33.Axle, the clever puss, and Shenya, the healing dog

 

Josh bought Axle from the 92nd Street Shelter when he lived in New York City.  Axel was a grey and black tabby whose cage said, “Not good with children.”  Josh brought him back to his tiny apartment in Hell’s Kitchen with the bathtub in the kitchen.  Axle loved to play with Josh’s feet.

When Josh moved to Seattle, Axle moved into  white mansion with Josh’s family.  The other cats in the house were outdoor cats.  Axle, being from New York City, was afraid to go outside.  He slinked outside on his belly.  My niece, Amanda, starting walking the poodle down the street and the cats would follow.  That’s how Axle learned to take walks.

When Axle moved in to our first house, he was in heaven.  He was the only cat in the house.  He had fallen for me early on, and he developed a complicated routine to compliment mine.  While I was taking a shower, he sat on the dresser.  When I was finished, he lay on the bed, etc.  He had different places  to sit  or lay for every move I made.

Axle became an outdoor cat, and even though we lived on a busy street, he was an expert at crossing it.  He was an expert at fighting other cats.  We found out later, that he went around eating other cat’s food that was left outside.  He developed a stomach that hung down.  I would follow him around, which he hated, and watched him “flemen.”  When a cat flemens, they lift their lips over their front gums.  They look odd.  They are taking in information, like we read a newspaper.  I did a solo show about Axle called “Puss Puss Piss Piss.”  It was about how he became a successful artist and I was the scholar writing about him.  The exhibit at the center of the show was his litter box, where I had made poo out of clay and surrounded it with rings in the sand, like in Japanese rock and sand gardens.  It was a satire also of the controversy surrounding the NEA’s funding of the madonna made with pee.  I had seen it in the Brooklyn Museum of Art and was struck by it’s beauty, which was never mentioned in the debates.  Senator Jesse Helms was outspoken against the funding of the NEA and so his photo was included in the cat box, and Axel had peed on it.  The show began with me announcing, “Many of you know me…in the Biblical sense.”

Axle stopped his routines when we  bought Shenya. Shenya (short for “Shenanigans”) was the first wheaten terrier that Josh and I brought into our lives together.  Shenya was an older, rescue dog, sold to us by her owner’s daughter.  We later found out, by reading the wheaten digest list online, that Shenya’s owner had been prosecuted for abusing her horses and other animals.  Once, this owner was walking down our main street, and Shenya jumped into my arms and starting shaking.

Shenya was ungroomed when we took her home, her coat long and shapeless.  The first things she did was try to run away.  On our first walk, she somehow got off her leash and ran down the middle of the street, but submitted to me as I hugged her.  It didn’t take her long to love us.  Especially since we fed her her favorite dish, spaghetti and meatballs with parmesean, from the table.

Whenever she got nervous, Shenya would jump into my arms, and I would hug her tightly. She often did this at the dog park, to everyone’s delight.  I watched the film “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies” and there was a wheaten terrier in it who did the exact same thing, so I figured it was in the bloodline.

I was in my thirties, striving for success in the theater world, performing in solo shows and having my play produced in Austin, Texas.

This was also the decade when I had horrible friends, perhaps because I was in the theater world.  Also, over and over again, plans to produce my play elsewhere would be set up and shortly fall apart.  And I was getting a lot of rejections, as all writers do.  I didn’t really have the temperament for all of the rejection, so, between my career struggles and my bad friends, I became depressed.

Shenya would heal my depression.  She took me out of myself, as I made her happiness my goal.  I also took up gardening, planting lavatera, which made our garden look English, and quince and poppies and  tulip, daffodil, and Iris bulbs ,periwinkle groundcover, butterfly bushes, scented Philadelphia bush, heuchera, hostas, and euphorbia, to name a few.  I drove for miles to various dog parks all over the city (there were none in my neighborhood).

My friend Leslie was a successful theater director, who was promoted to artistic director of a local prestigious theater.  She was an arrogant show-off and  she would go on and on about the work of  her other friend, ad nauseum, but never talked about my work, even though she directed it.  Josh is a contractor, and she wanted to talk to him about doing work on her house.  We went out to dinner with her husband, Ike, and they told us they had no money to pay Josh.  We wanted her theatre to give my play a reading (just a reading!) so we miscontrued this as some sort  of trade off.  Ike was a jerk who, when we went out and offered to pay for drinks, ordered the most expensive drink in the restaurant (very high end), then had several.  That is a good judge of character–beware of those who order expensive drinks on your tab.  When Josh stupidly went to work for them for free, after a grueling day at his paid work, Ike offered no food, beverages, and refused to talk to Josh.  When I heard this, I put a stop to the whole thing.  I went out to lunch with Leslie and told her that I thought she was using us.

She never did give my play a reading.

I had another director friend who was constantly standing me up or arriving very late.  I detest people who are late.  I cannot relate to them, as I always make a point of arriving early, leaving half an hour before for every appointment within the city.  The final straw came when she moved to Florida, and I planned on staying with her.  A few days before I left, after I had already   bought my plane ticket, she said she would be out of town and that her house was far from the beach and had no shower.  Who would ever expect that?  Josh and I went to Florida together for a vacation and stayed at a B&B.  I broke off the friendship, and then our mutual friend broke off  our friendship because she thought I was wrong and wrote me a nasty email, so I lost 2 friends.

There were other disappointing friends who once “forgot” to come over for our dinner party, and another time, when I invited all my friends together, did not speak or participate.  They then said, “You need nicer friends.”  They were right, but we needed nicer friends than them.  At one of their dinner parties, their fellow academic colleague yelled at Josh when he suggested that bullets be registered with the police for gun control.  So she was hardly one to give advice.

One friend, Lenore, who failed her playwriting class when trying to get an MFA in playwriting from the University, was completely crazy.  She would repeat the bad gossip people said about me, telling me that people were saying “Who’s this?” and holding out their hands in a satirical manner, showing off their engagement ring.  This is how my impending marriage was treated, as a joke.  People who repeat bad gossip about you to your face are hurtful.

Lenore would go on and on about her friend X, about all she and X did together, ad nauseum.  But when I took X’s playwriting class, X told me she did not associate with Lenore at all.  “Our friendship is all in her head.  She does not live in reality.”  Lenore was on many boards and was the president of a playwriting association.  When I asked X about this, she said, “No one else wants to do those jobs.  Lenore is the only one who volunteers for them.  Everyone else is busy writing.”  Lenore was not writing plays.  She was too busy being the town gossip.

Lenore had picked a fight with me the night before I was defending my dissertation.  Then she called me over and over, and I wouldn’t answer.  I broke up with her the next day.  Her husband called and told me Lenore was jealous of me for getting a Ph.D., she had always wanted one for herself, and begged me to become friends with her again.  But I had had enough.

That was all why I needed Shenya to heal me.  People were trecherous and disappointing at the time, and Shenya was all love.  Petting a dog lowers your blood pressure.

Axle followed Shenya and I on our walks.  He crossed streets with us, being sure to look both ways.  Shenya had a boyfriend, a brown lab named Duke, who tried to mount her all the time.  Shenya was happy to flirt with him, and always had a spring in her step after encountering him.  Duke hated cats.  So when Axel came by, he charged him.  Axle sprung up in the air on four feet and landed on Duke’s back, digging his claws in.  After that, Duke left Axle alone.  Axle would not be bullied.

One day Axle had large lumps the size of tennis balls coming out of his neck.  We took him to the vet, knowing something was very wrong, and found out he had lymphoma.  We gave him chemotherapy, which made him scream and howl.  But then he got better.  He was acting like a kitten, and he was so happy.  We deluded ourselves into thinking he would be all right.  Then the vet said, “He’s still going to die, you know.”  We didn’t know that.

Axel started to have debilitating seizures.  They would take up so much energy.  After a seizure, I would wrap him in a towel and feed him salmon and cream.  That would be his last meal.  We decided he was in too much pain and we took him to the vet to be put down.

“We will give him 2 shots. The first one will relax him and the second one will stop his heart.”

I remember sitting in the living room, surrounded by boxes of Christmas decorations, unable to move.  A friend came over.  I was disheveled and crying.  I couldn’t decorate the tree.

I wanted a new car for so long, and we got one soon after Axle died.  The car no longer mattered to me, because Axle was dead.

Shenya got cancer, too.  This time we took her to an animal acupuncturist.  Shenya could not climb up the stairs one day, so I carried her.  She was very heavy and it was difficult for me to climb the stairs.   She died in my arms the next morning.  She had not wanted to be a burden.  I began to howl in grief.  I could not stop howling.  I was like the wife in Fanny and Alexander, who paced back and forth wailing when her husband died.

We attended a ceremony for people who had lost animals, and I gave a speech about Shenya.  When I started to speak, a rooster crowed.  I took it as a sign from Shenya.  At the ceremony, we ordered a rock made with her picture and Beethoven’s words, “Immortal Beloved,” carved on it.  The rock sits on our porch.  Then we bought a burial plot and tombstone with Shenya’s photo on it at a pet cemetary.  We planted tulips in front of the grave.  The soil was rife with worms.

 

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32. My Dog Pepper, Good as Pepper Spray

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What Fox News and Limbaugh did to My Dad’s Brain

I just had a disturbing conversation with my Republican Dad, who called Obama “a monkey who rose to the top through affirmative action.”  He revealed the true underbelly of the racist, sexist, homophobic Republican party whose only perspective comes from old white Christian men.  He said “Romney will win by a landslide” even though the polls have them tied for the popular vote and Obama winning more electoral votes.  When I pointed out that under Romney, his four children would have to pay $200k per couple in Medicare costs, he didn’t care.  Partisan politics are more important than his loved ones.  I pointed out that under Romney, Medicaid would be gutted by trillions of dollars, leaving almost one third of our country (77 million) uninsured. The elderly would be kicked out of their nursing homes on to the street.  The mentally ill would have to abandon their medications.  Children would go unvaccinated, causing the return and spread of once-cured diseases.

My Dad is one of the one percent, and I pointed out that he was only voting for his own selfish interests–a tax cut for the wealthy–and not for the good of the country.  I’m too old to have an abortion, but I know I want women, who will have abortions whether they are legal or not, to have them safely.  I don’t benefit from Obamacare, but  I am passionate about insuring 30 million more people and bringing an end to the pre-exisiting conditions prohibition, insuring young adults until they’re 26 years old, capping lifetime costs, and closing the donut hole for the elderly.

I brought up the Republican war on women, and my Dad asked, “What has Obama ever done for women?”  I said that Obama was pro-choice, while  Romney will appoint  pro-life supreme court justices and seek to overturn Roe v. Wade, and that Obama had signed the Lily Ledbetter Act, which provides equal pay for women.

My Dad then said that “‘Women are sluts who should keep their legs closed.  Why should we pay for these sluts’ contraception?”  I pointed out that poor people have sex too and they might not be able to afford the pill.  I didn’t say that Rush Limbaugh’s advertisers all pulled their ads from his radio show when he said this–I was in shock.

I said that Romney would eliminate Planned Parenthood.  He said, “I’m not going to pay taxes for abortions!”  I pointed out that abortion accounts for one percent of Planned Parenthood’s budget, and most of it’s budget goes to paying for cancer screenings for poor women.  My dad can’t conceptualize the poor–they are just lazy people who can’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

I argued that Romney would privatize Social Security, and my Dad said I knew nothing about money.  He said that if he’d invested his social security money, he’d have “900k extra money to give you when I die.”  I countered that he lost one million dollars in the crash.  “But the market changes and I got it back,” he said.  “‘What about the people who wanted to retire after the crash and their social security had been wiped out?”  I asked.

My dad believes that he is a self-made man who “never got help from anyone.” Then he said, “Except when my Uncle gave me the job at Turner Construction.”  Well, I never got a job through a relative, that would have been a huge help.  He also seemed to forget that my mother, who worked as an English teacher in Queens, New York’s middle schools, paid the mortgage the first year he bought us our house in an exclusive neighborhood with the best schools, and throughout the slow winters, at a time when women in our village didn’t work.  He also seemed to forget that he got the job as a home inspector which made him rich came from a tip from a neighbor.  He lucked out–he was born a white male WASP who received support from family and friends.

I asked him, “Why is it that Democrats like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Dave Letterman, Rachel Maddow, all use humor to critique Republicans, while Republicans like Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck all incite fear and hatred through insults and anger and screaming?”  My Dad, who really values humor and who is constantly joking, said, “I’ll grant you that point.  But you know Ann Coulter is my girl.”

I personally know Ann Coulter. She was in my Freshman English Honors class at Cornell.  She hadn’t found politics yet, but she was already a lunatic.  Her comments on literature were the laughing stock of the class.  She wore baggy sweatshirts and madras shorts every day.  A friend of mine was her housemate, and knew her to be an anorexic, living on air popped popcorn and wine.  She had brown hair and a horsey face.  All of my friends and my roommate and I constantly gossiped about how stupid she was.

I used to respect my Dad’s keen intelligence.  We were raised reading the New York Times and listening to Classical music.  But my Dad now finds the New York Times to be too liberal.  He turns on Fox news and leaves it on all day.  He listens to conservative talk radio rather than Classical music.  He rants rather than argue.  He has become illogical and ill informed. Thanks, Fox news and Rush Limbaugh.

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30. Madonna

On Sunday I realized with horror that I had lost my $300 Madonna tickets.  They were not in my desk drawer in my office where I kept our passports, birth certificates, and titles to our cars.  I looked in my bedside table drawers and they were not there either.  I couldn’t think where else to look, and I distinctly remembered putting them in the desk drawer. The concert was on Tuesday  night.

The whole incident reminded me of the time when I missed the Seinfeld show at the Paramount.  Saturday night we had gone to a club where our friend Geoff was playing bass.  Only he didn’t show up.  On Monday as we were driving, Josh asked me when Seinfeld was playing.  “I think it is on the 17th,” I said.

“Karen, it’s the 19th!”  We screamed.  Josh yelled at me.  I didn’t know what had happened to me.  We were supposed to be at Seinfeld when we had gone to the club instead.  I hadn’t checked my calender.  How could I not have looked at my calender?

So Monday we woke up without the tickets.  The morning started at 5:45 a.m. when I got up and opened the door for Ariel, our soft coated wheaten terrier, to go out. Only Syd, our ragdoll cat, escaped, and ran under the fence out into the alley.  Barefoot and wearing my nightgown, I ran across the poop in the yard, down some steps, and out into our parking space which was filled with gravel and pieces of wood.  I picked Syd up and brought him into the house.

A zit the size of a volcano had erupted on half of my face.  My dermatologist prescribed an antibiotic and two creams for my adult acne, so this was rare.  The zit was so huge I wanted to put a band aid over it.

When Josh got up we searched for the tickets to no avail.  Later on I was off to the endodontrics wing of University of Washington hospital for my fourth attempt at my root canal.  The dentist told me he had once flown to L.A. for a U.C.L.A. game without all the tickets for himself and eight friends. He had called Ticketmaster and they emailed him the tickets. He completed the root canal only to tell me I needed surgery.

I got home at 5 p.m. and it was too late to call Ticketmaster.  I didn’t remember what company had sold me the tickets, so I tried my online credit union.  They were remaking the website and said they had given me a temporary password, which I had never received.

Thankfully we had a dinner date at Poco Wine Bar on Capitol Hill (in the other Washington) with our good friend Brad, the brilliant host of a radio show  with a background in liberal talk radio who has interviewed and dated many famous people and always has a good story to tell.  We were talking about how he dated Delilah, who had appeared on Katie.  We ate salted caramel popcorn, macaroni and cheese with prosciutto, and a warm chocolate layer cake.  I needed the comfort food and I felt better.  On my new diet I eat what I want one day a week.  I’ve lost 33 pounds.

Brad said he knew we would find the tickets and everything would work out.  We arrived home at 10 p.m. and we were too tired to look for the tickets for tomorrow’s show.  Josh got up a few times during the night to search for them in my office.

The next morning Josh called Vivid Seats.  He had discovered that he had paid for the tickets and found the record of it in his email.  We asked them to email us the tickets. The man on the phone said he would call us back.  Fifteen excruciating minutes later he said he couldn’t email us the tickets because we were part of a group sale.  We were devastated.  I said I would buy tickets from a scalper for my favorite performer.

If I meditate and listen to my intuition, I have been known to find lost items.  When I was young I used the ouija board to find cleaning supplies and it spelled out exactly where they were.  When I got back from living in Florida for a year,  I used meditation to discover that my passport was in a red purse in my armoire, a place I would never have thought to look.  This time I had a gut feeling that the tickets were in my sock drawer.  That was not a place I would have chosen to put  concert tickets.  I emptied the sock drawer, but found no tickets.

I looked in the back of my night table.  I called Josh in to take a look back there, and we found the tickets in their small envelope two feet away from the sock drawer!

We arrived at the 8 p.m. concert at 7:30 p.m. only to discover that for $300 we had the worst seats in the house.  We were behind the stage and the screen in nosebleed seats.  We looked out on the backstage sets.  I had bought the tickets the first day they went on sale. I complained loudly about the seats because I was pissed.  A Seattelite actually walked down the steps and took a look at my face, then went back to his seat.  No one gets upset in public in Seattle.  Key Arena was about a quarter full.  I insisted we find better seats, while the other passive Seattlites, who also mentioned they paid $150 for each seat, resigned themselves to their fates.

The opening “band” came on after 9 p.m.  It was one man playing turn tables of Madonna songs, with a few other popular songs.  It was the worst opening act I had ever seen.  I didn’t want to hear Madonna songs from anyone other than Madonna live. He went on and on.  Madonna didn’t come on until 10:00 p.m.

A bell rang, and monks dressed in red hooded gowns came out.  A huge incense dispenser swung from side to side.  Madonna came out, wearing a tight black cat suit and a long blonde wig.  She was singing a new song I had never heard before.  She continued to sing unfamiliar songs, including “I shot my lover dead in the head” which featured her shooting an automatic weapon at her dancers, who fell down and the screen nearest to us showed splattered blood.  I remember seeing that she did this number after the Colorado movie theater shooting, which was completely inappropriate and easily could have been cut from the show.

At one point Madonna dressed in a majorette uniform and twirled a baton.  It was kind of sad watching a 53 year old woman wearing a majorette uniform.  I was impressed, however, when she walked a tight rope made of a kind of ribbon in her high heels.

Madonna would sprinkle bits of her hits throughout the show, singing the entire songs only a couple of times.  She did sing “Vogue,” “Express Yourself,” (in which she added the words “born this way” to mock Lady Gaga’s rip off of her song), and “Like a Prayer” for her last song.

I still couldn’t see the main screen, as we were kicked out of our seats by their rightful owners.  Luckily, we found empty seats nearby. I never saw Madonna’s face.  She was so far away she was as small as a Barbie doll. She never sang “Like a Virgin.”

It was by far the worst concert I’ve ever seen and the worst seats I’ve ever sat in and the most expensive tickets I ever bought.

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29. The creepiest massage ever

Never buy a Groupon voucher for a massage without checking the reviews first, I learned the hard way.  About a year ago, I purchased two massages without thinking to read the reviews.  I wrote about the first nightmare massage in an early post, “Unhappy Endings.”

After “Unhappy Endings,” I read the reviews for my upcoming 90 minute massage at Sangraal Body Works in Seattle, to my horror.  “DO NOT GO HERE” several reviewers wrote.  One person said that upon arrival, the masseur was eating his lunch in a small room covered with trash, barefoot.  She said there were two overflowing baskets of trash by the massage table, and that the whole cramped room was a mess.

In the back of my mind I must have been thinking, “Go out of your comfort zone and get material for your blog.”

I arrived at the office building and knocked on the door.  I heard a voice but couldn’t tell what he was saying.  I knocked again.  “Hold on!”  He said.

“Sorry, I couldn’t hear what you said,” I said, entering the room and noticing the vacuum cleaner sitting out amidst some other clutter.  “I’ll go into the other room while you change,”  and he slid the mirrored doors shut.  He was short, with his balding hair caught in a ponytail–a look that retired long ago.

I have rarely had a male masseur, and I was nervous about it.  I didn’t see a licence anywhere.

I lay face down on the table, hoping he’d turn on music.  He did, but it was so faint that the sound of cars soaring by on the busy street bothered and distracted me.

He didn’t ask what kind of  massage I wanted or how much pressure he should apply.  He just started pressing points in a deep tissue massage.  I prefer Swedish, light pressure.

He started asking questions about my writing, which, for a writer, is like asking a fat woman if she is pregnant.

“What is your memoir about?”

“My misadventures.”

“Like. smuggling machine guns into Egypt?”  I suppose this was his attempt at humor.  I wasn’t laughing.

“Do you have a publisher?” Ugh.   I’m a playwright.

Towards the end of the massage, when I was in a zoned out state, I noticed my fingers were touching something.  Then I felt something.

His package! Oh my God, icky icky icky. He didn’t ask me to move my fingers, which had instantly recoiled.  Why was the massage table at that level?  I couldn’t tell if he was erect or not, but the package was firm.  I didn’t realize my fingers had  been rubbing against his pants at crotch level.

“Feel free to move your hand where ever you want,” he said, too late.

Disgusted, I got up and left, feeling dirty and violated.  I wrote what happened in a review on Yelp.

But I certainly had a story to tell.

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26. Two Dangerous Mistakes

As I was reading auto and apartment listings in the Seattle Weekly, my eyes drifted towards the personal ads.  In New York City, personal ads were for sadomasochists, transvestites, etc.  But here in Seattle, the ads seemed to be written by normal people.  I mentioned this to Ashley.

“I know someone who married a man she met through the personals!  You should definitely write one!  Karen, if anyone needs to get married, it’s you.  I could never afford this house on my salary alone.”

My ad read:  “SWF, new in town, looking for SWM. New in town,  Ivy League educated, long legged F seeks noble voracious reader with tantalizing mind.  I love tennis and sailing.  Must be financially and emotionally mature.”

Ashley insisted I put that last part in.  I didn’t really love tennis or sailing, although I had taught tennis and spent weekends of my childhood sailing on my father’s boat.

I received 60 responses, and Ashley invited her friends over to help me decide which ones I would date.  There was a male model who just included a photograph , with no letter.  Ashley said no.   We narrowed it down to three men.  Most letters were eliminated because they began with “Hi Baby.”

Ashley and Mike were going away one weekend, and I was to house sit and dog sit their mixed breed rescue dog, Sunshine.  I was the one who walked Sunshine now.

I had bought a maroon Honda hatchback with the money saved from my telemarketing and Amway jobs and my mother’s help.  It was my first car.

I was coming home from the dog park with Sunshine in the car when I locked the car door with the house keys inside the car.  I panicked, not knowing what to do.  I was in real trouble.  And then it started to pour.  Here I was, outside in the rain with Sunshine, and no place to go.

Desperate, I went to a neighbor’s house, and knocked on the door.  An old man answered.  I explained my situation, and he invited me in.  He had probably seen me naked in the outdoor jacuzzi.  His wife offered me tea, which I accepted.  They spoke with thick German accents.  Thank God they were home.  The old man said we should check the house to see if there were any open windows, and call a locksmith.

The old man actually found an open window on the first floor.  He climbed in, and let us in.  I was so thankful and relieved.  The locksmith came and opened the car door.  I never mentioned a word of this incident to Ashley, who already thought I was flaky.

Then one of the men from the personal ad called me.  I told him my address and he said he would come pick me up.  When Ashley called to check in with me, she freaked out when I told her about the date coming to the house,

“You gave a stranger our address?  Karen, he could be a serial killer, and he knows you’re alone in the house!”  Oh God.  I had made another dangerous mistake.  I felt sick to my stomach, and very much afraid.  This was TedBundyville.

The stranger arrived at my door, and of course he looked nothing like his photograph.  He sported a mullet, which was a deal breaker.  I was afraid of what he’d do if I rejected him, so I stupidly got into his car.  He drove me downtown and took me to a raucously loud bar in Pioneer Square.  We could barely talk to each other over the noise.  I was bored and uncomfortable.  Fortunately, this was Seattle, and he was harmless, taking me home safely.

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25. An awkward dinner party

“I’ll do anything to help,” I told Ashley, and unfortunately, I meant it.  I couldn’t stand to see her crying.

Ashley had obviously thought a lot about what I could do.

“You could take out a student loan for five grand.  I’ll pay you back.”

She was asking destitute me, who made $700 per month, to help pay back her wealthy father?  Then I made one of my worst mistakes ever–I agreed, and I agreed without an I.O.U. that I would be paid back.  I didn’t want to do it, but I felt guilty about staying with her for weeks.

This mistake I had made was right up there with the time a director offered to have my play produced in the Edinburgh play festival in Scotland, if only I changed the ending.  I would not compromise my artistic integrity.  So I didn’t get to go to Scotland, which I regret to this day.

Ashley was careless, like Tom and Daisy in the Great Gatsby.  She used the women who worked for her to pick up her dry cleaning and do her bidding.  I considered this an abuse of her power, and anti-feminist.

Ashley had dinner parties every weekend.

“Karen, how do you cook corn?”  Ashley didn’t cook.

“I’ll do it, ” I said.  “You put it in a pot of boiling water, after you husk it.”

“How long do you cook it for?”

“About three minutes or so.”

“How do you know if it’s done?”

“You just know.  That’s cooking.” I said.

One of Ashley’s guests had a baby with too much water in his brain.  I watched as he repeatedly banged his forehead against the coffee table.

“Isn’t he hurting himself?”  I asked the mother.

“That’s how he learns.” She said.  That baby was me, repeatedly banging my head into obstacles, taking a long time to learn.

At the dinner table, Ashley was telling everyone how wonderful the new corporate credit card was.

One of her women “slaves” pointed out that the card had limits.

“Oh. I didn’t know that. I use it all the time.”

“Have you been buying clothing with it?”  The slave asked, nervously.

“Well, only work clothes.”

“That’s against the rules.”

“Oh, whoops!” Ashley laughed, but everyone was silent.  Apparently everyone knew about Ashley’s shopaholic ways.

In the middle of the dinner party, one of the slave’s husbands, who was drunk, said, “I don’t like the way you use my wife.”  Everyone was stunned silent once again.

“You make her buy drugs for you,” he said.  “I don’t want you exploiting my wife, making her do illegal things, anymore.  I’ll report you to the police if you try that again.”

Mike stiffened.  “I think you’re drunk.  I think it’s time for you to leave.”

“Is the pot for her, or for you, Doctor?”

“Get out of my house.”

The next day, Ashley was upset.  “I can’t  believe Patrick attacked me last night, in front of everyone.”  I wanted to point out that perhaps she shouldn’t use her staff like that.  But I just listened to her deflect blame.

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