Category: Daily Life
I don’t write as much as I think about writing.
And by “think about” I mean I think “hey, I should write” because the actual thoughts that would evolve into writing are either swallowed up by twitter or a photograph or my ADD.
Yeah, I used to write, a lot. That was before life got “too busy” and I was distracted by Evey and my job got more intense and our dreams started coming true and twitter and the photography internship and knitting and facebook and HEY! SQUIRREL!
That was also before a troll came to my blog a while back and left some pretty hideous comments.
I didn’t approve them, obviously, I just read and reread them. Because I’m a masochist.
They were from someone I used to know – not anyone I was close to – but someone I used to know just the same. They were hurtful and heinous and a little on the “did she take a bunch of Ambien before she wrote these? They’re borderline incoherent, the time stamp is suspect and I have a feeling she’s not going to remember having done it.” side.
Yes, I know who she is. I know because I AM A NERD who took measures several years ago when I was younger and thinner and had a stalker issue to protect myself.
I’d also be lying if I said it was this was the incident that made me stop.
Words came easy when my nights and weekends were unsupervised, when I was finding myself after getting divorced. Life back then was full of new adventures, challenges, emotions and experiences and TIME. Back then, it felt safe. I’d sit on my porch and listen to the birds and just let my brain vomit splash on the keyboard.
Those were the days of a multi-year separation and one seriously long overdue divorce. Those were the days before I met The Mc.
Remember The Mc? We dated, courted, I dragged him to my therapist, he didn’t run away from my cargo container full of crazy, blah blah blah. Well after a great deal of of thought, I wrote about him. I’d always been careful not to write about the specifics of my personal life (without approval), sensitive to the privacy of others including my girlfriends who all had nicknames on the blog and of whom I rarely posted pictures. These were the days before facebook, before everyone knew everything.
So yeah, just because I had a blog with a topless picture of me where I dumped all my emotions out into the ether didn’t mean that everyone else was up for that level of judgment or exposure. Are you still hung up on the topless remark? Oh, those were the days. Here’s a reminder, I’ll wait for you to catch up.
A few years later, The Mc and I cohabitated and I decided it was time to bring him “out”. Partially because I felt I was neglecting him by leaving him out of stories, partly because he’d put up with enough shit from me to have earned being acknowledged. The writing was already drying up anyway (I blame happiness) but I wrote.
Then I heard from The Ex.
I hadn’t been in The Big House long when I found an envelope with my name in his scrawl in the mailbox. It had been forwarded from my old apartment to my condo and eventually to The Big House. For context, I was in my apartment 3 years and in my condo for over a year before I moved in with The Mc in the sticks.
The letter said, in short, that despite the arrangements we’d made during the divorce with regards to who would be responsible for which debts, he was done. Something along the lines of “Now that you’ve moved in with ‘The Mc’…” (yeah, he really said ‘The Mc’).
The trick here being that what I was responsible for was in his name, and vice versa, and I’d already paid off the debts he/we/I owed. The same couldn’t be said for him.
I sat stupefied in a house that didn’t belong to me, where I still felt like an interloper, overwhelmed by the crushing disappointment that someone who – at one point – was FAMILY would be so cold and hurtful.
You know that wheel on The Price is Right? It was like all the dollar figures were replaced with emotions, and every time I reread the letter, someone else got to spin the wheel to see where I’d land. I cried…a lot.
I called my sister who advised me to imagine him as a big, green fart cloud, and to open up a window and let him disappear.
I actually OPENED A WINDOW. I tried. Then I accepted it for what it was and paid off the debts myself.
I also stopped writing.
In the years since, new facts have come to light. Like The Ex having started dating a cute, young little brunette not long before that letter came (she wasn’t the stalker I mentioned earlier, but she sure gave that guy a run for his money).
It doesn’t matter why he did it or if it had anything to do with her, and it doesn’t matter if the girl I barely knew took Ambien or not.
What matters is that there are a lot of fucking horrible people out there. There are also a lot of sad, broken, confused, people out there, and it’s important that we’re all able to distinguish between the two.
In the meantime, I might write again. I might not. Because the simple truth is I can’t be sure I’m emotionally equipped to deal with the kind of abuse this sets me up for until it happens again…and I’m not much of a gambler.
The week before last I got one of *those* calls at the office. The number on the caller ID was my GYN, who I’d spent some quality stirrup/awkward banter time with just a few weeks prior.
Nursie-poo says I need to come back, all the scary test results returned with a HALLELUJAH negative, but there weren’t enough cells for them to complete the scariest of all. She also rambled about my thyroid – which has behaved itself to the best of my knowledge since that radioactive iodine uptake over ten years ago – but I’d already checked out.
Let’s back up. What. The. F___. Not enough cells? For what, cloning me? I’m pretty awesome with my grey streak and sharp wit, but let’s not go overboard. How many do they need? And really, when you’re shoving a toilet brush up my hoo-hah so far I actually used the sweat sock covered stirrups to bear down, I’M CERTAIN you got more than your fair share of my fleshy bagel.
But yeah, okay, I’ll cut my over-earned vacation short to come for a bad boomerang visit because it has to be a certain time in my cycle and you’ve got a drunk frat boy working in your lab. Sounds like a hoot!
So I get there painfully early (as I arrive everywhere painfully early, a side effect of waiting on my perpetually tardy father during those dark days before cell phones) and sit reading and guzzling water in the lobby for half an hour next to a woman and her one month old who are chaperoned by every woman in her family over 30 because she clearly can’t be trusted to carry this precious cargo to a check-up on her own, or because they’re that bored. The latter is more likely since they were passing a cell phone around & yammering on in Spanish as the clock ticked like tar and I intermittently checked to see if their volume knob was somewhere I could reach.
When I couldn’t take it anymore – and by that I mean I figured it was close enough to my appointment time that I could check in without being judged – I went upstairs to find a continuation of my nightmare that will surely catapult me straight to hell for even considering documenting.
A creature I’d never fathomed was in the waiting room: a blind woman screwing with her cellphone that talked to her while babbling to no one in particular about how loud her phone is and how it doesn’t allow her privacy. Ohhhhhkaaaay. So for the next 15 minutes I endure her telling someone at the office how to sort files by type in Windows Explorer, and when it was finally, joyously over snapping her phone shut and muttering a hostile remark about mentoring.
Both impressed and annoyed (I had never contemplated a blind woman going for a pap smear and my imagination now has far too much fodder), I was not to be outdone.
When my name is finally called, I shift my mindset to a single focus: to be the first person to ever heed the request of the lab tech via her pleading post on the wall of the sterile loo – to write both my first and last name on the specimen cup. Oh, but wait. I plan to take the game to a whole new level and do so legibly.
Not to toot my own horn, but I accomplished my mission with execution that should earn me a gold medal, and don’t think for a second that I wasn’t tempted to take a picture. The only thing stopping me (with the exception of you seeing my legal name) was that in the time it takes to launch the camera on my nearly antique iPhone 3G, the nurse surely would have assumed I was taking an atomic poop. Which I wasn’t. In fact, I’m shamed I even wrote/typed that word. No one but the lab tech and I and I may ever know how skilled I am, and you, if you believe. Do you believe, Peter?
Off to delousing station #3, where I get to do that thing we all dread and push the red button on the wall and wait…eyeballing the tiny torture instrument on the counter and attempting a telepathic ceasefire with an inanimate object.
I swear it looks just like the little device I’d get from my orthodontist when I wore braces with bands to get the chunks of Wonderbread out of their homesteads between my brackets.
They look like this, and I bet my GYN pays more for them than I would at CVS.
Now, boys; I encourage you to imagine having that bit of modern medicine shoved up your pee hold and swept around a bit, because that makes you even with every woman reading this whose knees just clamped shut at the memory of her last visit and filled with dread for her next. Unless you’ve had children, in which case you’ve seen and heard worse and I’m sorry for that, but let’s be honest, that’s your own damn fault.
It’s all normal from there except for the part where she talks about my misbehaving thyroid while my ass hangs out the back of the threadbare sheet on my lap I attempted to pull around me. She asks if I’m tired. Sure I’m tired, but am I tired because I’m aging and had a 5 year bout where the most exercise I got was standing for 3 hours at a time during a Tweet-Up, or am I aging and tired because of the thyroid?
Either way, I’m going to take synthroid every day. With all that said, I’m writing this on my yellow tablet (see previous illustration) at my favorite haunt where I waddled in mentally willing that feeble cotton attempt to control the possible aftermath of my assault not to fall out the leg of my shorts (every woman reading this knows what I’m talking about, don’t act like you don’t).
What IS that? I mean I know what it was, but really – “here’s a pantyliner in case you bleed out from my having just scraped 10% of your lady bits off your cervix with a device we haven’t bothered improving on since the middle ages.”? It isn’t quite the antidote I’d go for after such an…interaction.
In fact, I motion that there should be a bar between the exam room and the checkout counter.
That beautiful nugget of innovation? Another of my under appreciated talents.
Planning a vacation with a man who doesn’t fly is more of a challenge than you might think. Or not. Maybe it’s exactly the frustrating, heart wrenching, patience exhausting, hope inciting, dream dashing challenge you’re imagining.
He’s finally agreed to going somewhere via one of them thar big aireoplanes for what we’ll call our baby-moon (since approximately one year from now we’ll be breaking ground, then giving birth to a cabbage and will be sustaining ourselves on a steady diet of mac & cheese, ramen noodles and beanie-weenies until then) and when you’re traveling with someone who has seen exactly 2% of the world (anything in driving distance + the trips he took to Vegas and PA with his ex which I absolutely, positively do not bring up every time I get homesick) the options are no easier to wrap your brain around than the world being round. HOLY CRAP. IT’S ROUND? I’m pretty sure I owe someone $10 for that.
We’ve been talking about this for 9 months, easy; and we’re less than 4 weeks away from a damn well earned vacation thankyouverymuch and curse you [redacted], because I can’t talk about just how much I’ve earned this. We’re 4 weeks away and we’ve made zero progress in picking a location. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
I want turtles and a cheap flight (because that part is my responsibility and in my new found almost debt-freeness, I have palpitations delightfully paired with a pucker affliction when we start talking about my pocketbook), he wants exotic. I think. I don’t know, because I stop listening after I say “turtles” and “cheap flight”.
Turks & Cacois? BVI? Barbados? Bermuda? Bahamas?
We’ve picked up an embarrassing amount of travel magazines, we’re poking around on our adoptive mothers timeshare site (God bless her), we’re looking at LastMinute, I’ve been sporadically scouring TripAdvisor while inhaling lunch at my desk (and yes, I know the urban myth about it being dirtier than a toilet), which only proves that my ability to research is only outshone (?) by my ability to talk myself into a stupor. In my defense, the only correct answers to the vacation quandary are: home (Anchorage), Machu Picchu, the Galapagos, and Egypt. Maybe The Burren for a week by myself, maybe a tree house in Fiji.
Not only are we not any further along in our decision making than we were 9 months ago, we’re probably in a deficit. Also? I need to stop playing the ex card…right after I get his B.A. Baracus style medicated ass on a plane and take him home. I suck with a blow-dart gun, so that narrows our options. Again.
I’ll keep you posted.
I must have heard the tires screeching, but that memory is vague and in a place I can’t quite get to. I was busy looking at the movie trucks lined up along the residential street and the faux real estate office sign planted in a yard for the set. Crawling up to the stop sign I heard her horn, then looked to my right and saw her wobbling next to her car, bent over. The other cars heading down North Avenue kept coming like water from a hydrant – not slowing, not stopping.
I pulled over on the busy street, partially blocking traffic as a passive-aggressive FU to those who kept going, and went to see if I could help. I was at lunch and had designs on eating the noms I’d just picked up in a nearby park…my stomach – and whatever was waiting back at the office – were far less important than this.
There were a few men arriving at the scene at the same time – 3 workmen who must have been going the other direction quickly raised the hood and disconnected the battery on her Mustang to stop the horn that was still blowing.
She was standing when I saw her, but sitting by the time I reached her. She had blood on the bridge of her nose from where the impact of the airbag pushed her glasses to a place they didn’t have any business being. Blood on her cheeks from where she’d raised her hand to feel her face and wipe her tears came from her thumb where the nail had been broken half way down.
I rubbed her back softly and asked if she hurt anywhere. She looked at me with glassy, confused, terrified eyes and shook her head. I told her that was good and asked if I could call someone for her – boyfriend or parents. She nodded. Asked where her phone was and she was able to speak. “In my purse, in the car…on the passenger side”. I stood up and one of the workers stepped away from where he’d been watching us, he made a move for the car then said “it’s probably better if you get it, ma’am.” Walking around to the passenger side of the car I could see I wasn’t getting in that way, the tire had buckled under the car and somehow crunched the door up, as well.
Moving back to the drivers side, kneeling on the drivers seat and lifting the now deflated airbag so I could access the floorboard where the purse lay I was struck by the smoke and the smell. With purse in hand I climbed back out and told the men on hand the car was smoking – which scared me a little because in the movies that always means a gas leak that will invariably turn into a monster explosion catapulting the vehicle into the air and people nearby onto their bellies.
He told me it was normal and not to worry, so I didn’t.
Sitting down with her again she tried to pull her phone out of a snapped pouch on the side of her purple purse but her hands were shaking so badly she couldn’t find the dexterity. We managed it together and brought up “Mom” in the directory.
“What’s your mom’s name?” “Lisa.” “What’s your name?” “Marie.” OK.
I was all too aware of what a terrifying call I was making – that her child had been hurt or that her child was the victim of theft and this was a deranged call to blackmail.
I can’t imagine how I must have sounded to her mother. “Hi Lisa? I’m with your daughter Marie. She’s OK, but she’s been in an accident. Marie, do you want to tell your mom you’re OK?”
“Mommy?” *sobs* “I’m OK.”
“She has some abrasions and the vehicle isn’t drivable. We’re on North Avenue near Freedom Parkway. Where are you?”
“If you want to get in your car and head this way, that would be good. The vehicle isn’t drivable. I’m not sure where the EMT’s will take her – probably Grady because it’s the closest.”
“Can’t we go to her doctor?”
“I’m afraid that in the city of Atlanta the EMT’s take you to the closest hospital, you don’t get a choice about your destination.”
“If you can come now, you might be able to pick her up.” (Marie has already indicated she doesn’t want to go to the hospital and that she doesn’t know what happened.)
“If she’s moved into an ambulance, she’ll call you back and let you know where she’s going…right, Marie?” “Mommy I’ll call you back later when I know where I’m going.”
Her mother asks if I’m a police officer. “No ma’am, I just pulled over.”
I talked to the responding officer after that, who didn’t need me because I hadn’t seen it happen. I talked to Marie a little more and made a joke about the big, strong, handsome men all coming to her aid. She laughed, which I took as a good sign. There were 3 police cars, a fire truck and an ambulance on scene when I left her.
I’m sure she’s OK, but I hated to drive away and I still worry about her, and I wonder why it is that these situations land in front of me – the cyclist on Highland (that I can’t find the old blog post about) and the other cyclist in midtown. I wonder how many of you see things and don’t stop, and how many of you see things and do.
Come winter, nearly every store in Anchorage had a rubber mat just inside the door for you to stomp the excess snow/slush off your feet. Some were circles (fancy), some were the predictable basket-weave pattern – all of them were made of rubber and eased your transition from the harsh winter climate to the warmth of their shop. As if in that hippy, drippy and trippy 70′s mentality, the mat was your place to shake off the outside world, shifting your mindset to being truly and wholly susceptible to their wares.
Brown Jug Liquors was the shop next to the grocery. In Anchorage, you couldn’t buy beer, wine or booze in your supermarket – but unlike the south, buying on Sunday wasn’t an issue. A small inconvenience – you had to exit the store, take 10 paces, and step into another store. I’m sure this deterred alcoholics across the city. *eye roll*
Mom and dad liked The Drink, and we little people were known to escort them on their errands, up to and including the stops at Brown Jug. We were also known to be pains in the ass measurable both on the Richter scale and by the metric shit ton, so there were strict guidelines for these fantastical field trips: don’t ask for anything, don’t quibble with your siblings, keep your hands in your pockets.
Kevin always was better at being a kiss ass than I was, so it’s little wonder that on that particular night when he walked into Brown Jug with dad his hands were in his pockets. Pockets his prepubescent brain couldn’t tell his body quickly enough to extract themselves from as he hit a puddle of melted snow and went face first into the linoleum.
Poor kid. I’d have rather had the back of the brush for bumping a bottle of bourbon.
Not Kev though, he’s never known an enemy, a regret, or a hardship. He tells that story better than anyone, and laughs all the way through it. Champ.
It was poofy, fluffy snow. Snow that flew away when you walked through it like a dandelion at the end of summer. Snow that was wet and dry at the same time and didn’t melt on your face when it landed. It was warm and cold and perfect for making snow angels, though admittedly the “warm” may have been the result of overly fond memories or yet to be formed nerve endings.
The boys – who were older and more mischievous (don’t worry, I caught up) would shovel the snow that fell on the deck into one big pile at the front of the house, and we would jump off the railing into it with squeals and animal calls war cries. The test of the snow and the winter was this: did you land with a thud or did it swallow you up with a big cotton candy hug? The boys would eventually convince my parents to let them shovel the roof, too, and I think at one point they tried to ski off of it. I was young, it’s foggy.
Later, in high school, I’d walk home in these light-weight mustard yellow cargo pants I was so fond of, paired with some bright green woolies from Benetton I’d splurged on…and my Birkenstocks. The snow would cling to the socks and instead of melting and wetting my tootsies, it would form a second layer of protection. I walked home in snow half way to my knees like that and never got cold.
That’s what the snow was like.
The snow today wasn’t like that, much. I woke up through the night and walked out to the window multiple times, waiting for it to come. Never did that as a child, it would just show up. For 18 years, I took it for granted.
This morning the snow I rushed out to wasn’t the snow of my youth – it was better in some ways and worse in others. Scampering out into it at 6am, anxious to make the first prints in the snow, delirious that all those first prints were mine. Climbing onto the roof and surveying the white rooftops, the ice fog skyline. Today I walked, and even though I remembered to wear layers and a hoodie and a hat and wool socks, I don’t have thermals and wound up with numb thighs. Numb thighs that made me smile, smile, smile.
The snow of our future? At the lake, with impassable roads. An actual fireplace. A dog. A crispy, crunchy lake lurking out the back door. Fluffy or flat, dry or wet, cold or warm…all relative, all unknown.
What’s for sure: I look forward to a day when we can shovel the drive and pile the snow where the road plow builds its berm and carve a hole…making ourselves a wee igloo to lay in and hide from reality. If it doesn’t manifest itself as a pile of snow to be hollowed out, that’s ok…what really matters is being able to tap into that wide-eyed wonder wonder again and again and again and again. Well into old age.