Dancing in My Mind, and Memory is Bittersweet

snow white yeah right

No, I don’t believe in that “Happy Ever After” shit.

I’m one of those people who does a lot of living behind my own eyes.  I can be remarkably scatterbrained when it comes to things such as “where’s my stuff?” or “what’s that dude’s name?, ” but when I happen upon an experience or an event that I want to remember, those memories remain vivid and in living, breathing color.  Believe that.

For me the garden of memory is almost more alive than the real thing, if that’s possible. Sometimes that’s not so good, especially if I am stuck on a scene of disappointment or rejection, or mourning, but some trips to the garden of memory are positively magical.

Over the past few years I’ve allowed myself to fall into the pattern of being constrained by what I see as the limitations of my circumstances.  Admittedly being married to a chronic boozer who has ED and a laundry list of other physical and psychological issues is a huge downer, and not exactly good for one’s self-esteem.

drunk

Jerry enjoys his beer drinking- and isn’t compelled to do anything about it.

I’m not referring to self-esteem in the vapid sense of “feeling good about yourself,” as in the phenomenon where some people treat their kids as though they deserve a prize for remaining vertical and continuing to suck up valuable oxygen.  I’m talking about self image in a realistic way: I may be scatterbrained and wired differently than most people, but I manage to function somewhat effectively.  I might be plain and proportioned like a mutant troll, but fuglier people than I still manage to have relationships, and fuglier people than I still manage to get laid from time to time.  So I may not be “normal,” but I’m not that screwed up, I hope.

TorridTeaser

Old, yes, but I’m really, really, really low mileage.

It’s as if his dysfunction colors my outlook, and to a degree it does.  I can’t say that going years without participating in the horizontal mambo is a good thing.  I didn’t ask for the celibate life, and I truly don’t care for it.  Being treated as a glorified maid and gopher doesn’t do much for feeling feminine or desirable or any of that business that I would like to say doesn’t matter, but deep down on some level it does.

A big part of me feels like a failure because in the back of my mind I guilt trip- what if I’d done more?  What if I’d been more perceptive, more loving, or maybe less frumpy and boring?  I guilt trip because maybe I shouldn’t feel the way I do (and I don’t acknowledge my feelings all too often, and when I do, I try not to give them much credence, which is probably a good thing) and that I should just suck it up and be glad Jerry can still dress and feed himself-for now.

turbovibe

I don’t think I could handle the guilt trip if I just picked up and left, and that’s messed up too.  I said I would stay with him, though it’s been a very long almost 20 years.  I feel like the life has been sucked out of me- to the point that a mere acknowledgment from a ghost from the past left me almost euphoric yesterday.   Someone still gives half a shit!  A half of a drink of water in an endless desert! It’s a sad state of affairs when I get that little affirmation.

But there is life beyond my limitations.  I did have a life in front of my eyes, at one time.  And I did enjoy myself for a moment in the garden of a particularly sweet memory yesterday and it did lift my spirits more than it probably should have.

There was a time- and maybe this is just my own wishful thinking- that I was desired and wanted and pursued.  As much as I don’t want to admit to having a need to be wanted by men or even by a man (this reminds me way too much of the fairy tale bullshit shoved down little girls’ throats as they’re growing up) even I want to be more than just the one who gets to clean up the cat puke or dog shit, (Jerry’s really good at spotting it, but apparently unable to pick it up for some unfathomable reason) or the only one to run errands because I’m the only one who’s sober.  Living like that – as a sort of an indentured servant- doesn’t do much for one’s emotional and spiritual wellbeing.  I’ve said it before that my marriage at best is sort of a symbiotic relationship, but at worst, is more like a parasite-host relationship, which is sad but often true.  I try to regard Jerry’s indifference in context because he really does care more about beer and football and cigarettes than pretty much anything else.  Therefore I need to stick to my own agenda and interests- and fantasy life if that’s all I have, if I have any hope of staying remotely sane.

drawing butts

I wish I had the courage to reach out to an old friend (though paramour would probably be a more accurate word) and lay it on the line.  Even if I risk rejection (oh, and believe me, I do,) my heart hasn’t changed in over 20 years. I have to come clean with how I felt then and still feel today, and admit it, even though the time and the circumstances probably aren’t any more “right” than they were back then.

That sort of honesty has always seemed to me to have far more risk than reward.  I am so terrible at reading the motives and behavior of others.  I have enough trouble with my own motivations to try to figure out what sort of mischief is brewing in other people’s minds.

The Shitty Service Discount (A Walmart Critique) and No Way to Spend a Weekend

I admit I’ve never been a Walmart fan.  While I am cheap and I like saving money, I don’t like standing in line for hours (or trying to find a cashier when all the checkout lanes are closed) and I don’t like surly help.  I see their side of the issue- either you want it cheap or you want it with a smile, but you can’t have both.

I don’t blame the Team Members at Walmart.  Minimum wage with no benefits really sucks and is only one step up from being homeless and living under the bridge.  That I do understand, and it bites.  My only counter to that predicament would be that one will never get out of the minimum wage, part-time no benefits hole unless you do what’s completely counterintuitive.  Smile and be the best freaking Walmart stockboy you can be.  Or at least, learn English.

In a way it was a bit fortuitous that on my last visit to Walmart- the 6AM Quest for Pennzoil- my receipt included a survey/ sweepstakes entry.  I don’t think I will win their $1000 gift card, especially if they toss out all of the unfavorable surveys.  However, I don’t see that Walmart location ever getting a favorable survey.   I simply told the truth.  The place wasn’t clean.  The Team Members I encountered were downright surly. I don’t care if it’s 6AM, if you’re a 24 hour joint you at least have to have one or two people at the register, preferably somewhat motivated English speaking people.  The only ones who would remotely consider rating it favorably likely can’t understand enough English to complete the survey.  Maybe they would have liked it better if I had scribbled it out in crayon on a page from a Hello Kitty coloring book instead of submitting it online.  I know I would never give me the option to fill in the blank and comment on a survey.  That’s just asking for me to give it to you with both barrels.  Case in point- here is my commentary I gave on the Walmart survey when asked, “How may we serve you better?”

I have to say my visit to Walmart was highly disappointing.  I made the mistake of thinking I could avoid the rush by shopping at 6AM since you are a 24 hour establishment.  I understand that 6AM is not the busiest time of the day, but it might help if some of your team members on duty actually spoke the English language- that is, the ones that I can find who aren’t actively ignoring me.  It would be nice if I could buy a jug of Pennzoil in less than 45 minutes, 40 of which were spent trying to find a cashier available and willing to check me out so I could finally pay you and leave. 

On a brighter note, while Martha Stewart might not have approved of the general squalor in your establishment, I am glad that I didn’t discover any feces or corpses on the floor, which was a plus. Then again, I didn’t look very hard for those either.  Perhaps the dead bodies and dookie are back in the grocery section or something.

 Given my usual irreverence, I thought, for my own amusement, that I’d conduct a little non-scientific Walmart survey of my own.

 

Usually when I get surveys of any sort I try to be honest and I try to be complimentary if the compliments are due.  I remember all too well how seriously Toyota takes their dealer surveys.  If a Toyota dealer gets even a neutral survey, the district rep will be in the dealership and on the “offending” department like white on rice wondering what you did to make so-and-so’s experience anything less than “completely satisfying.”  If Walmart takes their surveys as seriously as Toyota does, (which I have to doubt,) someone there is in serious shit, and in my humble opinion the whole damned place should be.  It’s one thing to offer discounts on virtually everything, (I understand there’s a big difference between Nordstrom’s and Walmart,) but there’s no excuse for a complete lack of customer service to the point of not having one available cashier during business hours.

Now I should be reprimanding myself for being so derisive.  I have to admit not all Walmarts are this dismal, and I should know better than to think anyone has anything but illiterate and comatose help at 6AM.  I am grateful that my weekend didn’t end as badly as it started. 

I have spent more time than most people in hospitals and Dr.s offices.  While I don’t enjoy it , I do have a certain comfort level in medical facilities that most people don’t have.  I understand a good bit of the terminology.  I know a good bit about common procedures- how they’re done and why.  I have to remember that poor Steve-o is not nearly as acclimated to such things and he freaks easily.  So when they had to take the baby to Children’s last Wednesday he was climbing the walls.

I have to admit that it was most unsettling to me Wednesday night to hear that my month-old granddaughter was barely responding, was dehydrated, had a high fever and had just been transferred to Children’s.  What Steve-o in his distress didn’t understand was that her mother and other grandmother took exactly the correct steps and got her immediate treatment.  If not for their quick thinking and fast action I shudder to think of the consequences.  Because she got treatment immediately – the cultures revealed that somehow she had gotten salmonella poisoning- she will recover completely and be quite fine.  Even so she was in the hospital from Wednesday night until Saturday afternoon.  Very few things are more distressing than such a tiny little one having to undergo IVs, blood draws, and worst of all, a spinal tap.  I never went through anything this serious with Steve-o.  He had a bad ear infection when he was 6 months old, chicken pox when he was a year old, and strep throat when he was 7, and that was about the worst of his infectious diseases.

Apparently salmonella is fairly common in the general environment and most adults have some immunity to it, but infants and small children don’t.  Even a very tiny bit of contamination would have been enough.  They threw out all her bottles and nipples and whatever formula and bought all new.  I hope that was sufficient to keep this from coming back.  I don’t like doing the hospital thing with adults,but there are few things more pathetic than a nine pound newborn strapped to an IV.   The good thing is she won’t remember a thing.  The bad thing is that I will.  I’m one of those people who does what needs to be done and for good or ill deals with the attending emotions later.  I stayed with her through the blood draw and helped keep her still and distracted enough to let the nurses do their job.  I never knew that the only way to find a newborn’s veins is with a bright red light shined under the arm.  Weird.

Yesterday I pretty much came home from church and the grocery and slept the rest of the day.  I hope next weekend that everyone is well -and that I can stay out of Walmart.