Saturday, September 27, 2008
"You're not my boss," he snapped, emphasis on the you're.
“I didn’t say I was,” I said. “I said-”
“I know what you said, just hush.”
I looked to Judith to intervene but she seemed to be enjoying watching us square off. Right, she doesn’t get in the way. Hush. So much softer than its New York equivalent, 'shuddup,' yet he still managed to infuse it with a threat.
“I said ‘again,’ Tim. As is, ‘over at Abigail’s again’ ‘cuz you’re there a lot and it looks like you were the one with her car when her sister was here looking for it .”
“What’s it to you? It’s none of your business.”
Tim was probably right about that but I couldn’t stop now. “It’s her sister’s business and I was trying to help her.”
He glared at me. Tim’s ferocity comes from a pair of furious blue eyes set far back under a shelf of thick brows. He had a nose like a drawbridge and a heavy, dirty blond mustache that hid his upper lip but not the snarling shape of his mouth. I don’t know why he disliked me so much but he had from the start. Judith said I didn’t know how to talk to him; I was too direct and too bossy. I was a snob. He scared me with his sinewy fury and I panicked just a little every time I spoke to him. Lately, I’d learned to hand him the work orders as if they were love notes left by the good witch of the south and had stopped trying to prioritize them.
“Pete Levine had her car,” he said at last, his snaking mouth stretched to a grin. He loved the upper hand as much as I did.
“Who the fuck is Pete Levine?”
“Her mechanic, you moron. I took her car up last week and left it while she flew where ever she was going.”
“And you’re just getting it now.”
“That’s what it looks like to me. Look like that to you, Judith?”
“Why don’t you two make a new year’s resolution to learn how to work together?”
What? And put an end the Civil War? Involuntarily, Tim and I exchanged glances and tiny grins. No way.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Why do some people insist on treating family like servants and strangers like honored guests. Everyone at the Oaks is always telling me how much they love my mother but she is so mean to my sister in law. All I hear are complaints; complaints I know have no merit. In fact, the complaints are all accurate descriptions of herself, e.g., inconsiderate (refuses to call, refuses to fix answering machine, refuses to carry cell phone). What crime did my poor s.i.l. commit? She couldn't get a whole day off to carry the Knuckle to a funeral. She took three-four hours off but that just wasn't good enough.
What is the lesson here? What does my mother's death-defying grip on a life she doesn't seem to value have to offer?
- Embrace gratitude as the pure energy form it is.
- When she hits the rant re-play extend your arm. You won't hear her and she won't notice.
- Evaluate and pick your own retirement home so it is your choice.
- Don't blame other people for your failure to communicate
- Get a mirror
I feel better now, do you?
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
SparringK9 and her softer side: chickory (she taught me how to do this)
Now to pass it on:
1.Put the logo on your blog
2.Add a link to the person who awarded you
3.Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4.Add links to those blogs on yours
5.Leave a message for your nominees on their blogsI'd also like to draw everyone's attention to artomat.org for a look at a very very cool art project centered in Winston-Salem and created by Clark Whittington. If you can make art that's a scant 2x3 inches on a block or to fit in a box of the same size, you can show and sell your work in vintage cigarette machines all around the country. do check it out.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
“Are you okay?” she asked. “Did your battery die again?”
“No, it’s fine. Mr. Eberhard jumped it.”
Judith grows her eyes wide. My own are big but while I work them to show off how smart I am (or want to be), Judith does just the opposite. She's a disarmer.
“Because I thought you’d be right behind him,” she said .
“Really? I just needed to drive around, charge the battery.” She nodded, letting the subject drop.
“That land yacht of yours die?” said Tim, looking up from a handshake with Nicholas, who Judith was training to be as polished as herself.
“Just the battery,” I said, giving him a look that said I wouldn’t be busting him in front of the boss but wanted to know where he’d been while I was here fending off EMT workers and curious policemen. “Have a good Christmas?” I asked, unable to keep the acid from my voice. He scowled. “It was okay,” he said.
“You took Wednesday off to pick up your mother, didn’t you?” said Judith, her own tone twice as coy.
“You knew he was gone? Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I forgot,” she shrugged. Tim grinned at her.
Judith wasn’t a divide and conquer boss and she didn’t take sides, either. I’d come to appreciate that quality but still find it annoying when I wasn’t getting the respect I wanted from the handyman. Judith would say Tim was the most important person on the complex and I knew she was right but he never seemed to be around when I needed him. And what was he doing in Abigail’s townhouse?
“What’s going on at Abigail’s?” I asked.
“Got a call her fire alarm was going off,” he said. “It was just the battery giving out.”
Very plausible, but Tim was glib, I’d give him that. Probably no one knew the units like he did. He wasn’t above spending more time than he needed in apartments where single women lived. And he knew where everyone kept their stash and what they liked to drink. He’d spent a lot of time at Abigail’s. In fact, I think he’d just fixed her fire alarm not two weeks ago.
“Again?” I asked. Of course what he was really doing, I would bet a month’s rent, was returning Abigail’s car keys. The little MG was back in its usual parking space.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
We’re well into our training. Deep enough to know our hotspots (both big toes and a chronic half corn/half callus along the bottom side of right foot) and so far into fundraising that we couldn’t turn back if we wanted to... or would we? It’s clear that I will make this walk, it’s equally clear that not everyone will. I’m not training with my team, which is based in Tampa/Clearwater, but the Atlanta women I see every weekend, who represent teams in this city, in Washington, D.C., in Detroit and San Diego, have become a kind of surrogate team for me. We egg each other on, discuss fundraising goals met and not met and share ideas for raising more money. We have by now shared abbreviated, or not, life stories and have developed, through the weeks, a line of gossip that runs like a soap opera.
We are all very nice women. By and large. But we have ranged ourselves into two packs: front and back. And a pair of friends who show up every weekend for a five-hour stroll. I walk in the back and lately, I walk alone.Last week, I cheated. As I was walking alone, trying to convince myself that the pace I was setting was just fine (indeed, it was; for the first time, my feet didn’t hurt), I reached Monroe just north of Ansley Kroger where I knew the front pack was probably already gathered. I hooked a left and caught up. No one noticed.
A little later, I paced with the leader of the second pack and and her team past the golf club on Montgomery Ferry but instead of bearing left for a steep hill into Sherwood Forest, I offered a short cut to my companions. They all agreed and we beat the walk leader and the rest of the front pack on to Friar Tuck Drive.
“Cheaters!” they cried. We just laughed, joined forces and for about 15 minutes I kept up with the fastest walkers, losing them on another hill near Peachtree. Along Peachtree I foundered until one couple, passing me, asked if I was okay.
“No,” I gasped. “I’m falling behind.” Metaphorically speaking, this is the story of my life.
“It’s not a race,” one reminded me. “The last thing you want to do is injure yourself.”
“I don’t want to get left behind,” I panted, surprised by the honesty only 12 hot miles could yield.
“Just relax,” she said and forged on ahead at a stroll. Of course, she and her companion were both over six feet and a good 20 years younger than me. but still...
If it’s not a race, why won’t you slow down? Another hour of salty self pity.
How pathetic. One of the first things I’d learned during the 3-Day training is the importance of finding your own pace. Walking too slow is as bad as walking too fast.
Despite lagging behind along Peachtree I caught up with Bridget and Lynn at Colony Square and continued eavesdropping on their chat. Lynn is a lesbian and mother who is divorced from her son’s female legal co-parent. She was talking about this woman’s controlling ways. We bent her ear from Peachtree and 12th to the Publix on Spring and 9th when I think my lecture on power allowed her to find her own faster pace...away from me
She’d been talking about how she lets her ex take her power and leave her vulnerable. “You’re the birth mother? You have the power.” As if that was the easiest thing in the world. No, not easy. But simple and so basic. But because the co-parent was not the birth parent, Lynn, in the hopes of easing that inequality, was giving up many other equally basic rights: schedules that were convenient to both, choices of where to live and others.
When you’re used to giving up power, whether it’s because you’ve been long trained to it (Mommy’s little helper) or because you’re too polite or guilty over being the one with the real power that you think giving up the lesser stuff is what a nice girl would do (piffle), you’re giving up power. You are distracting yourself from what is real. You are not respecting yourself or what is. I know this. Now.
Wasn’t I, by fretting over everyone else’s pace, not giving enough respect to my own? After all, I was 12 miles in and for the first time in weeks, my feet weren’t hurting. Isn’t that the balance I had to find?
Giving up your real pace, whether by walking too slow or pushing too fast, is similar to giving up power of another kind.. Actually, it’s identical. It’s lying about who you are and what you have in the world to make someone else feel .... what? Less lonely? Less like a loser? Less slow? The problem is, when you’re in the throes of the walk, whether it’s the 3-Day, the cancer or the god damned daily hump, to limit yourself for the sole purpose of creating an illusion for another is wrong. It’s a lie and that hurts both.