Crashing

Well, the doctor did tell me to use the walker, at least till I meet with the rehab specialist.  I rang this week and he doesn’t accept my insurance,  However, he will see me at a clinic.  Tom doesn’t like that but we are just going to have to suck it up and go.

I have been unable to go to the gym this week as Tom is on another binge.  Aside from  the fact that the gym and liquor store are in the same center, he’s been too drunk to really go out in public.  It is what it is.  So, as an alternate measure and part of my plan anyway, I have been doing the stair stepper as much as possible.  The  most I’ve reached is 6600 steps, not enough.

So, what I did on Thursday, was lock the room door.  It is the only room in the house with a door.  This allowed me to do some thinking, writing, reading and even watch programs that I like while I did the stepper. I did get a bit wobbly.  Tom spent most of the day passed out.  After 5, I unlocked the door.  Dunno why.  Just did.  And years ago, he did destroy the door so it’s not like it means anything except symbolically.

The last few weeks I have felt myself deteriorating.  Ever optimistic, I have tried to attribute it to the intense stress that I have been under as well as the lack of activity.  In order for me to take control, I took the walker out from behind the door yesterday.  I need to practice with it before I use it outside and frankly, I needed the extra support.  I almost  never use the spectral leg or cane in the house but I guess life is beginning to change.  I struggled not to weep.  How did this ever come to pass? How can I consider this a viable option?

It happens sometime after you become an    adult.  You walk down the street and see a reflection in a window.  Who is that adult that resembles you if you were grown up?  Wait a minute!  It’s you and you are grown up.  The next step is inevitable.  You catch sight of yourself and….  Yes, I see a little, fragile, misshapen old lady.  How the hell did that happen?

It’s after 5 and I felt a bit weakish.  I didn’t have the cane in my tiny room.  I went to sit down and somehow I didn’t sit on the chair correctly, lost my balance and fell.  I fall well but still make all kinds of noises along the way down.  Tom had been passed out in the other room.  He rushed in bloodshot eyes and all.  This man does not wake up well in the best of times.  I was flat on my back on the floor.  There’s an upside to everything.  Due to drunkenness, I had  a bag filled with bags of tea on the floor.  It was supposed to have been taken upstairs and out of the way.  I can no longer go upstairs without help so it was lying there.  Lucky!  My head hit tea instead of the floor.  So there I was.  I wasn’t hurt but couldn’t move.  This is a man with three sisters and I think he might have played with dolls or maybe not because he has no concept of how real limbs work.  I literally can’t sit up.  First order of business is to get me upright.  He pulled but I have no strength at all apparently in my core.  I slid back down.  It took awhile to explain I needed something to hold onto to keep me in a seated position.  We get there.  Next step is get me to stand or into a chair. Ha!  This is when I discovered my right leg  no longer works.  It cannot bend .   I cannot even cry.  Picture this.  Sometimes, I have problems getting out of the tub.  I lift my right leg with my arm.  If it doesn’t stay up, Tom comes in and lifts it for me.   I explained to Tom that we were going to have to do the same action but not in the tub.  He was still fuddled. Back to I do not have doll limbs.  The video would have gone viral.  Somehow, we got both legs bent.  Then  I flipped over like a bug.  Somehow, I managed to pull myself up onto the chair.  Tom stumbled back to bed.

This was a pretty devastating evening.  I knew I had deteriorated but not to this point.  I guess I need to buy one of those I’ve fallen and can’t get up devices.  I am so scared and frightened.  I WILL NOT BE IMMOBILE.  I WILL DANCE AGAIN.   I must be delusional.  The only thing to do is fight harder  Someone just told me today, in another matter, that my persistence paid off.  I guess I need to keep it up.  I am losing strength all around and crashing

Lucky 13

 

Yesterday was my 13th wedding anniversary.  I was in the hospital with Tom from 7:30 a.m. till 8:30 at night.  Our original plan had been to drive out East and either have a nice lunch out there or cash in on a restaurant card the kids gave us for Christmas.  Instead, Tom’s been in the hospital since Monday afternoon.

We had no idea thirteen years ago that this is where we’d be. We said our vows in front of a justice of the peace who knew me from volunteer work.  She gave me a lecture on how she disagreed with the public policy  position of the organization.  Then we did our vows.  It included something along the lines of in sickness and in health, richer or poorer, better or worse.  Of course, we said Yes.  Who really understands what that means? Well, we were older so we were not dewy eyed innocents.  We knew that life would hold challenges.

13 years is a not a long time in the scheme of things but we have really beaten up those vows; each and every one of them.

Life with both of us has been challenging.  He has supported me through the death of both of my parents; the dissolution of my childhood home; the loss of three jobs and of course, my continuing physical deterioration.

On his side, his rampant and destructive alcoholism; cancer; hernia and now this cardiac situation.

Monday, we went to the ER for what we thought would be a meds adjustment and maybe Valium.  Instead, a four day hospital stay with two procedures.  Yesterday morning he had a tee.  A scope was put down his throat to see if there were any clots in his lungs that could dislodge.  He came out of that one convinced he was vacuuming the car. Indeed, when he was released today, one of the first things he has done is vacuum!  Lucky me, I have a house husband. In the afternoon, he had a cardiac ablation. Fun for anniversary.

Truth be told, I don’t hold much with anniversaries.  He is the sentimental one.

I never wanted to have my parents’ lives.  Joke’s on me.  I do.  I was so frightened this week.  Normally, I am your best person in an emergency and I still was calm and collected for everyone.  Here’s the thing – when my father died suddenly and unexpectedly, my mother kept on saying “Daddy had a really good omelet for breakfast.”  Well, you know how they say things about your parents’ deaths stick with you?  Sunday night, we had had the best dinner with Justin and Lisa – good food, laughter, conversations.  My mind kept on howling – just like Daddy.

Another way in which I am the same is hiding things.  I am a firm believer in transparency as my parents withheld information on my grandmother’s health.  I never trusted them again.  I share medical details about me and T to his kids.  We found out after my father died how the two of them conspired to shield us about my mother’s condition.  She had dementia.  I found we have done the same with my walking.  It’s not as if they don’t know I have difficulties but in the house I usually don’t wear the spectral leg or use a cane.  On the few occasions we have been out, they know I walk arm in arm with their Dad.  They had no idea how much difficulties I have getting in and  out of the house.  Of course, when I am stressed I am worse.  I have started to have problems with my hands.  I needed help buckling my seatbelt.  Everyone was great to me but I realized how much we have been dissembling.

As you know I was seriously contemplating divorce earlier this year.  Financial considerations stopped me. He thought I couldn’t do it because I literally couldn’t live without  him.  He ties my shoes, fixes my hair, helps with zippers and buttons.  As they say, “needs must”.  I put on my own shoes, dressed and undressed myself and did my hair.  Fed the cats, cleaned their litter. I can do it.  I did not fall.  Stumbled a few times but no falls.  So what if it took me ten minutes to put on my macrame sandals and spectral leg and it involved bent paper clips and pliers!  Don’t ask.

I know I am a control freak.  I acknowledge that one of  the reasons I married him was when he was in trouble I wanted legal standing.  I was never one of those girls with wedding plans. I used to dream of a house and children but no man.  I used to be told it couldn’t be done.  I am a boomer which explains the attitude.

This week made me realize that even though I can be on my own, I don’t want to be right now.  Pondering how we really did do our vows.  There’s work ahead.  There is a lot of pain and anger on each side.

 

Third Wheelchair Ride

This is beginning to be so unfunny.

My husband gives platelets regularly.  He has a high platelet count and is a universal donor.  He does it just because and has only used his accrued point one time to get a fleece that advertises the Blood Center.  H e went  mid July but they couldn’t do it as his blood pressure and pulse were too  high. H e’d had a steak dinner the night before and had taken his blood pressure meds too late.  Two weeks ago, his pressure was alright but his pulse was still high.  We started to monitor it but it didn’t go down.  In the middle of the night he told me his heart was racing.  I made him call the doctor yesterday and she said ER.  We called urgent care, same answer ER.

We went.  By the time, we arrived, parked and he helped me struggle over, his BP and pulse were catastrophic.  Of course, I walked for crap because I was so nervous.  Now going to the ER here is not a new experience for me.  My first time was 11 years ago, when Justin’s SUV was totaled.  He called to say that the driver’s side was destroyed.  OMG! You weren’t driving?  No, when I saw the truck coming at me, I jumped into the passenger side.  I had to take that call as Tom went completely white.  So, the evil stepmother, aka me, insisted on ER.  He walked out but ended up there 2 days later anyway.

My next visit was 7 or 8 years ago.  I had a restraining order against him for drinking and he was seriously out of control.  I locked him out and he went to his sister’s.  He wanted help but was drinking even more there.  I walked out of work in NYC, dragged him into the car, held onto him as he tried to jump out while it was moving and dragged him into ER.  I can’t remember his blood level alcohol at the time except that it was astronomical.  There was a warrant out for his arrest but he was able to get into rehab.  It was not successful.  Other visits ensued.  One time, they had to guard him and put him in restraints.  Another time, I just checked him in and left.  Twice, after his cancer operation, I had to take him to Stony Brook ER.

All of these times, I wasn’t scared.  Ok, 2nd Stony Brook ER, I was.  However, throughout all of these and his cancer operation and his hernia operation, I worked.  I had that laptop and kept on going.      I can be a monster in that regard.  We needed the money and I needed the distraction.

The difference last night was that he was conscious and aware.  I wasn’t working either.  The other times, we pretty much knew what was wrong.  Last night they did not.  And before, I could always walk.

Alright, for his hernia operation in 2015, my brother-in-law helped.  At the hospital, they thought I was the patient.  A friend of mine was in the ER a few weeks ago and again, everyone thought I was the patient.  Last night, they gave him the visitor pass.

They announced at 7 pm that all family members/visitors had to leave the ER.  This was going to be extremely difficult for me.  I knew I couldn’t make it to the car at all by myself.  They told me they could not release him.  We thought someone could just give me their arm and I would go and wait for Justin.  No Security was  hell bent on getting me out of there.  They provided a wheelchair even though I explained I had only been in one twice before.  The guard even asked me if I could move my feet.  Uh, that is the problem.  I protested as I didn’t want Justin to see me like that.  The guard literally left me in the waiting room.  Luckily, I was able to navigate out of the chair just before the kids came.

They took me home.  I am appalled at my deterioration.

Apparently, Tom may be operated on today. It’s a simple procedure.  At least, that’s what they tell me.  Hopefully, I will be able to get help there and back.

I am so scared this time.

Tomorrow is our 13th wedding  anniversary,  Recently, I was contemplating life without him.  I realize that no longer is an option.

 

Perception and Judgement

Background: We live on a tiny street.  It’s a dead end.  There are currently three occupied houses.  There is a house that has been foreclosed and abandoned at the end for around 8 years.  There used to be a house next to ours but it was razed and a used car lot expanded.  Said car lot included a massage parlor.  Right! We are off the service road of a major highway.  On the other corner there is a building that used to be a Sons of Italy hall.  One day when I was at work I saw a headline on the news.  Either the Gallos or Gambinos were stopped in a bomb plot because the hall wasn’t cutting them in on the illegal gambling.  The Feds closed it down.  It then became a computer place.  Well, not really.  It and the car lot massage parlor were closed for prostitution.  We thought we still had the illegal gambling.

Now, as I have blogged, I have had problems with my husband who when he is sober is seriously the best people.  However, when he’s not….  I have had the police here roughly about 20 times.  Once the cops said, “Weren’t we here already today?”  No, that was across the street. So, across the street, they have come but not as often.  However, a few years ago, they had a SWAT Team.  The one neighbor, Vinny, who may be the only normal family on the block would do nothing about the car lot.  No, don’t mess with the Mafia.  The same response when our garbage isn’t picked up or our street plowed.  We approached him about the massage parlor.  Same answer.  Man, you have a 12 year old daughter, at the time.  “We have a dog.”  The SWAT team house had homeless friends and asked Vinny if they could stay in the abandoned house next to him.  No problem.  Uh? Squatters?  My husband went ballistic and had that shut down.

Now, SWAT team house has a renter.  He is white but has dreads and piercings.  If you have read me, he is the owner of the chicken that crossed the road.

We have woods behind us.  Vinny and our family feed feral cats.  We both have taken in some of them.  There’s been a new sleek one that we have been feeding. He thinks he lives at our house and literally knocks on the door to be fed.  We recently found out that it is Dread’s aka Greg’s cat, aptly named Mr. Cat.

Vinny’s daughter doesn’t go to school in our neighborhood.  The schools are not bad but mixed.  She recently changed to a bus.  Vinny stopped and asked my husband about Greg.  He saw him walking around and was concerned.  He was looking for Mr. Cat!  He has a decent job and works every day!  Vinny asked my husband to watch for his daughter off the bus.

So, he’s not concerned about prostitution, illegal gambling,  squatters, police visits but a white guy with dreads?

Reality, perception and judgement.

Why I Didn’t Go to the Gym Yesterday

I had every intention of going to the gym yesterday.  I am encouraged that my doctor found that I am a little bit stronger and a little bit faster.  I need to leverage that.  And since I am not employed, I have been losing ground.  Yes, it’s nice not to have to struggle through Grand Central, Times Square and Penn Station on a daily basis.  But easily having 7500 – 10,000 plus steps a day is a benefit to someone like me.

My Jawbone Up tracker has not been working so I have been unable to get a real reading on what I have been doing.  I splurged on a Fitbit Alta.  I am eager to see how that goes.

Also, last week I started adding in the stationery bike on my doctor’s advice.

I like to go around 2 o’clock.  It’s all the old people.  It’s fairly empty and relatively quiet.

As I may have mentioned, we have been having issues with the used car lot that sprung up next to my house and the town.  We have been at odds for three years. The car lot does thing illegally and then the town makes it alright.  In recent weeks they cut down a beautiful old oak tree on the edge of our property on Easter Saturday claiming alternately that it was diseased NOT or that the town required it – not according to the last official meeting.  The last time we called the town, the owner was literally pounding on our door within 20 minutes.  The lot’s MO is to start work on a weekend when Town Hall is closed.  Last weekend they started the fence.  We are supposed to have an 8 foot PVC fence.  Sunday morning someone came up and pounded on the door. Again, we will not open our door.  Most of the fence posts were removed.  Tom goes out yesterday morning to take pictures.  We want a dated history of what goes on.  There’s a guy we believe to be the manager over there.  He comes charging over and tells Tom he can’t take pictures.  I hear the yelling and screaming and come out with phone and start taping.  End of story.    Tom is very upset over the threats.  It’s two old fat guys hurling insults at each other.

Tom always helps me from the house to the car and makes sure I get off OK.  I start to drive off and car lot guy comes into the road and blocks me AGAIN!   He wants to talk about the morning’s “disagreement”  and how he wants to make me happy.  I pull out phone and start voice and video as I have expressed to town everything must now be in writing.  We are talking about a Town Hall that is literally across the street from massage parlors!  Tom sees Rob at the car and thinks I am being threatened.  Ah, male testosterone.  I may be older and have mobility issues but I can mostly take care of myself.  Situation devolves.  I must say Tom is being surprisingly cool.  No mistakes, it’s loud.  Rob snaps and I have him on tape saying let’s go of camera and have this out.  And something about beating his f**king face in. Excuse me?  At this point to my surprise, Tom says I am old and sick and not doing this.  Rob starts to yell, and again, I have this on tape, that Tom is a drunk and the only one he beats up is me.  If you have been reading me or know me, you know that we have had problems but he has never, ever beat me.  Seriously?  Has everyone lost their minds?  And how does Rob know any of this?  At the last public meeting, he told the town that Tom shouldn’t be allowed to speak as he was legally not allowed to be in my house. NOT!!  Yes, there had been an order that was quickly rescinded three years ago.

Tom starts to go back in the house and now manager charges over onto my property followed by some other car lot guys and threatening Tom.  I call out “Get off of my property, I am calling 911.”  Which I do.  911  operator has a hard time because of all the screaming going on but they all realize I am on phone with 911 and by end of call, they are back in lot.

Now, I can’t go to gym because I have to wait for police.  And we have had previous situation with someone with drugs and alcohol passed out across my driveway.  Car lot knew him and have hooks with police.  Very nervous at this point.  Tom is not drinking.  There is an order that he can’t but neither of trust the car lot people or the police.  I can’t file the complaint the cop says because I wasn’t the one who was threatened.  I do have a report.  We will see what it says.  After numerous flats in my driveway, I tried to file a report at the precinct because I felt it was connected to the massage parlor that used to be in the lot.  The precinct translated that one into a message store.

Meanwhile, Tom keeps going off about what he’s going to do. Not restful.

So, no gym and my stress level is through the roof which means my legs are shot.

I am going to try again today.  I refuse to be a victim.   Outside eyes may see me as over 50, frail with limited mobility but that is not who I am.

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Good question.

Right after Thanksgiving, my husband called out to me to come look out the front window.  “There’s something odd out here.  I think it’s a turkey.”

“Really?”  asks I.  This is a man who has had issues in the past. So I gimp out to the front.  I see nothing.  This is not unusual.  I was the child who always finally agreed that she finally saw the constellation or the bride coming out the church door rather than enduring “See?  See?”   I did see JFK on the Belt Parkway though. I am not quick.

“no, no, don’t you see that black thing.”

And there against the fence across the street was a black chicken.

And then, the chicken crossed the road!  Please understand, we live in a suburban area.  The bane of our existence is a used car lot next door to us that houses a massage parlor from time to time.  Across the street on the corner is a former gambling hall.  I was reading news headlines one day at work that the newly discovered bomb plot by either the Gambinos or the Gallos was directed at that building.  The Feds closed that one down.  And wait for it; we had prostitution there, too!  The house that the chicken bolted from we refer to as Sandford and Son.  A  seriously collects junk when he is not “away”.  Also, think from time to time, “junk” is sold from there.  Uh, cars pulling up with engines running and people running in and out?  And the SWAT team was literally there about three years ago.  Police frequent the house (more on that later).  Sometimes, on a weekend we have copter hovering over and doing a sweep.  No, it wasn’t like this when we moved in and who would want to buy this?

Back to the chicken who has crossed the road and is now in our yard.  Now besides the organized and unorganized crime, we also have woods behind us.  So, we have  a fox, opossums, feral cats,  huge raccoons and dogs.  T says “Do you think it belongs across the road?”  It crosses the road and is pecking at the fence.   “yes, why not?”

“Do you think I should go over and tell A?”

Me:  “Yes, I do not want to wake to chicken guts on the front step.”  We feed the ferals and as a consequence birds, raccoons, Fox and possums.  “We do not need to provide gourmet treats for the ‘hood.”

T trundles over and is gone for awhile.

A admits chicken ownership and is stunned that chicken crossed the road.  He has more than one.  It’s a menagerie over there.  In addition to the pitbull that pinned me in the car one day, there is a cat that we feed.  We call him AC for A’s cat.  We discovered this one afternoon when T & A were talking and AC strolled up and ate the food we leave for him.  A says “Oh, my cat never eats dry food at home!”  Uh, why should he, when he eats with us?  There is a macaw and a little dog, too.

So chicken custody determined, the guys begin to chat.  A discloses he’s on probation for DV.  Coincidence!  T just finished.  I did say more on the police later.  If you have been reading me for awhile you may believe that T is a devoted and caring spouse.  He is when he is not drinking.  He’s an alcoholic.  He is not allowed to drink in front of me.  Easier said than done, no?  So, he has been arrested here about 16 times, no joke.  This means police have been here at least 20!  It’s a small block, hidden away.  No one really knows how to get here except for the precinct.  In fact, one night they were over and asked, “Weren’t we here earlier today?”  No, they were across the street.  Fair disclaimer, T ended up in DV because they couldn’t get him on alcohol any other way.  An ADA even told me once, if we could get him in a car.  He has no license so that’s a non-starter.  The DV is the alcoholism.  It distorts people.  The cops who constantly arrested him realized that when sober, he is wonderful.  Over the years, they have liked the work he has done on the house.  “Wow, you redid the floor!”  We have an almost cordial relationship with them.  And we have been to court so often that we are personally greeted, and people look to me for advice.  Luckily, that is all over.

T was on probation for three years and concluded it successfully.  So, he is in a position to advise A and was giving him helpful hints and tips.  We believe it will be the same PO that T had. The first time she came over the house was just after dinner with the kids.  In fact, when there was a knock on the door, we thought one of them had forgotten something.  I had made stuffed pork chops and used rice wine in the stuffing and had sprinkled it because it was dry.  They breathed him and said he was positive.  We later learned that the amount would not have been recognized if he had been driving.  We didn’t know and were terrorized.  They told me that me or the kids would not know if he had been drinking.  So, not right.  We always know.  We have lived with it. And as I said at the time did they really think that having had him arrested so many times I would tolerate it and not call? I was told I could no longer use cooking wine and they made me dump my almost full bottle out.  Then they trashed my house searching for drugs and alcohol.  When they went through my mother’s antique petit-point purse, I lost it.    We have a tortoise shell cat that we took in from outside.  Of course, the cats are freaking out with these strange, hostile people in the house.  Miss Mollie runs out to hide someplace else.  Officer N shouts, “Is that a raccoon?”

Their home visits were fine after that except for the time they came after 10 p.m. when I was getting up at 4 a.m.  They have come over when we have been drinking coffee on a Saturday afternoon or making Easter chocolates!  And we  had no luck coaching Miss Mollie on how to be a raccoon.

Let’s be clear.   I never considered myself a victim, ever.  I called precinct so that I would not be.  Everyone wanted to fit me into a mold just like they do with this disease/condition.  When I work,  I make very good money so I am not dependent on a man.  The house is mine so I can’t be thrown out of it.  I was always being offered help to get a job and find housing.  Where I did feel like a victim was in the hands of probation.  Even though T doesn’t drive or work, he had to be at places that are very difficult to get to without a car.  There were also huge fees that in essence I was hostage to pay.  I was always told I didn’t have to and he would be jailed.  Does this make sense?  I was told I could give him the cash (they only accept cash) and transportation cash.  Uh, especially in the beginning, money was a trigger!  The situation is designed for people to fail and generate revenue for the county.  We had to discontinue our marriage counseling as we were told it was not allowed.  The program he was in was ridiculous and meaningless, no curriculum.  He was told if it was up to them he would not be allowed to live with me.  The people in his “class” terrified both of us.  There was the guy who had thrown his girlfriend out of the car when it was moving and one who said when accused of choking his girlfriend ” But I stopped when she turned blue!”  T successfully concluded the program.

I refuse to be considered a victim with my condition either. I will not conform to people’s expectations.  The child is father of the man.  My mother used to tell me that I conformed to non-conformity.  It’s turned out to be a good thing.  I don’t buy into the whole incurable thing.  As I have said before, I am not going to tout the advantages and delights of motorized scooters.  I hate the spectral leg.  I hate orthopedic looking shoes.  I use funky walking sticks.  And no, I am not going to apply for disability.  I do not walk well.  I am not disabled.  I am able just not as able in certain areas.  By the way when I am working I literally walk or stumble more than the average American! Yes, 8 – 12,000 steps a day.

So, husband is  giving A advice.  This is going to be interesting as I believe she is not as strong as I am and there is a language barrier as well.  And we believe  it will be the same P.O.s that used to come to us.  We would love to be a fly on the wall as they experience the menagerie, chickens included.

Why did the chicken cross the road?  Goes to show that we are more connected than we think.  And the chicken keeps on crossing the road.

 

Politics, Friendship, and Mortality

I just found out a few hours ago that one of my childhood friends passed away in his sleep last night.  Losing anyone so young is hard.  Well young is relative but I still feel relatively young and as my former sister-in-law said earlier this year “anyone dying before 80 is young.”

So, my mother worked with his father and we grew up on the same street.  His dad drank heavily and so did he but that’s what we did then.  He transferred in high school to an exclusive Catholic high.  I went to college with 6 boys from that school.  They told me that his drinking so disgusted them that they themselves threw him off the bus.  We used to drink at the same bar in our late teens and early twenties.

A memory – the New Year’s Eve  I was 21, I ended up at a party at his house with my two best friends.  The other Tress(same name) and I had dates.  Let’s put it this way, she was going out with Donnie and when I was around we used to double with his best friend who was called Hoppy, seriously.  He was far from hoppy but around 6 foot something and a solid 200 pounds plus.  He was a time filler for me.  Our other friend was just along for the ride.  Our original plan was to have a sleepover at my parents and then the guys came up with this party plan.  Somehow towards the end of the evening we ended up at J’s house.  His parents were there and some others too.  Not mine; not only did they no longer go out on New Years anymore but my mother didn’t like his father – read heavy drinker.  And it must have been very heavy as the first time I was drunk in public  was at her boss’s home(same company)  when I was around 16.  Different era, different mores.  Anyway,  Hoppy takes me over to his parents “Ma, Dad, this is the girl I have been telling you about.”  Big shock to me.  I don’t, didn’t do relationships, especially at that age.  So I am doing the drunken nice girl chat with parents and when I get away, M,  my other friend is in Hoppy’s lap, cooing to him “I want it and want it now.”  Different era, stumbled out of the house and walked the two long blocks home including one block that was a ballfield.  And it was a four lane road opposite parkway woods and a parkway.  A drunk 20-something couldn’t do that now.  Went into the house and my parents called out and asked where everyone else was.  The other Tress is with Donnie at J’s house and M?  M is f*cking her brains out with Hoppy”  Now you have to understand that was a big evil word then and I am known for not using “bad” words.  Upshot?  Parents yell at me for the profanity and M  comes in much later.  The other Tress never spoke to her again.  I am more forgiving but have to admit that I saw her in the subway 20 years ago or so and she was completely grey! Revenge is a dish best served cold.

At that point in time,  J was getting his life back together.  We used to hang in the same bar and have drinks. He was working at the local grocery store stocking frozen food.  He was going back to school.  He was very, very smart.  We had always been in the advanced class.  Then he said he made a girl pregnant that he didn’t even really like (it may have been the alcohol talking) and that was it.

Fast forward years and the advent of FB.  He was mad crazy about his grandson and was a successful guy.  Our high school always has a picnic and three years ago, I went.  Topic for another day.  There’s a candid shot of the two of us jabbering away.

 

But and there is always a but, he was far right and I am far left.  I grew up in Levittown and far right is the way most people lean but back in the day things didn’t seem as absolute.  I always knew that my views were not held by most.  J and I had a teacher in 7th grade who on reflection probably was in the John Birch society.  I vaguely reflect an argument over my not saying the Pledge of Allegiance with J.  Still, see above, we drank together.  However, I just couldn’t take it on FB.  As we and society have aged, we have become more polarized.  I hate hate speech.  Uh, yeah Levittown – 99.6 or 99.7 white when I was growing up.  I was at a high school dinner in Levittown a few summers ago and they were talking about how Nixon was right with Watergate not ‘Nam but Watergate.  Put Obama into the picture and just imagine.  I have only unfriended one person on FB and it was another elementary school onwards person with racist hate.  So, I hid J.  I only saw innocuous likes.

I knew he had moved back onto the Island from a neighboring state.  Today,  I see that he was right here in my town.  He was truly a part of my growing up.  Because I hid him, I didn’t know.  We could have and should have been able to move beyond politics to that common childhood.

When did we as a society become so divisive?  I recently read that people are deciding where to move based on the overall political makeup of an area.  What happened to us?  Where is the veneer of tolerance?  Fake it till ya make it works sometimes.  We are cutting off discourse and therefore growth.  I am guilty.  I am thinking of what I missed the last few years by cutting J off.  It makes this loss huger.

We don’t know what Fate holds for us, why waste time.

I mourn for J and for missteps.

Carpe Diem.  RIP J and I’ll be lifting a glass to Auld Lang Syne.