I went to lunch with an old friend the other day. I’ve known her for over twenty years.
We met at work and had a few things in common at that time. We were both married young, had a boy and girl, were from New York, and liked to sew and to do needlework. So, we got on very well. I see her for lunch about once every two months. But recently, I’ve noticed the differences we have are beginning to grow exponentially to our similarities.
She has never had any financial difficulty in her life. I don’t begrudge her this and am happy that she hasn’t nor will she experience what I have gone through in the past and am currently dealing with. She also has three grandchildren, I have none. I’m one of those oddball women that really doesn’t care much for babies and/or children. I really don’t have much to say about them and will never willingly engage random women with babies in conversation about the cuteness of their child. I also will never ask to hold a baby just because it’s there. My friend is also still married and I believe will remain so until, “death do them part.” One of our other differences is religion. She is a church going Catholic and I’m not.
"Notoriously insensitive to subtle shifts in moods, children will persist in discussing the color of a recently sighted cement mixer long after one's interest in the topic has waned” ~ Fran Lebowitz
We also have never discussed anything about sex. Ever. I just know that my views on polyamorous relationships, sex for recreation, being submissive, aggressive sex, sex blogs, etc. would give her apoplexy. She went to church to say a novena when I became a Slumber Parties distributor. Any chatting about the qualities of vibrators, lubes and restraints is out of the question.
My friend has now found something new to talk about that not only annoys the shit out of me but actually makes me want to stick a fork in her eye. She is selling a product through a multi-level marketing company (Think, AMWAY) and has not only drunk the Kool-Aid but now makes it herself. The product is a good one, I use it myself and know that it’s good but I cannot and will not chat up total strangers, even close personal friends, about purchasing this product or becoming a “distributor.” My friend who has known me for over twenty years is totally unwilling and/or unable to get this through her fucking thick skull!
She is so brainwashed that she just won’t see that she is not going to become a millionaire selling this product. That train has left the station with the people who started selling in 30 years ago. I’ve tried politely the last couple of times I’ve met her to move the conversation past the selling, distribution, presentations for friends, etc. on to any other topic – even the grandchildren. She is tenacious as a dog with a T-bone. This last time, I became sharper with my comments regarding my desire not to speak about this. My words fell on deaf ears. It became very uncomfortable for me when she began cornering sales people in various stores and the waiter at the restaurant extolling the virtues and possible additional income of this product. It was her goal to speak to 3 people about the product during our outing. Well, who the fuck cares that I don’t want to talk about anything relating to the product or the fact that it’s a pyramid scheme?
I needed several alcoholic beverages at lunch. I love my friend but am starting to think that we’ve grown very far apart. Her agenda and lust for the possibility of untold fortunes by her single-minded devotion to this product is definitely driving a wedge through our friendship. She doesn’t respect my thoughts regarding this. I almost feel like a child that does not understand the lesson. She feels that she repeats it over and over again, I’ll suddenly agree with the brilliance of it.
This will not happen. My path is in a very different direction from hers. I’ve changed drastically from the woman I was those 20 plus years ago. I respect that she has changed as well but I’m not getting the same respect from her.
My lovely, brilliant readers give me some advice, please. I really don’t want to stick a fork in her eye next time we meet.
In the central place of every heart there is a recording chamber. So long as it receives a message of beauty, hope, cheer, and courage - so long are you young. When the wires are all down and our heart is covered with the snow of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then, and only then, are you grown old.
My niece was getting married on September 29, 2001. I hadn’t been back to New York since my nephew’s wedding five years earlier. My daughter was going with me, as she didn’t remember the last time she was in the state. Our tickets were purchased well in advance and we would fly out on my daughter’s birthday, September 24th.
I was excited to be going. I miss the fall and missed The City. A day trip to and apple farm and another trip into Manhattan by train were planned. My daughter was also looking forward to making this trip. Although she was born in Florida, New York has always been close to her heart.
The day began like any other, except I’d taken off work to bring my son to the dentist and run pre-trip errands. On the way to school after the dentist appointment, we were listening to “The Bob & Tom Show”. During the middle of one of their discussions, either Bob or Tom announced there was a fire burning in The World Trade Center in New York, There was obvious confusion and much discussion taking place in the radio studio. Minutes later one of them said the words that froze my soul – “It’s believed that a plane has crashed into one of the towers.” Life as we knew it would never be the same.
There are occurrences in our lives that will stay with us as long as we live. Most of the time the events are of a personal nature but there are always a few that will encompass the world. For me, I can remember the entire scenario when I was told my father died. The same goes for when President Kennedy was assassinated and lastly, when it was known that brutal terrorists attacked the United States. The first two life altering events happened when I was very young so the pain and shock have been worn smooth by time. Not so with the events of September 11, 2001.
The advent of 24/7/365 news and technological advances made the attack photographs and breaking news ever present. The horror of watching the towers burn then fall knowing that innocent people were dying was almost too much to bear. The shock of knowing that=2 0other countries hated the U.S. enough to attack us using airplanes and unknowing civilians was mind numbing. Not only was New York a target as we came to learn but Washington, DC and other targets never (?) to be revealed.
Days passed before I was able to reach my sister by telephone. My nephew and niece both worked in Manhattan; cold fear was in me until I finally knew they both were fine. My niece was not near the World Trade Center but my nephew was. He was one of the many, unhurt, but dazed people that walked uptown, covered in ash, debris and who knows what else, to escape the terror. He found a bar that was open and sat there drinking to dull his emotions. He said it was quiet in there even as more of the walking wounded piled in. There was nothing to say because no one could form rational thoughts. Not yet.
The silence in the skies made me wonder if my daughter and I would get to my nieces wedding. It was wait and see for several days but we were allowed to fly. New security regulations were in effect. Mostly chaos rules security. Panic, worry, fear were all present in the Florida and NY airports. It was actually the best time to fly anywhere, I think. Landing in Westchester, which is north of the city, we didn’t get a first hand look at the two main airports. We did get to visit New York City. It was almost unrecognizable as THE city that pulses with energy, day and night. It was still pulsing but with fear and sadness.
Grand Central Station still teemed with people but they were cautious and respectful. On the streets were more police than I’ve ever seen. Heavy equipment operators, construction workers, National Guard, tourists and residents were out, doing what they needed to do. To see men and women in military uniforms walking down Broadway with rifles was disconcerting and terrifying. But what made our hearts stop were the “Missing” posters/pictures – everywhere. At that time, there was still hope that people in the towers might be trapped but still, maybe alive.
There was no going downtown; we stayed north of 42nd Street. While we walked and walked and walked, we did enjoy the time spent in Manhattan but we knew it would never be the same.
Reading the newspapers was also an exercise in misery. Page upon page of obituaries. Men, women and children with different birth dates but with the same date of death – September 11, 2001.
I took some time to visit my mother’s and father’s grave. I’ve never been to a cemetery so “active”. Funerals were being held all day. A number of firemen were being interred there, the lone piper played. The bagpipe doesn’t really produce a beautiful sound on the best of occasions but it was hauntingly mournful that day.
My niece got married. The rest of our visit was pleasant and uneventful. The events that took place only a few days before were present every minute of everyday. The attacks were one of those moments that will stay in the mind of every person old enough to remember them. And we should remember.
I’ve often said I’m not a politically savvy person. I have no grand plan or answers for what happened then and what might happen in the future. Americans seem to become apathetic fairly quickly. I only know that it should never, ever happen again. That is the reason we need to remember the horror, the pain, the unbelievable, the incomprehensible actions that took place on September 11, 2001.
This is a blog by a woman in her 50's who is finally on the crooked path to find who she truly is.
Married at 19 and divorced at 53. I am going to unearth the artist, the cynic, the free spirit that has been long buried. Or die trying.
I've left Bethlehem
and I feel free...
I've left the girl I was supposed to be
and some day I'll be born.