Sunday, March 26, 2023

 Idiom Madness

         Or Don’t Give Me The Cold Shoulder – It Would Break My Heart


Jack was dead tired and clearly feeling under the weather. It had been raining cats and dogs for a month of Sundays, his boss, fat cat that he was, had given him the ax, his wife was about to kick him to the curb, and he was beside himself, fit to be tied, ready for the loony bin. It wasn’t his fault. Sure, he was over the hill, fat as a pig, and was known to fly off the handle more often than not, but until recently, he had felt fit as a fiddle and in his mind’s eye was killing it. But the tides had turned. 


When his boss had spilled the beans – that his work was not up to snuff – he had considered doing himself in, but he wouldn’t do that for deep inside he thought he was the cat’s meow. That was his mother’s fault. In her eyes he was the best thing since sliced bread. When he was knee high to a grasshopper she had treated him like the golden boy, telling him he was perfect – one snow job after the other. He learned the hard way that flattery like hers would get him nowhere though. Even when he courted his wife way back when (somewhere in the dark ages) and he had whispered sweet nothings into her ear, she had told him in no uncertain terms that he lied like a rug, and she would have none of his bull. She almost blew her top a few times, so clearly he wasn’t earning brownie points by lying through his teeth, even though he really wasn’t. He would never pull her leg about his affection for her. I’m as honest as the day is long. He knew he would love her through thick and thin, come rain or shine, through hell or high water because the fact of the matter was, she took his breath away. 

“I don’t want any more of your monkey business,” she had told him. But he hadn’t been trying to pull the wool over her eyes. He loved her to the moon and back. Theirs was a match made in heaven. And when she finally believed him and was no longer on the fence about marrying him, he was as happy as a dog with two tails. Their togetherness was a right as rain. He was not about to take her with a grain of salt. . . ever. He was smart as a whip and knew if he did she would go through the roof. 


So why, out of thin air had his life suddenly become ass backwards. Why was he taking it in the shorts from everyone? He wasn’t nutty as a fruitcake, he had never been a smart aleck, and was one smart apple. And he was not about to go down in flames. He knew what to do. He would carve out some time and chew the fat with his wife because at the heart of it all, they did see eye to eye. Besides, great minds! They would burn the midnight oil, talk until the cows came home, and she would, without a doubt, tell him the ball was in his court. “Stiff upper lip, Jack,” she would say. “You’ve got this. Jobs for a man like you are a dime a dozen, and you are worth your weight in gold. Break a leg, honey.”

Was she right? 

When finally, he hit the sack, he realized he had made it through this crisis by the skin of his teeth. His moods hit rock bottom only once in a blue moon and thank goodness he had been able to nip this one in the bud. But it was time to jump back on the band wagon and get a new show on the road. He was ready for a clean bill of health, and he had done his homework. I have the world by the tail. Afterall he already knew what he needed backward and forwards. And he slept like a log. In fact, he fell asleep thinking. Nothing is over ‘til the fat lady sings.

When he woke up the next day at the break of dawn, he felt as if he had died and gone to heaven. He was a new man believing to the depth of his soul that when one door closes, another one opens. Time to break new ground, Jack. You’re free as a bird.




Sunday, March 19, 2023

 Rainy Day Musing 

         With a Touch of Truth


Violet was blue that Wednesday, a shade darker than she had been on Tuesday, perhaps less than she would be on Thursday. It had been like this for a while, every day she breathed a bit bleaker than the day before. She might have wondered why the days inside her mind were so grim, for outside the world was beautiful, the sun bright, the grass chartreuse, the sky cerulean, the wind but a mere breeze caressing her. Yet she did not wonder. She knew why her life was off-color. And that perhaps was the problem. . . or possibly a solution. Her intuitive nature had been a gift, she once thought. Maybe not. . . for now, for the first time, she had to live with a truth she understood from the inside out.


Violet had been in love once with a boy. He was funny, curious, and somewhat mischievous, but oh so lovingly so. He made her laugh. He made her cringe; she always was looking after him because he was headstrong. Headstrong! So, she bandaged his knees, bathed his fevers, and comforted him when disappointments set in, heavy weights that crushed him down. She did these things because she had adored the boy from the first day they met, and she was quite sure he had felt the same way for a while, maybe for a good, long while. But that was ages ago.


Now that Violet had reached the ripe old age of eighty-five, she had little left. She lived alone in a small apartment in a luxurious facility for seniors, lots of them, all of them residing in a parallel universe, a million miles away, figuratively if not literally, from those who had arrived after them, those who had been loved, as Violet had loved that little boy. The old folks did not speak of their losses; it likely hurt too much, but Violet knew the others shared heartaches similar to hers. “One need not be dead to be grieved after,” she wanted to shout sometimes, but didn’t, knowing her rant would fall on deaf ears. . .  or no ears at all. Besides, no one was listening. 


Violet’s senior counterparts, like she herself, spent their days remembering, gathering up memories in dried bouquets so fragile, the brittle sprays could disintegrate if one held on too long. So wrinkled hands like dead birds fell to empty laps and eyes blurred, the recollections set aside for another day. Minutes ticked by in a quiet so deep one might drown in it. Had the others, like Violet been hoping that today might be the day their past love would check in, stop by, say hello, give well wishes, flowers, candy, a hug? Or was that yesterday? They had hoped then too. They would tomorrow. Or would they?


How easy it is for the days, weeks, months, years even, to pass, waiting, anticipating, saddened to a depth one does not care anymore. Violet understood. And that is the truth. It took time, clear to the autumn of her life to understand but now she did. Caring, like hope were useless to her – different sides to one tarnished coin. She need not hold it or spend it; it was a throwaway, just like the love for a little boy.



Thursday, March 9, 2023

 A Little Piece About Losing It

I’ve lost it. Have you? Of course, you have. At one point or another all of us have lost our keys, our sunglasses, our reading glasses, our pen, our credit card, our wallet, our cell phone, our pet, or perhaps even our car in a crowded parking lot. The latter actually happened a few years ago. I went with friends to a Warriors game at Oracle in Oakland. Parking was easy. Finding the car in the pouring rain after a win when fans exited the stadium and the parking lot in an ecstatic frenzy with no one paying attention to lane lines or driving protocol, was not. For most drivers, it was one wild dash to the exit, every person out for himself. It is a wonder not one of us car-searchers was not run over and left for dead in a puddle. My companions and I eventually found the car after circling the arena in a concession worker’s golf cart for too many rainy minutes to count . . . looking, searching, wondering how the damn vehicle could just disappear. All five of us (and the kind employee) located the car eventually, swallowed up and obscured as it had been by the swarm of drivers leaving the game. By the time we spotted it, all of us were soaking wet and had long since forgotten our team’s victory. My friends and I tipped the cart driver generously before piling into the minivan for a soggy ride back to Sonoma County. Without a doubt the evening was memorable. And cold.


I suppose losing “stuff” is a part of life. Sometimes we’re too busy, too careless, too distracted, too tired. . . or maybe we’re sick. I understand that some people who have had Covid have lost their sense of taste or smell, maybe both. That could be concerning. Does it come back or is it gone forever? Depends on the person, I suppose, but I wouldn’t like it.


And what about losing one’s way? Who has been lost? Okay, admit it. Unless a person has chosen to enter a maze for entertainment, being lost is never fun and usually frustrating. It may make us late to wherever we’re going, we become flustered, and we use bad words. It’s true. I can remember a few times feeling stumped and alone. Where am I? How the hell do I get out of here? Who has had a similar experience?


Wait! What about positive losses – weight, debt, toxic friends, addictions, compulsions? Loss need not be bad. It often takes enormous effort and makes a person feel proud to lose something that no longer has worth. While the overall concept of loss is usually viewed as negative, it isn’t always. I wanted to add that perspective – a reminder to us all.


Good or bad, losing is a part of life, but, unlike misplacing one’s keys, it is not always easy. Some of us have lost a friend because of an illness such as dementia. How sad is that? Is our loss equivalent to theirs? Do they feel lost in another world? Are they lost at all? One can only speculate. Or, of course, we may lose someone because of a relocation, the simple passage of time, or because of an estrangement – a falling-out, a divorce, an unexplainable loss of connection. Those losses hurt, plain and simple, perhaps because the answer as to why they occur is not discernible. . . or, more to the point, we have chosen not to look closely enough to understand. That’s on us.


Greater than those losses that are seemingly final however, is death – the death of a loved one is the most difficult, heart wrenching loss of all, the one that never goes away no matter how hard some of us try to hide the pain. No matter the circumstances, losing a dear friend or family member torments us deep inside, the loss heavy, an anvil weight that we lug with us wherever we go. We may be able to shift that burden sometimes so that it doesn’t feel quite so onerous, so others can’t see, but it’s there always. We will take it with us to the end when we too die somehow, some way.


I have lost a few friends and family in the past few years, and for that reason I have been contemplating the notion of loss and its multitude of forms. I’ve actually had a mini post-it with the word loss scrawled on it and tacked to my computer to remind me of the insignificance and the significance loss can represent. It’s mind boggling actually how one simple word – loss – embodies so many nuances. But so it is. No need for anyone to lose his or her mind thinking about loss too much. After all, it will keep happening. So, buckle up. At best, loss may be a plus, but more to the point, it is a nagging certainty and more often than not, a damned inconvenience. Best simply to roll with it. Loss isn’t going away. 



Wednesday, March 8, 2023

 Owning it – Our Day, That Is


It is International Women’s Day. Good for us. We have a day all for ourselves. Even though we are being tested daily in myriad ways in a society that, more often than not, appears to have its priorities askew, its perspectives perverted, and its fidelities nearly obliterated by the need for power and control, we hang in there. Our tenacity certainly lends credence to us, our gender, our womanhood. 


If I were able to go back and have a heart to heart with the little girl I once was, I would. And what would I say? Here are a few things I would tell myself. Believe. Believe in your talents, your potential, your second sense. It will save you. Think. Think things through before jumping in, out, or all about. The hurts will lessen. Learn. Learn whatever you can. Never stop searching for knowledge. It comes in many forms and can ease over you like a warm wave or slug you in the face without warning. Take it. Caress it. Wallow in it. And don’t worry. It never stops. Learning need never end . . . nor should it. Be accountable. Conscientiousness, dependability, reliability are yours for the taking. Just do it. Love. You are loved, you will love, you will lose love. Love is not always easy to understand, to negotiate, or to let go of, so when you feel it, enjoy. When it comes time to let go, do. Let it go, no regrets. Live. Choose to live with dignity, knowing your worth, your limits, your autonomy. There is no one like you; there never will be. Yay!


On this day, this International Women’s Day, let’s be joyful for all the strong women who have come before us, who have opened doors or crashed glass ceilings, who have shown us the way, who have loved us. And let’s delight in ourselves – for our hard work, our caring natures, our ability to love, and our strength in loss. We are all so different; yet we have so many similarities. We have chosen varied paths, occupations, partners, lifestyles. We may not always agree, we will butt heads, we will push away toxic others. But not to worry. That’s a good thing. We are, after all, individuals. And, at the end of the day, I bet we can agree on one thing: No matter what, on this International Women’s Day, and every day, let’s stand together celebrating our capacities to tilt the world, even if in incremental degrees, to be a better place.