Category Archives: Single Life

Oners: Cee’s Black and White Challenge, Isolated Subjects

Isolation can have a beauty of its own, especially in contrast to details that might invite company.  If you’d like to see these photos better, please click on the first one. Also, please be patient as it may be necessary to wait for a few of the photos to come into focus.

 

The prompt was “isolated subjects.”

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Devil # 3

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Helpless.” Helplessness: that dull, sick feeling of not being the one at the reins. When did you last feel like that –- and what did you do about it?

Okay, I was going to give this prompt a “miss” and went to the new prompt generator I’ve been using for the past few days.  I hit the button and was served up the two-word prompt: “Ill Devil”.  At first I read this as #3 Devil, and I must admit, I got a chill, because what I immediately thought about when I read the prompt was the third time I was in a near-death situation where I felt totally helpless.  What are the chances, I thought, that these two prompts would line up?  This must be something I’m meant to write about.  But then reason stepped in and I realized this prompt always gave an adjective and a noun.  What they probably meant by the prompt was ill Devil. (Changing the capital to a small “i” clarified the prompt.) But then I realized that ill devil described the occurrence I am trying not to talk about as much as #3 devil did, so I guess, prodded on twice by fate or coincidence or synchronicity, I will try.

I have written to a similar prompt twice in 2015, so probably most of you who read my blog have chanced upon one of those posts, but when I wrote to a similar prompt in June of 2014, I wrote a different piece and since I had few of my present-day readers then, I’ll mention that THIS is what I wrote.  It may not be obvious that the topic given in today’s prompt was what I was really talking about then, however, because it was a poem where I actually stood to one side of what I was really remembering and wrote about the subject as an onlooker rather than a participant.  I only alluded to the real subject, which is what I’m going to attempt to write about today. That real subject is Ted Bundy and how otherwise respectable women sometimes fall prey to such predators.  Okay, deep breath. I’m going to tell to the world something I have actually told to very few people. Yes, this is a true story.

Devil # 3

Nineteen seventy-something. In the bar with friends.
When you are in your twenties, the partying never ends.
It was rodeo season  and the big one was in town.
As one by one they ordered drinks, I couldn’t turn them down.
We were a rather rowdy bunch of teachers in our prime
Devoted in the classroom, but wild on our own time.

The bar was crowded hip to hip, the music barely heard
over the loud cacophony of laugh and shouted word.
It was my turn to buy a round. I struggled towards the bar.
My polite “Excuse me’s!” really hadn’t gotten me too far
when a guy appeared in front of me and moved the crowd aside
as though he had appointed himself to be my guide.

As I returned with eight full drinks, again he stemmed the tide
by walking close in front of  me and spreading elbows wide.
He smiled and then departed, back to the teeming mass.
Impressive that he had not even tried to make a pass!
My friends all wondered who he was. I said I had no clue.
Tall and dark and ivy-league, he vanished from our view.

This story happened long ago. Some details I’ve forgotten,
and any memories he retains, you’ll learn were ill-begotten.
I think we danced a dance or two. I know we talked awhile.
I liked his fine intelligence, his low-key polite style.
At three o’clock the barman’s bell commenced it’s clanging chime
and I made off to find my friends, for it was closing time.

Two lines of men had split the bar, lined up back to back.
Their hands locked and their arms spread wide–they moved into the pack.
One line moved east, the other west, forcing one and all
Either out the front door or towards the back door hall.
I was forced out the back way–out into the alley.
My friends and I had made no plans of where we were to rally

and so I walked around the block, sure that was where they waited,
but there was no one there at all–the crowd had soon abated.
I went back to the alleyway to see if they were there.
but all was dark and still, and soon I began to fear
that both carloads of friends had thought I was with the other.
I had no recourse but to walk, though I prayed for another.

I combed my mind to try to think of anyone at all
living in this part of town where I could go to call
a friend to come and get me and furnish me a ride
for 3 a.m. was not a time to be alone outside.
There were no outside phone booths and I lived so far away
I simply had to rouse someone, but what was I to say?

But since I had no other choice I thought I’d check once more
if any single soul was waiting at the bar’s front door.
And as I left the alley to be off to see,
I saw a new familiar face looking back at me.
It was my dancing partner, his face split in a grin.
It seems that he was going to save me once again.

He had asked me earlier if needed a ride,
but I had told him wisely that I had friends inside
and so I thought he’d left, but I could see he was still there.
Yet, ride home with a stranger?  Did I really dare?
And yet I had no other choice, abandoned as I was.
And so I said I guess that yes, I would, simply because

I knew there was just one of him and I was young and strong.
And he seemed kind, polite and gentle.  What could go so wrong?
His car was just a block away. Our walk was short and brief.
And when he pointed out his car, I felt a great relief.
For it was a convertible–and easy to escape
If I detected the first signs of robbery or rape!

He opened up the door for me. I got in the front seat.
But as he started up the car, my heart skipped a beat.
For from the bushes, two more men emerged and jumped inside–
one man in the backseat, the other at my side!
He pulled out into the street, though I protested so.
I didn’t really want a ride, so please, just let me go!

(And here I have to beg off and say I’ll finish this story tomorrow.  Right now my heart is pumping and my head throbbing as though I’m re-enacting this whole tale physically as well as mentally.  I’m totally exhausted.  Why I decided to write this in rhyme I don’t know. Perhaps I thought it would be easier, or more fun or more lighthearted, but there is simply no way to write this from any other frame of mind but the terror I felt that night. So, sorry, but I will resume tomorrow. You all know that I’m here telling the story, so be assured that the worst didn’t happen…but the story is by no means over, so join me tomorrow for the rest.  I, for one, could really use a drink, but it is only 1:40 in the afternoon so I’ll find some other means of escape.)

To see the conclusion of this poem, go HERE.

If you’d like to try out Jennifer’s new prompt generator, go HERE.

IMHO

 The Prompt: IMHO–Link to an item in the news you’ve been thinking about lately, and write the op-ed you’d like to see published on the topic.

IMHO

I gave up reading the news years ago. I just got too depressed when I did so. Certainly, stories filter through and then I hear the pertinent details or look them up online, but gone for me are days spent listening to and watching repetition after repetition of the same facts, many later found to be untrue or exaggerated.

So, this prompt is one that sent me out into the news Internet, looking for a story. The first one that came up was of the French pilot who it seems deliberately sent his plane careening into the Alps, killing everyone on board. Then I found a story about Korean twins, separated at birth, who never even knew of each other’s existence but who found each other over Facebook. Then a story about a woman who transforms abandoned Bratz dolls that look like hookers back into dolls that look like little girls.

Then back to President Obama’s Iran negotiations, a small girl born with two heads, The Voice finals in Australia, a letter of thanks gone viral, written by the mother of an autistic child to a businessman who had put away his papers and played with his seatmate for the 2 ½ hour flight. I flipped through dozens of other stories on the way: about the royal family, dogs, cats, a cow furnished with prosthetic legs and saved from slaughter. This hodgepodge was heartwarming, heartshattering, overwhelming, and two hours later, I had still not chosen a news report to write an op ed piece on.

I guess, instead, I will write it on how the internet seems to be substituting for our lives. This flood of information furnishes the vicarious existence once limited to The Soaps: The Edge of Night, Another World, General Hospital. I still remember the day Joan Lenzi came running into our room in college, tears streaming, shouting “Laura died, Laura died!” My heart flipped over in dread as my mind searched madly for a mutual friend named Laura, only to discover, once Joan had collected herself a bit, that a character on our favorite Soap had just departed our after-lunch afternoon.

No more skipping Astronomy to experience the next vicarious thrill. Without Laura, who was Luke? With no further excuses to skip, I dropped Astronomy, insuring the necessity to attend summer school to catch up.

Now it is harder to avoid excuses. When one internet heroine or villain passes from sight, there are ten thousand others to take their place. Facebook, YouTube, WordPress, OkCupid, Match.Com, Christian Singles, Pinterest, Blogster—ad infinitum. There is so much to fill our lives and furnish excuses for what we don’t want to do that it is no longer really necessary for us to assemble a life around ourselves at all. So long as we can somehow manage to feed, clothe and house ourselves, the rest is available online.

When I suffered a debilitating migraine lately, the first to know it were internet friends. My Skype near-romance phoned my oldest friend, now rarely communicated to other than through Skype or online Scrabble games. She talked me down from a near-panic attack and I eventually fell asleep. The next morning I wrote about it (Here) and had a flood of sympathetic comments from blogging friends. Another friend who lives in the town where I live Facebooked me the name of a medication that might forestall future headaches. No neighbor arrived on my doorstep with chicken soup or offered to feed the dogs, but cyber friends gathered round, giving me that warm feeling formerly reserved for a down comforter.

I had to look up IMHO before I wrote my response to this prompt. It’s a term often used in the past by my Skype near-romance. But every time, I forget this initial-speak. It’s as though life has been shortened enough. Emails have become Tweets and emoticons have replaced phrases of opinion, affection, disgust or frustration. Hyperlinks replace restatements and hashtags replace the social organizations where we used to gather for coffee or a coke and a good old-fashioned in-person gab session.

In my humble opinion, everything is finally short enough. If we become any smaller, we are going to implode. Computers now fit in the palm of one’s hand and I’ve heard of technology where one day they will be implanted into our eyeballs and transmitted to our brains. At that point, what do we become other than human robots? Perhaps it is all a plot by the machines of the world to be the next step of our evolution. Perhaps what the most far-out science fiction writer once imagined has become our world. In my humble opinion, we have gone far enough. We are able to know too much by doing too little. Experience too much by doing nothing at all. The time has come where observing life is more interesting than making it happen. Time to stop!!! But that is just “my humble opinion,” expressed as a full statement—railing out against this too-short world.

Note: Once more, my NaPoWriMo and Daily Prompt subjects seems to have intersected, so to read my other short post today, go HERE.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/imho/

NaPoWriMo 2015 Day 1: At 67–I Guess that It’s Too Late for Me to Live A Life Of Sin.

In case you are wondering why I have two posts, they actually gave us an earlybird prompt on March 31, so we had two prompts for April 1.  No fooling!  Here’s the first one I wrote:

At 67

I guess that it’s too late for me to live a life of sin.
I’m simply going to have to make do with the life I’m in.
Although life’s dance has furnished me with many a wild whirl,
my past is littered with false starts at being a bad girl.

It seems that dirty dancing doesn’t fit my constitution,
for somehow I just seemed to fail the sexual revolution.
Strange sexual positions never seemed to please.
They only did my back in and ruined both my knees.

It’s much too late to try to build a palate for champagne,
for experience has taught me that it’s safer to abstain.
The guilt I felt for shoplifting had just one resolution.
I felt the only answer lay in complete restitution.

Cocaine made my nose drip and pot just made me fat.
And that’s how I got into the position where I’m at.
Too chubby now for hot pants and too frigid for them, too,
I’ve found that there is only one more thing for me to do.

Rather than complete the acts that formerly I would,
it’s easier to only do the tame things that I should.
So though I must confess my bad girl days are at a halt,
I’ll admit I am a paragon merely by default!

Today’s Prompt: Lamentation for the other lives we could have led is something we probably have all felt. Today, why not try writing your own poem that begins “I guess it’s too late to live . . . .

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/fool-me-once/

Odd Little Saturday Morning Poem

Odd Little Saturday Morning Poem

I lie in bed, flat on my back, head raised by pillows,
computer raised to eye level
by a wadded comforter over bent knees.
I listen to raised voices in the village down below,
the staccato of an inadequately mufflered car revving up,
a hammer falling on wood, birds in the coco  palms.
A pianissimo chorus of dogs spread
over the surrounding hills swells to a frenzied crescendo,
then falls silent but will swell again.

I have dropped obligations
like clothes shed for a lover.
My Saturday morning pool aerobics and zumba,
I slipped out of years ago.
Group luncheons hang from doorknobs and chair backs.
Committee meetings lie sloppily abandoned in the hall.

I have retired from the running of the world
to run my own small universe on paper.
Saturday morning is my brainstorm session
with “Me,” “Myself” and “I.”
“I” suggested feeding the dogs,
but they are quiet now, so
“Me” suggested we let them lie.
“Myself” laid out some words to dry
in the heat of the fire of our communal
inspiration, laying them smoothly on the page,
rumpling up others in her fist to send them sailing
to join the crumpled singles event invitations in the corner.

This slow Saturday morning dressing of pages
and stripping them bare
is a sort of ceremony celebrating seizing time
and making it my own.
Pages  fill up with passion, angst, anger,
irritation, joy, laughter, camaraderie.
There is more than one word for each.

Imagine such control over your world–
not having to live the world of any other.
If you could have any life you wish?
Imagine a Saturday morning  building it.

 

The Prompt:  Me Time–What do you like to do on Saturday morning?  Are you doing it now?

Our Own Little Universes: Pains, Rips, Stars, Itineraries and Insights

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Our Own Little Universes: Pains, Rips, Stars, Itineraries and Insights

Yolanda and Pasiano must have thought I was crazy when I started packing a week ago for my 2 month trip to the beach. First, all of my clothes piled on the bed in the spare room, then art and jewelry-making supplies piled on one end of the other bed, computer and photography needs piled on the other end. Bags full of other art supplies. Then two days ago, little piles of spices and kitchen tools, canned goods, disinfectant for fruit and veggies, bags of papers I’ve been wanting to sort for 13 years. (There will be time at the beach, where I know no one.)

But now it was the night before and with the car mostly packed with suitcase and bags, I still had hours more of sorting and packing to do. I knew it would probably mean a late night, and I’d have 5 or 6 hours of driving to do. Could I get enough sleep so I wouldn’t be driving sleepy, by myself, with no one to spell me?   I have been rushing around trying to get dozens of details finished before I leave and I was so tired last night, with still a half-dozen things to do, that it occurred to me that there was no law decreeing that I have to leave today!!!  So, I’m putting off leaving until tomorrow morning. That way I can finish packing at my leisure, sort out what I’m doing re/ the illustrations for the book and whether to take the scanner or not and get a full night’s sleep before driving to La Manz.

I don’t know why I get these mind sets about how things “have” to be done.  Such a relief and so glad I decided to do this because I was up three times with severe leg cramps during the night–sometimes both ankles, once my inner thigh and opposite ankle…Such agony that a hot shower couldn’t ease. If I had neighbors, they’d think I was either having the best sex of my life or that someone was killing me, because I was moaning and screaming out at great volume!  Then I thought to get in the hot tub and they eventually eased.

The third time this happened, about an hour ago, I almost fell asleep in the hot tub, but woke up, thought I needed to get out, and glanced up to see the quarter moon perfectly centered through a tear in the umbrella I’d positioned over a side of the hot tub.  You know what happened.  I had to get up, naked, dripping, cold, and go get my camera and then back into the hot tub to try to capture that phenomenon.

Dozens of shots later, with flash and without, I’d gotten a few barely effective shots, but realized how these pains of life sometimes lead to highly personal insights and experiences, so although the camera did not catch exactly what I’d experienced, my mind and memory had, and it might be that thing I remember in my last hour or last moment and gain strength or hope from.  So intimate, these night experiences with ourselves.  Those times when we realize we really are our own universes.  Our own little gods, having the final power over ourselves.

In short, although if I thought I had to drive alone to La Manzanilla today, I’d be so worried that I would fall asleep at the wheel, instead I don’t have to worry.  I can do my final packing today and then get a good night’s sleep.

I’ll leave tomorrow.

A Girl Like Me

The Prompt: What’s the best (or rather, worst) backhanded compliment you’ve ever received?

There was a guy in college who was the best friend of my best friend’s boyfriend. I had a crush on him but he never asked me out. Years later, I admitted this to my friend and she told me that he had told her boyfriend, “I want to marry a girl like Judy, but I don’t want to date one in college!” Hmmm. Want to speculate about what he meant?