Snow

About two-thirty in the morning, after dozing on the couch, I went into the back garden to have a cigarette. Half-asleep, I opened the back door and stepped out, lighting my smoke. I was instantly jolted awake by the sight of snow drifts. I was standing in one that covered my back door step. There was a veritable blizzard outside and it had apparently been going on for some time.

I got so excited about the snow that it took me ages to drop off to sleep when I then went to bed.

Snow has the capacity to both magically transform me into a child again and to excite me beyond reason. No other type of weather has this power over me. In fact, the only thing that even comes close is the power of smell. I know that scientists have said that a scent can trigger the most amazing memories. Amazing enough that you feel as though you have travelled back through time. This “time travel” experience has happened to me a few times. I can count on the fingers of both hands the amount of times it has happened. Snow, however, always instantly affects me.

I remember vividly travelling back from Sacramento, California with my parents at the age of five.

*Coincidentally I also remember, equally as well, travelling out to California, aged four. I played in the foot-well of the passenger seat. With a bed-sheet as my tee-pee, I played Cowboys and Indians as we crossed the desert during the day. I played in the foot-well because of the oppressive heat. My mother who was driving our 58’ Chevy had to endure it.

On this momentous trip, we drove through a blinding snow storm in the mountains near Flagstaff, Arizona. The flying snow was so thick, it froze and then broke our wind-shield wipers and my father had to brush the snow off the wind-shield (while he drove) with his arm.  We finally our-drove the snow and arrived in Alamogordo, New Mexico in the late afternoon. Alamogordo is right at the edge of the White Sands Missile Range. It is in the desert. It has sand, cacti, sagebrush, mesquite and tumble-weeds.

White Sands, New Mexico. A little hard to see if it's snowed or not...
White Sands, New Mexico. A little hard to see if it’s snowed or not…

And on this memorable occasion, it also had snow.

As we all slept in our Rocket Lounge motel room, the snow had caught up with us. When the morning arrived my parents woke me up and told me to open the door and look outside. In the night the snow had transformed the desert into a world of white. Everything was covered in the stuff. Even the tumble-weeds were white. I was ecstatic. It made an everlasting impression on me, that forty-eight years later, is still fresh.

So this morning when I stepped out into the snow in my back garden I was transported. I “time-travelled” back to Alamogordo, New Mexico. I re-lived that excitement of seeing the snow covered desert and the memory was as fresh as the snow covered world outside my window and as crisp as the air surrounding it.

Some memories don't need a time travel machine to re-live them.
Some memories don’t need a time travel machine to re-live them.

Vampires

Bill Compton (The Southern Vampire Mysteries)
Bill Compton (The Southern Vampire Mysteries) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Vampires, we are told, are fictional creatures that suck the ‘life force’ out of us mere mortals. They are incredibly strong and can only be killed or hurt by sunlight, holy water, garlic, crucifixes and wooden stakes. These supernatural “un-dead” beings can either drain us dry and extinguish our ‘light’ or they can transform us into carbon copies of themselves.

 

Vampires are wildly popular in media at the moment. I personally think author Anne Rice is responsible for this upsurge in popularity. She really started it all with her Interview With  A Vampire. I think the less said about Stephanie Meyer‘s “non-vampire” series and it’s celluloid equivalent the better. In either case, the vampires are still considered to be fictional creatures. Whether you are talking about author Bram Stokers’ Count Dracula or True BloodsBill Compton, they are not real, but characters developed by pen and actor.

 

I believe though, that vampires do exist. Not in the supernatural realm but in every day life.  These ‘real-life’ vampires do not drain our blood. They do, however, drain our life-force. They also have to same power to extinguish our ‘light’ or to transform us into carbon copies of themselves.

 

These real-life vampires come in the guise of people with  ’Passive/Aggressive Personality Disorder.’

 

I firmly believe that Passive/Aggressive’s fit solidly in the vampire world. I’ll explain.

 

Anyone who has had a relationship with a Passive/Aggressive can, I am sure, attest to this. I had a relationship with a Passive/Aggressive for years. I still carry the scars. Scars that are mainly emotional, but scars none-the-less. Trust issues being the first and foremost. People who have had Passive/Aggressive’s as lovers, friends, partners, spouses, or family members can avow that they have the same affect on you as a  vampire.

 

They exhaust you by constantly keeping you off-balance. You will be: lied to, bullied, manipulated, isolated…well the list can go on and on. The eventual result of all this can be a kind of death. The death of your personality, what make you, you. It becomes lost amid the everyday relentless confusion and stress of dealing with a Passive/Aggressive. If it doesn’t “kill” you, it transforms you…into a Passive/Aggressive personality…a vampire. As effortlessly as osmosis, you will absorb the very personality traits that are killing you. And unless you escape, you will become the very thing that has been draining the very life out of you.

 

It is not entirely hopeless. Passive/Aggressive’s can be receive counselling. Unfortunately, it is a condition that is nigh-on impossible to cure. If you are in a relationship with one, at the very least, you might find out what has caused the Passive/Aggressive traits to develop, but that will offer you no real help.

 

I have no ‘ray-of-light’ message to deliver. I can only say that the internet has sites that offer help and support to people who find themselves dealing with Passive/Aggressive’s on a daily basis.

 

Google it. It may not be too late. There are forums that can help you ‘vent’ your frustrations, ask for support, or inform you as to just what the hell is going on. Give these sites a try. They could just save your “life”

 

Because God knows, holy water, crucifixes and garlic aren’t going to help you.

 

Vampire Killing Kit
Vampire Killing Kit (Photo credit: JoshBerglund19)

 

 

Beards

George Carlin used to do a routine about beards versus whiskers. When I was a teenager I found it hysterically funny. George’s position was that beards were un-American. After all Joseph Stalin had a beard.  Whiskers on the other hand were as American as apple pie. Gabby Hayes had whiskers.
Publicity photo of Gabby Hayes (left) and Roy ...
Publicity photo of Gabby Hayes (left) and Roy Rogers (right) from the early 1940s. Hayes also had his own children’s television program, The Gabby Hayes Show. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

*side-note* I wonder if anyone remembers the actor George ‘Gabby’ Hayes? Comic “side-kick” to Roy Rogers and John Wayne (especially when Wayne was making his skid-row ‘oater’s’) He disappeared from the silver screen around the late 40’s early 50’s.

I have a beard and have had one off and on for years. The reason for having a beard has changed, but, I still grow one on a regular basis. Now I generally acquire it during the winter months. It helps to keep my chin warm and it gives me the illusion of feeling warmer during those long dark cold winter days.

When I was younger, every time I grew my beard, I felt that it made me look an odd mixture  of distinguished, debonair, older, and somewhat wiser. In those days my beard grew much darker. More black than the dark brown hair that adorned my head. It was also much easier to maintain.

Now that I’m older, it is a much different story altogether.

My beard now is multi-coloured. Grey, silver, white, a hint of red, and yes, black. I have been told that my beard now makes look like a badger. I’m afraid I have to agree. My ‘beard-of-many-colours’ is also much harder to maintain. The white, silver and grey hairs are rebels. They grow faster than the black hair and tend to behave like wild bramble bushes that stick out all over. If I skip one day of trimming, my beard starts to look remarkably like old Gabby Hayes’s whiskers. Of course that will never do.

Whiskers, you see, appear to have gone out of fashion. I do think that most women, however, would disagree. Most women don’t appear to like facial hair of any kind.  At any rate, I think that whiskers have gone out of fashion because I’ve not heard the term for years. I literally cannot remember the last time I heard anyone refer to facial hair as whiskers.

It’s a shame that referring to beards as whiskers has fallen by the wayside. Because whiskers always sounded  more kind and gentle than the stentorian image of the beard.

My daughter maintains, though, that my beard makes me look kinder and somewhat less fierce…nicer I suppose. I always reply that it just makes me look older now that I have such a prevalent amount of ‘lighter’ hair in it. It also make me look like a badger which I kind of like, despite making me worry about crossing roads and giving me a bit of a self-image problem.

But regardless of looking like a  kind old  badger, I re-grow my beard every winter. I value the warm chin and illusion of overall warmth it gives me. I could shave it off to lose a scant few years in my appearance, but, what good does it do.

I would much rather look older and feel warmer than look younger and feel like I’m freezing my butt off. And that is the main reason I know I’m physically older and to a degree mentally older.

I don’t care how I look as long as I’m comfortable.