this is so surreal

It doesn’t seem real. It doesn’t seem like he’s gone.

The house isn’t any quieter – my mom and brother and I make plenty of noise – my poor dad couldn’t get a word in edge-wise when all of us were here.

His chair is still in the den – my brother sat in it tonight. My mom sat in her regular place. I sat on the love seat between them and we watched Wimbledon.

I went grocery shopping today; there were a few items that I didn’t need to purchase, but basically, the grocery list was the same as always.

Just not as much ice cream.

We also went to the Funeral Home today – that was bizarre. Everyone speaks so softly and wears a benign (comforting?) smile on their face. They were all men – big burley men – men in grey suits. The couches in the waiting area were covered in vinyl and they served coffee with powdered creamer.

Sitting in the office of the Funeral Director talking logistics seemed to have nothing to do with my father. When you talk about “the deceased” it’s easy to forget that that person is connected to you.

Marshall, the man in the grey suit with whom we met, asked if Montclair, New Jersey was one or two words.

One. But I told him that New Jersey was two words.

I went back to the funeral home later in the day to spend time with my father. Mom and my brother decided to not go – they had each had their goodbyes.

I went because I thought that seeing him would help reality sink in.

But it wasn’t real. He wasn’t real.

They took him out of the fridge and put him on a medical cart and covered him with a sheet and placed the cart at the front of the sanctuary – where the alter would be in a church. The lights were dimmed.

For a more peaceful atmosphere? To make him look better? Who knows.

Whatever the intention, it didn’t work.

He just looked fake and he was as cold as a popsicle and his lips were glued shut so he didn’t gape but they didn’t do a very good job and he just looked unfamiliar.

I cried for a minute. Then I lay down on a pew and stared at him. After ten minutes, I left. Dry-eyed. There didn’t seem to be anything else to accomplish in that room.

So I went to TJ Maxx and wandered the aisles. Then I went to the Publix to buy hamburger meat.

My family is funny. Funny funny, not odd funny. My dad was really funny. We tease each other. We can get a giggle out of most anything. So we laughed a lot today and gave each other a rash of shit.

Then we went back to tennis.

When my sweet boyfriend called to check in, I almost felt guilty for not crying.

We’ve talked as much about the godawful heat in Florida, in July, as we have talked about Dad.

We have brief moments when someone starts to crack. Eyes well up. A laugh almost turns to a sob. But no one has fallen apart.

Yet.

Is this all normal?

It’s normal for the Strazzas.

As normal as can be with our patriarch gone.

 

 

my dilemma

Someone I know and respect just posted something about the atrocities imposed on bulls as part of the bullfighting culture in Portugal.

Things we don’t like to think about.

But then there’s this…

When I was 13 and was still an innocent child and yet also a budding bleeding hearted liberal, my family went to Spain.

We travelled all over the country going to castles and vineyards and eating tapas.

My mother who was the most incredible tour guide ever, always wanting us to experience the true culture of wherever we were, announced that Bullfights were on the agenda.

She’d never had a bad idea before so we all said yes.

My parents were concerned that their daughter, Elly May Clampett, wouldn’t be able to handle the murders, that they had a plan for extricating me from the arena if it looked like I might run into the ring to throw myself in front of the matador’s sword.

I surprised everyone, mostly myself.

I fucking loved every second of it. A good bullfight is a glorious thing.

It’s insane. You are hanging on the edge of your seat from the second the bull is released into the arena.

Six matadors. Six bulls.

It’s horrible when you think about it – truly cruel.

And yet, I was cheering them on.

Then, just to add to the experience, my mom found out about an artist who had been a bullfighter and lived in a tiny old stone home within the walled city and he painted using bulls’ blood.

And he had taken in a young orphan boy named Frederico and raised him and we came home with a portrait of the boy painted with blood.

So when I read that bit on Facebook, I felt a little defensive.

Does that make me a bad person?

my view tonight

DSCN0791.jpgThis is what I usually see

DSCN1092 (1)

This is what I’ve got tonight

Those aren’t clouds

That’s red dirt from over the border

 

I didn’t go to Utah…Utah came to me

PS: this happened on my way home

IMG_4518It’s a little windy this evening

I am not shitting you

So, I do have this thing about people flossing in public.

Personally, I think my thing is totally normal and appropriate and I’m not sure I understand how there could be any other perspective, but apparently there is, as was proven today in the cafe.

But before I get there, let’s just take a quick look why I dislike watching people fling food bits out of their mouth across the room with a shredded thread.

It’s gross.

Enough said.

So today, I actually had to ask a customer to stop flossing while standing over a table talking to someone who was eating IN A RESTAURANT.

What could possibly be okay about that?

I hesitated to say something, but then I thought, “Food is being flicked onto someone’s panini.”

But the most astounding part…

He actually asked me what was wrong with it?

Dear god, help humanity.