Monthly Archives: January 2015

Mug Shots

As a school girl, I spent several years avoiding high school biology class because I dreaded the thought of dissecting worms. However, as a college track student, it was pretty much mandatory to have this class on my transcript. So, I ended up taking biology in my senior year with all sophomores as my classmates.

The kids in the sophomore class were much nicer than the kids in my class. Not once in that entire year did I hear anybody get picked on or disrespected in any way, shape, or form in that room. Never did I have to second guess anything that came out of my mouth as being something that could possibly draw negative attention to myself. In spite of the dissection of worms, it was pretty relaxing in there. It made me think that my life would have been quite different and a lot more fun if I had been in their class instead of mine.

The Class of ’81 has a very nice Facebook page, too. All the postings are supportive and polite. They seem to really like each other.

A while back they were trying to compile a list of all the classmates who had died since graduation. One name jumped out at me. Someone said she had been murdered in Florida and it was a cold case. This was shocking in and of itself. But the reason her name jumped out at me was because I remembered she showed up at a party I threw back in 1980.

Party-throwing is a rare activity for me. I do not just throw a party on a whim. Any party that I throw has to have a specific purpose. That way, I can be sure people will actually attend.

This particular party was for a co-worker at the fast food restaurant I was employed at in 1980. Although I was young, nineteen, I was a parent by then and my just-above-the-poverty-line little family was self-supporting. It was a noisy party because I was nervous and had the music turned up so people would have to shout. And because of that, we did get yelled at by our landlord. It was not a drunken brawl, however, and one of the guests brought some homemade chocolate chip cookies.

I know I talked to this girl who showed up at the party but I don’t remember what we talked about. It was so odd that she came. She obviously knew someone who was invited because there would not have been any other way for her to hear about the party. But she was a couple years younger than us and still in high school. My impression of her from school was that she was kind of naive and not super smart. Just an impression based on moments here and there passing her in the hallways.

My impression of her at the party was that she might be a little out of control. She was tall and a little awkward and had very dark hair and eyes. It seemed like she needed to be out and about. Any party, any place, any people would do. Her body language and behavior were fine. I think it was just the fact that a high school girl had gone to a stranger’s party, my silly little party, instead of doing almost anything else, that left me with the impression that she was a little bit desperate.

It turns out that her Florida story is a little less shocking than the word of mouth story on Facebook.

A search on her name turns up at least a dozen mug shots from the same county in Florida. I imagine, then, that she was well-known by the Sheriffs Dept. She looks very skinny in the photos but she has the same eyes that I remember. Eventually, she looks a little ragged and even skinnier. In one mug shot, she has a nearly healed black eye. At one point, she was using the name of an old high school friend as an alias.

There was nothing to indicate she had been a murder victim, though I can see how someone might think that from the way the websites come up in the internet search. No, she was actually the victim of a hit and run accident ten years ago. During a three month period that year in Florida, there was probably close to a hundred hit and run accidents. Only one of them was a John Doe. All the rest were known.

I’ve been thinking about her all day long. If someone had told me that night at the party how her life would end, I would not have been surprised. However, when I learned about it today, I was surprised. I guess because I have lived long enough to have met people who should have met such an end but did not. They are still going strong and causing trouble and will probably live a very long time in spite of it all. I would have thought she’d figure out a way to save herself.

There is an old man in town with the same last name as hers and I wonder if he is her father. I have had dealings with him in the past as have local law enforcement and mental health services. In my dealings with him he seemed to have some kind of mania and/or paranoia. I learned to never look him in the eye, rise to his bait or engage him in any kind of meaningful conversation. If he is her father, then I can guess why she came to my party that night.

I never did use the biology class, not even when I finally went to college. I still haven’t been part of a large group of really nice people. I have not given a party in years.

This summer, I invited a couple people to a bonfire in our backyard. Nobody could come, so we never had the fire. I might try it again this summer. If nobody comes, though, we will have the fire anyway.

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Filed under depression, family, first impressions, friends, grief, work

Stodgy Stuck Up and Not Fun at All

I had a nice Christmas Eve at my cousin’s house. I even drank a little wine which I seem to have developed some kind of liking for. It used to be that alcohol pretty much tasted terrible to me but if I wanted to get drunk, I would just tough it out and either ignore the taste or bury it with orange juice or Coke. Even with this new found liking for alcohol, though, I still don’t drink much. Or enough. Wink, wink. If I were a drinker, I might still have a job.

My cousin’s neighbor joined us later on that Eve. I’ve met this neighbor many times before. We never hit it off or anything but I can live with that and we have conversed in the past so it wasn’t a problem her coming over.

We ladies had been chatting for awhile when she turned to me and said she wanted to tell me something and she hoped I didn’t mind and she didn’t know if she should or not and if she said too much, please, just tell her it was too much and that she had stepped over the line and to stop.

Here we go. This kind of thing happens to me all the time. People often feel compelled to tell me exactly what thought just popped into their little heads. People have said some pretty unusual things to me over the years.

This time I smiled because I kind of suspected what was coming. Then she said that when she first met me, she thought I was very stodgy and not much fun. This made me laugh out loud. This is not news! I am aware that I make a certain kind of first impression. People who can only see surfaces are frequently left with a very basic and somewhat unfair impression of me. It became even funnier when my cousin piped up with, “People say that about ME, too!!!” A fellow traveler! Thank you, cuz!

I don’t know if the neighbor lady was relieved at my “fun” reaction to what she said or if she really didn’t think about the conversation that much at all. The only reason I care to think about this, and write about it, is because it reminded me of previous similar conversations people have had with me and my realization that I would NOT say such a thing to someone. I would not say, basically, “I used to not like you but now I do. Before, you fell well short of my requirements but now I think you’re A-okay.” Why, thank you! What a sweet thing to say. Wink, wink.

Well, it hurts my feelings when people tell me these things and I know not to do that to someone else. At least not on purpose.

As a kid, I was considered stuck-up by several of the school cliques. The popular kids couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t popular; they thought I should be, but I was not. Yes, somebody told me this. The not popular kids didn’t like me because they thought I was popular. Yes, someone told me that, as well.

On my long walks home from school by myself, passersby would say, Smile, it’s not that bad! Even though I wasn’t feeling bad and was just thinking about things on those long solitary walks. I guess I should have been tap dancing on the shoulder of the road and talking to myself.

Many years into the terrible job, one of my former co-workers said, “Man, that first day, when you first got hired, I told Lisa, ‘man, she isn’t going to be any fun at all!'” She told me this because I had finally passed the Fun Test. I was so relieved that I had passed the Fun Test. I do fit in! I thought I never would. Life is good.

Except that I didn’t fit in and life wasn’t good at all. The terrible job was really just a Red Flag Parade. Grab one of these here flags and swing it in the air with us! It took a long time for me to see it that way.

Last week I visited my mother. It was a pretty good visit. I stayed pretty laid back while I listened to Show ‘n’ Tell. At one point, she asked me if I wanted something to eat. She was hungry and didn’t want to eat in front of me. I told her to go ahead, I didn’t mind, I wasn’t hungry. But she kept asking me if I wanted something to eat. She tried tempting me with ever more delicious treats. But I truly wasn’t hungry and kept turning her down. “Oh, you’re no FUN!” Thanks, Mom.

Apparently, “fun” doesn’t mean what I think it means. Neither does “stodgy” or “stuck up.”

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Filed under family, first impressions, honesty, opinion

The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award Q and A!

I have been following an awesome blog called The Elephant in the Room and today Ms. Elephant nominated me for the above-mentioned Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award. Being a very new blogger, and awkward at that, I can handle the questions part of the award. But the nominating part is a skill that I do not have yet. Perhaps in time.

Now to figure out how to get a link to The Elephant in this blog entry– http://telephantitroom.wordpress.com. Wheee! It worked!

Now for the easy part, which was actually hard because I thought I lost my draft for awhile there….

Q: What is your favorite type of animal in the world, real or myth?
A: Any and all kinds of felines. I love their faces, their paws, they way they move and the way they sound.

Q: What is your favorite type of pet?
A: House cats, naturally. It does not feel like home without cats. I have three of them and expect to always have at least one.

Q: What is your least favorite type of pet?
A: Reptiles. Maybe if they were warm-blooded and had fur I would reconsider. But in their current form, they just don’t seem like a house pet to me. They belong outdoors in ponds and under rocks.

Q: If you could BE an animal, which would you choose and why?
A: It is hard to choose what kind of animal I would want to be because I have a hard time getting past the various things they need to eat. I tell myself that if I were actually an animal, then the horrible things they have to eat would actually taste good to me. I would crave cold, gooshy things and bloody things with bones and fur and feathers. But from this side it makes me want to hurl. Based on food choices only, I would choose to be a deer. I can handle the idea of eating leaves and twigs and seeds.

Q: What tends to be your favorite season and why?
A: Easy! Fall. It’s nice and cool out. It rains. And when it rains, the tree trunks look black and dramatic against the colored leaves and the gray sky. I love that sight. And the dry leafy smell of the air gets my blood going.

Q: What tends to be your least favorite season and why?
A: This makes me an oddball but I kind of hate summer. It gets way too hot and humid for me. I actually feel sick if the heat and humidity get too high. If I liked swimming, then it might not be so bad. But I’m not a big fan of getting wet and I also sink and have a very hard time swimming. Once I almost drowned because of that sinking thing my body does. Not fun.

Q: Have you ever visited a park or landmark of any sort and, if so, what has been your favorite and why?
A: Several years ago, we visited Santa Fe, New Mexico because of the Georgia O’Keefe Museum there– http://www.okeeffemuseum.org. I loved the museum. But the big surprise to me was how much I loved Bandelier National Monument– http://www.nps.gov/band/index.htm. It is ancient and arid. It has some forest and some water. There is canyon and mountain. There is lots of red rock. If we had been prepared with proper shoes and some water, then we could have stayed many more hours hiking. Of the five days we spent in Santa Fe, two of them were devoted to Bandelier.

Ms. Elephant, thank you for thanking me and for giving me the fun questions to answer.

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