girl.investigates

because everything has a story

Month: November 2017

Three years ago today

“Letting their freak flags fly.”

I’m not sure why, of all the words she spoke to me, that is the phrase that comes back, the echo that rises in quiet moments. I can’t remember what exactly she was referring to, but I remember how she said it, not with judgement, but a smile, with the twinkle which was so characteristic of her.

Laurie was a proponent of letting your freak flag fly. She was a supporter of the weird, the odd and dysfunctional. She had a way of accepting people as they were, something I always admired about her. “He’s a weirdo, but he’s a nice weirdo,” she once told me of a coworker I was trouble working with. It took me a while, but eventually I saw it. She was, of course, right. I went from dreading any contact with the man, to looking forward to working with him.

Would I have come to the realization without her? I wonder now at all the things I might not have realized without her. I am a different person today than I would have been without her. That is, I suppose, what it means to be a mentor. Changing someone for the better, helping them grow. Without Laurie, I would not be the person I am today.

I wonder too, what she might have taught me had she not, three years ago today, closed her eyes forever. I wonder what my life would have been like if she had never gotten sick. If she had been there through those turbulent years while our nonprofit was swallowed by the government, went from Association to Department. Where would I be now? Who would I be now?

I know these are all self-centered musings. I know these are all questions of my life, when it was her life that ended, but death makes so clear the ways in which our lives our connected. Many of the ties that bind us are subtle. We don’t notice them until they are cut loose. When she was gone, I suddenly felt all the ways in which I depended on her. For guidance, for direction. She was someone I could trust to help me see the world as it was. More than that, she was someone who could stare at the darkest truths and still be able to smile. Who looked at our broken justice system and saw, not a hopeless mess, but a challenge to be met. A battle to be fought.

Laurie taught me a way of seeing. A way of looking at the world, at people, and at problems. Laurie gave me new eyes. And while I will never see her again, the people we lose never really leave us. Every time I wish I could ask her advice and every time I wonder at what she might have to told me, she lives on in me.

She is still with me, changing the way I see the world, giving me new eyes and reminding me to open them.

ArachnaTurtle Vs. Cat

I’m having trouble focusing on writing right now, because Sprout is trying to steal my ice cream. Apparently cats love ice cream, one of the many things I find both adorable and deeply irritating about them. Sprout is very sweet and I do appreciate her company while I try to vomit out 1600 words a day for National Novel Writing Month, but she will not stop coveting my ice cream.

I had an idea though, since she is wary of all of Ned’s toys (they smell like Labrador) that if I put a dog toy between her and my ice cream, that she might leave off. The toy closest to hand is a weird turtle with eight tentacle legs which I refer to alternately as either Ned’s OctaTurtle or his ArachnaTurtle. Hence, the epic battle, the test of wills, between turtle plushie and cat. I’ve written this much so we’ll call it one point for Turtle. For now. Sprout is persistent.

I decided to call it a night on the novel writing. I’m ahead of schedule, having had a long weekend to focus on writing. I’ve been getting a bit stir-crazy though. There’s only so much that moving around to write in various parts of the house can do for you. Upstairs at my desk, the table by the window, on the couch. Maybe I’ll really switch it up tomorrow and write on my phone in the bath. Needless to say, I decided it was best I actually get out of the house today.

So I biked downtown. Now might be a good place to mention that it has been snowing. In Seattle. In the beginning of November. So I put on all the wool I own (this is an exaggeration. I own so much wool that it would be impossible to wear it all at once) and braved the freezing rain and sleet to bike to my favorite writing spot. It’s a hotel bar where the staff don’t seem to mind that I sit there for three hours with one cup of coffee until it becomes happy hour, at which point I will order one glass of discount wine. I know, I’m the worst. I compensate for this bizarre behavior by tipping around fifty percent.

I got there and realized that I am an idiot. It’s football season. It’s Sunday. The game was today, just south of downtown. So my quiet hotel bar is packed full of sportsball fans who are yelling and drinking and generally being any introvert’s vision of hell. I squeezed into a spot at the end of the bar, put in headphones, and wrote in my notebook until a table opened up where I could get out my laptop.

The good news was that they cleared out not long after I got there, to go to the actual game, and since I biked I was immune to the stupid trafficatastrophe they cause. Biking makes me feel like a superhero whose power is being unaffected by traffic. Which, in Seattle these days, is a big deal.

All in all I ended up having a good writing sesh and they gave me the coffee for free, which I take as a sign that they aren’t sick of me yet. I even mentioned that they hadn’t put my coffee on the bill and they just smiled at me. Or possibly it was actually a grimace because they just wanted me to fucking leave already, coffee paid for or not.

And I’m sorry, I blame the fact that I just used the non-word “sesh” instead of “session” on the fact that I spent a significant period my day being forced to listen to sports-type-people talking very loudly. It’s like when you go to a foreign country and start unintentionally imitating their accent. Only with sports talk.

Okay, I’m going to go wash my mouth out with something literary (lavender bitters and gin?) so I can stop sounding like an awful post-game interview. All said and done it was a good day, I knew what I had to do, and I just pushed through and gave it my all and in the end that’s really what counts on the field.

Peace,

Carol

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