On a local news station that I follow on Facebook, there’s an article on a recent human trafficking case. Two young women were lured into a trap and trafficked, in Flint and thereabouts. It’s just one of the many such stories I’ve been seeing lately. It seems like everyday there’s another such story in the news. Not all of them are necessarily about trafficking, but they’re pretty much the same kind of thing.
When I read these stories, a bunch of images go through my head and I become angry. I want the people responsible found and I want them shot. I think about women I know who were preyed on by these fucking pieces of shit.
Then I see the comments, the constant victim blaming. “The women should’ve been smarter, they should’ve used common sense and been responsible..” and all the horseshit. And, of course, there’s always the assholes who click the HaHa reaction. What could these guys possibly think is funny about the subject?
You can be the smartest and have the most common sense and still find yourself the victim in such a crime. But even if you were behaving irresponsibly, using drugs or drinking heavily or whatever, in a bad neighborhood even, it is not your fault if you find yourself assaulted, raped or trafficked.
I don’t care what the victim might have done prior being raped or trafficked. She didn’t rape herself, she didn’t traffick herself, nor did she ask for these things. The blame falls entirely on the people who made the move to rape or traffick the woman.
So, yeah, I blew up at someone today. I got a private message from him waiting for me, but I don’t know if I’ll read it, because it might piss me off more.
(This is what I read at the celebratory mass we had for Aunt Barb today.)
On the morning of January 8, I received a text from my dad informing me that Aunt Barb had passed away. That took a minute to sink in and then tears burst from my eyes.
The news wasn’t a surprise. We all knew the day was coming. For a few years, I’d been hearing about Barb’s declining health. In November, the word came that Barb’s time was preciously short and we needed to say our goodbyes.
Even so, you’re never really prepared to lose someone you love. Aunt Barb was an important person in my life. She had an impact on me as she did on many others who knew her. I know she was there for some of my cousins, and I know she was like a second mother to her younger brothers and sisters.
In my eyes, Aunt Barb was like a queen. She carried herself with dignity and she had an air of authority about her. But she was never demanding. She was kind, patient and understanding, and she talked to you in a way that made you feel respected. There were times when she stayed with us while my parents were out playing band gigs. We played card and board games, and laughed a lot.
Barb and I lived in the same building for a couple years. She had an apartment on the ground floor and I had an apartment on the second floor. We saw each other a lot during that time. When Uncle Gary moved into the building, Barb and I helped him with things. Gary called us his guardian angels.
I would like to think that’s what Barb is now, that she’s watching over us and she’ll always be with us in spirit.
Wrote five new pages into the novel. Edited five pages of a short story. Might get more work into the novel and story tonight. Went out to eat with Dad. I had Lake Smelt and Fries, which was mostly good, but then one of the smelt pieces had something funny about it and I damn near threw up on the table. Instead the Godzilla of burps blasted out of my mouth. It was embarrassing, but I survived.
I got a new order from the Brower Farms today. I really, really love the cuts of meat I get from these guys. I don’t like buying meat from the grocery store anymore, because I have a hard time finding satisfying cuts. The guys at the Brower Farms know how to cut meat satisfyingly.
I did finish up something I’d been working on for a few days. But otherwise, it’s been an unproductive day. Mood is… … mildly pissed off, or… … … confused, uncertain….
It doesn’t look like any of my teams are playing tonight.
I’m watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie for the second time today. It’s just the only thing on Netflix that I feel like watching right now. I loved the movie when I was a kid and now, thirty years later, it’s still a fun movie.
The way they reported the coming of the storm, we thought we were in for a major disaster. They said there would be widespread power outages, and it could be days or weeks before power was restored. They said this storm would be a record breaker.
People listened. The stores were full of people buying supplies that they would need to ride out the storm and its aftermath. I was among them. I went to Dollar General and bought food that would keep me fed when I wouldn’t be able to use my stove. I made some preparations around the house. Got out all of my flashlights and candles. I was ready
On Facebook, under a Flint Police Operations post, I saw a woman comment that if her power went out, she would have to leave home, because she had an infant. People responded to her comment, telling her she should leave her home before the storm hit, because she wouldn’t want to be on the road during the storm.
The woman agreed. Her next comment said that she had booked a hotel room and she was leaving her home right away.
Well, the storm hit. It rained ice and I guess it was pretty windy. But Sunday morning, I still had power. My patio chairs had not moved an inch and neither had my outdoor garbage can. I didn’t see any tree branches in the yard.
On Facebook, one of my cousins was disappointed that he didn’t get to use his fancy new generator. A few people reported that their lights had flickered, but I haven’t heard about any actual outages. Someone very accurately said, “Well, that was the Detroit Lions of winter storms.”
I’ve been calling the whole thing a marketing scheme. I went out and spent money that I had not wanted to spend, to purchase supplies that I thought I would need to get through a few days without power. A lot of other people did the same. For nothing.
The storm was pretty weak in comparison to some of the storms I’ve lived through. It sure as hell wasn’t a record breaker. Now what’s going to happen next time they cry wolf?
The picture was taken from the Dollar General parking lot. The parking lot of the ice-cream place is a lake. And that’s just the beginning.
The big winter storm is coming. We’re expecting freezing rain, snow, high winds and whatnot. I will probably lose power, for how many days is unknown.
I don’t have a generator, but I can manage without electricity. I could go to my mom and dad’s, where they have a big generator ready to go on as soon as the power goes out, but I’d rather stay home, unless it gets too cold.
I got Armour Vienna Sausage and beef jerky and I plan to boil a dozen eggs and keep them in the refrigerator. Because when the power goes out, I won’t be able to cook, and I need meat. I have plenty of bottled water and pop., and I have snack foods.
My phone will be on the charger until the power goes out. After that, my phone usage will be limited, so I don’t run down the battery.
This picture was taken just before I left the Suncrest nursing home in November, where we had that little family gathering for Aunt Barb. I’m not sure who took it. I didn’t even know there was a picture until later. All I knew at that moment was I wasn’t leaving without saying goodbye to Aunt Barb.
The celebratory mass will be January 20, 11 AM, at the St Joseph Catholic church in Lake Orion.
Every once in a while, Michael Knost posts a question on Facebook about books that we’ve read. For example, his latest question about books was “What was your first book that made an impact on you as a reader?”
I’m often among those who responds. I love books and I appreciate the invitation to share about the books I’ve read. Though, to several different questions that Mike had posted over the years, my answer was “The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton.”
This copy here is the exact same copy that I read when I was 12 or 13. I kept it all these years. It was just lying around the house when I was a kid. I believe it came in a box of used books that our aunt Charlotte gave us.
There is no book that I love more than The Outsiders. I relate to Ponyboy in a lot of ways. This is also the only book that I’ve read more than a few times. I read it several times when I was a teenager, and I read it a few more times when I was in my twenties. I plan to read it again. It’s on my to-read list, I just haven’t gotten to it yet.
The Outsiders influenced my writing. I feel it every time I’m writing a story. The emotions that I try to bring out of my characters and hopefully my readers. I’m always trying to write something that will shatter even the toughest of my readers. But I’ll probably never pull it off the way S.E. Hinton did.
Well, today was productive. I wrote ten new pages into the novel and I edited 10 pages of a short story.
I’m sad that Mike Resnick died. He once explained to me how he was able to write around 15,000 words a day, finishing novels in a few days. Resnick was one of the writers who inspired me to just bang down one story after another.
I just got the text from my dad. Aunt Barb passed away this morning. This feels like “The Queen has died.” and church bells should ring for hundreds of miles. Barb was Catholic and she carried herself with dignity.