Thursday, June 19, 2014

What Ever Happened to Efka?

My dad's parents lived on a hill along the Allegheny River and from their home we could see the city in a distance. It was beautiful. Many Sunday afternoons, we'd spend time there, watching football or MTV (when it was good), while eating the awesome goodies my sweet but hardened Pollock grandma would make. The older fellows, like my grandad, father, and uncles would sit downstairs, pounding Rolling Rocks, watching a black and white TV, and talking about guy stuff. My dad's sisters, and my grandmother were serious chain smokers and Pepsi drinkers. Nobody complained, we knew what we were getting into when we went there, it was the early 1980s.

On occasion, a curious little old woman, with her head wrapped up in those things old ladies put on their heads, would stop by with stuff in her little bag. She was even more of a Pollock than my grandma. Her name was Efka.

She was short and it looked like she came right off the boat. She was going blind. She walked so slow, we could see her coming down the street and prepare to hide if we were feeling anti-social. We were shy timid little children, and sometimes we weren't in the mood to deal with foreign strangers. Though, looking back 30 years, she seems far more bizarre than we realized at the time.

She'd bring pies and foods and stuff, and talk in meek little way, sort of screechy, and of course was die hard catholic. Everyone at that time was catholic, I hadn't heard of other options yet. She smelled, and her face had many wrinkles from years of hardships. She had a rough life.

As the years went on, probably only a span of 3 or 4 years, she couldn't make it down, and sometimes we'd get ordered to bring food up to Efka's house. It was on a hill up a dirt driveway, and there were cats galore. We would knock on the door or window, though she wouldn't come, so we'd just leave it outside. My sister and older cousin were amused, and I think they tried to scare and make up weird stories about her as we walked up, if I remember correctly. Her place was the stereotypical old cat lady dwelling and now that I'm older I'm wondering how she spent those last years, with lost vision and probably dementia coming on, if not in full force. What did she eat, how did she live? Did she bathe?

I don't think she had much family.

She was eventually put in a home.

Last night, I was talking and joking with a lady at the fire company about her becoming a cat woman and Efka jumped back in my mind. And as I thought back to those days, a bunch of depressing mental images about those times starting flowing through my brain about her, and my own innocence at that time, not understanding how sad that whole situation was or seems - at least to me now.

Of course, Efka remained humble, even a bit jolly, in a subtle way, and you'd never know, or, at least I didn't pick up on it. She was just a weird character of my childhood that came and went as so many others do.

God bless Efka.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Other Style Choices I've Never Connected With or Understood.

Before going any further, let me start this out by saying it is of no consequence whether I connect with, understand, or like someone else's style choices. The last thing I want to do is dictate anything to anyone. On the other hand, things get under my skin. It's best to get these things out, and free oneself from the rage from within. Below are a few trends or things I've noticed and wasn't pleased with. Maybe you agree. Maybe you don't.

The tan work boots with jeans in urban settings has bugged me for sometime. Visually it looks cumbersome and even uncomfortable. I'm sure the boots are heavy. As horrible as those boots are, they do serve a purpose. The purpose has little to do with style and club settings. I don't see this too much anymore, but this morning I noticed a chick wearing yoga pants with said boots. I didn't know the person well enough to ask them WTF they were doing, so I let it slide. I do, however, wonder what crosses a person's mind when they put that shit together.

Dreds on white boys. I assume that's an attempt to relive 90s glory days (if such a thing exists). Perms are way more ballsy and visually appealing and those that don't understand that have a learning disability.

Obnoxiously bright oxford button down shirts in the corporate/professional setting. I'm not saying you need to wear dull colors or all white, or just earth tones, but I see some corporate types, or wannabe corporate types wearing these ugly bright purple-ish/pink button down bullshit assuming they look good. It just strikes me as a quick fad that will pass and a waste of threads. No one in their right mind is going to hold on to these for an extended period of time. I assume it's an attempt from those uptight types to "think outside the box." Good style is enduring.

I don't like Camoflauged gear in any situation. Probably the least offensive of the others above but still a bit annoying, especially the shorts (though shorts are annoying in most cases of adulthood). Who needs to be reminded of the military, that's the last thing I want to think about.

Flip Flops are gross. Feet are disgusting to look at. They serve a purpose at the beach, or, God forbid, college dormitory showers. Keep them there.

Jewelry is decadent and serves zero purpose. Having a watch to tell time is understandible. Rings, bracelets, necklaces with crosses or pentagrams or 6-pointed stars are all pretty offensive. It's just another thing to collect germs. (It) Doesn't make anyone look any better. A false sign of wealth.

This concludes my list. There may be some repeats here from past blogs, hopefully not a lot. It is my desire that you've enjoyed this bit and I hope you follow the appropriate steps to eliminate some/all of these things that you currently may be doing. Please be well.

Friday, June 6, 2014

That Little Voice from Down the Hallway

I can hear it from a mile away. I know when it's getting closer. It's a Friday, we're all in good spirits but I can't help hearing a little authoritarianism in that voice. Maybe a more civilized Hitler waiting to crawl out. It's abrasive and it's killing me. I'm just trying to get things done and I feel victimized at the slightest sound of it. There's a bully in there too. It's clumsy. It's awful.

The little voice is obsessed with order. Order isn't a bad thing, but it shouldn't be the only thing. Order shouldn't be called order if it's constantly changing or if there's no logic behind it.

There is no ideal situation. You can't control everything. The more you try to control, the more problems you create. Problems, along with their faux solutions are what keep many people in business and I've seen it on the grassroots level. I've seen it first hand.

That little voice from down the hallway doesn't absorb anything. It strictly spits out orders like a dysfunctional robot on Addarall and repeats contemporary business cliches until most of us have vomited on one another.

We've given the voice it's authority. There is no credibility without our consent. And, we consent because we've been trained to believe we're weak and dependent creatures worthy of only mindf#ck situations. These are the trade-offs necessary if we are to eat and have shelter and taste a little bit of that good life.

There are other things out there. We have choices.

Goddamn the voices.