SUN!

little girl outdoorsThe day is beautiful.  There must be something redeeming in that statement but I’m afraid that means nothing while I’m sitting here inside.  I did a bunch of bitching when the weather was no so great.  Last winter was either ice or snow for the most part.  Technically we are still in spring, but it’s a lot more like summer out there and I’m here at home, only stepping outside to have a smoke.  The weather is beautiful.  No rain.  No hail.  The few clouds in the sky are afraid to even show themselves on a day like today.  Only the most brave and puffy are lingering in the spring fresh air.

Most of you are probably screaming through the monitor to get my butt from this house and get some sun.  I have the option of going to a pool for Chrissakes, but I’m still here typing.   Don’t get me wrong, I love the beautiful weather.  There something so simple as to get into my car and not have to worry about whether I will have to have a cover on my skin, or even have to trudge through feet of snow, dig out my car, and pray I don’t become the a tree’s worst nightmare, sliding out of control on ice.  Maybe it’s too beautiful.  Yeah, I’ve set it.  With a week of rain coming up in the forecast, I need to take advantage of this perfect day, or living with the Noah effect will make it all the more precious.

I’ve thought about it.  I really need to get out of here.  But here is my dilemma, what am I going to do?  With all these options what could I do? What would I want to do?  If I lived in Key West, I know what to do, go to the beach.  What else would you do?  Here in mostly landlocked Pennsylvania there really isn’t much to do.  I don’t want to spend money, for what?  Sun?  Most of the time it’s free, assuming there is enough sunscreen on you that you don’t wind up paying for it in the end.   I know that is just my negativity talking, but there is something to be said for stage 3 melanoma to ruin a guy’s day.

Sun has always been a component of my family; picnics, outside parties, etc.  It was the great gatherer; start the grill and they will come.  Hot and sweaty sizzling under the great orange ball in the sky was part of every childhood summer.  There was always a weekend holiday party to be present at.  Meeting the relatives.  Chowing down on food, going home, and lying in bed realizing kind of what it was like to feel like a lobster in a pot of boiling water.   I look back fondly, although at the time I was wonder what the fuck did I do to deserve all this itchy peeling skin in places I didn’t know I had.   If I wanted peeling skin, I could have avoided the sun and put rubber cement or Elmer’s glue on, wait for it to dry and then peel it off.   NO PAIN!

Cars are whizzing by, I can see though my window.   Trees are all green and smiling, are caressing the gentle breeze.  Joggers run up and down the hill next to me.  Squirrels jump and frolic in the high dandelioned grass, playing tag.  A bird just bumped my window.  Mosquitos are even on the job, sucking blood from unsuspecting naked arms and legs.  This could be a great memory.  I could be lying in bed later in the week, unable to get up because of the drearies brought on by the copious amounts of rain thinking of this time, when once I decided to step from the safety of my apartment, to bask in the rays of the great life giver in the sky.  I could, or I could just watch more television.

The Luck of the Irish

wpid-2011-03-26_14-29-20_594.jpgThis St. Patrick ’s Day I’ll be flying to Wisconsin.  Why Wisconsin you ask?  I say, “Why not Wisconsin?”  Unlike many other of the jobs I have in life, I have one that pays me, and they are sending me to Wisconsin.  So while you are downing a green pint of brew, on the sunny porch of some Irish pub, remember me, sitting in Philadelphia Airport, waiting for the plane, and then my layover in Detroit.  Have a second shot of Tullamore Dew or 18 year old Jameson Whiskey, and drink a toast to me (if you can’t think of Mother, potatoes, corned beef, whiskey, beer or anything else to toast.)

St. Patrick’s Day has always been something sacred in our family; a shot of Tulllamore Dew (gross stuff) with The Old Man, some Killian’s Irish Red beers, and old Phillies Cigars (my Dad’s favorite, I don’t know why), freezing our asses off in his garage.  This was our big bonding movement of the year, the one time we accept that we do have some Irish blood in our veins, and soon to be Irish vomit on the floor of the garage.

My Aunt Betty and Uncle John (Murphy) used to have St. Patrick’s Day parties in their suburban NJ, detached two car garage, but like all of us in later years, it’s become too much work.  Grand parties they were.   Everyone turned out for their parties, neighbors, friends, relatives, and anyone else that might have passed by the blocked off street.  All were welcome and everyone had a grand time.   It was also a chance to catch up with the relatives I don’t get to see;  my Cousin Renee, Cousin Danny, and Cousin Jimmy as well as to have a drink with Uncle John (who used to call me, “Palsy Walsy” and everyone after a few).  A big bear hug from my uncle, or a crushing handshake, and you felt part of the family.  There was a one person band playing (guitar, harmonica, drum, and a bass pad with his feet) old Irish tunes that a few knew the lyrics to, and the other just made it up through their slurred speaking.  Some songs were sad some had us doing a jig, and after a few beers there were a bunch on the dance floor, enjoying the day.  Bad snows be damned on a party day, and cold?  After a few beers there wasn’t any cold; the keg was flowing and the whiskey too and the music kept you moving.   I miss those parties, but the greatest part is I can always remember them, the people and the fun I had.

Have a happy and safe St. Patrick’s day.

Believe it or not this was a Blue Moon with green food dye I had one St. Patrick’s Day.

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Peculiar Sunday

I was dropping off recycling on Sunday with Kim when she asked to see the gym I have at the apartment complex.  The two of us are planning to move together sometime over the holidays.  The two of us will be in my one bedroom plus den apartment.  I’m doing what I can to make her feel at home.   She’s been spending more and more with me and I think the two us will do well together.   We already told the news to our parents (yes, even at 45+ years old we feel the need), with positive responses.

On the way back there is a yellow 4X4 upside down in the road.  The scene was chaotic.  If we hadn’t stopped to look at the gym we might have been involved with the accident.  If I had headed directly to recycling, and back we might have missed the accident all together.  It was strange.  There were two other already on their cells calling in the incident.  Kim tried to comfort the gentleman who tried to climb out of his car’s missing driver’s window.  There wasn’t anyone else in the vehicle.   The police got there fairly quick and told us to take off, as none of us saw the accident.

In the evening, Kim and I were watching Happy Madison, a movie Kim thought I should see, and had been on TV.  At 8pm the lights went out.  Black.  The whole neighborhood was black.  I’ve had blackouts frequently in that apartment that lasted a few minutes but after 9 it appeared it was going to much longer.  I scrambled for candles and a flashlight and we sat and drank orange Tazo tea and the donuts from Smokey Bones we had brought home.

The two of us sitting in the near dark brought us thoughts of the day.  The man in the car was one of them.  Was he ok?  Was he a ghost in the flickering flames of the candles?  Audrey, my cat, was also acting weird.  Her eyes would bug out and look through us.  The two of us got chills down our back as we started to freak out.  That tapped into our memories of peculiar paranormal from our childhoods, which added to our shivers.   We decided to go to bed and hide under the covers, because, of course, ghosts can’t go.

The lights came on at 2am.  I went around resetting the clocks and turning off the lights.  About 3am a storm came on, whistling through the windows and the rain pounded.   Dramatic night!

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EJ Eisman is the author of the novels Spoon Girl and Malaise, pubished by AuthorHouse. He resides in Reading, PA and is also a musician, artist, playwright, actor and filmmaker.