November 27, 2008

Midnight reflections

I can’t sleep. I still have jet lag. My head is full of thoughts. I sneak downstairs because if I lie in bed awake my kids will sense my mental activity and wake up. Especially L. We are this closely attuned.

I like to joke that I grew up on a barrio, which I suppose is a bit insensitive to people who actually grew up on a barrio, because when I was very young my street ended in a Hispanic American slum complete with about a dozen dilapidated old cars in the front yard . Mind you, if you walked in the other direction away from the slum you soon entered Taluca Lake, which is where stars like Bob Hope and Henry Winkler live. So it’s not like I didn’t know about money, we just didn’t have much of it in those early days. Spanish was spoken at my school in first grade, there were occasional gunshots during the night and my first loves had Hispanic last names. I lived in Sacramento for several years after this before moving back to LA so my subsequent first loves had last names like ‘Wong’ but that’s another story. Suffice it to say that my love life - such as it was back then - didn’t feature all that many blond guys, although I was engaged to one before I ran off with a German. But that’s another story, too.

Anyway, growing up a poorish neighborhood in LA I learned to run away when strangers talked to me before I learned to swim or tie my shoelaces. So for me living in a German small town has a certain appeal now that I have kids of my own. Imagine my dismay when I recently heard about a bank in another small German town that was robbed at gun point by a gang of Austrians! The bank was situated in the local town center, right near the local grocery store and pediatrician’s office. Shots were fired and a policeman was injured. The gang was captured, no one else was hurt and I assume the money was recovered.

My first thought upon hearing about this is that the Austrians should rob their own banks and not come here to rob ours. Although actually, with the exorbitant price you pay to drive through Austria to get to Italy, they don’t technically need to come here to rob the Germans. But I digress. The question is, what’s up with a small town in Germany being held up at gunpoint? Is it a sign of the times? Are the - insert your favorite scary people here - coming?

As it happens it is none of these things. Apparently this particular gang has been robbing German banks for 20 years and they finally got caught. Someone noticed a bunch of people with masks and guns going into a bank and called the police. The miracle is that they were never caught before, since the Germans of all people know how to report suspicious activity.

So there you have it. The people in that small town have now seen more action than I saw in all my years in LA. Thank goodness.

Good night and happy Thanksgiving.

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