Emotional limbo

I feel SO weird. Maybe this is “normal” depression? I dunno – probably wouldn’t recognize anything normal if it bit my bum. But yesterday was certainly a day to tell the grandkids about.

Anyone following these silly notes knows that Denver, the Queen City of the Plains, has apparently moved several hundred miles to the east. Without telling anyone. Our June weather cycle would be perfectly normal if we were in the center of tornado alley. But we’re not. Denver is the absolute westernmost edge of the alley, and since moving here 30 OMG years ago, I can only recall one tornado ever hitting metro. It was an exciting day – it took out a Blockbuster! I’m very fond of that tornado.

Anyway, it’s been 25 days now, and Denver has a permanent crick in the neck from gazing anxiously into the sky. Hail, tornados, pelting rain, driving wind, we’ve had it in spades. I’m not sure what’s worse – the day 5 tornados hit, pelting us with hail during the People’s Fair, or yesterday. No, I tell a lie. Yesterday was worse. We got about an inch and a half of rain in about 20 minutes. That caused a local flood of about 3 feet, and somehow my house was dead center of all that. In about a 3 mile radius we were completely submerged. Streets buckled, houses flooded, cars turned into islands, hail piled up in drifts measured in feet (my stairs had hail drifts half way to my knees).

Today? Day 25 of more of the same.

That would be funky enough, though I’ve seen weather like that before. But it’s coupled with a really odd, weird and somewhat incomprehensible piece of news. Michael Jackson died yesterday. So, for that matter, did Farrah Fawcett. Farrah I’m almost relieved for. The poor thing was eaten up with cancer and it had to be hell being her. But Michael Jackson? THE Michael Jackson?

Let me tell you about Michael Jackson, and how he saved my life.

When I was 17 I joined Amigos de las Americas. Bad move. I barely knew Spanish, and yet I decided I was going to go to Mexico for a few months in the summer and dig latrines. No, seriously. The best thing that came out of that trip is that I learned I’m really hard to kill. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I lived in a teeny tiny village called Sous de Guzman. No electricity. No running water. No pavement. Very little hope. But incredibly sweet people. Our alcalde was 19 years old and just about the oldest guy in the village. Which is why we were there – they kept dying off because of the dreadful living conditions. We were trying to help.



Twice, while I was there, we went into the nearest city to buy supplies and whatnot. And while I was there I saw Thriller. We didn’t have a record player, of course. But it was so cheap it was nearly free – I snatched it up and carried it home like a prize diamond.

Then, I started to get sick. Really sick. Except there was no doctor, and no way out. So to keep myself distracted, I focused on my new album. I looked at each track and sang what I remembered in my head. The sicker I got the more the music mattered. There was one in particular, a song called “Human Nature”. I don’t know why that one made such a big impression, but I put it on a mental loop and sang it over and over in my head.

Of course I had typhoid. I made it to a Mexican hospital where they put me in isolation. I don’t know how long I was there, but it seemed a very long time. To keep myself amused, I sang the songs from Thriller. Did it save my life? I don’t know. Maybe. It made an unberable situation slightly better. That music was my only companion through the whole thing.

Now Michael’s dead. And I’m far more upset that I thought I’d be, which is pretty selfish. His life was such a bizarre thing, this is probably the first peace he’s known in perphaps decades. Thing is, I just can’t imagine a world without him. I remember where I was when Elvis died, but I didn’t care. I remember where I was when Lennon died. I was upset, but I didn’t understand. But this? This sucks.

Anyway, the emotions are decidedly bizarre today. And once again Denver is looking to the sky, and waiting.


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