Thinking…

I sometimes do my best and worst thinking in this position. How the heck did I land up at The Robert Treat Hotel in Downtown Newark? As Tashi and I were walking from the hotel parking lot, we ran into a family from Belgium. I asked the dad, “What brings you to Newark New Jersey?” He replied, “It’s cheaper than staying in New York City and this hotel had some history.” He went on to say how a couple of Presidents stayed here and so did Thomas Edison.

The tired elevators once again broke down so guests had to walk up and down the staircases to get to their floors. We did the same, past the chicken bones and the remains of a pizza littering the stairwell. Tashi says she saw a hypodermic needle lodged in a crack between a stair tread and the wall. I wonder if society had those problems back when Thomas Edison was taking those very same stairs up and down?

In three days we head back to The West Coast; to a land of earthquakes and wildfires, to a place so different than here. Who knows when I’ll be able to return, I used up my vacation days for this year helping someone who really didn’t want help, she just needed a vacation from what she was destined to go back to for the 15th time. I don’t blame her, it is what it is but please tell me this. What’s more insane, to go back for the 15th time or be willing to help her for the 16th time? This too will pass

Dora Sorell… Part 1

I was truly blessed to meet Dora this afternoon. After my second job, I decided to get an iced tea at Peets on Vine Street in Berkeley. I tried to sit inside but the place was packed with customers. At one of the few outside tables sat a little old lady. I asked if I could join her and she said, “Sure!” I asked, “I hope you’re enjoying your life.” Quickly she said, “Oh yes I am everyday. I’m 95 and I’ve had a full life.”

When she said she was ninety-five I immediately asked, “What was your most memorable thing of times passed?” I was expecting talk about the Great Depression or the attack on Pearl Harbor. She smiled and said, “I survived the Auschwitz.” My eyes subtly focused on her left and there it was, the rough tattoo A-7603. We spoke for twenty minutes about how she survived.

In the end I asked, “Did you forgive those who did what they did to you?” She replied, “What else can I do? Hate those who took my parents…” She looked at my arm tattoo and said, you’re right This Too Will Pass

Substitute Your Loved One’s Name…

I find it sadly amusing how people so easily want me to give up on Matt. They say, “You’ve done everything you can. Now you have to let him go.” My response is, “Okay but first let’s substitute your child’s name in place of Matt’s. Let’s see what you would do?” It’s so easy for them to have me turn my back on him but if their once cute child was schizophrenic. I really doubt they would cut them off. 

I’d really rather hear a comment of, “I don’t know what to do and I wish I did.” Let me add, this doesn’t apply to those who have struggled with their own loved ones. They know how hard it is to see someone they’ve raised from a baby be messed up and to add insult to injury,  I’ll finally be finished paying off his student loans in about 15 months. 

Tonight Matt’s mom read me the riot act because I didn’t dump him off at that disgusting shelter. She said I had failed to get him to safety and, well she went on and on about how I should have insisted on taking him there. I told her, “Do you know what for him was the most important thing we did these past three days?” She had no answer… I said, “Buying him a baseball cap. That’s it. Everything else was just a side dish.” She shut up… This too will pass

This Is Your Brain on Drugs…

Yes, it’s not all drugs. It’s alcohol and mental illness, bad life choices, bad luck, too much debt, not enough money, uncaring relatives and/or a combination of it all. I was going to off him off at the Neil Good Day Center and wish him luck but after seeing the lost souls hanging around the place, I just couldn’t do it. Hundreds of dirty wiped out people existing. What the heck is wrong with America? I drove Matt back to a cheap hotel and put him up for a night and said goodbye, I just couldn’t do it.  This too will pass

San Diego is a Beach…

You might think I’m joking but it’s all about the white beaches and baseball down here. The homeless were recently shooed away from the downtown baseball stadium area during the MLB’s All-Star Game and they don’t dare get near the prestine sands. I guess now I could drop Matt off downtown tomorrow when I leave but I won’t. As soon as he wakes up from his nap, we will head to another homeless shelter in Mission Valley. 

For the life of me, I don’t understand how San Diego has hundreds of people living on its streets and no one seems to be troubled by it. Now don’t get me wrong, The Bay Area has it’s homeless issues, under quite a few overpasses in Oakland, the sidewalks are covered with rejected items from Goodwill and The Salvation Army. So filled are the sidewalks, you can’t even walk on them. 

I bought Matt a Magic Marker so he could make a cardboard sign to survive should he not make it to a shelter. Trust me, no father wants give his son a black marker and a catchy phrase to write. I guess tugging at someone’s heart strings as they wait for the light to change is what it’s come to. What would you say? “Hungry! This too will pass!” 

Breathe Juan.. Breathe.

Toonce meowed his fear and hatred for car rides all the way to the pet resort (vet). I reassured him that I’d most likely pick him up on Wednesday. The happy receptionist gave Toonce a big, “Hello Tooncie! You staying with us?” He meowed his hello or get me out of here., his meows were muffled by the box he was in. After the usual paperwork, we said our goodbyes.
Next stop was Matt’s mom’s place and for the umpteenth time she had a backpack and other basic survival items ready for me to take down to Matt. She wished me luck and as I left, I turned to her and said, “This might prevent us from getting a phone call from the San Diego Coroner.” She replied, “I know.”

I really don’t know how I’m going to work today. I guess this is where I really need to live in the moment and stay focused on the immediate task at hand. This too will pass

Quid Pro Quo…

I had lent my youngest son 1800 dollars to put down his share of a deposit for his sweet condo in Newport Beach. For that sum he was able to have his own room with a open view of the pearl white beaches less than 100 feet away. The only time I ever entered that place was when I helped him move his belongings from a moldy apartment in Costa Mesa down the road.

The deal was, when he got his deposit back, he would return it to me post haste. In turn, I would again give him another 2000 deposit a couple of weeks earlier for his even nicer place closer to the warm waters of Laguna Beach. I knew his salary with his hotel was barely covering his portion of the rent so I, being a good dad told him, “I’m going to let you keep half of what you owe me.” He was so happy and he said, “Thanks dad!” 

Let’s fast forward till today when I told him I was going down to help his older brother. You would have thought I had told him I was going to help a serial child molester. He started to call me stupid and he said, “You are wasting papa’s money helping him! Why are you helping him? He will just mess up again.” I told him, “I’d do it for you even if you messed up.” That’s when he said he wouldn’t give me back my money. I was sitting in my company truck and I lost it… I said, “If you don’t do the right thing. I’ll never give you another cent!” He hung up… The problem with me is I try and try until I can’t try again… I truly hate this world. This too will pass

 

This Is How It Worked Out…

I haven’t written much about what had happened between March 20th and May 12th this past year until now. There’s no need to go into details and I won’t because the time was special and it wouldn’t be proper.. What I will write about is how it appears to have all worked out. She left on an early morning of May 12th and chances are I’ll never see her again. After all the caring I gave her, it ended up that she went right back to the man who had nearly destroyed her just five months earlier. You know, I wouldn’t even be this hurt if it had been her second time going back into his arms. I could understand the psychology of it but this was her fifteenth time or sixtieth time; I think even she has lost count.

It’s not even about the money I spent trying to get her to safety, it’s the fact that that man doesn’t know how lucky he is that a guy like me gave him another chance at being near her. In some ways, he owes me at least a thank you note but I wouldn’t open it, in fact I’d probably become violent and seek revenge on them if I got a thank you letter. Two years ago, I found her at that miserable motel where this “gentleman” had so easily dumped her, you would think that would’ve been her clue that he couldn’t careless as to her well being. Less than thirty days later, she went back to him. No words of thanks just silence, it was only 9 months later that she said, “I’m sorry how it all worked out.”

Once again hearing her calls for help, I got her to safety with promises that it would never happen again. Well, it did and here I am sitting in a Starbucks trying the write this without having a tear in my eye. The thing is, we had promised each other 19 years ago that we would be there for each other should times get tough. I now have to wait and see what happens when times get tough for me. Here’s another thing I want to say, I forgive her because isn’t that what it’s all about? Forgiving those who trespass against us? This too will pass

(I’m turning off the like button.  Please don’t leave any comments on this one. If you want to contact me omtatjuan3@yahoo.com)

 

 

Karma 

The other night Ed and I were having one of our end of shift philosophical discussions of God and about forgiveness. Ed kept saying, “Juan, if you’re on your deathbed, ask for forgiveness from God and all your sins will be washed away.” I replied, “So if Hitler or Stalin had asked for forgiveness from God, they would be absolved of the terror they caused in their lifetimes?” I knew what his answer would be…

I haven’t a clue why we here can eat as much food as we want and in other parts of the world people starve to death on a daily basis. Were those individuals gluttons in some past life and now it’s payback time? Maybe it’s just what it is and that’s all there is to it. People starve to death for no other reason other than they were born in the wrong place for obtaining food.

There are people who have done some pretty miserable things to others; do they just walk away from their responsibility by saying forgive me and all is fine? I recently read where one of the last guards of the death camps is set to go on trial. He’s near the end of his life and he might not live to see the conclusion of the trial. If he dies prior to sentencing did he just walk away from his crimes against humanity? 

I’m reminded of the second to last sentence uttered by Christ, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” I find it hard to believe that the concentration camp guard didn’t know what he was doing was wrong at some point… Or was he a man who figured, “I’ll just say forgive me Lord as they put the noose around my neck.” Maybe Christ’s statement was on a grander scale… This too will pass.

Tell Me This Doesn’t Bother You…

I happened upon a photograph on the CNN website and I shook my head in disgust. It was the picture of the drowned 2 year old Syrian boy on the shore of The Aegean Sea. I had gone out of my way not to see it but I today got the guts to look at it closely. It made me literally sick to my stomach to know his death could have been averted, just think of the sheer terror he went thru as he drowned…

Now we have a Presidential candidate who wants to ban all Muslims from our country. I’d like to see Mr. Trump in a sinking leaky boat trying to make it to safety… All the money he has wouldn’t help him. He is truly a coward and that poor baby boy had more guts than this blow hard jerk. 

I think Peter Finch’s character in Network said it best, “I don’t know what to do about The Communists (Muslims) or the price of oil but I want you to get up and open the window and yell out, ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Who’s with me on this.. No, don’t scream out, that won’t help. This too will pass.