All that I need is time
To smooth these nipped edges
How much more can I take
I’m living a nightmare
While standing here awake
All that I need is time
To help me muddle through
These dreams of yesterday
Like popsicles in sun
They come then melt away
All that I need is time
You're still very much here
Not like I have much choice
Each breeze ignites your touch
As the wind holds your voice
All that I need is time
Just take it day by day
Small comforts slowly grow
Nothing lasts forever
This urgent pain will go
Most males, especially over 50 are familiar with the semi-joking “I could’ve been rich, but my mother threw away all my (fill in the blank)”. I say men because in the 80’s-90’s the majority of baseball cards/comic collectors were males. It certainly was surprise, to my late-husband when he learned I had become a reader of them in the mid to late-80s. I knew I was a rarity among my friends, a girl who was into comics, my favorite being Marvel’s X-Men series. Yes, I wanted to be Storm – what female into comics didn’t?
I enjoyed the art and the stories, but I was not a collector. I did not purchase with the intent to collect. Still, there were some that I kept for whatever reason. The ones I chose to keep were properly cased in plastic sleeves with backing board. Regrettably, doing so with comics was not a thing when my late-husband was a boy buying them. It was not until he saw me preserving mine that I learned he had comics of his own stacked in box at the back of a closet. He saw how I protect mine, he chose not to go through his and they stayed in their box. A box I did not look in until our third move. Let’s just say when I finally opened that box for the first time I was glad I wore gloves, a good two-thirds of what was in that box was trashed. We did not try to salvage it. As for what was left? Aged, yellow pages, dog-eared pages, cockling, etc. This was the 90s, AOL was still mailing mini-CDs; the Internet had taken off, but it was not the monster we have now. There was no no way to determine the value, if any, of what we had without dragging the entire collection to comics retailer. That never happened. The box was repacked with his hodge-podge of Captain America, Daredevil, Ku Fu Masters et al, and my Spawn and X-Men where they remain untouched through three more moves until yesterday.
Yesterday, I mentioned that I spent the evening going through my comic collection. I say ‘comic collection’ with a massive grain a of salt considering the condition of most of what’s in it and I was not the most conscientious of collectors. Essentially, I finally grouped them by proper title and number. Where 30 years ago I would have had to drag them to a store, last night I used my phone to check the value of a few. There are many I know I bought back in the day, but I was the mom that dumped. However, an unexpected gem, or few, have survived…
One day back in August 1990 I became the owner of Marvel comic’s The Uncanny X-Men #266. I spent one whole whopping dollar for the privilege. I know it’s not in pristine condition 9.8 on their grade scale, but it is a decent 7.0 one. At minimum I would get $100 for it according to a random website I checked even if booted down to a quality of 6.0. I have learned that if I had purchased this issue at a newsstand or retailer rather than the comic subscription service I had at the time would be worth. I’d love to know the logic behind that, but whatever.
The banker box of comics that has existed for nearly twenty years in my possession is now gone. All comics are properly categorized in a filing cabinet. I haven’t gone through each comic and researched their values. Of the random few I checked I know I could pay rent for a couple of months, so that was cool. That’s a project for another, knowing me sunny, day.
At 4pm one year ago today, I walked out of my place of employment without a clue as to when I would return. My boss literally said the words “Don’t come back here tomorrow.” The pandemic had hit, we went into emergency mode and my unit was one that would be working from home. My agency is twenty-four hours. There were/are units that continue to come in. There was no way around it, some services must be handled in person, even in the midst of a pandemic.
That translated to even though the City quarantined, and masks, hand washing/sanitizing and social distancing became de rigueur, on occasion my work wife and I would have to come to the office. It was part necessity and part breaking up what had quickly become the monotony of being cooped home. However, as the weather got cold, every couple of weeks became, once a month and once a month became we have not stepped foot in my office since the very first week of January.
We knew we were entering a ghost town with the barest amount of personnel, so dressing for ‘work’ had fallen by the wayside for my work-wife. I would not wear a full out suit, but I wore slacks and blouses, in my mind it’s the office. Still, we may have visited the office a maximum of fifteen times in this past year. It has dawned to me, now that people are being vaccinated, I suspect my office may reopen by the end of spring. Whether it will return to a full week or some split schedule is undetermined as of yet, as the City as a whole is excruciatingly, but definitely emerging into a new semblance of normal.
I’ve lived in mostly jeans and t-shirts. My wardrobe, work or otherwise, has barely been used in the past year; that is going to change. I know there are clothes in my closet that have not seen the light since Winter 2019. I am not going to lie, I have gained the Covid 20+ and I am not looking forward to going through some of my clothes. And while I admit to the retail therapy I’ve done in the interim, it’s not going to be pretty for some of my wardrobe. Not to mention, 0I have not worn proper shoes in over a year. Can I even walk in my low work heels anymore?
After a year of various levels of quarantine, I am looking forward to regularly seeing friends and (certain), colleagues again, dining in restaurants, going to concerts and movies and Broadway! Above all, I am looking forward to travelling again. Other than a weekend jaunt to Philadelphia last November, I have not left my fair City since I returned from Cuba in spring of 2019. In the words of Lenny Kravitz: I want to get away – I want to fly away – yeah – yeah- yeah
Still, I find myself conflicted. Am I ready for real clothes, five days a week again? After a year of pretty much living in Hermitsville, am I ready for the noise… the people(!)? As much as I am looking forward to being out and about once more am I ready for the world again?
I am the first person to admit, while I do well enough at English – I am a writer, poet and blogger after all – my skill in mathematics leaves MUCH to be desired. I never cared about my X and don’t you dare ask me about Y I’m that way. Surprisingly, geometry and I got along. Acute, obtuse, isosceles, squares, and pretty much any dang thing that suffixed in “-agon” were good buddies of mine because it was shapes – my artist brain understood those type of figures. Other than that? Fuhgettaboutit! I get confused looking at math problems in TV and movies. “Good Will Hunting” became a foreign language every time Matt Damon’s character, the eponymous Will, stepped to the black board. Hell, a depiction of high school Trigonometry would have been/still remains out of my depth of comprehension.
Suffice it to say when Sudoku became a ‘thing’, I saw numbers, heard you have to do math and promptly said “Uh… noPe.” To be fair, over the years I have looked at a game or two, tried to fathom it out, but the (il)logic behind them seemed as variable and numerous as, well, numbers. I am not a fan.
Thus, I am not quite sure how on earth THIS happened last night…
A friend online mentioned sudoku and yesterday became one of those weird times where I thought to myself, Meh, why not? I googled “easy” sudoku games, hit a random link and printed one out. I assumed by easy it meant I could complete it in about 30 minutes. HAH! Did I say HAH! ? What I meant was *snort-chortle-snigger-HAH!*. That nonsense took nearly 90 minutes, and as you see from the various scratch outs and overlays; I did not have an easy time at all. However, unlike every other game I attempted in the past, for once I saw the pattern. I had more than half the game done within the first hour. It’s the most I had ever done and it made me determined to complete this miracle. The remainder was correcting my mistakes in order to figure out the rest of the game.
I did not find this fun or relaxing. I still do not understand the appeal. It will likely be a few more years before I am thus intrigued to try again. Still, I was so stunned that I had finally, Finally, FINALLY completed my first sudoku game I took a picture for prosperity. A memory I get to share now, with no plans to try it again in the immediate future.
On March 3rd, Sarah Everard, 33 of Clampham, south London, UK left the home of her friends to walk home. She never made it. Police confirmed that the remains found in a woodland area yesterday was hers.
“She was just walking home.”
I remember it was an early summer afternoon, a school day. I was on my way home from the public library; book bag slung over one shoulder, wearing dark jeans, sneakers, a white t-shirt under a red, white and blue plaid with tiny silver metallic threads shirt. I was standing at the curb, under the elevated train tracks, waiting for the traffic signal to change. I noted the car slowly creeping forward as some drivers do when impatiently waiting for a light to change. I was not in the way, I paid no attention to it when I heard a male voice. “You so pretty, bet you’d be even prettier naked. You should let me see.” This was from a man, not a peer – not some boy around my age being horrible, but a man. A grown man who in no way could have thought I was an adult. I had not developed boobs yet. There was something about him. Yes, it was broad daylight, but I was at the corner by myself. There nearest person was a half block away in the opposite direction. I remember worrying: Do I wait until he drives off?Is he going to follow me?Do I need to change directions?What if he gets out of that car?
It was the first time I felt danger from a man. I was twelve.
In my twenties I was married with two sons. I went to the laundry every Saturday morning. One Saturday a man entered and decided he wanted to chat. I decided I did not want to. He insisted in asking for my name. I insisted I was married and not interested, so knowing my name was not any of his – good-bye. He showed up again the following Saturday. Clearly this was my neighborhood. I was pissed-offed, but not entirely surprised he suddenly showed up in my local market. I informed my husband, but naturally my wannabe Lothario was no where about the next Saturday at the laundry. As it turned out within the following week, as I was heading toward my building, a friend spotted me and started yelling my name to get my attention. Naturally, I ignored him because I HATE that, worse – guess who I spotted within hearing distance? However, the damage was done as the friend had reached me and it was clear he was yelling for me. The only saving grace was that Bill was exiting the building as I was busy cursing-out the friend out for being an asshole and why. Bill came up from behind, putting his arms around me, and yelled at our friend “Why the fuck are you screaming out my wife’s name in the middle of the street like that? Have you lost your damn mind?” At that point Bill saw the guy. He looked me, he looked at guy, he looked at me and I tapped the arm that held me in our code we had for problems. He let go of me and headed in the guy’s direction. Suffice it to say the guy was already backing away at the confirmation that I had a husband and said husband was not an exactly a small guy. I never saw him again. While relieved, it pissed me off anew that the asshole did not accept my rejection. He had followed me. He had my address and because of my asshole friend, had my name. It took seeing my husband’s physical presence before he stopped. I had to wonder were I in fact a single woman how long before I may have been attacked. I wondered if he moved on to another woman who was not as fortunate.
When portable music players became a thing, CDs first, then MP3 players, I learned to keep headphones on my head when so I could pretend I did not hear the nonsense thrown at me when in the street. But I never, ever have music playing in case I needed to deal with someone more aggressive who would not take the hint of simply being ignored. But that does not always help.
In my thirties, I texted my husband to meet me at the train station late one evening after hanging out with friends because of the way a man kept staring at me on the train. I had never contacted my husband with such a request before in all the time we were married. The man had exited the train when I had. He was about to follow me down the stairs when Bill appeared at the foot of them and greeted me. I heard as the man turned and went back up the stairs. Neither of us saw him come down the other side, as far as we could tell, before the stairs were out of sight. But we knew, he was going to follow me.
Twice as a widow in my mid-forties I have gotten off the train and jumped in a cab to ride the four blocks to my home because of that feeling. I will say both times, when I explained the situation, both drivers refused to take my money. All in the name of safety.
Many girls learn from a young age to change their behavior in order to try to feel safe when walking alone, because there are going to be times we will be walking alone. That onus is not on boys as such. Personal safety is a constant self-awareness in our daily lives. One we modify constantly. All in the name of safety.
Do I wear a dress or slacks? Do I wear heels or flats? If I wear heels, do I need to switch to a bigger purse to carry my flats? Questions I must ask each time I go out, in case I have to run. All in the name of safety.
Now in my fifties I don’t go out alone if I think I won’t be home before midnight unless I have taxi money. That also curtails where I go because a late night taxi ride across the City can run me up to $70 on top of whatever expenditures incurred while hanging out. All in the name of safety.
Once, I was meeting my husband for dinner at a friend’s apartment after work. I exited the train and headed towards my destination when I heard whistling behind me. I ignored it and continued walking. It became clear that the whistling was directed at me, coming from someone in a car on the street. I refused to look, because that can be seen as an invitation. A car suddenly turned the corner in front of me and I realized it was my husband and he was pissed I had not responded to him. “Why didn’t you answer me when I whistled?” “Do you have ANY idea how often I am whistled at? I can’t afford to so much as look!” That took him aback. For even the men that love us, that care about us, that know us, just do not understand, because the constant harassment rarely happens in their presence.
Some men still do not realize we single women share our addresses – or the addresses of the bars/parks/date locations of where we’re going – with each other via text or WhatsApp, to keep ourselves safe. We set up calls with our friends. “If you haven’t heard from me by X time, call me. If I don’t answer, call the police.” It is every female’s right to not fear walking alone; it is not our reality. Being a woman is constant worry for our safety — walking with keys between our fingers, being on high alert always — it is fucking exhausting.
When we hear/read of such attacks we each live with the susurrus that could have been me. So many women have lit up Twitter in the past few days on the many ways they have harassed and/or felt unsafe. And a constant theme throughout many of the tweets were the words “She was just walking home.”
“Not all men” attack but all women experience the fear of it. And we are so, SO DONE with being told we just need to avoid certain streets or areas, don’t be out certain at times or don’t dress a certain way. Sarah Everard was in bright colors, wearing clothes comfortable for walking the less than hour trek to her home. She was simply living her life. “She was just walking home.”
I’m sure Sarah Everard was aware #NotAllMen, also. She was on the phone talking to her boyfriend during part of her trek. She was not attacked by #NotAllMen. The only thing she did wrong was encounter #TheWrongMan. The one who could not respect one fact:
Today I find my mind thinking about past slices while perusing other blogs in search of inspiration for today. Because as of right now, it looks like a complete blank for something to slice about other than it’s Friday, yay!
This is a lovely that idea I saw on another blogger’s site and it’s one that I want to incorporate into mine: Flash Back Friday. With eleven years of blogging under my belt, I still find that incredible and I’m the dang blogger (!), there are a lot of earlier posts that may not have been seen by newer followers. Or perhaps I’ll find something to remind some of my long term followers of posts since forgotten. So, each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on that exact date in a previous year or the post closest to it if I missed that date.
What about you? Reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this day or on a Friday in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected to reminisce upon. If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 5th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.
As it turns out my very first post on this date (March 5th) was in 2012. It also has the distinction of being the very first Slice of Life Challenge I posted which made it a Tuesday. It’s a poignant one in the 20/20 of hindsight.
Him: You will never be as bad as you’d like people to think you are. Me: True, but I will never be as good as you’d like to think I can be.
Had to “Friend Zone” someone who truly did not want to be there. Worse, by putting him in that friend zone, I may I have lost him as exactly that.
I know far too well how it feels to be on his side of unrequited. Knowing that I’m doing the right thing, instead of the easy one, does not make being on this side of it any easier.
Unfortunately, as it eventually turned out, I was right; the friendship faded to the wayside never to rekindle now that he’s gone. It’s one of the few times I am not at all happy about being right.
Last night I participated in a wonderful group where we got to share stories based on the subject “The Wild Unknown.” When I was invited to speak I had recently spoken with my youngest son. At some point in the conversation between the now very adult and I, I was reminded of when I realized he was not my baby anymore and what an oddly emotional blow it was.
I remember I was sitting on the front porch as my youngest son, then in his mid-teens, was walking up the block from school. I noticed his walk had changed. It used to be something of a bop, this bouncy gait as he used to just short of walk on his toes. This young person coming towards me now had what could only be called a swagger. This was not the walk of the carefree. This was a strong, measured stride with purpose. This was a man’s stride.
“Man! He walks hard!” My eldest son who was on the porch with me apparently noticed this change in his little brother brother as well. Though they are only eighteen months apart physically, there was a subtle, unspoken my baby brother is growing up touch of pride to his assessment. Yet, all I could think was…
What broke my baby?
Both of my sons are very much like me. It had been their chagrin most of their young lives that I was sometimes one-up on them, able to predict some of what could get them in trouble and put a stop to it. It was generally my chagrin when they did something I missed and though I knew exactly why it happened, because it was something I did or would have done as a kid, I had to disciple them regardless. Sometimes I let them make mistakes, because it really is the only way to learn some hard lessons. But this did not fall into one of those categories.
My eldest took it hard when my mother died. Very hard. I knew the loss of the woman that tried her best to spoil him rotten, had broke him and changed him. I saw it happen and did my best to guide him through it and he was much better by this point, but I was cognizant of that change. I felt I had dropped the ball with my youngest as I watched him approach.
How did I fail to protect him? Where the fuck was I, who saw him every single day, while whatever this was was going on that it hurt him, broke him, and changed him without my noticing? What the hell had happened in his young life that ripped his spirit, his innocence to the point it had changed his very walk? What else have I missed? Could I find out? Should I find out?
I found myself once again into the wild unknowns of parenthood. Yes, there are guides and plenty of people who can give advice, whether you asked for it or not. There are some givens we all go through as children and as adults raising them. In the end, each child is unique and wild unknown and how one raises that child will be unique to that child.
I realized, they both were of the ages where the shift in dynamics of how we relate to each other changes. They will always be my children, and though they were not yet men, they were not in fact children. It felt like just last year I was teaching them to tie their shoes and only last month we had the condom talk, not a few years ago. I was losing them into the men they were going to be, another wild unknown…
When he saw his brother and I sitting on the front porch, he broke into this beatific smile (both of my sons really do have great smiles), and greeted us. More perceptive to my moods, than I had been to his, he looks at me at questioningly for a moment.
“What?” “You okay, Mommie?” “I’m fine baby boy, you okay?” “I’m GREAT! I’m having a great day!”
He then proceeds to regale us on just how great his day was. Naturally, with two teenage boys, the conversation eventually segues to video games and smack talk reigns.
I listen to and watch the both of them, but mostly my youngest for a long moment. Tall, though still a couple of years from his eventual 6’3″ height, his once high-pitched voice now very much a tenor. My silly little boy was very much still in there, but this man-child, now bounding up the stairs with his big brother, was anything and potentially everything, but he was notmy babyanymore.
I was reading a fic where one a character sarcastically thought “The Devil has a housemate.”
It’s amazing what how a simple line can dredge up a memory.
I once ran into an ex of my late-husband. We were just about to find out we have a mutual acquaintance in A. A who saw me coming, purposely mentioned Bill (my late-husband), knowing the ex would snark, giving me fair warning as I had never met B before. I began to see why she’s an ex as she spoke. B made a comment along the lines she heard the devil has a new mate just as I walked up. “She does,” I replied in a tone dripping with sweet poison, “He’s everything a consort of Mine could be and then some. We thrive and burn together beautifully. It’s refreshing to find one worthy, as neither of us are for the weak.” It was wonderful watching her blanch as we are introduced and at her realization that 1- I heard her and 2- I took on the mantle of being Lucifer, thus making the man she just disparaged my mate. So who was the evil one?
All of that to say that I’m exhausted and that’s all I have for you dear people. Stick a fork in me folks – I’m done for the day.
Fellow Slice of Lifer, and friend in real life, GirlGriot recent posted a slice that touched on how classical music once felt “forbidding” to her. I partially understood that sentiment from the perspective of my enjoyment of thrash metal music, something that many still that think I as a 56 year black is crazy for it.
Popular television and cartoon shows were my earliest experience of classical music. I imagine like most inner city Americans over the age of 45, we likely first heard classical music, jazz standards and big band from classic Disney (“Fantasia”), Warner Brothers (Bugs Bunny), and Max Fleischer (Betty Boop) cartoons. There is a reason that for many, many, many years most Americans knew a particular piece of music not as the finale of the William Tell Overture, but only as the theme to The Lone Ranger.
Other than television shows and cartoons as a black inner city girl, born in the early 60’s my exposure to music primarily came from very specific sources: my mother’s record player that only played black gospel music as she did not approve of secular music; my southern grandmother’s radio which only played country music, and the radio that mostly played what was popular at the time (classic and soft rock, and of course disco). Songs on the radio were only heard at friends and neighbors homes as it was not allowed in mine. Everyone regardless of color/ethnicity listened to the same stations for popular music because it was all we had. Sans those who eschewed most secular music of course, what would eventually be dubbed urban (aka Black), adult contemporary radio had become the thing. From the mid-1970s, when such radio stations came into existence until the late 2000s, whether as a political statement or as personal choice, if you were black you mostly listened to 107.5 WBLS (contemporary and traditional R&B), and the now defunct 101.9 WQCD (contemporary jazz) and WKRS (dance, hip-hop and rap) stations.
Yes, they exposed Black-Americans to more or our own music and to artists who may have been marginalized and not broken through the glass ceilings of other (aka white) radio stations, but at the same time it bred a subculture that made it all but verboten to listen to, let alone enjoy, anything else. I distinctly remember standing in queue at a department during the holiday store happily singing along to Billy Joel’s “A Matter of Trust” on the PA system when I was asked why I was singing that and told I should not be supporting their music because “Listen, we don’t do that”.
Excuse me? Yeah, that conversation did not go down well for him at all, and thus the point I wanted to make.
GirlGriot had once felt listening to classical music forbidding. Her story is her own and I will let her tell it. In my case, classical music, world music, and the early emergence of metal were not things I listened to because I was not exposed to them. Though artists who had massive crossover appeal like U2, Eurythmics, Blondie, The Police, Culture Club and Wham! were notable exceptions. While radio stations such as WCBS (music from twenty years ago), WKTU (dance), and WLTW (soft rock and adult contemporary) that crossed genres and remained popular enough, in my then insular world where everyone mostly listened to Anita Baker, Public Enemy, and Michael Jackson on the radio I did not have regular exposure to Bach, Mozart and Rossini. Why? Though the words were rarely so blatantly spoken, other than the guy at the department store, it was implicit we don’t do that.
Then the advent of personal music players and MTV happened.
A co-worker was listening to this relatively new band on his Sony Discman. He was clearly enjoying the music, I asked for a listen. I was told I wouldn’t like, but I insisted. This most definitely would never be played on anything “urban.” I had never heard anything like it, yet I it felt lyrically and musically on a visceral level. I replayed the song and then listened to the remainder of the CD and was shooketh as the kids say now. I bought a copy for myself that same day.
I had just been introduced to four guys whose names were James, Kirk, Kurt and Lars. The song was “Master of Puppets”, the band was Metallica, and I have been a devotee of them ever since.
Still, for a while I felt I had to hide this new love, because we don’t do that. Then I remembered just how pissed I was at the department store guy who deigned to tell me what I should be listening to and stopped hiding it.
MTV introduced me to thrash metal, death metal and grunge by god I loved it. Come 2000, in the middle of the night MTV introduced me to a then little-known group called Linkin Park and I was shooketh once again. By then WWE was popular and my sons were as much into it as I because many of the popular wrestlers of the time made their entrances to the ring with rock and metal music. Because I listened to it and their heroes at the time listened to it, it never occurred to them that they couldn’t. Their generation was not coming up with the subculture of we do don’t do that musically. Their musical choices were as diverse theirs and theirs alone because of that exposure and I for was grateful.
My late-husband came home one afternoon while our sons and I were head banging in different rooms as we were spring cleaning. Every window was open, and Metallica’s “S&M (Symphony & Metallica)” CDs were on blast. We lived in a mostly Caribbean and Latinx neighborhood, he was shaking his head and laughing that he heard the music half a block away and knew it was our house before he pulled up to the curb. He walked up to me and yelled “You’re Black!” Because the cosmos indeed has a delicious sense of humor, his timing was perfect with the song that was playing, and I paraphrased the incoming chorus as I shrugged and sang “Where I play my songs is home!” and continued cleaning to Wherever I May Roam. Unlike the guy in the department store oh so many years ago I knew he was partially teasing because while he liked some rock, he was never a heavy/thrash metal music fan at all but was is his choice that he did not do that, not my sons and certainly not mine.
I was in my forties when I went to my first opera and my reawakening to pieces I didn’t realize I already knew thanks to cartoons. I made me search for more and yet a new musical interest in classical was sprung. It is not my strong suit as metal and R&B. Still, I enjoy it.
Though my first musical love remains Rock and Heavy Metal, they have happily shared space on my iPod with Country, Soul, Video Game Soundtracks, Jazz, Rap, Trance, Classic Rock, 80’s Hair Bands, 70’s horns, Blues, Pop, Movie Scores, Broadway Show tunes, TV Themes and so much more.
And all I had to do was be willing to listen beyond the forbidding listenwe don’t do that.