Tag Archives: driving

4AM

I watch from my window
While your tail lights vanish in the rain.
The streets smearstain
Into a red and green fingerpainting,
Flickering with the traffic signals,
As fickle as your interest in me.
Blurred and tearstreaked,
The wet masterpiece
Stays illuminated
By a cold lemondrop moon.

I know I’ll never see you again.

All the frothy promises
And cottoncandy plans
Dissolve in the morning mist.
My lips still hum from your kiss,
But I feel your vague disappointment,
Your perpetual darkness
Guarded by barbedwire.

I wander outside to feed the ferals—
Two slinky shadows, silhouettes cut from coal;
Crunchy nuggets clink into the cats’ dish.
How I wish I could make a wish,
But there are no do-overs here.
I always fail with a complicated man;
I don’t respond well to the tortured genius soul
Who needs the perfect femme fatale,
A Marilyn to his Al.

I fail with the uncomplicated too.

You told me I was nothing like her,
The ex who depressed you—
I thought that was a good thing;
But now I imagine you search
For her likeness,
In hopes of recreating some sick
Woody Allen type lobster scene,
To find catharsis
And absolution.
And though I sneer and snark,
I want to play a part
In this execution.

I gaze up at that judgy stone face,
Unflinchingly—
In my disordered state:
Jammie pants, damp coat,
Tangled mass of bedhead.
“Is it something I said?”
Yes.
I ponder this relationship chess;
I might just be on the precipice
Of finally understanding
Something,
Anything,
A small piece of this
Jagged, glassy, bloody puzzle.

“Is it something I didn’t say?”
Also yes.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Precipice

Blowin’ In The Wind

Last evening after work I headed from my office in Irvine toward a poetry meetup in the city of Orange. I had my navigator on and was listening to oldies tunes in between the directions. Nav was telling me to get on the 55 in some convoluted way, but I’ve learned not to argue with her. Just follow along, like a sheep, baaaa.

As I was driving on Warner, I noticed there was something taped low on the passenger side of my windshield. An ad? Not sure. Usually ads are stuffed under the wiper on the driver’s side to make sure you see them, plus this looked too small to be an ad. I didn’t think it had been there in the morning when I drove to work ~ surely I would have spotted it then. But perhaps not, who knows.

I remembered that the homeless dude who keeps his stuff in one of the storage cabinets at my apartment complex left a note on my car a few weeks ago thanking me for letting him use my cabinet. First, I haven’t “let” anyone do anything; I simply didn’t shriek at him to go away like my neighbor did when she encountered him. I just shrugged when I saw him and got in my car. Second, it’s not my cabinet he’s using. Third, when he left a note, it was on a ripped piece of cardboard sitting on top of my trunk, not something taped to my window. This of course doesn’t preclude a leveling up of note-leaving by said homeless dude, so we can’t rule it out.

I didn’t go out at lunch yesterday, so the note (or whatever) couldn’t have been left from an advertiser in the shopping plaza nearby. If it was from someone like that, s/he would have been sneaking around a private garage during the workday, which is unlikely, but not impossible. Someone who has legit parking privileges could also moonlight as an Avon rep or whatever and be leaving ads on cars in the garage, I guess, though it’s probably against the rules.

Or… it could have been a nastygram from someone who found fault with my driving or parking, sort of a prelude to the guy who yelled at me later in the evening for parking on a street near the poetry place without a permit. I had to get back in my car and repark on a different street. What a pain in the ass that all was, but… pomes!

But my favorite idea is this… imagine that some man has had a crush on me (shaddap! it could happen!)… he sees me in the garage at work from time to time. Maybe he he’s even been in line with me at the cafe for a coffee or lunch. Perhaps he’s held the door for me and I’ve said thank you, but haven’t really noticed him. We may have taken the same elevator together, or possibly he works on a higher floor and uses the other elevator bank. Could be he doesn’t always get to work at the same time every day like I do, but he does know my car now. He decided that the next time he sees me he’s going to say something, but our schedules haven’t meshed for a while. So, he left me a note! It was something cute, witty, with a pic, contact info, whatever, idk. Nothing creepy.

All the above went through my mind in about two seconds and I decided I should pull over and retrieve the note. Because obviously it was from a secret admirer. Right?! Yes, yes. But I was in the left lane, and before I could move to the right and find a place to stop, the note detached and blew away.

The end.

secret-admirer

Blurry

blurry

This is one of my early cell phone camera photos, taken with my Moto. I loved that phone because it was so easy to deal with. It had internet access, but I couldn’t do “too much” internetting on it, or it would get overwhelmed and shut down. That was fine though. There was certainly enough time to stalk people and rabbit-hole down links from my laptop at home; I didn’t need to be doing that when I was out and about. But I can now with my Samsung Galaxy 5. Great.

The G5 also takes much better photos. Well, sort of. If I get everything right, then I end up with a perfect photo. But since I don’t understand 90% of the feechurs, and can’t be bothered trying to figure them out because there are people to stalk, links to follow into rabbit holes, books to read, pomes to write, socks to alphabetize, etc., I end up clicking away stupidly and getting pretty much the same variable quality photos as before on the Moto. Lots of blurry kitty faces half-turned away, basically.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m much happier with the Samsung now and wouldn’t go back. Once you have more technology you don’t want to settle for less. I have multiple ways to get in touch with my kids, for one thing. Actually, that’s the main thing.

But this pic is still a fave. I like the colors and the composition; it reminds me of the hectic pace here in SoCal. Most of us are not “laid-back” as people elsewhere think we are, lazing around on beaches, not working, chilled out. We are forever rushing somewhere, usually in our cars, and totes stressed. I used this pic as the cover photo for Gatsby’s Facebook page. Because of course I have a page for my cat. ^..^

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Blur

Crafty

crafty

 

I’m trying to remember the first handmade thing I created, in response to today’s “craft” prompt (which could be interpreted as boat or beer, but I’m not going in those directions). It was probably one of those ridiculous summer camp pencil holders made out of a frozen OJ can with glued-on popsicle sticks and covered with paint and glitter. Did anyone ever use these things, or just dump them right in the trash? This would have been when I was 6 or 7 years old, when we lived in Sleepy Hollow,  NY. We were there two years and both my parents worked full-time. One summer I went to camp with mean girls and the other I stayed with a grumpy old lady and her idiot grandsons. Both were horrible experiences. But I digress.

When we moved to Longuyland my new friends were into beads, so I made a ton of beady necklaces and bracelets. My mom saved some of them and possibly one of my daughters kept a few for sentimental value. This would have been when I was 8-9.

When we moved to New Jersey my mom made a giant house for my Barbies out of moving boxes and wallpapered it to match my room. We shopped for accessories to make rooms for the dolls, and she taught me how to knit and crochet so I could make teensy blankets and rugs for them. Later I turned it into a harem, but that’s beside the point. Well, there’s like one Ken for every 20 Barbies ~ Mattel must have foreseen this. Anyway, creating little dollhouse items was my crafty obsession around age 10.

In Jersey, my mom got very into DIY and sewing, so I tagged along and ended up learning some too. I embroidered a denim shirt for home ec and put together an outfit to model at the end of the semester (that I secretly took home at night for my mom to fix up on her sewing machine). I enjoyed that a lot and continued doing needlework after the class ended, buying kits and learning new stitches, making pillows and pictures. Mom and I made candles for a while too.

I stuck with the sewing type crafts for many years. When my girls were little I painted tee shirts. That was a lot of fun and the shirts came out great… I was thinking of starting a biz, until I overdid it and could no longer move my thumb without excruciating pain. Nixed my cake decorating career also. I switched to creating fancy photo scrapbooks, which became my obsession for the next several years. All along I still did the needlework, but as I aged I found I had less patience for it and nowadays have no interest in the detailed “art” type pictures, though I still would like to learn to knit and crochet (I’ve forgotten how). I know there are a million vids ~ maybe I’m not motivated enough yet.

One of the main problem with crafts is that they’re expensive. I priced out how much it would cost to knit a poncho (my ultimate goal)… and depending on the style it might be about 3x more than just buying one! I may do it anyway. And going down the bead path again (occasionally tempting)… yikes! I spent a ton of money back in my scrapbook days… and my tee shirt biz would no doubt have been a tax write-off. 🙂

Yesterday I wanted to go to an antique crafty show near my apt, but there was nowhere to park and I was trapped in the lot for few minutes, which was super stressful. ACK DRIVING ISSUES AGAIN. Anyway, I was happy to escape with my life and car intact. Will try again another time, another place.

*
The Daily Prompt: Craft

A Lurve Pome, More or Less (Mostly Less)

I’m glad I never got to know you–
You thought I lived too far away.
The commute is horrendous:
Orange County to Ellay.
No one wants to do it;
You’d have to be insane.
No one is that desperate,
Certainly not you,
Handsome, successful…
I looked up your schools,
Well, everything really–
You’re quite googleable.

Remember when I wrote to you
On Plenty of Fish
And said I wished
You’d forget your rule
About distance
Just this once?
Of course you don’t!
But you said I was pretty
And a good writer too.
High praise, I thought,
Coming from you,
Even if it was
Polite bullpoop
Just to get rid of me–
Someone in your industry–
And you did not want
To make an enemy.
It was very civilized,
And I hope you’re doing well tonight,
Not that you need good wishes from me
Or anything else
Obviously.

I refuse to get nasty
And slide into snark
About the fifty miles by car,
Even though
People get together, I’ve heard,
From different states and even
Other countries, but then again
They don’t have to merge
Onto the dreaded four-oh-five.
I get it, I really do, my friend;
All’s fair.
You’re a busy guy–
You don’t have time
To make that drive;
Even if I had met you there,
You would have had to do it
Eventually.
You knew that,
And declined
For your peace of mind,
But sweetly,
Unlike the usual crude galoot
Galumphing about these sites.
I soaked up your drops of praise
Like a thirsty desert daisy.
Rejection made sense, and
You’re nothing but logical,
Which I have to respect.
And I do.

But then today
After yet another near-disaster
Of epic proportions
(Is there any other kind?),
And an anxious, sleepless night,
What do I find?
Facebook has bought a clue
To my old stalking of you
And suggested we be friends.
How about that?
Would you like to see
Pictures of my cat?
Perhaps you’d enjoy
My episodic complaints
About parking spaces,
And I could comment on
Your erudite opinion of the day.
We could be lovely friends;
How clever of an algorithm
To match us up
Once again.

I jest of course.
No worries — you’re safe!
Though I was happy to gaze
Upon your kindly face
That Facebook presented:
The gentle smile
And twinkling eyes.
I always thought
You looked kinda hot
In that plain grey tee–
Arms crossed,
Not showing off, but…
Anyway, what is it now,
A decade old?
I’ve seen a current photo
With less hair
And more flesh,
But still appealing
Nevertheless,
On your company site,
Where I just happened to click
After googling because
Everyone else is so awful.
And you know what?
You’re probably awful too.
Despite the nice rejection,
I know this, or suspect.
You’re likely not insane
Like the guy last night
And most of the others
I somehow attract
Like flypaper for freaks
(As a friend fondly puts it),
But you would not have
Enough time for me,
Mr. Busy Guy,
Guaranteed.
And it would
Ultimately
Break my heart.
How do I know
In advance?
Trust me, I do:
I have had this dance.

So, I am glad
I do not live in Ellay,
Or you behind the curtain;
It’s better this way.
Better to think of you:
Handsome, aloof,
Successful and kind.
And if you remembered me
(Which of course you do not),
You’d say ah the pretty one,
Yes, I thought she could write,
Has she sold a screenplay?
HAH!
Sold a screenplay?!
I’m dying!
We’d clink our glasses
And we’d laugh.
I’m sure you have a wonderful laugh,
Never mocking, not sarcastic,
No “New York sense of humor”–
Code for being an asshole,
Not you.
You would be… a nice guy.
That sounds boring.
Who says this anymore?
A nice guy, pffft!
You probably wouldn’t be one
In reality,
Or I would break you bad
Like I apparently do to all men
Over and over again.
Yet in my dreams,
You will remain
That sweet guy who
Said I was pretty and could write,
The nicest guy I never met:
You.

Two for Tuesday ~ Driving Dreams

I’ve had two disturbing vehicle-related dreams since I bought my car in early January. The first dream occurred a few weeks ago. I was driving Sweet Caroline with one of my exes sitting very close to me. Really close. In fact, he was squashing me up against the driver’s door to the point where it became hard for me to steer. But I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to make him angry. Or interrupt him while he was jabbering away about something or other. But I ended up driving off a cliff. I gasped and then he noticed what had happened. He told me not to panic but to steer to the right and there were definitely things we could do to mitigate this unfortunate circumstance if we kept clear heads and used logic. Blah blah blah blah. He was still talking when I woke up.

I don’t know if that’s true. Should you steer to the right if you drive off a cliff? LOL

The second dream occurred last week. I was with this same ex and this time we were in his pickup truck. He was driving, yet even so he was somehow again sitting so close to me that I was squashed up against the door, this time the passenger door. He had the passenger window all the way down and locked in place, and he kept circling past this group of three dogs, stopping so they could jump up in my face, snapping and snarling. They hated me and wanted to kill me. I was so scared and asked him to please move over so I could get away from the window, but he wouldn’t. For whatever reason, I didn’t ask him to quit driving near the dogs. Finally, after doing this repeatedly with the dogs able to get closer to me each time, he opened the door and pushed me out on the ground to be attacked and killed. Then I woke up.

What’s weird is that I hardly ever, if ever, dreamt about this ex at all until now. Nothing memorable either. Something about the new car is triggering something about him? Idk. I do think and talk about him sometimes, as I think and talk about my exes generally, for life-clarification purposes, mostly to myself. Talking to yourself is a sign of genius, yo! I read it on the internutz somewhere.

An interesting thing that only just occurred to me is that since I moved to California my car pattern has been like so: blue Alliance, beige Stanza, blue Camry, beige Camry, blue Camry, beige Corolla. Huh. This must mean something!

Dream interpreters, fire away!

Silverado Country Fair

Rob and I went to a fair yesterday in Silverado Canyon, about 25 miles inland. It was so hot out! My car temp was 106F when we headed back. Despite that, the fair was really fun. We saw a bunch of cool art, met some of the artists, and did a craft ourselves. I was really pleased to find some dangly kitty earrings made of real silver, just like some I lost years ago, for only $10. I polished them at home and they look adorable.

Here are some fair pix…

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Donkey looks sad all cooped up. There were cute goats too and their owner said they’d been “debutted,” which made me feel too bad to take their pic.

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Rob is weaving by crisscrossing various blue yarn strands in a grooved cardboard disc. I did one too in browns and called the result a monkey’s tail.

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We decide to take a cookie break…

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Zomg! There’s a cookie in my cookie! It’s like a turducken… or would be if there was a PB cup on top of the Oreo. (Bakers, take note.)

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Rob won a yellow monkey in the beanbag toss! Lookit his long fluffy tail! The monkey’s, not Rob’s.

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Rob gave the monkey to me (aww, thanks!) and we decided to name it Donovan ~ Donny for short. Can you figure out why?

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I wuvs him. 🙂

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I bought a toy for Gatsby, and as you can see… he’s utterly thrilled.

After the fair, Rob and I went to see Mission Impossible ~ Rogue Nation at the $3 theater to get some A/C. Fun movie! And the freezing cold Coke Icee hit the spot.

What a great day. I love fairs.

My New Gig [fiction]

It was 1987 and I was flying high. January first I went to a potluck and a dude there offered me a gig for fifty gees. His name was Tumbleweed and I didn’t ask why. Over a plateful of macaroni salad and Swedish meatballs, he said he needed a driver for a couple months, and I told him I was free. Jimmy Bluenose whispered a word in his ear, and that was that. No, I didn’t have a résumé with me. As if.

Tumbleweed went out of the country for a week (I did not ask where), and gave me a jingle on the tenth.

“Be at Magnolia and PCH five ayem.”

OK, the dude wasn’t much for small talk, but I wasn’t about to complain when he was paying me fifty big ones just to drive people around. I put on my monkey suit, slicked my hair into a neat ponytail, and off I went.

I picked up a man with two blonde girls and drove them to LAX. They were silent the entire drive, so I played an Abba tape. If they wanted something other than Dancing Queen, they only had to speak up, but the trio stared straight ahead.

We made LAX in good time. Finally, the last blonde out of the car said, “I liked that Waterloo song.”

“I’m glad,” I said. “Have a nice trip.”

She just rolled her eyes like I was an idiot.

The second she shut the door, Tumbleweed buzzed me. “Wait there. Black guy in a green suit needs a ride at noon.”

Noon? I had almost seven hours to kill. I went to a coffee shop nearby and sat next to a redhead in black spandex. She was eating French toast with bacon.

“That looks good,” I said, motioning for the waitress to fill ‘er up.

“Fifty bucks,” the redhead replied.

I glanced at her plate again. “For French toast?”

“Yeah,” she smirked. “For French toast.”

Oh. I guess I’m a little slow. I had scrambled eggs and coffee, and then “French toast” in my car.

“Look,” the redhead said. “I like you and all. But next time, please… no Mamma Mia.”

“Gotcha,” I said, ejecting Abba and slipping in Bruce Springsteen.

“Much better,” she said. “But I have to get going.”

I still had some time, so I went to a bookstore and picked up a couple Mickey’s I hadn’t yet read. Sat on a sofa there and read half of one before it was time to get the black guy in the green suit.

He opened my door at one minute after twelve. I was already loving this gig and the prompt, considerate customers. Or whatever they were.

In the back, Green Suit opened a briefcase and began rummaging through it. I couldn’t see what he was doing because the lid obscured my view.

Finally after ten minutes I asked, “What’s our destination?”

He peered over the lid, looking irritated. “Las Vegas. The Flamingo. And we need to get there by four sharp, so I suggest you move along.”

Jesus! I floored it to Vegas, praying I wouldn’t get stopped for a ticket since there was still that little matter of my probation, and the road gods listened because we made it there at four twenty-five.

Green Suit exited my car without a word. Immediately my phone buzzed. “Pick up the brunette in the yellow dress outside the Embassy Suites and take her to Newark.”

“Newark… New Jersey?”

Click.

Well, shit. I guess he meant New Jersey, since I didn’t know of any other Newarks. I drove over to the Embassy Suites and sure enough Yellow Dress stood under the canopy.

“You’re late,” she announced, showing a lot of leg as she slid into the front seat next to me.

“Sorry honey.” I grinned at her. “I had to pick up milk for the kids.”

She lit a cigarette. “You’re hilarious.”

“Thank you, my dear.” I pulled onto the main drag.

“My pimp’s after me,” she replied. “He’s armed and dangerous.”

It was 1987. I was on cruise control and headed for a wall.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

[written during my Saturday prompts meetup and slightly edited]

Image

Wordless Wednesday

Berkeley mobile cupcakery

Dos Sueños

I think about driving a lot. Not in the guy-sense of woo I’m such a great driver, vroom vroom, but in the terrified doom sense of feeling I’m going to die in a crash at some point, either because I do something stupid or (more likely) some maniac smashes into me. Then there is the less dramatic but still horrible feeling that any day one of my daughters or I will end up in a minor accident. And massive paperwork/hassle/financial-messiness will ensue.

This isn’t anything new/weird for me. I just don’t talk about it that much.

And it isn’t irrational ~ car accidents are pretty damn common. This is a more reasonable thing to worry about than, say, your kid getting abducted/molested by a stranger, which people obsess over constantly.

Not that worrying helps unless it causes you to drive more safely or, better yet, stay off the roads. That’s pretty impractical though.

Earlier this week I dreamt I drove alone to a big house because I had to go to a thingie with my ex’s family. Dunno what thingie, not the point. Point is the house was huge and so was the driveway, yet there were already cars parked in it, all crookedly (I’m famous for my crooked parking), and even though there looked to be room, it was hard to maneuver. I managed to squish my car at an angle between two others. Everything was OK. But then I decided I should straighten a bit, backed up, and mashed right into another car. It was silver ~ this I remember, but not what I was driving or much other detail.

When I looked to my left, I thought I saw my ex sitting in the driver’s seat of a car a little ways away, watching me and smiling, but when I refocused it was some other man I don’t even know.

*

Then two nights ago I dreamt I was in a house with my youngest daughter ~ kind of a townhouse type of thing, but not a place where we actually lived. She was around 10 years old, and some other girls were there, too, playing I guess. There was a horrible loud noise and I somehow knew it was a plane… went outside and there was an airplane on fire in the sky, with stuff falling out of it, suitcases, whatever. The air began to fill with smoke and ash, but when I turned to go in, my little girl had opened the front door and the cat ran out. She began yelling and chasing it, which made it run more. Papers from the plane were falling all around us while the thing kept flying and burning. Finally my daughter caught the cat and we all went in the house.

At least I haven’t dreamt about tsunamis in a while.