Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Story About Family

It was the perfect day. I hadn't had a perfect day in sometime. I guess the odds are always against the perfect day to begin with, so you can't really get mad when it doesn't happen. Only when you get the opposing force of the perfect day...the day of reckoning.

We were sitting on the couch as a family watching ALF and laughing. The kids were laughing at the primitive, furry, man filled space alien on the screen. He looked so funny when he tried to run. We were laughing because we cannot believe we thought this was funny once. Once in a different world. The kids are eating popsickles and mom and I are endulging in a Hot and Ready on the couch like viking barbarians. There is a cool breeze blowing on our faces from the window. It is a perfect 75 degrees outside. In the night sky, the moon lights the paths of the drunkards stumbling home from their corner spouses. They make no noise, but watch the beauty of a family realizing that all they really have is each other dancing inside the windows. The screen flashes with electric pictures and the depth of the beauty of family forces us all to close our eyes and feel the flakes fall on our shoulders...our eye lashes. It feels beautiful. We lift out faces to the sky and stick out our tongues to catch the falling cedars...........Cedars? "What is this?" We look up at the blizzard of saw dust falling onto our faces. It's both beautiful and confusing. It sparks at the occasional nail for a moment and continues splitting a line directed between us. Between my family. It begins to darken. The beauty of the dust showering us is now lost and it begins to get in our eyes and fills our stomachs. It is revolting. I makes us cough hysterically as we try to find each other in the darkness. The dust is razors now. It cuts into the very things we never wanted to happen as kids. It drives distance between us and separates us from who we always wanted to be. Our dreams will be the next to fall prey to the cedar snow. Our dreams will be pressed into wooden statues that will be gauked at by artsies and pretend artsies. They will look at our statues and get sad feelings about their parents or their lack thereof. They will buy those statues as symbols of their undying committment to never make committments. Our destruction will become art.

The sawdust flies in our faces and our kids are screaming, but nothing will keep us apart. Nothing will keep our hands from interlocking fingers again. We will join together or die. This is art to us. We stand in a circle holding hands and dancing around as the sawdust falls like a midnight snow all around us. Above us, we know there is a blade coming, but it cannot touch us. It may rain as much as it would like, but it will not separate our fingers from each other's. It's steel will recoil. It will fail. This doll house will fall, but our family will remain. Whoever wishes to bring it down and separate it's parts will walk away unfullfilled. He will walk away with a hot saw, but a heart turned to liquid.

But for now, we just dance in the falling cedar that has not power to stop us.


Thanks for reading...Z

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Way It Feels To Wake Up

I know I haven't posted for a while I have been on "Vacation!!!!" I have also been evaluating the way workless days and beautiful sunsets effected my mood. I am still at a stand still. This morning I woke up sad. Was it because I am home from Up North? Was it because I have only 3 more days until the end of vacation? I don't know. I am just riding the ride, not analyzing it. The sun comes up and I wake the same flesh I was the night before, but my constitution seems to be different. I am not gonna write about how sad it is to be depressed...this thought bores even me. I just wanna write about how weird it is to wake a different person. Yesterday my first thought was that I hoped the coffee wasn't too strong and couldn't wait to sit under the sun and read a book. This morning I was hoping I was still dreaming when I woke. This bout isn't gonna be bad....I can feel that already. The first days of the bad spells are usually the worst and leave me like crinkled paper on the floor. Today I just felt blah...like a dolphin at Sea World might feel on Thursday during a school year. He didn't feel like performing, but when he did, there were only 3 people watching. I am not gonna need Hospice for this one, just a great new album or a life re-defining movie and I'll be fine. This one doesn't feel like the end.

But the change from day to day doesn't make me write to you. It's the view of what that change means to me, from my own eyes. It's the view from two different people's eyes. One sees the losing horse, the other sees a really brave attempt by a horse with a broken leg.

Here is a list of blessings that make things brighter and are probably the reason I am not emotionally crippled right now.

1. Most of the world has it way worse.
2. I got a new job! This was the ONE I wanted.
3. Most importantly, my daughter still calls me daddy, and son still asks me if I am proud of him. My wife always believes the best of both.

Is that all anyone could ask for or what?


Thanks for reading...Z

Monday, June 11, 2012

Someone Who Made Me His Son

My first vivid memory was in a courtroom, staring at a small hole in the toe of my mother's friend's nylons. I was looking at the hole as my mother told the court a story they didn't believe for some awful reason. The world tells me I technically have no dad. I disagree. I believe I have dads...plural. I have my Father in Heaven who reminded me while I was a pre-teen weeping on a warm dryer that I have never been alone. I have the closest thing I have ever had to a father in this man Jim. He took me into his home. I stayed so many nights there, being loud and being me. I must have annoyed him, he worked at like nasty in the morning and we stayed up until then at least. I didn't realize it at first. I didn't get it at first. He was quiet, which I was not. He doesn't always throw his feelings at you, which I do. So I didn't understand him at first. It was this one day that I finally understood how he looked at me. I was like one of his own. He took the day off of work. This was rare for him...at least in the time I knew him. I had lost my license due to many, many tickets in various cities. He knew I needed to drive to work and somehow knew I would be worth it. He took that day off work and took me to every courtroom and station and paid my fines for me. That day, my license was restored and I could drive without fear again. He doesn't know how much that meant to me. It meant more than any act that any man has done for me. I paid him back in half the time we had worked out. I could not disappoint him.

I was standing at the grave of my brother...who wasn't my blood brother. I walked up and looked down at his pale, painted face and began to cry. A hand grasped my shoulder and squeezed. It was his. I did this again hours later...again the same hand grasped my shoulder. It was HIS kid. He should be the one weeping and I should be trying to console him, but he reached out to me. He helped me feel less alone that day. He doesn't know this either.

I remember when he took us canoeing in Gladwin up north.  All three of us knew he didn't like that situation. Roughing it was never one of his priorities. He wanted to spend time with his kids and he invited me. I was surprised, but I packed before I even said yes. We got on the water and paddled quietly. No one said anything until his boat flipped over and he was engulfed in water. We all jumped out to help. I don't think he needed any of our help, but we all wanted him to have a good time so bad. The three of us left that weekend happy. Canoeing is canoeing. Spending time with a person who travels out of his comfort zone to tell you he loves you is beautiful.

He was a Godsend to me. Thank you.


Thanks for reading...Z

Monday, June 4, 2012


I woke up. It was 3:15 AM. I was surrounded by anger. I was buried in my disappointment. When you sleep you are vulnerable to anything that wants to infiltrate your mind while your defenses are down. I was trapped somewhere between then and now, with people from then inhabiting the now. Even when dreaming, I understand something isn't right, but cannot put my finger on it. I just cannot figure out I am dreaming and it's gonna be over as soon as I realize it and wake myself up. But dreams are cruel. They seem to be working against us, bringing our deepest fears and regrets to the forefront. Maybe it's because we try so hard when lucid to keep them out. During the day, I go to great measures to remain at peace with myself and my surroundings, and admittedly sometimes God. This night I am with my brother, who I know good and well cannot be speaking to me in the here and now...again I do not connect the dots. I just enjoy it while I can because something inside tells me it cannot last. For a few moments, we are back in his old Escort EXP. I am staring at the lobster fork he boosted from Red Lobster and stuck into his dash board. I look down at my own hands as they spin and twirl a lit cigarette, something I haven't done in many years. Joe's in the back hatch because he busted on some ice sometime before. We had a rule that if you fell down or got caught crying, you had to lay in the back hatch because the car was a two seater. We stopped and looked up through the sunroof at the night sky drop snow onto the glass. We said nothing, none of us did. It was as if the dream versions of Joe and Will also knew this wasn't going to last. I woke up moments later grasping air with empty hands. These things don't happen often anymore, but when they do, they awaken something underneath and I am overcome with anger at just how unfair life can be. It does what it does and it doesn't care who you are or how hard you are trying. Then I must pull myself together and make it ok. Beasts belong in cages in a civilized world. So we have to find ways to put them there. I do these things to lure it in.

I run. This is new to me because I have always hated it. Then one day, for no particular reason I loved it. I found myself in the battle again. I believe I have always belonged in the battle. I fight well. I am exhausted at the end and too tired to feel the fire. I had a really cool moment yesterday during a run. I was running down this small road and the lady was running toward me from the opposite direction. She put up her hand for me to slap it, and I did. No words spoken, just silent agreement that this was peace and we are human and things can be very beautiful in a sometimes rotten world.

I lift weights. If you want a quick release of whatever is eating you. Go lift something that is heavier than your body wants to lift. Then lift it again and again until everything underneath is gone.

I listen to music with no lyrics, or no decipherable ones. Sometimes I mix those songs with sounds of distant trains or wind chimes. I get alone in the dark with headphones and allow myself to breath deeply in and out. You can actually feel your heart slow and your respirations deepen and get quieter. In 30 minutes, I am sometimes a different person.

I play with my kids. There is nothing more calming than to play with or spend time with someone who is truly innocent. They have no bad intentions or silent motives. There is no pain attached to seeing them. No sorrow in their voices. They are a reminder of freedom. Freedom is calming.

Most days now, I am doing well. Most days I think about him and smile. Most days I am at peace. Some days I am not. Some days I can't breath. I am more positive now. I have no desire to live in the darkness of regret. I sometimes pitch a tent there, but my home is with the living. I am happy and content these days. I think this is reflected in the decrease in posts on this blog. I really am trying to improve my frequency of writing. I believe it is just as important to share your happiness as it is your sadness. Otherwise, if you haven't met me, you would think I am this gloomy guy, when I am not. I love life and I laugh and truly believe most things are able to be laughed through. It as helped me to be around people all the time. I don't have the time to sit and stew in loneliness. I believe we do have a choice to live here or there. I choose here.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Class or Trash

What is class? What makes a person classy or a person trash? I get the picture. I get what people are talking about. But I have often heard people who fulfill the same categories of trash call another person trash. Is the difference between the two, your response to your guest having to use the bathroom which is not downstairs where you are? Does the classy person say "Upstairs, second door to your right?" Does the trash say "The laundry tub is  self cleaning, just run the water for a minute after." I don't think the difference lies in either. I think the difference is found in the reaction of the host. Today at a restaurant, this woman dropped her kid's jacket from her table without noticing. There was a lot of traffic, so I immediately was concerned the jacket would be kicked along and get lost. I watched this woman look down and watch it happen, just an arm reach away and think for a moment. She went back to eating and disregarded the jacket. I picked it up and gave it back to the mother of it's owner. I was annoyed that something as simple as notifying a person of a fallen jacket was too much work for the not so classy woman sitting right next to her.

Also today, I was driving, which brings me anxiety, and a guy pulled into traffic without watching and ran me off the road and almost onto a ditch. I got back on the road and sped up a little to give the guy a somewhat dirty, contrived look and got a glance at this teenager with his girlfriend. Of course. Of course it was some punk teenager. He sped up and got next to me and rolled down his window. I was ready to exchange words. I was angry. He said this....What nerve of him to say this: "I'm so sorry. I wasn't paying attention." I waved back and said it was OK, and thanks for that. He had class. He admitted his mistake in humility, while me, being classless was staring him down. Perfect. Perfect lesson from God to stop being such an idiot. The difference between class and trash is how we treat people....period.


Thanks for reading...Z