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Friday, February 29, 2008

Bash Boom Bam

Quite the week for miscommunication. It's almost like bumpercars, without the laughter. Thankfully, I've only been in two such head-ons, but it's happening all around me, and so I'm feeling the others' ricochets.

My two best girlfriends are considering ending their relationships. One is married, and has had a rocky time since way before the wedding. The other fell quickly into a full relationship and is coming to the end of patience in living with a slob.

Guy friends seem to be having blow ups too; roommates that are getting aggravating are at the center of those focuses.

Strangely, all is calm with the usually ballistic. My gay couple friends are happy as clams and my family is all very peaceful.

In both head-ons I had, my part was in being quite direct and responding honestly. I don't feel wrong in either instance, because what I said/did are healthy things that I worked for years to be able to do. It's the responses to those actions that are the issue. I'm just at a point in my life where being real and dealing with shit as it comes up is the way to go. Some people aren't like that. I can have a hard time admitting when I'm wrong, but I always know when I am, whether I cop to it to others or not. I wasn't wrong in these cases. I was asked for an honest answer and gave it, in one; in the other, I was damned concerned for the well-being of someone and made a phone call to the only person who'd know if that person was okay, and got unbridled hatred in return. So, as usual, fuck me for caring.

Maybe these blow-ups will blow over, maybe not. Life is way stressful these days and boiling points are lower. At least nobody's dead, this week.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

R.I.P Uncle Glenn

Glenn Blair, an honest man, a kind heart, a caring realtor, is dead.

Uncle Glenn came into our family in 1995, as my mom's real estate agent. The house would finally be sold 3 years later, following both my mother's and stepfather's death. But Uncle Glenn had become my Favorite Uncle by then, and will always be.

He was born in London to two stage actors in 1934. When the bombing in Britain became so constant that children were sent away, his parents shipped him to live with an Aunt and Uncle in Hollywood, California. Less than a year later, his parents were killed in a bombing raid in London and Glenn stayed with his Aunt and Uncle permanently.

He attended Hollywood public schools and began performing onstage, in the family tradition. His interest in acting waned in college, and he began pursuing a career in medicine. In his second year of Medical School, he realized he'd never reconcile his personal health beliefs with standard medicine, and quit. He became a personal assistant to Marlene Dietrich through family connections, and worked for her for several years. At one point during a trip to New York City, he decided he liked the East Coast better, and stayed. He took a job with a pharmaceutical company as a sales rep but quickly became disgusted with the drug industry. Then he went to work at Clairol as a sales rep, and was equally appalled at the practices used in that industry. He found his niche for many years working for the old Ma Bell, rising through the ranks from operator to supervisor to management. But he grew bored and quit to become a realtor.

He settled on Staten Island, buying a house on Drumgoole Road. There he collected stray people and dogs, caring for them all with love and patience. He went far over and above his duties to his real estate cutomers, and remained close friends with them all long after the deal was done. His strong ethics and fighting spirit kept many Staten Island brokers in line. He inspired my little brother Seth, who pursued a very successful realtor's career himself, under Uncle Glenn's tutelage. When Seth's cancer became terminal, Uncle Glenn brought him health foods and encouragement. When Seth died, Uncle Glenn held me together yet again.

I can't ever describe him in sufficient terms except to say he was infinitely kind, put others before himself, and was the most honest man I've ever known. His laughter will ring in my ears forever. His example will remain a standard to all who knew him.

The lovely congregation and pastor of the Rossville AME Church are in charge of his affairs. He'd found a second home with that church family, and I'm so glad he did. He was never happier than when he was puttering around on the churchgrounds, planting flowers and making it pretty. That's what he did in all things; made the world prettier. We are all lessened by his loss, whether you knew him or not.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Feel The Hate

I'm so filled with anger right now. Anger mostly out of hurt, and watching others be hurt.

Anger at arrogant stoners who are really beneath my contempt. I mean, really, you're in your midlife. Your brain cells are shot enough. I'm not gonna care when you've got dementia, which, BTW, you're showing signs of already. Grow the fuck up and get your heads out of your asses and get off your superior high fucking horse, while you're moving.

Anger at liars. People I thought were righteous are turning out to be powerhungry fucking Gollums chasing their Precious. People I was sure I knew are showing their true skins, and they're hideous.

Anger at cowards. Come on you fucking Quisling whining babies. I'm damned tired of tiptoeing around your fragile fucking nerves and coddling your moods. Grow some, somewhere. Need a spine? I'll be glad to insert one.

Anger at stupidity. Enough said.

Anger at being duped. I really thought this community was a forward-thinking, "Leftie" refuge of fellowship. What a fucking load of shit. These ego hippies are Fascists as much as the Bushites. Either think just like them, follow their program, or you're shit upon. So much for freedom.

Anger at being angry. I'm not good at anger. I have a hard time with it. It leaves me bitter and hateful. Oh, it can motivate me to do a lot of things. But not things I'm especially happy doing. I can forgive, but I can't ever forget. I have too good a memory.

Trying to stay yourself in a world that tries to change you in every way imaginable is very hard. And being so full of hate for so many people right now is very uncomfortable.
And it's fucking Valentine's Day and I'm alone with memories.
Fuck me, too.

Monday, February 11, 2008

February is the Cruelest Month

February sucks. Every year. Aside from being the death month of my mom, husband and Henry the Cheeseman, it's cold, it's harsh and it brings out the worst in people. Back in 1985, I spent the whole month of February in bed. I'm considering doing that this year.

Locally, the politics are enough to make you want to forget everything but where the Ambien is. And with John Edwards outta the race, I don't care who gets nominated now. I'll zombie vote Dem in November. Anyone has to be better than Bush.

And Thursday is Valentine's Day. Talk about masochistic-sadistic holidays. The only thing worse than family holidays is a celebration of romance. I don't have a valentine this year, but even in all the years I have, I can only remember one lovely Valentine's Day. It's a ritual. Another "you have to". Blech.

Then we have Presidents' Day, another combined-and-made-a-monday holiday. Big deal.

Oh, and this is leap year, so we get an extra day of torture in Sadie Hawkin's Day. Last Sadie Day I did propose to a guy. I didn't really mean it, but I did it. How depressing.

Which is the crux of What's Wrong With February. It's depressing. I don't have one person in my life who's happy. Not a one. Everyone is in turmoil of one or more forms. Even children aren't the careless laughing creatures they used to be.

I'm going back to bed.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Telltale Fart

Growing up in a family of guys, I learned early on about the entertainment value of bodily functions. My brothers and uncles practiced with the concentration of Tuvan throat singers.

The variations on a fart became more advanced as more males came into my life; my little brother Seth was nicknamed The Green Fog for his incomparable, eye-burning, house-clearing emissions. My husband refined his sound effects to two simple endearing names: "bert" and "ernie". My coworker whose entire family would jet out Sneaky Petes and not miss a syllable they were speaking, looking you right in the eye.

However, as I grow older, I'm observing that delivery becomes more of a style issue. Where once a person would make no sign of their passing, I now see my peers developing signatures. Several still simply lift one cheek, leaning away from the propulsion. Sometimes a sigh follows, sometimes a slight grimace from the effort. But the enthusiastic midlifers now add flourishes- standing and hoisting a knee as if mounting a horse, holding arms up as if a conductor, bending forward and pointing at someone.

What is it that makes us take such pride in this low accomplishment? Is it a surrender to the inevitable? Is it a readjustment of standards? Or are we merely returning to the gleeful badness of doing something we shouldn't?

I tried to find a copy of the Fart Poem that I heard when I was young. Regretfully, all I can remember is "The Poot and the Anti-Poot." The rest, alas, is gone with the wind, dissipated to traces of what I thought was there, just a slight lingering bit to remind me of how funny being a human really is.

The Kiss

In all my life I've never before known such a kiss as yours.

As if when our lips meet all the fear and urgency of a last breath

and all the peace and joy of a new life pass through us.

A hundred small kisses, each a slow blossom of life,

each in perfect time and movement to each other.

My self flies away in a whirlwind of feelings.

I am lost on your lips.

My whole being stays paused in our mingled breath
til our lips touch again...

Without this kiss, I am only half alive, without this kiss I cannot breathe

What, MeAngry?

This piece also goes back a few years, to when I was part of a Union drive at my former workplace and the Bush regime was gearing up for the downfall of the middle class. Which, to this date, is the only "Mission Accomplished" I can see.

I'm angry. I'm angry about just about everything. In the big picture, I'm angry about the dumbing down of America, about eternal poverty, about the Republicans in general. In the little picture, I'm angry about our community members who are too busy, entitled or uninterested to care anymore.
I don't exclude myself from my anger. There's a lot more I could do if I wasn't so self-involved. But since vacationing in Costa Rica is not amongst my options, I don't feel so bad. I live a really close-to-the-bone economic life. Just ask my landlord. I owe him a month and a half back rent, even doing my best. Still, I'm mad at myself for not living up to my contract with him. That's what I was raised to do. Live up to your responsibilities, keep your word. If you do your best, it'll pay off. Well maybe not anymore.
I'm angry at the management at the Co-op, first for hiring the self-proclaimed union busting law firm of DRM, then for the smarmy memos put out to the staff, then for the staff buying it, then for the justification that management has tried to promulgate. Deny, deflect, diminish. As Alex Gyori likes to say in his anti-union memos, Ask yourself why. Why are they saying that the organizing of \"some employees\" is equal to their anti-union committee? So many workers at the Co-op have been co-erced (some without their ever realizing it) that we won't say how many cards we have signed anymore. Yes, we have the 30% to go to an election. Those are the people who wear buttons, go to the meetings, make the phone calls and house calls. There's more. We don't want to go to an election until there are 70%. Less than that and it won't be a strong union. Management has been waiting for us to back off or go away. They're in for a long wait. The Management touts its organizing with other co-ops, and is poised to absorb the Putney Co-op. It knows what strength comes from unions, why would it so oppose its own employees doing the same? Ask yourself why?
Anger has been given a bad rap. In its best form, anger fuels one to action. Its worst form becomes violence. It takes humor, perseverance, and hard work to mold anger into productivity. But anger is powerful if we can learn to use anger for our own purposes. Don't be afraid of it, don't deny it, just find a way to let it energize you and use it to keep you up and have the courage of your convictions. Stay angry.

P.S.- Our Union drive failed, after almost 3 years. The union-busting tactics coached carefully to both management and then to some employees spread like a virus. Our complaints to the National Labor Relations Board were deemed out of date by the time we filed.

Fear of Drowning

This is a few years old, but still applies. It was the first opinion piece I wrote for iBrattleboro. I was still working in the Meat Dept. at the Co-op. Ah, memories...

When I spoke to Lise and Chris about writing for iBrattleboro, many issues crowded my head until none could come out intact. Then Thanksgiving came and I was too tired from Turkey Hell to do anything but drag my old white ass home and sleep enough to go back and do it again 'til the turkeys were gone. Now it's the week after Turkey Day and I have some local bug that's running around, bringing fever and coughing and pain. I still can't get any thoughts in order enough to make a cohesive column and I'm starting to think that perhaps those days are gone. There will be no more well-constructed theses coming out of my head or mouth, ever again. Each time I launch on one train of thought, some other piece of horrible news or a realization comes that leaves me speechless, and I fall silent. Is this happening to anybody else? Are we at total saturation point every day now, just going from one outrage to another like a cosmic pinball game?
Well, for God's sakes, I hope it doesn't make us all go silent for long. Too much crap keeps happening and the shit pile on each aware head is way too high; and without sharing what we know and have realized, the shit will engulf and choke us. In me, this fear of drowning has made me start sputtering, \"Lies!\" It's hard to enumerate beyond that, but it's a start. If that's all I can get out, at least it's something truthful. These days, lies fall around us like cold rain and it's hard to keep our umbrellas up.
I had a conversation with my 55 year old brother this past weekend. I was telling him about what was happening in Miami at the FTAA [Free Trade Area of the Americas] protests and about the SOA [School of the Americas] protest. He launched into questioning who I was associating with these days and that I sounded like a socialist. I asked him what was wrong with opening his mind and told him that he should know that these things are going on. He responded that he just goes to work and keeps his bills paid. I said, that's what we're all doing, but some of us can also shoot our mouths off and tell everybody else what's going on.
In his area of Pennsylvania, folks get the three big networks' news (unless they're cabled). That's where most of them get uninformed. I sent him to INDYMEDIA.ORG since he's on the internet. Since I'm still not on the Internet, I hope he'll have news for me when we speak again around Christmas.
Light little fires, man. If you can't put it all out there for someone to get it, refer them to where they can get it for themselves. Tell them to read \"Big Lies\" or \"Dude, Where's My Country?\" or \"Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.\" We've stopped thinking, we've stopped questioning, we've stopped caring. It's time we all got aware so we don't get fooled again, so we don't lose our rights, so we don't live in a fearful shower of lies.

Brave New Blog!

After threats and cajoling, after several drugs and an Irish coffee, I've managed to create a blog. Welcome! I'm gonna be cross-posting some of my stories written for, some poetry and prose and will be writing about everything I take a fancy or humbrage to in the course of life. Woohoo. This is a great outlet for a lot of crap, and I'll be ranting as the mood strikes.