I’m a Stranger Here Myself

Years ago, I did a cabaret show that included the Kurt Weill song, “I’m a Stranger Here Myself.” If ever those words rang true, it is now.

I feel like an alien, a zombie (not that I know what a zombie actually does or does not feel).

If I hear “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” one more time in a shopping mall, I will go postal. Yes, I have done all my Christmas shopping and have wrapped most of the gifts. “Fake it till you make it,” as someone said.

The world feels like a dangerous place, a place that offers no security now that my security blanket is gone. Yes, Lorin was my only security blanket in an unpredictable and often cruel world.

I started a list of “Things I Miss About Lorin,” which includes:

(1) How he told me, “I love you,” several times a day and always insisted on a hug before he departed for work.

(2) How he would grab me and start dancing with me in the kitchen while I was cooking and not let me go.

(3) His telling me, “All I need is the love of the Sweetie.” One of his nicknames for me was “Sweetie.”

I’ve come to the realization that no one needs me anymore, except, perhaps, my mom. Lorin needed me. It was good to be needed. It was good to be co-dependent, if that’s what it was. I don’t care. It worked for us, and we were happy.

I haven’t been able to cook or bake since Lorin died. He was grateful for all the meals I prepared for him and even bragged to his co-workers about the lunches I prepared for him. I made extra Christmas cookies so he could have his own tin. He thanked me for every meal, every cookie, even a frozen dinner. I miss having him to cook for, and how grateful he was for every culinary offering.

I made a spontaneous decision to go to New York this weekend to visit my mom and Lorin’s grandmother on Long Island since I won’t be able to see them for Christmas. I need to connect with people who need me (Mom) and loved Lorin (his grandmother). It makes me feel closer to him. I also have a keen sense of my mortality right now. Why wait?

In the evening, I light candles in the living room and in our bedroom, hoping he’ll see them.

This afternoon, I talked to a couple of turtles at the marsh, and asked if they had seen Lorin. No reply.

I said, “Well, if you do, tell him to come and see me.”

Lorin loved animals, turtles included. He said he wanted to die in Savannah. I wish he had lived here too.

Ghost

casper_in_live-action

(google image)

I am your friendly neighborhood ghost,
like Casper.
You see me every day.
I do what you do,
even Christmas shopping.
I wear normal clothes,
don’t smear myself in feces
or wear a burlap sack.

I look normal,
but I’m not.
I’m lost
flying in and out
of reality
thinking thoughts
no person should
grieving,
raging,
wanting vengeance
for the loss of
the  one who will never return

Hating Jesus,
hating people who want me
to embrace him
as my Lord and personal savior
I don’t want a personal savior.
I want my husband back.

I am your friendly neighborhood ghost
don’t mind me
I’m not really here

The Week of Living Dangerously

img_1134

(Samson)

Highlights of my week:

(1) called the coroner’s office, cremation site and others to find out what happened to Lorin’s wedding ring, watch and other jewelry. Turns out after numerous calls, that his jewelry appears to have been cremated along with him. Who does that? I have had to let this go. Won’t bring him back.

(2) got into a fender bender in the Walmart parking lot (I backed up into a woman’s car). I didn’t realize I had even hit her car (kind of dazed and confused lately), but she chased me down the road, honking and taking a photo of my license plate. I pulled over and we entered a small park where she let me know what had transpired. I looked at her fender, and could barely see anything. Am I going blind too? She was going through a difficult time (health issue), and she said, “I know my husband would be mad at me if I didn’t call the police . . . “. So she called the police, and a really cool female police officer (originally from Montana) took a report and the lady and I exchanged information. I told the lady about my situation and we ended up hugging before we parted ways.

It still felt totally ridiculous to me–I had to fill out a report online with Geico over something so trivial.

I have been feeling lately like I wish someone would run me down with their vehicle to put an end to this pain.

(3) Yesterday I took a drive to Tybee Island (one of Lorin’s and my favorite places), and took a long walk on the beach and got a hot dog and iced tea. On the way home, I got pulled over by a Tybee Island police officer.

He said, “Ma’am, did you know your right brake light is out?”

“No, I didn’t,” I said.

I handed him my registration, insurance card and temporary Georgia license. He spent a long time in his car mulling over my paperwork. He gave me a “caution” and said to please get the light fixed promptly.

Lorin and I had the right brake light “fixed” over a dozen times, but it never took. I even asked my mother-in-law’s husband to check the light when I got home. He followed me in his car and said it worked fine at times, then got faint. He also checked the light bulb and said it was fine. It might be the connection, but at this point, I think it’s unfixable and don’t want to purchase a new car at the moment.

(3) Good Stuff: My contractor buddies helped me set up some furniture in the condo and came by today to put up the panel curtains I bought for the porch (sliding glass doors open onto screened-in porch.). They are such good guys and they have done beautiful work in my new home.

(4) Last night I watched “The Invisible Man” (1933) with Claude Rains on TCM. It’s much funnier than I ever thought–the lady who runs the boarding house is a riot.

(5) Samson is my constant companion. He gives me a rather indignant look whenever I leave the house. We are considering adopting a kitten (not till after the holidays, of course).

(6) Last night I also decided that widowhood can make you think in ways you never thought you would. I was fantasizing about scoring some heroin and finding someone to have random sex with. Why not?

(7) Today I tried to close down Lorin’s Facebook account, and while doing so, found numerous articles on google about the car accident. I read one of the articles and saw the shattered car window on the driver’s side, and once again, saw Lorin lying on the earth dead. Realizing he probably flew through that window. Why did I have to see that? I can’t undo having seen it.

Nothing, I mean, nothing, makes sense to me anymore.

Oh, that, and Trump is now our president.

Loss

I have not been on word press for the past several weeks due to an unforeseen tragedy.

My husband Lorin and I and our five cats were driving to Savannah, Georgia on September 28 with a loaded car, ready to start a new life, to escape the rat race of New York / New Jersey. The movers were at the house from 1 p.m. till around 7 p.m. We started the drive at around 7:20 p.m.

We drove through the night without sleep, enduring a torrential rain storm, unscathed. By seven a.m. Thursday, September 29, we were both bleary and falling asleep; Lorin at the wheel. I begged him to pull over, but he said we only had 70 miles left to go and we would be in Savannah in an hour.

At some point we both must have dozed off. I opened my eyes to see a silver oil tanker truck directly in front of us–seemed like inches away. I screamed for Lorin to veer off to the left side. He did so, and our car rolled and tumbled violently down a grassy hill. When the car came to a full stop, I pried open the passenger door and ran out. Lorin was lying in front of the car, his right leg bent slightly up, left cheek pressed to the earth, blood pouring from his ear and mouth. I screamed for help, crying hysterically.

A nurse who must have witnessed the accident came running out of her car to help. She checked his vitals and tried to revive him, but it was too late. Tears streamed down her face. She said, “I’m so sorry. He’s gone.”

I begged her to revive him, to help him. I begged Lorin not to leave me.

Our belongings were scattered on the grassy area and all over the road. It looked like a plane crash. Only two of our cats, Sylvester and Bernie, were in view. They were struggling to get up, but could not move. I didn’t see the others.

An EMT escorted me to an ambulance, saying I needed to go with him. He asked to take my blood pressure, but I refused. I asked him to please help my husband.

He asked if there was anyone I needed to call and asked where I kept my phone. It was not in my purse. I said it was in my purse. He gave me his phone so I could call family members, first Lorin’s mother who lives in Savannah. I was terrified she would be angry with me and wish I was dead instead of Lorin. I felt the same way when I called his grandmother on Long Island, but got her voicemail, asking her to call me back, but not conveying the news. I asked if someone could help my cats, and the EMT said animal control was on its way and he later gave me their card. Through the window of the ambulance, I saw someone placing a pale blue blanket over Lorin.

“Where are they taking him?” I said.

The EMT said he didn’t know.

I called my father and my best friend Nancy, asking her to please tell my other friends.

I was taken to a hospital in Colleton County, South Carolina and seen by a nurse, social worker and physician. I asked about my cats. The social worker told me that two had died at the scene, and three were taken to the vet. Quincy and Bernie died at the scene. Karl and Sylvester went to the vet; Sylvester was undergoing surgery. Both Karl and Sylvester died.

The nurse gave me two Ativan and the doctor gave me a 10 day prescription of the same.

The social worker returned to my bed saying that one of my cats survived unharmed–Samson. They brought him to me at the hospital.

I don’t remember anything after that. I don’t remember going to my mother-in-law’s home in Savannah or who drove us.

My stepmother came to Savannah two days later to provide support and assistance.

I am so torn up inside, trying to get through each hour and each day the best I can.

 

Poison Skittles

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(google image)

“Life is like a bag of Skittles . . .  you never know what you’re gonna get.”
I am semi-plagiarizing the character Forrest Gump’s famous line from the film Forrest Gump.

Donald Trump, Jr. likens Syrian refugees to “poison Skittles.” How fitting that a man of no taste refers to people he knows nothing about as a multi-colored confection.

His tweet:

“This image says it all.  Let’s end the politically correct agenda that doesn’t put America first.”

This is the caption below the gleaming white bowl of Skittles with the Trump/Pence logo: “If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem.”

Hmm. White bowl, colored Skittles. This could also be seen as racist, could it not? Like the white ruling class holding the non-white people in a bowl (earth?) and controlling them. Alas, I do digress.

The white color could symbolize purity and innocence and the candies inside, the unknown or the impure? Perhaps it is a cautionary tale for trick-or-treaters. After all, Halloween is fast upon us. Should we withhold  mini bags of Skittles gathered  by our jubilant children at All Hallows’ Eve, for fear they may be in possession of a tainted one? So many questions.

What are your thoughts on the poison Skittles predicament?

 

Locker Room Chronicles

customlogo

(google)

A couple weeks ago I lost my mother’s necklace. The week before, two pairs of earrings and a necklace of my own.  Back in June, I lost two pairs of pants while cleaning out the closet in preparation for our “house viewing” by prospective buyers.

Today I couldn’t open the gym locker after my workout, even though I always use the same combination. I had to get the Facilities guy to unlock it for me. Luckily, it is one of those “modern” locks and can be opened with a master key. So I sat in the locker room waiting, my office attire held hostage.

I didn’t feel like going back to my desk in brown yoga pants and a blue T-shirt, so I had time for contemplation.

Contemplating my manic state, and how I could get locked out of something as benign as a gym locker.

Contemplating the absurd, the trivial, and what got me to this place. Yes, to this locker room, separated from my work uniform, my daily armor.

Isn’t that what we do every day when we leave the sanctity and security of our homes? Suit up for battle? Hope for the best and anticipate the worst. Weather the elements and brave the municipal transportation system. And at the end of the day, hope to make it home in one piece.

My existential musings for the day.

 

 

 

I Keep Losing Things

road-sign-lost-600x450

(google)

I packed some jewelry–a necklace and two pairs of earrings–for a trip to Savannah in mid-August. Or at least I thought I did. I never wore them during the trip. I wore the same silver hoops and beaded bracelet for the duration of the trip. I never found the earrings and necklace when I got home and unpacked. Continuing searches in my bureau, suitcase and duffel bag have yielded no results.

When I visited my mom on her birthday (August 24), I noticed that her peridot-silver heart pendant and chain were lying on her night stand, and the chain was broken. I have replaced the silver chain at least three times–guess they aren’t made well. I stuffed the necklace and pendant in the front pocket of my purse and promised Mom I’d replace the chain. Both are missing. I’m not sure if they fell out of my purse, or if I took them out and put them somewhere else (don’t think so).

It’s only jewelry. Maybe it’s a sign that I am casting off the old and embracing the new? But why my mom’s necklace too?

My mind has been scattered what with the short sale of our house, our imminent move and family matters. It feels like things are running ahead of me and it’s hard to keep up.

As I said, it’s only jewelry. It could always be worse.

Send in the (Creepy) Clowns

it-sewer

(google, “It”)

Isn’t it weird?
how many are there
creepy clowns in South Carolina
causing a scare
(Don’t) send in the clowns . . .

Just when you thought the world couldn’t be more bizarre, what with  Donald Trump and his “Great Wall” of Mexico, and softening and hardening and softening (rinse and repeat) his stance on illegal immigration and his promise to deport “millions” of illegals within five minutes of being voted into office . . . here comes something new.

Creepy woodland clowns!

Yes, they appear to have taken up residence in Greenville County, South Carolina and are terrorizing children and adults.

This from The New York Times article “Creepy Clown Sightings in South Carolina Cause a Frenzy”:

A woman walking home late one night said she had seen a “large-figured” clown waving at her from under a streetlight, the police said. (She waved back.) And another woman said her son had heard clanging chains and a banging noise at his front door. In these cases, people who reported clown sightings refused to give their names to the police.

And I thought New York was weird!

Children have said that the clowns were offering them money to follow them into the woods; they apparently live in a house near a pond. The clowns seem to be targeting residents of a particular apartment complex. The police are receiving calls that the clowns have also been spotted at another apartment complex. What do they want?

People are armed and ready to defend themselves and their children against these ghoulish jesters.

As the Times article mentions, this may be a prank or publicity stunt of some kind, but that doesn’t seem to lessen the fears of the community.:

The pranksters, viral marketers and criminals may be taking advantage of a cultural fear of clowns, with examples including Mr. King’s “It,” and John Wayne Gacy, a serial killer who dressed as a clown. But Steven Schlozman, a child psychiatrist who teaches a course on the psychology of horror films at Harvard University, suggests that something more primal could be at work.

This brings to mind Ray Bradbury’s “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” which was also made into a Twilight Zone episode. In this story, strange things start happening in a sleepy suburban town in Main Street, USA. The appliances stop working, lights go out and people start to panic. A resident says it’s like a science fiction story he read where an alien space ship came to earth and created a disturbance. Ultimately, neighbors who were friends begin to distrust one another and wonder if Joe or Jill next door might actually be the “alien.” I won’t ruin the ending for you, but it’s well worth the read or view.

It’s the ultimate “fear of the other” story, like the fear of the evil woodland clown. Perhaps the clowns are malicious or harmful, or perhaps they are simply preying on our basest fears and sitting back to watch a once benevolent community self-destruct.

Bad Jesus

Paul false prophet

(google)

Bad Jesus
hang out in the parking lot
Bad Jesus
no scholar, but he is smart
Bad Jesus
tell you he loves you so
Bad Jesus
want money
and you’re his mark

Bad Jesus
make you feel
so special inside
Bad Jesus
mold your body, mangle your mind
Bad Jesus
take you away from your family
Bad Jesus
say only he can set you free

Bad Jesus
bring you enlightenment
Bad Jesus
say he’s a genius
Bad Jesus
smell you in the ocean
like a great white

Bad Jesus
If you see him,
run for your life

The Drunken Juggler

juggler

(google)

Late night bus rides are never dull. After 10:01 p.m., the buses arrive at different gates, in more distant, less-trafficked chambers of Port Authority Bus Terminal (“PABT”). More tourists, more drunk people, a generic strain of weirdos and lost souls (aren’t we all?).

I arrived at PABT at 10:40 p.m. last night after seeing an opera with my friend. The next bus was scheduled for 11:05 p.m. A jocular becspectacled woman with a thick mane of dirty blonde hair bounced toward the front of the gate. Some of us were leaning against the wall and a few others, lined up.

“Where do we line up?” she said, smiling widely. “Do we stand ‘in line’ or ‘on line’? Do we have any grammar Nazis here?”

I said, “I think it’s ‘on line.’ ”

“In school it was a really big deal. We stood on line, that’s what we did. Always a line.”

“Yes, we did,” I said.

She fished into her canvas tote bag, pulled out five soft black and white balls and started juggling.

A guy leaning against the wall next to me said, “Wow, I could never do that.”

The lady said, “Oh, we can teach you. Come to Bryant Park any Wednesday between 5 and 7. We’re always there. I find it makes people smile. It’s all about getting people to smile.”

If her smile was any wider, I thought it would tear the sides of her mouth until they bled.

She dropped a ball and returned all five balls to their tote bag.

“Oh, alcohol makes everything better!” she said.

The leaning guy and I smiled at her.

Definitely a New York moment.

It was one of those times where you enjoyed the moment, but felt a bit on edge, like you had to participate in this person’s exuberance no matter how tired you were. Not necessarily a bad thing, but there was a tinge of danger and volatility to her. I thought if we looked at her the wrong way or didn’t smile, she might fly off the handle.

We were a captive audience.

I was happy when the bus arrived and I could burrow into a seat towards the back of the bus and close my eyes. I had had enough excitement for one day.