I have infrequent but recurring dreams where either I can’t find a flashlight or every light bulb that I turn on immediately burns out. I do not regard these as some sort of fear of “the light that is my life” dying out, though I do not intend to “go gentle into that good night.” I fully intend to “rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
What I do think of these dreams is that they are a fear of nothing working right, of this ongoing feeling in my life that “I can’t have anything nice.” Yes, I’ve been blessed with some really cool family members, but the wife/girlfriend/sexual conquest thing has been excruciatingly bad. I have little money, a crappy, banged-up 10-year-0ld car, a rusting 25-year-old pickup, a “single-wide” mobile home in need of some repair, and not much realistic chance for a plush or early retirement. I live in one of the drabbest areas of the country, scenery- and culture-wise, and can’t really afford to travel anywhere, except for maybe once a year to the Black Hills for a weekend.
I am not surrounded by a circle of exciting friends, though, to be fair, I’ve got some good literary-type blogging buddies. If I did hang out with a bunch of college-educated folks in real life, it would probably just reinforce my belief that many educated folks can be snobby dipshits. I was painfully shy as a kid and now mostly unfriendly or stuck-up. I wouldn’t know what to say to a dateable woman, which isn’t really a big deal around here since all women within 25 years of my age are taken, scary or both. I literally never seem to run into them. Available ones, I mean. I don’t make friends easily, because I don’t really like talking to people unless I’ve known ‘em for awhile, which makes it tough to hit on women anyway. If a guy tries to talk to me, I have the initial (and I think only natural) reaction of “I’m not a chick–why’re you talking to me–you didn’t anticipate us doing ‘butt-things’, I hope?”
How does Jackie O fit into this discussion? Well, she had a lot of nice things, including her famous heated towel bars in her last mansion. She supposedly was the actual writer of her husband’s “Profiles in Courage” book. She had a job as an editor for a publisher. She traveled the world and lived well. One could argue that, after having one’s husband’s brains splattered on one’s Chanel suit, one deserves some creature comforts the rest of one’s life. But then she died too young of cancer, at age 64. I don’t often think of Jackie O, but I do quite often, at good times as well as at annoying and shitty times, think of my only sister, who passed away 6+ years ago at age 53 of breast cancer. I’m sorry, I mean of goddamn FUCKING breast cancer.
I’ll think things like “I bet my sis would like to be scraping snow and ice off her car right now, and running late for work.” Or “I bet my sister would like to be groaning right now because she slept wrong and her shoulder hurts.” Or “I bet my sister would like to wonder how the fuck she’s gonna pay for this dental bill.” I can’t say whether it makes me whine less about the annoyances of life, but I do think it.
My ideal morning would be waking up next to a sweet woman, with my daughter coming in to tell me to get up and start the bacon, and she and I making pancakes together. Then, after breakfast, while my little girl is happily doing her own thing nearby, me sitting at the kitchen table with aforesaid lady, looking out the window, talking and drinking coffee. Though I don’t care for riding horses, I love to see them, so we’d be watching them graze in the pasture.
I do think about Jackie O, then, when I contemplate an ideal morning. Not a romance with her, but, say that her limo broke down in front of my place, and she had to spend a night on my cushy leather couch, and had to dry off with a cold towel after her bath. Would she look around at the (to her) squalid surroundings (I suppose we should drop the horse pasture and home in the country part of the scenario here, since that implies some income and nice things), and simply turn up her nose at it, or would she be just happy to be right there, at my kitchen table, looking out the window, with a hot cup of coffee (tea for her perhaps?) perhaps a cookie or two? She probably liked scones–if I made scones, would she say “these are marvelous scones” or would she feel the need to try to adjust her speech to fit in with trailer trash thinking and cry out “Holy fuck–these are some bitchin’ scones!”
I like to think that my sister, or Jackie O, or any other gone-too-soon person who liked the finer things in life, assuming they were capable of thinking right now, would think it would be nice to sit and, as the Brits say, “have a cuppa”, and talk about Dickens or Toni Morrison, or kids or grandkids, or the sorry state of politics. Better than dying young, I think. Yes, I think they’d like that.
That is, until Jackie O’s replacement limo or helicopter arrived to take her back to her heated towel bars.
By the way, I have plenty of light bulbs, about 8 flashlights and extra batteries, even an unopened extra multi-pack of LED flashlights. I have a working toy cow (hippo-shaped with Holstein markings, moos and opens its mouth when it lights up) flashlight that I’m sure would freak out any stranded motorist I ever held a light for while they changed a tire. I can have some nice things, I guess.
“We’re shooting for the moon and smiling Jackie’s driving by”: