Friday Round-Up: Then and Now

The guys in the White House are sickening but they’re like 75% of the guys I’ve known, well maybe it’s a lesser percent, but most guys will just shrug when they hear about another guy’s bad behavior with women. They’ll roll out excuses, what ifs, analyze a black eye like it was a missed pass that was the receiver’s fault, not the quarterback’s, oh no, don’t blame the quarterback. So nothing about the current Rob Porter/John Kelly/Donald Trump drama surprises me. It’s just what most men do. Shrug. He seemed like a nice guy to me, they’ll say. He dressed nice and did a good job, and, remember, he said he’s innocent. “We wish him well.”

I started my day irked that my neighbor with his three-ton snowblower didn’t zip my sidewalk clean. Instead, he left a perfect edge between his clean sidewalk and mine covered by 4 inches of snow. How hard would it be to do this tiny favor for an older neighbor, I thought, and then I put on my jeans and a hoodie and tore out the front door with our new shovel with the amazing aerodynamic handle and shoveled the motherfucker in about the time it took him to blow his sidewalk. I kept hoping he’d come out so I could preen but no. I’m from Michigan. We know how to shovel snow.

The mornings at the warming room are both addictive and exhausting. It’s not open every day, just the days when the temperature the night before was below 10 degrees. I’ve been there a dozen times at least, maybe more, I’ve lost count. It is dark when I come, outside and inside. It is something to walk into a room where 70 homeless people are sleeping. It gets to me every time. But I feel like I’m part of their community now. A woman said to me a few days ago that when she gets back on her feet she wants to volunteer there. I like that the distance between her situation and mine seems just a matter of time. I could see her taking care of me.

The rejections are getting me down. I’ve tried taking to heart the advice to aim for a hundred rejections a year. I’m a bit behind the pace, mostly because, what, I don’t know, my feelings get hurt? I remember a man in a position of authority who was mediating a dispute between me and a colleague (also a man) who said to me very pointedly, “You need to develop a thicker skin.” It stung. But it was probably true. It’s probably true now. I need to get my footing about my writing, keep working it, improving it, sending it. I need to be a tougher broad.

I finally threw out the boots a man gave me forty years ago. I started to say ‘boyfriend’ but that sounds like a guy who might have taken me to the prom. He was a lover. Our long distance relationship was costly in a hundred ways, painful, littered with expensive phone calls and letters written on yellow legal paper with felt tip pen. I don’t remember him giving me the boots, I only remember wearing them, knowing that it made him happy for me to look how he imagined I should. The boots have been in the back of my closet for thirty-five years, never worn, their intricate, woven design cluttered with dust. I put them in the Goodwill bag today. It took that long.









4 Comments on “Friday Round-Up: Then and Now

  1. I don’t have the thickness of skin required to take 100 rejections in a year. Is there a cream I can apply to make it get thicker? You have such a great voice, Jan. If you’re getting rejected at that pace with all that you have to offer, I despair. Keep shoveling. Its probably good for thickening something.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah. I don’t think I do either (have what it takes to deal with 100 rejections) but I’m going to keep trying/shoveling. I haven’t started skating again either so maybe that will toughen me up a little!


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