The Great White Male

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I slapped on the visor and apron with uncertainty. Already I had worked the season opener for the local college team, now my volunteering efforts were geared towards opening day for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The USF game was its own special nightmare – scorching day, no breeze, collapsing bodies – but otherwise, sales at the Second Time Arounders Marching Band tiki bar boomed. I think it was because we were by the boat.

This time around, we were placed in a beer corner with not a lot of space to move between the six of us. Before I had finished dumping ice onto the premium beers it was go time! Customers lining up for all things frosty and salty. I did as trained – smiled as I took the order, if it involved alcohol I asked for ID, held the ID up to confirm face and date, then processed the sale with a cheerful “Enjoy the game!” to send their happy selves off.

And then, he came. A large, burly man dressed in Buccaneer regalia, beads dangling proudly from his neck. His face was cute, chubby, and pinked at the cheeks. He ordered two beers and a water. I asked for his photo ID. His chubby face became firm. He flared his arms, “Are you fucking serious?”

“Yes,” I calmly replied.

“I’m 54 years old! I could be your goddamn father!”

“I’m sorry sir,” I calmly explain, “I can’t sell you those drinks without an ID.”

I watched as he stepped backwards, almost into the couple behind him, then flare his nostrils and widen his chest. I swear he was going to rush the stand, but then he yelled, “Let’s settle this right now.”

My eyes followed his left hand waiving over someone. I’m thinking it’s his wife or somebody holding his ID. A dark blue suit with TPD on the lapel and a gun at the waist appeared instead.

Never in the history of me has a cop being waived my direction ever worked out in my favor. I’m flushed, I feel my heart start to race, and an “Oh SHIT” mantra starts looping in my head, all the while thinking, he called the cops on me, he called the cops on me…

The large man details the situation above and then tells the cop “She shouldn’t ID me.” Wow! I wish I had that kind of social authority! Being above the law, being able to tell a cop what should and should not happen to him during his good time at a privately-owned stadium.

The policeman looked at me, at him, then replied, “It’s her discretion whether she sells you alcohol or not.”

WHAAAT! He’s on MY side?

Never in the history of me has a cop agreed with me, even off-duty. I felt redeemed. And even though he was pouty after the fact, I still sold the big guy a water.

I don’t care how mouthy you are. Rule #1 in retail: get the sale.

I wasn’t worried about him, I was worried about the cop. He was worried about his beer, I was worried I was ending up in handcuffs. This is our world – a bunch of unnecessary worries. If I’m lucky in this lifetime, I shouldn’t feel threatened by the appearance of law enforcement anymore.

I’ve slept on this and still felt compelled to write, because it’s such a phenomenal experience. When you look a certain way, or hang out in a certain crowd, the labels and assumptions abound. Negative labels and assumptions unfortunately carry on with you despite social improvements. So when I describe this simple scenario, I wonder if you’re reading it as someone who’s been negatively labeled all their life, or if you’re wondering why the cop agreeing with me is such a monumental deal. It is a big deal. It signifies the necessary shift in the social wind. Not everyone who looks like me needs to be disciplined by the police. Moreover, people who look like me aren’t easily threatened by the gesticulations of the Great White Male, as was my friend’s mistake.

 

 

 

 

Fred is Dead

(I wrote this in reflection of my former neighbor’s shocking and untimely death. At first I wasn’t going to post, but I have to honor the guy who, as complicated our relationship was, inspired my artistry on several occasions. I pour one out for you, buddy.)

“I bet you got that tattoo long time ago, huh…”
I don’t even turn my head, but instead offer my building neighbor a tight smile. He’s showing off again, I internalized, as i hurriedly stuff another bushel of laundry in the back of my truck. Fred, and his parking lot company, whom I refer to as “the hens”, tone down their chortles and clucks to a watchful silence, either romancing their curiosity or fantasy, whatever. After living on my own in that building for the past few years, I’d gotten used to these men gathering in our lot simply to watch the world go by. Proving no threat, I doubled back to my apartment for the next bushel. The hens return to their clucking. I hear Fred let out a loud guffaw then an extended Ha Haaa as I turned away. I roll my eyes.
He’s showing off again.

Last week, Fred was murdered in his apartment, his throat slit by his nephew, Willy, who’d recently come to live with him. Fred was like that, letting family and acquaintances stay with him for stretches at a time. While these arrangements helped him with covering food and shelter expenses, it caused me to elevate my guard. Once, after running errands I came home to find Fred and his company smoking weed from a hookah on my staircase! Had he offered a puff I may have been less stringent, but since he lorded over our common space when no one was around, I had to remain defiant.
This is the part where my uncouth self should apologize for talking ill of the dead, but I find that’s a social reaction to an uncomfortable awareness of mortality. I, acutely aware of the finality of life, celebrate Fred a different way. You could count on Fred to be Fred, either using his key to open our main door for complete strangers, or banging on the old lady’s door to exploit her generosity, or his complete indifference towards health and safety as he fileted a freshly caught tilapia from the retention pond.

Was Fred my friend? He was certainly a constant figure in my life, either through Southern cordials or my observations of him from my balcony, either pulling his fishing gear towards the lake or strolling alongside the property, hands clasped figuratively behind his back, his gangly arms merging in such a way that he sported a lean – a lean so distinct I borrowed it for a characterization in an unpublished novella. He frustrated me, in that he was drawn to accommodate any female in our vicinity, including the young prostitute in Apt G. He disappointed me, serving as a look out on many drug exchanges, and possibly having a role in the robbery of the unit below mine. As a reader, you must be thinking this is a foul representation of an such an unfortunate soul, but it is our truth.

The way he was executed was heinous, but not so unbelievable. Ours was a quiet community, relatively: of everyone who lived in that building Fred was around the longest. I wouldn’t say Fred was harmless, but he was… manageable. We acknowledged each other on the daily; he with the “hey lady” and me with the “hey Fred” in return. That translated to, ‘you do you, I’ll do me’ and we both understood. Fred could count on me being enigmatic and reclusive and I could count on him to introduce someone to wonder about, even write about.
Willy didn’t show up til last year, as I was transitioning from that place to my current home. He worried my friendly neighbors, pissed off the astute ones, and gave Fred a difficult time. I completely blame the apartment management as well as the security company for his murder, but I also have to blame Fred’s generosity for making a very bad call. The fact that Willy’s related to Fred makes it all the worse. Of all situations I monitored Fred participating in, never would I have guessed his own blood would take him out. For that, I’m sad for Fred. He was doing what many of us with limited incomes do – sacrifice personal safety for social compliance. I couldn’t improve my situation while all my money was tied into book publishing. He was clamoring to keep his shelter. We shared despair but celebrated it uniquely. In that sense, our trappings made us unlikely kin.

I am truly sad Fred is dead. I believe his time here was cut short because his contributions were too desperate. His soul has departed, but he’ll live on as challenger and champion of the 1600 block of Lake Lynn Drive.

FULL ARTICLE: http://baynews9.com/content/news/baynews9/news/article.html/content/news/articles/bn9/2016/5/11/police_investigating.html

Von And The Fixer-Uppers

I did tell a long distance friend once that if my blog goes more than 3 weeks without a post, it’s a sure sign I’m dead.😀

Haven’t been able to keep my regular writing schedule due to my laptop failing. I have enough motherboard life to collect my master files.  Pics I don’t worry about; aren’t they already in WordPress? So to keep up with my proof of life promise, I’m using the tablet today; apologies in advance on formatting. The laptop issue I saw a’comin’, but what comes next, completely thrown off!

Labor Day Cimmi Red took a Hulk Smash! to the roof and the windshield by a large tree branch. My insurance company gave me a Toyota Corolla to drive for five days. As I cruised about, I left the radio low so I could listen to the whoosh! of the wind sliding over its aerodynamic curves. Pretty and fuel-economical as it was, the Corolla’s pick-up was laughable! Meeeeeeeeeee…

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Have truck, will travel!

Cimmi and her growl is back, new roofed and windshielded, and I’m pleased with the repair, although the deductible could have paid for a new laptop. And then I could migrate my work files. Then I could install Scrivener. Then I could update my website. And then and then and then…

I can’t dwell on what I have no control over. So I’m reading Lisa L. Kirchner’s novel, blazing trails with long walks, and planning my next life-adjusting chapter..

Co-habitation.

We’ll save that for another blog…😉

Time For Something Fresh

Hey ya’ll! I am back. You were missed! Glad we’re together again.

Where was I? Well, I was hospitalized to treat my bipolar disorder; cumulatively I spent 10 days under mental health care. The good news is, the medications that were causing my body disarray have been changed out for medications which keep me quite on the level. 

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These dancing girls, one being lifted, can be found at Weekie Wachee Springs. The best thing you can do for someone with an illness of any type is offer positive support.

Those of you who haven’t experienced psychiatric hospitals probably will lean on films such as “Girl, Interrupted” or even “Shutter Island,” but I encourage you instead to check out a wonderful organization, NAMI.org, to address your concerns. They’re a group that does amazing work at the national and regional level; check out the site for the group nearest you.

While I was being treated, I asked for a journal. I figured I could have an Oscar Wilde moment (sans alcohol and non-prescribed drugs) and just write the entire time there, only to find that my handwriting was completely illegible, due to muscle spasms. It’s been a week now, and I’m able to type (hooray!) and my journal entries are once more legible.

So what should you make of it? I’m still the Von you know and love, I’ve gotten treatment that works, and I have a support system in place to ensure I continue a quality life, which includes you my buddy readers. Meanwhile, am thinking of a fun way to share these experiences with those who wish to know more about bipolar disorder, psychotic breaks, mania, anxiety…maybe pull an Ann Landers and call it, “Ask The Crazy Girl.” 

So…any questions I can field right now?

😀

Time To Switch Gears

What up homie! Long time no speak. I know, I know, but the Internet works both ways!

Me? Oh, been up to all kinds of things. See that picture? Those glasses are not ironic; I really can’t see! But man, are they clearer than my last pair.

Good timing that my Michael Kors-wrapped Coke bottles came in right before we left to North Carolina. Seen the pics I posted during the trip? All shot with my Galaxy S5 embedded camera. I know, right?? Got more to share, but there’s been a hitch in my giddy-up, hence why you haven’t experienced any of my money one-liners and blatherings as of late.

Now, don’t get upset but…the Scribe is dying. Yup, my faithful Samsung is on its last electronic relays. In order to get ‘work’ done, I have to maximize the 20 minutes he’ll give me before blacking out. Every application started, every web page opened, is like flaking off tiny morsels of the last of the cookies I shouldn’t have been scarfing down in the first place. This moment with you now, I savor like the last chunk of chocolate chip covered in warm dough.

There’s also been a development, mental health wise, to the positive. My intuitiveness has peaked interests in my local spiritual scientist community, so I’m going off-road, treatment-wise, to explore empathic intuition. What does that mean? you ask. Well, I don’t know yet. I’m gonna work on that. Then I’ll come back and tell you all about it, cool?

This Memorial Day weekend, I’m preparing two write-ups: a share on WriteBitch and a picture story of my time in the mountains. No stone tablets yet, but awesome nonetheless.

While Scribe enters hospice and I create his progeny, follow me @VonSimeon on Twitter for my latest mad antics!

Yup. This is still happening. It'll be a year in July.
Yup. This is still happening. It’ll be a year in July.

Indie Artist? Time To Shine!

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Full text from Facebook

Mountain Livin’

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New River, North Carolina

View From Above

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Appalachian Overlook, North Carolina

Happy Anniversary, Johnny Saucedo! WE DID IT!

irenes_booksigningMy first book signing. We ran out of books.
 
I actually had to run out to my car for the two books I had in the backseat; luckily, leftovers from an earlier attempt at guerrilla marketing.
 
The last fourteen months of my life living dollar to dollar so I can get published, and now I’m holding 10s of dollars, 20s of dollars, in one hand. I didn’t think I was gonna sell any books tonight, so I didn’t think about maybe having a bank bag or lock box or something to put this money in. I’m so fuckin’ irresponsible.
 
I sold out my first event. Jesus Mahoney Christ, this shit’s really happening!
 
Wow. Just. WOW.
 
4/9/14 @ 11:38pm