Friday, October 11, 2013

That's Her.

Whoa! It's been nine days since I posted here!
That seems impossible, since I have been reading and writing like crazy.
I've been saving all my fiction for my creative writing class this semester.  I feel as if I'm depriving my Blogger friends of  the terrifically horrific "October Specials" I've scrawled in my notebooks, but it is for a good cause, I assure you. ("Good Cause" amounts to me getting an 'A' in writing class, and that's all there is to that.)

You may or may not know that October is the month of my mom. Today is her birthday, and twenty short days from now will be her "deathday." Most of the shorts I've written lately have centered around motherhood, but none of them have been about my mother. I wrote a little bit of a shocking impromptu story in class the other night, and now my entire class probably thinks my mom was some horrible bitch who didn't love me, but that's not true. (She loved me.)

You want to know a little secret about our family? We like purple spiders. They mean love.

When my mom was alive, she would watch that TV show "Crossing Over, with John Edwards." In the intro, he explained that his dead mother would communicate her love for him with white birds. My mom decided our talisman would be purple spiders. (This decision had something to do with her sister and thrift store shopping, but that is another story.) So now, every time I see a purple spider, I think of my mom. (Did she know ahead of time that she would die on Halloween--a time of the year when purple spiders seem to be everywhere?)

I remember when she was in the hospital. Toward the end I was spending all my spare time camped out in her room. She tried to stay awake, but she slept most of the time. For some reason, I felt like I needed to be there for every waking moment. I guess I was trying to hold on to her as much as possible. I knew I'd have to let her go eventually, but I was going to soak up every tidbit of time I could get with her. She was dying, there was no denying that, but I'd be damned if I was going to sit back and wait for a phone call from some disembodied voice of some indifferent doctor. I needed to be there with her.

One day, I went down to the gift shop for a little while to stretch my legs and take in some different scenery. They had a string of the large, scary-looking purple spiders on the clearance rack. I snatched them and took them up to her room. Carefully, while she was sleeping, I arranged them so it seemed the spiders were crawling across her feet.

The nurse accused me of wanting to kill her with a heart attack, but my mom smiled when she opened her eyes and saw them.

"So you like spiders?" the nurse asked, dryly.

"I like purple ones," my mom said with a smile and then slipped back into sleep.

In the months after her passing, we would actively search for the purple spiders. We'd see them, and one of us would shout it out, as if we'd come across some rare artifact never seen before by human eyes. The fact is, there are more of them around than I realized. They're on greeting cards and in cartoons and on posters. For a while, it seemed we couldn't get away from them. Even our friends started bringing them to us in the form of jewelry and hair clips and decorative knick-knacks and what-nots. There was a huge, fuzzy, bendable spider perched in the back dash of my car for about a year. (His name was Hector, and I have no idea where he went. I only know that he's gone.)

Nowadays, we're not so quick to scoop up the spiders when we see them. We just smile to ourselves and move on with life, knowing that my mom is out there, somewhere, still loving us. I like to think it's the completely unexpected sightings that are truly messages from her. The ones that throw me off a little, you know? Like that purple car I saw on Georgia Street, the one called a Spyder.

That's my mom. That's love.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Look Away, Ye Nosy Bosses

It's too bad I can't talk very much about the politics at my job. I'd have a book-length blog-post, and you'd be riveted to the screen, laughing your asses off about the crap I have to put up with most of the time.

I'd tell you how I nearly got fired a couple of weeks ago because a little old lady complained that I was physically aggressive with her (thank Big Brother for video cameras). I'd tell you how the same customer came in a week later and complained to me that one of the other workers was the rudest man she'd ever met (even though he wasn't rude, not even a little bit).

You'd hear all about how one of the assistants was sent home for sleeping in the meat cooler, and later returned with a "doctor's note" stating that he should be excused from remaining in a state of wakefulness while working in the meat market, where we use knives and saws all day.

I'd tell you all about how one assistant manager accused another assistant manager of popping hydros all day, and that's why he was able to work so fast (even though hydros are downers?).

I'd tell you so-and-so's wife calls the store every day to make sure her husband is actually at work, and not somewhere else, messin' around with someone else. (My personal philosophy is that any man who needs to be kept on a leash isn't worth keeping, but to each her own, right?)

I'd tell you how it's best to have an escape plan if you ever find yourself in conversation with a certain someone who is known for talking for forty-five minutes without saying anything of consequence whatsoever.

I'd tell you all the nicknames we give to the regular customers. Rug-man, Juan Valdez, The Red Baron, Nosy Rosie and Spot.

I'd tell you about the guy who kept sending nudie pics of himself to all the girls, even the lesbians, because he was pretty sure he could turn 'em straight.

I'd tell you about the infamous five-dollar-foot-long, and you'd spit coffee through your nose, because that shit is hilarious.

I tell you who does a SPOT ON impression of the big boss, because what kind of boss would he be if we didn't do impressions of him every once in a while?

Maybe I should write the stories anyway. One day, when I've escaped the company, and there's no threat of backlash, I'll publish those embarrassing, revealing, ridiculous sagas, and your sides will ache from all the guffawing, and you'll beg for more, and you'll read them aloud to your friends around the lunch table at your jobs where you wish you could talk about work politics.

But for now, I suppose I'll have to keep them hidden away, and you'll just have to wonder what the hell I meant by "five-dollar-foot-long."