human condition


Drowning2

I took a blanket and a bottle of wine and a pack of cigarettes to the beach. I was determined to walk into the icy waters of Puget Sound and either freeze or drown or both. It was past midnight. I chose the most beautiful part of Alki beach.. the very private and lovely Lowman Beach. On a very secluded street, I parked in front of the Rubber Ducky Museum, which is a favorite landmark amongst locals and my daughter especially.  It is extremely precious. Sidewalk fountains adorned with rubber duckies of all styles, tiny water slides into a little pool, a shrine for  the rubber ducky. …. amazingly never touched by vandals.. I thought of how my daughter loved that place  as I parked there planning my exit from the world.

I sat on the beach for a while, drinking straight from the bottle. Smoked a cigarette. And then proceeded to walk into the water. It was amazingly NOT cold. I swam out pretty far from the shore. I turned onto my back and floated, looking at  the night sky and the moon. It was beautiful. Then I remembered why I was there and tried to force myself below the water. I could not. I kept emerging. My self wouldn’t let myself annihilate myself. I floated for a long time. It seemed like hours. Time was frozen. The tide carried me down the beach. I became disoriented. I swam to shore but I was now in an unfamiliar place on the beach. Nothing but rocks and craggy sharp edges. I could not stand. I think my muscles had frozen from the cold. I kept falling and cutting my hands and legs. Hitting my head on the rocks. I tried to crawl. I was getting nowhere. I laid there and decided I would just die from exposure. Then I started crying out for help. There were houses up the hill. Nobody was around. I was alone and cold and wet and bleeding.  I gave myself one last push to find my way back to where I had started and somehow crawled and stumbled back there.

A couple was sitting on the beach by the driftwood logs with bottles of liquor. The girl wanted to help me. The guy seemed incapacitated – he could not get up either…funny…and he kept telling me to come lie down by him. I just sat there crying. The girl had a cell phone and asked who she could call to help me. I had her call my ex husband. I tried to find my purse and blanket which were nowhere to be found. I had no cell phone, no nothing. I figured the tide had taken them out to sea. Time had no meaning. I was lost.

After making the call, the couple decided they’d better get the hell away from me. Certainly I was trouble. They gave me a towel and left. I was freezing. Frozen solid sitting on a driftwood log. I decided to try to go to the street to see if my ex was looking for me. A resident of the hood  was walking down the sidewalk ,  all well dressed and handsome. I can only imagine what he thought seeing me stumbling around the sidewalk with soaking wet sandy clothes and a towel wrapped around me. He asked what I was doing and I told him I had tried to drown myself. He called the only two numbers I could remember. Again the ex husband and the ex boyfriend.  No answers. He called 911. He called his wife to tell her he had found a woman who had tried to kill herself and he had to stay  till help arrived. I went back to the shore to look for my stuff. I couldn’t see or feel my limbs by this point. My glasses had somehow managed to stay on my face but I still could see nothing in the dark. There was nothing.

Eventually my  husband arrived and explained to the good Samaritan that he would take me home. No 911 needed, although they were on their way. He drove me home. He left me alone in my apartment. I took a really long steaming hot shower and then put on my warmest pj’s. It took hours to warm up.

I brushed myself with near death. Stupid. Selfish. Self-centered. Wanting out of the struggle. But then I couldn’t do it. I am still here. And write here for your entertainment. Feel my pain. I want you to. Things will be better in the morning. I’m sure of it.

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Saturday at the library:

1. A very tall, very kind-faced older man brings his mother (I assume) into the library several times a week. She is so bent and frail he must support and pretty much carry her with a sling that wraps around her back, to hold her up as she walks beside him. He brings her into the library very tenderly, and seats her at a table, making sure to scoot her chair up close, lest she fall to the floor. He proceeds to browse the Large Print books as she sits bewildered and disoriented in her seat. From time to time he comes to her side to whisper to her that he is nearby and she need not worry. Then he whispers to her gently “but I know you will worry” and he says it so lovingly I cannot look away as I watch from the reference desk.

2. M., an 80 or older-something woman with thinning hair and a stoop of her own, comes to the library often with her mentally disabled son D., who loves to waive and say hi to everyone. He must be at least 50. They have no other relatives in Seattle. M. has other sons in far away states, but she is the sole caretaker of D. She is getting very frail and old but always has a good question for me at the reference desk and after all these years we are on a first name basis. She loves to ask for Martha Stewart recipes. But today she is asking for information on gynecological oncologists. This causes me some alarm or at least a bit of concern, but I do not probe. I simply give her the information she wants. She hobbles out of the library, these days using a walker. I ask if she needs any help to her car. She refrains from taking my help as her polyester elastic waist pants sag down below her waist. I wonder where D. has gone, but he appears at her heels within seconds, waiving goodbye. I wonder what will become of him when she is gone.

3. A young girl lingers in the Teen corner of the library for a while. I notice. Her mom is nearby. I finally ask if she’s finding anything to read. She says “you came to my school”… which in fact I did. Her mom tells me that I had “inspired” her daugher to read. That she took notes about the books I talked about, and all of the girls in her class did the same. The girl is not embarrassed or shy about this interaction in the least – she is open and enthusiastic, not what I am used to. I feel true happiness at this point. This is when things come together. They are both so nice and interested in books and reading and for a moment I feel Golden. And they are Golden. We are Golden together for an instant. And, to top it off, her name is Kenedy. One “n”.

4. A young boy comes to the desk to redeem his summer reading certificate. He has completed his 10 books and looks to me for the grand summation of the finishing. I am tired, depressed, slightly hungover and fed up with life in general. But I have to step up and be the good librarian, the enthusiastic congratulatory librarian… he has completed his Reading Record and now gets to claim his prizes!!!!.. I do this every 20 minutes or so when working the desk during the summer. It is alternately heartwarming and mind numbing. I help Henry understand all that he must now do: filling our forms, getting stickers, choosing a book, reading more books, blah blah blah. And then I realize Henry is the same “Henry” I recall as a 2 year old. A precocious 2 year old who was our favorite kid in the library ever. But now he’s 8 years old. I realize I am stuck in a time warp. I have expected my people to remain the same, regardless of time’s passage. Henry is 8? I have been watching these same patrons for 10 years and I’m still in denial that they would ever change.. that they would ever grow older, ever die, ever leave? I live in a time warp, I tell Henry’s mom.

In fact, I believe I do.

Wow. These girls are amazing. Personality, sweetness, hilarity… these girls are amazing. Did I just say that??? I never thought I could love rats so much – I’m a dog person.. but they are like extremely small dogs…. they come when you beckon (usually), they jump on your lap, they want to be with their humans. They’re crawling on me as I type this very blog. And they are so funny to watch… hunched up on their hind legs looking for the next adventure, yawning as they lie snuggled together in their hammock.. running around the house, Baby’s nose to Delilah’s tail…. endless entertainment…

Oh.. and then this came to me this morning…

I felt strangely happy today. Probably because the sun was actually out for a while. “Strange” because happy is not an emotional state I’ve experienced in quite a while.

This winter/so called spring has been really hard on a lot of people in my life. I don’t know if we can attribute it to Bush, global warming, the flu epidemic, the economy, Iraq, general malaise or what – but I would say it’s been a rough few months… and then it came to me:

We’re all just here to hold each other up. To help each other through the shit that life deals. That’s it, plain and simple. The meaning of life. It’s about the people you hold dear and being there for them. If we come across people who are not going to be there for us and help in the holding up, then we have to let them go or at least not count them as part of our primary landscape…

Male or female, friends, family or lovers…. we are only here to support and help each other … and we’re all a little crazy on some level. So we don’t need to beat ourselves up for our shortcomings because we all have them. The key is helping each other out.

I don’t know. It helped me crawl out of my hole. Maybe it will help you.

PS: And and then there was John Stewart asking Obama tonight: “If you win will you enslave the white race?” Now we all have to love that…..

I have nothing to say so I’m going away until I do. I’m pretty sure I’m in a depression. I’ve had bronchitis for a long time and I’m not getting a lot better. I can’t workout, don’t sleep too well, get tired really easily. All in all it’s a bit of a bummer. That and this goddamned Seattle weather… cold and rainy all the freaking time. It will pass and hopefully when it does I’ll have something to say and something to care about again. Here’s one little bit of hopeful news before I go: I talked to my 85 year old southern conservative (a/k/a a former racist, republican, southern baptist) mother today and she told me (again….it’s sticking!!!!) that she thinks Obama is the best of the 3 presidential hopefuls….. my god…..that is pretty amazing if you ask me…. cheers.

So I took the spawn to Victoria for an overnight stay on Tuesday. Traveling as a somewhat unhinged, sober, menopausal single mom with possible pneumonia was a challenge, to put it mildly. There were thoughts of flinging myself into the harbor and simply drowning to put an end to my miserable life. But obviously, it was just a fantasy I entertained for a few dismal moments. There were some fun moments as well…. and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that one can purchase cough syrup with codeine without a doctor’s prescription in Canada…

I’ll leave the parenting misery for later but now my librarian rant …. have you heard the latest on the Victoria library strike? It looks like the strike lead to a shutdown. And the coolest part is that the library staff simply stopped collecting overdue fines in an effort to get their grievance over unequal pay across to management. They didn’t stop working (except for a few lunchtime rolling walkouts) they just stopped taking money from the public to supplement the library budget. Brilliant. I see now ( a few days after I started this post) that they have reached a settlement, the workers got their salary increases and the libraries will reopen on April 8th….. But I didn’t get to see the library and you know as a librarian I am under the obligation to visit every library in every new town I visit. Again, no luck… when I was in NYC the library was closed due to a holiday…. dammit!!!

Now on to the next topic: the pregnant so called “man”…. makes me ask “what IS a man anyway?” Seriously. Is manhood now just a state of mind? There are too many transgendered people in the world to hang on to the standard beliefs any longer. But I get a pretty good case of cognitive dissonance when the subject of the pregnant “man” comes up. Because if “he” was really a man he could not be pregnant. But we are all supportive of people who want to realize their true, inner selves. But if he is really a man in his mind and spirit why keep the ovaries, the uterus, etc… ??? And I suppose it’s not really my business, but I am confused. Totally. Why are we all having babies in the first place?? Do we need the babies? Is it just selfishness to want a baby – like wanting a cute little puppy??? Are there not enough accidental, unwanted children in the world already? But I have my own child, natural born, so I can’t really complain can I? Or can I?

UPDATE: Apparently this is not the first transgendered male to have a baby! Wow… see http://www.transparentthemovie.com/

Okay… here’s the deal. My co-worker likened this piece of music to my mindset the other day. I was feeling all guilty about writing negative stuff in the blog all the time so I started to write something cheerful… like this….

“It’s all captured in the small moments. Like laughing with a coworker who you think secretly despises you but sometimes you still laugh together and you can’t believe she wouldn’t really love you on some level. Like getting a totally strong show of support from a friend who thinks you might need him to have your back. Like having a beautiful daughter who tells you honestly you’re not always the best mom but you’re a good enough mom. Like having friends who stick by you no matter what. There’s beauty in the interactions and in all of the day to day struggle. “

Hear the birds singing? See the clouds parting? Feel the sun shining down upon you now?

So my friend B says, more or less, that this is just not like me… it’s like Beethoven’s No. 8 in C Minor… all minor chords, those unrelenting minor chords, just till the last part where he switches to C major and it sounds all pretty for a little bit, but then… bam! Back to C minor for the finish… like “hell no… I’m going back to the minor chords .. screw that pretty, melodic shit…”

So today I listened to the piece while furiously cleaning the house and working off some anxiety about finances, an upcoming trip to Canada (where I might be denied entry due to an old run-in with the law…. makes me sweat just to think about it) and life in general.

I don’t know. I think the pretty shit is nice sometimes. I guess we should enjoy it when it comes round. That is all.

Today it is raining…. surprise! I was supposed to get my yard cleared by the lawn service people but i suppose the rain cancels that out. I woke up at 9 to take E. to school as she missed the bus. Came back home and went back to sleep till 1. My day off work and I feel like a total waste. In fact, I feel on the verge of totally losing it. I blog because it might help put a stopper in the drain before I go spinning down into it. Obama…. where are you when I need you? Obama….. you’re supposed to care about me. Obama… you’re supposed to feel the pain of the struggling single mother with stability issues. And I have a dog too. Don’t you love the puppies Obama?

I’m going to take care of myself and stop this madness. Early to bed, early to rise. No more men. Suddenly it’s raining men around here and I am losing my shit. T4 has gone over the horizon.. nothing but a trail of dust left behind. But I don’t think a replacement part is the solution. Too late. Here comes the next one arriving on the crazy bus….. Me? I’m going to hightail it to a nice cozy place under the next rock I can find.

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