FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Life and Death at Exit 34

Sister Laura and her partner Erma had to have two pets euthanized within a two-week period.

Road trip.

Geographical cure tour. And I’m the designated driver.

I can’t remember when we left and had to locate the date on the computer’s screen to see that I’m writing on the 2nd.  I am aware of entering 2012. Time is meaningless at the moment and only will become important, again, when one of us decides we need to go home. (I’ve just learned that one of us, meaning all of us, must go home over the weekend.)

Laura, Erma, their new kitten Maggie Mae, and I left Baltimore, traveling 95-S, drove nine hours, and stopped at a motel at an exit indistinguishable from others. At the end of the ramp, we turned onto a road decorated with strips of drive throughs, motels, gas stations, and empty storefronts.

I thought of a family story that seems ancient due to circumstances beyond my want—one of those travel gems, talked about immediately following and, then, filed away in the recesses to open later. It was, also, something to use in a short story, although I never did.

We were staying in a motel during our annual Thanksgiving trip to Tennessee.  Son Hunter was scouring the exercise room when two teenage girls, whose mother worked in housekeeping, approached.

One of the girls asked, “Where do you live?”

“New York City.  What about you?”

“Exit 34.”

A slice-of-life snapshot.

Just as it is for us, now, four females, including the cat, escaping to exit Maybe.  Soon, we’ll turn the key in the Lesbaru’s ignition and 70-mile-an-hour it back to Realitymore.  During the motoring and after, we’ll examine meanings, machinations, moving, and motivations.

We were with Daddy during his five days of dying. We were with Mother during her nine days of dying. This is not unusual. And, really, there’s nothing unique about caring for a spouse who’s diagnosed with an incurable illness.  One half of a couple provides what’s necessary, unless there’s sudden, unexpected death. Becomes the strong one.  Shift.  Becomes the fragile one. Shift. A dying spouse, weakened by disease, often is courageously accepting.  A healthy widow or widower, fragmented by anguish, eventually decides to live.  Or not.  Such is life. Such is death.

Life is living at Exit 34.  Life is watching a loved one die.  Life is sitting on some step of a staircase called Death. Life means death. And this is natural.

And, then, there’s the unnatural—the taking of life through war. The racket that exploits young men and women who may be ignorantly ultrapatriotic, in desperate need of a job, or somewhere on a what-do-I-do-now-that-I’m-out-of-high-school spectrum that stretches between teenage angst and adult responsibility.  Or irresponsibility.  And plotted, also, without consideration for the never-ending devastation in the lands we invade.

War is a financial product, a derivative of bundled toxins, calamitous to everyone but the corporate giants that profit from maiming and killing.

War is a widow and widower maker, via made-in-America WMD.  Making children orphans and parents childless.

But war can be shaped to normal by smooth spinners who divert attention to the mindless focus of events like presidential debates and election cycles. Like floats on a route of oblivion.

The Empire demands that our tired, poor, and huddled masses are enslaved.  The Empire’s one percent require obeisance from the chained as well as from the politicians in their employ.

It’s a new year, and integrity has been in arrears for more than 200 years.

Hello, Occupy Wall Street.  Play it and pay it forward, backward, and sideways.  Whatever it takes.  Even when sites are raided, shut down, and livestream operators are arrested. Find a way. Hold the big-bank criminals accountable for a crisis that’s crescendo’d crises, ravaging families and our economy.

Time for peace, justice, and equality.  And for the road trip home, another geographical cure.  Let this be the year.

Missy Beattie is in transit. Email:  missybeat@gmail.com     

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
April 03, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Omar Shaban
Gaza’s New Conflict: COVID-19
Rob Urie
Work, Crisis and Pandemic
John Whitlow
Slumlord Capitalism v. Global Pandemic
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Strange Things Happening Every Day
Jonathan Cook
The Bigger Picture is Hiding Behind a Virus
Paul Street
Silver Linings Amidst the Capitalist Coronavirus Crisis
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Control of Nature
Louis Proyect
COVID-19 and the “Just-in-Time” Supply Chain: Why Hospitals Ran Out of Ventilators and Grocery Stores Ran Out of Toilet Paper
Kathleen Wallace
The Highly Contagious Idea
Kenneth Good
The Apartheid Wars: Non-Accountability and Freedom for Perpetrators.
Andrew Levine
Democracy in America: Sorry, But You Can’t Get There from Here.
Ramzy Baroud
Tunisia Leads the Way: New Report Exposes Israel’s False Democracy
David Rosen
Coronavirus and the State-of-Emergency Pandemic
Matthew Stevenson
Will Trump Cancel the Election? Will the Democrats Dump Joe?
Ron Jacobs
Seattle—Anti-Capitalist Hotbed
Michael T. Klare
Avenger Planet: Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Mother Nature’s Response to Human Transgression?
Jack Rasmus
COVID-19 and the Forgotten Working Class
Werner Lange
The Madness of More Nukes and Less Rights in Pandemic Times
J.P. Linstroth
Why a Race is Not a Virus and a Virus is Not a Race
John Feffer
We Need a Coronavirus Truce
Thomas S. Harrington
“New Corona Cases”: the Ultimate Floating Signifier
Victor Grossman
Corona and What Then?
Katie Fite
Permanent Pandemic on Public Lands: Welfare Sheep Ranchers and Their Enablers Hold the West’s Bighorns Hostage
Patrick Bond
Covid-19 Attacks the Down-and-Out in Ultra-Unequal South Africa
Eve Ottenberg
Capitalism vs. Humanity
Nicky Reid
Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 2: Panic On the Streets of Tehran
Jonas Ecke
Would Dying for the Economy Help Anybody?
Jeff Mackler
Capitalism is the Virus!
Andrew Moss
Incarceration, Detention, and Covid-19
Farzana Versey
Prayers, Piffle and Privation in the Time of Pandemic
Will Solomon
In the New Dystopia
Dean Baker
The Relative Generosity of the Economic Rescue Package: Boeing vs. Public Broadcasting
Dr. Leo Lopez, III
We Need a Lot More Transparency From the CDC
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Reflections on a Glass of Homemade Cider
Rashid Nuri
Homegrown Crisis Response: Who Grows Your Food?
Mark Luskus
Worst Case Scenario: Healthcare Workers Need Masks, ASAP
Volker Franke
The Virus That May Bring us Together
Mitchell Zimmerman
A Q & A on the GOP’s Call for Elder Sacrifice
Olfat al-Kurd
COVID-19 Could Be Catastrophic for Us: Notes From Gaza
Eileen Appelbaum - Roesmary Batt
Hospital Bailouts Begin…for Those Owned by Private Equity Firms
Nabri Ginwa
Carcinogens
Jill Richardson
Efficiency vs. Resilience
Lee Ballinger
Eddie Van Halen and the Future of Humanity
David Yearsley
Beset by Bach
Robert Koehler
Developing a Vaccine Against War
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail