WITH A SAFETY PIN AND A PRAYER

Years ago there was a tongue-in-cheek advice given to girls when going on a date:

“Bring a newspaper and a safety pin. The newspaper is to place on a boy’s lap in case you’re in a crowded room and need to sit on his lap. The pin is to poke him if he tries anything you don’t want.”

Of course we all laughed but I’m sure we all crossed our fingers or said a prayer that we wouldn’t have to fight off a guy who couldn’t take “no” for an answer. Unfortunately this was the norm. This was the expected. This was and still seems to be the mentality of boys will be boys, what do you expect when they’re drunk, you dressed provocatively, you were drunk…and the list goes on and on.

No. Just no. No more. No longer should we females have to pray, scream, kick, or silently cry. Nor should we be laughed at or taunted by the males who feel they need to demonstrate their prowess or their entitlement.

There is one thing, though, that should also be noted: through the years of my dating or just being around males, it was the very few who acted like they could do anything they wanted with no repercussions. Most of the boys in high school and men in college and beyond respected me and I know my girlfriends can say the same. But what we need is for all males to realize that the norm now is not what it was, but rather what it should be. And that we girls and women will no longer tolerate any male who doesn’t accept that.

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A CHARACTER IN PROGRESS

As a writer, I often times drift off to sleep creating stories. And just as often I completely forget about them the next morning, no matter how many cups of coffee I drown my brain in.

Last night, though, a character formed and I wrote snippets of it on paper next to my bed. She is entirely a figment of my imagination, since I don’t hob-nob with the exceedingly rich and possibly famous. Here she is:

Mimi Lee Banes Potter Haddonfield, the patron saint of young Atlanta society, stands in front of a series of priceless Degas paintings in Venice when she has an epiphany: the 18th century floor under her Gucci high heels is begging to be made into place mats.
Mimi (not “Me-Me” as some peons think it should be spelled), has homes in Manhattan, Southampton, Rio, Paris, and a few others she is sure are fabulous but escape her memory.

“Wherever I am, I’m always looking for the best designer or dermatologist–you know, a doctor for those pesky small problems of the skin.” She waves her beringed hand and tries to smile, but her mouth won’t cooperate. After a few attempts she resigns herself to the Mona Lisa look. Or as her frenamies whisper, Me-Me’s constipated face.

Anne Skalitza, 2018

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MY SONS, MY ADVENTURE

Your size ten sneakers grace our front porch,

too caked with dirt to wear inside,

they greet friends and family as they knock on our door.

 

I buy groceries as if feeding a football team,

and you willingly carry the bags inside,

then devour half the contents.

 

Your music blares from your speakers,

announcing to the neighborhood your presence,

as I do my work to its rhythm.

 

All of this I greet as an adventure, relishing the unexpected hugs,

the parent-son talks, knowing that no matter how old,

you are my sons.

 

And I love you.

 

–Anne Skalitza 2018

MENTAL ILLNESS (as an observer)

All is good
for a day, an hour.
The puzzle, almost complete,
falls apart..
Pieces missing.

It is unique.
It is insidious.
It creeps.
It moans.
It screams.
It lives.

Feeding on fear,
anxiety
stress
sadness
euphoria
seasons
full moons
new moons
change
cold
heat.

A train
gathering speed.
No light, no light,
at the end
of the proverbial tunnel.
Racing forward,
unstoppable.

Most days,
it just is.

–Anne Skalitza

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OF ICE AND ZEN

Grass crackles under feet,
hair like hay in this heat.

Wetness pools underarms,
Eau d’ Sweat doesn’t charm.

Rush inside for cooling drink,
central air is on the blink.

Lemonade made with ice,
would be better if it’s spiked.

Freezer has ice cold air,
I think I’ll keep my head in there.

Husband wanders in the room,
laughs out loud–who’s this loon?

Hair and eyebrows frozen stiff,
I dash outside till air is fixed.

Pavement hot, bare feet sizzle,
I dance and jump and do a jiggle.

Race back in and heave a sigh,
day is done, and so am I.

–A.S.

Obituaries Aren’t Us

Death is never humorous. It’s the obituaries that sometimes are.

Years ago when someone died, forms were filled out by the deceased’s loved one at the funeral home, then it was sent to the local newspaper for the obituary editor to compile into a well-written, just-the-facts, notice. Within the last fifteen years or so, our local paper has allowed self-written essays (for a fee, of course. The more words the better) in the obituary section. This has produced the gamut of writing styles and decimation of the English language. It also gives the reader insight into the family’s dynamics, whether the writer intended to or not.

This morning I was sipping my jolt of high-octane coffee when I nearly choked. Not from the hot liquid, but from a 95-year-old woman’s obituary. It ran three half-page columns exhorting her privileged life.

This is the part of the obituary that had me just about spew my coffee:

“Despite recommendations and pressure from bank trust officers to diversify the family’s (stock) portfolio, (deceased person) followed the wishes of her parents and held the (certain company) shares, some of which were purchased more than 100 years ago. The company continued to pay through the Great Depression. It is a quintessential long term investing story of which the family is very proud. The family is grateful for her faith and vision in the benefits (of) long-term stock investing.”

I’m sure the family is very grateful.

And then, about a year ago, another family seemed to have a hard time expressing how bereaved they were. They lamented that the deceased woman’s children and grandchildren now “lost a piece of their minds” over her death.

I am so sorry brains were wasted in the process.

There is also the improper use of grammar that has me become apoplectic. But that, since I wish to remain calm, is for another day.