It has been five years since Daniel Tanzo left us.
If you’re a parent of a child of any age, especially a child who believes they are socially aware and socially responsible, you need to tell them that it is important to pick their battles well.
By that I mean that they are not to fly off the handle and get hysterical at everything they see, because it might not be what they think it is.
A few weeks ago I took my 86 pound German Shepard to the self dog wash. A self dog wash is a place with lots of waist level tubs with lovely ramps so that the dogs can comfortable walk into the tub. Then you can wash your dog without destroying your drains and bathroom at home. The dog wash supplies shampoo, conditioner, brushes, warm water, and towels. There are always a lot of dogs there of every size and shape. It is a regular dog party.
The last time I took my dog in we had a unsavory moment in the parking lot. We couldn’t park in front of the dog wash so we had to park a few feet over in the Trader Joe’s parking lot. As I walked my dog Alice across the parking lot she stopped. I assumed she’d stopped to sniff something, but much to my dismay she was in that uncomfortable squatting position trying to poop.
I pulled her over to a planter where she did her business, then turned to go back to my car to get a bag to clean it up. In the meantime a women (in her 20’s) who saw it all started to go hysterical.
She screamed, and I mean she screamed, “OH MY GOD. OH MY GOD. THAT IS DISGUSTING. PICK IT UP. PICK IT UP. OH MY GOD. PICK IT UP.”
I yelled back that I was on my way back to my car to get a bag. The woman rolled up her window and continues to shriek at me.
By the time I got the bag, picked up the poop, and took it to the garbage can the woman was out of her car and I assume in Trader Joe’s or one of the other stores near there.
So I left a note on her back window explaining that I was on my way to get a bag to pick up the poop. I also used some not so nice descriptive words so she’d know I was talking to her and not somebody else.
I wish I’d also added, “you’re not so fucking woke as you think you are.” But I didn’t. Maybe next time. Besides, I’d already used the F word on the note.
As a parent I know I should not have left the note. I do not recommend my children or their friends leave such notes, but my kids and their friends are better people than I will ever be.
Later I told my extremely socially aware 19-year-old daughter about the incident. She was shocked. Not because my dog pooped in public, or that I left a nasty note on the car of a shrieking banshee.
With the all of her wisdom, for my daughter is one of the wisest people I know, my child said, “If you’re going to get hysterical save it for something that is really important, not dog poop in a planter.”
Yes, I know there are those of you who ask what if ALL of the dogs crapped in the planter?
All of the dogs don’t crap in the planters. The woman acted as if I’d crapped in the planter. She acted if I’d killed my dog in the planter. She acted as if I’d slashed her tires and smeared dog poop all over her car. She acted as if I’d caused Global Warming. She acted as if her entire world had ended.
What she should have done is offered me a bag. Or she could have just minded her own business about my dog’s business. Or she could have told me there were bags inside of Trader Joe’s. Instead she acted like a hysterical fool.
It is ok to react to things you do not like, but before you start going nuts and making assumptions you need to STOP and THINK first.
I swear to God I feel sorry for anyone who dates that woman.
It is also not a good idea to yell at someone with a large dog, especially dogs of certain breeds, because you never know if it is trained to protect it’s owner. My dog is a mild mannered love muffin, but if the woman had been out of her car there would have been growls. If it had been a different dog there could have been more than growls.
Kids have to learn to stop and think. That goes for adults too. That doesn’t just apply to crap in a parking lot. It applies to everything.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about you can ask me, or read many of the dozens of popular advice columns out there (Dear Prudence on slate.com is my favorite.)
My poor dog doesn’t do bad things intentionally. Most dogs don’t. Also, remember that busy people sometimes forget to put poop bags in their purse or pocket. Remember that parent’s leave the house and forget snacks and kids get whiney. Remember that old people are sometimes really slow and that they were once young and slow. Remember that it isn’t worth driving around all day with a nasty note attached to the back of your car because you pissed off a Vampire mom with a large dog.
That’s all. I’m done. Now I’ll get off of my soap box and take my dog for another car ride. With any luck she’ll go before we go.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman
Sometimes even Vampires get bored on rainy Sunday afternoons. Andy knew that well, so he invited his friends over to binge watch. He’d gone out for snacks and come back to find everyone lounging around drinking wine and talking about other things.
“We tried to watch some Vampire shows but they were all so gloomy,” said Jayne.
“Don’t forget bad dubbing. There is nothing as bad as a mouth that doesn’t match up with the words,” said James.
“I dated a guy like that once,” said Elizabeth as she scratched Andy’s cat under it’s chin.
A swirl of color blasted through the air, then landed on the back of the couch. Six tiny fairies in pastel colored sat with crossed arms. “The Notebook. We want to watch The Notebook.”
“No,” said Andy. “You’ve watched that at least fifty times. Let’s go upstairs. I’ll put on Bridesmaids, or Enchanted, or something else you haven’t seen yet.” He looked back at his friends as the fairies swirled around his head and pulled at his arms. “I’ll be right back.”
“We’re not watching Moonlight again,” yelled Jayne at Andy as he went up the stairs. “Alex O’Loughlin is absolutely gorgeous, but we’ve seen every episode five time at least.”
Andy settled the fairies in front of the upstairs TV in his office to watch Rebecca, then 27 Dresses.
Downstairs again he poured nuts in bowls, cut up some apples, and uncorked a few bottles of blood. “How about the movie Moonlight?”
“I’ve heard it is really good,” said James.
Elizabeth had seen it but said she’d gladly see it again. As a whole Vampires are pretty agreeable.
The four friends hunkered down to watch the movie.
They knew nobody would ever make an honest movie about people like them. Then again, who said movies had to be honest. It was just entertainment.
After the movie Andy went into the kitchen to make dinner. Vampires never ate in movies. Tonight he’d fix rare tri-tip and a dark leafy salad. None of them felt like going out in the thunder storm for fresh blood. In the movies the weather was always bad, and everyone always wore leather. He thought about his sister who wrote stories about Vampires. Nobody else knew they were based on real life. She wasn’t about to give away the fact she wasn’t like her readers.
He could hear familiar music. His friends had found something else to watch. Twilight Zone. Go figure. Andy smiled and continued to make the salad. Nothing like friends and an afternoon of binge watching.
Most Vampires get paralyzed by fear and self-doubt. Oh forget the blood taking and seductive ways that helped romanticize us.
You know what I’m talking about. Even the most confident of us feels that way more than we would like.
We jealously guard our own versions of our memories.
Something taken away.
It is that sense of loss and identity that finds so many climbing into crypts or under floorboards to sleep forever.
It is that inability to know there are others and that there is something to look forward to. Things change but not for better or worse – just different. Hell, things usually change for the better if you want them to be better. If you make them better. I didn’t say it was easy. It isn’t anything you’ll find in a self-help book. There aren’t self-help books for Vampires. There aren’t self-help books for most things that really matter.
Reaching inside where your old soul used to be and pulling up your new self isn’t easy. Your old self is still there – you will never lose that. You will always be yourself – like it or not. But you can change. You can become better. You can refurbish your old self.
You can shine like the full moon on a clear winter night.
Where you miss the warmth of your skin you will find coolness of nerves.
Where you miss those who grew old you will treasure the memories.
Where you miss the innocence of your existence you will find something else.
You aren’t a monster or an outcast – you are just different. Everyone is different. Accept it.
You’ll taste blood, but you’ll give back contentment in your donors – or give nightmares – it is your choice. Nice. You never had that choice before.
You’ll learn how to get blood stains out of anything.
Change or lack of change are both things we want and something that we fear.
Nobody said any of this was going to be easy. Then again, nobody said it wasn’t going to be exciting and wonderful.
Contentment isn’t just something for a few. It is something we can all strive for. Content but still moving forward, never forgetting where we have been or where we are going.
The other day I spoke to my friend Cody who has been a Vampire for almost four years. He never asked for it but he accepted the changes in his life. There will be hardships ahead along with triumphs. He didn’t struggle like some do. He has had a lot of questions and questioned a lot of things. He has learned.
But he told me, “You know that old expression about a door closing and a window opening? The roof came off for me. I can see the whole world of possibilities now. Anything is possible as long as I keep reminding myself of that.”
Yes, Cody, anything is possible.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman
This was first posted in March 2015. I’m still trying to figure out what to do on Saturday now that my 50 Burning Questions series is over. Here you go: Best of Juliette.
In my home I have a wall of bookshelves. Don’t we all. There are also more books scattered all over the house on other shelves as well. One of my favorite quotes of all time is from film maker John Waters, ““If you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t fuck ’em!”
John Waters also said, “It wasn’t until I started reading and found books they wouldn’t let us read in school that I discovered you could be insane and happy and have a good life without being like everybody else.”
But back to what I was looking for. I was looking for a book about California art, but ended up on the other side of the wall looking at poetry and literature.
Then something in my mind just shattered. It was my current WIP (work in progress.) The structure is there but there had to be more. The characters need to care more about each other.
So there you have it.
Over the years, and I’ve been over quite a few, we adults find that things like work (jobs), school, judgmental friends and relatives, and society in general has totally beaten any inspiration and creativity out of us. Or at least they try damned hard to.
I never understood the disdain some people have for creativity, change, innovation, and inspiration. The artist is revered but damned if anyone wants to study art. The writer is mocked as a quaint hobbiest. The inventor is mocked with the mythical idea of the man who would rather spend his life inventing a better apple peeler, or mouse trap than feeding his children.
My advice to my children, and anyone else who finds everyone around them is trying to suck every bit of inspiration out of them, is don’t listen to them. Shut out those who say no. Shut out those who make condescending remarks. Shut out those who say your creativity, be in art, music, writing, or even science, is a waste of time. Shut them out. Make them more of a pariah than they want to make you.
Inspiration isn’t just some stupid workplace poster that usually insults rather than inspires.
Inspiration can come in any form. It can be love. It can be acorns that have fallen on your car. One idea inspires an entirely different idea out of nowhere. Just go with it. Don’t think about it too much. Just don’t listen to the assholes. They don’t want you to be inspired. Being inspired makes you dangerous. That is a good thing.
I also tell my kids that if they’re around those who are boorish and lack imagination, and lack empathy, and want to be jerks, to just keep their ideas to themselves. You don’t have to share your world with assholes.
Creativity doesn’t have to be monetized either. Don’t ever forget that.
And when you’re young, and even if you’re not, it is OK to just move on.
Let yourself shine, even if it is just on the inside. Have satisfaction knowing that you aren’t like them.
Then share with those who care, and understand, and those who feel safe sharing their ideas with you as well. Yes, know you can always be inspired by listing to others. Your story is wonderful, but it isn’t the only story. Don’t shut others out.
In the meantime, since I’ve turned this post into a vent rather than what I was going to write (don’t mind me, I have other things to share so just move on to the items below.)
I recommend you check out the books below. These are four of the books that distracted me and got me thinking about other things. They are by two authors I admire and respect. I am honored to consider both friends.
They both have a reverence for words, and actually see the world around them. They’re observers of life, and love, and everything.
You might be inspired. You never know.
Prison Poetry by Ra Avis
By Ra Avis
Centripetal Force and Other Stories
By Jon Obermeyer
By John Obermeyer
One last quote. This is something we don’t say often enough to each other.
You are loved.
~ Ra Avis
For those looking more for the Vampire side of things, I understand Vlad will be back soon with mire diary entries.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman
Sometimes you have those days when you answer the door and it is someone you used to know and he seems shocked to see you.
He’ll say, “What are you doing here?”
And I’ll say, “What are YOU doing here?”
Then he’ll say, “Time travel.”
Then I’ll say, “I live here. This is my home.”
Then he’ll look confused because the last time I saw him was 1893. And no, I’m not going to tell him I’m a Vampire. I’ll just screw with him and let him wonder. A little mystery never hurt anyone. OK maybe it has, but that isn’t this post.
When my daughter was about five or six years old she said that one day she was going to build a time machine. She said it would be red. She said it would fold up flat, about the size of a book, so she could take it with her so nobody could steal it while she was in another time.
My old friend (the one I just mentioned) jumps into the future, then jumps into the past. I asked him if he ever lives in the present. He looked confused, then sort of sad. Like a drug, one can find time travel an easy way out to not deal with anything. Of course, like most Time Travelers, he was sort of a jerk to begin with.
When you’re a Vampire you need to remember your past, look forward, but engage in the present for survival. I suppose we’re all like that. Too much past and we all end up like Miss Havisham. Too much future… I don’t know too many people who live too much in the future, except those who keep saying, “I’ll do that tomorrow.” But that is just procrastination (something I know nothing about.) We need to plan. We need to look forward. I have to admit there is nothing I like more than planning a trip, or a party.
More coffee and more sleep is also on my list.
I told my old friend, “You need to get off of that machine and stay for a while. Aren’t you lonely?”
“No,” he tells me.
“Why not?” I ask.
“Why are you still here?” He asks.
“I’m a Vampire,” I tell him.
He laughs. HA HA big joke. I don’t show him my fangs. I just stand there in my pajama pants and bath robe, and ask him if he wants coffee.
We talk for a while then he decides to go back to 1893, then realizes he can’t go back. He’d be out of place, aside from a lot of other things. So he stays for another cup of coffee. And I tell him I have a single friend I think I’ll introduce him to.
He asks, “What’s her name?”
“Miss Havisham,” I say.
He laughed. “David Copperfield.”
I didn’t. “Great Expectations.”
He shrugged. “So seriously Juliette, what are you doing here? I know it isn’t suspended animation because that won’t be safe for another thirty years. Do you time travel too? What’s up?”
I remembered his blood type was O+. All I could think of was lunch. A long lunch at that considering nobody would miss him – at least not this year.
Don’t forget to warn your children about Time Travelers, people who don’t read, and other pot holes in the road of life. And as always, talk with your kids every chance you get.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman