Saturday, December 6, 2008

Saturday Amongst the Living

One of my three female friends lives a few houses away. On Thanksgiving morning one of her Bunko girlfriends' husband died. It turned a quiet, peaceful Thanksgiving into a deep wound. And so this past couple of weeks she has been doing the hard things a good female friend does at a time like that. He was too young to have died of "natural" causes though he had a heart attack and then a stroke in the past, survived all that, then went into multi system organ failure unexpectedly and died quickly. So an autopsy was performed and my friend was the one given the task of officially identifying his body. She was the one to tell the mortician that "No, they did not need a $1,000 urn for his ashes, not they did not want him embalmed for washed for the crematorium. Still the cost was shocking. Then it was my friend's job to scoop the ashes from the cardboard box into a container she'd found at a discount store. Then she helped write the obituary. And before the "celebration" of his life at her friend's house, she poop scooped the back yard of their condo. Now that's a friend.

But she needed a break. And I'm the only one of her friends out of this loop. One of the many advantages of being a voluntary shut-in, is the ability to avoid all this expensive and traumatic life. Oh yes, I do know that the rituals surrounding death just might be very important for the living, but not for me. I worked hard to ensure that no one will have to spend a penny or a moment's attention to my untimely death--it should have happened thirty years ago or so... But here I am, still as strange and self destructive as ever. Me and Amy Winehouse--we're gonna live forever.

Anyway, my friend is the queen of speed shopping. And we had things to do and places to go today. Odd that either of us would actually choose to leave home on a day we both call the "amateur shopper's day." But we had a list and a treat at the end, so off we went in her recently serviced minivan to what we used to call Fred Meyers, but is now really the Smith's Superstore. We still call it Fred Meyers, even though it's been the Smith's Superstore for years. She knows this monster like the back of her hand, or so she said. But the bastards have rearranged the store so nobody can find what they came in for and now we're all pissed off and looking at overpriced shit we had no idea we needed. My friend heads right for the poor college graduate who's stocking cereal and has him take us to the new place they sell electric kettles. I find the one I want and we're off to the hardware department to get a duplicate key made. And we're out of there, heading south toward the smoke shop on 39th South and 3rd East. This place is a find. It sits in a tiny strip mall and I stand outside in the sun, sucking down a Marlboro Menthol light 100 while she sits in her minivan and sucks down a beer disguised as a pepsi.

The smoke shop is a fine place to shop. I replace my recently broken pipes, get some pipe cleaners and a carton of Marlboro Menthol Light 100's A new-fangeled cigarette holder and we're off to this little restaurant for good cheap Mexican food in a small mall called Ivy Place. We are so pleased with the success of our trip out. We have not spoken of death. Success at every turn, despite the presence of other people. The food is good and the place is full of Mexican men nursing hangovers--early afternoon breakfast and a beer. We eat vast quantities of good Mexican food and listen to a Mexican language station on TV and loud Mexican music on the jukebox. Just like a vacation and It's all delicious. While she waits for a take-out order for her husband, I go out for a smoke and spot the Spoons and Spices across the parking lot. I head inside, elbow my way politely to the counter, to ask for directions for the stove-top espresso makers. A young women leads the way. They have one twelve cup left but no box. I say it's for me, I don't need or want a box. She wraps it up and bags it, takes my money and I'm out of there in minutes. Then we are heading home and very pleased with ourselves.


SaoirseDaily2 said...

A very successful day! Love when I find what I am looking for too. I did some shopping also this morning. I was amazed how little shoppers were out and about. Espresso? Oh yeah..that sounds so good.

Have a nice relaxing evening with your feet propped up and nice cup of espresso.

FranIAm said...

It does sound like quite the day and like Saoirse I liked the espresso part too.

Live forever!

FranIAm said...

of course I hit enter and thought - I did not say anything about the deceased!

Rest in peace sir! May your friend live on and find peace.

Gail said...

Hi Utah-

A perfect 'girlfriend day', I was right there, really, I was. :-)

Sad news of your friend's husband's death. Thanksgiving will be a hard day, moving forward.

You are a good friend.


anita said...

"I worked hard to ensure that no one will have to spend a penny or a moment's attention to my untimely death"

Some things are beyond your control. Particularly at that point.

What you said (and I quote above) is exactly what my mother did before she died. She let it be known: cremation, NOTHING IN THE CHURCH, NOTHING CHURCH-RELATED --- NO MASS, NO VIEWING, NADA NOTHING.

there is a family plot so she did want her ashes buried there. my sisters and i picked out something sturdy, that's it, sturdy. that's all she would have wanted.

However, my father had other plans for her. Regarding the cremation, we we able to get a priest to convince him that cremation was now allowed by the church, but he insisted, despite my mother's wishes, on a catholic mass and a funeral and mass cards, and all that stuff.

At least my mother wasn't there to witness it.

Oh, and Gail is right. You ARE a good friend. Yours are lucky ones, clearly.

Kulkuri said...

We first encountered Fred Meyers stores almost 30 years ago in Seattle. They were neat as you could get almost everything in one place. One thing that surprised us was the huge amount of snail and slug killers available, then we saw how big the banana slugs were. At one of the Fred Meyers stores you could even get license plates for your car.

Utah Savage said...

Anita, I donated my body to the University of Utah for their anatomy lab and Medical School for research. They get the first call, and they pick up the body, leave a death certificate, no muss no fuss. I could gave a shit if there is a obit or not, but I may grow more sentimental as time goes on. I might write it myself, leave several hundred bucks, pick my favorite photo. But no one can override my wishes. I have no living family. The donor card in in my wallet. Legal paper are in order and filed in the big file cabinet in my closet and all my friends know this. I trust no one when I comes to death.

Ingrid said...

me and amy winehouse, we live forever LOL..that is hilarious..I do think you look better though hehe..
but hey, one of our friends went through the same..what an association to have that happen before a 'holiday'..