Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Reflections on Mom

In the last couple weeks, two close friends have each lost one of their parents and I deeply hurt for them. When a friend loses their parent or family member, it invariably brings up memories of your own loss. I don't write about it much anymore but I wanted to share some thoughts since my Mom's passing three years ago.

When my Mom died, I just wished so hard that I could hug her once more, speak with her, just have one more day with her. Something real. But there was no tangible way that this could happen.  But I was desperate with a way to connect with her. I truly thought I would go mad at one point from depression and sadness. I had dreamed of her several times and it felt so real to me as if she were truly next to me. I haven’t dreamt of her much lately. It is more and more infrequent. Although I still think of her several times during the course of each day. I see her views and beliefs in my own choices. That is how I connect with her now.

I guess each of us that have lost a parent go through grieving in similar yet different ways. I was very open with my feelings when Mom died but really didn't go into too much depth about feeling depressed. I didn't want to seem like I was losing it. I eventually realized that she lives on in me and is very much still present in my life. I laugh and smile about her a lot, but it is tinged with sadness. I am resigned that I will never talk with her again and that part just sucks.

As I write this, I stop and take a break, just staring at my words on the computer screen. I will never talk with her again. It has taken me over 3 years for this to really sink in. I hate it and want to delete this entire damn blog post but I don’t. Death of a loved one completely exhausts you. It is such an emotional roller coaster  It makes you angry and sad but in certain circumstances, it also gives you relief.  I knew that Mom’s last wish of passing away at home was fulfilled. She just wanted to go home. And we gave that to her. Mom had been suffering such a long time. Months of up and down health. I feel she is at peace now watching over her kids.

I also have questions which will never be answered. I don’t even ask them anymore because the emotional turmoil they cause is just too great a price to pay. You still think about that person’s death, and it still hurts as much, but you become better able at dealing with it. I feel now that she would have wanted me to move on, do great things with my life, and enjoy the ride. I am starting to, but it still sucks the big one.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Elevator Madness

I have a general dislike for elevators. Call it my unnerving fear of being crushed into two parts from faulty doors while the elevator is moving. It could happen! It did! Google it! Poor woman in NYC a year or two back. The odds of a person dying in an elevator accident are 1 in 10,440,000 (according to the website www.BookofOdds.com) and I do not find any comfort knowing that I have a greater chance of being attacked by an alligator (1 in 104,600) or being injured by a drinking straw requiring a trip to the emergency room (1 in 166,600). Now I don’t consider myself to be phobic, just fearful. I will still ride them ... cautiously.

There are a set of elevators at my work that are continuously “on the fritz.” Because of this, I sometimes take the stairs to go up to our offices on the 3rd floor. I am in the basement level. It’s a good workout, keeps the legs in shape. But more often than not, I take my chances. The elevators are tempermental but for the most part, in workable order. It is often just a mild shaking or clanging as they make their way up.

First thing this morning, I took the elevators up to the 3rd floor to ask someone a question. It was just past 8:30, not even 10 minutes into my day. The elevator car slowly creaked up to the 3rd floor. The doors started to open and I went to step off the car …. then BAAAM!!! The doors swung violently open. I screamed “CRAP!!!!” and flung myself off of the car into the hallway like a clumsy frog, heart beating out of my chest. My pen and papers flew everywhere. Some dude from the architectural firm off the same hallway walked out of the mens’ room and got to witness my freak-out.

“Oh my god, did you just see that?! The door just violently opened slamming against the car!” I was breathing rapidly and heavily, trying to catch my breath.

“Yeah,” he said in a monotone voice, “It's been happening for a couple days.” He just kept walking into his office.

Uh… HELLO? I almost died here?? “WELL I GUESS I MISSED THE MEMO ON THAT!” I screamed after him. Mental note, take stairs from now on.

After I recomposed myself, I walked into our 3rd floor office and got my questioned answered. I asked a couple people about the elevator and they all said the same thing,”Oh yeah, it’s been like that since yesterday.” “Oh that’s why I take the stairs.” “I know, that happened to me on Monday.” Incredible, I received no memo, no email, no cute little FYI note with a smiley face stuck in the lunch room stating, “By the way, the elevator may make a slamming noise at the very top which may cause you to involuntarily crap your pants.”

I took a minute or two longer to say good morning to a couple favs up in the office and wandered out towards the 3rd floor lobby. Without thinking, I pressed the stupid elevator button. The elevator was apparently one floor below me and came up immediately, violently flinging the doors open “BAAAM!!!”

“DAMN IT!!” I jumped a mile and freaked. I screamed, “AGAIN!!” to know one in particular. I picked up my papers and pen and headed for the stairs, cursing under my breath.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Devil's Vote

I exercised my civic duty last night. I always have this overwhelming sense of patriotic pride whenever I vote. I feel it is an important expression of our democracy. It is obvious that not everyone feels that way: bitter people who don’t believe in our electoral process. Don’t worry, I still love ya.

Anyway, I made my way down to my small township building after work last night. I parked and got out of my car and then immediately fell in front it. It was so dark and well, walking sometimes is a problem for me. LOL.

I picked my clumsy self up and made my way past those political party volunteer people waiting for that LAST chance to change your mind. They always crack me up. They are just HOPING you will say hi to them and ask them something. Next time, I should just go up to each of them and say, “OK, give me your best argument!” just to mess with them. And then try and get them to brawl with each other. Mental note for 2016 election: “Make political party volunteers brawl at my polling place and then step away innocently like I don’t know what is happening …”

I went inside and waited in line. Everyone was in a good upbeat mood, smiling, exchanging pleasantries. The lady at the voting table was very nice. She took my ID, found my name and wrote it down on the large voter ledger book.

I looked down at the book as she was writing my name. For some geek reason, I like seeing what number voter I am for each election. There was my name and next to it, the number 666. I was the devil’s vote. Only me. What the frig!

“Well that can’t be GOOD!” I exclaimed. The older woman said, “What?” not even noticing.
“Look!” I cried, “I am voter #666!”

Everyone behind me collectively gasped. I was now a voting pariah.

“Well,” she began smiling awkwardly, “If it makes you feel any better, there are a number of absentee voters for the township. So really you aren’t #666!”
“Can you move my name to a different number?” I asked.
“Uh … no.”
“Then it doesn’t make me feel any better.” I retorted.

The stares were upon me as I cast the devil’s vote. Who did he vote for? What candidate gets the devil’s vote? Eyes drilled into my back. I sighed and walked out. And I thought the low point of my evening would be falling outside.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Faith in Halloween, Faith in Humanity

I was driving this evening with John to the local liquor store in Schuylkill Haven to pick up my weekly order of booze for the Lake Wynonah Lodge.  I was picking up around 6 or 7 bottles of miscellaneous booze. John was picking up or ordering some new Scotch that warranted tasting. There seemed to be something new each week that he needed to try.

I was coming off of a tough week. The hurricane was on my mind. We missed a day of work from it. Not too bad until you started reading the news reports of all the death and destruction. Sure my area was spared, but others ... not so lucky at all. Besides the total 8 million who lost power and billions of dollars in destruction, I was just so upset reading about the deaths from the devastating super-storm named Sandy.

A mother whose two sons, 2 and 4, were ripped from her arms by the storm surge. A man, filling his generator with gasoline, killed by a falling tree. A mother and father killed driving their sons to safety. A tree fell on the pickup. The parents died while the boys witnessed it and survived. They are now orphans. An elderly woman who perished from hypothermia after she became disoriented from wandering around in the hurricane for hours on end. Lastly, a son and father who died getting caught in the debris and storm surge ripping through their shore home.

But in the horribleness and devastation of it all, people helped one another. People rescued one another. People shared food, water, hot showers. Banks allowed people to do something simple such as charge a cell phone in their lobby. This small act meant the world to others so that they could connect with loved ones and let them know that they were alright. Strangers hung power strips at the end of extension cords outside of their homes for the same reason. Human spirit and kindness, even in my cynical mind, never ceases to amaze me.

I was sad and depressed from it all and still am. John and I drove slowly through Schuylkill Haven to the store. It was their annual Trick-or-Treat night for Halloween, a day late because of the storm. Cars slowly cruised watching the 100's of kids milling about. Parents and kids, just all over the place. There was a 5 year old giraffe.  Then a princess. Then the Hulk. Then a cheerleader and several more princesses, Superman, an army guy, Batman, Superman, tons of tiny ninjas everywhere!  Gothic kids, Spiderman, girls in wedding dresses, a sailor all of 7 or 8 years old. I smiled ... then fought the lump down in my throat and wiped a tear away.

I remembered when I was a little kid with my brother walking with my parents or my big sister around the neighborhood collecting candy, cookies, apples, and specifically Sucrets throat lozenges from the kind old woman on the corner of Maple and Clinton. This is what Halloween is supposed to be like. For the kids, fun and without a care in the world. Kids can wait until they experience the bad things in the world.

I am still sad about the hurricane or super-storm or whatever the freak you want to call it.  It will be years before people recover. But, a glimpse into my past ... through the children of our future, restored my faith in the holiday known as Halloween and a little bit more in humanity. Well ... except for that 7 year old girl dressed like a hooker. THAT was disturbing.