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Fighting Fair in a Sucker Punch World

You cannot calmly discuss your differences with someone who has a shiv in his shoe. You either have to get yourself a shiv or you have to walk away. The pitiful thing about people who’ve read the self-help manuals about how to manage conflict and fight fair is that they don’t realize that their opponents haven’t studied up on sharing feelings and appreciating another’s point of view. They’ve been doing pull-ups at the gym while the anger management devotees have been doing deep breathing and learning how to put their anger into “I” sentences. And here is the fork in the road about handling conflict. With whom are you dealing? If you are dealing with someone…

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Role Model

She asked me if I’d take her to the funeral. She said in a text: “Will u take me? I can’t get a ride.” So I said, yes, I would drive her. This would be another one of the things that I probably wouldn’t put in my report to the people who supervised me in my role as a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for a teenage girl in foster care. Somehow, ‘took to funeral’ didn’t seem like the kind of wholesome, relationship-building, happy activity that we should do. But the key thing between a CASA and a foster child is that there needs to be trust. You get…

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Without thinking even 60 seconds, I hit the Buy Now button and sent my 89-year old father his first computer, a brilliant blue IMac. The same day I wrote him a letter, gave him my email address, and told him to email me when he got the IMac. Then I waited, nervously, anxiously. I’d never gotten my father such a big present and I’d had no indication from him whatsoever that he was interested in having a computer. He seemed happy plugging out letters on his vintage 30′s Underwood typewriter which he kept under a dust cover on a special table in his office. It was the machine he used…

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Water Lily

The afternoon light is so bright through the windows that the bottom of the pool is awash in sunshine. In the lane next to me, a beautiful Chinese woman in a swim cap and black racing suit with orange flames does a long swanlike breast stroke that takes her fully under water for several seconds until she gently emerges for several beats and disappears again under the surface where the sun is shining. She is wearing a pearl necklace and pearl drop earrings on small very gold hoops. At one point she comes up next to me and we are both swimming the breaststroke but mine is pull and up…

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Not Now, but Then

Every couple of years after he was the cause of the break-up of my first marriage, Hal would show up at my front door with a bottle of Scotch which I didn’t drink and then try to ingratiate himself into my life as my primary advisory and counselor, ready and willing to help me out of the jam du jour, his silver Corvette parked across the street the whole while of his visit so he could keep a good eye on it. It had been many years since his last surprise visit and I kept wondering if he would show up again. Would my husband answer the door or one…

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At My Mother’s Knee

Showing up after ten years’ absence when your mother is ill with Alzheimer’s Disease and having her look at you and say, “I never thought I’d see you again,” and realizing that if you had waited, like you wanted to, for another six months to pass before coming home, she would probably forget who you were, all of this is a very big deal. And it’s an important story to tell even if I don’t know exactly how to tell it. I’d been warned by my father about my mother’s deepening Alzheimer’s Disease or A.D. as he called it in his letters. Our written correspondence had been going on for…

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Things Change

The new sink asks for experiments, offers to wash body parts, expects the unspeakable to be stuffed down the drain; the dim light of the kitchen catching the gleaming promise not to tell. _________________________ 33 words in honor of my newly remodeled kitchen and the dear departed Trifecta Writing Challenge.

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Manifest Destiny

It was a tattoo. What is past is prologue. It spread out across her shoulder in script with many flourishes. Was it a philosophical statement or a prediction? A happy promise or a sign advertising coming sadness? It all depends, I guess, on whether the past was good or bad. In college, I was driven mad for weeks by the notion that every single move I was making had been predetermined by every other move previously made. It was an overwhelming sense of oppressive destiny that was crazy-making every second of every day. Fundamentally, it was a war in my head about free will, the possibility of inevitability about every choice I was…

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Note to My 19-Year Old Self

If this note had been left on my pillow when I was 19, I would have been offended. Advice from any corner, even my future 65 year-old self, would be an insinuation that I wasn’t running my own life well. And even if it was true that almost nothing was right, my time spent in fluttered reactions…

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What It’s Like to Be Freshly Pressed

Here’s what happens when you’re Freshly Pressed. You feel like the kid in 3rd grade who got the most Valentines back in the day when kids gave Valentines only to the people they liked and blew off the rest, not like now where every kid has to get the same number or it isn’t fair. Fair wouldn’t be a concept familiar to a blogger. A carefully crafted post about a critical emotional issue will get ignored, one lonely “like” at the bottom of the page, readership in the low double digits. And while that beautiful post is rotting in the netherworld of no hits, other bloggers’ posts will pop up…

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