June, 2011 Archives

Interlacing Threads

Comments Off on Interlacing Threads
June 28th, 2011

I find myself ever-increasingly blown away by the power of the weird tapestry that’s woven us all into its warp. I didn’t make it to my high school reunion last weekend. Nor did I attend my college reunion last fall. Both would have been fascinating, but I was preoccupied with my health. I know, where […]

I find myself ever-increasingly blown away by the power of the weird tapestry that’s woven us all into its warp. I didn’t make it to my high school reunion last weekend. Nor did I attend my college reunion last fall. Both would have been fascinating, but I was preoccupied with my health. I know, where are my priorities?

http://www.readthespirit.com/rodney-curtis/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2013/03/wpid-rcweaveone.jpgBut one of the side effects of reunions and frightening diseases is people tend to reconnect with you. That and chicken dinners. There have been some long ago friends that have resurfaced, at least for a while. And I’ve gotten closer still with friends that have been there all along. When a best buddy’s brother died, I got a huge hug and was told simply, “I’m glad you’re still around.”

“Me too,” I told him.

A couple guys I went to kindergarten with checked in. One I hadn’t known since the 70s, the other loaned me money after college so I could hitchhike around Ireland and we’ve talked on and off since, with perhaps years in between separating our conversations. I don’t exactly know how all of it happens but there’s always a new or old friend knocking on my electronic door. Often it’s exactly when I need to hear something important or say something profound… or so I think.

My incredibly non-jealous wife smiles when former crushes, mine or theirs, say hi. Yes, they’ve all been female. But I had been estranged, for lack of a more creative word, from a guy who seemed both twisted and braided to me, like my alter ego. We got back together when things were dire last summer. He’s visited and sent me insane messages that made me laugh like we were kids again. He even tried to get me down to the Caribbean on an all-expenses-paid trip. Who says cancer’s all bad?

I’ve been lucky, due to the latest reunion round, to chat with some of the people I hung out with in high school. They were the type who were more on the side — in classes, maybe a party or two. It’s been amazing. Whether it’s the wine impresario, now in St. Louis, who I missed many opportunities with in high school, or the always good and kind bandmate who still lives back in the ‘hood, I have benefitted from our threads overlapping once again in life’s rich tapestry.

Then last night and today, via the internet’s weave, I bumped into a casual friend from the horizon who’d been hurting for years. A lost partner and enough bad news to last a lifetime gave her the ability to reach out and offer me the opportunity to give back a thread to the loom that ever plaits.

“Hopefully,” I said to her, “you can find other experiences and people who pull you towards them magnetically, until the realization that we’re all interconnected smacks you in the face.”

I get. I give. Back and forth we all interlace.

A Long Summer’s Nap

Comments Off on A Long Summer’s Nap
June 20th, 2011

You’ve crashed on our bed, in almost the exact spot where I was heading. I don’t know when you stumbled in but the sheets and light summer blanket are wildly crushed beneath where you fell. Your third year of high school completed hours before, you now are a senior and have no gas left. While […]

You’ve crashed on our bed, in almost the exact spot where I was heading. I don’t know when you stumbled in but the sheets and light summer blanket are wildly crushed beneath where you fell. Your third year of high school completed hours before, you now are a senior and have no gas left.

While your sister parties and galavants with her crew — the end of Math for a few months elevating her ecstatic mood — you face plant into your parent’s bed, not even knowing the scurrying about you.

http://www.readthespirit.com/rodney-curtis/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2013/03/wpid-rcskyeroom.jpgGrandparents arriving soon make the house and yard into a pit row frenzy. Your room’s the worst; everything needs attention from a semester’s worth of bedroom abuse. We could report you and the authorities would have no choice, but there you sleep where you dropped, a fallen soldier whose own bed is not even habitable.

I want to wake you, nudge your memory back towards cleaning, organizing and putting away the eight-of-the-same brass instruments that now overflow our common area. But I know exhaustion when I see it. The baritones won’t march themselves up into your hidden, secret room. But neither can they remain.

Impasse.

Then scuffing, half-found steps back down towards the living. There you are, seeing me barely through bleary lids. Plopping on my lap you say you’re hungry. Maybe a year is left before I cease cooking for you.

Scrambled eggs, cheese, old french fries chopped and sauteed up anew.

Comfort food resurrects.

The Traumas Of June

Comments Off on The Traumas Of June
June 17th, 2011

In the dream, I was panicking. I had uprooted the whole family to move back to Midland so I could work at a small startup news organization with an uncertain future. Do you know those times, within dreams, where you start to realize you have no background information? It’s like you’ve parachuted into a plot […]

In the dream, I was panicking. I had uprooted the whole family to move back to Midland so I could work at a small startup news organization with an uncertain future. Do you know those times, within dreams, where you start to realize you have no background information? It’s like you’ve parachuted into a plot of a long-running story and you’re supposed to pick up right where the action is.

We were in a rickety building that was crowded with people from my past. I was supposed to be the informal head of the household but really it was my wife. It was late at night; my job was starting the next day and I had no idea what I was doing. Very familiar dream theme there Rodney, -20 points for lack of creativity.

As I’m freaking out in the dream, I reach out for Marci’s help and she’s there comforting me. As I wake up, there she is again, very much concerned and probably ready to call 9-1-1. I was moaning and thrashing around in bed, in real life. And when she asks what’s happening I say I’m sorry, but I can’t explain. Then reality hits and I say, “Oh wait, that was really dumb.”

Instead of having a coronary, I was having a corollary.

Two Junes ago, my family was in upheaval as my 25-year-long career in journalism was being swiped out from underneath me by a horrible corporation whose CEO received an enormous bonus, several years running. Last June we all know what happened as, again with circumstances beyond my control, an insidious disease caused my family pain and suffering. My week-long hospitalization this June, well, you get the picture.

I think there’s some sort of post-traumatic stress factor working its way through my system now. Even as my sweet wife and I sat up smiling in the dark about the sillier aspects of the dream, I began to see the connections between a ridiculous manufactured nocturnal storyline and the very real upheaval that we’ve gone through.

One was drama, the other, trauma.

And here is where the connections are leading me. Here is where we’ve arrived. I’m glad school is so close to done for the year. My family needs — no requires — a break from the hard-charging push. But I think it’s even simpler. I think it’s what Marci was saying to me as she was waking me from the dream that somehow combined all our Junes into one, the co-seismic turmoils of journalism and cancer.

Just breathe. Take a deep breath. Relax. There is no elephant in the living room that we’re all avoiding. It’s just my family’s need to de-stress.

Although when I woke again this morning, instead of an elephant, there was a giant bear with a bunch of baritones in the homework room. And if you all can see this too, it means I’m reasonably awake and not in a bizarre dream world anymore.

Exhale.

http://www.readthespirit.com/rodney-curtis/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2013/03/wpid-rcbear-a-tones.jpg

Oh Steroids

Comments Off on Oh Steroids
June 15th, 2011

When you can’t sleep and it’s 4:00 in the morning there’s usually a reason, like your mind is racing or you’re in some type of pain — mental or physical — or there’s something unexplainable bothering you. Of course, it could be the steroids. These lovely, magical, insane chemicals are tailor-made to keep the bad […]

When you can’t sleep and it’s 4:00 in the morning there’s usually a reason, like your mind is racing or you’re in some type of pain — mental or physical — or there’s something unexplainable bothering you. Of course, it could be the steroids.

These lovely, magical, insane chemicals are tailor-made to keep the bad diseases at bay and fix me up right good so I can hop back into the ring. But they also help me do other things like eat insane amounts of food, experience temporary diabetes, poop like a porpoise and now sit awake at night trying to think of funny-sounding aquatic animals that I share similar digestive predilections with.

(Just for the record, I scratched “crap like a crab,”  “s#@t like a seahorse” and “have an enema like an anemone.” You’re welcome.)

I tend to think weird thoughts when everybody else is asleep. Like, if I sign up on the Timex, Longines or Swatch forums, do I automatically go on a watch list?

(Again, you’re welcome.)

Then I hit a wall and can’t decide whether I’m writing in third person, first person or alien. I stare at the screen wondering who wrote those previous paragraphs and remember there’s a bed upstairs waiting for me. I make a note to myself to never post something this banal and make another note to myself to look up the word banal.

A bird chirps and it pisses me off because I detect a certain sarcasm in his one character tweet.

Minutes pass between words as vzabsuuudjkldjkh zcxm …