My Favorite Halloween Memory

Some forever images of Halloween. Photo courtesy of urbanmatter.com

 

LOOKING BACK AT A CERTAIN PERSONAL MEMORY OF ALL HALLOWS’ EVE

October 31st, 1981.

I was a 14-year old ninth grader at John Adams Junior High (now Middle) School in Santa Monica, CA.

The Dodgers had just won the World Series – being that they’re going for another championship now, I felt that it had to be mentioned – and my mother was pregnant with a boy who’s now in his mid-30s, who she would deliver two weeks before Christmas.

Being a 14-year old boy, like all adolescent boys one could imagine the hormones that were doing their thing.

Well, they were particularly doing their thing with me that Halloween day as the school was celebrating their annual “Hobo Day”.

Which ironically had nothing to do with hoboes as in the three years that I was a junior high school student, I don’t remember seeing one kid dressed like what we would now call a homeless person, complete with the bag tied at the end of a stick.

Indeed, as far as the girls were concerned, particularly the 8th and 9th grade girls,

Like what Lindsay Lohan narrated in the movie Mean Girls, Halloween was the chance for the girls to dress like, well…

I won’t call them sluts as that’s far too derogatory a term, but let’s just say that many of the female students were in costumes that were rather titillating.

I saw quite a few girls dressed as Playboy Bunnies, French Maids, and other various outfits that involved leotards, which I had a weakness for; showing much leg, a bit of bosom, and leading us guys to exclaim,

“Did you see what so-and-so is wearing today?!”

 

 

A scene from the Peanuts classic, “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” Photo courtesy of chicagonow.com

 

 

They were wearing stuff that would definitely get them sent home today.

And would make any adolescent guy’s hormones go nuts.

As for me, there was one costume that, which not as provocative as the others, led me to get a huge crush on this one girl for the rest of that school year; I won’t mention her name, but let me describe what she was wearing…

She had on a superhero-type outfit, complete with a cape, tights, and a skirt that was short enough to show some upper thigh.

She was in my gifted English class, and I also had a history class with her, so I got to see her quite a bit.

She was my type anyway, as she had olive skin and a sort-of ethnic, non-WASPy look about her, with round features, not fat but not bony-level skinny, either.

Plus she was nice, definitely not a “Mean Girl”.

And I made a fool of myself trying to get her to go out with me the rest of that year, doing silly things that I reckon many adolescent boys with Asperger’s (I didn’t know I had it at that time) would do when they get a big crush on a girl, doing things ranging from picking her on my lunchtime intramural co-ed softball team to using some coupons from a nearby Burger King to ask her for a date.

No, the crush didn’t come to fruition as (of course) she turned me down for that Burger King outing; like every other girl I had a crush on during those formative years she definitely didn’t see me as attractive in any kind of romantic way.

But it’s a good Halloween memory all the same, because that crush started on that day.

Along with putting in my copy of the Peanuts classic, “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!”, and going to a couple of parties in subsequent years,

What happened on that All Hallows Eve in 1981 will always be a significant memory and part of that holiday’s experience for me.

 

 

John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica, site of my significant Halloween experience in 1981. Photo courtesy of filmsantamonicaschools.com

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The Foods I MUST Have, No Matter How Broke I Am

Photo courtesy of caloriecounter.com

 

NO MATTER HOW LITTLE MONEY I HAVE, I MUST HAVE THESE THREE FOOD ITEMS

 

I’ll get right to the point, as there’s no reason not to do so…

Miracle Whip Light is on the top of my list in this category, as I use it on and in most of the foods I eat, light being my choice due to the fewer calories and fat.

I don’t eat canned tuna or chicken, or make any sandwiches that don’t include peanut butter, jelly, jam, or a combination of the three, without this condiment.

It can get costly, the average price being $3.50 to $4.00 at the grocery store I frequent.

But as I’ve said: I don’t care how broke I may be, I must have my Miracle Whip Light salad dressing, or else I feel deprived.

Salsa is another food type/condiment that I absolutely need regardless of lack of money, preferably the hot kind.

It’s been an essential staple of my diet for many years, and I’ve pretty much forsaken ketchup and barbecue sauce in favor of salsa in recent years because with tomatoes being the main ingredient, salsa is healthier for you; it has less sodium, sugar, and fat than ketchup, BBQ sauce, or any other condiment or sauce.

 

Another food I can’t do without. Photo courtesy of iheartnaptime.com

 

Which is good news for me considering my hypertension condition.

I usually buy my salsa in jars at the supermarket, but there are two places where the salsa is so delicious, I consider it a true treat when I obtain it…

Campos, a Mexican restaurant chain which has several branches in the Westside region of Los Angeles, CA (where I live) and whose food I grew up on in its original location in Santa Monica, has salsa that I can just eat all day, it’s so good.

So much so that I get at least four cups of the medium-hot salsa every time I go get food there.

The other place where I buy salsa is a place that I don’t get to go to as often as Campos, just a handful of times a year, but whose salsa matches Campos’ in it’s level of deliciousness;

The salsa at Burnt Tortilla, a Mexican chain in the South Bay area of Los Angeles.

 

The third of my main food staples. Photo courtesy of youtube.com

 

I go to the main branch of Burnt Tortilla in Gardena, where a friend of mine lives; every time I visit my friend and her family, I make it a point to go to Burnt Tortilla and get two large Styrofoam cups of their salsa, which lasts a few days.

Those large cups are not exactly cheap, costing $6.00 each, but it’s money well spent as far as I’m concerned.

Of course one can’t have salsa without tortilla chips, which is the third food I must have regardless of how little money I have available.

As tortilla chips generally have less sodium and fat than regular potato chips, it’s been one of my go-to things to eat as a snack, or even as a main meal when I don’t feel like spending any time cooking.

Eating chips and salsa, especially salsa from Campos and Burnt Tortilla, is something I can do all day if given a chance, and if it’s guaranteed I won’t get sick from eating too much.

Another thing I often do for nourishment is to mix light Miracle Whip into a combination of canned tuna and chicken, then get a bag of tortilla chips – Mission Tortilla Chips are my preference as their chips are sturdier – and go to town.

It makes for a simple and satisfying meal.

There isn’t much more to say about this, except for something I was wondering…

What are the foods that YOU absolutely MUST have, no matter how broke you may get?

 

My number one go-to food for snacks and (sometimes) meals. Photo courtesy of metrotimes.com

 

 

WALKING ON EGGSHELLS: Excerpt #3

One of my coping mechanisms for when I get stressed out due to my Asperger’s tendencies: Looking at nature scenery like this…

 

Just like I did for the first two chapters of the book I’ve been working on, “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”, Which I still plan on (self) publishing by the end of this year, here’s an excerpt from Chapter Three, called “The Bullied Life: We Were Just Playing”:

 

I will always recall – not at all fondly – the moment when Marlon (not his real name – if you grew up with me in Santa Monica, CA you can probably figure out who he is) first started to torment me. It’s a cliché of course, but it was as if it was yesterday instead of forty years ago…

I was in the fourth grade and had just started Will Rogers Elementary School, being among a most ethically diverse group of kids, rainbow-like in that all colors were represented after having exactly one black classmate (she was in my first grade class) during the previous four years that I went to school in Riverside combined.

It was around mid-morning when it happened:

My class, room 404, was outside on he playground with another fourth grade class, milling about on the blackish-gray asphalt in the cool, gray overcast weather that Santa Monica is famous for, waiting for P.E. class to start.

I was just standing there in line with the other nine-year olds when all of a sudden I felt this hard, sharp punch on my arm. I turned around to see who had hit me and here he was, this cocky kid with a big, toothy, arrogant-looking grin, posing like Joe Frazier with his fists up saying “Come on!”, looking like a wolf who had just spotted his prey and was getting ready for a possible meal.

It’s obvious from the perspective of a middle-aged guy that Marlon, in the grand tradition of inner city African-American youth, was “testing” me to see how tough I was, a requirement for social survival among that crowd.

Unfortunately to a nine-year old aspie, it was not so obvious to me what was going on – at all.

I had absolutely no clue whatsoever about how one needs to have a certain toughness or “hard” factor to be respected in the “hood”; I was a weirdo on the Autism Spectrum Disorder from the country, what the hell did I know about needing to fight (among other things) in order to be seen by the other black kids as “cool” as up until that time, about 99.99% of the youngsters of African descent that I knew were cousins, and even there I felt there was a culture clash as I was a rural kid with cows and feral cats as pets, playing in open spaces and hearing roosters crow in the morning, while pretty much all of my cousins were city kids from L.A.

When you put all of those factors together, I suppose it was inevitable that I would be a target to Marlon.

That little punch that Marlon gave me that morning would greatly pale in comparison to what would happen two years later in the sixth grade, the reason being that great Satan and I would be in the same class, room 502, and his unadulterated evilness would result in grade six being the worst year of  my pre-teen life as to say it was nine and a half months of hell would be an understatement.

To be fair, Marlon wasn’t the only kid in that class putting me through such nastiness that year; I’d estimate that roughly a quarter of the class, maybe a little more than that, including many of the boys, either did something or said something to me that made me feel bad in some way. One boy –  not black (to show that it wasn’t just an African-American thing) – who was harassing me said, when I asked him what I did to make him be so mean, forcefully answered, “You came to this school!”, as well as warning me to not go to John Adams, the junior high school across the street, near the end of the year.

Actually, I should have known that my social life at Will Rogers wouldn’t be great the first month I was there…

It was yet another cool and overcast morning: I was walking to the playground and was just about to step onto the wide open part of the asphalt when about eight boys bum-rushed me and , in my mind, were bugging the hell out of me, tugging at me and pulling on my shirt sleeves as it felt like I was being attacked by an invading army.

It was all a blur; as far as I was concerned I was being attacked by strangers for no reason when I just wanted to be left alone…which was why I threw a mini-temper tantrum, commencing to push one or two of those kids away and taking off running afterwards, those kids yelling “get him!” as they intended to jump me and try to beat me up. I ran to a teacher and ended up hiding in a classroom until recess was over.

I specifically recall one time when the teacher had me, Marlon, and another boy in the hallway outside the classroom door because of some shitty thing that he and that other boy did to me in class. When confronted, I’ll never forget what Marlon told her:

“We were just playing.”

This is a commonly used phrase for bullies when taken to task for their evil deeds, the teacher then telling Marlon and the other boy to leave me alone.

Needless to say, it didn’t work.

 

COMING NEXT MONTH:

Excerpts from chapter four of “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”, called “The Black Alienation”, which describes my struggles with being accepted by my fellow African-Americans, particularly in the low to lower-middle income neighborhood I spent much of my childhood in, and my trouble with completely adapting to black social youth culture after spending my early childhood years almost exclusively among whites.

 

This reminds me of what I went through during my preteen years, especially in the sixth grade – only I wasn’t a red-headed kid with glasses. Photo courtesy of aceofgeeks.net

 

 

 

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA: The Three Things I Like Best About That City

My favorite image of the town I grew up in and lived for 22 years….

 

Everybody has a hometown.

Technically, I have two…

Riverside, CA, fifty miles east of Los Angeles, where I was born, spent the first nine years of my life, and have idyllic memories of as I lived with loving grandparents in a rural community outside of that city.

The other place I consider my hometown?

Santa Monica, CA, fifteen miles west of downtown Los Angeles, a town famous for its beach and pier.

It’s in Santa Monica where I lived for 22 and a half years, eighteen in one house.

It’s in Santa Monica where I spent my pubescence, adolescence, and young adulthood.

And it’s in Santa Monica where I did the milestone/rites of passage; play little league,  get my first  (unrequited) crushes on girls,  graduate high school, work at my first jobs, things like that.

Though it’s approaching twenty years since I lived there, moving to Culver City at the end of 1998, there are three things about that seaside town that provide fond memories.

I won’t waste any time with listing those three things:

 

1.  THE AFTERNOON SEA BREEZES

Being that it borders the Pacific Ocean (or technically, Santa Monica Bay), Santa Monicans have been blessed with what I call God’s air conditioning, as starting at roughly 3:00 p.m. winds from the ocean cool that city – and neighboring ones like Venice, Pacific Palisades, and Marina Del Rey – and make it very desirable while starting at between five to ten miles inland the temperature significantly rises.

On hot days, that means that while people in Santa Monica and other beach cities are reveling in those cool breezes, folks living inland are suffering.

Why else does the beach in Santa Monica, Venice, Malibu, and other places get crowded with wall-to-wall people during heat waves?

 

 

A VERY nice view of the Santa Monica Mountains, Malibu, and Point Dume at sunset. Photo courtesy of shuttlestock.com

 

2. THE VIEW OF MALIBU AND THE SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS ON A CLEAR DAY

On a clear day, particularly after it rains, I always loved looking north and viewing the Santa Monica Mountains and various places like Pacific Palisades, Malibu, and Point Dume.

The views of those area is especially spectacular from the Santa Monica Pier, which I took some time to do on Christmas morning in 1998, just a few days before I moved away as I wanted to set my eyes on that incredible view one last time.

I unfortunately haven’t been able to see that sight due to the pier being crowded with tourists and life’s obligations in general, but rest assured that view is something about Santa Monica that I’ve always appreciated.

 

 

My all-time favorite place to eat – sorry that the picture is so small! Photo courtesy of camposfamousburritos.com

 

3. CAMPOS FAMOUS BURRITOS, ON 20TH STREET AND PICO BOULEVARD

There has been no other place where I’ve preferred to eat in my lifetime.

Since age eight, I have been enjoying the tacos, nachos, and burritos from what was originally called Las Palmas until it was renamed Campos around the late 1970s.

Having lived two blocks from Campos for 18 years, I have had a long history with that place…

I remember taking field trips with my junior high school Spanish class to that Mexican eatery for lunch, taking dares to drink the hot green salsa.

Though I was a bit too much of a goody-goody to do so, many of my friends have ditched school to enjoy Campos food.

I can recall taking dates there during my early 20’s.

And my latest enjoyable memory of Campos?

Going there on my 50th birthday to buy avocado burritos, which incredibly enough I had never tried as I always preferred ground beef tacos in my youth and chicken tacos and burritos in later years.

I don’t have to tell you the waves of nostalgia that passed through me that day.

In fact, if someone asked me what my number one memory of living in Santa Monica is, Campos would be it.

I thank God that there’s a branch about a block and a half from where I live in Culver City; their tacos was the first meal I had upon moving there.

I’m quite proud and blessed that I’ve been eating and enjoying Campos food for over forty years, and will continue to.

 

So there they are – my three fondest memories of my twenty-two and a half years in Santa Monica.

Hopefully these descriptions make anyone from that town who may be reading this smile.

 

 

The inside of the Original Campos on 20th & Pico in Santa Monica, which is so successful there are several branches all over Los Angeles’ Westside. Photo courtesy of tripadvasor.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOS ANGELES REBELLION (or Riots) 25-YEAR ANNIVERSARY: Where I Was On That Day

 

REMEMBERING ONE OF AMERICA’S LARGEST RACIAL UPRISINGS FROM A PERSONAL STANDPOINT

 

I’ll get right to the point:

I was living (figuratively speaking) pretty far away from the infamous flash point of Florence Ave. and Normandie Ave. in Santa Monica, CA the day those verdicts in the first Rodney King trial in Simi Valley came down, setting those bigoted policemen free despite that tape showing the most obvious incriminating evidence of all time.

Though I was never brutalized like Rodney, as a African-American male in his mid-20s I could certainly relate to being racially profiled, being stopped by the Santa Monica police a number of times; there are two instances of this that stand out in my mind:

 

* I was getting some food from Campos, a Mexican place two blocks from my house whose food I grew up on, loved, and still love to this day.

As I was walking out with my order a policeman, out of the blue, stopped me and began to ask me questions, saying that I “fit the description” of someone they were looking for.

If it wasn’t for another guy walking across the street that yelled out, “That’s not him!” I would have most likely been arrested for something I had no knowledge of.

 

* One day in July of 1997, a month after my 30th birthday, I had left my house to get a newspaper when a plain clothes policeman stopped me when I was literally across the street from my home, exiting his car.

“Get your hands up!” he said, putting me in handcuffs.

Thankfully I was able to convince the cop to let me into my house so I can show him my ID, proving that I wasn’t a stalker.

To the cop’s credit, he apologized, but that did nothing to ease my irritation.

 

Being that I lived in the Pico Neighborhood, Santa Monica’s inner city for all intents and purposes, I knew deep down that being a young black man in that area, I was both a target and would be suspect for anything that went down.

The irony in all this? Santa Monica had an African-American police chief in those days, James Butts, who’s now the mayor of Inglewood.

 

 

TV news footage of that fateful day at Florence and Normandie, courtesy of YouTube

 

 

Anyhow…

I remember the day everything went down on Florence and Normandie quite well;

My mother and I were watching it all go down live on the local TV news. I specifically recall seeing a van ram into the front bars of a store, breaking the bars and leaving that store ripe for the looters, which we likewise saw.

I believe I saw Reginald Denny get smashed by that brick as well.

The other memory I have of that uprising – I’m making it a point to not call it a riot anymore – was the next couple of mornings as I was leaving the house to go to work; though no fires or looting happened in Santa Monica or the Westside, I could smell the smoke drifting from the many fires in the rest of L.A.

I was a physical education assistant teacher at a couple of elementary schools at that time, and the kids at both places, most of them white, were quite upset not only with what was going down, but also with the cause of it as being the liberal town that Santa Monica was and is, pretty much everyone felt that those four cops who beat Rodney got off scott-free.

At one of those schools there were a couple of African-American kids, both 4th graders, who lived in what was then called South Central L.A. (they were able to attend the Santa Monica school because their mothers worked in the town and were able to acquire permits) and were subsequently adjacent to all the chaos if not in the middle of it.

I knew that those two youngsters would be at least a little stressed and traumatized, so I made it a point to ask them if they were OK.

Things went more or less back to normal in Santa Monica and the Westside after the so-called “riots” ended, but you know what?

 

 

Rodney King’s famous “Can’t we all get along?” speech, courtesy of YouTube.

 

 

After 25 years, I think everyone – at least every one of color, especially Blacks and Latinos – would say that nothing has changed as far as young African-American men getting profiled, targeted, and killed by the police across America.

If you don’t believe me, ask the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, and the many other young men who are no longer with us.

And ask the black folks who live in places like Baltimore and Ferguson, MO, if things are better.

To be honest, particularly under the still relatively new leadership of our President-Whose-Name-I-Will-Not-Mention, I’m surprised that “riots” like what happened in L.A. in 1992 don’t happen twice or three times a year.

And the worst part of all of this?

Considering the polarizing climate in these United States, racial and otherwise, I honestly find it difficult to see any light at the end of this pick black tunnel.

At least for the foreseeable future.

As Malcolm X once said, it’s going to take God himself to solve this dilemma.

Which I wholeheartedly agree with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PERSONAL OLYMPIC MEMORIES

1984+Los+Angeles+Summer+Olympics

The Coliseum peristyle on July 28th, 1984; note the newly lit torch burning to signify the start of the Los Angeles Olympics. Photo courtesy of experiencingla.com

 

IN LIGHT OF THE 31st SUMMER OLYMPICS BEGINNING, HERE ARE A FEW RECOLLECTIONS OF MY EXPERIENCES REGARDING THE GAMES

 

As this latest rendition of the Olympic Games are a bit more than 24 hours away from the Opening Ceremonies and the torch being lit (as of this writing),

Amid all the issues and troubles that have been dogging the host city, Rio De Janeiro – ranging from garbage in the water where the sailing and other events are scheduled, to people losing their homes to make room for venues, to the mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus that has driven a good number of Olympians away…

Memories of one particular Olympics have popped up in my head: the 23rd Summer Games that were held in my city, Los Angeles, California, in 1984.

I was 17 and on the verge of my senior year in high school when Rafer Johnson lit that torch in the Coliseum that July 28th; I remember attending a funeral that day and coming back to the deceased’s house, turning on the TV, and watching the parade of athletes march down the track.

Like pretty much everyone else in L.A., I was into the Olympics as this was an obviously once in a lifetime event.

It didn’t even matter to us that Russia and other communist countries (except for Romania and China, much to their credit) boycotted to get back at the U.S. for skipping the Moscow games four years before; nobody seemed to care once things got underway.

I recall my female schoolmates having crushes on the U.S. men’s gymnastics team, Mitch Gaylord in particular as he was seemingly everybody’s honey.

As for me, though I thought Mary Lou Retton was cute, the Los Angeles Times’ columnist Jim Murray calling the women’s gymnastics all-around gold medal winner “Charlie Hustle in a leotard”,  I was more into a synchronized swimmer named Tracie Ruiz.

 

1984:  Mary Lou Retton of the United States in action during the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California. Mandatory Credit: Steve Powell  /Allsport

1984: Mary Lou Retton of the United States in action during the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California. Mandatory Credit: Steve Powell /Allsport This young lady more than earned the title “Darling of the 1984 Olympics” with that all-around gold that she won. Photo courtesy of snipview.com

 

I remember my mom’s old boyfriend from college coming down from Oregon for the Games, which was cool as I specifically recall him knocking on my bedroom door to let me know that baseball, which was a demonstration sport and featured future Hall-of-Fame level talent like Mark McGwire on the U.S. team, was on TV.

The biggest recollection of those Olympics for me was the marathon, traditionally held on the last day, for the simple reason that the start of that race was about a half block from my house at Santa Monica College.

I stood on top of a parking structure overlooking the small football stadium on SMC’s campus among – as you would imagine – a huge crowd as after the starting gun went off, the runners went around the track a few times before heading north on 17th Street, right through my neighborhood.

There’s a picture of my mom and my then-two and a half-year old brother watching the runners go by that I thought was cute.

To be able to say that I saw an actual Olympic event was, to risk a cliché, pretty special.

Although I would meet 1996 Magnificent Seven Olympic hero Kerri Strug 16 years later, those 1984 games provided some good memories for me.

And despite all the problems that have plagued Rio, I’m sure that when the torch is lit, the athletes start to do their thing and the medals are given out, people will put the bad issues on the back burner.

At least for a while.

At the risk of sounding corny, let the Games begin!

 

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Carl Lewis competing in one of his four track and field events on the way to matching Jesse Owens’ four gold medals. Photo courtesy of gettyimages.com

 

ADDING ANOTHER YEAR: Thoughts Regarding My Birthday

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March Air Force Base in Riverside, CA – where I was born and in a full-circle way would very much like to visit next year on my 50th birthday. Photo courtesy of pinterest.com

 

WHAT’S GOING ON IN AND THROUGH MY HEAD AS I ADD ANOTHER YEAR TO MY LIFE SPAN

Not intending to sound pompous, but…

Roughly 36 hours from this writing, I will officially enter the last year of my forties.

Meaning – if I have done the simple math correctly – I will officially be one year away from the ultimate middle-age milestone:

The big five-zero.

Most of my thoughts, as my birthday approaches, is not unlike others in the same situation.

Of course it should go without saying that I’m very grateful and blessed to be able to add another candle on my birthday cake.

Especially since the list of people I’ve known throughout my life, folks I grew up with and others,  who have not made it to 49 (my age as of the 18th of this month) has been growing due to various factors like disease; I can think of several people I knew well who have succumbed to cancer off the top of my head.

Quite sad – again, that goes without saying.

Being the age generally considered middle-aged in general society, besides my health issues that have already been written about, there’s another thing that I’ve been experiencing for a while that has me concerned…

Forgetfulness.

Actually, I have had a habit of forgetting important things since childhood; I remember being locked out of my house more than once as a kid and a young adult because I forgot my keys.

And what’s worse, I wouldn’t realize that I’d forgotten them until I arrived home from school or work or whatever.

This absent-mindedness reared its head again recently, when after arriving home I realized that I had left the hard drive that the book I’m working on, “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”, at the library.

Which, as you could imagine, would have been devastating to the point of considering abandonment of the whole endeavor if it weren’t for the fact that when I went back to the library, the good people there had it in their lost and found.

I was relieved as I left the place, but couldn’t help feeling a tiny bit frustrated over this continuing habit of forgetting things and not finding out until much later that I had forgotten them.

There have been times when I would wonder if this was an early sign of Alzheimer’s or Dementia, or merely a “senior moment”.

I obviously hope not, as the best thing I can do is wait and see.

One thing’s for certain as I advance in age…

While I’m physically feeling the effects of middle age in the form of not only hypertension – for which I’ve been taking medication – exercising, and changing my diet to combat this issue for the past year and a half,

But also in the form of pain in my upper back (when I’ve been on my feet for a period of time), left Achilles tendon, and particularly my right knee as since early spring, whenever I have done cardio, walked long distances, or played softball, I’d wake up the next morning with my knee hurting fairly badly, which would go away after putting ointment on it and/or spraying it,

Emotionally speaking, I don’t feel like a 49 year-old, at least the way American society says 49 ought to feel like.

Without going into detail – I’ll save that for the book – I don’t always behave the way people on the verge of fifty years old ought to behave according to American norms, as I always feel like I’m “walking on eggshells” (hence the reason why I renamed my book) to fit my square peg of an Asperger’s person into the neurotypical round hole.

Having said all of this…

It is NOT my intention to whine about how crappy my life is; I know full well how blessed and loved I am.

Even if, in my aspieness, I don’t always see it.

As for birthday plans, they’ll be relatively modest, the big highlight being playing softball as it will be the third time I will have played the game I’ve played nearly my whole life on the anniversary of the day I was born.

It should be fun.

Outside of having food from my favorite Mexican restaurant, a place where I’ve eaten for over forty years – if you’re from Santa Monica, you should know what that restaurant is – and cake, that’s basically it.

It’s next year when, like so many other folks turning 50, my birthday will be a relatively big affair.

But for now, I’ll give much thanks to God when I wake up on the 18th, as I always do,

And enjoy this personal holiday.

 

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Where I spent my early childhood – Woodcrest, CA, a suburb of Riverside which to me was most idyllic. Photo courtesy of activerain.com