Friday, December 26, 2008
Let's all look at the big picture. Because I started this with one particular person in mind but suddenly my list of who I hoped would read this looked like those pictures you see of Santa with his long list of names on paper unrolling, and I realized it's meant for every one of us.
Please though, be forgiving. It's 3:49 am and although I'm mighty tired, me believing that we are here for one another's benefit is the only real hope I have -- so although this isn't as fleshed out as I'd like, I'm posting. And although I may sound preachy -- yes, no, maybe, I don't know -- believing we are here for one another's benefit is the only real faith I have.
Maybe it's like an addiction in that you don't give it up based on others' suggestions that you do so. "It" being a negative perception of yourself that you can't shake. "It" being that you see rejection as failure. Rejection is not failure; rejection has as much to do with the "editor" as it does with the writer. This goes for all relationships.
You don't give up the negative perception, you don't quit the self-loathing -- not because you don't want to, of course you want to believe you are beautiful/handsome AND smart AND good -- but because YOU are the only one who can make you believe it for certain. Like giving up cigarettes, or any other "substance" we know is not good for us or has control of us, we can only quit when WE decide we've had enough, and we really have to want to quit more than we want the comfort of what is killing us. We have to want to choose life, but we have to first realize that we are dying -- and that we are fully responsible for that act.
Loving yourself is like that. Once you realize that NOT loving yourself is killing you, you can learn to survive by loving yourself, but to love yourself you have to respect yourself and to respect yourself you have to demand that others respect you as well as do things that others (whom you, yourself respect) find respectable. Gah. That's an incredible amount of expectation.
If you abuse someone, that is not loving, and doing so allows them to retalitate, to disrespect you in return, with, in their mind, good reason, because you've disrespected them.
If someone abuses you and you allow it, that, too causes them to lose respect for you. So even if you are not the type of person to retaliate, if you are, instead the type of person who tolerates abuse from others, you still lose because you'll continue to be mistreated no matter how tolerant or forgiving you are. No one respects someone who doesn't respect themselves enough to command respect, at all times, from others. Even if it means being unpopular. Even if it means going "unloved" because really it does not. It means you are loving yourself by accepting no less than any other human being deserves.
If you are abused or are in an abusive relationship, whether it be with yourself or with someone else, stop it. If you can't stop it, get out. You may not have the life you thought you were going to have. That doesn't matter. You'll have a life that you cherish. You'll have a life you're happy to open your eyes for in the morning (okay, you'll have bad days too, but you get the gist). If you don't stop others from mistreating you, and believe me, mistreatment can be as subtle as snide, condescending remarks or as in-your-face as a fist, if YOU don't decide that you want happiness, you won't have it. And unhappiness will become a habit. It will begin to feel like an old familiar coat you don't want to throw out because it conforms to your body so well. You are so used to it.
Everyone will see how worn out you are, like the coat, but you won't notice until you are no longer warm.
I know, loving yourself is not as easy as buying a new coat. You've found that out by now, I'm sure. You've tried all the consolation prizes. There are none. You've discovered where the real love begins. With your own action.
Friday, December 19, 2008
I feel lucky that for me poetry releases the demons (where will they go now?). Writing what eats at me. Demons. Well, this particular one, anyway.
Oh, and I know. I'm asking questions again. I can't escape myself.
On second thought, me and me, we're pretty cozy. I think I'll stay.
Christmas Tree in the Background, 2008
I think there is no you for me.
And if there is no you for me
to praise, I'll revere, instead, the land,
water, weather and every human hand
that worked to move this food to our table.
But if there is no you for me to pray to –
no force or lack of force to hold
accountable for misfortune’s consequence --
who will be my God? And what
should I replace you with?
Who should my intent be aimed toward
if there is no you?
What can I appease? How shall I
entice goodwill to bestow itself
on lowly me and my neighbors
who ask that I pray them into wellness
when they are ill.
If you aren’t there to hear?
Here to hear?
And if there is no you then
there is no him
either. So who is starving babies there
wherever I am not
while we're here filming baby's first
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Even though I am no longer a practicing Christian, even though terminology would classify me as an agnostic-atheist, every December I unwrap my nativity scene and display it where anyone who enters my home can see it.
What does this mean? And likewise, what does it mean that I've left my Virgin Mary, mother-of-God statue on the lawn where I placed it when it was given to me twelve years ago when we moved in? Hypocrite.
What does it mean that I thought I could let the wild rose bramble and honeysuckle vine and Rose of Sharon obscure it from view as a rebellious act -- but that after a little while, I couldn't carry my rebellious act through. Or wouldn't.
Wouldn't obscure that image, that portrayal, that representation of a woman who for all intents and purposes had absolutely no choice but to accept her fate and be forever painted as the "Madonna of the Streets." A pregnant virgin. An oxymoron. A prostitute? Raped? Abused? Just a silly horny girl with no form of birth control to resort to? Who WAS this Mary?
And who was this Joseph hero, this man who came to her aid, who saved her honor, maybe even more possibly, her very life and the life of her unborn child? What was in it for him? He certainly couldn't have predicted the love that would reign down on him in exchange for his devotion and belief in Mary.
To symbolically defy all the Casey Anthony's and Susan Smiths' and Andrea Yates' of the world, all those who do not cherish their children, all those who do not cherish women simply because they are women, to symbolically refuse the ideology of all the sexist men who think women are disposable little earworms, for all the young children whose brains aren't developed enough to recognize the sacrifices their parents make for their sakes, for me -- so that I can continue to speak my mind openly without fear of retribution (manners help) and so that I can remember to honor my own mother, and hers, and hers, I leave that statue.
And every year I display the trumpet-blowing angel, the wise men, the camel, the donkey, the lamb, the boy, the shepherd, the mother, the father, the newborn. For what reason? To honor humanity. To honor our humanity in an always difficult world. To show honor to those, especially, who do not fit into our subjective social ideals. To honor our ability to seek out, to surround ourselves with and to live peacefully among trumpet-blowing angels, wise men, and all the creatures of the earth. To honor our sensibility to aid others and to accept aid; to let others in, and to honor the humility that comes with knowing that others will love us and help us, despite our differences.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
The thing is, not everyone thinks as you or I or even the next person does. While some people have shy and modest personalities, other people are exhibitionists at heart. It's not as if these women have no other means to pay their mortgages or rent, right? Millions of women do it every month, and they are not models. So not only are these women earning great sums of money, those who enjoy attention or exhibitionism are having that need filled, as well.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
I agree with this and many of the other more liberal posts regarding this issue. I am not "into bondage" but it doesn't mean I can't understand it, in theory. I have never been inside a strip club but the existence of these establishments doesn't bother me. I don't know why sexual expression has such negative connotations to some people, or why it frightens and/or disgusts them to the extent it does. I would rather my son see a hot sex scene in a movie than someone getting his face torn off.
I remember finding my dad's Playboy and Hustler magazines under the hamper in the bathroom. I was probably only nine or so, but thrilled, enthralled. I had never seen such female beauty. I'm a female, not gay, but there was a beauty in those women much like that found in the works of great sculptors.
All this fuss over cleavage and skin. All these people who crave homogeneity, as long as what we are homogenized into is what they decide we should be.
But they don't think that.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Minding my own business.
Then I'm not.
And sometimes (this is where it gets tricky) it's better that way.
Standing in line at Sam's Club. We're all waiting our turn. Everyone is always in a hurry, me included. Someone almost always waiting for me to show. Always something expected. It's okay. I must like it. Cliche, I know, but giving does feel good.
The woman in front of me is almost finished. I'm pre-writing a check while I wait. I don't even notice who's behind me until a girl with a double-sized stocked-to-the-hilt flat-bed comes up and asks a man, who reaches his cart (parked behind me and a little to the right) at the same time she pulls hers into line, if he is, in fact, in line. She wasn't mean, just not sure. He obviously got to the line and forgot to get laundry detergent and maybe something else, because he's rushing back with two items in each hand. He moved his cart to the side, probably because he wasn't sure if he would make it back in time to not hold up the line. So they both get to the spot at the same time. His cart-load is much smaller than hers, and she doesn't seem to mind if he IS in front of her, but before he even gets a chance to answer, the almighty commander of who gets-to-go, the cashier, says to him, in a very loud and condescending voice "THERE'S NO HOLDING YOUR PLACE IN LINE!"
The man responds very calmly, "I wasn't holding my place. If I was holding my place I would have had someone stand here for me."
So I turn around, and say to him (because the cashier so obviously tried to embarrass him) "...Plus, you got back before your turn came up. Look, I haven't even gone yet. I would have watched your cart for you. And I turned to the cashier and said, "I've done that a few times: forgotten something. My cart was too heavy to take all the way back to the aisle, so I just leave the cart and run back." (Most people really don't mind because if you're not back in time, they'll just go ahead of you, no harm done.) So she says to both of us, "Well, you should see the fights that break out over this." And we say "Really? What a shame, over something so small..." and the guy finishes with, "and especially considering the music playing, how can anyone want to fight?" And I laugh, because it's Christmas music. Haha. Right, how can anyone fight over a place in line while Christmas music is playing.? (He WAS being ironic, but also sarcastic. Not sure she got that).
So then he asks what I'm baking. And I say I have a restaurant. And he says, "Oh, here, let me give you my card" and he adds, "but you have to sign it in front of me." And I suspiciously ask "I have to sign it? What kind of card is it?" and he says, its a PBA card. And the cashier says "What kind of card IS it? And he says it's a PBA card. And he turns to me and he says, "If you ever get into trouble, just pull out this card."
I told you, I don't believe in Karma. But I do believe in consequence.
Sometimes, I guess it pays to look out for one another. And not because some kind of reward will ensue, but because it feels good to not let other people get bullied. In this case, though, I have to admit, it felt good twice.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
"What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff -- I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy."
-- J.D. Salinger's Holden Caulfield
"This fall I think you're riding for -- it's a special kind of fall, a horrible kind. The man falling isn't permitted to feel or hear himself hit bottom. He just keeps falling and falling. The whole arrangement's designed for men who, at some time or other in their lives, were looking for something their own environment couldn't supply them with. Or they thought their own environment couldn't supply them with. So they gave up looking. They gave it up before they ever really even got started."
-- J.D. Salinger's Mr. Antolini, to Holden
"...you're going to start getting closer and closer -- that is, if you want to, and if you look for it and wait for it -- to the kind of information that will be very, very dear to your heart. Among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You're by no means alone on that score, you'll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them -- if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education. It's history. It's poetry."
-- J.D. Salinger's Mr. Antolini, to Holden
I am going to admit that I'm not as well-read in fiction as I am in fact or in poetry. I haven't always had the time to read large chunks of fiction on a regular basis, though I did read large amounts of literature for college as well as huge amounts of other materials. After taking care of Austin, going to school, working up to three jobs at a time, having then recovering from brain surgery, and finally opening the restaurant with Joe -- well it didn't leave me much time to do more than get a book in edgewise here and there. I've read a lot of the classics and a lot of philosophers, though not nearly as many as I should have by my age.
Lately I've been catching up and I can't believe how exciting it is, although at the same time I can remember that before Austin was born and I had only me to look out for, I'd stay up all night just to finish a book.
I finally read Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice, the annotated version. I wish I'd read it a long time ago. No, don't bother with the movie. It skips too much. You have to read the book. You must, especially if you're female, read the book. Oh, please do.
I'd like also to recommend J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher In The Rye" if you haven't read it already. It's been on my stack of "books to read next" for the past year, but here's the thing: I don't know if I loved it for it's own sake, or if I loved it because of how well it tied in with the movie I watched Wednesday night: Chapter 27, "A film about Mark David Chapman in the days leading up to the infamous murder of Beatle John Lennon" (1) starring a pimply-faced, plumper-than-I'm-used-to-seeing Jared Ledo as David Chapman. After the movie I knew I had to read the book immediately. After which I said to myself, "Fuck. Fuck. Fuck." And I felt kind of sick for a minute, thinking about John Lennon's death. Outside the context of the book, the movie isn't much more than a documentary. But within the context of the book, the movie is utterly creepy.
The book, published in 1951, "remains widely read; as of 2004, the novel was selling about 250,000 copies per year, with total worldwide sales over 65 million." (1) I wonder if it would have seemed as creepy a read had I not seen the movie before reading it. I'm certain I still would have loved the way Salinger handled the character's contradictory, digressive and progressively more and more depressing nature.
I'm not crazy, but mood swings, I know.
So I wondered, given his nature, how many people self-professed "yellow" Holden would have really kept from running off that cliff. Being the catcher in the rye, and ALL. And was he really in the shower during the incident? And what were the other 19 times? I love when a book makes me wonder about a character as if it were a person. And I love that great books, in general, remind me that I'm on the very end of time line -- the very end -- the next segment of which has yet to happen and so does not exist. And that we are all children, never knowing where the edge of the cliff is, where, the window.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Anyone who's had some basic science and is globally and politically aware as well as musically and lyrically inclined will see that this video is absolutely and perfectly suited for Radiohead's brilliant song.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Ironically, I should be studying Earth Science, not writing this...
Someone offers an opinion or states their belief in a thing, out loud.
Then, it is open.
Then it is an open thought. It is, in a sense, a palpable thing that is now in my presence. And I choose my reaction. How do I respond? Often I'll ask what led to the belief or why the opinion is held.
This is nothing new. And yet, it is. Being "entitled" to hold and express our opinions is an American ideal we were born into in a way that Americans one hundred years ago or more were not. In a way that Americans only eighty years ago, were not.
Sometimes it's difficult to maneuver through all the different conversations that take place every day without realizing, at some point during the dialogue, that it is impossible to continue because the person you are speaking to isn't living in the same reality you are living in.
Not only is the person living a different story in a different book, it's an entirely different set of encyclopedias and dictionaries.
Two things. Two things I hadn't thought about in a long time because they no longer exist in my reality. Blessing myself in order to protect myself, and believing that actions are sins.
Last week after some satirical (but not mean-spirited) remarks between co-workers about a customer, one of them said "quick, bless yourself." And I said "Oh, blessing yourself for protection. I had forgotten about that."
I had forgotten that gesture being performed, and I'd especially forgotten it being performed as a gesture to ward off punishment.
That simple command made me realize that the reality I live in is not the same reality that the other person lives in.
Likewise, today, discussing gender preference and marriage with someone, I realized that we did not share the same reality and that there was no point in continuing the conversation.
Although she opened. She opened enough to tell but not enough to listen.
She opened long enough to say but not to hear. She closed back up.
She closed up when she said, in all sincerity, with all the heart she thought she was disclosing as being open, that she couldn't judge "their sin" (speaking of same-gender relationships) as being any worse than anyone else's. Her exact words were "Who's to say that their sin is any worse than mine when I call someone a bitch? It's not for me to judge." She really believed she was taking the high and righteous road. She really believed she was being "forgiving of sin."
It stopped me in my tracks.
It stopped me because not only do I believe that "being gay" is not a sin -- it reminded me that I haven't thought about the word sin in a long time. And I wondered: why? How did I forget that word and how did I forget that people still believe in it as if it is something that exists, but exists separate from them? As if it exists like a parasite (which scientists kind of believe, but they call it insanity, not sin -- and that's another topic, let's stay here for now). As if actions were parasites that have somehow attached themselves to us and if we just pray hard enough, long enough, strong enough, loud enough, often enough, if we just pray to our god the "sin" will be washed away, we'll be cleansed of the parasite.
I realized today that sin hasn't existed in my world for quite some time now.
It is not a sin to call someone a bitch.
It is not a sin to murder someone, it is murder. It is mean and heartless and savage, maybe, but it is an action. It is enacted. It is not a sin -- a something from beyond that can be removed by some greater power not us.
And it is certainly not a "sin" to "be gay."
The fact that this person could even equate someone's choice of whom to love/hang out with/sleep with etc. with the notion of sin -- stealing, for instance -- makes me sick.
And it is, in a way, a little frightening: So many people, so many people pointing toward an open pit of fire that I just don't see. Not a metaphorical fire. It's like standing next to someone who swears there's an ocean in front of you when all you can see are mountains or miles of desert.
When I heard the word "sin" it felt ancient.
Here where I am, there are only humans, doing. There aren't any angels guiding. There are people with consciences who are willing to sacrifice their own needs for the needs of others. There aren't any spirits listening to me and I am not going to be punished in some life after this life. My choices are mine, limited by my universe and what it contains.
But there is another universe. It is contained in my universe, or mine is contained in that one but they are not one in the same. I hope they are not one in the same. How can it be that our world is one, but our ideals divide it? How can it be that it is one but our words undo that reality?
In her universe there will be another world after she is finished with this one.
In her world there is sin and there is forgiveness and she is told what to believe sin is.
When someone asks something she's never considered you can see fear enter her eyes as they widen but just as quickly they narrow and you know the thought only entered half-way. You see it was dismissed. You see her dismiss it and you hear her close the entire conversation because in her world there is a god who intends that we abide by certain rules. In her world there is a god who intends.
In mine, I and others have intentions and actions and reactions and emotions and rationalizations.
In my world there is only this world. It has a past and a present. It may have a future, I don't propose to know. I have now. The next instant might not even happen. My heart or head could burst. My lungs could decide to stop. I will, one day, fail. Without doubt.
Until then I intend to maneuver through. If I'm tactful I may survive the conversations. If I'm very very quiet I might avoid them, all together. But if I'm very very quiet I might also undo the work of those who made it possible for me to take part in open dialogue.
She may not mind not having one. She may even continue to put an end to discussions by stating that her god's rule is the ultimate rule, and she follows it, without question.
I do, however, mind not having dialogue.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
From Roger Freedman of the Facebook group "1,000,000 Strong Against John McCain":
I'm a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight.....(hope I'm not offending anyone)
* If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're "exotic, different.
* If you grow up in Alaska eating moose burgers, you're a quintessential American story.
* If your name is Barack, you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.
* If you name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.
* If you graduate from Harvard law School, you are unstable.
* If you attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.
* If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.
* If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.
* If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.
* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.
* If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.
* If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system, while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant , you're very responsible.
* If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.
* If you're husband is nicknamed "First Dude", with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.
OK, *much* clearer now.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I'm not sure where I stand on how much of a hard-ass Barack needs to be to win this although my husband and I were talking about it last night and he totally agrees that because the Dems always take the high road, we lose, and we need to play as dirty as the Republicans do to win this.
I'm a silly idealist hippie who believes truth and justice will prevail -- but I guess the past eight years show how naive I really am. The above poster brings up a good point in the "We'd rather be right than win" but unfortunately AND fortunately that's what separates us from the more conservative Republicans who too often, it seems, look at politics as if it was a football game and my team vs. their team. Obama is trying to change that and Ray is right -- McCain's basically plagiarized everything Obama said in his acceptance speech.
Let me say in Obama's offense: maybe that "pig with lipstick" was scripted in and he has begun to play rough. Someone even suggested his saying "old fish wrapped in paper" was a reference to McCain.
Palin makes me want to vomit. She is everything I'm against.
I wondered if that ticket wins, should I just take a bottle of something (cyanide perhaps?) and end it all now?
But seriously - for all those who say Obama can't/won't? Please, be quiet. The universe hears you. Say out loud and often this instead: Barack will win. We will rise up together and he will win. I have waited my entire life for this change. Since the third grade when I was told not to tell my grandma that the boy I had a crush on was "colored" I've been waiting. Since the tenth grade when I was forbidden to see Danny. Since my 18th birthday when I was disowned for dating and later marrying Jay. No, I wasn't a white girl looking for attention. I had grown up with these people and never saw the division until I was told to. By then it was too late, I'd already decided I was the type of person who would always judge people based on their actions and deeds, not their intentions or the faces they put on or the skin or gender they were born into.
Here's my hope: that all the dems will rise up together, that the independents will, for once, help instead of hinder us (and maybe one day we can pay them back in deed/action by actually giving them a voice, as well the dems and repubs), that people will vote on issues rather than race/gender (although I DO understand both the need for women and for black men to break ceilings, believe me) and that finally -- and this may sound like an odd one -- but I hope that all those people who are husbands and wives or in relationships or who are sons and daughters and sisters and brothers -- all those people who feel like they can't vote for a black president based on skin color and social pressures from their immediate sources -- go ahead, shake your heads no, no, no....lie to everyone in your family if you have to...say you'll never vote Barama. But then, once inside that little curtain, go ahead. Say to yourself "They'll never know" and vote for who you know can lead this country. Have some courage. Ask: What if?
Oh, and how to reach those who don't care? That's always been the greatest challenge a teacher faces...
Who knows, maybe even this little bit we do, will help.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I just wanted to share a response to a good friend's satirical (?) blog in which he mentions not knowing who to vote for so maybe he should just vote on looks like we Americans are said to do :
I get what you're saying about duh uh
mericans voting for either the-beauty-pageant-queen-and-her-uncle-Ray ticket or the But-he's-so-well-spoken-all-the-white-women-want-to-secretly-fuck-him-and-your-uncle-Ray ticket (Not that they want to fuck your uncle Ray, mind you, or hers, for that matter).
Here's just one, just one of the things I'd like to ask people to consider: If your 13 year old daughter gets violently raped (or your niece or sister or cousin) should she be denied the morning-after pill so that should she become impregnated as result of this horrendous act she will be forced to carry the baby full term and deliver it? EVEN if an ultrasound is done and it is determined that the baby is deformed? Sarah Palin would have the thirteen year old give birth to this baby. So then I guess my next question would be, is Sarah Palin going to make sure the rapist sends child support from prison? Or is she personally going to support every incest/rape-produced/deformed unwanted child that is born in America? Or are we? Does that mean the health care we've all been promised will incur the cost of caring for these deformed or unwanted fetuses that that the government will force women to carry to full-term? These are the things I care about. And why didn't her daughter use a condom? Duh. If not for the unwanted pregnancy then at the very least to prevent disease....and I don't mean this as a personal attack. I mean: what is the Alaskan school system allowed to teach concerning sex-ed? THESE are just some of the the things I want people to ask themselves. Then go vote.
Skin color. Gender. Who cares. Animal metaphors, whatever.
Liar. Thief. Truth-twister. Hypocrite.
Inspirational. Forward-looking. Hopeful. Revolutionary.
For me there's no question.
Besides, you know I dig black as as well as white, though I do prefer men. (In that "I want to fuck your uncle Ray way"). So for me Obama-Biden. Hmmm. That's a damn good fuck, I mean ticket!
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Last night I found a few minutes to do something that had been in my mind-file for quite some time now. It was of little significance and for my own personal enjoyment: to look up a term used as a lyric in one of my favorite songs and finally maybe make sense of it. The phrase I researched, and could find only a slight amount of information on -- was "ghost horse." I did find what I was looking for, eventually.
This morning, when I got to work, the first thing I did was go to my "spot" out front where I do all my paperwork, computing, banking, etc. -- and there on top of the counter were two pieces of framed artwork that a friend brought by earlier, before I arrived. One of the pieces was a three-photo collection of what else? Ghost Horses.
Monday, September 1, 2008
It's like saying that after two years of running our humble corner restaurant I can take on every restaurant in Las Vegas AND Atlantic City...only...it's worse. Because she has access to bombs and armies. And decisions that involve YOU!
----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
Date: Aug 31, 2008 6:21 PM
Dear MoveOn member, Yesterday was John McCain's 72nd birthday. If elected, he'd be the oldest president ever inaugurated. And after months of slamming Barack Obama for "inexperience," here's who John McCain has chosen to be one heartbeat away from the presidency: a right-wing religious conservative with no foreign policy experience, who until recently was mayor of a town of 9,000 people.
Who is Sarah Palin? Here's some basic background:
She was elected Alaska's governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage. She has no foreign policy experience.1
Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.2
She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000. 3
Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.4
She's doesn't think humans are the cause of climate change.5
She's solidly in line with John McCain's "Big Oil first" energy policy. She's pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won't be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species—she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.6
How closely did John McCain vet this choice? He met Sarah Palin once at a meeting. They spoke a second time, last Sunday, when he called her about being vice-president. Then he offered her the position.7
This is information the American people need to see. Please take a moment to forward this email to your friends and family.
We also asked Alaska MoveOn members what the rest of us should know about their governor. The response was striking. Here's a sample:
She is really just a mayor from a small town outside Anchorage who has been a governor for only 1.5 years, and has ZERO national and international experience. I shudder to think that she could be the person taking that 3AM call on the White House hotline, and the one who could potentially be charged with leading the US in the volatile international scene that exists today. —Rose M., Fairbanks, AK
She is VERY, VERY conservative, and far from perfect. She's a hunter and fisherwoman, but votes against the environment again and again. She ran on ethics reform, but is currently under investigation for several charges involving hiring and firing of state officials. She has NO experience beyond Alaska. —Christine B., Denali Park, AK
As an Alaskan and a feminist, I am beyond words at this announcement. Palin is not a feminist, and she is not the reformer she claims to be. —Karen L., Anchorage, AK
Alaskans, collectively, are just as stunned as the rest of the nation. She is doing well running our State, but is totally inexperienced on the national level, and very much unequipped to run the nation, if it came to that. She is as far right as one can get, which has already been communicated on the news. In our office of thirty employees (dems, republicans, and nonpartisans), not one person feels she is ready for the V.P. position.—Sherry C., Anchorage, AK
She's vehemently anti-choice and doesn't care about protecting our natural resources, even though she has worked as a fisherman. McCain chose her to pick up the Hillary voters, but Palin is no Hillary. —Marina L., Juneau, AK
I think she's far too inexperienced to be in this position. I'm all for a woman in the White House, but not one who hasn't done anything to deserve it. There are far many other women who have worked their way up and have much more experience that would have been better choices. This is a patronizing decision on John McCain's part- and insulting to females everywhere that he would assume he'll get our vote by putting "A Woman" in that position.—Jennifer M., Anchorage, AK
So Governor Palin is a staunch anti-choice religious conservative. She's a global warming denier who shares John McCain's commitment to Big Oil. And she's dramatically inexperienced.
In picking Sarah Palin, John McCain has made the religious right very happy. And he's made a very dangerous decision for our country.
In the next few days, many Americans will be wondering what McCain's vice-presidential choice means. Please pass this information along to your friends and family.
Thanks for all you do.
–Ilyse, Noah, Justin, Karin and the rest of the team
1. "Sarah Palin," Wikipedia, Accessed August 29, 2008
http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Sarah_Palin
2. "McCain Selects Anti-Choice Sarah Palin as Running Mate," NARAL Pro-Choice America, August 29, 2008
http://www. moveon. org/r?r=17515&id=13661-1528778-FLomsQx&t=1
3. "Sarah Palin, Buchananite," The Nation, August 29, 2008
http://www. moveon. org/r?r=17736&id=13661-1528778-FLomsQx&t=2
4. "'Creation science' enters the race," Anchorage Daily News, October 27, 2006
http://www. moveon. org/r?r=17737&id=13661-1528778-FLomsQx&t=3
5. "Palin buys climate denial PR spin—ignores science," Huffington Post, August 29, 2008
http://www. moveon. org/r?r=17517&id=13661-1528778-FLomsQx&t=4
6. "McCain VP Pick Completes Shift to Bush Energy Policy," Sierra Club, August 29, 2008
http://www. moveon. org/r?r=17518&id=13661-1528778-FLomsQx&t=5
"Choice of Palin Promises Failed Energy Policies of the Past," League of Conservation Voters, August 29, 2008
http://www. moveon. org/r?r=17519&id=13661-1528778-FLomsQx&t=6
"Protecting polar bears gets in way of drilling for oil, says governor," The Times of London, May 23, 2008
http://www. moveon. org/r?r=17520&id=13661-1528778-FLomsQx&t=7
7 "McCain met Palin once before yesterday," MSNBC, August 29, 2008
http://www. moveon. org/r?r=21119&id=13661-1528778-FLomsQx&t=8
Want to support our work? We're entirely funded by our 3.2 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
And I can't believe I wasn't more excited than I was about seeing Bruce with the East Street Band on Sunday night.
I got the tickets for Joe for Christmas. Well, for us. We saw him solo, in an acoustic setting with about 3,500 other people a few years ago but because they were recording he requested no clapping, no dancing, no singing along. It was rather eerie, for a concert, but it was Bruce, so we played along and were certainly entertained, to say the least. Just quietly so. Anyway, ever since then, Joe's told me I haven't had the true Bruce experience until I've seen him in a large arena with the E Street Band and a roaring crowd. He'd already seen them twice that way (Jersey Boy).
So after a thunderstorm that even Bruce described as being "of biblical proportions" we inched along at 25 miles an hour in Sunday night tourist traffic with everyone else who had to wait for the storm to pass to get on the road. Bruce was late, too, so we only missed a few minutes.
There is no short and sweet of it.
I was nine when my dad first started collecting Bruce records. (Yes, that's right, records.) He was the first artist whose lyrics intrigued me. I remember waiting for his albums just so I could read the words that went along with the music, which was more narratively lyrical than any other musician's work I'd yet known. I modeled one of my first serious poems (read: not about a boy I thought was cute) after his style of writing and I guess I considered myself a poet from that moment on.
Still, that was so long ago that I thought I was over him, you know?
If one of those planes that kept flying overhead during the concert had dropped a bomb I would have died in a state of euphoria. We have to go some way. I've decided that's how I want to go. In the middle of some concert with 55,000 people singing along with the band - then poof! Nothing. I can't imagine a better way. No one would have to worry about where to sprinkle my ashes or if green burials are legal where I live.
I only wish my dad could have been there, too.
Show began at 8:37 p.m.
1 Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
2. Radio Nowhere
3. Lonesome Day
4. No Surrender
5. Adam Raised a Cain
6. Spirit in the Night
7. Summertime Blues (As the song started, Bruce took signs with requests on them from the audience).
8. Brilliant Disguise (Nice duo with Patti Scialfa).
9. Atlantic City
10. Growin' Up (request by a 10-year, old named Rosie)
11. Janey Don't You Lose Heart (a sign held up by the person standing in the pit)
12. I'll Work for Your Love (by request)
13. Youngstown (Awesome guitar work here by Nils Lofgren).
14. Murder Incorporated (and awesome guitar work here by Bruce and Steve Van Zandt).
15. The Promised Land
16. Livin' in the Future
17. Mary's Place
18. Workin' on the Highway
19. Tunnel of Love (With Patti Scialfa - this was sexy).
20. The Rising
21. Last to Die
22. Long Walk Home
23. Badlands !!
24. Girls in Their Summer Clothes
26. Born to Run
27. Bobby Jean
28. Dancing in the Dark
29. American Land
Show ended at 11:49 p.m.
Monday, July 7, 2008
You wouldn't have known it from the way my mother dressed me, but I was a bit of a tom-boy when young, always rough-housing with the boys, playing football, skateboarding down giant hills (from the top of Mead Street down to Hankock!), dirt-bike riding etc. Some of my favorite places to be were in the fields and wooded areas under downed trees or climbing hills and scouting the local coal fields. Not to mention the local "watering holes," reservoirs, dams, lakes etc.
My mommy dressed me pretty and taught me how to behave, but my daddy had a need for speed and a love of nature that was too contagious to tame.
Maybe this is why I've never moved to the city, though it's been calling me all my life. I'd miss my yard too much. It's a lot of all I've ever wanted.
84 and counting
The squirrels always steal the cherries before they've had a chance to ripen. The peaches are divine, usually healthy - I don't spray. And the plums are perfect, but the tree doesn't bear every year; not sure why, may be just a matter of cross-pollination. Just a little dust on the roses and food for all. Last year I used bat dung. Mmm.
When we first moved in, besides the trees, there were two lilac bushes, three azaleas, the honeysuckle, ivy, a few tulips and the Hibiscus. There were also 6 weeds that had grown into tall trees with tap-roots at least 6 feet deep that had to be dug up. The weeds are almost always more aggressive and vigorous than what's been intentionally planted.
Here's what's in our yard now (that is, the bank's yard); I may have forgotten a few things, and I didn't list all the trees:
Grape Hyacinths, Muscari Armeniacum
Dutch Iris, Purple Sensation (naturalizing)
Daffodil, Narcissi, Mount Hood (White, naturalizing)
Daffodil, Large Cupped Carlton (Yellow)
Scarlet Meidiland Rose (Meikrotal, clusters, 3)
Red Meidiland Rose (Meineble, yellow center)
Floribunda Rose, Iceberg (White)
Hybrid Tea Rose, Garden Party (peach)
Hybrid Tea Rose, Kordes Perfecta (coral)
Hybrid Tea Rose, Heirloom (magenta, fragrant)
Rosa x, "Nearly Wild Rose" (pink)
Bourbon Rose, Zepherine Drouhin (1868, antique climber)
Rose "Meicoublan" White Meidiland (groundcover)
Rhododendron Roseum Elegans (Purple)
Azalea Satsuki Hybrid, Gumpo White (2)
Azalea, Girard's Crimson (2)
Azalea, pink, vintage (2)
Lilacs, purple, Syringa Vulgaris (2)
Wild Yellow Honeysuckle, Lonicera semprvirens (2)
Red Tatarian Honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica)
Echinacea (Purple Coneflower, perennial, also drops new seeds!)
Coreopsis (tall, reseeding)
Daylillies, Hemerocalle (Naturalizing)
Daylillies, Hemerocalle, Azucena Anteada (Crimson Pirate)
Thyme, Silver, Thymus vulgaris "Argenteus" (perennial, can be divided)
Winter Thyme, Thymus Hyemalis (perennial, can be divided)
Oregano (perennial, can be divided)
Russian Sage, Perovskia atriplicifolia (perennial)
Lamb's Ears, Stachys Byzantina (S. lanata, spreads)
Silver Lavender Cotton (Santolina incana "Nana")
Showy Pink Primrose, Oenothera Speciosa
Lilly-of-the-Valley, Convallaria majalis
Myrtle, Vinca Minor (spreading evergreen groundcover, purple blooms)
Ajuga reptans, Carpet Bugle (semi-evergreen spreading)
Weigela florida "Pink Princess (pink blooming shrub)
Flowering Quince, Texas Scarlet (3)
Crape Myrtle (3)
Purpleleaf Plum (Prunus Thundercloud, Plum tree)
Bing Cherry, Cerezo Enano "Bing" (Dwarf cherry tree)
Thornless Red Everbearing Raspberry
Hydrangea, Hyd. macrophylla "Glory Blue"
Barberry, Berberis thunbergii, Royal Burgundy (8-10)
Juniper, Sea Green (7)
Green Beauty Boxwood (Hedge)
Arborvitae, Thuja occidentalis "Globosa" (4?)
Dense Yew, Taxus x media "Densiformis"
Dwarf Juniper, Procumbens "Nana"
Spiny Greek Juniper, Juniperus excelsa "Stricta"
Dwarf Japanese Barberry (3), Crimson Pygmy
Winter Gem Boxwood
Euonymus, Emerald Gaiety (6)
Willowleaf Holly (Hedge)
Flowering Quince, Cameo
German Iris, Purple
Iris, Yellow and Purple
Clematis, Peveril Pearl (pink)
Purpleleaf Sand Cherry
Lavender, Munstead Lavandula
Dianthus, Floral Lace violet
Fountain Grass, Pennistetum Alopecuroides
Maiden Grass, Miscantus "Gracillimus"
Salvia, Blue Queen
Lemon Balm, Melissa Officinalis
Yew, Dark Green Spreading
Dwarf Mugho Pine, Pinus mugo pumilio
Liatrus spicata, Blazing Star
Phlox paniculata, Summer Phlox
Hibiscus syriacus, Rose of Sharon, Rose Mallow
Centranthus ruber, Red Valerian
Pink Primrose, Primula
Lathyrus, Sweet Pea
Lest I forget them: Dandelions, Chickweed, Virginia creeper and other various weeds
Before I sat down, I thought to myself: I think I'll make a list of what's bloomed/blooming/planted in my yard.
When I finished, I was amazed. It doesn't seem like that much...
I hope someone loves it when I'm gone.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thoughts aren't lost, but like a silver ball that bounces off tiny pillars wrapped with wires that send out signals to a larger machine that keeps track, my thoughts bounce off of one another. I can feel myself trying to keep track of the ball, trying to move the ball toward the pillars without "tilting" the larger machine, throwing it off balance, losing the points I've racked up toward winning another game, or simply sustaining.
To control the ball without over-controlling the ball.
The game, I guess, it the thinking game. There is a difference though, my pillars, my thoughts, my silver ball of a brain that ricochets from thought to thought and must be kept from falling to the bottom of a slanted surface where it will be lost, is contained in a space restrained only by the limits of my time here, and it remains un-walled until my time here is done. Not only does it remain unrestrained, bound only by my death, which it hasn't met and cannot predict, there are new thoughts forming constantly and they in turn create opportunities for my brain to make new connections.
So my brain is this ever expanding game that I partake in but am not wholly in control of, although I like to believe that I am. There is momentum that builds in thoughts I try to steer, to maneuver. When I try to write them down they continue to move, to ricochet. I have some say in how they move from the mind to the page to the mind again. (They are never still.) I have some influence, I create some force, but I mostly follow the ricochet of the ball.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Based on Friday night's concert turn-out it appears to be true: "Pearl Jam* has outlasted many of its alternative rock contemporaries." I'd like to add, after agreeing, that they've also managed to "keep up" with the best of all artists, no matter the genre. I'm no music critic, so I won't. I'll just report that the crowd at Camden was younger than I expected and that made me happy for Pearl Jam. I'm not even sure if there was anyone there over 35 (except maybe me) but we were on the hill, so maybe an older crowd was seated down below the lawn?
The concert was part of my cousin Bernie's vacation: "A seven Pearl Jam concerts in nine days" road trip, and although I resisted at first, I gave in finally and went. I mean seriously -- is there anyone who doesn't like Pearl Jam? Well, maybe, but I'm not one of those people. I was trying to be a good citizen by not over-indulging since I have seen them once already, and under similar circumstances. But he insisted (read: he and Joel split the ticket) and then I had NO excuse! So thank you guys, so much! And Bernie, I agree: If I were to die right now I'd die happy. Not that I'm looking to go (believe me) but if I did -- it could be said that I couldn't have loved my life more. Thank you for being a part of that. Oh, and you too, Bob G. of poem a day fame.
Back to Pearl Jam. They were perfect. And they actually jammed. Have you ever entered the sound of a guitar? I did, last night. Something inside you merges with what the band releases and you feel the merge as you enter into each other. They feel it too, the band, as they enter you. If they didn't they couldn't be there, or wouldn't be for long.
I've posted pictures -- also given graciously by Bernie and Joel. I did take the pictures of the row of young men pissing against the doors of the "job-johnnies" (I think that's what Bernie called them) after the concert, and of the dashboard and also of Bernie and Joel together. I couldn't help taking a shot of the row of guys. Really. There were guys peeing everywhere. Not Bernie or Joel, though.
One thing I found interesting: deflated balloons that had previously been inflated with nitrous oxide and sucked into the lungs of their purchasers littered the parking lot along with broken beer bottles and bags of trash. I hadn't noticed the balloons earlier. Thank you Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum. But after the concert, and probably because the parking log was sparse and the alcohol had mostly worn off -- I noticed the balloons and the men with the tanks who were surrounded with people who were paying $5 per balloon (or 5 for $20) -- and being the sheltered person I am, (oh but I am learning things all the time) I asked and learned. All I can say is that the last time I had anesthesia -- and for that matter -- every time -- something inside me went automatic-pilot and I began to recite the "Act of Contrition." I suppose I'm too afraid to die to do anything too toxic to my body. However, lest I be a hypocrite, I have to add -- I'm not judging their high and admit that this spiced rum? It's another drug all together and one I may trade vodka for. Well, not forever. But I think it might be a nice alternative!
Well, this was the setlist as posted by the Jambox website, and seems right to me:
You've Got To Hide Your Love Away
Brain Of J.
Nothing As It Seems
Love Boat Captain
Daughter (tag: War)
Do The Evolution
Given To Fly
*Pearl Jam is an American rock band that formed in Seattle, Washington in 1990. Since its inception, the band's line-up has included Eddie Vedder (lead vocals, guitar), Jeff Ament (bass guitar), Stone Gossard (rhythm guitar), and Mike McCready (lead guitar). The band's current drummer is Matt Cameron, formerly of Soundgarden, who has been with the band since 1998.
Formed after the demise of Ament and Gossard's previous band Mother Love Bone, Pearl Jam broke into the mainstream with its debut album Ten. One of the key bands of the grunge movement in the early 1990s, Pearl Jam was criticized early on—most notably by Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain—as being a corporate cash-in on the alternative rock explosion. However, over the course of the band's career its members became noted for their refusal to adhere to traditional music industry practices; including refusing to make music videos and engaging in a much-publicized boycott of Ticketmaster. In 2006, Rolling Stone described the band as having "spent much of the past decade deliberately tearing apart their own fame."
Since its inception, the band has sold 30 million records in the U.S., and an estimated 60 million albums worldwide. Pearl Jam has outlasted many of its contemporaries from the alternative rock breakthrough of the early 1990s, and is considered one of the most influential bands of the decade, and "the most popular American rock & roll band of the '90s".
Monday, June 16, 2008
"This time you're more potent. My nostrils burn and flare. Your fire
deposits smear the air so that everything I see is blurred, unclear."
I woke up yesterday to the smell of burning cedar. At first the smell was inviting and I considered that someone close by was having a Saturday BBQ, although I must admit I thought it was a bit early. After about an hour the smell got stronger and I could tell it was the result of more than a BBQ, that there must be a fire somewhere close by.
By eleven a.m. I was gloved and shoveled, ready to work in the gardens, but after a half hour my nostrils were burning. Everything was covered in a haze of smoke that I tried to ignore but finally decided wasn't healthy to be breathing in. I assumed today when I read the newspaper that I'd be informed of the fire's origin. I was.
The smoke didn't come from where I and hundreds of other local residents thought it came from. It wasn't "local" but the result of two southern wildfires on wildfire refuges in North Carolina and Virginia, approximately three hundred miles away.
If the air was too heavy here, to breathe, then it must be nearly impossible for those who live closer to the fires to remain there. I hope everything for them works out. Tonight I've got roses, honeysuckle, rain, ocean, and the sweet vanilla scent of some shrub I don't know the name of gusting bursts of perfume in through the window. It's not me, it's life that's bi-polar.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
If I say I'm blessed then I presume a god exists who believes I deserve a better life than someone who is less fortunate than I am.
If I say I'm lucky then I deny myself the satisfaction of accomplishment after (and during!) the labor I partake in. So what should I say? I'm glad? I'm touched? It's been difficult but rewarding? Yawn. That I know it can all be gone in an instant? Yes, I know that. But for now maybe I should just say that I am so very happy (as in as happy as I can be, being human with the immense ability to know and to feel the extreme range of emotions we are able to feel).
I don't know why -- maybe because of the surgery and because of how difficult and isolating it was for me -- I thought my life was somehow already decided: that I'd already met all the people I would meet, made all the friends I would make, loved all the people I would love.
Although I go silent for two days, or more, although I have no desire to speak, I witness. And when I return I return exhilarated by the unpredictability as well as the familiarity of life.
The people I work with are tremendous. Really. We were like a machine today. A few snags here and there, but we were all tossing the ball -- keeping it up in the air.
I love working where I get a say in what's fair and can look out for my co-workers, not let them get bullied, not allow any one of them to take on too much on their own. There are a lot of good people in the world, still. Did you know that? Oh, our little tempers flare here and there, and yeah yeah yeah we're all in it for ourselves -- I've heard all that too -- but I don't believe it's entirely true. We're not all in it for ourselves. We're all just hoping to have a slice.
When I was younger and didn't know much about the misery in the world that existed beyond my immediate arena I thought "the great thing about happiness (remember? I am so very happy): the happiness pie doesn't run out. It's like Jesus' loaves of bread, his fish and wine. There is an unending supply and no one has to worry they'll be denied." Like I said, I was young and very optimistic. Of course it can run out. It's running out all over the world. But I can be happy here where I am while I look after and am looked after by others. Reaching out and reaching into as many hearts as I can. I can be happy that I can. And am.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Like I was saying... I was thinking
that if I couldn't get my violin to sound at least as sweet as Regina Spektor sounds singing, that it wasn't worth playing. And since I wasn't going to quit playing, that meant only one thing: upgrade the instrument. So I did. Now I feel like I was using a phillips head screwdriver (is phillips head trademarked, I wonder? Apostrophe, no apostrophe? Capital P? No capital? Oh well) on a flat one-slatted screw head. I guess what holds true of tools holds true of instruments, as well: that "the right tool makes all of the difference." I actually don't suck. At all. And I finally have a violin that doesn't "play" but sings. It's amazingly responsive to my fingering and my bowing and it's lighter and narrower than my last violin so it's easier for me to navigate and maneuver. I can reach the g-string without contorting my arm (!) and glide to 5th position without a snag. Wow. Not to mention, the sound is gorgeous.
This is why I work.
So I can play.
My co-workers and I were talking about Bipolar Disorder today and I mentioned that I was cyclothymic (the lowest rung on the BP to Schizophrenia ladder). I said something about my doctor telling me I have to make sure I sleep in order to prevent bouts of manic-depressive episodes, otherwise I become mean, and they said "Mean? You? Mean?"
I just wanted to say, that felt very nice.
Although life can be difficult, it can also be very touching.
Oh, and speaking of sleep, as you can see, it's nearly 3 a.m.
Don't worry, I promise I'll be nice. Tomorrow I get to sleep in!
Sunday, May 11, 2008
If you want to get close, get there early.
Overheard last night, to my right, one of three girls:
We should hang with those guys. We should hang with them. Do you think they'll move back here to hang with us?
Move back here to watch Regina? I think you overestimate the power of your beauty...
To my left, girl:
Let's move up. Lets just squeeze through.
To my left, guy with girl:
Naw, I don't think so.
C'mon. Look -- that guy just did.
That guy's with someone up there already. He just went to get them drinks.
So. We could pretend to be with other people, you know, I'll just go up and pretend someone else is my boyfriend.
Wow. You've changed.
What do you mean? I've changed? How have I changed?
Well, you've had one drink and now? You're just nasty.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Those crazy kids.
Today blondie with his ear gauge and various tattoos, his too baggy pants hung low on his skinny hips, barely, comes in, sits down at the counter. Blondie at the counter pulls a large white pill from his shoe and slips it past his lip, sips his coffee. He knows I'm watching. I'm facing him. He's got a cell phone to his ear.
Yesterday blondie offered one of the restaurant servers a Percocet for $8. She scoffed at him and told him she could get them for $5.
Blondie the peddler sits perpendicular to the cook who is definitely an ex-junkie. As was one of the servers who only lasted a few days and who is now back in jail, as was another server who is now simply fired. The cook is coming dangerously close to losing his job, as well. He suddenly flat-lined about six weeks ago and has gotten progressively worse. He may simply be over-medicated, but it's difficult to tell.
I tried, for seven years, to maintain a friendship with someone who "uses regularly" (she smokes, her husband snorts) but she is about to go into the hospital for the third time in a year, (her lungs have collapsed, she's had a heart attack and a brain hemorrhage) and honestly? I can't take the drama, the up and down of it all, the disappointment. She's killing herself and I can't stop her. Of course I can't. She will be dead soon, probably. So I've been staying away from her. I've removed myself from her life because I won't live her lie and because if I distance myself now I'll be hard enough to dismiss the pain later, if she does die. Or at least partially dismiss the pain.
I lost my best childhood friend to speed and the abusive man who supplied it to her.
I wonder what it is that separates the drug abuser from the recreational drug user. How much pain must people be in that they would need to numb themselves so deeply, shield themselves so fully, so constantly. How much more sensitive than me must they be that the urge to escape the skins they are in, the need to be free of some circumstance, of some history, becomes the primary urge, pretends to protect them.
Or are people just so bored that they want to escape what feels to them like the ordinariness of the world? Is there lack? There is genetic predisposition coupled with everything. Is there a need for inspiration?
When I was seventeen, boredom, availability, and friendship led me to swallow a black beauty. That and "krank" were the strongest speeds available to high school students at the time. Ridalin hadn't been invented, Heroin was for Rock stars, and coke and crack weren't on the menu until I attended college. I was a sheltered child.
After my friend and I swallowed those glossy black capsules, we walked around a bit, then we sat down against an entrance wall at our high school (a local hang out), and I nearly chewed my entire thumb nail off. The split down the middle has nearly healed, but it's still all bumps and ridges. Later that night, I threw up. I didn't take another hit, ever. I never wanted to feel that way again and I couldn't understand why anyone else would want to.
After my brain surgery I was prescribed phenobarb, a barbiturate, as well as valium. I had never tried "downers" as a teen, and when I did take them, because I had to, I hated them. Again, I couldn't understand why anyone would want to feel so disconnected from the world, to mute their senses, to need to move so slowly or not at all.
First, for pain and because over-stimulation to my brain could cause me to seizure, and because I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome following the craniotomy, I was "on and off" a total of 27 different medicines over the course of ten years. The pain of light and of sound was enormous at first, and is sometimes still with me, but it's not nearly as intrusive or as lasting as it was, once. Still, sometimes, even the silence scrapes against the underside of my skin. It's a pain I find hard to explain.
One of the medicines I took over the course of those ten years made me feel like I was living in an aquarium. There was the constant hum of everything in the background, always on, and when I moved it felt as though I was pushing my body through water.
One of the medicines I was prescribed simply knocked me out for two-and-a-half days. I could barely stay awake long enough to eat and couldn't pull my body up from the bed. I also had night terrors. Needless to say, I stopped taking that one immediately.
I reacted to most of the anti-seizure medicines I was prescribed "paradoxically" which meant that instead of calming my brain down they caused it to speed up. I would wake up every morning panicked for no reason: my heart racing, my body quivering, and a fist up under my gut as if something terrible had just or was just about to happen.
Another of the medicines made it seem as though the walls and floors and ceiling had lost their angles and were all slipping together to form one plane.
Experiences like these made me realize how much of our perception is provided by our own brains and not necessarily real circumstance. As philosophical as I already felt I was, I became even more so when I saw first-hand that my truth, my vision, was my own. Although it may seem to me that others experience what I experience, we have in the end only our own versions and interpretations of things and the interpretations that others experience and are willing to share with us through storytelling and other various arts.
Last night another friend of mine, not the one mentioned above -- died as result of "complications stemming from pneumonia and emphysema". She was "a smoker" -- not of crack -- not of Ginsberg's dope -- but of the cigarettes he so despised.
I can see why. They and alcohol are the only two legal drugs available to anyone who tries to give up other vices. Alcohol isn't addictive to everyone. But from what I can see, EVERYONE I know who smokes cigarettes is an addict. I was one. I know I can't ever ever ever pick up a cigarette and "have just one". My stupid body would probably become orgasmic with the nicotine rush and I'd expect that rush every time...but eventually I would need more and more nicotine to reach that "high" and so I'd be smoking two packs a day in two months, no doubt. Soon I'd begin to feel myself dying again as I felt I was when I decided I needed to quit.
It's been ten years since then.
Oh the nine mile bicycle rides! Oh the two-hour boogie-boarding sessions in the ocean! Oh sweet breath and clear singing voice! And stable mood! And energy!
And thanks, too: my fear of death, my love for life -- which have kept me clean of other deadly things.
As for Blondie, I'm going to pretend I'm a character in a movie. Our place fills up with cops a few times a week, at least. He's bound to notice THAT sooner or later. If he stays and tries to peddle his wares anyway, then I think I'll imagine he's working undercover.
Either way I better tell the servers there to steer clear....