Friday, August 26, 2011

Shaken, Then Stirred (Or) Cats, Quakes, Bags, Guys

Of course, I was standing behind a glass case, next to glass shelves filled to capacity with Waterford, Orrefors and other crystal when the earthquake hit Bethesda Tuesday afternoon. Exactly where you don't want to be when the walls, floors, ceiling and so forth are moving about unexpectedly.   I knew what was going on immediately (having been through two, less severe, earthquakes before), and my coworkers told me later I was quite calm (they were freaking out), standing at the counter, waiting for the world to stop jerking. My internal shaking didn't commence until sometime after the external vibration had ceased--I was on an adrenalin high for the next three hours, jazzed that we'd escaped without injury to shop or person (nothing in the whole store broke, despite the 5.8 tremors).

To round out the week, Hurricane Irene is supposed to brush us tomorrow night.

Brushing and clipping didn't do my sinuses any good, Bertram-wise.  I had to return him to the abuse of his big brother after only a week.  Why:

Semi-normal (tired) eye:

Eye briefly exposed to Bertram:

Note swelling.  It was still very hard to give him up.  He was a sweetie, and had made himself comfortable:

A handsome and winsome kitty.  Very genteel.  The fault was all mine--allergies unexpected and uncontrollable even with generous doses of Claritin.  His previous owners were actually quite happy to see him again (they know his big brother is the one that needs to be re-homed), and promised that I can come visit when I want.  Still, it was a huge emotional blow to be unable to keep him--I'd always thought that I'd settle down with a cat and a catalogue of personal peculiarities and grow old content.  And I wanted a fuzzy beast to cuddle when the miseries stalked me!

Instead, I am stuck with some 18 unfinished patchwork bags cluttering my common room area, and a couple of singularly annoying male relationships (or lack thereof).  I met one fellow last weekend who seemed promising, until a short exchange of emails ended with an insult to my Southern heritage and a comment that I had imbibed the "liberal cool-aid" (sic), which latter remark caused Susan to snort into her margarita this evening and blurt "You!?" in disbelief.  Meantime, a long-time male buddy remained obtuse to my real, financial needs keeping me from doctoral program-completion and instead cheerfully offered an alternative dissertation topic, as if that would magically solve my problems.  I thought murderous thoughts and euphemistically damned all and sundry who opt for the "be warmed and filled" or the Pollyanna "it's all jolly" mentality in lieu of even the "Gee, that sucks" commiseration or the practical "Here, let me help" attention that would be, you know, useful and welcome.

Friendship has been a great gift to me these last three, increasingly depressing weeks.  Susan and Stephen invited me out this evening to the Marine Barracks Evening Parade in honor of the Montford Point Marines, which was awesome.  Not anywhere near as well known as the Tuskeegee Airmen, the Montford Point Marines were the first African Americans in the Marine Corps, first recruited in 1942.  I was in tears watching these old fellows, who reminded me so much of Granddaddy, be honored by the current members of the service.  That generation was and is incredible to me--the huge challenges they faced from enemies abroad and opponents to freedom and equal opportunity at home, and how far we've come since then.  And how truly far there is to go, as each generation has to resolve to treat others as we would have them treat us.  Apart from the historical-social aspect, it was just fascinating to watch the precision drill teams in action, and listen to the drum and bugle corps--observing some 200 Marines in picture-perfect formation is an obsessive-compulsive's delight!

Temporary delights or no, it's been a hard month.  I am pretty down and lonely.  I've had some health issues, which never brighten the day.  Work has been spotty, more irregular than usual, and a transcription gig which I had thought might increase my income has had the opposite effect, occupying my time while not plumping my pocketbook.  I haven't been sleeping well, and find myself frequently on the edge of tears, wondering what I am useful for, and when I'll have any stability in income and identifiable accomplishments, when I'll have somebody who will just hold me close and pat me gently on the head.  My outlook is pretty grim for the short term, and I can only pray that something good, or more than one something good, will happen soon, because it's like every couple of days brings a new round of sinking sadness. 

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