Archive for July, 2008


ignore the toothpaste and believe me that I’m changing

I found a sun drenched pond yesterday. 

Dragon flies zipped across the surface and aquatic bugs were scampering about beneath the skin of the water.  It was swollen due to recent thunderstorms.  Toads were calling out as I approached the pond, but stopped once I reached the edge. 

It made me feel like a gigantic monster.  I was the T-Rex in Jurassic Park, barreling towards the humans and crushing things on my way.  The toads were the humans, frozen, hoping that I wouldn’t see them if they only could turn into mannequins.  Silly toads.  It was a stare down.  I scanned the pond for their little eyes.

I found one sitting on a log in the middle of the water.

They'll never see me if I don't move

They'll never see me if I don't move

It’s been nearly 10 years since my father died suddenly of a pulmonary embolism.  Since then the landscape of my family has drastically changed.  I believe it would have changed anyway with three girls in their early twenties, but what made it different was that the changes weren’t always voluntary on my part.
I wanted to establish self-stability while things around me changed.  My oil was changed every 3,000 miles and the Tupperware in my cabinet was stacked neatly.  I kept three bottles of toothpaste in case one ran out and my gas tank was never under 1/2 full.  It delved deeper than the physical manifestations of control.  My spirit was snuffed and suffocated. 
High anxiety. 
During that time I developed Walmart-o-phobia, would have  sleepless nights, and stuck to a rigid routine of work and sleep
I can’t write about these things as though they’re entirely gone!  I have four bottles of toothpaste and three toothbrushes in my bathroom right now.  You’d think an entire family was using my bathroom.
Because one may run out AT ANY TIME

Because one may run out AT ANY TIME

By the way, there is a compulsion reason for each toothpaste and toothbrush.  That’s a whole other riviting entry.

I returned from the pond yesterday and watched the Yankees play the Red Sox.  I ate a good lunch and rested.  It occured to me that I felt good — I felt normal

“Normal” as in the way my spirit felt before the autumn of 1998.  I felt at peace, I felt forgiven, I felt content.  I felt like me.  It snuck up on me.

Ten years is a long time to be aggitated.  Ten years is a long time to sit motionless on a log, hoping that nothing would change if only I didn’t move. 

The bizarre thing about the last ten years is that there was no one waiting to kill me along the edge of the pond.  It’s why my friends and family teased me and often times left conversations with me wagging their heads in frustration.  I understood that I was being ridiculous, but hung on to my log.  Cowardly-Lion-Kari liked her log.

So today is a new day and I have the opportunity to let go again.  I liked me yesterday. 


blackout? shmackout!

It was about a year ago that I was locked inside a Target store.  InsideIn the dark.  With other shoppers.

I left work and went to Target on a mission to find a friend’s birthday present.  I knew what I wanted to get – a travel mug.  It was supposed to be a quick stop.

While driving, a mid-summer thunderstorm rolled into Saratoga and I was running around puddles to get into the store.  Inside, you could hear the thunder overhead and the drumming of hard rain on the flat roof.  We customers shopped around as if our errands were more interesting than anything nature could throw at us.  Dark clouds, shmark clouds.

I found the travel mugs.  I grabbed the perfect one – a silver Contigo with a clasping handle – I was all excited!  I’m a girl who has a poor record when it comes to buying gifts, so it was quite novel to be sure that I was doing the right thing.  “Yesssssss,” I thought to myself.  Internal high-five.

all for the mug
Bzzzzzt!  The lights went out. Blackness.


I heard a child call for it’s mother.

I was motionless for a few seconds.  It was eerily peaceful for those few seconds in the dark Target store.  No one was panicking, no one said much of anything.  In fact, in the dim light from emergency flood lamps I saw a few people continue shopping as though nothing was happening.  Dark store, shmark store!

With mug in hand, I made my way to the front of the store.  Customers were slowly congregating by the registers and bottlenecking.  No one could check out because the computers were down and the teenaged cashiers just shrugged awkwardly. 

New customers continued to walk into the store — they couldn’t tell from the outside that the lights were out.  I watched more than one person walk in with their head down, on a mission like I had been, only to stop abruptly when they realized they had walked into what could have been a scary movie set.  I wanted to whisper to them, “There’s no turning back.  You should never have come.”

The reason there was no turning back was because the assistant front end supervisor on duty wasn’t letting anyone leave the store.  She was probably about 22 years old with a dirty blond pony tail and glasses.  With her walkie-talkie in hand, she paced quickly in the front of the store.  From customer service to the sliding doors to the Pizza Hut Express, she was calling for people named “Trina”. 

She was a blur in red and khaki.  It was evident that she hadn’t received any “what to do during a blackout” training.  As the highest ranking official in the building, her crisis management composed largely of striding in one direction, then slapping her thighs while spinning on her heels to walk in the opposite direction.  Under the emergency flood lamps, we customers watched her like you would a tennis match.  I stood in the girls pajama section to stay out of the way

Things continued that way for a full 15 minutes.  People came in, but no one left.  Eventually the store would burst with shoppers if our captor had her way.  Mutiny was inevitable.  Children were driving their parents crazy.  The tone in people’s voices had changed from anxious/excited to whiny. 

I looked down at the mug and considered my quandary.

I was going to see my friend the next day.  This was pretty much my only chance to buy a gift, and I wanted to get this mug.  My patience was re-newed when I realized that I didn’t have anywhere else to go or anything more important to do.  Plus, where else could have I seen a scene such as this? 

The lights flickered on and the registers booted up.  Everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief.  The assistant front end supervisor on duty stopped walking so fast.  One person clapped over on line 2.

Bzzzzzt!  The lights went out again.  This time, a collective whine.  “Aa-noooh!” 

Things continued that way for the next 45 minutes.  The lights would come on, the registers would get 90% booted up, then the lights would go off. 

Eventually, I paid for the mug in cash and paid more than it cost because they were unable to open the drawer to give out change.  I slipped out into the parking lot, without a receipt but with one great, and entirely worth it, gift.

worth-it-ness chart

worth-it-ness chart