “growth and development” ain’t sated. Not even close.

So from my 3rd-floor perch, I inhaled appreciatively and scanned the scene for the source of this divine long-forgotten smell.

I could HEAR the roar of a lawnmower sure enough.

Pause to give due credit to management for maintaining the grounds, especially around the leasing office. The Mexican workers do a nice job, especially in that brutal long summer heat. Kudos.

Eventually my eyes spotted the mower — just as he popped out from behind a tree. He gave a final push to the machine across that patch of grass, then pulled the plug.

All too quickly he left, taking with him that glorious scent.

Gone too soon, dissipated into the air, replaced by the toxic stench of vehicular exhaust.

With the green grass smell gone and no cause to remain outdoors absorbing thunderous traffic and poisoned air, I reluctantly retreated into my studio. Pulled tight the patio door to dampen, marginally, the traffic’s roar — another story of another sense, the auditory.

I was thus again right back in big ugly noisy concretized Phoenix.

Yet there was that marvelous moment of mowed grass. Yes there was.

Indeed it evaporated much too quickly.

Yet traces remain: not in fragrance but as a reminder of life-changing decisions awaiting in 2020. Determining my next location in assuredly a cross-country move. Ugh.

Far far far from Phoenix. (ed. note: armpit of the Southwest)

Someplace where the grass is greener.

And plentiful.