Flowers & Chocolate

Today’s Valentine’s Day in the USA and other countries as well, by virtue of commercialism and a reason to feature certain products for your lovers, to spur sales of flowers and chocolate, jewelry, give away appliances and trips on game shows, plus the obligatory weddings and proposals, on TV, in Times Square despite the bitter cold, no coats on even, and just a veil against the whoosh, possibly being swept away by the wind, not your newly married spouse. Remember in sickness and in health, as u swore an oath, publicly, to those folks out there, and your spouse.

Those of us who have never had a proposal in so many words, even if it was close to that, like promises to go shopping for an engagement ring next day, together….but it was mere opportunism, because a guy saw a good deal 4 himself, and figured a $2K diamond ring was a good deal vs sleeping alone w sleep apnea 4evermore, not even knowing that, because no one slept w him! Yeah, hungry 4 sex, and a maid, and someone to watch over him, to check his skin, assess his health problems, and be a cure all to a low standard of living in the ghetto Bronx, at the time…I was his ticket out! But this girl is wide openly aware of schemes, and tricks, and manipulation, so it didn’t last, even past that one night spent together…

I took him home and said bye, rather than be a fool. I am a strong, independent woman, perhaps jaded, wise, but fortunate also, to know what words r said, and which aren’t, to know the inner meaning, and to see those who would be actually good, in truth, and those who r rank opportunists…I have noted that had my own parents had had this ability, I would not even have been born. How ironic! They found the situation more tolerable than spending 4ever w their parents picking at their emotional wounds.

The man in question was a nurse’s aide at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, caring 4 my father, right near the end of his life it turned out, as he was post-op from total hip replacement surgery, w many other co-morbidities at the time. He was 82 yrs old. He wanted me, all right. I was flattered and watching it, as I visited my father, and we grew closer over the course of several weeks. He was upwardly mobile, studying on his laptop also, as nurse’s aide isn’t a viable career to pay the rent in the Bronx even. U need a roomie or a spouse, or someone to share with. Even in walk-ups, w intermittent hot water and intermittent heat outages being common, boil water on the stove, pour into a stopped up sink, and wash from that, a whore’s bath we called it, that strategic smelly body part wash at a sink, crouched over, splashing water everywhere, w washcloth in hand, a lick and a promise…too many times myself w that too, over many many years of degradation as such.

Freezing cold houses as the boiler broke when it got extremely cold, and tenants get sick, and die even, from the roaches’ carcasses under sinks, walls, causing potentially fatal asthma, in the defenseless children, and u get sick over and over again, because New York is dark and dank, and freezing, if u r poor, living in the Bronx, w no viable way out….and every infection leads to further damage, permanent, of lungs, despite not being a smoker myself, but having lived repeatedly w other smokers, parents, boyfriends of mother, roomies at college, when that was permissible…and asbestos at various jobs, including as a nurse at St. Ann’s School, where I served, caring for the local children, walking up many stairs daily there, inhaling all the time, white flaking asbestos…so my lungs r my ticking time bomb, of no fault of my own….multiple pneumonias, COPD chronic bronchitis, spirometry annually, inhaler, being unable to exert anymore because of those damned lungs, which I cannot escape, because it was 4 too long, and now it’s too late. I was in the Bronx mostly from 1964 until 2011, but for stints at colleges near and far, and a 1 year experiment in Miami FL.

I will be laid to rest at Woodlawn Cemetery , near where I spent the greater chunk of my life, because it’s non-sectarian, and very beautiful there, a National Historic Landmark, a point of local pride, and also because my mom and I lived near it, and we will die w separate religions, officially, so we needed a place where our division was not an issue, as there it isn’t. She died in 2014. I have a friend who wants to go w me there, to visit, and we will, next spring, as the trees r so lovely blooming then, and the grounds r very welcoming. I put up a vase on the mausoleum, of marble, so beautiful, filled w artificial flowers, in memory, because mom always bought me flowers and chocolate 4 Valentine’s day, in commiseration of not having a boyfriend or a husband, but I am that strong, independent woman, aware of all forms of love in this life, even while I lament the lack of THE ONE.

I JUST WANTED MY LOVE TO BE THE ONE WHO WOULD HOLD ME CLOSE AND KISS ME, EVEN ONCE, BEFORE I DIE. It isn’t right that only my dear beloved passed mother is the only one who could be the substitute love. I deserved better than that, even if it can’t be.

But also, very grateful 4 those close friends who r my consolation, and they r not fickle, nor opportunists, they just love pure and simple, 4ever, and they r my reason 4 going on. Tonight’s a great way to celebrate life: Hotel California, The Eagles, live in concert, NYC, w a dear friend who also loves them…just a song, let’s see…I Can’t Tell U Why, the Eagles. Or You’re My Best Friend, but that’s Queen.

N’Awlins Party to Go!

Mardi Gras again! New Orleans’ French Creole fest of Krewes, floats, beads, Hurricanes, drinks flowing, painted nude breasts in the French Quarter, all ages…celebrities, voodoo, tours, it’s just FANTASTIC, w jazz, all kinds of zydeco and other local music, whooping, hollerin’, dancing, but watch to not be too conspicuous w money or jewelry, as the pickpockets will get ya. Yet massive police presence also, so it’s usually good. Face painting, incredible costuming, we call it Cos-Play. The more u show, the more beads u get, thrown on u, from wrought iron balconies, so it’s an exhibitionists’ paradise!

Reserve your fancy eats months before or else get totally shut out, for dear old Emeril Lagasse, and a list of the best of the James Beard Awards Foundation. Foodie paradise too! Maybe Commanders Palace is one of the finest haunts for a meal in continental America. It blew me away! I went to N’Awlins, as the locals say, w my mom once in 2002, during the Fat Tuesday explosions of fun, and another time w 2 guys, both hanging w me, just 2 nights then, back in 2004, last time. Way way overdue to go away again, w my dear old bestie John. He deserves the best in life, and his husband too, who r coming w me, this time. It’s gonna ROCK! Whole lotta mental prep ahead, w the crazy girl here, all 55 yrs old of her, doing her thang….even if gravity is a bore.

I got my tricks, all packed and stored 4 a show! But the guys need jackets in the fancy eateries, or else no entry. A little warmer than up north home New York, we will get some heat on. I can’t wait! I am taking a face mask too, made in Venice, because a little mystery never hurt anyone….and a zipper down the front blouse, already rehearsing, “ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille!” – Norma Desmond, Sunset Boulevard.

It’ll be a trip 4 the ages, I just know. Can’t wait! This girl ain’t gonna shut her mouth until she’s dead, which ain’t 4 a long time at this rate, boys and girls. Got too much shocking 2 do, b4 I fall down, drunk on a mere 1 drink…because I don’t imbibe mucho. It hits me, and I get silly drunk, funny, giggling, suggestible…yup, psychoactive effects! Having a good time yet? U will. Surprises in store….This from the girl who went down to Katz’s Deli last year for the 30th anniversary of “When Harry Met Sally,” and yup, did her thing, chanting out live in front of a massive lunch crowd within, doing her fake orgasm, from the movie…and getting filmed by my lunch mate at table, TMZ, a reporter for print and another for a web site….I did make it to the editing on TMZ, for TV, because they gave me a 10 out of 10…I can howl! And people stopped me in the street afterward, hey, I know that girl….well, my 15 minutes of fame anyway, it was such fun!

U really can’t take me anywhere! Not on a drink, anyhow. Not responsible.

In Order to Form a More Perfect Union…

TICK, TICK, BOOM! THERE GOES MY CREDULITY at state of events in this once singular country called USA, or America. The people have truly become gladiators, watching misery 4 sport, inflicting same on each other…and pointing fingers afterward, if not guns, which will be quite soon, anyway…

2nd Amendment right to bear arms, beloved by hunters and the National Rifle Association alike, which in the 1770’s, referred to a well armed militia, “shall not be infringed…” The Founding Fathers could have scarcely imagined what their words would devolve into today, and they would be locked in furious debate, then action, on what it means to have a well armed militia…certainly not men who bring an arsenal of one man, hundreds of automatic machine guns, from long distances, aimed at crowds of concert goers, or Sandy Hook, or Wal-Mart, or the thousands of places synonymous w carnage of citizens. We inure ourselves to the continuing blood letting, even when one day it will hit us, or someone we love, which is inevitable in this course of events, because NRA and the people have run amok, from what the creators of this republic intended.

I do not have it against responsible gun ownership, or hunting for food, or even enjoyment, anymore than I hate fishers, who sustainably catch fish for us to eat. It’s just that there has been a sea change in America, and it is us. We r governed by consent, by the vote, and the men and women we choose to send to Washington DC r supposed to represent us, and our convictions, our ideals, being our Representatives, Senators and the President himself. So evidently, we have chosen to self-immolate, to be impaled upon our own swords, or in this case, flattened by bullets, hollow point, machine guns, masses of bodies, not unlike war, which we r reminded, is hell. We have chosen this 4 ourselves, by electing such representatives, and not doing anything meaningful to combat same.

Thus, the mass murders will continue, ad infinitem. Like Trump rallies, Making America Great again, pie in the sky 4 everyone, or “let ’em eat cake,” famously uttered by Marie Antoinette…because we r who we elect, at the end of the day. And the policies they espouse, by necessity, have to be our policies, so the results keep pouring out in blood and soft tissue injuries in ER’s all over America…this is who we r now. We r consenting to this way of life, if we allow the blood soaked carnage to continue, with no changes, ever. Only the same tired words of “prayers and condolences” 4 those lost. Even when it’s innocent children at school, we shake our heads, but WE DO NOTHING. Put flowers, toys, memorials up all over USA, in place of people murdered by our collective indifference.

It is the same w acquittal of Impeachment, a conclusion foreseen by many, by virtue of our partisan times, and the Senate, held trial, briefly, w great orations of Constitutional scholars and lawyers on top of their games. The Senate seats 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats, effectively, as 2 Independents caucus w the Democrats always…and so we could foresee that final votes would stack up on these party lines, but for a single history making objection of conscience by one Senator Mitt Romney, of Utah, on a single Article of Impeachment, voting Guilty, on Abuse of Power.

Whatever u think of this single vote of Guilty, it was significant, and risky politically for Romney to cast such vote, in controversion of his own Party, the only Senator to ever buck the trend of staying in line w them. He has 4 more years to serve in his Senate term, so we will not hear what Utah thinks about it politically until he has to run 4 office again. He voted his conscience, in finding the POTUS guilty, and explaining why he did so. It took courage and conviction at least, something sorely lacking in Washington DC today. He stood up. Even if u disagree w his action, u have to admire that he voted his conscience, against the will of the party. He will pay some price 4 this, I am sure.

I am reminded of today’s days in terms of TV shows we watch and stream on computers, tablets, cell phones, wherever u get your video fare…and it is not unlike watching the Gladiators in combat at the Roman Colosseum, when Emperors put men into the arena, to be slashed to pieces, by men on chariots, w swords, or to be eaten by lions and other wild animals, while the wealthy of Rome watched safely from the stands…condemned men, but w no elements of a free, fair trial, all it took was accusation and innuendo, perhaps a jealous mate, or a rival, to denounce u, and 2 be put to death so publicly, so cruelly…

Today we have shows like Survivor, America’s Got Talent, where acts r encouraged to do death defying balances over fires, on thin wires, atop stacked chairs, many dozens of feet high, escaping from manacles under water, w risk of drowning, throwing yourself out of a live cannon, by explosion….The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, where beautiful people who r pre-screened for attractiveness, at least certain levels of making a living, who r contrived to be put into falling in love situations, deliberately, then eliminated, in competition for the choice of a red rose, who is left standing? One by one, a certain majority will have their hearts broken, only in search of being “the one.” And we the people watch, remembering our own misadventures w love, and being glad that they got their hearts broken, as we once did also, or even repeatedly. It’s called “schadenfreude,” this enjoyment of other people’s misery, that we feed on, being glad that someone else has suffered, not us, this time. We LOVE to watch danger, even when it is real, not acted, or to watch heartbreak, “or the thousand natural shocks flesh is heir to,” (W. Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 3, sc. 1).

This is who we are, both today, yesterday and tomorrow. No wonder we r a failed experiment as a species. If an intelligent advanced alien out there saw us, he would conclude us mad, and maybe serve us up, in a nice soup, or “fava beans w a nice Chianti…” (Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal Lechter, to Agent Clarice Starling). Eat up, my fellow Earthlings: it’s much later than we think. And toast to us too, while we r at it. U can choose your wine, or your blood, freely, as u wish, as this is America, in the 21st Century. And we are our country. Symbolically and literally, WE THE PEOPLE. Today, that constitutes an epitaph, the opening words of the hallowed Constitution.

Ah! The Joy of a Backscratcher!

There is nothing so good as scratching an itch! Especially a recurrent one, on your back, in your ears, your scalp…itchy, dry skin all over body, exacerbated by dark winter doldrums…nothing like ¬†your skin to remind u u r getting older. And the skin is getting older, crepey, wrinkled. I have 2 of them at home, in case of need, which is daily now, the itch. One from Chinatown, long thin, w a curved hand of wood, to scratch with. The other is more fancy, to travel with, a must these days, as itches can be quite maddening!

That one is like a rake, silver w 7 tongs, adjustable, w a black sturdy handle, and it goes from 4 inches long to 18 inches, my! Because the length of a back varies, as we have noted. I sit at my desk, contentedly purring, when in her grasp, the backscratcher, nicknamed Matilda. This is the adjustable one. Sold by Amazon, natch. She has been a solace to me, Matilda. I pick her up, daily, as the need arises.

I have no one to scratch my back, but Matilda makes me self-sufficient. I store her in my desk’s nook, one of many nooks I have. I think Hell will be a place where u have itches, no one to scratch, and no way to reach them, w no implements to use either.

And then, there r the medical itch conditions that exist as well, w bad genetics to blame. Do u know someone w eczema or psoriasis? What if it is hidden, like in an orifice?? Anyone know that eczema can exist solely in the outer third of your ears? I know, because it is genetic in my maternal family. Some were lucky, others not so much. Combine that eczema w an impacted wax condition, needed clean outs every 3 months at least, for life, and u can see that hell exists in a living body. Only excellent ENT doctors know how to get it out as well, without hurting u, or drawing blood, or inducing infections. A lifetime of improper care, w severe consequences, from insults and poor care, along the way. Not every place has such excellent practitioners of ENT care…

And the wax is supposed to be wet, as my 23andme genetic testing says, but why then is it so dry, and hard to remove and needs a scrip medicine prior to visiting that 4x/year visit, or more, if u get an infection, that backs up your middle ears, which is also a hazard, because of narrow Eustachian tubes….surgery within, to deal w hearing loss, from horrendous infections over the years. Myringotomy tubes, to open up the middle ears, drain, medicines, complications, no exposure to water allowed, at all, when that’s your problem, which means no swimming, and big cotton balls, moistened w Vaseline, to plug it, and prevent water from draining in, in the shower….

And if u get any more medical conditions, that u r subject to, again by genetics, like say Parkinson’s Disease, where u lose motor control of your head movements, well then, they will be unable to clean your ears then, because u need to be perfectly still. Or else severe pain, bleeding, etc. Many nerves in the ears, to transmit pain. Also itches. Wax also itches, not just eczema. And it causes hearing loss mechanically as well, when it impacts the eardrum, as mine does, like clockwork it is, not A Clockwork Orange. When u turn up the volume, u r harming anyone else in your immediate environment as well, in your home, and neighbors. The more they hear increased volumes, the more hearing they will lose, and not get back. Except for imperfect hearing aides, not covered by Medicare, incidentally, and very costly. Not everyone likes them either, as they amplify indiscriminately. U want background noise amplified, there u r. Ask wearers what they think. Many just sit in a box, unused. Disconnecting the person w the hearing loss.

But at least, there is that wonderful backscratcher! And a good doctor nearby, who talks rock music w me, and he deals w my condition, telling me that w this, I am simply lucky. There r some head and neck cancers he could tell u about, Meniere’s, tinnitus….and he sees me 4x per year. It could be worse. I don’t have Parkinson’s and my 23 scan shows no variant present in me, so maybe I will escape that. I put myself out and pray, as it’s more than enough, this panoply of conditions that can drive u 2 distraction!

What use is it 2 have humans w so many medical conditions, that go from the nuisance type to the deadly? We have to decrease the surface population, that’s why. Limited resources, made worse by climate change in progress, w land being swallowed up by rising seas, unclean air and water, desperation…hunger, thirst, unabated. Teeming shores of refugees, seeking a place where it’s better, not being swallowed up at least…And so many r like the trio of monkeys, seeing, speaking and hearing no evil. Even if it is already upon us, if we but look w unbiased eyes. We can learn from the UK, because they see better, being a nation of small land area, relative 2 us, and the isles r uniquely vulnerable. We need to learn, quickly. And we need friends too, around the world. Do we have that, nations who have our back, really??

Think UK, France, Germany, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Western Europe, r they w us now? Will we need them in the future, like say NATO?? Can we realistically substitute North Korea, China, Russia, Turkey and the like for the pre-mentioned nations above? I think if u r smart, u can answer that question, roundly no. Autocrats, oligarchs r merely self-interested for their own good, and we have a government that knows how the real friends r. Except we have alienated every single one of them, making us more vulnerable than ever. Listen and learn, before it’s too late, my people.