Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Yesterday evening I was negotiating a peace agreement between the kids (daily occurrence) and trying to corral them toward the car to go out for dinner. My work had run late, I didn't get a chance to cook (that happens far too frequently these days, too), and there is a little hole in the wall place near my house that I have become quite fond of. This place has an all-day salad and fresh veggie buffet, its clean, not terribly crowded, and way too cheap for its own good, so it is the recipient of my "Good Houskeeping Seal of Approval" and the defacto choice for last-minute, Hail Mary pass dinner arrangements.

Hub had just made it in the door and sat down wearily when I announced that we were heading back OUT the door for dinner. A quick, quiet glance my way said it all - he was worn out.

That happens when your day starts at 5:30 am.

On the ride to the restaurant, the kids were simultaneously laughing together AND fighting in the backseat, their conversation sprinkled with "poop", "butt", "stupid", "she's staring at me" . . . you get the idea. I sighed and kept driving, trying to ignore the cacophany behind me, reminding myself that they are just kids, and kids DO this, that I myself did this, and must have driven MY mother insane, too. Hub rode along beside me silently, decompressing, trying to wind down after a too-long day and a too-long commute.

Mercifully, we arrived at the restaurant, and the kids, temporarily stunned by the nearly-freezing temperatures, suspended the filibuster of insults and giggles long enough to get from the car to the door. The cold must have encouraged everyone to stay home, because the place was absolutely deserted. No matter, our favorite waitress was there, automatically getting our drinks and trying to engage The Boy in conversation, as usual, while he did nothing but look downward and turn bright red to his very ear tips (again, as usual.) She is completely enamored with The Boy, I assume, because he is so very different from her (blonde, blue eyed, fair skinned, chubby), and her Vietnamese accent, while nearly indecipherable at times, is never too thick for me to make out "so very cute" and "pretty blue eyes".

Hub and I tag-teamed kid duty at the food bar, each of us escorting a kid through the vegetable choices (fried green tomatoes always elicits a "ewwwwwwww, I am NOT eating that!") and steering them around filling their plates with the banana pudding. You know, the usual.

Midway through the meal (while I continually placed drinks out of elbow's reach of each kid, and picked up errant napkins that fell to the ground, and encouraged one to slow down and the OTHER to hurry up), a somewhat flustered older woman entered the restaurant. I glanced up as she was attempting to ask our waitress directions, which, of course, was a useless endeavor. I immediately recognized the look of kindness mixed anxiousness the woman had on her face (I wear that every day with the kids) and I spoke up, "Are you lost? We live here, maybe I can help you find where you need to go."

She approached our table, asking if we knew where the Red Roof Inn was (I did), and saying that she had been circling the area for awhile, had exited the interstate and made a wrong turn (she did), and must be tired, because she couldn't seem to navigate her way back to her starting point (yeah, she was way off, because the hole in the wall was off the beaten path.) I started to explain to her how to make her way to her hotel, but as I rattled off the turns and landmarks, I saw the exhaustion on her face. I changed course and said "Why don't you just follow us? It would be easier to drive there than tell you." As the relief washed over her face, I continued, "Might as well have dinner - the food is the best!"

She settled at the table beside us and started a friendly conversation. She had left from Minnesota, and was on her way to Orlando (the kids perked up at this). She told us all about the corner of the ice storm that she had made her way through in Indianapolis, and how she had slid into and back OUT of a ditch, unscathed. The kids were wide-eyed, their beloved buttered rolls and neglected vegetables momentarily forgotten.

Her name was Sally, and she was every bit of 60, her short clipped hair unapologetically silver, and she had an engaging spirit, bright eyes and an even brighter smile. Returning from the bar, she marveled at the assortment of choices, particularly the fried green tomatoes (my favorite). Smiling knowingly, I agreed that they were a treat, continuing with "You saw the movie? Read the book?"

"Both!" she said happily, in between bites of the tasty morsel. "I had to see the movie. I love Kathy Bates . . . . I have seen just about all of her movies. I like her characters, heck, I LOOK like her!" (and she did, a bit).

"I love her, too!" I jumped in. "Did you happen to see About Schmidt?" She answered with gurgled laughter. We nearly said in unison "that hot tub scene with Jack Nicholson . . ."

We both continued picking at our respective plates, and she began again, "You know, that wrong turn was a FORTUNATE turn. This food is fabulous! I never get upset when I get lost. I travel alot, and anytime I get lost, I just ride it out . . ."

She continued to talk about her travels and wanderings. She had been all over the world . . . to Japan, to India, to China. She giggled that she had a houseful of souveniers from her trips, a snippet of fabric that she had picked up at an Indian street market, different little momentos that reminded her of where she had been. For a minute or two, I was traveling with her, seeing those places, and bartering with that street vendor, until I felt a little hand tap my arm and a little voice whisper "tell her what my name is . . ." and just like that, I was back to reality, sitting at the table, looking at plates of forgotten vegetables and little faces.

"You inspire me, Sally," I said, wiping The Boy's face with a napkin, and continuing to tidy and clear the ever-present mess of crumbs and mess that the kids seem to effortlessly generate. "Maybe one day . . . "

"Life has its seasons," she stated, simply, as she kindly looked on at me, sitting there, minding children, in the thick of my childrearing years. I wasn't quite sure if it was nostalgia or empathy (or maybe pity) or maybe even regret that I saw sweep across her face, but she continued, "My daughter and I have a small condo at South Beach (Miami). That is where I am ultimately heading."

As she and I discussed the Art Deco revival in South Beach, I wondered what had brought Sally to this point. Was her husband back home? She seemed to me to be a woman that had apparently no ties or obligations, or schedule, for that matter. Had she seen him through illness to his ultimate resting place, and was that how she was free to travel about now? Perhaps she was divorced, left behind by a husband that had forsaken her for a secretary 25 years her junior? Was she before her time, having raised her daughter alone, never married? I was still considering all of this as I entered the ladies room, again, as empty as church on Superbowl Sunday. In the quiet, I wondered what it would be like to BE her . . . and I imagined Sally on a junque in China, sailing down the Yangtzee River. The reverie was broken when I saw little feet sliding under the door of my stall, and heard a serious little voice on the other side of the partition, "Mommy . . . can you see my feet?"

Looking skyward, pants around my ankles, I silently mouthed, "God, can I not even pee in peace?"

I walked back to the table, the children following along like baby ducks. Sally smiled as she fished out her wallet and prepared to leave. I was already at the counter, folding one of the menus into quarters, and jotting my name, email and phone number on the back. Hub was ushering the kids out the door as I handed her the little paper slip. "Here is my number and email. If you have time, I would love to hear about your travels . . . you know, just a random note from wherever you are . . ." With a big smile, she assured, "I will! You never know where I might end up, you might get notes from far flung corners of the earth!"

The exchange was gently interrupted by the generally silent, but now smiling Hub. "Well, I know what she drives. Guess?" he said, eyes sparkling with merriment. I turned to Sally, astonished. "Do you drive an Element?" Just as surprised, she said "Yes! I do!" and we both laughed as we exited, seeing the nearly identical vehicles just spaces apart. "I think I got the first one in Minneapolis," she stated, only to be quickly interrupted by my way-too-excited "Me too! I got one from the first shipment here in Atlanta!" We both agreed that we loved our cars, and both heaped our praise on the other's good taste and sensibility.

"I have a feeling we would find ALOT of things in common," Sally said as she climbed into her car. "I'll follow you to the hotel, and thanks so much for helping me!"

Craning my neck as I twisted in my seat to pull out of my parking space, waiting for her to follow and absentmindedly shushing the kids, I wondered if she realized that she had helped me.

I hope I hear from her.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Sandcastle dreams

Based on my previous post, Kirk and I had a (semi)serious discussion yesterday via IM regarding why there seems to be so much animosity between me and other women.

This isn't a recent development, by the way. For as long as I can remember, I have maintained a couple of positions in regards to my relationships with women. All women, to me, fall under one of three categories:
  • Women that I respect greatly that seem to respect ME greatly. The common denominator is usually a shared wicked sense of humor and some kind of tragic past that unites us in our down-to-earthdom and logical approach to life
  • Women in my family that love me regardless, because they pretty much have to

  • All others women that hate my guts, and I hate them right back

Category 3 is the one that we were discussing at length yesterday. Unfortunately, most women that I meet end up falling under Category 3, never to return. Kirk had some nuggets of wisdom to offer, which seemed valid, and more than likely fed this dream that I still vividly remember this morning as I sit her sipping my coffee:

(cue wavy dream sequence and harp music)

I was at the beach, of all places. Seemed to be a place like Daytona, with lots of activity going on, and decks built off of bars and restaurants onto the sand, and people milling around, going from the sand to the shade of umbrellas and cool drinks. I remember sitting at a table on one of the decks, under the cover of an umbrella, feeling the breeze off of the ocean, stirring my mojito with a little sliver of sugar cane, and watching three women each building elaborate sand castles on the beach.

All three women were picture-perfect, their towels were perfectly laid out, their tans, their hair, their bathing suits, everything was postcard perfect, and they all three had these perpetual Stepford Wife-like smiles on their faces. For some reason, I got the notion that the table of too-loud men next to me were probably their husbands. Snickering at the sandcastle women and sipping beer, making comments and gesturing to each other as other women walked by, and catcalling, they were acting like drunk frat boys. The sandcastle women seemed to be oblivious to this. I remember wondering whether the women were ignoring it, or just too busy to notice it.

The woman closest to me was sweating her ass off, working on her castle, forming the turrets, adding little flags and shells, and stopping here and there to admire her handiwork. She would back away from it, admiring it from a distance, then return to it with a worried look, shaving away bits of errant sand from the perfect structure. I remember noticing with a chuckle that she kept eyeing the OTHER women's sandcastles, and there seemed to be some kind of friendly, but intense competition between the three, based on their chatter and frantic ministration, molding and remolding the sand.

In the dream, I remember feeling this tremendous sense of "What in the hell are these women doing?" I remember sipping the cool drink, thinking, "Jesus - what a fucking waste of time," and with that, I got up, walked directly out to the beach, and approached the closest woman. She looked up at me, shielding her eyes from the sun, squinting, her face and forearm covered in sand. The look on her face quickly changed from confusion to shock when I punted the center of the sandcastle as hard as I could, sending little flags and shells flying in a dazzling display of flying sand. I remember feeling that I was doing this for her own good, and as she sat there, speechless, the other two women started screaming at me "What are you DOING?!" I noticed that the men stopped yukkin' it up, and I turned to see them sitting at the table silently, stunned too, not quite knowing what to do, and doing . . . nothing.

Silently, but purposefully, I strode across the sand to Sandcastle 2, then 3, administering the same treatment, hearing the screaming hyena-like wailing from all three. Screams of "Oh my God! You have ruined EVERYTHING!" and "I can't BELIEVE you DID that!"

I remember cooly surveying my handiwork, and I still actually had my drink in my hand. I took a sip of it, completely oblivious to all the drama and screaming, and I remember approaching the three women, who by now looked terrified, and telling all three of them "Don't you realize that it's all just sand . . . the entire thing was built on nothing. It's fucking pointless, all of it."

They looked absolutely crestfallen, as though their entire world had just crumbled in front of their eyes. I walked away toward the water, leaving them all behind me.

Then I woke up.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sugarcoating the truth

Alright, I swear, this will be the LAST post about diabetes for awhile (and the crowd cheered and said "Yea, verily!" and all was well.)

So, last night, I went to a business dinner for an organization that I have had a loose association with for a couple of years. I became a full-fledged member in 2007 (yeah, me! One of my resolutions fulfilled - to actually join the damn thing.)

Every quarter, this (what do I call it? a club? organization? professional fraternity? Whatever, let's call it a club, for ease. That's shorter to type, and I am lazy, so "club" it is) club has a dinner meeting at a local hotel. Sorta swanky, you know, for a small-time group. I had been a few times as a non-member, and this really cranky girl that seems to babysit the sign-in table EVERY TIME was there, as usual. I don't know what I ever did to this person, but she hates my guts, I swear it. Here is how our conversation went down . . .

Her: (keeping in mind that we have been introduced SEVERAL times, and have had many conversations, yet she still looks at me blankly, no recognition whatsoever) Welcome to the Club. Can I help you?

Me: Um . . . sure. I need to sign in, I guess?

Her: Certainly. What is your name? (again, NO recognition, even though I could pick this girl out of a crowd of fat, celibate, bitter, late 30s, rapidly decaying eggs and patience, cat-collecting, cross-stitching, Chicken Soup for the Soul-reading bitches fighting over yarn strands at Michael's Crafts ANY day of the week. Let's just call her Bitter Cat Collecting Cunt, or BCCC for short.)

Me: Rita

BCCC: Oh, yes, THAT's right. (smug look on her face, as though she just solved pi.) Rita. Please sign in on the register (indicating my name on the roster facing away from her, upside down.)

Me: (reviewing the register, seeing about 30 names total there, wondering how this woman could simultaneously NOT recognize me and yet point to my name the minute I utter it) Thanks.

BCCC: Here is a drink ticket. The sponsor allocates a ticket per person that you can redeem at the bar for the drink of your choice (again, I know this - I have been here 4 or 5 times)

Me: Thanks just the same, I'll leave the ticket for someone else.

BCCC: Are you sure?

Me: Yes, quite sure, thanks.

BCCC: (leaning in closer, conspiratorially, giving me a knowing nod) Recovering?

Me: (trying to decipher that for a split second) Huh? Recovering? No. Diabetic. (Why did I feel compelled to tell her that? Maybe I should have just let her believe I was an alcoholic.)

BCCC: (smug look back, slight eye roll) Of COURSE (not believing me at all, obviously.)

Me: (feeling like I need to defend myself, but staring at her unblinking)

BCCC: It's just . . . well . . . you always took them before (so she DOES recognize me. She just chooses to pretend she doesn't. Interesting.)

Well, at least I have fulfilled ONE resolution: to join this damn club, cause I have blown the OTHER resolution to hell and back (to get along better with women).

Resolution or not, fuck her. I hate her.

I wonder if I can get my club registration refunded.



OK, well, I sort of sugarcoated the ending, because there was more that wasn't very flattering, but in the interest of full disclosure, and with Kirk's encouragement, I will tell the rest of the story:

This club is kind of a tight group of people that do what I do. It's good to belong to, because we give each other job leads. Some of the members and I go way back. Like I said, I have gone to their meetings over the past few years, but never officially joined, so anyway, yeah, finally joined.

Last night's meeting was concentrated on some new certifications that have just come available for people like me. They are equal to, say, an MCSE for engineers. The certification is a progression of difficult, expensive tests, and several people at the meeting (me included) have been preparing for the first level of testing. BCCC loudly announced that she was prepared to submit to her testing this month and would give us her feedback on the testing process, etc. at the next quarterly meeting. She was saying a bunch of other stuff about how much experience she had, and how well-prepared she felt she was, what she had studied, who she had worked for to bring her to this point in her career, blah blah, bunch of other stuff but I stopped listening cause, well, I hate her.

During the meeting, we were reviewing a sample test. There was a big screen and the questions were flashed up on the wall, with multiple choices. Since it was an informal setting, 20-30 of us were just discussing what the answers might be, taking informal polls, submitting the answers, and seeing who was right, wrong, etc. BCCC had a dissertation to make about EVERY fucking question, which of COURSE drew smartass comments and arguments from me on a continual basis, mostly because she was wrong, and partly because I hated her, and partly because it made people laugh, which I love.

After a few questions, most of the people just sat there passively, and only a few of us were actually discussing the questions and answers. Somehow, the whole thing ended up boiling down to a pissing contest between BCCC and I and it sort of divided the group into those rooting for me, and those rooting for her, and we were going head to head, question for question, and not only was I getting them right, I was cracking on her, which seemed to irritate the shit out of her, and delight the people around us.

In a nutshell, I whipped her ass in front of the people there, and a few people that work for her. I mean, fuck, I have been doing this work for 15 years, and to be blunt, she's a pushy cunt that has just a couple years of experience and she overestimated her own knowledge, or underestimated mine, or both.

For ME, it was a triumph, because I smoked her pompous ass. The BEST part was . . . at the end of the meeting, there was a door prize drawing and BCCC, being one of the club officers, had a bag with tickets in it (they had given out tickets for the raffle earlier) . For whatever reason, she walked toward me to let me draw the ticket - the prize was a $1,000 study course for the tests. While I was fishing in the bag for a ticket, she was snippy and said loudly to the room "No hard feelings, just don't cheat and draw your own ticket!" which drew a couple of giggles, and I said "I think we can all agree that you need this study guide WAY more than I do; I'll see if I can rig it for you," which met with howls of laughter from people that looked like they hadn't cracked a smile all year.

I'm still working on a theory of why women that I should have lots in common with hate my guts.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The energy crisis

(I had to resurrect this post from December of 05. I guess I have been tired for longer than I thought, although I'm actually beginning to feel better, and I have a bit more energy than I did when I initially wrote this. Maybe I have been ill longer than I knew.

It's also interesting to note that of the 15-odd comments that were posted then, only one or two blogs are still in existence. It's an interesting, fluid place, this land of Blog. I still appreciate all of the kindness and friendship, whether old, new, short-lived, or ever-present.)

I was thinking about blogs yesterday.

I thought about the amount of time I spend reading blogs.

I thought about the amount of time I have spent creating my own.

I wondered why. Why am I drawn to this medium? Why do I feel compelled to read new entries by people I have never met? What makes me feel compelled to write entries for people to read that have no idea who I am?

I think it has finally dawned on me. I am so tired, blogging is the only way I can connect with people without having to expend alot of energy. Energy that I just don't have anymore.

There was a time when I had friends . . . real friends. I don't have any anymore. My friendships have all died, like untended houseplants. If I had made more of an effort, if I had only had more energy, I might have been able to salvage some of my friendships.

But that was the point, really. All of my friendships seemed to be incredibly labor-intensive for me. Exerting energy was what had sustained them. As soon as I stopped trying, they all faded away.

But were they really that draining? Was it really that hard to maintain friendships with real people? Was it just that I grew too tired to try anymore? Or was it that I had somehow managed to pick really needy friends?

It's strange to think about. I faded away from the reality of friends that I had known for years, and really, none of them has ever come looking for me.

I'm not angry about it. Maybe they have to conserve their energy, too.

Having limited energy is something I never really thought about before. As I get older, I find that it hits my consciousness alot. I tend to arrange my life according to how much energy I have to expend. For instance, I grocery shop in a way that covers the store in the shortest distance without any backtracking over areas that I have been before. It is a pattern that I took the time to mentally arrange. I shop at a store that unloads your cart at the register and carries the groceries to your car for you. I made this decision because it meant that I only had to pick up the groceries twice: once from the shelf, and once from the car, versus 4 times: once from the shelf, once from the cart onto the belt, once from the buggy into the car, and once from the car to the kitchen.

I sold a small, two story house and bought a larger, more expensive one story house primarily because the energy I had to expend going up and down the stairs was too much for me. Granted, we were growing out of the house, but when we were looking for a new house, I would only look at ranches, no exception. That decision was governed by my energy level, or lack thereof.

When I was younger, energy seemed endless. I never worried about how far out I parked my car, or how long a day I had, or how much sleep I missed over a weekend, or how much work I was facing, or what kind of support my friends needed from me. I just lived, and whatever came along, I handled it. In most cases, I went overboard, multitasking, slaying dragons right and left and all the while keeping up with everything swirling around me.

I find I can't do that anymore. I can't keep my house clean. I can't keep my laundry caught up. I can't manage to keep piles of neglected paperwork from forming all around my desk. I can't seem to summon the will to go to the park with my kids.

These days, I won't accept a job unless I can work at home.

I don't invite family and friends for dinner anymore. My house used to be the gathering spot for my whole family, friends too. I would whip up beautiful dinners, effortlessly, and run through my house like a tornado, making sure everything was clean and comfortable. It was something that I really enjoyed doing, and slowly, slowly, so slow I didn't realize it was happening, I became worn down and no longer had the energy or the desire it took to organize things like that.

I can't fathom how I am going to continue to be productive for the next 20 years, raising my kids and delivering what will be expected of me.

I don't know how much longer I can count on my body to last. And that is a scary thought. I never, never thought I would be this tired, this sore, this slow this young.

Sometimes, I find things that help. A hot bath, a nap, painkillers, caffeine. Short-lived respite. They help me cope for the moment.

So, dear blogger friends, I want to say, after all of this, that I appreciate you. You give me friendship in the only way that I can seemingly cope with it - virtually, delivered to my lap, without having to try very hard to be allowed into your lives, or welcome you into mine.

You all mean more than you will ever know.

The numbers game

"So, Rita, how you feeling these days?"

That's the terms that my friends use these days to ask about my diabetes. I never know how much of an answer to give. "Fine" seems trite, but a more detailed explanation, like "Well, my A1C number is higher than my doctor would like, but I am on a combination of meds, which initially didn't have much effect, so now I am sticking to a under 20 grams per day carb plan plus meds, which seems to be helping a bit" causes people's faces to freeze into polite, but faraway stares, eyes glazed over.

So, it's better to just say, "Fine, thanks!" So I do.

The truth is, I am learning to live with it. I have made some progress:
  • I don't cringe and feel like I am losing consciousness when I prick my finger anymore, which is a relief.
  • I am not plagued with panic about how long I will stay healthy anymore. The thoughts of possibly having to inject insulin in the near future don't feel as much like a death sentence as they did back in September, when I was first diagnosed.
  • I have managed to kick the bread/sugar/rice/pasta/potato habit and most (not all) of the resentment that went along with it. The numbers on the scale were never enough of an incentive, but for some reason, the fear of the blood monitor flashing a high number at me is enough to keep me on the straight and narrow, something I have never been able to do in the past.
  • The magic number is 125. More days than not, I am at or under that.
  • The numbers on the scale are slowly going down, but they no longer matter to me. Neither does the incentive/punishment of fitting or not fitting into certain clothes, looking or not looking like a certain person, or any of the hundreds of other things I used to entice/torture/bribe/withhold from myself in an effort to forcibly change my ingrained bad habits. Outward appearance used to be my sole focus; I spent alot of time and effort on worrying about how I looked, or didn't look, or should look. I never considered or cared about the toll that was being exacted on my health. That seems to have all slipped away. The only thing that matters now is preserving my life.

Despite all of these epiphanies, I still have several "areas for growth" (that's Human Resources politically correct terminology for things that I am still fucking up):

  • I don't exercise nearly enough. For diabetics, exercise is crucial to keep your sugar levels straight. For some reason, that hasn't clicked in my head yet.
  • I don't drink nearly enough water. Never have, still don't.
  • I only test my blood sugar level in the mornings. I really should test through the day. I don't.
  • I don't eat three meals and three snacks a day. The Diabetic Association frowns upon that, and me, probably. But truth is, I threw their diet in the garbage after the first month.
  • I still lean heavily on "mock" foods, like diet candy, diet soda, and other stuff that lets me fool myself into thinking that I can still eat junk. I should kick those, too, even if they are supposedly "legal". It's probably as risky as an alcoholic drinking "near beer". It feels like its just a small step back onto the real stuff. That would kill me.
  • I haven't done anything to decrease my level of stress, another big important thing for people living with diabetes. I don't know how.
  • I have put off going back to the doctor to have a new A1C level drawn. They have called me twice. I am going to go next week. That's what I said last week. And the week before.

So, for all of you who have asked, thank you. This is probably way more than you wanted to know. Maybe seeing these words on my screen from time to time will inspire me to "challenge myself with opportunities to enhance my growth areas", or whatever.

Monday, January 8, 2007

In Memorium (again) . . . Bye, Jack

I am immensely saddened by the loss (again) of my blogging idol, Jack. His blog, Texas Music, was a daily stop for me. Jack's blog was filled with some of the best writing I have had the pleasure to stumble across in this vast wasteland. His stories of drug busts, and victory and agony on the mean streets brought some of his reality into my quiet little space, far removed from the gritty underbelly that he willingly crawled into, day after day.

Jack left once before, and when he did, I posted an old chestnut that I wrote way, way back in June of 2004 (that is an ETERNITY in blogland.) In honor of the passing of Texas Music, I would like to post it yet again. Feels like the right thing to do.

Just a housekeeping note: I will sorrowfully remove Jack's link (again) from my Favorites list, and add a few new little spaces that I enjoy visiting pretty regularly. It's a bittersweet change, but I think that Fred Sanford (portrayed by the inimitable Redd Foxx) explained it best when he tearfully called up to his dearly departed wife, Elizabeth, on the eve of his marriage to his long-suffering girlfriend, Donna, "Honey, she could never take your place, but I just miss you so bad, and I'm so lonely, I just needed to fill your space."

Preach on, Fred.

Thanks for everything you posted, Jack. You will be sorely missed.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

If you lived in a friendly neighborhood for awhile, and made good friends with the neighbors, you would say goodbye if you moved away, right?

Not so in the world of Blog.

Reading the thoughts of another creates a very strange intimacy, and whether it is "real" or not, a friendship. I have a list of blogs that I am quite fond of. Over time, I have begun to build and actually feel a sense of community with my fellow bloggers, those that I visit every week.

Come to think of it, making my rounds of my favorite blogs is a lot like taking an evening stroll around my neighborhood. Checking in with frequently updated blogs is kind of like passing a busy house with kids in the yard, flowers on the porch, and someone giving you a friendly wave. You can stop, listen to what they have to say - happy or sad, offer up your own little impressions, and move on, secure in the knowledge that the friendship is solid. Occasionally, you might notice that someone has completed some bloggy home improvements, and you can cast an appreciative glance from your vantage point on the virtual sidewalk, maybe by leaving a comment like "Hey! Nice template change! Easier to read, and the colors are great!"

Sometimes, you pass a blog and realize that you haven't seen much change there for the past few weeks. As a matter of fact, the comments left by other passersby are like so many virtual soggy newspapers littering the driveway, and you figure your friend must be on an extended vacation. You pass by, day after day, not expecting to see them back and then one day you are pleased to see that all the newspapers are cleaned up, the lights are on, and they have, indeed, returned. More times than not, you are immediately given a guilt-ridden explanation of their absence, and maybe hear a little about their travels, see a few snapshots.

Again, everything is back in order.

Then there are those times that you walk toward a well-loved blog home and are shocked to see broken blinds dangling in dark, lifeless windows; the front door has been carelessly left wide open, revealing an empty shell where your friend once dwelled. And you think to yourself: what? no goodbye? after all of the time we spent sharing thoughts and experiences, they could just leave in the night and not say a word?

So, with a startling mixture of emotions (disappointment, rejection and ill-placed anger), you make a mental note not to bother to stop there anymore, and begin to wonder hopelessly if it is worth it to bother getting to know the neighbors at all. But then, in the midst of your thoughts, you spot a sign that you hadn't noticed before, and wonder who lives on "Next Blog" street. Allowing your customary path to be diverted, you decide to "just take a look" and inevitably see a moving truck parked at a house down the block, moving a new occupant in who seems to be both lost and eager to meet you all at once, and you think to yourself: I wonder what his story is?

And so it goes . . .

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Freddie's dead . . .

. . . but I swear to God he is being channeled through THIS kid

Does no one else think that Gerard Way (the lead singer of My Chemical Romance) must be some kind of satanic love child of the late, great Freddie Mercury of Queen and Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan?

He sings alot like one, and looks alot like the other.

I caught the video for "Black Parade" this weekend, and there he was, all decked out in a marching band uniform. He even holds his microphone stand straight up in the air.

That's a straight up Queen move, right there.

Now, I'm not badmouthing My Chemical Romance.

Not at all.

It's sort of like Coke Zero. Do I like it? Yep.

Do I like it as much as REAL Coke? Nope.

But I can't have REAL Coke anymore.

I can't have Freddie Mercury anymore, either.

It's all about changing and moving on, people. But I STILL miss Freddie.

So, to recap: MCR, good.

Good as Freddie? Nope.

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