A Clip From Week 3 of #NaNoWriMo 2020

It always struck me as entertaining when another driver tried to push me and my car up the road, because I was only doing 50 miles an hour in a 45 mile an hour zone. For some reason, my car wouldn’t go any faster, no matter what they did. It was almost guaranteed that eventually, they’d switch lanes, burn 37 tons of gas, and the instant they thought they could get back in the lane, ahead of me, they’d cut back over, and add even more gas.

“People have no patience.” Seriously, they didn’t have any patience at all. But, if they wanted to drive at 47,000 miles an hour, I’d let the police deal with them. Wasn’t my job. After all, you can’t stop people from being stupid.

Of course the idiot, and the countless others just like him, only made me angry, only increased and reinforced my reasons for hating humanity. “Bitch gets pulled for the way he drives, he’s gonna cry like a little boy whose Mamma just took away his favorite toy, and told him to clean his room. Then, he’ll hire a lawyer, ‘cause. He didn’t do anything wrong.”

What I really hoped was I got to see his car, mangled, its front end wrapped around a tree, or a light pole, and him standing outside the remains, crying like a baby. That’s what I hoped to see. Didn’t want anyone to die, or even get hurt. Just wanted an idiot to learn how physics worked, in a lesson he’d probably remember for a whole 31 seconds.

When I’d spent years in psychotherapy, my doc and I talked about that. About how stupid people are. “Hell, they don’t even know they’re killing themselves with stress, causing all their own heart attacks, and strokes, and alcoholism, and drug abuse, ‘cause they’re bodies can’t take it anymore.”

Doc had told me, after a few weeks of sessions, people looked at him, and asked what that new, quiet, calm feeling they had was. “It’s you. De-stressing from life. From the shit you put yourself through daily.” Doc said it shocked people to learn what they did to themselves, just by living a normal life, and pretending everything was OK.

I was like, “No shit, Doc. They don’t even know the building’s on fire. They just keep doing their job. And pretending everything’s how it’s supposed to be.”

As I watched that idiot that had just tried to drive me off the road, because I was “in his fucking way!” race down the road, I had to laugh when he caught up to the vehicles in front of me, and slammed on his brakes. I could imagine his ass, sitting in his car, screaming, and beating on the steering wheel, as he looked for a way to get around the idiots of life, so he could get on with his reality.

You could have had a bus with 60 people on board catch fire, and block the road, and that idiot would have driven through people’s yards, or nearby neighborhoods, screaming on his phone about how traffic was going to make him late, and it wasn’t his fault, while 60 people tried not to turn into Bar-B-Que dinner, and the police and fire departments tried to get them to safety, and put out the fire before it lit off the fuel supply in the bus, and went, “BOOM!”

None of that mattered to Mr. Get The Fuck Out Of The Way! Hell, his own Mother could be on the bus that was on fire, and it wouldn’t have made any difference.

In sheer spite, I looked up at the clouds, “May he only manage to kill himself, and may the rest of humanity be safe from his stupid ass.”

Of course, most people would say, “That only happens once in a while. That’s not a daily thing. There are usually extenuating circumstances.” Those people never drove on the same streets and roads I drove on. The same thing happened every fucking day. Hell, I even memorized some of the license plates on the cars that kept doing the same thing, endlessly. “Oh, look. It’s Mercedes I’m Better Than You Boy. Watch him. Yep. Didn’t even slow down for that red light.” And, “It’s another Jeep-ass-hole. Trying to push the guy in front of him through the intersection, and the red light, ‘cause he doesn’t want to stop.”

I hated Jeeps as much as I hated people. “Here! Let’s weaponize cars! And then give them to trigger happy ass-holes!”

Driving home at night was every bit as entertaining as driving to work in the mornings. At night, it was, “Look for the cars with no lights on.” It’s 7 miles from where I work to my house. One night, there were 12 cars with no lights on. Best part was their drivers acting like people were stupid, because no one could see them.

Driving itself was pretty fun, really. I didn’t mind driving. I got to listen to my music, see different neighborhoods, see ducks and geese at the park that was along the way. Driving was, by itself, OK.

It was the fucking humans that made it hell.

A Letter To My Dad.

Hey, Dad.

Someone said I should write a letter to you. Well. Here I am. Writing.

I don’t do feelings, you know. Most days I can’t tell you if I’m happy, or sad, or angry, or anything else. So, me, trying to say these last words to your soul, where it is right now, is going to be one more experiment in dealing with a society, and a world I never made.

I know I wasn’t there, never visited there, in the last 50 some odd months. I’m going to tell you why, even though I’m pretty sure you figured it all out a few years back.

It’s wasn’t you. I would have come down there in a heartbeat, and you know it.

It was so many things. So many reasons.

I didn’t come visit, because you lived in my brother’s home. A home I am not welcomed in. It’s pretty obvious, you know. How, the last few times I did visit, David, Jeanine, and the girls pretty much avoided all contact with me. David played nice, and visited, but that was more of a check up on you, and we both know that.

I’m not their kind of person. Long hair. Shave when I feel like it. Wear jeans and my wild t-shirts, and my athletic shoes. Hell, I don’t even have a suit. Every pair of boots I had is pretty much toast. The black ones are downstairs, in the shoe rack. You don’t want to know, Dad. There’s a ton of white and green on them. Looks like some kind of mold on the leather. Given how frickin’ humid it is up here, and how high the humidity in this house gets, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.

David and I don’t talk. I think you knew that. Turns out he’s swallowed the QAnon bullshit, hook, line, and sinker. No way to reason with him. No point in trying. His mind is cast in concrete. He won’t change until his death bed, and likely not even then. Can’t tell him how physics works. Can’t tell him how the atmosphere works. Can’t tell him anything. Hell, for all I know he may believe we have a cure for every form of cancer sitting in a big pharma lab somewhere, and no one will ever let them see the light of day, ‘cause it would mean the end to their revenue stream.

David and I don’t talk.

I tried, Dad. I did. After they elected the orange shit-head, I spent three years going, “Explain this to me. Explain how having a narcissistic, sexual predator, who paid off the women he wanted sex with, and took money out of charity organizations he set up, and spent it on his own expenses, and his own debts, was the only viable choice for US President.”

No one ever did. No one ever could. No one talked to me about the reasons why, because they knew I’d never buy into the QAnon bullshit.

You’d think it wouldn’t hurt, right? That I’d just cut the ties altogether, and move on, and write him off as a lost cause. But, you know. That means I’d have to write off 80% of the white people in this country. And the vast majority of the churches, and religions in this country.

That’s hard to do, since I know the church is very literally what saved David’s life. That he wouldn’t be here if the church, and God, had not bitch-slapped him upside his little head, and woke his ass up.

I know the church does good things. I know it saves people, and gives them light when all they had was darkness. I know these things.

What makes it so fucking hard for me is I also know the church wants me dead. Either converted into a mindless copy of everyone else in any given church congregation, or dead. So yeah. It saved him. And it’s tried for 45+ years to kill me.

Don’t think I ever told you how Pastor Byrum told me to never walk up to the front again. “You’re already saved. That walk is for people who need it.”

So, here I am, 61 years old, and I am the prodigal son.

Dad. The church has, in so many ways, in this country, gone to hell. It’s turned into a country club. And a haven for white supremacy, and male misogyny. Where rape is ignored because no one got physically hurt. Where women are subservient to men. Where non-white people are the enemy, and trying to destroy the church, and the country.

Thank you. But white people are doing a rather thorough job of that all by themselves.

Yes, Dad. I’m angry. I’m always angry. I look around, daily, and everywhere I look I see the same kinds of insanity, where we worship God on Sunday mornings, and then do exactly what money tells us to the rest of the time.

I’m glad, you know, that you couldn’t drive the past few years. That you lost most of your vision. ‘Cause. It means you couldn’t see how stupid people have become. You didn’t get to experience the birth of Highway NASCAR racing. Where the number of automobile accidents and fatalities has gone up, pretty much across the entire country. ‘Cause. People have lost their fucking minds.

They have.

No, I’m not welcome in my brother’s house, and I know it. So, for that past 4+ years, I stayed away. It was better than fighting with him and Jeanine. It kept the peace, so to speak.

I know you understand that’s not all it was. We talked about that too, the last time I was there. About how I dress. And how I stick out like a full blown Klingon Warrior walking through a shopping mall.

Same problem here, in Virginia Beach. Just 4+ times as many people. And here, the white people don’t rule. They’re outnumbered. Virginia Beach is more blue now than it was 4 years ago.

We’ve got our red component. Like the dim bulb of a woman who saw me at Walmart, declared, “Oh, God!” and hauled her son sitting in that grocery cart as far away from me as she could get him, as fast as she could.

That’s what North Carolina is like for me. Like, “Yeah. You one of them libtards.”

Now, I’m sitting here, writing this note to you, knowing that in the morning, I have to get in my car, and drive to Oriental, North Carolina, for your funeral service. Good old Oriental First Baptist Church. And I find myself wondering if I should stand outside the sanctuary, looking through the windows in the doors, while they hold their service for you. Knowing I’m not welcome.

They’ll do what they did when Mom’s service happened. They’ll park me on the front row, with Pat, and Michael, and Maddy. As part of your “Family”. I don’t even remember the last time Pat went down there. She stayed away. Because. Jeanine. It’s that simple. She stayed away so she didn’t have to put up with Jeanine.

I left the churches, everywhere, and you know that. I left because I wasn’t welcome. Because the churches are, no polite way to put it, totally lost, and fucked up. Transgender people don’t need erased. They need God. They need to heal. They need, almost all of them, to feel love for the first time in their lives. And what do churches preach these days? “They should be shot on sight. Satan’s minions.”

And you can’t explain anything to them. They’re so gung-ho wrapped around their own axles in pursuit of some mythical definition of Christian Purity, they can’t see at all that they are condoning, and supporting murder of other people.

Last church I visited for any length of time, the pastor was a character, let me tell you. “Saw a man wearing a dress, and I about puked.” Yep. There’s the love for each other that is part of Jesus’ teachings.

You know I’m a clinically certified Autistic, with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. I know you understand that. And that, because of that, I very much can’t be like so many social behavior only humans are. I’m, at best, tone deaf to social behavior, and more than likely, totally oblivious to it. It’s a genetic thing, you can do a genetic analysis of the 38 chromosomes in my cells, and it’ll show up. You can do a full electromagnetic brain scan of me, and the scan will show distinct differences in my brain activity from those who are not on the spectrum.

You have no idea how many people have declared I’m not Autistic. That the Autism Spectrum is made up by the medical field, so they can suck up more money from good, honest, hard working people.

Same thing with my biochemical depression. “You just need to get out in nature!”

One of those things I’ve heard from more than one church pastor, “Depression isn’t real.” Yeah. Right.

So, I didn’t visit for the last 4+ years. Not since April of 2016.

Because, Dad. I didn’t want to cause any trouble with the people around you down there. I didn’t want to cause trouble with David and Jeanine.

I never told you, but Hanna and I have not spoken or written one word to each other since Mom died. She lit into me about me not being part of the family, and not coming down there like a good son would have. That was the last I ever heard from her.

I’m pretty sure Jeanine and Rebekka feel the same way about me that Hanna does. “It’s best if he stays away forever, so we don’t have to put up with him. He’s not welcome.”

You know too, they will never say that. Not one of them will say that. They’ll tell you I’m always welcome there. Always was, and always will be.

The thing with Autism is, I don’t do social behavior. So social frameworks, social rules, they don’t exist. What does exist is what I can see. What I can observe. Words spoken. Tones of voice. The lines around another person’s eyes. The way they cross their arms. They way they avoid me. Little details that deviate from what I’ve learned over 61 years of observation and analysis, is normal behavior.

I have a dear friend. Don’t think I ever talked with you about her. Her name’s DS George-Jones. Dad, she’s amazing. Brilliant. One of the most real people I’ve ever known.

How we met? On Facebook. What broke the ice was a set of pictures she posted on her Facebook, where she went to meet one of her favorite writers, and stood in line, and waited until it was her turn to meet them.

No one said anything about those pictures, Dad. Except how beautiful she looked, and how happy her smile was.

I was totally different. I was me. I looked at those pictures, and my heart screamed at me in agony. I could see it in her eyes. She was in a ridiculous amount of pain. It was right there, Dad. Anyone with a heart could have seen it.

That’s how I met her. I was the only one that saw that in those pictures. She has a chronic illness, Dad. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). It’s a neurological disease. Best anyone understands it right now, the body’s cells go into a survival mode, as if the body is under attack, and at risk of death. It wipes out the energy storage in the human body. The cells stop storing energy, and stop making much new energy.

She lives in agony, every day, Dad.

And I put up, every day, with people telling me it’s all fake. That ME doesn’t exist. That she’s faking it, and needs to get up off her lazy ass, and get back to life.

Makes me want to club a ton of people over the head with Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. People are literally that stupid.

I’ve got a lot of friends now that are disabled. And they are real friends. I try to help them as best I can. I send DS at least a Christmas Present every year. OK. So it’s an Amazon gift card. She lives in Georgia, so I don’t get to visit, you know.

There’s also Farrah. Farrah has all kinds of problems. Among them EDS. Dad. She’s 32, and she uses a wheelchair. More and more each month. Her days of walking are fast reaching their end. And with EDS, it’s only a matter of time until her life reaches its end.

She doesn’t know. I haven’t said it. But I’d give her, and DS both 10 years of what I have left. I’ve had my time here, Dad. They have so much left in life they won’t ever get to see.

And it turns my blood to fire when I hear Christians and Churches declaring they’re faking it. Because I can see they are wounded. It’s right there, in broad daylight, in the pictures of them. I’ve actually met DS, and her husband, Mike. We had dinner at a restaurant in the Atlanta area in 2017, when Pat and I went to Dragon*Con.

Dad. I sat cross the table from her, and I noticed every tremor. Every hidden wince. I saw the hurt she was going through just for us to meet in person.

Anyone ever hurts her, I’ll want to run over them with a truck, you know.

You remember Danielle? I think I told you about her. She was transgender. Dad. That’s part of why I lost my freaking mind at Dam Neck. I’m convinced of that. Not because of her. Danielle never hurt me, never upset me. She was a great friend.

It was the bone headed people at Dam Neck. “I’ll never set foot in that restroom again!” Oh, the things they said about Danielle when she wasn’t around to hear.

Yeah. I didn’t visit in the last 4+ years. I hope this helps explain why. It wasn’t you. It was so many other things in life. So many other people.

I wrote a tiny flash fiction story, years ago. About a lady ghost who visited her still living husband, and watched over him every night. That was Mom, you know. It was. Visiting you, every night. Watching over you. It’s what my heart told me was real.

Just like now, how my heart tells me you are Mom are together, and healthy, and happy, beyond the veil of life. Along with all your brothers and sisters.

Hope you enjoy the life you have where you are now.

Don’t worry, you know. Sooner or later, my time will run out, and I’ll get to visit you there.

Mark.

A Clip From #NaNoWriMo 2020

That night, after I got home, after dinner, I could not calm myself down. She knew, I could tell by how she looked at me. To anyone else, I’d look calm, and in control, but she knew. The way my fingers twitched, the way my feet couldn’t stay planted, and insisted on moving all the time. Not far, not a lot of movement, just a continuous motion of an inch or two.

My mind was running wide open, processing a million thoughts, moving from one to another faster than I could keep up. Had I done everything I needed to at work? Had I done everything I could at work? Did I have a way to fix the operating system on that one computer? Did I need to try looking up a solution to the missing WiFi adapter problem again, because I knew I’d run into that problem tomorrow.

At the same time, it was asking philosophical questions. Is there a reason God lets random events happen? Why does racism exist? Is it a normal biological function to believe you are superior to other people? Or to believe your breed of human is superior? Do we record history so we won’t forget what happened, or do we record history, and leave out the bad parts, so we can feel good about ourselves?

Then there were the social questions. What is the answer to the question, “How are you today?” What do people mean when they say, “You can’t be like that?” or, “You can’t be that way?” If there is only one God, why are there so many different religions for that God?

The questions echoed endlessly in my head, and I couldn’t stop them. I’d learned most of them didn’t have answers. I’d learned all the questions I had reduced down to one single question, with only one word.

Why?

That was the root question. The center of everything. Why?

Why are people the way they are? Why does physics work like it works? Why does electricity work like it does? Why do magnets stick to some metals, and not to others? Why is the sky blue? Why is the sun Orange? Why do people think the moon is hollow, and aliens live there, spying on us? Why can’t people figure out chemical imbalances in a person’s brain are physical problems, just like broken bones are physical problems?

Everything always reduced to that one word question. Why?

Why did people drive like insane maniacs in some strange stock car race? Why did people think murder was a crime, but sexual assault wasn’t? Why did people kill themselves by living how they lived, when they could change how they lived, and live longer?

And why couldn’t I turn my brain off?

Grandfather Was A Murderer.

I was there when they released my grandfather from jail, a place he’d been for forty years, a place where many told me he belonged, and that he should die there for what he’d done. But I never agreed with them. I knew full well what he’d done, and I always wondered, if more had done the same, would the pandemic have ended the same way, or would our world be a different, a better place.

My parents told me of the pandemic, a time we don’t speak of these days. We call it, “That time.” We don’t study it in history. We don’t explain all the mass graveyards. We don’t explain the power of the corporations. We don’t explain anything that happened during that time.

But, my grandfather knew, and he’d told me in his letters. It was why I was there to pick him up the day they let him out. It was why I went against my parents wishes, against the wishes of my church family, against the wishes of my company. My grandfather knew what happened during that time.

As I waited for him to come through the gates, into the free world, my mind read the story once again, of how he was arrested, and how he was charged with murder, along with too many of his peers.

It was the time of COVID-19, in the year 2020 of the calendar. My grandfather was a young man, happily married to my grandmother, with a daughter, who would one day become my mother. Grandfather was a doctor, at the hospital in town.

At first, everything made some sort of sense, he explained. The states had ordered people to stay at home, businesses to shut down, to slow the spread of COVID-19. His words resonated with me, “They waited too long. It was already here.”

New York City, he wrote, is where it caught fire, where it struck down thousands. Seeing the virus strike New York, our state did the sensible thing, and locked down. Grandfather told me of the grocery stores running out of so many things, paper products especially, but also pork, and milk, and yeast, and anything that could be used as a cleaning agent.

He wrote of social distancing, with people having to stand in line to get into stores, and having to stand apart, separated by six feet or more. Of people having to wear face masks, so their breathing didn’t spread the virus as far as it could have.

Then, he spoke of the price everyone paid. The loss of employment. The businesses that failed. That had to fire everyone, and would never be able to reopen. Of people, staying in their homes, until they lost their minds, and their ability to reason.

Until they started gathering in large groups of hundreds, and thousands, and marching through towns, and cities, and demanding they be allowed to return to work, to keep their businesses, and their employees, and to make money so they could keep their homes, their cars, their possessions. The worst of them, Grandfather wrote, were the ones who believed it was a government plot to enslave all of us. To take away our freedoms, and rights. As a doctor, he knew those people had spread the virus like they were pouring syrup on toast.

Turned out my Grandfather was right. Less than a month after the protests had started, the virus went off like a firebomb in one neighborhood after another, all over the country. Tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands got ill, all at the same time. The hospitals couldn’t cope. They rapidly turned into places people went to die.

That’s how my grandfather was arrested, and charged with murder.

One of the leaders of the protests in his city came to the hospital one day. A man, of course, made famous from leading protesters to reopen the town, so everyone could have their freedoms back. A man whose words were well known, and found on a plaque at the police station. “We’re taking back our freedom! This is a war, and in wars, people die! People will die, but that’s the price of war! We’re taking back our freedom!”

That man showed up at the hospital with COVID-19. He wasn’t asymptomatic. He was having trouble breathing, his lips were turning blue, he was not going to make it. My grandfather knew this the instant he saw him. The man was going to die. Grandfather had seen dozens of people die from COVID-19. He knew. He knew what the symptoms were. He knew when it was hopeless.

And that’s how my grandfather got arrested.

The court records tell the story too. So do the video records from the hospital. I have seen them hundreds of times. My parents don’t know I’ve seen them. Those video records have been banned, locked away. But it is the age of information, isn’t it. And if you dig hard enough, in the right places, you find things. Like the video of that man, in the emergency room, screaming about being sick, and demanding to be taken care of.

He screamed, and choked, and coughed, and got in everyone’s way. Until my grandfather intervened, and confronted him.

In that video the man pointed his finger at grandfather, “You! You’re a doctor! I’m sick! Fix me!”

My grandfather’s answer was calm, almost quiet. I can hear his words, “You’re the one who caused all this.” He’d waved his hands around the room. “You’re the one who pushed everyone back to work. Who ignored the truth, in the name of money.”

The man wouldn’t hear it. He screamed at my grandfather, “Fix me! I’m sick! You’re a doctor! It’s your job!”

“My job is to save lives.” Grandfather looked around the emergency room in the video, then looked at that man. “I can save countless lives, if I let you die.”

Grandfather had walked away. The rest of the hospital staff ignored the entire event for hours, until the man collapsed on the floor, gasping for breath. Then, they gathered him up like just another victim of the disease.

And that’s how my Grandfather wound up in jail, convicted of murder. No one speaks of it. No one knows how many people died because of the actions of that one man my grandfather let the virus consume. No one speaks of how the world is a better place because of how many like that man died when the virus burned through their population.

The only thing you can find in the history books these days is that in 2020, and for a couple of years after that, it was a dark time, that changed everything. A dark time when millions died. Other than that, no one mentions what happened. No one speaks of the pandemic that changed everything.

I remembered how my Grandfather was arrested, and jailed, for doing the right thing. For saving countless lives, by letting one person die.

I guess that makes me as guilty of murder as my grandfather, doesn’t it.

Sunday, 26 April 2020
Mark.

Fixing Windows 10 Sound Problems (Extreme Solution)

If sound goes strange, or stops working, in Windows 10, and you are willing to try just about anything to fix it, you can try the instructions below. Please note. These instructions do not fix all Windows 10 sound problems. Also note. These instructions could result in you having to do a clean reinstall of Windows 10 on your computer.

It is with the understanding that these instructions are risky, and not guaranteed to work, that I provide them here.

Step 1 : Press the Windows key, hold it down, and press the I key to bring up the Settings Window, as illustrated here:

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Step 2 : Click on the Apps button to bring up the Apps & features Window, as illustrated here:

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Step 3 : Find the Sound Application and Drivers. This is usually named similarly to:

Realtek Audio Driver
Realtek High Definition Audio Driver
Conexant Audio Driver

When you have located the sound application, click on it. It will display the version of the application, and options to Modify or Uninstall the application, similar to the following:
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Step 4 : Uninstall the Sound application. Click on the Uninstall button, and do what it says. When it has completed the uninstall process, restart you computer by holding down the Windows key, and pressing the X key, then letting go of the Windows key, and pressing the U key, then the R key. Count to 1 between pressing keys to be safe.

NOTE: If there is no sound package available, you can skip this step.

Step 5 : After the computer has rebooted, and is usable again, hold down the Windows key, and press the X key, then let go of both keys, and press the M key. This brings up the Device Manager window, as illustrated below.
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Step 6 : Click on the Sound devices item in the Device Manager window to display a list of sound devices on your computer, similar to the following.

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Step 7 : Right click on the sound device (In this case, Realtek High Definition Audio, but for your computer it may be Realtek Audio, or Conexant Audio, or something similar) to bring up a menu of options for actions to take, as illustrated here.

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Step 8 : Select the Uninstall device option. This will display an Uninstall Device window similar to the following.

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If the Uninstall Device window has a checkbox that reads Delete the driver software for this device, check the box, and press the Uninstall button, similar to the following.

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Step 9 : Restart the computer. At this point, Windows 10 will install a default sound driver for the sound system of your computer. It may make you wait a bit while it reboots, and it may boot to the Windows Recovery Environment. If it boots to the Recovery Environment, restart the computer again.

Sound on your computer should work at this point. If you are happy with sound as it works at this point, you’re done, sound is working, and you don’t have the problems you did earlier.

If you want to use the sound application from the computer manufacturer, you can download that application from the manufacturer (such as Hewlett Packard, Lenovo, ASUS, Samsung, or Dell), and then install that application using the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

What this process does is uninstall the sound system on your computer, force the computer to reload the sound system when it starts up, thus resetting all the sound settings in the Windows registry, and forcing Windows to use a known good sound driver.

If this works for you, good.

If your computer blows up when you do this, remember, I did warn you it could do so before you tried this.

Mark.

 

#ThursThreads Week 373 : We Need Confirmation

On Thursday, I had a fight with some guy at a gas station. I was tanking up, heading to Colorado, to explore what I could of the Anasazi Indian settlements, and their arrangements on the ground, when he asked where I was heading.

“Researching the Anasazi settlements.”

“Oh. Another one of those Ancient Aliens people?”

“No. Not really. Something else.” We got talking about my idea that we’d been technologically advanced before, but something happened, and he laughed at me.

“Yep. One of those Ancient Aliens people.” It was an insult. “We need confirmation before we can even think about that type of stuff.”

“And I suppose you’re going to tell me that chem-trails are a real thing?”

“Hell, yes! I can see them hanging in the air after jets fly over!”

It was my turn to laugh at him. That’s all I remember until I woke up in a strange room, with someone explaining to me, “You have a broken nose, and jaw.” I spent the night in the hospital, getting my nose and jaw put back together, and getting stitches in several places.

Chem-trails. What an idiot. I decided I’d never talk to anyone about my idea again. Not until I had it all figured out.

208 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s Week 373 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Part 8 of a story outline I call “This Has All Happened Before”. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up weekly.

Why Does No One Talk About This?

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

I was having an online discussion with a friend today. Talking about the events in Georgia/Alabama/The Deep South with respect to Roe V Wade. Seems I had much to say.

Yeah. There’s that chart. Where not one state has 25% of the people who responded to the poll that are against abortion, as it currently exists. This chart (obviously from Data For Progress):
The_Chart
Here’s what’s striking about that. 75% of the 75% that supports abortion rights doesn’t vote. Ever. For any reason.

This is how the Republican Party, and the Christian Conservatives, have risen to power, politically. People simply don’t vote. They don’t get out on Tuesdays, and they don’t vote. For whatever reason. It’s inconvenient (which it very painfully is). It’s meaningless (Money makes the rules, etc.). Nothing will change (Still Democrats VS Republicans, with nothing different on the horizon). Still have no voice in the government, local, state, or national.

Whatever the reason, people don’t vote. The result? Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Texas, Kansas, Kentucky, and right on down the line.

And, because no one votes, no one cares about redistricting, and no one cares about Gerrymandering, and no one cares if people lose the right to vote. Because. Voting is meaningless in so very many ways.

No matter who you vote in, that $13 Billion Aircraft Carrier is going to get built. Walmart will get another tax break. So will Amazon. Apple will continue to become more and more monopolistic. Jeff Bezos will get richer. So will Bill Gates. And too many people will still end up wondering if they have enough cash left to reach the next paycheck, and wondering how many days they can live on Mac N Cheese made with water, not milk. And they’ll still drive that car that needs tires, and brakes repaired, and is like driving a death trap, ’cause they have to get to work to make the next bill payment, and that will leave nothing to get the car fixed with.

People don’t vote, because no matter how they vote, or who they vote for, it won’t change a damn thing for them in their daily lives.

And the result? Alabama. Georgia. And right on down the line.

Of course, you can’t explain this to anyone. You can’t give anyone an understanding of this. It won’t happen. It doesn’t work. It’s like trying to explain the color blue to a concrete slab.

Until something happens that changes how things are, the decay will continue, and more people will not vote, and the chaos of politics will grow. Until something happens that changes the survival mode of more and more people, those people won’t vote, because, neither party helps them.

They don’t care about abortion. They don’t care about tax cuts. They don’t care about government debt. They don’t care about women’s equality, and the lack of equal pay. They don’t care about sexual harassment.

They care about getting dinner every night this week for the kids. About making the payment on the electric bill. About having hot water for another 30 days. About being able to wear clean clothing to work. About being able to eat breakfast at all. About being able to buy new socks to replace the ones full of holes.

This is why people don’t vote. Because. NEITHER party is doing anything to change that. So, it doesn’t matter which party runs things. They still have the same situation. The same problems. The same daily grind.

The political ideals of the Democrats have no meaning to them. “You want me to vote for you? Buy me and my family dinner for the next 4 years.”

The GOP cuts taxes. Because. That talks straight to pocket books. “If they lop off 20% of my taxes, I can feed my family another 20 nights this year.”

I work at Geek Squad. We call people every day. Every day, I deal with the phone system saying, “The number you have called has been disconnected.” Because. The person couldn’t pay their phone bill. Literally. They couldn’t pay the phone bill. So the phone got disconnected.

We see people buying the $200 piece of junk laptops. Because. It. Works. It flat works. Nothing fancy. No bells. No whistles. No gaming. No music. It runs. They can write on it. They can do homework on it. They can get on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. And $200 means they only have to skip lunch for a month.

Best Buy has a new program. With some company I never heard of. A “lease to own” program. It’s almost guaranteed you will qualify for a lease to own purchase, if you can’t qualify for anything else.

One catch. Make the payments, as scheduled, and you’ll bay $2400 US for that $1000 computer.

Why would anyone do that? Because. That’s the only way they can get the computer. It’s like the humans that purchase cars on leases, knowing they have to get a new car in 36 months. They can’t afford the monthly payment for a purchase. But, that lease payment brings it down to where they can make the monthly payment.

Too bad the monthly payment never, ever ends.

These people. These people are the ones who don’t vote. Because. Nothing either party is doing, or supports, makes one damn bit of difference to them. Nothing either party stands for helps them one damn bit. So, Trump got elected, not Hillary. They still can’t make this months phone bill payment, and have to live without a phone for a while. They still can’t buy hamburger to make hamburger helper, so they get to eat hot dog wienies. With no bun. And no fixings. For lunch.

Until that changes. Until some party, some political organization, somewhere, addresses that type of problem, and makes things better for them.

They won’t ever vote. Because. It doesn’t matter. It literally doesn’t matter.

If you’re wondering how organizations like ISIS, and Hamas rise to power, this is part of how. They fed people. They set up day care centers. They provided free education, and taught people to read and write. They provided water, and toilet paper, and electricity.

Of course, those people who had nothing supported them. Because, they made life better for those people. Yes, it was a means to an end. A way to gather power, and become another party that doesn’t care about anyone but the party itself, and the party leadership.

But, they knew the truth. If you help the disenfranchised, the disenfranchised support you. Because. Thanks to you, they get to eat dinner this week.

How do things like Georgia, and Alabama happen? Because no one cares. Why does no one care? Because they have bills to pay. And mouths to feed. And families to raise. And don’t care at all about what happens in politics, and in Washington DC, or Atlanta, Georgia, or anywhere else. They have bigger problems. More important things to deal with.

 

When My Grandfather Died

I remember sitting on the swing on the front porch of my grandparents home. It was in a town most of you have never heard of. Lucedale, Mississippi. My grandfather had died, and we had traveled from Virginia Beach to Lucedale, for the funeral.

I sat on the swing for hours. Alone. Everyone left me there, because they knew that’s who I was.

I remember my cousin, Reba. Who eventually sat down on the swing, next to me. We didn’t talk, or anything else. We just sat there. I kept the swing moving, slowly, back and forth, over a short distance.

I was never able to tell her, or anyone, what I was feeling. What I was thinking.

I’d done what I had to do to cope with everything. My grandfather’s passing. The ocean of people visiting, speaking with my grandmother, paying their respects.

No one knew at that time, I’m an autistic. We only knew I was a little different, a little off.

I remember Reba spoke to me, briefly, about my being on the swing. I was never able to explain why. Now, after all the decades, I can finally find the words.

I couldn’t stay in the house. Where all the people were. I couldn’t be social. I couldn’t make small talk, and share stories of my grandfather. Inside the house, all I could do was stand next to the casket, and feel numb, and empty, like I’d endured a great loss.

I couldn’t scream at everyone, about how they were being so calm, so cold, so uncaring. How they were continuing with life, as if nothing had happened.

I couldn’t run away. Couldn’t hide. Couldn’t escape. That would have been wrong. Everyone would have talked about how I didn’t care, and wasn’t there to support my grandmother. How I wasn’t being part of the family.

I sat on the swing. And kept it swinging. For hours.

I didn’t know what to feel. Relief that my grandfather’s endless trips to the hospital were finally over. Tears for my mother, her sisters, and my grandmother, because he was gone. Anger and rage at the universe because I’d never get to speak with him again. So many emotions. So many feelings. And I had no way to deal with them. They were an ocean, with endless waves, cresting, and pounding me into the sand beneath my feet, as they tried to drown me.

I had no way to talk with anyone. I had no words. No way to say what I was feeling. No way to describe the colors I saw. The people I saw. The expressions on their faces. Words had stopped working. All I had in my head were pictures. Images. Colors. Like a movie that keeps playing, and you can’t turn it off. Even if you turn off the television, the movie keeps playing on its screen.

I was overwhelmed. Overloaded. Non-functional. I know that now. Then, all I knew was I did what I had to do to get through everything alive, and cause as little chaos as I could.

I was silenced.

I’d hidden from the world, sitting on that swing, off to the side. There, but not there. Within reach, but a thousand light years away. Ready to respond, to move, to speak, to help, in any way I could, but hidden from everyone, in another world, trying to remember how to breathe, and desperately trying to understand any of what I felt.

Now, all the decades later, I still can’t explain what I felt. I still can’t describe the thoughts in my head, on that night. I don’t know that I will ever be able to. I’m not good with my emotions. I never have been. I know that I felt things. Too many things. And I wasn’t able to deal with them, so I pushed them aside, to deal with them gradually, over time.

I never told Reba how much her presence on the swing kept me there, at the house, in that place. She anchored me to the reality of what was happening. She gave me a way to make it through the chaos. Helped me find a way to cope with what I was feeling, at least well enough to be there, to be part of the family.

I don’t remember the people who were there. I don’t remember the words they spoke to me. I don’t remember whose hand I shook, whose smile I saw, whose words of sympathy I heard. It’s all chaos, noise. I was overwhelmed, and overloaded. My brain cells, my mind, my self, could not keep up with the amount of information I had to process.

But I can never forget saying goodbye to my Grandfather.

And I can never forget sitting on that swing, next to my cousin, Reba, wondering if she knew, somehow, her presence gave me what I needed to hang on, and stay there.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2019/03/24

Perhaps, someday, someone will find this, my diary. Perhaps. I suppose the only reason I have for writing the words I have is my inability to let go of hope.

The truth is, I’m a dead man. I will die, in silence, locked in this room that doesn’t exist. One of many such rooms on this hallway that lies beneath the basement of God’s church. The only glimpse I have of the outside world being through the keyhole in the wall, placed there when I was sealed in this, my ten foot by ten foot tomb.

No food. No water. Nothing. Save the ability to look out into the hallway, lined with identical tombs, each with its own keyhole. It seems the church can starve me to death, and make me die of thirst, but can’t suffocate me in an airtight room.

I don’t know how long the hallway is, or if it is the only hallway, or one of many hallways. I do know, this is where enemies of God end up. Here. In a white brick room. With only an artificial light, embedded in the ceiling, that never turns off. Left here, sealed inside, to die for my crimes against the Church.

I don’t even know what crimes I have committed.

Perhaps independent thought. Thinking for myself, instead of doing what the church demanded. Perhaps that is how I wound up here.

Perhaps independent action. Giving my bagged lunch to one of the natives. Someone who does not believe in God. A heathen. Instead of letting them starve.

Perhaps because I learned to read, and write, and thus became able to read the words of the sacred scriptures on my own, without a monk, or priest having to read them to me.

Perhaps I will never know. Other than what I was told. “You have violated the directives of God, and His Church, and you have refused to acknowledge your sins, and beg for His forgiveness, or make the required sacrifices to pay for your sins, according to God’s laws.”

So, here I am. On this hallway. In a room that doesn’t exist. In a hallway that doesn’t exist. Were all such heathens as myself end up. I have examined the walls of this place. Stone. Cold, hard stone. No seams of any kind. As if the room was carved into a solid block of stone. Once it had a door. I know this, they pushed me through that door, into this place. Then, they sealed me in. A single piece of stone, with a keyhole carved into it.

I remember the brilliance of the laser beams that heated the door, and the stone of the cell, until they glowed, too bright to bear to look at. Melting the stone of each, turning it into a solid joint. Sealed. Forever.

I remember the words of the Priest who directed the Monks that sealed me in this room, “May the light of God seal this heathen inside his final home, leaving no way to escape.”

There are no days here. No nights. No time. Here, there is only waiting, and wondering, “Does it hurt to die of thirst? Does it hurt to starve to death? Does it hurt as my body slowly consumes itself trying to keep me alive?”

I suppose, in this place, in this tomb, I will learn the answers to such questions soon enough.

568 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s week 99 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

 

ME Is Real.

The following is lifted, word for word, from Stonebird. I place these words here because.

  • I have a dear friend who endures this endless torture every day.
  • I have to deal with people who tell me this isn’t a real thing.
  • I have to deal with people who tell me these are lazy people who are faking it

ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis). This illness kills people. You need to know what it is. The people who live with this are the strongest I’ve ever known.

Please read this, and educate yourself. Please visit Stonebird, and learn more.

The Stonebird Definition of Severe ME :

  • Severe ME is a hellish experience that you live and endure without treatment, cure or respect .
  • Severe ME is not knowing how to cope from minute to minute, moment to moment.
  • Severe ME is being tormented by people doing ordinary things.
  • Severe ME is being inhibited by paralysis.
  • Severe ME is being totally ill, all the time.
  • Severe ME is being unable to read.
  • Severe ME is being unable to hold anything.
  • Severe ME is falling over regularly.
  • Severe ME is your mind not working.
  • Severe ME is being unable to speak on the phone.
  • Severe ME is finding that going to bed makes you feel even more ill.
  • Severe ME is discovering that there is no possibility of rest, ever.
  • Severe ME is being unable to see anybody because they make you more ill, because you are so hypersensitive.
  • Severe ME is not knowing what to eat that won’t hurt you.
  • Severe ME is being neglected by the Health Service.
  • Severe ME is having to regularly have to prove you are ill, just to get your benefits.
  • Severe ME is being always in constant pain.
  • Severe ME is finding that everything you try to do hurts you on some level somewhere.
  • Severe ME is feeling dizzy and disorientated most of the time.
  • Severe ME is spending your life predominantly sitting in a chair unable to move or function , or in bed, paralysed.
  • Severe ME is being not properly medically tested.
  • Severe ME is being unable to find any clothes that don’t itch you.
  • Severe ME is being unable to go to the shops to buy clothes.
  • Severe ME is finding that any noise irritates you to distraction.
  • Severe ME means that your mind lives in a sea of fog and emptiness.
  • Severe ME is finding that everything normal is out of reach.
  • Severe ME is being unable to manage without help, all day long.
  • Severe ME is having no energy.
  • Severe ME is living in poverty.
  • Severe ME is being unable to decorate because you are chemically sensitive and the paint would make you more ill.
  • Severe ME is being unable to tidy away the things on your desk or sort anything out because it’s too complex functionally for you to do.
  • Severe ME is being unable to carry things.
  • Severe ME is finding that everything in your world is hurting you , both inside and outside you.
  • Severe ME is being unable to travel without torment.
  • Severe ME is finding that motion makes you ill.
  • Severe ME is having no real choices , apart from not to despair.
  • Severe ME is a torture and a nightmare.
  • Severe ME is constantly feeling as if you are screaming with agony inside.
  • Severe ME is being more sick than an AIDS patient two months before death.
  • Severe ME is noticing that people with terminal cancer have a better quality of life than you, until they die.
  • Severe ME is being sick of not being understood.
  • Severe ME is being sick of the denial of your reality.
  • Severe ME is weeping everyday with the sheer physical pain of your life.
  • Severe ME is having all the things you love taken away from you.
  • Severe ME is being unable to bear being touched because of the pain and irritation that it causes.
  • Severe ME is your body going dead and numb regularly, awake and asleep.
  • Severe ME is having skin that crawls with intolerable sensations.
  • Severe ME is being cognitively disabled.
  • Severe ME is finding that anything you do will lead to worsening pain, paralysis and numbness.
  • Severe ME is feeling like you are dying.
  • Severe ME is having your illness misrepresented and negated by a powerful psychiatric lobby that denies the physical reality of your neurological disease.
  • Severe ME is finding that there is no one with any power or authority doing anything to change it.
  • Severe ME is being enraged by the untruths that exist about ME , that are accepted by professionals and society.
  • Severe ME is finding that your hypersensitivity is increasing.
  • Severe ME is being persecuted because you are disabled and ill.
  • Severe ME is having to buy own nutritional medicine and organic products; you cannot live cheaply as a disabled person.
  • Severe ME is never going on holiday
  • Severe ME is never going to social or family events.
  • Severe ME is having to fight for everything that you should be entitled to.
  • Severe ME is a desperate thirst that is unquenched.
  • Severe ME is an extreme head ache that goes on and on, throbbing unceasingly, day after day, and all night without relent.
  • Severe ME is where thinking is so painful you can’t do it.
  • Severe ME is going to sleep and waking up worse.
  • Severe ME is having no energy to start with.
  • Severe ME is struggling to breathe.
  • Severe ME is struggling to eat because chewing is exhausting and swallowing is dangerous.
  • Severe ME is struggling to live.
  • Severe ME is numb eyeballs and itchy, burning eye pain and scratchy dry eyes.
  • Severe ME is not being able to read because the letters are dancing in and out and up and down and there seems to be two of everything.
  • Severe ME is where words lose their meaning and comprehension disappears and is replaced by tormenting pain in your head and worsening pain in your body instead.
  • Severe ME is emptiness in your mind where colour and thought once existed.
  • Severe ME is sleeping all morning and awake all night.
  • Severe ME is needing the toilet again and again.
  • Severe ME is a bizarre world where nothing seems as it is and every reaction is opposite to what you would expect.
  • Severe ME is where no one tells you what is going on in your body, to make sense of all the symptoms .
  • Severe ME is where you have to work it all out for yourself.