Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

LET’S…DO…THE…TIME…WARP…AGAIN

LET’S…DO…THE…TIME…WARP…AGAIN

 

               Much like the song from the cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show, I feel like I’m in a time warp. I watch Jessica’s belly grow each week, and I watch all the excitement, anxiety and joy that she is going through as she awaits the birth of her first child. As my child, it’s all new to me to see her begin a new life. I’m very happy for her, and know she is finally getting to experience the pure joy of being a parent. But I also know she will probably never sleep until noon again, and that a good portion of her days will be filled with concern for her child.

               As I watch her nesting in her new home, I have vivid memories of 24 years ago, when I was in the exact same position she is. I remember very well the summer heat, carrying her inside of me, happiness and excitement at the beginning of my new life. I remember all the feelings, and I remember dreaming about my future.

               Now I am my future. And all of my worlds seem to be colliding. It’s like I’m 20 years old, and 45 years old, and 65 years old all at the same time. I can remember the past, am loving the present, and can see a future full of love and grandkids. I guess I never really expected to live this long. Not that I planned on dying, I just didn’t picture this far ahead in my future.

July 27, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Long-Overdue Update

A long-overdue update…

            I am alive. I have not fallen off the face of the earth, nor have my fingers been ripped from my body in a horrible accident, making it impossible for me to sit down at the computer and scribe the daily happenings of my life. But apparently I have gotten a life—and a very busy one at that.

            In the strange way that only happens with age, it seems like a lifetime ago I moved to Denver, but at the same time it seems like just yesterday. I remember wandering around downtown with no place in particular to go, nobody I knew to go see. I observed the world and jotted notes in my notebook, and at the end of the day I would fill my time writing about the lives of those I had watched, and how they fit into my own small world.

            I still spend a good deal of time watching the world and taking notes, not wanting to forget every small adventure that plays out. But the past year has been a big one for me, and I find my time filled with not only solitary adventures, but adventures that include an ever-expanding group of loved ones, and I selfishly have reveled in them, not taking the extra minutes to document my happiness.

            So, here’s a long-overdue update. In the past year I quit smoking, fell in love, am almost a grandmother, and Jessica has moved to Colorado, with her beloved in tow. (And, of course, my granddaughter who is still in her belly.) My lingerie box has been replaced with baby items, and I am counting down the days (about 60) until I leave my apartment and move in with Mi Amante, for a peaceful life in the suburbs. I have enjoyed the city life for more than two years, and am ready to move on. The “gayborhood” I live in has been interesting, but sadly I have not established any friendships with my neighbors, and have found no sense of community there. I will always fondly remember the days of sitting in my window overlooking the city lights, waiting for someone to happen along that I could share my life with. Now I’m off to share my life.

            I have spent time writing for a marijuana lifestyle magazine, which went under after a year or so, perhaps because nobody could stay focused on the task of publishing. I tried my hand writing for the African American community, and although it was interesting and I learned a lot, it really wasn’t the most pleasant experience I’ve ever had, and it was glaringly obvious these were not my people, nor did they have any inkling to include me in their world. The homeless however, have truly embraced me. But after two years writing for the local streetpaper, I need to move on to projects that pay better, or pay at all. So I’ve sold out, and now spend my days writing promotional blogs for a local website. The other days I still spend at the donation center, where I occasionally work away at finishing one of the three fiction novels I have nearly finished.

            My world is definitely changing, and those who know me know I don’t really care for change. But it’s out of my hands, so I guess I’ll just go along and promise I will try to post more as I begin the new journey of love, grandmotherhood, mother-in-lawhood, and whatever else comes my way.

 

July 24, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Super Host of the Bike Trails

FROM THE TRAIL…
I have done an excellent job of riding my bicycle everywhere I go. I think I have used a transit pass once in the last week. Of course there’s the perceived dedication to minimizing my carbon footprint, caring for the environment and all that, which are perfectly good side-effects of bike riding. But truthfully I’m in it for the cost savings and the biker’s butt. I have acquired the look of a Colorado biker—padded spandex shorts, white logo’d T-shirt, a kid’s helmet that fits just right, and my recent addition of a bell, used for ringing to alert those in front of you of your presence. I ring it a lot just because the sound of it makes me happy.
There are other side-effects however, mainly mental and emotional. Each morning I have a moment of initial debate with myself. I could sleep in another 45 minutes, it might rain, it might be too hot, or, worst of all, I would have to ride uphill in the early morning. Thankfully I have held fast and gotten on my bike, and am rewarded immediately when I hit the street and smell the fresh morning air, the wet dirt from sprinkled lawns, and hear the silence of the city in the early morning.
Spring also happens to be the time of year when all of the baby animals are running about, and they seem more active in the morning. Baby bunnies, curious and not old enough to be cautious, run into my path and stop, waiting for me to approach, before darting off into the bushes at the last possible second. Baby prairie dogs do the same thing, standing along the edge of the path to watch me, their mothers squeaking loudly for them to run away.
There are plenty of designated bike lanes on the roads, which I use when necessary, but given the chance I like to ride on the sidewalks through the historic neighborhoods, or along the parkways and river trails. The smells are constantly changing, and I often catch a whiff of what smells like honeysuckle, then lilacs, then cottonwood, and occasionally marijuana from a local grow house. My commute takes me about an hour, depending on whether I’m riding from my downtown home or my suburb home. I’m fully awake and energized by the time I arrive, and with the feeling that I’ve already had a special break for the day. Like stopping for a leisurely picnic in the shade. It’s good for my soul, and, did I mention, my butt is becoming phenomenal.
The negative side-effect of bike riding is other bikers. Motorists I must admit are mostly courteous and yield. Other cyclists, however, are jerks. They seem to be in a huge hurry, and apparently it is against their code of ethics to ever slow down, even when navigating a busy walkway. And, they never, ever use their bells. They expect pedestrians to yield to them, and I have seen many looks of fear on poor walkers out with their dogs as a cyclist races between them without ever slowing down.
I’m not that kind of biker, so I always make it a point to slow down when I’m approaching anyone on the path, either walking toward me or away from me. I ring my bell well in advance, and when they turn around to look I always greet them with a big smile and a “good morning.” They seem shocked that I would interact with them, but I always get a nice smile and greeting in return. I like to think I’m doing a little to offset the arrogance of other bikers. I’m like the super host of the bicycling path.

June 16, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Leisurely Bike Ride

A LEISURELY BIKE RIDE
The weather has finally remained consistently warm and dry enough that I dared drag my bicycle out of the closet it has lived in all winter. It needed a new tube and some adjustments, but I was pretty eager to resume the wonderful exercise, and truthfully, the really good butt, that comes from bike riding. Being in better shape this year after a year of not smoking, I was eager to test my stamina. Although my bike wasn’t yet ready, Robert and I headed out for what was my inaugural bike ride of the year, on the tandem bike. Our goal was to ride the Cherry Creek bike path and map my route from his house to my office and back. It’s a shorter commute than to my apartment, in theory at least, but I’m not so sure of that. I always feel like I’m being scrutinized when I’m on the back of the tandem. I feel like I should be laughing wildly, extending my feet out with childish joy, like you see in the movies. In reality riding a tandem bike requires a lot of trust and teamwork, with either rider having the ability to crash both at any moment.
The good news is we made it to the turn off near my work and it was a thoroughly enjoyable ride. The bad news is the return trip involved some pretty major hills. The worst news is our chain broke just as we headed up the first hill, still several miles from home. Which was also many miles from any road that rescuers could use to access our location. Which was a moot point anyway, since everyone we knew was either at work or school. Now this is the point in our relationship where we had the opportunity to see each other’s true colors. Any of my past relationships would have involved gnashing of teeth, screaming, blaming, pointing of fingers and ultimately throwing of the bike in anger. Aw, heck, who am I kidding? None of my past relationships would have involved a ten-mile-long tandem bike ride.
Neither of us really had pressing plans for the day, and after the initial shock wore off, we just laughed as we began pushing the bike home. It extended our time to chat, and I was secretly a little relieved that I would not have to endure the hell of riding uphill. The weather was warm but there was a slight breeze, so it wasn’t unbearable. As we huffed and puffed our way up the first hill, we realized it would be a long journey. I pointed out the blowing grass on the dam to Robert, and it triggered some brain cells that had apparently been rendered temporarily dormant. He smiled really big and straddled he bike, then told me to get on. Confused, I reluctantly did so, asking if he thought of a way to fix it.
“No, but this part’s downhill.” We did laugh like children then as we slowly started to pick up speed, and there was a feeling of true joy when we realized we would have temporary relief on the hills. We coasted for as long as we could, then pushed with our feet like a skateboard on the flat spots. Eventually we had to dismount and took turns pushing the bike up the hills. But every hill we pushed up, we knew we could coast back down. So the leisurely bike ride wasn’t as leisurely as we had planned, but by the time we coasted into the driveway, day had turned into an adventure.

June 12, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dreadful Day in the City

DREADFUL DAY IN THE CITY
The day began wonderfully. I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with Robert, and had several errands to run downtown, but nothing super-important. I was looking forward to spending the day riding buses, trains, and having plenty of time to finish a great book I was reading. One of the benefits of being a regular public transit rider in the suburbs, is that Rocco picks me up at Robert’s house in the short bus. Rocco is the morning driver, and Ricki is the afternoon driver. They pick me up and deliver me to the light rail station, or will take me to the grocery store if I need. It’s a great service, but I usually only take advantage of it in the morning, or when I’m carrying a lot of goods home. The rest of the time I enjoy the two mile walk from the station.
Today I had to be downtown by 10:30 to interview a homeless man for a monthly profile for the VOICE. When Rocco arrived to pick me up the air was cool and smelled of wet, fresh grass. The sun was rising, and it was shaping up to be a hot, but beautiful day. I had a moment of spontaneous euphoria as Rocco drove to the station, windows open and the cool breeze washing over me. It was going to be a good day.
Or so I thought. My interview turned out to be too time consuming and tedious. If I spend more than one hour on an interview, I end up making an hourly wage that is miniscule. The profile only entails 500 words, so a quick synopsis of their life is sufficient, mostly I need a couple of quote about selling the paper, and the point is to let readers know where to find them. It was quickly apparent that the theme of this interview was, as a man with undiagnosed bi-polar disorder, his life was disrupted and he remained homeless because he cycled through success and destruction every 4 to 6 months. I was sympathetic to his story, but he insisted on reciting EVERY detail of EVERY failure, EVERY six months of his life. I gently tried to prod him along, but he was insistent upon the details. It’s always hard for me because I do my best to respect every subject and make them feel that everything they say is of the utmost importance, but I really couldn’t afford to spend the three hours the interview was turning into.
I left a little angry with myself. Both for rushing the interview, and for letting it go on too long. I scolded myself as I walked the 1.3 miles home to my apartment. My next point of business was to renew my discount prescription card. I had let it lapse, and I only use it for certain items, my diabetic drugs I get at another pharmacy, which was my third stop for the day. So I entered the apothecary with my 15 pages of renewal paperwork, only to be told that it would not be honored. When I first signed up for the card, they allowed me to use the receipts and paperwork until my official card came in the mail. I assumed that would be the case again. Not so. For some reason, the law is that if you let it lapse there is no leeway for renewals. Why? I asked, that’s rather ridiculous. The young girls were sympathetic, but raised their arms in the air and made the statement, “We know it’s ridiculous. And there’s no reason for it. But it’s the law.” Frustrated I left. Mostly because there was nobody to rage against. Nobody to call and say “What the hell were you thinking?” It seems like just another ridiculous bit of control that is exercised against us in the name of “Medical Care.”
Between the never-ending interview and time spent arguing unsuccessfully, my bus transfer had expired, which meant I would have to spent another $2.25 to get to the pharmacy for my insulin. I get a great sense of accomplishment at planning my day precisely so I can get around with only one pass. It was already noon and I was cranky as I boarded the 52 bus bound for Denver Health. The driver was a nice old lady who met me with a big smile, and in a very pleasant voice announced every stop. I was feeling more relaxed as I got off the bus. I would pick up my test strips and insulin, have lunch, and still be able to make it home on the same transfer, since they were good for three hours. Then I noticed the nice driver had not changed the time for the hour, and my transfer was only good for two hours. Dammit!
I rallied again when I saw the line to drop off prescriptions was not that long. And I admit I rallied a little more as I listened to the man in front of me argue with the clerk about his prescription. They had the wrong units, or read the prescription wrong, whatever the problem, I heard that they were unable to give him enough insulin to get him through the month. He was a huge man, and when I overheard how much he was taking I thought it was impossible that one human could take that much and not die. I was very happy, and a little smug, knowing that my prescription included much less insulin, and, having promised my doctor I would keep a log of all food and insulin taken, I was feeling pretty high and mighty that my visit here would be much more pleasant.
Wrong again. I approached the window and told the apathetic clerk I would like two vials of humalog. Without checking the computer, she looked directly at me and said, “You can only get one.”
“They let me get two at a time. I do it every couple of months.” I replied. She didn’t bat an eye, and still didn’t even pull up my record.
“No. You can’t get two.” I checked my temper. It wasn’t that imperative, but since there was a minimal charge for them, it was more convenient to cover two months at a time. Whatever.
“Okay, then I just need test strips then too.” She finally pulled my record up on the computer.
“Sorry. It hasn’t been 30 days. You can’t get those until tomorrow.”
She should have thrown in some blood pressure medication for free, because I could feel my face going red and a trembling began deep inside. Deep breath, deep breath.
“I’m sorry. My doctor has instructed me to check my blood sugar five times a day. I can’t do that without test strips. Can you please look at my record?”
Her apathy was replaced with snottiness. “You can use the house phone to call him, then he can re-write the order and we can re-process the order. But no, I can’t do anything from here. You can come back tomorrow, then it will be 30 days.”
I really am proud of myself for letting it go. Mostly.
“Will tomorrow at 11 be okay to pick up your humalog?” Her apathy was back.
“No, I will wait for that please.” I said, I was not leaving empty-handed.
“Fine, it will be about 45 minutes.” She showed the first sign of emotion, in the form of delight as she informed me I would be waiting a long time. Ha! I had news for her.
“Wonderful!” I said, flashing her a big smile. “I have a good book I’ve been dying to finish, and the cafeteria has great salads.” That showed her. I marched off and went to pay too much money for a really bad salad, but dammit, I did read my book.
Insulin in hand, I got back on the 52 bus to continue my journey back out to Robert’s, where I looked forward to lounging on the patio and wrapping up some blog posts. I was in immediate trouble with the driver, as I tried to board the bus without realizing a wheel chair was trying to exit. He yelled at me to “hold up,” then I waited as he lowered the ramp and the chair rolled off. He made it a point to hold me at bay for about 30 second longer than necessary after he raised the ramp, I think just to make sure I knew he was the boss.
I took a seat in the back and looked at my transfer. It expired at 3 o’clock. It was now 2:45. We would get to the train station about 2:58, and I my stop was about 10 minutes past that. Angry at the original driver all over again, I wondered what the technicalities of the pass were. If I boarded the train while the pass was still good, would it count? Given my experience with RTD employees, it would not. But we were talking about a matter of minutes. My internal battle was interrupted by a woman in the middle of the bus yelling “This is my stop!”
“NO bell was rung!” Yelled the driver.
“I rang the bell!” She argued back.
“I stopped for the stop you rang the bell for! That was on the other side of the street! No bell was rung for THIS stop!” The driver yelled, as he slammed on the brakes, pitching all of us forward as the woman worked her way off the bus. That seemed like the final sign that this day was not the day to tempt fate. I bought a fresh ticket at the station, but was still grumbling about it as I bumped along. Then, two stops before my exit, a transit cop appeared from behind me.
“Tickets please.” I was giddy with relief as I flashed him my pass, he smiled, wished me a good day, and moved on to the next person. I looked at the time. It was 3:03.
I replayed my ridiculously tedious day in my head as I began the two mile walk home. But soon the bunny rabbits were darting across my path, the geese meandered toward me to shake me down for food, and I noticed the trees had finally started to turn green. Sure the day had cost me three transit passes, but I did come away with an interview, a bottle of insulin, and narrowly escaped a transit fine of $75. And in retrospect, I couldn’t really remember the last time I had such a terrible day. Most of my days have been good, so I shed my worries along the walking path, happy to know that I probably had another six months or so before I would have a bad day again.

May 22, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

MOTHERS DAY ON THE MALL
I began my day basking in the glow of martyrdom. I had agreed to work today, Mother’s Day for my co-worker, since Jess isn’t here yet and my co-worker has children in town waiting to lavish her with gifts and love. What a great person I was to give up my Sunday for her. As I lay in bed patting myself on the back for my high moral standards and outstanding character, I abruptly realized that the Sunday train schedule was completely different, and if I wanted go make it to work on time I had to be on the 7:46 H line. I bolted out of bed, showered and took way too long deciding which shorts to wear. Notice I said shorts, as in a beautiful day with no snow or rain.

I hurried to McDonalds and got a biscuit and diet coke, which I devoured as I hurried to the Civic Center station. I needed to buy a ticket book of transit passes before catching the mall shuttle. Usually the shuttle runs about every three minutes, but on weekends it runs about every 10 to 15 minutes. So if I missed it I would have to walk the seven blocks to the light rail station. The shuttle was parked at civic center station when I arrived, a good sign because it usually idled there for a while waiting until its next run. I darted inside and raced to the ticket dispenser, only to see the red light flashing, indicating the book I needed was sold out. I noticed a second dispenser, but it had a note taped to it stating it was cash only. Damn. I have been trying very hard to keep a 20 bill stashed in my wallet for emergencies, and hated to use it now but, I guess this was an emergency, so I dug the bill out and bought my book. I left the building just in time to see the mall shuttle pull away.

I began my hasty jaunt down the eerily quiet mall. The transients were nowhere to be seen, and I walked a full block before I happened upon another person. I actually heard her before I saw her. A beautiful voice floated on the wind, singing a song I didn’t know the words to, but it was beautiful. The melody could only be coming from the woman up the block. She was middle aged and quite large around the middle. She stood next to a rolling suitcase, I assumed she was a guest from the Sheraton waiting for the shuttle to go to the airport. As I got closer I noticed she was holding a piece of paper in front of her, reading the lyrics to the song she was singing. Her voice was truly beautiful, and as I passed her I understood some of the words. The lead up was about big corporations, and the chorus went something like “you are just another slave, taught to behave…”

I hiked the seven blocks to the station, where more people were milling about. A few transients searched through the garbage cans, and pigeons followed behind them hoping for dropped crumbs. But I noticed most of the people waiting on the platform were middle aged women like me. Nice hair, makeup and handbags, I could only assume they were headed out to the burbs to see their children, or families,or maybe their own mothers. It felt a bit like relief society, minus the dresses and gossiping.

May 16, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Enchanting Evening and Redemption on the 15 Bus

REDEMPTION ON THE 15 BUS
After last week’s display of horrific manners on the 65 bus, I battled with myself as to whether or not I wanted to take the lazy route home, via the 65 and 20 bus. I had two bags full of groceries, and laziness won out, and I once again found myself sitting at the bus stop waiting for the 65. It was getting dark, so I left my earbuds in my ears, but turned my music off, so I could be aware of my surroundings. A pre-teen boy and his mother came along after a few minutes and joined me.
I sat on the bend and he perched on the curb to the parking lot behind me, dressed in football shoulder pads and cleats, chowing down on snacks and drinking a Gatorade. His mother stood near him, chatting on the phone. She was attentive as he commented on how many calories were in his drink, responding with the statement that that’s why he only gets to drink it after practice. Eventually, like all young boys will do, the young man passed some gas, then laughed loudly and commented about it. The young mother quickly hung up the phone and scolded him.
“That is not okay. You are better than that. Talk like that makes you seem like a degenerate. That is beneath you. I know that because I’ve spent the last 11 years making sure you know how to behave.” He looked genuinely embarrassed, and she lightened up on him a little bit. “You save that for when you’re around your friends, or on the football field. But when you’re around other people you mind your manners. You hear?”
Wow, I felt a little bad as I could see the boy’s cheeks turn red, despite their already dark color.
“Yes. I’m sorry.”
“Okay, good. Just don’t go forgetting when you’re around other people.”
When the bus arrived they both motioned for me to board first, I’m sure because I was their “elder.” I heard the young man politely ask the driver for a transfer, then respectfully reward him with a “Thank you” before they took their seats. The ride was turning out to be unexpectedly pleasant.
Until I realized the 65 was running about ten minutes late. That meant I would probably miss my connection to the 20, and would be left standing in the dark, abandoned neighborhood for 30 minutes until the next bus came along. I was mentally prepared to do just that, and take my chances, rather than get off on Colfax and take the 15 bus. I bickered with myself over my options, I really hate the 15 bus. It’s always full of riff-raff, which are not the worst people on the bus. The worst people are the unhappy, soul less working class “suits” who commute home on the 15. They’re always mean, stingy with their seats, and in a hurry to get home. Did I mention I hate the 15?
I rationalized that when we reached Colfax, if I the 15 was within my sight, I would hop off and take it. If not, I would take my changes with the 20. As we pulled up to Colfax, not only could I see the 15, it was actually at the bus stop, waiting for those of us to transfer from the 65. It was meant to be, so I took a deep breath and stepped aboard the 15 bus. It was a whole different world.
“AAllllll aboard!” was the cry from the driver, whose name tag said Art. “How are you this evening? Glad to have you with us. Transfer young lady?” He greeted everyone with the enthusiasm of a man who loved his job. I took the first available seat, which was the front aisle, but there were no wheelchairs or seniors so I sat down. An elderly gentleman was seated across from me, and he was haggling the driver.
“I mean it Art. One day, I’m gonna take you to Judge Judy and then we know who’s right.”
“Who? Judge Judy? We don’t wanna go there. No way. She’ll eat both of us alive. She’s a mean one.”
“Judy? Really? You’re just afraid she’ll say I’m right.”
“Maybe so, but lets not take our chances.” Art and the senior bantered back and forth, with Art stopping the conversation to welcome each new passenger aboard, or to yell “Good Night” and wave as they exited out the back door.
I felt like I was on the party bus to Wendover. Everyone chatted with each other, people farther back chimed into the Judge Judy conversation, and everyone was laughing. I looked around and realized there wasn’t a single suit on the bus. No uptight, hurried passengers. Nope, everybody here had nowhere to be in a hurry. There was the one-armed man, whose arm had been severed between the shoulder and elbow, drinking his Pepsi and chatting with the toothless, sickly looking lady. Two men boarded at the next stop, one of which was walking with a cane. I promptly stood up and moved one seat back, offering him my seat. He scowled at me and muttered, “I hate theses seats. As soon as I sit down a wheel chair gets on and I have to move.”
The one-armed man turned and grinned at me.
“He’s just a cranky cripple.”
A young “punk” looking kid got on, and immediately recognized the sickly looking lady.
“Hey, how are you? I’m so glad you’re okay, I’ve been worried about you.” He was genuinely respectful and concerned as he leaned down and hugged her. “I don’t wanna squeeze you too tight, I know your bones are brittle.”
I listened as they caught up, him expressing concern for her health, her expressing concern for his education and working toward a vocation. Each stop brought more characters, and each one was welcomed by Art. He was proud of his bus full of misfits, and they were obviously fond of him.
I was almost tempted to ride the 15 all the way to the end, just to watch the others and be part of the community they had going on. But when it came time for my stop, Art was sure to thank me for riding his bus, bid me a hearty farewell, and invited me to join him and his rag-tag group again.

AN ENCHANTING EVENING
I spent the day slaving away in the kitchen…Okay, that’s not true. I actually threw some pork chops in the crock pot in the hobbit kitchen, then spent the day reading, jogging to the library and generally loafing around. I did, however, actually work up a slight sweat walking the two block to Colfax to get a bottle of wine from Argonaut. Anyway, by the end of the day my tiny apartment smelled delicious, and I whipped up a packet of mushroom rice while waiting for the Good Doctor to join me for dinner.
I knew it was going to be a magical evening when he genuinely raved about my cooking. That doesn’t happen often, nor do I cook for others often. Not since Jessica left home, and after 18 years she had become immune to the magic of my crock pot cooking and tuna casserole. So I was feeling very much like a domestic godess when we finished the meal and decided to take a walk downtown.
The weather was mild, with just enough of a chill in the air to be refreshing, but warm enough to stroll without coats. I wander my neighborhood and marvel in the beauty of the historic buildings regularly, but seldom have someone to share the splendor with. Especially someone who enjoys holding my hand as we wander and who laughs at my jokes, or seems genuinely interested as I regurgitate useless bits of information about the area. I should probably be embarrassed to admit this, but in all of my 44 years I had never truly enjoyed a romantic stroll. Given my penchant for non-romantic/hard-nosed/redneck/emotionally unavailable men, I guess its no surprise. But I was genuinely amazed at the warm fuzzies working their way through my body as I strolled hand-in-hand with the Good Doctor.
My intention was to walk the mall and savor the flavor of the evening crowd, and decided we needed a chocolate covered ice cream cone from McDonald’s for our journey. I was highly disappointed when the young man behind the counter informed me they were out of chocolate topping. Well, a plain ice cream didn’t sound very romantic, so I ordered a couple of warm apple pies. Again, the young man returned, only to inform me that they were out of apple pies.
We decided to walk down the mall in search of a different treat. We decided on a yogurt cone, which, in theory, was healthier fare, but given the size of the pile of yogurt stuffed in the waffle cone, well, it was delicious. We wandered down toward Lannie’s Clocktower, which on this night was lit up with purple lights. I wanted to show the Good Doctor the new plaza that I had visited with Tim and the kids, where we could play all manner of board games and ping-pong. Of course it was too late in the evening to play games, but we enjoyed our cones and talked about nothing.
Suddenly there were gasps, giggles and various sounds of wonderment coming from people on the street. We followed their gaze skyward, and I flinched as I saw the object of their curiosity. It appeared to be a blimp, but flying way too low, and way too small. It was actually a silver cylinder, about a foot around and maybe ten feet long, floating above the crowd. As the wind threw through the buildings, the balloon was swept up in the current, raising, then falling rapidly, a ballet of shining silver that was mesmerizing.
The balloon finally descended into the waiting arms of a middle-aged Hispanic man, who was grinning at the passersby he had enchanted. He bopped the bottom of the balloon with his fist, sending it shooting into the air once again, where it danced above us. We chatted with the gentleman and left with a smaller version of his wonder balloon. We wandered back up the hill toward home, and I mentally checked “romantic stroll” off my list of things to do in life…

October 20, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DEAD or ALIVE?

DEAD OR ALIVE?

 

            Having read about Rosie O’Donnell having a heart attack, and how she took an aspirin directly afterward, apparently saving her life, I started carrying a couple of aspirins in my backpack a couple of weeks ago. My reasoning is that I have absolutely no idea what to do in case of a medical emergency, other than apply pressure and call 911, but if I happened upon someone having a heart attack I could offer an aspirin in the form of treatment. Mostly to assuage any guilt I may have about not being able to help them.

            I finally saw an opportunity that my aspirin may come in handy as I headed up Washington toward the train station this morning. A man stood on the sidewalk across the street, while a thin woman sat on the sidewalk at his feet. He was obviously concerned, as she swayed back and forth then fell over. I stopped to watch, and he appeared to be calling 911. The woman sat up and the man bent over her, so I trotted across the street to ask if they needed assistance, prepared to fumble in my backpack for the life-saving aspirin.

            The man immediately asked if I had any water, I replied I did not, but asked if I should call an ambulance. He directed me to an office building on the corner, saying water was all she needed. His breath smelled of alcohol and upon closer inspection the woman’s eyes were dilated and she seemed incoherent. She definitely was not afflicted with anything my aspirin could help. I headed over to get them some water, and as I looked back the woman was up and they were walking down the street as if nothing were wrong.

            I went on my way, disappointed I didn’t get to save a life, but relieved that I didn’t have to save a life.

            I was headed down to the newspaper office to do a profile interview. The office is in a sketchy part of town, with the free clinic and several homeless shelters bordering the block. As I wandered down Stout Street I though again that my aspirin may be needed. I came across a man who was slumped over against a building, his backpack and belongings scattered around him on the sidewalk. My first response was to offer assistance, but as I got closer it occurred to me that perhaps he had just fallen asleep.

            If I were homeless, and finally fell into a deep sleep, I think I’d be pretty upset if somebody woke me up. I walked past him a few feet, but stopped and looked back. What is he were sick? What if he were passed out? What if he were dead? I tried to watch his chest to see if he was breathing, but panicked when I thought of him waking up to find me staring at him. I really didn’t know what to do. I hated to leave him in case he needed help, but hated to wake him and draw him back into the lousy world of being homeless on the street.

            I decided to walk on, the office was only a block away. I stood on the sidewalk in front, talking to one of the vendors as we waited for the doors to be unlocked. I kept watching the sleeping/dead/sick man, and finally expressed my concerns to the vendor I was talking to. He was not the least concerned, and warned me to leave him where he was.

            “He’s high as a kite. He was arguing with himself just a little while ago. You’re best just to leave him where he lies.”

            So, no chance to offer my aspirin, but I’m definitely going to take the chance to ask some of the homeless vendors at the paper what proper protocol is to determine if someone is just sleeping or needs help.

October 5, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ONE OF THESE TH…

ONE OF THESE THINGS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHERS

            I boarded the number 43 bus, headed for a Diversity Mixer sponsored by the Colorado SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists.) I’d been invited by my editor for the Urban Spectrum, Denver’s magazine for people of color. I’ve written a couple of articles for them, but had not yet met the editor or publisher, so I fancied myself up in dress and boots and headed for the meeting at a little bar called Eden.

            The 43 runs downs Martin Luther King Boulevard, and as I watched the bus fill up I couldn’t help but wonder if it was a coincidence that I was the only white person on the bus. And the only woman. And the only on dressed in silk and stockings. Just about every other nationality was represented on the bus—African American, Native American, Hispanic, and one gentleman who looked like he’d just walked out of a tribe in Africa somewhere. I was beginning to understand a little bit of how Rosa Parks must have felt, and had to give a silent thanks that I have been fortunate enough not to have been raised with this kind of intense scrutiny every day of my life.

            I found Eden with little effort, and headed up the stairs to join a room full of strangers whom I’d never met before. As I crossed the bar I saw couples canoodling, playing pool and in dark corners of booths caressing each other fondly. A typical neighborhood bar on a Friday night. I inquired with the waitress about the SPJ group, and she directed me across the room and around the corner where the meeting was being held. Crossing the room I realized that all of the couples were women. Many of them were very butch and manly looking, but, after careful scrutiny, every single person in the bar was a woman. Yup, Eden was a lesbian bar. A Very lesbian bar. I wasn’t sure if I should be offended that I obviously wasn’t their type, because nobody tried to pick me up as I made my way to the meeting room.

            The meeting was actually filled with more white people than I’d thought, although they were all men. I had a pleasant meeting with my editor, talked about future assignments and bonded over talk of a mutually disliked publisher/owner, and collected names and shook hands with many of Denver’s editors/publishers/SPJ board members. As I headed out I realized I had actually enjoyed the Diversity Mixer, although it was obvious that I was the diversity in that crowd…

 

 

MY HEAD IN THE CLOUDS

            The cloud formations here in Colorado are incredible! It’s like watching a movie roll across the sky. They’re not limited to just one kind of cloud, instead its as if all of the clouds gather together. Today there’s a darker, flat layer of clouds that sets the dramatic background, and in front of that are huge, fluffy clouds that look like the ones I see in National Geographic of volcanic ash clouds. Clouds as tall as the eye can see, rolling in on themselves and growing taller and fluffier. A slightly darker cloud sits in the foreground, resembling a historical mushroom cloud, reminding me of a dark time in America’s history.

            And I sat and watched these clouds for more than an hour. Just sipping my coffee and following the slight movements as they made their way across the sky. I don’t remember the last time I frittered away an hour just watching the clouds float by, but it seems incredibly appropriate since I’ve been walking around with my head in the clouds lately. I’m afraid I’m completely, hopelessly, over-the-moon in love. I’m happy all the time, giggle more than any 40-something woman should be allowed, am eager to wake up in the morning and no longer have my “I think I’m dying” moments. I always have a smile on my face, even when I’m having a bad day. I’ve been divorced for more than 20 years, and although I’ve had several relationships within that time, I’ve never felt this kind of uncontrollable happiness.

            Which makes me wonder—why now? Have I kept myself hidden and secretly unavailable for all these years? Perhaps some psychobabble explanation of hidden fears, insecurities, feelings of unworthiness? Or have I just not put any effort into finding a mate? Am I too set in my ways, perhaps arrogant enough even to believe that no one is good enough for me? Is it really love? Or just hormones, loneliness circumstance? There are endless books/movies about this very subject, and depending on which I watch/read, this is a fleeting moment that is destined to end badly.

            But maybe its finally my time. Maybe, the romantic notions I had when I was a young girl, which seem to be playing out right now, are truly my destiny. Maybe there is another person in the world who possesses the exact DNA that attracts mine like a magnet.  And maybe I can let myself be drawn to the magnet, without fighting the pull, without trying to control it, without explaining it away.

            I guess there’s a reason they call it “falling” in love…

 

MADE IN AMERICA

            Life as I know it has settled back to  normal—Becky has left to begin her journey home, the parents have hit the road, and Tim and the family are back to the life in the suburbs. Days at the center have slowed down with the cooling weather, with the exception of one gentleman who is cleaning out his recently deceased mother’s house. He’s a delight to chat with, and he takes the time to give me a little history about all of the items he brings, many of which are more than 50 years old.

            The unique thing about this estate, is that his mother kept everything in its original package. The metal Miller High Life cooler was well used, but returned to its original box. The same with the vintage iron, bulky humidifier, artificial Christmas tree, china, and even clothes came wrapped lovingly in yellowed, musty boxes imprinted with the words “Fine Ladie’s Clothing” embossed on the top.

            As I packed away the dozens of items I began to notice something peculiar about each one of them. Something the dozens of random things had in common. Something that made them the same, and something that made them special.

            They were all made in various parts of the United States. They were all made by Americans. Not one single item stated “made in china.”

            Nope, these were all made in the U.S.A.

           

 

             

September 29, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment