Thursday, November 17, 2011

Life ends but it never stops

Died in a quarter way house of a stroke while asleep, I am studying social work and I never heard of a quarter way house, I guess it is like a holding pen or a realm for a holding pattern, cleaned up enough to get out of the half-way house, no place to put you, hey what's between half way and all the way there, between half and nothing, between half and out of our hair?

My brother that I have not seen in about four years and have not spoken to in about three died 19 days ago and it took two weeks ago for the word of mouth to get from two new friends made some where along the line in the 3/4- 1/2- 1/4 way system, to the street to the guys he got high with to his x-tai chi students, to his daughter on the other side of the continent via his phone which was in the hands of some other person that let her know that her dad died a little while back, to our mother, to a hysterical message on my answering machine as I was getting dressed to leave for my niece's (brother-in-laws daughter) fifth birthday party in the skylands of deep suburban McMansiondom in what passes for mountains in New Jersey. I usually don't answer the phone unless I am getting a call from someone who I am in the process of meeting some where, but there is a hysterically pained tone of a mother whose child has just died that is unmistakable even from an answering machine heard from distance.

So naked I have this conversation and begin melting down the aluminum three step ladder that I was sitting on sobbing from a pit inside myself that is only accessed on especially painful occasions; realizing you are not loved by someone anymore and nothing is going to change that no matter how you try to perfect yourself or how you try to hurt yourself their attention is irredeemable, realizing that some small maneuver on your parents part or being three minutes late or one block over could have irreparably changed your life for the better, being akin to a tragedy and feeling that you were not deserving of the luck that shielded you from it or as in this case having something so awful and yet so foreseeable occur that you reserved a space in this pit because you knew it was going to come to pass and only the foolishness of magical non-logical thinking gave you any hope of another out come but you would allow yourself to think, "Anything is possible, right?" So when he came to mind there could be a trap door that would allow you to slip out before the downward spiral built up the speed of inevitability.

My son's, one of whose name is a combination of my brother's and mine, are confused and distraught at hearing this wailing that they of course wind up in fight and the younger one comes out the other side of it with bruises on his face reminiscent of Franck Ribery's signature scars. So I snap back from being a naked crying infant to being a father.

Now for the sad parts, the parts that I think about when I am alone in the laundry room, or in the car for over 25 minutes, or making an iTunes playlist of music that he turned me on to;
ironically and heart breaking-ly his last "new-friends" of literally hundreds upon hundreds of new friends this man made in 49 years on the planet, their names were the Spanish version of my name and our older and long dead of AIDS from IV drug use brother's name. He was estranged from most of his family but he recreated some sense of it out of the x-cons and state funded rehab residents of the half way house, one telling my mother, "He was like a father to me."
The next is "his stuff" he called from prison after having fits of violence acted out on those closest to him in proximity and to his heart, asking if I could help him pay for his storage space. His soon to be x-wife had moved, his newest baby's mama had fled and no one else was in a position to help any more. I thought, if he gets his life back together as some point in the future it would be a shame if he lost everything from the approximately 10 year period of mostly good living, or mostly overcoming the visions and voices and traumatic memories and torment to earn a nice living, starting a martial arts school, writing for men's health magazines, appearing on TV, owing a Manhattan apartment on the Park by the Cloisters, unbeknowst to him until meeting her family in Japan marrying an wealthy women, having a new (third) daughter, a pretty good life for a schizophrenic with multi-addiction issues suffering from post traumatic stress from being raped as grammar school student by the teenaged son of a neighbor and later sexually assaulted by the 17 year-old daughter of another family friend while babysitting, leading him to ponder, "Why is everyone making me have sex?" Which was not a surprising precursor to many of those new friends I mentioned being of a sexual nature, and I mean many many.
So all his stuff martial arts trophies, swords, an eclectic music selection, Asian art, if I do not help right now, it will be all gone, possibly showing up on some storage space reality TV show. Could I move it to my attic my garage? If this all ends badly at least I would have his stuff. No, I can not get involved, when violence and a loose grip on reality is what we are dealing with I can not have him showing up on my doorstep looking for his swords or asking for more money.
"No I can't help you right now."
"I understand sorry for having to ask."
My last conversation I had with the man that was my idol for many of my childhood years, whose reputation for fighting prevented me from getting my ass kicked by older boys in the neighborhood many times.
So he gone and so is his stuff, I can't cry as I decide should I integrate his CDs into my collection or keep them in separate box, if you know me you know my relationship with CDs. Can we put this trophy on display some where or will my wife shoot down the idea on the grounds that it does not fit the decor? I have nothing to visit with him with.
But ultimately the safety of the family that I have chosen to create was more important than enabling the one fate bestowed, or having the ability to get lost in the melancholia of memorabilia and the sounds of memories.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Lamest Trick or Treater Ever

Even though my town tried to cancel Halloween, or actually postpone it until Friday, the kids were out in force dodging downed power lines and hurdling 50 year-old 10 foot tree limbs with aplomb. Anyway adding to my anecdotal evidence for my on going study into the loss of social graces of those under 25 was the worlds lamest trick or treater that I encounter a few days ago.

Neither the 70% of children who did not bother to say "trick or treat" nor the 40% who did not say thank you after receiving candy and worse than my 16 year-old cohorts and I who went trick or treating sans costumes and when questioned about it one of the group replied, "We're dressed as professional kick ball players, now give us some candy," not fully realizing how scary a gang of teen aged boys could be to a lone adult, but the lamest trick or treater darkened my door last night, not really wearing a costume, accompanied by three friends, all about 17 years-old, with a pillow case in one hand, his cell phone in the other, in mid conversation, tucked the phone under his chin to continue the conversation so he could free up his other hand to open the pillow case wide enough for my candy, does not acknowledge that I exist, turns away while without saying thank you while continuing to talk on the phone.

Four seconds later as I am giving candy to his friends I began to think that I just missed a "You god damn kids get off my lawn-esque" crabby old guy opportunity, I should called him out on his rudeness and made the kid get off the phone if he wanted my butterfingers and kit kats, the punk assed bitch. Sometimes you are so surprised that the witty comeback or opportunity to stand up for yourself or for decency and decorum slips through your fingers, and to try retrieve it only makes your reveal yourself as being unstable.