Strange fate. Why God, or the universe, or a great nothingness conspires or throws events at random to some and misses others. The Wheel of Fortune keeps spinning. Some folks buy a vowel while others go bankrupt.
There was a blurb on the news yesterday: A fire at my old apartment complex. Then it announced the address. My building. I asked my friend to drive me ‘round the hood. I wanted to see if it was their apartment since their apartment was in the same building as the apartment I shared with my mother. Ye Old Shitville Ghetto Apartment Complex looked the same as ever: dilapidated, half-assed put together, just all that charm of a coastal town sunk into hell. Home sweet home. Roachy, bedbuggy, home. Mom and I lived 9 relatively happy years here. Four Years ago yesterday, March 25, 2010 I started my blog there. In 2011 my mother was taken to the hospital from there never to return again.
It wasn’t their apartment that caught fire, that is, my ex-roommates. Not the man who I miss to this day. My mother’s cook book is still on their shelf, and whatever else I gave them or they kept as theirs did not catch alight in some Waiting to Exhale diva style fashion. I’m glad they’re safe, and I hear they’re moving far away in about a week.
No, there was the apartment my mother and I shared gutted by fire. So far they say “cause undetermined,” but I’d bet the house (pun intended) that it was shitty wiring. First that wiring was older than I am, I’m pretty certain, secondly if I remember correctly, sometimes it did act funky. If it was a malfunction in the wiring or appliances, and had my mother lived, I’m certain we would still live there and it would be us left with nothing. Did God deliberately spare us that fate? Why?
In my more philosophical mode, I think, “Did my mother die at 68 to be spared going downhill physically, possibly ending up an oxygen-bound invalid like her mother or near blind from macular degeneration like her father? Did God cut my mother a break, or was he being cruel? My mother’s illness was two weeks total, only one day of which was in the hospital. Also God knew that as long as my mom lived, my OCD would’ve been at her side trying to keep her alive. I’d never have lived alone were she still alive. I’d be too afraid she’d die. And now our apartment is charred. My mother’s essence burned out of the walls it feels like to me. Would we have died in the fire? Did God kill my mother to protect us from a worse fate? Why didn’t He just stop the fire in the first place and spared whoever lived there.? Ugh, I just don’t get it. Maybe my not being there was just the luck of the draw, and numerous calamities are about to befall me. Stay tuned!
At the beginning of each new year, at 12:00 AM sharp, I declare psychological warfare on myself. This will be the year of PERFECT ME. NO MISTAKES. NO PISSING OFF, ANNOYING, OR UPSETTING ANYONE IN GOD’S CREATION.
This lasted until January 3rd this time when I missed my appointment at the therapist. I got winded on my new bike about five minutes from leaving my apartment, gave up, tried to catch a ride while annoying my friend in the process due to how late I was, and ended up cancelling. My therapist wasn’t upset because she is part of a place that caters to “special people,” and we miss from time to time. She tried to calm me down because I was in batshit crazy mode by the time I called, the first mistake of the year does that to me. Were my mother able to communicate from beyond, she’d tell you this part of me she doesn’t miss at all. She might even say, “See, sepsis has it’s good points.” Almost every fight my Mom and I had in later years was due to my rage at my lacking perfection. Sigh.
On the 5th was the worst mistake yet of year 2014. An epic fail of motherhood. I’ve had a new kitten since October. My nurse gave her to me because she knew I’d take care of her for life, because my Oscar is still missing, and she needed to pawn the kitten off on someone. Among my kitten’s many bad habits is jumping in the refrigerator every time I open it, and I always see her. I’ve even said to her, “Lil Mooky, I guess you never saw that episode of Punky Brewster when that girl got stuck in a refrigerator, huh?”
This time, though, I didn’t see Lil Mooky jump in the fridge with the salad dressing I put inside. I went to play video games when I heard a small meow that became frantic. “Mooky!” I screamed and opened the fridge and there she was crouching on the second shelf. I tried to get her, but she jumped out herself. Not a second later, she was off chasing Dondee as usual. She seemed not a spec traumatized, unlike myself.
Lil Mooky’s real name is Mirielle, but she’s more of a Lil Mooky than a Parisian miss. I got her Lil Mooky ghetto name from this song:
It’s not been a good 24 hours. I’m anxious and feel as though my life is over, which is stupid …I hope. All I can think of is “What if he doesn’t forgive me?”
My Soul Brother has two Chinese pugs. One is an ‘unaltered’ black male pug. He likes me A LOT. I’ll call him Stan to protect his dog anonymity. My first encounter with Stan after my mother’s death resulted in him trying to make love to me via my arm. His good lady wife, I’ll call her Maude, was in heat and it gave Stan an affection for her and every living thing around her. It was actually a good bit of comic relief from my terror and grief (it was a week after my mom went to the Great Beyond). Thankfully, once Maude ‘cooled’ he stopped. But he always wanted to be with me. At the time I thought it was my award-winning personality.
Later, when I moved in, I was sure I was going to be put back out when Soul Bro told me I shouldn’t be letting his dog sleep with me in case he started marking. But I wasn’t put out.
The other day, Soul Bro approached me again and told me to push Stan away for a couple of weeks and finally admitted why the dog liked me so much.
“It’s your feminine odor, but it’s the same with any female.”
Ugh. Great. So I resolved to rebuff Stan getting near me for exactly two weeks. But that didn’t last too long, because later that day I got upset by something The Partner did. The Partner is Soul Bro’s partner, a man who dislikes me, but the feeling is mutual. Soul Bro, being the dear soul he is, relaxed the rules so I could cry on Stan’s wrinkled shoulder so to speak.
The next day I asked if I should start pushing Stan away. “Nah, he’s OK. He’s a smart dog.”
But Stan’s behavior continued. and the night before last, Stan started to whimper when I wouldn’t pay him mind. I should have known pushing Stan away was back when Soul Bro took him back to his bedroom and shut himself up with the dog. I should have known, but I’m so ignorant.
So yesterday, sigh, Stan was beside me again and Soul Bro called him to go lay down with him (Soul Bro wasn’t feeling well). I quickly pushed the dog down when Stan refused to go with his master. Right back up there, Stan jumped, so I pushed him right back down. But it was too late. Soul Bro was angry at me. “See? This was what I was trying to tell you if you EVER let him sit beside you!” And he slammed his bedroom door.
I was afraid. Soul Bro has told me before that short of me killing him, there was nothing I could do to make him not want to be my friend. But I’m so scared. He’s my only family now and if he stays mad, what will I do? I love him so much, so I always try to please him, but I honestly didn’t mean to do anything. I hate myself. I even hate my vagina. This has made me Chaz Bono!
So like I used to, I went to bed and slept to get away from my problems. I dreamed about my mom giving me a beautiful Christmas Barbie doll. Then my mom died, I went to the Appalachians and was rejected by relatives. But then I look for dolls in a flea market, find out that Dolly Parton is my real mom, and she has the same Barbie that my mom gave me except in a different colored dress. Then I dream I’m peeing blood. The end.
At one point, I heard Soul Bro and The Partner up at midnight. I went and got a hello from both when I spoke, but as soon as the show was over, Soul Bro left without a word. I’m terrified he’s still mad and will want me to move when the lease is up. I don’t want to even imagine life without my Soul Brother.
It is a full day on my usually empty dance ticket. I, Lisa, professional mental health seeker, have the joy of seeing both my therapist and my shrink. Rolling out of bed, nicking my legs shaving, and dressing in my new Family Dollar ensemble, I get to my therapy session at 10 am. As I suck on a starlight mint, we go over my myriad of “issues.”
“I went to see an art house film called The Smurfs in 3-D this past weekend, and went to the library before the film. This was the first film I ever saw in 3-D and I thoroughly enjoyed it,” I say as my therapist inspects the little book she caught me reading while I waited for her. She admits to never having seen a 3-D flick, and I praise the medium, that one can almost catch a bird flying out of the screen. “Though I don’t think The Smurfs would be your cup of tea.” I then bemoan the cruel truth that kids’ movies would be great except that kids actually come too.
“What is your comfort level standing in a line at the movie theater?”
“Well,” I answer,” not bad really. Crowds don’t bother me, individual interaction does. I can even ask for movie tickets, as long as I have the money so the person will have a reason to tolerate me.” I show her my latest acquisitions in my quest to get all the McDonald’s Smurf Happy Meal toys, the Baker and Brainy (I happened to have them stuffed into the labyrinth that is my purse). I then tell her that I’m too childish, too child-like, but the therapist likes who I am because she’s known me since I was 15 and because she gets money to like me -but honestly, I think she likes me anyway.
“It’s normal to be enthused about something you collect. My mom collected a particular pattern of carnival glass and was very excited when she found a piece at a secondhand shop,” my therapist assures me.
“I have to see the psychiatrist today. I’m not looking forward to it.”
At some point in the session, my therapist says, “but you feel comfortable talking to me, right?”
“Yes, but you don’t poke me with a fork.” One therapist thought I was sexually abused and my psychiatrist feels I have the ways of an “abuse victim.” Once my psychiatrist threw out there one time that maybe I had Aspberger’s syndrome since my social anxiety wasn’t getting better and it’s a struggle to look people in the eye (I’m very self-conscious).
“I’d have to research it more,” I remember the psychiatrist saying. “But I have a lot of empathy. I thought they didn’t,” was my defense. I did not show how upset I was to have a new diagnosis until I was outside and started crying and fussing at my mother. (No one thinks I have Aspberger’s, though, and the psychiatrist never mentioned it again, so it must have been a passing fancy for her too. Let’s just face it, Shrink, I’m f****d and you can randomly flip through your DSM IV and diagnose me with whatever is on the page, but there ain’t no fixing me, not really. But with that cheery thought, let’s continue ).
“I’m thinking about asking her about Abilify,” I tell my therapist. “She’s talked a couple of times of putting me on an antipsychotic in the hopes it would help with the OCD and everything, but I’ve been afraid of getting tardive dyskinesia. Do you have any patients on it with OCD?”
My therapist is looking far into her memory and comes up with 75% of the folks she saw with OCD who are chomping on the Abilify say it helped them, 25% said no it didn’t, and if she remembers right, 10% got off due to side effects.
I imagine people who’ve been on Haldol for years, the excessive drool foaming from their mouths. I imagine lactating. But have mercy on me, I’m so tired of not being what I yearn for the most: Ideal. Everyday I feel I’m not doing things just right and some days it throws me into a rage. I take three times as long as anyone else to do anything. I’m more depressed than I was and I feel as though I have few redeeming qualities. I begin to hope that my shrink knows that I will dramatically change from my lifetime membership at “Camp Clucky.”
Yes, yes, Lisa. We get you suck, life sucks, everything sucks. Blah, blah, boo-hoo. Get on with the story.
My mother and I are having a spot of lunch and I’m trying to look up Abilify just to make sure I want to try this, but my mobile phone’s battery dies on me. I try to recall the latestAbilify commercial. Cartoon woman literally weighed down by her depression and falling into the “hole” of the depression. Then her kindly looking doctor helps her out of the hole and prescribes her Abilify. Some side effects, what were they? Happy family having a picnic. Happy. “Resulting in coma or death.” What? I don’t remember, must’ve been really rare. Still at happy picnic, even Depression Hole sits nearby. Everyone is at the picnic having such a nice time. I want to be at that picnic, so perfect! “Depression used to define me, then I added Abilify.” Ah, how nice. I’ll just ask my doctor all about it.
When I’m in Dr. Shrink’s office, I have my $3.00 ready to throw at the receptionist before she can ask, because I always get the sense she thinks I’ll run off without paying. It’s the rule of the house, yes, but I can’t help see it as a slight towards all psychiatric cases (power to the people!). I don’t think the receptionist likes my mother and I much. I can imagine her thinking “Sod it all, here comes that rubbish. If I wanted to deal with folks on the dole, I’d have stayed in Merry Old England, wouldn’t I?” Even before Dr. Shrink took Medicaid, though, and I had to somehow hack up $75.00 for my 15 minutes, I don’t believe the receptionist liked us much. It may be in my head, and I don’t seem much different from the others in the waiting room: they mainly look depressed, maybe a couple now and then look mildly apes**t. I’ve been with a friend to Mental Health before and they look worse and more interesting. I remember some young woman, obviously in a manic state, talking on her cell, “Friday night I tried to kill myself but they gave me some lithium and I feelsoo much better now!” I wonder if everyone is still getting help since our genius state thought it was a good idea to close the county mental health and the mental hospital to “privatize it.”
I tell Dr. Shrink my decision. She tells me to avoid grapefruit juice (which I already do since I am on Luvox) and to watch for slowed down movements, that tardive dyskinesiawon’t happen suddenly if it happens at all. Two milligrams, not a big dose at al,l and come back at the end of the month( to see if I’m still alive). Ok, great I can do this!
This might fix me.
Or not. Twenty minutes after taking my first cockroach shaped and colored Abilify stuff starts to happen. I am me but I don’t feel like I’m really here. So I’m not at the picnic yet I guess. My thoughts are my thoughts but I feel strangely like I’m not thinking. OK weird. I rush to look at the guide that comes with my prescription then augment it with the internet. Sometime during all of this I start feeling angry, really angry. Smack myself angry, yay!
Apparently on Abilify, I could develop diabetes, go into a coma, and croak, but hey, I won’t be depressed anymore! Since I’m already fat and haven’t checked my blood sugar in ages, I’m not a happy fat camper.
Stay out of the sun and don’t get overheated…What the frostbite? Am I going to turn into a gremlin?
Weight gain! Do I need to say why I might not like this?
Abilify and Wellbutrin should be used with caution because it might lower one’s seizure threshold. Well that would be a different experience! Might lower my immunity…that should be a hit with someone deathly afraid of going to the doctor.
I try to sleep. I can’t, just as I fall asleep, I feel like I can’t swallow and jerk back awake. I sleep an hour to fly awake and feel angry. Repeat this 2 or 3 times in the night. It feels great!
The next 48 hours are interesting. I’m angry at everything and when my best friend annoys me by what I perceive as lectures instead of swallowing it, I tell her off over and over. I can’t help myself! Freedom such as the ability to tell off your best friend over stupid stuff is not a freedom a social phobe like me wants.
Today I returned to my psychiatrist. “I’m doing OK, but I had to stop the Abilify. After one dose I knew I couldn’t take it. If I had done thorough research I wouldn’t have tried it anyway because I’m afraid of getting diabetes.”
“Yes well,”Dr. Shrink replies, “if you look on the internet, getting diabetes from Abilifyseems as common as getting the jitters.”
True, but I feel I should be more concerned due to the fact I’m overweight.”
Later I visit with my professor from college, the one who I named my oldest cat after in tribute. The college is only a couple of blocks from my psychiatrist’s office. We talk various things and then I talk about how awful I sometimes was when on meds that opened my mouth so that I’d say whatever I wanted back when I was in his science classes.
“Don’t ever feel sorry about the things you say unless you hurt someone’s feelings, and I don’t remember you ever being mean to anyone.”
“Well no, but I’d say anything and I cringe at the thought now.”
(Flashback: pointing at a faux skeleton in class and saying, “Look he’s got a boner!” Flashback: among the things I inherited from my grandmother, one was her old lady bright red lipstick. My reply to the comments I got when I wore it, “Hey, this was a really popular color in the 1940s.” I was shy then too, but accepted as the oddity that I was and I’ve always liked making people laugh. In many classes I was near silent anyway, but not my science teacher’s class. It’s a pity he isn’t my real father)
You learn to have patience says my professor at some point in our conversation. ” I guess you have had worse than me as long as you’ve been doing this,” I stammer.
“At least you aren’t an ax murderer. That would be worse.”
“Have you actually had murderers in your classes?”
“Two of them. One the cops chased into the mountains and he was killed.”
So the Abiify didn’t help me become the person I want to be, not close, but, the moral of this story is, no matter what I do, hey, at least I’m not an ax murderer!
PS: Abilify has helped many people, it could help you too. Sometimes the risk is worth the gain. As my pharmacist said, “Line 100 people up, and two would have the same reaction as you did.” Besides, my body’s wired different anyway. I was the 1/10000 of Paxil patients who lost her period on Paxil (happened on Effexor too!). Soon as I stopped, flowed like the red sea. With that, I bid you adieu.
What do you get when you cross a Moveon.org organizer at 8:30 am on the phone with a half-asleep broad with social anxiety disorder? A Moron left to cringe at her conversational gaffe and a liberal activist wondering if she called Michelle Bachmann.
Ms. Moveon.org: I wish to speak with Lisa B.
Me: This is she.
Ms. Moveon.org: This is P with Moveon.org and I was wondering how the Clean Oil rally went? (or something to that effect)
Me: I’m sorry, what did you say?
Ms. Moveon.org. repeats as before but the slight edge in her voice is getting edgier. It’s 8:30 in the morning, I just woke up, and feeling attacked makes me very nervous, so I say…
Me: I’m sorry I don’t know anything about a Media Matters Oil rally. (Eeps, the least I can do is keep my progressive organizations straight. I knew right away what I said. Oh. Sweet. Liberal. Heavens).
Ms. Moveon ‘not Media Matters’ .org is not happy with me. I knew from her voice beforehand that she was going to give me hell for not being at a rally, but now she has to deal with an idiot too.
Ms. Moveon.org( in such a snotty voice you’d expect her to sneeze): I must have the wrong number.
Ms. Moveon.org: Yes, I must have the wrong number. Sorry.
Click. This adds to the pile I’m amassing of reasons I suck and I felt embarrassed. Oh well, screw her. Sign a petition or two (not even about the environment, alas) and suddenly they think they own you.
In the bathroom, I see a roach in death agonies. I hate roaches. I hate death agonies. I can’t bear the nastiness of squishing it in the piece of tissue, so I throw it in the toilet alive and have a case of the guilties as I watch it struggle to live when I flush. I’m sorry. I should have killed you first, roach. More fodder for the “I suck” pile.
Later in the day, phone call. We go to a friend who is sick. I explain what ‘psychosomatic’ means to her, a word which the emergency workers used, as they cart her away. I haven’t been to the ER since the Great Kidney Infection Debacle of ’10 and was grateful to be on the visiting end of things. You can just feel the germs hopping around. I have a little fear myself when I see something at the visitors desk that looks like blood and hope my arm didn’t touch there. All was well in the end. I was there for a friend and we are all huggy-lovey as we parted ways afterward. I can take one log off of the “I suck ” pile, thank God. I was needed for a moment and that makes all the difference.
Since I want to continue writing here too, here are my thoughts on the weekend.
I am a jumpy sort of lass. I humiliate myself with a screech when my friend suddenly falls against me when sitting next to me. My friend tells me I suffer from “hyper vigilance.” And?
The same day, my mother runs the leftovers home so that the pizza won’t spoil, but she seems to take a while returning to the book store where she deposited my friend and me (Hey, fun quiz! Is the word ‘me’ correct or is it ‘I’? Not like I don’t know or anything, just seeing if y’all are alert!). I begin to assume my mom’s met an unfortunate end, of course, so I call home. Mom’s alive! Yay! Apparently, Philippe had jumped onto the counter and began begging for more canned cat food as he does several times a day, so that helped delay my mom. My friend lectures me about being independent. Hey, my mom’s more or less my only family member and after she actually gives up the ghost I’ll be alone. Which means I’ll die a cat lady or a bag lady or something.
Now that I know my mom is still among the living, I grab up the 800 page WordPress for Dummies monstrosity I’d been trying to absorb in 10 minutes or less, plus a dollar bin book on writing fiction and head for the counter. I know my mom wouldn’t approve me buying the $35.00 Wordpress book, on our credit card to boot, better to buy it and ‘fess up later in the evening (I have to confess stuff to my mom, a compulsion). I feel safe buying it now that my mom wasn’t dead, because in the back of my semi-sane mind, I think that had I not known my mom was alive and I bought the book, it would somehow kill off my mom as punishment. Where are the men in white coats, right?
My friend continues on the “independence” talk and my mom returns.
The next day my friend and I play Rummy at her house and I win. We watch Real Stories of the ER as we play and some guy has a cockroach stuck in his ear and the little f****r was biting the mans eardrum. This results in me going into labor and giving birth to a new phobia.
I help shampoo her computer room’s carpet, a new experience for me. I think a mixture of being tired and the Fabuloso we used on the carpet gave me a headache. We watch some of Gremlins. The channel the movie is on suggests the film may not be suitable for kids under 7. That movie scared me to death when I was the mature age of 7. I think they edited a bit of the splatter in the blender and microwave as the mother killed a couple of the gremlins in household appliances. I couldn’t bear killing something in a microwave, even a murderous Gremlin. Funny though, I have had terrible visuals of putting a cat in the microwave. I have no desire to do such a thing, but the thought of it happening is enough to make me worried. When you have OCD, it’s vital to learn that harm obsessions are just thoughts that pass through the minds of kind people. Luckily for me I worry more about causing emotional harm to people than physical harm. At any given moment I’m afraid someone is mad or have hurt feelings because of me.
I go to bed on my friend’s futon, the one you have to sit on carefully or one of the armrests falls off. I have a dream that may inspire a poem.
When I get home, Casey Anthony has already gone into hiding. My mom thinks wherever she is now, her attorney is boinking her. I hope not for his sleazy ass’ sake. There’s a part of me that feels bad for Casey simply because so many people want her to die a horrible death. I believe God will make her pay on this earth. Being so hated will be a prison in itself because she won’t be partying much. I doubt her sociopathic mind can fathom all the consequences of being notorious. I can’t believe Jesus would want people shouting “Kill her!” or even denying her a table at a restaurant. I smell a Casey Anthony post coming one day to my new site.
So we’re back to my regular sort of post. I sometimes worry that I will one day not be able to come up with something or will totally end up never writing another humorous word again. I don’t even set out with ideas for humor in my posts for the most part. I just fall into it and lots of times I am not sure how it will be received. Maybe tonight is the night I lose my ability to make mundane incidents humorous or interesting. But they say write for yourself and it’ll all come out OK, so we’ll see how I like it . Say, we should keep a tally on what I think about the direction this post is going, It’ll be like the director’s commentary version of a film on DVD. Morally Bankrupt -The Director’s Commentary. What the hay, why don’t y’all have a capital time as well? Take a sip of your favorite 40 oz. malt liquor beverage each time I say something that could be remotely construed as humor, regardless if it’s truly funny or no. Or if alcoholic beverages aren’t your cup of tea, perhaps take a puff from the blunt you must smoke in order to truly understand my very deep writing. Or if neither tickle your fancy, might I suggest a sip of Wal-Mart brand add-to-water fruit punch like I’m drinking. It all works just fine in a drinking game I’m sure. Let’s begin!
(Cut! Here’s where I yelled cut because it was 2:30 am and I yearned for the comfort of my pillow. Pretty lame movie so far, isn’t it? Bet you’re wishing you rented Twilight instead.
But anyway, ACTION!)
It’s Sunday and I decide I will spend much of the afternoon at the pool….You know, before a hurricane sweeps us all away later this week, or worse, makes it impossible to use the pool from debris. For breakfast, my mother is preparing a new end of the month masterpiece of cookery: Pancakes made exclusively of flour and water, garnished with margarine and homemade brown sugar syrup -apparently we’re out of Aunt Jemima too. While not exactly IHOP, it does very well when you’re craving something sweet and semi-tasty at the end of the month.
(CUT! That ain’t nothing, really in the annals of Budget Living. Mama smoked her last cigarette last night, so this morning she took tiny bits of tobacco that fell out into the pack and started chewing them in her mouth. She said that it tastes terrible, but you get a tad of nicotine. It reminds me of this woman I used to know named Candy who lived in a trailer park……and had no compunction to pick up cigarette butts off the ground to smoke. Um yuck, but I didn’t share this recollection with Mama or remarked “could she get more ghetto/trailer if she tried?” I deemed that since she’d been several hours without chaising ‘Puff the Magic Pall Malls Dragon’ that I would keep such observations to myself.)
(Back again, really should try to start blogging earlier in the day, so that it doesn’t take a week to write something. Exhaustion and my penchant for becoming distracted work against me, plus I’ve always been the slowest at any damn thing imaginable, but oh well. Y’all got other blogs to read as you anticipate my next words, right? Oh and hurray, first of the month passed. Cigarettes and other vital hurricane supplies got. I didn’t figure this hurricane would amount to anything. I was sitting out on my lounge this evening and the wind picked up -so I adjourned to the covered patio in the hopes of not being whacked in the head. Though who knows? My head is indeed somewhat addled to begin with, so perhaps being bonked on the head by a stray pine tree branch just might be the cure for knocking my brain cells into place. But anyway, back to the ‘film.’ ACTION!)
Yeah, Sunday. Pool. There. While I’m bobbing about in the deep end, I listen to a curious conversation. I believe the woman’s original aim was to sit in her floating lounger and read, but it didn’t seem to matter to Mr. Horny Ex-Con. He set her as his object and talked and talked. There is one thing to be said about being a bit less than comely, and that is that such crap seldom happens to you. In fact, the only guy I ever had trouble with was a drunk, simple-seeming Mexican fellow with one reddened cheek (punched or skin condition?). He kept advancing on me and tried to mess with me, to which I screamed in the most hateful voice I could muster, “Leave me the hell alone!” and left the pool.
Mr. Horny Ex-Con proceeds to relate how his life has gone “since he got out as he put it. He says that he spent nearly a decade in prison and there were plenty of homosexuals and guys who did the homosexual thing while in prison, but no rape because everyone from particular states looked out for their own. That was interesting to know , so it wasn’t Oz, but he never said what he did to merit 10 years in prison. Somehow I doubt it was jaywalking, especially if he’s the roommate of who I think he is, who’s an “Evil One” indeed.
I nearly laughed when I heard him say, “All the women I’ve met since I got out in March have turned out to be lesbians.” Bwhaaaaaaaaaaaaah ! I think just about any girl would suddenly claim to a sapphic bent if he was talking to them. Not that he was ugly, no he ain’t, but what the hell do you do to go to prison for 10 freaking years? The woman was finally spared his wooing by his admission that he needed to pee. Did Romeo and Cyrano have such hurdles to overcome as a full bladder at an inopportune time? I sometimes think that I’m not missing much by no one dying of love for me or lusting after me from my observations on these matters.
Now to my hideous lack of morality, my great sin almost committed. I would have done it too had a couple of variables not interfered with my depravity. Really, it is pretty bad. So here’s my confession:
Some little girl left her Barbie doll at the pool and did not come back for it by closing time. So I approach the Pool Matron and say, “Um PM, do you know whose Barbie is that?” She doesn’t know.
“Do you think it would be OK if I take….Oh, nevermind.” Pool Matron’s little son grabbed the coveted Barbie. “I just thought I might…..since it’d been there all day….and the pool being closed tomorrow….but maybe someone will come back for it.”
So the little boy and his mother spared me from what in retrospect can only be conceived by me as sorta-kinda-maybe stealing. Now, to be fair to me a little, I recall last year Pool Matron saying she threw stuff away that got left behind, so with that logic, I’d hoped to have that pretty black Barbie doll (I love ethnic dolls the best, so sue me).
I consider myself a moral to beyond moral sort of woman, so my mind began the deserved attack upon me as soon as I left the pool. “Thief! Stealer of children’s playthings! YOU SUCK!!!”
My only solace is I looked at the pool the next morning and the near-purloined Barbie was not to be seen. I bet Pool Matron’s kids took her home that night. At least it wasn’t me.
I nearly had a similar temptation a few weeks beforehand. I was still cross at the little rat bastard that took my goggles after I specifically asked him to return them when he was done. Well, someone left goggles at the pool overnight. The next day I saw they were still there, and I thought to myself, perhaps if they are still here by the end of the day it would be OK to take them and the person who left them won’t come back. So I borrow them for a set of laps, then returned them to where they sat. By the end of the day they were gone, but sort of doubt that they were restored to their rightful owner. But at least it wasn’t me lest the poor soul who lost them came back. I am not a believer in “Finders Keepers,” but it seems as though I need to remind myself. I’m not happy.
Mama was nervous about giving birth to a baby she would have to raise alone, but she wanted to have me. My mother assured me sometime that she was pro-choice, and if she didn’t want to have me she wouldn’t have. Now there’s a heart warming story for the next Chicken Soup for the Soul, but seriously, I’m glad. It puts a less burden on myself for worrying that I ruined her life.
One time looking through a photo album, I found a note from my mother’s best friend, Norma. She named off some girl and boy names for me and said at the end, “With all of us helping you pick a name, you’ll still end up naming that youngin’ Fanny.” I don’t know if Norma got to see me before she died, but she died sometime around the time I was born, making her the second of my mother’s best friends to die…She died of cancer, but the other friend, a man, died of a heart attack earlier. My therapist, when I was 16 ,told Mama he did not know what would have become of her if I hadn’t been born. More fodder for the next Chicken Soup for the Soul book. I think if I was the consolation prize that my therapist implied, the contestant should have asked if she could have a toaster oven instead.
But for good or ill, I came into the world at 8:03 pm on December 8, 1977, delivered by a doctor in a hurry to leave. I don’t know if my dad even knew he was going to be a father at the time, but there I was. My mother named me Lisa, short enough to be spared from butchering, unlike her name which she hated. She was born Patricia, which got chopped down to Patsy in childhood, and finally ground down to gender neutral Pat in adulthood.
The first time my grandparents saw me they were terrified something was wrong with me, but no. They didn’t realize that the darkened soles of my feet were from being footprinted and the ink not entirely washing off instead of a dread disease. If this was a story and not the truth, I would use this incident as a foreshadowing of what a strange person I would become, but as this is the truth as far as I know it, you may take it to mean that my whole family is nuts.
My mother had an apartment above my grandparents’ garage they built for her years ago and this was where we stayed for about a year and a half before Mama found it necessary to flee. I think she had to go because my father tried to talk to her again and again, but my grandmother was a fortress against him, firm and forceful in getting him to leave. My grandmother could be a bit of a bully.
Mama started working nights at a hospital while I was still infant. “I don’t mind keeping the baby while you work, but I won’t keep her for you to go out with men,” said Grandma. Goodbye life, hello motherhood. But strangely enough, everyone wanted me. They all wanted the baby to be a girl and I obliged. Not just my mother and grandmother, but my sensitive grandfather as well. Mama would come in after midnight from work, go into the house and into my grandparents room to pick me up from the bassinet by their bed. Grandpa would wake up and say “Aww, leave that baby. She’s asleep,” but Mama picked me up anyway.
My mother needed her mother though sometimes. If I wouldn’t stop crying no matter what, Grandma would be enlisted to calm me down and rock me to sleep. I had colic. I wasn’t breast-fed because Grandma told her daughter, the registered nurse, it was dirty (well, thinking about it, it does seem a bit yucky. Tell you what though. If I ever became a mom I’d definitely want to taste my own milk, just a taste, you know? Is that so weird? Of course not!!!). But then, my mother didn’t even know about sexual intercourse until she was 17 and in nurse’s training…..that was my grandmother for you: The kind of mother who didn’t find it necessary to warn her daughter of menstruation until the day it happened and her daughter thought she was dying. Perhaps that was the norm when my mother was 12 in 1954.
When I was about 1 1/2 , Mama decided it was time to flee again. By then my father had found us, but Grandma always came to the door and demanded he leave. By then Mama built up a terrible fear of her husband, a fear far worse than at anytime when she actually lived with him. So she decided on moving to a town in Florida near Vero Beach, where some other relatives had settled also. We stayed in Florida until I was 5 and sometimes my grandparents stayed for long periods of time too.
It was at the age of 3 my mother at last severed all ties to the fact I ever had a father. In Florida somehow it is easier to obtain a divorce and that’s what my mother did. Claiming “Desertion,” my Mama got full custody granted. No visitation rights, my father wasn’t there to ask for them. Mama didn’t want anything to do with the man, not even child support or alimony, though he had tried to send money a few times. Mama didn’t even want me to have his name, so when she changed back to her maiden name, she changed mine back to her maiden name too. Instant immaculate conception or instant bastardization, however you want to look at it. Slate clean.
Before the divorce, my father once found us in Florida. To the door he came, drunk. I guess Grandma was there too to ward him off. He had come all the way from Homestate to see me, he claimed. “I only got to see my daughter through the window!” Did he see me through the window before they came to the door, me playing on my mother’s bed oblivious that I even had a father? I hope he did, though they thought he was lying. I don’t think he ever even got a photo of me.
Did my mother do right in keeping my father out of my life? It was cruel to him, but may have spared me intense misery. She feels with my sort of personality, he would have manipulated me terribly and made me miserable. She’s probably right, but it would take someone far stronger than me to deny him a visit after he came so far. BUT…Dude was drunk and my Mom was afraid , so maybe I would do the exact same damn thing and send my mother to deal with him. Shit-fire-damn.
My father died when I was 17. I always thought I would meet him someday, but no, dead at 57. He was found in a motel. It wasn’t cirrhosis, but his heart . I hope he died in his sleep and didn’t know he was dying alone, which is one of my own fears.
After my father died and there was no harm in it, my second cousin thought it would be a curiosity for us to see what my sire looked like much older. Cousin cleaned homes for the elderly and saw to their needs. One of these elderly women Cousin helped just happened to my paternal grandmother. I don’t know if Grandma Pearl knew Cousin was cousin to her son’s ex. It was a small county in the Appalachian Mountains. Nearly everyone is related there or knew someone who is related to someone . What Cousin did was ask my mom if she wanted to see a photo of my father while in a phone conversation if I remember right. So the next time Cousin came down to the beach she brought a “borrowed” photo of my now dead dad, which she returned before it could be missed. My father had changed from the black and white photo I saw a glimpse or two of in my life. From a thin, dark, curly-haired man with a mustache to a beer bellied, pear-shaped creature with a tuft of grey hair. I remember he wore a light blue shirt.
What would have happened if I had met my father? Would he like me? I don’t even particularly like me. Would he compare me to his other progeny and ask me why I couldn’t have turned out like them? Would he have stopped trying to pickle himself ? Doubt it. Would he have manipulated me and made my life hell? Probably.Would he have died alone in a motel room at 57? Maybe not. Was it the result of his blood in me that made me so weird? I can only imagine. I never even met a single relative on his side unless you count a couple of his female cousins who went to the same church when I was an infant. Maybe they reported I wasn’t a tentacled mutation of an infant. But then I hope they didn’t rub it in with “a pretty baby. You should see her sometime.” But he might not care much and only wanted his good lady wife back.
I looked at the obituary of my father while Cousin was down here. There were 2 daughters listed….neither were me. I was the second result of his misadventures I think and the only one born in wedlock for all the good it did me. Cousin told me that the first joined the Air Force and that’s all she knew. So I take it she grew up to be normal. It’s really sort of funny to me, since I think the best time of my mother’s life was as an Air Force nurse in the 1960s when she stormed the beach at Myrtle in South Carolina. Too bad my mother didn’t get that one for a daughter instead of me, but that’s fate for you. What happened to the other girl I have no idea, but rather apparent whatever relationship bore his last child didn’t last either. Considering his knack for the production of female children and I can only guess his disdain for rubbers, perhaps I have more!I don’t remember my sisters’ names and I don’t know where my father’s obituary is now. Hopefully I still have it somewhere or can one day find it some other way. I want to know what they look like and whatever happened to them. Basically I want to know everything about them. Are they in any way like me? Did they love him? The thought of actually meeting or talking or even emailing them though terrifies me. The social anxiety and fear of what they would think of me holds me back. One becomes particularly aware of her appearance, ways, lack of accomplishments , and redeeming qualities when having to make an account of oneself. I don’t think I’m up to it.
When my father died, Mama received the news with both sadness and relief. She was sad that her one-time husband and father of her child had died, but she felt relieved when she realized she never had to worry about him finding us again. As for me,my father’s death benefited me in that I applied for Social Security and received about 100.00 a month for around a year since I was still a minor then. When the man asked my mother if she was certain he was the father and had she been married, I got angry. He was an older, chubby, gruff sort of man who looked judgementally at us, but I got my due.
I feel bad that Dad did more for me in death than the miserable soul did in life. I think for whatever sins he committed, he must have paid the price. The evidence is in the fact he died in a motel room. His real beloved, Liquor, consumed his life, but she was a jealous mistress and made him choose her over his children.
Our van is out of commission for a while until we absolutely need to go somewhere. The muffler is holding on by the skin of its teeth, so we dare not take it somewhere now. It’s always something isn’t it? This morning, however, we needed a few things.
One of the ways to get me annoyed is talking about money , or lack thereof. It’s my bad and everything to feel that way, but I feel my frustration building. I get the feeling it’s all my fault and Nervous Nelly is telling my head, It’s all your fault for being such a fucking, worthless piece of shit on fucking disability. You never do anything right. You should just fucking die. The Nervous Nelly part of me that lives in my head is not a very nice person, and she curses like she’s got Tourette’s as she serves as my personal ‘life sucks coach and anti-motivational/verbal abuse speaker.’ With thoughts such as these talking over my mom asking me if this and that are showing up on my rinky-dink credit card’s online statement I feel one step from a fit. This is a perfectly reasonable question to ask considering we have a limited amount of funds available and needed to refresh our supplies. What can I say? Sometimes I’m a total mental midget. More fodder for my ‘pile of things that make me feel guilty.’
With the heat index near 100 degrees at 10:30 in the morning, I decide the right thing to do is go myself, then as we sort of bicker over it, she suggests we go together. “No, I’ll go.” After all, I see no reason for both of us being miserable. “Just let me go brush my hair and teeth.” I ran a brush through my hair enough to push it a little down earlier, but not enough to go past my patio and certainly not enough to get all the fuzz from my blanket out of my hair.
“I’ll just go,” she says. That did it. Angry….angry…..ANGRY! It doesn’t take that long for me to brush my hair and teeth…granted I do ritualize it like everything, but it isn’t like it could take more than 10 minutes. It may just be I’m mental, but I interpret her as always trying to run my life and if she would just let me do what I want how I want we would get along better. I don’t think my request was that bad, especially since I was going. Now she’s all “I’ll go” and “I’m going with you” in a voice with a decidedly martyr lilt. We’re out in the hall so we have that added advantage of airing our sundries for whoever wishes to listen just like some of our neighbors scream, when I bellow “I’m going, GOD DAMMIT!”
Great, now I’ve lost my religion too. Though I’m not as religious as in the days of old, I still consider myself a Christian, and still I retain a certain degree of scrupulosity. I remember that, if the Bible is 100 percent true, I will be held accountable for every time I get mad enough to drop the “GD” bomb. I even feel the slightest tinge of apprehension at writing what I said above, but the kind God I generally believe in no doubt understands ‘my art.’ Oh well at least I’m not like I was when I was 13. All sorts of superstitious thoughts and accidental blasphemies were the order of the day in my head, the remnants of my days in Holy Roller Christian Academy, which I left at the age of 9. There is a fear of God and then there is becoming a total dumbass, which I fell into the latter. I didn’t give up my MTV or the fascinating world of 1990s rap music (which in the 2000s sort of went to hell like all music did -no pun intended). So I listened to Yo! MTV Raps and BET’s Rap City, delighting in it in my own WASPy ways, all the while doing nutty junk like making sure I crossed my ‘t’s at least at the midway point lest they look like upside down crosses like devil worshipers favor.
I walked a swift pace, letting the energy of my indignation propel me to Family Dollar, about a couple blocks from my complex. We may live in a somewhat bummy part of town, but hey, it’s convenient to a bit of everything. I was still in a foul humor walking into the blessed air-conditioned store. I see that The Other Lisa is working and I feel a pang of guilt. The last time I spoke to her a few weeks ago I said something I shouldn’t have. The Other Lisa, I’m pretty sure she’s the same person my best friend and I used to hang out with, was describing her Missions in Africa. How some of the men stood around with folded arms looking mad at them. And I said it before I knew I was going to say it and by the time I was back outside with Mom I knew I shouldn’t have. I said shyly to The Other Lisa, “Well, wouldn’t you be angry if someone came to your country and tried to change you?” She had the grace to ignore me (yeah, the puns are intended. Who am I kidding?). Even if I were speaking the gospel truth I should haven’t said it. She saw it as I used to see it as a little girl…saving souls from the eternal fires of hell, perhaps thus saving her own. Faster than you could say infidel, my conscience had started panging me.
So I decided today I would do my best to be friendly and hope to ease the wrong I committed. We say hello and I’m off on the hunt for what I was told to get before and a couple other gluttonous things. Toilet paper. 3 boxes of dollar dry cat food that we keep out all the time because we only feed the cats cans in the evening -I get 3, Mama usually gets 2, but I have a bit of a preference for things in 3’s and we do have 3 cats, so it’s all fair and balanced, right? 6 pack of Hershey Bars -if I’m going to that part for gluttons as described in Dante’s Inferno, might as well enjoy the trip (feel a bit nervous writing that one). 12 pack of Cokes (you know,to wash the Hershey bars down). Done. I balance my treasures in my arms and head for the counter with the intention not to be counted as that heathen bitch from the other day. Living on a Prayer by Bon Jovi comes on the radio and she sings along. God likes irony apparently. Pleasedon’tthinkbadofme.Pleasedon’tthinkbadofme.
Amazingly enough, I think I hold it in the road. Sure my naturally child-like voice is probably more child-like now because I’m nervous and I’m a bit stuttering, but we exchange pleasantries. As I leave , walk past the side of Family Dollar and notice a man in a jeep just sitting there. I’m immediately suspicious. The window is up, though it’s 90 degrees and I don’t hear the engine. I don’t dare glance too much just in case he’s one of those real-life ‘Evil Ones,’ entailing someone who’s a perv or mugger or something. He doesn’t look dead from my peripheral vision and I walk on, stealing a slight glance once. At the road, I realize I forgot something. Mama’s coffee! Back I go.
The Other Lisa is out at her car getting a pair of sneakers to replace the uncomfortable ones she was wearing. She asks me if something’s wrong.
“I forgot the coffee,” I say cheerfully, all the while thinking, please don’t think I want to steal something. One of my neuroses is the fear someone will think I want to steal, which I never would do, but my mind keeps telling me people think I’m about to snatch something. So when I get inside I set everything down except for my little wallet with the tabby kitten on it. Tres chic, non?
I come back to the counter and say, “This was my main mission coming here.” Then I think to myself, Oh no, I said mission. She’ll think I’m making fun of her.
But if she thought I was making fun of her, she didn’t show it. She said,”In third world countries where they don’t got a lot to eat, they still be drinking coffee. Like when we were in Africa, they be drinking like Starbucks.”
“Really?” I say, hoping to make it sound like that was the most interesting thing I’d heard in years…Well, it was interesting, but I felt it necessary to show approbation. “I’m glad I remembered before I walked halfway home.”
“You live at Shitzville?” she asks (I’m using an assumed, but pretty apropos name for my apartment complex).
“Yes.” Before I leave I confess that I don’t even like coffee.
Something happens when you’re walking home in 90 degree weather with a big bag of groceries and a 12 pack of coke balanced in your arms. Anger melts, almost in a literal sense. I trudge past the weirdo in a jeep and the shopping center that at separate times housed an illegal gambling spot and a doctor who sold prescription drug subscriptions of the patient’s choice for $100.00 until they got shut down. Past the house I think is suspicious, the one with no windows in the front…People are outside talking, but pay me no mind. Past a couple of women waiting for a bus. I force a “Morning” out of my throat at them and hurry away. Past the apartment where those folks killed themselves in a sexually explicit way. And I’m home.
PS, I’d be an epic fail as a missionary unless the “Secular Humanists” are evangelical. I posted this on a young woman’s blog once who was afraid to admit she’s an atheist. I think somehow though, Jesus might approve:
Great post. I believe in God and Jesus and all that, but I believe the Bible was mostly the product of the men who wrote it and the era. Jesus wasn’t a hater, so I still believe in Jesus. And I believe that if you go around hating people, you generally got the wrong idea about the whole being a Christian thing.
That being said, look at all the positive things about being an atheist (think if I was an atheist I’d prefer ‘humanist’ too):
You know you’re a good person because you’re a good person, not from a fear of some divine punishment. You are able to decide who you are as a person without the constraints of religion, you can look at spirituality, politics, and science objectively and take what you want from it. You may be in the minority of people, but I see atheism just as another ‘religion,’ something to tolerate and accept, not condemn.
Also, that being said, I’m not saying don’t ever think about there being a God either, because spirituality definitely has its blessings and gifts too.
Anywho, what I mean to say is “Being an atheist doesn’t make you a lesser person, just a free-thinker. And your dad isn’t in Hell, for Heaven’s sakes. But the person who said that should go to Hell -figuratively, of course.
I planned to spend the day at the pool. Instead I took a nap. That’s what I do when thrown off-kilter. Sometimes I won’t be able to re-adjust without a total restart, which is a nap and a perfection prayer. Then clean slate. Try again not to fuck everything up.
I did everything so right this morning, not cursing and getting upset when I at first couldn’t find a book I sold on Amazon. It was after I gave the cats their flea control that trouble brewed.
“Remember to wash your hands good afterward,” Mom advised, “because it’s poison.”
OK, no problem, right? So I rub my left hand around the bar of soap and wash my hands by rubbing them together a few seconds under the cool water. I’m not too concerned when it comes to me, but I practically prep for surgery if I’m preparing something for someone lest I contaminate her or him. This is when Mommie Dearest comes in and cries, “NO WIRE HANGERS EVER!!!”
Well, actually she said, “That’s not washing! You just run your hands under water and call it washing.”
That did it. From neutral to enraged in .5 seconds. I soap again and wash. Angry. Angry. ANGRY.
Afterward, gritting my already evenly ground teeth, I asked her if she saw me use the soap. I don’t always just rinse my hands under water. In fact, I often ritualize washing after the bathroom, preferably with liquid soap. I count to 30 or recite the Happy Birthday song a couple of times in my head, thank you very much.
I was so angry! And when she apologized it was in that annoyed martyr voice she does when she is completely frustrated with me. Her voice dips down low and increases with each sorry. “I’m sorry….I’m sorryyy….I’m SORRY!” Needless to say it’s hard to talk to her about why I’m angry, and thinking about it now renews my anger a bit.
I gave into my feelings, altering from states of intense anger to utter hopelessness. My thoughts were in this vein: I fucking can’t do anything right. I always, always end with fucking things up. I might as well just drop dead I’m so fucking useless. I can’t even wash my hands the right way.
But I felt much better after that nap, my prayer, my assurance to myself that this time I won’t mess up some way. I ended up at the pool after my “re-perfecting” was done. I walked past a boy, perhaps around 9 years-old, and he asked me to use my goggles. Pollyanna said, “Sure, as long as you give them back when you’re done.” He must never have got done with them, my $6.00 impermeable goggles. Funny, I was only somewhat annoyed by this. At least they fixed the pool filter, so my eyes will be tolerant again of the chlorine level in the water. I want my freaking goggles back though, little bastard, because I can see things better with them on, and because you’re old enough to know better than to steal. Club Ghetto/Trailer Park strikes again!
My mom was kinda mad, though, that someone stole from me….
(Photos snatched from Photobucket and Flickr w/o permission.)