Why, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. They always go for the trendy nonsense instead of what’s practical.
Case in point. The tucked-in top sheet and blanket/coverlet/comforter – whatever. I don’t know about you but I hate anything tucked in. I don’t care how tight the fitted sheet is, when you start tugging at the top sheet and blanket to get into bed, the fitted sheet becomes loose. As a result it forms folds. I like my sheet to be tight, rather like the army where they bounce a penny on it. Read more…
Ever heard the expression “He’s got class” or “He’s a gentleman”? What do they mean? Do they mean he has more money than you? Do they mean he has better manners (social skills) than you?
I was married to a man who claimed he had “class”. His father was a lawyer and he was a business owner. He was excellent at flattery and I could not believe how easily people, especially women, were disarmed by it. He told jokes that he laughed at harder than anyone else. Our house was “open house” every night of the week. Liquor flowed like water and food was always plentiful. The house was packed with freeloaders who would eat, drink and talk crap for hours without ever having spent a cent. I know they laughed behind his back. To them he was a putz ever needy of an approving audience.
They should have been married to him. Oh joy.
When the door closed and we were alone, a different animal emerged. He became sullen and bullish. We never had sex unless he wanted it – never mind my needs. He took ten second showers followed by splashes of cologne so you could smell him coming and going. He never, ever lifted the toilet seat to pee. I can’t tell you how many times I sat on a wet seat. I usually took care to wipe it clean before sitting down but there were times, I’d forget.
Still, he thought of himself as classy and a gentleman. I guess he figured he had more money than you and that’s all it that mattered.
When you think of “home” you think of a haven from whatever bad stuff is out there. As a child, home is where you go when you’re hungry, when you’re cold, when you’re frightened, when you’re tired.
Home is where you go to share joy, to find peace and tranquility, to recharge your batteries, to let down your guard and be yourself.
Or, so it should be.
So, what happens when you don’t have this sanctuary? There is no respite from the harshness, no shelter from the storm, no place to regroup and recoup.
When home becomes a scary place, what does one do? As a child, you probably don’t have many options. You go home in the hope that this day there will be peace in the house.
I had such a childhood.
Over time, I got used to the cramping in my stomach. I had a stepfather that had a hair-trigger temper, where screaming and barking orders was commonplace. A mother who was scared of his outbursts, who desperately wanted to keep the marriage together, who turned on her daughter as if their fighting was somehow her fault.
Since we were immigrants, there was no other family where I might have been able to find refuge. Even if there had been, chances are they would not have wanted to get involved. I never told anyone. “What goes on within these walls, stays here” was hammered into my head.
My bedroom was next to theirs. On the occasion where he would hit Mother, I could hear the crashing of a body against something. Loud thumps. Muffled cries. Pleadings.
I’d pull the covers over my head, cry and pray, while inside I felt cold and shivery and so scared. I so desperately wanted to make them stop. Once they did, there was this deathly calm followed by days of not talking and stepfather sleeping in the rec-room. Then the make-up sessions, followed by days of cooing. It was sickening.
My first marriage was a battlefield as well. He took his daily frustrations out as soon as he walked through the door at night. I fought back. I screamed and yelled and threw things, determined never to be a victim again. There was, however, no violence – just shouting. That marriage eventually ended.
In the years that passed, I created my own sanctuary. It was so good to close the door behind me and feel at peace. Nobody crossed my threshold that wasn’t invited. They were good years. When I finally met the man I wanted to grow old with, I had a hard time giving up my sanctuary. I was afraid I would lose that sense of tranquility.
My fears were unfounded.
On one of my travels in the ’60’s, I had occasion to spend a night at a motel in Montego Bay. It was a well appointed room although rather like any Holiday Inn anywhere in North America. Instead of glass window panes, they had wooden louvres. There were two beds, separated by a night table – a bathroom and clothes closet. I chose the bed by the window. Having driven for hours over Mount Diablo, I was exhausted and fell into a deep sleep.
I’m guessing it was around 3 AM, when low murmurings awoke me. You know the kind – like when a group of people are gathered and are speaking quietly to each other. (That type of murmur used to put me to sleep when I was a child.) As I was lying on my right side facing the louvres, I saw the grey night sky peering through the openings between the wooden slats. The murmuring continued. I rolled on my back and half sat up.
I saw four men standing in a circle, talking, smiling and softly chuckling, much like you’d see at a cocktail party. They were illuminated as if the overhead light by the door were on. One of the men was blond, one was Spanish looking, one was brown-skinned and one was quite tall and thin and of very dark complexion. The Spanish looking gent turned his eyes to me, smiled and said, “Look, she’s awake”. The others turned and looked my way. I got out of bed and walked towards them, in my mind ready to tell them to get the hell out, when that same man asked, “Tell me, Miss Ornig, do you believe in ghosts?”
“Of course not. Idiot”, I thought to myself – and then I looked at each of them, one by one, as they smiled back at me. It occurred to me, “What if they are? Could it be?”. Utter terror suddenly washed over me. An icy chill ran through me. I felt a sudden cramp in my gut so sharp, I let out a groan. I doubled over and, as I was about to collapse on the floor, the thin man grabbed my right upper arm to keep me from keeling over.
I was awkened by the sound of low murmurings and as I opened my eyes slightly, I saw the gray night sky peering between the slats of the louvres. I decided not to roll on my back. I closed my eyes again.
I woke a third time. I saw the gray night sky peering between the slats of the louvres. This time it was quiet. No murmurs. I rolled on my back and the room was dark and empty. I fell back asleep.
The next day I lunched on lobster salad at a nearby hotel and relayed my experience to another lunch guest, a local gent. I described each man as I had remembered him from the night before. The gentleman smiled sadly and said he knew them. The blond one had been his friend.
The four had been liquor salesmen working for J. Wray and Nephew. Whenever they called on the hotels in Montego Bay, they stayed at that motel. One night, two years prior, they were hacked to death by a crazed mob of Rastafarians. They had set the gas station across the street on fire and, when the men came out of their rooms to see what the commotion was about, they attacked them with machetes and killed them all.
He was glad to hear that, in my vision, they appeared happy.
The palm trees swayed to a gentle noon-day breeze. My blood ran cold. I feared the night.
It’s been quite some time since I posted to this blog. It’s been a wild time for me as I’ve been very busy trying to fill impossible positions. There is certainly nothing easy about the work I do. Some days I feel totally burned out. Like today, for example.
Last week, we had a court date in Small Claims Court, trying to get our money out of a client that hired someone I presented, under the table. Everything I stated and proved, he denied. So now, we go to trial. I hate this. Maybe it’s time to get out of the business.
To top it all, I had sold my china cabinet which meant that the contents of same were all over the place – in boxes on the floor etc. I took a lot of time scouring the internet. I looked in both eBay and Kijiji. I was starting to feel defeated. Finally, yesterday I took the bull by the horns and set up a couple of appointments to see a wall unit and a china cabinet. The wall unit was a piece of crap. The china cabinet had possibilities but you could tell it was not a quality piece.
I felt depressed. We drove towards home and decided to hit Brampton Galleries. We’ve bought from them before and been happy with the quality of their stock. We were not disappointed this time, either. There, in a back room stood the china cabinet with my name on it. It was perfect. Clean lines. Mahogany. Lovely. Bingo, bango, we bought it and am now anxiously awaiting for Wednesday to come as they are delivering it to us then.