Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A round and a round we go...

A few months ago a friend sent me an intriguing message. He wanted me to participate in a very small experiment he was running. Basically he wanted my take on a niche group. A bunch of people who believe something out of the mainstream. Way out of the mainstream. Flat Earthers to be exact. Go to their forums. Read their arguments. See how they interact with other people. What did I think? And if nothing else I would be able to get a blog out of something there, he was sure.

He was right. I did get a few blog ideas. Of course it was during the wasteland months so the ideas have just been sitting waiting, thank goodness the world is flat so they didn't roll off.

Okay, I'm kidding. I wasn't a convert to the flat earth belief system. But it was interesting to read their arguments why they believe what they do and why they feel they have the science to back it up.

Now here is where I come totally clean. Though I believe in science; I trust science; I think science holds answers to questions we haven't even thought of yet; I am not really good at that type of science. The stuff that incorporates advanced math. I have a degree in accounting. I like that sort of math. Cross footing makes me happy. But when you start adding in letters and imaginary numbers and complex formulas? It all starts to sound like Charlie Brown's teacher in my head. The only thing I was good at in Chemistry was lighting the Bunsen burner.

So understanding that when they would talk about how "of course the earth is flat because of lmnop+qrz-lto=ronger's theorem"* I would hear Waa...waa...waa..waa...waa...But they were convinced. And it looked really solid. And not at all what we were taught is right. So of course I balanced this with reading pages that were put up specifically to show why they were misapplying ronger's theorem** and that clearly it showed that waa...waa...waa....waa...waa...

Even though I didn't understand and couldn't follow along with the math and science on those blogs anymore than I could on the flat earth ones they made me feel better. Because someone out there was showing why they were wrong. Why it wasn't true. Why no matter how much they wanted it to work it didn't. And I took comfort in that.

Which leads me to what my friend was fascinated by in the first place. The interactions with the people in the group. The Flat Earth people are true believers.They really believe the earth is flat. They aren't doing it as a put on or a joke or to be ironic. They firmly believe this. And they will show experiments they've done that they feel prove their point. The religious ones will quote bible verses to show that they are right. The I only believe what  see ones will talk about places where you should be able to see the earth's curvature and cannot so obviously it's flat. The government conspiracy ones will talk about how it's all been set up to...umm..I really was lost here, I'm not sure why it's a big cover up or what the point of pretending it was spherical when it's flat would be, but there were reasons! But the part that really captured my friend's attention was that the people who were hostile and rude and, honestly, ignorant sounding weren't the Flat Earthers it was the people who would go in to their forums and their pages to call them stooopid.

He wondered why that was. Why did people get so hostile? Why were the Flat Earth people so calm? What was going on here?

And it is interesting to see. And totally different than a lot of the science/non-science arguments discussions. You will see the same level of heat and insults flung back and forth between anti-vaxxers and pro-vaxxers. You want to see real venom? Look at climate change deniers and climate change realists go head to head. They will rip each other apart. But not on the Flat Earth boards. The believers were really calm and the interlopers were the rude ones.

And I don't really know why. I have a guess. I think it's because they are so far out of main stream society that the only way to get people to listen is to be calm. To present their science. To show their experiments. And if they are calm then maybe people will listen. And as for why the other side was so angry? So rude? Well they are being told that what they believe, what has been taught to them as pure fact with nobody doubting it since the dark ages could be wrong. And that's a little scary.

See I think it's the people who see ronger's theorem*** laid out on those sites and have a moment of doubt who get the maddest. They are the ones whose foundation has been nudged. Me? I wasn't angry at them because I didn't understand their science anymore than the other science. And my faith is in the fact that there is no way a conspiracy this big with this many people who would have to know could have been kept under wraps for this long. I believe in the power of people to not be able to keep a damn secret, especially a juicy one. So I didn't get mad. I don't believe they are right so they aren't a threat to my belief system.

That's what this experiment led me to think about. Belief systems. Groups. Belonging. Feeling special. Feeling smart. Feeling like we know something that other people don't. That's what I think is behind the Flat Earthers. I think they like feeling like they know something other people don't. That by stepping out of the mainstream and deciding that they are right and everyone else, and I mean EVERYONE else, is wrong they are special. And they have a group of people that feed that belief. That agree with them. That tell them they are right. That everyone else is being duped.

How bad can your day be if you know that you are better than everyone else? That jerk you work with who thinks he's so smart? Well he believes NASA and the big round earth fallacy so how smart can he really be? He wouldn't even understand ronger's theorem**** if you wrote it out in crayon on the back of his lunch sack. But you, you are special. You saw through the bullshit and were able to form your own opinion, based on science you could see yourself. Not the spoon fed stuff in your text books. You are a genius. And part of a very small select group of people who also see the light that is coming from a much smaller and closer sun than everyone else thinks we have.

And it's also why I think you don't see the same calm with the climate change deniers or the anti-vaxxers. They are too big. There are too many of them. They have people they can find easily to stand with them and rage against society. The Flat Earthers don't. And the stakes are different. I don't care if you believe the earth is flat. I think it's odd, but I don't really care. It doesn't affect me. But if you and a hundred of your friends live in my city where my friends are now having babies don't get vaccinated? Yeah, I care. If you are a politician who actively fights against finding alternative fuel sources because the money from the lobbyists   you say the science on climate change isn't there? Then yes, I care about that. If what you are doing has an actual effect on my life or the life of a friend? Then I care on a different level. But if you believe that somehow the world is a disc yet doesn't ride on the backs of elephants who are in turn on the back of a giant turtle then well, okay, you get down with your bad self.

So the stakes are lower. Which means they get left alone, mostly. And the people going in a railing against them give them just enough of a touch of persecution to make them circle in closer. Which is good because we don't want anyone getting too close to the ice edge of the earth.  Brrr... Yes, I'm mocking them a bit, but this is what they believe so...

And if you read all of this knowing what you know about me you can see that I can see a lot of religious group think parallels in the Flat Earth people. They believe something that makes them special. They really want you to believe it as well. They are sure that the world is picking on them for what they believe, and in some cases are absolutely right. Because they can find others who think what they do they feel more secure in what they believe. But they are only on the level of a smaller religion right now. Once they get a little bigger they will want to start legislating what they believe like the climate deniers and the Evangelicals.

And then I will have a problem with them.

But until that point it was interesting. It was different. It shined a bright spot light on an area of my life that I am lacking in education. Not the Flat Earth part, the BIG science stuff. Like ronger's theorem.***** I really should look in to that one.












*not the actual theorem they used
**absolutely not the actual theorem
***still not the actual theorem
****yeah, you know the drill
*****did you really check?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Funny story...

"I've Got Your Dog"

Not, me, personally. I don't have your dog. If your dog is missing I am not sure where it is. I do have someone else's cats. But it's a totally above board and legal having of the cats. No, this is something else.

That's the title to a song that was in my "On This Day" feed. It's by Steve Conn, we saw him when he opened for one of C's bands a few years ago. Really enjoyed his show and that song made me laugh. He opens by telling the background story of the song and one of the things that made me laugh the most was his trajectory.  The situation started out funny. Then it really wasn't funny anymore. It was worrisome. Then it all ended okay so it got funny again. I liked that he saw the humor right away and eventually got back to it.

My problem in life often stems from the fact that my "this will be a funny story someday" time frame is much quicker than most people. I can see the humor in a situation even when I am in the middle of it going terribly wrong. Not just to other people, comedy is when it happens to you, tragedy is when it happens to me, right? But no, I see it as funny even when it's happening to me. I laugh at inappropriate things, not just nervous laughter, though that happens too, but actual "oh my gosh, this is hilariously awful" laughter.

And most people need a little more time.

I've insulted way more people than I care to admit by laughing or cracking a joke while we were in the middle of some catastrophe or another. Because they did not find it funny. I've answered the "Do you find this funny, young lady?" question yes at times when I CLEARLY should have said no. But I can't help it. Life is generally funny. Especially when it's going completely wrong.

 Life has a tendency to do over the top wrong quite often. You know when you have a big meeting at work and the tire goes flat, and it's bucketing rain, then you find out the spare is flat as well, so you call for the tow truck but it's late, and while you are waiting the car battery dies then your boss calls to tell you he really needs you in the office NOW because your client is there early insisting that the meeting was scheduled for 8 not 10. You either laugh or you cry. Sometimes you do both. But come on! That shit is funny. As is finally making it to the office and conducting the meeting while every step you take you hear the squish of the water in your shoes and you are trying your best not to crack up but COME ON you are a mess and everyone is trying to pretend you aren't and why the hell can't we just laugh about this?

And then there are people who NEVER find the funny in a story. And when they are telling you of their woes they do not want you to laugh about them. No matter if it really seems like they are adding ridiculous upon ridiculous just to get the laugh. They don't want it and they really won't appreciate it. But I still tend to do it. Sometimes, and I am really proud of myself when this happens, sometimes I can hold it together long enough to not laugh while I am with them and can either shoot an email to someone who shares my sense of humor or regale Brent with the tale when he gets home from work.

And of course, if it's a really good story it will make it in to a blog. Or a somewhat disguised fictionalized version for a short story. Sorry.  I mean not sorry like I feel badly for it, but sorry that you had the misfortune of being friends with someone who obviously does not share your view of the world as a tragedy just waiting to get worse instead of a joke waiting for a punchline.

And life is so much better when you can see the humor in most things. Not everything, I mean, I'm not a monster, some things aren't hilarious, they are just awful. But quite often you can find that bright spot. That moment of "if this had Yakety Sax playing behind it it would be fucking hilarious." Those moments make it better. They really do.

So my wish for you today is that you see the punchline instead of the tragedy.




Friday, August 19, 2016

The Obligatory Birthday Blog...

So let's start with the first disclaimer. I almost didn't write this this year. Up until 5 minutes ago when I sat down and opened up the blog page it was still a big maybe. Truth be told until I hit publish it still is. So that's the first disclaimer. There will probably be more sprinkled throughout.

I've done these recap sort of blogs on or around my birthday for a few years now. It's a good reminder for me as to what has happened, where I am, where I want to go. For the past few years I've taken a few moments on my actual  birthday to do them. Sort of a present to myself. This year I'm doing it early. I'm busy tomorrow and not sure I'll have time and honestly I am so looking forward to this year being over that I don't want to revisit it past today. I can't wait to see 47 in my rear view mirror.

There are years where you can pinpoint what is wrong with them. Deaths. Illness. Money issues. Loss of friendships or loves. All of the above. This year hasn't really had that. In fact we've had friends healing from serious illnesses, babies being born, friends getting married, financial decisions that leave the money in our pocket instead of someone else's. And still...just not a good year.

I'm in a creative wasteland.

I can't get over a nagging injury that is preventing me from doing things I want to.

I am worried about the state of my country for the first time I can remember. Like actually who the fuck ARE these people worried.

I figured out that a few people that I thought had my back, did, but only as a storage place for their cutlery. And even then I can't work up enough of a "mad" about it to do the weeding out that I should. I just get a little ticked when they do something nasty, wonder why they hell they stick around when I'm obviously not someone they like, and then move along. Maybe they know that weeding me out is more trouble than it's worth as well.

I've not been myself for so long now that I'm worried that this is actually who I am now.

Disclaimer #2. I am not writing this to be jollied out of it. Or have things pointed out that are great. I'm writing this so there isn't a gap in the years when I look back on past birthday blogs. I'm writing it so that when the ennui ends I will remember that it comes and goes. So this is strictly for me.

It's not like I'm not aware that I'm not my best right now. I totally am. And it's not like I haven't made some moves to fix it. I've made lists. I've made decisions. I've made plans. I've figured out the issues. I've resolved to fix it. And then....meh. It's too much.  I don't care. Life is fine...really.

Even if I never did get any Christmas spirit last year. Even if my weight has steadily climbed all year. Even if I spend more time biting my tongue than telling people what I think. Even if I don't even have to bite my tongue half the time now I just don't care enough to tell them. Or I just don't believe they will listen. Seriously, people don't even bother looking, reading, listening, to anything anymore to form opinions, they just mold what the headline says to fit their narrative. I told Brent the other day I needed the "That's not how this works, that's not how any of this works" meme changed to "That's not what this means, that's not what any of this means." so I can post it on 80% of the linked articles out there.

Disclaimer #3. My life is great. It actually is. I know this. I have a good strong marriage to a very attractive and intelligent man who tells me I'm pretty and smart and kind, and honestly believes those things. I have a great adult child living his life independently. I have money in the bank. Food in my belly. Clothes on my back. And the ability to get more of those things when or if I need them. So I know my life is great. That's not it.

It's just... My shoulder isn't fixed. I fell down the stairs last weekend and wrenched it again. So even the not as healed as I would like but maybe getting there is gone. I have another MRI to look forward to, and we all know how well that went last time. I am still pretty sure it's going to come back with, "We have no idea why it's doing this." Because my shoulder isn't fixed I am losing strength in my left arm. I'm actually losing strength in both arms because I can't lift weights, but just resting strength is going away. Last week I carried in a bag of cat litter for the cats we are house sitting. This week it took me two tries to get it upstairs to refill the box. I'm actually getting measurably weaker. This makes me insane. Just knowing how hard I worked to get where I was and knowing that I am not in a place where I can start stemming that damage is making me nuts. Disclaimer #4 I know this is not that big of a deal and there are many more people with bigger health issues.

But this was all last year. Tomorrow is 48. Tomorrow starts a new cycle. I will figure out what is wrong with my shoulder and get back my strength. I will get my muse back and my people will all be at the bar waiting to tell me their stories. I will remodel my house, figuratively and literally. I will have a better year. Because Disclaimer #5, I refuse to believe this is just who I am now. Because she's a real drag and I do not need that sort of nonsense in my life.

Happy birthday to me.

HAPPY birthday to me.

HAPPY HAPPY birthday to me.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Tastes...

I used to not eat raw tomatoes. Unless they were in a BLT. That was the only way I could stand them. It was a texture thing. Tomatoes aren't done inside. I think that's why I was fine with them in the BLT. The lettuce and the bacon were both crispy enough to hide the loose tomatoes.

But today for lunch I had a giant salad with at least three different types of tomatoes and just a little bit of cucumber and some bib lettuce. But mostly it was tomato. And it was delicious.

Tastes change.

It happened sometime in my 30s. I am not sure what it was, maybe trying to get C to try new things, or maybe when I started splitting more meals with Brent. Or maybe it was the stretch on Atkins where I ate more cob and wedge salads than you could shake a stick at. I'm not sure what it was but at some point in time I realized I was eating raw tomato. And enjoying it.

Tastes change.

Now there are people out there that if I were to grab a meal with them they would be shocked to see me eat a tomato. Because when I say I didn't eat them, I mean, didn't eat them. Ordered food without them, pulled them out of burgers if the kitchen forgot, moved the chunks to the side in sauces if it was "too tomatoey" and gave the whole wrinkled nose, curled lip, disgusted tone when I would announce, "They aren't done inside." I wouldn't eat them. Not just didn't eat them. It was a thing.

Tastes change.

So those people would, of course, be surprised that I eat them now. They might ask what changed. Why I have suddenly decided that they are fine, even though they are still not done inside. Why that no longer matters and I will eat them on burgers and in chunky in sauces and raw in a salad, and even by themselves.

Tastes change.

But what they wouldn't do is insist that I stop eating tomatoes just because I used to not eat them. That would be ridiculous. They wouldn't feel personally insulted by all of the times that I didn't eat tomatoes in our past now that I am freely eating tomatoes like it was never even a thing that I didn't eat them. They would be like, "eh. She eats tomatoes now. Cool." If they gave it more than a quick, "I thought you didn't like tomatoes? Oh you do now? Okay." Because they know that...

Tastes change.

And I wouldn't force my tomato eating ways on someone who still doesn't care for them. I wouldn't insist that because I now find them to be okay, even with their not done insideness still in full effect, I don't expect them to be okay with it. C doesn't eat chunky tomato sauce and I would not insist that he stop pushing his tomatoes to the side of the plate, though I might steal them for myself now. Because only my...

Taste changed.

But we do this and have this done to us all the time with other things. We put people in these boxes and we want them to stay there. From simple things like appearance. Weight loss or gain. Hair long or short. To bigger things like outlook on life. Political belief shift. Religious conversion or becoming an unbeliever. We have a hard time letting people change. To accept who they are now instead of who we see in our heads. It's done to us. We do it to others. And we shouldn't. It's just a tomato.

Tastes change.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Conventions...

Okay, so we are finally through the two weeks of political conventions.

I really went back and forth about watching this year. Especially watching the RNC. I am not voting Trump. I will never vote Trump. There is nothing that can be said or done that would make me think voting Trump is a good idea. I am in no way shape or form open minded about Trump. I think a vote for Trump is irresponsible. I think it's dangerous. I do not believe he has the temperament to lead our country. I do not want to imagine a world where our foreign policy is lead by a man who, according to his own wife, if you hit him he hits back 10 times harder. Any slight, no matter how slight, he responds to. And responds with unequal measure. If you cannot handle someone talking about how small your hands are without freaking out you should not be left in charge of the military. Just shouldn't. And let's not really even get in to his businesses. I mean, to put it in a Trump sort of way, I prefer to think of good business people as the ones who don't have multiple bankruptcies.

I am going to vote for Clinton. At this point something catastrophic would have to happen for me not to vote for Clinton. My Bernie friends are SCREAMING with outrage over the fix being in. I could argue with them about those emails not showing what they think they show but arguing with a true believer does no good. There is a reason they are true believers. I don't happen to agree with what they agree with so we will not see eye to eye on this one. I will not vote for Jill Stein (and I voted for Jill Stein 4 years ago, she has changed, going after the Berners and the Far Lefters made it impossible for DOCTOR Jill Stein to simply answer Yes to a question about vaccines. It turned in to a mess of an answer including big pharma and Monsanto and weave and bob and dodge.) I will not vote for Gary Johnson. Now I like Johnson. I like him personally. I actually like him politically. To a point. And as a social liberal, fiscal conservative I probably line up with him more than half the people who are protest voting for him. But I don't agree with the Libertarian party on a multitude of issues. And like it or not, a third party is not going to win this election so any vote their way only (as far as polling looks right now) increases the chance for a Trump presidency. And I will not do anything that makes that more likely to happen.

I know a lot of people think it's wrong and somehow immoral to vote for Clinton just because she's not Trump. But to me? It is a solid and perfectly moral choice to make. And in fact, those voting for anyone who makes a Trump White House more likely are, in my opinion, the ones making the immoral choice. Clinton might be flawed, I have said since this cycle started she's too hawkish for my tastes, but she's not even close to Trump as far as flawed goes. Not even close. And either Trump or Clinton is going to win. You want to make change with third parties? Get down with your bad self, I've voted third party for a lot of positions. They are out there. Read your voter pamphlets, hell run for fucking office as a Green Party or Libertarian or Constitutionalist or what ever...but this election? The presidential election? Third party is not going to win and your protest vote means nothing except one step closer to a Trump White House. And at least one, and up to three spots on the Supreme Court. So, please, take your moral outrage and park it in the corner and think of the fact that we just got marriage equity last year. ONE YEAR. It's still fragile. Please look at states dismantling Roe v. Wade by bits and bites. Please understand that Mike Pence was one of the first to sign a religious discrimination...oh excuse me...religious freedom law. I'm voting for Clinton because I'm voting for the Supreme Court. Scalia was put on the bench by Reagan. You know Reagan right? The man who was president before a lot of you were born? Yeah, that's how long a Justice sits on the court. That's how long they sway decisions. That's how important the court is.

So, all of that out there, there was no real reason to watch the conventions. But I like to watch them. I like to hear the rah rah speeches. I like to see the hats. I like to watch the excitement of the people who were chosen to attend. I dig them.

Usually.

I did not enjoy the RNC. It was horrible. The ugliest convention I can remember ever watching. They were only a few pitchforks short of an ugly mob. "Lock her up!" instead of "Burn the witch!" but very much the same vibe. And the vision of the United States they believe in? Terrifying. No wonder they are so angry. I am not sure how they had the guts to leave their homes and even go to the convention. I mean bands of roving criminals in the street, terrorist attacks around every corner. I am not saying we don't have issues, but come on, we aren't living in Armageddon just yet. We aren't even close. But hey, have no fear, (or actually have LOTS of fear but you know what I mean...) here's your candidate to tell you that HE can fix it. Just him. All by himself. He's the only one with answers. With solutions. And they are the greatest answers. Believe you me. He knows all of them. Including the fact that when he is sworn in we will have LAW AND ORDER! Our streets will be safe again! Which made me wonder, do his voters understand what he just said? They've been screaming about Obama instituting Martial Law for the past 8 years and now they are cheering it? Policing is at the state and local level. Not the federal level. Sending in the National Guard is what he would have to do to restore LAW AND ORDER! Does he know that? Do they? Do they even understand it?

Either way it was a dark, dark convention. His kids did a good job speaking. Though I still wonder if their mothers get tired of everyone giving him all the credit about how well they turned out.

The DNC was a mess at times. Bernie Sanders' supporters yelling down speakers. There weren't as many there by the end, but they were loud. Losing isn't easy. Losing when you are a true believer and you really believe you were robbed is harder. But it doesn't mean I was okay with them being rude. I cannot abide by rudeness. If I had been at the RNC convention I would have listened politely to the bullshit being spewed by a few of those people. Being polite is free. And you might just learn something. But this is actually not anything new with the Democrats and one of the reason I find them as a party to be incredibly frustrating. They are always so worried about being inclusive that quite often nothing gets done. There needs to be a point where you mark you differences and move along.

But overall the feel of the DNC, the themes of the DNC, the atmosphere of the DNC was soothing. It was like a layer of aloe vera on the scald marks from the week before. The messages of America is already great, yes it can always get better, and WE can do that. We. Us. Stronger Together. That was the overall arch. And yes, it's in direct response to the I, Me, Only Me, themes from Trump. And I am okay with that. Showing that this is why it's different is valid to me. The joint messages of being against both bad policing and being bad to police. They are not mutually exclusive. If you believe all lives matter then you should already be holding black lives matter and blue live matter in your heart. Taking care of our military. Honoring our military and the sacrifices they make. It was very patriotic. It was moving. And most of all it wasn't terrifying.

There are big problems in the world that need solved. Scapegoating isn't going to fix them. Finding someone else to blame because you aren't as successful as you wish you were isn't really going to make you more successful. Hate doesn't ever fix anything. Life is complicated. There are a lot of moving parts. We need to fix a lot of things that are broken. But I cannot fix things while hiding under my bed in fear. And I will not hand the keys over to a man who thinks building a building is the same thing as losing a child on the continuum of sacrifices made.

Because that's what Trump did in reaction to the DNC. He talked about how he wanted to punch the speakers. He got in to a spat with the parents of a solider who lost his life protecting those he was serving with. His Vice Presidential candidate and his military adviser tried to pin the blame on Obama and his softness for rules of engagement for the death of Captain Khan. Who was killed in 2004. Let that sink in for a moment. He is now saying that he believes the elections will be rigged setting up not just his story for why he lost but a dangerous foundation for the people following him to try and destabilize our peaceful transition of power we are so very rightfully proud of.

So the conventions this year did nothing to sway my choices. They just reaffirmed why I'm making the ones I am making.

I'm voting for the Supreme Court.
I'm voting to keep the crazy man out of the White House.
I'm with Her because She's not Him.

And that is a perfectly good reason.

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Morning After...

She woke up to light streaming in from around the blinds. Really bright light. Holy shit, why was it so bright? When she started to roll over the pounding in her head and the whirl in her stomach stopped her. Oh this was going to be a bad one all right. She closed her eyes and rested back on her pillow. Just exactly how much did she have to drink last night?

Then she heard it.

The slow steady breathing that did not match her own.

Oh shit. That much?

She cracked her eyes open and turned her head slightly, yep, there was a body there. Dammit.

She silently took stock of her surroundings. She was in her apartment. She was thoroughly hung over. She was completely naked. And she wasn't alone. Great. This was just great. 

How in the world did she end up here?

A really bad end to a fairly decent, at least at first, marriage. That's how she ended up here. That was the base of it all, right? 

The dream you share together turning in to a nightmare you can't wake up from. Leading to a little bit then to a lot of drowning your sorrows. Which leads to... the soft snores would have made her shake her head, if shaking her head wouldn't have lead to clanging gongs between her ears.

Yesterday had been the final day. The divorce was final. Months of negotiations, the you take that, I want this had finally finished. Their household split down the middle. The kids were adults so at least they hadn't had to negotiate that part, but 35 years of marriage, of a shared life, had taken a lot to unravel. Or at least the details took a lot. The actual marriage seemed to split apart fairly easily and quickly a few years ago. Like they had both been holding their breath for so long that once they each exhaled what had seemed solid tumbled like a house of cards.

You did this.

You did that.

You never.

You always.

Bit by bit, chip by chip, card by card. It all falls down.

Then it was over. They were done. 

Except for the details. Who got what. Fights that started: Why do you want that? You never even liked that! And ended in Fine! Take it! But that means I get....fill in the blank of what ever piece of useless shit there was to take that you thought would hurt the other one the most. They sold the house and split the proceeds.

She cried the day they signed the papers. 

"Why are you crying? You said you wanted to sell it!"

"Why aren't you upset? We worked so hard to buy that house. We raised our kids in that house."

"You said you wanted to sell it!"

"Of course I wanted to sell it, we aren't living there anymore. But it doesn't mean it doesn't hurt."

"Jesus Christ, I will never understand you!"

"And that's the fucking issue isn't it?"

Their realtor clearing her throat uncomfortably, "So....the proceeds are going to be put in trust..."

There hadn't been a lot of public outbursts like that, thank goodness. But there had been enough that she had changed her routines to avoid people she was too ashamed to look at anymore. And for the rest? Well there was always a nice ice cold martini. With enough of that chilling your blood you could look anyone in the eye. 

The bed shifted as he rolled over.

Or other places.

Now the detailed part was over. The money was divided. The physical things were sorted. The final paper work signed. Done. Over. Time for a celebratory drink. 

Here's to the end of 35 years of marriage. Now what...

Another drink apparently.  A few more toasts. 

And then...

He woke up and rubbed a hand down his face. Then looked over at her watching him. He reached out for her hand. Tracing the space where her wedding ring had been.

"Well this complicates things doesn't it?"

She pulled her hand back and sat up ignoring the pounding in her head and then got out of bed. Finally ready to face the new day.

"Not really."





Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Well that was embarrassing...

"I am so sorry, I am really not sure why I'm doing this."

Stranger wipes away my tears because my arms are strapped in to equipment and I can't move.

"It's okay, you're not in trouble or anything. I'm so sorry I've upset you."

"No, I am so sorry. I am fine. Really. I have no idea why this is happening."

"Well, my guess would be because you are in a lot of pain and stressed about what the results of this test will be, but that's just my guess. You aren't the first person to have this happen."

Well that might be true, but I would guess I was the most embarrassed and maybe the only one shouting in my head, "KNOCK IT THE FUCK OFF! JESUS CHRIST DON'T BE SUCH A WIMP!" And maybe the only one who wasn't stressed so much about what the results will be as much as stressed as to what the results won't be, or more specifically that there will be no results. That there is nothing that can be fixed. That this is just not a real thing and I am being a baby about it and just need to suck it up and get over it.

That was the mid-point of my MRI today. The part where they zoomed me back out of the tube because the results they were getting weren't diagnostic. Too much movement on my part. And I swear to god I wasn't moving. I was holding still. Relax she says, breathe evenly but not deeply. How in the world am I supposed to relax and not breathe deeply? Shallow breathing is going to make me pass out. Right? I've spent my life learning how to belly breathe and now you want me to take shallow breaths? How is that even possible? And how am I supposed to relax when I'm worried about my breathing? And take these fucking headphones away. They are giant and uncomfortable and annoying. There isn't room in that tube for me, the equipment, the bolster pillows AND these fucking headphones. 

Yeah, I was starting to get a little tense. Because I am REALLY good at blocking things out. I am good at ignoring pain. I am good at reading in a busy space and never hearing the world around me. I worked in an open office with 4 people on 4 different phone calls and a small space creative meeting in the "living room" behind me without ever missing a beat. I am great at "not being there" but what I am apparently not great at is holding still for long stretches of time.

I was a pro at keeping still while they injected the dye. The stinging shot of the lidocaine got an extra deep breath and that was it. The needle in to the joint capsule (the tech told me "I tell people it's kind of a twinge but I've been told by people who have had it done it's a little more than that." Umm... yeah, It's a little more than that. Holy shit.) and the dye filling the area. All of that I went through like a statue. Even when they had to figure out creative ways to keep my boob out of the way. Sorry, you made me take off my bra and put me on my back, where did you expect it to go? I even sneaked a peek at the x-ray they used to guide the needle and show that the dye had filled the capsule. "Does this bother you? Some people get a little squeamish." "Oh heck no, I think it's fascinating."

Then came the first round of the MRI, "Are you moving?"
"No. I'm still."

"Because we are showing a lot of movement. Just really relax and keep your breathing even and we will try again."

And so they did. Which didn't work. Which led to the conversation outside of the tube. Where she told me the images were shit and not worth anything and I needed to KEEP FUCKING STILL, but she said it really professionally and nicely and I broke out in to tears anyway. This is where you came in.

So I apologized for crying. She apologized for making me cry. I told her the headphones were more uncomfortable than they were helpful. She took them away and put plugs in my ears. Which, just so you know, having people mess with my ears is one of my least favorite things ever. So that was a little extra treat. Then she zoomed me back in the tube where I concentrated on not moving, on not breathing deeply, but not holding my breath either, and wishing I was someplace else, but not losing focus on where I was because I didn't want to twitch at all, and trying really hard not the think about not twitching, because thinking about not twitching only makes it almost impossible to not twitch. 

They did that series of scans, zoomed me out, put me in a different position, thank god, and then did another series of scans. Then they let me go. Of course she treated me with kid gloves as she got me off the table and escorted me back to my dressing room. Which PISSED ME THE FUCK OFF. But once you cry in front of someone for no reason you can't really blame them for assuming you are a fragile flower who might break down at any point. 

Ugh.

I get it. I really do. As a former therapist who studied chronic pain, and what it does to people and then worked on people who suffered from it, and know people who suffer from it, I get that I am broken down from over 3 months of daily pain. I get that I am probably, as Brent put it, in more pain than even I realize. Because I have a high tolerance. But because I have been tolerating it for months now I have nothing in my tank for anything else. I have very little patience for other issues. I have a short fuse as far as my temper goes. I am not feeling creative at all because all of my resources are being used in managing the ache in my shoulder. I get it. I understand it. I know why it's happening. But oh holy shit it didn't stop me from being so embarrassed I wanted to crawl under that fuzzy blanket and hide but couldn't because THAT WOULD BE FUCKING MOVING AND I WASN'T ALLOWED TO MOVE.

So yeah....