Here’s Your Sign; Bad Habit

I want to tell you a story…

I am currently on my second cup of coffee, but I may actually need to exercise some of this anxiety out of me before I can finish this post.  Yesterday, I had to travel to a town about four hours away for a wedding.  What should have been a long but easy drive ended up being a stressful mess.  I have never encountered so many awful drivers in one day (actually, not even a full 24 hours.)

To begin with we had only been in the car a but under two hours.  But the trip started poorly from the get go, mainly due to the fact that we should have left at least an hour earlier; I had miscalculated our departure time due to a time zone change from Central to Eastern.  That said, it would not have mattered because due to traffic and assholes, we were actually about two hours late to the wedding, missing the ceremony entirely.  I have no idea why, but already, I was feeling as if my bullshit meter was tipping dangerous into the red.  For some reason, cars in the two lanes could not stomach the idea of riding behind anyone…yet instead of passing, they were content to ride side by side, disallowing anyone else to pass or make progress in a timely fashion.  It was like this off and on the whole way there.  It was extremely irritating, but not dangerous, which is my prime concern when my child is in the car.  Until I noticed this one jackass in little hamster-mobile.  Actually, hubby noticed him first, because he remarked on the fact that said jackass was looking down at a phone instead of the road and his driving was suffering.  Apparently he’d drive at a snail’s pace when looking at the phone, then decide to recover ground when he decided to watch teh road, flying up on people’s asses and slamming on his brakes, before cutting over to the next lane.  At one point he passed and I noticed a female passenger.  Then the lane weaving commenced anew in front of us.  Twice he cut people off, seemingly narrowly avoiding clipping their front bumpers, and I sat there with mute fury.  I think I hit my limit then.  Not for the day, because the day was young, but my cumulative limit.  Ask just about anyone in our town and they will tell you people around this areas either drive like the rules of the road (stop signs and red lights...what??) don’t apply to them, or like they aren’t even aware there ARE rules.  And I am tired of people getting away with it.  Not just because of the lack of courtesy but because it’s dangerous!  But as usual, the cops are never around when this shit happens, and I feel impotent in these situations.

“When I go driving I stay in my lane
But getting cut off it makes me insane
I open the glove box
Reach inside
I’m gonna wreck this fucker’s ride”

The Offspring- Bad Habit

I wanted to call that driver out, let him know someone had noticed his horrendously dangerous antics, and perhaps shame him into being more careful.  So, in an act of singular passive aggressive brilliance, I pulled out a giant document envelope that had been folded up and jammed in the side compartment of the door and made a sign.  In pen and block letters gone over several times to darken them:

“YOU DRIVE LIKE A DICK !!!”

As we rode past in the left lane, I held the sign to my window.  The reaction was immediate and, frankly, insane.

This utter douchebag jammed the gas and then cut across our front bumper, then slamming on his brakes.  In the seconds that followed, I remembered thinking that if we rear-ended him, it would technically be our “fault.”  How could we prove he cut us off in a deliberate and aggressive manuever.  My husband managed to brake enough to avoid collision and as the DB in the hamster-mobile sped up again and began to pull over to the side of the road, my husband followed.

This was actually happening.  Shit, what had I started?  And yet part of me felt vindicated.  The look on my husband’s face was enough to tell me he had left reason behind.  He was smiling.

 I sat in indecision.  I did not want to leave my kid in the car, but I knew there were at least two people in that vehicle.  I wanted to back Hubs up.

“Be careful, ” I told him.  “He might have a gun.”  Hubby made it halfway to the other vehicle when the other driver punked out; their brakelights went out and they took off.  My husband was still smiling, a shark’s smile, when he got back in the vehicle.  I wonder if the other guy’s girl saw him coming and yelled at her husband to let it go…  It’s what I would have done if the roles were reversed.  Of course, I’d have already been yelling at Hubs to stop driving like a dick in the first place.

“Drivers are rude
Such attitudes
But when I show my piece
Complaints cease
Something’s odd
I feel like I’m god
You stupid dumb shit goddamn motherfucker!” (Bad Habit)

My kid is in the backseat… “Why did we stop?”

ME:  “Daddy needed to have a talk with another driver…”  Daddy was gonna throat check another driver and beat his ass …and he’d have deserved it.  

Having an argument or disagreement is one thing… Using a 2 ton vehicle to bully other people in a way that could have a catestrophic outcome is something completely different.  Of course my sign was ill-advised, but the other driver’s actions were criminal.

After the inital confrontation, we saw them farther up the road a few times.  Once we passed them, and apparently, the DB’s big brass balls were back and he began gesticulating.  Hubs merely looked in the rearview and reaffirmed, by pointing to the shoulder, his continued willingness to meet on the side of the road and “talk things out.”  No dice.  Eventually, we took an exit and DB went along his way.

If this were where the story ended, I might not even be writing this today.

It felt like barely ten minutes later when we spied red and blue strobing lights ahead of us and traffic slowed to a crawl.  One vehicle was pulled to the shoulder and a girl who looked to be barely out of her teens stood with the door open, feet on the bottom part of the car door frame, looking at something in the distance.  In front of their vehicle another care was parked.  Had there been a fender bender and the usual rubber neckers were slowing traffic?  Was the girl’s boyfriend perhaps involved?

Hubby had already seen in the distance what I had yet to notice.  I discovered shortly that the girl I saw looking was likely just that, a spectator.  Or perhaps the driver of her vehicle had stopped to help.   As we made our way by, I saw the gasoline tanker off the road, semi-jack-knifed, the cab’s nose, elevated slightly over a small road side ditch and buried in the side of a tree.  The undercarriage had been ripped from the cab and was in an exhaust-covered tangle below it. I can only hope the tanker was empty.  No HazMat team was on scene.  Some men were standing there looking up, as if assessing the situation and I had a split second to wonder if they were EMS attempting to rescue the driver when I saw said driver.  He was hanging upside down out of the canted cab, half in and half out, dangling with his arms hanging limply.  He wore a blue chambray-looking shirt, a typical blue-collar uniform shirt.  And I realized he was probably already dead, if the men below were merely standing there and not actively “rescuing.”

I whispered quietly to Hubs, asking if he had seen what I had, but he said once he saw the wreck, he had looked away, not wanting to see more.   He’s seen worse.  There was no blood or anything, but I couldn’t help but feel a sort of shocked sadness.  Seeing someone dead, and not in the setting of a funeral parlor, is a very disconcerting thing.

Those were the two major events.  All through the rest of the trip, people continued to clog up the highway by riding side by side.  We were already running late when we got lost shortly.  We spent two hours at the wedding venue only to get back in the car and follow two vehicles to an after party in a cabin on the mountain.  It was an hour away, the last leg of the journey full of steep switchbacks and gravel and rocks.  We had to practically crawl the last part up the mountain.  We’d have been better off in second gear probably.

I knew I’d never sleep well there, and I desperately needed sleep.  I know myself enough to know that.  The combination of early morning departure and extreme stress had me worn out, and I knew my child would never settle down to rest if there were other kids there to play with.  The party was great, the company made us feel like part of the family.  The cabin and fall foliage was phenomenal.  But I was done.  We initially had planned to take a room down the mountain but ended up deciding to muscle through so we could sleep in our own beds.  The ride home was full of assholes with their brights on, however, the decision to drive home ended up being a good one,  as a hour away from home, the girl who was supposed to be taking care of my dog for the evening messaged me to inform me she had lost my apartment key.

You can’t lock my apartment without the key.

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Update*  The truck driver, 40 years old, was pronounced dead at the scene, however it looks as if we passed the wreck before EMS or Fire arrived.  According to the report I just read, one lane of the road was later closed off to traffic while they worked the scene.

IN which I pontificate about social activism and crabby people…

I’m tired of reading these dumb arguments. Below is a meme about the people upset about Cecil the Lion’s murder, and asking why people aren’t upset about black people being killed every day.  Really it’s the same old song and dance.  Every time people express outrage or grief about something, other people come out in droves to bitch about those people and how their priorities are all wrong…or whatever.  They’re like…grief trolls or something.  I never realized until I spent so much time on social media that “caring about something” had to be so mutually exclusive to “caring about anything else.”  Apparently, we as human beings can only care about one thing at a time, I guess.  But let’s address this particular meme for a second.
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Firstly, the above argument will fall on many a deaf ear simply because many people tend to reserve a different place of outrage for people killing innocent animals. Generally speaking, with a few exceptions, most animal aggression is out of resource guarding instinct or fear driven.  There is little malice aforethought.  You may not agree with that logic, but that’s how it shakes out. Secondly, and more specific to the contents of this meme, the 2013 FBI Uniform Crime Report, a compilation of annual crime statistics, also shows 83 percent of white victims were killed by white offenders; 90 percent of black victims were killed by black offenders. (source 1, 2)
So, playing Devil’s advocate… Do “black lives” only matter when a white person kills them? Given the ever-growing diversity in the country, when interracial crime occurs, does the crime itself or the resulting outcome of the justice system always have to be race related? How about All Lives Matter?
If you say Black Lives Matter, does that mean the rest do not?
Of course not.  *( I am not denying the existence of racism, but I do object to the significant amount of race-baiting done in politics and the media.  I only mention race at all because it is the subject of this particular meme…)
In this case, because Cecil’s life mattered, does that mean we don’t care about people killed every day, be they black, white, civilian, military, abortion, (or whatever else is a hot button issue right for someone?? )
No one can be pissed about everything, all the time; it takes a lot of energy to sustain that level of emotional involvement. Personally speaking,  the emotional toll of even seeing all the bad news online is overwhelming to me at times. Sometimes I just want to shut the computer for a few weeks… There are so many injustices in the world, why do we have to defend our outrage, give reasons why we choose our causes?  How many of these grief trolls on social media, denigrating the people who cared about the lion, doing any more for their own causes than sitting online being critical slactivists?? How about instead of fighting and criticizing one another for which cause we choose to embrace, we focus on improving the circumstances of any given cause?  Anyhow, that’s my cathartic ramble for the day.
Peace.
PS: (Also none of the people/demographics mentioned above were ever hunted by a lion with bait and a gun. Just sayin’.)

Good-bye, Robin. I’m Sorry.

I’m sure people will be posting ad nauseam on here about Robin William’s apparent suicide…and that’s okay.  It has occurred to me more than once how Facebook and other social media have come to play a big part in our grieving process, from sharing memories, to revelling in our loved one’s presence for just a bit longer, to sharing our grief with others…

But I just want to say one thing, and it’s about mental illness…depression….anxiety.

It’s amazing how many people do not have a full understanding of what true clinical depression and anxiety are like.  These illnesses are diagnosed now more than ever before, and I’m sure their inevitable over-diagnosis leads some people to believe they are not that serious.  True clinical depression and anxiety are not situational.  “Why are you sad?  Why are you anxious? Did something happen? Are you unhappy?” or by extension “What reason do you have to be depressed?”

As someone who suffers from both anxiety and depression since early childhood, I don’t mind answering honest questions, but I am tired of the stereotypes, and especially tired of the use of the term “mental illness” as a buzz word or scapegoat for every dirtbag that would walk into a school with a gun and blow through a clip before shooting himself, thus putting us out of his misery.

This, what happened to Robin Williams, is the true face of mental illness in this country.  For me personally, having grown up always with this man in the periphery, his voice talents, his acting, always with good cheer and humor, (not to mention the fact that he reminds me of my Dad in some ways,) the idea that someone so warm and (by all accounts) genuine and caring, felt low enough to take his own life is unutterably sad.

Yes, he left behind a wife and grown children who will grieve him, but he didn’t take it to a public place with the intent to harm others or to garner attention or fifteen minutes more in the spot light.  He went quietly, and in the end the person who suffered the most was him.

Not with a bang but a whimper. 

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Good-bye to Another Friend

Got word today via Facebook (again! Damn you with your double edged sword of keeping me in touch with people/always being the “first” to break bad news.)  I suppose I should just be glad I found out at all, living as far away from most of my high school friends as I do.    We lost another person from our graduating class.  It feels like our class has lost quite a few people these past few years.  We’re only 32-34 years old.  We’ve lost friends to epilepsy, cancer, suicide, even murder.

My friend Scott passed this weekend.  He was one of my homeroom buddies back in high school, and unlike a lot of Facebook “acquaintances,” we actually did still interact with one another on Facebook.  Oddly, in some ways I learned more about him from Facebook than our time back in high school– like, for instance, what a sensitive soul he actually was.  This is so weird because…and I know it sounds so obvious it’s stupid, but…  he was just here not too long ago.  Now he’s not.

It seems most of us (that is, the people in our class, our “mutual friends” on Facebook,) don’t know cause of death; it’s being kept quiet right now…which for me tends to rule out accident, illness, etc.  And I guess it doesn’t really matter how he died.  He is just as gone.  And yet, knowing seems to be a piece in coming to terms with the loss…and in some cases, satisfying a sort of morbid curiosity many of us feel towards the death of someone we know who is not necessarily in our immediate circle of friends.  Along the same vein, I can’t help but be annoyed by the requisite number of busybodies and drama mongers (online), attempting to put themselves in the middle of everything, trying to make the loss somehow more about them.  (You disgust me, but this isn’t the time for me to call you out on it.)

Because of the internet and social networking, we are now highly in tune with the everyday goings-on of people we might not get to otherwise interact with regularly.  We get our news fast (sometimes too fast, and in a less than sensitive manner.)  It makes me wonder, are all these losses just a normal part of “growing up,” aging?  Are the amount of deaths in our age group just the relatively normal “fall off” of people, and we are only so aware of it because of the internet?

It’s also weird to think about it…like I said, he was here, now he’s not.  Chances are, he didn’t know he wouldn’t be here today.  Did he know how many people would miss him?  Tag his name in Facebook statuses and say nice things about him…

 

And (quietly) *to myself*…

One day will I be just a tagged name on Facebook? 

 

In Memory Of Scott (1981-2014)

 

Related:

Rest In Peace, Jer and Ricky

Things Not to Say/Rest in Peace, Greg

Goodbye, H.R. (nsfw)

The renowned Swiss artist H.R. Giger has died at the age of 74, as a result of injuries sustained in a fall. Giger, who passed away in a Zurich hospital, was most famous for the alien monster he created for the movie of the same name. (source)

Even if many people aren’t familiar with the vast majority of Giger’s work, almost everyone would recognize the frightening yet somehow vicious beauty of the Xenomorph creature from the Alien films.

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However the vast body of his work is explicitly erotic, what some might consider as bordering on pornographic.

Giger’s so-called biomechanoids represent a large share of his work. His representations of these creatures is a mixture of human and mechanical parts, with a strong focus on sexuality that can be disturbing for the viewer.

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While not all of his art is sexual and explicit (okay, most of it is…), all of it is darkly unique, thought-provoking, and emotionally stimulating.

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Love it or leave it, the world has lost an incredible artist.  The king is dead.  Long live the Alien King.

It’s Over Now…

It seems odd to celebrate someone’s “death day.”  Given my love of Layne Staley and his music, it would seem more appropriate to celebrate his birthday.  But I can’t help thinking of Layne’s personal struggle with drugs not only every April 5, but almost every time I hear his music.  And I would likely have my “Grunge” card revoked if I didn’t also mention Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, whose suicide ironically occurred on this same day, eight years before, also after a struggle with heroin, which he claimed to have tried in order to help cope with a painful stomach condition.  (It is interesting to note that in both cases, the musicians’s bodies were not discovered immediately after their deaths, so the date of their death was determined by medical professionals.)

“We chase misprinted lies
We face the path of time…

If I can’t be my own, I’d feel better dead”

 

“Chaos and hate shadow me, pain it fills me up…Only one thing makes me feel, missing better half of me.”

 

 

*related: https://alienredqueen.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/in-chains-music-and-drug-addiction/

 

Kurt Donald Cobain~ 2/20/1967-4/5/1994

Layne Thomas Staley~ 8/22/1967- 4/5/2002

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Of Dreams and Nightmares and Waking Life

It’s supposed to be a pretty day today (59 and partially cloudy beats all the snow and rain and cold any day.)  I have stuff to do today, which includes shelter work and (hopefully) finally taking that injured stray with me that’s been wandering around the apartment complex.

But I have a pretty good headache, which started yesterday around noon and was nicely exacerbated by laying practically upside down, mouth open for an hour, having a cavity filled.  When the Novocaine wore off, I was in less than optimal shape.  I went to bed at 8 last night, hoping to ward off the impending migraine.

But then I had nightmares most of the night.   Dreams fraught with tension, but some sort of epic adventure… * Dreams of wanting but never quite being able to reach…  Dreams of confused desire… Dreams of frustration, where my every attempt to affect some sort of change is thwarted or ignored.

Dreams of needing to be onstage but forgetting my lines.  David Lynch-esque dreams where the events and the characters change but are the same.

And dreams of yearning sadness.  I had a dream last night about a friend of mine who OD’d a few months ago. He was alive and I kept trying to tell him I loved him and he could smoke all the weed he wanted, but for God’s sake, stay away from the heroin!  When I awoke and remembered he was already gone, I was struck by the usual feeling of quiet despair at not being able to change things.

Once, I woke up screaming.  I woke my kid too.  My husband slept on peacefully, so I guess it’s a good thing it was a nightmare and not a masked murderer in my bedroom.  I know myself enough by now to know that when I awaken screaming from nightmares, it’s often because I am so stressed out in my waking life that it spills over into my sleep.  Once, when I was still with a particularly troublesome ex, I awoke screaming every night for about a week.  I still lived with my parents at the time, and by the third night or so, my mom and stopped coming in to check on me when it happened. (Ironically, for the short but extremely stressful four months my husband and I had to live with my mother and step-father while I was pregnant, it was my husband who had the night terrors almost every night, often kicking out– and kicking me– in the middle of the night.)

And then this morning I get on Facebook and am greeted immediately with the sad but not unexpected news that my friend’s cat has passed away.  I kind of got attached to this cat because for some reason, even though they did not really look alike at all, she reminded me of my own girl who passed away 2 years ago.

Anyway, I’m not writing all this looking for sympathy or anything.  It’s just life…how things are.  But, since this is my blog, every once in a while I indulge in a post that has no real point except catharsis for me.  Thanks for coming along with me, readers.

Peace.