A dog collar. Another owner at the doggie daycare. The Jeep at Sbux that didn’t pull up far enough (despite having plenty of room) to allow me to get close enough to the speaker to order. The rabbits that want to have yet another batch of babies in our backyard. The motherfucking weather.
These are a few of the things that have pissed me off in the last few days.
Not just pissed me off. The word “pissed” isn’t strong enough. These things should be mildly annoying and yet, in the past few weeks, I have literally envisioned violence against the object of my ire. Violence! I honestly took a few moments and envisioned loading up a rocket launcher, hoisting it daintily onto my shoulder and aiming it at our refrigerator and then smiling as I lit that fucker up and watched it burn. I also may or may not have ranted at least four times about a crappy operating system to the point where there were hand gestures.
It’s not just violence: I fantasized about explaining to another owner (and constant offender) that the doggie daycare dropoff lane unwritten rule is that you can fit four cars under the canopy if the first two cars pull up, but if the owner is a selfish ass and insists on parking their car completely under the canopy then only two or maybe even one car get to enjoy the sheltered drop off area. It’s probably a good thing that my car does not have a public address system or I would have certainly given some cigarette butt litterers something to think about the next time they unloaded their filthy carcinogens into our ground water (no they do NOT disintegrate when it rains… quit fooling yourselves with the convenient denial). It was all I could do to refrain from giving my septuagenarian great uncle a lecture on the importance of being on time.
You should also know that Esteban has been putting up with my uncensored editorializing and thus, his spot in heaven is assured in spite of his atheist beliefs. It’s been that bad.
I understand the convenient psychological mechanism at play here. It’s a lot easier for me to be incensed by a slipping dog collar (including imagining some kind of conspiracy by which Ave’s caregivers have been loosening it behind my back, which is just…just… wow) because it’s a problem that I could potentially solve, something within my control. Even if it means going all Mr. Gower and the verbal equivalent of giving George Bailey a cauliflower ear.
My grandmother, laying on a hospital bed where the couch used to be, non-responsive, breathing in a way that indicates that she’s dying. Not “dying” in the indeterminate future. It’s not measured in months or even weeks, but really in days or maybe even hours.
I can’t do anything about that.
So instead, my frantic brain latches onto the driver of a Chrysler Pacifica or a cashier at IKEA didn’t put two purchases back on my cart and I didn’t realize it until I had drive 100 miles toward home and how even now, it’s making me furious, even though the items cost less than it cost us to go see a matinee showing of Paul.
Two weeks ago, I was sitting in the hospital on her last stay, and realized that the reason my purse smelled so nice when I opened it was that an entire bottle of CB I Hate Perfume’s Walk in the Air perfume had been left open in my purse and spilled everywhere. The bottle–the stupidly expensive tiny bottle– had been not properly closed when I put it away. The bottle is a perfume that I absolutely love and had been a gift from Esteban for Christmas because I’m too cheap to buy it for myself and now it was gone. All my fault. It’s one of my bad habits that Esteban is constantly reminding me to fix and yet, I just keep doing it and now… all my fault. I was so mad at myself, I wanted to cry. I’m lying. I did cry. Not over the lady sleeping in the hospital bed but over fucking perfume.
She’s home now, where she wanted to be. She worked hard to buy her house on her own and she said she’d be damned if she was going to leave it before she was ready. You can’t argue with Mafia Grandma. Her middle daughter, my nice aunt, has gone on leave from work and is staying at the house, as she can’t be left alone. That was more important when she could still get up and light cigarettes, but now it’s less about being there to steady her and more just being there.
It’s one of the things that they don’t really prepare you for: as you get older, you have seen more and more bodies you love shut down and become something that is far less than you knew before. The signs of imminent departure–as the hospice booklet calls it– are uncomfortably familiar.
One of the things I’ve been doing when I go visit (to give my aunt a few hours to go home and deal with her own life) is scanning her photos. It’s one of those things that you always mean to do and it seems especially important right now, this act of preservation. Maybe it’s just something to occupy the hours. Below, she always said that she could remember exactly how long she’s owned her house because she bought it in the first few months of my life. This was taken only a month after they moved into the house that she bought as a single mother on a below poverty level salary.
Her hospital bed is in the same spot she’s sitting in below. Now we sit together there again. It hardly seems enough.