Monday, September 27, 2010

Body Possession

I used to believe the paranormal was pure science fiction, the stuff of authors like Terry Pratchet and Laurell K. Hamilton or television shows such as Supernatural.  At least, I thought that until I had children.  It was then that I discovered that the paranormal ran deep within my family - especially my mother!

The first time it happened, my eldest was perhaps three or four.  We were at a department store rushing as usual to get what we needed and get out of there because the longer we stay the more Char spends.  Nathaniel had not napped and my patience level was nil.  Turning down an aisle some toy grabbed his attention and the pleading started in earnest.  A very quiet and gentle, “I’m sorry, honey, but not today” sent him into a teary fit.  It was at that moment it happened, right there in the middle of the toy section at Wal Mart, surrounded by strangers.  My mother possessed my body and screamed at my child, “Do you want a reason to cry?  I’ll give you a reason to cry!”

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Tradition of Traditions

My favorite three months of the year are right around the corner.  I become like a kid at Disney World as the change of weather accompanies the changing of the leaves and the earlier nights.  Everything just feels different.  The air has a different bite to it.  The beach seems to be blanketed with a winter haze and the morning’s demand you stay in bed longer, and I try never to argue with my bed.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Season of My Ignorance

It's that time of year again.  You know what I'm talking about, that time where ordinary people lose their sense of normalcy, when grown men paint their bodies with wild colors and large numbers and root for men shaped like mountains to pulverize each other for a dried-out pigskin.  Football American-style, which is not to be confused with the English-style football, which we've named soccer.  I wonder how much confusion that produces.  I imagine a young boy in England, whose parents have been pushing him towards football, sitting down at the computer and researching the lifelong dreams of his parents.  The unsuspecting youth clicks on a video clip and is assaulted by an American NFL rivalry that has a dozen men piling on top of a receiver clearly under matched.  I can see his wide eyes and open mouth, hear the shock in his voice.  "What the bloody hell.  They want to kill me."  He then runs off to be a male stripper.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Age of the Impersonal

Sitting in my study the other day, I overheard my youngest son, Zachariah, trying his best to get assistance from his cell phone provider.  I’ll withhold the company’s name as they are all basically the same and the problem is universal.  It seemed he was having problems accessing the Internet on his microscopic phone.  I guess he became tired of waiting in line to go online.  More than likely, he was annoyed at me for pulling the Dad card and kicking him off of the computer.  Whatever it was, it freed up my desk and for that I can only say, “Amen!”

Still, listening to him on the phone with his provider would have been funny had it not been so painful.  His call had been answered by the cold simulated voice of customer service, which at best is a monotone monotony.  At first, the conversation was all right as it required only a series of single syllable answers. 

"Yes....No......No.....Yes......Phone.....No." It escalated from there.

"Assistance."  A pause.  "Assistance!"  Another pause.  "A...ssis....tance!"  I don't blame his tone.  "Help!"  He yells into the phone.  "I need help!"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Collect People

I watched as a gnome of a man climbed two levels of theater seats, his sweater draped over his trembling arm.  He eased his body forward, almost afraid of leaning too far and falling over.  His eyes squinted as he looked down his nose at the brass plate with the seat number.  It’s what I would have done had I been looking at it even with my glasses.

Teri smiled at him, pointed to the seat and said, “It’s number eight.”

He continued to glance at the back of the chair a moment more, and then glanced at Teri, then, back at the number plate.  He looked at the next seat, staring as hard as he could without falling into it.  Then, he went back to the first seat and stared some more.

Again, a little louder, Teri said, “It’s number eight.”

He tried to lean forward but caught himself falling and stopped.  His eyes went wide then narrowed again.  I understood how he felt.  It was dark.  I could barely see the floor, nevertheless, those two-inch number plates.  Char had found our seats for us.  Teri shook her head as she settled back into fold-up chair.  She had tried to help

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mom, Technology and the English Language

Whenever my mom needs her DVD player or stereo hooked up, she always calls me.  Where my dad is in these situations I will never know.  More than likely, he’s in the back bedroom watching Jeopardy on a television set he’s had since the fifties.  Still, it's the natural progression of life.  Mom probably started with Dad until she got so frustrated at him that she called me, which she wanted to do in the first place.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

They Say I'm Quirky

They say I’m quirky, whatever that means.  When I think quirky, I tend to think of older people who are starting to lose their anchor to reality by wearing bedroom slippers with their shirt and ties to Olive Garden for dinner.  Not that wearing slippers is bad.  I wear mine in the morning when I take the kids to school, but I’m not getting out of the car and I’m heading straight back to the house.  I mean, it’s not like I’m Mrs. Bryant who wears a terry-cloth bathrobe and curlers into the 7-11 for her morning newspaper and a chili dog.  Furthermore, I don’t wear slippers and ties at the same time or when I go grocery shopping.

But they say I am quirky anyway.

It all started when a friend of ours saw a picture of me – several actually – with a bright yellow highlighter in my shirt pocket.  “You’re not in high school anymore.  What’s with the highlighter?  You’re such a nerd.”  I’m a nerd because I carry a highlighter in my pocket?  I also always have a small notebook that fits in my pocket and a black gel pen.  These, however, don’t make me nerdy.  It’s the highlighter that does that.  One friend always saw me with a shirt pocket weighted down with pens and assumed I had a pocket protector.  Now, that would be nerdy.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Final Box

I hate moving.  Dread it actually.  How people swap from one home to another for long periods of time I will never understand.  It would give me ulcers.  It’s one of the reasons I never went into the military.  Okay, there are several reasons I didn’t enlist, the idea of physical strain and being told what to do at the top of that list, but the idea of packing all of my stuff into boxes and moving at the whim of higher ranking officials was somewhere on there as well.

As I said, I hate moving, but moving I am.  I liked this house, too, which makes it kind of sad.  It had been two years of transitions.  The beachside home started with five residents, and then went to eight.  At one point, three moved out and two moved in and a short while later another moved out.  By the time we reached the new home back on the other side of the bridge another had ventured out on his own and I surmise by the end of the year another will leave the nest in order to make his mark on the world as well.  Soon, I’ll never have to fight for the television, the computer will always be available and the Coke will not disappear over night with no one taking blame for the sudden disappearance. I’ll always have a quiet place to sit and read and ponder on how much I miss fighting for the television.  But, for now it’s back to five.