Love Bugs

Well … thankfully they aren’t up here, but if you’re from Florida or have been “lucky enough” to visit during certain times of the year … the pest of the day (month and year) is the nefarious Love Bug.  This winged menace swarms twice a year, May and September, and they get their name by virtue (?) of the fact they are joined together.  You rarely see a single Love Bug.  They prefer the long grasses that border highways and long lonesome stretches of road and will absolutely plaster your car with a thick sheet of bug guts.

It gets worse.

If you don’t wash the bug remains from your car, some mysterious acid component of their bodies will actually eat away at the paint.  I’ve seen semi’s with their windows and grills so completely coated with love bugs that the original paint of the vehicle is a mystery.  Car washes will come out with “Love Bug” specials.  People will actively avoid driving certain stretches of road, or driving altogether if they can help it, until the swarms have passed.  They’re a right menace and a part of Florida that I really don’t miss!

via Daily Prompt: Pest

Time to get political (it was unavoidable)

The “Skinny” repeal has been defeated and it’s one of the few times since the election, I’ve had cause to relax a little.  Living with trump as president is like living with a full blown addict.  You never know what they’re going to say or do next, nor what will set them off and every moment is a knifes-edge of worried waiting.

Pre-trump life had enough shit to dodge, but the current environment is like one big mine field.  I’ve been a solid mass of anxiety since the election – alternatively going from denial to depression and back to denial … rather like the stages of grief but for the fact I can’t imagine entering the stage of “acceptance”.

One of the proudest times of my life was participating in the Women’s march on Washington, the day after the inauguration.  It was an amazing experience.  There was little, if any, of the kind of conflict that would draw the attention of police – at least I didn’t see nor hear of any.  There were plenty of police all right, but all the officers I saw – while observant and no-nonsense – were likewise relaxed and non-threatening.  They didn’t engage the crowd nor did the crowd taunt or tease.  There was a palpable feeling of co-existing.  Of live and let live.  Of respect for the right to protest as well as the right to keep the peace.  There were no arrests.  No scuffles.  Nothing set on fire.  People bore up under crushing crowds in the streets with amazing tolerance and civility.

Now it feels like I’m mourning the death of tolerance and civility.  My neighbor had an anti-trump bumper sticker on his car which earned him several near road-rage encounters and more than a few “birds”.  He finally removed the sticker out of fear should his wife, driving alone sometime, become some zealot’s victim.  Now, there are people who despised President Obama – but I don’t recall hearing of any Obama supporter flipping off or driving to intimidate anyone with an anti-Obama bumper sticker.  It seems that to be anti-Trump, at least publicly, it to risk being attacked.  Since when was it permissible to disagree so physically and abusively?  When did bullying become the new normal?

It’s bad enough there’s a narcissistic, self-absorbed, megalomaniac child with the attention span of a housefly as the leader of our country … and it’s bad enough he can’t seem to control himself, but that doesn’t mean we have to act the same way.

Surely we’re better than that.  He may not be able to act presidential, but we can act like adults.

 

Ch-ch-ch-changes (an ode to David Bowie)

A co-worker made an interesting observation when I was grousing about the existential crisis I seemed to be going through.  We were talking about the stages and changes of life.  I was lamenting the fact I seemed to be poised on the edge of something but didn’t know what the something was.  There seemed to be a change coming, but what kind?

“Maybe you haven’t had many changes lately.” my co-worker commented.  “Maybe your next change is no change.”

The thought stopped me in my mental tracks.  No change?

No.

Change.

Really?  I was completely surprised by the idea.  Is it possible?

Life is change, or so the popular platitude goes.  And, truthfully, it is … everything is always changing.  Sometimes – most of the time – on a scale we see and interact with, but sometimes it’s slow and off to the side.

I have issues with change.  Basically, in a nutshell, I don’t like it.  Stability is my middle name (or would be if it wasn’t Elisabeth).  But when nothing changes, things begin to stagnate.  Life becomes stale.  As much as I gripe about change, it is the breath of life.  It’s what propels us forward.  It’s just that, much of the change I’ve experienced has been on the traumatic and life upending side.

Psychologist will tell you the most significant changes include getting divorced, job loss, major illness, death, and moving.  There are more, of course, but those are the ones I’m focused on because I ran through those five in a relatively short period of time.  After a while, I felt like a tennis ball between the Williams sisters.  Change was really slamming me around.  One particularly strong lob landed me in Northern Virginia where the “fun” continued.

I was living in a hotel with my two dogs, one of which became mysteriously ill and died after racking up medical bills approaching $10,000 (not an exaggeration) , and six weeks into my new job, the contract I moved up to work on changed companies which meant I’d soon be unemployed again!

Is it any wonder the word “change” does not fill me with positive vibes?

Amazingly (to me) I landed on my feet.  The company who won the contract offered me a job and I found a place to live.  My surviving dog adjusted to life without skipping a beat.  But, true to life, the changes continued.  I’ve had further career modifications but am still with the same company.  I’ve lost one dog to cancer, but adopted another.

Even as God as looked out for me (a concept I’m still struggling with, and the subject for another blog), I find myself constantly on alert.  Always on the lookout for the slightest hint of change and convinced that doing so will protect me from a nasty surprise.

Ha!

It doesn’t work like that.  Constantly being on guard doesn’t protect you from anything.  It may, some small percent of the time, give you a little bit of a heads up – but the majority of the time it is spent on the lookout for nothing.  Or worse, it might do the opposite, blinding you to opportunities right in front of you.  Being, as I am, so fixated on what could be coming around the corner, who knows what I walk right by?