There’s Nothing Wrong With Me – A Prompt

Karen Craven, over at Table for 1 really loves to send us (Sorryless and me) some crazy things to work with.  Now she’s been a tad busy with her new job and all and is not posting nearly enough – yes, I am complaining – though she did finally share  a few lately.  Anyhow, she overheard this woman on the train the other day and this was part of the one-sided conversation she heard:

“Yes, I really like my box of macaroni.
Give me all my expired things.
I need you to get a job.”

And issued us a challenge to use this.  So, being just the right amount of crazy, we accepted.  Here’s my submission.  Sorryless’ fantabulously wonderful answer to the prompt is here.  Karen’s wonderfully fantabulous submission is here

 

There’s Nothing Wrong With Me

It was a regular Friday commute as folks boarded the 6:02 train towards home.  People jostled, trying to find seats or at least a pole to hang on to while others, as I, just leaned against the back doors or sides.  Books were taken out as well as iPods and cell phones, earbuds firmly in place.  A wall erected by those wanting to remain in their own world, not interested in their surroundings, not inviting exchanges.  I, on the other hand, love to people watch, see what they are reading, guess at what is going on in their lives, create whole scenarios in my mind based on what they are reading.

The students take out their books and papers to try to catch up on homework, business-folk break out the laptops and furiously crunch numbers because the days of doing work at work are over; you are now expected to work on your own time as well to get ahead.  A sad state of affairs, really. Everyone absorbed in their own microcosm.

Suddenly, a cellphone rings with an old-fashioned rotary phone ring.  “Dring, Dring!”  I look around to see who it belongs to and find myself eavesdropping, barely subtly, in fact.  The woman is seated in the single seat facing me, is in her late seventies, maybe early eighties.  She’s slight, her clothes hang on her frail body, two sizes too large and look like they’ve been rescued from a garbage bin.  Her stockings have runs in them and her shoes are laced up and seem the only thing she owns that doesn’t date back twenty years.  Her hands are those of a woman who has worked hard; they are overly large for her wrists with knobby knuckles and jagged nails that haven’t ever seen a manicure. Not that she would ever waste money on such a thing.  Between her legs are a trio of bags, filled with who knows what.  Her purse rests on her lap.

She digs into her purse and pulls out an old Blackberry.  “Hallo? …  “Oh hi, Doris. … Yeah, I’m on the train now.  Should be home by seven-ish.”

“What do you mean, you’re at my house? Why are you at my house?  Who let you in?”

“Right  I forgot you had the key.  Still, I don’t care, nothing is yours to touch.  Those are my things.  I don’t care what the neighbours say.  What smell?  I don’t need you to clean out my stuff.”

“Yes, I know I have lots of cans of beans and boxes of macaroni. They were on special.  And yes, I do need them all.  Yes, I really like my box of macaroni.”

What do you mean I don’t even like the stuff?  Of course I do!  What do you care, anyway?  It’s none of your business.  And no, they don’t go bad.  Don’t you dare throw any of them out. You wait until I get there.  And stay out of my fridge!”

The older woman closed her eyes, a mixture confusion and frustration lining her face.  I couldn’t help but wonder what was really at hand.  There was a feeling that this was not the first time this type of exchange had taken place.

“Just give me all my expired things…they’re still good. Expiration dates are a bunch of hogwash,” she almost whispered.

Voice raised:  “No, it’s not true.  Best Before does not mean no good after!” … “What, three years old?  It’s friggen boxed macaroni, Doris!  How bad can dried macaroni with powdered fluorescent cheese get?  The expiry date is obligatory by the government.  Just stop, already.  Don’t even think of throwing anything out.”

She pulled the phone away from her ear and held it on her purse.  I could hear her daughter’s voice raised in anger, “You are confused, Mother.  I’m worried about you living on you own.  You need to leave your apartment and move into a home for the elderly. I have already found the perfect place for you.  Mother?  Mother?  Can you hear me?”

I couldn’t help but feel for the poor woman and, at the same time, for the daughter.  Experience had taught me that early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s meant there were very lucid moments but also very confused ones.  I imagined the old woman had become a hoarder of sorts and the daughter had a helluva job ahead of her.

The woman put the phone back to her ear.  “Yes, I hear you. No, I don’t need to move into a home.  I visit people there, I don’t live there!  There is nothing wrong with me!  I need you to get a job.  You obviously have too much time on your hands to find  yourself rummaging through my personal belongings.  Get out of my house!”

She threw her phone into her handbag, rearranged the ones at her feet, patted her hair in that comforting manner women do, and placed her now trembling hands upon her purse.  She stared straight ahead, a mutinous expression on her face.

We arrived at the next station and a large bulk of people disembark.  The seat kitty-corner to the old woman becomes free so I make my way there.

“Good evening, Ma’am.  Mind if I sit here?”

She smiled, “Oh hallo.  No, no, please do.  Do you need more room?  Are my bags in your way?”

“No, not at all and thank you.  I’m fine and have lots of room.  How are you?  Are you okay?”

“Why yes, I’m fine.  There is nothing wrong with me.  Why do you ask?”

“You seemed a tad upset with your phone call just now.  I didn’t mean to eavesdrop…”

She looked at me with confusion, “What phone call?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Fit For Company – Friday Fictioneers

Good Wednesday, my peeps!  Well.. for another 7 minutes in my neck of the woods anyway!  Didn’t think I’d have the energy to come up with anything and then tried not to go any particularly direct route (as I like to do, anyway) so… voilà…

Thank you to Rochelle for keeping us in line each and every week.  Thank you to all of you who participate and reciprocate, which makes this weekly get-together all the better.  And this week, thank you to Yvette Prior for allowing us to use this photo… I won’t even ask what that’s all about, k?  To play along, please click on the blue frog below.  Not sure how this works?  Easy peasy!  100 words – no more but less is accepted (not including the title) – one story, beginning, middle and end.  Hook up with the frog!

©Yvette Prior

Get the Frog for your Blog

Not Fit For Company

She had that deep, sexy voice you just couldn’t forget.  And a laugh that included everyone within hearing distance.  And, always dressed to kill.  Not overkill, mind you, but always in good taste, well put together, you know?  Clothes, make-up, jewellery, the whole shebang.  Never ever would you see her out in public in sweat pants and no make-up.  Never in a million years.

Had never been inside her home, always said it wasn’t fit for company.  Laugh and say, ya right!  Then one day, she called.  She’d fallen and couldn’t get up.  So I went.  Man, she was right.

 

La Rambla – What Pegman Saw

This week Pegman has wandered down to Montevideo, Uraguay on the southeast coast of South America. You’ll find an abundance of streets to wander down for inspiration on Google Maps.

Your mission is to write up to 150 words inspired by this week’s location. Feel free to use the photo provided with the prompt. or roam Montevideo for your own inspiration. Once your piece is published, share it with others using the linkup below.

Thanks to Karen and Josh for hosting this here weekly shindig!

La Rambla

“Do you want to try to walk the whole Rambla Sur, Felipe?  We’ll start at the top —”

“Rambla Baltasar Brum…”

“Right…and make our way all the way down the entire coast to the end —”

“Rambla Tomás Berreta…”

“— on Carrasco Beach.  The Rambla’s a must-see part of Montevideo, they say”

“You do know it is 22.2 kilometres long, Maria?”

“Yeah, so?  Half a marathon.  Big whup!”

WE don’t do half-marathons.  YOU are loca!”

“Don’t be a cobarde!  We can do it.  We can take our time, break as often as you need.  We’ll pack a nice lunch, so we can refuel for the rest of the way…

“Not a sissy, a realist.  I don’t want to walk.  How about we bike?  That way we make it to the end!”

“OK. Deal.  Then you can tell me all about the history of its creation, the World Heritage Proposal…”

 

 

Weekend Writing Prompt #67 – Haphazard

19 words… I can do that, she says to herself.  Then spends some time trying to make it work…. Silly little attempt at poetry…

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Thanks, Sammi!

Word Prompt

Haphazard

Challenge

Per your request

My room is clear

No longer a mess

I think not dear

It’s haphazard at best!

Born This Way – Friday Fictioneers

Good Wednesday, my peeps!  It’s that time of the week.  Some call it Hump Day, we here in this group call it Friday Fictioneers Prompt Day!  And jeez louise, Rochelle chose a doozie from Ronda Del Boccio

I was stumped for a bit… then I wasn’t.  Hope it gives you a chuckle…  Click on the blue frog below if this photo inspires you to write something… anything!

©Ronda Del Boccio

Get the frog for your blog

Born This Way

“Wow… that is something else…”

“So, that is all natural?”

“Oh my! That is most impressive!”

“You must have suffered an immense amount of heartburn.  I have heard that women do in this instance.”

Jeanie couldn’t help but smile at all the comments she received when people were first introduced to her newborn son, George.  It truly was something else.  She had suffered an insane amount of heartburn.  During her whole pregnancy, Jeanie popped Tums like they were candy.

“Crazy, eh?  I don’t know where it comes from but his hair was like that at birth! Straight up and full!

 

Woodstock For Real – Wait, What?

This is the way to hear music, I think, surrounded by rolling hills and farmlands, under a big sky.

– Michael Lang (Co-creator of the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival)

As promised… here’s the next installment of our Woodstock Wander in Mid-July.  How can it be almost mid-August already?

Wednesday morning was THE day.  We were finally going to visit the site of THE Rock Concert of all time!  To say we were excited, is to put mildly.  Two Fifty-somethings all a-giggle, I tell ya…  By now we have watched countless videos about Woodstock, totally immersed ourselves into the whole experience as much as two born-too late-to-have-been-there peeps could be. (And if we had been there, would have been too young to remember and would have had beyond-cool (or crazy) parents… Just sayin’).  One hour, some 60-ish miles away.  I swear, we are still trying to wrap our heads around a Woodstock that never took place in Woodstock.  I think B’s wonderful intro post to our adventure says it best here.

But first, we needed sustenance.  I had brought my crêpe mix so of course I had to make those.  But then, I pimped ’em up.  We needed to fuel up, after all!  A little bacon, some Swiss cheese and a fried egg on top was sure to do the trick – add to that some Québec maple syrup and we had ourselves a breakfast of champions…

No matter how many videos we had watched – and we watched many there (not to mention tons more since our return), we were still amazed to drive through the winding country roads towards Bethel.  We tried to imagine all those thousands of cars simply left willy-nilly to block the road for three, almost four, days.  Insane.  Did you know that 37 rental cars were lost?  Thirty-seven!!  Just one of those little snippets of information discovered…

We finally get to our destination…

… and there are huge, I mean HUGE parking lots… now 😉  We chose a shady area to park the car and made our way to the main building.  How did I manage to NOT take a picture of the outside?  I dunno… So I have nabbed the one on the site…

I don’t know how to explain the myriad emotions this place evoked.  Maybe it was just us.  But I don’t think so.  Maybe we had created an expectation by reading about it, seeing movies, documentaries, listening to the music.  While neither one of us had this destination at the top of our bucket lists, we were still thrilled and awed that our desire to meet had directed us to this place.  Just how did the Universe sneakily direct us here?  Our love of music, culture and history might have had something to do with it.  Whatever it was that did bring us here, we felt we were on hallowed ground.  Or we gave it that descriptive.

Or maybe, just maybe, we each have a little Hippie in our Hearts.

We purchased our tickets and entered, looking forward to – we had no idea what!

“We were ready to rock out and we waited and waited and finally it was our turn … there were a half million people asleep. These people were out. It was sort of like a painting of a Dante scene, just bodies from hell, all intertwined and asleep, covered with mud.

And this is the moment I will never forget as long as I live: A quarter mile away in the darkness, on the other edge of this bowl, there was some guy flicking his Bic, and in the night I hear, ‘Don’t worry about it, John. We’re with you.’ I played the rest of the show for that guy.

—John Fogerty recalling Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 3:30 am start time at Woodstock”

There were so many things to see, notes to read, we could have stayed in there for hours on end.

It’s funny… I didn’t take the picture of the sign explaining the fence but felt this other sign said it all.  This concert was going to be way bigger than anyone could have anticipated (Imagine how parties have gotten out of hand with the advent of Facebook?  Could you even imagine?)  People were not going to let some fence stop them from getting in…  Might as well give in.  And they did!  In the name of peace.  And debt.

So many details, so many stories, so many things to see!

There is a small theatre within the museum that shows a 20-minute movie about the event.  So, of course, we watched it!

So many acts played in those three days, that spilled into part of the fourth.  Sha Na Na?  Really?  John B. Sebastian wasn’t even scheduled to play.  He was a “filler” and, according to Ira Brooker from “A Talent for Idleness” Sebastian was the ultimate hippie.  I dig, I dig.  And, I didn’t know him.  And now I do.

Time to go outside and see just where this party took place.

The grounds around the museum are beautiful and a stroll was in order.

Though he never made a sound, I could sense B was itching to get to the site itself and I quickly snapped a couple more pics before joining him.

I don’t know why I never realised how much of a hill it was!  You see the pictures and there are masses of people but somehow, I just never focused on the terrain itself.  This sign gives you such a perspective of the size when you are in front of the field.  I purposefully left just a smidge of said sign in the second pic showing the road (we felt it would be disrespectful to walk on the grass itself – at that time, anyway!) we took to get down to the bottom to show you a portion of it.

As we made our way down, we could see, right in the middle of the field, a huge Peace sign cut into the grass (like a crop circle 😉 )  Too bad they have been suffering from lack of rain because it is a tad difficult to see, no matter how much I enhanced it.

We, of course, went to the official memorial monument (which bizarrely is NOT where the stage was…)

The stage is left of and further down from the marker when looking up the hill.  It was confusing to us at first but then I could see the demarcation of the sort of square where the stage was.

Standing on the “stage”, looking up I could not imagine 500,000 people.  I’m sure the 600 acres Max Yasgur rented out spilled out beyond… Plus, I do not have a wide lens… but still.  It takes your breath away.

I’m a farmer. I don’t know how to speak to twenty people at one time, let alone a crowd like this. But I think you people have proven something to the world–not only to the Town of Bethel, or Sullivan County, or New York State; you’ve proven something to the world. This is the largest group of people ever assembled in one place. We have had no idea that there would be this size group, and because of that, you’ve had quite a few inconveniences as far as water, food, and so forth. Your producers have done a mammoth job to see that you’re taken care of… they’d enjoy a vote of thanks. But above that, the important thing that you’ve proven to the world is that a half a million kids–and I call you kids because I have children that are older than you–a half million young people can get together and have three days of fun and music and have nothing but fun and music, and I God Bless You for it!

— addressing the crowd at Woodstock on August 17, 1969
Peace and Love…

We made our way back to the car, our souvenirs in hand (of course I got a Tye-died shirt) with new memories created and oh-so happy we had made the trek.  We may have missed out on actually being part of the whole Woodstock experience 49 years earlier, but walking those grounds sure brought us closer to the feeling that we would have fit right in.

Joni Mitchell didn’t make it either, but all say she captured the feeling exactly.  I was torn between the video where Joni explains why she wasn’t there – with a little catch in her voice – or the one she did right after the concert… So I put both!

Part 1

Part 2

Per Your Request – What Pegman Saw

This week Pegman is at Rawson Lake in Alberta, Canada. Thanks to some intrepid travelers, you can tour the area yourself via streetview (actually I should say trailview) or chose a photosphere. (Rawson Lake, Karen Rawson?  Coincidence? I think not!)

Your mission is to write up to 150 words inspired by the location. Once your piece is polished, please share it with others using the linkup below. Reading and commenting on others’ work is part of the fun!

Okay… so my story has nothing to do with this particular lake… and I confess there is not one bit of fiction either…

Thank you, always, to Karen and Josh for hosting this weekly challenge!

Per Your Request

You told me where you wanted me to spread your ashes: one of the lakes where you went fishing with your buddies and “Bass Alley” on the St. Lawrence River. You told me what you wanted as your urn, too. Remember? You showed me one of your collectible Coke bottles and said, “This one.”

Too soon, that day came. I went down to the basement, collected that bottle and emptied it. Was shocked there was still a “pssshhhht” sound when I opened it. Next day brought it to the funeral home.

Spring came, and our boys went with your best friends on the requisite fishing trip. I gave them half of you in a mason jar. They performed a beautiful ritual and let you go.

It’s been over three years and I still haven’t released the rest of you. I don’t know why, really. Maybe because I’m not ready to.

 

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