Thursday, September 29, 2011

My room, my desk.

After spending that past semester trying to make due with my card table to do homework on (trying to squeeze my books etc on there along with my monitor is very frustrating), I broke down and bought a nice spacey desk. It weighed a ton...and came in a box. Apparently I had to assemble my new work space before I could enjoy it's many shelves to put things on, its long wide table that will hold my monitor and books easily, and the little lamp I bought especially to shine down on my new contented head while I did homework. All I had to do was put this puppy together and I was good to go. Homework heaven here I come.

I might mention I have never in my life put anything together more complicated than Lego blocks. My ex did all that sort of thing and I wasn't allowed to touch anything cause I "might ruin it"...being a girl and all. Whatever. How hard can it be anyways?

It took me 20 min to get the darn thing out of the box. Those boxes are like...indestructible. Seriously!!! I was hacking away at it with my kitchen knife no less and contemplating borrowing the neighbors chainsaw to get it done. (no idea if my neighbor has a chainsaw but he looks very I'm assuming odds are in favor he has one tucked away in his closet somewhere).

Finally ripped a corner open with a banshee scream of success, which brought all my kids which one of them pointed out the easier way to get it open. Which he did, in about 2 min. Creep.

There were about a million and five pieces to this desk. I sat looking at the pile of soon to be desk delight...and at the picture on the box and couldn't fathom how all these pieces were going to culminate in such a work of art. Looked like left over pieces after building a very big house.

Then I remembered these things come with DIRECTIONS!! Yay me. I hunted for the elusive piece of paper...actually a small sized telephone book of instructions it turns out...and eagerly flipped through the pages big deal. Nice pictures, plenty of big deal.

On the first page it makes this claim (that I discovered later was TOTALLY bogus...I should sue someone for false advertising) that it would only take about one hour to assemble this lovely desk. One hour. I had 5 hours before I had to be at work so plenty of time to get this thing together AND to test drive it with some Biology homework I had waiting. No big deal. One hour.

One of the very first things I learned about furniture assembling is that you need a lot of space to spread things out adequately. I was in my bedroom and had to put the desk together there cause it wouldn't fit through the door later if I did it in the living room...where there is lots of room. So the most I could spread out was in about a 4 by 5 foot square area....with areas extending down by my bed and into the closet. It was a tight squeeze, but hour. I could tolerate the cramped space for an hour.

I separated pieces of wood into like piles and went hunting for some tools. Screwdriver, check. Hammer, check. Apparently that was all I would need so I was good to go. I sat down in the middle of my pile and looked at the directions for the first step. A nicely drawn picture of two pieces of wood joined together with little pictures of the appropriate nails to hold them together with. Some kind of locking nail as it had a hole in it which another nail was meant to sit in at some point and lock together when you twisted it into place. Easy peasy.

I looked at all the pieces trying to discern which ones were the ones in the drawing. I held up this one and that one and compared them to the that one...too narrow. Not that one, too square. they are. Two rectangles that matched perfectly.

I spent about 10 minutes trying to figure out how to hold two pieces of wood together while at the same time screwing a nail into them. Apparently I was jumping the gun as I was meant to screw the lock into one piece and the locking nail into the other and then fit them together. Ok, gotcha. I'm starting to catch on to rules of the game. Things should go smoother now.

Once done with those two I looked at the next set of directions. I had to add another piece onto the two I just fit together. Once again I hunted for the right piece of wood...not easy when they looked pretty damn similar to each other. (I would be nearly half done with this damn thing before I actually noticed that on the edges of each piece of wood was a letter associated with the pic it was needed in. So much easier that way *sigh*)

For the next hour I hunted for the proper pieces...struggled with nailing and screwing things as they are not my forte, and cursed the heat, the lack of space, the mocking children who ventured in every now and then to point and laugh and the various scratches and bruises I was self inflicting at an alarming rate. was coming along...sort of. By the end of the promised desk still did not resemble a desk and there were far more pieces left to assemble than had been assembled. I grumbled and went to take a break before I chucked it all out the window.

I came back with new resolve and tackled the next set of directions. Attach the little shelf dividers with pegs that went into each edge and into the main part of the desk. No problem. Easy enough. After completing this no brainer I sat back and looked at my progress. It was then I realized I had put the shelf dividers on backwards. Instead of the nice smooth pretty surface facing outwards (where we can see it) the grainy woody part was looking at me. Damn!! I grabbed the hammer and tried to pry them back out. I could barely get the edge of the hammer underneath the edge. It was too tight a fit. I struggled with it for a few minutes before deciding, Who cares? My desk. One little misstep would not take away from the purpose of the desk. (I'm pretty easy going like it gives the desk character. *ahem*)

I finally got the point where the shelving pieces fit onto the top of the desk. At this point I am meant to sit under the desk, twist and contort my body into a position in which I can screw nails upwards and at an angle...putting pressure on top as well to allow the nails to enter. While Pilates class has taught me some interesting moves of late, this was nearly impossible. It was probably the most frustrating part of the whole damn process. I took another look at the directions and noted at the beginning where it said One Hour (liars) it also said only ONE person was needed for assembly. Really? One very nimble flexible 4 handed person apparently is what they had in mind. That wasn't me by a long shot.

I took another break.

I came back and with more sweat and cussing than nohow, I managed to get the damn shelves on. They even looked mostly straight. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Next part was to put the backs on the shelves. Little flimsy pieces of panelling that closed off the back. How hard could that be?

Hammering teeny tiny little nail wannabees is a lesson in perseverance and marksmanship. Perseverance I have...marksmanship....not so much. 10 throbbing fingers later I had the panels on. Now it was looking like a desk. Hot damn!!

My daughter came in, took one look and asked..."are those panel things supposed to be showing the grainy side this way?"


I grabbed my hammer and attempted to pry the panels off so I could turn them around and put the smooth side facing the right way. The panels were too thin though and immediately began to shred when I attempted to pry them up. Hell...OK big deal. My room, my desk.

I looked at the clock and noted that over 3 hours had passed by now. One hour my ass. Who wrote that false claim on those directions anyhow, Inspector Gadget?

I was hot and a mess. I had numerous self inflicted injuries...and my "be calm be patient" mantra was starting to wear thin. I had to be at work soon so needed to get this done. I did NOT want to come home the next morning and face this mess on the bedroom floor.

I tackled it with renewed vigour...and promptly stubbed my little toe on a protruding edge. More cursing and some fairly energetic hopping around and I'm sure I heard some giggling coming from somewhere else in the house. Just remember, kids...moms don't forget.

I started slamming the remaining pieces into place and banged away with the hammer much harder than I needed too...but ironically my aim improved considerably. Who knew?

Within an hour (20 min till I needed to be at work) I was putting the last piece into place. (or so I thought). I called all the kids and they came to admire (poke fun at) my handy work. Not bad if I say so myself. It looked like a desk. The goal I was going it's all good. See what nearly 5 hours of hard labor will get you...a desk with several backward pieces and some nicks and cuts here and there...but homework here I come.

My son pointed out that there were several pieces of wood still on the floor. I turned to look and yes indeed, there were 4 triangular pieces of wood just sitting there mocking me. What!! I grabbed up the directions and flipped pages frantically trying to figure out what step I missed that would include 4 triangular pieces. I looked at the picture of the finished product and could see nothing that looked even remotely triangular in nature. WTH!!!

I will be honest and say that I chucked those pieces of wood in the dumpster. Until now I have no idea what they were for...but the desk seems to be holding up nicely so whatever they were for...they weren't being missed.

At any rate, desk is assembled...homework has been done on it with nary a problem arising from the backward pieces...and I'm proud of myself for getting it together without resorting to the gasoline and matches that had crossed my mind more than once, taking hold.

I won't be putting anything else together anytime soon. There are somethings I can do easily...and maybe better than some other people...but assembling furniture is not one of them because I know...if I choose to do this again..there will be sweat...there will be tears...and yes...there will be blood. (not necessarily mine but you know...blood).

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy 5th of July!!

Yesterday was our Independence Day....a day of celebrating getting rid of those pesky Brits and commemorating it by eating too much, getting sunburned and blowing shit up. American traditions at their finest.

My personal memories of 4th of Juy's of years gone by are pretty much the same. I would get a skin searing sunburn that would leave me moving like a robot, unable to sleep, and vowing to never leave myself open to another one...yet doing it again the following year. Lessons are not always learned the hard way...or any way.

Another memory is of my mother sitting on the ground among a pile of fireworks and basically lighting and throwing them in various directions. Considering she was the first certified female blaster for the coal company she worked for back then...I wonder what they would have thought about her complete disregard for safety precautions...not to mention the precedent she was setting for her children regarding fireworks and safety?

One year my older sis got a very large chunk of her calf removed by daring to light a firecracker and dropping it into a coke bottle with every intention to be far enough away to escape the resulting explosion...unfortunately she did not consider that short fuses generally do not wait for you to place the bottle carefully down before turning and running for your life. The blood was were her screams.

I remember the time I was cleaning my bedroom and suddenly smelled a burning odor. I looked around and saw an object on the floor and was reaching down to pick it up (thinking it was trash as I was in my cleaning mode) when it suddenly exploded a mere inch or so from my outstretched fingers. While my heart was debating whether or not it was going to continue beating and sustaining my young life...I heard my father and little sis out in the hallway laughing themselves to death. Apparently father had thrown the firecracker at me to scare me with the resulting boom...I wonder whose fault it would have been if I had actually managed to pick the darn thing up before it exploded?

One 4th my mother's company held a picnic for employees and families. My father declined to come, better for us, and I spent the day watching the effects when alcohol, fireworks, and insanity are mixed. I remember this particular picnic the most because our next door neighbor then, who also worked with my mother, got annoyed by something I did (he was drinking and I was playing horseshoes..I cannot remember what it was I did that irritated him...but being 13 who knows) any rate the end result was him giving me a full open handed slap across my face. (my jaw would hurt for 2 weeks after that) I ran to my mother sobbing and she did what she always did...covered up my abuse...only this time she hid it from my father..not for him. She assumed he would go after our neighbor...and she was probably right. While he felt he had every right in the world to abuse help the man who thought the same.

Back to my epic sunburns as one in particular stands out. The last one I suffered through (before the one I got when Bahrain experienced a full scale blackout one summer...another story I may have told at some point on this blog) I was 14 and decided for some ungodly reason to wear a tank top for the very first time to the city picnic....sans sunscreen of any kind. (up to this point in time I was a t-shirt girl...never exposing anything more than my lower arms to the sun) My very white innocent skin on my shoulders, arms, chest, and back...were simply burnt to a crisp. For the next week I could barely move, sleep, eat,....move. I had huge blisters that looked disgusting and during one moment of sweet bliss lost in an exhausted cat nap...sitting up with pillows all around mother took a needle and popped all the blisters. I woke up in a mess of blister fluid and more pain. Sweet.

Yesterday's 4th saw me pottering around my house...I didn't buy a single firework. I didn't go to the show (though I could see it out the window for the most part) and I didn't get a sunburn. Win! Just couldn't get into the whole Independence Day hype this time around...feeling rather jaded I'm thinking when I read how America is going down the toilet due to politicians intent on over zealously flushing the proverbial toilet again and again. I guess I didn't see the point of celebrating and forgetting for a moment that we are slowly (or not so slowly) losing our King of the Mountain (Superpower) status and the right to celebrate our so called freedoms, democracy, and 'don't you wish you were us" mentality.

Yeah...I'm jaded.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

When the lights go out in 3...2...1...

The year is 2011 and the world is, for the most part, quite civilized and runs along predictable patterns of social conscious and awareness. In other words, even though we humans do tend to engage in war and drama with a little too much eagerness at times, for the most part we act civilized and mind our manners. A majority of people can wake up in the morning, go about their daily activities, and lay their heads on their pillows at night without, for a moment, forgetting that they are at the top of the food chain. Superior in intellect and capable of reason and deduction when problems arise that requires thinking, deep or otherwise. For most of us, being faced with a problem, an inconvenience, a situation that needs a step back and a look at the bigger picture in order to work things out and set things straight again, is no more problematic than deciding which shoe to put on first in the morning. At least that is what I thought prior to events that took place yesterday.

Working in a convenience store allows me to watch people behaving at their best, and sometimes at their worst, as they go about their day trying to get from point A to point B with as little hassle as possible. The mere fact that it is a convenience store means that customers are intent on getting in and out again with as little delay as possible; anything that delays a customer with this goal in mind can result in flared tempers and curt words. Most of the time this is accomplished without anything major upsetting the dynamics of a convenience store clerk/customer relationship, but now and then something happens which appears to reduce a once civilized thinking people into little more than the cave dwelling Neanderthals we sprung from. I realized yesterday that no matter how far we have come in progress, how high our skyscrapers, how far our space shuttles travel, or how complex our brain surgery gets, when the electricity goes out so does our critical thinking skills apparently.

When the electricity goes off completely we are faced with the sudden and shocking reality of just how dependent we are on it. It is then we realize that nearly everything we do is accomplished by the flick of a switch, the swipe of a card; the automatic responses that should be automatic without us even having to think of them. Electric doors opening or traffic signals operating properly and keeping traffic running smoothly happen “magically” and require no thought or action on our part. We expect these things to do what they were designed to do in order to make our lives easier, smoother, and convenient; and for the most part they do and we go about our day with nary a hiccup; it is when those SNAFU’s happen and the electricity goes out that we are pulled up sharp and thrust back into a century when the word “electricity” hadn’t even been thought up yet much less put into action.

On Saturday at least 1200 homes and businesses were affected when electricity was suddenly no longer under our control. A large scale blackout that not only affected every single thing that uses electricity to operate but also appeared to have adverse effects on people’s ability to think and workout complex problems for themselves; like how to open a door that has a CLOSED sign on it. I was forced to close the store because it simply cannot operate without electricity to run the gas pumps, registers, and security cameras. I placed two very large CLOSED signs on the doors and then spent over 2 hours watching people try and figure out why the doors would not open no matter how hard they pulled on them. Some would go from one door to the other, try that one, when that failed to open on command precede back to the first door and give that another try.

I watched as they placed hands up onto the glass and peered into the dark interior of the store trying to understand why the doors would not open and upon spotting me would play a game of charades indicating I should open the doors for them. No amount of explanation on my part that, due to the electricity being off, I could not accommodate them just now would convince them. I got pleas to just let them pay for gas, get some cigarettes, buy a pint etc. and despite me explaining again and again that there was NO electricity so the pumps would not work, the registers were little more than paperweights, and I could not let them in anyhow, seemed to not make the slightest impression on their once thinking brains. I was talking, explaining coherently and with simple words and yet the looks of confusion on each and every face clearly led me to believe I must be speaking in a tongue not previously known to man.

This confusion and inability to comprehend that, for the moment anyhow, their desires were not going to be met, led some to wander aimlessly back to their cars, obviously still trying to work things out while others decided anger was the best approach and belligerent demands and threats were what was needed at this point. Thankfully the door muffled much of what I’m positive I would not have wanted to hear clearly anyhow, but enough got through that made me glad the doors were locked and, unless body language indicated otherwise, I was safe inside the store as one after the other customers went into melt down mode.

I can only surmise, after yesterday’s adventure into the Twilight Zone, that our education system is failing our children in ways we cannot even begin to comprehend. After all, why would fully grown cognizant adults still expect doors to open that have CLOSED signs on them or electrical gas pumps to work when there is no electricity? Have they not been taught that electrical things require actual electricity to operate efficiently? These same teachers must be teaching gullible children that, despite all known laws of physics and nature, convenience store clerks have the power to make electrical things work even when there is no electricity and our refusal to do so is merely due to our selfish natures and desire to see your day interrupted and if we can get that vein pulsing on your forehead to eventually burst then all the better. In other words, you the customer, should take it very personal when we, the store clerk, are unable to give you gas on command or open a locked and CLOSED store merely because you ask us too.

Yes, it is a well-known fact that store clerks do have the power to do magic, but our menial salaries and the belief that we can be treated like mere beasts of burden by the local population; cause us to withhold said powers from the underserving population. Plus, purposely ticking off otherwise civil mannerly customers is just one perk that comes with the job. It is what keeps us clocking in day after day despite the long hours, sore feet, and thankless attitude of many of our customers. We know you wish you were us and dream of having this job but it is only open to the few with the patience and fortitude to withstand the unrelenting stream of impatient demanding customers who, for whatever reason, seem to believe they are the ONLY customer in the store or that their needs take priority over anything else anywhere at any time. We have seemingly raised our children with a Me First Me Only mindset that, while it might raise its ugly head from time to time among the best of us, seems to come clawing to the surface in most of us at the mere flip of a switch, or lack thereof.

Just try and remember one thing the next time the electricity goes off on such a wide scale, if you are inconvenienced by the fact that electrical things are no longer doing what you want them to do, then chances are everyone else is having that same problem. After all, if merely shaking your fist, raising your voice, and showing your inner beast was enough to get things working properly, parents everywhere that have ever tried to put a toy together the night before Christmas would have figured out its power decade ago.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011



This has got to be one of the most compelling documentaries I have yet seen concerning 9/11. I advise anyone and everyone to watch it that has even the smallest interest in what happened leading up to that day and what part our govt. played in it. it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Games we played in the dark...

One of the fun games my sisters and I use to play when we were young was hide and seek in the dark. There were periods of time in which both of our parents would be gone at night and we would have the house to ourselves...with strict instructions not to go outside or let anyone in. Despite the danger of getting caught either going outside or allowing friends inside...we often did both. There is something about living dangerously...hmmm. At any rate playing hide and seek in the darkness of our trailer was one of our favorite past times.

Of course it had to be at night to get full on darkness in the house and the opportunities to play didn't come often as we weren't left alone at night too much....but whenever we found out that both parents would be gone that night my sisters and I would start glancing at each other with gleeful little smiles on our faces knowing fun was about to be had by all.

No sooner had both parents left and judged to be truly gone and not coming back that we would start switching off lights and laying down the ground rules. ALL lights would be off...we wanted it to be as dark as possible to get the full scary affect. The dim light that would come from outside through the cracks in the curtains etc just added creepy affects that perfectly set the mood. We considered the kitchen home base simply because it was at the head of the trailer...the rest of the trailer was a free for all.

At some point one of us would look outside and see if any of the neighbor kids were out after dark...being a small town small trailer park, playing outside at night was a common enough sight. Since kids weren't often invited in our house they seemed to find the opportunity to get inside somewhat of an adventure and would brag later about having seen the inside of our house. I always found this rather amusing considering I tried as much as possible to get out of my house. Once all players were assembled (either just us or those who joined us) the game would commence.

Now the rules were simple...go hide somewhere and when the chance to run for home came up...go for it. Simple right? However, being in near complete darkness gave it an added element of scariness that just heightened the intensity and squeals of fright were often heard coming from some corner of the trailer...along with giggles that sounded almost hysterical. We loved scaring the hell out of ourselves...ironic considering we spent nearly all our lives being scared for some reason or another thanks to father.

Since we lived in a trailer, finding places to hide wasn't very being almost completely dark meant that at times you could be right out in the open and still not be seen if you played it right. Often times my sister or friend would creep right in front of me and have no idea I was there...often times I would have no idea they were there and would suddenly be faced with the image of a shape a mere few inches in front of me. It was all I could do not to scream...or sometimes I did and the gig was up and hysterical laughter and fast beating hearts was our reward for being caught.

Of course crashing into something in the dark was always a danger...and given that if we broke anything the punishment would be swift and severe was always in the back of our minds. Also, we couldn't very well blame the breakage on a friend that wasn't supposed to be in the house we knew we would have to fess up to anything that got broke. For some reason it only added to the drama, fun and sense of danger.

Then there was the very real danger of my parents coming home...I doubt my mother would have been too upset about it but my father would have gone ballistic and the fallout would have been painful and potentially dangerous...yet still we played. I couldn't begin to tell you today why we took these chances knowing full well the potential for further abuse if caught. I sometimes think that because our lives were full of pain and fear anyhow...we took what fun we could when we could and to hell with the consequences.

At any rate, most of the time the game was full of screams and laughter and we would play an hour or two then flip the lights back on and send everyone home...then hurriedly clean up the mess and set the house back to near perfection again. We always seemed to instinctively know when to call it a night and get everyone out before car lights flashed in the driveway but there were a few very close calls that had us sweating and sitting "innocently" on the couch barely catching out breath after quickly putting the last few items into place while a key was being inserted in the front door. was pretty damn close a few times.

During these games in the dark we had some moments of drama, fights would break out when someone stepped on someone they didn't see or someone hiding near someone else coughed or breathed too hard and gave the seeker a heads up...crashing into someone who was running in the dark was a give in and there were a few bloody noses or banged heads with some tears and broken friendships that were repaired before the night was over. Kids will be kids. However, there were also a few events that happened that, to this day, remain clear in my mind and yet go unexplained. Call it creative imagination...scene setting allowing for the mind to wander where it will...or call it real..but these things did happen and not only did they scare the hell out of us even more (those of us that were witness to said events) but never even stopped us in our tracks to continue on with the game...or maybe just added to it in some crazy "we love being scared" way.

Our trailer was designed much like many trailers. We had our kitchen at the head of the trailer then the living room...then a long hallway leading off the living room which had our bedroom at the beginning of the hall and further down the main bathroom and our parent's room at the very end of the trailer. At the beginning of the hall (just before our bedroom) was a closet that had the water heater in it and that was all. In all the years we lived in that trailer I can't remember that door being opened very often. It was just there and I never really gave it much thought.

One night during one of our games I was It and everyone else had scattered in the dark to hide. our kitchen had two small stairs leading up to it and I was sitting on those as I counted out loud and stared off into the darkness. I could here giggles and bumps and things being knocked over as everyone scrambled for a hiding spot...I knew my trailer so well I could almost always picture where they were and where they had chosen to hide...but let them sit and simmer with anticipation as I creeped back and forth pretending not to know they were there before snaking out a hand and grabbing them for maximum scare. Fun times.

Anyhow, I was sitting there counting and suddenly there was a strange glow coming from the hall way. I at first thought someone had switched on a light or maybe a flashlight but realized the light was in it was bright only right there where it was...the light didn't extend beyond a sort of circle. I always think of Tinker Bell when I remember it because she always had that glow about her that didn't seem to light up anything but the space right around her.

I stopped counting and just sat there watching the light...trying to figure out what the heck it was and why it looked sort of yellowy and old. I suddenly realized someone was standing in the light, a girl who appeared to be around 8 or 9 years of age. I might have thought it was one of our friends except that she was wearing a dress and I knew none of us were wearing a dress that night and certainly not one like she was wearing. If I had to describe it today I would use "quaint" and "modest"...words I didn't know then. (I was around 9 myself then) It had long sleeves and bows here and there. She wore stockings and black shoes that also had bows on them. Her hair was long and curly and reminded me of pics of Alice in Wonderland that I had seen before. I wouldn't have been able to tell you then but I can now that she looked like a girl from Little House on the Prairie...that style of dress and hair etc when they were dressed for church or something special.

I remember not being scared exactly but really confused because I couldn't figure out where she came she got in the house...who invited her....and why in the heck she had that awful yellow glow of light around her. I also realized it had gotten really REALLY quiet. I couldn't hear the others out in the dark with their constant giggles and shouts as someone tried to hide where there was already a hider. It was completely silent except for my own breathing.

The little girl was looking at nothing in particular but then turned her head and looked at me and smiled this pretty little smile that I can clearly see to this day. It was the smile of someone that had never known sadness, abuse, least to my young mind that is the thought that went through my head...though I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to explain why I got that impression from her smile alone. She spoke to me, at least I seen her lips moving but no sound came from her mouth, and then took two steps and appeared to walk into the water heater closet. After a moment I crossed the living room and stood at the closet door looking at it. In order for her to have entered the closet she would have had to open the door obviously...and in the dark I might not have noticed the door open...except that even if she did that there was nowhere in the closet for her to be. The water heater took up the entire was a mere couple of inches from the door and the walls around it. No space at all for a girl to stand in...especially with the door closed.

I stood there a moment trying to make sense of this confusing set up....before reaching across and opening the door...still expecting her to somehow be in there and ready to be scared as she jumped out and said BOO or something in keeping with the game. My mind had not accepted any possibility other than she was just a kid I didn't recognize that had somehow been invited to play with us. Of course when I opened the door there was just the water heater and nothing else.

As I have mentioned before in previous posts (for those that care) I was a very smart kid back then (alas age has robbed me of natural and devoured books way over my age category....passed classes with little to no effort...had skipped a grade and been given the chance to skip another but mom refused and was doing complicated Algebra 3 grades higher than my current grade. I was smart...yet couldn't make 2 + 2 = 4 for the first time in my life. This wasn't making sense and I was standing there demanding that my brain make sense of something it didn't have a clue about. Apparently I stood there long enough looking into that empty water closet for others to get tired of waiting to be found and one by one they all came out to complain...only to see me standing there staring into the closet and joking that nobody could fit in there so what the heck was I doing looking in there?

I didn't feel like playing anymore and just sat on the couch in the dark while others shrieked and ran about until my older sis called it quits and turned on the lights and sent them home. I never told her what I had seen because I had already come to the conclusion that I must have been imagining the whole thing....yet funny enough a few years later my older sis and I were talking about when we use to play that game as kids...and I mentioned seeing that little girl (rather sheepishly assuming she would tease me as always) but was completely floored when older sis told me she had seen her too...but at a different time. She hadn't told anyone either but we both described her just the same.

We sat looking at each other trying to make our brains come to the conclusion that we must have seen a ghost...what other explanation would suffice? It was the only time in the years we lived in that trailer that I saw that little girl...and my sister said she only saw her once as I find that equally strange. If she lived in our trailer (was she killed in there, died in her childhood???....I hear that ghost haunt where they die...but our trailer obviously wasn't old enough to have a ghost from another century according to her clothing...but we did live in Superior at the time...maybe the ground our trailer was on was haunted???) how come we only saw her just two times (as far as I know nobody else ever saw her)?

Has anyone else ever felt they seen a ghost? Do you believe in them to see them in the first place? Did you ever see something that didn't make sense and just assumed there must be an explanation...even if you couldn't come up with one?

Years later when I had my own children I told them about our hide and seek in the dark game and of course they wanted to play it too....we lived in a big house in Hamad Town back then... 2 floors and lots of hiding places. However, my kids could never have it completely dark...they needed at least a bathroom light on with the door pulled almost shut...hmmm. Lots of fun for them...and they still play to this day (just played it the other night) though an apartment has very little to offer as far as hiding spots. It was more fun for them I think because of the ridiculousness of trying to hide in places that were too small or too obvious. (my daughter at one point sat on the floor and held a floor length mirror in front of her....and the seeker just kept walking back and forth totally not seeing

Good times.

Of course a few really funny (sort of) thoughts come to mind as well. We owned a coon dog at one point whose name was Rosy. Rosy had a horrible little gas problem that made it impossible to enjoy her company for any length of time on a good day. During one night of hide and seek she was in the house with us (another no no) and decided to hide in the bedroom closet along with me and little sis. Older sis was It at the time and happened to be searching for us in the room at about the time Rosy decided to grace us with a full on assualt of her smelly offerings. We basically exploded from the closet unable to take one more second of the noxious gas that was suffocating us...and in the process nearly scared older sis into a heartattack with our sudden screaming emergence. Rosy had the audacity to emerge looking completely innocent of any crime.

Another incident involved one of our friends deciding it was a good time to go to the the dark...while the game was in progress. Needless to say...good thing it was fairly dark when someone crashed into her...spilling her off the toilet seat...and of course pants were down etc. We only got the faintest outline of her hastily pulling up her pants but her flushed faced fairly glowed in the

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Root of All Evil? – The God Delusion Pt 1/2

The Root of All Evil? – The God Delusion Pt 1/2

The Root of All Evil? – The God Delusion PT 2/2

This is well worth viewing...I suggest others watch it closely. One has to wonder why god would allow the 3 main religions of the world to create such a divide in the habor such hate for each other. Didnt god see this coming? If he did...why did he allow it? To claim that people have free choice is bullshit...where is the free choice when each one believes he is folling the One True Faith....the one True God? There is no free choice when there is no thinking going on and just mindless and blind following on faith alone.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Haters hating...

I find this offensive in so many ways..but the most offensive aspect of it are when I see the children surrounding him nodding in agreement. Our children are what we teach them to is teaching them to hate a good thing? a god thing?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Way back when...blinkers and all.

My second post on this blog...way back when I still called myself Muslim and still believed there was hope to be found in Islam. Funny what a little time, a lot of reading, and soul searching will do to a person. I don't hate that I use to believe and how deeply I believed it (at the time it felt rights and true) but I do hate that I was so easily impressed and completely blinded to the deep seated issues Islam has.

btw I have no issues with others who still profess being Muslim...we all choose our own paths...but I do take issue with falsehoods that are spread concerning Islam. Just because I am no longer one of the ummah...doesn't mean I don't know what I'm talking about and that I don't have a valid point. One thing Muslims seem to believe to be true...if your not Muslim, or no longer call yourself one, than any knowledge you might irrelevant to any discussion concerning it. Whatever.

pride goeth before a fall...and all that shit.

"Drown" the Alligator

Summer has finally reached us here in Wyoming (though we still consider blizzards out of nowhere still possible) and so my kids are off for some swimming fun. While talking to them and reminding them about safety (they know how to swim of course) I was reminded of some of my own swimming memories as a kid. Some good...and some not so good.

I was born in California and spent a lot of time at the ocean side with family. I remember that my grandad had a houseboat. One of those flat bottom things that had a square structure on it that resembled a house of sorts. He took us on it a few times and one particular time really stands out in my memories.

Though I had learned to swim at a very early age I had done all that swimming within the safe confines of a swimming pool. Up to that point swimming in the ocean had never crossed my mind as an was simply to big...too vast. No sides to grab onto when I tired or a diving board to kamikaze off of. I loved being on his boat because I was with him, for one, and we could watch fish etc swimming or jumping out of the water. The sun shines forever in CA and a day on the boat with grandad was a day not inside the house with the Monster.

Once while out on the boat, hindsight tells me grandad and my uncle may have been slightly drunk...not a rare thing there...I wondered out loud what it would be like to swim in the ocean as I gazed over the rails into the deep dark murky waters. No sooner had I uttered the words when suddenly I felt hands grab me, raise me up high...and sling me over the side. Where one moment I was safely on the boat looking I was suddenly underwater looking up at the blurry structure of the boat and several equally blurry human shapes looking down at me.

My breath was gone, all my swimming skills deserted me...all I could think of at that moment was the vast bottomless ocean under my feet...along with whatever lurked down there. I was in a panic and felt powerless as I began to sink more.

More than likely only seconds passed but it felt like a lifetime when suddenly there was a form next to me in the water and I was grabbed and hauled back up to the surface where that first lungful of air never tasted so good. I rose out of the water to the sounds of hysterical laughter from all on board. Everyone apparently thought my little journey into the ocean was all sorts of entertaining...everyone but me. I grabbed a towel and went to sulk for hours...all the joy drained out of the day for me.

Of course I never told my mother for fear she wouldn't let me go out with grandad again (it wasn't the first time he endangered one of our lives through good natured fun) but I also never went with him on the houseboat again. To this day I'm not sure who actually threw me in the water but I wasn't taking any more chances.

Another incident in junior high comes to mind as well. During swimming class in the 8th grade we use to play this game called Alligator. While most of the students lay down on their bellies along the sides of the pool...4 or 5 students would get in the water at the shallow end and make their way down to the edge of the deep end. The point of the game was to not make any sounds what so splashes...nothing. As soon as someone made a sound...all the "alligators" came in the water to tag the swimmers...once tagged you were out. If you made it to the end without being tagged (even after alligators came in) you won.

Now of course there would be good swimmers...bad swimmers...and those that hated the whole thing and didn't really care if they made noise thus ending the game as soon as possible. During one of my turns with a couple other students...I had made it to the midpoint of the pool where the bottom drops off into the deep end. I could no longer touch the bottom with my did what everyone did at this point...I went under to swim the remaining distance underwater and thus make no noise at all. Of course this only works if nobody behind you makes noise as well prompting the alligators to enter the water.

Of course someone did make noise and in came the alligators...since I was already underwater I wasn't immediately aware that the gig was up and thus try to get to the end as quickly as possible. Suddenly I found myself surrounded by alligators that were not happy just to tag me...but seemed to find it necessary to push me further down in the water. As each knew hand tagged/pushed time spent underwater was getting longer and longer. I felt a sense of panic settle in as I realized I couldn't hold my breath much longer...and simply rising to the surface to get some air appeared impossible with all the hands keeping me down.

Just as I felt my ears would burst along with my lungs...I dimly heard a whistle blow and suddenly all the hands were gone. I was free to get to the surface and suck in some much needed air. I was still in the middle of the deep end tho and really had to struggle with what strength I had left to make it to the side. I was utterly exhausted and took many minutes before I could drag my sorry butt out of the water. At this point our teacher finally noticed me and became concerned. As I gasped out what had happened...he helped me out and made sure I was OK...but we never played that game again that I recall. Good.

And of course there is the incident in Bahrain in which two of my children and myself nearly drowned as I attempted to rescue them from a trench dug into the beach a few feet into the water....that one is hands down my scariest water moment...probably because my children were involved as well.

Of course there are a few more humorous moments, though at the time I might not have thought so. During one trip to the pool when my kids were young in which we visited the recreational center....the pool area had three pools. One for older more experienced swimmers...a smaller more shallow pool for waders etc ...and then a hot pool of sorts...just to sit in and relax. The hot pool had steps leading down into it and I happened to be standing next to those steps at the time. I wasn't swimming ...just watching my kids have fun. Next to me was my son Zack, who was around 4 at the time.

At one point I looked down at Zack to check on him and he was nowhere to be seen. I quickly scanned the area but didn't see him. Just when I was about to really panic I happened to glance down at the stairs leading into the hot pool...and there was the bottom of the steps, underwater, with his hands spread out straight...just standing there underwater. I quickly stepped in and grabbed him and hauled him up. As I checked him over and made sure he was OK...asking him what he was doing down there..he was laughing (the stinker was laughing while my heart was pounding)...he wasn't in there long enough to realize the danger...and so was enjoying just standing underwater watching people's legs etc. Ahhh kids. They do make us old.

My oldest daughter, Sara, use to love going to the beach when very young. Her grandad would take her and her brother, Adam, down to his boat every weekend and they would spend hours there...baking in the sun...turning nut brown...while he tinkered on his boat. When I took them to the beach she never hesitated to just run into the water and have fun...until...during one trip to the beach the tide quickly went out leaving the beach itself exposed while they were still out quite a distance. (sometimes you would have to go out quite aways to find water deep enough to actually do more than wade in) This meant they had to walk back through extremely sticky foot sucking mud.

Now this wasn't the problem because we all know that most kids have no problem with a little mud...the problem was that now the crabs...that are inside their holes when the tide is in...are now free to come out. Sara loved eating crabs...up until that point...crabs are a main staple of Bahraini food...but to have her "lunch" suddenly surrounding her...looking ominous and threatening...was too much for her. She was absolutely petrified...frozen solid unable to move. I was shouting at her to just ignore them and come on in...I couldn't go to her because I had my youngest with me laying on a blanket. Her siblings tried to encourage her as well but she wasn't having it. She screamed every time one of them so much as glanced her way. Of course the longer she stood in one place...the deeper she sank in the mud...requiring her to keep shuffling to keep herself from sinking too deep. (no real fear here as there is firmer ground under the mud after a certain point...but she wasn't aware of that)

Eventually, as the sun went her siblings grew tired of trying to help my threats to leave her there lost all meaning to her...she eventually dug deep for courage and made her way back to the screaming step at a time. I tried not to laugh (it's hard to be a parent sometimes...seriously) as she made her way back. Of course I would have been in there like a shot if I thought she was in any real danger...but I have always tried to allow my kids to over come fears...rather than rescue them every time from them...if possible. So I let her work it out herself...and she did...eventually.

To this day she has never eaten another longer finds as much joy at the beach as she once did. She will still go but scans the whole area before taking tentative steps towards the water...and hauls ass out as soon as the tide turns and makes its way out again. Poor baby.

Friday, June 3, 2011


During my years in Bahrain I lived in 4 different places...thus 4 different houses/apartments. While standing at my kitchen sink today washing dishes I kept glancing out my window that is right behind the sink and watched birds, squirrels, traffic...felt the breeze coming through and smelled the grass, flowers. I watched the tops of the tree branches sway and couldn't help but just feel calm at this vista.

Then it made me think about my years in Bahrain and the fact that from all the places I lived in...I did not have any windows in two of those places to look out of, one of them had windows that looked at a wall and the last had windows that just looked out on desert and nothing more. Varying shades of tan with nothing to break up the sameness of it all. I'm sure this contributed to the prison like feeling I always had. I hated my life inside my houses...but there was nothing to look out on either to make me momentarily forget where I was...and more importantly who I was.

I realize that my one kitchen window in this apartment in the US affords me a view that has everything I yearned for over there; color, foilage, wildlife, sound, a cool breeze...a soothing calmness that if nothing else...makes the chore of doing dishes a lot more pleasant.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I'm watching you

I have always been a people watcher. Living through my childhood, not allowed to take part in social gatherings for the most part, meant I was always on the fringes looking vicariously through others actions. During my marriage I was kept isolated for the most part so spent a good amount of time watching others and wishing things were different. Whatever. Anyhow, now that I am free to engage in life however I choose I still find myself watching people...but almost for completely different reasons now.

Working in a convenience store has many drawbacks that do not appeal to most people. In the nearly two years I have worked in mine, the number of employees that have come and gone is ridiculous. The hours are long and you're on your feet the whole time. The pay is nothing to hoot about though it does pay the bills (if your bills are within reason I'm sure) and there are no employee benefits (at least in my store)...unless you count all the free fountain soda you can slurp down.

The one redeeming factor as far as I'm concerned are the customers. I have some great customers that really keep me entertained and coming back each night...even when I'm ready to throw in the towel from exhaustion and sore feet. Going to college full time and then heading off to work a full time night shift is simply exhausting and frustrating. Some of my customers can get me to smile or laugh even when I really don't feel like it. Most of my regular customers are great...and now and then a passing through customer can pass the time with me and a great conversation is had as I have posted about before....

and then there are those other customers.

They are easy to spot and hard to avoid since I am the only cashier most of the time. They are surly, rude, throw their money across the counter. Bitch about everything they can think of...blame me for every price they take exception too. Blame me for whatever the boss said to them that day, the wife, the kids, life in general...treat me like a mere servant whose only existence is made whole by catering and bowing to their every need..and do it with a smile if you please.

Yeah...there's those...and then there is one more category. The ones that have come to steal, the drunk ones, the out and out bullies. The ones that make me pause and watch a little bit closer...because my safety could turn out to be an issue before too long.

I've had a fair amount of the drunks...they do not take kindly to me refusing to sell them more alcohol and call me names, threaten to complain to my boss (whatever...he supports me in this) or threaten me generally. I have had to call the cops on numerous occasions for my own protection...and to get a drunk driver off the streets. Some of my regular customers have come to realize I mean business in this respect. Others have complained...whatever. I was hit by a drunk driver so I have personal issues with drunk well as my own children are out there on those streets that drunk drivers are menacing with their complete disregard for life and limb...but the very fact that someone will drink to the point of not being able to walk properly...and then get behind the wheel of a truck there by turning it into a loaded weapon....AND believe I have no right to take exception to that...well that just fucking pisses me off. What you do with your life is your business...what you do with mine, my kids, and all the other innocent people you are potentially turning into victims with your selfishness is MY business...when I have the ability to stop it by calling the cops and getting you off the streets....damn straight I will. No mercy.

The other night I had one disgruntled drunk, when I asked him politely if he was driving, ask me if I was fucking cop...I said no but I can call one if you like. He said, only a dumbass will drink and I look like a dumbass to you? I answered, well if you are drinking and driving then, YES, you are a dumbass. He yelled that he was complaining to my boss and getting me fired. And? Here's his number if you want it...I will even dial it for you since you obviously can't operate your brain much less your dialing finger.

I don't play games with drinkers and drivers. You come in my store drunk and I know you are driving...I am calling the cops. Period.

Shoplifters are something else. I have my usual trying to snatch candy...teen boys out to get laid without paying for the condom that will prevent them from being young daddies or STD statistics. Hell son, I would give them to you for free if I could. Heck, I have even praised a few of those brave enough to come up to the counter sheepishly sliding the box across the counter while trying to act all tough and studly. During recent prom night I had several boys come in through the night buying condoms (no idea if any were stolen...I don't really keep count of those...I figure it's for a good and I warned them that mistakes are made on prom night that last a lifetime..I'm happy you're taking responsibility. I had a few embarrassed laughs, a glare or two to mind my own business...but overall they seemed OK with the advice and praise. Conversation people...young people need it. I suppose I could be over stepping my bounds as a mere employee meant to just sell the stuff and not offer advice of any kind...but until someone (boss) tells me to knock it off...advice it is.

Now and then I get someone who wants to steal...and doesn't really bother to hide the fact...these are the ones that make me nervous. They don't seem to care that I know they are up to no good...that in itself if a bad sign. Nearly every time this is a new face, someone who has gone to the other side of town to steal so his/her face isn't familiar. Not hard to spot them...they are aggressive, loud, generally come in three's or more...and just cause general mayhem and stress. I can usually tell what sort of customer is coming through the door by the way they act once they are inside...those that just head off to whatever they came to problem...those that look somewhat confused and searching around...bathrooms that way...those that look directly at me then head for some area of the store...those I worry about. They have made eye contact with me before need...need being while paying for the item..asking for directions/help etc. They are in one instance letting me know they are there and in another telling me they don't care that I know they are there.

I have had a few close encounters with these sorts of customers...a few scary moments in which the fact that I am a lone female in store at night with no protection is at the forefront of my mind. I've had plenty of male customers tell me they would not want to do my job...the risk for harm is just too great...but what can I do? I need work, I have no skills (yet) and my choices are limited...not to mention it is use full for attending college during the day to be able to work at night. Hard as it is to maintain these hours (no idea how young people do it) is something I have to I continue on even when those scary moments arrive and make me question my sanity.

On any given night I will have periods of quiet, no customers, mixed with frantic chaos in which a horde of customers will show up out of half time during a football game. I have to do my job of checking them out, helping them, answering questions etc...while still trying to keep an eye on others in the store. Not always easy...but something interesting (or sad depending on your view) that I have noticed is that when I do get an unruly customer...someone being rude, loud, a drunk stumbling around causing trouble...even those that are directly confrontational with me...for the most part other customers do nothing.

This reminds me of videos in which a customer or employee is being harassed or abused while others standing by do nothing...a rare person will step up and defend the victim...but from my experience...this is very rare. I know it is hard to become involved in someone else's drama...but how nice it would be if doing that was the norm and not the exception?

We risk our lives (meaning personal safety/health etc) daily by driving, drinking, smoking, arguing with our neighbors over dog shit on our lawns, with others over parking spots and sale items at Christmas. We risk our lives in too many ways to count...but risking our lives to help someone else? Well that is just too much trouble and too...risky.

Anyhow, I hope to be finished with college (this stage anyhow) by next summer...then it's off to start a new stage of my life. Until then working at this store will have to do for now. Warts and all it is what it is. Not so bad generally but now and then quitting just seems the wiser better choice....if only.

No point to this post other than still fuming over a more than usual number of unruly customers of late. Memorial weekend, schools getting out, summer upon us seems to have brought them out of the woodwork...yay me. (breath deep, girl...breath deep).

Just a thought to those of you who find yourself a customer in a store such as which you know my job is low on the totem pole, economic pole, social standing pole...I do my job cause I have too. I have bills, kids, responsibilities. No, it's not my dream job. No I will not be working here forever. And no...I'm not your slave, your sounding board, your dog to kick just because I work here.

And I have a very big stick behind the counter to prove it...if needed. Just saying.

Friday, May 13, 2011

So yesterday I had a chat with a naked lady....

After spending 23 years in Bahrain I've come to expect women to be more clothed than "normal" in seeing arms or legs was very rare there in the early things are more relaxed and the expat community are fairly free to wear what they want...within reason. Besides the amount of skin covered up in the public sphere...the amount we see in the private (home, friends house etc) is generally almost the same as in the street. Your not likely to catch more than the usually accepted amount of skin even when inside and away from the prying eyes of the public (men).

I got used to that and funny enough when I came back to the states I was immediately blown away with what passes for being dressed while out in public these days. I've seen some women who apparently didnt finish getting dressed before leaving home...maybe they had an Walmart...and thus left most of it laying on the bed. Or something (men too but generally it's the women whose state of undress is their fashion). As with all get used to it.

Yesterday in college I entered the girl's changing room for the first time in the 3 semesters I've been attending this college. The dressing and shower rooms are split in two with the shower area having a small dressing area as well. I was chatting to my fellow class student when around the corner came one of the college instructors stark naked...coming from the shower area...not so much as a wet rag to hide the strategic bits.

Now I'm not a prude or anything...Ive seen naked before...but here is my beef with this. I grant you that it is a shower/changing room set up. I grant you that your likely to see some nudity etc...people are in a hurry and shit happens. What I dont get it...for those who choose to walk around stark naked...why do you assume the rest of us are ok with seeing you in such a state?

In other words, your "right" to be naked supercedes our right not to see you naked? I dont mind seeing women naked (or men for that matter)...the human body is amazing in its many forms...what I do mind is when someone takes away my right to choose whom I see naked. The girl's locker room was set up in such a way that she (or anyone) could easily dress in the same area they showered in. In other words, there was no need for her to parade around why force the rest of us to see her that way?

Now I know someone will get on here and say...well you dont have to go in the shower rooms if your afraid or upset to see someone completely naked. Your right...I dont have too...but what has that got to do with anything? Even inside the shower room why cant a certain amount of modesty be expected? Just because we are all women does that mean all the women in there are quite fine with complete nudity...just because you love being naked does that mean everyone around you loves for you to be naked too?

Anyhow, it irritated me...maybe Im oldschool....but I feel like I should be able to choose whom I see naked...and unless you are fully aware that everyone around you is fine with seeing your saggy bits and untrimmed glory...then maybe you should grab a towel and keep your goods to yourself?

Just a thought.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Rejoice in the Death of the Boogeyman?

Anyone that has spent any amount of time reading this blog, reading my words, will know that my father's favorite past time was to reign terror on those he was meant to protect. I have forgotten the number of beatings I sustained at his hand, the number of times I was dragged from my bed at 2 a.m. to be beaten and then clean an already clean house. I have forgotten how many times I stood there quaking in my shoes as he walked down the hallway with the buckle on his belt jangling in anticipation of making contact with some part of my body yet again. I forget how many times he forced me to stand in the corner with my sodden underwear pulled down over my head because I had dared wet the bed yet again. I have forgotten how many times he drew blood from my body, created bruises to bloom prettily on my skin, or in someway damaged the flesh and bone that made up the person that was me. I have forgotten how many times my bedroom door opened in the night...

What I have not forgotten is how he made me feel.

The day my mother called me in Bahrain and told me he had died still echoes in my mind. The words speeding across the phoneline, across the planet and into my ear, words I had waited so fucking long to hear, words I whispered to myself as I laid awake at night tembling in my bed while listening closely for stealthy footsteps to come calling....words that were yearned for but never heard...words that I thought would make me rejoice in their anticipated glory.

I did not rejoice when I heard those words...I cried.

My Boogeyman was dead. Dead. DEAD!!! How could he be dead? Things like him did not die...they skulked away into the darkness to terrorize another day. Why do we have Friday the 13th part 52 if not for the fact that Jason can't be killed...cannot die. No matter the abuse to his body, the stabs and gun shots, the drowning and emmolation by fire...he merely stands up and brushes off the futile attempts at ending his henious life...and stalks away to find more prey.

For sure when I was young I prayed and begged for his death, or at least his absence from my life...but deep in my heart I did not truly believe he COULD die. Monsters dont die. My father could not be dead. If my father could die...well that only meant one thing....that I (me) could die as well. With my father's death I was faced with my own mortality and the tears sprang quickly to my eyes and fell with this new found revelation. If monsters could die....what chance did the rest of us have?

My mother had the audacity to believe I was shedding tears because, after all, he WAS my father. At the end of the day, paternal love won out and my tears fell for him...not despite him. Meanwhile years later she told me she did not shed one tear while she watched him die. (yes she was there at the time...another story). I despised the fact that she assumed she was stronger than me and that even in death his life meant nothing to her...but was supposed to have meant something to me?

No Mother, the tears fell because Death came calling. The Great Equalizer. I cried because in his death I saw mine. There was no room to rejoice at the passing of the Monster...and to this day I have not so much as smiled at the thought that he no longer walks this earth...because he stall walks the corridors of my mind. He still lives and breaths and terrorizes in the one place he cannot die...or that I am unable to kill him once and for all. The flesh and blood of my Boogeyman is dead but his words, actions, and terror live on for as long as my brain is a thinking living object of self abuse.

Did you hear that Bin Laden is dead? Yes. It's True. The Boogeyman to end all boogeymans has died an ignomous death after wreaking such havoc, such terror...after playing with the hearts and minds...and bodies of so many and leaving them shattered and broken...and afraid. I watched as the news unfolded and spread like wildfire through the a snake twisting and slithering through the 140 character limit that is Twitter as people spread the news via their fingertips rather than shocked lips and wide eyes.

The Boogeyman is dead? Is it true? How can it be? The Boogeyman can't die. It must be a rumor, a lie...Bin Laden is legend, legends don't die....but wait...hold on...yes YES!! it is true. The President is speaking...people are smiling...clapping...rejoicing!!!

I watched and read as people rejoiced over the death of this man, this Boogeyman...and it saddened me and angered me so much I was surprised I took it so personally. Who was Bin Laden to me? I was not in New York when the towers came person in my family was personally affected by that trajedy...but I was standing in the living room of a Bahraini family's home at the time as it unfolded on the large screen TV. The room grew quiet as we took in the sheer scale of the horror that was playing out like the latest Hollywood action film before our eyes. As tears started to fall and splash on my cheeks I heard a sound that seemed to not belong in that room...a sound that offended and assaulted my ears...and then my eyes as I turned to make sense of it. That family was cheering and clapping and whistling and grinning from ear to ear. Rejoicing at death!!! As those buildings burned and bodies plummeted I heard whoops and shouts of joy.

I could not make sense of it. Death is here. Death is walking among us. Death has come calling and you REJOICE!!! Death...the great equalizer. There is no rejoicing in death...even when it is your "enemy", your Boogeyman. Those Bahraini's rejoiced in the death of their fellow human beings...just as so many across the world rejoiced at the death of Bin Laden.

I didn't understand it then and I don't understand it now. Why the cause for celebration? If he can die, if the Great Boogeyman of our time can die after being little more than a rumor, a superb player of the Cat and Mouse game, a vex on the lives of global travelers who want nothing more than to get from point A to point B without having to disrobe or be felt up in the process....the "focus" of pointless wars and even more pointless now he is dead. Great. What do we do now...once the cries of celebration are ended?

There is always room in this world for another such as he to spread terror..mayhem...destruction. Should we not stop the rejoicing and instead focus on what really matters. Why a man such as he was created in the first place...because even with this death...if we do not change the ways in which we run this we treat each we force our ideals on each other rather than find room for we quickly rush to shed blood in the name of some Higher Good...rather than stop and listen to an opinion that is not like our own....and allow that person to have it and express it without feeling anger that he dares think and believe differently than me.

To rejoice in death but to remain intolerant in life is the very foundation of what men like Bin Laden sprang from. If he believed in his cause...if he believed in his mission...if he believed he was fighting a Jihad just as he claimed...then there is nobody who is rejoicing at the death of Bin Laden more than... Bin Laden to speak. He got what he wanted...what he worked for...what he killed for. Our intolerance will ensure that other men like him are created...and Boogeyfied...and "martyred " in exactly the same fashion....but the question many more people will have to die before that point is reached? How many more Bin Ladens must we suffer through before we realize WE are the creators of our own Boogeymen?

As children we have no choice, no power, no where to turn when our Boogeymen place a hand on our bedroom door knobs and enter our lives...we must stand mute and powerless as our childhoods are stolen...ripped away while we yearn for a peaceful nights sleep. As children we do not create our own Boogeymen for they are quite happy to create themselves and terrorize without invitation. As adults the power to create men such as Bin Laden is the burden we share...each side of this global clash of cultures are people molding and shaping and giving life to the Boogeymen such as Bin Laden...and now that he is gone...the next one in line. We have that power...and oh how we love to use it.

Bin Laden is what...there are more like him...thanks to the human desire to focus on what makes us different than what makes us far...for many..death is our only commonality. What a shame.

Monday, April 11, 2011

When all the little things add up to one defining 7

Hey folks, sorry for the loooong delay in part 7. Busy with college, life, ups and downs. Happened to be looking today at it for another reason and realized I needed to start on it here we are. Pt. 7...enjoy. *and for some reason this post does NOT want to break up into paragraphs so sorry for the eye strain. My husband came home one day and asked if I would like to visit some Americans. An American man worked at the military base on a project and my husband had gotten to know him. He invited us over to meet his wife assuming I would love to meet other American women. Didn't have to ask me twice. I was so excited at the mere thought of meeting someone "like me"; with my cultural background, my language, my nationality etc. but had been so deeply thrown into my little world of isolation and culture shock that I also felt somewhat apprehensive to meet her. I looked forward to it and shied away from it at the same time. They lived on a compound with other American/European families. It was beautiful and so far removed from what I had been experiencing for the past couple of months. There were trees, gardens, swimming was clean, pretty and quiet. I sat staring out the window as if I had entered a world I had never seen seemed so unfamiliar to me now. It was as if now I was the foreigner to that life I had once been familiar with. My husband laughed and "promised" that one day we would live in something similar. I clutched onto that promise that fell from his lips so easily and kept it tucked away in a corner of my heart to be taken out at those moments when I felt I couldn't live another day in his mother's house. At times that promise was my talisman, my prayer beads, my only hope that the place I called home now was not something I would have to endure forever. His name was Glen and hers was Diane. She was very tall and very pregnant with one little toddler running around already. Inside the house was even prettier than the outside. I know now that it could not have been all that different from any nicely decorated house I might find anywhere in the U.S. but it was like a mansion in my eyes that night. The rooms were very big with high ceilings and there was furniture; a couch and recliners, table and chairs, end tables with vases. I had just spent 2 months sitting on the floor surrounded by broken walls, bad lighting, thick dust, and rats running round...this was so far removed from that I felt like I was in a queen's palace. Diane could see my gawking and asked if I would like a tour and then took me around after a mere nod from me. My tongue was tied up tight and it seemed all I was capable of doing was making inarticulate noises over everything she showed me. Her house was full of the very same things MY childhood house had been full of for the most part but I was seeing these things now like someone who had only ever dreamed of experiencing life with such "luxuries"...which is how I now viewed these things that I had grown up with but were now something from another life. The one thing she did have that I absolutely felt jealous over was a very large bookshelf full to over flowing with books. She saw me looking at them like a thirsty man looking at cold water and she offered to lend me some. I probably would have spent the remainder of the evening just browsing her shelves if I thought it would have been acceptable guest behavior, but instead I just grabbed a few at hand and counted the minutes until I could get home to read them. I was so starved for the one joy I had always been able to engage at any time in my life..up until now. As nice as Diane was and even though I was enjoying my evening immensely, I very much wanted to get back to my room and just read. The remainder of the evening was lots of fun. We all talked and got to know each other. My tongue loosened up and I felt happy to be around "normal" people; my kind of people. Several times Diane or Glen would ask me questions about my husbands family, our home, what I did and how did I like Bahrain so far. Each time I tried to answer with honesty my husband would jump in, answer for me, then change the subject. I'm sure they got the message eventually as they almost stopped asking me anything at all before the night was over. For me it was the first time I realized my husband didn't want anyone to know how we lived, or rather how I lived. He didn't want me describing our house, or how his family treated me, or what I didn't do all day as I sat in my room counting ticks on the clock. Soon I would learn that this extended to my own family as well. Over those first few years on the rare occasion that I did speak to my mother on the phone, he sat right there listening to the whole conversation...if it seemed as if we were straying into "forbidden" territory, he would immediately claim time was up and I had to say good bye. Years later my mother told me she knew something was wrong but felt by straight out asking me she might be causing me trouble of some kind. The one phone we did have in the house (when it was on) was in his sister's bedroom so I could never use it without her knowing, and she also always sat with me during phone calls. Phone booths around our area were always broken or just not there anymore and so was rarely able to find a working one on the few occasions I purposely went looking for one. All this meant I had almost no contact with my family for the first few years I was in Bahrain. Occasional phone calls limited to a few minutes at best. By the time the evening came to a close I felt like I had found a new friend in Diane. Someone I could relate too, talk too; someone who would chase away the loneliness and make my long days a little more bearable. She invited me over again anytime I wanted and told me she would introduce me to some other ladies on the compound and that soon I would have lots of friends. I was thankful beyond words and felt as if I was grinning from ear to ear at the prospect of having friends. We said our goodbyes and headed for the car. The moment we slammed the doors my husband was lecturing me on how our lives and how we lived it was a private matter between him and I and I had no right trying to expose it to others as if we lived in a "fishbowl". One of his favorite sayings over the years. I told him that this was small talk, how people got to know each if he didn't know that since he did the same with me when we met (though he left some bits out obviously), but he wouldn't have it. He told me he wouldn't bring me to her house again if I was just going to make him look bad in other people eyes, which I thought was a strange thing to say because I hadn't actually said anything at all; good or bad as he pre-empted my answer almost every time. I sat there quietly thinking that he must be well aware how others would view the life he had brought me too if he didn't want them knowing...and judging him by it. Eventually he ruined my lovely evening by reducing me to tears; something that happened a lot those first years in Bahrain. I couldn't argue back, fight back, or defend myself...I just fell pathetically into a puddle of tears feeling absolutely useless and helpless. Looking back I'm positive I cried enough tears in those early years to keep Noah's ark afloat for a good long while. Over the next 2 years I only got to visit with Diane a couple of times. My husband was always too busy to take me there...though I felt it was more because he didn't want me to develop a close friendship with her. After both of our children were born I was able to visit her a few more times but then news came that her and Glen were leaving Bahrain. I was devastated. They were the only Americans I knew and I felt as if they were abandoning me in some if a lifeline I had to reality was being cut without warning. She invited me over for one last visit but my husband declined and I was so upset with his refusal to let me visit with her again. Later that day Glen stopped by and gave me some toddler clothes her son had outgrown and some books etc. When he arrived at our house he stood outside on the street and one of the nieces came to tell me there was a man waiting for me. She said it as if my lover had come calling openly and brazenly for all the world to see. I felt embarrassed and ashamed as if that fact were indeed true...but hurried down to see Glen, hoping Diane was with him. (all the while in the back of my head was the thought of inviting them in to the house and what they would think of it). Diane was not with him (I felt a sigh of relief actually) and he was obviously uncomfortable being there. He kept looking up and down the small street at all the men looking at him, no doubt wondering what he was doing there, who he was visiting in this house with Bahraini women etc. He was nervous and wanted to leave but spoke with me a few moments and passed along the gifts and some words from Diane. I asked him if he had an address or phone number that I could contact Diane with later on and he said he had already given it to my husband. He stood there a moment, not saying anything but acting as if he wanted too. I could see him glancing over my shoulder into the dim interior of the house, then looking up at the side of the house and then once again up and down the street. His desire to ask me if I was all right, if I wanted or needed help was palatable. I could almost hear him speaking the words even though his lips had not moved...and then he was backing away with regrets that he was very busy and needed to get going. They left Bahrain a few days later and never spoke or was in contact with Diane after that. My husband claimed Glen never gave him an address or phone number and so she was gone from my life. Tragically years later we would actually hear about Glen and Diane through another couple that knew them. Their son that was born when my daughter was born was killed in a freak accident with a lawn mover when he was around 8 years old. Even though I had not heard from her since they left I still felt so incredibly sad for her for her loss and remembered the days when our children played together. I still have one picture that shows my daughter and her son standing near each other outside in her yard. I would not meet another American family, or even American period, for several years after that. Over the 20 years of our marriage my husband purposely kept me from knowing Americans because he explained that they would lead me to "bad behavoir" or "thoughts"; that they were immoral and so would encourage me to be immoral too. Other than meeting one here and there by chance for a quick chat, I had almost no contact with fellow Americans at all in that time. Years later I would actually live near some Americans and Brits while living in Hamad Town but our friendships could not flourish simply because he wouldn't allow them too. Eventually they would get the message and break off contacat with me. I had very little to do with Americans during my marriage. The only english I spoke was broken stilted english I eventually became use to because that made it easier for nonenglish speakers to understand me. (something I was still doing when I finally returned to America in '09, so much so Americans thought I was a I was surrounded by Bahrainis and all that came with that day in and day out for most of my marriage...and yet for many of them...I was always the outsider, the foreigner, Americano englizay who they spoke of when I was sitting right there as if I couldn't possibly understand what they were saying...but then did the same when they knew I COULD understand what they were saying. I did meet some lovely Bahrainis during my life there and I know that many foreigners that have and do live in Bahrain find it a perfectly lovely place to live and can't speak highly enough about it. I envy them for that positive feeling they have of it but I was never allowed to enjoy Bahrain. To get to know it, explore it, meet the wide variety of people that live there and can't get enough of it. I was not allowed to work, socialize with anyone he didn't approve of (which meant I had very few people in my life..mostly just his extended family) and was, for the most part, surrounded by Bahrainis that didn't like me for whatever reason; or ignored me once the initial interest was over or flat out showed active disdain for me simply because I was an American. In other words, I was surrounded by negativity both inside my home, and on the odd occasions I was with other women. I made very few friends among Bahraini women despite my many attempts at forging friendships; at the end of the day they were just women I knew.