Wally

I miss him.

Tomorrow it will be one week that he’s been gone.

I have his spittoon – I don’t spit so I’m not yet sure what I will do with it, but it will be in a place of honor in my home.

My children do spit so they asked if they could have it.

Yeah, I’m not really thinking that giving up my precious memorabilia to support my children’s chew addiction is a road down which I want to head.

One said to me, “Just don’t do something dumb like put flowers in it.”

Which is exactly what I was thinking of doing.

I don’t think that’s dumb. It’s certainly not as dumb as filling your lower lip full of foul-tasting, cancer-causing, drool-inducing shit

In the grand scheme of things, I didn’t really know Wally for all that long. But as soon as I had the opportunity, I was determined to be friends with him and I went for it.

And friends we were.

I haven’t had a lot of deathbed experience. All I knew to do was to just be with him. Listen to him. Joke about him dying. Feed him.

I’m Italian – feeding people is my default.

He was Italian – eating good food was his default.

I found joy and peace at his side. He was not a “zen” kind of guy. Sometimes he was even an asshole, to be quite honest. But he only showed me love.

When I was distressed in my life, I found that talking to him helped ease my mind and my heart.

During those last days he was stubborn as an ox, (or mule, or ass, really) and then he was tender and nostalgic and full of memories that he wanted to share. I was (one of) the listeners.

He told me about the love of his life – one of the few women he hadn’t married – he wrote her while I sat with him and asked her to come see him. He called her a “warrior princess.” I couldn’t wait to meet this woman who had captured the heart of this extraordinary and somewhat abrasive man.

She’s badass – I totally get why he loved her. She came, he let go.

I went to his house the last night he was coherent – he called and said, “I could use a laugh.” We drank grapefruit sodas, got stoned, talked about his children, his bike, his dog. He knew this was it.

He told me on the phone before I went over there that he had “days, not weeks.” Part of me didn’t believe him – this man had come so close so often…

And yet, while I sat there, I knew. Something was different. He was ready to let go. He was tired.

He asked for an extra pain pill – I said, “Wally, you’re not doing what I think you’re doing are you? Because I’ll do it, but I want to know I’m doing it – don’t fuck with me.”

“Nah,” he said shaking his head.

My eyes welled up, “Wally, I’m going to cry.”

“No.”

Oh, okay.

When he began to falter in his conversation, I hoped it was the pain medication, but when I spoke with a friend afterwards, she said, “No, this is what happens when it gets bad.”

I went to see him just a few hours before he died; he was already gone – absolutely no idea that I (or anyone else) was there, so saying “goodbye” was just awkward.  I didn’t have any deathbed speeches prepared or final thoughts that needed expressing. I certainly wasn’t going to weep and wail.

We’d had such a sweet night the night before – I didn’t need anything else. There wasn’t anything else that needed saying. I’m not left with “Oh I wish I’d had time to…”

I just really fucking miss him.

he loved this photo

he loved this photo

 

Who’s Next Door?

Is there seriously a social network specifically for one’s neighborhood?

And people in my town are talking about using it (or some variation of it)?

A place to communicate with your neighbors???

I have no words.

Here are theirs:

Nextdoor is the best way to stay in the know about what’s going on in your neighborhood—whether it’s finding a last-minute babysitter, learning about an upcoming block party, or hearing about a rash of car break-ins. There are so many ways our neighbors can help us, we just need an easier way to connect with them.

“An easier way to connect”???????????????????????????

Easier than walking across the street to invite someone to your block party?

Or in this town you know you’ll run into them at the coffee shop – absolutely no inconvenience on anyone’s part.

PEOPLE, FOR FUCK’S SAKE, TRY SOME HUMAN CONNECTION; GET TO KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS.

 

 

 

kids

I have a new friend. We spent time yesterday talking about our families.

I have one brother, one cousin on one side, and four cousins on the other. An aunt, an aunt and uncle, and an uncle. My mom and dad. One cousin and one aunt have died.

Total: 14 + me = 15.

This gal has 15 siblings.

FIFTEEN!

Half siblings? Cousins? Aunties? Uncles?

She laughed…”You don’t even want to know.”

She has three children of her own AND WANTS MORE.

She said, “I love children. Yes, I will have more.”

And I can tell that she really and truly means it. I can’t imagine a sweeter mother to a gaggle of children.

She has a quality that I certainly don’t have. The idea of more than three makes me break out in a cold sweat.

The difference between us makes sense to me – she’s used to the chaos and mayhem and noise and love of hundreds of kin, all of the time.

I got a lot of quiet in my childhood home. I could spend hours in my room and not interact with anyone. There was no chaos – not even the controlled kind. If my brother and I raised our voices, we were sent outside.

So in turn, I need a lot of quiet, a lack of chaos, alone time.

I admire her.

I’m curious about what it must be like to view constant stimulation as a welcome joyous state of being instead of being terrified of it like I am.

And I think that next go round, I want to be a child in her life.

College Degree

When people ask what my major in college was, I usually laugh, because I majored in Art History; truly one of, if not THE most useless majors ever granted.

If you have visions of art restoration or running Sotheby’s then yes, that degree will maybe get you into a master’s program, a degree from which might get you an entry-level job at the gift shop in a museum.

I had no interest in continuing my schooling, or selling postcards to school field trip participants, and a lot of interest in other things, so I went West, young lady, West, and never once reconsidered a career back in the art world.

Over time, I have sort of convinced myself that my degree is almost laughable.

It certainly doesn’t provide any assistance in the life I currently lead.

And then THIS pops up on the internet and I am swept away:

zeugma3

Thalia- the muse of comedy and idyllic poetry

Someone did this with little tiny pieces of glass 2,220 years ago. That’s in the B.C.’s folks. And not only is it still around but it is gorgeous.

Thalia (above) is one of the nine muses.

So then I begin to think “Sing in me Muse and through me tell the story…”

Homer. Odyssey.

Then there’s this mosaic of Poseidon:

God of the Sea - holding his siganture trident

God of the Sea – holding his trusty trident

There’s more, you should go to the article and check it out.

Anyway, I get so excited when I see something like this. I become completely overwhelmed with the beauty, the infinitesimal detail, and the commitment of human beings to that which is sacred.

Suddenly my brain runs rampant with details, and stories of Greek Gods, and details about how the glass was made.

My heart skips a beat. I, who can’t paint a plain wall without hitting the ceiling and the trim, catch my breath in amazement of the talent and passion of the artist(s).

Struck silent with awe.

And I realize that I actually was awarded one of the most valuable degrees; I spent four years looking at the most splendid creations conceived in human being’s brains. I studied mosaics because I fucking love mosaics.

I love art. Art is a person at their finest, their most raw, most vulnerable, and most authentic selves.

Art brings joy.

It also brings sadness, and melancholy, wistfulness, melancholy, tenderness, laughter.

Art makes the world a better place.