Still Learning How to be Human

Tuesday turned out to be sort of a day from Hell.

Peitor woke up with a raging migraine, so we postponed our conference call until later today. Disappointing, but it suddenly freed up my schedule to run an urgent errand for Diane.  Her car broke down and the auto body guy wouldn’t begin repairs until she gave him a rather substantial deposit. So off I tootled in my little Honda Fit, to bring the guy a couple hundred bucks.

Well, I could not find the fucking place. One thing about living way, way out here in the Hinterlands, places you need to get to can be several counties away. It took me 2 hours to find the guy. And it would have been a really lovely drive — all full of farmland and hills and lovely green trees and such — but I was getting steadily deeper into this weird mental place, suddenly doubting my ability to recognize chronological addresses because I just could not find this auto body shop . I drove up & down State Route 668 S, a million times, not realizing that I still was not even in the right county yet.

Well, after – yes – eleven (!!) phone calls to Diane, I finally found it. Then I got home, tried to just get to the laptop and start writing, but inadvertently said something indescribably mean to a really, really dear friend. It was out of my mouth before I realized what I was saying, and then couldn’t take it back. You know, he was so pissed off, hurt, astounded that I would say something like that to him. He forgave me but it still, well, you know, I really need to watch my mouth. Then the rest of the day I could get no writing done because I felt terrible about myself. And on into the night I felt like I was on Mars.

Yesterday was really good, though. I got great writing done on both of the new novels. (And I finally felt forgiven by my friend because I asked him probably 20 times if he would please forgive me. And even though he kept saying he forgave me, he finally just really yelled at me and said “don’t ever, ever, ever talk to me like that again,” and at last I felt forgiven. )

And also yesterday, an angel appeared in my yard! By that, I mean, one of the guys who takes care of cutting my lawn.  He’s in his 60s but he looks about 102 years old. Covered in tattoos, long white hair, beard, etc. Overalls. Unbelievably nice. Retired. Used to build pole barns for a living. Anyway, he told me that for $75 he would tear down the old rotting fence in my backyard, saw down all the posts, and haul all the wood away! I was speechless.  I was, like, oh dear God, thank you! That fence really, really needs to come down but it was taking me forever to get the money together to have it done. He also told me he’d scrape & repaint the barn for a good price, then repair the roof on the barn with used tin instead of brand new tin, and it would save me a fortune.

Wow, I just felt so blessed.  I’m hoping to at least have the fence removed before this happens:

The grown woman was my biological grandmother, Louise. She died a couple years ago. We didn’t always get along. You’d never guess, but often my obstinate, stubborn, bullheadedness and unstoppable mouth would get on her nerves. Go figure! (She’d frequently say things to me like, “Missy, you’ve really opened a can of worms this time!” And then follow that with not speaking to me for a while.)

But the baby girl in the photo is Cherie. My birth mother. She’s coming to visit for a few days, once the leaves start changing. I can’t wait. I have not had time alone with my mother in I don’t know how long. (This is not the mother who raised me; this is the mother who was forced by my grandfather to give me up for adoption when I was a couple weeks old, because, sadly, she was only 13 when I was born, and my grandfather finally said, “I’m sorry, but this is just not happening. The baby’s gotta go.” So out I went.)

Over the last several years, I’ve only seen her at funerals, really. Well, not really, but I haven’t spent as much time with her as I used to do when I was in my 20s and 30s, and just getting to know her.

She’s 71 now, retired and living on a farm with both of my half-sisters.  Yes, my mom & dad (she 13 & he 15 when I was born) were both from way, way out in the Hinterlands of Ohio; grew up on farms.  It’s not really that strange, is it? That even though I love NYC, I wound up way back out here, nestled amid farmlands in the Hinterlands, and love it so much. It’s just in my bones, I guess.

My mother and I are so similar, it is almost like we are slightly different versions of the same person. It’s uncanny.  It’s not that easy to talk to her. She’s very quiet. Very private. She’s had a really, really hard life. But I can write her letters and tell her everything. Just everything about myself. Things that confuse me, confound me, upset me about myself. Things it’s not easy to tell anyone else. And she’ll say, “The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree with you. You’re just like me.” And then say nothing else.

But, that actually says a lot, doesn’t it?

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