Sunday, July 25, 2010

Off the Grid - Avoid the Self Indulgence of Despair

When I hear nothing, I despair. When I hear the kind word from a random reader, I am grateful and embarrassed. When a friend calls wanting to buy art, and she's bought so much already, I am heart held.

I will miss Daniel Schorr, and I am not alone in that. Who will make sense of the week's disasters? He was the old professor, the parent who could and would explain. The voice of earnest sanity. Who can take his place?  Losing him is like losing a parent; there's no replacement. But we still need to hear a weekly analysis for without it, without rational thinking, we may well despair.

After voicing my small despair last week, I must follow it up with what always follows darkness: light. Cloudy, perhaps, but light nonetheless.

No, there is no rescue, but maybe that's for the best.
There is no reversal, no going back.

What is there?
For what?
Oh, for the ability to look around and see the arms of friends
outstretched. Their waving flutters, their high signs,
the communal hug.  We are all so worried
all so busy lugging our individual baskets of fret.
But see, we can each, when shifting the load, free up one hand
and waving speak:
Wait for me. Hold on. Kick a little harder. Walk a little longer.
Home is just around the corner.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Off the Grid - Week 65

With no full-time job, no benefits, a few weeks remaining on COBRA, an extension for unemployment I can't use because I now have three part-time jobs, I'm not sure if I'm off the grid or squashed against it like an unsuspecting insect.

Not an insect. A pin ball. We are all pin balls in a rough game played by a mindless child with a bad temper. I cower in the corner when no matter how hard the little wretch shakes the table, I don't shift. Not until his hand has slid from the lever, then, quiet and forlorn, I slide straight past and into the hole only to be jerked back into play the following Monday.

Like a thief sorry only that she's been caught, I want now the benefits of having had my own family without the eye-opening distress of actually having ripped my hips clear open and living with the results.

This year, when I've turned angry and emotions, spun like the arrow in a cheap board game, have landed on old friends and family, I've been silent here and in that silence seen my cowardice.

I am condemned. But I must not be silent.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dangerous Book - Episode 44

Things found in books:

*            date due slips
*            other slips of paper
*            homework assignments
*            sheets of toilet paper (clean, thank goodness)
*            Kleenex (clean and used)
*            library cards (we scan these into the computer to check out materials and the patrons are supposed to keep them!)
*            actual bookmarks
*            a surgical clamp
*            HAIR!
*            a bobby pin
*            a notification that someone had received a raise
*            an assortment of bills and letters
*            a season pass to Worlds and Oceans of Fun in Kansas City
*            a band-aid
*            a leaf
*            wedding pictures
*            other photos
*            the receipt from a visit for psychoanalysis
*            thank you cards
*            drivers licenses
*            a packet of tropical punch flavored Kool-Aid
*            a yellow 3-inch rubber snake
*            bird poop
*            raisins
*            creepy crawlies
*            a dry flower

What’s in the cookbook?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dangerous Book - Episode 43

Episode 43
Later, same Monday, May 31 -

I unlocked the door and the three of us, still knocking and calling entered the apartment and into the bedroom, following, I have to say, our noses.  We stopped calling when we saw her in the bed. She was doubled over as if she’d been retching.  Closer examination showed that she had.  Right near her face almost as if she was drowning in it a little pool of brown vomit rested.   Some of it had soaked into the sheets, but most had not.  The whole thing was gross and sad and disgustingly human.
            We stood around wringing our hands. I’d actually never done that before, but it almost seemed instinctive before we all jumped into 911 mode and called from the bedroom.  Mrs. Moth made the call, holding the receiver with both hands and turning her back on the bed, as if not wanting Veronica to hear her.  Phoebe fastened herself to Veronica and kept her hands chaffed. Was she dead? She was not.     
            “Get me a damp cloth,” said Phoebe.  “We can’t let her choke.”  I managed to comply.  “Then do something with the bathroom,” she snapped as if I’d messed the room myself.
            When I finished, I joined Mrs. Moth in the kitchen. She was busy pulling lime wedges from the sink basket, holding a high ball glass in her hand.
            “Was anyone here last night?” she asked.
            “Not after we left,” I said. “At least, I didn’t hear anyone, but when I finally came in I went right to bed.”
            The sink was littered with slices of lime.  Mrs. Moth threw them into a kitchen waste bin.  A fishy smell arose.  Probably unwashed tuna cans.
            On the counter I spied an open canister of tea and a tin box of brownies, still open. This explained the look of her vomit.  These Mrs. Moth was brushing up and putting away.  It is at these times that you take a mental inventory of your underwear.  Is it good enough for the ambulance?   Will you be embarrassed when you wake up in a hospital bed?
            “Phew” she said, lifting out the trash bag. Veronica used paper grocery bags to line her trash basket and this one was soggy.  “I don’t suppose you’d bring this down stairs for me,” she said.
            I opened the back door leaving it propped open so it wouldn’t lock behind me, ran down stairs to the dumpster.  By the time I returned the EMTs had arrived.  The guys bustled around Veronica, working her over, trying, with more good will than delicacy, to slap some life into her, or so it seemed to me   I think it was just the rush that made them seem so rough.
            They strapped her on the gurney and carried her down the stairs. Mrs. Moth, Phoebe and I followed behind in my car.