Sightseers into Pilgrims, by Evangeline Paterson I used to think -- loving life so greatly -- that to die would be like leaving a party before the end. Now I know that the party is really happening somewhere else; that the light and the music -- escaping in snatches to make the pulse beat and the tempo quicken -- come from a long way away. And I know too that when I get there the music will never end.
Somewhere on Penny Lane where blackbirds sing, I fell in love with him. I promised to be true, just as he asked, even though I was just 17 and not yet a paperback writer.
Now, in a vast concert hall where everyone was twisting and shouting, my best friend, Eleanor Rigby, began to scream. Continue reading
As I drive the seven hours to my mom’s facility where she is suffering from end-stage dementia, my heart beats fast and fills up with pale blue, silky pink emotions. At 6:30 a.m. I’ve been driving for over an hour. The sun begins its rosy ascent over the paved hard highway, and I’m lulled by the soft snores of my daughter in the passenger seat and my two young grandsons in the back seat, covered from chin to toe in soft flannel blankets. Continue reading
In my local post office, the clerks have no sense of humor. One town over, the postal clerks are much too officious, and one town away from them, the line is always too long and the lobby smells of old wet non-delivered letters.
I don’t want to be rushed or frowned on or holding my nose when I send a precious package to my mom. She lives seven hours away and misses me. My packages are one way for us to feel closer.
I sidle up to the “friendly” post office counter, trying to look relaxed and casual. “Do you think I’m being too optimistic?” I ask shyly, pushing my parcel in front of the male clerk. Continue reading
A pet peeve is a gripe we like to handle and stroke, encourage and feed, like a pet.
Some enjoy finding irritation just around the corner. And granted, irritations are always around the corner, like bad traffic.
(Speaking of which, are driving rules different now? Are new drivers taught NOT to signal when they turn left or right? Because the majority of drivers seem to think they’re the only ones on the road; they just turn whenever and wherever they damn well please, no warning necessary).
But these drivers don’t get to me. Oh no, no peeving platitudes from me.
I hear many complaints from those vexed with the self-appointed “important” person in front of them – at the bank or the grocery store, for instance – who ignores the clerk ringing up her goods or cash so she can answer her extremely crucial phone call, the one in which she responds with chortles and chatter, while the hapless clerk and the people in line behind her wait patiently for the immensely essential exchange to end, so that everyone can get along with their business.
Such inane indifference to the inappropriate disruption of everyone else’s needs doesn’t bother me in the least.
Oh no, I refuse to pet the peeve, just breathing in and out, whistling a happy tune, and wishing only the best for the batty bitch.
I understand the exasperation of those who try to communicate with their friends and family who never answer their phones. Many extremely busy people only respond to texts (when convenient) and laugh at the idea of listening to voice mail messages.
I just shrug in acceptance.
“How do you stay so calm when you can’t reach someone by phone, when they won’t even listen to your messages?” my dear friends ask. “My kids won’t listen to the voice mail even if I text them that I’ve left them a critical message!”
I smile serenely and explain, “I sing.”
“When I leave a message for someone on their voice mail, after trying e-mail, text, and even a sweet snail-mail card, I call their voice mail and sing “I’ve Just Seen A Face,” from the Beatles Rubber Soul album, – from the first verse to the last.”
The stunned horrified expression on my buddies’ faces always makes me grin.
“And then what?” they whisper in shock.
“I get a call back.”
A jealous gasp.
I don’t mention that the return call may be a week later. Or that the recipient of my Beatles tune never ever acknowledges my singing message.
But that’s okay. I don’t believe in petting the peeve.