Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dream Lover

Once in a while, people, like my family and friends ask me: “ Don’t you ever get lonely-alone all the time?” My answers vary. The truth is… sometimes I do get lonely. But not so much that I would settle for less than what I need or want in a companion.

I sure wouldn’t mind someone to eat dinner, go to a movie or talk about a good books with, who could rub my back too. But the truth is- writing is my lover. Writing is what obsesses me and makes me happy or sad. It drives me to get up in the morning and stay up late so I don't miss too many hours of an already too short day.

Today I am cleaning house… but here I am. I’m taking a break because I have no less than five stories going through my head today. I can’t turn them off. Like a bothersome lover who needs some attention- I must stop everything and do what I do before he will leave me alone. I don’t really mind though- because I love to write.

Ego aside-(which is hard to do for a writer) I think I was born to write. Not that I think I am particularly good at it- I think I’m fair. I just have a need to sit down and put words on paper. They don’t have to be my words. The words can belong to any character. I don’t have to believe all these words or live by them. They are just there- wanting to be somewhere else. Sometimes they are my words and I do live by them. But that’s a different kind of writing- like today- a purge- so I can get back to real life or what you call real life.

When people ask me what I write- I tell them anything and everything. Some days I write recipes or silly children’s rhymes, other days I write literary fiction and sometimes letters to strangers. It doesn’t really matter to me. I just need to do it. The same goes for reading- although I am less fervent now then 20 years ago, if there is nothing for me to read I will read the cereal box, the cleanser can and whatever else these old eyes can make out. I read junk mail.

My days consist of fleeting moments of reality that interrupt my fantasy world of characters with annoying regularity. Logically I know I can’t stay in character so I have silent conversations like the crazy ladies of Market St. in San Francisco. I’m in my own little world.

I try to keep myself together. I pretend to be normal. Sometimes I catch someone looking at me in a flirty way and I think wow, he must be desperate. Still though- it brightens my day to know I can still turn a head now and then- even if that head belongs on a 70 year old.

This romance with words has taken a toll on me though. It’s not like I don’t know that. I have aged. I am wrinkled, fat and a bit cantankerous. I’m really only happy when I have finished writing something. If I still smoked- I would light up a cigarette every time I finished writing something.

So, if I were to meet someone today- he would have to take a back seat to my real lover. He would have to be smart, secure and have a great sense of humor. He would have to love all my flaws and ever so gently tell me when I wrote something crappy. He would have to be patient while I flipped and flopped on thought process and when I stayed up all night researching the life of a snail or trying to find out who is in charge of dispensing toiletries to Marine recruits. Honestly- I would find me to be a pain in the ass.

Now, maybe I can go back to cleaning for a bit. This is how days get away from me. Just like this.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Don’t Change A Hair For Me…

I can no longer count how many boyfriends I had that I tried to fix or change before I came to the realization that you can’t or shouldn’t try to change anyone. We fall in love with who we fall in love with – we fix them and then we throw them away because they are too boring, too stiff, too lazy, too old, too immature or the worst- unfixable.

In the beginning, everything is great, right? “Oh he watches the game every Sunday so I’m free all day to do what I please.” Then your birthday lands on a Sunday. Uh-oh. He is a slug, he doesn’t get it. “But I always watch the game on Sunday.” He laments. “It’s MY BIRTHDAY you buffoon.” And so, the end begins. We know what he is made of don’t we?

I learned to make meals that coincided perfectly with half time for my old boyfriend Jim. A gourmet meal and a quick dessert could all be handled on those precious game days if one knew how to play the game. Halftime was MINE although he certainly benefited from it.

But football, basketball, boxing, and even slow poke baseball was never the only problem. How about the toilet seat? I was raised in a home where the rule was the toilet seat was put down- and no one and I mean no one, ever dared miss the toilet. I remember my first time spending the night at a boyfriend’s house and getting up in the middle of the night and falling into the toilet because I was expecting a seat to be there. I can’t imagine my dad or stepdad ever making that mistake. I’m sure my brother put the seat down too. It was after all, the way a gentleman was taught back then. My son and I just had this conversation the other day. He too puts the toilet seat down and is surprised that people are surprised by it. His father does not. Needless to say; his father and I are not together. (MS Word doesn’t even like the word gentleman in that sentence- that should tell us all something.)

So sports and toilet seats and let’s see what’s next. Oh yes. The way you look at other women. WHY do you look at other women at all? Why are you such a dumb ass that you get caught ogling skinny 18 year olds? Who by the way think you are disgusting.

And could you please not talk to the waitress so much and if you must, please look at her face and not her boobs? That would be nice.

While we are on the other women category. Why have you kept the letters your stupid, 15 year old girlfriend wrote you in high school? You are 60 now. I’m sure she no longer thinks she will love you till the day she dies and hopes you feel the same. (Yes, I read them. The poor thing could not even spell. ) (If you actually married the same 15 year old and are still married then good call on saving those letters.)

I want to thank you too for the wonderful birthday present you gave me. Yes, those tickets to Super Bowl Sunday were wonderful. Do you mind if I take my friend Patti? She is a big fan of … what is the name of the team again? No card, no flowers? No problem. I’ll freeze my ass off and have beer spilled on me, what could be more romantic?

Now, I know there are women who love this stuff. And I have to admit I have fallen into that trap too. If you want to spend time with your guys you find ways to do it. But here is an interesting fact. I have a female friend who is athletic. She runs, swims, bikes, and jumps off high places into water. Her husband does not. Just a little something to think about.

Would it matter to me now if you talk to the waitresses boobs? I guess I would be glad you could still see them. I haven’t been able to test that one out lately.

I watch my sister Linda with her guy Frank. He is an old Casanova although a loyal old dog to her, and she could care less about his past or his occasional flirts. He does his thing, she does hers and they meet up most everyday for dinner. She takes vacations without him and he actually has time to miss her. And the reverse is true too. I don’t know if Frank puts the seat down or not. I hope so because Linda is so tiny she would fall all the way in! It doesn’t matter though- because they have actually reached the point in their life when they can say. Don’t change a hair for me… and mean it.

So I guess you are wondering what brought this up? Me being single and all. I was thinking that if I met anyone now- I would not pretend to like anything I didn’t like. Conversely, I would not try to change anyone either. (Except the toilet seat MUST go back down if for no other reason the dogs will drink out of it). My standards are higher now. So the chances of me actually meeting someone are much slimmer. But just in case- I think I will not change a hair for them. If you know what I mean.

** Other than mentioning my old boyfriend Jim, and Nick’s father Jon, this is about no one in particular, but bits and pieces of more than a few guys in my life. Jim has passed away and Jon still does not put the seat down.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Health Reform- Update

Yesterday, I had a pleasant, completely unexpected experience that I would like to share with you.

Do you remember back a few blogs where I was lamenting the lack of health insurance I have and trying to figure out if indeed “socialized” medicine would be worth a crap or not? Well I have to admit I did suffer a pre-conceived notion of what I thought it would be about- although still- thinking long lines and tons of paperwork were better than the nothing I have right now.

My preconceived notion was a little more than long lines though. It goes like this. I am in a line of sneezing and coughing undocumented folks who are chattering away in their native tongues, wiping the noses of their rheumy little children with their hands because nothing else is available. I am purposely not mentioning what the native tongue would be because here in the bay area it could be just about anything. It does not matter. I pictured gray or yellowed white walls, the outside of which are covered in graffiti, the inside with windows no one can see out of, facing a field of debris dumped by loving Novatoans no longer concerned with not being litter-bugs.

I pictured shaky alcoholic doctors, bitchy intake people and haggard nurses.

I hurt my neck a few weeks ago, probably shortly after I wrote my piece on Health Care Reform, perhaps from being slapped around so much because of it! In any case, still broke and hurting quite a lot, I bit the bullet and googled “health care no insurance Marin County”. What I found was Marin Community Clinics. and this is what I read: “Marin Community Clinics is a vital link for thousands of uninsured and low-income women, men and children in Marin who cannot afford health insurance or private health care.” Well, I thought- that would be me.

I called. My first surprise is that they said they could take me the following day. They told me my appointment was at 3:30 but please come at 2:30 to fill out the appropriate forms. Bring check stubs or 2 years tax returns. The woman I spoke to was more than pleasant. She was down right cheerful.

I brought my paltry check stubs and showed up 2:25. The first thing that struck me was the outside of the building was not a disaster. It was painted and well kept. There was plenty of parking and minimal litter. (less than the Safeway parking lot)

The inside was a very pleasant surprise. First, it was not crowded at all. There were maybe seven people waiting- in a very spacious room that could easily have held 50.

The intake people were mostly Hispanic women. They were professional, helpful, sweet and genuinely concerned about my neck. They handed me 5 forms to fill out. The same as any doctor office. HIPPA form, medical history, emergency contacts, why am I there? It did not take me an hour to complete the forms. They copied my check stubs and figured out what I would owe on a sliding scale. They practically apologized because I would have to pay 50.00. I paid, they said sit and they will call me. I sat for less than 5 minutes and heard my name.

I was seen by a PA, named Rose Mary A. She was professional and compassionate. After hearing my symptoms, she was inclined to think I needed x-rays to rule out disk damage. Meanwhile, she ordered an injection for pain (an anti-inflammatory) and some pills. She gave me a neck brace. I have yet to go get the x-ray or pick up the meds because that will be more money and the well has run dry until Tuesday, but I will then.

When the nurse came in with my shot I asked her if it was going in my neck. She laughed out loud “No way!” she said! Whew, I thought.

On my way out the door, I met the Physician on duty. He was young enough to be my son but very pleasant and clearly without the ego that most Marin County doctors who I have met carry around with them. And he was good looking too.

Overall, I have to say the whole experience- even the shot received with no pain involved, was pleasant. On a scale of 1-10 as medical visits go, I would say a 10.

If this is a glimpse of what we could do with non-profit medical centers then I have to say they will get my vote. (And I recognize it could go south if run improperly)

All you naysayers who beat the crap out of me last time I came to this conclusion on this subject, if you would like my vote to be otherwise- send a check. I would love to get my x-rays before Tuesday next week, as I sit here now neck in brace, trying to figure out which way I can hold my head that will cause the least amount of pain.