Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ball Game By: Karen Pilarski

Baseball players never hit a home run every chance at bat. The pitching arm is sore or just tired from the double header. Somehow the stars align and that is when the magic happens.

The bat is swatted at the air in a few trial strokes. The crowd wild and untamed chanting the player's name. A twisty curve ball is pitched. CRACK! The ball zooms like a rocket over the fence.

The player runs with sweated eye brow, past each base. It was if to say "Look at me, I hit the ball!" It is a home run and score!

I thought about macho testosterone induced perceptions. I was contacted by a male classmate from high school.  In 1996, I was a cheerleader, dating a bad boy and thinking about prom and pomp and circumstances to come.

*Marvin was a geek who rode around on a bicycle. He had a crush on EVERYBODY including me. I never thought of him in that way. I was a good girl and was friends with all the cliques. I talked to him and was polite.

He was a white chubby guy who loved moths and butterflies. A nickname was born.

My brothers and people around school called him "Moth Boy." Original? No, but this before all the nasty bullying and internet drama.

I was dating someone who was a bad ass. My dad didn't approve and called him 'leader of the pack.'  Marvin had the nerve to go up to my boyfriend and say "When is Karen going to dump you and go out with a real man." Needless to say it didn't go over well with my dimwitted boyfriend. He kicked Marvin's ass.

After high school,  I was cashiering when I bumped into Marvin. He said he wanted to "get this thing started." Huh? After that odd interaction I just avoided him.

Recently he resurfaced like a bad pimple. There was several attempts to add me on social media. I declined. He found a way to message me. I'll give him this, he is resourceful.

There was no "How is your life" or "Oh, you are a writer?!" Nope. Mr. not suave cut to the chase. He sent two rambling pathetic emails as if we were long lost lovers. Marvin referred to me as sweetie. There was a declaration of saying how much he missed me and wanted to kiss me. Apparently he thought of me everyday.

 His unintelligent garble of words were silly and immature and borderline stalker-ish. He gave me his cell number and said I should check out his pictures. Oh and I shouldn't be 'jellie' because he has all this pictures with aging and sagging figures in sports.

Apparently he spotted me at a sports event ten years ago and didn't have the cojones to approach me. Just because I went to one event doesn't mean I'm a hard core fan.

He said he should have picked me up when I wanted him in high school. WHAT?! 

I was too repulsed to even be remotely flattered. First of all I have a different name from when I was a teen. This means at some point I married. My writing is often focused on marriage and children topics.

On social media I have connected with people from high school and college. I talked to a few people from high school and I guess he has sent similar overtures to fellow classmates. Marvin was not only a creeper but a fair weathered creeper at that.

I told my husband. He wanted to call Marvin up and tell him to leave me alone. I blocked him instead.

Maybe he should cease the perusing of the dusted yearbook from the late 90's. None of us are sixteen years old anymore. I have stepson that age!

If I was single his game plan would been a foul.

Most athletes worth their salt have goals and training behind them. When a ball player pitches it isn't in hope it lands any old place. There is strategy and thought in each play.

The first rule to finding a relationship is gathering info as to what is out of bounds or foul. See if the person is attached or married before making some cheesy attempt.

If he/she is single, find out the person interests. If you are in your mid thirties like me, my passions no longer consist of New Kids on The Block, Now and Later candy and singer Monica.  Chances are the person has evolved and interests have changed.

Don't talk some strange vernacular the other person is not familiar with. Marvin had a street and British slang  type thing going with "boo" and "Luv."

Lastly, sounding desperate makes you strike out before you even attempt a swing.  If you are the type of player that just cares about the score, then by all means..take your ball and go home.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Never Ending Roller Coaster By: Karen Pilarski

Tick tick tick.

The train on the ride clicks along the track. Heart palpitates and white knuckles clench the seat restraints.

Slowly the car jerks up the hill as nervous laughter is heard a few car trains behind.

Body tightens and teeth grinds as the car tips over the highest point of the track. The scenery that surrounds the roller coaster is only observed for a split second.

Stomach full of corn dogs and nachos swish and gurgle as the car races in bullet speed to a unknown impending doom.

There is an odd union of horror and excitement taking place within each curvy loop and spiral.

 I remember my first and last roller coaster ride. It was on the American Eagle coaster at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, IL. My oldest sister wanted to go on the wooden giant.

Our younger sibling bailed out of it. This was my chance to look brave.

I went on the ride and closed my eyes almost the whole time. After that day I vowed to go on land type rides. The picture frozen on the screen was my sister screaming and me covering my face.

Unfortunately 'safe' land rides are just as unpredictable. I once went on Tilt-A-Whirl when I was a kid. It was at the church fair across the street. My insides were squirming from the ten snow cones I ingested a half hour earlier.

The ride spun around and my friends twirled the wheel faster and faster. Hair whipped around and hats flew off heads of other riders. After the turning stopped, I proceeded to vomit all over the ride. 

There have been many times in my life I felt as if I was dragged along for a ride or on never ending roller coaster. I haven't spoken to one of my siblings in a long time. Her mood swings and erratic behavior are far too dicey to deal with.

The last time I had an interaction with her was six years ago when I was getting married.
In a sense of family obligation I send her an invitation to the ceremony. She contacted me and offered to pay for our wedding cake. Two days later my fiance and I picked out our cake on my lunch break.

She was livid that she didn't get to pick it out after all she was going to pay for it. Then she screamed insults at me and said forget the whole thing. Needless to say she didn't come to my wedding.

Two days ago I had to come to terms with the fact that I will never want to be on a specific person's ride. Each interaction feels like a roller coaster ride. There are times when she is fun and full of light. A day later it is as if a dark cloud hovered above her.

 Her moods are a roller coaster with a crazy butterfly type inversion. The ride starts out normal then twists and turns everything upside down. Just when there is calm it goes into reverse and a dive loop.

Of course everyone around her are actors playing their parts.

Normally I am a reserved person. That day she baited me and taunted me into a heated argument. She used my kids to cause patience and compassion to dive drop.

I should have remembered the ride before opening my big trap.

The incursion was brutal. A slanderous term I gave to her husband. Only he was not in the suddenly dim living room.

Her husband currently is in the big house. I screamed his sin. The name of the sin was not inaccurate. It was the vileness of my tone that riled her up.

My words stabbed her and slapped her ego. It was a low blow and I knew it. She shoved me and I shoved back. The scuffle was broken up quickly before it became a scene.

Since that day I have replayed the afternoon in my mind. Wishing I could hit reverse to bite my tongue. Had the blood trickled down my chin the fury would have been interrupted.

 Perhaps the ride would have shut down and ceased right then and there.

That is the reality of dealing with a person who has an inclined loop of chaos.

For some they can handle all the highs and lows. Then there are people like me who cover their eyes not wanting to experience the ride in the first place.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Velvet By: Karen Pilarski

It must be so interesting to be a two year old. The attention, the fits, the curiosity and the love.

This weekend we took care of Velvet (my husband's cousin's daughter). She is a blonde cutie pie. We lovingly nicknamed her "Velveta Cheese."

However, she is in the terrible two's. Randomly she flings herself on the floor in a fit of rage. Face hot red, bubbles of snot bursting out her tiny nose. A mere second later with tear stained cheeks she is giggling again.

Velvet came with us to get my husband's hair cut. Old ripped books were on a rack surrounded by hard waiting room chairs. Hair products were on shelves. Already a minute in door she started to get antsy. I asked if she wanted me to read a book. Eyes lit up and she jumped up and down in excitement.

I read her a book about a ballerina named Gigi. "What is she doing?" Velvet would repeat over and over. She observed the book illustrations. Gigi had wild curls and rosy cheeks. Her droopy knee had a loose band aid on it. "She has owie!" I tried reading again by she flipped through the pages in rapid speed. "I want 'nother book." She hopped off the chair and grabbed another book.

 "What is she doing?" She kept pointing and firing off the question as she looked a different book.

My brother-in-law taught her how to say the word 'fart.' "Hahahaha, she farted!" she proclaimed. My face heated up in embarrassment. "No, Velvet don't say that." 

While she was playing with pages a older gentleman started up a conversation with me. He had a grandson who was about the same age. He said the grandson would break out into a fake cry. I politely laughed and nodded.

 "What is she doing" was heard a few seats away. Another older lady was grinning ear to ear watching her.

My husband was paying the cashier and I mentioned to the man that Velvet would start throwing a fit. As soon as I said it was time to go, the theatrics and tears began. "NOOOOOOOOOO" wailed Velvet. You have thought it was secret service coming to the rescue. A hair stylist zoomed by with a jar of suckers and my stepdaughter was trying to comfort her. The kid is good I thought. Future Oscar winner right here in Super Cuts.

At our home I thought Velvet would enjoy tea time. I poured myself a steaming cup of green tea. I found an empty mug and a tea bag I didn't want to use. With tiny hands she pulled the string and dunked in into a steaming cut of air.

Then took a spoon and stirred pretend contents in the mug. I taught her how to toast. The clinking sound delighted her small pierced ears. "Funny!" As the spoon clanked around, small fits of laughter lingered in the air.

She invited her stuffed Minnie Mouse to our party. Usually Velvet is a picky eater and will refuse to eat. It is that two year old mindset of wanting control.

Somehow she ate her pizza and drank her pretend tea. I did my own acting and pretended Minnie Mouse was hogging my tea and jumped on my head. My body wailed around on the floor as Velvet shrieked and erupted with excitement.

It was oddly pleasant outside. The weather had been unbearably cruel this winter. There was still crunchy spots of snow on the ground. We went for a walk to the thrift store down the street. We had just moved in the neighborhood before Christmas. It was finally nice enough and a weekend to check it out.

My stepchildren looked around with my husband. Velvet grabbed my hand "Lets go" she demanded. I was led around the store by the half pint. She played with the baby toys and hugged the dinosaur doll. It struck me that children love everything unconditionally. It was a plush symbol of comfort. She started to get cranky and I knew it was time to go.

Velvet and my husband.
The children were playing video games and I made fish, corn and mashed potatoes for dinner. I had made plans to take everyone by my sister who lives near us.

My kids hungrily devoured the food while Velvet started screaming. "No eat, NOOOO" she wailed. I got down to her level and said "Eat or nap, you choose." Huge globs of tears gushed down "NOOOOOO, No want!" I put her in the other room and she took a short nap.

By my sister's house we painted our nails and watched some movies. My sister put on "Dirty Dancing."

Velvet loves music and dancing. "Take hands, dance" she said as she pulled my hands. We twirled around and jumped and danced. She clapped her hands and smiled wide. Who needs cardio when you are dealing with a two year old energy fueled child?

My sister and stepdaughter ran to get some food and Velvet pitched a tantrum. "No bye!" I told her she is a big girl and that only babies throw fits. "I not baby." She hissed. "Then stop crying, come by me when you are done crying." A few minutes later she forgot about why she was angry and started playing with her toys.

Wouldn't that be awesome to throw a Lifetime Network worthy fit and then in a snap of a finger all is calm? This kid is going to be actress, I'm calling it now.

Velvet and I found "Where the Sidewalk Ends" By Shel Silverstein. I remembered many of the poems from when I was child. My favorite was "Sick Today." She snuggled up close to me and was soothed by the words.

Where the Sidewalk Ends

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.
-Shel Silverstein "Where the Sidewalk Ends."

 I loved the collection of poems but that one in particular. The way I understand that poem is that Silverstein is saying children have limitless mind. There is no caution or restraints. Velvet like most small kids, her actions and thinking move at rapid speed. Unlike adults who hit emotional and intellectual blocks along the journey, children will keep on moving.

They delight in the newness of the world. A small inconvenience feels like a deep and painful slap against their independence. Children make sense of their environment by asking questions and exploring. They are the true adventure lovers. Each day is something thrilling and brand new. It is interesting to be a two year old!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Thought Balloon By: Karen Pilarski

Worries should float like stray balloons rising to the sky.

Simplistic thinking I confess.

Maybe a sharp pin would appear in thin air. It would puncture the worn out latex, allowing the big mess to burst. The rubber pieces disintegrate before making contact with the ground.

One intentional slip and the airy bubble dips within the folds of the clouds.

Worry instead is can be a lead filled object pushing down hopes. Money issues, marriage strife, relationships, career problems form a paper weight.

 If I didn't have fearful thoughts what would consume my time?

I tire of agonizing over what I should have said or what I could have done. I'm frightened if I stay stuck in one place too long, the hot energy will cool and deflate.

Balloons in the back of a car are similar to my emotions. Whipping around and bouncing off people. No matter how tightly the window is closed, air still seeps. The slight breeze results in an eruption of movement.

Thump thump thump! Hair flying and heads smacked as the balloons appear angered.

It is almost as if they are trying to break free and escape into the world. In the front the driver yells to hang onto it tightly.

If only life was carefree like colorful bubbles dancing and bobbing along with each change of the wind. The danger is when wild ideas and feelings become entangled in tree branches.

 Unless a storm is brewing, thought balloons are stuck and restricted within the twisty and leaf covered arms. A realistic example is staying in a stale relationship until someone else catches your eye. Another possibility is quitting a job and getting stuck in another dead end career.

 There is a push to do something different, yet restrictions still exist. Perhaps the push is the restrictive thought?

As luck would have it someone else could grab onto the string and pull it down. Typical, there is always someone pulling or attempting to pull the strings.

The balloon is elusive but there is a desire to capture what is set off in the atmosphere.

My sincere advice? Don't causally let go. Think before you let thoughts blow around causing a commotion. Listen to what the thought balloons reveal.

After you look at the whole picture can a choice be made. 

Then let go and let new and exciting thoughts take flight.