1. I keep running into little reminders that the technology I’m using is out of date. Flickr no longer talks to my SD card from my camera. I noticed this happening about a year before with Photobucket. I know I can use a usb cable to transfer the pictures, but it’s an old habit. Now I transfer them to a folder on my machine and then to the cloud. I suspect this is all because people do it instantly with their phones now–who uses SD cards anymore??
Likewise, Franny’s flip phone died a few months ago and I offered to buy her another one, or let her pay for her own smartphone. I was actually relieved that she went for the smartphone option, because the remaining choices for flip phones have gotten pretty dire. Our ol’ reliable go-to MP3 players have gotten worse over the past ten years, cutting features and support to the bone because they can’t really compete with smartphones anyway.
At the same time, I’m trying to integrate smart home technology in my house. Ray Bradbury made me think at some point I would talk to a wall and then get some scrambled eggs, but then my house would probably try to kill me before crashing into the sun. Spoiler: it might try to kill me anyway (should probably get pianos off top of bookshelves). But no. I am trying to add smart outlets to a house with a manual pencil sharpener still screwed into the wall in the laundry room.
It’s not lost on me that I’m writing this on a BLOG. Who even in $YEAR etc. Is this retro yet?
2. And now, a montage.
I got a blood blister at work recently, on St. Pat’s Day. I pinched myself like a moron in the handles of my snips SO HARD my fingertip went numb. After the feeling didn’t return for a few minutes I paused. “I better take off my glove and have a skosh of a gander,” as my old boss used to say.
Wut-oh. They started as gross jellyfishes and got a callused feel. I see why people say not to lance them. If you don’t rip them, they do a marvelous job of healing on their own.
My first blood blister! They were so big and black that my classmates in school the next week noticed them and thought I had just gotten marker on my finger. A week after the pinchening, on the way home from the last day of class, it started flaking off in the car, revealing naked baby skin underneath!
As I was leaving work yesterday, which is a big, partly skinned skyscraper downtown, I let myself out of the main gate…and pinched my pinky in it! DAMMIT.
Here we go again. Much smaller this time, next to its predecessor.
3. I saw SeaFed in January. I’ve been meaning to write about it since then, but it’s Zod’s honest truth that I completely forgot to several times. A cool thing about medication is that people who used to stress me out really super don’t anymore. I almost feel like I used to have an allergic reaction to them…I just couldn’t avoid having emotional hives. I just think of them briefly, go BLECH a little, and move on. A thing that a lot of therapy couldn’t effect.
I don’t think I’m fearless now, but I really like being more resilient.
Anyway, I hadn’t seen him since Franny’s eighth grade graduation. That occasion was a little nerve-wracking because I knew Franny would be nervous about Worlds Colliding and I knew he would be awkward (he was). He’s always seemed completely unable to modulate himself based on his relationship with other people and is an incessant small talker. But not much else, so he’s not really going to blindside people like he used to, like when he would self-admittedly “fuck with” people I had invited to our house for parties.
Franny’s grandfather lost his wife of a few years to brain tumors in December. He and her family arranged for a memorial service to be held at Pike Place Market, where she owned a shop for many years, and where they met, and lived for a time. My biggest, and perhaps only, regret from my divorce was becoming more distant from him.
It seemed necessary for a while, of course. Life went on, and he lost Franny’s grandmother, met his new wife, and then remarried. They moved to an island here and he retired. From everything I heard and saw he was happy and settled.
Her grandfather invited me to the memorial and I went, with Franny. Franny texted her father immediately after the death announcement, and asked for information about the funeral. Her father didn’t get in touch with her about it until about three days before, asking if she was coming. In his world, someone else always takes care of communicating and arranging important things.
Franny also had some major folderol with her father before Xmas, which resulted in her leaving early one morning during a visit, and getting herself home via bus and ferry. She tells me that she told him she was leaving the night before, which I believe. He sent me a somewhat surprised text a couple of hours after she texted me she left when he finally noticed she was gone.
She hasn’t been back since. She kind of threw down the gauntlet at that time, telling him that he needed to remember her allergies and her health problems. She’s given him literature to read about auto-immune issues and diet, and he admitted he hadn’t. I just don’t think he gets it.
As I’ve written about before, visiting any house for an extended period of time is very difficult. The ambient fragrance of the fabrics and environment, coupled with the smells of food that can make her ill is difficult. Then there’s knowing even if you fix your own food that you brought, you’re probably going to pick up some kind of contamination somewhere on the dishes or cooking vessels.
I know she’s been communicating with him about this for a while now, and his memory is terrible. I’m not sure what kind of effect this is having on the interest level in her life–she says he doesn’t really ask about her hobbies or interests or how she’s managing her health. Again, nothing beyond small talk. She told me recently that he seems “in and out” with his focus, and is reminding her of his mother before she fell into full-fledged early dementia. There and then gone again.
I know from experience it’s easy to downplay a bad memory, and if it gets worse over time, it kind of creeps up imperceptibly. People learn to work around and with your memory, and you learn to fake remembering that your friend changed roles at work, or that they already told you they were moving. It does come back when you’re reminded. “Oh yeah. I guess I’m just tired/spacey/PMSing/hungover” whatever.
This is just stage setting, I suppose. The important thing to know is that Franny hadn’t seen her other family since around Thanksgiving, and this was a pretty major stressful event for many people, including people who had lost their mother, grandmother, sister, or friend.
SeaFed’s family is chockablock with girls. He has three girls with his wife. His sister, the infamous Auntie Jaguar, has two girls. We walked in and saw the clump of Franny’s sisters and cousins together. I said hello to most of the girls and introduced myself as Franny’s mother. Franny’s firstborn sister would not speak or make eye contact with me. She is the clone of her mother, and as the oldest daughter, is bound by that sense of duty and loyalty that we unknowingly crush our poor daughters with.
Jaguar strode up to me and I found myself hugging her. “It’s been too long!” I disagreed, but was externally polite about it. She’s fine, she’s just a person. She has become slightly more human to me lately (albeit from afar) since I’ve learned how insane she makes her oldest daughter, who is a teenager now as well. I got a chance to talk to Franny’s cousin, who is sweet, and to reassure her that her Jaguar mother was hell on wheels as a teenager.
Anyway, we chatted, and it was fine. I caught up with one of Seafed’s cousins, who was nursing her third child on a bench. My mental picture of her involves her still having braces, but she wasn’t much younger than I was when Seafed and I got married. Seafed came up and talk to Franny about her schedule of college visits, as if she was a distant niece. This gave me a chance to check out his gelled hair, which was cut and styled to hide a bald spot. It looks “hip” from some angles and sort of makes the bearer look like a surprised chicken from others.
Later her midget stepmother finally came clomping up to us in her clogs. From the few pictures I’ve seen of her post-children, she seems to have evolved into what I think of as that uniquely West Coast mom style that involves a million mix-n-match cotton layers, leggings, and sensible clogs. That day’s ensemble was black, of course. It’s a look that works really well and looks elegant on some people, and on others it sort of looks like someone covered a piece of furniture and that furniture had a baby with an overloaded laundry drying rack. Lumpy? Frumpy? I don’t know.
I was in my tallest heels and literally looked down on her stumpy ass as she talked, only to Franny, avoiding eye contact with me like her daughter did. I watched her and waited for a break in her stream of chatter so I could say something to her but it never came. Franny was pissed later that she didn’t acknowledge me. I wasn’t surprised.
“It’s cool, honey. I’m still that psycho who called the cops when they were on the way to the airport to go on their honeymoon.” I didn’t add, also that person who takes a whopping $400 out of her wallet every month for child support. Maybe someday she will have the unfortunate experience of encountering someone who will push her to the point of taking the very last ounce of shit from someone they will ever take. That can make a person desperate, vindictive, or calculating. But most of the time lately, at peace and indifferent.
The memorial was winding down and Franny brought her grandfather a glass of wine and we offered to make him dinner soon after that, which we did last month. We had a lovely visit with him and are hoping to do it again soon. On the way out of the memorial, I chucked SeaFed on the arm and said, “See you at graduation, buddy.” I hope that’s true.
I guess I’m thinking about this because Franny got a call from her oldest sister over there the other night, who apparently sounded a little angry and snarky (probably mostly sad) and not understanding why Franny is not visiting. She informed Franny that they are moving, to another house on their island. It was nice that she did the right thing and called; Franny is interested. Franny wondered to me where they would get money to buy a new, much larger house, since the old one sounds like it’s melting due to neglect and she said they still struggle to buy groceries every week. I guess his father feels he has no choice but to continue to support SeaFed.
No word on their impending move or new address from her father, of course.