Christmas Coffee in Syosset, Lawn Guyland 2015

Gimme…
Yeah,…I want…
Umgonnahaf…
Lemmeget… .
Tell you what I want. Are ya’ listenin’??

Not a single please nor thank you.
Not. One.

And her daughter-in-puffy-jacket walked directly in front of me several times while carting coffee mugs to and fro, deciding a teacher gift. Not once did that 11- or 13-year-old child make eye contact or look around to see who else might be standing in line. Not once did she say, “excuse me” crossing in front of me, slicing the line back and forth, helping herself to whatever she needed. Not once did she think a moment about courtesy or personal space or etiquette.

And not once did her mother, watching the traipsing child, say a thing to her or make any behavior correction – for she was just as awful. Blowing around in entitlement and discourteous blabbering about price and discounts for more than one. Huffing and puffing having to wait, for godsake, online for freaking coffee, for chrissakes, with (and please excuse this – it is part of the entire observation and not finger-pointing or a smear) foreign car keys on a religious symbol keychain, a delicate and beautiful Hand of Fatima in the cleft of her throat.

My single, simple order (straight, black, in a cup) pulled me ahead at the pickup. Yet the daughter came crashing, literally, around the bend so forcefully as to careen into my left flank nearly knocking me off my feet, had I not been leaning on the counter.

No excuse me, no apology. Not a single acknowledgement. Just blustering on through. Her mother saw and said nothing.

I’ve never been to a crazy city like frenzied New Delhi or exotic Jaipur or mysterious Shanghai or scented and heady Ceylon. At this rate I may never have to venture off Long Island to be greeted with temperaments and customs so foreign to me, I feel on vacation at the coffee shop in Syosset. These women are white, local, tacky; not foreign or beautiful exotic “other” or anything other than just plain rude.

In the corner, an older couple haze and barked orders at their dervish grandchildren fetching (then dropping) scads of straws and napkins, everywhere. Barking louder for the clean up and admonishments of not paying attention. Again, no boundaries. We hear everything private in this family. Grandpa “has to make” so they cannot stay.

I feel so bland, vanilla. So boring, so swaddled in my happiness and good upbringing, a culture of culture and etiquette, with my oil burner and cut lawn, private thoughts and polite smile at behaviors I cannot fathom. Maybe a little wildlife is good? Not this sort, not the unruly and illmannered beasts of the suburbs. They’ll never take away my manners, no matter how deriguer you find them, and if my child ever is rude, you’ll let me know.

djd2015

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27 January 2018. It’s You.

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If you asked me five years ago, on a regular Saturday morning such as this, anything having to do with dating or coupling (outside of business or creatively contributing to something) or, God forbid, Love and such, I would have quickly changed the subject to you, your life and goings–on; or my daughter or our home or my employment (or my employer) or a movie we should see at the Cinema Arts Center (because likely, I had already seen it, alone, and will always tell someone when something is really worth the price of the ticket.)

What we would *not* have talked about was “r e l a t i o n s h i p.”

Strung out letter-by-letter because after divorce – those of us once-married (remove the ‘i’ and you’re “marred”, if you didn’t already notice) are somewhat loathe to jump back into the dating pool, let alone broach the subject at all. So, we literally d r a g it out (or avoid the word and idea altogether.)

Five years ago, single-mothering my then-14-and three-quarters-year old offspring, in a too-big (and cold) old house with indoor/outdoor cats and a puppy with the worst case of PTSD – ever – we would NOT have talked about Match.com or Plentyoffish or speed-dating or blind dates or group dinners or meetup.com or meeting someone in church or taking a class or doing another show or volunteering (I was already doing that) or how involving myself with yet another oddball-people-project adult male who needed more help and more ego-massage than anyone in their right mind would ever take on would be really stupid (but oh so familiar. And easy.) I would have to be NUTS to get involved with anyone again – be they near or hundreds of miles away. I was done and comfortable knowing I would be my nephew’s ‘crazy Ant Jaye’ until the title aged-out as he aged-up.

And, yet…here we are.

We do not use the word “r e l a t i o n s h i p”.  We use “partnership”.

We do not talk about getting married, though people who don’t know us refer to the other partner as “your wife” and “your husband”.  It’s funny.

We do not cling to each other the way we might have, earlier, younger, when one might believe the more time you have together the better things get and nothing could possibly go wrong if you lost yourself in another person losing themselves, too.

We do not lose any part of our Self from being part of something together. And that is the very biggest treasure: I get to be me, He gets to be He, and we get to be we, how ever we see fit.

Oh, hello, it’s you. It’s going to be you.

And how delighted I was to have that realization strike, just about five years ago, dead center in my chest, when meeting you for the first time, as adults, in the middle of Penn Station in the middle of New York City in the middle of our lives. It was very different than when we met, briefly, at 13 and 15; fish in the pond.

Hello, it’s you.
Happy Five, this Friday.
ox

On Not Coupling: An Essay on How Not to Fall in Love. Maybe.

If you asked me five years ago, on a regular Saturday morning such as this, anything having to do with dating or coupling (outside of business or creatively contributing to something) or, God forbid, Love and such, I would have quickly changed the subject to you, your life and goings–on; or my daughter or our home or my employment (or my employer) or a movie we should see at the Cinema Arts Center (because likely, I had already seen it, alone, and will always tell someone when something is really worth the price of the ticket.)

What we would *not* have talked about was
“r e l a t i o n s h i p.”

Strung out letter-by-letter because after divorce – those of us once-married (remove the ‘i’ and you’re “marred”, if you didn’t already notice) are somewhat loathe to jump back into the dating pool, let alone broach the subject at all. So, we literally d r a g it out (or avoid the word and idea altogether.)

Five years ago, single-mothering my then-14-and three-quarter-year old offspring, in a too-big (and cold) old house with indoor/outdoor cats and a puppy with the worst case of PTSD – ever – we would NOT have talked about Match.com or Plentyoffish or speed-dating or blind dates or group dinners or meetup.com or meeting someone in church or taking a class or doing another show or volunteering (I was already doing that) or how involving myself with yet another oddball-people-project adult male who needed more help and more ego-massage than anyone in their right mind would ever take on would be really stupid (but oh so familiar. And easy.) I would have to be NUTS to get involved with anyone again – be they near or hundreds of miles away. I was done and comfortable knowing I would be my nephew’s ‘crazy Ant Jaye’ until the title aged-out as he aged-up.

And, yet…here we are.

We do not use the word “r e l a t i o n s h i p”. We use “partnership”.

We do not talk about getting married, though people who don’t know us refer to the other partner as “your wife” and “your husband”. It’s funny.

We do not cling to each other the way we might have, earlier, younger, when one might believe the more time you have together the better things get and nothing could possibly go wrong if you lost yourself in another person losing themselves, too.

We do not lose any part of our Self from being part of something together. And that is the very biggest treasure: I get to be me, He gets to be He, and we get to be we, how ever we see fit.

Oh, hello, it’s you. It’s going to be you.

And how delighted I was to have that realization strike, just about five years ago, dead center in my chest, when meeting you for the first time, as adults, in the middle of Penn Station in the middle of New York City in the middle of our lives. It was very different than when we met, briefly, at 13 and 15; fish in the pond.

Hello, it’s you.
Happy Five, this Friday.
ox

27 January 2018

Loose Ends, Tied.

This final week of 2017 I have unplugged from Facebook to the extent that I am, in three day’s time, remarkably happier and more unburdened than I have been in five years.  Maybe more.  The planet continues to have hope and disaster hand-in-hand, but I don’t have to read or know about every single detail worldwide, nor do I feel the overwhelm of responsibility and obligation that “social” media, literally, feeds.  I am fed up with “social” media, which becomes more and more anti-social and numbing every day.  I am better, more useful, in real life with real people and immediate, local problems to salve and solve.  Not that I am any great heroine, but I do my best work right here:  at home.

The Messenger still pings but now I take comfortable time responding, not jumping to reply as though every message were on fire and my life depended upon immediacy.  It’s nice.  It’s at MY pace and convenience.  And, it’s real.

Running through the months, April stands out as when we purchased our Together home after almost four years of long-distance partnering and challenges inherent in such an endeavor.  I must have been crazy, frankly.  So must have he.  And yet, our crazy (and weird) seems to get along with the other’s and that doesn’t happen every day.  In August, the book cover became a reality and in October, the finished product was in-hand.  I am still beaming and high on gratitude.  More projects are in the pipeline.  I can feel them approaching and am very excited for the opportunities to grow and show my work.

 

Two years ago this evening, I penned the following and am grateful for a brain that thought to save the words.  Now seems a good time to share.

Happy and Healthy New Year to you and yours.  Thanks for reading along. ox

31 December 2015

Long silver hair streaked with the last moonlight
she gently steps from her celestial footwear
Barefoot she exhales and lets her heavy
calendared gown 364 days
ago as light as gossamer
fall around strong tired feet

Quietly peaceful soul and countenance wise
she walks waters
rhythm to the turning of the ancient wheel

A shooting star, one hundred million simultaneous wishes
she dips beneath the surface one final time
Can you hear – off in the distance? Small but mighty
bold uninhibited wail the wordless arrival of baby New Year

Pick her up, nurture her well
Love her wide full and without reservation
Go big this year…and leave your own dressing at the shore in a year.

DJDawson 2015

 

 

Portrait of a Family.

Christmas 2015, New York.

I shot this with my big camera on an average setting. No flash, no filter and no intent, other than to, hopefully, capture a couple of moments decently, in sequence, in my pajamas, with coffee somewhere to my left.  Before I moved to Virginia to be with my partner, the camera was a lovely distraction and companion.  In short, this photo was not supposed to be special or landmark.

2015_25_12 HFR

And yet, this image sums up 60+ Christmases for my parents, 50-or-so for me and my sister, and just a handful for the children seated in front of the tree.  A tree ever placed at the front living room window, almost scraping the ceiling (several years’ worth of treetop marks are in the paint above.)  The ritual of opening our stockings – left for Santa outside our bedroom doors to deter and distract younger versions of ourselves from descending to the main floor; joining our parents on their very big bed to display and review our sock loot as they washed off the night and opened their own stockings.  Once socked, we went down for the annual, prerequisite breakfast – and trying not to rush through that breakfast.  Our father accordion-folding back the large, red silk Oriental screen to reveal the living room – more importantly – the tree, dazzling and lit with presents underneath.  Some years there were a great many gifts, other years our mother started her apologies for “a thin” or “lean” Christmas weeks in advance.  It never mattered.  It was the rites and tradition that made the day.  On many Christmas mornings, someone, an adult, would slip into the den and turn on the stereo/record player for Andy Williams or the King Family Singers or Mitch Miller.  My favorite was, and still is, Herb Albert and the Tiajuana Brass Christmas album.

That album is the only familiar thing about Christmas since moving to Virginia…at least for the last two years.  Most of the ornaments that would go on a tree are meaningful to me, not my partner nor his son, so I don’t put them up because then it would be “my” tree. This year, for color and whim, colorful and varied ribbons draped the tree.  They were, for the most part, emotionally neutral and not particularly significant but at least it was decorated.

When I snapped this photograph, aching bittersweet lump in the back of my throat, “This will be the last time we’re here.”  Holding that thought, unsure whether my intuition or inner hall monitor (who so often calamatizes and splinters my confidence and creativity) was the source.  Probably both.

It was, in fact, the last time we had Christmas in that house.  We did not know it then.  We hoped not.

While we have yet to rejoin for Christmas since this photo was taken, we have visited and held each others company, and celebrated birthdays and anniversaries.  Some of the waters ahead are unknown, uncharted, and I have no idea what they should look like despite having some knowledge of how things like this go.

Onward.

 

DJD
2019

Harumph.

Home Alone, adult style.  All menfolk out of the house for the night.  My evening plan to attend the roller derby nixed, though I could have attended had I gone in my own vehicle.  (An option left unsuggested.)  But, I shall sit outside in the cricketsong and honey-pinking sky against the mountains, with a favorite pen, drawing paper and adult tonic, and ask myself why I allow others to decide what is right for me. (I do this more than I care to, and more than I should.)  

Stern, well-shaped brow bent in moderate resentment (well, I did ask, didn’t I? And this is what you get.  Duh.)  Just lettin’ it gooooooo.

Dar Dawson 2016

Rash.

“…Prednisone may cause you to feel aggitated, even somewhat uncharacteristically aggressive.  Angry, even.  You may experience feeling restless and, as in many cases, you may have trouble falling asleep – or feel no need to sleep at all.  You may have thoughts of daring feats.  Do not obey them… .”

Note:  You may lay in bed fully awake for several hours kidding yourself sleep is “just around the corner”, when you know damn well you’d rather be outside in the front yard in the booming thunderstorm holding lightning rods in your bare hands while sporting a tin foil hat and summer weight granny nightie, bare foot and hollering at the wild sky, “Is that all ya’ got, ya’ big rainy cry baby!?!”
[I had a very strange rash. It resembled a large cat scratch, hurt when touched, and came out of nowhere because I didn’t roll in the woods, lay lawn or swim anywhere.  It did go away, weeks later…Prednisone was dispensed by the doc-in-the-box.  I wanted to chew my own hand.]

DJD 2016