The Extroverted Feeler and the Terminator

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: grateful. I have a series of stories about my son and daughter. My son is the extroverted feeler….

 

The Extroverted Feeler and the Terminator

From the time the extroverted feeler is 3.5 until he turns 7, we live in Colorado, in Alamosa.

Alamosa is isolated high desert, in the San Luis Valley, at 7500 feet. We are surrounded by mountain passes, the lowest over 9000 feet, to the south. The San Luis Valley is named “Land of Cool Sunshine”. We have over 300 days of sun a year, but the temperature drops in this high desert valley every night, about 30 degrees. One day a fellow doctor announces that we’ve had a record high at night in the summer: 56 degrees. The locals complain about a heat wave when the day time temperature gets to 80.

My husband will talk to anyone, anyone and is interested in everyone. We get to know a German man, younger than us, I think through the gym.

He flies back to Germany to see family. Alamosa has a one gate airport and is really expensive to fly out of. He drives 250 miles, to Denver, to save money. Over a pass that is 10,000 feet plus.

He returns and is driving home.

He wakes up in a hospital. When the ventilator tube is removed.

We are visiting and he tells us about it. “When I woke up, they asked me what my insurance was.”

I said, “It’s in my wallet.”

“Where is your wallet?”

“In the glovebox. My truck.”

And then they show him a photograph of his truck.

He fell asleep and rolled his truck. Multiple times. There was no glovebox. Really there was not much left except bits of frame and wheels. And he’d rolled it about 17 miles from home. He almost made it the 250 miles. It was awful. Horrifying.

We are talking to him at his house a couple of months after the accident, when he is finally home. He was lifeflighted back to Denver after the accident. He’d broken an arm and his leg in multiple places and rib fractures and at home still has metal rods going into his arm. External fixation, holding bits of bone together.

My son is six. He keeps looking at our German friend and looking up above him.

Our friend notices. He is sitting in an armchair. Right behind him on the wall is a poster of the Terminator. Our friend is big and blond and has a Terminator build.

Our friend grins at my son when he realizes what the extroverted feeler is looking at. “Yes, that’s me. I am the Terminator. Part metal and part human.”

We laugh with him, glad that his sense of humor has survived….

…and had my son seen the Terminator? I suspect that he had, when I was off at work. His main sitter was a family across the street from us, a couple with teenagers. He loved hanging out with the teens. I think he got to watch a lot of movies that I didn’t know about….Our friend still had a bit of a German accent which would make it all the more compelling….

The photograph is my sister dancing with the invisible spirits… no, really we are on a road trip in the 1980s and stop for a hackysak break. She is gone from cancer.

Herd

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: herd.

I am reading Dopesick, newly out this year, by Beth Macy. I am wondering what make people try addictive substances. At what age and why? To be popular? Herd mentality?

I’ve interviewed my older smokers for years, asking what age they started. Most of them say they tried cigarettes at age 9. Nine, you say? Yes. Parents then look horrified when I say that they should start talking about drugs and alcohol and tobacco by the time their child is in third grade. Recently a woman told me that she tried cigarettes at age 7.

It’s not just talking to your kids, either. It’s modeling as well. What do you model for tobacco, for alcohol, for prescription medicines, supplements and over the counter medicines? Do you say one thing but do another?

I am 100 pages in to Dopesick. The most horrifying new information is that more people under age 50 have died from opioid overdose then died in the 1990s from HIV and AIDS. Also the failure of history: we have had morphine available over the counter until addiction swept the country. Then heroin. This round is oxycontin. And I checked the index: no mention of kratom, sold from southeast asia. It is related to the coffee plant but it works as an opioid. It has been illegal in Thailand since 1943. I think they figured out that it too is addictive a long time ago.

I was an introvert, a smart girl, a geek before there was a word. I did not party and was not invited. I went to Denmark as an exchange student. I tried a cigarette there and decided that I couldn’t afford it and it tasted awful. I drank beer there, but was careful. I did go to a party where I was offered a bowl of pills: no. I was cautious and became even more cautious when I returned to the US.

When and what did you try first? And WHY? What makes us try these addictive substances? The evidence is piling up that the younger we try them, the more chance of addiction. And certain substances addict very very quickly.

Who chooses not to be part of the herd and why?

sky

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: slapdash. I can’t think of a photograph of something I want to call slapdash. It feels judgemental today, unless it’s something of mine, and that feels vulnerable. And then I start thinking about the sky…..

sky

Is this a careless sky?

Were the angels in a hurry when they painted it?

Did the clouds come out as heaven wanted?

There is nothing slapdash about the sky.

protection

This is Ruth Merenda, one of the many brilliant faculty, from a Centrum Voiceworks class this week.

Ruthie was at Voiceworks with her husband Mike and two children. I got to trade jokes with their son William at lunch one day. I am listening to their newest album as I write this, Sunshiner. It’s good that only really hear the faculty near the end of the week, because we would be WAY too intimidated if they did the concerts at the start! William has an album too, Piano Nerd, that I have not tracked down yet. He was seven when he made it.

I took the first class of the week with Michael, his Song Doctor class. We each brought a song with problems to the class and sang it to the class. I did that class first because it was hands down no holds barred the scariest, so I thought best to get it over with. I sang Tree Boat a capella. The feedback I got makes me very happy, but the assignment is hard: now I have to learn guitar. Or mandolin. Or something. Accompaniment. Also it’s not my song alone: I wrote the poem but not the melody.

I took two classes with Ruthie. One was on music theory and chords. The other was a performance feedback class.

I had a rather surreal moment in that class. Ruthie has us close our eyes and visualize a protective sphere of energy around us. Now, I’ve been writing about trying to lose my armor suit. So WHAT am I to do with a protective sphere of energy? I thought of my story Good Girl and that gave me my answer. My protective sphere moved outwards, the entire universe. I visualize that protection as holding everyone in the room, gently, lovingly. My protective sphere is my connection to the Beloved and the Beloved’s entire universe and anything beyond that. And then I could do the visualization.

Blessings on Mike and Ruth and their children and on all of the teachers at Voiceworks. The week brought me tears of joy over and over and over: and tears of grief and tears of hope.