Head in the Clouds. Nose in a Book

Whenever I hear anyone say that they were poor as a child but didn’t realize it because they were always surrounded by so much love, I don’t believe it. It’s a beautiful sentiment, but how could you not know? I was also raised in a poor but loving household and was well aware of it every day. And, on the off chance I might happen to forget for a moment, there was always a rich kid, usually a cheerleader with a cute button nose and the bosom of a 20-year-old Playboy bunny, who was more than happy to jog my memory.

Love is a beautiful thing, but it doesn’t make you not hungry or forget that you’re wearing hand-me-downs and that your mom, who isn’t a beauty operator, cuts your hair. I’m not saying I wasn’t happy; I’m just saying that I knew. But perhaps it isn’t fair to judge since, unlike myself, not everyone has been fifty years old since they were seven.

As a single parent and sole provider, my mother made sure her children never went without basic necessities, but there wasn’t much “extra” anything at our house. I suppose I could say there was “extra love,” but that would sound just as ridiculous as someone saying they didn’t realize they were poor despite having worn milk cartons as snowshoes.

The one thing that my mom rarely said no to when it came to spending money was books. She’s an avid reader, and it is from her that I inherited my passion for reading. I adore books: the way they look and feel and especially how old ones smell when you fan their yellowing pages under your nose.

When I get a new book, my ritual is the same today as when I was a little girl. First, it’s gets set somewhere in plain sight, usually on the coffee table. I want to be able to see it but won’t read it right away. It’s fun knowing that it’s there, waiting.

When the anticipation becomes too much, the front and the back cover get read. Then, if there’s a dust cover, I read the inside flaps with the information about the author. Most times, it’s boring stuff like how they reside in West Virginia with their spouse and a parrot, both of which are named Hank. But sometimes it’s about their work process and cool facts like how they hated crying babies and mainly survived on hamburger meat, green peas, and coffee – that was Will Cuppy. He wrote a weekly column for the New York Herald in the 1930s and one of my all-time favorite books, The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody. A hilariously wry book of stories where he humbles historical figures like William The Conqueror and Lucrezia Borgia. Who doesn’t enjoy a funny Lucrezia Borgia story, for crying out loud?

I then read the page that lists any other books the author has written and think, “If I like this one, maybe I’ll read one of those. But what if I do and it’s not as good? That would be sad. So, maybe I won’t. Relax, Pedigo, you don’t have to decide right now.”

Then next is the one with all of the publishing information on it. Not sure why I read that page. Maybe it’s because sometimes I get to say, “Hmm, I wasn’t even born when this was copywritten. Interesting.”

Even though it isn’t at all interesting.

Then onward to the dedication page, where I’ll ponder if these people truly appreciated the gesture and what they did to deserve it, other than having to live with a moody writer who ate a shitload of green peas.

Then I read the forward unless, of course, it gives too much away, and then I’ll stop and go back and read that after I’m finished to see if I agree with the pompous opinion of the writer of the forward. I usually do.

And, finally, when there has been enough word foreplay and my brain is sufficiently aroused, I will begin chapter one.

Yes, that seems like a lot, I know. But it’s not if you’re a reader because readers are hardcore. We like to read. In the 90s, I continued to work for a comedy club that wouldn’t move me up as a performer or pay me more money, and I did it simply because in the condo, where the comics stayed, there was, for some reason, a collection of The Alphabet Murders by Sue Grafton and I wanted to read them all. Which I eventually did, and then told the club booker that “F is for fuck off.”

It’s hard for me to comprehend when a person says they aren’t a reader. A man once told me that while we were at dinner. He used those exact words, “I am not a reader.” I, was suddenly tired and remembered that I needed to get up early the next morning. Because that’s a deal-breaker for me, I could be attracted to someone who can’t read but not to someone who chooses not to.

Books and being able to escape into their stories are how I survived adolescence. They let me know there was a big colorful world out there, not just the grey one where this misfit kid hung her second-hand hat. It’s why I became a storyteller. I enjoy the thought that maybe one of mine might make someone as happy as the ones I like have made me.

And The Livin is Easy

Remember when we were kids and thought that pistachio nuts were red? Then we found out it was because they were being doused in the cancerously delicious dye Red 40.

That was sure fun.

On lazy summer evenings, during that magical time when moon and sun simultaneously rise and set and your soul whispers that anything is possible, we’d hop on our bikes, with little red-stained fingers, and happily cruise along in the mist coming from the truck spraying for mosquitos.

So many fond memories and upper respiratory infections.

Twas a simpler time when it was safe to be outside from dawn to dusk. Just hanging out on the curb, waiting for your dad because he promised you could spend the weekend with him. And you could just wait and wait and wait until the night was as black as pitch and your mom would finally make you come inside because he didn’t show.

Ah, the carefree days of childhood.

Just Take it Easy

If I’ve learned anything in my life, it’s this; sometimes you just have to say to yourself, “Well, I guess this is what my neck looks like now.”

The People in Your Neighborhood

I’m terribly fond of our mailman. He always has a smile, asks about your day, and addresses everyone in the complex by their given name. It feels very small town and comfortable in this sometimes-lonely big city.

We all adore Jamie.

Occasionally, on my afternoon walk, I’ll see him on a different block in the neighborhood. He’ll give a wave and yell, “Hello, Miss Rebecca!” or if a parcel gets delivered while I’m out, “I left you a present.”

If three days pass and Jamies not around, it does not go unnoticed. A low-grade panic sets in and my 70-year old neighbor, Jackie, and I will start trading texts and worrying that he may have gotten a new route and what if the little dude with the enormous straw lifeguard hat takes his place. The one who never makes eye contact and just carelessly lobs packages at your door without thought or backward glance.

Then the next day, like magic, he’ll reappear. “Well, look what the cat dragged in.” I’ll say casually like we barely even noticed he was gone.

That’ll teach him.

Recently one of my neighbors started giving him a bottle of Gatorade a few times a week. So yesterday I gave him a banana.

“I’ll see your high fructose corn syrup, Nancy, and raise you potassium.”

I’m not romantically interested or jealous, I just don’t want him to like her better than me.

Sweet Dreams

For several weeks now I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night with the same bad song on rotation in my brain.

Not sure what time it happens because I refuse to check. That’ll just lead to a headcount of the hours already slept and then how many are left until I have to get up, and all the while Look Away by Chicago will be the dreadful soundtrack.

Around week two and a half, worry began to set in. Why was this happening? I’d lie in the dark wondering if perhaps it was some sort of a psychotic break, but then comfort myself by saying if it was I probably wouldn’t realize it because pretty sure if you’ve gone mad you don’t know you’re mad, you just are.

The next morning I googled psychotic break. I’m fine.

Since the song is about some heartbroken dude who can’t stop crying and doesn’t want his ex to know, but yet all he talks about is the goddamned crying, I thought maybe it might have something to do with a past relationship.

Unfinished business mayhap?

Maybe I’d hurt someone terribly and this is my “Tell-Tale Heart” karma where, instead of the beating of a murdered man’s heart coming from beneath my floorboard, I’m being tortured by a power ballad.

Probably not. Although that would be cool.

Intellectually I realize that on a subconscious level the repetition of the song most likely represents the repetition of my days being quarantined. And, the fact that the song is shitty means I’m finally ready to rejoin society.

It Stands to Reason

Much of my day is spent at the kitchen table periodically staring out the window. My apartment, in this tiny 16-unit complex, is on the second level and sits at the end of the 15 steps it takes to reach the top floor. I’m aware of how many stairs there are because I count them whenever going up or down. It’s not OCD, just seems like information I should have in case there’s an emergency or someone were to ask.

My view is of the courtyard, which reminds me of the one from the 1990’s soap, Melrose Place. Only without the pool, wealthy neighborhood, and good looking tenants. But we do have wild jasmine that grows in the spring and summer, so that’s cool.

From my perch, it’s possible to see and hear all the comings and goings without being spotted. Which I would find disconcerting if it was someone other than myself lurking in the shadows.

Fortunately, I’m harmless just curious.

And, if I’m being honest (which I am, cause why wouldn’t I be?) I’m not really looking to see, just looking to look. Killing time and daydreaming.

My computer is on the dining table which is why I’m also there. It’s where I like to write, or pretend to, depending on which way the wind is blowing.

I never sit at my desk. I’ve tried but it reminds me too much of school or a job. Nothing will ever get accomplished if I feel like it has to.

A kitchen feels good and familiar. Plus, that’s where I keep the food.

Once I watched as an older neighbor was taken away in a body bag. He’d only lived here for about a week and we never met, but it was still sad.

What I’m waiting to see is someone tumble down the stairs. Not because I want them to get hurt but because it just seems logical.

For 17 years, I’ve seen people carelessly bound up and down with hands in pockets, wearing flip flops, arms full of laundry and talking on the phone that’s tucked between their shoulder and crook of their neck, and yet not one face plant or even anything close.

It makes sense that at some point this lucky streak will come to an end.

Since I have nothing but time these days I’d like to see it when my theory is proven correct.

I’ll keep you posted.

I’ll Make this Quick…

Below is a challenge that’s been making the rounds on social media for a while. I’ve been tagged a few times and have always removed it as frantically as if I’d been hacked and hardcore porn was posted on my page and, to make things even better, the day before I’d finally accepted my mom’s friend request.

ChallengeAccepted #24hrs If I tagged you, don’t disappoint me. If I didn’t tag you, please, no offense. I tried to choose people I thought would make this challenge fun!! Too often, women find it easier to criticize each other instead of building each other up. With all the negativity out there, let’s do something positive! 🌟

Upload 1 Picture of yourself… just you!!!! Then tag so many beautiful women to do the same. We will build ourselves, instead of tearing us apart. 💋💙🥰
copy and paste…

Here’s why this is awful.

Now, although I do appreciate the irony of saying let’s build each other up, while simultaneously tearing each other down in the same breath, these negative “women hate women” stereotypes are stale and detrimental. Especially to girls and young women and is definitely not my experience.

My life has been full of fierce, brilliant women who are supportive and loving and badass.

Yes, let’s celebrate and empower each other! But that ain’t what’s happening here, folks.

I know, I know… it’s just a silly FB challenge so who cares, right?

Everyone should, that’s who.

If you’re a woman, have a daughter, a mother, a sister, wife, girlfriend, friend or have ever met or loved a woman, things like this should matter to you.

It’s full of heterosuggestions and propaganda (finally, I get to use the word propaganda. Goddamnit that’s sweet).

It’s ye olde divide and conquer, if you will.

I’m not saying a stupid social media challenge was written by some dude in a black helicopter trying to pit women against each other so men can take over the world. But I’m also not not saying it.

How will we (if you’re a human, I’m talking to you) ever build a world of equality and love if we continue to perpetuate these tired clichés?

We won’t.

That’s the point.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: