Tag Archives: journal

Surviving in a War Zone v.s. Calling Comcast/Xfinity

I recently came back from visiting my mother who just checked herself into a “home.” Overwhelmed by taking over all her financial responsibilities and seeing her short term memory fading, I tried to tackle a task beyond my abilities at the end of a 16 hour day of errands, and a day of facing the fact I would have to one day clear out the house of a – I want to say borderline, but I don’t think I really need to say borderline – hoarder. I called Comcast/Xfinity to move and change her service.

Maybe I had absorbed some of mom’s good old fashioned paranoia that everyone is trying to flim flam her, but at one point I thought I’d given her social security number to an identity theft ring, this after two hours and four customer service reps saying they had no record of my confirmation number. I spiraled quickly, as I do, into – why am I living? I really don’t want to be. (It turned out fine after a few more phone calls, just always ask for the “moving/transfers” department if you call. They won’t jack with you.)

This morning, I started listening to Trevor Noah’s autobiography, Born a Crime…, and thought, I need to marry someone like that, who’s had actual problems, like getting thrown out of a moving car at age 5 by his mom and with his mom and baby brother to avoid his mom getting brutally raped. Someone like that as a spouse might help me get some perspective on my life and the actual size of my problems.

Of course my therapist would say by feelings are justified. And she’s a smart cookie, so who knows.

Also listening to the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu on the flight to and from the visit, I have been trying to find a place for the information that children who have been cared for and protected have fewer survival skills and tend to be the first to die in concentration camps. Not great for the species, I understand, to be OK with death over suffering, but as a pampered white child that seems to be my go to response to discomfort. Take me now God, take me now. Not that He does.

I think of Trevor Noah’s mother driving sternly and commandingly through war zones to get to three churches on Sundays. That’s style. That’s some serious style. I wish I could find my style.

Wait – I, Me, Mine are words that make you more likely to have a heart attack. Scratch that last sentence. May we all find our style. Our serious style.

I think this would be mine.


What’s yours?


Diagram of an Upset

Highway 1

Highway 1

Nonononononono. Take back what you said. I can’t get up. I have fallen and I can’t get up.

I think I’ll go for a drive. A nice long drive along the coast. Why don’t I do this more? I remember that tall thin statesman like friend from when I worked for the government. He lived near here. Somewhere up that hill. He must be dead now. He was old then. I’ll be dead one day. Why do I take things so to heart that I will forget in a year, maybe even a week, depending what happens next.

I do love to drive. It’s like all the detritus of my brain is dislodged by the movement through space and time simultaneously. Like I am actually driving away from myself. And I find a newer cleaner self every mile. Like when I fly and look down on the earth from a plane, but not quite so jarring. Not like everything I’ve held dear is an illusion, just like I am freer to know myself, and forget what you want and what you need.

Whoops. Now I feel guilty. I shouldn’t be driving at all. I should have stayed to fight, to deal with it. Running away. That’s all I’m good for. You’ll say that when I get back. Do I have to go? Back? I know the next 1,000 miles like the back of my hand. I know a place to stay at the end of the drive. To forget. Where everyone goes to forget. I could just be a beach bum, a tour guide in Baja. How long would it take for the guilt to catch up with me?

That pie place is in the next town. I could stop there. I don’t want to lose my drive, but I could stop there. I could call you. … Ah, there’s the sound. You texted. Next exit. At a parking lot outside an A&W I read, “I love you. I’m sorry. Please come home.”

-Susannah Raulino

2010.04.14 Book back cover touched up done