Note to world #846

She was really horrible at math, so she knew that standing around weighing the odds in her head was a completely bad idea. But sometimes life didn’t permit her the luxury of refined mathematical calculation and in those moments, she usually just shut her eyes tight and searched her gut extra hard for the answer.

And she suspected, against all rational logic, that her approach led pretty directly to the demise of her poor gall bladder a few years ago. She now imagined the rotting out of her colon or maybe her liver from all her most recent gut searching — you know, some other vital organ she kind of needed in order to survive. She supposed she could figure the odds on that actually occurring. Or just shut her eyes. Either way…..

Note to world #587

Sometimes there were simply too many moving parts to her life.  It made her dizzy. She just needed the world to stand still for a moment.

When the world would not stop, she decided to turn in opposite rotation to create the illusion of holding fast in place. And that mostly worked … until everything blurred and she puked on her own shoes.

weekend getaway

“How did you know what time it was?” he asked.

She looked at him sideways, tired and exasperated by his questions.

“How did I know what time it was?  I knew because everything in the damn place was taking way too long and I was kind of pissed off about it.  So I was checking the time every few seconds.  First, we ordered drinks to be sent to the room and that took forever.  Then, we ordered dinner and that took forever, too.  So, I knew when we ordered extra towels, it was going to be forever. I was tired and I really wanted to take a shower before I went to bed.”

She and her girlfriends had booked a room at a hotel in town for the weekend. It was to be a fun girls’ weekend, all four of them jammed into a room, ordering room service and staying up late drinking and talking and laughing over life’s adventures.  They selected a hotel they could all comfortably afford – a hotel that looked decent on the surface of things, but that was, upon closer inspection, pretty worn down: the decor was outdated and showed signs of heavy use, the rooms were shabby and in mild states of disrepair and the hotel staff moved slowly from defeat and fatigue.

When the hotel attendant finally arrived with a handful of towels for the room, she raced to the door and opened it.  While she was holding the door open and waiting for the hotel guy to drop off the towels, she noticed two men in business suits entering the room across the hall.  They were talking in earnest, a little bit aggressively.  One man, short and balding with a few finger tips missing, handed his business card to the other man.  The other man fumbled to take the business card and then slipped his key card into the slot to unlock the hotel room.   While he was juggling the business card and the key card and the heavy door, the short balding man quickly slipped his business card into the key card slot.  Their door closed and the little white business card peeked out of the key card slot.  She watched all of this with mild interest before closing her own hotel room door.  She took a long hot shower and then rejoined her girlfriends for wine and deep conversation that went late into the night.

The next morning, one of the men in the room across the hall was dead – murdered – and a detective was knocking at their hotel door asking to speak to all of them.  She had a terrible hangover and really had no desire to speak to anyone, let alone be grilled by a detective for a matter that was completely unrelated to her.  Even if it meant finding the murderer. All of her friends vouched for her general unsympathetic grumpiness.  Her reluctance, however, raised the suspicion of the detective.  In fact, the more they tried to persuade the detective of her callousness toward humanity, the more suspicious he became, and soon she was in the back of the detective’s car on the way to the station for further questioning.  She was fuming and her head hurt.  When it came time for questions at the station, she was hostile and uncooperative and the detective tried to arrest her on grounds that she was a curmudgeon.

And then she woke up.  Alone.  In her own bed.  With a throbbing headache.

And she felt super grumpy about that dream murder and that dream detective.



mama bed

First one child woke up the drooling mama giant in the middle of the night with a tug. The girl child murmured about her achy tummy and the grumbly mama stumbled off in search of ginger ale, saltines and a few spoonfuls of pepto bismol – and a bucket – just in case. Girl child crawled into the mama bed with her crumbly crackers and hard plastic bucket and slept fitfully.

Then another child appeared, this time real close to drooling mama’s face, with a rushed whisper about a bad dream and a cold room. Mama giant scooted over with a big sigh and tucked a chilly frightened little girl child under the blankets and against her broad warm side.

Mama giant had no room for sleeping now in her mama bed and stared up at the ceiling to wait for dawn.  She silently planned out dinner for the week and fumbled occasionally to see the time illuminated in the dark.  Every time she came close to something that resembled rest, one girl child or another jabbed her awake with a bony elbow or scratchy toenail.

Mama giant thanked god that the dog could not reach her mama bed.  And then she smiled herself into a thin slumber at the thought that her two girl children still needed her occasionally in the most basic of ways.

Parenting tips

The man was traveling with his teenage daughter.

They fought in soft but urgent tones for the window seat. He lost and the daughter settled in near the window.

Soon, the man let out a low and deep belch. And then, about every 7 minutes thereafter, another unholy discordant burp would rumble out of his mouth. The entire train car of passengers gasped in a growing chorus of disgust each time.

And finally, his red-faced daughter rose to give up her window seat.

All the parents on the train nodded: while perhaps they had not used it to get the window seat on the train, they all understood the power of embarrassment.

dream train

She had been on the train for a very long time, lulled by the steady pace of the journey.  Her body was cramped from the lengthy stretch of inactivity, though her mind was far from dormant and her dreams remained vivid.

Finally, the train was slowing and coming to a station. And there he was, waiting for her on the train platform.

Even from afar, through the crackled dusty window of the train, she recognized the shape of him. She knew this was her stop. She rose to exit the train and walked down the aisle toward the door, but she only found endless rows of seats.

Puzzled, she kept walking, a little faster now, in search of the train doors. The train came to a full stop at the station.  And there he was, waiting for her on the platform. But she still could not find the way out of the train, the way to the platform.

She ran down the aisle searching for a door and through each flickering window pane she passed, she could see him waiting and waiting on that platform. She could see other people getting off the train from some invisible place, and he was looking for her among all the other passengers spilling out from the train. And even as the platform emptied, he waited.

She still could not find any exit from the train, but she did not give up, even as the train began to lurch forward. And then she realized: there was no door for her. He waited for her on the platform for just a bit longer.  He was still looking up and down the long empty platform for her.

She threw herself at an empty seat and started to scream to get his attention. She willed him to see her. She pounded on the windows of the train. He did not hear her.  He did not see her.  She threw her body against the thick plexiglas panels of the train and yelled.  She cried and hit and kicked. This was her stop. She knew it was her stop. And yet, for reasons she did not understand, there was no door for her.

The train pulled away from the station.  He tucked his head in disappointment and walked away.

He had been waiting for her on the platform.  And she did not come.

She slid down into the seat, sobbing and clutching at her heart, and the train carried her forward.


When she awoke, giant icicles hung down from the roof, dangling halfway to the ground. Her daughters thought the sparkling icicles were beautiful and made their tiny home look even more like a gingerbread house.

But while she shoveled under the bright sun, she let her imagination carry her far into the dark.  She felt that massive formation of ice watching her and slowly encircling her entire house, drip by drip.  She worried that the glittering stalactites tugging on the roof would pull down the house in one tremendous crash.  She envisioned her snow-crazed dog and thickly bundled children being struck down by sinister icy daggers.

When the brittle cold settled in for the night and she lay in bed, she heard a steady sound, one different from the cranky groans her steam radiators emitted.  She crawled out of bed and walked around the perimeter of the house with a flashlight and then she saw: the ice was quietly creeping into her house, invading the dining room and making the wall wet with glistening moisture.  She had imagined so many other random surreal events that she couldn’t register a reaction to the actual scenario.  It felt like a dream until she turned on the lights to see more clearly the scene.  When it finally felt real, she let her whole body shrug with fatigue for just a moment before she turned to stoically retrieved buckets and towels and place calls to all the right people.  This was a problem she understood at least – not like people knifed open by icy shards – and she moved through the paces quickly.

Note to world #639

She had to agree with her daughters: the pesto she made for dinner did in fact look like a poop slurry on pasta.

She started over: this time, she ordered pizza.

She knew it was domestic boredom that drove her to try new things when she had only just mastered the basic meals she prepared over and over again. And while before she might have cringed inside with a deep sense of maternal failure, now she and her children howled with laughter at the hilarity of her culinary efforts.

The pizza arrived soon enough and they all lived happily ever after.


She listened to the man in front of her click away on his laptop doing work. She was well beyond pretending that her time commuting could be used working productively. She preferred to simply let that time be the parenthetical in her daily routine, the time when she let her mind go numb. Sometimes she wrote. Sometimes she took photos of the passing scenery. Sometimes she let her jaw go slack and drooped sideways onto total strangers.

But mostly she did nothing more than let the wheels of the train separate her from the world for just a little bit of time.