Sadie and Albert, after having been subjected to a lot of stress for a prolonged period of time, finally decided to take a long vacation.
“Of all the places even to think of, though,” she pondered, “why Wyoming?”
“I told you,” he explained. “Vittorio couldn’t stop raving about it. While we’re here I intend to do nothing but practice my guitar and Italian. You can do whatever you like. The view is perfect. We can take long walks together and enjoy the scenery, and the peace and quiet.”
Throughout the week, Albert, true to his word, constantly practiced Italian: “Sto, stai, sta, stiamo, state, stanno,” day and night. Even his entire guitar repertoire was mostly “La Spagnola”.
At the end of their trip, Sadie asked Albert: “I have one request, honey, for next year’s vacation. If you have to ask for advice, please ask someone whose name is in English?”
I’ve never been able to stand Freud. He’s the type of character who appeals to the college-educated left. I don’t interpret dreams, or anything else, by any standard of his. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to remember any recent dreams I’ve had. Somehow, though, I can remember a dream that I frequently had several years ago. It was a dream during which I drove from Long Island to northeastern Pennsylvania and back on one very easy road. Anyone who’s taken that trip at least once knows that it’s a bit more complicated than that. A trip from Lindenhurst to Wyoming is quite a chore, even at its very best. With absolutely no trouble whatsoever it may take as little as three hours and fifteen minutes but it took an exceptionally short time in my dream. Considering that New York and northeastern Pennsylvania are the only two places in which I have ever lived the dream may have been making an attempt to tell me that my life isn’t quite as difficult and harrowing an experience as I often make it seem. Of course there’s always the equally believable chance that it’s saying my life is much more troubling than I think it is. The entire gist of the dream seems to be the fact that there’s quite a major difference between what appears to be happening and what is really transpiring.
For close to eight years I lived in the borough of Wyoming, in northeastern Pennsylvania. It’s always struck me as such an exceptionally nice small town environment. When my parents were alive it was quite interesting. They were old and retired and we could always count on each other. Uncle Frankie was less than a mile away in West Wyoming. He’s also very old and retired. My parents both died last autumn and Uncle Frankie now spends most of his time living with Fran in southeastern Pennsylvania. Aunt Lauren and her family are the only other relatives I have anywhere near there and they live way over in the mountains of Harding and Dallas. After our father’s funeral Mary Anne and Steve reminded me that I should have to be confronted with a final decision over whether to remain in Pennsylvania, where I had already made an established life and reputation, or to come to Long Beach, New York, where I could be very close to them and other family members. I’ve ended up in Long Beach. Over the course of most of my adult life, as when I was a kid, I’ve always been very actively involved in the churches I’ve attended. When I moved from Lindenhurst to Wyoming, I automatically got just as active in Our Lady of Sorrows as I had been in Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Having done so, I made quite a few really good friends. I should suppose that now I can do the same thing in St. Mary of the Isle, Long Beach’s parish. Making new friends has always been somewhat of an annoying experience for me. Meeting new people in general has always made me uncomfortable. I’m hoping to join their local Knights of Columbus council here so that I can meet a really wide variety of new people. I’m a fourth degree member. I shall have to start going to the nearby lay Carmelite meetings too at Our Lady of Peach Parish in Lynbrook. I’ve never liked change or felt the least bit comfortable with it. The first significant change I can remember is the big move from Queens to Long Island when I was twelve years old. To this day I still refer to that time as an unbearably traumatic experience. Another major advantage of my being here is that now I can be much more available to visit my old schools for reunions and other functions in general. Now that I’m back in the same general area as St. Gabriel’s in East Elmhurst and St. John the Baptist in West Islip, it will be a lot easier to get back there to see old friends, including classmates and teachers of mine. The best way to convince me that a change is acceptable and even enjoyable is to keep on reminding me of all that it has in common with all that I’ve already gotten really familiar with anyway. Although many people equate the following of familiar patterns and habits with being stale and dull, I like it. That must be at least part of the reason for the fact that the Beatles have always been my favorites since I was around four years old. Change in a certain sense can be nice too but even then I’ve always most especially liked the kind of change that enables me to go back to things I can remember from days gone by. Absolute cold turkey change simply isn’t for me.
Maybe it’s not quite the single most nightmarishly annoyingly painful task I’ve ever been subjected to, but taking out the garbage has always bothered me. When my father was still alive we used to do it together each week. As a general rule, the garbage men in Wyoming, Pennsylvania show up during the very early hours of each Wednesday morning. That meant that every Tuesday afternoon, no matter what the weather was like, I’d always be expected to get all the last of the bags garbage together, from each room of the house, to take them out into the garage, after having already taken out several full white plastic garbage bags during the course of each week, and to make sure that all the white bags got put into much larger dark green bags in order that they may be conveniently be put out onto the curb in time for Wednesday morning. I could usually fit three or four into each large bag. It’s such a physically taxing job in the sense that things have a tendency to feel even heavier than they really are for someone after he has spent a significant length of time constantly picking up weights. Besides that there’s the unpleasant smell of old food combined with the boredom of such a dreaded chore. Bags always have to be closed as well as possible for fear that birds, rodents and other animals will be able to tear them open either overnight or during the early morning. Along with the normal garbage, there are all sorts of other distinctions too that must be observed in order to keep things running smoothly. Newspapers have to go out separately twice a month. Recyclable materials are done separately. Neither cold weather, a dark and gloomy night, nor precipitation qualifies as an excuse to avoid any of this either. A concrete garage, on a bad day, may feel like quite a depressing environment but duty still calls.
This past Tuesday night, at 7:00, I went to St. Anthony of Padua’s church in Exeter for the first night of Fr. Robert Barron’s Catholicism series on EWTN. During the day , each Tuesday, it’s at St. Monica’s Parish. It’s always at St. Barbara’s at night. Br. Patrick, of the Oblates of St. Joseph, was in charge. I sat at an empty table. A little while later a very nice young girl sat right next to me & introduced herself as Mallory. Since I have a lot of trouble with contextualizing, I entirely overlooked, at first, the fact that I see her at 8:30 a.m. Mass whenever I go to St. Joseph’s on Sunday. I can never help noticing her there. Surprisingly she’s not even Catholic. At the end there was a question & answer session. Yesterday I went to O. L. Mt. Carmel’s church on William Street in Pittston to give blood. My appointment was at 4:00 but, being compulsively punctual, I showed up at around 3:00. Unfortunately I forgot to remind them that it was for a double red cell donation so that’s probably not what they did. I was happily stunned to see that it was all over within about six minutes instead of the usual twenty minutes. The last time I was supposed to give blood I was entirely too ill with the flu. By now I’ve been going quite frequently, for such a long time, that the northeastern Pa. blood drives that several phlebotomists & I have gotten to recognize each other quite well. Amber, who was one of the ladies who showed up, reminded me that we’d already met before.
The infamous Fourth of July Hilldale feeding frenzy is coming up. I just don’t have the strength or patience to handle it all. I know I shall get even fatter than I, alas, already am. I lose all sense of moderation at times like this. All the cousins have been, for the past couple of weeks, in quite a tither about it. It will be nice to see so many of my cousins get together. I can get along quite well with most of them. An unusually stupid (even for Pa.) thing happened last week. As I was pulling out of the Wyoming Free Library’s parking lot to make a right turn into the turn lane to go home, some simple~minded woman pulled, from Wyoming Avenue, exactly into the lane, of the parking lot, which I was in, flatly refused to yield to my right of way. She had a few kids with her. I’ve always known, for as far back as I can remember, that northeastern Pa. is well known as the home of a bunch of fruitcakes anyway but this was a particularly annoying stunt. She flatly refused to give me the satisfaction of yielding to me. I deliberately refused to let her have her way either at first. She could have very easily turned into the other lane & let me through. After a while I just gave up & let this creep have her way because I came to understand that I was dealing with an especially arrogant character who couldn’t be expected to give in. The way people drive around here is not to be believed & the fact that the police pander to pedestrians doesn’t exactly help much either. Father’s Day is coming up this Sunday. A very happy day is hereby officially wished to all the menfolk who qualify.