Category Archives: Personal stories

When did I join the Empire?

I am watching you. Stop using the airwaves to promote panic.

I was reading a Stephen King book this evening and a strange thing happened. In his introduction to Everything’s Eventual, he recounts a story about a radio station stunt he wanted to do to bring in my advertising dollars (he and his wife, Tabitha, own two radio stations in Bangor, Maine). It was going to be along the lines of the War of the Worlds. He says he never did it, to which I thought:

Thats a good thing because that would be a terrible misuse of government authorized air waves, it could incite panic, as it did with the War of the Worlds, and is shortsighted, selfish and myopic thing to do.

Of course, King’s reasoning had nothing to do with a concern for the public welfare, nor was it because he didn’t want to incur the wrath of the FCC. He failed in his PR mission because he just didn’t think what he wrote for the stunt was good enough.

Now, I stand by my thoughts about his stunt (seriously, in a country so paranoid that people try to shoot up pizza places because they read crap on Four Chan and Alex Jones exists, this would cause way too much havoc) but this is not a new response for me.

Not too long ago, I was out and people were watching a movie. It matters not what movie it was nor where it was being shown but it was a bootleg version of the movie and I had to leave because I felt badly about the copyright issues around watching stolen art.

I am not sure what the two really have to do with each other but while intellectually, I stand by both positions, I see that I am no longer the rebel I thought I once was. Then again, maybe I never was. Who knew I would one day join the Empire?

What really should scare you

This week, the United States carried out air strikes against Syria. This was in response to the dropping of sarin gas on a rebel held town. I will get to that but I have something else I want to write about first. You see, a number of people I know are worried that the U.S. air strikes are going to lead to war with Russia (it won’t) and are upset with me. While that is their right, their fears are misguided and are, in my opinion, in the wrong part of the world.

If war is what you want to avoid, you need to be looking at Asia. During the campaign, President Donald Trump made a lot of statements about China and its access to the South China Sea. During Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s confirmation hearings, he echoed those statements. This did not go over well with China. That government went as far as to say they would send nuclear weapons our way should be continue to meddle in their affairs. This is clearly scary and had me up at night worried about the possibility of war with China. When I was getting myself all worried, I found the graphic

This is a map of where China would send its nuclear weapons, should it want to bomb us.

This is from a Chinese magazine. Now I am encouraged by what looked to be a good meeting between President Xi and Trump so maybe we have come back from the brink of nuclear war with them but then you have Kim Jung Un.

Kim is unstable. That is not my opinion, it is pretty much everyone’s opinion. He has developed nuclear weapons and seems hell bent on developing a missile that can hit, well, us. If he can’t get it that far, he has Japan and South Korea to hit. This is incredibly scary because of how crazy Kim is. China could do something but they a, don’t want a unified Korea and b, don’t want more refugees crossing their border. Trump has made statements that we should give South Korea nuclear weapons, because more nuclear weapons always makes sense. This is a scary situation made worse by an American president with no real foreign policy. For his part, Tillerson responded to a missile test by saying, “We’ve talked enough about North Korea.” What the hell does that mean?

Speaking of Tillerson, we are now back to Syria. During the campaign, and other the last few years, Trump has said we should do nothing in Syria. Last week, Tillerson said that the fate of Bashar al Assad is up to the people of Syria. Several days later, 86 people are killed with Sarin gas. Many people believe that Assad was under the impression that he had the blessings of the current White House to do whatever the hell he wanted to his people. That is why I think the strike against the airfield was not a bad idea.

The big question is what happens next. One thing is sure, it won’t be war with Russia but what happens in Asia is anyone’s guess and that is the scary thing.

 

Fire is scary.

This is the closest thing that I can find to what may have caused the fire in question.

So, it was a Saturday morning. The time was around 9:30 am when I heard the strange noise. I went outside to see what was going on and noticed smoke all around the house. I was living in a building that housed three apartments. The heat hit me when I walked out of the porch.

I looked up and saw it; fire was shooting out of the upstairs apartment. My neighbor, Eliot, shouted that I needed to get out as soon as possible. I ran in and grabbed my cat and my computer and left.

I was not the first to call 911 but I did call. It seemed to take forever for them to come. The fire looked to be over the front part of the house but was moving fast towards the area over my apartment. It was scary.

My apartment had the porch.

The good news is that Eliot and Andrew had taken their cat to  the vet earlier that day. I do not think the cat would have survived the fire had he been there. The bad news is that no one was going to be able to live in the building until it was totally repaired. The person from the Gainesville fire department said that she believed the fire was started with a problem with the toaster oven. Wow.

When all of this was happening, the landlord came by with the man who did any repairs to the building. After being able to get some stuff out of my unit, I was able to see that there was no damage to my apartment from the fire itself. There was some damage due to smoke and water but not from the fire. I was ok, Squirrel was ok and most of my stuff was ok. That is all good and I am truly grateful that no one was injured or worse.

This is the room where the fire started.

 

But, then it all became a total pain in the ass. I went to stay with my mother. She had an air mattress and a study and that is where I was staying. My back hurt. I liked my apartment. I started dreaming about it.

She offered to get a different air mattress but seriously, there is a ceiling for how comfortable that can really be.

I started looking for apartments and that grew sad. Some that I saw were way too small. I was thinking I would just find something for the summer but then began to see that the place I was in probably will not be ready by the time I would want to move in.

The landlord’s insurance is suing the tenants’ insurance. The fire was on February 18. Nearly a month later and nothing has been done.

There was a vine growing through this crack.

Luckily, I found a new place. That is good. I was back at the old place and saw this. You can see out from the inside and there was a plant growing into my living room.

Now, my new place is about three blocks from the old place. I have much more room and a nice porch. I even have a nice fireplace for cold nights like tonight.

Fire can be great. This fireplace makes me very happy.

The new place is nice and I am glad I found it. If you rent a place, please get renter’s insurance. Fire is scary.

Squirrel on her new porch, sitting in her cat tree.

 

No, I don’t forgive you

I do not forgive you for leaving me with a violent sociopath to raise me.
I do not forgive you for leaving at all.
I do not forgive you for always putting someone or something else before me.
Yourself.
Your needs.
Your wants.
I do not forgive you for taking me away and then sending me back.
I do not forgive you for making me think it was my decision.
For years, I would say, “You sent me back.” Your reply was always, “You wanted to go.”
I was six. I also wanted a mother who loved me and a father who did not beat me.

I do not forgive you for missing my entire childhood.

I do not forgive you for not being there when I needed you.
I do not forgive you for not doing what you knew I needed and I knew I wanted — to live away from the chaos of life with violence and fear and shame.

I do not forgive you for cutting me out of your life.
I do not forgive you for getting married and not telling me.
Looking back, I think that was your way of letting me know, you had moved on.
From me.

I do not forgive you for leaving me that day in the Monterey Aquarium.
Your friend told me, she saw that you loved him and had committed yourself and your life to him.
I do not forgive you for not making that same commitment to me.

I do not forgive you for showing up once or twice a year expecting my life to conform to your wants and desires.

I do not forgive you for abdicating all of your maternal responsibilities.
I do not forgive you for not wanting me to press charges when John Gill tried to kill me the first time.
The second time.
The third time.

I do not forgive you for taking credit for my successes but not my failures.
Because you have no claim on either.
I am my worst mistakes as well as my greatest achievements.

I do not forgive you for taking his side over mine.
I was there for you when you needed me.
I do not forgive you for making me hide when he came to get you.
I do not forgive you for asking me to be there and then dismissing my support.

You wanted me there when you needed something.
And then gone when you did not.
I do not forgive you for that.

I do not forgive you for cutting me out of your home when he told you to.

I do not forgive you for never taking responsibility for your own actions.
I do not forgive you for seeing your actions only through the prism of your intentions.
I do not forgive you for acting like the victim when you have never been that.
I do not forgive you for saying, “John Gill wasn’t that bad.”
I do not forgive you for telling me when I told you I was raped, that “It happens to everyone.”
I do not forgive you for trying to discourage me almost every step of the way while then reveling when I did well.

The advance job was not a bad idea.
The trip to Nepal was not a bad idea.
My comedy is not bad for me.

I do not forgive you for being surprised that two years of good deeds do not make up for decades of neglect.
The hill of good will you have built is overshadowed by the Everest of bad.

I do not forgive you.
I may never forgive you.

You do not care, or maybe you do but cannot admit it, that you hurt me.
You think that happened so long ago that I should be over it.

I know that I put it all in a box.
I put that box in a closet.
In our house on Maple Avenue.
In Stony Brook, New York.

Thomas Friedman says, “if you do not visit the bad neighborhood, eventually, it visits you.”
I just heard a knock on the door.

It was a long time ago but it is here, with me always.
Until I invite it in and we talk, it always will be.

Your guilt should be real but it is yours.

It is neither my fault nor my problem.
I do not forgive you for thinking it is.

I deal with you now because I have divorced you from yourself.
I deal with you now because I do care.
You need to divorce your actions from your intentions.
You should have good intentions but are judged on the results of your actions.

You fell asleep with a cigarette burning.
You never intended the house to burn down.
But the house is gone.
And we are homeless.

You left me to deal with the mess of a marriage that was not mine.

I may never forgive you.
That is my problem.
Not yours.
I am working on it.