Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Well, it is a lovely, heart-swelling, blue-and-gold morning, and I am feeling distinctly introspective and nostalgic.  Nostalgia for me, though -- not for any past time that I was never a part of, which is the shape my nostalgia usually takes.  I am remembering the days of living alone in Northwest Industrial, and walking to Powell's Books several times a week, (and always on Sunday) and spending hours in a squeaky basket chair, reading, sipping hot tea, watching people, and writing.  I would write letters, write in my journal that I carried with me everywhere I went, and write in the Coffee Room Book.  

See, the woman who owned and ran the Coffee Room in Powell's Books would put a large blank book out on one or the other of the tables when she opened in the morning, and over the course of the day, it would get moved from table to table and people would write in it.  Jot down their thoughts, draw little pictures, write angry diatribes to politicians, rhapsodize about the boy/girl they had a crush on, complain about their mothers or teachers or boyfriends, mourn the death of a husband or father or child.  

This was a tremendously fulfilling thing for me.  I had been writing for years, channeling most of it into letters (the year I was sixteen I had 21 pen-pals, can you believe it?  And answered each letter immediately and vociferously) and a great deal of very poor poetry.  I kept experimenting with all these different poetic styles, none of which bubbled up from my own heart -- if any poetry ever does...hmmm.  (Note to Self: ponder this idea.  Is all poetry derivative, since no one would think autonomously of rhyming words, would they?  Or would they?) 

In any case, this was not only a completely new and thrilling chance for me to polish and write mini-essays to the world, but an even newer and more thrilling chance for feedback from the world, as represented by the other Coffee Room Regulars. 

And I got feedback, too.  A lot of it negative and snotty, of course, we all know what "commenters" are like, don't we?  The internet has certainly taught the world that.  Haters gotta hate!  But a lot of it positive and some of it valuable.  Are you listening, Freak?  I signed my work with the initial "B" and several other anonymous writer-types, most especially one who called himself "the Freak" would nearly always slip me an admiring, encouraging word.  I remember one full page directed to me, but written there in the book for all to see, which made it even more moving and important in my young and silent life.  The Freak was encouraging me to value the direct response I got to my writing, and to keep on letting the melancholy and loneliness (which, I'm sort of ashamed to say, made up a lot of my writing in those solitary days) dribble out onto the page and evaporate.
And then to continue writing, with the blues out of the way.

Sorry to say I have not followed your advice, Freak.  Oh, I still write -- but mostly e-mails to loved ones and the occasional blog entry, thus.  No books.  

Not going to lose the happiness I brought with me today, though.  Even if the memory is a bittersweet one, I plan to sip the sweet and discard the bitter.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Damned if you do, damned if you don't...

Okay, I am distressed and sort of confused in my thoughts right now. See, early this morning (1:38 am, to be precise) my son Joe called me, asking me if I could possibly help him with a little cash, since his car had been towed and impounded, and he needed to raise $300-and-some to get it out. I told him that I had no money at all and could not help, and he said, very cheerfully, not to worry about it, and he would see what he could do.

But telling your mother not to worry about something that you have woken her out of a sound sleep to ask for, rarely works. After the adrenaline surge finally calmed down -- I respond very badly to being suddenly woken, for some reason -- and my heart stopped racing and my eyes would finally close, I was still unable to fall asleep, for a few hours. So I am feeling sort of heavy and somewhere else, today.

And what I keep thinking about, over and over, this morning, is this: to what extent should I, as a mother, and as a human being, be willing to get involved in my son's life by way of giving assistance when the thing he has done deserves the result it has gotten?

In this case, he was parked across several parking spaces in a private parking lot, unloading stuff from his car to someone's apartment. Since it was so late at night/early in the morning, he sort of assumed that no one was going to be doing much coming and going. But apparently one of the spaces he was blockading belonged to someone with a short fuse, they called the towing company, who came at once and towed him before he even came downstairs for his next load. Now, I know this has probably been skewed for my benefit, but I can only tell you what he told me, no?

The kicker is that this morning, as he has spent several hours trying to locate his car, and figure out how and when he will be able to spring it from impound, he found out that they are unwilling to release it to him at all, since his name is not on the title. Oh, dear.

Now -- there are many reasons why this might be the case, but I know Joe, and I know that the reason this is the case is that he simply did not want to take the time out of his important life to make the trip to the DMV ( which he described to me once as being staffed and visited by total losers) and pay the $70 or however much it costs. And while I sympathize, I completely do not agree with this sort of behavior. I don't like the DMV either, but I have never, and I mean never, allowed any of the paperwork of owning a car to even get late. Okay, that is just me, and apparently I was incapable of convincing Joe of the importance of not getting on the wrong side of the people with the power. So, sort of my fault.

But see, that's what I am wondering. This sort of thing is what ought to really make him understand that you can't (to coin a phrase) fight City Hall. But a) I feel tremendously guilty for allowing him to fight this one out on his own, (even though there is, literally, absolutely nothing I can actually do about it) and b) this sort of thing has happened a lot in the past, and hasn't done any good so far. 'Course, this is the first time he has had his car taken away from him. So maybe.

Oh, I don't know. Urg.