Or… I’d like to think that Tina is somewhere incredible now, anyway. She certainly lived in a beautiful, idyllic, paradise like part of Switzerland off of Lake Zurich. A couple of years ago, Bill and I visited Kusnacht, Switzerland, where Tina’s home was located, but we were there because Bill wanted to visit Carl Jung’s home and museum, which is also in Kusnacht.
Last night, just after dinner, Bill blurted out the headline that Tina Turner had died. I wasn’t surprised by the news. She was 83 years old, and had suffered a host of serious health problems at the end of her life. She was also predeceased by two of her sons, Craig and Ronnie. Ronnie passed away just six months ago, which I’m sure was hard for Tina to bear. But, of course, I am only speculating, and I did read that Tina was somewhat estranged from her sons in later years. In any case, as sad as it is for the public to lose a legendary superstar like Tina Turner, I also suspect that the end was probably a relief for her. In spite of her incredible career and worldwide fame, Tina did not have an easy life.
My heart goes out to Tina’s two surviving sons, Ike Jr. and Michael, and her husband, Erwin Bach, who famously donated a kidney to Tina when she went into kidney failure. They had a very long love affair with each other, having started their relationship in the 1980s and married in 2013. That was also the year that Tina gave up her U.S. passport and became a Swiss citizen. I don’t know what, exactly, drew Tina to Switzerland, but if I were to guess, I’d say it’s probably because it’s a very serene place with lots of natural beauty and security. It’s a far cry from Tina’s beginnings in Nutbush, Tennessee, where Tina was born on November 26, 1939 as Anna Mae Bullock.
Tina Turner’s family of origin was very poor, and she was the youngest of three daughters. Her father was an overseer of sharecroppers, and she grew up helping her family pick cotton. When Tina was eleven years old, her mother, Zelma, ran off without any warning, supposedly to escape an abusive relationship with Tina’s father, Floyd Bullock. According to a passage on Tina’s Wikipedia page:
She stated in her autobiography I, Tina that her parents had not loved her and she wasn’t wanted. Zelma had planned to leave Floyd but stayed once she became pregnant. “She was a very young woman who didn’t want another kid,” Turner recalled.
I have basic knowledge of how that feels, although I do think my parents love(d) me, in their own way. Tina was able to turn that fundamental rejection into incredible success. Imagine, being a tiny child who knows her parents didn’t want her… and then growing up to be such a renowned phenom whose death the world mourns. It just goes to show you that there is endless potential in most people. Tina went through many hardships, but she was also blessed with extraordinary talent, drive, creativity, and quite a lot of luck.
Still, it amazes me when I think of Tina’s humble beginnings as Anna Mae Bullock in Nutbush, Tennessee, picking cotton with her family, enduring years of separation from her parents, living with her very religious grandparents, and finding the gift of song in their Baptist church. Then, years later, she met Ike Turner, who propelled her to fame, but used and abused her until she found the courage to leave him. In the years between leaving Ike and breaking out as a rock star, Tina did have to pay some dues in Las Vegas hotels… and perhaps most embarrassingly, on an episode of The Brady Bunch Hour. Still, she always gave it her all!
I will never forget the first time I heard Tina’s remake of the Al Green classic, “Let’s Stay Together. I was maybe 11 years old, and had never heard Tina’s hits with Ike Turner. I don’t think I even knew their version of “Proud Mary”, nor was I even exposed to Al Green’s song. To be honest, my first reaction to Tina’s “Let’s Stay Together” wasn’t very favorable. At that time of my life, I didn’t have an appreciation for unique voices. I didn’t like listening to Bob Dylan, either– even though he is an incredible artist and songwriter. I remember thinking Tina had a terrible singing voice!
But then, the next year, the title song on Private Dancer came out on the radio… Suddenly, I understood what the fuss was all about. I remember that album so well, as I was right in the middle of puberty when it was a hit. I’d see her videos, enchanted by her big, bushy, wild hair (wig), her mini skirts, leather bustiers, high heels and bright red lips. I was shocked to find out she was less than two years younger than my mother! I liked her other songs just as much or even more, and then I became a real fan. Maybe I wasn’t as big of a fan of hers as others were. I never got to see her in concert. But her unusual sound made me want to know more about her.
In 1993, when I was in college, my friend Chris worked at a video store. He got a screener of the movie What’s Love Got to Do With It starring Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne. I loved that movie! I’ve seen it a bunch of times over the past thirty years. I never get tired of it, or the wonderful soundtrack with old songs from the Ike and Tina era. What I really love about that movie is that it introduced me to Tina’s past through Angela Bassett’s masterful acting. As I mentioned up post, I wasn’t familiar with Ike and Tina, and it wasn’t until I saw that movie that I started to seek out those old performances that were so different from Tina’s 80s image. I also love Angela Bassett’s work. She is a fantastic actor, and is perfect in her role as Tina Turner.
Tina’s story, as depicted in What’s Love Got To Do With It, was made entertaining, even though she truly went through Hell to get to where she ended up. The truth is, Tina escaped her hellish marriage to Ike Turner and soared into a career of her own that way eclipsed what she ever had with Ike. She served as a role model and icon to so many people of my generation. I heard her collaborate with other musicians, changing classic songs into her own creations.
It wasn’t until the early aughts that I read Tina’s book, I, Tina, ghostwritten with Kurt Loder, which provided a much rawer look at her life story. It’s been many years since I read I, Tina, but I do remember that the book was very candid. I distinctly remember reading about how and where Tina lost her virginity. Tina was just as forthcoming and unbridled in her book as she was in her stage performances. I think I still own a copy of that book– it’s in storage. I shouldn’t be too surprised that the day after Tina’s death, the prices for the first edition of her book are way up on Amazon! Years ago, I wrote a review of that book. I’m not sure if I still have it available. I’ll look and see, and if I find it, I’ll repost it.
Not too long ago, I saw a 2021 documentary about Tina Turner’s more recent life. It was called Tina, and it filmed in her home in Switzerland. She spoke candidly about her life, and that was when I heard about her serious health concerns. But even with those health problems, she still looked amazing and spoke with such lucidity and wisdom. I remember being amazed by her all over again. She was obviously destined to be an icon… but even icons have an end. Fortunately, she left behind an astonishing treasure trove of works that will continue to inspire and amaze people for many years to come.
I know a lot of people are expressing sadness that Tina Turner has died. I think it would be disingenuous for me to be sad about Tina’s death, because she lived a long, full life, and death is something that happens to us all. Instead of sadness about her death, I feel grateful that she lived, and we all got to know aspects of her by watching her perform and hearing her sing. I am consoled that she no longer has to suffer from ill health, or even just the ravages of getting older– the aches and pains that make it harder to enjoy living. Even if there is no Heaven after death, the condition of no longer suffering is a kind of heavenly peace.
Any sorrow I feel is not about Tina’s death, but for those who knew and loved her, and will have to go on without her in their lives. I know she will be missed by so many people– not just her legions of fans, but the people in her life who had the pleasure of knowing her personally. To those people, I offer my most sincere condolences… and to Tina herself, I offer gratitude for the many memories I have of the 1980s version of Tina Turner and the way she served as a positive role model to so many young girls like I was, back in those days. I really wish I could have seen her perform live.
Tina really was a queen for us all…
I’m sharing the link to I, Tina, for those who might not have known it exists. If you purchase through my site, I get a small commission from Amazon. But I don’t expect anyone to pay so much for this book. I recommend looking in your local library for it. ETA: I see a new edition is out and offered at a relatively reasonable price. If you want to know her unvarnished story, I recommend picking it up.
I have a few things on my mind this Tuesday morning, the last day of February 2023. These things are kind of loosely related to each other, but maybe I can make them fit in today’s blog post. I beg your indulgence, because I probably won’t have a second original post in me today. On the other hand, it’s only 7:30am, so who knows?
A couple of days ago, I wrote a post about how a picture of a defunct brand of beer led me to an unexpected place. That post hasn’t generated a lot of reads. At this writing, no one has commented on it. I suspect maybe one or two of the few people who read it might have quit before they got to the end. I can’t blame them for quitting. I quit things, too. Like, sometimes I’ll start watching a YouTube video and quit because something about it is annoying. Maybe the announcer isn’t human and speaks like a robot. Or the content might not be what was seemingly promised in the title.
Time is money for a lot of people. Sometimes, if a person takes too long to get to the point, the point will be missed. The receiver will stop engaging and walk away.
When a person quits too soon, they might miss out on something they might not have expected. My guess is that those who finished the post from a couple of days ago might have been surprised by the ending. The ending is not like the beginning, which was, admittedly, kind of ugly. I reread last night, wondering if I should cut some of the ugly part out. Maybe people would get the wrong idea about me. But then I decided that the ugly should stay, because it was part of the story.
Nowadays, people are so quick to dismiss others without a second thought. I think the response to the quick dismissal has been that people are more reluctant to be authentic. They’d rather quickly say what the other person wants to hear than be rejected or dismissed.
I could weigh in on the recent controversy involving cartoonist Scott Adams, who writes and illustrates a comic strip called Dilbert. I have never read that comic strip myself, so I can’t call myself one of Adams’ disappointed fans, dismayed because the cartoonist is in the news due to his recent racist tirade. I didn’t even see the rant that is getting him canceled right now. It sounds like it was pretty bad, though, and now Dilbert is being dropped by many newspapers. Maybe it’s inappropriate for Scott Adams to have platform anymore, since the job of cartoonist is one that is kind of dying. He’s been very privileged to be able to turn his talents into such a successful career.
Still, to me, it’s sad that an artist’s work is being dismissed because he said or wrote something people didn’t like. Sad that he uttered hateful, racist remarks that were hurtful to others, and sad that the backlash has been so brutally instant, seemingly without a second’s hesitation. I don’t agree with what little I’ve read about Scott Adams’ views, but I do realize that he must have done a lot right to be where he is today. Obviously, he was also very lucky. I don’t like to think that a person’s total worth is less than an unfortunate or unpleasant action. I’m sure Scott Adams, as a whole, is much better than his very offensive comments.
Since I don’t read Dilbert and know very little about Scott Adams or his political views, I think I’ll just say that I find cancel culture disturbing and kind of dystopian. Regular people can and will vote with their wallets. I think allowing them to make up their own minds is better than encouraging everyone to pick up figurative pitchforks and torches and actively seeking to kill someone’s livelihood. At the same time, I can see why some people are now completely turned off of Scott Adams. I don’t blame them.
That post that I wrote the other day, started off kind of “ugly”, because I wrote about how I got unceremoniously kicked out of my very first dorm room during my first week at college. My former roommate of just a few days, “Margaret”, went “ugly” early. At the time, it was devastating on several levels. I was brand new at Longwood, living in a room that was just as much mine as it was hers. And yet, I knew that if I tried to stand my ground, Margaret and her fraternity loving friend would make my life a living hell. So there I was, 18 years old and brand new to college, just days after arriving at Longwood, having to move to what was considered the “worst” dorm on campus.
You know what? A lot of the people I met after that move are still my friends today. That ugly, unpleasant, humiliating situation all worked out well in the end. In the long run, I was better off for moving across campus. If I had stayed in that room because it was “half mine”, it would not have been a good thing. Margaret was the type of person who would have done all she could to drive me out. Maybe I would have even ended up unhappy enough to transfer to another school , or quit altogether.
I could even say that about attending Longwood in the first place. It wasn’t my first choice college. And yet, it turned out to be a great school for me. I did very well there. I discovered talents and passions I had never explored before I went to college. I made some incredible friends. I only have a few regrets about going to my last choice school, and they are pretty minor, in the grand scheme of things.
Here’s a more recent example of this theme of “going ugly early”… Three years ago, Bill and I tried to adopt a dog from a German dog rescue. Our attempt to give a dog a new home ended in tragedy, when a disastrous string of events led to the dog escaping his transporter and getting killed on the Autobahn. That was a senseless and devastating event, and it made Bill and me feel like shit. But then, Noyzi the Kosovar street dog came into our lives and stole our hearts.
The fact that we have Noyzi doesn’t negate how awful it was that the other dog got killed thanks to the sheer negligence of the pet transporter. That was still a terrible thing. But if it hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t have our Noyzi, who reminds us every day how thrilled he is to have a home in Germany with us. Noyzi was destined to be in our family. I really think he was, especially since his rescuer, Meg, is a student of Carl Jung’s, just as Bill is. What are the odds?
And now for the last part of this post… This part might not seem like it fits very well, but I feel compelled to write about it, anyway.
I often read Lori Gottlieb’s advice column in The Atlantic. I knew who Lori Gottlieb was many years before I read her advice column. About twenty years ago, she wrote a book about her experiences with anorexia nervosa. It was titled Stick Figure. I read and reviewed that book for Epinions.com. Since then, Lori has become a therapist, and she writes articles for the magazine.
When I married my husband, he had two adult children, and I had none. We both wanted to have a child together, but my husband had a vasectomy after his second child was born—too long ago to get the procedure reversed.
We didn’t want to use a sperm bank, so we asked my husband’s son to be the donor. We felt that was the best decision: Our child would have my husband’s genes, and we knew my stepson’s health, personality, and intelligence. He agreed to help.
Our daughter is 30 now. How do we tell her that her “father” is her grandfather, her “brother” is her father, her “sister” is her aunt, and her “nephew” is her half-brother?
My husband and I are anxious, confused, and worried about telling her. This is also hard on my husband, because he wants our daughter to know that he will always and forever be her father.
Thank you for any advice you have to offer.
Most of the people commenting were completely turned off by this scenario. I suspect most didn’t make it beyond the “ugly” headline, “Dear Therapist: My Daughter’s ‘Brother’ Is Actually Her Father”. Of course, most didn’t read further because they don’t subscribe. Plenty of people who didn’t read the letter had plenty to say about it, though. Quite a few folks were judging the letter writer for making this decision, and now being in a situation in which she was asking Lori Gottlieb for advice. After a few minutes’ thought about this situation, I came to a few conclusions.
In my opinion, it really makes no sense to be disgusted by this scenario. This woman’s daughter was born in the early 1990s. In those days, we didn’t conceive of things like Ancestry.com or 23&Me being a “thing”. Childless couples who hoped to conceive via sperm donor weren’t encouraged to know much about the donor. This couple wanted to have a child together. Using a sperm donor was probably the most expedient way for them to get what they desired.
The letter writer’s husband happened to have an adult aged son who was willing to serve as the sperm donor. Unusual? Yes. I wonder about his mother and what she might have thought about this scenario. As the stepson was an adult when he made his donation, it wouldn’t have been her business. Or, perhaps she’s dead. We don’t know. It sounds like stepmom never played a maternal role to her husband’s son, though. She sounds more like his father’s wife than his “stepmom”.
This isn’t a case of a stepmom having sex with a teenager. This situation involved sperm donation between two consenting adults who happen to know each other better than other donors and recipients might have. Would it have been better for the woman to conceive a baby with a stranger? Maybe in some people’s minds, that’s better. In my opinion, it’s not really ideal, though, because the other bio parent is much more of a mystery.
Moreover, since the letter writer’s stepson was obviously an adult when he donated sperm, stepmom could have married him, instead of his father, and had the baby the “natural” way. Far fewer people would have batted an eye at that scenario.
After thinking about this some more, I remembered a high school friend, whose mother was actually her grandmother. Her older sister was her bio mom, because she got “knocked up” in high school. Mom/grandma raised my friend instead. I pointed this out, and a woman conceded that that scenario is kind of common, but this one involving a sperm donor is somehow “different” because it was done deliberately, rather than being the result of an “accident”. I can tell you, having been an “accident”, albeit to an adult married couple, it kind of sucks.
And yet, nowadays, it’s not that uncommon for family members to do extraordinary favors for their relatives. I’ve read more than a couple of articles about mothers carrying babies for their daughters, who aren’t able to maintain pregnancies. I’ve seen sisters or cousins acting as surrogate mothers for their relatives. People often frame the women who do those kinds of favors as heroic. How is a stepson donating sperm to his father and his wife that much different? At least it doesn’t involve morning sickness.
Then I started thinking about how I would feel if I were the daughter in this case. I imagined that, for 30 years, I didn’t know the truth about my origins. I’m completely healthy and otherwise normal, except all my life, my biological father has been posing as my half brother. Now, perfect strangers on the Internet are grossed out about how I was conceived. If you think about it, that’s a lot “ickier” than the unusual circumstances of how I was conceived. Again… stepmom could have used a stranger’s sperm, and I wouldn’t know much of anything at all about my bio father. At least, in this situation, the young woman will be able to ask questions and have a chance at getting some honest answers.
Finally, I arrived at my conclusion. This situation sounds, on its surface, kind of “weird”. But, at the end of the day, what matters is that this couple desperately wanted to have a child together. They’re still married. Their daughter is still much beloved and was very much wanted. That, in my view, should be the focus. We should all be so lucky to have parents who wanted us that badly. The main idea is that this couple wanted to raise their daughter, and they chose the stepson as the donor, because they knew that he was healthy. It was a way for the father to contribute to his daughter’s genetic heritage, since he could no longer get his wife pregnant.
Instead of focusing on the “ick” factor of this situation, consider these points:
Everyone involved in the donation was a consenting adult.
It wasn’t a situation in which the stepmom and her stepson had a physical relationship. He simply donated sperm.
Mom could have just as easily had a relationship with the stepson and gotten pregnant. No one would have cared.
Mom could have used a stranger’s sperm and been faced with a lot more mystery regarding her daughter’s genetic heritage and potential medical or educational issues.
They made this decision before the advent of home DNA tests and probably figured they could keep the secret forever.
Thanks to reproductive technology advancements, family members are doing things that would have been unthinkable in previous generations. We’re seeing moms carrying their daughters’ children, for instance. Sperm donation, to me, is less earth shattering than being your sister’s or your daughter’s gestational carrier.
THIS WAS A WANTED CHILD. Her parents love her. She’s grown up healthy, well-provided for, and very much beloved by her family. That should be more important than the source of her father’s genes. I hope the couple broke the news to her gently, and she was left realizing that her family loves her.
To sum things up… things that begin negatively or distastefully can eventually lead to things of beauty. Sometimes, when we “go ugly early”, we can end up in unexpected and amazing places. I could even say the same thing about Bill and me, and our marriage. We met under unexpected and unusual circumstances, but it all worked out beautifully. Sometimes when something starts out “ugly”, it might just be a situation in which the ugliness just needs to be chipped away from the surface and polished until it becomes something better… and beautiful, like the stone in my featured photo.
I woke up this morning feeling oddly quiet. I felt like I just needed to shut up for awhile. And, for the past hour or so, I’ve been staring at the computer screen, wondering what I should write about today. I didn’t really want to write about the topic I’m about to tackle. But then I remember what Bill said to me as he was about to leave for work. He said, “You’ll write about it. It’ll help you process.” Then he gave me one of his meltingly sweet smiles, which never fails to win me over and warm my heart.
Bill and I had a little spat last night. It was kind of a sudden thing, not unlike the brief but intense storm that briefly provided us with a rainbow as the sun was about to set. You can see the rainbow in today’s featured photo, which I took as the rain was falling, but the sun came out. It reminds me of the spat we had last night, and how I feel today.
I didn’t say much to Bill today, when we were getting up. After he got dressed, he came into our bedroom and sincerely apologized to me. I told him I knew he was sorry, and I was sorry for getting so upset with him. I love him very much, and truly don’t want him to feel distressed. He works very hard, and really is one of the good guys. Nobody’s perfect, though.
Bill and I don’t have spats very often because neither of us likes to fight or argue, and we’re usually very compatible about most things. We have tons of chemistry, and seem to get each other remarkably well, even if no one else understands us. But every so often, an issue comes up, and we have a disagreement. There’s a spat– kind of like a storm, or a chemical reaction. And usually, our spats occur in the evening, as Bill is wanting to go to bed, but refuses to just go. He wants me to give him permission, or something.
My husband is very much a day person. He functions best early in the morning. When the sun goes down, so does his brain. Sometimes, he’s much too polite and non confrontational for his own good, and that can cause him to temporarily be a jerk. He doesn’t mean to be a jerk, and sometimes I “overreact”, by many people’s standards. I try not to do that, but sometimes I fail.
Last night, when Bill came home, he casually mentioned to me he needed to write up his dreams for his weekly appointment with Jungian therapist. He also needed to complete his time card for his job. That information went into one ear and out the other, since he always does those tasks without announcing them to me. Consequently, I didn’t realize this was something that was pressing in its importance, nor did I know how long those tasks would take. I’m also not a mindreader.
Most nights, Bill does online German lessons using Duolingo. I used to do those lessons myself, years ago. I quit doing them after a year or so, even though it would do me good to keep studying German. Nevertheless, Bill very diligently does his homework. He’s diligent about most things without input from me. I forgot about what he’d said about the things he needed to do. I assumed he’d already done them.
So, as the evening was winding down, I noticed that Bill was tired. I asked him why he didn’t just go to bed, if he was tired. I’ve told him many times that I hate it when he’s obviously exhausted and continues to sit there at the table, as if I’m obliging him to do so. I find it to be kind of passive-aggressive behavior. He could just get up and go to bed, right? But he insisted on waiting for me to finish my drink, and go upstairs with him. I guess I was taking too long, and talking about some subject that wasn’t interesting to him. Finally, he got up and was turning off lights and edging toward the stairs, backing away from me with a smirk, but still not saying outright that he has things he needs to do, or wants to go to bed. It’s left up to me to officially “call it a night”, as he was non-verbally “calling it a night”.
I said, “What are you doing?”
Bill said, kind of sheepishly, “I told you, I have to write up my dreams and do my time card.”
“Well, why didn’t you just say so?!” I exploded. Much to my surprise, I found myself getting really upset. Like… I actually felt like crying, because my feelings were hurt. And then I said, “This makes me not even want to go on the trip next weekend. I think I’d rather just stay home alone!”
I know that was a hurtful and kind of crazy thing to say, because Bill has planned my birthday trip to Antwerp, and we’ve been looking forward to it, even if it does mean I’m turning 50. But I honestly didn’t want to go anywhere with him for a few minutes last night. I just felt really injured and bewildered… like I was being rejected by someone I never thought would reject me. I know that’s kind of an irrational reaction, but I was honestly triggered by that look on his face, and his non-verbal communication. I legitimately felt disrespected.
I felt like he should feel alright about point blank telling me when he has needs, or wants to excuse himself. I’ve been his wife for about twenty years. I’m not going to be offended. And over the years, I’ve seen so many people giving me that “smirky” look he gave me last night… people who aren’t my husband… people who don’t like me, for whatever reason, and wish I would just shut up and go away. It honestly wounded me to see that look on Bill’s face. So, I got really pissed, and felt like rejecting him in kind. Impulsively telling him I didn’t want to go to Belgium with him was a quick way to do that.
Bill immediately looked extremely sorry as he explained that he had just wanted to avoid confrontation. And then when I asked him why he didn’t just tell me, he said he’d told me he’d mentioned it earlier. But he’d kind of said it in passing, in a matter of fact way. I didn’t realize the urgency of the situation, and for some reason, he couldn’t just use his words to reiterate his needs.
Seeing that pained look on his face upset me even more, because once again, I upset someone for simply being myself. At the same time, I had compassion for him, because I love him, and I’m not a mean person. I don’t like seeing him looking distressed, especially when it’s me who caused the distress. I was still feeling angry, though, so I said that maybe when he got home from work, I’d just stay in our room and watch videos instead of talking to him, since he has so many pressing things to do.
Again… I was hurt, because I really do look forward to talking to him at night. I don’t have people to talk to during the day. I don’t have local friends or family, and at this point, I’m not really inclined to try to make friends with people, because trying to be friendly with people usually ends in disappointment. I have a weird personality and inappropriate sense of humor that not everyone appreciates. Besides, around here, almost everyone’s German, so there’s sometimes a language barrier.
Bill said he didn’t want me to stay in our room and watch videos. He wanted to talk to me. He’d just had a couple of tasks he needed to complete before bedtime. So, again, I said, “Then why didn’t you just excuse yourself? You can tell me that you have stuff to do. I’m not a complete jerk, and I’m not a mindreader. What do I do every morning before you go to work, and I need to take a dump?”
Bill nodded and said, “That’s true. You do expressly tell me when you need a minute.”
Just as an aside… my body is remarkably efficient when it comes to necessary functions. Bill has remarked on it a lot, and has even told me he’s jealous. Most mornings, as he’s about to leave for his job, I have to say goodbye a few minutes early and take care of necessary business. Bill understands this and is fine with it; he doesn’t feel spurned because I have to go to the bathroom. However, for some reason, he doesn’t feel like he can say something similar to me. And I don’t understand why he doesn’t realize that I know he has things he has to do sometimes. Why can’t he simply tell me, his wife, that he needs time to get things done? Doesn’t he trust me, after almost twenty years?
I usually do notice when he’s trying to do something. When I see him with his computer, I don’t intrude. When he’s talking to his online therapist, I give him privacy. But last night, we were just there at the kitchen table, having a chat, and he suddenly gets up and backs away, looking awkward. I mean, if you need to excuse yourself, excuse yourself. Don’t give me that look. It’s not necessary. Just tell me what you need.
This is very much like my husband. He sometimes lacks assertiveness, is exceedingly polite and considerate, and wants to leave decisions up to me. But I don’t always want or need to make every decision, and sometimes I just don’t know what he needs, and I can’t read his mind. At the same time, he doesn’t want to offend or make ripples… and in the process, sometimes he offends and makes ripples. He never means to do that. He always wants me to be happy, sometimes at the expense of his own happiness. And when his needs are about to intrude on my wants or wishes, he’d rather be covert than just come out and tell me what’s going on.
This situation is kind of similar to one we ran into last year, when we were in Switzerland. Bill had expressly wanted to visit Carl Jung’s house and museum. This was the one non-negotiable activity on our agenda. On the other hand, I get very cranky and irritable when I’m hungry. Bill knows this, too. He has a habit of wanting to lead things, but then he gets “wishy washy”. We needed to have lunch, but Bill was focused on us going to the museum, since we had an appointment. And even though this was what HE had wanted to do, he hadn’t even decided if we would be driving or taking a boat, since the museum is on Lake Zurich. He had wanted to leave that decision up to me. But the problem was, I wasn’t prepared to make a decision, because I was just along for the ride. The whole Jung museum thing was his bag, not mine. I needed to eat before we went to the museum, and I didn’t want a hot dog at the dock. But that’s what we ended up having, because there weren’t any firm plans made so that everybody’s needs could be met.
And again, last fall when we visited Slovenia, on the way to Lake Bohinj, I had wanted to eat lunch earlier than Bill did. We kept going, and sure enough, I got hangry, and there weren’t any open restaurants. Bill ended up getting me a chocolate bar, because I desperately needed to boost my blood sugar. That put me in a foul mood, too. He’d wanted to lead, but then kind of failed… and then I had a candy bar for lunch, instead of something that was somewhat better for me.
Anyway, we were able to mend the conflict, and sure enough, I’m writing about it, even though I’d rather write about something else. We had a spat, and it’s over now.
I saw a really good video yesterday by Kati Morton, who is a licensed marriage and family therapist. It’s not so much about last night’s issue, but it does sort of address my feeling guilty for being “triggered” and overreacting. If I wasn’t triggered, I wouldn’t have told Bill what was on my mind. And as wonderful as he is, he did need to hear what I said. Sometimes, Bill is too nice, takes too much responsibility for other people, is too much of a people pleaser, and needs to assertively express his own needs verbally, instead of being passive-aggressive. These are things that I think would help him across the board, not just in his dealings with his old ball and chain wife. 😉
But then, based on the trauma he went through with his ex wife, I guess I can see why he hesitates. I’ve spent a lot of years trying to teach him that we’re not all like her. It’s an ongoing process that I don’t think will ever end. He’s been scarred by her abuse, much like Noyzi the rescue dog is scarred by his traumatic experiences in Kosovo, before he came to live with us. Noyzi gets better every day, but I think he’ll always have some remnants from that time in his psyche. The same goes for Bill… and the same goes for me. So we’ll keep trying.
Warning– this is a rather personal rant… It may not be of any interest to people who don’t know me. Or, on the other hand, maybe some of you strangers can relate. Either way, I won’t accept any nasty or shaming comments from anyone who doesn’t know the backstory.
I had a bad dream this morning, just before I woke up. I feel pretty sure I know what prompted the nightmare, much of which I was able to remember. I haven’t historically paid a lot of attention to my dreams, but since Bill started studying Carl Jung, who was very much into analyzing dreams, I’ve been trying to pay closer mind to my own dreams. Bill likes to analyze them. Since I’m also a born storyteller, it makes sense that I’d pay mind to the “movies in my head”, even if they’re horrifying.
Here’s what I remember from this morning’s dream. I had just arrived at my alma mater, Longwood University. Or, that’s what I assumed, even though it didn’t look like Longwood’s campus. I was there with my roommate, a non-descript female. I was on basically friendly terms with her, but we weren’t best friends or anything. We were walking around the campus. It was hot and dusty, and in a weird way, the campus kind of resembled an open air airport terminal (no idea why). Maybe it’s because my adulthood took off from my years at Longwood.
We passed a business that looked like an airport bar, except there was no roof. My roommate needed to use the restroom, so we parted ways, and I was left alone. I decided to take a shortcut across campus. I was dressed in my usual outfit during my college days… shorts and a t-shirt, with tennis shoes.
Just as I was about to head into a hilly, wooded area, a huge, fat, anaconda type snake streaked out in front of me. It didn’t stop; it raced past with astonishing speed. It was quickly followed by another anaconda that was just as fast and slick. One might expect a person to pause continuing to walk into the woods after seeing two huge snakes. For some reason, I continued onward, in spite of being startled by the snakes.
I took a deep breath and stepped beyond the trees of the dusty street where I had been walking with my roommate. After I’d walked a few steps into the woods, I noticed there was a lot of detritus and junk in the woods. It was kind of trashy and uncultivated, with a lot of sticker bushes and weeds. It was not an area where a lot of people walked, but obviously, people threw a lot of trash in there. I don’t know why I thought it was a good idea to try to take a shortcut that way, but then I suddenly got this feeling of dread and danger…
As I was about to take another step, I was confronted by this very attractive woman in a long dress made of black satin. She had jet black hair and very pale skin. Her hair was perfectly arranged in a poofy bun. She wore bright red lipstick. The woman in the featured photo looks a little like her, except the woman in my dream had much paler skin and didn’t have bangs. Her face looked a bit more like the photo of Carmen Miranda, below… She was very attractive, but was also clearly evil and toxic. She immediately started attacking me.
I started fighting back. The woman in black gave a good fight, but in the end, I killed her with my bare hands. There was a lot of blood, and despite the fact that she fought back vigorously, it wasn’t actually that hard to kill her. As she surprised me with her attack, I found some kind of superhuman strength I didn’t know I had in me. And while I felt some pangs of regret at killing this attractive, beguiling, but very dangerous woman, I felt kind of vindicated and exhilarated…
Then I was attacked by a second woman. She seemed to be the sister of the first woman. She had a similar hairstyle– jet black hair in a bun, red lipstick, and a bun. But she wore a red sequined dress. I killed her with my bare hands, too. It was easier to vanquish the woman in the red dress, though no less bloody or horrifying.
I stepped out of the wooded area, breathless, panicked, and terrified. I am not a violent person at all, but I killed both of these women with surprising speed and strength fueled by rage. Of course, they attacked me first. But there I was with blood on my hands, having dispatched these attackers with my bare hands.
Then I woke up…
I told Bill about the nightmare, and together we figured out what it was probably about. Yesterday, we discovered that Ex, older daughter, and Ex’s daughter with #3 all went to see Bill’s stepmother this week. Ex just had a birthday, and has been clamoring for money in a crowd funder. At this writing, she’s managed to raise $500… but it was her own money that was contributed. She claims she needs the money to build a fence for her youngest child, a teenaged boy with severe autism. According to her fundraiser, the boy can’t go outside without at least three people surrounding him, because he runs away and winds up in dangerous situations or meets with “inappropriate people”– ie; homeless people, when he’s not wearing anything but his underwear. I swear, this is a story we’ve heard from a couple of good sources. I don’t know where the boy is right now, with his usual “caretakers” away from home. Maybe #3 is taking time off work, or they found a place to put him. Evidently, he did not go on the trip with Ex and two of her daughters.
Anyway… I figure that Ex decided to visit Bill’s stepmother, because she’s trying to maintain ties to Bill’s family, not because she loves them, but because she wants to exploit them. And Bill’s stepmother is an immature, needy person who will quickly condemn or forgive people on a whim. So, while Ex refused to let Bill’s daughters have a relationship with him, or his parents, she would, on occasion, let the girls and her eldest son see Bill’s dad and stepmother, as she told them lies about Bill. Stepmother told us during my last visit, which was years ago, that Ex had a habit of showing up at their house, letting her kids run amok, and treating her rudely. Stepmother and late FIL would give her expensive gifts or spend money on her, and Ex never appreciated it. She would make rude comments about Bill’s stepmother’s religion, or other things. Remember, Ex actually staged her divorce demand at the in-laws’ house over Easter in 2000. The in-laws have aided and abetted Ex in her schemes on many occasions.
I don’t get along well with Bill’s stepmother. I don’t think she’s as toxic as Ex is, but she is very manipulative and needy, and she will do things like send guilt mongering text messages to Bill, demanding that he come visit. She won’t visit people herself; the onus is on them to come to her. She used to do it to Bill all the time, but now she’s doing it to his youngest daughter, who is a busy mom of two young kids with another one on the way. Youngest daughter lives several states away from SMIL, and doesn’t really have the time or energy to drive several states to visit her.
Adding to this is the fact that SMIL’s adopted daughter doesn’t have children and has recently reconnected with her birth mom. I don’t know how much time they’re spending together, but if I know SMIL, I figure she’s probably feeling alone and betrayed… which would make her a sitting duck for Ex. FIL died in November 2020, so I’m sure SMIL has lost some of her resolve. And Ex needs money, and wasn’t invited to FIL’s funeral. I would not put it past her to try to get SMIL to give her money and/or give older daughter something from FIL’s estate, even though they shunned and disowned Bill and, off and on, his father and stepmother. They shunned Bill’s mother completely; younger daughter is only just now getting to know her grandmother, and they’ve apparently really hit it off.
Now… none of this is any of my business. I only know about it because younger daughter told Bill, and Bill told me. And, frankly, as far as I’m concerned, Ex and SMIL probably deserve each other. SMIL made it pretty clear that she’s on Ex’s side, even though Ex was extremely abusive and exploitative to Bill, and has done some things that, frankly, should have landed her in a prison cell. I know this upsets Bill, though, because it’s like Ex has hijacked his family. Ex wouldn’t even know Bill’s stepmother if they hadn’t been married. But he thinks that his stepmother has always resented him, because as a child, he needed and demanded attention from his father, on occasion. SMIL is a very possessive person. She’s immature, fickle, and treacherous. And even though she told me outright that she’s “just the stepmother”, she feels that Bill’s daughters are her grandchildren, when they’re really Bill’s mother’s grandchildren. The difference is, MIL was more than willing to share… SMIL wasn’t. She, like Ex, hates Bill’s mom. I think she probably hates me, too.
SMIL told me, years ago, that none of this was “any of my business”, since I was just Bill’s wife. However, I would submit that Bill’s kids and grandchildren are even less SMIL’s business, since she’s just the “stepgrandmother”. And she chooses to be involved with Ex, in spite of all of the truly nasty shit she’s done over the years. It wasn’t her husband’s income that went into keeping Ex’s household afloat while they were simultaneously and illegally denied any contact with the children. Why is it that SMIL can be as angry as she wants with anyone she pleases, but the rest of us have to cater to her bullshit and aren’t supposed to be upset with her?
So why is it me who “killed” the two women in my dream? Because I think they blame me for the divorce, even though I didn’t have anything to do with it. The truth is, I didn’t even know Bill when he and Ex split up. They had been separated for three months before I knew Bill was married, plus we were chatting online. I didn’t meet him in person until almost a full year after the divorce. However, Ex told her kids that Bill cheated on her with me, when actually, she cheated on Bill with #3. She also cheated with Bill on her first husband. And yet, I’m the one who is painted as a whore and an interloper.
I think SMIL resents the fact that I married Bill, making it impossible that he would get back together with Ex. She has trouble with change. She also doesn’t like my personality, because I don’t cooperate with her manipulative ploys or give in to her childish bullshit. I have a strong personality that a lot of people don’t enjoy. However, you will always know where you stand with me. I am who I am. I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I am basically a decent person.
SMIL asked me, last time I saw her, if Bill was ever abusive to me in the bedroom. She asked this, because Ex told her that he was abusive to her. I laughed and said, “no”… because Bill doesn’t have a single mean bone in his body. Anything they did in the bedroom was consensual on her part. However, it wasn’t always consensual on Bill’s part. More than once, Ex told Bill she should slit his throat and, in fact, she did violently sexually assault him at least once, and left scars that a doctor noticed during an exam. Still, even though I told SMIL that Bill isn’t an abuser, at least not to me, she chooses to believe Ex, who has taken advantage of her and FIL for many years.
Why were the two women in my nightmare so attractive? Ex and SMIL are not exactly sexy women, especially not these days. Well… I think it’s because even though I am horrified and angry about their conduct, particularly toward supposed loved ones, I find both of them fascinating characters. Like I said, I am a natural storyteller. I like to write fiction. I used to do it a lot, until a certain unrelated “snake in the grass” decided to get into my business. If I weren’t Bill’s wife, I think SMIL and Ex would make excellent villains in a novel. But, trust me, neither of them are the type to wear satin or sequins.
There’s nothing we can do about Ex and SMIL cozying up to each other. We don’t care about any inheritance from Bill’s dad. However, I do think it would be a real shame if Ex manages to swindle SMIL for money or property she can sell. She is not above doing that. She’s done it repeatedly in the past. I see her posting all sorts of shit on the Internet that makes her look like an empath, but she’s anything but that. She is a true wolf in sheep’s clothing… and some people, like SMIL, will simply never learn not to tangle with her. They deserve each other. They really do. I just hope younger daughter realizes that she doesn’t have any obligation toward them. She’s an adult with her own family, and she has plenty of her own problems to worry about. I hope the next time SMIL sends her a “guilt” text, but then refuses to answer the phone with younger daughter calls her, younger daughter just blocks her number. She doesn’t owe her, or her mother, a goddamned thing.
Hmm… maybe I’m in some of their nightmares, too… It wouldn’t surprise me. I’m everybody’s favorite scapegoat.
In 1983, a band called The Police, fronted by the ever lovable Sting, released an album called Synchronicity. That album has always been kind of important to me, even though I wasn’t necessarily a Police fan in 1983, and some people think it’s their “weakest” work. Personally, I disagree. Maybe Synchronicity wasn’t as edgy as some of the other albums done by The Police, but it legitimately had some incredible songs on it that still sound amazing in 2022. I actually gifted this album on vinyl to my ex best friend, and it was probably through her that I learned to love The Police before Sting went solo. It could have just as easily been my older sister who influenced me, since she’s the one who turned me on to Kate Bush.
As I sit here writing this blog post today, I’m reminded of the wise and intelligent lyrics penned by Sting, Andy Summers, and Stewart Copeland all those years ago, when I was still a kid, and some of the most important people to me were on the brink of starting their adult lives. I hope you’ll indulge me this clumsy foray into creativity today. Sometimes the clumsiest attempts can eventually lead to grace. Of course, this post could also turn out to be totally cheesy, non-sensical, and stupid crap. We’ll see what happens.
I was sitting on my bed last night, watching my new Facts of Life DVDs, pretending it was the early 80s again. I was a bonafide child in the early 1980s, while Bill was a young man about to embark on his career. Although I didn’t have the greatest childhood, sometimes I like to watch old TV shows from that time in my life. I also love the music from that time, even the really shitty stuff. There’s something about it that comforts me and makes me feel– temporarily– like I’m still young, with my whole life ahead of me. Then I’m jolted into reality as I realize that in a few short months, I’ll be 50 years old. And there’s still a lot I’ve never managed to do. Maybe watching shows like The Facts of Life temporarily make me feel like I still have a lot of years left. So does listening to albums like Synchronicity. But then, Sting is a master songwriter, so his work probably holds up much better than The Facts of Life does.
Tea in the Sahara
The sky turned to black Would he ever come back? They would climb a high dune They would pray to the moon But he’d never return So the sisters would burn As their eyes searched the land With their cups full of sand
As I was soothing myself with the best seasons of a successful sitcom last night, I suddenly remembered my friend, Matthew Jensen, who was killed last May, just hours after celebrating his 58th birthday with family and friends. It was just after midnight in Brooklyn, New York on May 18th, and Matt was walking home from his own birthday party. He had almost reached his abode, and was crossing a dangerous intersection, when a man driving a black Rolls Royce mowed him down in the street and left him for dead.
Every Breath You Take
Since you’ve gone, I’ve been lost without a trace I dream at night, I can only see your face I look around, but it’s you I can’t replace I feel so cold, and I long for your embrace I keep crying baby, baby please
I’ve written about Matt a few times, and I’ve thought of Matt many more times since his death. Although it had been years since we last spoke, Matt left an indelible impression on me. I was legitimately devastated when I heard about what had happened to him. I hated the thought that the person who is responsible for taking him out of the world was still free to harm other people. Since last May, I’ve been watching the news to see if anyone was being held responsible for killing my old friend and colleague. Every time I looked for updates, I was left disappointed that there hadn’t been any new news about the case. I was beginning to lose hope, so my searches had become less frequent. I don’t even know why I thought of Matt last night, in spite of the impression he made on me. Life goes on, even after someone interesting dies.
A connecting principle Linked to the invisible Almost imperceptible Something inexpressible Science insusceptible Logic so inflexible Causally connectible Nothing is invincible
When Matt’s memory inexplicably and suddenly popped into my head, I found myself dutifully searching for news about his case. As usual, I didn’t have much hope that there would be any new developments. And then, there it was. Someone finally got arrested. At 8:45 AM, Brooklyn time, a 30 year old man named Tariq Witherspoon turned himself in to the 94th Precinct station house. Mr. Witherspoon, who was employed for eleven years as an Emergency Medical Technician for the New York Fire Department, is being charged with criminally negligent homicide, leaving the scene of an accident, reckless endangerment, and speeding. Was it intuition that caused me to look for that news? I don’t know. Maybe it was synchronicity.
Murder By Numbers
Once that you’ve decided on a killing First you make a stone of your heart And if you find that your hands are still willing Then you can turn a murder into art
In the early hours of May 18, 2021, Matt was crossing the notoriously dangerous McGuinness Boulevard against the light. Mr. Witherspoon had a green light, but the speed limit was 25 miles per hour. Mr. Witherspoon was reportedly changing lanes at 50 miles an hour, when he and Matt had their tragic meeting with fate. And then, in spite of being an experienced EMT who should have been among the very last people who would commit hit and run, Witherspoon sped off into the night, evading responsibility for Matt’s death for over nine months.
Now if you have a taste for this experience If you’re flushed with your very first success
Then you must try a twosome or a threesome You’ll find your conscience bothers you much less Because murder is like anything you take to It’s a habit-forming need for more and more
You can bump off every member of your family And anybody else you find a bore
According to an article published by the NY Daily News, Tariq Witherspoon has been sued several times for other accidents he’s either directly caused, or been involved in, over the past ten years or so. He seems to have a curious fondness for expensive cars. He allegedly hit Matt with a 2010 black Rolls Royce that he’d borrowed, but other accidents involving Witherspoon have involved a Porsche and a Mercedes-Benz, either driven by, lent by, or struck by him. For some reason, in spite of being repeatedly sued after seriously injuring several other people in accidents involving motor vehicles, Mr. Witherspoon has inexplicably been able to maintain his employment as an EMT. However, in light of his arrest, he’s now suspended from his job without pay. He is currently being held on $75,000 bail or a $15,000 cash bond. ETA: NBC says Witherspoon has posted a $15,000 cash bond.
O My God
Everyone I know is lonely With God so far away And my heart belongs to no one So now sometimes I pray Take the space between us Fill it up some way Take the space between us Fill it up, fill it up
Witherspoon is a Brooklyn resident. He must have seen how much Matt’s community has suffered since he so callously mowed him down last year. There were many memorials for Matt, including one in which former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged $39 million to “fix” the dangerous intersection on McGuinness Boulevard where Matt and others have been injured and/or killed.
I was involved in a much smaller memorial for Matt last July. It took place on Zoom, but there were people from around the world who were there to remember him. I will never forget the sincere grief expressed, particularly by the Armenians Matt worked with when we were in the Peace Corps together. One Armenian man was in tears as he remembered the tall, blond man who helped him get a job with the Peace Corps and showed him a world beyond Vanadzor, the city where Matt worked. I’m sure he was just one of many. My heart breaks for Matt’s students, who reportedly adored him. And then there were his family members and friends who are now left without his presence… as well as two cats.
Well the telephone is ringing Is that my mother on the phone? Telephone is ringing Is that my mother on the phone? The telephone is screaming Won’t she leave me alone? The telephone is ringing Is that my mother on the phone?
Matt was a much beloved person by many people around the world. He was incredibly charismatic, and he had a true gift for teaching and presenting. Matt wrote letters, and he had many friends in influential places. He loved to have fun, and he had many quirky interests that made him truly fascinating. He loved ABBA, royal families, and being irreverent. In the weeks after Prince Philip died last year, Matt wrote letters of condolences to Queen Elizabeth II and her daughter, Princess Anne. At the time of his death, Princess Anne had written back to him. Queen Elizabeth’s response, sadly, arrived after Matt was already gone.
I have always remembered Matt as a hilarious, warm, and talented guy, and back when I first met him in 1995, he bore a resemblance to the famous rock star, Sting. He was fun to dance with, and we had many memorable evenings in Armenia enjoying low sodium meals involving beets, lentils, and cabbage. He once told me that he’d learned to cook low sodium meals because his mother had high blood pressure. He also told me a hysterical story about how his mother had once watched a “sickening” Mother’s Day special involving Kathie Lee Gifford. Obviously, I drank in his stories, as did a lot of our colleagues and friends. He was just that kind of person. Unique, magnetic, and just unforgettable.
Walking In Your Footsteps
Hey mighty brontosaurus Don’t you have a lesson for us You thought your rule would always last There were no lessons in your past You were built three stories high They say you would not hurt a fly If we explode the atom bomb Would they say that we were dumb?
I learned later that Matt was affecting his friends, students, parents, and family members the same way he’d affected me, as he worked as a much beloved and highly respected teacher in Brooklyn. I take some comfort realizing that Matt managed to influence people around the world. At our small online memorial last summer, a man from Armenia wept as he talked about how Matt had influenced him. Later, a woman who had worked with Matt in Brooklyn spoke about how Matt had helped immigrant children fit in at their new school.
Fifty million years ago You walked upon the planet so Lord of all that you could see Just a little bit like me
I know for a fact that Matt spoke Armenian and French. It wouldn’t surprise me if he knew other languages, or at least tried to learn a few words, just to help welcome innocent children to their new home in New York. Everybody knew him, whether or not he was their teacher. He had a towering presence and an infectious energy that was impossible to ignore. He stood six feet four inches tall. And yet, Tariq Witherspoon allegedly hit him at 50 miles per hour and just kept going. For nine months, he’s been evading responsibility for exploding the atom bomb in so many people’s lives… especially the students left behind, some of whom aren’t from the United States and really needed Matt’s comforting presence.
Wrapped Around Your Finger
Devil and the deep blue sea behind me Vanish in the air you’ll never find me I will turn your face to alabaster When you’ll find your servant is your master
Why did it take nine months for Tariq Witherspoon to be arrested? I don’t know. But I do know that he’s about to face judgment. I would not be surprised if there are many people who will want to attend his court sessions. There will be people who will want to speak about the man who died because of his careless actions in a black Rolls Royce. Imagine the absurdity of it. A teacher who had served twice in the Peace Corps killed by a careless man in a very expensive status symbol.
Matthew Jensen was a man who dedicated his life to teaching people, helping them make better lives for themselves. He served in the Peace Corps twice– in Senegal and Armenia– and he worked with children in New York who didn’t speak English. He taught university students. He taught other Americans who were going to carry on his legacy in Armenia, teaching youngsters how to speak English. It was a great loss to the world when Matt Jensen died… but at least we know that someone is finally going to answer for this crime.
King of Pain
There’s a little black spot on the sun today It’s the same old thing as yesterday There’s a black hat caught in a high tree top There’s a flag pole rag and the wind won’t stop
I have stood here before inside the pouring rain With the world turning circles running ’round my brain I guess I’m always hoping that you’ll end this reign But it’s my destiny to be the king of pain
I don’t know what kind of person Tariq Witherspoon is. I can only make assumptions. I don’t know what made him choose his line of work, which is supposed to be based in mercy and decency. He’s supposed to save lives, not end them. Based on his record of hitting people in cars, hurting them, and being sued for negligence, I can’t help but wonder if Tariq Witherspoon could have used another session with a guidance counselor.
Don’t tell thedirector I said so But are you safe Miss Gradenko We were at a policy meeting They were planning new ways of cheating I didn’t want to rock your boat But you sent this dangerous note You’ve been letting your feelings show
Are you safe Miss Gradenko Miss Gradenko are you safe
I’m glad to know that someone is finally going to answer for Matt’s death. I hope the police have the right guy, and that the charges will stick. I don’t wish pain or torture for Mr. Witherspoon. I just want him off the streets. My unmarried niece lives in Brooklyn now. She doesn’t have a car. I don’t want Tariq Witherspoon to be involved in any other accidents. I don’t want him tending to my niece if she’s ever in need of an EMT. He needs to be taken out of commission for awhile… and hopefully, he’ll learn.
Another suburban family morning. Grandmother screaming at the wall.
Wehave to shout above the din of our Rice Krispies We can’t hear anything at all. Mother chants her litany of boredom and frustration, But we know all her suicides are fake.
Daddy only stares into the distance There’s only so much more that he can take. Many miles away something crawls from the slime At the bottom of a dark Scottish lake.
Bill came home from taking our Kosovar refugee dog, Noyzi, to the vet for booster vaccines. I had just read about Tariq Witherspoon’s arrest when he walked into our bedroom. I looked up at him and said, “I don’t know why, but I just looked up Matt Jensen to see if anyone’s been arrested for his death. And someone was today, just HOURS ago. It’s so weird that I would think of him today– out of the blue– and someone got arrested.”
Bill is about Matt’s age, and he’s one of the kindest, most decent people I’ve ever met. For the past year, he’s been studying the psychologist, Carl Jung. He’s been in analysis with Jungian psychologist, and is even taking courses at the Jung Institute out of Zurich. The concept of synchronicity is one that fascinated Jung. Synchronicity, put simply, describes a situation that seems meaningful, but lacks a causal connection. This kind of thing happens to me all the time. I see important connections in things that might mean nothing to other people. What made me think of Matt last night, all of a sudden? Was there something in the universe– my subconscious? Maybe it was the ghost of Matt himself, tapping me on the shoulder. Who knows?
Later, we were in our dining room eating dinner and listening to music. My music collection is incredibly eclectic. There’s no telling what will play. I have everything from L.L. Cool J to Beethoven in my playlist. Last night, as I sipped a lovely Italian red wine, the strains of a familiar piece from Gabriel Faure started playing. When I was in college, I took many music courses. I was also in a choir, and we performed a number of pieces by Faure, to include parts of his Requiem and the ethereal Messe Basse. Messe Basse is one of my favorite works by Faure.
Then it occurred to me that Faure, was a French man, and Matt spoke French and had spent time in France… and next week, I hope to be in France, too. Just like I was at around the time Anthony Bourdain died. In fact, I was in the area where Bourdain died just a couple of weeks before he passed. Matt wasn’t unlike Bourdain, in terms of his influence or his very “New York” personality… And then I was reminded that back in the spring of 1994, our choir went to New York City at the end of our spring break and performed Messe Basse in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Synchronicity again!
And suddenly, I’m reminded of how much I miss college… singing in choirs… traveling… hanging out with friends over bland foods that make me fart… sitcoms from the 80s… I am reminded of how important it is to always appreciate the people in your life who make it special or wonderful, because you never know when they will make an exit. I don’t know if I have ever affected anyone the way Matt affected me, and all of the other people in his life. I’m just grateful that the police in Brooklyn have done their jobs, as The Police from the early 80s do theirs every time I need to think about simpler days, or the complex concepts coined by Carl Jung. Somehow, it all seems to come together, at least in my head.
I’m reminded of these lyrics by Sting… and Matt, a man who always reminded me of Sting… Somehow, we’re all connected.
With one breath With one flow You will know Synchronicity A sleep trance A dream dance A shared romance Synchronicity
A connecting principle Linked to the invisible Almost imperceptible Something inexpressible Science insusceptible Logic so inflexible Causally connectible Nothing is invincible
If we share this nightmare We can dream Spiritus mundi If you act as you think The missing link Synchronicity
A connecting principle Linked to the invisible Almost imperceptible Something inexpressible Science insusceptible Logic so inflexible Causally connectible Nothing is invincible
We know you They know me Extrasensory Synchronicity A star fall A phone call It joins all Synchronicity
A connecting principle Linked to the invisible Almost imperceptible Something inexpressible Science insusceptible Logic so inflexible Causally connectible Nothing is invincible
It’s so deep, it’s so wide You’re inside Synchronicity Effect without a cause Sub-atomic laws Scientific pause
The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.