Monday, April 29, 2013

april 29

And so another birthday. 61, not a milestone age but an age nonetheless. As I do every year I come up with a plan and when people ask me and they will, what did you do on your birthday, I will have something to tell them. Birthdays are public domain like committing a crime or getting married.  When you're having one people stomp all over your space, demand personal information and then judge you on your choices.  Even the young fellow who's nailing the new siding on our house yells happy birthday as I exit my car. The husband, once again has been his usual chatty self.

He takes me to a restaurant my parents took us on Friday nights many years ago for fish fries, a strange and unique Catholic mid-America tradition. We ate catfish, the queen of all fishes swimming in the Mississippi, a few blocks from my front door and we sat at long picnic tables with red-checkered table cloths. Today I order onion rings, they make big greasy ones and when I bite down the juice oozes into my mouth and dopamine floods my brain's pleasure regions. Later in the day I will continue this cycle at the movie theatre where I will order popcorn and pour three times my usual butter allowance on the kernels. Birthdays are all about fat and I will cave for those evolutionary urges in my brain that encouraged my early ancestors to consume as much of the stuff as possible.

I spent ninety minutes in the pool this morning atoning my sins I would commit later in the day and this winter I have swum longer and harder than any other winter. My thighs and upper arms are stronger, bigger and those arms look weird on my narrow-shouldered body. Kind of like Popeye's arms in reverse.

Some well-meaning persons have said they would like to spend money on me to mark the occasion and the only item I need is eversharp pencils for my crossword puzzles. So I tell them this and they kind of bend their necks and look sideways at me. I didn't get the eversharps but I did get other things I really don't need but like I said they are well-meaning.

I think I'm going to start spending more afternoons in taverns. It seems like a worthwhile thing to do at this advanced age.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

help me, I can't get out of Jamaica

Nothing moves very fast in Jamaica and sometimes nothing moves at all. And that would be the plane that was supposed to be here taking me back to the states. My type-A alpha male personality is losing patience in this tropical heat and no one is talking to us about the cancelled flight and what we are supposed to do next.  This is a third world country which means important information is never given out freely but Americans demand information and we cluster around the airline desk in our Bob Marley t-shirts and watch the staff whisper and point at computer print-outs, the old kind with the holes in the sides.
"I've been here since 9:15 this morning," yells one overly tanned matron who should be wearing a bra and it's only 12:30 p.m. The staff rides the bus every morning to this airport and they see children begging for their drug-addled mothers and she thinks they'll  take pity on her so-called plight?   I'm embarrassed to be part of this group.

They bus us to some third-rate hotel for the night and when I open the fridge there are two water bottles, each half consumed. The walls, the ceiling are popcorn bumpy white, too much white and I am feeling depressed. The reggae band that night has not one dreadlock amongst the four of them and very large overweight blond women are trying to proposition them between sets.

dibs on the turkey sandwich

When I wake in the morn Dave has stuffed the fridge with drinks and snacks in case we are not fed and liquored in this godforsaken place.

I am in the lobby at 9:00 sharp as instructed by the airline official and there is no bus. I flag down a concierge and evidently no one knows that we are waiting for transportation. At last our elusive travel agent comes sauntering into the lobby, the bus arrives and we stow our luggage and plop down in our seats.
Thirty minutes go by and we are told to exit the bus, there is a mechanical difficulty. I whimper, I don't want to get off the bus.

And now strutting towards me is another hotel employee in a white top hat, obviously enjoying his unique costume and he says, "get back on the bus! There is enough gasoline to get you to the airport. As long as we don't shut off the ignition, it'll be fine!" 
I scowl and tell him, don't think gasoline is the problem and I down another glass of whatever my husband has handed me.

 Some guy approaches the exposed engine with a wrench and starts banging away (who hammers with a wrench?) and then three other natives join him all peering and gesturing and then the nine-year-old ADHD kid comes running over and jumps up and down yelling, "what's wrong with the bus, what's wrong with the bus?"  His mother, the chick with the ted hose and gladiator sandals and long flowing beige skirts and scarves tries to calm him down. I feel like I'm in a I Love Lucy film and I just want to go home, go home.


Friday, April 19, 2013

give mom a nudge

My uncle Walter died Monday night. He was old, ninety-one and he'd been having heart attacks, time to check out. We accompany my father to the wake service and Big Dave and I are the youngest in the room, wow - how often does that happen and there are a lot of really really old people wandering around, pocketing the free green spearmints sitting in bowls everywhere. 

We slowly move forward in the long snaking line towards the casket and the ancient fellow tottering in front of me turns with a dazed look and asks, "where is the bar?" I don't know if he's kidding or looking for that cold one, I just shrug my shoulders and smile, I figure that would answer either issue.

I am studying the memorial pamphlet, all the information I need regarding date and time of the program, major players in the production and on the back page some one's hand holding a royal flush all in spades and I'm hoping that's Walter's hand.

We never partied with my mother's family that much. I just figured my father's side loomed bigger and better in our social schedule but I came to find out that my mother just wasn't interested.  She was an odd little introvert never worrying about whose toes she might step on with her social absences. Her siblings were wise old farmers and they let people be what they needed to be or not be in this case. My mother would attend her annual family reunion in some park north of her old town. She ate her sandwich and played euchre with two of her sisters and her husband, separate from the rest of the party, just enjoying the game.

I see Walter's brother and three sisters, the last of the nine children sitting in chairs frontside of the casket. They are chuckling and nudging each other and glad Walter is removed from all earthly pains. I see my aunt Leona all 4 foot eight inches of her and she is wearing black leggings and knee high boots resplendent with buckles. She is well into her nineties and straddled a Harley three months after her own husband's death just a few short years ago.  "Flash would never have let me do this," she giggled referring to her beloved spouse, "Flash" (Paul) Gordon, yeah you read that right.  She and her older sister Irene rode eighteen hours on a bus five years ago to attend Obama's first inauguration and Leona's only concern was finding a mirror to shave her moustache each morning.
 Bon voyage Walter, give mom a nudge.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

we are boston strong

My father's supper is in the oven, green pepper hamburger steak yuck and I am waiting for an FBI agent, his name is Richard speak about photos of two men who might be the bomb planters in Monday's Boston's marathon.  The FBI usually isn't this needy, they are a closed group of peepers who tend to be hush-hush about all their internal workings. But today they feel desperate and will air videos of the possible suspects and hopefully someone will recognize the bastards.

The men appear to be in their twenties, too young to have so much hate and destruction swirling in their bellies but old enough to be stupid and callous and cowardly.  They are Caucasian and some part of me is satisfied with that. All day I have listened to public radio interviews from Americans of Arab and Muslim descent and they were paralyzed by the craziness of the situation and worried the villians would be brown-skinned and they and their families would feel the awful aftermath.

These kids are dressed casually and neatly, black and white athletic clothes and caps and knapsacks.  Almost a military stride to their cadence and the one kid wears his baseball cap backwards like the young skateboarders on my block.  A fuzzy profile picture of the youth shows him striding behind his friend, his chin jutting forward, a sign of confidence and a sarcastic smile on his face. His right leg appears to be hurting, turning inward and this will be his destruction. The hunters will look for a boy with a limp.

Their bombs are primitive, one of them contained in a pressure cooker filled with nails and sharp metal pieces which leads us to believe a sophisticated terrorist group might not be involved. For this I am grateful, I do not want those Mideastern devils back in our borders killing and maiming the innocents, pushing us towards that last and final war.

They scheduled the bombs to go off approximately four hours into the race when the glut of the runners would have passed the finish line, the average run time being 4:18:27.  And they placed those bombs at the end of the race, that moment when the athletes would  taste the extreme fruit of their achievement, that ultra human instance when well-earned endorphins would flood their brains, the killers knew this would be the moment when pain would feel the most exquisite.

"And we are plagued by the devils around us, howling and cackling into the night and we bury ourselves in our soft beds knowing that in the clear light of dawn they are waiting for us, waiting for us in the cool green glen."
 Alfred Tennyson or somebody quite like him

Friday, April 12, 2013

it is after all, Jamaica

Once again we are dragging our pale and freckly arses down to Jamaica. We usually don't do this trip twice in one winter, there's only so much rum the old boy's liver can metabolize but we will take that chance for it is after all, Jamaica.
They have given us a suite in the "preferred" section of the resort because we just keep showing up and spending money. Preferred rooms have private outdoor hot tubs nobody will use because it's so damn hot but there is a fridge stocked with Red Stripe beer and free banana chips left by the cleaning lady every morning.

We are surrounded by wealthy tourists with clipped European accents who keep running into me because as we all know they walk on the wrong side of the sidewalk, just like they drive, the buggers. I never liked rich people. They wear too much white and have this infuriating air of entitlement and they think life is a right not a privilege and I should slap their silly faces.

So now I am watching the buttocks of a chubby black woman gyrate and quiver above me on the pool's edge. I have never stared at a woman's ass this long and I am feeling uncomfortable and mesmerized at the same time. She is teaching us reggae and her butt cheeks seem to move independently of each other like two pigs wrestling inside a sack, orbs rotating in oppostie directions. How is that anatomically possible?

Seriously, this is her publicity photo.

All my bony little tush can do is a couple of pathetic thumps and now she's yelling at me, "Swirl your hips! Swirl your hips!" Oh for chrissake, leave me alone Madea, just how important is this in the universal scheme of things? I swear my pelvic floor has never moved this much since childbirth.

If I ever survive this aquatic hell I plan to spread the rumor that Caribbean queenie had some crucial bones removed from her lower back to facilitate this unique and scary dance she struts before us, how pathetic is that. This is not normal human movement she does, now where's my drink.