Monday, September 20, 2010
There are so many benefits to riding my bike with very few downsides. But there are downsides...
I've fallen off my bike at least 6 times. All 6 times, I've drawn blood. 3 of those 6 times, I was jarred pretty hard and one of those 6 times, I couldn't bounce right back up, I had to lay there because I wasn't sure if I my left leg was still attached. I'm bruised, scabbed, sore and moving around like a grandma when I'm not on the bike. Despite the pain, I love it. I love it because it actually makes me feel alive and my scabby knees reminds me of when I was a kid. The bruises will go away but the experience will remain as an indelible impression on my brain.
Monday, September 6, 2010
Generally speaking, I'm a pretty happy go-lucky type of girl. I am not tormented by ghosts or choices I've made in the past to get me to where I am today. I've had some shitty moments and I've also had some regrets but typically, those moments of opacity have led to some wonderful moments that would have otherwise not happened, so I'm ok with it. I've made some pretty big decisions in my life that most people have never had to face or contemplate and even with those decisions, I'm very confident with my choices.
But at times my confidence falters in the one area of my life where I am not as sure-footed; relationships. I don't really trust myself in this strange arena because I have not been very successful (batting average would be one or 2 pop-flys that looked like they could be homeruns but on average, mostly foul balls). During certain times, usually prompted by certain types of events, I can feel the sharp talons of loneliness piercing through my bones and it always stops me in my tracks. I've made choices that have led me to feel this way. Have I made stupid mistakes? I had no one's shoulder to cry on, late at night, when my neighbor died. I will be alone at her memorial surrounded by other people who will have brought their handy shoulders to cry upon. I could have literally used someone to lean on when my back went out and I could barely stand up. That sucked, but I managed to drive to work, get to a doctor and get my back fixed, all on my own. But it would have been nice for someone to refresh my ice pack for me as I laid on my bed cursing the spine gods.
I have no one to share the triumphs (albeit small triumps) of my day.
"Guess what honey? I rode up to Henniger Flats on my mountain bike without stopping or passing out! yay! Go put on your fancy sneakers because we're gonna to celebrate!" Or delight in my clever, useful, frugal and we-are-going-to beat-the-man discoveries such as you can buy a 64 ounce soda cup at AM/PM and fill it with ice coffee for a buck 69, almost a dollar less at starbux and you get about 44 ounces more! Whoo-hoo! and the best part? Refills for life at a buck 39!! Granted, a person does not NEED that much coffee, ever, but hey, it would've been nice to relish in that discovery with someone who understood why that's so fucking cool to me.
I hear a lot of my married friends talk about how they hate being married. Actually, hate is a strong word, but I do hear them say that if they had to do it again, they would NOT get married. They don't hate being married per se, and though not one of them has actually said this out loud to me, I think they actually hate the person they are married to. It's weird, these couples had dreams and hopes of a future that didn't include bitching about their spouses to anyone who would listen. They took vows to love, cherish and honor each other until the day they died. Fast forward 15 years and now the only part they remember is someone has to die.
In moments like these, when I really wish I had someone waiting for me at home to give me a big hug and kiss and remind me that everything is going to be ok, all of the complaints from my married friends seem to fade into the background as I wonder and contemplate if the decisions I made were mistakes and if I let a couple of good ones get away. But then I start to remember and relive some of the "pop-flys" and I am grateful all over again why I am so happy to be single... and not incarcerated.
She used to come over every weekend and we would share a cup of coffee and she would eat some toast and hard boiled eggs. She claimed she only liked to eat the eggs at my house because she liked how I made them. I think she was lonely and scared, which was fine. I enjoyed spending my weekend mornings with her. She would eat and then take off after a few hours once we discussed the events of the previous week and of course, she wanted to be updated on what was going on for the following week. Some times she would stay all day and clean out my garage or rearrange my closets. There was always a surprise when I came home from work. I may come home to a weeded garden or she would put mulch along my garden paths. One time I came home and she had Masa install a new garage door for me because she hated the old one. She was always engaged, full of fire and energy and I heard earfuls of her colorful past. She liked to call me her California daughter, as her real daughter lived in New York and she never saw her.
She was a passionate and independent woman, if not a bit calculating and self-serving, but as a single divorced mother who was married to an alcoholic who beat the fuck out of her and then stalked her and beat her until the day he died, I can understand why she would not allow another man get close to her emotionally ever again. I didn't blame her for the choices she made in her life, even if I rarely agreed with her. But that was part of the beauty of my neighbor, we rarely agreed with each other, but we still liked to talk and hang out together.
However, as the cancer progressed and the treatments got more and more aggressive, Roberta turned into a person I didn't recognize. She started criticizing my every move, as a mother and a housekeeper. She didn't like my choices in friends, the foods I cooked, the way I arranged my garage, how I did my hair, the clothes I wore, etc. the list was endless but my patience was not, however, I put up with it because I knew she was sick and this was the illness talking.
When her critical eye was not focused on me, she would denigrate her other friends. I would get exasperated and ask her why she hung out with these people if she disliked them so much. She never actually answered my question but I knew that she was just full of bluster and that she really loved these people, some of whom she has known for over 50 years. Again it was just the cancer and the medication talking.
But when she started her racial rants (and not her usual ones like asian drivers are bad and mexican women just want to pop out as many babies as they can because they are uneducated), but the really, really bad ones about every single race, but if that wasn't bad enough, she started in on how she hated single mothers, poor people, people who are poor but spend over their means, people who have accents, the list goes on and on and on. The icing on the cake was as soon as she finished her first rant of the day, I already knew what the second rant of the day would be, it would be the EXACT SAME RANT AS THE FIRST ONE. It was as though her mouth was on a loop and she repeated the same story over and over again, until I couldn't stand it anymore and I almost would have to physically force her out the door. It was very difficult for me to spend more than a few minutes with her anymore. Our visits got shorter and shorter and fewer and further in between. And each time I saw her, she looked thinner and sicker and was meaner.
The last real conversation Roberta and I had was about 2 weeks ago. I spoke to her about getting hospice care instead of the palliative care she was currently signed up for. I won't go into the details but hospice care is a more comprehensive program for people who are very sick and can't take care of themselves anymore. She needed hospice care because the palliative care program was calling me at work telling me to go to Roberta because she was too sick to be alone. I also spoke to her about getting her daughter signed on as her power of attornery. She was getting close to that time where she wouldn't be able to make decisions for herself...She refused to take my calls or return my calls after that. I was angry with her because she was doing this to be spiteful to her daughter with whom she has had a poor relationship with for years. I've learned throughout the course of our friendship that she is the main reason she and her daughter do not get along. I was so angry that she would rather have strangers make medical decisions for her instead of her own flesh and blood (who by the way, wanted to be there for her mother and was doing everything she could to be supportive and caring, Roberta pushed her away too) I decided at that time to wash my hands of the whole thing and let Roberta do what she wanted to do. I wanted no part of it.
Roberta died today at 12:08 pm. I am not relieved. I am sad, tearful and heartbroken. I wish it could have been different in the end. I can't even begin to imagine what her daughter is going through. I just hope she knows that though Roberta was brusque, uncaring and at some moments, down right cruel, deep down inside, she was a loving and caring person who just had a hard time trusting the people closest to her because the people closest to her hurt her the most.
Roberta had a hard journey from the get-go. There is very little relief for her survivors, but I know that Roberta finally has relief from her broken past and her tormented memories. I now fully understand why we say RIP when a person dies.
Rest in Peace, Roberta, the pain is gone.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
But that's on the surface and there is something deeper than just calling my bike the Beast because it's a Yeti. I am also referring to the beast in my belly that bellows when I can't ride for whatever reason, or the animalistic, voracious happiness I feel when I'm on the side of a mountain on my new shiny toy. I realize it's a toy, in fact, I think it's my mid-life crisis toy.
If it's perfectly acceptable for middle-aged men to purchase new sports cars and bone girls half their age when they feel the fingers of mortality wrap around their turkey wattles, I see no reason why I can't do the exact same thing, except with a bike. and not really bone girls half my age, but rather, hang out with cool ladies of all ages who feel the same way about their bikes as I do about mine.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Sorry for the MIA.
There is a shitload to write about but my brain is incapable of organizing my thoughts into a legible, coherent stream as of late. Why? I wondered that too, but my brain is not capable of organizing my thoughts into a legible, coherent stream as of late.
But here is something interesting (at least to me, probably not to you). I did something(s)particularly creepy (to me) and I'm still not sure why I did it.
I painted my finger nails. Yes, its true, you heard me right. But want to hear something worse? I also dyed my hair, plucked my eyebrows and mustache (yes, I know but I got sick and tired of being mistaken for Picasso's portrait of Frida Kahlo), whitened my teeth, exfoliated my skin and a couple of other things that I can't remember anymore. The stupid thing is, aside from concealing the silver hairs on my head, which I was cited by the sheriff's department to cover up because apparently, the reflective nature of my metallic hair was blinding people on the 134 freeway, causing a few major accidents) none of the work and time I put into my physical specimen made a damn difference. We are all suckers for the promise of eternal youth in a bottle. I hate the promises and the youth. I have decided to grow old gracefully. Well, as gracefully as I am capable of, which doesn't say much except that I'm growing old and now thinking about it more.
With all that said, being 40, so far, has been really quite awesome. I started the first day of my new decade on the right foot. I got out of a dead end relationship on June 29, one day before all coupons used to expire. Yay me! Something I've noticed is whenever I get out of a relationship, I am always relieved, upbeat and happy. After some jubilant reflection, I do believe I have become addicted to the feeling of breaking up and that I only engage in relationships just so I can feel happy once it's over. Is that odd? Probably. Do I care? I probably should but I don't, I'm still riding the Summer of 2010 breakup high.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
I realize with this last one that I am a chronic breaker-upper. I break up with people, that's my thing. And the sucky thing? I have yet to do it well. I suck at breaking up as much as I don't suck at saying no to begin with. (For those of you keeping tabs, it means I'm like a lame, second tiered character from an over-exposed, most likely performed by a high school and a musical, to boot. Call me Annie, Miss Ado if your nasty, that freak who was just a girl who couldn't say no in a state that I still don't know anything about, OOOOOOKlahoma.)
I have several options, but none of them make sense except doing it over the phone. Email is even more impersonal than the Dear John letter of yesteryear. I refuse to do it in person because that requires traveling great distances and I don't want to go and I don't want him to come here. I even considered sending a message in a bottle but figured that would take even longer than the USPS (but not by much), smoke signals, Morse Code? I only know "SOS", not "I don't want to be your girlfriend anymore".
I'll do it tomorrow...maybe. My goal is to do it before I turn 40.