It might be a good thing if I disappear for a while. I’ll play the martyr and imagine no one will notice.
So now no one will read me. For some reason when I go on and on about how pathetic I am, my readership goes up tenfold. I write something political and it drops. As a political commentator, I’m an unknown voice screaming among many. I would think I am the same thing as a pathetic wreck, but apparently not. Or else people like reading about all the pathetic wrecks, so adding me to the mix is okay.
So here is my political blog comment of the day. Well, actually there will be two. First of all, I went to McCain’s site yesterday. His first paragraph says that he wants to overturn Roe v. Wade. Then he says he will appoint judges to fix this decision. Then he says he does not believe it is right to appoint activist judges who legislate from the bench.
Problem number one: Is he, or the person who wrote this drivel since McCain is apparently unable to use the “innernit,” completely unable to see the hypocrisy in this statement? I will appoint judges to overturn this, but I do not believe in appointing legislating activist judges? He obviously thinks appointing someone to overturn a decision is not appointing an activist judge, thereby immuning him from his own hypocrisy, or else he completely misses that what he says is hypocrisy. In either case, it’s a problem.
Problem number two: When judges interpret a law, which is their job, it is not “legislating from the bench.” It is doing the job of a judge. Congress (or another lawmaking body) writes a law, executive branch gives it the stamp of approval, judges interpret. Very little of what is written is 100% clear. Facts need to come along and give a law some teeth and meaning. Freedom of speech? This does not mean you have the right to encourage someone to rape someone else. And on and on. All the words in a law need to be interpreted. That is the job of the judicial branch. Lawmakers jump up and down and throw a fit because judges do exactly what they are supposed to do. That is the POINT of a three-branch system. If lawmakers do not like how a judge interpreted a law, then the problem is not with the judge but with the way a law is written. If lawmakers want judges to interpret a law a certain way, then they need to write that way into the law. Otherwise judges are left trying to determine what the hell the lawmaker meant. If an executive does not want a law to be interpreted a certain way, then the executive should not sign the damn bill into law until it is written more clearly.
It’s basic civics McCain. Maybe instead of focusing on your time in the military 40 years ago, you ought to spend some time going back and relearning basic US governmental structure.
This leads me to the other McCain criciticism of the morning. Why is it that we constantly have to hear all about McCain’s military service? Is this all the guy has done? Uh, yes. The other 60-some odd years of his life are irrelevant, at least that seems to be what he wants us to believe. Let’s focus on the fact he was a POW and ignore all the other crap he’s done in between because if we focused on that, we know it would be hard to sell him as a leader.
Annoying. That’s all I have to say about that.
Doesn’t that sound like the first line of a poem? Speaking metaphorically of course. I am not, however, speaking metaphorically. August 16 is the day my Autumn was born, in 1993. She died July 19, 2005. I chose her the day she was born and she died in my arms. She lived her life with me.
Most people today will go on and on about this being the anniversary of the day Elvis died. I have not yet seen any news sites or anything to proclaim this event, but having spent the last fifteen years noticing August 16, it is difficult not to notice this other event associated with it. I find it remarkable that two decades after the man’s death, the date is still so publicly memorialized. Ah, the cult of celebrity.
Autumn was a gem. She was my little partner. I knew before she was born that I would have a dog and imagined her riding with me in the car. My boyfriend at the time and I drove across the US to go live in Virginia/Tennessee (yes, on the border), and the whole way there I fantasized about getting a dog.
I chose Autumn within weeks of our arrival; she came home five weeks later. I went and held her every day from the time she was born, before she had eyes or ears. I’ve since heard from a rather know-it-all dog breeder that this was completely dangerous because Autumn could have supposedly acquired some disease or other from me, but she did not. All she acquired was the desire to spend all of her time with humans and particularly with me. Throughout her life she followed me wherever I would go, no matter how trivial or short the trip. Going into the kitchen for a glass of water? There was Autumn, at my side. Going for a short visit to the toilet? Autumn would rise from wherever she had been lying, follow me in, sigh heavily as she laid down next to me, then rise again thirty seconds later to follow me back to wherever I had been. I spent a term at school in Munich, Germany when Autumn was just a puppy. Upon my return, she peed on the sidewalk at the airport, her face and demeanor obviously relieved that the person she loved and remembered from the time before she had sight or sound was back. The person she adored had not disappeared forever.
Autumn’s fur was golden, laced throughout with brown hairs and white. She was the color of autumn, hence the choice for her name. She had a white patch on her chest, on two of her toes, and on the tip of her tail. She had the most beautiful brown eyes and I took it as a compliment that people often commented that we looked alike, even more so the year I wore brown contact lenses. Two of her teeth were broken in half from carrying around and chasing rocks. The dog loved fetching. I would mark rocks and then toss them into three or four feet of water in a moving stream. Invariably Autumn retrieved the marked rock from the floor of that stream. She loved to swim, she loved to fetch, diving was the natural result.
Her last years were not pleasant for her. First she acquired interstitial cystitis, then diabetes. All of these I believe now came from problems with her adrenal glands. At the time, no one really knew what caused interstitial cystitis, but I’ve learned that recent research shows a link to adrenal malfunction. All along the doctors thought she had Cushings disease, although she never tested positive for it. Considering Cushings is an adrenal malfunction and Autumn’s diseases were all manifestations of adrenal malfunction, I think it’s a safe assumption that this gland did not work properly for her. Diabetes was the worst. In spite of the twice daily insulin shots I gave her, she wasted away over nearly two years. She lost her sight and grew thin. Yet until the day she died she was lively and happy, chasing sticks and frisbees she could smell even though she could not see, snuggling close to me under the covers after I lifted her onto the bed to be with me.
I am so glad she was born and spent her life with me. I have another beautiful dog named Molly I chose from the humane society when Autumn was two. Molly is a photo negative of Autumn–black where Autumn was yellow, and yellow where Autumn was dark brown. Like two children with their own personalities, each were individuals. Autumn was outgoing, a textbook Leo in personality, Molly is timid and precise. Autumn would attack the vacuum cleaner. Molly goes and finds a corner as far from the sucking machine as possible. She often worries she might be in trouble when you call her. She stares at the floor if someone else has been naughty, human or canine. She will go and hide if another dog potties on the floor, fearful of the possibility someone might get mad. I have now had Molly longer than I had Autumn. She lives with one of my best friends in Oregon. I have missed her stealthy presence, hiding under my bed or in my closet. My friend calls me. He tells me Molly is in the closet. He sent me a photo of her in there staring at his boots. He coaxes her into his basement to eat her food and to get away from the summer heat.
I realized this week that this is the first time that I have not had a dog since I brought Autumn home in September 1993. Growing up we always had dogs. I am not used to being dogless. I like the presence of another in the house always there. I enjoy having my own pack. I miss it. I wonder, sitting here thinking, if maybe I have been experiencing a version of empty nest these last few years, years I have been wanting a purpose, needing something to do, feeling sort of lost. I honestly enjoy taking care of my babies, whether they are dogs or humans. The happiest days of my life I remember are the times when I was taking care of my dogs or my baby girl. My girl has grown enough into herself that she does not require that level of care anymore. My dogs are all gone. How 1950’s housewife of me that taking care of a house and babies is what brings me the most contentment.
I miss Autumn. I love her. Her life is one of the two most important things I have ever experienced. For her life and the time she shared with me, I am grateful. I realized at the birth of my daughter that celebrating one’s birth is a celebration of the fact of being born. I celebrate the fact that Autumn was born. Happy birthday to you, dear one. Thank you for living your life with me.
My blog has turned into two things. One is me going on and on about how pathetic I am. The other is my ranting about the godforsaken political situation in this country. It’s as if my sense of humor has taken a monster shit and been flushed down the loo. It does not exist anymore, at least in writing. I am not sure though that I ever had it. I just had these magical moments where things came to me and I wrote them down, but they are gone now. Or maybe it was just that I was not living in mental chaos all the time. Lately I feel as if I live in mental chaos, in this box where I just want to know what the fuck it is that I want out of life and I go for it. But the times I’ve known what I want and gone for it have been monumental failures, so I have really almost given up trying. Well, I don’t know about that, but I’ve not known exactly what I want for ages, and that has been a big part of the problem. Recently, I have figured out exactly what it is that I want, but it is one of those things that requires others on board and I have not exactly figured out how to present these desires to the other parties involved. The result is that I mope about wanting these things, wondering if they are the right things to want, waffling whether I actually do want them, then wondering again if I do in fact want them how to present these things to other involved parties. It’s a conundrum, I can assure you.
As it is I just spin time, organizing my room, thinking about things I want to write, sitting at the computer and staring, trying to remember what it was I sat down for, then getting up and wandering over to my bed to stare at the wall, continuing in my humorless vein. It’s a good time. It’s such a good time I am going to do it again right now because I am tired. Good night.
Ronrey, I’m so ronrey. I wonder if the universe wanted to teach me a lesson that Portland had its positive side too by sending me somewhere that everything would go wrong and cost me a ton of money. Of course, this assumes the universe thinks like a human, which I do not believe. It also assumes I did not know the good things in Portland, which I also do not agree with. Especially right before I left I noticed that there were certain things that I liked quite a lot, but I also knew I had to go and try something else, that I needed to be away from there. I still don’t really want to be there, but I don’t really want to be anywhere. So what does that mean? I’m the one who is fucked up, that’s what it means. I need to figure out something to occupy my none too busy brain. I need something to manage. I need multiple tasks to manage, in addition to my writing. The man is sending me his taxes to work on. I can’t wait. I am frothing at the mouth with the possibility of doing his taxes. How pathetic does this make me? Not pathetic really, I just have a brain that is too active. It needs too much stimulation. No wonder people tell me I should smoke pot.
I’ll bet you anything the administration is frothing at the mouth to bring back the cold war, only this time with the terrorist twist. Then they can really use fear to their advantage. Terrorists! Communists! War! Oh my! I’ll bet they are wishing this Russian situation had come along earlier so they could exploit it further before they get their asses kicked out of office, but hey, there are still a few months left. I’m sure they can wring something out of it before they leave. They’ll use it to McCain’s advantage. And Fox news will join in to fight the good fight. Obama? You better be on your toes, Guy. These guys are going to exploit this situation like no one’s business. I can guarantee it. Americans have been putting up with the fear card for Iraq and Afghanistan for some time now, but Russia, we haven’t heard about them for a while. It is quite possible to exploit fear using a different monster.
Pay attention! Pay attention! If we want to stop the fear machine before it really takes hold, we better pay attention and jump in now to start thwarting the bullshit attacks that are going to begin. They are going to do it, it’s a guarantee. The only question is how. Just watch. McCain will say something to the effect that Russians are the new terrorist threat and if we don’t watch out, Russia will come and invade the US like they invaded Georgia and we can’t have that now, can we? We had better take offensive action to stop their bad behavior!
This might not be the exact scenario, but something like this will come from their mouths. I’d bet on it.
Am I an American? Is our country for real? I am appalled at our audacity. Condoleeza stands up and tells the Russians that it is not 1968, that countries do not invade other countries, take over their capitals, and overthrow their governments? I heard a recording of these words coming out of this woman’s mouth. Does the word HYPOCRISY mean anything to anyone anymore? The radio reported this like it’s just news. No one gasped in shock at the irony. No one commented. On what planet do we all live on that her statement makes the news but not the meaning behind her words?
The radio announcer went on to say the US is dismayed at reported human rights abuses. Again, are we joking? The USA, the progenitor of modern torture techniques, is dismayed the Russia may be perpetrating human rights abuses? The USA, who has done NOTHING in Darfur and other places where masses of human rights abuses are committed on a daily basis, is dismayed? Are we joking?
The arrogance of our government is astounding. I am utterly appalled. Why do we continue to put up with this? Why is the mass of our population so blinded to the realities of this administration? When will we stop putting up with the lies, the hypocrisy, the violence, all of it? I can see it now: it is a few years hence. We all have chips implanted into our necks. We are all being herded hither and thither among various shopping centers. We can’t buy what we want because we don’t have jobs or money or homes. The government, angered that we aren’t buying, turns off our chips, making it impossible to go anywhere or do anything because the chips are required to operate a car, ride a bus, fly on a plane, do anything. Then we start to cry we cannot believe this is happening to us.
Welcome to the future people. It’s happening now. You can believe it and try to change things or poke your head back into your bible, blind yourself in front of the advertising machine, or numb your brain with substances. We are responsible for the state we are in. This is supposedly a democracy (though I think valid arguments could be made against this assumption). If it is a democracy, then we are responsible for the people running the show. We decide whether we will allow this to continue, indeed that it has happened at all. Americans are responsible for what we have become. Ultimately, Americans are responsible for where we end up. Do we want to be arrogant monsters who are hypocritical in everything they say or do? Because that is where we are. The question is whether we are going to stand up, grow up, and take responsibility to change things before we destroy ourselves and our planet.
Oh we are so small and insignificant. Oh the corporations in this world are so large and monopolistic. They are all the same. There are too many willing to put up with their business practices, too many willing to put up and shut up, that telling them we will not do business with them is meaningless. All I have is this damn blog and any articles I ever manage to publish. I am using this blog and this opportunity to tell anyone who cares or has a choice about my experience with Advantage RentaCar and First Hawaiian Bank.
I have nothing good to say about Advantage RentaCar. I rented a car from them. I paid them for a full tank of gas. They have this deal where you pay them like .30c a gallon less than what is on the street, then you can bring the car back empty and they don’t care. Well, I start out on the road after a LONG flight, made longer by the fact the airplane was broken and we had to sit on it for 2 hours before it went anywhere. Halfway down the freeway to where we were staying I realized the car had less than half a tank. Nice. I rented this car for a week. I brought it back a day early because I purchased a car that gets much better gas mileage. Upon arrival at Advantage, I was informed that the car would cost twice as much because I was returning it early. Excuse me? They have the car available to rent to someone else and they want me to pay them twice as much? They would not make it right. I had to take the car and I will have to bring it back tomorrow if I want to keep the additional $170. The airport is not near my house. The rental company is not easily accessible. I wasted almost two hours there and back today. I will have to waste more time tomorrow. I will never rent an Advantage RentaCar again, even if it costs me ten or twenty or even a hundred dollars more to rent somewhere else. If they wanted to charge me more to bring the car back early, they should have mentioned this would be the case, thereby eliminating my wasting my time going there today. Again, I will never do business with Advantage RentaCar again.
First Hawaiian Bank. Not only do they think I’m a lying terrorist who forged my driver’s license and social security card, not only will they not tell me what is on my credit report that makes them think I’m a lying terrorist (claiming it is a violation of privacy–HAH), now they will not return my forty thousand dollars until it has cleared my bank. Rather than just giving me my check back and returning all documents with my signatures, the greedy bastards took my money and are holding it until my bank clears the check. This could take up to ten days. I will never do business with First Hawaiian Bank. I urge others not to do business with them either.
Citizens, we have to stop putting up with this. The only way we will ever change anything is if enough of us say no. A few here and there will never make a dent. We have to fight for change. Every day our rights are eroded further. Every day we have fewer freedoms. The movement is miniscule on a day by day basis, so we do not notice that over time, we are so far away from anything resembling freedom in any sense of the word. This will only change if we stop putting up with all of the bureaucratic chaos we are forced to endure every day. We will only change corporations if enough of us hit their bottom line. This is important. I urge you to resist requirements pushed on you by businesses who are not interested in customer service. I urge you to stop doing business with companies who treat you poorly and then let them know why. Only then will we ever create real change.
In the dawn in the half light eyes unfocused it is easier to imagine your arms your nibbles your breath on my cheek and harder not to weep. I miss you.
Welcome to the USA, where citizens are assumed to be out of “compliance” in their own country, where their own identification no longer satisfies officials they are who they say they are, where those born here are considered to be running afoul of the law and forging their identities unless and until they can get a computer to agree they are who they say they are. Social security card, driver’s license, passport? Nahhhh…those aren’t proof you are who you say you are. If some computer somewhere says you don’t exist as you’ve proven, then you don’t exist, and it becomes your job to prove it by calling some stranger and providing the same information you have already provided in the forms of documentation. Then somehow, maybe, you’ll become a citizen.
What a load of fucking crap. When are people going to stop putting up with this terrorist crap? When are people going to realize that having to endure shit like this is a worse threat than the highly unlikely possibility someone will bomb us? It’s all about control on the part of a very few. We need to stop allowing them to take control. We need to stop complying simply to prove our innocence, to prove our citizenship. Too many people say I will comply because not complying makes me look guilty. Fuck that! If you aren’t guilty, you aren’t guilty. Not complying does not make you MORE guilty!
Today the bank I chose here to start new accounts called me to tell me their “compliance department” claims my social security number has too many names on it. The “compliance department” in charge of making sure terrorists don’t open bank accounts. Guess what, fuckers? Timothy McVeigh had a social security card. Being a US citizen does not keep one from becoming a terrorist. Want to know why my social security number has more than one name? It is because some minimum wage flunky fuck at the credit reporting agency imput the information incorrectly. It is also because I was married in a patriarchal culture and changed my name then because I was too ignorant at the time to know better. It doesn’t mean I forged my social security card, driver’s license, and passport. It certainly does not mean I’m a terrorist.
I told the bank I did not appreciate being called a liar. I said that being told I need to prove further who I am, that telling me my proof was not good enough was akin to saying my proof was a lie. I told them that if my proof of identity was not good enough, I would take my money elsewhere. I explained that I was not going to comply to prove my innocence, that they needed to prove my guilt. I told her I knew most people would go along with this charade as evidence of their good faith, but that I needed no such evidence. I said I was not going to waste my time proving further I am who I am, that they could spend the time disproving I am who I am. The kind lady who had to put up with me told me she would do some research and get back to me.
The irony in this is that I was told this was somehow for my own good, proving someone else wasn’t using my number. How many people stop and believe that bullshit? I’m trying to put money in their bank, I say I am Lara Gardner, I give documents I am Lara Gardner, their computer says my social security number has other names on it, so now I’m not safe? What a load of fucking crap. This has nothing to do with anything for my own good and everything to do with control.
There are fourteen characteristics common to fascism. One of these is an obsession with national security, using fear as a motivational tool to control the masses. I will not be a pawn in the government’s tool chest of fear in order to create the illusion of control. If we are truly free, we should be free to open a bank account with money from another US bank without being accused of being a terrorist.
I don’t fit. I just don’t. I feel like I spend my time in groups of people who fit in whatever they are in, but I’m not of them, I am just there. I wonder if this is a manifestation of mine or if I’m meant simply to be always alone. Surrounded by people and always alone. I am certainly not a part of Hawaii. I knew that coming here though, so it was not a surprise. I suppose I had harbored some hope, albeit small, that I would not feel my aloneness as acutely here as I had in Portland. But such thinking was naive.
The first few days here were a struggle, primarily because any move is a struggle. We were worn out and travel weary. Upon arrival we had originally intended to look for an apartment. We started out renting a room in the house of a friend of a friend. It was supposed to be the bigger of two rooms the homeowner had for rent. Upon seeing it, I knew we would have to find our own place because it was simply not big enough for the two of us. However, after settling in, spending time with the homeowners, and looking at what we could get for similar money on our own, I determined that we would have plenty of space if we rented both rooms. So here we will stay. The house is expansive and comfortable, in a good neighborhood, and our housemates could not be better. The apartments we looked at for a similar price were ratholes in neighborhoods I would not want to live in. This house is also quite close to Milla’s school and near nice shops and restaurants. It will be a good place to live.
I also had to buy a car. This would not on the surface appear to be a daunting task, but for some reason every person I called about cars was a complete freak. The two cars we ended up actually getting to see were trashed beyond belief and there was no way I would purchase them. And looking at them and apartments was a day long ordeal and a huge pain in the ass, simply because getting around Honolulu can be a huge ordeal and a pain in the ass. This is because the main interstate through the city has off ramps with no coordinating on ramps and vice versa. In addition, directions to exits are not well marked, or at least marked to coincide with the directions provided by Google maps. I suppose this could be considered an error on the part of Google maps. There also seem to be several roads with more than one name. One sign will have the first name but not the second. The second sign will have the second name but not the first. The final sign might have both or simply a number. By the time I figured out that all were one and the same it was too late to take the exit thereby necessitating taking a further exit. However, on return the previous exit was not accessible so I would have to go on to the next exit to try and head back. Only then there would not be an on ramp, so I would have to drive down further through town and attempt to locate one. This happened to me four times. Each occurrence took over a half an hour. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper. Luckily at the end of the day one person who had placed an ad for a car on craiglist without a phone number responded to my email inquiry. She was female and sounded like a normal human, unlike any of the other sellers to whom I had spoken. I made arrangements to see the car the next day and bought it after a drive. It’s a good car. I like it better than our clunky rental. It is a 1992 Toyota Camry.
Milla also started school yesterday. This was the big reason for our arrival at the beginning of August. Milla’s school experience has been the most satisfying part of this trip. I have had many moments of homesickness for a place that does not exist, moments where I long for a place that is mine, knowing it is not Hawaii or Portland. It has been lonely and painful. But finding a school that seems so good for Milla is a blessing. Her teacher met with her for a half an hour. Within that half hour, he knew Milla better than most people who have known her for some time. He was able to identify parts of her personality and character and discuss these traits with me. He seemed genuinely delighted to have her in his class. I am so pleased Milla may finally have found a place where she is welcome. Finding a place where Milla could thrive was one of my primary reasons in choosing to come here; in this at least we are blessed.
Non sequitur…but not really because I’m listening to him, but Chet Baker’s voice turns me inside out. He puts me in tune with the universe. Him and Nina Simone. Milla has become a Nina Simone convert. I can’t play Nina enough to satisfy my daughter. She has good taste.
I saw a ghost last night. I told it to leave. It did not belong in our room. It did not belong here. It needed to leave and it left. I was not afraid. For a moment, I felt a strength I only occasionally know I possess and wondered if my being lonely all the time is so I can someday use this strength. I do not know. There are so many times I do not know if I will make it to that point. Perhaps I can use it if I ever get over this blinding loneliness.
So I don’t write a couple of days and they change everything again. Well, at least they moved things around somewhat. It’s not as drastic a change as before. I know a lot of people did not like the other changes, but I did, so I think I can get used to a little column switch.
I don’t have much to write. Ironic considering most of the day my brain was bursting with words, but I’m so tired now the words all went to sleep. Running around settling into our new home is exhausting. And I have insomnia again because I don’t have my man. Love kills insomnia, that’s all I can say. Sleeping with him every night took it away. I felt safe with him. I love him.
I’m going to bed. I will be a better writer again from now on.
I leave for Hawaii on Thursday. I feel like I’m going forward, getting it done, but observing from the outside. It’s like I can’t let myself feel anything about it before I go because I don’t know how I feel about it other than that I know I have to do it. In some regards I feel like immigrants in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s must have felt. I’m leaving pretty much everything behind except a few small belongings and Milla. Even my animal babies won’t be with me. Thank God it’s the 21st century and there are phones, the internet, email, Skype or Gizmo, whatever, to keep us connected with our families and friends in a way the immigrants could not enjoy. In that regard, we have it so much easier. But that’s about the only situation I can find analagous to this one. Similiarly though, I do think it is something that will improve our lives. So off we go…
Have you ever spent a good deal of time helping someone with something just because you wanted to help them (for whatever reason), then made an offer to help further and the person acted like the further assistance was expected or even required? Such things make me less inclined to want to help out, you know? Such things make me want to say fuck you and give the proverbial finger. Instead of thanks a bunch for helping out, it’s how come you’re not doing more or doing it faster? Nothing like a little ingratitude to keep me from offering up assistance in the future.
Today is colder than it has been. It is the first of August. Incidentally, this is also my mom’s birthday. She seemed pleased when I called and wished her well. I gave her a gift some weeks ago because I was moving and did not want to lose it. She told me all about where the gift was at and how much she liked it. She was appreciative. My daughter is visiting my mom this weekend. I picked her up at the airport and very nearly took her straight over to my sister’s where my mom was going to pick her up. I figured I would let Milla keep traveling and stay in that mode before coming to me and moving to another state. There will be a lot of changes for both of us coming up. I’m looking forward to parts of it, but honestly, I’m scared shitless. I guess that’s how it goes.