Sunday, April 29, 2018

113/365/People in 56/Thom

When we happyhour together, I think, Oh, that’s right. Thom’s one of the funniest people I know. His wit is sharp and dry. Dark, ushering us into a bit of light these somber days. His partner may be his comedic equal, neither one playing straight man, even in dual performance. Thom is hilarious. We need Thom.

112/365/People in 56/Angela

We weren’t really friends in high school, but reunions and Facebook have made us so. She is one of the people, with Cindy, who ventured into the Hoarders House to help with my parents’ move. Another saint. She’s marrying a guy from high school next month, third marriage for both. I feel honored to be invited.

111/365/People in 56/Deb

She made a power-greens soup for our flu-bound neighbor, then brought me a delicious quart. To me, she’s a domestic goddess, knowing not only what to provide when, but how. Her strength is quiet, constant. I try not to compare myself with her. She wouldn’t want me to. It wouldn’t even occur to her I might.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

110/365/People in 56/Meredith’s Grandmother

The empathic massage therapist tells me her dead grandmother sends her a message when she’s getting lazy about tasks: Will it take less than a minute? Just do it now! I never knew Meredith’s grandmother, dead or alive, but now I too hear her voice and often heed it, folding clothes, placing them in the drawer.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

109/365/People in 56/Gigi

I wanna write about the BFF who called me Buddy Kate, later just Buddy, and she was Buddy too and lived across the street and was closely related to Laura, about how they moved away 2.5 years ago and about how I miss them so much, but I can’t write about it because it’s too sad.

108/365/People in 56/The Husband

It had been nearly three decades since I’d seen my long-lost friend. It pained me to discover he’d gotten civil-unioned in Vermont when it became legal, and I’d missed it. When at last I crossed the ocean, I met the love of his life. Have you ever loved the new guy even more than the original?

107/365/People in 56/Rhonda

She’s a classic 1920s beauty with a headful of brains, my evaluation-consulting neighbor who, if not in her home office, is likely to be working in Kenya or Tanzania or London or DC (if stateside), or walking her dog on the rail trail, telling we gals of the latest attempts to avoid embarrassing her teenage son.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

106/365/People in 56/Nori

She brings tiny potted daffodils and sympathy hugs. Her Emma and Anton, my favorite whirling dervishes, spin in my front yard, Anton even donning pants for this five-doors-down foray. Tossed pine cones and fakedizzy children fall to earth. Nori as neighbor is fortune beyond measure. If I’m wearing jewelry you admire, odds are she made it.

105/365/People in 56/Laura

When she arrived, she drew people to her like kids to fireflies. She’s hardworking and down to earth and makes things happen. She’s not afraid to call it as she sees it. When she left, my heart felt ripped out—well, broken, anyway. She was my Survivor-watching buddy. She’s my hero. I really miss her. Listen . . .

Sunday, April 15, 2018

104/365/People in 56/Stephen

My wireless system decided at the worst possible time—the day before I had to leave for a death vigil—to quit printing things. I called my computer guy, left a panicked message. He called back. (He’d been visiting his 92-year-old mother in the hospital.) Tried to talk me through it, then drove over, fixed it.

103/365/People in 56/Tollbooth Workers

From Parts West to Portland, I’m impressed by their kindness. They all seem genuinely friendly and helpful. Occasionally a woman sports beautiful nails, and I notice. Two days ago, in New Hampshire, we drove up to the booth and the guy told us someone had already taken care of our toll. Really? Yes! Go ahead on!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

102/365/People in 56/Sarah

Her parents died together in a car accident: no living without the other, no drawn-out sufferings of aging. Their dog died soon after. Sarah fetched all the ashes the same day: parents in cardboard boxes and masking tape, dog in a velvet-lined wooden box with a message to meet him at the end of the rainbow.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

101/365/People in 56/Carolyn

I said “My sister is a saint,” then explained all that she’s been doing for my parents because she knows how to navigate the care systems. My bar mate, the 3-month caretaker of her father who’d just lost him, said “It means a lot that you’d say that about your sister. We need to hear that.”

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

100/365/People in 56/Jasper

Jasper, whom I consider an intellectual, decides it’s not a party till there’s a fight, so we box. He’s mostly a jab man, I’m more of an uppercut-hook kinda gal. Admittedly, he’s fascinated by his own footwork. A circular chase ensues, he after me, then me after him, with sudden directional changes. He’s five. My equal.

99/365/People in 56/Checkout Crush

I haul in the sack of returnables—embarrassingly full but lighter now that cans have made a comeback—get my cash voucher, find a bottle to roll that cash back into. I choose him at checkout, my crush, who is younger enough that I could have given birth to someone his age had Mistakes Been Made.

Monday, April 9, 2018

98/365/People in 56/Margie

At Amy’s, Margie asks about Martha (from the Facebook guest list; she recognized her “from another life”). Had she ever lived in Hoboken*? I texted her—yes. Had she had any dealings with All Saints? Yes! Later, Margie discovered that Martha’s mother, whose funeral was that afternoon, had been living in her deceased Aunt Marilyn’s house.

*New Jersey, of course. 

97/365/People in 56/Amy

On the Occasion of a Birthday

An English professor–slash-writer
laughs loudly at things that delight her.
Her mirth is contagious—
guffaws so outrageous
we deliberately strive to incite her.

A woman wed ’midst the saguaros
bet wisely on happy tomorrows.
At fifty, still gorgeous,
Amy’s heart is enormous
and Ken never glances at bar hos.

Friday, April 6, 2018

96/365/People in 56/Guy in a Wheelchair

He was on a heavy-traffic corner across the street with a sign. I thought he was panhandling so was glad to avoid it. Later, I walked by on his side. The sign said TRUMP IS A PUSSY. I reached for some cash. “I don’t want any money!” he said. We high-fived instead. (Middle-class assumptions are embarrassing.)

Thursday, April 5, 2018

95/365/People in 56/Kate

When I went to pick up the soup I’d ordered, I told her about my parents, the new living situation, the hoarding. Her father died recently, and it turns out he was a hoarder. A two-bedroom, one-story house took six Dumpsters, she said. My Dumpster number will be exponential. When she hugged me, I felt understood.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

94/365/People in 56/Dan

In search of a badass mofo?
Don’t settle for less than a pro.
Need something upended?
Your honor defended?
Call Dan—cuz he’s from Chicago.

A man with mad bartending skillz
doesn’t mix drinks to pay all his billz.
He muddles, shakes, stirs
and infuses liqueurs
to serve up to his friends while they chillz.

Route 153 readers have already seen these. But (1) he wasn’t in my original 365, (2) I doubt I could do better, and (3) I needed to post something.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

93/365/People in 56/Cindy

When I knew her best, in middle school, she was a sweet and joyful person with a beautiful smile. Tragedy hit her hard in adulthood, but she’s come out the other side. Without her, we couldn’t have placed my aggressively disorganized parents anywhere. Thanks to Cindy, they’re somewhere safer than home—for now. She’s a savior.

Monday, April 2, 2018

92/365/People in 56/M

M says she's transgendered. Her open-minded mother doesn’t completely believe this, given M’s ultrafemininity as a little girl. But sexuality/gender identity is fluid these days, even in middle school. M began seventh grade with a male name and identity. Her grandmother recently helped her order a breast binder. We marveled at the kindness of that act.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

91/365/People in 56/Dorothy

She moved in across the street, next to her daughter and granddaughter, and was always out, gardening. I’d apologize for her view. Her uphill neighbors claimed Garden District status (if you could see our down-and-out town, you’d laugh with us). She was good, kind, claimed to love Tim’s recorder playing. We’ve lost the most wonderful neighbor.