Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Going down Memory Lane: Shot in the Daylight

It feels good to be alive.

It was just one of those days. A typical morning as I went about my typical routine. I took a shower, shaved my legs, ate breakfast, fed the cat, listened to the disturbing noises from outside, and I combed my hair and got dressed to head out for the job that I started to despise.

Oh, did I mention that I heard strange noises?

Yeah, the noises echoed off the houses near my first-floor apartment during the years when I lived in the city of Pittsburgh. Growing up a country girl in a nearby county, I never had to deal with all the bustling of activity in a city. The chugging buses running their routes, ambulance sirens driving up to the nearby hospital, and prostitutes fulfilling their end of the bargain in the covered entrance to the empty second-floor apartment, these were new things to hear outside my door. So on that morning when I heard the shwick-chuck-click sound, I brushed it aside as just one of those things that I have to deal with during my stay there.

As more of the morning passed, I did briefly debate what the noise could be. I had the time to do this. With over an hour to get on the bus and downtown to my clerical assistant job, my imagination ran wild. The part catching my attention was the shwick that reminded me of a rusty pair of hedge clippers being closed on a thick branch, then the chuck of the branch snapping apart and the click of the metal blades striking together. After about fifteen minutes, I decided that it must be someone out early trimming their bushes. Why not? It was a beautiful summer day that wasn’t too hot or muggy to relax and do some yard work. A beautiful summer day that begged me to call in sick at work and just wander about the city going and doing nothing in particular.

No, I didn’t do that. I scratched my cat on the head, grabbed my backpack, and headed out the door. I strolled by my cousin’s house next-door as I prepared to round the sidewalk corner.

Shwick-chuck-click! Zing!

My head jerked to the left when something small whizzed by my ear and struck the brick house across the street. The object came so close that my ear felt on fire as I clutched it and twirled around.

No one was on the sidewalk behind me.

I breathed heavily, trying to calm myself, realizing the truth of the sound. Someone had just shot something at me. It was then that a memory came flooding back. It was a country scene familiar to this country girl that involved the neighborhood kids shooting their BB guns at empty pop cans.

The sounds were the same.

I stood there staring up the sidewalk and filled with two emotions: embarrassment for not remembering my childhood, and anger that some kid with an airgun would take potshots at people’s heads.

There was no way to know where the kids went to, or where they lived. The police weren’t much help then, or a year later after my apartment got broken into, as they were more concerned with serious crimes - like the shooter holed up in the building a block from my apartment. That gunman ended up getting away.

Sort of like the young kid who had shot at me.

Kids who grow up around guns and get away with the crime grow up into adults with guns who think they’re above the law.

Sometimes we have to pay attention to the little things, even if it’s just a strange sound.


  1. It is great to be alive.

    I love waking up on a Wednesday and singing my favorite songs loud and proud - all around the house - without a care.

    I was singing "FALLING SLOWLY" off of ONCE.

  2. I'm a Tool girl. Sometimes I can hear every album in my head.

    I guess I was just in a somber mood when I wrote this. I'll probably be this way for the entire month of March with my birthday coming up. Don't know why.

  3. Really? I'm a Nirvana girl. Kurt Cobain had the most beauitful voice I've ever heard. Another one that gives me chills is Kelly Jones of Stereophonics and Marketa Irglova and Glen Hansard (The Frames), who've just won an oscar for FALLING SLOWLY, off of ONCE.

    Birthday girl alert!!!!!

  4. I agree, Kurt Cobain does have a terrific singing voice. Trent Reznor of NIN and Serj Tankem (formerly of System of a Down) are also my favorties - but I'll listen to any alternative rock band, even the White Stripes.

    Look at us, two girls breaking down the stereotypes that people like us should only listen to 50cent and Jay Z.


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