Life Inside the Bubble

(I will get to SOS’s visiting day SOON)

My mind has been all over the map.  I visited SOS at an idyllic summer camp, where his best friends are all shapes, sizes, colors, religions, athletes, mathletes, geeks and jocks (ok, quasi jocks).  Yet, the preponderance is white and Jewish, let’s not get carried away.

We drove home that night back to New York City because of ULOB’s condition.  The night has a mournful quality, mused POB.

It was particularly mournful.  On the highway, in the darkening day that gave way to night, I thought about Trayvon Martin and my son.

I don’t know much about the facts (if any) that came out in the case (as opposed to the media) and I didn’t listen very closely to the proceedings.

Why?

Because if the police tell a man who says he is afraid of an “interloper” to stay in his car, and he gets out and goes after the ‘interloper” with a gun, and the “interloper” dies, there is no question that the first man is not only criminally responsible for the death of the “interloper” but, in this case, of felony racism.

It never occurred to me that George Zimmerman would go free.

Not because I don’t have “ist” tendencies — we all do.  But because in my world, I have learned so much from my child and his friends.  Children can teach their parents about life and community, if only parents wouldn’t poison them with prejudice.

Children don’t naturally draw lines; they just want to play with whomever wants to play with them.

But they feel societal “norms” in their bones.  So, when my son was 7, he was having a play date with his best friend, and said to us:  “I just want you to know that he is bi-racial.”  OK, SOS is being raised by two moms. We couldn’t care less. Meanwhile, up in Riverdale, his best friend was telling his parents, “Just want to let you know that [SOS] has two moms.”  And they are a biracial couple and they didn’t care about our sexual orientation.  In fact, we parents are friends, simply because we like each other and we have fun together WITHOUT THE KIDS.

Both sets of parents called each other and immediately giggled and then sighed at our boys who are leading the way.  Our children opened up a way to discuss differences in a way that helped their parents.

“Teach your children well, and their fathers’ hell will slowly go by … “

And sometimes I forget that two generations — including mine — have to die out before our children can make the decisions.

And then Trayvon’s death makes us remember. 

And let’s focus on this young man’s tragic death.  A young man, who died not on the battlefields of Afghanistan with the condolences of a grateful nation, but in a silent and unacknowledged skirmish along race lines.

Did he smoke pot? I don’t know and I don’t care and, hell, I did.  Did he do some bad things? I don’t know and I don’t care and, hell, I did.  But I got a free pass (or six or seven). Why do you think?

Trayvon was a kid.   Did he hit Zimmerman? Hell, I don’t know and I don’t care and, hell, I would, if I got the better of someone after me with a gun.  I would have beat the guy with all my might. I would have kiiled him.

Let’s imagine the worst, and Trayvon was doing something bad.  Trayvon was shot dead. If I were shot dead (and doing something misdemeanor-ish), Zimmerman would be in jail or on death row.

BUT THE PITY OF IT ALL IS THAT WE HAVE TO IMAGINE THE WORST OF TRAYVON.  IF TRAYVON WAS A WHITE , DARTMOUTH FRAT BOY NAMED TREY (OR TRIP), THE ENTIRE POLICE DEPARTMENT WOULD HAVE BEEN FIRED AND THERE WOULD BE A WHOLE CAMPAIGN TO WIPE OUT NON-LICENSED SECURITY SERVICES.

Close your eyes.  And don’t think about the fact that Trayvon is black.  You know the answer.  The same damn answer that has plagued generations.  But, PLEASE, let’s not poison our children who have a real chance not to repeat this travesty.

If George Zimmerman has the right to be judge, jury and executioner, then we all have that right and Zimmerman should be very afraid.  As should we all because then society is irretrievably broken.

Trayvon was a young man — a kid — why did he have to die?

A young man a little older than my son died violently.  And the killer went free.

A killer went free. 

Four words that indict our society.  And the victim was a young person with a life ahead of him, full of hopes, dreams, disappointments, and we hope happiness and success (as he saw it).  Like any of us.

We enabled this to happen.  Look in the damn mirror. 

We should all turn ourselves into local precincts.

Every child is simply too precious to lose to this kind of travesty.

Minding the Elderly Can Age a Person

Today, the paternal side of the Blogger family buried one of our own.  My cousin was not even 37.  Family members spanning nearly a century — 4 generations — were present, as if to beam a harsh light on the tragedy that my cousin would never grow old.

BOB, who flew in from Texas for the funeral, thought that we should visit Mom’s brother, Uncle L., the last surviving uncle of blogger (ULOB), and that he should meet ULOB’s paramour (POULOB).

SIDEBAR:  Why not make it the day a total beat-down?  In for a little hearbreak, in for a trifecta.   Like that penny and pound thing.

This was so last minute.  And I didn’t want ULOB to think that BOB would come to town and not see him (even though that does happen from time to time).  So, I call ULOB from the car on our way back from the funeral and tried to frame the narrative:

“Hi, Uncle, it’s [Blogger].  [BOB] just came into town at the last minute for a [paternal Blogger] family funeral.  We didn’t want to call to early to wake you [ULOB sleeps until noon].  We would like to stop by and visit this afternoon.”

“Can I invite [POULOB]?”

“Of course.  Does 4pm work?”

“See you then.”

Great.  Death. Destruction. Tears. Lamentations. And a visit to the apartment that is gross by the slums-of-Calcutta standards.  I guess I am not getting a nap today.

BOB and I walked [3 miles] to ULOB’s apartment.  It was good to talk to BOB.  I don’t think we have an hour to talk just the two of us in three decades.

But, we were running late.  So I called ULOB’s apartment.  No answer.  Hmmmm.  Odd.

We arrive at his building.  He lives on the fourth floor of a five story walk-up in what is formerly known as Hell’s Kitchen.  We buzz his intercom.  No answer.

I call again his phone again.  No answer.  BOB leans his palm on ULOB’s buzzer.  I go inside the first door (which is never locked) and start buzzing every apartment in the building until someone lets us in.

We walk up four flights to his apartment.  There is a radio blasting.  We go inside his apartment (don’t you mind the details), expecting to find a body.  BOB says helpfully, “you know, bad things happen in threes, so this would be event no. 2.”

SIDEBAR: BOB needs a refresher in the Blogger family protocol, as in “unhelpful comments in scary, potentially life and death situations are punishable by a different kind of scary, life and death situation.”  Rule No. 3, for those of you following in the handbook.

The place looks like it has been ransacked.  BOB is a little rattled, but I remind him that that is usually what the place looks like.  I am still calm.  I start to look around for a body.  The stench of 54 years of filter-less cigarettes would cover any smell of a decomposing body.

No body here.  Thank G-d.  But nobody here either, so he must be dead in the street.

BOB and I decide not to panic.  Instead, we sit at an outdoor cafe doing our version a TV crime drama stake-out, only with cocktails.  I watch his building while BOB looks for him along the street.

We leave countless more messages on ULOB’s message machine in case he shuffled in while traffic was stopped and a bus obscured my view.

ULOB doesn’t have a cell phone.  We don’t have any contact information on POULOB except her address and her phone number is unlisted.  (I tried.)  This is the time when I wish I didn’t avoid information about her and just embraced her, regardless of their relationship’s beginnings.  Sometimes, principles just bite you in the ass.

SOB knows POULOB’s phone number.  Except, SOB is in London. My phone is running out of juice. And I am rattling off phone numbers to BOB as my phone dies.

BOB calls SOB, “Hey, [SOB], [ULOB] is a no-show at his house.  But he isn’t dead IN his house.  We need POULOB’s number.  Oh, I love you, [BOB]by.”

We abandon our stake-out after 1.5 hours.  Police work is not for me, unless lubricated with a nice cabernet.  BOB goes to Dad’s to have dinner with him.  I go home, preparing myself to call hospitals or go to POULOB’s house and knock on the door.

I get home. The doorman hands me a message from ULOB and POULOB. They were here, thinking the gathering was here. The message says they are at a nearby restaurant. I RUN there.  We clear up the miscommunication.  POULOB says ULOB told her we were having a gathering either at 2, 3 or 4.  They opted for 4:15. Ok, I am not so devastated about missing them.

I say, “we were at a funeral, although I could understand the mix-up”.  Wow, cabernet is the opposite of a truth serum.  Because, who, in the world invites guests, who don’t know the deceased, to a post-funeral gathering?

We resolve the following things:

  • ULOB needs a cell phone.
  • POULOB needs all of our contact information and we, hers, because she is here to stay.  And she does take really good care of ULOB.
  • Nobody dies on my watch.  And when I say nobody, I also mean no body on my watch.

I did remember to text SOB that we were really sorry we gave her a heart attack, especially when she would get care in the UK hospital system.  I called Dad to tell him to tell BOB that all is well, but Dad already started cocktail hour, so at some point I ask him to pass the phone to his attendant, because I could not live another moment in loopy land.

This Abbott and Costello afternoon happened on the heels of the real tragedy — my young cousin’s untimely death.  Today I experienced universal grief, elderly confusion and existential anxiety, some at both ends of the spectrum of life.

For now, I am grateful to be in the middle.

 

Lost and Found

I left off about my aunt’s sister in my blog entry: http://40andoverblog.com/?p=5014.  I have learned much since but it was hard for me to reconcile the information.  My aunt’s blood nephew found his other aunt, thought dead for so many years, in an institution in New York City.

My aunt’s nephew, whom I want to claim as my family, is a good man.  His mother’s papers left no clue, either, that a sister was alive.  He is trying to do the right thing in a fractured family.  He is also trying to find out about his family.  Only a scrap of paper in my aunt’s files gave him a clue an aunt might be alive and he followed the trail until he found her.

She is 88 years-old.  She was never “quite right” in her youth and her mental state has deteriorated beyond any ability to communicate.  (Would she have deteriorated so, if she had family to support her?)  She can provide no information about the family nor, we think, can she experience any solace that, after so many decades, a man she never knew existed came to claim her as his family and do the right thing.  At long last.

But my newly-minted cousin can’t undo the decades of neglect by siblings — both his mother and my aunt — who lived within miles of her.

I asked my uncle yesterday, “how could this be that Aunt [blank] had a sister who needed help?”  My uncle shrugged.  He had no idea that everyone wasn’t dead.  No one asked questions “in the old days”.

At long last, someone stood up for this woman.  But it was too long in coming.  Far too long to make a difference.

Now the weight of the tragedy is on our generation.

We must teach our children: Never again.  Never ever again.

The Sun Will Come Out Next Week

I have decided that my sad, ponderous, navel-gazing blog entries will end next week. Come this time next Saturday, I will be outraged, outrageous, funny (sometimes), weird, providing too much information, and otherwise being my usual inappropriate self on my blog.

As soon as Aunt R is buried (finally) tomorrow, my dear friend’s 53 year-old brother is buried on Monday and we commemorate Mom’s TENTH Yahrzeit on Friday, I believe that the pall will lift.  And, maybe, I will entitle my entry next Saturday, “The Day After a Fortnight of Three Funerals, a Brain Injury, and No Weddings”.

Nothing on that day will make Dad healthy or sane again, or reverse Uncle L’s precipitous decline since Aunt R’s death on Christmas Day, but there will be, G-d willing, a respite from seemingly endless death and destruction and chaos.

I am still learning this hard lesson of life:  as I get older, I will lose people — sometimes a few at a time — and still I must balance these gut-wrenching events with laughter, silliness and irreverence.   (And, in fact, there have been some very comical moments during these trying times that can only be told after the passage of time.)

But, learn, I must and I will.  Because that is the only way I can survive and see the beauty and fun and happiness in my life (for which I am eternally grateful).  Otherwise, the pain will consume me, and dim the lights in my eyes and estrange my friends and family.

And then, I will have only succeeded in adding another casualty to the list of those loved ones who are dead or dying: ME.

 

Whence comes the light out of this darkness?

Last night, at our family Chanukah gathering, my cousin and I got into a conversation about the shooting in Newtown.  His premise was that we were being egocentric about this being a tragedy in comparison to what happens the world over — and especially in comparison to the children who die each day from our drone warfare.

I accept all he says as true.  If the United States is killing children, then those who order those attacks are war criminals.  But, just because it happens the world over, doesn’t mean that we should just sit back, throw our hands up and look away.

I cannot change Afghanistan or Congo or Somalia or . . . fill in the blank.  But I can stop my neighbor or my fellow American from spewing NRA-sponsored platitudes.

It must start somewhere.

I asked my cousin, “what am I, as a parent, to do?  Just put this in a larger geo-political context and just accept that human life is cheap?”  “My job,” I told him, “is to protect my child.  And I am not sure that I can do that when mentally ill people have access to guns.”  “Well,” he said, “you can tell your children that you will try to keep them safe but you can’t promise.”

OK OK OK OK OK OK.

My child deserves my unconditional promise that I will keep him safe.  Every child, the world over, deserves his or her parent’s unconditional promise.

Now, the work begins:

What do I need to do to make that unconditional promise to my child?

Stand up to the conventional wisdom.  People with guns kill more people than people without guns.  And, as a society, allowing a mentally ill person to buy (or have access to) a gun is the same as everyone of us driving the shooter to the school and giving him extra ammunition.  We all need to point the finger in the mirror.

Yeah, we need to solve the fiscal cliff and avoid upsetting the Republicans.  Yes, we need to tiptoe around the NRA with its $250,000,000 lobbyist fund.  Yes, we need to wait for someone to do something.

BULL SHIT.

I have a promise to keep.  And, I better get busy.

Marching, donating, talking to people and pressuring our political leaders.

And be ready to throw myself in the way of a bullet spray should it come to that.

Lunchtime in the Coffee Shop of the Living Dead

I went down for a quick lunch with Dad.  We went to a nearby place that isn’t good, has bad service and smells like a bad diner.  But it is popular for the over-senile/decrepit set because it is a close walk from many once-bustling-high-rises-now-de-facto-old-age-homes (welcome to the Sutton Place area).   At the diner, there is a special area for canes and walkers, once the elder has been seated.  There are less chairs available than one would think necessary because — well — the proprietors need to accommodate wheelchairs. 

Dad looks better than most there. 

As we are looking at the menu, he says, “I don’t remember when I last had a hamburger.” 

Sidebar:  I think BUT DO NOT SAY, “Of course, you don’t remember, Dad.  It was last Saturday when we had this same conversation at the other diner, you know the one that is far enough away so there are fewer undead people there?  You had a hamburger.”

Still, Dad sometimes surprises me by retaining information from one day to the next.  “How was POB’s job interview?” he asked.  Whoa, POB told him about it on Thursday.  Awesome job, Dad.

I know many of the peope in the Diner of the Living Dead from the neighborhood.  I grew up here.  One, who is Dad’s friend, came over and wanted to talk to me only, almost ignoring Dad and Dad’s health aide (are people invisible?). 

Odd because he is usually a warm and friendly, if homophobic, guy. 

He was clearly in despair.  He needed home heath care information for his companion of decades.  Her kids were handling matters without talking to him and he didn’t know what to do.  He didn’t even bother to brag about his daughter’s life as a married, wealtlhy, successful, procreative heterosexual.  Now, that was a red flag for how the situation has deteriorated.

I listened and gave him what information I could.  He seemed unable to cope with the little I was able to offer.  I will follow up with him but I think he needs care, too. 

Sidebar: I might have to call his daughter.  I will start the conversation with, “as a married, well-to-do (before the crash), successful (before the crash), procreative (after a fashion) homosexual to you, the person I was supposed to be: get your ass back to New York and take care of your dad.” 

After the conversation, Dad said in a sad but resigned way, “he doesn’t look or sound so good.”  I nodded. 

And then I screamed so Dad could hear (relying on the deafness of those around me):

“Dad, you are doing so much better and you had a brain bleed that shorted out some electricity!!” 

We are nothing if not blunt.

Phoenix rises, then stumbles. Repeat.

Take anti-nausea pills before reading.  It is a little like being a castaway at sea.

Dad came home yesterday afternoon.  He was relieved to be home.  There is an amazing “muscle memory” about being home.  He knew how to motor around the house to find the things he wanted even though he was wobbly on his feet and could not put the words together to talk to us.  Also, we ordered a wheelchair, a walker and a cane because we didn’t know his needs.

Shortly after he got home, he wanted very much to call the United Jewish Appeal but the reason made no sense.  And it was the Sabbath.  His frustration was rising and logic wasn’t working.  So I dialed POB’s cell and I said (actually, I was desperately directing her), “Dad needs to speak to the UJA, so pretend.”  I passed the phone to Dad, and turned up the volume so SOB and I could hear.  “Hello, Mr. [DOB], this is “Rachel” from the UJA.  Thank you for your pledge . . . .”  She went on until Dad said, “ok, thank you very much.” Dad was satisfied and almost looked as if he would nap . . .  Nah, no luck.

Sidebar:  POB should be nominated for an Academy Award, since she performed while on a crowded bus with SOS, who was quite confused.  (She told him that we were testing his phone skills and SOS loved the cloak and dagger of it.)

SOS was scared to see Grandpa injured.  We were all scared of the future.  BOB was busy cleaning out all of his junk mail and organizing recent files.  Man on a mission. We all found ways to soothe our individual terror at our new reality.

When SOS, POB and HOSOB arrived, we all gathered around and went through recent pictures to jog his memory.  SOB and I had previously gone out shopping and HOSOB brought some liquid relaxation (wine).  By this point, it was “cocktails and hors d’oeuvres” hour because that is the way one does things in Dad’s house.  Since he wasn’t so steady on his feet, we pretended to give him a “scotch” but it was club soda.  The upside of a little dementia — he thought it was scotch.

Cousin Gentle arrived later on.  By the time we ate dinner, he knew that he was surrounded by family, and very happily so, but only remembered the names of the eldest, Cousin Gentle, and the youngest, SOS.  Also, his evening attendant ate with us, so we could weave her into the fabric of the day (and she is lovely in any event).  BOB stayed until today, so at around 9:30, the rest could leave for much deserved rest.

Sidebar:  At this stage, rest is elusive.  Sleep is a non-starter.

The night was long and difficult according to BOB. And BOB looked like he hadn’t slept.

By morning, Dad was better, but still inconsistent in strength, gait and comprehension.  Dad was using the walker and BOB was playing in the wheelchair.  BOB challenged Dad to a race.  It was actually very funny to watch them go back and forth.  A little insanity amid pervasive insanity is very healing.  And it demonstrated that Dad’s personality is intact.  It is his memory that needs work.

He started to nod off after lunch and had a long nap. SOB and I went out to get supplies and some fresh air because we were either trying to keep Dad engaged or listen for any sign of a problem while he slept.  We saw this in the drug store and thought it captured our feelings — we just wanted to SCREAM out of fear, frustration, lack of control, uncertainty of the future, you name it:

And, then.  And, then.  Good ol’ Phoenix.

He woke up able to walk without any support but the real proof that Dad was Phoenix rising was that he did not go for the fake scotch at cocktail hour.  I had to put a little scotch in the club soda so there was a faint smell of liquor.  Dad was still not happy but mollified somewhat.

POB and SOS came over for a surprise visit at dinner because SOS wanted to see Grandpa and he was sad that SOB and I might be lonely and scared “alone” with Dad.

Sidebar:  I can take no credit for the soulfulness, generosity and sense of family that is in my son’s heart.  POB is responsible.

POB was talking to Dad and he had some good recall of random things.  And, he was even grousing about the fake cocktail.  I overheard this, and I said, “Dad, you have to earn that cocktail!!  Get strong, get steady, get your memory back!!”  Everyone laughed.  My father saluted me.  He knows his kids are his bosses — his essential personality shining through.

It was time for him to go to sleep. The attendant was going to help him wash up.

I kissed him and said, “Goodnight, Daddy, I love you.”

“Goodnight, my darling, I love you.”

“Can you tell me my name?”

He hesitated.  “Maybe tomorrow.”

“Ok, Daddy, maybe tomorrow.”

Maybe, tomorrow. 

More on the Basic Foundations

Our camp alma mater starts with “[t]he basic foundations of Wingate are expressed in what we advocate: be kind to others, know oneself, value knowledge and strive to create….”

Today I tried to live up to the first principle: be kind to others.

First a little back story that Wingaters know because I posted on our super-secret-decoder-ring-required Facebook page (with some edits):

Last night, I hopped the bus from the gym to home. It was 9:15pm. There was a confused elderly lady on the bus who was talking to the bus driver.  The bus driver was impatient and short with this woman and dismissed her with, “switch buses at 110th Street for the M4”.  OK, great.  Really helpful, Ms. Bus Driver.

The old woman, Joan (as I later learned), seemed concerned that she would navigate this transfer successfully.  She kept asking others on the bus, “is this 110th?”.  So, I piped up that I was getting off at her stop (not true) and would help her make the transfer.

I couldn’t bare the thought of a confused person with limited night vision trying to find the bus stop around the corner from where the bus driver let us off.

I thought this woman could have been my mother if she were still alive.  She is, in fact, the mother of two (as I later learned). But, all that matters is that she is a person in the world whose mind and body were failing and who needed a helping hand.

I waited with her until the bus came because she wouldn’t let me pay for a cab. I think she wanted the company.  As we chatted, she told me about her life, her late husband, her children.  She was a school administrator at Trinity School in New York City.  She told me her name and where she lived.  She kept repeating her phone number so I could call her.  She gave me, as a stranger, too much information for her own safety.  But her loneliness made my heart ache, so when she asked for my business card, I gave it to her.

I tracked down one of Joan’s children on the Internet and called him this morning to tell him that his mother was traveling late last night, and she was confused, lost and alone. He is aware of the problem but “she won’t listen”. He said, short of committing her, there was nothing he could do. I tried to develop a rapport by talking about my elderly and lonely dad and how we kids navigate this situation.  He sighed and hmmm’ed.  I said she seemed very lonely and I asked her when he last saw her. He said FIVE years and that should just show me how stubborn she was and how he HAD to throw in the towel. Really? Painful? yes. Give up? No. Inexcusable.

His sister is supposed to take care of things now. She is at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore (Joan told me). I don’t know her married name and he wouldn’t tell me. I told him about services in Joan’s area.  I asked him to please tell his sister what happened.

I know he will do nothing. But she has my business card so she may call.  If she remembers who I am.

I shared this with my Wingate camp friends.  One commented, “Do parents give up on children? No.  Children shouldn’t give up on them.”  Another said, “I know very good geriatricians and helpers in her area.  I can give you names.”  SOB offered names for a psychological evaluation at a local hospital.  Others chimed in their support.

It was hard to hear the sadness in Joan’s voice, experience the forgetfulness of Joan’s mind and see the fear in Joan’s eyes.  It is scary to think that Joan might call me and draw me into her world.  Extending a helping hand is harder than writing a check.  It can getting messy, frustrating and time-consuming.

The basic foundations of Wingate are guiding principles for living a purposeful and enriched life, not an easy life.  Step 1: Be kind to others.

Another Gut Check Moment in New York City

I don’t take cabs as much any more — economical and environmental reasons — but so often when I do take cabs, I learn life lessons from the drivers.

Thursday night was no different.  The driver had a French African accent I found hard to understand and identify. After we both understood our destination, I asked, “Where are you from?

Africa.

Where in Africa?

Burkina Faso.”  This was the first time I had ever met anyone from there.  And now that I am used to the cadence of his English, he is very well-spoken.

I have heard of it. It used to be called Upper Volta.” I said more for my benefit as if telepathically showing to my parents — one dead, one alive — that there was something to my liberal arts education after all, even amid the four years of debauchery.

Is your family there?” I continue.

Yes.

That must be hard. Do you see them?” (Of course, I make that inappropriate assumption that others have families like mine, whom I would dearly miss.)

Ten years.

How long have you been here?

Ten years.

Do you have a family here?

I come with my friend.

My friend. Ahhhhhhhh.

I am a lesbian; is your friend a man?

Yes.” He says with openness but no relief.  We weren’t navigating the great divides between our lives.  We were just able to be less vague and more truthful.  I was still a white, well-heeled American sitting in the back of his cab and he was the refugee driving me around and trying to make a life in a strange and, at times, harsh city.

And you can’t go home?

I would be killed.  Even by my family.

We reached our destination.

I am glad you are here and I am sorry that you had to leave your home.”  Not a brilliant sentence but heartfelt, even if for a stranger.

It is the punishment.

“It is the punishment.”  As much as this man traveled to be free, he carries the homophobia inside.  Two people in the same car, worlds apart.

Something. Anything.

Some days (ok, weeks), I feel in suspended animation, waiting for a sign, a direction, something.  I don’t think it is just me alone; the news, the economy, the pundits all talk about uncertainty and the absence of bold action.  Universal stagnation.

The Eurozone has been on the verge of collapsing, or recovering, for months.  Every day, European leaders are frantically accomplishing nothing while “contagion” threatens to spread.  

And who let Cyprus into the euro-zone?  Aren’t Greece and Turkey still fighting over that island?  Does it really need a bail-out or did it just get in line because it didn’t want to be left out of all the fun?

And, of course, we on the other side of the big pond are frightened and our markets volatile and businesses unsure. 

So we sit.  And we wait.  This is like watching a documentary on the Black Death Plague in slooooooow moooooootion. 

And the Supreme Court doesn’t often hand down a landmark decision that also tosses a curve ball into a presidential election (ok, other than in 2000) and so the Supremes are teasing this out to the very last day.  Ok ok ok, Messrs. and Mses. Justices, we all agree that you are so fabulous and powerful.  Now, give us the f%@#ing decision, ok?

So we sit.  And we wait.  And I wonder why some of the Justices don’t like broccoli so much, and why that seems absurdly relevant to the court decision. 

And then there is Taxmaggedon: the economic cliff that our nation slides off on January 1, 2013.  We spent too much on our national credit card and still no one wants to admit that, first, we need to pay the bill and, then, we can shoot the spendthrifts.

So we sit.  And we wait.  And I wonder why every event has to have a catchy (or actually not-so-catchy) name in order to signal that it is a big deal.  Taxmaggedon is apparently catchier than “elected officials not doing their jobs and compromising for the good of our nation and our economy”.  I think “Operation Nero” might be better, althought Congress is playing with something other than its collective fiddle.

And then there are Syria and Iran.  Syria has a vague “window of time” until it implodes with civil war.  Iran has a vague “window of time” before it can explode a nuclear bomb.  What should we do?  And when?

So we sit.  And we wait. And what does a window have to do with time, anyway?  And if it turns out we blew that window with Iran, do I really need to keep saving for retirement or going to the gym?

I could go on.  (No, really, I could.)  And I fear that either the resolutions that won’t come or, if they do, they give rise to more questions and more uncertainty.  

Sooo, I’m sittin’ and I’m watchin’ and I’m waitin’ . . . .