Yet Another Reason To Go On Living
Someday I shall tell you my penis tattooing joke. Not today, but someday.
* * *
Even more reasons to go on living: those fragments of conversation, heard in passing
MH, Belle, K and I, on our way out of a Fred Meyer store, pass a woman on her way in. Cart Woman, a gritty, out-of-my-way look in her eyes, speedily pushes a shopping cart in which her bug-eyed toddler squirms in the cart’s child seat. She hiss/whispers to the child:
“You are not going to pee your pants – we’re almost there.”
* * *
MH, son K and I made a trip to Tacoma earlier this week, while Belle stayed home and held down the proverbial fort.  It was time to return K to the University of Puget Sound, for his junior year as a “tiny bio”  major.
My friend CC’s comment, after she’d heard we’d be helping K move into his first off-campus dwelling, a rental house he’ll be sharing with four or five other students:
Good Luck with that!
Just don’t go into the bathroom, now or ever, for the well being of your health.
Wise words, but bathroom, schmathroom — the real danger was the enclosed back porch/laundry room, which is also where K’s housemates have decided to keep the recycling containers. Apparently, the concept of rinse-and-recycle has not sunk in, much to the delight of the local Musca domestica and their various drosophilia cousins. Also, there is the neglected litter box for the cat-the-boyfriend-of-one-of-the-housemates-brought-in-violation-of-the-lease.
I must remind myself: what festers in Tacoma stays in Tacoma.
K’s room is one of the bigger bedrooms in the house, yee haw. It was also totally unfurnished and had no closet or shelves of any kind, which necessitated trips to local stores to procure some clothing and other storage devices. Wednesday morning I drove us from our hotel to K’s house to pick him up for one of the shopping forays. I stayed in the car while MH fetched K, and as my menfolk were leaving K’s house an older woman from the house across the street scurried out to her front yard and called to K: “Are you going out? Would you bring me back a Pepsi?”
K relayed the women’s request to me when he got in the car, and his eyes widened when I said it might be fun to actually bring her back a Pepsi. No, Mom, please…don’t.
K was concerned that he would become, in that neighbor’s eyes, an easy mark. His housemates, who’ve been in the house since the summer, warned him about Pepsi Woman and her peculiar behaviors. I asked them for more info when we returned from shopping: Is PW mentally ill, a classic eccentric, or maybe just has a really big Pepsi jones?
From what K’s housemates have gleaned, Pepsi Woman suffers from a TBI, with the resulting cognitive and behavioral deficits common to such injuries. Her grown daughter checks up on her regularly, but PW gets anxious when her husband isn’t around (he works normal/daytime hours) and tends to “wander” during the day. She wandered into their house one day – just opened the door and marched inside not long after the housemates had brought back boxes of takeout pizza and uttered the completely ordinary and yet situationally disturbing words, “Are you having pizza?”
It freaked them out, to say the least.
It will provide the housemates with some funny stories, I assured K, although the women’s situation is ultimately and profoundly sad. Please, be kind to her, I requested. And I wish I’d gotten her that Pepsi.
* * *
A long time ago, long before children, I did not understand why a writer friend hated summer, to the point of cursing with great creativity the school district in which her children attended school, when budget cuts meant they had the shortest school year in the state. Could not understand, because I didn’t have a school-aged child.
Recently, I told her this and apologized if I seemed insensitive ten years ago. Because I get it. Summer, if you are involved and/or can’t afford help, means a stay at home parent’s life is completely derailed. Everything is on hold. If you are like me, you can’t get anything done because multiple interruptions make you crazy (there’s neuroscience to back me up–well, not on the crazy part….
I am the writer friend mentioned in the above excerpt, which is from the blog of the marvelous, wise and witty Attorney at Large. ’Twas funny, to read about that situation in a friend’s blog. And I do not recall her reaction as being insensitive at all. Only unfamiliar…with a situation which she, as a fellow writer and, now, fellow CHAW , now is.
(And since she is also, in so many ways, a better writer than I, she can grimace over the construction of that last sentence.)
Once again, I digress.
The hating-summer thing is only in terms of work. As in, being able to work on new stories, rather than just keeping up with the business end of things. Scratch the “just,” there is nothing just/merely/simply about keeping up with the business end of writing. The business end is the end I-most-don’t-want-my-face-near,
but it is essential, and takes up an incredible amount of time.
There have been a few summers when I have managed the dilemma well (read: lowered expectations re new work to absolute zero). I’m hoping this has been one of them. I truly enjoyed spending time with K & Belle during their time off, as long as I was able to muffle the should be/could be haranguing voice inside my head, which for some disturbing reason sounds an awful lot like Barry White on helium.
I’ve heard people say that
Too much of anything is not good for you, baby
But I don’t know about that
There’s many stories that we’ve loved
You’ve shared stories and written stories
It doesn’t seem to me like it’s enough
There’s just not enough of it
why aren’t you writing more new stories
Oh oh, babe….
Fun fact: I read somewhere that when schizophrenics have auditory hallucinations, regardless of the gender of the person experiencing the hallucinations, the imaginary voices overwhelmingly tend to be male.
Good to know. Anyway, pretend there is a graceful segue.
Belle starts her senior year of high school next week. Yee haws, and yikes abound. And I will start pawing through my notes on the next The Mighty Quinn book. It’s not a sequel, but I found that although as eager as I was to get on to my list of a quabillion other projects, I wasn’t quite done with the characters, and my files contain enough notes on scenario and plot and dialog that I think I could have at least two more books in a…
Insert the appropriate s-word, I dare you. I can’t say it, or write it. A series? It was never my intention to write one, and I don’t think I’m going to. But on to middle school/junior high – with all the weirdness that comes with the territory, including, may the Flying Spaghetti Monster be praised, puberty! How can I deny myself letting Quinn and Neally et al wreak havoc in that bountiful setting?
Take it away, Barry. Let the summer end and the hormonal (literarily speaking) hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
 read: scooped all three literal litter boxes. Excellent job, Belle!
 Micro and Cellular Biology.
 Who is, apparently, becoming housemate #5
 Scrambled acronym for At Home Child Wrangler
Bizness includes keeping up with the ever-changing publisher and manuscript/story submission requests and guidelines, querying agents and publishers, sending out manuscripts and tracking them when they return home to roost….
 Due to generally shorter vocal cords, smaller larynx, higher pitch, wider range of sounds and more melodious tone, the female voice is more “complex” than the male’s and thus, it is speculated by scientists (or hallucinated) a female-sounding voice is more difficult for the brain to conjure and replicate than a male’s voice is.