…on the return flight from Scotland we sat next to a man who was from our neighborhood. I told him I had worked at Reckless. He asked how my retirement was going.Nothing done in secret in Mapleleaf.
D3’s Nan died this weekend and we are on our way to Scotland in 2 days.
I had a huge panic attack yesterday and fixated on the fact that there would be nothing there that I could eat, and that I probably was coming down with a cold and that I would be ok if we cancelled my ticket because we still had 24 hours to save the money.
Which is amazing to me as I think on it this morning. Yeah, I have a bit of a fall sinus headache (what else is new) and I am trying to eat better, and I am available to just drop everything because I am on Sabbatical for working, plus there is plenty of money right now. So what the hell?
Then it hit me. It is a Funeral for the only grandma I have had in 30 years. I never met my parents moms. I met my grandpa’s 3rd wife when I was 8 and I loved her madly. Her name was Jake and she wore Red cowboy boots with a turquoise pancho. She was thin and vivacious. She painted and wore costume jewelry. She was a waitress in a greasy spoon at the age of 70. She was a rock star. And I had her for 2 years. She died at work while she was carrying a tray across the room to customers. She just died. I went to her funeral at the age of 10, my first one.
When I was in college, the guy I was dating had a grandma who was vivacious and strong. She was a small Italian woman who just gave everyone love, food, a sharp remark and a laugh, and more food all the time. I never questioned her black hair and red lips and perfect wool skirts and sweaters. She had not changed her style in 60 years, why start now. She introduced me as her “grandkid”. I had her for 3 years, until at a 4th of July party when we were all sitting watching family and the baby cousins running around in the yard. She was sitting there with the sweetest smile. Then she just fell over. I went to the second funeral I have ever gone to.
I have been with D3 for 3 years and have had Nan for about 2 and a half years. When I went over the first time to meet the family and we announced we were getting married, she had us over for tea. It was the perfect Scottish Grandma tea. She had made all sorts of treats and had a little tea tray on wheels that she had D3 wheel out for her. Talk came to the upcoming wedding. I was feeling that at 52, I was a little to old to have the wedding of my dreams. I told her that since D3 had been married once before maybe it should be no big deal. She asked me if I had ever had a wedding. I told her no, I had been single and D3 was my first real love. Without a blink, she looked me straight in the eye and said, “I was a single working woman who was convinced I was going to die a spinster. Then I met D3’s widowed grandfather, and things were different. We all deserve the wedding we dreamed of as a child. I was 60 when I got mine. So you are just fine at 52.”
I love that woman for that.
So I am going to my third Funeral.
And none of them were women?
What about Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Gillian Anderson, Sandra Oh, Kailey Cuoco, Lena Dunham, Maggie Smith, Kerry Washington, Alison Brie, Viola Davis, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin…
The 70 cents on the dollar is something I have lived with all my life. But you would think in the rarified world of TV that this would not be the case. That actors would be appreciated equally no matter what is between their legs.
I don’t wonder that Black lives don’t matter, that Muslims are vilified, and that you that the trump has a following. If we can’t treat 51% of the world’s population as equals monetarily, the women that LITERALLY created everyone on the planet, how can we begin to see anyone else in a light of equality?
I want a Do-Over on these rules!
Why is it hard to think of a woman as the president of the United States? Maybe because they will have to pay her equally with her predecessors and not pay her 70 cents on the dollar.
I have friends who are prolific bloggers. They write daily, vividly, hysterically, pithy missives that go out into the world and change how I personally view everything. They are the people who talk and write with singular voices that you just want to invite to lunch and have them chat with you into the evening.
When the movie Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang came out, the outtakes made me crave this with Robert Downey, Jr and Val Kilmer. Smart, witty, self deprecating charmers who pulled no punches and made you laugh and think.
There are writers who I adore, Jenny Lawson, Mary Roach, Katherine Dunn, Truman Capote, Ann Patchett, Bill Bryson, Groucho Marx, Isabel Allende, Haven Kimmel…
Strong unapologetic voices that bring you into their story and show you a world or even just the inside of a small, yet unknown by me, taste of it. I just re-read “To Kill a Mockingbird” and was left utterly drenched in the southern heat and the smell of a summer night soaked in emotion, sound, humidity, and awakenings. I am presently halfway through “Wolf Hollow” by Lauren Wolk. I would happily place this book on parr with Harper Lee for her lyrical simplicity and vivid prose.
I look to my own Blog, my attempt to bring a bit of myself to the Thunderdome of social medial, to be one more voice in the din and all I want to do is just crawl back in bed and read someone else, someone who was brave enough to step out into the world and capture it, if only for the few minutes it takes to read the paragraphs.
This morning as I was lying in bed debating if I was going to get up or not, I had this amazing idea for a blog post.
I really did.
I worry on those days when I get absorbed in social media all day and get little to nothing productive done. Having just left a job where my social life was thrust upon me by people coming in and out all the time, I have been a real slacker when it comes to extending myself and working at being friends. I was talking to one of my ex-employees (what is the word for someone who is still working but you are no longer their boss?) She wants to have a retirement/going away party for me. I feel honored and terrified.
When she asked me for a list of people who I wanted to invite, I was flummoxed. Then I realize all my friends right now are people I have met while working at my last job. I have a few that I have known longer than the that job, but very few. And most everyone I know I am in contact with on Facebook.
In the last few weeks I have hung out with people I have not physically seen in a long time, but that I keep up with on Facebook. And this is where I am wondering what the change in my life will be like. Without Facebook, many people in my life have disappeared. If they aren’t on Facebook, I am not aware of their existence.
And that makes me wonder if I would totally disappear if I weren’t on Facebook. Would I just vanish? If I don’t Tweet or Instagram or Facebook or whatever else out there, do I just cease to be? If I stop Blogging and checking in who am I? What has my life become when the question of what am I feeling today, or doing today, or being today comes from a computer screen?
Who am I without electronic media?
I went with my sister today to try on new cars. She has a huge gas guzzler and she needs something small and from this century. She was loaded for bear with a long list of what she wanted (to pay less than 40 at the pump) and what would be deal breakers (white car). Of course we had plans if she got overwhelmed. She and I are both easily overwhelmed so we used a safe word. “Banana” means we say thanks and go back to our car. We planned on just driving around in the car, windows up, no eye contact, do not get out of the car. Just look at the cars. Not buying today, just looking. No don’t talk to us. We are not interested in your sales tactics.
So she now has a white 2013 Ford Fiesta hatchback. The first car we saw. And she only said “banana” once.
It is two weeks since I left my job of 15 years, 1 month and 15 days.
(I typed that line, then got up and went to the kitchen, got a diet Dr. Pepper and a few grapes. Then I stood in the kitchen and had to talk myself into going back to the computer and writing more.)
The days before I left my job were excruciating. I was a big messy pile of guilt and confusion. This job had been the best of all possible places in the world for me. It gave me support, family, community, money. It filled me with purpose and let me do the one thing I had always wanted to do.
And then the business environment changed and the job became more thankless and difficult. I found myself becoming more cranky and miserable. My feet hurt all the time. The customers were stupid. All the product was inferior. Employees were just monkeys and clueless. Everything was wrong and there were people breathing my air!
One of the things I know about myself, I will overstay my welcome if I am comfortable.
And this time I was about 5 years overdue. I feel like I need to send out a giant apology card to everyone who has had to deal with me as I went through this transition. Like, here world, have a muffin basket.
One my last day, two weeks ago, I was a sobbing, hysterical, anxiety racked mess. I was sure I had made the wrong choice. I was sure that I had thrown away the perfect job. That I was spitting in the face of the Universe that had given me this gift of a job that I had so enjoyed and that had healed me in so many ways.
D3 took the day off and hung out with me that day. I was not sure why he did it, but when the day came I got it. He drove me to the parking lot and sat with me as I cried, wailed that I had made a big mistake, swore I was not going to get out of the car, and cried and blew my nose some more. I was a mess, plain and simple. The whole day is a blur.
A number of years ago, a friend of mine got fired from her job, and came into my work to see me. She was shaking and lost, and most of all in shock. I listened as she tried to make sense of everything and planned to get a job by the next day and and and and and… Then she cried. I handed over a box of kleenex. While she blew and wiped, I wrote her a prescription. I wrote it on a sticky tab. It simply said, “(Insert her name her) is allowed to do absolutely nothing for the next two weeks”. I gave it to her and told her to follow that prescription.
(in the vernacular of movie scripts)
CUT TO: 12 years later…
Sitting in a coffee shop with this same woman, (who by the way I had lost track of for 6 years and only just bumped into at the movies two days earlier). I told her what I was doing. As I cried and babbled and told her how I was going to make this and that and do this and that and and and… She pulled out a piece of paper and wrote “Zoe Claire is allowed to fuck off for the next two weeks.”
I have carried this around in my pocket and my bag now for a bit over two weeks, it is now taped to my wall.
It is the best advise anyone has given me in a long time.
(yeah, I know, it’s sideways. I still have to learn this program.)
So, today it begins.
Wish me luck.
This is a situation of “you don’t know, ’til you know”. There are a bazillion kinds of water-heaters. They are the most important thing in your home, next to fast internet service, and a good bed. Trust me when I tell you this.
I have spent the last week learning more than I ever cared to know about water-heaters. Really a LOT about them. I just want to say, if you are in Seattle, call http://www.fastwaterheater.com/. Ask for Fred. Write the check. Know that this is one of those problems where throwing money at it is the only way to go.
And know that tonight I will be taking a hot bath with a cup of tea and I will get rid of all the information I have in my head about Water-heaters.