The Line

Here’s a link to one of the stories in my book:
http://nonstop-press.com/?cat=10

The Perfect Storm

For the past month I’ve been tossed about by the perfect storm. No one has it easy these days; here’s my story:

After hurricane evacuation and earthquake disorientation, we faced moving. We thought we had three months to shed our belongings but because of a legal snipe, we had three weeks! No time to rid ourselves of forty years (+) of accumulation. 11,000 lbs were packed up and put into an inaccessible storage facility in Statin Island until we could move into our new apartment. Because of a death in the family and the inability of movers to reschedule, this was delayed three weeks. We tried to get another moving company but they wanted four times the price we’d already paid. Temporarily homeless, we moved into our son’s basement (may the goddess bless him and our daughter-in-law who welcomed us despite tight quarters and raging toddlers). From there we went to our daughter in Chicago for a week and back to the basement, then  to our empty apartment. Stressed out about the fact that the 11,000 lbs of stuff wouldn’t fit in the door of the new place, wearing the same clothes over and over for a month, lord, how I feel for those in this situation who have no light at the end of the tunnel, no helpful friends or family.

Oh, yes, my first book of short stories came out at the same time.

The good news is that I need to gain ten lbs (& strength) and I’m moving to Harlem where the food is plentiful and delicious. Also, I’ve played a thousand games of Candyland and Disney Princess Yatzee, watched every UmiZoomi and begun to actually like Yo Gabba Gabba.

Crisis Averted

My iPod died. It was quite old and well used. Still, it was a shock, especially at a time when my house was in need of cleaning, an activity that requires aggressive escapist accompaniment.

Howie offered me his iPod as he recently acquired an iPhone and put all his music on it. (We’re a model iFamily.) My iTutor (see what I mean?) helped me erase all Howie’s music from the ‘Pod and replace it with mine. Wonder of wonders, my old iPod held 2 gigs of data, Howie’s held 7 gigs! On the way home I plugged in, anxious to take advantage of the new playlist I’d created from shared music collected by my musically-obsessed husband. Alas, none of my playlists appeared on the ‘Pod. I reinstalled as directed…no playlists, not even the option of playlists.

My lists are key in terms of travel and housework. I have a pair of large serious sound-suppressing earphones, given to me by my daughter, that I use at home. Howie gallantly offered me the use of his iPhone catalogue but, having made no playlists of his own, the shuffle option was an unsuitable choice as he listens to an inordinate number of old blues songs sung by talented but wretched and despondent musicians. This music is appropriate for wallowing in misfortune, bemoaning fate; it is not music to vacuum by. I hate vacuuming! It’s strenuous and repetitive (therefore futile like all housework, though necessary for health reasons). It requires energy music, uplifting syncopation and powerful voices. Rock ‘n Roll! A shuffle of my music would include, not only some “mood” music, but yoga accompaniment–not suitable for housekeeping either.

The option of playlists, missing from his iPod, was not not to be found in the menu or settings. I left my unclean house behind and returned to the Apple store with a heavy heart. What could be more depressing than facing a hungry vacuum or a grungy bathroom to the tune of Robert Johnson or Blind Willie McTell. I need Zackery Richard, Tom Petty, the Shirelles, for heavens sake…and my theme song, which appears in every playlist, “The Mountain” by Steve Earl (ok, that’s a little sentimental).

iTutor to the rescue. It took her one minute to turn the playlist option on and there were my lists, safe and sound on the “new” iPod. Amen!

House cleaned.

Jumping

I’m trying to write a story with a plot–not an easy thing for me as I don’t see the world this way. I see life as a random spectacle of events. I know some people have (or think they have) control over their lives but I doubt this is true and I know I have none. For me, life is a matter of coping with each development as it comes up, seeing where it leads and making the necessary adjustments. Occasionally, I dig my heels in and take a different turn, but these turns never lead to what I’d imagined when I took them.

I’m not complaining.

In the meantime, my house is clean, the bed changed, the laundry done. This is what I do while I wait for a plot to reveal itself. (I need to write more stories for the sake of my house.) Outside, there are several police boats under the bridge and a helicopter circling. Do we have a jumper? I’ve scanned the bridge with my binoculars and don’t see anything. We never know until the next day’s papers. I read lately that recent jumpers prefer the George Washington bridge over our Brooklyn Bridge. It must be because of the work going on here and the shrouding they’ve done to hide it. A couple of years ago we had a jumper that, rather than jump from the middle into the water, chose to jump off our end onto concrete–during an outdoor art exhibit. Splat! (Performance art)

It’s really busy out there now. A second helicopter has arrived and there are sirens. Is the universe trying to tell me something about my plot? There are no bridges or tall buildings in my story.

Howie once did a bungee jump off a bridge in New Zealand. There were a lot of kids doing the jump and they were eating pizza and drinking beer. Howie didn’t eat until after…they wrote a number on Howie’s hand and we thought we’d be there all day waiting his turn but it turned out to be his weight and they took him right away. They calculated the jump exactly so that you could choose if you wanted your body dunked in the water, or just your head, or nothing. That’s control. I couldn’t control my shaking enough to watch from the bridge. It was too high and I have fear of heights. I had to watch from the bottom.

I used to be really good at jump rope. I could jump all day. Now when I do it I feel like my insides are going to come out. I’m beginning to feel that way about the story I’m working on…

ps: A bunch of my stories have been collected in a book (Meeting the Dog Girls, NonStop Press) which is coming out soon. Stay tuned…