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seeking perfect peace

It's a fine spring day and I'm in my back yard, which is where I like to be at such times. In my wild little Louisiana paradise, all this shade preventing a real lawn from flourishing, but that's okay because I can't feel guilty for not mowing what doesn't exist. Seated in my cracked plastic patio chair beneath the riot of jasmine vine choking a tallow tree (absurdly fragrant, a floral cascade once known down here as "Confederate" jasmine, now going by a more politically correct name which I believe to be "star" but am not certain of). With birdies singing and the air smelling sweet and all that conventional springtime crap. I can hear the phone ringing from my nearby house but can't answer it, ha ha. Cats are napping, bees buzzing in lazy loops. --Except one of them's a red wasp, I now notice.

Okay. One small impediment to perfect peace. I'm developing an allergy to stings and the last time a wasp got me, my arm puffed up. This time I'll probably end up dead or in the emergency room.

I'd also be feeling a whole lot more peaceful if I didn't know about the coyote or two (or three or four) newly invading uptown New Orleans here and eating exotic birds at the Audubon Zoo. They've been known in other regions to attack cats and small dogs. I don't live in the area most affected, strictly speaking, but my own neighborhood has had its problem with feral dog packs in the past and so I know firsthand what a very nonpeaceful experience it is to have animals killing one another beneath your house. But I'm not rich, and neither are my neighbors, whereas this coyote incursion is happening roughly twenty-six blocks away in the wealthiest section of town among good people who probably didn't give a flying fuck about poor feral dogs (as long as they rampaged elsewhere) but are now all worried about their registered miniature schnauzers and up in arms. The Zoo is setting traps. Private security patrols are on high alert. --Actions which will no doubt only succeed in displacing all coyotes to my shabbier little street here where they can eat cats and breed with wild mutts.

(Peace. Think PEACE.)

(...Where'd that wasp get to...?)

And you know the problem with springtime itself? It's soon followed by summer, and summer is hurricane season. Summer and autumn. As a matter of fact, it's almost always hurricane season down here. Half the frickin year is hurricane season. In times past I've taken consolation in the fact that autumn also brings us Saints football, but what with the NFL lockout now, that might not happen. So just taking stock, what we're possibly looking ahead to here is a Saintsless storm season among ravenous halfbreed hellhounds.

(PEACE, goddammit!)

And of course, there's the recession. And the fact that my boss can't afford to give any of us raises and I haven't had one since, like, 1998.

(Why did I never learn transcendental meditation?)

Hell, let's face it. I probably have about six--no, maybe more like seven--make that ten--reasons I'm failing to enjoy perfect peace and Oneness with the universe on such a spectacular springtime day. --Which I should certainly be feeling out here like this, but am not. Reasons which include, but are not limited to:

1. The damn coyotes, duh...
2. That red wasp, wherever she is.
3. Feral dogs which are probably making whoopee with coyotes even as we speak.
4. Hurricanes.
5. The NFL lockout.
6. The recession.
7. No raise.
8. Chaos in the publishing industry, resulting in me not getting the royalties due me. (Just thought I'd throw that in.) (Although to be honest, I wasn't receiving my royalties even before Kindle and the Google Book Settlement or lack thereof.)
9. A certain financially-insecure book publisher in Georgia (who shall remain nameless) owing me at least $30,000 in royalties, having made some of the worst business decisions in the history of the industry and that's saying a lot. (--Agghh!!! PEACE! PAX! OM! SERENITY NOW!)


10. Coyotes breeding with book publishers.

But the sun is shining, the crows are crowing, a squirrel is dining from the cat food bowl and all is temporarily well, I have to admit. A perfect day of peace in fact for a certain wasp who's discovered the ideal site for a thriving new nest right above my back door.

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