Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wonder where Martha is now

It's not often I initiate the "let's go have a beer after work" conversation. So recently, after a relatively crazy night, I did just that. So there I am with Amanda at the Slippery Noodle, a beer in my hand a Pinot in hers when Martha plopped down at our table.
Martha looked like she hasn't had the easiest life. Who am I kidding? Martha didn't look like she'd had an easy day. The right side of her face was covered with cuts and bruises. Her hair was a mess. She had layer upon layer of clothes on. She had a Budweiser in her hand and was ready to talk to someone -- anyone. And so there she was at our table, talking to us as if we were her best friends.
Turns out that Martha is homeless and had been struggling all day to find a place where she could get out of the cold. She was leery of the guys sitting at the bar behind us and thought they were trying to steal her coat. We were leery of her because ... well, she just kind of sat down at our table. A couple of guys who work at the bar gave us the "Are you guys OK?" and "Who is that woman?" looks. When part of my beer spilled on the table, she told me not to get napkins and wiped it up with the sleeve of her sweatshirt.
She was chain-smoking and upset with herself that she was smoking at all because she had quit for the five years she had been in prison. Turns out she had been stabbed while she was locked up, too.
She talked about her former life in Arizona, when she drove 18-wheelers and rode horses in her free time. She told us about the transvestite hookers at the Flying J and her desire to skip town before her parole was up in June. And there I was, wishing this woman would leave our table but transfixed by her at the same time.
I wanted to know what she had been in prison for, but thought it rude to ask. I wanted to know about her childhood. I wanted to know who had caused all the cuts and bruises on her face. I wanted to know what she was doing with all that Vicodin in her sweatshirt pocket. I wanted her to find a warm place to sleep, but I didn't want to be the one responsible for helping her find one. She wanted to buy us a round, but we declined.
In the end, Amanda and I snuck out the back door to avoid Martha asking me for a ride ... somewhere. I kind of wonder where Martha is now. I felt bad about ditching her there, but ... but ...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bound for D.C.

Inauguration Day, here I come. Will not be drinking any fluids for three days.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Happy birthday, mini-me

Eighteen years ago, this picture was taken.

It was the first time I saw you, the first time I held you, or any newborn for that matter. I remember babysitting you for the first time and going into a panic when you got hiccups that would not go away.

I remember taking pictures of you at inconvenient moments such as this, and then holding my nose as I changed your diaper afterward.

I remember your unnatural love of Winnie the Pooh and Barney. I remember accidentally breaking the "rumbly in my tumbly" squeak in your Pooh doll on Christmas and never being able to get the Barney "I Love You, You Love Me" song out of my head.

I remember going to Ireland with you for the first time and thinking: God, I really hope Grandpa Benny's gun isn't loaded.

I remember how "helpful" you were when I moved. It was great to have you there, but -- girl -- you seriously need to work on your bathtub-cleaning skills.

I remember taking you canoeing for the first time. Your reaction to the luxurious bathroom accommodations was priceless and you were *really* instrumental in getting us 15 miles downstream. I won't even dare tell the story of how you nearly killed me and your mom on the drive home.

Oh, and I remember doing my best to replace the Winnie the Pooh doll I had "destroyed" so many years earlier.

Happy 18th. I love you as if you were my own.

(P.S.: You may want to kill me right now, but at least I didn't post the nekkie bathtub pictures!)

Monday, January 5, 2009

The thumbs

When I was a kid, this was a common hand position for me, thumbs tucked beneath my fingers so nobody could see them. My mom used to tell me I had Irish thumbs. Or that I had my dad's thumbs. Neither thing made me feel any better. And really, my dad's thumbs were nowhere near as freaky as mine. My sister was once asked by a doctor if her thumbs "impaired her." (Sorry, Col.) I was never asked that question, but probably because that same doctor never noticed my thumbs.

My thumbs are like big toes on my hands.
My thumbs look like Vienna Sausages (The owner of the "impaired" thumbs once sent me a can of the sausages just to reinforce this belief. Jerk.)

It's time, finally, for my thumbs to be shown to the world, in all their glory. So here it is, a thumb untucked and in all its glory:

The only good thing about having these things attached to my hands is that I never had the option of hitchhiking. My thumbs are so short and stumpy nobody would ever see them.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

How did this happen?

I'm typing this on my laptop. There are four tabs open on my browser: Gmail, Twitter, Facebook and this blog site. Hiding behind this browser is my iTunes window. Resting on the table next to this laptop: an iPod, a cell phone, a digital camera loaded with photos I need to download and the remote for my TiVo, which at the moment is recording some obscure show because it thinks it "knows" me.
I have my trusty bookmark toolbar at the top of this page: Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, New York Times, MediabistroDC and, of course, the Indy Star, among others.
I also have two books on the coffee table in various stages of being read.
How in God's name am I supposed to keep up? I want to be able to take in every morsel of information. I want time to catch up with those 263 people who I'm connected with on Facebook. I want to read inane Twitter updates. I want time to edit 14,039,204 (approximately) photos. I want time to find a song in the iTunes store that will give me goosebumps. I want time to watch that "West Wing" episode from Season 2 that TiVo has recorded for me.
I want time.