My Story, Yours Too.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Date by Telegram? Nincompooptitude

Dear Sillies,
    What happened to the long lost art Seriously, men my age (50 plus) -- you grew up with the coil wrapped around your fingers as you chatted on the phone -- did you not? Men of all ages: Congratulations! You can write "hey"! That's good for nothing. Hint: The "hey" that's for horses has an "a" not "e" in it.
   Yeah, I'm frustrated. I've had some fun* with male prospects in the past months. But when it comes to follow through, their girthy ineptitude shows.   *=kissy-kissy, no nookie-nookie.
   We'll call this man Paul Revere. Paul and I had fun* at a Halloween party. Paul put my number in his smart phone. He even tossed out a possible New Year's date, so I'm pretty sure he was interested. He seemed to be a nice, nerdy type. 
   But there was no next-day phone-call.
   Two days later, this FB correspondence ensued:
   "I tried to text you. Bad signal. I don't think you got it."
   "Drats. No worries. It was fun to meet you. I hope to see you again soon."
   "Are you free this weekend?"
   "Not Friday. Saturday, yes."
   No message until Sunday from Paul.
   "Sorry to keep you hanging. I couldn't make it. Brunch now to talk about the logistics of a proper date?"
   "Right now? No, I can't, catching up on lots of things. Thanks."
   "How about Wed?" You want to marry me? You can't even talk to me! He sends me a blurb about a music event on Wednesday.
   "Well, I've other things planned that night, but maybe we can meet afterwards, since I'll be a few doors down from the show."
   "Sounds great. Here's my land line 28675309. Other phone is 18675309. Land line#" (again for emphasis).
   "Okay. You have my number."
   "If you can't reach me, Western Union telegraph works in a pinch."

   "Ha! I'll send smoke signals."
   After I wrote this, I realized that perhaps he wasn't trying for humor. I googled the telegram/telegraph. Guess what, my dears? It still exists!
  Furthermore, the shortest telegraphic exchange is attributed to Oscar Wilde. Living in Paris, he is supposed to have cabled his publisher in London to see how how his new book was doing. The telegram simply read “?” to which the reply cabled back was "!" 

I wrote to Revere again:
   "I thought you were kidding about Western Union. I'm not up for that. This is taking too much work. Best of luck to you."

   Sigh. One if by land, two if by sea, three if I shalt ne'er see you again, Mr. Revere. 
Be well, safe, and good to you!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

L.A. Stories

Dear Sillies,
   You know that teacher who left a positive, lasting impression? I was fortunate enough to have a handful of them. It's not a private, charter, or well-known school, but Kentwood Elementary (in Westchester, Los Angeles) was a sanctuary for me and many. The teachers cared so much that they still do - decades later. We're still their "kids." They follow our progress and dips. They cheer for and support us. They express their pride and concern, to this day.
   Several years ago, I reconnected on Facebook with my former third grade Teacher. She suggested a reunion when I next visit LA. I kept saying "yes, I'll plan something." But I kept not following through until I decided it was time. We need to appreciate people while they're still with us, after-all.
   We made a date and agreed that even if it would only be the two of us, it'd be great. Look what happened! Party of 40!

   My wonderful third grade teacher 45 years ago, sits at the head of the table. Two people to her left, my former sixth grade teacher. (I'm halfway down the row to the right. My brother's between my former sixth grade teacher and the woman in the orange shirt. My sis is two people to the right of me). 
   It's very fulfilling to honor people who played an instrumental role in my becoming the person I am. The chatter, re-connections, new connections, and love that filled the room has helped keep me afloat ever since. 

   As I'm going more personal than usual, remember my little cutie-pie nephew? He's the chocolate-faced love-bug on my right sidebar. Yeah, not so little anymore. He's a pre-teen -- a wicked smart, beautiful, multi-talented sweetheart who NEVER brags about having gotten taller than his Auntie in the past few years. I appreciate that about him most of all.

   After a scary car drive home from LA to Chico (with "!" light on for a bulk of the journey, proceeding my having been stranded in Lost Hills with an overheated engine), it was time to breakup with Luna. She'd taken me all over for 15 years, 191,000 miles worth of rides. Our final trek having been what it was, though, compelled me trade her for a younger, prettier model.
   Meet Charm (my third car). She's a toddler. It wasn't love at first site, but I'm falling quickly. We've been together for 4 days now.
    Charm's a Ford CMax Hybrid. I love that she's so environmentally concerned. She even tells me "Thank you for driving a hybrid" whenever I let her sleep. How thoughtful.

   All in all, it's been a very good, busy, love infused past month or so.

   Til next time, my Dears.
   Be safe, warm, and well.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

The Camp Fire, One Year Later and Joey

My Dears,
   I now bring you the finale to my story, Good Lies. It started here, with part 2 here. Onto part 3. I've altered it slightly and left out episodes before I met Joseph. If anyone would like the full 5-page story, feel free to message me here or at I'll be happy to forward. 

   Please be good to yourselves, and stay safe. 
   In case of emergency: Keep faith and a stash of chocolate.

   I studied my laptop screen, finding and recording numbers for the few local emergency rooms. My tears moved faster than the rest of me. Damnit, Joseph. I was supposed to save you. I can’t do that if you went and dropped dead on me. 

   Four nervous hours passed before my phone rang.
   Phew. His number. “Joseph?”

   “Yeah, it’s me, Robyn. It wasn’t a heart attack. They said it was just anxiety.”
   “Oh thank goodness, Joseph.”
   “Yeah. Hey, you can call me Joey, by the way.”
   “I was so worried about you, Joey.”
   “Yeah I’m sorry.”
   “No, don’t be sorry. I’m just so glad you’re okay. Where are you now?”
   We proceeded to make plans for the next day.

   I don’t remember our discourse as much as I do the sense of full-fledged genuine humanness. There were no layers of complication, no unspoken agendas, no shyness or bravado, no artificial pretenses or power-plays – just two human beings, being human together.
   Practically speaking, I didn’t help much at all. In fact, Joey spoke competently to FEMA and DMV representatives. He could’ve gotten there on his own or with someone else. He’d still have to wait weeks for a new license plus word from FEMA.
   “Someday, I’ve gotta write my story,” he shared en route back.
   “That’s great. Writing’s my thing, Joey. I’ll help you with that.”
   “Heck yeah. You can publish it for me.”
   “I will.” I nodded. “I’m gonna publish your story.” (Note: If you’re reading this, I told the truth. If you’re not reading this, we’re both liars.)
   “Perfect,” he grinned.
   Back at the Fairgrounds, we stepped out of the car.
   “Come over here so I can give you a hug,” he told me.
   Joey and I exchanged a warm, grateful hug. “You keep fighting Robyn. I’ll never forget you.”
   “Much better days are ahead, Joey. You’re very strong and brave. I’ll be cheering for you all the way.”
   He nodded. “We’ll stay in touch.”
   At that, Joey imparted a military style salute.

  One year since the Camp Fire, sadness and trauma feel as fresh and surreal as ever.
   I didn’t save lives.
   I’ve luxuriated in safety and security. My path’s been cushioned in ways that I’ve routinely taken for granted.
   Still, I did hold the world within view for one man who couldn’t see a thing. How I did that, I don’t know. I was simply a good enough person, who told some good enough lies.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Camp Fire, My Friend Joseph

Dear Ones,
   I've a lot of catching up to do with you and me. This past Wednesday, I returned from a visit to Los Angeles (my hometown). I saw evidence of fires, yet it appeared as though they were under control when I drove through.
   I'm touched by your care. Chris and Sage reached out, along with others. I've been safe. I don't think the Southern California fires hit highly populated areas, and Chico is not at great risk of fires. A Noah's Ark-like event is more likely. But I'm a good swimmer, and it rarely rains. So please don't worry about me.
   Friday marks one year since the Camp Fire incinerated Paradise. There's a somber, caring, and tentative feeling in the air. We're a very close community. Various commemoration events have been planned.
   On a related note, here's part 2 of my Camp Fire story that started here.
   Please be well, safe, and know that you are loved.
                 ----------------Good Lies, part 2
   Two months had passed when he reconnected. His call surprised me.
   "I’m at the Fairgrounds now," Joseph told me. "They keep stealing my stuff. I can’t even take a piss without my things getting stolen. I lost more in all the moves than I did in the Fire. I can’t sleep, it’s like—" his voice cracked. "The post traumatic stress, it’s real. We have a curfew, we're cooped up like prisoners. I can’t, I think, I hate to say it, but I think my uncle’s been stealing my checks. I was gonna leave here. I dunno what to—I don’t, I don’t know Robyn. I dunno if I can make it."
   I heard his tears.
   "Listen, honey. Listen, okay?"
   "You’re not alone. I’m here. You’re going to be okay, I promise." That’s another lie. I couldn’t actually promise. "How can I help?"
   "Could you take me to the drop-in center? I need to get it all started again."
   "Sure. I’ll meet you at the Fairgrounds tomorrow, but I can’t get there until two o’clock. Okay?"
   "Yes. That’s as soon as I can. I have some appointments before then. Will you be there then?”
   “I’ll be here. I just . . .” his insides spilled out of him like the yolk of a freshly cracked egg, “Please, Robyn. Please,” he begged. “Be a good person! Don’t let me down.”
   “I won’t, Joseph. I am.” I hope. Sh*t. “I promise.” Yikes.

    I couldn’t get there fast enough. The Chabad (Jewish Student Center) had given me a warm jacket and the last of the cash they had for Camp Fire victims. “I’m sorry that we don’t have more.” She handed me an envelope with $300. “We’ve just given away our fifth car. We plan to give a lot more.”

   At the Fairgrounds’ main entrance, I'm told “Joseph Metz isn’t here now. They took him by ambulance a couple hours ago. They said it he might’ve had a heart attack.”
   “Oh my God. Do you know where he is?”
   “I don’t know. That’s all I know.”

-------------------PS This is all true. It'll end soon, in the next post. If I left you in suspense, imagine my fright at that moment. Yikes!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Halloween Erotica

Dear Sillies,
Thank you for your concern. Wildfires and power outages seem to have become the new norm in CA. I just returned from Southern California last night, in fact. I'm very relieved to have made it safely - not because of fires (I was and remain out of harm's way), but because my car got hot and bothered. The engine over-heated. I found myself stranded in a place appropriately named Lost Hills. Fortunately, there's one mechanic in Lost Hills. This mechanic, my savior, replaced the cooling pump. I returned home 10 hours later. There's more to the story, and to my trip -- which was fantastic minus the drive back. But it's time to wish you a safe and Happy Halloween! [Sorry about Martha, but she does add a unique brand of creepy.]
Love you.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Camp Fire, Nearly One Year Later

Dear Sillies,
   May this find you in good spirits, and looking forward to a fun, yummy Halloween.
   For now, a little detour to share segments of my short story on my experiences jumping in as a volunteer in the Camp Fire's aftermath. A true story. [I've submitted this piece, Good Lies, for publication. Fingers crossed.]
   We're approaching one year since the devastation of 11/8/18. Phenomenal recovery continues. So too does intense sadness and loss, hardship and pain, sickness and death--seemingly unending residue of that monstrous force.

   This scene takes us to the Walmart parking lot, wherein hundreds of volunteers and Camp Fire victims/survivors convened. I'd heard about activity there. With no plan or faith that I could help, I pushed myself to do so. 
   Below, with me, you'll meet Joseph.

                                                internet stock photo
Good Lies --part I.

   "Are you doing okay?" Dumb question.
   The man stood. His face reddened, as he took two even steps towards me then stopped. "Am I doing okay? Am I okay? What the hell do you think lady? What are you like some do-gooder who’s about to tell me I have to leave, right?"
   "Well, I don’t want you out here when it starts to rain."
   "You’re f*cking kidding me! I’m not budging." I see that. "Do you have any idea? Any idea what I’ve been through? I stayed. I stayed for 18 f*ckin hours. I stayed to protect my home in Concow. Not just for me, for my neighbors, for my friends. I stayed and kept hosing it down, the lawns, the roofs, the trucks, everything. Only me and my buddy Dan stayed. What do I get for that? It’s all f*ckin burned! The whole town." He turned his head to his side and spit out a wad of saliva. "My only home. My mama’s home. Now you’re telling me to leave. These people are feeding us and being nice to us. It’s like family here. But I can’t even get FEMA help because I lost my ID in the Fire. And you’re telling me to leave. F*ck that!"
   "You can’t get FEMA help?"
   "No, no ID. You have to have an ID."
   That didn’t seem right. "Can I make a phone call for you?"
   His demeanor lightened. "Yeah."
   "Okay," I extended my hand. "I’m Robyn."
   "I’m Joseph. Hey, I’m sorry. I’m just," he huffed, "It’s been one hell of a year." His eyes welled.
   "I’m sure it has."
   I plopped down on the ground, pulled out my resource list, and called FEMA. Someone answered. She was helpful too. I wrote step-by-step instructions for Joseph, and I gave him my number.
   He said he’d be fine taking it from there.

                           He wouldn't be. Stay tuned. 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Halloween Erotica, the Original

Dear Sillies,
   We're getting closer to Hallow's Eve. As a reminder, please avoid purchasing Hersheys candies. And Hersheys owns all the big cheap candy companies (Mars, etc.) Despite ongoing political pressures, that monstrous entity continues to condone child labor. Its chocolate stems from the West African Ivory Coast, where children are enslaved on cocoa plantations. Horrifying. I suggest giving out Fair Trade products and/or anything NOT Hersheys.* You might have to spend a bit more, but your conscience will thank you. *(Organic lollipops or other candies from Trader Joe's, granola bars, fruit snacks, European treats, raisins, taffy, jelly bellies...)

   Otherwise, let's move onto some sinfulness. Years ago, I set out to write a playful Halloween poem. Halfway through, though, I noticed that I'd scrawled out erotic verses and images about sucking, licking, biting, fingering. After wiping my brow and saliva, I went full-throttle erotic. My poetic erotica series had thus begun. Apologies. It happened by accident, and it's my insatiably lustful sweet tooth's fault. 

Happy pre-Halloween days.
Stay safe. Stay well. Be a little naughty.