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At times, this feels like a grieving process. I feel like I have lost something precious, a way of life. I am mourning the passing of going to a restaurant and sitting among people, fellow foodies, enjoying a meal together. If someone sneezes, we all say, “God bless you”, we don’t have to run. I yearn for the days of walking through mall at Christmas time when the mall is full of laughing children. I wonder if we will ever get that life back or even some resemblance of it. Step 1, shock and denial heading for step 2, anger.
What I want to do when I grow up; I am almost a senior citizen, well almost. I could play kick the can, but my knees hurt. I could drive my fast-red car, a nice sassy little GTI, but I forgot where I put the keys. I could buy a slinky black dress, but plus sizes only come in paisley. I could travel to an exotic island, oh, no, travel restrictions. I could go to a theater, a new movie; the last time the janitor woke me up. I think I’ll, “hey!” “Lilies of the Field” is on tonight, perfect.
I need to relax; I need to sleep. I had one of those long short weekends; needed to get away from the humdrum life as it is right now. I went for a drive along the east coast and stayed on a beautiful island for the weekend. The sun was warm and brilliant, and the water trickled me to sleep. At night I sat in a traditional study library and wrote my one-hundred-words paragraph for the day. For me, that was my thing. The thing that is your awe, “I would not have it any other way moment in life.”
If you had to tell someone who you are, how would you define yourself in a nutshell? Would you be someone who everyone loves because you are a loving compassionate person or are you the person we want to forget? Do you go to church and help the needy or do you steal someone’s hopes and dreams? Do you help the elderly across the street, or do you snatch or grab their bags? Do you do serve the homeless meals, or do you steal their wheels? If you could describe who you are, do you need to raise the bar?
How do you handle a cold? The sniffles, sneezing, and misery of it. You feel like you have a choker around your throat squeezing pressure to your sinuses like a balloon. Your eyes are swimming in a pool of mucus, oh yuck! The dripping draining and cough, cough, cough. How do you handle the itchy ears, throat, eyes, and stinging nostrils? How do you handle a cold with the angry, got to go lay down, aches and pains? You ask your mom, like you did when you were a child, she smiles and says, chicken soup and a hot toddy.
What foreign country would like to visit is the prompt for today? My answer, today, none. I cannot even step outside my apartment door, much less, leave the country. But seriously, I would love to go to France and walk along the streets of Paris, La Ville Lumiere, The City of lights. I want to visit the Louvre Museum, walk the French Rivera, and climb the Eiffel Tower. I can see me sitting at a French café drinking red wine, listening too Claire de Lune, or La Vie En Rose. I once heard that you could find yourself in Paris.
What would you do if someone gave you a cardboard box full of $100 dollars bills? Your doorbell rings and the box was sitting on your porch; it was big enough to hold about 50 million dollars and the box was full. You know somehow that the money was clean, no crime committed, and, you do not have to pay taxes. Remember, this is just a dream. What would be the first thing you would pay off or buy, house, car…. or would you wait a day or two? Would you tell anyone about the money or become instantly paranoid?
If could choose to be a color, I think I would be yellow, warm like a new spring day, wispy and soft like a light, bright and breezy. No, orange, orange is what I should be. The color of the day blazing like a crackling fire as the season changes from hot to warm then cold. Maybe I should be blue, like a cool winter night while floating on an Alaskan lake and watching the glaciers melt unseasonably. I think gray would be an interesting color, because, the world is neither black nor white but a hue somewhere in between.
Today is message in a bottle day. What if you spotted a message in a bottle drifting on the ocean? This bottle can be from anywhere in the world and from anyone. You wonder who is sending this message directly to you as you pluck it from the waves. You image it is from a man on an island alone writing his memoirs. He has been on this island for more than 10 years, according to the sun rises and sets. He lived on bananas, papaya, and an occasional lizard. He writes 100 words a day on his banana leaves.
If I could be another personality or someone other than myself, I would be someone fearless and outgoing. Someone not afraid of adventures, like skydiving, mountain climbing, or zip lining. I would be a world traveler and Paris and Venice, would be my first stops. Scary, but I think scuba diving would be on my list. I would go parasailing and hang gliding over mountains and fields of sunflowers. I would be the life of the party, something new to me. I would have games nights, book clubs, and host a super bowl party. If I could be someone else….
I see music in my mind, swirling and cascading down and around in the wind. I feel music tip toeing on my heart with the crescendo of every sonata ever composed. I recognize Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumble Bees like no other sound I have ever heard. Yo-Yo Ma’s cello sends a character over a bridge like it is romantic to die. I can see My Funny Valentine as I drift off with a smile. And no one can take you on lovely lovely lovely ride on a wild blowing wind like Nina Simone; floating on her melancholy river ride.
Today you are a time traveler and you can go whenever, change whatever, or know what happens because of this or that. You can talk to our past selves and change that one life altering mistake you made. You can walk the other way to not meet that person you wish you never met. Go back to high school and pay attention in algebra class this time. We can go to the 90s and buy Yahoo for $14 and sale for a million before the .com crash or go forward when I publish my first novel, “100 Words a Day.”
Are there times when life feels to surreal, you are holding on to the edge of a cleft by your fingertips? You feel like you are having panic attacks, real earthquakes in your mind. The room is virtually swaying and shaking without explanation. You become woozy, hot, clammy, and cold all at the same time. There are moments of extreme sensations of tingling and disorientation. You feel like you are walking down a hall sideways needing someone to turn you right side up. This is that crucial time when you absolutely feel you need to phone a friend or therapist.
If you had the chance to improve something about yourself or something about your life, what would it be? Do you want to improve your social skills by being outgoing or less? Would you be a better friend by being the friend you want in your life. Do want to be less judgmental? Are you going to be self-righteous or just righteous? Do you improve your health and be more fit or are going to relax a bit? Do you want to write 100 words a day or write novels? Do you just talk about it or be about it?
I love the ocean and its sounds as I sit on the wet sand. The loud crashing sound of the waves hitting the rocks and the docks. Watching as the water flows in and out as it ebbs mid-day. The feel of gritty sand under my feet, a smoothing natural pedicure. The smell of the damp ocean air and the moisture on my face reminds me of home on the Atlantic coast. Discovering the ocean’s whisper as I put my ear to a conk shell, the oceans megaphone. I love the mysteries that the ocean holds and her mental medicine.
You are driving the long trip home when suddenly you feel it, the road dizzy; the lost of focus as your mind wonders off down the hypnotic road. You feel the car swaying from side to side and the buzz of the car running over the coarse side of the road, telling you, come back and wakeup. Miles of road signs, mile markers, and the big fish sign, you remember growing up. You’re tired and the Red Bull has worn off. Uh oh, coarse side road again, and no rest area for miles. Ok, commence the loud music and singing.
Did Mr. Rogers get it right with would you be my neighbor by being kind to everyone you meet and a hero to a child. If there is an emergency, you should be able to start next door for help. Can I barrow an egg or a cup of sugar is old school, but it should still apply. Mrs. Johnson down the street should still run young kids home when the streetlights come on or pass out fresh baked chocolate cookies without fear. No one gets past Mr. Jones’ gaze if you are a stranger. Will you be my Neighbor?
If I could have a conversation with Martin Luther King, I would ask him so many questions. I cannot imagine why this intuitive well-educated man would choose a path that he certainly knew would lead to his death. How could he, knowing he was putting his family and friends in harm’s way, still get on the bus. He knew he was hated by many who did not agree with his views and loved by many who would not stand in his shoes. Why keep doing this when he absolutely knew? Martin Luther King had a dream for me and you.
Going into the unknown, that new path you thought would never happen and you gave up, but here it is. You move into a new neighborhood; you get a new job; you start a degree program in a field in which you have no experience, but you wanted to try. Your life is about to change to full speed ahead and you are excited, scared, nervous, and losing confidence the closer you get. You adopt a mantra to get you through the first moments before you say, “Hi, my name is.…” and trust that it will take off from there.
Remember the 60s; civil rights protest, the flip dew, rockum sockum robots, and the afro. Remember the 70s and the start of earth day, the first mobile phones and the Walkman. The 70s were the technology boom years, the Rubik’s Cube, and Jimi Hendrix. Remember the 80s when Richard Pryor went up in a blaze, CNN, and Pac-man were the craze. Madonna had big hair and was the material girl. Price Charles and Lady Diana were the love story of the century for a minute. Let’s talk 90s and Nintendo and Play Station, and texting, Bill Clinton. And then Y2K.
I watched a TV series today called Snowpiercer. The story setting is earth is losing balance and the temperature started dropping to 164 degrees below Celsius. A company created a train with about 1000 cars, that had to travel around the planet without stopping or everyone will die because of the extreme cold. The 1000 cars are divided by classes; section 1, wealthy people who could afford to buy the best of everything; section 2, middle class, and section 3 are the people who could not afford to ride the train but boarded as a mob. And the struggle began.
It is interesting that no matter how good or bad a situation is, the struggle is real among humans. Watching the TV series Snowpiercer, it is interesting to watch the personal struggles and group dynamics change. No matter what your status is, add enough stressors or life threaten conditions to any human situation, they do whatever is necessary to survive. Each class section of this train, whether wealthy, middle, or a third class, each have their own internal struggles and amid it all, there is a killer threaten the safety of the groups; now all, some, or none might survive.
If you could redesign yourself or your life, what or who would you be? A redesign would open possibilities to change physical flaws, erase mistakes or redo bad decisions that you thought you would not survive. Would you make changes like move the mole from the right side of you face to the left? If you knew about that bad marriage but remember your beautiful child; what would you do? Do you go through cancer treatment and meet the doctor who is the love of your life? Do you die after a short beautiful life or live a long hell?
The morning light and midnight glows; the mystic of which no one knows. Time does spiral and never stops with the unpredictability of a man-made clock. Hear chimes that sing in the wind at night, like a rhythmic dance and a not so subtle erotic fight. Take a taste of nectar, sweet or with a bite, to cultivate your taste buds and to make your mind take flight. See the morning dew as it glistens on the trees and a bouquet of flowers awaiting the swarming honeybees. The morning light and midnight glows; the mystic of which no one knows.
Just keep living. As we get older, and we all are getting older; do you understand, more and more, what my mother, father, or grandparents meant. The stories they told us, sounded a bit like dementia, but now, not so much. I remember not understanding why my parents and their friends would sit around a table talking about their aches and pains or who died that week. We did not want to listen to our parents, and we snickered at our grandparents; they would just say, “just keep living.” The older I get the more I understand, “just keep living.”
Sundays were a special day in our home. We woke up early for church. Church required a higher level of preparation; we dressed to the nine, in our Sunday best. Before church, mom would put on the meat for the meal that was thawing all night. There was always a big meal on Sunday: roast, greens, a macaroni & cheese, not Kraft, and a peach cobbler, with vanilla ice cream. The family would sit around the TV, after a nap, to watch Walt Disney World or Wide World of Sports. Sunday was the one day that was all about family.
The things that make me comfortable: sweatpants, t-shirts, and a pair of warm fluffy socks. My favorite comfort foods, a bowl of gumbo with shrimp, sausage, okra, corn, and tomatoes; a piece of cheesecake with strawberries or cherries with whip cream piled on top; and a basket of fried chicken wings with crispy French fries. I always enjoy a bag of popcorn and a great murder mystery that stretches my imagination and has an unexpected twist that I did not see coming. And last, but not all, great conversation with friends who are open minded and like laughing out loud.
I found an envelop full of money in my mailbox one day; it was full of money, and at last count it $100,000 in small bill, 10s and 20s. The first thing I thought of is what do I do with the money, then I started questioning where did the money come from and should I report it to the police, or smile because God has smiled down on me, or jump up and down about all the problems I can solve with $100,000. I thought of my spending strategy, what I should pay off first; then I woke up.
I do not think I will survive it; the pain is too great; the heartache and I hyperventilate. Oh my, another headache, the pain; I feel dizzy. I don’t understand it, everything was going so well. We had plans to go to Venice and Brazil. Why did I look at those text from that Jane somebody? How did she know you loved that special red wine we used to get exclusively grown in Tuscany? Ok breathe, hyperventilating again, in and out. I saw the ruby red lipstick on your t-shirt neck. I cannot believe it, we have to breakup, divorce.
I have writer’s block today; nothing came to mind to write about. Then I decided to write about how it feels when nothing comes to mind. There is a certain amount of stress when you want and need to write but your mind closes for the night. I watched TV, listened to music, read other works: poems and short essays. I visited websites for writers: prompts for beginners, and short stories; those helped a lot. I just needed a jump start, so I started freewriting anything that came to mind. Here I am at the end of my 100 words.
I am sleepy now and it is half past midnight. All my woos of the day are melting away. My eyelids feel like led weight doing pushups; I can barely keep them open. An hour later I open them again and a different movie has begun. I knew I should have recorded that movie. I am so sleepy now it is one o’clock. I need to go to bed now but I did not, for some odd reason, I did not want to give up this day. My days are going so fast in just a blink, the next day.
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