Saxon’s Spontaneous Day

I am not prone to spontaneity. I am a planner. I am a researcher of planning. I need prior notice of at least 2 days in order to engage in any activity.

Yesterday was a tentative new leaf for me. It started with Emma and me talking about a story I wanted to spontaneously write where three cocky teenagers wake up in the morning to discover they’re 55 and possess an AARP card.

“When they wake up and look in the mirror they scream. One of them is well endowed and discovers what all women discover—gravity,” I said.

“One of them has gone deaf from listening to his iPod so loud. He hears things wrong all the time,” Emma said.

“And one of them goes bald. His buddy tells him when they go back to normal to enjoy his hair while he still has it.”

I spontaneously decided I needed a new wheelbarrow. We went to Tahlequah Lumber to purchase it. Emma and I accompanied the sales clerk out front to get my wheelbarrow. It was red. I recalled a poem about a red wheelbarrow. I told Emma, “A red wheelbarrow reminds me of that poem by William Carlos Williams. Did you know he was also a physician? Just imagine if he’d been a gynecologist. He might have written a poem about…”

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Emma clamped her hand over my mouth. “What?” I asked, my voice muffled.

We decided to check out Tahlequatics , the new water park in town. It was here that I reached the zenith of my  truly spontaneous day. “Let’s go get our suits and come back for a swim. My family seemed to ponder this like it was some kind of trick. “I mean it. We’ll just go for a nice dunk. I’m being spontaneous, remember?”

“I don’t know. Do we even know where the beach towels are?” Layce said.

“Of course,” Emma said. “Saxon packed them all up and put them in the beach bag along with the 75  SPF sunscreen at the end of last summer. She put it in the attic next to the Survival Bag.”

“Survival bag?” Layce asked.

“Yeah, the one that contains extra shoes, a first aid kit, bottled water, a map of the United States, a hundred dollars in small bills, thirty dollars in quarters, energy bars, canned goods, a flashlight, a condensed family album that covers the years 2000-2015, our passports and birth certificates, oh, and a whistle,” Emma said.

Good kid, she had perfect recall. I beamed at her proudly.

Layce threw caution to the wind and asked, “Why do we need a Survival Bag?”

“In case of a terrorist attack, a tornado or a dystopian government. We might have to make a run for Canada before they take Emma away and put all us gay people in internment camps,” I said.

“How much does this bag weigh?” Layce asked. She was evidently wondering how we’re going to run with such a heavy bag. Now, I knew she was on board with my running for the border plan.

“It’s heavy, but Saxon said that’s why people have children so they can carry the heavy things when their parents get old,” Emma replied.

We changed into our bathing suits and returned to Tahleaquatics. Layce made the pertinent inquiries—cost, hours of operations and the rules and regulations. The cashier told her someone puked in the pool. It would take approximately an hour to thoroughly clean it. Meanwhile I’d been standing there trying to figure out how come no one was in the pool. Was it some sort of 1960’s sit-in?

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“We have to wait an hour until they get the pool cleaned up,” Layce informed us.

“Ask them how long ago the puking thing happened,” I said.

“No, I’ve already asked a bunch of questions,” she replied.

I walked up to the window. “So how long ago did the vomit incident occur?”

“Huh?” the kid at the desk said.

“How long ago did the puke-thing happen?” I rephrased.

The kid looked at the clock. “Thirty minutes ago.”

My spontaneous moment crumbled a bit. If I had planned for this we would have been less spontaneous and took our time changing instead of running around gathering supplies and flying out of the house. We would have arrived never knowing that the vomit incident had occurred. Instead, we’d rushed into it. I sighed. I didn’t have a contingency plan for public vomiting.

“We’ll wait,” Layce said.

We sat and waited. The air fairly crackled with anticipation. We all stared at the pool—waiting for the okay signal. My spontaneous mood was seriously falling apart at this point. If I had planned our outing this never would have happened.

Emma laid down on her towel so she was facing away from the pool. Smart, I thought. No sense staring at what one cannot currently have—it was a spontaneously good plan.

A boy walked by and stopped. “Are those your shoes?” he said, pointed to Emma’s Crocs.

Emma sat up and turned to him. “Yes,” she replied.

“Nice shoes for a pretty girl.”

Emma blushed. It was so cute. What a spontaneously romantic moment, I thought. “That boy is going to get a lot of tail. He already knows about women. He compliments her shoes and then tells her how pretty she is,” I said.

Emma stuck her fingers in her ears. “Stop.”

“I’m just sayin’.”

“Ugh,” she replied.

There was a loud whistle. The pool was declared safe. Everyone leapt in the water. My heart swelled, I was so filled with what can only be called spontaneous joy.

Maybe this spontaneous thing wasn’t so bad after all.

By the way this blog was spontaneously written.

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THE LADY BUG

Layce and I were going on a walk as part of our exercise program. We stepped out on the porch. She saw the stuffed animal—a lady bug—sitting on our porch swing. She looked at me and said, “Why is there a stuffed animal on our porch?”

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“I’m jealous of the Eeyore lady.”  There is a house we walk by that has a stuffed Eeyore in the front yard. Eeyore moves around the yard every few days. One day he’s under a tree, two days later he’s on the porch and the next day he’s on a fence post. The moving Eeyore has become a highlight of our walks. I continue my explanation, “I think the Eeyore lady is really falling down on the job. Eeyore doesn’t move around as much as he used to. He’s been sitting on the bench for three days now. I’d call that slacking. I feel it’s my civic duty to take up the slack.”

“And you want to do this because?” Layce asked.

“Because I want to spread a little joy in the world.”

“How is having a large stuffed lady bug sitting on our porch swing going to accomplish that?”

“When we walk by the Eeyore house don’t we always look to see if she’s moved Eeyore? And aren’t we a little disappointed when she hasn’t?”

“Okay.”

“So I want to give the people who drive by our house a little chuckle before they go to work. Not everyone likes their job. We get to follow our joy by having a job we love—writing. See, when they drive by each day they’ll look for “Lady,” that’s her name, and see where we’ve moved her. It might be the highlight of their day.”

At that moment, Emma came out the front door and did a double-take at the lady bug. “Why is there a stuffed lady bug sitting on our porch swing?”

Layce looked at me and then at her. “Just roll with it.”

Emma said, “That doesn’t answer my question.”

I answered, “I’m spreading joy. Do you think we could put her on the porch roof as one of her daily locations?”

Layce sighed heavily and walked away.

“I think we can get her on the roof. We can tie a fish line around her neck and throw her up there then we can still retrieve her later without having to use a ladder, which you view as a safety hazard,” Emma said.

“That’s my girl,” I said proudly.


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MOTHER’S LITTLE HELPER

I never really understood the lyrics to that Rolling Stone song. I knew it wasn’t about a newfangled mop head or a Eureka pull-behind vacuum or the invention of Pledge. It’s about Valium.

This is my experience with Mother’s Little Helper:

I had been scheduled for an epidural. Now for those of you who have healthy backs and not in the know, an epidural is a big, long needle that is stuck through your back and into the nerves of your spine. The inflamed nerves that are causing leg pain and numbness are pumped with steroids to help with the symptoms that pinched nerves create.

syringe

Being needle phobic, even though I’m not exactly going to see the very long needle, I was understandably nervous. The doctor gave me a Valium prescription for two 10 mg tablets. He said take one when you leave the house and another when you’re half an hour outside of Tulsa.

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By the time I got to the office I was three sheets to the wind. First off, we had a little trouble getting me on the table. I tried to put my feet on the stool so I could get up on the table. The stool seemed to have little stool legs that kept moving around. I had some trouble getting my feet on this moving stool.

The doctor’s assistant was a large guy and he picked me up and plopped me on the table. Then both of them, the doctor and his assistant, pushed me to the neck rest.

The doctor showed me the x-rays as he inserted the needle. It all looked like tinker toys with a pick-up stick going through them. He kept saying “Saxon, are you all right? Saxon, earth calling Saxon, this is Captain Kirk, can you hear me?” I was muttering and drooling by this time. I’d never been this high before.

Then it was over. The doctor and his big buddy managed to get me off the table and hand me over to Layce. They seemed to be smiling a lot—like they had some inside joke. I was released to Layce’s custody.

Layce stopped at Quick Trip to get us coffee and a snack for the ride home. All I remember was standing by the donut case…for a very long time. The sign on the case said they had kiwi-filled donuts. I kept looking, but they were hiding. Then a chocolate creamed-filled donut called my name. Then the kiwi one said, “Psst, I’m over here.” I decided to get them both. They seemed to need a good home.

In the meantime, Layce had gone to the restroom, got coffees and found me where she had left me—standing in front of the donut case. I was trying to get the little plastic bag open for a very, very long time. Layce took charge, opened the bag, deposited both donuts.

Next thing I knew I was in the car, my face covered in donut cream, and listening to songs that began with the letter “H” on my MP-3 player. Layce said I really got head-banging over Pat Benatar’s “Hell is for Children.”

“Did we pay for these donuts?” It suddenly occurred to me that I didn’t remember the cashier or any money passing hands.

“I got it covered.”

“Oh, good.”

I don’t remember much about getting home. I don’t remember reading half a book. I did take a nap in my recliner and about dinner time I was reasonably cognizant.

“Did I do anything stupid while I was a drugged up?”

“I’m not telling.”

I’ve been trying to reconstruct the scenario but it seems just out of reach. Call it a Mother’s Little Helper fog. Oh, I’d advise taking only one Valium at a time.

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Gigolo Girl

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When Mildred’s girlfriend runs off with all the egg money, Mildred decides she has had enough of small town living. She leaves her chicken ranch behind and heads for the big city of Bon Chance, Texas. Once there, she gets a job as a gigolo girl—and pleasing sex-starved lesbians is the name of the game. She meets another gigolo girl, Desiree Hart, and falls madly in love. But it’s against company policy to date a fellow employee. Can Mildred and Desiree…

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MY MOTHER IS A SAINT

I was not the child I thought I was. In my mind, I was well-behaved from the moment of birth. I was malleable to suggestions for improvements, and I was good listener. This was before I learned about the tank, the escape artist, the fashionista, the tyrant and the naughty teenager.

I discovered these things over the years as my mother gently mentioned them from time to time or as they came up as Little Saxon stories to my girlfriends.

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In order of appearance: It was Christmas. My mother had purchased me a cute little dolly. That’s what mothers did for their little girls because little girls were supposed to like dolls. My older brother got a tank. The first words out of my mouth were “My tank.” I pointed at the tank. I dropped the dolly and snatched the tank. Needless to say, there was a tussle.

The Escape Artist: My mother’s best friend lived across the street. She had a cute little boy that I had a baby crush on. Daily, I would waddle my diapered ass across the street to see my crush. Horrified, my mother would drag me back and counsel me on the dangers of crossing the street unsupervised. I nodded, but did it again and again. My father built a small fence to keep me imprisoned in my own front yard. I dug a hole and slipped underneath.

The Fashionista: I insisted on dressing myself. And we all know how that works out—mismatched outfits, hideous color coordination, and in my case, a penchant for wearing my clothes inside out. My father and my grandmother couldn’t figure out how come my mother wouldn’t make me mind. I can tell them now—because she was exhausted with my antics. Just combing my hair was a battle in itself, never mind getting me dressed.

The Tyrant: I went to kindergarten and while walking home I told my mother, with all the righteous conviction my five year-old self could muster, that I would not be going back. I’d tried it and I didn’t like it. In my mind, the deal was settled. Surely, she would understand. That began my career of coming home from school each day and delivering a speech of all the injustices heaped upon me by an unjust and evil world. Couldn’t she see that I should not have to put up with this banal crap? That went on until she went back to school and became a nurse. I had lost my audience.

The Naughty Teenager: I’m pleading the Fifth Amendment on these stories because when she reads this I just don’t think she could handle it.

So Happy Mother’s Day! I love you for still loving me. I know it must be hard but look how well it all turned out—I’m not driving a tank, escaping from prison, wearing my clothes inside out and I didn’t go into politics. It’s all good.

FIRST WORLD PROBLEM

Layce and I were on our way to the store. We’d been binging watching the The Walking Dead. I have a current fascination with zombies. This was new for me. Usually scary, bloody, intense violent stuff was difficult for me to watch. I would have to put a blanket over my head and plug my ears until the bad stuff was over. With this series I’d grown hardened and left off my blanket.

I’ve been analyzing the series. I thought I should share my thoughts with Layce. We did have a ten minute drive to the store. I could cover a lot in ten minutes.

I started with my analyses of the major protagonist. “You know, I feel that Rick’s indecisiveness has been a real factor in putting the group at risk and in some cases has caused the death of certain characters. His morals keep appearing at the wrong moments. He makes one decision and then changes his mind as in the case of Merl and then later on with Michonne.

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I glanced over at Layce. She didn’t say anything. I figured she was fascinated by my analysis.

I continued. “His morals about what Carol did to stop the epidemic wasn’t that much different than leaving Merl, despite his not-so-nice demeanor, chained on that roof. Then he decides he’s got to go back and save him which once again puts the group at risk. He decides to hand Michonne over to the Governor on the chance that the Governor will not attack them. Really? Hand her over to be tortured and then killed on a chance. That’s his decision. Thank God he changed his mind, but it was too late. Merl, despite being a southern racist, did the right thing by releasing Michonne. What does that say about Rick?”

No comment from Layce.

“I’m also amazed at the ability of people to still fall in love. Look at Glenn and Maggie. And then there’s the need for companionship and how complete strangers grow to become a family. The things that often times divide people such as race, creed, sexual orientation are no longer an issue. The need to survive trumps everything.”

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No comment from Layce.

I continued. “Then there’s the ability of humans to adapt, the drive to keep the human race from extinction. How the human brain assesses problems and find solutions in order to establish group cohesiveness and create communities.”

No comment from Layce.

“The one thing that bothers me though is the lack of cleanliness. Why don’t they get new clothes every time they go raiding? I mean just change your shirt when you find clothes and leave your dirty stuff behind.”

“The hierarchy of needs,” Layce responded.

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“Oh, my God, you are so right. Having water, finding food and safe shelter, trying to quell the daily terror by living in the moment, dealing with the loss of loved ones and striving to keep PTSD at bay. Overcoming the tragedy of murder to sustain one’s own group when threatened. Rick’s questioning of newcomers. ‘How many zombies have you killed and how many people have you killed?’ Those are pertinent questions to establish the truth and honesty of any incoming member to the group.”

We arrived at the store. Layce glanced in the rearview mirror and then down at her outfit. I thought she must be pondering the nature of the quintessential questions that my ten minute analysis of The Walking Dead produced. She looked over at me. I waited anxiously for her words of wisdom concerning the show.

“Does this scarf match my outfit?”

“Were you listening to anything I said?”

“All ten minutes of it,” she said, and got out of the car.


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THE GRAFFITI GIRLS

“What’s that little pointy thing?” Emma said, leaning over my shoulder and looking at the computer screen.

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 “I think it’s fairly obvious,” I replied. “My friend Alice and I painted it on a billboard. It was advertisement for a mattress company.”

“Isn’t that against the law?” Emma said. “I think it’s called defacing public property and isn’t that breaking that Social Contract you’re always telling me about?”

The older she gets the smarter she gets and the more I am forced to confront my misspent youth. I was a nefarious graffiti artist. I can confess now because I’m pretty sure the Statue of Limitations has run out. I was, after all, only eighteen at the time.

My friend Alice and I were The Outlaws. We graffitied sayings we found in Tom Robbin’s books around town. Sometimes we improvised— as in the above mentioned photograph. We found social statements and commented on them. We actually were kind of famous… at least with billboard companies, the Parks Department and private industries. We were also underground. We admitted our activities to no one.

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One day, my mother and I were walking down the street when we came upon a large example of our work. “Will you look at that? They misspelled tequila. Well, at least I know it wasn’t you. You’re an excellent speller.”

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I nodded and kept my mouth shut. She continued, “Speaking of graffiti, did you see what someone did to that mattress company, the Sleeping Giant? Why they painted an erect penis on it is beyond me.”

“That’s a horrible thing to do,” I said.

“And Francis said there was a saying on the park wall. It was enormous.”

“Hunh,” I replied.

“Something about the Outlaw being the can opener of life. What do you suppose that means?”

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“Maybe they opened lots of cans of paint,” I offered. (Yes, that is me drinking a margarita.)

Now what really happened was we painted the asphalt of my street with the word Tequilla. When Alice studied it, she said, “Whoops. We misspelled Tequila.”

“Duh, I think we can blame it on the tequila,” I replied. We drank a lot of tequila in those days. We even ate the worm at the bottom. I told Alice just to think of it as a vitamin.

Later that year, we opted out of going immediately to college and went to be ski bums at Snowbird. We continued our graffiti career there. That’s where we met our arch nemesis. The war was on between “I love you Susan” and our art work. We painted our stuff . Sharon’s paramour painted over it. We painted over it again. He painted over it. We painted over it.

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It would have lasted as long as the Civil War but we ran out of paint.

We only had one mishap.  We spilled a gallon of paint in my car and it took several hours with a wet dry vacuum and copious amounts of soap to return the floor boards to a semblance of normality.  The car reeked of paint for months afterwards.

As I told Emma those stories I realized that the world today is a much stricter place. Outlaws really are outlaws—only they do truly bad things. We just made people laugh and shake their heads. I must say I enjoyed my misspent youth and I’m glad I had my friend Alice to spend it with me.


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