Tag Archives: Life

Please STEP ASIDE (It Could LITERALLY Save Your Life)

Please STEP ASIDE (It Could LITERALLY Save Your Life)

airplane-the-movie-that-launched-1000-spoofs-is-35-years-old-take-a-look-back-at-just-h-486780One result of the many changes in my life this past year is that I now commute between states on a fairly regular basis (every 2 weeks or so) and have to fly to do it. I know you’d think someone of my stature and fame would be doing that via private jet, but it appears that Alaska Airlines did not message that out to the numerous degenerates who muck up my airplane and hijack the valuable time of my pilot and staff with their ridiculous demands.

I think we can all agree that flying, especially when forced to mix with the likes inhabiting steerage, is not the most pleasant experience one could come up with. Surveys show it is often a close second behind prison rape. I imagine that is probably a little less pleasant.

Now that I am living this peripatetic lifestyle (and yes, I Googled the shit out of that word) I have been witness to every flavor of traveler that exists.

As such, in order to keep myself out of jail for any number of assault charges, I always have a little one-on-one with myself before starting this process by deciding I will simply have a smile on my face throughout the travel day, no matter what. The result is that I look slightly dazed and more-than-slightly unhinged (both of which are actually true under any circumstance). But, the response is usually either one of a returned smile and pleasantry or fear and avoidance, either of which I gladly take on a travel day.

After all, my mom used to always say that you catch more flies with honey.

As an aside, I’ve always thought that was a disturbing saying. Flies are filthy insects who gather on piles of fecal matter because that is like their version of an all-you-can-eat buffet. Then after they’ve had their disgusting bacchanalia, having covered themselves in all matter of disease, decide it would be a riot to buzz around your head before landing squarely on your food to wipe off their gunked up feet. So, really, if we are to be accurate, you can actually catch more flies with shit than honey.

This is a statistical fact

You can keep your god-damned flies!

At any rate, one of the occasional bright spots in all of this is when I do my online check-in and that beautiful, blue and green harbinger of hope shines brightly in the top left corner of my boarding pass:

This seemingly small but life-changing symbol is literally my favorite thing on earth – sorry kids, but Mommy needs this!

I know, I know. If I just took a month off to navigate the catacombs of the Homeland Security process to get this done permanently, life could always be sunny. Have you not been listening? I’M A VERY BUSY PERSON!! “Making a Murderer” isn’t going to binge watch itself, people!

The biggest reason pre-check means the world to me is not because I don’t like taking my shoes off in public or shoving my endless liquid beauty products into Lilliputian sized containers. It’s because the level of idiocy that presents itself around that security conveyor belt turns me into a raving lunatic.

So I ask you all this.

Nay, I beg of you!

Can we, as a people, as a civilized race, PLEASE agree to move aside from the conveyor belt to re-dress and put our shit away?

Just gather up all your stuff and STEP ASIDE. They even provide perfectly nice benches and tables, sometimes only 10 feet away, for you to manage your shoes, belts, liquids and computers, out of harms way. Because, you are clearly unaware that I am looming right behind you, ready to stab you in the back of the knee, if you do not STEP THE FUCK ASIDE.

Listen, I’m already letting you on my private jet and allowing my staff to be at your disposal. The very least you all can do is STEP ASIDE.

Seriously.

STEP. THE. FUCK. ASIDE.

Thank you for your attention and enjoy your flight.

My Mutant Deer

My Mutant Deer

Deerinheadlights1

Holy shit you guys! Seriously! Was that a motherfucker of a YEAR or what??

So, how are you? I’ve really missed you! You look fantastic. Is that a new haircut? Did you lose weight? Those jeans make your ass look FIERCE! Seriously!

Me? Well, that’s a story best told over a bottle of bourbon. Suffice it to say though, that despite what you may have read in the headlines, I am somewhat alive and did not die in a fiery crash whilst dodging pesky paparazzi. So, rest easy, dear reader, when I last held a mirror under my nose it fogged up.

Figured it was high time I started this party back up after over a year of extreme life changes. Not Caitlyn Jenner kind of change (now SHE had a year!) but probably just as hormonal.

One of the many annoyances of being a writer (and the list is fucking extensive, by the way) is that we often want to write about what we are actually experiencing and living and seeing and thinking. When those experiences are exceptional in nature – they are too personal or painful – we can become a deer frozen in the glare of headlights, afraid to type a word that would be the wrong one and further hurt yourself or others.

As an aside, I am the deer in this scenario, if said deer were, let’s say part of a horrible Dr. Moreau sort of mutation experiment who now had fingers and thumbs and the ability to type.

And think.

And speak passable English.

Actually, all that would be super cool. I’d totally want that deer as a pet, right?

Anyway, I am sort of doing the mutant deer thing right now.

Most of what has been on my mind of late has to do with the idea of starting over. In particular starting over at a bit of an “advanced” age. I think making sweeping life changes have different challenges based on your stage in life but I also think a vast majority of the experience is pretty universal regardless of age.

It’s exhilarating and it’s debilitating.

It’s uncomfortable and it’s authentic.

It’s confusing and it’s all crystal clear.

It’s the best of times and it’s the worst of times.

I think you get the idea….I ain’t no Dickens, people!

But, sometimes you get to the point where the unknown is better than the known and you have to just go with it.

The easiest logistical path can be the hardest emotional one.

So, there it is. My vague and mysterious explanation for my absence. I will try hard to get some more stuff up here and make it at least mildly entertaining and worth your time. At the very least it will be something to do while you are sitting on the crapper.

And I will befriend my mutant deer. And maybe even knit the poor animal a sweater and take it out for a walk now and then in the light of day.

Rock on, 2016!

Sparklers

Sparklers

sparkler
He taught me how to read people’s eyes.

My Dad always told me to know your audience, read their eyes, before you say anything. That way, you can make those small adjustments and hit a home run with your words.

It’s a skill I have now, but one that I was sorely lacking when I first met her.

We were running around the yard, sparklers in hand, I was trying to hide the sheer joy of the sputtering lights behind the mask of male pubescent cool.

I was all skinny legs and knobby knees, hiding my singular eyebrow behind a curtain of dark bangs. Slouched shoulders and awkward gait.

She was all bright eyes, shining cheeks and blinding braces.

She was my Mom’s friend’s daughter and we met while on one of those forced multi-family events that I found excruciating. The assumption that because the parents connected, so should their children, was nothing short of insulting. Plus, the parents usually connected over alcohol and a shared desire to ignore their kids, if only for a couple of hours.

But this time, there was Kari.

I stood in agony as I tried to come up with something to say. A quip. A joke. Anything that might get her to take notice of me. To recognize that her soul mate was standing right in front of her.

But my thoughts keep turning in on themselves like one of those weird Escher paintings we learned about in art class.

So, I study from behind my safe mantle of hair. I watch. I take note of her every move, the sound of her voice, her laugh as if I am a scientist observing a new species of exotic bird.

I could win her over with comedy. I was fairly funny. Or, that’s what all my idiot friends always told me. I ponder this for a moment. The only jokes I know are riddled with body functions and genitalia references. I deduce that this would not be the right approach and quickly move to another angle.

I could go the observational route. I turn over some options. The weather? It was unusually humid out.

Who am I? My Grandfather? Am I going to talk about my arthritis next?

There was always the complimentary approach. I did like the pants she was wearing. And she had a nice clip in her hair.

Potentially creepy.

I finally decide to go with the classics – ask her about herself. Keep it simple.

I take several very deep breaths to try to quiet the nest of butterflies in my stomach.

I pat my bangs down a bit more to ensure my safety net is there in case this does not go down well. In my mind, I can become invisible behind them upon command.

I take one hesitant step forward….

…as she comes running up to me, a little winded, eyes bright and face flushed.

“So, what school do you go to?”

I brush my bangs out of my eyes as my heart bursts into a million points of light, just like the sparkler she is holding.

__________________________________________

This is my response to this week’s speakeasy,
over at yeah write, where we had to make some
reference to M. C. Escher’s lithograph, Waterfall,
and use the sentence “He taught me how to read
people’s eyes
.” as the first line in our piece.

Click the badge to read the other submissions or to learn more about
the speakeasy creative writing challenge.

Fear And Loathing In Fatherhood

Fear And Loathing In Fatherhood

Fatherhood.

I know less about fatherhood than I know about….well….motherhood. And I know next to nothing about motherhood.

Don’t tell my kids.

But, it’s Father’s Day so it seems that something needs to be said about those stalwart men out there.  These co-creators of our offspring who, despite conflicting DNA urges to run screaming from the village encampment, are now expected to bond, relate, nurture and practically breast feed the little darlings.

So here’s to the dudes out there who are trying really hard to pony up in this brave new world of fatherhood.

I’ve actually pondered (because that’s what I do…ponder) how much the role of father has changed and how quickly.

Now, I’m no spring chicken (and I’ve never understood what that meant anyway) but it seems to me there has been a pretty drastic change in the expectations put on dads since I was, well, a spring chicken.

Why, back in my day, fathers were rarely seen and often heard. And if you heard one, you ran away and hid because you were in a world of trouble.

Dads were put on earth to teach you things.

See, son, this is the peritoneum….

See, son, this is the peritoneum….

Important things, like:

  • The difference between a flat-head and Phillips screw driver
  • How to tie a solid knot
  • The correct way to gut a fish
  • The exceptionally high cost of water because Jesus Christ how long can it take to wash your privates and get the hell out???
  • If you’re a boy, having the MOST UNCOMFORTABLE AND POTENTIALLY LIFE-ALTERING discussion about sex in the history of discussions about sex or anything else for that matter
  • If you’re a girl, absolutely no discussion about anything. Ever. EVER. ASK YOUR MOTHER
  • The exceptionally high cost of electricity because what the hell are you doing that requires so much God damned light? Reading? Light a candle!
  • The fact that the odometer in a car does not change if the wheels don’t turn. A rather painful lesson when you’ve gone on a joy ride when your folks were in Florida on vacation and you did NOT know they wrote down the mileage and you said you just started it so it wouldn’t get too cold and you thought that was good for cars and no I didn’t actually drive away in it and, wait, what was the question?
  • How to eat a meal without letting your teeth hit the fork because that drives them insane….as a people
  • How to bait a hook without puking

And, they gave these straight-forward life lessons as impatiently and with a level of irritation normally reserved for much more heinous violations. Like terrorist attacks.

The biggest gift here though is bestowing upon us the opportunity to recount these lessons while impersonating them at every Christmas gathering for the rest of our lives.

Modern fathers still need to do all of the above. After all, I still know how to gut a fish, even if I don’t do it all that often.

(Though I have been sorely tempted on more than one occasion to reenact the fish gutting scene from Office Space. If I ever do, I will have my father to thank for the precise way in which I gut aforementioned fish.)

He’s actually not doing it right….

He’s actually not doing it right….

But, in addition to these lessons, they are now expected to look their kids in the eye in order to give them their full attention. They are expected to listen to their weird little stories that really don’t end up with a point. They have to at least pretend to laugh at their jokes that make absolutely no sense, have no comedic timing and an utter lack of irony.

So, hat’s off to you, modern day Dads.

Champions of childhood.

Protector of our prodigy.

Subjugator of our spawn.

We lift our collective glasses of chilled Chardonnay to you. Please keep teaching them weird stuff that would never even occur to a Mom (myself included).

And continue to bestow upon many generations the gift of mocking you at family functions. That gift alone is priceless.

Letter To My Pre-kid Self

Letter To My Pre-kid Self

Dear Pre-kid Irene,

Hello sweetie! How are you doing? Right about now you’ve just gotten back from a month travelling around Thailand. And it was an awesome trip, right? But, for some reason, with all the travel you’ve gotten to do, this time you came home feeling a little less fulfilled than you usually do.

Now, I’m not going to tell you exactly what happens next because that would just be shitty. It would be like telling you the end of a movie, reading the last page of a book or letting you know that, as awesome as it looks in the trailer, the 2014 version of Godzilla is actually a little disappointing.

What I will tell you, is that you will be a mother one day. And, believe me on this, you are not in the least bit prepared. But, have faith, because no one is so at least you are not in the remedial class alone.

So, my independent girl who is swathed in a light of freedom that you are not taking nearly enough advantage of, let me tell you just a couple of things.

  1. Being pregnant is the scariest thing on the planet. It’s also pretty cool. But mostly it’s just scary because the bigger you get the more impossible it seems to get that thing out of you without dying.
  2. Don’t listen to your husband when he tells you shit about delivery he has absolutely no clue about. “Oh, the human body shuts all other functions down when it gives birth.” Really Mr. Science? Needless to say that is utter crap and you need to know that terrible stuff will happen in front of complete strangers. You do not have to apologize as much as you do when that time comes
  3. When you do have to get the giant bulge out, you do not actually die. There are moments when you wish you could, but you don’t.
  4. You will hallucinate due to lack of sleep. Just enjoy the ride and pretend you just took mushrooms like that time when you were camping and you saw Nixon’s face in that leaf. Don’t question, just go with it.
  5. Parenting is like getting a bikini wax. It’s excruciating when it happens, sending you into a sweaty fight or flight reaction that can, in some instances, result in the punching of a Russian esthetician (sorry Svetlana). But, after it’s over and all the irritation subsides, it’s pretty awesome.
  6. You will feel like a giant fish-out-of-water when you are around other parents and be under the mistaken impression that everyone has this parenting thing down except for you. Listen to this absolute truth: 99% of the other mothers are either on Prozac, drunk, or looking to get their hands on any mood-altering substance to survive this. The 1% who make the rest of us feel like shit are all assholes and you don’t want to party with them. You will be buying drugs from their kids one day.
  7. Speaking of partying….all that blow you did in the 80’s will actually serve you well once they hit puberty. I suspect our sense of smell is not as keen as it was before those years in San Francisco and that will literally save your life as it should dull the assault on that sense.
  8. Everything will go excruciatingly slow and way too fast at the same time. It must be some weird parental worm hole or a tear in the space/time continuum because it makes no sense, I know. But you’ll feel like you are swimming in Jello during the tougher times and then the nuggets of amazing times will fly by in a blur. I have no idea how to fix this. Just thought I’d let you know.
  9. Believe it or not, you actually end up not sucking as a mom. And, not sucking is pretty high praise when dealing with such an impossible task so take the not sucking and wear it like a badge of honor.
  10. Don’t let your responsibilities define you. You are more than your kids. You are more than your aging parents. You are more than your financial limitations. Do not lose yourself in the often overwhelming weight of what you are on the hook for. If you ignore all of the above, please remember this.

And with that, I send you on your merry, innocent way.

Oh, one last thing. A little later in the year, on September 11th, some terrible things are going to happen. The world survives and so do you.

Much love,

Irene the Elder

Don’t Overthink, Just Say It – #7 In The Achieving Emotional Grace Series

Don’t Overthink, Just Say It – #7 In The Achieving Emotional Grace Series

 

“Too often, the opportunity knocks, but by the time you push back the chain,
push back the bolt, unhook the two locks and shut off the burglar alarm, it’s too late.”

~Rita Coolidge

 

 

Today I’m going to tell a story to illustrate a concept that is very simple but remarkably difficult for many of us to act on. It’s not a particularly funny story, I will warn you. But, it’s a story that I think of so often that it is clearly one I should share.

The first house my husband and I bought was in West Seattle. The house itself was a 1920’s Tudor with a cracked foundation and smelly basement that would have been perfect as a serial killer’s lair. We both worked at home as consultants at the time and the floors sloped so much that if I pushed away from my desk I’d roll to the other side of the room.

But, we loved that house. And, we loved the neighborhood even more. We could walk to dinner or the funky old theater for a movie. We could hear the fog horns of the ferry boats at night. We had a spectacular view of the Olympics if we got on our roof. But, the very best part was our neighbors.

On one side of us lived an older gentleman who lived alone. He had a pool in his backyard (a rarity in the rainy NW) that was never used and fairly green. On the rare occasion that we saw him, he seemed gruff and annoyed. But, we decided to have him over for dinner one night to be neighborly and found that he was a nice, quirky gentleman who simply had lost his wife several years earlier and didn’t quite know what to do with himself. He was sort of our little version of Boo Radley.

Then, behind us, sharing an alley, was Ginny and George, the sweetest elderly couple you could ever meet. Ginny sported the tightest perm I think allowable by OSHA standards and would call me several mornings a week to arrange an “alley date”.

“Irene, honey,” she would whisper, “Meet me by the trash bins in the alley in 5 minutes.”

“OK, got it….who is this?”

“Oh, Irene. You are a hoot!” She would cackle.

When we finally met up at the agreed upon drop point, she’d regale me with gossip of the other neighbors, update me on her grandkids and alert me to the fact that her husband, George, would be getting his prostate exam later that day.

Our neighbors on the other side of us was a lovely young family – Patrick, Catherine, Declan, Meagan and a cat named Finnbar who terrorized our dog.

Catherine, the mother to Declan and Meagan, was a very sweet, smart and beautiful woman who had been battling colon cancer for quite some time. When we first moved into our house and got to know them, Catherine was in remission and was very healthy. We had numerous BBQs, put up a new fence together and lent each other tools and flour. All that neighborly stuff.

A year or so after we moved in, we seemed to see less and less of Catherine. We didn’t seem to see her husband Patrick as much either and the sound of kids playing in the back yard had diminished as well.

Patrick came to our door one afternoon to let us know that Catherine’s cancer had returned and, this time, it was not a good prognosis. They had tried another round of chemo that had been brutal and had decided enough was enough.

I started to see Catherine sitting on their front stoop in the sun, looking weak and thin but smiling and very happy. I would sit with her sometimes and visit. We both loved reading and I would bring her whatever book I had finished and liked.

We never really talked about her illness. We didn’t avoid it, it just never came up. Only every day topics. Nice and normal.

Soon Catherine no longer showed up on her front stoop. I went over to see her a couple of times, bringing the latest book, but she was bed ridden and in a sharp decline so I would leave it with her mother, who had come to help out.

Then one day Catherine showed up again on the stoop. This time she was in a wheelchair. She was extremely thin and pale, but she was still smiling. She waved me over and I sat with her for a moment.

“Thank you for the books. I wish you had come up to talk with me.”

“You weren’t feeling well and your Mother said it was best to let you sleep.”

She laughed. “Jesus, the last thing I want to do right now is sleep!”

“Well, next time I will force my way in then!”

“Please do!!!”

About then Patrick and the kids came home so I went on my way and let them have their time.

A couple of days later Patrick came to our door to let us know that Catherine had passed away. She was only 35 years old and left a husband, two small children, a cat named Finnbar and a neighbor who would never forget how lovely and kind she was.

I was so concerned about saying the wrong thing or insinuating myself into a terrible time for that family, that I never told her how much I liked her and how sad I was that we would not be able to become closer friends. Because I knew, if circumstances were different, we would have become very good friends.

But, we forget that we don’t have all the time in the world. And sometimes, those opportunities are gone before you even realize they are there.

I wanted her to know that, even though I only knew her for a short time, she made a very big impact on me. And, in the end, isn’t that what we all want? To have made a difference to someone.

Catherine did leave me something: the regret I’ve always felt at holding back what I should have said has ensured I never made that mistake again.

And that has been a tremendous gift.

“One doesn’t recognize the really important moments
in one’s life until it’s too late.”

~Agatha Christie

7 Things I Love About You: A Letter To My Beloved Coffice

7 Things I Love About You: A Letter To My Beloved Coffice

My Dearest Coffice,

With the end of the year nigh upon us, I wanted to take a moment to let you know, beloved coffice (Scenes From A Coffice), how much you have given me this year. You have been my rock and I want to take a moment to let you know of my deep feelings for you.

  1. You were there for me with open arms as I narrowly escaped the life of an unwashed shut-in and an awkward family intervention. You’ve provided me a safe haven in which to mix with other nutjobs with similar afflictions. You have been my savior.
  2. Living in a place as lovely as Santa Barbara, you have been an island of rough edges in an otherwise shiny, tanned and well-pressed city.
  3. You know what I totally love about you? I love the fact that I hesitate before sitting on any of your numerous well-worn couches and chairs for fear of contracting a new strain of antibiotic-immune super virus. Just like home.
  4. Your staff provides the perfect balance of irritation and cool. And, thank you, dreadlock girl, for not laughing at me when I asked if you had hemp milk. I could see that was a real effort and it did not go unnoticed.
  5. Your WiFi has been as steadfast and consistent as my love for you.
  6. You play the coolest music. This of course contributes to my wasting hours of time hitting Shazam over and over again instead of writing. But, I now have the freakin’ most awesome playlist on the planet. It’s like my mixed tape of love for you.
    (Yes, there was that one day when someone decided cross-over country music was the right choice.  I am not unreasonable though and have chalked that up to a lapse in judgment only. No relationship is perfect.)
  7. I hope I’m not overstepping any sense of propriety by saying that your tomato/avocado/lemon pepper toast is nothing short of sublime.

So, in closing, I thank you for always being there for me with a tepid smile, wobbly tables and your abundance of outlets. I am hopelessly devoted to you and I will thank you when I receive my Oscar for Best Screenplay, assuming I ever finish it because OMG I LOVE THIS SONG!!!

Forever yours,

Irene

Say What You Mean And Then Shut Up – #6 In The Achieving Emotional Grace Series

Say What You Mean And Then Shut Up – #6 In The Achieving Emotional Grace Series

 

“The last thing I want to be remembered as is an annoying blabbermouth… You know, nothing grinds my gears worse than some chowderhead that doesn’t know when to keep his big trap shut… If you catch me running off with my mouth, just give me a poke on the chubbs…”

~ John Candy, PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES

 

 

I understand fully that I may be the last person to even attempt to address this issue. I can definitely go on and on and on and on and on. Boy, I can really blather. I can often be redundant by saying something numerous times by using different combinations of words.

See what I did there? I used a lot of words to illustrate a point that could have been illustrated with many less words.

I’m still doing it.

It’s an affliction I think many of us struggle with. It’s the verbal equivalent of the movie Speed. As if a busload of innocent commuters will die if you stop talking. Rest assured, my verbose friends, absolutely no one will die if you shut the hell up for a minute.

You don’t understand, if I do not continue to chatter in this monotone voice, we are all doomed to a fiery death. So, anyway, I ordered the salmon but with the sauce on the side because really, who needs all the cream, and she was all….

You don’t understand, if I do not continue to chatter in this monotone voice, we are all doomed to a fiery death. So, anyway, I ordered the salmon but with the sauce on the side because really, who needs all the cream, and she was all….

It’s infuriating not to be heard. I completely get that. I am a woman living with three males, two of which are probably legally deaf due to the lethal levels of pre-pubescent hormones packed into their eardrums. Unless I up the volume to an ear-splitting 11, no one hears me.

The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and...

The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and…

But, in normal polite society, a little dead air never killed anyone.

Conversation is a two-way street, not a monologue. That’s why they don’t call monologues conversations. Hope that clarifies things for you.

You are welcome.

The people I love to interact with are the ones who seem to get this. They are succinct, thoughtful and purposeful in what they say. Then, and here is the real kicker, they stop talking and listen.

Because they understand that what they intended to say doesn’t actually matter. The only thing that really matters is how it is received.  And, you cannot know how you are being received if you don’t stop to listen.

Otherwise, we’d all just walk around talking to ourselves. Which I know we all actually do. A lot.

In fact, isn’t that really what I’m doing right now?

Without being understood and truly heard, what’s the point of communicating? It lies squarely on your shoulders to make your message clear.

OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SHUT UP AND END THIS POST ALREADY!!!

OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SHUT UP AND END THIS POST ALREADY!!!

So, as the screaming baby has requested, I’ll sum up with this.

In order to be heard, you must listen.

 

“Let me close this conversation by saying that you are one unique individual.”
“Unique… what’s that, Latin for “asshole”?”

~ Steve Martin, John Candy – PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES 

Original artwork entitled “Small Man Big Mouth” by Sean.

The Corner Of State And Main

The Corner Of State And Main

I am a woman of habit. I find a lot of comfort in knowing what is coming next and have always had a strong aversion to surprise.

For instance, I drive the exact same route to and from work every day. I drive this route at the exact same time each day. I know which song will be on the radio at the exact time I pass a certain shop or hit a specific intersection.

Other than the possible deviation in the timing of the traffic lights, it is the same thing day in and day out. And I like it that way.

On one particular day, however, an additional deviation was introduced to my tidy and controlled commute.

It was an unusually gloomy day. Swollen, dark clouds hung low in the sky, making you instinctively duck like you were passing through a smaller than usual doorway. The Thanksgiving holiday and time with family loomed as ominously as those rain clouds.

I was stopped at the traffic light at the corner of State and Main. As I often did, I was thinking to myself that every town in the nation must have an intersection of State and Main. And, as always, I thought this while humming along to an old Beach Boys song because it was 7:47AM and that’s what was always played at 7:47AM.

Glancing to the left, I saw Mandarin Palace, the best Chinese restaurant in town. Mu Shu pork, six pancakes and extra hoisin sauce every Friday night.

But today there was a girl, no more than 16 years old, standing outside the ornate red and gold doors to the restaurant. She wore ill-fitting jeans, a couple of sweaters topped with a jean jacket and a knit cap. She looked unwashed and exhausted, like so many others I had seen on these streets.

But rather than smoking a cigarette and looking angry, like so many She was playing a well-worn violin.

I turned off the radio and rolled down my window. I strained to hear over the hustle and bustle of street noise as a mournful and beautiful melody wafted into the car. It may well have been the most moving sound I had ever heard.

I closed my eyes and let the ethereal music wash over me.

I was unpleasantly startled out of my reverie by an annoyed car horn and I saw the light had turned green. I quickly rolled up my window and continued my drive.

The following day, at the corner of State and Main, I once again saw the girl and listened to her beautiful playing until the light changed and I was forced back into my routine commute.

She was there each day for the next two weeks, always playing the violin but never playing the same song. Each piece more beautiful and perfect than the last. I never knew what I would hear each morning and I liked it that way.

Until the random Wednesday when I pulled up to the intersection of State and Main, rolled down my window and heard nothing but street noise. I looked up to see only the gold and red doors of the Mandarin Palace, but no violin player.

She never appeared again and I returned to my predictable mornings thinking of who she was and where her music had come from. After a while, I began to wonder if I was the only one who had heard it.

But, my tidy and controlled commute never held the same appeal to me again and from that day forward, every time I drove past that street corner, I thought of her.

 

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Dipping my toe, once more, into a little bit of fiction through the Yeah Write Weekly Writing Challenge.

This is my response to the Speakeasy prompt, which was to write a fictional piece in less than 750 words using “Every time I drove past that street corner, I thought of her” as the last line.

Please take a minute to click on the badge below to check out all the details!

Peace out,
Irene

The Shelf Life of Relationships – #5 In The Achieving Emotional Grace Series

The Shelf Life of Relationships – #5 In The Achieving Emotional Grace Series

 

“I wish I would have a real tragic love affair and get so bummed out that I’d just quit my job and become a bum for a few years, because I was thinking about doing that anyway.”
~ Jack Handey

 

Relationships are hard. There. I said it. Did I just blow your mind?

Being in them is tough but having them end can be even harder. And, I don’t mean just romantic relationships. Friendships, work relationships, and don’t even get me started on families.

We “humans” often don’t deal with endings very gracefully. (I’ve been binging on True Blood reruns so I question everyone’s species right now.)

We get hurt, depressed, angry, hungry. Ben and Jerry’s is in existence because of emotional eating. Well, that and weed.

I certainly have had my fair share of struggles with closing those doors and moving on. Or, having those doors slammed in my face and not moving on because I couldn’t find my car.

This was especially daunting for me when I was younger. But as I got older I started to wonder why it had to be such an emotional roller coaster. Clearly it’s a part of living life but I wanted to understand how to be more accepting and see more clearly.

And, it was becoming abundantly clear that I’m really not good at stalking people. My voice carries and I have a heavy foot. Especially after I’ve smoked weed and eaten all that Ben and Jerry’s.

I came to this conclusion: All relationships have a shelf life. Every single one of them.

People come and go in our lives and I believe that there are lessons for us and for them in those connections. I believe that the duration, whether it lasts a month, a year or a lifetime, is all part of the grand design of co-habitating on earth.

We should not get mad at the loaf of bread because it’s gone bad. It was tasty and fed you when you were hungry, serving its purpose. The bread’s value should not be diminished because you are now constipated and have a need for vegetables.

Do you smell that? What the hell is that smell?

Do you smell that? What the hell is that smell?

Whether you are the bread or the vegetable in this analogy, it’s always good to keep an eye on your nutritional value.

I think deep down, if we are paying attention to all parties involved, we know if the connection is adding value to your life and to theirs. If it doesn’t work for one of you, it isn’t working for the other.

It’s a matter of paying attention and really being present in any relationship. If you aren’t reading the expiration dates closely, things can get toxic.

Next thing you know, you’ll be waking up with melted ice cream on your face and clutching a restraining order.

And that just leaves an unnecessarily bad taste in your mouth.

“Don’t cry because it’s over,
SMILE because it happened.”  ~ Dr. Seuss