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Saturday, July 17, 2010

You Can't Help Who You Love

This is the story that convinced someone to convince me to start this adventure. I would relate my astonishment surrounding events or people to this voracious reader kind enough to indulge my mutterings. On the fly, off the cuff, live reporting. The idea of a blog was eventually mentioned. A gentle nudge became a gentle push. I'm happy to say shoving never came into play. When I eventually win a Tony Award for Best Play, and then an Oscar for Best Movie, Director, Screenplay, and Actor I hope I don't forget to mention THAT name.

I endeavor every week to keep that live, spur of moment exercise going. Writing only when something happens that demands attention. Though I do have some ideas rolling round and round; I will never post pre-written material. Though this story has been told, the original form no longer exists in the physical grasp of this writer.

It's Friday night. I am watching people come and go. Observing. A van pulls in the lot. Ever with the short distance between the road and the pump it pulls up to, I can see it swerving quite a bit. This guy gets out of the van, comes in the store, and starts to use the ATM. Though the lot is pretty full he is the lone customer actually in the store. Most of my attention is drawn to the sudden battle at the ATM. Swaying back and forth to his own internal drunken beat, his confusion rises as the ATM is evidently out of order. Muttering or swearing under his breath he can't figure out why there is no money for him tonight. As his struggles continue a white Explorer comes to an abrupt stop outside the front door. A woman gets out. She sticks her head through the door. "What're ya doin' here Ray? You're drunk. I have to go to work. Go home." He says something to her I can't hear. As she comes in and heads to the drink case at the back she says, "What do you need money for Ray? Where're ya going? Huh? You going to go smoke crack with Jimmy, or you going to the strip club?" He turns and with arms spread wide and in his most innocent voice says to her "Never the strip club honey." She is making her way to the counter by now with a gallon of milk and sundry other items. I can see the extremely skeptical look on her face over Ray's denial. He occupies himself looking for snacks as I start to ring her up. She leans into me and disgustedly says, "He always does this. He gets drunk and drives around. He never gets caught! Never gotten a DUI. I get three speeding tickets a month, but he can't get caught."

She rocks back, shrugs her shoulders and almost looks embarrassed.

"You can't help who you love." She says. Shrugging her shoulders again she picks up her stuff and heads out the door.

No, but, we can change our situations, our lives, our hell. We can choose not to enable. We can choose to face the fear and change our lives. We can. We can choose to grow. I promise.

Ray buys some cigarettes and pays for some gas with the hard earned money from the ATM as I ask if he's ok to drive. "That's what I do." he says, and leaves to pump his gas.

I spend most of the rest of the night thinking about men and women. Relationships. How I see so many women who feel they don't have a choice. How powerless most women feel. And when they do see a choice or do feel powerful they are punished. They are stalked. They are beaten. They are killed.

So many times when I think about us on this earth and how far we have come - and we have - I am reminded all over again how far we have to go.

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