Another Northern Dispatch

I’m a little weary of politics.  What say we do something a little different?

You have no choice you fucks.  Ha!

I saw a woman today I haven’t seen for more than twenty years.  I remember her as being somewhat meek and a little mild.  She worked for me back in the day.  In my food service management period.  I was a teenage fast food restaurant manager Werewolf.  Pre-law.  Pre-med.  Pre famous record producer.  Post cartoon character.  Her husband worked for me as well.  He was always a sneaky little shit.  Slow eyed and devious.  I never trusted him and suspected him of abusing her.  Saw him at Costco the other day.  I have the absolute luxury of not being recognized in my hometown.  Looked right at him while he pushed his cart with same sociopathic countenance he always wore when he assumed he was anonymous.   The gift of anonymity works both ways.  I haven’t lived here for nearly a quarter century.

Nobody knows who I am.

Thank Zeus.

The Sunday afternoon dining at Costco is pretty goddamn something.  I’m not sure exactly what, but there were samples at the end of each and every isle.  Soups, pastas, pizzas and sausages.  Weird dumb people everywhere but the vittles were all up in my periphery.  I left satiated and thoroughly entertained.  Mother bought giant portions of things she required like double A batteries and Marie Calendar chicken Pot Pies.  I purchased six months at least of hair conditioner, thirty pounds of cat litter and some decent wine.

I see people I know all the time but choose not to talk to them.

I’ve been here in Nevada for too long but not long enough.  My father fell from a ladder, broke six ribs and a shoulder and is recovering slow but steady.  I’m back to pursuing the business I came to pursue.  Had a very good day today. The finance manager of the Washoe Indian Tribe returned my call to say he’s very interested in giving me a crack at the credit card processing for all four of their retail smoke shops.

I feel as though I’m in a state of suspended animation.  Time seems to pass so quickly here without a lot happening.  Carson City Nevada just may be the strangest place in the universe for me.  Despite any amount of anything, it’s indescribably weird.  People tend to be friendly but ugly.  Nice but dentally challenged.  The ugliest woman I’ve ever seen in my life works at the closest convenience store that carries American Spirit Ultra Lights.  Festooned with moles, blemishes, boils and a rather manly crop of whiskers, she is the most physically repulsive woman I’ve ever seen.

Ever.  Poor woman.  Sheezus she’s ugly.

We’ve spoken.  She’s very nice.  But holy shit, she may as well be the Elephant Woman.

The youth in this town are nearly invisible.  I never see the 16 to 25 crowd.  I don’t get out much because I’m still somewhat fiscally challenged and in lockdown mode.  Keeping my head down and working the phones.

I’ve gone two months without a haircut and pot and I’m rapidly advancing towards an early eighties Jew fro.  I’m not particularly susceptible to vanity but a man does not want to look an unkempt fool.  Keeping my nose and ear hair in check.

I wanted to look her in the eye.  Brenda.   She had no idea who I was.

Same woman has been cutting my hair in LA for almost a quarter century.  From short to half way to my waist and back again.  We grew up together.  Her name is Suzanne and I adore her.  We are very good friends.  She understands my misshapen head and unruly kinky, copious and curly prodigiousness.

So now it’s Brenda.  She worked for me.  She has blossomed.  The truth is, I fooled around with just about all the girls who worked for me.  I think actually, every single one of them.  A few of them, I wrote their high school papers and they brought me breakfast.  That was the deal.  I ended up with more than breakfast.   I crashed a car with one of them.  End over end off the side of a cliff.  We shared way more than breakfast too.  I loved them all in one way or another.

I wanted to look her in the eye.  Brenda.

I drove by the 70 x 24 foot trailer on the corner of Viking and Nye that I grew up in.  In my early teens we built a 25 x 40 foot addition on to it with a garage.  Property lines and zoning codes dictated that I’d lose my bedroom window but I gained a built in bookcase and my own bathroom.  We put a solid mahogany custom pool table and a wet bar in the giant room that was built “hell for stout” according to my father.  He constructed a massive two level deck behind it and sunk a twelve seat, kidney shaped hot tub in the middle of the lower level.

I could play my drums all night without disturbing my parents or sister.

No cable television but life was good.

The lot itself was a quarter acre and we all worked hard maintaining it.  My parents hated the weed choked portion that belonged to the city so we tore down the fences and cultivated lawn up to the road.  My mother had beautiful roses and desert shrubs.  Multiple trees including a crab apple front and center with a rock garden at it’s base.  Elaborate sidewalks all poured by my father with our infant foot prints and a front deck carpeted in astroturf, with an awning and siding to match the trailer that ran almost the entire seventy foot front built by my father.  Two driveways, one off either street, one leading to the garage.

It was a beautiful blooming yard in the summer.  Flowers, roses and trees all celebrating.  Often a race car being wrenched on in the driveway without a garage.  Men drinking Olympia or Hamm’s beer, thick and muscular tanned arms waving arc welder torches and spark spraying grinders while the sun made rainbows in pools of water and petroleum collecting on the sun baked asphalt.  The women sitting on the front deck smoking long feminine cigarettes wearing beehives and hornrims , flipping through Avon catalogs sipping mixed drinks and moving in and out while tending to the inevitably late Sunday supper.  Us kids playing and running in sprinklers, away from bees, perfecting a makeshift slip and slide fashioned from construction site visqueen.  Craigmont grape, black cherry and cream Soda, barbecued potato chips and the constant sound of a sliding screen door smacking closed and sliding open.

Watermelons and cantaloupe…………tater tots and ketchup……….

Flies in the hot kitchen despite collective effort.  Corn on the cob and potato salad.  Jello concoctions and vinegary bean dishes with awful flavor and texture.  I will never comprehend “three bean salad”.  It is vomit.  I’ll bet it’s worse going down than coming up.  Who eats that shit?  Old people with atrophied taste buds and dumb hicks who can’t know better.

Seriously, fuck me.  I’d rather sip from a bedpan.  Nastiness.

Moving right along.

Steaks, hamburgers and hot dogs.  Fruit salads with throat blocking coconut shreds, Cool Whip and mandarin orange slices tasting of tin.  Delicious homemade cobblers, pies and ice cream.  Yes, homemade ice cream.  Huckleberry and lemon-vanilla  you bitches.

Alive and thriving.  A real neighborhood with real neighbors.  A community.  A village.  Safety and security.

Winter holidays were just as festive, somewhat more decorous and far more elaborately decorated.  At one time my mother had an entire outside structure devoted exclusively and extensively to storage of holiday decorations.  She was raised with ten brothers and sisters.  Birthdays were never a big deal but holidays, Christmas in particular, were huge, in her childhood and mine.  She made sure.

I think what I’m doing here, is writing a love letter to my mother.  Everyday for the past week, she’s been in the 38 foot home away from home, cleaning.  I’ve watched her clean every wheel, every window, apply wood wax to every wooden surface and take clean rags to every blind.  She’s dusted, mopped, vacuumed and wiped every surface accessible.  Her plan is to rent an industrial shampooer tomorrow for the carpets.  She is a house on fire.

She then comes in every single night and prepares a balanced meal for my father and I.

I help as much as I can.

She is a fart in a whirlwind.

She sets things for the meal in motion and then we sit outside and play with the the black canine tripod, throw her toys across the lawn, giver her treats, have a smoke and a drink or two and eagerly talk about nothing or things very important.  I find myself getting impatient for her to join me on the patio.  I’ve learned to make our drinks and just wait until she’s ready.

My mother always has something else to do.

I help with cleanup in the kitchen every night.  I wipe up and dry and put away and collect and wrap and stash.

Then I stun her with my prowess at Jeopardy.  We seriously discuss my appearing as a contestant.  “Goddamn you” she tells me because I’m good at it.  I’m really thinking I should look into it.

I wonder, wonder, wonder.  My mother is so bright and perceptive.  Such an active and adroit mind.  What does she think about while keeping herself so busy?  It can’t be the singular curse of an overactive mind because mine never stops and I’m a relatively lazy bastard.  She’s a thinker.  I know she is.  I know she’s churning.  I’m going to ask her about it.

So anyway, I found myself over on that side of town the other day, my spirits were buoyed a little by the beauty of the day.  A high desert Indian summer.  I’d been warned but wasn’t prepared for what I saw.  No lawn.  No growth.  No greenery.  Grey and black.  Decay and rot.  The slow and insidious violence of absolute neglect.  Like beauty and spirit and air had been sucked out.  Trees angry and twisted and dying.  Rotting crab apples littering where lushness used to be.  A sagging roof, curtains askew and windows like blank crazy eyes.  Like a horror movie.  I still dream there.  I hope what I saw does not go that far into my twilight.

It hurt my soul.  It took my breath.  I thought about me and my sister’s impressions in the sidewalk my father made.  I intend to save those.  I will get them.  I will knock on that door and pay the man whatever he wants to lose that part of his sidewalk.  I will do this before I leave this town.  All the magic is gone.  All that we did and built has been erased by apathy.  Everything is still intact in our hearts and minds and spirits.  What we did and who we are is still complete and golden and thriving.

Lonely is the night.

Drinks for my friends.

8 Responses to “Another Northern Dispatch”

  • You were right. She is a good friend of mine who I had in my dental chair and claimed she got hit with a softball once. I will post a picture of the three of us on FB sometime this week.

    I told her if I ever saw another mark on her I would personally kick aforementioned husband’s ass. Secrets hidden amidst the secrecy of keeping up with the joneses or whatever. He stopped doing it. But now, she is just not quite the same. As if forsaking the humble roots from whence she came. Ever sinceour mutual friend Mikki passed I can’t bring myself to make an appt. with her. For one once so very trusted, now I only wonder what is said about me when I leave the salon.
    But we both know who she is, where she came from, what she endured to be where she is now…and yet she says, “I am not gonna lie, you are one crazy chica,” I don’t get it, I am the epitome of somebody who has remained exactly the same (barring a few pounds)and yet, I am the crazy one. There’s some crazy prejudice going around that those of us who have not spawned are the crazy ones. fuck that. yeah, it’s lonely. But I am never bored.

    greenware for my friends.

  • Misty:

    Ooh Yeah, Rhonda post a picture. Besides being a disabled visionary artist, I’m the fan club administer for bs.
    This is so real, a few weeks ago I decided I’m going to stick by Obama, and understand all the idiots, that he has to deal with on a daily basis. I decided He should not have to fight this fight alone. You can call me Pinkerton security, Pinkerton security, or you can call me a peace dreamer. And Halloween is right around the corner; most of you don’t know “u know who”, but I had a vision of her and M, no not that M, the other M, her new man, doing Halloween as Donny and Marie Osmand. I want them to play the white version of Obama, and Michelle, as the Osmands. What I just can’t believe about the Neo Cons, is that they stood by idiot Bush and his man Cheney, whilst they were profiting the corporate war effort in the form of Haliburton. They simply ignored the job of running the government, protecting consumers, protecting our country, or doing anything except dismantling our liberties.

  • Jana:

    “All that we did and built has been erased by apathy.”

    sad story.

  • admin:

    @Rhonda Z: My hair is very thick and curly and very difficult to cut. I told her she’d earned an A-. It was so nice to see her and she seemed to be doing well. Gregarious and quick witted, charming and beautiful. I certainly hope what ever went on has ceased; I was reminded of what a very cool woman she is today.

    If we both weren’t spoken for, I’d have commenced to courtin’ and sparkin’……

  • Mike Saraceno:

    This was a great read man. I’ve read several of your writings but have never commented on one. Being a CC resident for twenty years this one hit home with me. I have seen the decline of the community first hand and it bums me out from time to time. This place has lost it’s luster. Thank God for good friends, family, and booze.

  • admin:

    I’m not sure if the entire town has, but my old neighborhood is a nightmare. Thanks for reading and contributing.

  • Teresa:

    Hey Mike,

    Well first off, I know your feelings of returning to a home that you were brought up in and it no longer holding the memories you left with. Standing in front of your home and seeing the tree you remember as being shorter that now stands before you with shade that it can now share with you. Several years ago I stopped driving by my old house on Rolando Way because of how it affected me. Everything overgrown, trees that never existed until we bought the house brand new, now held onto memories that only we could share with it.

    However, the ONLY reason I was going to respond, was to set the record straight…you mentioned you were with most all the girls you worked with at Weinerville…just want to say…I MUST HAVE BEEN THE ONLY ONE YOU WEREN’T WITH!!! 😉 Remember, it was you that would punch me jokingly, I would respond then run around the corner waiting with the water sprayer to hose you down. It was you that would come to the girl’s bathroom while I was peeing just to scare the shit out of me pretending that you were coming in! It was you who would wait patiently for me to come in with my neck gear on that was attached to my braces, and you would come up to me, put your index finger behind the metal bracket and pull me around like your puppy! Ahhh good times my friend! But “being with me”, NEVER happened, it would take years later for you to not see me as the child you enjoyed playing with to make the time go fast at Weinerville, but as a woman. As I mentioned to you once before on your porch several years ago, it was truly me that waited anxiously to come into work, just so you could abuse me (playfully that is), as I lived for every moment we shared…even if you did treat me like your sister. Those few moments we shared years ago when I was 15-16, were some of the most precious memories I have growing up to this day. It saddens me to drive by where Weinerville use to stand, so many powerful moments were made on that corner lot. Remember me constantly trying to get your attention by friggen toilet paper decorating your poor little blue VW bug?

    You taught me to laugh and to enjoy life…I am only but one of so many that you affected in such a positive manner. As I stated before, you and Sean truly made my teenage years…drinks to the both of you.

    Now, as for Brenda, I do remember the abuse. However, my sister who continues to remain in Carson, deals with ??? as well as Brenda and states that they are a very loving couple now. If you hear otherwise…let me know, my sister who runs the Domestic Violence Shelther there can not have an abuser working for her!

    And yes, besides writing a book…you should go on game shows and wipe them out!

    In the meantime, please give your father my regards…such a sweetheart, as well as your mother.

    Love, T.

  • admin:

    You are so sweet. Thank you for the kind words and sentiments. I’m overwhelmed.

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