Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Just like most people, I can walk through my home in the dark with no problem. I know the path; I do it often. So when I went to get the drops out of my purse, I didn't bother with a light. I grabbed my purse off the bathroom floor and got the drops out by feel. Or so I thought. I shook the bottle feeling like such a good girl that I was remembering to take them, hiccuped a few times, then experimentally shook the bottle. Then shook it again because I was SURE I had had more than that in there.
But, being the drunken fool that I was, I just assumed I had used more than I thought so I opened the bottle and tipped it up over my mouth. Nothing was coming out so I squeezed harder... then harder. Suddenly some spark ignited in a few sober cells in my brain and I turned on the light and looked at the bottle. I had just squirted a half a bottle of Nail Glue (Super Glue) in my mouth.
"OMG... ACKKKKK... I'm gonna glue my tongue to my teeth!!!", I screamed as I turned the water as hot as it would go after flinging the culprit glue behind me. I started gulping hot water trying to dissolve the glue before it glued my wiggly thingy in my throat to my tongue or something. Yes, I know it's called a Uvula but wiggly thingy is more fun. I grabbed my toothbrush and practically killed myself trying to brush my Esophagus. Screw my glue coated teeth. I had visions of my throat sticking to itself and dying on my bathroom floor with my uvula stuck to my tongue. I had no intention of the legacy I left my kids being a headline on the 11 o clock news saying "A local woman died tonight after she drank super glue and her wiggly thingy got attached to her esophagus and she choked to death."
After I calmed down and realized I wasn't going to die of glue poisoning or a glued throat, I started laughing. Only in MY life could this happen. Never again will I look for ANYTHING when I'm buzzed.
My teeth feel funny. How do you get super glue off your teeth???
AKA "Chicago in the 70's
Living in inner city Chicago even in the 70s was not exactly a thrilling or safe experience. After a false accusation from a boy in my 3rd grade class that I had stolen some of the teachers play time costume jewelry (the court case is still pending; I may be going up the river anytime), the other girls in my class decided that I, the token white girl in my very large school must have been the one that stole that danged barbie doll way back in kindergarten. No, that is NOT racism... I WAS the only white girl and they actually said it had to have been me because I was white...racism works in all directions sad to say.
Thus began my history with toilet stalls. Fascinating things, toilet stalls. One can learn a lot of new words from the graffiti written in them; to this day, I STILL don't know if some of the things described in that legendary writing is even physically possible but as an adult I can say now that some sure sounded interesting *grin*. It sure makes me a hit at cocktail parties though when we play word games and I try to describe them. Now I can see you scratching your head and saying "toilet stalls; what IS this woman talking about?"
Well, think back to your own school days; remember that one child in every class that was heckled, spit on, tortured and tended to hide in the toilet stalls every day after school to avoid the daily thrashing that she/he knew was coming for looking at someone wrong? Though mind you, I can speak for all those kids and say they never looked at anyone wrong simply because that's difficult when one is constantly keeping ones eyes downcast out of fear. Well, in my school, I was that child; thus the thing with toilet stalls (I still cautiously peek out of them when leaving to make sure there is no one waiting with a rock).
I remember my first black eye. I didn't wait long enough that day (I guess I had read everything and was bored) and ended up cornered by 2 boys and 3 girls who wanted either the 13 cents I had, my very long blond hair as a trophy or for me to give back the stolen Barbie I had never taken. I am fairly sure that I have since seen them all on repeats of Americas Most Wanted and if memory serves even back then they were all six feet tall and about 250 pounds (remind me to tell you about the fish I caught.)
Have you ever had your face stomped on? Not a pleasant experience as it happening but for an 8 year old it DOES have a good side effect; it leaves a hell of a sweet black eye to brag about! I remember running home and as the eye was so swollen I could see it without benefit of a mirror, running in the house grinning from ear to ear, and screaming "Hey mom look at my eye!" She wasn't thrilled with the blood dripping on the carpet; after all we WERE renting; but she was impressed with the eye. I still have flashbacks of her piercing scream saying "OMG, your EYE!!! EWWWW, watch out; you're dripping on the *&^*#&*%^* carpet!" Even now, I hear someone scream and I hit the floor and start crab crawling towards the nearest bathroom.
There is little more humiliating though than having your mother chasing a bunch of kids around the next day pulling you behind her while she screams threats at them. Well, other than going to school in kindergarten and forgetting to wear underwear under my dress but that entry will have to wait. I don't undress unless I know you better. I still have a cartoon vision of myself flapping in the wind on my mothers hand while she ran after all the laughing kids in the schoolyard with me trying to keep up and breathlessly answer her questions of which kids did it. But that did NOT help my popularity any I'll tell you. For weeks after that, I had to listen to a plethora of "yo mama" jokes as they beat the tar out of me.
Anyone who wants to help save future generations from such torment should send a donation to www.scaredflushersunite.org. We are a small but proud group. Union meetings are held every other month in varying members bathrooms. Bring Your Own Tissue.
Anyway, getting to my point, the other day a gentlemen posted on one of my entries saying something to the effect that he would look through car windows as he passed people driving and wonder about those people.
I have always done things like that. When I used to walk many miles a day, one thing that kept my mind occupied was looking at peoples houses (AT not IN... i'm not a peeping tom) and wondering about the occupants. Were they happy? Did the husband and wife love each other? Were they all going to sit down to dinner together tonight or would they all go their separate ways because there was no connection between them?
I see people in the grocery store and wonder things like that too. That heavy woman buying the ice cream and chocolate cake from the bakery? Will she be embarrassed when she gets to the check out because people will be thinking (at least in her mind if nothing else) that buying things like that is why she is fat? Or the man buying the TV dinners. Is he lonely... alone... wishing he had someone at home with whom he could share a REAL meal?
It is when I see the elderly and children with the angry parents that my mind really gets whirling sometimes to the point of giving myself a choked up feeling. I will see the elderly... that little old man putting cans of beans in his cart or that stooped lady carefully using a calculator as she slowly walks through the produce aisle checking prices... and wonder about their lives.
I have a soft spot for the elderly brought on by I guess my own personality and by working at Home Health Care and seeing how forgotten many of them become. That little old man with the beans... does anyone come see him or does he eats them alone in front of his TV wondering why his children never call and wishing that once, just ONCE, he didn't have to choose between paying his bills and eating decently because his Social Security doesn't stretch far enough? Or does he deserve his loneliness because he was an ornery bugger in earlier life?
That old lady? Is she a widow who is just sadly waiting for time to pass so she can join her husband or is she just a grouchy old biddy too cheap to NOT use a calculator? Does she still roll over in bed at night and feel the cold on the other side or is she used to it now?
That woman with the ice cream? That man with the TV dinners? I see them and others like them and I can't stop my vivid imagination from seeing them in their homes... alone... wanting company but having none. I want to guide them towards each other and say "hi you don't know me but I've watched you... how 'bout we introduce ourselves and would you like to come over Friday and play some cards"? But that is a quick road to a loony bin.
Those children with the angry parents? You know the ones I mean. Not the child who has actually done something to deserve rebuke but the one who is choking back a sob with fear in his eyes because he has been told that if he makes one more move or one more sound he will "get slapped and slapped hard dammit". I see those children and wonder what their futures hold and wonder if my fiance would kill me if I started bringing home stray kids like kittens.
Sighhh... so may people... so many stories. I want to know them all and write them down so we never forget the connection between us all.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
I read somewhere that there is a moment in every day when one feels the most at peace, is at one with the world. The theory was that that time, that one moment, is the time of day or night when you were born. For me, that one moment will be in about ten minutes...I can gauge that because so often I find myself standing on my porch if the weather is nice or looking out my back door if it's not.
It is somewhat cloudy right now with a soft breeze; hot but not so bad that one can't stand outside. I just enjoyed my "moment". The shadows fall on the trees in the mountains, leaving them with a shimmering golden tint as the branches sway in the wind. I watch and it makes me wish I was standing there in the dappled sunlight of the woods.
At this time of early evening, one can look at the mountains and imagine it filled with laughing dancing Fairies and Sprites filled with all the joy and awe at the beauty of creation that we humans sometimes fail to recognize. They are out enjoying the last moments of sunshine. I can picture them throwing back their heads and turning their faces up to the fading sunlight as if to soak in enough to keep them safe and warm throughout the coming night. Around them the snakes and the coons and the possums must glance at them wondering what these creatures are but knowing they belong there just as much as they themselves do.
These otherworldly lads and lasses will be starting their fires for the evening...doing what they must to inhabit a world that becomes dark and fearful after twilight. They gather 'round and tell stories of majestic dragons, ladies fair and the Knights who fought for their hand, of kings of old and days when the Unicorn was more than a myth.
Sometimes...at night, if you stand very still and listen with your heart not your ears, you can hear them. They sound like a night breeze and what you will think you are hearing is the whisper of the wind and the rustle of the trees. Really though it is the laughter of the Sprites and the gentle movement of the Fairies wings as their bodies vibrate with joy and laughter at just being alive.
All my life I have people watched. I've mentioned before that I have a soft spot for the elderly. So many times, especially here in this rural area where marriages tend to last longer, I have watched old couples.
Forty years, fifty years, sometimes more they have been together. They will slowly walk side by side, her hand with its soft paper thin skin tucked neatly into his weathered palm. They come to a door and he will open it as his other hand slides to the small of her back or to her arm and he helps her through the doorway.
Forty years, fifty years, sometimes more they have been together. I see them in restaurants. She will pull his plate over to her as he sits and picks at his napkin or his hat with trembling fingers. She will slowly, carefully, cut his food for him. Then with a smile and a pat on the hands, she will push it back to him and look at him with loving eyes as he eats his meal. She may not have prepared it this time but I wonder how many meals she has made for him... how many times she has helped him as he aged.
Forty years, fifty years, sometimes more they have been together. Bad times and good times, watching family members die, maybe even outliving their own children. Being poor, maybe having times with money. Fighting, making up, loving each other throughout it all.
Forty years, fifty years, sometimes more they have been together. They've spent it sleeping in the same bed, sharing each others warmth, maybe sleeping by hospitals beds crying and praying for the other to get better.
Forty years, fifty years, sometimes more they have been together. They watch as the other goes from young and strong with firm limbs, shining hair and bright eyes to a person who walks stooped over on frail legs. The hands that used to tenderly hold them in the dark hours of the night now shake and have lost their strength. They see dark hair turn to silver, bright eyes lose the luster of youth. Yet, they still seem to see that graceful girl they danced with or that young man who held their first child oh so tenderly.
Forty years, fifty years, sometimes more they have been together. Then one day,one of them has to stay in that hospital bed or just doesn't wake up in the morning. A lifetime of memories...of wants...of needs... hopes and dreams. As hard as it must be to be the one left behind, I want, I want, I want. I want those memories... those wants, those needs, those hopes and dreams. I want the hand on the small of my back as I slowly walk through a doorway. I want my hand held, my hair stroked, my warmth shared. I want the fights, the making up, the silvered hair. I want the magic.
Where've you been I'm just not myself when you're away
They never spent a night apart; for sixty years she heard him snore.
Now they're in the hospital in seperate beds on different floors
Clair soon lost her memory, forgot the names of family
she never spoke a word again, then one day they wheeled him in
he held her hand and stroked her hair, in a fragile voice she said
Where've you been I've looked for you forever and a day
Where've you been I'm just not myself when you're away
no, I'm just not myself when you're away"
"Where've You Been"- Kathy Mattea
Memory is a fickle thing. I can remember the smell of Alabama in the morning yet not what my grandparents house there looked like. I can remember getting stung by a weird greenish bee type creature when I was about seven but not where I was when it happened. I remember chowing down on a bottle of Bayer's Children Aspirin and the dress they forcefully took off of me at the hospital before pumping my stomach, but I have handily blocked the rest of the memory.
I remember as a child, thinking of adults only in terms of where they fit into my own life. Now though, I remember them differently; almost as peers and I wonder about those people who were adults when I was but a wee lass. Were they married? Did they argue with their mates? Were any of them gay in a time that didn't accept that and if so, what effect did it have on their lives? Were they happy? Did they sit in front of the TV at night by themselves, feeling isolated and alone? Were any of them party animals who went out clubbing at night?
Why do I remember my fifth grade teacher Miss Kuester sitting at her desk one day eating her lunch and how it made me feel suddenly and inexplicably sad for her because she looked lonely?
Why now, at almost 45, do I remember things such as that yet can't remember where I set my coffee cup?
Will I be 90 years old and still have vivid memories of Miss Kuester eating lunch or the time my sixth grade teacher Mr. Benkhe dumped my desk on the floor and laughed yet not remember how to feed myself?
What makes some things, trivial as they are, stick so hard that we remember them decades later? Why can I remember my father smelling of Irish Spring soap one day in 1983 when he hugged me yet I can't recall the moment he died with such vivid clarity even though it's only been three years?
When I'm an old lady, will Russell still be in my memory... will my kids... will ANY of you? Will these days that have meant so much to me, the good AND the bad, fade and I will be left remembering only childhood nonsense as I idly pick at the blanket covering me?
I have lived here in the sticks for just about twelve years now. But in some ways, I will always be a city girl. While I have come to be annoyed by wild animals digging in my garbage, I am also still fascinated and can be found watching them and giggling before I shoo them off the porch.
About eight years ago on Thanksgiving night, I was too pooped to worry about the turkey carcass and the foil pan it was in. So I set it on the back porch with the twin hopes that animals would cart the whole thing off leaving me nothing to mess with or that they would at least come onto the porch and I could get in some giggling and animal watching
They exceeded even my expectations and years later, I shake my head in disbelief over what I saw with my own eyes. About an hour after putting the pan out, I heard a mad scramble going on on the back porch. It sounded like and was, more than one animal. I snuck to my vantage point at the edge of the back door window to check it out.
There were three fairly large Raccoons on the porch, chirruping away as they fought over the turkey carcass. One would push its way through to the pan and the others would push back. The pan was coming precariously close to the steps and was in danger of overturning. Suddenly, one of the Raccoons pounced into the pan with the carcass, figuring I guess that if he was on top if it, he had the benefit of possession is nine tenths of the law.
That was the proverbial straw that in this case broke the turkeys back. As the other Raccoons pounced to get in there with him, the tray started a quick slide down the back porch steps, looking like nothing other than a greasy bone filled roller coaster for large rodents.
The Coons squeaked like they were being butchered as the pan went down and hit bottom. When it landed, tilted somewhat but still on the bottom step they jumped off, sniffed around it and then walked over to the poor turkey, which had itself been thrown from the pan and landed in the yard. They took a few seemingly obligatory nibbles off the bones then one at time walked over to the pan, still squeaking and chirruping madly. I was watching through the window, hands to mouth to cover my increasingly loud laughter.
Suddenly, one of the Raccoons shoved his snout into the tray and began pushing it upwards. After a few attempts, he got it moving back UP the stairs. The other two Coons followed behind him, chattering excitedly.
When it got up to the top, it quickly became surreal. The Coon who had pushed it up to the top got into the pan and started squeaking loudly. The two followers, after a bit of sniffing and trying to shove him out of it, seemed to decide it wasn't worth the effort. They then, together, nosed the pan and sent it flying down the stairs with the lucky fellow getting the ride squealing like a young boy taking his first ride on a loop-de-loop roller coaster.
As I stood there in total amazement, they did it again... and again...and again...and again. This was no accidental shove. This was a deliberate act of fun for these animals. They would work together to get the pan up the stairs then take turns (more or less) getting into the pan and being shoved down the stairs with whichever coon was in the pan doing what I am sure was a Raccoon laugh... a squeal of pure delight. About 30 minutes later, the allure of the grease soaked pan seemed to pall under the pull of the real food presented by the carcass lying in the yard and looking lonely in the rising moonlight.
One by one, they sniffed at the pan lying at the bottom of the stairs then went over to the carcass where the biggest of them started to pull it towards the overgrown field by the side of the house.
They were gone but I stood there at least another twenty minutes hoping they would come back and knowing that there was no way that anyone would ever believe my tale of the Thanksgiving night that the coons turned my porch into a thrill ride.
What was I saying? Oh yeah...clouds. Yes, I'm drinking. What of it? *Grins*
I saw a cloud that looked like a DNA strand. That was followed by one that looked like a silhouette of Beethoven. As I was preening over finding such intelligent shapes, Bart Simpson eating a Kitty Cat and an erect Penis floated by. Damn my freaky brain for the cheap cloud 'ho that it is.
The other day, he came to me and said "mommy, I will always love you. No matter what happens or even if you get old and ugly, I will always think you are a cutie pie and a sweetheart and I will love you.............. even if you're mean."
When I said thank you and that I would always love him too, he started to walk away then came back and said "did I look real cute when I said all that mommy?"
I laughed and said "yes you looked cute but you shouldn't fish for compliments"
He just smiled and said "But I'm practicing mommy. I hafta look real cute so the girls in 8th gradel with think I'm a hottie."
Time passed though as it is wont to do. With it I began to gain a small amount of the wisdom that comes from age and experience. I began to look at you and others like you from a different viewpoint.
You're scared all the time aren't you? You're scared of being disliked, you're scared of being liked, you're scared of seeming dumb, you're scared of using your intelligence for anything other than trying to belittle others; certainly not for any real cause. Because then you couldn't blame others for your failures could you?
You're scared of what you are, you're scared of what you aren't, but mostly you're scared and angry over what you'll never be. A decent human being. You truly don't know how to be one, do you? You try to act like it's how you want things to be in your life, but in reality, the words you say and the ones you don't say reveal so much more than you think.
Every nasty word you say to someone else to make yourself look more powerful, every dig at what you perceive to be their flaws, it's really a dig at your own flaws isn't it? The things you hate the most in us are the things you know you can never have; not in the long term anyway.
I'm shy, I'm soft hearted, I've been called too gentle. I do my best to help those around me even if they are strangers. I'm also smart and funny and have morals, values and principles that nobody can take from me. I won't bend them to fit in, I won't change them to make you like me and that annoys the crap out of you doesn't it? With me... with people like me, you just can't win, can you?
So you poke and prod and try to find the little thread of our personalities that you can pull on in the hopes of unraveling the whole thing don't you? But it doesn't work. Every time you pull a thread, we just sew it back up as we smile at you while you glare back and foam at the mouth and it makes us stronger at that spot. In the meantime, you're so busy poking and prodding at everyone else to find their weak spots, you don't even see yourself falling apart at the seams. You don't even notice that you are rotting from the insides out.
But it shows. While we find love and healthy companionship with people who care about us as much as we care about them, you find temporary solace in the company of people like yourself. But like any pack of dogs will do, sooner or later the most hungry of you start to gnaw at the psyches of the weakest of you, like a dog with a bone and eventually you turn on even each other, don't you? You have nothing to lose because there were never any real emotional ties were there?
"How do you get that lonely
How do you hurt that bad
To make you make the call
That having no life at all
Is better than the life that you have?
How do you feel so empty
You want to let it all go
How do you get that lonely
And nobody know?"
Really? It's not hard. We as grown ups are expected to be completely self sufficient, utterly strong and to never let anything, certainly not a romantic relationship gone south or personal pain, get us down. That just makes us weak right? Means we are fools who should have known better huh? Bullshit I tell you. Bullshit!
The loudest sound our souls make is the keening for love. We bury it with alcohol, with quick fixes in short lived relationships, with our jobs, our kids, our friends and our hobbies. For a while, the whimpering in our hearts go silent. We have quenched the fire in the belly of the beast.... for a little while. It never lasts for long though. The fire burns again. Our hearts feel the need to find a kindred spirit; one who can love us for all our finer qualities and in spite of all our flaws. The keening grows louder, the cycle starts over yet somehow...ultimately... we end up alone again. That's how we get "that lonely."
It's so easy to go from the joys of heaven where every sound, every touch and taste and smell are heightened by our own happiness into an ecstasy heretofore unknown to us.
Then.... the crash. Nothing tastes good anymore. Music, which had echoed our own hopes, now only speaks of our heartbreak. You just don't care anymore. You are ugly, stupid, useless, unlovable and undesirable, at least to anyone who is worth it; only Satan's Spawn could want someone like you right?
Getting past that feeling is the loneliest thing in the world. It doesn't matter how many well wishing friends you have. No amount of "you're better off without him/her" helps. You....don't....care. You just want it all back. If only I had done this... said that... maybe I shouldn't have emailed... maybe it was that last phone call. Did I smell funny... taste funny... is it my nose??? It's easy to get to the point where you just can't take the pain anymore. Then you decide to quit trying. That's how you get that lonely. You get impatient and convince yourself it will never get any better; that this feeling you have now is it for you. It's all you have and worse, all you're worth.
Ok.... NOW... this long entry aside that came from God knows where other than seeing the pain of someone I know, I will start writing the post about what happened to me. maybe on seeing it, this person can realize that what they are going through, hellish as it is, WILL pass. Not soon... I won't lie. But it will pass.