Category Archives: Philosophy
(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.
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. 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.
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. Fred fascinated me, in that he was drawn to accommodate any female in our vicinity, including the young prostitute in Apt G. He served as a look out on many drug exchanges, and possibly had a role in the robbery of Apt A. As a reader, you must be thinking this is a foul representation of an unfortunate soul, but it is our truth. I couldn’t improve my situation while all my money was tied into book publishing. Fred was clamoring to keep his shelter, even if it meant eating tainted fish. Fred and I shared despair but celebrated it uniquely. In that sense, our trappings made us unlikely kin.
I am sad Fred is dead. I believe his time here was cut short because his contributions were too desperate. While his soul has departed, he’ll live on for me as the challenge and champion of the 1600 block of Lake Lynn Drive.
This week, Thursday, is my 39th year on Earth. It’ll be a Taurus Moon, and, at its setting, it’ll be the 1st new moon of the month. So, with my return from WordPress hiatus, I warn all of you I may turn into a Minotaur. Don’t let that stop you from buying me a margarita.
The demigod Prince has entered another realm. A day out thrifting, my partner-in-thrift answers a phone call from her roommate. A quick ‘okay’ then she hangs the call. She turns to me and simply states, “Prince died.”
“Uh uh,” I scramble for my phone and seek 3 reliable media sources. I’m not convinced but Yahoo News has it splattered front page. Then other sources turn up. I feel my chest sink. The overhead music shifts to “When Doves Cry.” Just like that. Phone call. Statement. Funeral song.
This is where I share my Prince-related tragedies. Flash to high school, 1994ish, and Excalibur Color Guard is entering its winter season. Traditionally, the juniors and seniors of the troupe put together solo or combo shows for UIL competition. I had a wonderful vision for “When Doves Cry”: a gossamer flag with matching, fluid dress, a thunderous dance routine with a recruited male dancer strong enough to execute lifts. The recruited dancer was my good friend Shamon, who was not only openly, proudly gay but also did. Not. Give. A. Fuck. Shamon’s vision involved much pelvic thrusting and grinding, which, for the music, I felt worked. My director, knowing Shamon, instantly shut us down. Didn’t even get to demonstrate our crotch lift!
Fine. Gotta come up with something…softer. I go to Prince’s “Diamonds and Pearls” era, the song “Seven”:
All seven and we’ll watch them fall
They stand in the way of love
And we will smoke them all
With an intellect and a savior-faire
No one in the whole universe
Will ever compare
I am yours now and you are mine
And together we’ll love through all
Space and time, so don’t cry
One day all seven will die
Can you envision a trio of fiery young women, tossing sabres up around and in exchange with each other, sylphs, seers, soothsayers, aflame with cosmic veneration? Oh! How lovely. Yup, that got shut down too. The music, it turns, was too “sexually suggestive.” Not to soon after, I quit the guard. My farewell solo was a boring sabre-flag dance to Boys II Men.
Thank you Prince, for teaching me to stick to my artistic guns, and not give in to other people’s preferences.
Hospital visits were at an all-time high this year. BF and I are fortunate that we had one solid month of no hospital journeys, but that doesn’t mean we have an all-clear. It is the stuff of all treatment plans: doctors diagnose, assign medications, see what works, and then keep mixing it up until something sticks. My meds have caused terrible difficulty with memory and focus (which is why this blog was put on pause). It’s as if I’ve inherited an attention deficit condition. Thus, I’m not writing much other than in my journal. However, my interest in other mediums has increased. I’m hanging out more with my visual artist friends. I’ll be signing up for some paint and photography parties this summer. Just because I’m not writing doesn’t mean I can’t produce quality art, nor does it mean that my other talents can’t be sourced. I’ve been helping out in various community projects and I’m tickling a proofreading/editing gig which would help finance a Busch Gardens visit at minimum. I’m not giving up on me by a long shot, people. Don’t you dare give up on me either.
And now, random photos for your enjoyment. Happy May, everyone!
Happy 2016 to you! Have you started off right? I sure have! Let’s catch up:
☆ I am blissfully in love and loved in return. February 1st our two houses become one!
♤ Mental health treatment is going well; a slow, careful journey up a steep hill requiring patience. Working on ‘patience’ too.
♡ Authenticity is the name of the game. I’ve scrapped the bent cards from my life deck. Working on solidifying my inner circle (invite only). Nice to have physical friends again.
The biggest update is:
♧ I am expanding my artistic base to dance! Pinellas County Florida is home to the Second Time Arounders Marching Band. Yours truly was a flag, sabre, and rifle-tossing member of Excalibur Color Guard in high school, and I still count those performance moments as the happiest of my turbulent childhood. So, the Universe provided me essentially a second chance at childhood – authentic, healing fun. You have no idea how great it felt to pick up a flag again!
Wanna see me in action? Check out the band’s website for the official 2016 schedule. If you’re in Tampa Bay for Gasparilla, the parade will be my 1st flag performance in 22 years! Come cheer me on!!
Here’s a 1994 video of my last winter guard performance. Look for the backboard with Cupid holding a heart; the girl with the puffy hair in set position is me…
Today the lake water has taken on a pumice hue. Ripples close in like busy worker ants towards the inlet, dumping froth along the coastline. Bitter, the air, the overnight drop in temperature simultaneously welcome and abhored. This morning instead of sipping a cup of coffee I puff on my glass bowl. There’s much work to do, but a cold front means stiff joints and I simply cannot lift couches and move TV stands without healing smoke to start.
A commotion across the room distracts me from the lake. The grey flannel blanket undulates madly, then melts into the mattress. I return to nature-gazing with a smile on my face, thinking of the fiery Ace of Wands Spirit played the other day. Lust; Fire; Passion. Through the Two of Swords Spirit told me, ‘turn that big brain of yours off and let love happen!’ Oh that it is, for sure. I did pull the Princess of Swords. Unfinished struggles. Uncertain proceedings. It was a message about my health. Yes, I nod as I inhale, we’re gonna be experts in self-care this year.
There’s furniture to get rid of, boxes to pack. Walls to paint back to standard white. There wasn’t much hung for decoration until just this past year. Four years at this address, but I only felt like nesting once I had a relationship…oh I get it now. The Ace of Wands had always been in play. Good one, Spirit!
Down to two plates, two bowls, two glasses. Two houses will condense to one, and hearts will grow three-fold. Goodbye Southside, hello Suburbia!
Time to wake the sleeping beast…
Three yellow butterflies fluttered before me, playfully twisting in the warm morning gust accentuating this morning’s walk. Sweat curtained my face way before hitting the mile marker; what is this?? This time last year, a decent chill to temper the swamp, but in 2015, I still have boob sweat!
Walk is over and it’s time to get into General Schwarzkopf mode: we have a two-month campaign to complete. The objective – merge two houses into one!
This is monumental on both fronts. For BF, he’s taken on a commitment which will dynamically shift his lifestyle, all aspects for the better. This will be his first domestic relationship.
For me, it’s a tier short of a miracle. It’s been five years since my divorce. In that grief state, I started to believe I’d end up like my mother – alone, resentful, unfulfilled – so I slowly slipped into that persona. What I couldn’t emote I expressed in written word, and there was much power in releasing that…wrong persona…through art, allowing room for love. Which is why I am so thankful, ever grateful, that BF agreed to living together! And it wasn’t a negotiation, really, it was just a known. Kinda like the night I returned from Oklahoma last summer, sitting on his lap while we smoked on the balcony, he casually mentioning, “I told my friends you’re my girlfriend,” and me responding, “Yeah, I told my friends you’re my boyfriend.” This is simply the most logical, cogent trajectory. And frankly, my heart needs this.
So between my place and his, I’ll be a busy ass bee until the end of January. No time for composing or sharing art, there’s opportunity for that later. For now, I am working on a very delicate, very personal masterpiece: a home.
Days before the cut off, I finally get around to salvaging vonsimeon.com! I tell ya, September was way too distracting to pay attention to WordPress’s many reminder emails. I blame the onslaught of pumpkin spice everything.
Still technologically determined, as repairs to my truck superceded buying a new notebook. I checked out a place in Seminole which offers refurbs and parts for building CPUs, prices comparable to newegg.com.
What can be done then, with this artistic downtime? ‘If you can’t give money, give time’ I always say! During Carmada 2015 I volunteered at the information table for the Nomad Art Bus, brainchild of gifted artist and all around amazing person Carrie Boucher. The mobile studio visits disenfranchised communities, at-risk schools, and other places where art funding is nil; I can totally get behind that! Visit the site and keep gas in the tank with a donation.
Have a wonderful week!
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…
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..
We’ll save that for another blog…😉
Seeing how August turned out, it’s no surprise I went a tad overboard celebrating life via libations. After all, wasn’t it Benny Franks from Philly who said, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”? Welp, I was happy to get out of the hospital, and BF was more than happy to school me on craft beers.
Jeepers I’m so bloated! Tried on a pair of jeans at my favorite thrift store yesterday and oh no…no bueno.
I gotta take a break from beer. This is where you can help; be my substitution?
Now I’m not a reviewer nor am I being paid to promote these places, I just find their beer suitable to my palate, so I expect you’ll be impressed too. All these places are within Pinellas County, and they meet my Beer of Rights, which are:
- There’s gotta be food – not on certain days; every day! I’ve visited some craft breweries which only offer suds. No, no my friend, if you want my patronage, you better have some comida!
- There’s gotta be diversity. There’s a place BF wants to visit but I won’t visit because their menu is entirely India Pale Ales. I don’t care for IPAs. Beer should be for the people, not a select population!
- There’s gotta be happiness. I’ve visited some breweries where it’s clearly a ‘see and be seen’ type of crowd. That kind of thing goes against my goal of community building. I wanna see everyone relaxed, laughing it up, having a positive moment in life, ya know? In short, if I have to put makeup on and figure out an outfit in order to hang out there, that ain’t my kind of scene. Beer = happiness = peace on Earth people; let’s make that a thing!
So you have my requirements, here’s where I need you to sub in whilst I work down this bloat (not ranked in any order, all meet my approval):
Dunedin Brewery – made me fall in love with apricots, menu pairs well with all their beers. Also, live music pretty much every night to amp the ambiance.
Sea Dog Brewery – $3 beers! Three dollars! THREE! Plus they have a Hemingway Saison that’s a meal in and of itself. They have a generous menu, but if you want full dining, they’re connected to Cody’s steak house. Or just toast to Il Papa for three doll hairs.
Rapp Brewery – that’s me and the BF’s Cheers. The manager knows his name, can pretty much make out what we plan to order by the time we get to the counter. I highly super recommend Taco Tuesday for Out of The Pot’s amazing selections.
Thanks for accepting this mission. I’ll get back into a proper 8 and you’ll have a good time drinking.
Slante! Prost! Salud!