My mother died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1995. It took a few months from diagnoses to death. I don’t know why I didn’t notice the fatigue, the yellow skin, etc. I didn’t even realize she was drinking uncontrollably. It all seems obvious now that she was both mentally and physically ill.
I would get calls from her at all hours. Her voice slurred, she’d either tell me she loved me over and over again or how disappointed she was in me, that I didn’t visit enough.
As I grow older I have learned to accept that I am my mother’s son. Well, minus the diabetes and liver disease. So far, at least. I drink uncontrollably at times. I’m not as self destructive as I was in my youth but there are days. I am a quiet drunk, a sleepy drunk. I’m not talky.
I don’t remember having the support for depression and anxiety back when my mother was alive or when I was younger. I don’t know why I drank so much and so hard, made decisions that could have caused great injury or death, or felt a need to argue and fight with my loved ones about the most trivial things. I made life a living hell for some people. I thought I was just fucked up and there was no way I could be fixed. Then the internet came along and I found people who were just like me and learned that there was medication and support. I didn’t have to feel hopeless.
I’m not ‘fixed’ but I function within normal parameters. I don’t drink the day before I have to devote a large amount of attention to something. I refuse to make other people’s lives a living hell. Now I am willing to sit down and discuss things without screaming and shouting. Trivial things are trivial things and they are put in their place. Things have changed.
Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like if my mother would have taken a similar journey like mine. How it would have been like to have her around as I close in on the big 5-0.
A few weeks ago I was asked to exchange my five-day-a-week/eight hour shift for a three-day-a-week/twelve hour shift. The three days are on the weekend and they are during the overnight whereas my old schedule was from 3 PM to 11 PM during the week. That’s not me in the picture below but an incredible simulation.
It’s not bad, though. My commute is a long one and doing it three days a week instead of five is alright. And seventy-five percent of the shifts I’m working are slow as hell. We’re lucky if we receive three emails during the overnight hours. (I won’t get into what I do because that’s another story altogether.)
Early in the shift I was drifting away. My head was bobbing like a broken bobble head doll. But I recovered and I’ve been okay ever since.
This might be a permanent gig for me. It would give me four days to pursue my real passions. I’m jamming a five day work week into three in order to have four days to stay in my neck of the woods and do whatever I want. And what I want is self improvement. I haven’t put a lot of effort into that in recent years and it shows. The blood tests came back last week and I’m a heart attack waiting to happen. “Gotta make some changes,” the girlfriend said. I agree.
I never thought I’d live past fifty years of age. My father died at thirty-seven and my mother at forty-nine. Now I’m worried that I’ll live into my hundreds and feel like shit because I ate a gazillion strips of bacon for fifty years. I’ll sit there drooling and wondering who the hell the people around me are. Occasionally I’ll shout, “Kill me!” but they’ll roll their eyes and tell me to kindly shut the hell up because others are trying to sleep.
For two weeks I have tried to ween myself away from social media. I’ve read many articles on the subject, from quitting cold turkey to simply logging off or, going nuclear and deleting the accounts.
I’ve deleted the apps from my phone and promised myself I would only check them on my desktop. I rarely use a desktop since surprise! I am always on the go. I thought that would solve the problem but a few hours later, there I was, downloading the apps and scrolling and scrolling…
I think what bothers me the most is that I lack the discipline to stay offline for more than a few hours. I would consider it an accomplishment to stay off for a day or two. And it’s not like I’m very active on social media. I have my days but they are few and far between. It’s just that instead of spending my time reading or binge watching a show I’ve longed to see, I’m scrolling and scrolling…
Next week is full of offline activities. In theory. I’ve planned dinners with the significant other and her family, doing a little maintenance around the house and reading. I have two books I am dying to finish so I can start another two books immediately thereafter. 2018 was supposed to be the year that I read a gazillion books. Gotta get my ass in gear.
The other day I went to Target and picked up a notebook with 300 writing prompts. A part of me embraces the technology around me; the computers, the sites that you can post your works, etcetera. But sometimes I like writing in a notebook.
For a few years now I have noticed that my handwriting has suffered. I don’t do it often so naturally it would get worse in time. And I’m not the best typist so I might be out of luck in a few years when it comes to sharing the written word. Buying it gave me stimulation I needed to finally get going when it comes to writing and work on my handwriting.
The first prompts were easy. The first one asked how I spent my lazy days. I spent them watching TV, or playing my Playstation or reading. The second one asked if I ever spoke up when I saw something unfair happen. I have. I wrote about the time I was walking down a dark avenue and heard an argument between a man and a woman. It was loud, there was shoving, crying. I walked over to the payphone (this was pre-cell phone days) and called 9-1-1. When I hung up I looked over and saw the man shove the woman into a car and drive away. That was it. I have no idea how it turned out for them.
I hope this prompt notebook gets me going. It’s been so long since I’ve written anything worthwhile.
I witnessed a road rage incident while heading home last night. An SUV in front of me was delayed somewhat by the driver of an old Nissan Sentra who was backing into a parking space.
The driver of the SUV laid on his horn and the driver of the Nissan Sentra must have done something offensive ( I couldn’t see because the SUV was blocking my view) because the SUV’s driver jumped out of his vehicle and angrily charged at the Nissan. His wife jumped out of the passenger side a few minutes later in complete hysterics.
A few seconds later there was a loud boom. The Nissan no longer had a driver’s side window. Most of it was on the Nissan driver’s lap. I heard the Nissan driver cry out, “Are you crazy? Get back in your car! Get the fuck back in your car!”
And the SUV’s driver did. He got back in and drove away, a police cruiser in hot pursuit. I guess he didn’t realize there was a police car a few cars behind us.
Anyway, what the hell is wrong with people?
I spent my entire day in a complete state of defeat. More snow, more digging, more loss of power and more uncertainty as to what I will do in the coming days. I’m not good at adapting to chaos. I’m better than I was years ago but I’m still not there.