Friday, August 16, 2013

Personal Detritus

No internet today. God damn AT&T to hell.

I don't stress it like I did a week ago but I still was thrilled when I found a flier in my mailbox advertising for a neighborhood security watch meeting. Boy, I can't wait to participate and volunteer. I went to that meeting tonight, emerging from it richer in spirit and friends, but shaken. What was I thinking? An older woman alone in a borderline-rough area. Hmmm, motion sensors? Was that another couple of thousand I just heard whooshing out of my checking account?

Tommie certainly expended energy making herself feel secure; every door has double deadbolts and chains. Including the attic and basement doors. The utility drawer in the kitchen is a mosaic of deadbolt hardware and keys. I don't think she ever felt totally secure. The story i got was that she and her husband were ambushed, shot in their driveway by his son. The husband was killed; Tommie survived a bullet through the collarbone. She fled the home she had occupied with the man she loved and bought this house, probably to be near her mother one street over. She would have been in total escape mode I guess. Freida told me Tommie asked never to have it revealed to anyone where she lived. I don't know where the husband's son is or what happened to him.

My visions of a knobby, thin little old woman in a housecoat gliding through this house she knew so well makes me smile. But the personal detritus left behind when a body occupies a space is gross. Steve pitched a fit when I took a shower in his house and left a few hairs in the drain. Granted, I leave quite a few hairs wherever I go; I've got a lot to spare. It's not a problem for me because they are mine. It's other peoples' cellular debris that gives my throat a compulsive heave. It's the sort of thing that makes me demolish medicine cabinets.

Tommie nursed her diabetic mother Gertrude for God knows how long before she passed, and there is ample evidence to show what she had to endure to keep the patient comfortable. Freida told me that Tommie hated Grady Hospital with a passion because they had amputated both her mother's legs and she felt the treatment was over-zealous. The signs of Gertrude's internment are all over this house, from the hospital bed and medical equipment in the basement to the stacks of gauze and dressings in the linen closet. Gallon jars of petroleum jelly, bottles of hydrogen peroxide, packs and packs of Telfa pads, surgical tape, skin prep and other stuff I can't identify. I don't do sickness or death very well, so imagine my barf-meter going through this stuff. Then there were the reports she had to fill out, or the visiting nurse from Medicaid, probably. One report I found described Gertrude's wounds as "necrotic". That was enough for me, I went to bed without dinner.

Chris gave me a generous Lowes gift card. She wants me to use it on a medicine cabinet. Chris has the house to die for. In the neighborhood of my dreams.

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