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2004-01-29 @ 1:42 p.m.
the little volvo who could

So its been a rough couple of weeks. The snow. The car accident. The whiplash. The no car insurance lady. The missed shrink appointments. The no money thing. The incorrect food pantry. And to be honest, the stuff they gave me was pretty crummy. One can was so dented and rusty it looked like it had fallen off an overturned tracker trailer from 1987. Why would they give that to someone? Aren’t we worth a new can of peas?

But I got a call from my favorite Aunt this morning. She said her and my uncle wanted to get me some groceries. I said, no, that’s ok. I would be getting my disability check soon. And my food stamps was about a week away. But she insisted. She’s a tough little Catholic Lady. The “My way or the highway” kind. She's what Catholic charity should be.

So we sat for the next ten minutes trying to figure out what I needed. I don’t eat much. As long as I have diet coke and yogurt, I could probably survive a month on “Survivor” with no problem.

But she insisted on getting me more. Vegetables. Cereal. Yogurt. Some meat. Toilet paper. Soda. Milk. Soup. I kept trying to trim the list down because I didn’t want her to spend the money. Her husband is a retired bus driver, and probably doesn’t make a huge amount of money, but she wanted to help. I’m her godchild. Unfortunately, I kept breaking down and crying here and there. I felt like such a failure. Having to be rescued and all. But I guess I’m lucky to HAVE a rescuer. Someone to throw me a life preserver, when the Titanic glurgs downward after being stabbed in the ribs by an iceburg.

Not everyone does. Some of the people down at the food pantry the other day certainly didn’t. The woman next to me had a husband and three children and someone had supposedly stolen their food. How does that happen? Sneak in and grab your spaghetti-O's. I was a little skeptical, but I guess it could happen. She seemed like a junky, but I guess church organizations hear these hard luck stories all the time and you just have to take them at face value, right? People have all kinds of needs.

So after she called, I jumped in the shower, and then cleaned the house real quickly. My aunt is a real neat freak. I wanted the house to look nice. I also took a clonopin, because I realized I kept breaking down crying everytime I thought about her out shopping for groceries for me.

She finally got here about 11:45. Fortunately, I had had time to go out and shovel my sidewalk, which is now starting to look like the Rio Grande river cutting through the Grand Canyon. The snow is piled deeper than my thighs. Plus we’re having high winds which is reconfiguring the peaks and valleys which are my front yard. It’s nearly bare in some spots yet is piled as high as four foot high against the house and landlord’s van.

So my aunt appeared with a box with bags neatly folded in it. And then they kept coming and coming. My uncle was carrying them from the car. And I can safely say, these bags had some really great stuff in them. No bent, rusted cans of unsalted beets. She even got me some popcorn with two bags of home made Aunt's cookies.

Fortunately, she was only here for about a minute after unloading the stuff, so I didn’t have time to start boo-hooing and taking a page from “Wayne’s World” and saying, “I’m not worthy”. She just hugged me and said, “I’m glad we could help you honey.”

I naturally had to cry for about the tenth time after she walked back to the car and I had the mighty task of unpacking 3 large bags of groceries which included pork chops, cube steaks, popcorn, several cans of Progresso soup (my favorite), 5-6 cans of veggies, an onion, a box of Raisin Bran, a 12 pak of Diet Cook, 6 yogurts (score!), cleaner, some nice two-ply toilet paper (as opposed to the sandpaper crap I buy at the Dollar Store), tuna, home made fat-free cookies and muffins, and 2 jars of sugar free jelly. It’s the first time my refrigerator has actually LOOKED like a refrigerator in a really long time. It was nice.

But it had been a weird night the night before. I had had this dream that I was in this house on a river talking to my mom on the phone. It was kind of a nice house and I was kind of excited to be living there. Wow, my own house. Suddenly though, I realized that the river outside was flooding and that the waters were rising so rapidly that is was right up to my window sill. I was instantly thrown into a panic. This isn’t the first time, I’ve dreamed about being carried away in a rain swollen torrential body of water.

And a weird sidebar to the dream, is that I looked out another window, and noticed that a bunch of cars were floating down the river. They were all being carried by a rather strong current and for some reason they were all Volvos. But there amongst the Volvos, was this one that was going Upstream -- against the current. It was heading straight for the influx of downstream Volvos, and when it met up with them it just sort of clinked and clanked its way through the oncoming cars and kept going.

I can’t help but think this is kind of a metaphor for my life. The being trapped in the house by flood waters and feeling helpless. And then seeing all the cars bouncing and bobbing in the white water undertow and seeing one car swimming upstream.

What was that car swimming upstream all about? Was that me? Was that me swimming up against incredibly strong undercurrents, but still making a gallant effort AND staying afloat despite all odds?

I think my shrink would have definitely given it a little spin like that...

The little Volvo who could.

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