The Bodegas are Shuttered!!! And The Eclipse story.

Never in my life here in NYC have I seen such a thing. I just went out at 12:30 am on a Friday night to get some smokes and some beer, and the bodegas are closed! I didn’t even know the one next to me had a roll gate. I guess there just isn’t enough traffic (I guess that is good, and also, I really hope that is the reason why rather than them being sick). It’s weird though. Since there is a bodega on pretty much every corner, I did eventually find one that was open, but still….wow. That kind of drags a daggar through my heart. The most iconoclastic institutions of New York City, closed for the night. I hope they are back tomorrow.

I’d like to go on a very long, infuriated tirade here about Donald Trump and his whole administration and their enablers, but I think that would just get me really angry. Suffice it to say, I cannot believe this man is running the country and cannot just be forcibly removed. How many people have to die and will continue to while this fucking idiot brags about how perfect he is? Jesus. It is literally like watching our country go up in flames and every time he speaks a fountain of gas gets poured onto the pyre.

Obviously, nothing exciting happened today in my own life. I guess I could get all nerdy and speculate on what will become of life as we know it when we get out of this disaster, but I will leave that to greater minds. Instead, to entertain myself and the perhaps three people who read this thing, I’m just going to start telling stories to pass the time. Oh, just wait. I have a whole series coming up outing the fucked up men that tried to pull some seriously shady shit when I was a teenager…

But for now, the eclipse story. I’m not sure why my friend liked this one so much, and now suddenly I feel all this pressure because it in fact is not that interesting, but here it is.

Disclaimer: A few people from Ontario might read this, and please know I am not ‘dissing’ your town, I’m sure it’s lovely now, and actually I have great memories from there, but my impressions from that time may paint a less than desirable picture….

A year ago (or was it two already?) there was a complete solar eclipse. One of the best places to view it was going to be in Eastern Oregon. A lot of friends of mine on Facebook were talking about going camping in fields out there to catch the eclipse, and my reaction was ” Good luck, you’re fucking insane”.

When I was probably about 5 years old, which puts it around 1978, my family lived in Eastern Oregon. We had recently moved there from Quebec Canada. My dad got a teaching job at Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario, Oregon. I think then the population of Ontario was around 9,000 people. That might be generous, but that is what I remember.

Ontario was a shit town.

Ontario is right on the border of Oregon and Idaho, divided by the SNAKE RIVER (seriously, wtf???), where the Ore-Ida potato plant lives (get it? Ore Ida?!!! yeah, that’s right, it’s fucking clever is what it is) On any given day if the wind blew a certain way you would be engulfed in a rancid stench that is pretty much indescribable, and you would not expect that from a potato. But it’s true. Beyond that, it’s a few shitty strip malls, some small local businesses, and a bunch of tumble weeds and sage brush. Seriously, it’s out in the desert. That is the landscape.

So anyhow, my mom had signed me up to go to kindergarten. I guess because we were newcomers and knew pretty much nobody, she went for churches. I remember going to either preschool or kindergarten at this place down the road, but I must have vehemently complained about it (and I know why, I remember that place)., so she moved me to a kindergarten class in the Nazarine Church. It was a newly built church on the outskirts of town. Nothing was around it but dirt and tumbleweeds. It was a nice building with a fancy parking lot, but they did nothing as far as landscaping or planting grass, etc. I liked it though, much better than the last place.

On our ‘recess’ there was a very strict rule that we needed to stay on the paved area and not go out into the field surrounding the church. Mostly we adhered to that and it was enforced. But then the eclipse happened. I remember that day the teacher and her assistant took us all outside to watch. We were told not to look at the sky. The teachers, however, had their fancy eclipse glasses, and were looking up marveling at the eclipse, not paying any attention at all to the class full of children. They were fully engrossed in just staring at the sky with their fancy Elton John glasses. I think I was playing some kind of bouncy ball game with someone and the ball went out into the field. I ran after it. I fell down in the field and scraped my knee. I remember crying, and I’m not sure if it was from the scraped up knee, or the fact that at some point I looked down and saw a giant spider on myself as I sat in that dark, twilight zone field. At some point someone collected me and we went back inside.

Perhaps it was the same day, but I would think it would be the next, I got a stomach ache. My dad came to pick me up and I was complaining about it. He had errands to run and shit to do, so I needed to basically quit my bitching and go with it. But it was real. I kept complaining, and the pain persisted.

At some point I just remember that day both of my parents took me to the doctor and I was in the waiting room howling in pain. It’s possible there was a little exaggeration to it because I didn’t think they believed me, but it was also totally legit. I remember them trying to shush me, and all the other patients watching me in horror. The doctor saw me and had no idea what was wrong with me. Must be a flu, give it a few days…

But I kept getting worse. I started throwing up, I couldn’t get out of bed. I had this awful pink wallpaper with tulips on it and I remember lying in bed thinking ‘maybe I will count the tulips’ and then giving up because that was fucking stupid.

We at some point returned to the doctor who was completely out of guesses. Then he said ” Have you been anywhere outside of your yard, like in a field or anything like that?” And I said “Oh yeah, the day of the eclipse – I fell in the field at kindergarten” I mentioned the spider. He looked at my abdomen and there were two little red marks. “What did the spider look like?” ….”Oh, it was this giant black spider”…”did it have a red spot on it?” “I don’t remember”… anyhow, we decided it was a black widow, which is common in that part of Oregon.

But from there, not much to do. We knew what it was. I felt vindicated for the beginning part where I thought my parents thought I was faking it for attention. I don’t know how long the whole ordeal lasted. It seemed like a month or two. I remember at one point my best friend came by with her parents, which was highly unusual. I think honestly they wanted to see for themselves that this wasn’t some kind of strange child abuse scam or perhaps my parents had killed me or whatever and had to check out for themselves that the story was legit because I had been out of the picture for so long. They gave me a get well card which had a bunch of daffodils on the front. It was an ugly card, but a nice gesture. They all stood around me while I laid in bed surrounded by my ugly tulip wallpaper and it totally felt like a live funeral.

Eventually, my parents couldn’t stay home with me because they had to work. They would check in at lunch, but left during the day. I distinctly remember being home all alone, wandering around, occasionally throwing up, and GOD – what I remember most is just all of the fucking hideous wallpaper in that house. What were they thinking????!!! Sometimes I would wander into their bathroom and throw up in there for a change of pace. Hilarious that they left a five year old there at home alone wandering around on her deathbed, Nowadays they would be arrested!

My mom claims that my Grandfather flew in to oversee me. Maybe? But I absolutely don’t remember that and cannot picture him coming from Canada to lounge around on our couch for a week or two. My mom is also (no offense, mom) a REAL master at revisionist history.

Before I got sick, we had just purchased a new couch. I remember finally I was getting better and was able to get up out of bed. I wanted to watch TV. My mom seemed very wary of it. “you aren’t going to get sick are you?”… ” Oh, hell no, I’m fine!”. I went out to watch cartoons on the new couch and promptly threw up on it.

After that I got better. I have no idea in reality how long that was. But I do remember a couple of years later we lived in a different house. One day we came home and were unlocking the door and my dad noticed a spiderweb under the threshold. He looked at it and saw the spider. “oh wow, COOL, it’s a black widow! Check out the red hourglass on it’s body!” I looked at him in complete horror, and my mom said “You HAVE to get rid of that now”. He kind of reread the room and conceded, but you could tell he really wanted to keep it around because he thought it was cool.

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