Monthly Archives: March 2013

Lightning flashes

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I was reminded tonight of something that happened to me once. Something that might fill most people with immense fear. I suppose I technically could add it to the list of times that I’ve almost died, but for me (and one complete stranger), I don’t think of it that way at all – and it was one of the most incredible mornings of my life.

I lived in Florida at the time. I grew up there, but had gone away for many years. I came back, helped a bit, and screwed up a bit. I was still trying to find a place to fit back in, in the place that used to be my home, and I had found a job at a horse stable – the kind of place that keeps stalls that other people rent to keep their horses. It was rather far away from where I lived, and it paid nothing at all. At that time I had little ‘professional’ horse experience and wanted more, so I took the job despite the low pay and crazily early hours.

Horses get up early, you know. Because of the distance, I had to get up even earlier to be there in time to make sure they got their breakfast on schedule.

I had a pretty long commute. There were two bridges to cross. Here’s the first one, courtesy of this place (as I have no photos of my own). Please let me know if you don’t wish me to use your image.

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It’s not terribly arched, as you can see, and as evidenced by a barge smashing the hell out of it this month. But in such a flat place, even a little bit of height meant you could see a long distance. What I could see ahead of me was a massive black and grey storm wall lit by flashes of lightning.

Oh, how I wish we had digital cameras in 1998. It was amazing, and I was about to drive into it.

It was six, seven miles from that bridge to the next one. I waited, fascinated, as I drove straight into the storm – with beautiful Florida dawn sunshine all around me, sparkling off the white sand on either side of the one-and-only road I could take to my destination – the dark wall looming in front of me, blasts of lightning forking down (up, really) without cease.

I wanted to post a picture of that next bridge, but everything I find online breaks my heart. The ‘good’ pictures all face away from my old home town now, as it has been made so ugly by unchained development. I feel somewhat physically sick after looking at the photos online. So we won’t go there visually.

My bridge (the one I remember being built, the one I could walk to from my house and played under as a child) has a higher arch than the other one in the photo. An arch that, as a driver, came at you as a vertical climb. But before I reached the bridge, I had entered the storm front and was inside the black. The rain was so heavy and intense, there was nothing my wipers could ever do to make a difference. It would have hurt your skin to stand in this rain, I am sure.

It was a thunderstorm the likes of which I had never seen. Usually FL storms are afternoon ones, over and gone before they do much more than raise the humidity another few degrees. I wasn’t used to being up that early, so perhaps it happened more than I knew.

The lightning was now so frequent that I couldn’t even tell that I was even on a bridge. I had lost the ability to see the lines on either side of the road. My vision was of nothing but sheets of rain lit by stroboscopic flashes so close together I had to trust to instinct to keep moving – stopping wasn’t an option when anyone could have been behind me and there hadn’t been a ‘side of the road’ for anyone to pull on to for safety for miles. I couldn’t stop, as I couldn’t be sure someone wasn’t about to ram me from behind and send me off the bridge entirely.

What I knew for sure is that I was about to be a single human in a metal box at the crest of the highest point around for miles, with lightning striking so often it wasn’t seconds, not even one second, between strikes.

What could I do about it? Not a dammed thing!

It was the most exciting and joyous moment of my life. I wasn’t scared, not one bit. I looked death in the face right then and there, and I screamed, shouted, and sung nonsense in jubilation, as I smashed my right fist against the roof of my truck over and over – and I did that to get as close to the highest bit of metal that I could, so the connection to pure voltage would be lessened (I looked for a dent later). My heart and my head shouted this dare to nature, “Come and get me, here I am, and I choose this way to die if this is my time! Yes! Let me go out happy and amazed and screaming for joy!”

Well. Clearly I didn’t cop it that morning. I rolled down the other side of the bridge into town, and into places where the buildings and telephone poles were much, much higher than me and my little Dodge Dakota. But I wasn’t just small and low anymore – I wasn’t alone.

The traffic lights were still working – somehow all that electric madness hadn’t hit anything of importance and the power was still on. I stopped for a red light, still in the left lane (the ‘fast lane’ in the US – the way I drive I usually stay in that lane). As I sat there quivering and coming down off of my adrenaline high, another car came to rest to my right, waiting as I was for the light to change. It was just us two, no other cars to be seen in any direction.

A streak of pure energy lit up the intersection as an electric/telephone pole was struck by lightning. It was on my side of the road, but on the other side of the intersection. I screamed again, and again for joy – not fear – I still thought I was going to die that day and it was, indeed, a good day to die. I know I wasn’t afraid, because I immediately looked to the only other witness of this near-brush with mortality – the man in the car next to me.

I had a huge, huge grin on my face, and so did he. I let loose another of my barbaric yawps, and so did he. And we grinned at each other, sharing the moment of ‘omygoddidyouseethat?’ until the light changed and we went our separate ways.

I suppose these days I’m not likely to die by lightning. But if I do? Be assured I will go with a smile on my face.

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Road photos

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I’m kind of in limbo at the moment, mentally – getting there I hope? I’ve said enough lately to last me a while, so I thought instead of moaning, I would put up some more photos from our excursion of a few weeks ago. These are all Hipstamatic shots taken on my iPhone – not the new iPhone, the one before that, don’t ask me what it is – I just inherit the old phone when iDJ is done with it.

This is a dark group of shots, befitting my dark mind-set at the time. I still like them.

As I’ve done before, I love to take pictures of the landscape as we blast through it. We were local this time, but I think I got some good ones (out of the hundred-plus I took that day).
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The sun was going down, and it was doing some fascinating things with the clouds – making ‘Jesus Rays’ in all directions. Yeah, I know – I’m not a Christian and probably shouldn’t be using that phrase. But I love it, it is perfect after seeing all those ‘artistic renderings’ that have Jesus surrounded by crazy beams of sunshine. I think I got the expression from Stephen King, but I’m not 100% sure – I read a lotta stuff.

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Trees kept getting in between me and the Jesus Rays. I love how the motion of the car makes the trees look radically bent, leaning, in motion even, when it is me moving instead. Oddly, the Hipstamatic shots seem to be reversed – the angle should be to the left due to the camera’s forward motion, and it is to the left when using the straight iPhone camera.
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Ahh. There’s the sky finally!
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But spectacular sunsets always end…
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and you have to head for home.
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Dog’s Day Out

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And now, for something completely different. I promised A Silver Voice a dog-related post.

Hubby and I took the dogeen on a rare car trip a few weeks ago. I took a load of pictures, and have saved a huge number for posting when the elusive round tuit appears in my pocket.

These are the ones of Neko – there’s only a few.

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Her in the car – she looks goofy with her ears flat like that, but it’s because she’s a big dog in a small car and she refuses to lie down in the car! Yeah, it’s blurry. You try taking shots over your shoulder of a standing dog in a moving vehicle that’s bouncing down Irish roads.

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Even goofier. Actually, to me she looks like she’s about to barf down the back of my neck. She doesn’t get carsick. Anymore.
Not since she got that halo.

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Her in a thingie, in a place.

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Her in a thingie in a place, looking at ‘daddy’ and wondering why she has to stand there and be good and can’t go running off to some other place with thingies she hasn’t smelled yet.

Depth in a Spider’s Web

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I got all overcome with a poetic impulse at lunch today.

I don’t write poetry! Okay, I have a few times when super stressed and depressed. But I don’t read poetry.

But maybe that’s a sign, a good sign, that my creativebrain is waking up again?

Maybe it would have been a depressing poem. Donno, I didn’t write one. I didn’t have any time to think of lines or wording. Lunch is only 30 minutes and I have to actually concentrate on eating during some of that time, right?

Anyway, I have a spot that I have my little lunch moment in. It’s outside, come rain, come shine, come snow and below zero temps. It’s behind a door, in a corner, where the big air conditioning units are. Cozy, right? ‘My’ spot used to be a few feet away in front of a window, and I’d put my drink and iPad on the sill. But that sill was for a window into a stall of the ladies’ room, and someone told me I scared the crap out of them (literally?) by standing RIGHT THERE and being a big creepy pervy shadow. After that I moved and now hide behind the door with my iPad on top of one of the AC units. Suits me better as the ‘shelf’ is higher, anyway.

Why do I have lunch there? Because I’m anti-social and I don’t want to talk about stupid TV shows in the ‘canteen’ with people I barely know. And I smoke. And I don’t smoke in the car unless it is moving and the window is down. I hate the way it makes my hair and clothes – and the car – smell.

An aside: we hired someone new and when I went to lunch she was outside smoking in my spot. I was not amused. I made sure she saw me reclaim my territory as soon as she moved out of it – and she apologised a few days later. I didn’t even need to pee on anything!

A second aside: people coming out of the door don’t always see me there, even though it is a glass door. As evidenced by the man who came outside and walked off, farting loudly and copiously. Eh. Better out than in, big guy, and I’m sure the woman in your office appreciates that you held all that in. At least there was a good breeze and my only sensory experience of his farts was auditory.

In my usual long winded way, I’m leading up to why I was waxing poetic.

There’s a spiderweb, you see. Oh wait, you can see!

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I have looked at this thing at least three times a day, five days a week, for many months. I’ve found that the corpse of the crane fly (daddy longlegs over here, I got no idea why) particularly draws my eye. His legs are scattered and broken, but still stuck fast. I especially notice the one leg that is entirely removed and off to the left of the body. It annoys me that it is out of place, and not with the rest of the shell that used to be a fly. Just sort of a fleeting irritation, but I don’t want to touch it, remove it, duh, it’s a filthy dead bug. And I’m meant to eat with those fingers – and touch my iPad. And the sink is pretty far away.

Not that I actually plot all that out every day… I’m making myself sound more nuts than I am. I look, and look away. The decision was made months ago to leave it be – until today. Today, there was a new bit of…something…stuck to the wall. I just had to pick that whatever it was off the wall. And lo and behold, that one action got me started really, really thinking about the old spiderweb (and blathering about it on the Internet hours later, apparently).

I began drawing correlations between that web and myself: my thoughts, my history, and my future. The dead bugs – are they evocative of bad people in my past that I have managed to break free of? That was my initial idea. Thinking about it now… maybe they are something much darker. Maybe they are the guilt and regret that I feel about the people that I have made use of and then left behind when I moved on. The blown dirt and rubbish stuck there for so long made me think the things in life that have been thrown at me, the ones I was powerless to stop. The cigarette ashes… they are mine, both figuratively and literally. My mistakes, my stupidity, my many years of daily pig-headed obstinacy to keep doing things that are bad for me. That one is easy.

That is one seriously abandoned web. Nobody’s lived there in a while. No one has been tending the strands or cutting loose the detritus. No one cared enough to cut loose the strands that are coated in dirt and useless material – the crud that has blocked the web’s true use, its true purpose. Okay, for a real spider that’s mostly just catching dinner. But on a deeper inspection, it is also a home, a safe haven, and a place of security that a living being worked hard to intentionally create, for the purpose of bringing good and necessary things closer.

Maybe it isn’t poetry, but I think I have a mental image of needed change that finally makes sense to me.

I hope that someday soon I can post a photo of that same place with the useless net of garbage wiped clean and ready for new threads to be woven in place.

Deep Thoughts By Spiders

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Do you want an interesting life? Or would you rather your life be settled, routine, ‘normal?’

The supposed ‘Chinese curse’ is may you live in interesting times. That is by no means the same thing as may you have an interesting life. Interesting Times happen TO you. An interesting Life, hopefully, is your choice.

What would you define as interesting? What is interesting for some is tiresome, tedious, or downright horrifying for others. I think crocheting is interesting, but I’m terrible at it and it makes me angry that I suck at something creative that I also want to do. I think mountain climbing, or rock climbing, is fucking dangerously stupid and why would you want to do that!?!?! But, I have a friend who loves it.

I’m reading Koontz again, his Odd Thomas series. Main character, Odd, is constantly approached by dead people needing help. He’d rather be a short-order cook, or a tire salesman. Well, he is a short-order cook, because the rest of his life is just a bit too interesting. But, he makes the case that he would never want to be famous. I don’t think I’d want to be famous either – not with the lack of privacy and the downright creepy attention people pay to everything you wear and every wrinkle or bulge on your physical body. Perhaps that’s only something famous women have to worry about? I can’t really care about my body’s appearance when I live entirely in my mind. And, if I had a choice, and lots of money, I would dress like a three year old goth: Spongebob and skulls. I don’t want to ever be put in a situation where millions think way too hard about the crap I’m wearing. And I will only wear makeup these days when it is socially expected (which I resent heartily) or I feel like hiding behind it.

There are innumerable women who stay with abusive men because (combined with other reasons) the excitement, the passion! involved is interesting. If and when these women break free, they absolutely miss that excitement. I totally understand that. Adrenaline is addictive.

So. All this comes about from a comment on my Gory Story Time post. Tom basically said that my life was too interesting and he had nothing close in his history to what I’d gone though. And my first reaction was to laugh – because that’s not a big story in my life at all. That’s an amusing side note, a small anecdote, a bit of nothing in the larger history! My life has been truly interesting – but I’m only now realising that it’s pretty much all been by my own choices. These, for the most part, have been pretty stupid choices. But goddamned exciting, nonetheless.

After I grew up a bit, I thought my biggest problem was that I have a tendency to run away. And I do, going back to childhood. But as a ‘growedup’ I would find a great relationship and stick for years – until I got bored, and/or cheated, and used that as an excuse to run away. I’ve also never worked a single job longer than four years straight – pretty impressive as I had my first ‘real’ job at about age 10. I’ve a history of moving around America, town to town, job to job, that finally ended up with me moving entire countries. On a whim, in retrospect. I didn’t have to. Not that I don’t love my husband. But I could have moved him to the US instead. Truly, it made sense for me to move here. BUT – and that’s a big but, that’s why it’s in all caps – I went looking for a man in Ireland intentionally. Because I was bored. I didn’t know that then, this is a new insight into my own motivations. I thought I just didn’t really like the US, and had finally realised that moving from redneck Lower Alabama to Big City Ohio didn’t make a difference – I still didn’t “fit in” with American culture.

Well fuck me, but I sure as shit don’t fit in here, either. After nearly eight years (an all-time record for me staying with one person and a growedup record for living continually at one address, since I was about…14), I’m bored again. I don’t know what is my trigger this time! Do I think I’ve learned all I can about where I live and this culture and all the people that I know? Is it just that the job I’ve had for the last year+ is one I dislike intensely? Am I, deep down, just a lazy feicer and I really, really miss the almost two years I was unemployed as it finally gave me a chance to feel that I had a right to be creative – to write, to draw, to start this blog?

Is it all of the above? How am I supposed to know? Is there something else I’m still missing? I’ve had a few shrinks and therapists, and not one ever pointed this rather important bit of insight out to me.

I know this much: Tom’s comment was a revelation for me, once I gave it some thought. I was pretty damn surprised, because it gives me hope – if only I can figure out what I can do to save myself that doesn’t involve running away. That’s a hard one, as the feeling of being trapped is, for me, something that inspires fight or flight. I fight for a while, but in most situations in my past, I have picked flight. The fight right now has nearly deserted me, leaving only a serious dearth of flight choices that gives me depression in spades. You can guess, if you’ve had depression, what the ultimate choice for flight is when all other options appear to be closed.

But, for now, I’m at penultimate. Because I am still fighting this! I had nearly given up, until Tom’s comment. I’ve fought before when things got this bad: I once decided that getting in my truck in Florida and driving to Maine, with nothing – nothing at all than would fit in the cab (including a very angry and upset Siamese) was better than suicide. Why? I’d never been to Maine, and Stephen King lives there. Those were my only reasons. My point being that I can still see that insane changes will make a difference, for me, rather than the one, irrevocable, change that I will come to, eventually, by choice or not.

I understand that this truly is a revelation, and I don’t expect deep thoughts or even good advice. I needed to write, and this is my outlet. I have written my thoughts and discarded them so many, many times over the last few months – because I don’t want this to be a negative space. This blog is my happy place and I just couldn’t ruin it. I hope I haven’t ruined it now? I still have a lot of stories to tell and – maybe – some art still left in me.

Irish Music Celebration!

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Hubby’s got another good show tonight! On in just a couple minutes as we haven’t done our time change yet and all is a panic!

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Again, go to Radio23 channel A to tune in, or I’ll be posting the podcast link later on! Thank you.

Edit: the podcast is here.

iCat?

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I’m sitting here on my arse in front of the fire, as I do. Goofing off online, as we all do. My Siamese Lokii always hangs out with me when the fire is lit, because it’s a fire and he’s a Siamese. Wee sleekit heatseeking missiles, them Siameses.

Anyhoo, I was checking my email. And there was a comment from my blog-friend Minlit! Well, for some reason Lokii was fascinated with her simple, black circle Gravitar image. So he stuck his nose on it. Apparently kitty-noses work like people-fingers, as Minlit’s Gravitar page opened right up in Safari. How cute! Of course then the black circle was a lot larger, so he tried to touch it with his paw a few times, hoping it would move.

He got bored, and I went back to my mailbox. Instantly he touched the circle and we were back to Safari again. Left paw on the screen, pat pat pat. Ha! So I opened up my one and only ‘cat game’ for iPad (it was free, and it kinda sucks). He proceeded to ignore it entirely. Sigh.

I got off my arse and got my phone, so I could take a pic of him in case he went after the Gravitar again. Sat back down, opened my mail… Nothing. Little bastard!

I’m stubborn, however. And I found out that if I wobbled the iPad on my leg, he thought what was on the screen was moving. Hehehe:

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Lokes managed to open the page in Safari a third time, good boy!

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And that’s my excitement for the night.

I need

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I need to howl. Like a lonely dog. Like a wolf looking for her pack.

I’m sitting outside, it is cold, it is breezy. Some of my fingers have turned white, bloodless, from the lack of circulation.

I don’t want to go inside.

I tilt my head to the sky. The black, moonless sky. There are only two stars strong enough, bright enough, to shimmer in the black.

Head back, looking up, throat exposed stretched grasping I feel the need to howl. To howl loud and long. Howl for the pain and the frustration.

I can not. I have neighbours who would not understand, would not appreciate my song of loss.

I bottle it in, again, still, until.

Nothing says ‘I love you’ like an arse in your face.

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Taken the other morning with the iPad – terrible pic as usual and I even lightened it up with iDarkroom HD.

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Got to feel the love when kitty decides to let you bask in the glory of his arse at very, very, close proximity to your nose.