I can’t unhear this (Mom)

Copyright 2015 YawningDog/Kate GarrensonMom: Artist’s Hands by YawningDog

Mom has been retired for about six months now. She’s 73 (looks 60 — I should be so lucky). She’s also an artist — a frustrated artist who hasn’t had the time, opportunity or self-confidence to hone her craft other than sporadically.

It didn’t take long for her to go all Telephone Thing on me nearly every day (usually twice a day at minimum). That’s understandable — she’s retired but is currently living with one of my brothers until her cottage is finished (that’s a story in itself, and not a good one). So, not only is she down from working 70 hours a week to none, she’s lost at sea in her own ocean.

The History of Mom will have to be another post, so let me just get this out of my system.

She called tonight just before I was about to put dinner on the table. She tends to go on and on when on the phone (and in person), so I said, “What’s up?”

CallingWoman1MarcelOosterwijkCalling woman I by Marcel Oosterwijk on Flickr

“What are you up to?”

“Dinner.”

“Oh, okay, I’ll let you get back to it. I just wanted to tell you that there’s been a development.”

“A development.”

“A development in my life. But yeah, but I’ll call you tomorrow and tell you all about it.”

I have visions of tossing and turning all night wondering what this development could be. The way things have been in her life lately, it could be anything from a new recipe to a potential boyfriend, and I’d like to get the discovery over with now. “Mom, you can’t just say there’s been a development in your life and then say you’ll tell me all about it in 24 hours.”

“But you’re busy.”

“Tell.”

“A hummus platter.”

I actually take the phone away from my ear, frown at it, put it back. There’s no way she’s calling me about hummus. “What?”

“I was talking to the waitress.”

“Okay. So…?”

*crickets*

“Well… should I have sex?”

My first thought: she just said this in a restaurant. My second thought came out of my mouth — “How the hell should I know?” — at the same time my inner child put its hands over its ears and chanted, La la la la, I can’t hear you!

lalalalaIdontwanttohearthisHildeSkjolbergFlickrLalalala.. I don’t wanna hear this by Hilde Slkjølberg on Flickr

“Well, there are mitigating circumstances.”

Mitigating.

“Mom… if you have desire and want to do it, then do it. If there are circumstances that might make you, I dunno, question doing it or regret it afterwards or whatever, then don’t do it.”

*crickets*

“Well… in a nutshell. Hmm. Okay, thanks, honey.”

“Okay Mom.”

“Bye.”

“Bye.”

Yikers. My ears. My psyche.

Copyright 2015 YawningDog/Kate GarrensonShocked Eyes by YawningDog

Homelessness, Heartache… and Hygiene

Before you read this post, read this:
Al Jazeera: Hygiene and Heartache

If you can’t be bothered to read that, don’t read this post.

HomelessGroupWithDogsFrancoFoliniOnFlickrHomeless Woman with Dogs, by Franco Folini on Flickr

The Al Jazeera article just made me cry, and I don’t do that much. Homelessness in all its forms is a concern of mine, but reading about what these women go through really got to me. On a day when I’ve been doing yard work and I get stinky, I can run inside and shower up real quick before work or before going out in public as a disgusting mess.

Maybe it’s because I’m one of those people — okay, one of those women — who is not the ideal of womanhood in that I sweat: I do not perspire gently or “glow.” I sweat and I stink, in all ways, all over — truly gross. I’ve warned my husband not to get too close to me at such times. I’ll never forget dragging out an old batch of T-shirts from the back of the drawer several years ago and thinking I should use them for yard work. They were clean, washed. I saw some GAPO on some of them and it prompted me to smell them. There was a lingering odor of old sweat washed many times. I was sitting on the floor with this pile of T-shirts around me, smelling the pits and wrinkling my nose. “Ugh. Eew. Ugh! Yuck. Really?”

Nitram walked into the room and gave me the side-eye. “What… are you doing?”

I handed him one of the T-shirts. “Smell this… in the armpit.”

He did, and made an appropriate face, handing it back to me with an odd look of —- dare I say it — almost pride, or some kind of weird respect on his face. “You — you are a force to be reckoned with.”

“I know! Gross, right?”

“Oh yeah.”

Thank heavens for tolerant husbands.

Thank heavens for our house, our warm shower, and all the daily things we take for granted that go along with that.

Homelessness comes with a myriad of problems generally inconceivable to most of us. This post in particular focuses on hygiene — female hygiene — but trust me, there are other and many more problems that are a daily concern to homeless people — hunger and warmth and health, to name a few. Respect any person would give another person they pass on the street — that’s a big one.

Another is homeless people who have pets. Maybe it’s a knee-jerk reaction, but I’ve heard so many people say things like, “They’re homeless, how they can afford to have a pet?” Or, so much worse, “They’re homeless — they don’t deserve to have a pet.”

Oh, really? If you even have to think about that one, well then: Fuck. You.

HomelessGroupWithDogsFrancoFoliniOnFlickrHomeless Group with Dogs, by Franco Folini on Flickr

As is often the case, women have a special sort of hell reserved for them in this instance: hygiene. (Women have the same hell reserved for them in regular life, too  — so many men haven’t a clue to what it takes to be one’s own definition of clean, much less a man’s definition of how a woman “should” be clean.) Men don’t bleed out of their genitals monthly, that’s one thing. Men don’t have to shave their pits to feel attractive. Nor do some women, but most of us still feel the need to do so. I’ve been shaving my pits since I was a teen, and if I let it go too long, the feeling of that crispy, growing bit of hair under my arms drives me crazy. I think: Ick, how do men live like that? Yuck! But it all comes down to what you’re used to in your life. And so many women are used to being at least somewhat smooth-skinned, and clean in their gennies.

SailorsPerformComminityServiceOfficalUSNavyPageCClicenseFemHygieneSailors Perform Community Service, Official U.S. Navy Page on Flickr

See, because it doesn’t matter if you just want to just keep clean, or what country you’re in, or how smelly you are or aren’t in your regular life, or if you’re male or female. It’s just a basic thing with homeless people that aside from those who have mental/emotional/psychological or other unimaginable problems that prevent them from taking care of the most basic of necessities for themselves, there are the others who are “like us.” Seriously: truly just like us, or your version of what “like us” means, but without a home or house — who quite literally do not have a fucking pot to piss in. Or a tampon or sanitary pad. Or toilet paper. Or access to a shower or other basic sanitary facility in which they don’t have to worry about being raped or disrespected in some way.

Don’t make me do your homework for you. See what kind of homeless assistance is available to you locally: it’s only a click away.

And if you feel a need to make a judgmental comment on homelessness in general in response to this post, you’re reading the wrong blog. So go back to FB and spout off there. Otherwise: Thank you.

Assface

 TheOldManIsSnoringThe Old Man Is Snoring by Lea Wiertel on Flickr

 

Monday morning, I was so out of it that I couldn’t really get fully awake and make sense. I stayed in bed while Nitram was in the shower, and I was still in bed, mostly asleep, when he got out. He wandered around getting dressed, and the dogs cuddled up to me, and he liked seeing that, even though I felt I was being lazy. I tried talking to him and it came out all mumbly. Nothing was making sense.

He had snored the night before, which he doesn’t often do. It was the kind of snoring that sounds like someone is strangling on their tonsils while trying to cough up a weasel caught in their throat. I remember reaching out several times during the night and touching his head, sort of rocking his skull back and forth on the pillow to try to make it stop.

And I remembered that, when he asked me why I was so tired. I said, “The dogs were on me all night. You were snoring.” He said he was sorry, and I said, “You were snoring… it sounded like your ass was trying to come out of your face.” He said, “Oh… nice,” and almost sounded a bit miffed.

About an hour after he’d left and I was having a second cup of tea, I finally started to really wake up, and suddenly remembered what I’d said to him. I barely made it putting the teacup on the table before I bent double, laughing like a braying donkey! I almost started crying. Scared the dogs.

He always calls me from NJsux on Monday mornings when he’s in the parking lot at work, to let me know he’s got there safe. So an hour or so after my fit, he called, and I remembered it again and started laughing, trying to apologize for what I’d said. Usually our Monday “I’m here safe” conversations last a minute or so. I kept laughing and apologizing, and he said, “Yeah, you said something like I was pooping out of my mouth,” and I shrieked and completely lost it.

It’s been coming back to me once in a while all week and I still get all creased up thinking about it.

*honkshu* … *honkshu* … *honkshu*