One Crazy Sunday

When we commute into the city for work, we’re usually on the reverse path of everyone else. People with more regular-type jobs are leaving; we’re coming in.

I like to imagine that a salmon swimming upstream to spawn has moments where it goes My God! Why am I doing this? Oh right. Happy ending.

Swimming the wrong way in a sea of people can be a pain when you’re not terribly tall, like me. And have demophobia that only gets triggered at a certain crowd capacity and/or speed, which is pretty much always reached in Penn Station and Times Square.

I usually try to tag a mark– some person bigger than me who appears to be going my way, behind whom I can fall in, while they make the path. This is much easier when I’m with my husband.

Because when I’m by myself sometimes I guess wrong. I tag the wrong mark and find myself pinned up against a wall, unable to make it to where I need to be without just ramming into a crowd of people willy-nilly. That isn’t taken too kindly here, and isn’t terribly effective given my size.

I finally figured out how to clear a path all by myself. How to get a seat alone on the train or the bus, how to get space around me on the subway, how not to get shoved accidentally down to the LIRR instead of the C train at Penn Station.

Look crazy.

Do you hear Patsy Cline? I totally hear Patsy Cline.
Do you hear Patsy Cline? I totally hear Patsy Cline.

The woman about to ram into me as I was exiting the elevator stopped dead in her tracks and let me pass. Nobody rushed at me when I was getting off the subway. I lead the way with CC behind me through Penn Station and I felt like Moses.

I saw people looking over their shoulders as I passed by. Observed people whispering as they passed me. But nobody blocked my path for once, and I had the added benefit of not being able to hear what they said. BECAUSE I HAD FOXES ON MY EARS.

This is how it begins, isn’t it? How we start to not give a crap what we look like or what we say in public as we age. It’s only a matter of time before we’re wearing fuchsia leopard print flannel pajamas in public while sucking on a long, empty ebony cigarette holder, being trailed by about a hundred and fifty cats.

I can’t wait.

Here are your links.

Richard Van As and Ivan Owen teamed up to create a robotic prosthetic hand, intending to post the design in the public domain so that anyone in need of one could make it. They recently completed their design and the recipient was a young boy named Liam (at a cost to his parents of $0). This is such an excellent project which is still in need of funding- their intent is to assist anyone who asks with parts and supplies as well as expertise. Please check out coming up short handed (the Robohand blog)

One of my friends shared this link with me and I think it’s an important and well-written piece: So You’re Feeling Too Fat to Be Photographed on My Friend Theresa’s Blog

Hmm. I’m sensing an encouraging theme here. Jen e sais quoi wrote this piece recently encouraging her friends that are going through a very rough time. Since I have several friends in a similar place, I’m including it here. You Are Not Alone.

Okay, I guess I’m late to the party, but I had never heard of Sam Gordon before. You neither? Sweet! I saw a clip of her during the Superbowl. She’s this 9-year-old girl from Salt Lake City who just finished up a season of completely kicking ass on a boys’ pee wee team. She’s got some crazy stats, and can also take a hit. Here’s a link to Kavitha A. Davidson’s article and the video on Huffington Post.

Finally, I know we got a little snow here on the east coast this weekend, but in Brazil, it’s raining spiders. (ummm, Darla? Are you aware of this?)

Happy Sunday

Collecting

It started with my grandmas.

One of them gave me the birthday angels every year.  You know, these ones:

birthdayangel

An angel for every year, with your new age and ever-increasing height. They each sent me other beautiful things that I collected and put on shelves. Glass animals, music boxes, tiny figurines; fifty white thimbles, each with a different state flower painted on. On my shelf, a green glass frog with white eyes and black dots for pupils sat next to a crystal kitten with pink-tipped ears.

My own collecting bug took hold:  a pink plastic elephant that had topped my hamburger at a roadside diner took up residence next to an exquisitely painted doll from my grandma. To me they were both beautiful; I couldn’t tell the difference.

When I was very young I somehow broke a ceramic teddy bear music box that my mother had made. I never knew what I did that broke it- I was at that age of disconnection between my thoughts and my actions where I didn’t even notice that I had caused it to fall from the top of my dresser. But my mom was mad. I saved two little blue birds from the dustpan and put them on the shelf next to a newborn baby doll with a bisque glass face I had bought with my birthday money. It played Brahm’s lullabye when you turned a key in its back and I thought the blue birds looked nice against its white gown.

There were other collections. Most of the girls I knew collected cosmetic samples and miniature soaps. The tiny tubes of fragrance were the most coveted, and god forbid the girl that actually used a sample. She would never live it down.

I collected books, which probably could have gone without saying. And records. Later, I saved every issue of Guitar Player and Guitar for the Practicing Musician that I ever bought.

I hauled everything I owned, including my collections, with me when I moved out of my mom’s house.

When the time came for me to move to Dallas for an internship, I’d been living with a boyfriend for a while. He couldn’t decide if he was going to come with me to Dallas or not. I lived in this stressful state of limbo for months, unable to make plans because getting an apartment with another person is a completely different thing than affording an apartment all by yourself.

Until I finally realized that I wasn’t willing to put my life on hold for anyone.

I set up an apartment sight unseen, over the phone. I mailed my deposit. I bought a map.

I ended up leaving with just what I could fit into my car, which wasn’t a whole lot, being that it was a Dodge Dynasty. He promised that no matter what, he’d bring me all the rest of my stuff, soon.

And that’s the story of how I let go of every sentimental keepsake and collection that I owned up until age 24. Every yearbook, each baby book, all the birthday dolls, the clear green glass frog with the black and white eyes, my journals, a biography of Zappa that I was only halfway though, my winter clothes.

It’s also the story of how I realized that stuff is just stuff. Though it took a while to come to this point, I know my burden is far lighter with all of that gone and I am even grateful for it.  The only thing I am genuinely sorry I lost is the white ceramic Nativity set that my mom had made and that she gave to me after I moved out.

Which is why, after all of that so many years ago, I find myself baffled to be compulsively collecting my used train tickets.

WTF?

On New Jersey Transit when the conductor takes your ticket, they punch it, and at certain stations (like mine) they give your ticket back to you because you have to put it in the turnstile to exit the station.

I started noticing that the holes weren’t the same every time. They’re like clouds; I’m always trying to figure out what they are. I’ll smack CC on the arm and go, Hey look! It’s a rabbit! {smack} Hey look! It’s Stonehenge! One of the conductors told me they’re issued their own specific hole punch and it’s like their ID. Everything can be traced through the shape of their punch.

DSCF6897
Saturn
DSCF6898
Batman
DSCF6900
Gunner
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Silhouettes
DSCF6907
Radioactive
DSCF6909
Peace
DSCF6911
‘shrooms

I found myself digging them out of the wastebasket in my bedroom if I accidentally threw them away. They got their own box. Then they outgrew their box.

That’s when I was all like, why the hell am I keeping my used train tickets?

Today I’m letting them go. No matter how many I keep, they won’t ever magically transform into my mom’s nativity set. But I’m still going to be looking at the punches each night on the way home from work, guessing what they are. Maybe one day I’ll get a hole punch that looks like the Virgin Mary. I mean , it’s no Jesus in a tortilla but, hey.

Do you collect anything weird? Ever found yourself collecting something without realizing you were doing it?