411: Money in the Meter

On my way to see the doctor this afternoon, I left a message on a complete stranger’s voicemail. Someone I have never seen before. Never have known, and likely will never encounter.

I held on to that stranger while I sat alone at the doctor’s office.

Aspergers was on my medical chart, listed under conditions.

I have this tongue thing, like a gag-reflex tongue I suppose, and a long tongue at that, and my tongue NEVER cooperates, especially with dental x-rays and the like. It truly has a mind of its own. No kidding. As it happened, the doctor lost his patience with me. He tried all ways to get a culture of the white patch at the back of my throat with this long Q-tip thing. But my tongue kept blocking the pokey stick like it was sparring. I was embarrassed, to say the least.

The doctor threw the stick away, and huffed. Quietly and professionally, but the frustration was obvious. Me, being my nervous giggly self, offered: “Are there any tricks? Something you can teach me to help?”

I think he was fed up with the tips he’d already offered throughout the procedure. He kind of snapped, “Tricks? No, I don’t have any tricks.” I felt all of twelve.

My demeanor makes me come across as a stupid-head sometimes: the posture, the anxious laughter, the inflection of my voice. And I fumble with words as my voice squeaks in all of its youngness. You’d think I had the IQ of a horsefly. My un-brushed hair and sloppy attire of the day, likely didn’t help to set the mood of ‘got-it-together-woman.’ I was wishing at this point I’d dressed up for the doctor, at least had my hair up and not all straggly in my face.

Still seeming a bit perturbed, the doc summed up I likely didn’t have strep anyhow. The chances were very unlikely: no fever, no swollen glands, etc. But I knew I was feeling super lousy; I knew when I’d flushed bright red earlier in the day, I’d had a fever, and I knew I couldn’t risk getting sicker. I had an important trip planned and my husband was out of town. I had to know. The anxiety grew.

He left the room without telling me anything except to explain it was basically a sore throat and to gargle. I opened the door and asked a nurse if I could go. I don’t think the doctor appreciated that. He seemed bothered when he explained the procedure of when I could exit.

At this point my resources of zen-being and lovey-dovey-ness, were all but empty. I had a lot on my plate and felt like crap. I don’t remember the particulars, but somehow the subject came up again of tricks. And the doctor said, very bluntly: “I know tricks for kids. I teach kids tricks. I don’t teach adults tricks. Adults should know.”

Man, that wasn’t nice. I swallowed and felt my little heart race. I retorted, “I have to disagree. I have autism and my son has autism. And sometimes adults need tricks too, because our bodies work differently.” He kind of gave me a glance, and that kind of made me feel worse.

He then said, in a demeaning tone, “Have you ever heard of the phrase: Where there’s a will there’s a way?”

He asked if I wanted to try again.

I said, “Yes,” already doubting myself, coaching myself with the silent you can do it, and feeling terribly inadequate. As the doctor prepared another culture, I offered kindly, “The reason I want to rule this out and take care of it right away is because I have to drive in a few days a long distance.”

The doctor approached with the long thing. This time after several more minutes of ‘ahhhhs’ and ‘look up at the corner’ and ‘no stick your tongue back in your mouth’ and much more, the doctor sighed saying he’d likely gotten something, hopefully.

Again the sense of not enough.

Somewhere in the time line after something or another, that I can’t recall now, I lost my equilibrium. I don’t know if it was one final shrug or sigh on his part, or my urge to speak my mind. But I kind of unraveled in a calm but definitely I’ve had enough of this way.

Exhausted, I asked: “Do you not know what Aspergers means and how it affects people?”

He responded, “No.”

I said, “I write for a psychology journal; would you like me to leave a copy at the desk, so you can learn?”

He kind of looked either perplexed or bothered or preoccupied—I couldn’t tell. He said something that indicated agreement.

I said, “You know you were kind of rude to me. You didn’t treat me well.”

His back was still mostly to me, as he stared down the culture. I was thinking this guy was definitely undiagnosed Aspie. I explained, “You sounded like you were belittling me.” I was on a roll then, like when you finally get the ketchup in the bottle unstuck, after that final hiccupping glob, and the rest of the red comes pouring out swiftly.

I continued, “When you talked about not having to teach adults tricks. And you asked me if I knew what Where there’s a will, there’s a way meant. You sounded like you were mocking. And who doesn’t know what that means? You insulted my intelligence. Did you have a bad day or something? I mean the way you were…oh I don’t know what you were. You just weren’t nice.”

I felt a bit like I was in ‘Gone with the Wind,’ in an important scene. Only I was in old blue jeans and wearing socks with my sandals.

He mumbled, “Well, I’ve never had an adult who could not do a culture.”

I said, with a rising voice, “Well do you think I was doing it on purpose?”

He probably wasn’t too keen on being in a room with me at this point. Poor man. I should have given him my husband’s number, so they could commiserate.

The doctor left.

I had some time to wiggle and squirm and text a friend of my experience.

When the doc returned, indeed it was strep throat. He handed me some stick and started to explain about the red line. I said, “It looks like a pregnancy stick.” Now he was nice. He was smiling. He was more relaxed. He was finally sitting and looking at me. He seemed like a different person. He actually seemed genuine and concerned. I could have sat with this person for hours. He was much changed. I sat there hunched with a blank stare contemplating the reasons for his demeanor.

I was thinking: 1) He realizes I wasn’t a moron because I told him I write for a magazine 2) He is feeling kind of wrong for assuming I wasn’t sick 3) He is realizing he was a boob 4) He has no idea what else to do but to give in 5) He thinks I am nuts 5) He is so happy I am about to leave.

As I was leaving I said, about my strep throat confirmation, “Yes, I thought so. I usually can tell stuff about myself and my health.” I imagined I would have talked more and more, if he wasn’t ushering me out the door. I was fine then. He was like my new found friend. I’d forgotten all about the rest—the stuff before he smiled. He’d been kind and that’s all I’d needed.

I reflected back to the stranger, to the voicemail message I’d left:

“I was out of sorts when you left the note because I’d just returned from the airport. I was dropping off my husband there; and now I am headed to the doctor’s because I think I have strep throat. Your random act of kindness kept me from feasibly having that ‘last straw.’ My mother-in-law died this morning. I thought you should know you made a difference.”

When I was parked downtown earlier, she had left a business card on my van’s windshield. I hadn’t seen the note until an hour later, as I was getting into the car for the drive to the urgent care center. She’d handwritten on the back of the card: I wanted to let you know, I saved you from an $18 parking ticket.

She’d put money in the meter.

368: Dream a Dream

Photo on 4-11-13 at 9.24 AM

I sometimes dream of the maroon Mazda GLC (Great Little Car) compact car I drove when I had just graduated high school—the very first vehicle I owned. Last night the car appeared, all dressed in his muted reddish-tones, still working, and still pulling me through my subconscious. We arrived in a mall parking lot, him looking auspicious, but me thinking he was running on empty, or at the very least stripped, undesirable, old, and worn out. He took no note of my emotions; like an unattached vessel he was used to getting me from here to there. I found a spot in the crowded parking lot at the side of the mall. It was mid-afternoon, with the sun in the air, but a sense of evening setting soon. I don’t remember saying goodbye to the car, or even where I parked; only that suddenly I was entering through the tall glass doors of the shopping center. I hadn’t given a second thought to the car or where’d I left it, or how long it would be there; I was too focused on my destination and some purpose that led me on like a star dancing just out of reach.

Inside the mall, I walked a short distance before turning left. My gait was at ease, my mind relaxed. There wasn’t need to rush or plan, or even focus. I approached a room and found myself inside a banquet hall full of graduates, mostly, perhaps fresh out of college or graduate school. I was part of the celebration, but entirely separate, not really seen or noticed, but included nonetheless. People were smiling, chatting, even planning. I was more of the observer: both invisible but present.

I left the gathering with a sensation inside of me that indicated I period of completion; I had attended the celebration not because I had to or had wanted to, but because I was drawn to. I hadn’t remembered being invited or previously being aware there was such a banquet. The crowd dissipated and I was neither left alone or isolated—I just was.

I walked on, inside this gigantic mall, the ceilings quite high and filled with shops and the airport above on the second-level. There was noise, people moving about, a few handsome men I can recall, and me thinking: If I bump into him on accident we can connect. Why didn’t I ever think to bump into people before? Why do I still feel the need to be noticed?

I continued on the main floor and glanced down at a watch, which was somewhere and nowhere, existing without existing; it was a little past four in the afternoon, and on reflecting on the time, I thought: Good, just enough time to get upstairs to the airport to fly to New York. And then, as soon as I’d thought that, an inner voice chimed in: Wow, that was cutting it close, maybe you should have allowed for more time, with your flight being at 4:45 and all.

I smiled and headed toward the airport terminal; until, after a few steps later, I realized I’d come empty-handed—I’d forgotten my suitcase. I turned then, searching the mall for the exit and walked swiftly towards the doors. My mind began to race, but I reassured myself, while calculating the time, that even with a quick stop outside to retrieve my luggage, I would make the flight.

Once outside I scanned the parking lot. I saw the line of trees that appeared to be the same line of trees near where I had originally parked. I scanned the rows, some five or six thick, with multiple rows in far-reaching directions leading out parallel and perpendicular. I knew my car was parked in a similar place, something like this at least, but I had no indication of where to walk. I knew to the right was too far, the place beyond the trees sparse, with the lot partially empty. I knew the place to my left to be too far the other direction, as I’d not walked that far to the mall door. I moved briskly down the five or six rows, not yet nervous, but with a burning gnawing sensation building up inside. Soon, the first element of doubt was born and my mind began the race, as if on seeing my own self lost the first shot had been fired. I worried now, the tension building, and the time seemingly building itself as a pressure upon my shoulders. How would I make my flight, if I couldn’t remember where I left my vehicle and retrieve my luggage?

Down the end of one row, on the left, was a car that matched mine almost exactly, only it shined more and appeared newer; I was almost certain I’d left my car facing the opposite direction. I approached, peered inside, and noted the interior was different, some papers, almost like a map sprawled out on one of the chairs, the inside cleaner and crisper. I opened the front passenger-side door anyway, hoping by some chance this car was my car, even though I knew this to be an impossibility. Upon swinging the door out, a bell chimed and a masculine computer voice spoke. The words indicated I didn’t belong to this car and to proceed onward. The voice made no indication of judgment, but even so there seemed to be an underlying, unspoken echo of laughter. Perhaps a chuckle of forbidden-knowing, like a parent watching a toddler open yet again the drawer he ought not touch.

I realized then, as I walked away from the car that I was in the wrong place. That I had no idea where my car was, and that it was a strong possibility I would miss my flight. I panicked some, and searched frantically for the place I’d last seen my car, and with no luck in finding what I was seeking, I hunched my shoulders and pattered back toward the mall, feeling both sorry for myself and angry at myself, and very much alone. A few older ladies, white-haired and plump, were entering their own car; as I approached the end of the aisle, most of the cars behind me, they asked: Why are you so upset? And I tried to explain. They instantly expressed no concern, and found my dilemma rather ridiculous. For here I was planning a trip and they had their own worries that were much more pertinent and important than some destination of flight. Why did my silly trip matter when so much was happening in their own lives?

I shrugged and carried myself onward, feeling heavy and burdened in thought. Entering the mall I approached a man and asked where to go to find the banquet room. I figured if I could find the banquet room where the mall journey first began, I could find the original exist I entered through, which would lead me back to the parking lot and my car. The gentleman pointed to the left, and so I turned, finding only more stores and no banquet room. I returned to the main part of the mall, knowing there was a good chance I would never make my flight, calculating the time, the cost, the potential outcomes of missing the trip. Another person gave me directions. This time I was told to: Turn right and then turn left and go down to the first floor. I looked at him bewildered: But this is the first floor, I thought. He took no notice of my concern and just guided me with his eyes and pointing hand. It’s to the right and then down to your left, I am certain, he offered. I followed his instructions and sure enough there was a room, but I knew instantly it was the wrong room. The space was marked “Theater”—it was a stage for performers, a place I had left long ago and had no desire to return to. I couldn’t see the stairs leading down, and so I assumed the stage itself must descend.

I thought to myself: how silly to have even parked in the mall parking lot, and to leave my vehicle unattended for so long. Would it not be abandoned and alone when the night came to pass and the rest drove home. Would it not just stick out then to be found by robbers and thieves?

I mourned over the loss of my car, as thoughts of failure and further isolation submerged, most of the iceberg of wounded self now surging upward through the icy-cold waters of forsaken.

I left now, completely beside myself, close to hysteria, and found myself sobbing on an outside stairwell. Someone approached and handed me a phone. On the other end of the line there was a guiding voice—albeit an unattached, very much removed guiding voice. I explained my predicament, my fear of missing my flight, my incapacity to find my luggage, the consequences of my circumstance. The voice on the other end listened. And he answered without much pretense or concern: Why not take the flight and purchase new garments when you arrive?

*********************************************

In reviewing this dream, I know the car was the “old” me, the way I chose to move through the world. I recognize I mourn this part of me; even though the vehicle was older and perhaps sluggish, and lacking luster, it was still my mode of transportation. The car holds the luggage I carried with me, the necessities I think I need—my cloaks/costumes, my way of being, what is familiar and known. In searching for the car, I have lost the car, primarily because the car no longer exists and really never existed. I am worried of what will become of myself.

The gathering in the banquet room and the people in the mall are all symbolic of the other travelers in life that I see around me but feel disconnected with. I love them, I admire them, I even want to bump into them, if not for connection than for direction. I am searching for myself in others, searching for guidance, and understanding. And although no one shuns me or judges me, I am in essence invisible, there but not, moving through the world unnoticed.

The only moments I do connect are when I am in my state of sorrow and panic; here in my sadness about taking flight and finding my way out of being lost strangers will listen, but they will not understand or take interest. They are focused on their own life. No one feels what I am feeling, and whether outside the mall or inside the mall, I am lost. I am surrounded by everyone and no one. The stage is symbolic of where I used to be. The place I acted and performed. This is no longer my destination; neither is the banquet room of celebration. I have moved beyond celebration and pretending, and I am ready to journey onward. However, I think I must find the old me and follow the old ways to move forward. I am lost both inside the mall and outside the mall, in a place of limbo, searching everywhere and ending up nowhere; by entering a stairwell, I am at my last stop, not in the parking lot and not in the mall. Here in a place that doesn’t belong to either world, I realize that the answers are not found in the ways of the old or the ways of the new.

The only answers are to be found in letting go of my past ways and letting go of my search. By risking flight without the answers, I shall find the answers.

354: Drunken Hostess with the Mostess

Photo

A few weeks ago I hosted a party and I was entirely wasted before the guests arrived.

This marks the second potluck in WA my husband and I have hosted since moving here, almost three years ago. The event was a big deal to me, and I loaded my grocery cart to the max to insure plenty of booze and munchies.

The last time I threw a party for my neighbors, which was also the first time, I was politely informed by my good friend’s husband that there wasn’t enough alcohol. He then left and brought back four bottles from his house. This time I was prepared. I bought the hugest bottles of Rum and Tequila I could find, and several bottles of wine. I am not a big drinker. No, sir! Never have been and doubt I ever will be. In fact, before the year 2012 I probably averaged between two and three glasses a year!

Since finding out I am aspie, the intake may have increased a wee bit.

My reasons for not drinking are multi-faceted; like everything else in my life, nothing I do is simple. I focus a lot of conscious thought and unconscious thought on the “right path;” even though I recently have come to terms with the fact there is no fricken right path and it’s all a big game, I still have that old “right path” mentality, much like a gag reflex.

Not following the right path, makes me want to gag and come up for air. Not doing the “right” thing feels like a recent ordeal I underwent at the orthodontist’s office, in which I was being fitted for a new retainer device. (The diagnostic x-ray revealed that I have unusually large sinus cavities; no big deal or of special interest. But I mention it just in case you are collecting random data about me.) At the orthodontist the lady worker gently shoved a metal contraption filled with cold grainy-cementy goop atop the roof of my mouth to take impressions for my new retainers. As she delicately shoved the banana flavored pink goop into my mouth she said, “Remember breathe slowly through your nose.” While my mouth airways were obstructed, I kept saying to myself: “You aren’t going to die. You aren’t going to die. You aren’t going to die.”

That’s how I feel if I don’t follow the right path, or rules, or guidelines. (A right I am very much aware doesn’t exist, but I have to find and try to adapt to nonetheless.) I feel like I am being gagged, out of breath, and will die. Makes no logical sense. I know this. But my brain has “follow the rules” tattooed around its frontal lobe. I am still working on the removal process of this tattoo; it’s slow going.

For me, the day of the party, the right path meant: Temperance. A word I had latched onto and deciphered and longed to apply in my life. Temperance meant no indulgences and no drinking alcohol. The party would be the perfect stage to practice my temperance and do the “right” thing. At least according to the recent “rules” I was applying.

The gods laughed at me.

For by the time the first guests arrived I had downed three glasses of port wine. But trust me, I had good reason!

In the end it turned out fine, except for the time the one guest mentioned how her memory is bad and then she laughed in jest saying, “It’s because I’m a genius.” Totally joking she was. And then I, being so very much beyond tipsy, blurted out: “The funny thing is, I am a gifted-genius, a professional just recently verified this.” And then, after slapping my knee, and elaborating about my big brain and Aspieness, I went into a full confession about how I was trying to release ego and be filled with humility. I ended this, I think, with telling my neighbor, a woman I barely see anymore, “You know you want take walks with me now; a gifted, published genius I be.” I’d thrown in the whole publishing story in there somewhere, I suppose.

As I have mentioned before, I don’t drink much. I am an extreme light weight. A half-glass of pear-cider at the local pub and I am saying to my husband in a very loud voice, “That guy is checking out my butt.” I try to curb my alcohol intake, not so much for the constant records that play when I am drinking: Destroying liver, destroying liver, destroying liver and/or you’ll become an alcoholic. But because I become a dang fool. I really do. I lose all inhibition and feel like I am freeeeee. One of my (drunk) relatives once got onto my aunt’s electric wheel chair and flew up the freeway onramp to take a ride on the freeway. And I think that’s me. I think when I drink I take a ride on the free-way! WEeeeeeee.

So I don’t drink much.

But that evening, an hour before the guests arrived, as I was putting the freshly made salsa into a pitcher, I began to burn. At first I didn’t notice. I just kept rinsing my hands under water, thinking the burn would pass. But, no! The burn did not pass. It grew increasingly worse, like my hands were in the snow without gloves and the frostbite was setting in; it was a deep, unreachable burn, penetrating and erupting from the inside of every finger, and the guests were to arrive in less than an hour.

My husband was not home, and I was in a pure panic.

I rationalized and reasoned, and then concluded the culprit was the Serrano peppers! I had used my bare hands to not only cut the Serrano hot peppers for the salsa, but when my food processor stopped working (as all electronics like to malfunction around me) I had dipped my hands in the freshly ground peppers to scoop out the remains and transfer the mixture to the blender.

Oh, my gosh! I had soaked my hands in hot pepper oil!

I quickly went to the internet for help. Google God to the rescue. I soon found other people who had been as dim-witted as me. The remarks were reassuring. There were some helpful tips to end the horrific pain.

Eventually I tried everything listed as remedies: butter, milk, yogurt, sugar scrub with olive oil, etc. But nothing decreased the pain. I thought for certain my flesh was going to peel off. I was going to have fleshless fingers! And still the pain intensified. At this point, my feet broke out in hives from the stress. Yes, with the guests arriving in less than a half-hour, I had burning flesh hands and hived up feet. Glorious!

When my husband came home with some cortisone cream the local pharmacist said would stop the pain, I shook my head nooooo. My husband insisted, and I gave in. Soon I was screaming at a high pitch and downing wine as fast as I could. The cream had only served to intensify the burn. Dumb pharmacist.

My husband at this point is saying, “You are like Lucy from I Love Lucy, you know?”

That didn’t help.

At last I found the answer in one of the comments online: “Called ER (emergency room); there is nothing they can do. The pain will last four to six hours.”

Really? No one could say that from the start.

What should have come up on the top of the comment section was: You are so screwed!

And that’s how it began, how I began slurping the port wine. The pain-relievers I took did nothing.

The wine really didn’t decrease the pain much either, but by the time the first patrons arrived, I didn’t really care. And eventually the margarita helped to ease the ordeal to a hilarious event.

As our first friends arrived, I confessed, “I am already drunk. Let me tell you a story….”

And towards the start of the party, to another couple I said, “I am not rinsing my hands under cold water every minute because of OCD, just so you know, let me tell you a story…”

And by the end of the night, three hours of hand rinsing later, shortly after my gifted-genius, I am zen and ego-less spill, I said, “And you know what the best part about being drunk before any of you arrived is and especially about being in so much pain?!” I paused, dipping my hands further in a bowl of cold water. “I really honestly don’t care what you think of me.”

And that was that.

(another funny story)

335: I Whisper Death

208578_10200678384552111_487489133_n

I Whisper Death
3/4/13 Samantha Craft

Beneath the forest floor, where roots meet and entangle, I wait, my hands stretched out in the shape of destiny, each limb bent in the design of fate. My face shines there, in the bleeding darkness, the soil rich, the harvest collected thusly so and set down at the imagined feet of one.

Like dusk blending with dawn, the daylight hours disappear, and time spreads thin, one hour yielding to the next, and falling faster than the dying star. For death himself is here, beneath this earth, where this child rests her heart, a loving seed for one.

And near this death moves life, effervescent in her appearance, her gown golden-weaved in delight.

Though death be near, his shadow thick, his breath heavy, life—she dances in a play, a widowed partner pleading for Mercy to bring her mate. And how life sings, her voice the holes of flutes, both carrying and holding the beauty that comes with creation. She bows, her hands echoes’ shadow, her arches the very threshold of his coming.

In an instant she is here and then gone, and then returns again, a spinning image of self, reappearing with the turn of merry-go-round; lost and then found; lost and then found again. Unattainable she remains, her platform chance, her shape fortune.

Please come, I call out from below, my chariot less driven than wished upon. Please come, I call out again, the pleading heard by the chambers of my soul.

Though my voice be nothing in comparison to life, in all she offers.

I am but invisible, hidden like the worms that burrow forward to the core of something.

My voice unheard, my face unseen, I cry out and then cry in, calling on the very goddesses of fairytales past in hope of capturing the heart of one.

He doesn’t come. He doesn’t hear.

And if he does, if by chance my wishes scurried across the broken channels of connections, and voice he found, then voice alone is turned down and dissolved by his wanting naught.

Unfound, I weep.

Unfound, I turn.

And thusly I wander in the deepening depths of feverish want.

In dreams I ride the cloak of death, draped in his darkness, the sorrow and suffering removed. And there, from my own tombstone risen, fine seedling is spat forth.

To bloom again and touch the daylight with green.

For if it be death that must come, then death I call upon, to release me from this bitter-thorned suffering.

Cometh death to my bedside of garden. Unlike the soldier before, find me, your shadow seed, your princess, your warrior made choice breed.

I whisper. I whisper.

I whisper death.

Death rises, without desire. He drifts in with the victorious gait of one who knows defeat by scent and scent alone. And takes me from the grip of forbidden grounds, and shapes me down deeper, trumpeting his mark into me, a brander by trade.

And I am slaughtered, a sow made sweeter for the taking. Bled out to be made ready for sup and fed upon, one mouth upon the other. Until all parts vanquished, I am free. Spread verily thin, a rail to a speck.

How thankful then I be, the sum of my parts scattered and forgotten.

How thankful then I be, for the agony released.

Until I hear his name.

The one I claimed mine. The one I called, whom before never came.

Until I hear him call out to me, his lost maiden found.

Until I watch his search, this one, for my mystery. His dreams taking him not to me but to the essence of whom I might have been: the sun per chance, or at least the rays, the warmth captured by his tawny skin and creasing edges.

And a part remembers, from somewhere lost, that I am no longer here. A part remembers that instead I be a flower in disguise, reformed and taken by another. Burst out of the darkness to reclaim the sky, yet in the same making hopelessly hidden.

While in solid form he stands in promise, searching the fields for what was once true, when all about lost memory dances with death.

And life, she gently laughs then, her voice cascading through twin-windowed souls, bringing forth the blistering wake of nevermore.

269: Thursday’s Pee

photo-on-12-5-12-at-2-00-pm1-e1354746095728

I always have to pee at the least desirable times. Like right now, as I sit here in this coffee shop, dressed rather cute with my new white jacket that was initially supposed to accompany the dress I never wore—the panty-free dress that made its proud debut in the blogging world.

image_1354817622676919

I’m all dolled up. And why? Why is my hair curled, my lashes too, and my lips a sweet watermelon-color?

Because it’s Thursday, of course.

As I sit here typing, I have a full panoramic view of the room. I can see the fireplace, and unfortunately the man who set up camp right in front of my leather couch, across the coffee table. I’ve been battling his come-hither stares and energy since his prompt arrival, and wondering what’s a girl to do?

I have to pee because I had a huge cup of coffee mixed with organic hot chocolate mix. Can you say double-yum? I had that to-die-for beverage, earlier, when at home.

Arriving at the coffee house, with all my perky-self, I said to the lady behind the counter, a sweet young thing: “I’d like a decaffeinated soy Chai Latte, please!” I flashed a big grin. I liked the sound of my order.

And plus, my jacket said it all: I am sexy, I am cute, and I am fabulous. See the bow in the back of my coat?

My face said the rest: See my big grin. I am so extremely comfortable here. Let me lift my brows to decrease my wrinkles, and set my head so delicately to the right. Am I approachable, yet? Am I fitting in, blending in with the other humans?

The tall bearded man, near the young lady behind the counter, strikingly thin, likely a vegan extremist, eyed me fine and good. He spoke to me without words for a millisecond. Processing. Then he breathed out his thoughts, quick and easy like. With a smirkish clear of his throat, he said: “We don’t have decaf Chai.” He then rolled his eyes and scooted his frailness out of my line of vision. Though he kept watching me with his I-know-more-about-beverages-than-you stare down.

Deflated, I panicked and slid my thoughts to the right, examined, and tried to grasp my next step. Catching an idea, I said, as smoothly as possible, despite the nervous giggle: “Oh, yes, of course Chai is caffeinated.”

Then I felt doubly-incorrect, remembering there is decaf Chai tea in the stores, and for a moment I was in the grocery market, away from the frightful man.

I was quite beside myself with embarrassment, realizing that I’d once again over reacted to the slight poopiness of a stranger.

What to do?

After the boob of a man (Rather Zen of me, don’t you think?) slapped down the tea menu in front of me, I had the keen impression he was fed up with my query-filled eyes.  Sucking in my breath, I said, “Ginger tea,” delicately and tried to fluff up my sweetness.

Can’t you see that I’m nice?

With tea in hand, I retreated with imaginary tail between legs to my wall, and then struggled to figure out proper etiquette for placing down my items. Where to put my scarf, keep jacket on (looks cute, keeps me warm, hides my boobs) or take jacket off (keeps jacket clean, might be more comfy), Put laptop on lap, put laptop on table? Cross legs?

And so on.

Endless it is.

Problem is right when I got settled that’s when the stranger arrived. With some fifty other feasible places to sit, he chose to sit directly in front of me, in a position where his line of vision crashes and smacks mine. I can’t even hide behind my laptop.

The stare down begins.

So far, in the last hour, I’ve noted his outdated sneakers (I mean 1980’s black checkered Vans) and his need to pull his hat over his head and nap. I’ve taken random glances when he wasn’t looking, but really wished I had a note on the back of my laptop that read:

This is an experiment—I have Aspergers. Don’t expect me to look you in the eyes or respond to your existence, unless you are a woman my age or very old and safe looking. Or a child. Or a dog. Or even a bird. But if you are a man, beware. You’re invisible. Kind of…..

I really have to pee, now.

I have a laptop, and thusly, in order to vacate my spot, I will have the task of stuffing the laptop in my computer case. That in and of itself, is difficult. I am not very coordinated. Stuffing things inside other things is not my forte. In fact, trying to fit anything inside anything is hard. (I’m embarrassed now, as this someone how once again seems sexual. Like I said, I’m twelve inside.)

Think folding chairs into folding chair’s bag….panic attack. I don’t know which side goes in first. And then I get all bothered with everything that sticks and snags and acts stubborn. I often carry my portable lawn chair in one hand and the designated bag for said chair in the other hand. It’s just how my life is.

I have to figure out if I am going to ask the very, very kind looking woman at the table diagonal to me if she would watch my laptop. However she is deep in conversation, and though her friendly eyes beckon me, I cannot help but visualize her running away with my laptop, all the while smiling in her delight, and screaming: “Ha, ha!  You are over-trusting!”

I am now starting to run through in my brain the very feasible scenario of what will happen if I do in fact piddle in my pants.

I really want to keep my place, my cozy spot on the couch; so I am setting my book on the coffee table alongside my scarf, and letting the thoughts of new book and pretty purple ruffled scarf being stolen saturate and then spill out of my brain. I take in a deep breath, wondering if the bow in the back of my coat is in actuality cute or just plain silly for my age.

Deep sigh, stepping forward, while balancing laptop. Glancing back to reassure myself that my spot is still marked and claimed. Thoughts of a dog peeing on a bush to claim his territory enter briefly. Wondering if anyone is in the bathroom and hoping I can reach the sanctuary of the porcelain pot in time.

Passing people.

Standing upright, trying to look confident. Knowing when I stand too upright that my body is bendy-like and I look like a stretchy doll. Smiling, knowing I don’t feel natural when I smile and that likely my eyes are super wide, eyebrows raised, and I look freakishly over-caffeinated.

“Squirrel. Squirrel!” The dog barked in full elation: That sums up my expression, surely.

And so the first threshold is reached:

image_1354820747347342

Back stepping. Where is the dishes window? WHAT is a dishes window. Holding legs closer together. Calculating if I feasibly have enough time left.

image_1354820775335581

Which one do I take. “Excuse me Ms. Is this the right key?” Holding any random key up. Wondering how many bathroom doors there will be.

image_1354820727753032

Go through door to find long hallways and more doors and more signs!!!

image_1354820680870428

Indeed. More directions. Lovely.

image_1354820706256937

Staring this image down. What if someone is already inside? I hear water running. Do I wait?

How do I scan this fricken plastic card?

A lovely young man arrives, and smiles. “Do you need help? Are you having trouble figuring out what to do?”

“Ummmm,” I say meekly with goofy teenage-grin. “What if someone is inside? Do I enter?”

He is smiling, I think, but I can’t tell, because I am staring at my boots. He offers: “You can just….”

And POOF, the door magically opens as the other female patron exits, and I slip inside, red-faced and flustered and scolding my cute little kidneys.

Mission accomplished.

Quick photo snap of a relieved woman, looking, (not surprisingly), drunk and haggard.

As I’m summing up the last details of my excursion in typed print, the friendly looking gentlemen to my left (lots of men in this coffee shop) he pauses, and glances my way, and asks, “Would you mind keeping an eye on my laptop for a minute?”

Overly zealously, I accept.

I must look trustworthy, I think. Or remind him of his mother.

The irony of the handsome lad’s question settles.

I spend the next five nervous minutes wondering what I would actually do if someone snatched up his laptop. Would I chase them? Would I scream?

I panic.

So much for designating Thursdays as my public outing days…..

257: Thankful for Naked People

Surprise:

This was  a wonderful, wonderful surprise.  (Click to find out) After a heavy week of processing and feeling less than desirable, and looping and having little sleep, I found this link on my statistical page of my blog. Sigh. The words are truly divine timing for me. I am ever so thankful for this kind woman’s heart and honesty. Thank you!

Yesterday’s post had some interesting photos. A couple of people commented, including my husband. I am curious if any super highly intuitive people got what I was trying to convey artistically. If you didn’t, you can pretend you did, because I’m about to tell you.

For me, the emotion conveyed and pouring through my blood, in both the poem and in the letter to my Lord, was the extreme pressure I feel in being human, particularly in the way people judge one another based on a variety of reasons, including conclusions drawn by collective perceptions and experience. My photos, to me, were conveying a false me. An illusion, you could say, of a person who would be mistook as perhaps mean, shallow, conceded, lustful, angry, or desperate and needy. I was attempting to convey a photo that did not represent my light side, but my shadow side.  I personally love the photos, as they are gutsy, real, and a part of me I haven’t let out of the bag until now. Meow! Scratch! Scratch!

With that said, I was going to pose naked for this post….but thought that might be stretching the limit.

I was at my masseuse today, processing and processing, and talking poor little Sue Happy’s ears off. That’s what I call my masseuse, because her name is Sue and she is perpetually happy. I was so into my heavy talk and deep thoughts…super deep, like the…. (now that sounds provocative!) As I was saying, I was into some deep stuff, like the potentiality to change the view I have of a relative based on the truth that we each create in our minds a perception of a person; so that if each person were looking at one person, say a woman, then each perception of said woman would be different based on who was viewing her. In other words, there would be several versions of the same woman existing simultaneously based on the observer, with not one single version being the right perception . And if I could thoroughly grasp this concept, and the illusion of perception, then I could feasibly adapt the perception of many of the other people looking at the woman, and merge that adapted perception into my current perception, minus the non-beneficial thoughts, in order to recreate a more positive and healthy version of said-woman.

Yes, I said all that at super high-speed, in one huge sentence.

Patient, loving Sue Happy.

Sue Happy did say my feet were the most balanced she’d ever seen them. That’s saying something. I immediately thought of the gut-wrenching, desperate-kneeling, and wailing I did in the shower yesterday; and thought perhaps that my virtual throwing up of said self was the secret to balanced feet.

I didn’t say that to Sue; nor did I say I was talking fast as a result of the Mocha Coffee.

Anyhow, my point was, I was being super, super deep and serious, and quite complex for most bipeds. And that is when I decided I needed to shift the energy. Luckily, I know how to crack myself up, and I know how to think quickly. I had this great idea come at me all at once for a Thanksgiving post. Something off the wall. I would post a short story of the nude beach and make the title: Thankful for Clothes.

After some consideration, I withdrew that initial thought.

It was Thanksgiving after all. I then came to the conclusion that a more enticing title for the holiday would include the word naked. Of course the following song immediately popped in my head.

Only they were naked. And that really made me laugh. I envisioned all the naked people dancing to this song on the nude beach. And I was instantly healed from all the trauma of the nude beaches! No…not really. But I did have a good laugh. Naked jiggly-parts, and all.

Here is the short story. For the sake of honoring my mother, I did take out several descriptions I had of her breasts. This did affect the overall artistic touch of this story. But even I know when to draw the line: NO description of your mother’s boobies on Thanksgiving! I assumed boyfriend’s butt-crack was okay. Hope I didn’t ruin your pumpkin pie!

Thankful for Clothes

Ben turned back. “Good day, Pretty Ladies.”

Ever cautious, I replied, “Thank you.”

Ben winked and then turned around and snapped the cap of a beer bottle off with his teeth.

“We look like one of those families on television, with our car piled up with blankets and food, and our smiling faces,” said Mother.  “Like the Brady Bunch.  Or what’s that other show?”

“The Partridge Family,” I muttered.

“Yeah.  More like them.”

I rubbed my bare feet between my dog’s tight curls and pulled a string from the seat cover.  Ben’s daughter, Shara, giggled and kicked her legs up and down.  Her round little belly protruded out from her top, exposing what looked to be the tie of a latex balloon.

Ben cleared his throat. “You know we went out of our way to get ready.  It probably took us a good hour just to pack up the car, not to mention the time we had to wait for you to finish going to the bathroom and find Justice’s leash.  I hope you appreciate all your mother does.” Ben finished, flashed a half-smirk, turned away, and patted Mother on her bare knee.  They exchanged a knowing smile.  I grabbed my stomach and threw up.

 

The rest of the story has been removed, because I wanted to keep it private. 🙂

 

255: The Fig

A lovely blogging friend commented that she can see both peace and sadness in my eyes.  I think I was born with the sadness. I don’t know from when or where, but it seems to have always been in the depths of me.  As far as the peace is concerned, that is something that has taken extreme dedication, focus, and prayer to acquire.

This is a short story from the many writings I did in efforts to heal myself. I believe I shared this piece before but cannot remember. I spent a period of four years writing. I collected some 265 typed pages in the form of a manuscript, much of which I have shared on this blog. People have inquired about the idea of me writing a book. I used to be hyper-focused on becoming a published author, so much that it became my goal and identity. With time, I came to a deep inner peace about my works; I understood that the passion for writing a book, though a necessary passion at the time, came from a place of ego and self-want. I am not attached to publishing any longer, especially not attached to gaining monies or recognition. I pray continually for humility and what is best for my higher good and those of others.  I maintain an energy of release when I write: the release of stagnant energy, the release of want, of validation, of need. I write purely in hopes of being a light and answering my calling. I put intention and healing vibration behind every word. In most of my writing there is a distinct rhythm. This rhythm is intentional, and filled with my love. If I heal along the way, that is a wonderful bonus. What is more important to me, at this point in my journey, is giving to the world. That is what life means to me.

The Fig (Based on True Events)

By Samantha Craft

In some ways, during the first year at our duplex, our home served as a transitional stopping point for strangers:  a person would arrive and rent out our spare bedroom and then, as if they’d landed on the jail space on the board game of Monopoly, after a few rolls of the dice, they’d move on.

Our first roommate, kindly Jeff, a man in his early twenties, arrived a few months after Mother and I had moved in.  Sprouting a fantastic full head of cherry-red clown hair, Jeff was entirely intriguing—from his gigantic gold-rimmed glasses to the smooth glass eye with an iris-blue center he’d pop out from time to time and let me examine up close in my hand.  Jeff had a puttering V.W. Bug that jerked and spat and carried us to fancy places like the local Taco Bell and the red-boxed television booth at the corner Lucky grocery store where I could watch Woody Woodpecker cartoons.  Sometimes, my favorite sometimes, Jeff carried home his work case laden with the grocery store price numbers, each type housed in its own tiny pull out drawer.  They were a hard flexible-plastic, nothing I’d seen or touched before.  These clear drawers and the miniature treasures inside each drawer out rated any old doll house in my book.

For a very short while, Ruth, an eccentric plump puppeteer with wiry-white hair, lived in our home.  She also had a case, but a much more impressive wooden one which housed her enormous stringed-puppets. Though the puppeteer wasn’t with us long, I fondly recall her performing puppet shows with her life-sized floppy marionettes out on our front patio.

 

The rest is in my book 🙂

 

Post 250: It’s Raining Men

Anyone else roller skate to this music?

Lately, I’ve been admitting love.

I post love on my blog, on my social network page, and admit love to my friends.

It’s been very freeing and healing.

I’ve also been processing through past relationships with men.

Until last week, I saw myself as a real victim in love relationships.

In the beginning of my “dating” years, which actually started at age five, (No kidding; I always loved boys. My first “date” was at Keith’s house, where he introduced me to his favorite delicacy, peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches. I politely gagged.)….

In the beginning of my boyfriend-girlfriend years, I attracted very safe males: sweet, kind, friendly, and truthful. I was fortunate to have two boyfriends in high school (at separate times), after I moved back to California, that treated me with the up most respect and love. But something shifted at about the age of twenty. Perhaps it was being away from my extended family and not having a father that adored me. Or perhaps the shift was brought on by insecurities surrounding college or finally “growing up.” Regardless, at the age of twenty I began falling for whomever paid attention to me. For seven years my relations with men were bleak and tumultuous.

So often, in my twenties, the man I “chose” was addicted or abusive or both. I felt used physically, and was often dumped out like last week’s beer bottles—left clanging and spinning down a steep hill of depression. For years and years I blamed these men for their character and callousness. I cringed at the thought of these people not loving ME! How could they not? What was wrong with me?

A few days ago, I suddenly had a knowing. I suddenly saw in full picture, a truth. I wasn’t a victim. I wasn’t used and tossed out. There wasn’t a right person or wrong person in my sexual drama. I attracted men at the same level I was at spiritually and emotionally. (I had to leave out mentally, and just giggle. I was always smarter! Lol.)

But most telling, I realized at the center core of me the profound truth: that in fact I USED THEM.

In my mind I had thought that their “crime” was using me physically; and how could any crime be worse than that type of invasion? However, my crime was equal. I was a “villain” too. I used them. I chose to be with a man I didn’t like and didn’t respect, in order to not be alone. I used men!

Suddenly this ah-ha moment swept me away, and time stopped. I traveled back to a dozen relationships, and revisited and swept clean the energy attachment. Within seconds, I’d forgiven the men and myself. The labels were released. The words of scumbag, loser, liar, addict, etc. that I applied to the men, vanished. And then, presto, the labels slut, stupid, blinded, desperate that I’d branded to my energy field disappeared too! I began to see the men as other spirits on their journey. I began to see I was never victimized. I understood that using is using, whether it be of flesh or emotion. And then I released the using label, too. We weren’t using. We just were. We were existing, surviving, journeying. We just were. And so it goes.

Here is a prior entry about my experience with men

(reposted from past entry)

The Dance with Don

(notice the tone of this…written before my ah-ha moment.)

The highlight of my dating career had to be the season I spent with the habitual lying, sexually addicted Don—a spineless man five years my senior who behaved ten years my junior.  At first glance I’d fallen head-over-sandals in love with Don.  The summer day he confidently strode through the Catholic daycare where I worked, I’d tucked myself halfway behind a shelf of books and drooled over his perpetually sun-kissed skin.  He was everything I’d wanted, dark and handsome, and tall enough to look down at me with his bedroom eyes.

The times Don and I were together weaved in and out sporadically through a span of half a decade.  When I first met Don he was separated from wife number one; when I last reunited with Don, he was struggling to patch it up with wife number two.  I was the in-between, but one Don swore up and down he intended to marry.

The majority of our relationship played out like an ill-plotted soap opera, with me as the dimwitted, star-struck mistress and Don as the notorious villain.

There were definite reasons I stuck around. With Don came a familiarity of unpredictability.  He was my locomotive, the one I could catch a ride on and speed through the world with a view I remembered—one of constant change and chaos.

For a long while, I’d do anything I could to win Don over. I’d forgive his shortcomings and mysterious disappearing acts, and demean myself in different ways.

In our first months together, when I was still hopeful, there’d been major red flags.  Don had no home phone number or address.  His scorned, soon to be ex-wife, had warned me to have nothing to do with Don.  And Don’s truck was mysteriously breaking down, in an accident, short on gas, or had a flat tire, many of the nights he was supposed to be with me.

I was good at rationalizing his actions and taking his lies as truth.  I found reasons to stay, like the fact that Father liked Don and that Don eventually showed up.

I was twenty-years-old and newly accepted into the teaching credential program at the university the weekend I learned of Don’s other woman.  It was either the Saturday I’d scrubbed Don’s toilet, or the time I’d obsessively lined his kitchen shelves; no matter, it was the eventful afternoon I came face-to-face with a woman out for blood.

I’d been oblivious of course, hadn’t a clue Don had flirted with a seventeen year old outside of the construction site where he worked, slept with her, and possibly fathered her baby.

For some time there had been hints of another woman.  All along Don had pushed back our framed photos or even turned them face down, forgetting to place them back up in their right position when I arrived.  And I love you posters and cards I had made for Don had been rearranged on the wall or re-taped in another room of his cheap apartment.

The one of many climatic events of our relationship began with a loud knock at the door, an initially startling noise that momentarily displaced me, until I assumed Don missed another rent payment or lost another spousal support check.  By the second series of knocks, I’d headed toward the front door, and would have unlocked the knob, if Don had not, in one swift pull, yanked me backwards by the tail of my shirt and whispered, “Don’t.”

It was then I heard her voice for the first time, a high-pitched scream to the tune of:  “Open the damn door, Don.  I know you are in there.”

I wasn’t that far gone in my oblivion love state, not to recognize the voice of another woman.  With immediacy I scowled at Don like he’d taken my only prized possession, and pushed my palms into his chest, wanting to hurt him like he’d just pained me.

Don stepped back, taking my hands into his, and mouthing, “I’m sorry.  I love you.  I only love you.”  He then released my hands and tugged down nervously on his neon-green tank top. “I meant to tell you.  I swear,” he said, widening his dark eyes in remorse like I’d seen him do a dozen times before. “If I told you, if you found out, I was afraid you’d leave me.  And she was a horrible mistake.  I didn’t want her to be the reason we lost such a good thing.  I love you so much.  You know I do.  You have to trust me.”

Before I could make up my mind about what to do, there was one final series of knocks, and the voice came again, only louder and more determined: “If you don’t open this damn door, I’m going to kick it down!”

What happened next still amazes me, and proves once again the strength that can be found in pure rage.  Within a few seconds of her last knock, there was one heavy kick of her foot, followed by several more, and then, without warning the door broke off of its hinges, the side paneling splintering, and the whole of the door slammed down inside the apartment.

There, amongst the settling dust, in marched a skinny girl, no taller than five-feet, cradling a screaming newborn in her arms.  Boiling with revenge, she charged Don like some creature from a Japanese horror flick, with her arms outstretched growling for revenge.  On reaching Don, she punched him once in the chest and then shoved the baby at him.  “Take her!” she ordered, back stepping and turning her head with a whip of her dirty-blond hair.

From behind the couch, I tracked the baby’s wrinkled arms flailing, and then gasped as the girl moved towards me.  Her eyes were on fire as she shouted at full-throttle, “I’m going to kill you, Bitch!”

Without thought, I ducked around Don and attempted to make my way to the doorway.   Don didn’t waste anytime.  Before I had a chance to maneuver myself around the girl, Don had tossed the baby on the couch, grabbed his bike, carried it down the apartment stairs, and rode off.

For a few seconds both the girl and I stared out the doorway with disbelief, and then we stared down at the tiny infant crying on the couch, until the girl’s raging eyes met mine, and she roared, “You’re dead!”

From where she stood, prepared to launch, I could smell my scent on her, the expensive bottle of perfume I received from my father for my birthday, which had recently gone missing from my bathroom shelf.

As the girl stormed forward, I managed to swerve around her.  She lunged at me, barely swiping my shoulder.  I jumped over a small ottoman, snatched up my car keys and practically flew down a flight of concrete stairs.

In the narrow carport, I started my sedan and backed up.  Just as I was about to turn out of the apartment complex, the frenzied girl’s enormous boat-of-a-station wagon came charging forward and blocked my way out.

Seconds later, leaving the baby wailing on the front seat of the car, the girl marched across the parking lot to my car window and ordered, “Roll down your window!”

Caught between a place of disbelief and hysteria, I shook my head and whimpered, “I didn’t know.  I didn’t know.”

The girl’s face turned from one of frozen-ice to empathetic-disgust.  She tapped on the glass of the window a few times, and then rolled her eyes up letting out a long heavy sigh.  Finally, seemingly understanding my predicament, she waved me off with a shake of her hand, before stomping back to her car.

After she sped off, I remained in the parking lot, uncertain of what I’d gotten myself into, and more uncertain of how I would ever find my way out of my contorted labyrinth.

Day 230: Tornado

Tornado

One midday, beneath the shade of a leaning cypress tree, after the late-spring sea fog had lifted, I stared out to the crashing waves with a grave impassivity.  In the past years, I’d grown deeply attached to the ocean side town. I believed in a sense we were one, the town and I, joined together in the same way the redwood trees unite their roots underground.

Aggrieved and spiraling with emotions like a blender on high-speed, I replayed Mother’s words, her promises; there would be new bedroom furniture and a private school, and a nice house.  I could wear a school uniform like Jane.

Mother had strolled into my room twenty-minutes earlier with a confident air and found me absorbed in my sticker collection book, categorizing each sticker by theme.  I was on the butterfly page. There were 33 butterflies—one more butterfly than fairies.  Mother had a faraway look, a deep and distant gaze that made me think she was traveling with the angels in the sky or the dolphins in the sea.  I knew innately from all my years with Mother that she was happy; and so I also knew she wasn’t going to tell me her boyfriend Ben was finally leaving; still, I held onto the hope, even though all the signs pointed in the opposite direction.

 

The rest is in the book 🙂