Thursday, March 01, 2012

Life, Death, Threats, Shopping and Tattoos

A few days ago I stopped breathing, my pulse was faint and weak, for thirty then forty minutes. Linda and I are struggling, so the relationship comes first. It comes before my brother threatening to sue me (for simply being his sibling), or my GP threatening to drop me, or my parents hiding that they moved to the USA last year, to Scottsdale, AZ or VIHA threat to take away community care. This is all just things which take up time, and then I sleep. Today, I wanted to go outside. Because while a load of people huffing and puffing over things which could be worked out if ego’s and a culture of ‘might is right’ isn't REAL, not as real as sunshine or a cold snowy day.

Outside is real. Pushing a chair and sweating is real. Seeing the flowers here and there, and the sun, trying to break through behind the cloud and failing is real. I got to the park and saw two baby dykes making out with serious lip lock (I waited until they had finished and turned away, just in case they aren’t out yet). It has been so long, years, since I have seen a gay/lesbian PDA in this repressed town. I am sure my mother’s chin drops as she readies her view of disapproval: created by a rapid and extreme lip and anus tightening. Alas mom, the world is beyond her control (she wrote to me to tell me that I should not view her the same when she was 30, as she is always changing; I turned to Linda and said, “Wasn’t I seven when she was 30? So…she doesn’t watch ‘As the world turns while ironing laundry anymore?’").

In the theme of 'coming out', leaves and buds are hidden, as this week it has been below zero and snowing. But these flowers are out, or at least out of the greenhouse, planted and ready to grow. Wheeling up the gravel path I kept warm by the stream of swearing as the trail leaned so badly one wheel often spun without touching ground.

Around the central area I heard an unusual bird call, high and long with two bleets after it, and thought if it continued I would make a movie to capture the sound. Then I saw the wingspan behind the trees, whipping around, and wheeled to where I could see the most when the bird appeared. It shot into the open, a young bald eagle, barely gliding before it disappeared into a tree-top nest. One woman I talked to pointed to the area and said that the eagle had made a nest there last year too. The squirrels were not out when the eagle calls: smart squirrels!

As I was wheeling back, I asked a man to take a picture, and as he took each picture, he got lower and lower, until I wondered why this man seemed to want a groin shot. In his excitement, he had the trembles and this is as good as it got. Interesting that my Emily the Strange top (thanks for the gift, see I treasure it still) with all her psychedelic power is in focus while things like my HEAD are not.

I wheeled back, up the monster hill, and buzzed Linda from outside, asking if she wanted to come with. She did and I wheeled a different route, through the oldest graveyard in Victoria, you can see the old tombstones in the back.There is something reassuring about a leaning bit of granite, a death obelisk, to keep me centered.

Wandering through downtown, checking out what was what. For me, seeing anything was a new experience. I hadn’t window shopped for almost four years. I questioned what a sauna or very short night robe with ‘wicking’ material was used for, when in the ‘outdoor and action’ store. Was it for ‘Hot Yoga?’ I was told it was for regular day wear.

“Really? Because first it is expensive due to the wicking material..”

“All the tops in this store have the top of the line North Face wicking.”

“Err…yes, but with this low cut and high leg, ‘the girls’ are going to be bouncing free and clear of the fabric.”

I was told, “You wear another wicking top underneath.”

“You buy a wicking sauna robe, then buy more wicking clothes to wear underneath?? And wear it outside?”

“YES!!” The sales clerk was not amused.

I was confused, but maybe someone wanted to spend $89 for a robe that barely covered panties and open enough to miss covering the breasts at all, and wanted wicking because they were going to wear it….rock climbing? I just smiled and put it back, and tried to dig myself out with the clerk, “Generally I just sweat, you know…then shower.”

From her squinty death ray look at me, I was quessing that I had dug myself deeper and the idea of sweating, or showing it, died along with the pet rocks, bulky car phones and pop rocks.

A little further down I wheeled into Emporia, a new store on Government street selling living and lifestyle products, from giant candle lanterns, soaps, to crackle and depression glass. It was a mother and daughter owned store and the daughter let me know it was ‘ladies night’ for downtown. 'Ladies Night' is first Thursday eve of the month had discounts and specials for women at 20 odd independent stores, plus more resturants, tapa bars, ice cream stores and more. She said it was busy early, then the women went drinking.

I told her that explained the number of women I saw coming out of trounce alley holding on to each other to stay upright and overhearing random bits:

"God, it is SO cold tonight."

"Tell me about it, I'm just wearing leggings and my crack and legs are freezing."

"Oh my God! Tell the world louder?!"

"Just saying, fresh waxing and freezing breezes don't mix. Where is the next place to drink?"

"Oh!" (they nearly stumble and fall into my lap)

After talking shop talk at Emporia I bought a candle of cedar, white birch and rosemary for the study, as the scent reminded me of the woods (I have burned a lot of white birch in my time). I got to draw an envelope and ended up with 25% off. Then we stopped by Chapters (selling 4 books or magazines for the price of 3) and got the last copy of Curve. My oh my, we have a lesbian household again (in our trip I even tried to convince Linda to buy a flannel shirt).

We headed back to meet up with the worker for the evening, stopping to pick up the 2006 anime film Redline at the library. I headed to nap, and while I slept Linda did something with frozen chicken breasts. I can only hope it wasn’t obscene.

I dreamt of conversations, including the one I had about tattoos I had with the bearded guy in the book store (as we lusted over a tattoo in one magazine showing 3-D gearwork of a clock decayed with exposed gears), to the polite group of skateboarders, who cleared a path for me.

Today, while wheeling, I greeted everyone with a smile and a ‘hey!’ and found everyone talked, sometimes weather, sometimes random questions or statements, all except for one man in a custom wheelchair like me, who wheeled on passing invisable me. That is a common experience. I do not know why this is oft the way, but I am not asking for them to recognize the brother/sisterhood of the wheelchair, just a greeting from the sidewalk on an almost sunny afternoon/eve. But he wheels on, face straight ahead. This happens so often I have wondered, as people talk online about how we are ambassadors or representatives of the disabled community, how does that combine with rehab which teaches a person to be completely independent?

When I read accounts from SCI's about how they did X or Y, 'with no assistance' is stated. And while emphasizing independance, there is a comment or two of distain for those who expect or desire help. I look in these stories to find if they talk about the number of friends made, or the people talked to. Nada. It is an independance which allows only observation, not interdependance. And then those who say, from the wheelchair, that they are not disabled. Okay. What use is convincing everyone that we don’t need help and are the same as able bodied individuals if we convince all that we are a bad neighbors, aloof and uncaring, at the same time? Why must WE be the worst examples of the failure of North America in giving value to extended family and community? Unless people are getting independant so they can have grandparents move in so they can care for them, along with a cousin or two? Nah, I haven't seen or read those stories either.

Oh well, I saw tats, I touched granite tombs, I held conversations, I almost had two girls fall into my lap, I have curve and a candle for the next cold day/night. I'll work on solving community problems....tomorrow.


Baba Yaga said...

I'm glad you got out. It does one good. & doubly glad you got out together: hope you both felt a bit lighter of spirit for it.

Neil said...


That sounds like a GOOD day! May you have many more, consecutively (Hey, I can live in hope for you, can't I?)

Love and zen hugs,

Anonymous said...

have to echo both babayaga and neils comments glad it was good)

Lorna, Bob and Liam said...

Always awesome to hear about the bright moments. Although the clerk at the yoga wear store didn't sound particularly "bright." Oh, well, can't have everything... ;-)


Lorna, Bob and Liam

Linda McClung said...

Hi Beth,

"I headed to nap, and Linda did something while I slept with frozen chicken breasts. I can only hope it wasn’t obscene." If you wre the one sleeping with frozen chicken breasts, it's not me you have to worry about doing things obscene:). Just kidding. I was actually having my supper after having repackaged the big box of frozen chicken breasts into smaller bags so they'd fit into the freezer.

Your visual image of disapproval is so vivid! You made me chuckle as I can imagine so many people with that look.

I am jealous that you got to see the eaglet. Could you show me soon? Maybe it will make an appearance again. I am glad you were able to go outdoors and see daylight and also interact with people. When I see a sunny day I wish you had the strength and energy to hop into the wheelchair and soak up the rays and breathe in the fresh air and see the nature around you. I am glad you had atleast some of those yesterday.

I am sorry it took a while for me to get into our date - to realize the destination was 'out and about' not a specific place to go to and return home.

I am really looking forward to full-blown spring in Victoria. I'd like to have a picnic with you under the Sakura blossoms. I've seen a few cherry trees start to blossom, but in a couple of weeks there will be way more.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Linda: I only report what you tell me, which was 'I didn't nap because I was mumble mumble the frozen chicken breasts' - I have edited the line to make it clear that 'I' was not the one playing with the chicken breasts. Same when you came out, huffing and puffing from the apartment, 'I was late because I had to mumble mumble the chicken breasts' - I think a) you have a tendancy to talk through when you take a breathe and your voice drops and b) I was so emotionally distressed from finding out that you were having some sort of emotional affair, lavishing attention on chicken breasts I couldn't bear to hear any more of the sordid details.

Baba Yaga: It was good that I got out, and that after about a year or more of not getting out to down town it turned out it was the ONE night a month everything was on sale - score!

Neil: I hope for it as well, thanks.

Jill: Thanks, Peace to you also.

Lorna, Liam, Bob: Yes, the woman at the outdoor store seemed really into how useful having a garmet that let your breasts hang out was in walking around downtown - maybe it is for Victoria's naked cycling day next month (or is may?). I think they just went overboard on the idea of 'wicking away'.

Tina Russell said...

I loved your shopping story! I have questions like that, often. The truth is that exercise and yoga in particular has become a “lifestyle brand,” where people want to _look_ like they’re being healthy and active more than they actually want to _be_ healthy and active. So, you ask reasonable questions about the functionality of these expensive clothes, and they essentially say, pfffft, you’re wearing them for an actual purpose other than pretentious posturing? Clearly you don’t _get_ it. ...Or something.

Besides, I’ve never liked “the layered look.” Vore fetish aside, I don’t want to look like a human burrito. Next...

Haha, I like the shaky groin shot. It’s a Beth action photo!

Much love, Beth! I’m glad you had a fun day.

Lorna, Bob and Liam said...

Oh my god, Beth, Naked Cycling Day. I forgot about that... never heard of it until you posted about it last year.

See, that's the higher purpose of your blog. Not only is it inspirational, uplifting, informative, caustic, funny, amazing...

I learn about shit like Naked Cycling Day.


What more could you ask?

cheryl g said...

Boo on the people making threats!

I am glad you got out to enjoy some sun, flowers and shopping. Seeing the eaglet would be very cool.

Hooray for hitting the shops for a sale. The shop where you got the candle sounds very nice.

The clock gear tattoo sounds incredible. maybe I'll habe to think steampunk for my next tattoo.

JaneB said...

sounds like a great outing. Wishing you many more good bits in the days to come

love and virtual hugs

Kate J said...

I love the photo of you.

And why the f*** is your brother suing you?! Don't answer if you don't want to but that sounds perverse in the extreme.

Glad you got out and saw the flowers!

Love & peace