Category Archives: Lemon Moment

Regarding

This isn’t another one of those, “Look at me!” posts. It’s about how surprised by the visceral reaction I had.

As I stood near the creek earlier today, I wanted to stick my feet in there and just sit, my thoughts and my time merging – and let the day drift away. Work was busy and not at all a burden. Don’t tell my bosses, please. Enjoying work is tantamount to stealing. (That’s supposed to be funny.) The moments I had in the creek very early in the morning were still on my mind.

I walked back to the street where the bridge overtakes it. Across the way, I saw a man rifling through the pantry box by the parking lot. He pulled a couple of things out of it. It was then I noticed his old car parked temporarily perpendicularly behind the others. That car had seen some tough miles. He walked back toward it and got inside. I knew I had cash, money set aside for the quarter-eating washing machines at my apartment. I paced across the street and walked around the side of his vehicle. The driver’s window had been taped multiple times. He was leaning over away from me, leaning toward his girlfriend or wife, distracted. She motioned that someone was at the window. He popped the door open, immediately giving an apology and attempting to explain why he was there for only a short respite.

I shook my head and handed him the bill. His face underwent a transformation. First surprise, then shock. “Oh lord, thank you so much.” It seemed like he was about to cry in relief. I’m sure of it.

Completely to my surprise and spontaneously, tears welled into my eyes. I felt a sob start. I walked quickly away, waving backward as I walked, not saying a word.

Life is so effing hard for so many people.

Even people with resources and money, as foreign as that may be. Even for smiling people who pass us during the day. I get so caught up in my life’s drama that I hate to admit sometimes I gloss over people’s humanity. It’s an uncomfortable realization that you’ve been selfish when a word wouldn’t have cost you anything. All of us careen around and foolishly make assumptions about other people’s lives. Most people have facades that they put on in the morning, thinking the facade protects them. It doesn’t – the arrows will get through. Eventually.

This anecdote isn’t about me giving a stranger money. Anyone can do that and a lot of good people I know help in ways that they will never admit to. This story is about how raw I was, unbeknownst to me. I had two such moments today, one in which I transformed a prank into an opportunity to remind someone how important his great sense of humor is and how much he is valued. Even when no one seems to take the time to show it. I busted his balls a little too because that is how a lot of us show our affection.

I’m not even sure how to close this post, other than to say that today had its moments, both happy and spotted with tragic limerick.

Love, X
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Creek Zen

I didn’t even know I was going to turn in and park. The air was cool and almost chilly down by the creek. But I took my shoes and socks off and walked across the low water bridge. It was dry because the water’s low. But I sat and put my feet in anyway. I listened to the water tumble and my mind went blank. It felt like I sat there for 30 minutes. When I looked at my watch, only 4 minutes had passed. I wanted to be trapped in amber and sit there for hours. Though my feet were numb from the cool water, I walked back to the car barefoot. To start my day. A little piece of me is still sitting by that creek though. Mindless and in the moment.

Love, X
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Going

I got a surprise when I came home today. A friend put a butterfly brooch out for Larkma, my resident sprite/fairy. It took me a while to know who it was. She can “out” herself if she wishes to. Doing so means that she willingly encourages this never-ending project I have going. I am even more tickled that more than one person in the last week has told me to keep on going with the art. (And also that people have taken the time to leave art offerings and whatnots to add to my wild collection.) Whether it is art is purely subjective.

As I stood out by the Gregg Street fence adding more tile patterns this afternoon, two Latino males were waiting at the light. The driver honked. As I turned, he gave me a big thumbs up. When I walked back into the parking lot, two neighbors at the end went out of their way to enthusiastically tell me that they love the color and jumble of it all. “Are they paying you?” one of them asked. I said, “No, but I didn’t ask for permission, either.” The other said, “It’s crazy and beautiful. I can’t wait to see what comes next.”

I said a prayer for them both because neither has any idea how far I might go with this.

Love, X
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Creekside In The Dark

I was up early enough to greet the vampires. Even at 2:00 a.m. the traffic was surprising. I worked a couple of hours. All I could think about was sticking my feet in the creek after the rain rolled in and surprised us all. Though the sun has not wiped the sleep from its eyes yet, I came down to the creek and precariously made my way across the water dam to the other side. I rolled my pants legs up and I have to say, the water was as refreshing as I imagined it would be. I walked down far enough so that there was almost no light striking across me… Just a few slivers from a distance street lamp fighting their way through the massive tree limbs lining the trail. Droplets still accumulating on the limbs above me are falling across me. Between the waterfall and the background curtain of insects, I cannot think of any complaints. I wish I could sit here for 5 or 6 hours.
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Sawing Away The Morning

“Vengeance is mine,” sayeth the dude wielding the saw! My arm is still sore from yesterday’s antics – so I channeled that into a declaration of sawing this morning.

I started by the street near Gregg, cutting away limbs that my neighbors and visitors need to fear as they park. X:1, Limbs:0. One dumb thing I did was to saw and saw at a hard vine. After about twenty seconds, I realized that it was an ancient WIRE hanging with the limbs and vines. Any credit I get is lessened by that and also serves as further proof that I am not the brightest bulb.

I awoke to a high school friend posting on my timeline. She was visiting from Minnesota and took the time to drive by and see my decorative craziness. My only regret is that I don’t have every square inch of everything covered with color and nonsense. When I looked it up online, I realized that Minnesotans are legally obligated to NOT be frivolous. They aren’t even allowed to put both mustard and ketchup on a hamburger on the off chance they might like it. Just kidding. I think.

When I was by the street cutting limbs over my neighbor’s vehicles, the ones that precariously hang and annoy them, my neighbor Tobey walked by with his pitbull. I chased that dog until he couldn’t frolic. As the excursion train neared, I asked Tobey if he’d stand by the curb and Gump wave with me. Shockingly, he declined, indicating he didn’t like the trains and the noise that accompany them. I have NO choice except to purchase a 12V air horn from Amazon now, one I can remotely trigger. I think I’ll place it artfully in the trees out there, the ones I climb sometimes. He will lose his mind wondering why the frequency of the trains has multiplied exponentially. Honestly, I’ve thought about it before. Now, it seems like a MUST. I will claim it is for security as a way to warn would-be miscreants and malefactors if I spot them. If they ever finish the house they are building next door, I calculate the horn would be less than five feet from some of their windows. That makes me laugh: “buyer’s remorse” in action.

I worked in the back this morning too, clearing out a huge section of fence and limbs. A truck can drive around now, whether it’s an electric service vehicle or ice cream truck is up to the universe. So far, the landlords have not removed any of the tons of limbs and fences I’ve piled back there. A bonfire seems to be more and more likely, especially if one of the neighbors who smoke tosses a butt in there one summer evening.  I cleared out some more of the contents of what I refer to as the Drug Shed. That thing is definitely coming down at some point. I banged on it before going inside. Copperheads love the back corner of that thing. I’m not needlessly scared of snakes. (I work with middle managers every day.) I’d prefer to avoid snakebites, though, both at work and back in the Drug Shed. There are black snakes back there too, ones that probably miss the jungle-like atmosphere that existed prior to me turning my attention to clearing it.

When I needed a break, I sat at the bottom of the stairs and let another neighbor’s dog maul me with happiness. I was filthy already, so it didn’t seem to be an issue. The dog had no objections. My cat Güino, however, registered his disapproval loudly when I went inside and picked him up. His fur stood straighter than a sinner’s back in church. I was going to just burn my stinky clothes but then remembered that I have to pay for clothing or become a nudist. I tried that before and the screaming made it hard for me to relax in public.

My pictures are literal thirst (instead of thirst trap) pictures because it was already hotter than a rugby player’s nether regions. I don’t want anyone to think I’m posting to be provocative. Unless a cannibal sees them and thinks I’d be great grilled. If you don’t know what a thirst trap picture is, just imagine that one social media friend you have who shows more cleavage than a brassiere convention.

I made another table using discarded parts. Again, I controlled myself and didn’t paint any of it. I had to lie down for an hour to control my urge to do so. I ate a box of crayons and the feeling passed. Literally.

PS That’s tree corpse residue aka sawdust all over in a couple of the pictures, not dandruff. Legend has it that one must have hair to have dandruff. That’s a good thing because I’ve not used anything except bar soap to wash my head since I was 20ish. Yes, I purloin all my soap from bars. Lord knows that the typical bar patron doesn’t use soap, so it’s not missed.

PPS A joke a keep forgetting to post: you know your neighborhood is iffy if the ice cream doesn’t drive by and annoy you. To which I’d add: the cost of armor-plating ice cream trucks is cost-prohibitive. Also, this place is getting surrounded by new development on this side of Gregg. Displacement is inevitable. If you drive by and see a crater, you will know why.

PPPS The average password keeps people from accessing your accounts. In my experience, I’ve learned that it also keeps most of the actual account holders out of them, too. 

PPPPS I heard something yesterday that I’ve heard before but it struck me as insightful this time: insurance is a reverse lottery because it pays only when you’ve already been unlucky. Bonus idea: If you have a foot fetish, sandals are lingerie.

A friend asked me to post the two unwritten rules for life.

Here they are:

1.

2.

You’re welcome!

Love, X

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Little Stars And Sunday Morning

The black cat was back this morning, though I didn’t realize it until I saw TWO black cats down the landing – one of them being my cat Güino. Luckily, the old scruffy and long-haired black cat was friendly. It sat and meowed at Güino, somehow knowing that he was the equivalent to the Gump of cats. The scruffy black cat had on an ornate collar and looked well-fed. I don’t know why it recently started coming up to the landing to lay and watch the activity below. It’s no bird hunter. If Danny DeVito were a cat, this would be him. I walked down and had a conversation with both cats before picking up Güino and cradling him. The black cat was being social; my cat was fussing and pissy because he wasn’t ready to leave his new would-be friend.

The morning was hot, even at 3 a.m. But the breeze was brisk and lovely.

Yesterday, I went to the new discount store in the old Toys Я Us building. The prices change depending on the day. It was fun sorting through the messy bins. Most of the things are of course overpriced. There’s a section where you can buy a $50 mystery box, too. The store will do well at first, given that it’s new. For me, anything of interest I found tended to make me want to find it on Amazon (where most of the stock originates) and buy it there. The best find was a red frilly unitard-looking article of clothing! Can you imagine me wearing that? Yes, you can. I apologize in advance for the mental image.

Someone left me an ornate surprise/offering on my doorstep last night. He or she scattered a handful of decorative stars around the door, too, an added flourish that made me laugh. Yes, that’s one of those eyeballs that floats in the liquid inside a clear orb. There’s also a cat silhouette pin and two crosses on beads. It almost looks as if the person gifting me the little plate of surprises left an offering to my fairy/sprite Larkma, who presumably still uses the fairy door in the picture. It’s almost certainly a female who left me the surprise; my logic isn’t necessarily solid though because something like this is exactly what I might do and according to my birth certificate, I’m allegedly male. My inability to listen when it’s in my best interest is all the proof I really need, though.

A friend posted a picture and tribute of someone she loved who passed away a few years ago. I went into the rabbit hole of using my research skills to find her footprints in life. She lived one month short of 100 years. Though I never knew her, I imagined the tapestry of her life through the years. Millions of stories. Can you imagine how many she had in one hundred years?

In the last few days, even though my powerful laptop isn’t supported for Windows 11, I did the workaround and installed it anyway. (It’s ridiculous that an I-7 processor and 16GB of RAM might not be enough.) I keep my important stuff backed up locally and in the cloud, so the worst-case scenario was going to be a pain in the ass reverting if it didn’t work. I’m not afraid to try anything, a lesson I learned from a friend named Jason years ago. I’m still aghast at how many people don’t scan and keep their precious photos safe, whether they are on their phones or in albums that human eyes never adore. My main computer is named “backupeverything” as a constant reminder that if you’re not vigilant, you will lose everything at some point. It’s inevitable, like snagging your pocket or sleeve on a drawer when you shut it.

Ann Landers said this: “If you want your children to listen, try talking softly to someone else.”

I’d add a corollary I wrote: “If you want people to talk about you, do anything interesting or different – or be happy.”

Love, X
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Walk

I’m out walking and exploring a foreign neighborhood. It started from an unplanned walk, one I would never experience inside my little world of the apartment. I’m certainly not killing time. Time can’t be killed, only experienced or passively ignored. It’s racing past. No matter how much you think you know about how fleeting life is, there is an undeniable recognition of it when you get older. Your spirit wants a bite of all of it, but the creature comforts in our residences and the magnetic pull of routine keep us in place.

I was able to pet a friendly duck, one who waddled up to me unexpectedly in a place I would not have expected to see it. I stopped and exchanged pleasantries with an older man in a wheelchair, his faithful little dog and companion begging me for attention. I of course kneeled down and hugged and petted him. The older man laughed in delight. I saw rabbits and birds galore. At one place in a small meadow, the proper word for which is glen, the multitude of birds chirping and singing drowned out the traffic.

When I started, I was surrounded by commerce and restaurants and diners outside drinking and talking loudly. The same occurred upon my return. They too are enjoying the world outside of their homes. It’s nice to see that covid didn’t eradicate our social nature. People are supposed to be surrounded by people. So much of the toxicity in our own heads is the result of our not practicing this truth.

I hope each of you had a lemon moment this afternoon.

Whether you did or not, I am reminded why it’s not wise to take a really long walk wearing flip-flop sandals. I would do it again though.

Love, X

Ugly Men

As I entered the inconvenience store, I noted that the line was long. I couldn’t help but notice that the two older gentlemen in front of me were mocking the cashier. He supported orange hair, along with eyebrows and mustache to match. He also had a purple heart died in the back. The level of scorn spewing from the two guys made me cringe. When it was my turn to pay, I enthusiastically complimented him on his hair and apologized on behalf of all the assholes like the two gentlemen who preceded me. Their ugliness on display far exceeds any perceived ridiculousness on the part of the happy cashier.

X
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Spin Away

Can you tell the difference between the ordinary and the epic?

I was walking a little after 1 a.m. this morning, the surprising warmth of Tuesday morning propelling me. I walked the loop and made my way to College Avenue. The busy road was desolate and lit, no cars, no people. Just me looking at its urban beauty. Though you won’t understand it unless you’ve experienced the weird joy of seeing the world at such an hour, I felt like I walked on air.

When I walked back, I made the slow curve by Miller Street. As I neared a small Nissan, I realized that someone was laying on the hood. I was already upon him, less than two feet away. “Hey, good morning,” he said, his voice deep. “Yes, same to you.” I wanted to ask him why he was laying on the hood, under the shadows of the trees overhead and handing above the street and car. Maybe he was enjoying the solitude. Maybe he was banished from the house. Maybes – a lot of them accumulating in my mind.

At the corner, there were a dozen memorial day-themed little spinners scattered by the sidewalk. I picked one up and brought it home. I disassembled it and painted its two circles in different vibrant colors. As I painted, I watched a neighbor load her vehicles as part of her move to a different apartment. She has her own issues, her teenage boy the cause of the move. I wanted to tell her that moving wasn’t going to fix the problem. People take their problems with them, even to shiny new places.

Later today, after the hectic post-holiday workday is finished, I will assemble the spinner and put it on the balcony. Though it will have been only twelve hours, it will seem as if I found it five minutes before. The unseen wind will power it until the plastic wears out and breaks.

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Sabah Kind Of Morning

I talked to an Arabic clerk at an inconvenience store very early this morning. He works at one that has a history of trouble. Of course, that’s true of many such stores when the sun has set. When I entered, he was busy mopping the floor. Don’t worry, it wasn’t blood he was cleaning. I assume. There wasn’t a chalk outline on the floor at least. (Although if I owned the place I’d put one there as a prank.)

He asked me if I was possibly Arabic. Surprisingly, we looked a lot alike.

We started discussing languages and he became very animated. He lit up because he could see how fascinating I found the conversation.

I don’t know many Arabic words but he was tickled that I already knew about some of the guttural sounds required to speak it fluently. I confessed that despite speaking Spanish, I still had trouble pronouncing the rolling “rr” letter in Spanish. He trilled it like a songbird! He took a moment to have me say “Good morning” in Arabic: “sabah alkhayr.” I like that they say “morning good,” which is odd for English speakers but normal for many other languages. I already knew that one, but my pronunciation sounded like a drunken sailor. Yes, I speak drunken sailor, all thanks to my dad Bobby Dean.

I don’t list it on my résumé though. For some reason, it doesn’t impress anyone; I find that odd, given that most managers seem to be alien and well-practiced at indistinct communication.

As I left, just for fun, I shouted “Au revoir!”

“Auf Widersehen,” he replied. We both laughed.

In another life, I know that I would speak ten languages. I wouldn’t speak any of them well and that’s okay. Enthusiasm is enough. Remember that if you’re on the journey to learn a new one. We all have beginner’s minds, even if we are 55.

Love, X
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