People are mean…

So I was at a local gas station, snagging a quick bottle o’ caffeinated joy on the go.  There was a woman at the front of the line, counting out change, much to the obvious annoyance of the cashier and other folks in line.  I wasn’t sure what was going on exactly, I was too far back in line.

Once I got closer to the front, the cashier and others were still talking about it.  The woman was pre-paying for gas (most places now force you to pay your cash up front or swipe a card, pretty much the norm).  She bought 78 cents worth.  By the time I understood this, she was driving away… I would’ve filled her tank had I known what was going on.

What struck me most was how mean and nasty everyone in the store was being.  “She paid mostly in pennies, can you believe it?”  Ummm, last I heard, pennies were still legal tender in our country.  “Where does she think she’s going to go with 78 cents worth of gas?”  Home would be my guess, or off to work at some piss-poor paying job in our generous town.

This whole scenario bothered me so much that I jotted down what I saw of her car’s tag in hopes that maybe someday soon when I hit the lottery, I can find her and fill her tank with gas and her cabinets with food for a year, ease her burdens.  I’ve been there.  I’ve been the person who has paid for gas with a handful of change just to get to my crappy job waiting tables, so maybe on the way home from the crappy job I could go nuts and put a whopping $2 worth of gas in the car.

I have had no place to live at a point in my adult life.  I have slept on the floor of the place where I worked, leaving like everyone else at quitting time, only to sneak back a few hours later and sleep on the cold tile floor.  I have rationed out slices of bread until payday, and even let go of being a vegetarian at my poorest because bologna was almost always ‘buy one get one free’ at the local supermarket, and two packages of bologna would go a lot further than the broccoli I could buy for the same amount of money.  I remember when a dog bit through my hand, leaving a hole that required an emergency room visit, I had to negotiate and wheel and deal with the pharmacy to get them to let me split my prescription for antibiotics into small doses so I could pay for them every couple days.

It doesn’t matter why she could only pay for gas with the change clutched in her fist.  It doesn’t matter if she’s on drugs or her husband drank their paycheck or she’s lost her job or her child had a medical emergency and they spent all their money at the pharmacy.  What matters is that she’s another person, someone with a story, someone’s child, possibly even someone’s mother.  How dare another human being look at her and mock her for doing the very best she could at that moment in time. 

People disappoint me in their meanness, their callousness.  Maybe I’m too sensitive, I dunno, but the ugliness of the human heart frightens me.

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That absolutely made me think of being 15…

Reading through another blog here in the FreakinUniverse (check it out!), I was taken back to being 15…I had to be 15 because I didn’t have my driver’s license.

Sharon and I had met some guys at the movies.  James and Bruce.    James and Bruce were causing drama in the lobby of the movies with their yo-yos, doing silly tricks.  James was older than us, and if I remember right, Bruce was a few months younger than me.  MAN, was I into Bruce immediately.  It was a defining pheromone moment in my memory, just being near him made me crazy.  Sharon was digging James, and that was good, because I was oblivious to anything but Bruce and his…yoyo.

So somehow a week later, we all ended up in James’ car going to someone’s birthday party.  There was going to be a band, I’m sure there was going to be booze in the punch.  I was in the backseat with Bruce and T.S.O.L. was blaring out of the tape player (no CD players in cars just yet) and I remember wearing black, all black, and Bruce and I had on the same black Chucks.  There was a whole lotta kissin’ going on in the backseat, innocent, no wild raunchy behavior, just that I’m so into you feeling that washes over your brain and makes you feel drugged.  Sharon and James, I think, were annoyed by our happiness.

At the party, I never saw the band.  Bruce and I ran away, hid in a storage building and talked and kissed and made goofy plans.  Sharon was furious, because she’d found out James had a girlfriend and she’d apparently been looking for me for hours.  Ooops.

I don’t think I ever saw Bruce again.  Neither one of us could drive, and with the whole James/Sharon thing not panning out, we had no way to hang out.  But every time I hear T.S.O.L. or “Pat Brown” by the Vandals, I think of Bruce for just a second.  And yoyo-ing at Beaucatcher Cinemas.

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In Praise of the Wingman

Chiquita, as many of you know, has been my wingman for more than a decade now.   Traditionally, the wingman flies the support plane when you’re in dangerous territory.  There is also your dating wingman who helps you in the search and destroy scene that is modern romance; your dating wingman will talk you up, make you the center of attention.  Last but not least, your social wingman is there to support your wildest schemes, keep the mingling going at your parties and, to blatantly steal a line, help you be all that you can be.  Chiquita and I have never flown in a war zone, but she has certainly been my wingman in every other situation you can think of over the years, and a darn fine one at that.

 At my social functions, Chiquita runs an awesome backup to my somewhat rude social graces.  She’ll keep an eye on the music, keep a lookout on the food and keep the conversation going, having memorized a tidbit or two about all my guests.  At a bar, if I’ve thrown myself into some dancing, flailing frenzy, Chiquita is at the ready with water so I don’t dehydrate and die.  In day to day life, she nudges and nags so that I’m not letting opportunities pass me by.  She is the Gayle to my Oprah, the Cal Naughton to my Ricky Bobby.

Right now, there’s something on my mind that I need to do.  Chiquita is aware of the situation and has called and emailed me a variety of options to help me with the outcome.  Hell, if I’d let her, she’d do this one thing for me just to get it over with so we could move on to actually coordinating the end result.  In the meantime, Chiquita’s got my back.  She’s talking me up.  She has me convinced I can conquer the world, and with a good wingman, I believe I can.

 So raise a glass, friends…I shall raise my iced green tea with honey and a dash o’ mint…and we will toast our wingmen.  Cheers!

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I hate waiting for other people

You ever feel like you’re in a huge holding pattern, just waiting for someone to do something, say something, so you can move on to the next thing?  You’re waiting for that affirmative or that negative response, one way or the other, so you can move forward.

And sometimes, it seems like you’re waiting, waiting forever, so you nudge the other person a little, “hey, uhhh, whatcha think?” and usually they’re all annoyed that you’re rushing them…

 Egads, when I rule the world, people will just blurt things out, wild with enthusiasm so there’s no waiting, waiting, waiting…

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Kat, On the Road

Chiquita, MiniMe and I returned from our beach weekend this afternoon, happy, well-rested.

I like to travel.  I like to go anywhere.  It doesn’t matter if I can get there by plane or if I can just get in my car, I like to see new places, do things out of the routine.

Chiquita and I entertained ourselves by singing in the car.  I think my version of Emotional Rescue was beautiful!

We also found entertainment in the various sights out the car window along the way: trucks, restaurants, the adult entertainment shop with ‘private modeling’ advertised on the side.  Some lucky soul will actually be getting my random road trip notes in the mail, I do believe, because it’s fun to share them, like I’m channeling some chapter of Kerouac’s On the Road.

But, friends, no matter where you travel, there you are.  You and all your mess travels along with you.  If your head is full of stress, you might stow it in the trunk for a little while, but it creeps back in.  That little something on your mind, nagging at the back of the brain, went dormant only long enough for you to unpack your bag.  At least you get to think about it in a new place, a new space.

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Best song lyric ever (at least today)

I love love love to dissect songs, searching for meanings that apply to me or words that paint pictures that resonate with me.

Today, while driving waaaaaaay too fast yet again between Asheville and Hendersonville, I was singing in my car as always (is that why no one wants to ride shotgun?) and a lyric seized my attention, yes, it seized me though I’d heard it before…”If you think holding hands is all in the fingers, grab hold of the soul where the memory lingers.”  Dig that!  Sing-songy, wordy, but dead on!  White Stripes, bravo, bravo.

Over the years, I’ve also doodled countless lyrics in the edges of notebooks, doodled in meetings when I was supposed to be paying attention.   “Memories fade but the scars still linger”–hey another lyric with the word “linger” in it! That was Tears for Fears.  Oooo “Throw me to the wolves because there’s order in the pack, throw me to the sky because I know I’m coming back,” Red Hot Chili Peppers.  “And watching lovers part, I feel you smiling–what glass splinters lie so deep in your mind?” Duran Duran, of course.  “You know what, Stuart? I like you.  You’re not like the other people here in the trailer park, ” Dead Milkmen.

Oh yes, I could go on for days.  But for today, we’re focusing on “if you think holding hands is all in the fingers…”   Meditate on that, and get back to me.

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Betrayed…

I have to say of all the things a friend can do to lose me forever and ever, telling me a lie, a big huge one, is the one thing you can do that will cause me to disappear.  Done.  Over.  We’re not talking about a little white lie, like telling me my ass looks good in those capri pants when it looks like a Frigidaire; we’re talking the big, life changing, job on the line, marriage on the line kind of stuff.

I had a friend tell me a lie, a lie that actually put my own integrity on the line as I had vouched for her honor numerous times.  An equal number of times, I had asked her outright about the situation…and every time, she looked right at me and lied.

So I’m done with her… and I hear from sources that she’s blabbering on about how she knows now who her “true friends” are.  Yadda yadda yadda.  Girl, if you can’t be straight with your friends, who can you be straight to?  I’m not your mom or your dad or your boss or your pastor; I wouldn’t have been so harsh if you’d come right out the first time I asked.  Or the second time.  Or the third.

But now I know I’ve been led down the primrose path, and I’m done.  You screwed up another friendship of mine in the process while I was defending your honor, only to find out you really had none at all to defend.  You put my reputation on the line, too.  So prattle on, dearie, about who is true and who is not…just don’t look in the mirror in the process.

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Very possibly the best problem I’ve ever had

I don’t want to alarm anyone, don’t want to freak anyone out here.  Don’t panic, but…

I have too much cake!

I have this really tall chocolate layer cake that falls over like a giant sequoia when I cut into it.  Oooo and this decadent triple chocolate bundt cake.  And these homemade chocolate cupcakes that smell like the gateway to heaven.  Oh, and I have chocolate cupcakes with little chocolate flowers on them.

 This is the best problem ever.  Too much cake.  I’m giddy.  I’m thrilled.  I’m a little shaky from eating cake for breakfast.  And lunch.  But I’m elated!

What will I do when the cake is all gone?  That, friends, is a problem I’m not ready to face yet.  The next problem I shall tackle is how to get the frosting out of my keyboard… (I wonder if I will get shocked if I lick it?)

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i’ve got to share, but i can’t be specific…

Sometimes, when you least expect it, life sneaks up behind you and rattles your cage a little bit.  There I was all mellow, just doing the things I do, asking the questions that I ask.  If you and I are going to be friends, I’m going to ask you hard questions so that not only do I know you, YOU know you.  Do you know who you are?

I was asking questions and I was getting answers and all was right in the world.  And quite abruptly, there was a shift, a brand new awareness of possibilities I had never considered…I can’t pinpoint the exact moment, the exact instant, but there was a depth and breadth I’d not seen before; suddenly there was a possibility, a choice, a maybe. 

You’ve had the feeling of hey this is pretty good, but is there more? Or is this really, truly all there is and I’m searching for things that just don’t exist?  Do I find a new religion, do I listen to a new song, do I read ancient tomes, do I move to a new town in hopes of finding ‘it,’ whatever ‘it’ is?

And then, SMACK!  There it is.  Right there in front of me when I absolutely wasn’t looking for it, wasn’t looking for anything, was just being myself, just being.  Good thing I was paying attention.

Now what?  That part I don’t know yet but I’m in no hurry.

All I can say to one and all is that if you feel in your gut, in your soul, that there’s got to be something more to life, love, work, whatever, there probably is.  Just be, and pay attention; it will come.  You can sort out all the details later…

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