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Life: Hannibal’s Latest Fender Bender

Posted in 104, bad ideas, blame society, cars, children, driving, failure on October 12th, 2013 by Hannibal Tabu
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A little after noon, I was sitting in the westbound left turn lane on Pico at Alvarado in Los Angeles. I’d recently picked up my youngest daughter from her ballet school and was theoretically heading for a park. I’d just explained the concept of area codes to her and was talking on my headset to a business associate from Chicago.

As the light was turning red, a faded black Acura Legend tried to make the light, ignoring the fact that a gray Toyota Corolla had already begun its legal lefft turn to head east on Pico. The Acura collided into the Corolla at what seemed like quite a high velocity, and the Corolla slid, out of control, into the front left side of my car.

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My baby girl was too shocked to know how to react, bursting into tears thirty seconds after the impact. Her baby seat held her securely in place, and my seat belt did as well, even though my phone had been hurled to the dusty floor.

The driver of the Acura (let’s call him Beauregard) was a Mexican national. He didn’t speak English, but the early-twenties Latino driver of the Corolla (let’s call him Bob) was fluently bilingual. Beaurega admitted fault to everyone, and Bob was worried that his dad would be furious, calling his job and warning them that he couldn’t drive nor get to work and worried about attending his south bay college classes.

My wife drove by to pick up the shaken baby and I stayed to take photos and exchange data. Apparently, I was the only one of us who had ever been in an accident before. Two eyewitnesses came to me, offering to share their perspectives, everyone agreeing that my stationary sedan was wholly blameless in this midday fiasco.

I have sustained no injuries. My youngest may have bumped her chin on her seatbelt, but she was fine. Everyone was insured, so it’s all nuisance and paperwork now. Monday morning, I’ll take my car to Collision Consultants off La Cienega and Venice, and we’ll receive the fantastic service they’re well known to provide.

Yes, this is yet another traffic accident I had while completely still. If I’m moving, I’m virtually invulnerable, like a Black Sam Guthrie. As I’d say online, “#lesigh.”
This blog hopefully will answer any questions anyone has.

Playing (Music): “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

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Life: Improbable Cause

Posted in 104, baby, blame society, children, daughter, ella, life, randomness on August 1st, 2013 by Hannibal Tabu
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I was in Target on Sunday with my toddler. I was grabbing some water for her as we headed to Kenneth Hahn Park for some kind of cook out to celebrate the wedding of a family friend. She was smiling and playful, hugging me from the cart as she normally does, the familiar stream of non-sequitur babble that is the lingua franca of the pre-K set serving as her soundtrack.

Honestly, I’d gotten side tracked. I swung by to see if I could find a set of behind-the-head headphones after breaking my best pair, a birthday present from my wife, while I was at the laundromat, before we got a washer & dryer at home. I’d ended up somehow in the paper products aisle of the grocery section when I needed to find those tiny little bottles suited for little hands.

As I passed overpriced Tupperware, I noticed an elderly Asian woman was reaching for those cube-esque boxes of tissues on the top shelf. She wore some kind of light blue and white polyester jacket, was maybe five foot one, and was having quite a hard time straining for an object just beyond her reach, like many of our dreams.

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I didn’t think about the very real perception issues Questlove discussed, I didn’t think about being an hour late to the event (I had no belief they’d even started grilling the chicken, honestly, and I turned out to be right). I simply said, “Can I help you, ma’am?”

She didn’t look. It’s possible she didn’t understand, or didn’t believe I was speaking to her, as she kept reaching, straining on tip toes, an aluminum walking cane hanging from her left elbow that reminded me of elderly relatives in snowbound parts of the country. I asked again, closer now, my arm near the shelf, and she said “Oh … okay.”

The box she’d been reaching for had torn plastic, so I reached past it and got an identical box, then handed it to her. “Is this all right?” I asked, kneeling slightly and speaking in the quiet tone that southern streets had shown me you should speak to somebody that much closer to the other side. She smiled and nodded, and said, “Thank you.” I smiled, responding, “Happy to help,” and reached back for my plastic red and white cart without another thought about it.

My toddler clasped her arms around me and said, “Daddy!” (she’s started doing that because I believe she senses “baba” — the word we settled on for our blended family — isn’t echoed enough in the “real” world for her) and I patted her back, not thinking much about it, making my way along the store’s wall towards the possibly overpriced flouride-enhanced water.

Maybe my littlest girl saw something that’ll stick with her — two people from very different cultures just being civil for the simple reason that there was no reason not to. Handing an old lady a box of tissues doesn’t change any of the horrible and sometimes illegal things I’ve done in my past (and believe me, there are many), nor does it qualify me for some special consideration as one of the angels. I’m just a tall dude who grew up in Memphis who saw something that needed doing, something that didn’t cost me anything and that (spirit willing) didn’t call down the wrath of Rule 285 on me (again).

Some days later, I’m reminded of an Arthur Ashe quote my friend Geoffrey Thorne posts fairly often: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

I’m trying, you know? I’m trying.

Playing (Music): “Pedestal” by Portishead

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Family: The Sing Along

Posted in baby, children, daughter, ella, family, music, parenting, torch-passing, whimsy on July 29th, 2013 by Hannibal Tabu
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My youngest daughter is (as of this writing) three years old. Putting her to sleep often falls to me for two main reasons: my wife (in her words) feels like shoving the baby at me when I walk in the door after having home schooled all day. Second, and there is no secret about this, the youngest is an avowed daddy’s girl to the core.

Part of our ever evolving night time ritual is that Fuss lays on my chest while I sing her a song. When I started doing this, I was so shocked to know how few songs I knew without hearing at least some of the musical cues (with backing tracks, I may know a hundred or so). Now I’ve accepted this strange sampler plate of songs as the ones that will be drilled into Fuss’ little brain: “The Scientist” by Coldplay, “The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get” by Morrissey, “As” by Stevie Wonder, and the following ditty, which we’ll address in a few moments.

I’ve heard Fuss singing snippets of songs I sing or that she hears a lot before, from “Dance Apocalyptic” by Janelle Monae to “Self Control” by Laura Branigan. I was so taken aback one night when, lying on my chest, Fuss matched me nearly word for word on “Smile Like You Mean It” by The Killers.

She may not hit every note, but she remembered a whole song (instead of just fragments like her ad libs of “If You Remember Me” by Night), which seems like more than many three year olds can pull off, including the lyric I changed to reflect my karaoke hosting days before she was born or all my ad-libs.

My long suffering wife recorded it, I uploaded it to YouTube, and here’s the world premiere of our a capella cover of “Smile Like You Mean It.”

The lyrics of the bridge really get me here. Oh, and when I smiled, I glanced over at our first born, who was waiting for us to finish so she could eat a bowl of cereal.

Playing (Music): “Something About You” by Level 42

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