Ghost in the Vents

Penny thinks that I brought the ghost with me.  Why?  Because her doggie, Rowdy, was not obsessed with the heat vents before I came to stay with her and her husband at the beginning of January.  No one minds, mind you.  The mystery is thrilling…at least to me.  Penny and Norm (fake names, of course) are mildly amused and confused.

Rowdy is a slightly quirky Chihuahua who was thrown over the shelter fence and who retained some physical injuries and some peculiar personality traits.   About a week after I arrived for my month-long stay with my good friends, Rowdy started growling at the living room heat vent.

J;yoti bodieThere is a fabulous table made from an old suitcase in front of the living room vent and Rowdy kept going around the suitcase, side to side, and growling.  I laid on the floor and watched in amazement.  He even sat and looked THROUGH the suitcase and stared in the direction of the vent and shook in seeming fear.  What was going on?!Bodie staring at vent beside suitcase

In the upcoming days Rowdy’s fears extended to the vents in ‘my’ bathroom.  In fact, his fears intensified.  He now was clearly afraid to go near the bathroom vent.  He obsessed over it for hours at a time.  He growled.  He barked.  He kept guard.  He sometimes went to the two vents in my attached bedroom vents as well.

bodie purple drapesWe three adults were left to theorize.  What the hell was going on?

Penny and Norm thought that he didn’t like the air coming out.  I shot that theory down quickly as Rowdy freaked out and shook even when the fan wasn’t on.  Was it an animal in the crawl space?  Was it an animal in the vent? Was it a dead animal that smelled?

Penny took the vent cover off several times to see if there was actually something there to see or hear or smell.  Nothing.vent cover off

The answer that made the most sense to me was a GHOST in the vent!  Rowdy went to a total of six different vents around the house.  He obsessed on different vents on different days.  Some days the ghost was living elsewhere and Rowdy didn’t pay any attention to any vents in this house.  And then BAM!  OMG!  WHAT’S IN THE VENT!?  Bark, Bark, Bark!

bathroomBodie barking-PAXP-deijEI’m leaving my gracious hosts and pets (Rowdy has an elderly brother) on Tuesday to go to a month-long, dog-sitting gig.   Penny thinks that the ghost will go away because it arrived with me when I arrived.  She has no basis for her theory.  Nor do I have basis for my theory of a ghost at all.  But I ask you, dear reader…do you, by chance, have a better theory?

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That Day My Car Got Stolen (With All My Lifetime of Photos in the Back)

All of my photos fit into three big tubs when I packed up and moved out of my house last July.  I stored the tubs in my 10’ X 10’ storage unit (where all of the possessions that I still own are stored) until I had the time to digitize all of them.  I then plan to dispose of them all.  Yes, you heard me.  I must get rid of my photos (as I did most of my other possessions) because I plan to live in a very small place when I move to Oakland California in a year or so.

In December I picked up the tubs because I had planned to start digitizing the photos over winter break while at my sister’s house.  It never happened.  So the photo tubs are still in the back of my Forester—waiting for another chance to tackle such a huge task.

car photosOne day I took a sharp turn with my car and one tub fell off of another tub and the lid detached, strewing our family’s life memories all over the back of the car.  They had previously been in neat rows and stacks and piles.  I didn’t immediately clean up the mess because it was too cold outside.  On Saturday, I bundled up and cleaned up the wreckage.  I couldn’t remake the neat stacks, but I was able to close the lid on the tub.

That evening, Penny (name changed as usual), the friend with whom I’m staying, was making a curry for us to eat this week, and I went out to buy paneer at an Indian grocery store.  When I pulled up right in front of the door at 8:30pm, no other car was in the parking lot.  I bought a package of paneer and some garbanzo beans, spoke with the owner for a couple of minutes and walked out the door.  And then the shock came.  My car was not there!  In its place was a big red truck.

My feet were planted on the parking lot blacktop as thoughts raced through my mind.  All of my life’s pictures—gone.  My file container with all of my important papers—gone.  My tub of shoes—gone.  A tub of jackets—gone.  MY CAR!!—GONE!!

I stood there unable to move.  How could this have happened?!  I was just in the store for a few minutes.  Maybe I forgot to lock the doors before I went into the store?  I always lock my car when I get out!  How could this have happened so quickly?

I tried to stay calm but my heart started racing.  Having a car stolen makes life miserable.  Having a car stolen with so many personal items in the car will make my life miserable for a long while.  I kept pushing the the unlock button on the fob, hoping to hear a sound.  I heard nothing.  I felt crushed.  The emotion of what the next few days were going to entail started to overwhelm me.

Then I pushed the lock button, just pushing buttons, not thinking it would do any good, but just mindlessly pushing things to hope for a miracle.  And then the miracle happened!  I heard a beep!  I pushed the lock button and then the unlock button again and I heard the beep again.  I followed the sound, walking around the building to another side.  There was my car!!  All by itself—in front of the OTHER door of the store.

Sigh.  When I had paid for my items, I saw a door and went out the door.  Who would have guessed that such a small store would have doors on two sides of the building?

Obviously not me.

Tetherless: A Good Thing or a Bad Thing?

sunset3As a single person for 26 years now, I have come to realize that the inner dialogue of a single person is different from that of a coupled person.  As a member of a couple, my inner dialogue as I traveled daily from experience to experience was how I was going to share this experience with my partner.  I couldn’t wait to share and my inner dialogue was deciding what to share, what not to share, how to share, and could I put a comedic slant on it, etc.  Mind you, I did not realize that this inner dialogue existed until I no longer had a partner with whom to share my experiences at the end of the day. The present moment was always backed up with the anticipation of the relating of that moment.

covered bridgeSo, many experiences, while coupled, had a three-stage life:  1. The experience itself, 2. The thought about the telling of the experience to ‘the other’, and, 3. The telling about the experience to ‘the other.’  So when one abruptly becomes uncoupled through divorce or death or tragedy, we are left with only the first stage of an experience—which is just the experience itself. This is clearly not a bad thing, but is absolutely a huge adjustment.

A similar situation might be people who must take pictures of each experience to prolong the experience rather than just live it in the moment.  Without a picture, many people feel that an experience has not been validated and is somehow lessened in value.

And now that we have Facebook, no one ever needs to be uncoupled again.  Everyone who chooses to can share every aspect of their lives, slanted in any way they choose, with everyone in the world if they choose.  That’s how much some people are uncomfortable just living in the solitary present moment.  [But Facebook sharing is a whole different topic of its own!]

yellow treesSo back to tetherless.  Two days after this word came to my mind while driving on a road trip (I seriously doubt that I’d ever used it in my life) it was used in the book I was reading in a negative sense.  A chapter ended: Tetherless. Weak.  Those two words—Tetherless. Weak.  Hmmm.  And here I was…feeling so positive about feeling tetherless.  So I had to think some more.

Even uncoupled we are still tethered to our homes. We leave them each morning, feeling sure that they will welcome us each evening, providing safety and shelter. No matter how far we travel we remain tethered by an existential cord back to our ‘place.’

I no longer have that cord.  So as I drive down each road, I feel existentially tetherless.  I’m uncoupled and without a home of my own. My car is my only ‘home.’ It’s quite a liberating feeling.

sierra on brushI especially feel it when I am traveling from one house to the next house.  At those moments, I am literally without a roof over my head; I belong nowhere. I feel loosely connected to the earth and to the skies, but nothing pulls me forward or backward or right or left.

Tetherless. Not a bad thing. Not necessarily a good thing. Just a present moment thing.