Friday, May 29, 2009

Time

About 10 years ago, some time in June or thereabouts, I went to the doctor for a routine checkup and asked offhandedly for a pregnancy test. I hadn't even skipped a period yet, but I realized I'd had one instance of unprotected sex and although I had never ever been pregnant my entire life, since I was at the doc's office I figured it would be a good idea.

It came back positive. I felt like a balloon had popped... it was completely unexpected. Probably a disaster. But as time went on and after a hell of a lot of drama I got used to and accepted the idea of a baby, and as irrational a decision as it was to move forward with the pregnancy and as much drama as I endured afterwards, I never once regretted it.

Everyone was surprised at me. My own parents had me pegged as someone who wasn't particularly interested in kids. But they were wrong. It's just that I'm the kind of person who mulls over so many different things, I can't possibly pay attention to the things that aren't right in front of me. But once motherhood was on my radar, it was all I cared about. And the second I looked into my little boys' bright eyes, deep into his soul, I knew I wanted another.

But... as time went on I knew I couldn't do it with his father.

So it's been ten years. And yesterday I went to the doctor for a routine exam, and was suddenly confronted with two incidents that are reminding me that for women, time is not always our friend.

The first, a small polyp in my uterus, concerns me very little. I've had all sorts of little abnormalities my whole life that doctors always want to cut into or biopsy, but since I'm fairly healthy and cancer doesn't really run in the family, I'm not concerned. Polyps are fairly common in women in their forties. Cancer is not on my radar. If I'm confronted with it, I'll deal with it but it's not something that consumes me.

The second thing though, made me feel like a popped balloon.

Apparently, the last time I went to the doc they had noticed lowered levels in my thyroid... not enough to draw attention to but enough to monitor. Hypothyroidism is not necessarily an indication of approaching menopause, but sometimes it is. The doctor wasn't concerned. In fact, I got the distinct impression that it was so common for my age that he was merely monitoring the situation. But something about hearing that reminded me solidly that I am 44, and it becomes harder for women to conceive and pregnancy is harder for women in their forties, though women do it all the time.

And I realized how very much I want another child. Most people I've mentioned it to think I'm insane... I'm almost "free". My Sun is 10. Life begins at 40. I could do anything I wanted to from now on... why would I want to do the toddler years again at 40-something? When the baby is a teen I'll be 60. Besides, I have no job, no source of income. Bill collectors hound me, my very existence is in jeopardy. I'm not even in a committed relationship. I'm not even sure I'm IN a relationship. The thought of another baby is is completely illogical. Irresponsible, even. And yet.... it runs so deep that the possibility of never having another baby brings me to tears.

It's ironic that men aren't burdened with this. They can feasibly father children until they die. It's ironic because men aren't made to nurture children in the same way women are. They can't breastfeed. They will not endure a pregnancy. Yet women do... I wonder if this is why we have a "shelf-life?" I know God knows what he's doing... knowing we are the ones who will bear the brunt of the responsibility of a child... knowing it is our bodies that must house this creature until it can breathe on it's own... knowing how much energy and life-essence our children siphon off of us, it makes sense we only be allowed to do it for a certain period of time. It would be a detriment to our health to do it much beyond our forties. But it doesn't' seem fair... particularly when you are faced with the possibility of running out of time.

It reminds me of a song I used to sing at karaoke before the Sun came along:

A friend of mine she cries at night and she calls me on the phone
Sees babies everywhere she goes and she wants one of her own
She's waited long enough she says and, she still he can't decide
Pretty soon she'll have to choose and it tears her up inside
She is scared
Scared she'll run out of time

I see my folks are getting on and I watch their bodies change
I know they see the same in me and it makes us both feel strange
No matter how you tell yourself, it's what we all go through
Those lines are pretty hard to take when they're starin' back at you
Scared to run out of time

When did the choices get so hard, there's so much more at stake
Life gets mighty precious
When there's less of it to waste
Ooh ooh ooh ooh
Scared to run out of time

I sang that song many many times, feeling each word. And at the time, I thought the last verse pertained to SD... and then I had the Sun, and went through fire and rain. And I am now confronted with the possibility of not living the last verse at all.... and it makes me so sad.

Just when I thought I'd had enough and all my tears were shed
No promise left unbroken, there were no painful words unsaid
You came along and showed me how to leave it all behind
You opened up my heart again and then much to my surprise
I found love, baby, love in in the nick of time
(Love in the nick of time)
I found love, darlin', love in the nick of time
I found love baby, love in the nick of time

Some friends, who do know my heart, have urged me to just go ahead and "do it". But unlike "Octomom", who's urges and reasoing I fully understand and relate to (though I do think she's completely underestimating the "childhood" aspect of her decision--babies are fairly easy to handle. Ten year olds are not.) I don't want to do it by myself again. I don't want to be pregnant alone again, or be uncertain as to the father's involvement. I never, ever ever want to see the inside of Family Court ever again (though I have to... SD is moving back and we have to re-arrange the visitation document--and NO SD is not a candidate).

I want it all... someone who loves me, someone who wants a baby as much as I do, someone who wants a family. Someone I LOVE... and who can love me in return.

But time is running out and my options are dwindling and maybe I have to choose... what a terrible choice to make.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Woke Up This Morning

to the voices screaming in my head. Literally screaming in panic. It could have been something outside filtering into my dream, but by the time I woke up whatever it was had subsided, and I was left with the fear.

I texted the Cricket that I needed a moment from him; he was working but he gave me the moment. It wasn't much but it was all I needed.

On one hand I'm happy.... our project has jumped forward by leaps and bounds and we actually have physical stuff to show for it. Stuff I've yet to see in person, but he says I will this weekend. And the gears are spinning in my head and I have all sorts of other ideas of things to pull off... but the reality is I've sunk everything I have in this project. Which wasn't much... but it was enough to live on for a month and now I'm broke. Only now there is no child support, there is no unemployment. There will be no public assistance because to apply for that requires me to work for them, and if I do that I won't have time to do anything else.

So I'm fucked. I keep telling myself really, debt collectors can't take it if I don't have it but I feel them hovering, watching like vultures for any sign of anything they can seize. It terrifies me.

Last weekend was a great one; the Professor turned 41 and my brother GMan was djing the opening set at a club downtown, so a bunch of us met there and celebrated. I had to deliver supplies to Cricket and it turned out that he had to meet me there, but ended up staying a bit. To me, it was heaven. I still never really know what he's feeling... how deep it runs with him. He's the kind to hang way back but then will suddenly turn it on... or simply shows interest by just sticking around. So he stuck around till late Saturday night, and the next day we ran into an issue so I had to go back to the City to meet him. I brought the Sun with me cuz he wasn't feeling well and wanted to stick with me.

The Sun really thinks Cricket is cool... I think the combination of his oddness, his creativity and his gentleness is a reflection of the Sun's own spirit. It makes me smile to see the adoration in the Sun's eyes. And Cricket is really very nice to him so that makes it easy to have the two of them in the same place.

We ended up killing most of the afternoon and going to eat, and I finally really told Cricket how I'd grown up... at the end of the story he just kind of looked at me wide-eyed, and I laughed. "Now you know why nothing fazes me" I said. "I may look normal, but I'm really not."

And nothing fazes me, really.... the idea of taking this gamble to live by my wits is how I lived my childhood. In my teens and twenties I decided I liked the material world and wanted to live in it, but it really wasn't good for my soul.

But yet... the reality is the rest of the world doesn't function this way... landlords are not always understanding and Sallie Mae could give a rat's ass. They just want their money.

So I woke up and the voices were screaming in panic... but a few words from Cricket and I feel a little better. Not much... but enough to keep swimming...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Just To Write

... I sit here in the few minutes before I have to wake my Sun.

Yesterday after writing I got my Sun up and dressed, and rode in with him and the Moon and Shoefly to the city.

And then afterwards I went to Brooklyn to meet up with JiminyCricket to work on our project. We actually got a lot accomplished, and I believe now it's going to happen. In a small portion of the larger dream, but at least we've done something concrete. For both of us, we need this to happen. He says he has trouble finishing things... I have trouble starting. So he started and I hounded him to finish and it looks like something will happen.

Being around him is incredibly easy and incredibly hard all at the same time...

But then for some reason he decided to follow me home. We went and picked up the boys. Like puppies they tumbled over each other, ran in different directions snapping at things, crisscrossed paths to snap at each other, ran ahead, dragged behind. All the way home. Egged on by Cricket's presence they outdid themselves in annoying me.

I made dinner, we ate. I had to repeat a million times for the Sun to get in the shower, to go to bed. He likes my friend.

So... it's morning. I actually got some sleep last night. Another deep fear? I hate sleeping alone... sometimes I'm afraid I will always sleep alone. I stay up until I pass out so that I don't notice the emptiness. It's nice when I don't have to do that.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Pain

...is a motherfucker. And it's not something I handle very well. Although on the surface it appears that I do.

Somewhere on this blog I once described looking at my life as if you were looking at panes of glass, all layered on top of other. The same image on every layer, but maybe a little bigger or a slightly different color so that when you look through the top you see one whole image, the total Me. But if you were to separate them all, each image would be unique, something that shaped me, that makes me part of who I am.

It's an appropriate metaphor for me, the more I think about it... because the hardness and the smoothness of each layer also serves to protect the inner me from the multitudes of pain. But sandwiched in there is every hurt I've ever felt, and if that pane of glass is shifted or removed, the pain that lives there is just as raw at is was when it happened.

And it's not just my own... it's other people's. We were talking about something one day, and the Professor remarked I should have been a social worker... she thought I had the empathy. But unlike her, I have a much harder time letting go of pain... mine or anyone else's. I'm better at it now than I have been, because I work at it, because at least I know now that I can feel someones pain, that I have to be careful. I'm better about choosing who's pain I let in.

Last week in karate we were taught some self-defense moves... how to protect yourself or break free when someone grabs you. I actually have no interest in self-defense... I'd much rather hit something, but there is one particular technique that made me think about life. It's when someone goes to grab you around the neck. I've actually been grabbed around the neck.... it's not cute. It makes you contemplate death in a hurry.

But the trick to not being hurt when you're grabbed around the neck is to see it coming, and to tuck your chin down to your chest before your assailant gets you. (Or if they're grabbing you from behind in a choke hold, to turn your head to the side.) That requires some serious mental alertness. And training. But it's worth practicing.... because you can't be incapacitated if your neck isn't grabbed.

Pain can incapacitate me, if I let it. But I'm practicing anticipating it, practicing tucking my chin down.

Sometimes it gets by me. It got by me the other night...

It's been two weeks since I wrote anything of depth. The FatLady has started morning pages and has pretty much succeeded at maintaining the rhythm, and I admire her. Jealous, even, because I haven't been able to write my own pain away lately. So on Saturday night when I drank too much tequila on an avocado salad and woke up with a bang on Sunday realizing I fucked up I decided to do absolutely nothing but recover Sunday, and get up today and write.

Cuz I realized pain had been building up... mine and other peoples. I kind of felt it coming this time, realizing I was getting full to the brim and with no way to dissipate it, something was going to happen.

I absorb pain. It's what I do, who I am. I cannot block it out. I can't turn away some ones pain. So I have to be better about letting it run through me and dissipate, like electricity.

I had told that to the Cricket once, that I needed an anchor. A better word would have been a groundwire. And he's been a pretty good groundwire except he hasn't been around much lately, but that's another story.

Poppy's pain fucked me up. I was honest in telling the family that this was going to be hard for me, because family pain is the worst for me. When I was a little kid, I'd cry if someone hit the Professor, my little sister, or was mean to her. I remember once sitting under the big hog plum tree in our front yard, crying because the housekeeper had said something to her that was either really mean or uncalled for. I remember feeling that pain so acutely I was completely incapacitated so I sat there crying, holding her hand, hating myself for not being stronger or bigger enough to protect her. Over time I learned how to deal with that by just completely shutting down emotions... although I didn't realize I was doing it until way later. By the time the building collapsed on the Professor and the Diva, and I watched my sister struggle through the pain and the surgeries she needed to recover, I shut down completely, packed my shit and moved to New Jersey.

So Poppy's pain fucked me up... but at least this time I knew it would, and it didn't take me 10 years to realize I'd shut down (only a month) and I didn't pack my shit and move to Jersey. But I realized with a start I haven't been to my parents apartment... haven't climbed those 66 steps, since the day he went to the hospital. Quite honestly, I'm not sure I'll go back until he's home. And I'm having a very hard time going to see him in the Rehab Center.

He's actually doing really well... his Poppy voice is back and he's fighting like hell to get out of there. He's been fitted for his new leg and he talks excitedly about the process... about how it's made in stages and what he has to learn to use it. The danger has passed... this is where I fall apart.

Around the same time Poppy's leg was taken, within the same week, practically, a friend of the Cricket's lost his life. He was a young kid... he turned 21 a little bit after his funeral. I may not have noticed the pain of it, had he not posted something on the Cricket's Crackbook page 3 days before he died. So when he passed, I noticed it... it shook me. And I thought of the irony--the unfairness even--that a child so young should pass, and here Poppy was only losing a leg. And of course I felt a little bit guilty about that, but grateful as hell to God that He hadn't decided it was Poppy's turn to go. I didn't even question Him on "why".

As time went on, though, I "met" his mother, and I realized that she, like me, was a single mom. And that he, like my Sun, was her only child. And that her baby's passing was one of my deepest fears.

Fear, like pain, is a motherfucker. It will jack you up. The thing about fear, though, is that it's the anticipation of pain. When you look at it that way, fear is manageable because there is always Hope to counter the fear... Hope that things will go another way. But there's not a lot that can counteract pain. It's why people use pharmaceuticals. Or drink tequila. Tequila has the best numbing sensation I've ever felt. But I digress.

There are these "quizzes" on Crackbook that you take to waste time, and one of them I refused to answer until I dared myself. It was "Top 5 Deepest Fears". When I finally did answer it, I managed to fill it with superficial shit, like my unreasonable fear of mice or snakes.

But I realized the other day that admitting my deepest fears would help me release the pain of it, and losing my kid is definitely among the top 5. And it was something I was faced with during the War with SD. He sued me for sole custody. It's not that he had a chance of winning that suit, because even though there was the fear that something unexpected would happen and he would, I made sure to fight a good clean fight, not show my crazy and be sure to expose his. But the fact that he dared to go for my weakest point enraged me. And I was convinced that had he had the chance, he would take the Sun just to make me sweat. I knew he'd give him back at some point... like the Law Guardian once said "Worst case, he takes him, you'll get him back and he'll go to jail" but that wasn't the point. The point was my fear of the time in between.

And when the judge ordered my 8 year old Sun to get on an airplane and go to California I thought I would die... and I knew that if God forbid, that plane went down with my kid on it, there would be no reason at all for me to continue living.

But here this young man has lost his life, and his mother is still here. And I feel for her, feel her pain, know that the pain will live with her for a long time, will always be raw and naked until time is merciful enough to cover it with a pane of glass.

The Professor, who is a rock when it comes to handling family pain, has been the strong one to go to the Rehab and take Poppy out, take him places. I spoke to her yesterday, and we both agreed that we have been blessed... spared the horror of losing someone close to us. I am grateful that God didn't take Poppy just yet; I joked that He knew I wasn't quite grown up enough for Poppy to go... but inside I wondered how grown can you be to accept the loss of a child?

If it's true that God only gives you the pain you can handle, I pray that Mom is strong enough to continue. She seems to have good people surrounding her, a family, a community, a partner. Sometimes she writes what she feels and I'm afraid to read it, knowing it will tear me apart if I let it. But I read it anyway... I try to absorb a little bit of her pain at a time, to dissipate it, because I don't think anyone should handle that pain alone.

I know it's still rough for Upstairs Neighbor. Mr. Kip has been gone about a year and a half, and UN is still hurting. It's better... she smiles now. Sometimes she laughs a little. But some days the pain is still there and I try to absorb hers, too, to dissipate it.

It sounds crazy, I know. Some might say it's not my job to do that, but it's what I am. But it's crazy, and it comes at odd times... the other day I saw a picture of Liam Neelsen with his two boys at a basketball game. Neither of the boys was smiling, and the pain at losing their mother jumped at me and I had to look away. But of course I had to look long enough to see it...

And then Saturday night I hung out with CNC and her brother who was visiting her from Miami. There were several reasons he came to visit... one of them being he needed respite from his own pain. CNC had had a barbecue in his honor on Saturday, and I was impressed with CNC's efficiency. There's a lot about her I admire, actually but that's another story. A story I actually think she needs to tell. I told her she needs to go to college and write a book about her life. But anyway, Brother is having trouble at home. And his pain was palpable. He almost didn't go out; CNC texted me and said he was crabby and probably wouldn't go, but I went over there and joked I had on my best hoe-shirt and that I don't get out much and he couldn't come all the way to NY and just sit on his sister's couch.

We ended up hanging out WAY later than we should have... way past the time CNC had gone home. We were also hanging out with a passing friend from the Rock, one who knows SD pretty well and admires him. Which was weird for me cuz my feelings about SD are still very mixed. This friend though, is a champion drinker, mostly because he indulges in the kind of pharmaceuticals that keep you up and I should have known better than to match him drink for drink. For a while I did great... but tequila numbs you and you forget and I forgot.

But I do remember talking to Brother, and at least got him to tell a little bit about what was going on with him, and I was numb enough to absorb it. At the end of the night he walked me home, and I hugged him, wishing I could draw all that pain out and throw it away. But of course I can't. I can't take pain away... I can only give it some place to go, some place to run through and dissipate.

There's other shit rattling around, too, some highlights being that generally I avoid The Scrub even when I run into him; I've managed to put a serious lid on all the pain he caused--or rather, the pain I caused myself--but sometimes I'm reminded. I'm aware that it's coming up on a year since I let him in. But the other day I was where he was, quite by accident, and as it turned out we sat down and ate lunch together. It wasn't so bad, really... I guess I've forgiven him because like that snake story I always tell, I knew he was a snake when I picked him up. And I know why I fell apart afterwards, and those reasons don't have an awful lot to do with him. We don't communicate much at all, and I'm always sure to let him know I've unfriended him on Crackbook or that I've deleted his number. So he texted me for me to have it again, and I texted back that I wondered if I should keep it this time.

A few days later he answered "You should" but then went on to say he was somewhere and was tipsy. And horny. And would I have sex in the stairwell leading up to my apartment. I texted back "I would, and I have, but not with you." He never texted back... although he did wish me Happy Mother's day later on.

But that was one of those incidents that kind of put a final pane of glass on things. It didn't even hurt to do so.

And since I mentioned Cricket earlier I'll say that is still is what it is, and I'm still not sure what that is, exactly. I know that I'm more careful about him than I have been with anybody... to protect myself, but also to protect him. I was hurt about being hijacked those 36 hours or so, and then him not being around much afterwards but at the same time I didn't really pursue him. For me, it was intense enough for me to want to sit on it a little bit... but the thing I like about him is that he hears me. And if I say (well, write, really cuz I'm no talker) to him what I'm feeling he may not address it with words but somehow I know that my own words aren't floating off into an abyss. I had written earlier that lifestyle-wise we don't have a lot in common, but that we have weird shit in common and one of those things is sensitivity to other people's pain. And while I wish desperately that he could be my groundwire, he may be too much like me to be able to do that. So I dunno. I don't know how it will turn out in the end, but I do know that this, whatever I'm feeling about him, is a pretty solid feeling. It doesn't shift around a lot, and oddly enough, I don't need it all the time. I just need to know it's there...

So.

I've been writing exactly two hours. I need to write more often, obviously. Maybe I can pick up now and just write little bits every day... and just on one topic... but now I'm going to go get dressed and try to be efficient today. There's a lot of shit I have to do to get my life back to where I want it to be...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Blogging Is So "Out"....

Facebook and Twitter are so "in".

Spend way too much time on Crackbook cuz it's immediate... but I miss the anonymity of spewing...

As usual and always there is so much spinning around in my head. Or maybe that's it... the voices had been reasonably quiet and so Crackbook was easy. But the voices are screaming again.

So much they want to say...

...about being fucking broke
...about trying to make a way out of no way
...about slowly, slowly drowning in quicksand
...about trying to be upbeat and grateful for what you do have
...about being aware of the suffering of others
...about being continually disappointed at how people fall when you need them the most
...about being lonely
...about knowing there will never again be the smell of a new baby
...about watching people age
...about watching yourself age

...but there's not enough time, not enough hours, not enough energy to delve right now.

Crackbook is much easier cuz it's superfcial. And it's easy to put pictures up.

But I think the voices are demanding I come back and write.

Though I'm tired of complaining about the same old shit, things I've tried to change but it doesn't seem to be working. I seem to be in the same place I was a year ago... two years ago...

I'm tired yet too tired to sleep.

There's gotta be a better way...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

This Swine Flu Thing

is a load of crap. Maybe even a hoax. Bigbear is convinced that it's a conspiracy to close the borders against the Mexicans--that this is really a way to circumvent illegal immigration from that country and show some outright prejudice against undocumented workers. And the way the press rambles on and on and on and on about "Swine Flu from Mexico!" often leaves me wondering... how do Mexicans feel about? Do they think it smacks ever so slightly of racism, the way AIDS did of Africans initially, until it became the "Gay DrugUser Disease"? I think it's smacks of racism... and I'm not Mexican. Though I do have relatives who are.... and friends... maybe that's why it bothers me.

I had been mulling this over and only now Googled the question "How do Mexicans feel about Swine Flu?" BAM first hit I found this essay by Teresa Puente.

I'd been thinking about this flu variety because when life is good and on some kind of a schedule, the Sun and I are up in Yonkers 2-3 times a week, in an area LARGELY populated by Mexicans. East Harlem now also has a large Mexican population, and I'm down there almost every day. I haven't been up there to Yonkers too often lately, but when I was there folk weren't walking around with masks, the way I've seen a few do on the subway... And there haven't been any stories about deaths or swine-flu break-outs in that community, so far. People in those communites do travel back and forth, or have been home recently. If the outbreak is so bad, why aren't we hearing about more Mexicans already in the U.S. being sick or dying? More often than not the people panicking and walking around with masks are NOT Mexican. I'm just sayin'....

The other day, Matt Lauer tried to press VP Joe Biden on why America is not closing her borders against the flu. His response was obviously not what Matt wanted to hear... and so instead of blowing up soundbites of Biden saying "what borders are we going to close? How do we choose?" implying that the flu could be and is coming from ANYWHERE, they blew up the comments Biden made about his personal recommendation to his own family. Where he said specifically "but that's just me."

Pissed me the fuck off, because I happened to see the interview in it entirety, and not just the few carefully edited clips designed to feed the fire. All that day, every time the press talked about "Biden's gaffe" I found myself yelling "THAT'S NOT WHAT HE SAID!!!!"

People are idiots, really. So prone to blame everyone else, so prone to panic. The reality of the flu--ANY STRAIN--is that it affects the elderly and babies the hardest, and a few people with compromised immune systems will die. The reality is that antibiotics and hand sanitizers do not work against viruses. The reality is that if you get the fucking flu, you're supposed to STAY HOME and not breathe on anyone until it passes through your system. The reality is that if you DO go to a doctor with the flu a good doctor ISN'T going to give you antibiotics ANYWAY. They will tell you "rest and drink plenty of fluids" and maybe take Tylenol for the fever. The reality is that for the few people who die from flu, there are thousands who survive it. The reality is that the New York City subway has fucking ads on the trains that say "If you're sick, stay home"... because the train is an enclosed space and yes you can sneeze and pass it on, but more importantly you get sick and need medical assistance New Yorkers scream bloody murder about "the sick passenger" that delayed their commute by a few minutes because the MTA stops the train until the medics get down there. The reality is that a vaccine against the flu truthfully is like closing the barndoor after the horses have escaped, because the vaccine is a guess against how the virus will mutate in the coming season, based on how it acted last year. It's no guarantee you will be protected. (I actually had a flu shot this year... I guess it worked. But I didn't have one last year and I got sick but I'm not sure it was the flu. )

So Biden was right... if you're sick or are worried about being sick, stay the fuck home. Maybe if he'd said it exactly that way, people would have heard exactly what he said. And then I was annoyed that the Mayor gets on the train, supposedly to defend it's safety and says "I didn't see anybody sneezing". Bitch.. you must have been on the wrong fucking car. Or you were lucky. The subway is the wrong place to be if you're a germophobe... If you're a germophobe, any time of the year is the wrong time to go down and when you do, you SHOULD go fully armed against germs. Don't hold the poles or the straps and don't sit in the corner seats. Why? Cuz people don't cough or sneeze in the crook of their elbow like you're supposed to--98% of the time they cover their mouths with their HANDS or wipe their noses or their kid's noses with their HANDS and then grab the pole again. The unbathed homeless folk ALWAYS take over the corner seats. (But the corner seats are the best places to sit and if you don't hold on you're going to fall. So pretty much you're fucked).

I've seen a few idiots walking around with masks. What exactly do they think that's going to save them from? Really? Particularly since they're not wearing matching rubber gloves or a HazMat suit?

The other day I went to do battle to get my Sun some health insurance. That's another rant but long story short it took me all morning... and when the person who was helping me stepped away to copy my papers, her coworker started joking about the 10--TEN--hand sanitizer dispensers that were installed in one hallway of the hospital I was in. Maybe a 30-50 foot hallway. TEN. He remarked "I think it's overkill... but that's just me."He then went on to remark that he was from Mexico City, and still had family there that he talked to frequently. While they were concerned, not a whole lot of people that they knew were hacking and sneezing and dying. He said "I really think it's a hoax. I think it's a ploy by the pharmaceutical companies". He said that in Mexico antibiotics are over the counter... but that all the other crap like hand sanitizer and masks... all that stuff is sold out.

He also said it takes a while for the CDC to actually identify a brand new strain, and it seemed that they were just a little too quick in saying that this Swine Flu was something that had never been seen. Maybe he's right or wrong, but if you go the CDC's page about Swine Flu, the reality it is it's no better or worse than any other outbreak. One death out of 226 confirmed cases in 30 states. NOT all fifty states, either.

This morning on the Sunday Magazine shows, some folk were saying that by now they're pretty sure that the people in Mexico who DID die from the Swine Flu were on the tip of the iceberg. That there were probably thousands and thousands of folk who had already had the flu and recovered. Which is about normal for the flu. Plus, in my estimation, Mexico's health care system may not be as sophisticated as ours, or the people as overfed, so perhaps they were unhealthy to begin with which is why the flu hit them so hard. Which is also pretty normal for the flu.

And by the way, on the Avian Flu page, the CDC notes that wearing masks isn't really effective against that strain. Um.... how is it working against the Swine variety, I wonder???

As for the whole issue of pandemics. It boggles my mind that people get so freaked out that a flu or disease spreads worldwide. In days when it was harder to travel, of course things didn't spread. But come on... you can get from New York to China in 24 hours. And if you were sick going and somebody gets it from you and maybe goes to England the next day... duh!

So, people, think. Use your faculties for Deep Thought, stop being lazy to only rely on quick snippets of info on Crackbook or the news, do a little research to really understand what's happening. Or is that too hard? Have we become so used to information in 3 seconds or less we can't think for ourselves?

Wash your hands--with SOAP, take your Emergen-C or Airborne, get some sleep, drink water, stay out of confined spaces and if you feel sick, fucker, don't get on the subway cuz if you get weak and pass out or throw up, you fuck up everybody's commute for hours and hours... but that's just me.

I'm a Fuck-Up

...really. I know it. I don't like being told I am, and I don't like being reminded of it, and I'm not going to discuss it or comment on it, even with the likes of you... but I know I am. I know all the little crazy fucking things I do and am, all the ways I fuck myself up, all the psychoses I harbor. The myriad of insecurities. The self-absorption.Don't get it twisted, though.... I know the good parts about me too. And there's plenty. I don't have narcissistic tendencies for nothin'... but on the other hand I have found (through my own observations of myself) that narcissistic tendencies are put in place to cover a host of unsaid insecurities.

One of mine is that I'm a fuck-up.

I didn't used to be a fuck-up though. I worked my up by the skin of my teeth to decent paying jobs... shopped in nice stores, my apartment was spotless, I worked hard and always got there reasonably on time. Can't say I was all that happy... I drank a lot, spent a shit-load of money on dumb shit.

But. Whatever. I am here, I am me, I am where I put myself. It's not a horrible place to be... and above everything else I lucked out with my Sun.

I hope I get it right this time, though. After months of complaining I actually have a few freelance gigs lined up... and now I'm scared I'll fuck them all up. Somebody handed me a wad of cash the other day and I actually locked it away from myself, in case I fuck up the job and have to give it back.

My apartment is at a low... I'd gotten it fairly decent but it blew up again.

And this thing with the Cricket is beginning to get hard. Secretly, I mark time... we've made it past this milestone... we're still friends after this long a time... about the only person he hasn't outlasted in recent history is Nene. It's moving at a SNAILS PACE which on the one hand makes me insane. But on the other hand it's really safe, and stretches out the time I have left with him.

When I was a kid... when we lived in Jamaica and had no money, I used to hoard snacks. Little tiny bits of food in little tiny capsules. Seriously little. Like in something that would hold 10 raisins and 10 peanuts. And about every half-hour or so I'd eat one peanut and one raisin or something like that. I could make a little capsule of food last a good while. Knowing the snack was there would make me crazy but I could withhold it from myself and force myself to stretch it out... and when I'd eaten the last of it I'd be sad cuz it was gone...but proud I had stretched it out as long as I had.

The Cricket is like that for me. So even though the spaces in between make me nuts, I feel like I'm not using it all up right away. Cuz I know one day it'll be done. I don't see how it can NOT be done. I'm being honest here. There's 10 years and a whole borough and completely different sets of friends and a totally different lifestyle between us. All there is in common well... actually there's some deep weird shit in common, now that I think about it. But it's the kind of stuff people shouldn't have in common.

There's been a big space between the time I was hijacked and now, and it's making me nuts. Torture. But... it stretches out the time just a little bit longer. What I truly hope for is that our project gets going before everything else falls apart cuz then at least we'll have that. I'm confident we can maintain it, too. One thing my relationship with Nene taught me is that men and women CAN be friends, once you get the sex out of the way. You can never be friends before then, though. My Nene even still calls to say hi, to ask dumb shit, to make sure I'm coming back. I never have to chase him or wait for too long. That's a good friend. I would be sad that it's over and that was all there is, except I like his friendship a lot better than the snatch-and-grab we had going before. So I'm alright with it. It's just I think it's ironic we're actually friends.

Worst case scenario, I hope it will end like that for the Cricket and me.