Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Days Like This

The single thing I love most about life, is the people in it. 
I have this desire that lives deep down in my soul: to experience as many people as I possibly can while on this magic carpet ride.  Hell yes!  You can't convince me of something more worthwhile.  
Because while you can travel to exotic places and witness amazing buildings that are architecturally magnificent;  it's the people sitting in the square, in front of those buildings, that are far more interesting.  
It's like this.  While eating a large piece of just-removed–from-the-oven apple pie is deliciously orgasmic, so might be the baker that baked that pie.  Sitting with her/him, listening to their savory morsels; tidbits of their life experiences, is far more satisfying to me than the pie itself.  
I love people.  That’s a bottom line.  I cherish my friends who have stuck with me for decades, those I have just met in recent years that I haven’t scared off, the Facebook pals I don’t really know but we pretend we do and the strangers I meet each day on the street, whose stories of life interest me and cause me to ponder each and every moment with them.  All are priceless.
Much like travel and food, 
Money, an interesting career, fame…none rate as high on my “importance list” as humans.
And of course, with the love of humans, comes the ones that offer up various situations that 
I must remember, cherish and ultimately, accept…


One day…I think it was a Friday, but that’s really irrelevant unless you’re living for the weekend, 
I was hiding out; blinds drawn, lights out, when there was a knock at the front door of my 
Silver Crest.  
God, I loved that pre-fab.  It was cheap, low maintenance and originally had white, flat paint on every damn wall and baseboard in the entire unit.  That is until I spruced it up with some sage semi-gloss.  

Anyway, when I opened the door, Lupe, the park’s maintenance person, was standing on my porch with a toilet plunger in her hand and a grim expression on her face.  I knew, in an instant, she was about to drop yet another “trailer trash bomb” on me. 

It seemed there was a problem in the park’s communal bathroom.  Using her hands (as if she were Italian) and broken English, she attempted an explanation of what was currently happening in the loo. 
In my  “enough to get by” Spanish, I was getting a clear picture of the crappy (pun intended) situation I was about to face. 
I heard things like, “over-flow”  “problemo” “big mess” and “Roto-Rooter” which, btw, was common language at the park, but when she uttered “books” I was perplexed. 
I asked her, “?Otra vez, Lupe…Que paso con el librito?”  (accent over the “o” in paso)

She attempted again to explain.  I was starting to get a visual and began to go into what I commonly call my “denial moment.”  It seemed we (I say “we” because I was in charge of this ship of fools) had run out of toilet paper at some point, and one of our resourceful residents (special human) took it upon himself to tear up one of the donated paperbacks and 
wipe his ass with it.   
Later, when I accompanied Lupe to the bathroom, I made a mental note.   
That paperback was a Danielle Steele novel titled, Special Delivery, which I found totally fitting at the time.  The culprit seemingly used an entire chapter to complete his business, and the pieces, now in clusters all over the linoleum and halfway down the toilet hole, resulted in a clogging nightmare.
The only beauty of the goddamn mess was that it was a Danielle Steele paperback.
That seemed satisfying to me somehow. 

You know mama always said there’d be days like this.   
She just neglected to mention the overabundance of them when you manage a trailer park.
Hey, but a person’s gotta do what a person’s gotta do, right?  Taking care of ourselves in dire situations.  Using whatever resources we have on hand at the time of the emergency, in order to see that an operation runs smoothly.  I can’t fault the guy.

Just like I can’t fault Sallie, my mail delivery woman who, up until a couple days ago, I had a lovely, open (perhaps superficial, but lovely nonetheless) acquaintanceship with.  
For some peculiar, postal reason, Sallie crossed the line for me the other day…my line; and yet, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do…or, in this case, say.
So, it went something like… I cheerfully greet Sallie, as I often do, and tell her how I think I’m getting whatever’s going around.  “Yep, you’ve got the crud.”  She says and proceeds to tell me that it will only get worse; that soon I will get a very sore, itchy throat and a cough that is unbearable.  (She was right. I’m sicker than a dog right now.)  
She then advises me to “rest, drink plenty of tea…and pray."

I couldn’t help myself.
“Pray?” I questioned.

Yes.  Jesus will take your illness away, but you have to ask him.  Speak to him.  Let him know how you are feeling.”  (Wow. Okay.  Well, right now Sallie, I’m feeling like attacking your jugular.)  I stared at her with eyes that said, “Can’t we just talk about the weather, Sal, while you reach into your mailbag and hand me my bills and ads?”
But unlike my UPS driver, that barely has time to wish me a nice day because “The Brown” demands you punch a clock, Sallie begins "witnessing" to me right then and there on federal company time.

“Don’t you believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior?  You’re not one of those people who think we came from pollywogs, are you?"  She gave me no room to respond.  She continued…
”The Lord loves you anyway.  Even if you don’t reach out to him.  Even though you haven’t asked him into your heart.  He loves you anyway.”

Though I love humans, apparently like Jesus loves me, I must say Sallie pissed me off.
I get this fuming little “anger dragon” pacing in my head for the next few hours after such an interaction. 
Why does it take me awhile to laugh about Sallie’s need to make her faith my faith and why can’t I locate an instant chuckle when I have to clean up clusters of poop-pages strewn all over a bathroom floor? 
If humans are the coolest thing on this planet, why the irritation, eh?

I think human beings attempt a facade which is harder than a stone.  Yet, all of us are really more fragile than an egg.  But that’s the part I dig: the inner fragility behind the outer armor.  
I sometimes set my mark on getting inside a person;  reaching that part which exists in a friend or a stranger...that part that is real, uncomplicated and yes, fragile. 

Once upon time, I managed a coffeehouse in a not so far away city.  It was a nightshift, I recall, and the outside temperature was around 48 degrees, if that.  I had interacted with this homeless woman before; but this night I offered her a free cappuccino and a table by the window.  
(The owners weren’t in the cafĂ© that night.) 
There was something about her I liked.  Respected.  I treated her carefully because of what I sensed to be a certain fragility. 
When the time came, I approached Catherine and told her we were closing.  She seemed appreciative for the coffee and the hour or so she had spent inside, and really wasn’t seeking anything more, but I wanted to extend myself further.

When Elaine came home from working the graveyard shift that night, she put her bag down and headed to our bathroom.  She must have done an “about-face” because she stormed back into our living room …
"Who is in our tub taking a bubble bath?”

That’s Catherine.”  I replied.  She’s leaving in just a bit… just as soon as I paint her nails 
as promised.



  1. aah, Val. we are soul-sisters. I share your love of people, yet sometimes hatred of humankind (like the Michael Vicks out there). The study of people, anthropology, fascinates us. Yet we are continuously disappointed in the failed potential - humans can do so much but sometimes choose to do so little, or nothing.

    but bravo to you, for not giving up on the good in people, and for letting Catherine into your tub !!


  2. Thanks, I needed that. Today I was fed up to "here" with bad drivers, rude people, etc, etc but you're right there's a reason for everything and everyone and I will try and kept the smile going :)

  3. Dear Human, I dig you...what you said about humans being on your "most important" list. Seems you honed your list down to what gets you through the "rough patches" of life...the people whom you love and cherish and love and cherish you back. Like Paul Simon's new song,"So Beautiful...So What." We get to choose. In the interim, I get to laugh at your trailer park stories that are too off-the-wall not to be true. Glad you didn't go "postal" with your postal delivery woman. Glad you took Catherine home for one brief moment of "being beautiful." Glad you write these funny thoughtful blogs.

  4. Dear Val, welcome to my world, lol! In more ways than one...lol! Yeah, I hear you; and, I wouldn't miss any of it for the world (though, at the time I'm confronted with crap whether literally, figuratively, symbolically I have to wonder). anyway, keep writing and I'll keep reading...and laughing and weeping with you! Peace, namaste, etc... ;)

  5. Thank you Beautiful Person, Val, for seeing the elegance in Catherine, and for seeing the humor in other situations, and for writing about it all so magnificently!!
    Wishing you a Happy Today, and may we all see the beauty, joy, and hilarity in all the moments, events, and characters we write into our chapter for today!!

  6. This took me into the essence of your heart. Even in the piece about Sallie, it just the humor that you can get to that shows that! (but really? Must she?)
    Again thank you.

  7. So appreciate all the comments! Y'all are the beautiful humans I write about! Gracias from my heart, for reading! ~tpg