Life as it arrives and dreams as they happen

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Watch it!

There it was…a silver Timex, displayed securely in a case at my Joslins Department Store. The moment was 1979 and I was nineteen years old, treating myself the day before starting my first full time job. Where did the time go?

I don’t know about you, but a sense of power was associated with a watch at my house. My father always had his, even in later years when he messed with a toothpick setting his newfangled LED version…his wrist was never bare. I too, always wore a watch, dating back to a childhood Christmas, when my niece and I received leather strapped Cinderella ones, complete with ceramic figure. Then later when I thought I was cool,  I needed a time peace in keeping with my hippie state of mind, and a three inch band with brass snaps held Snoopy in place, along with some great hand tooled leather.

In many ways, those watches also represented the time we lived, more than just the time of day. There was a responsibility back then to know the hour, where we needed to be and of course just the ability to help, should someone ask, do you have the time? The validity behind such a request, has long been set to song lyrics and movie scripts…time and time again, because we are always concerned with where we are, and where we may be going…even if we are nowhere near Chicago.

In my life I’ve watched time fade, and as my parents aged, their gift giving became predictably comical, when right on time, each birthday or Christmas, they inevitably gave one another a new watch. After they both had passed away, I looked into the boxes once kept on dressers and smiled, as several Timex, Bolivia, LED and Waltham’s looked back with tired faces, no longer held by aging hands. True to fact…time never lasts as long as we think it will.

From the vast array of watches I have worn, there appears to be a statement of not just the times that were a changing, but what I once valued and how careful I watched it. After that first day of work, there would be many other timepieces accessorizing my attire…rings and pins, pendants that opened, some that were straight forward and a few with small diamonds trying to sparkle in the darkness. Each one ticking me into a new day, closing out the one I had been living, and keeping me on track to care for my family…minute by minute they each reminded me what needed to come next.

The last watch I regularly wore, was a very expensive solid gold and jewel encrusted Victorian slide bracelet. Each gold charm had  emotional value,  a daughter’s birthstone, a diamond cross and an assortment of comical frogs, which came together against a small gold clock face. The watch had been a wedding gift from my now ex-husband, and gave me a sense of value and importance, which was ironic since it was also ticking down reality as I knew it.

Instead of seeing that special watch as a gatekeeper of the minutes and hours I had been given, it was an ego-owned, excessive piece of jewelry, which I wore in a less than impressive life, rarely looking at it for the time. It was only when it disappeared one day, several years into my disastrous marriage that time stopped. My general assumption has always been that it was thrown out during a migraine induced blackout, along with whatever else I had in my hand, because it never again showed up. However, the time that passed between receiving and loosing it did finally come to light for me, and sadly I saw  how much time had actually been thrown away.

Today most people look to their cell phone for the correct time, and unless a vain personal statement needs to be made…like my lost Victorian one, watches are only worn as an accessory, no longer a reminder of how much time is left until the day is done. I actually wonder if like cursive writing, children will someday no longer learn how to tell time…the quarter of an hour and the sixty seconds into a minute. After all, they will have a tablet or cell phone blinking black numerals to tell them when their time is up.

As I write this, I guess I miss Cinderella more than I thought, each fleeting moment until midnight approached, holding close moments that had been made and marked forever in time. However, if nothing else, I have learned no matter how valuable something is, if you see it for more than it is, you often don’t see what is moving around you until it is too late. Simple is usually is the best, along with knowing where you are, where you are going and what you have to get done, and the satisfaction of doing it before time runs out. Indeed, such knowledge although priceless, is also timeless.


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Let sleeping dogs…or lie


We’ve all been there at one point or another – we’ve heard or seen something that was wrong, something that goes against the grain, values and/or common sense of humanity or worse yet, might actually expose the worst in someone. The question is what happens next? Do we walk away as a bystander, as the victim, the secret conscience of the guilty party, or do we stand up and hopefully right a wrong?

Life and the circles of business and society that swirl around us every day are ripe with injustice and deplorable behavior, and it is up to us to remember our own spiritual version of the Golden Rule and hold our values tight. However, as with everything else in this world that isn’t the easiest thing to do…especially when the injustice has been thrust upon us. So what’s next?

Unfortunately, power comes with knowledge and that alone presents a powerful fact, because such power is often used against us, knowing we will be silent so as to keep our lives intact as much as possible. Indeed, we do often pray to forget and move on, hoping justice will eventually catch up to those with less than good intentions and morals…because face it…who really believes the little guy? Who believes the subordinate? Power may come with knowledge, but it is status and money that come with a voice.

Recent headlines again threaten to tarnish yet another once solid figure in our lives and history, claiming this person was a self-serving abuser, who used power and status to satisfy urges and desires past what was right or condonable. There was no he said she said here, there appears instead to be a he did she was, and when that happens, battle lines get drawn and everyone who has no knowledge in the matter has an opinion. I doubt there is a better definition of blood sport.

When the dust has settled and the stars look down upon us, the simple fact remaining is we all just want to just be happy and have something in life to hold onto. For some of us, that might mean walking away from an abuser who has used their power to threaten our security, chalking it up to a learning experience in life that we hope to never repeat. However, for others, the experience eventually becomes a disease that must be cured before life can continue, and they are the ones who blow the whistle and ask to be recognized…even if it won’t be pleasant.

Looking at all the dirt and trash we walk through as we mature, wanting to clean up our own part of the world makes sense. It is our way to offer a fresh start to our families and let them know what is right, and to stay the course as much as possible. However, as with any part of nature, if it isn’t constantly tended and watched, the dirt builds back up, trash and decay reappear and soon it is as if nothing had ever been tended.

As someone who has stood on the edge of the should I say or should I go professional mountain of wrong, I know my silence wasn’t right…however, at the time it was right for me…a choice I had to make as a young single mother. Many times over the years, other encounters less physical also crossed my path, again giving me the choice to speak up or walk away, and although I did try several times to right the wrong, I quickly learned one small voice in this uncaring selfish world of excess isn’t heard, and you must live with the aftermath nevertheless.

So for those today that are speaking up, I give them praise and applaud their strength. I also offer words of firsthand knowledge to those calling them liars and opportunists: Unless you have been there, felt violated, felt helpless and most of all, felt trapped please shut up! You weren’t there – you have no idea the situation or how the need for survival might have reacted in your soul.

Once something is broken, is forever broken and even though it may have been mended, it will never again be what it was or what it might have been. However, sometimes it does become stronger after having been reinforced, and that is exactly what we need to do for those who take the step to speak out. We need to reinforce humanity, compassion and honesty no different than clearing a livable path in our world of decay so others won’t have to face the pain.

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Where the heck did that hotel come from?


Okay, let’s face it…at one time or another, sometimes more than we want to admit we go through our day with blinders on. Often, it is because we are preoccupied, stressed or worried and other times…well, selfishly we just care about ourselves…after all, we’re only human. However, notice or not, life in general has been moving along faster than those age old snail paces I grew up hearing about, and I’ve started to wonder why no one else is noticing.

Sometimes the hurry up and wait of youth is understandable, and before you know it, school is done, jobs and marriage are on many horizons, as well as babies…rushing into children that complete the circle of life. As we age, we look back at the time we have had and lost, seeing it as no more than a sign of aging, along with graying hair, wrinkles and spots of age where we want them the least. However, it is more than that if we are honest…it isn’t just cherubic faces of babies now having families of their own that are moving at warp speed, it is the very world we live in.

I remember far too often, the times I have driven past a familiar spot seeing the landscape dramatically changed, saying…that sure went up over night! Well, no it didn’t, but my attentiveness to the changes behind my blinders was in a similar darkness. Stuck in the rut of my existence, comfortable with the norm, avoiding confrontation and trying to survive, I allow things to happen around me without so much of the blink of an eye, until like an infamous gorilla in the room, I can avoid them no more. So on that note, let’s talk about a certain celebrity this week who bared her soul…and everything else, again butting into our lives, leaving us to Mutter her assets belonged in a Museum.

When did gratuitous nudity, crime, violence and dysfunctional families for the sake of entertainment become a standard in the world where we live? Yes, I know it sounds like I am standing on a soap box, preaching to an opera that once couldn’t show a pregnant woman from the waist down! It isn’t that I am mourning the denigration of the young, or facing mortality with less than a gold star, I am simply stating the obvious and wondering why we keep on the blinders that let it continue? Frankly…it’s scaring the crap outta me!

It is inevitable with knowledge comes change, and on that horizon of change, comes a new way to learn, to understand and of course be amused. When movies and television grew up they brought thought provoking food for the soul, we went into court with Atticus Finch and felt humanity, we laughed with Ed Sullivan, learned from Mike Douglas and Phil Donahue, worried if Mike Wallace was in our office and walked carefree down a street of sesame, needing to figure out which one was not like the others, and it had nothing to do with racial or political equality. Then we evolved towards a ramped up exit…and yes, I mean a detour from the path of life, putting us onto the super highway of the Internet…and nothing has been the same since.

As a self taught computer geek, I love computers and the map of the Internet, so don’t get me wrong. Having the world at my fingers via laptop, tablet or phone can make anyone a Big Chief that gets it write every time. However, in always getting it right, there is no longer a need for trial and error, and our minds are allowed to hitchhike along the soft shoulder of this media hyped highway unwatched. If my dad was still alive he would shake his head at all that is within our grasp, especially since most of us have our thumbs stuck somewhere other than out for a ride.

The media events we now call the news, have nothing newsworthy to offer…I actually realized recently, that I had stopped watching our local newscasts almost five years ago…talk about a blinding moment! I hadn’t made a conscious decision, it just happened…everything I needed was on the Internet…in my face 24/7…whether I wanted it or not, bypassing the Ted Mack Amateur Hour of self praise reporters have all sunk to.

News now is shock valued entertainment. Television no longer relaxes or informs us, instead, it is a slick vehicle to show how stupid, uneducated, rich or overrated those around us may be, forcing us to acknowledge we don’t belong. We are schooled daily in how to commit crimes, have drugs mailed to our homes, steal from our neighbors and watch sexual exploits that should never even cross our minds…let alone walk into our home.

Networks that started as learning channels and stations valuing the arts and entertainment have become some of the worst. People that years ago would have been incarcerated for their actions, are now are getting overflowing bank accounts and status for such stupidity, immorality and overindulgence, and we keep up the ratings to insure there is more where that came from because we just don’t care.

Stores we once supported are gone because everything is bought on eBay or Amazon, coming through the mail anonymously. Relationships and education are selected through electronic catalogs of faces and courses (including sex should you want your mouse clicked), and if you are truly lucky, employment is also only a keystroke away from your pajamas and cup of coffee…no need to enter the real world at all!

We have truly taken a bucket seat back, lost our list of ambition and allowed the world to evolve into a spoiled child that has run amok without values or supervision. So I have to ask why…we certainly aren’t happier, and if anything, we are less educated and less driven to succeed. Humanity now suffers from envy and depression, which is woven through every bandwidth we allow, and satisfaction is only allocated to a buy it now on a website. For the sake of argument…why are we are content to live alone in our own little world of space?

I recently had a sweet young man stay with me who worked for the government. He is also running along that George Jetson fast track of tomorrow, wanting everything now, while having an inside track on what could make it happen. During recent violence in the Middle East, we watched CNN while a helicopter loaded refugee children under fire from a sniper. The reporter and cameraman inside were commenting on the situation between commercial breaks, as bullets rang out and the children screamed. I was horrified, but my friend rationalized it as just life.

After that moment I reached into my past, and heard the recorded words of Herbert Morrison (Google it!) as he watched the Hindenburg burn. The impact and imagery always hit me hard when it was brought up in my history classes, and it returned to me then equally as valid. I wonder now what life might have been like with the technological advancements we now have, along with the lack of good taste, morals and humanity which go hand in hand with them.

It isn’t a leap to see a convertible stopped on a Dallas street, while a shocked young woman in a pink suit covered in blood looks at her husband gasping for life. Suddenly, a reporter comes out of nowhere and shoves a microphone in her face, while others via for a once in a lifetime Selfie…Mrs. Kennedy…how does it feel to be covered with blood and brains? What are you feeling right now…are you wearing Chanel? This trip will forever change you won’t it?

Indeed, we have allowed a relentless need for dirty laundry to wash any innocence from our eyes. Once we had profiles in courage…but now, we are just guilty of needing profiles on Facebook, and no Walter…that isn’t the way it was…and it won’t ever be that way again.