Interview with Amazon Kindle Singles Best Selling Author Mishka Shubaly

3 Dec

I became acquainted with a very interesting gentleman on the internet by way of me leaving a not so favorable review of a Kindle Single he had written on Amazon.com. The review was favorable for the story but not so for the main character, which happened to be the author. He responded to my comment and an exchange began and I better understood him. It turns out my views were fueled by my own experience, which actually meant the author did his job, he made me feel.

Let’s back up, what is a Kindle Single, you may ask? They are short stories or works between 5,000 and 30,000 words, a sort of novella only available in digital version using Kindle or an online reader. Works are submitted or chosen by Amazon and promoted by them. Not just anyone can sell a Kindle Single, it’s pretty much like they are a publisher and they say yay or nay. It has become quite lucrative for some.

Mishka

So, enter Mishka Shubaly. Mishka has written seven, count ‘em 7, best selling Kindle Singles! The poster boy for Amazon Kindle Single success stories has recently published his seventh hit Of Mice and Me.

I absolutely loved this story. I read it from beginning to end in just a few hours, I couldn’t put it down. The description from Amazon is most accurate…

“At 37, writer/musician Mishka Shubaly thought his life was going great. He had a beautiful new girlfriend and sudden prosperity as an author. But when he adopts an orphaned infant mouse, his world is turned on its head. The mouse comes to symbolize everything left unresolved in his life — his relationship with his divorced parents, his fear of family and commitment, and his inability to feel true happiness and love. By turns hilarious and moving, Mishka Shubaly’s latest Kindle Single captures the journey we all take in life — from being loved, to giving love.”

While clearing brush he finds a baby mouse in dire straits and somehow feels compelled (maybe guilt) to help the mouse. Help turns into care and nurturing, which haven’t been natural instincts for Mishka thus far in his life having never been married nor a parent and being a recovering addict. It’s funny, it’s moving, it’s insightful. I highly recommend this Kindle Single. I also recommend all of his other works which can be found here at Mishka Shubaly’s Author Page on Amazon.com.

As an added bonus, I had an interview with Mishka to gain more insight on the author and Kindle Singles, excerpts are below… (my questions/comments in bold)

Where were you born and raised?
Born in a small town in Ontario, Canada. Moved to Los Alamos, New Mexico when I was 8. Moved to New Hampshire when I was 13. Started college in Massachusetts when I was 15. Then… the wind sorta took me. Saskatchewan, Colorado, Massachusetts, Virgin Islands, time in California and Virginia. Wound up in NYC at 21 and been here ever since. Moved here with $300 16 years ago this month. Jesus.
Damn, girl! Ok, what college for undergrad?
Simon’s Rock for two years, then University of Colorado for BFA, then Columbia for my MFA. I mean, none of that shit matters, though…
No, I know but in a way it does. It doesn’t necessarily “matter” but it contributes to who you are, good or bad.
What’s remarkable is how little I’ve done considering how much $ was spent on my stupid education
You sound like you’ve had a Kerouac-esque life.
In some ways, yes. I wanted to be like Jack Kerouac until I read his writing and realized that I had nothing in common with him. I was way more into Burroughs and Bukowski.
Well, I mean I read a biography on JK and he moved around a lot.
I hated the whole ‘Beat’ movement until I read the description of it not as a drumbeat but as in ‘tired, worn out.’ That made a lot of sense to me.
I realized in the book that I didn’t like him because he was an irresponsible, bored, dick. And I’m not comparing that part to you at all, just the moving around. So, when did the interest in writing start
I can’t remember ever not having an interest in story– telling stories, hearing stories, reading stories. Apparently, I wrote narratives in my head before I could write. (this is from my mom) when I was six, I wanted to be a kind of troubadour/ roustabout, just traveling from town to town with my guitar and, Jesus, I don’t know, a bindle?
hahaha
When I was 17, despairing about what I would do with my life, my mom said “you’ll probably be a writer” and bought me a subscription to the New Yorker. That was a fairly pivotal moment for me. I think that’s when I started getting serious about it. Or “serious.” I mean, I was 17.
Has your Mother always been supportive, encouraging like that?
FUCK YEAH

I can’t remember which of your stories contained the story about grad school.
I think it was Beat the Devil, the one you HATED, the one that made you HATE ME!
Oh stop with the pity party. I was internalizing your story. lol
To be fair, that was a pretty rough story to start with a lot of people had negative reactions to it.
Self-examination can blow. But can be as healthy as a colon cleanse when it’s done.
It was a brutal time in my life, and it’s a brutal aspect of my personality. I’m as proud of the writing as I am unproud of the behavior described. But it’s not really a story that leaves the reader eager to read more by me. C’mon, Madge, grill me! where are all the gotcha questions?
I’m tricking you right now and you don’t even know it.
grrrrrrreat
Um, so where was I? OK, so did you feel guilty making money off stories of being a train wreck and leaving people in mangled bloody heaps behind you? How was that for gotcha?
Well-played
*curtsies* Was your first published work a Kindles Single or was there something before it?
I feel guilty for a few things, okay a lot of things, okay almost everything. But I don’t feel guilty about my writing or the money its generated. I earned those stories the hard way. Yes, I did hurt some people but, even when I was fucked up, I did my best to shield people from the worst because I understood that I was fucked up. I didn’t really have a long-suffering enabler who I abused and took advantage of. One thing we tend to forget is that being wrong doesn’t necessarily make the other party right. I was wrong for a lot of my drinking career… but a lot of the other folks involved were also wrong. I published a few reckless accounts of my drug abuse in the NYPress before I published via Kindle Singles. But that was certainly my first publishing of note.
Wow. I’m really impressed with your insight.
Well… I worry about my past professionally, you know? I sort of get paid to go through therapy in public.
It ain’t always fun, but it beats having a real job.
———–
Beats having a real job indeed. I had a lot of fun interviewing Mishka Shubaly. I’m going to keep trying to get my stuff on Kindle Singles, I want to be just like Mishka when I grow up, sans being a male recovering addict. Big kudos to you sir, and I look forward to reading more in the future! Again visit Amazon.com to see the collection of his (and others) Kindle Singles.

 

 

Why is the Path I Usually Choose to Take, Covered With Horse Sh*t”?

28 Oct

Ever wonder what the hell it is you are supposed to do in this life?

It’s been a lifelong struggle for me. Well, I mean the only thing I’m sure of that I was meant to do was be a mother. Now back in the day, no not that day, that day, it was ok to just want to grow up to be a wife, mother, homemaker. There were books and magazines dedicated to that shit. “Good Housekeeping”, “Redbook”, “How to Keep Your Husband Happy”. Then somewhere along the line, feminists threw that all out the window. To just want to get married and be a homemaker was a disgrace, a loser, a simple minded woman who couldn’t do anything else.

Ouch.

But my struggle started way before realizing that being a mother was my calling, that came later. Early on, in the 1960’s I was raised in a family of overachievers. My parents were both Penn State graduates. My Mother was a 1948 college graduate, which put her a little ahead of her time. A very intellectual, very strong woman, very driven. My Father, another driven guy, went to college, left to serve in WWII, then came back and finished college. Having no high money earning or intellectual dreams wasn’t acceptable in my family.

Soooo, lucky me, I was born creative into a family where you must choose one of the following career paths – teacher, lawyer, doctor,scientist,  engineer, counselor, nurse, or business management. I seemed to have no viable skills as I was growing up, so I thought. And if you didn’t have viable skills you were chastised, or maybe I just told myself that. Looking back, in parts of my life I was an A student… usually until boredom, anxiety or depression hit, then I tanked. I loved history, I was really good at English basics (spelling and grammar, however I later almost failed  Composition Writing in college), I was a good swimmer, and I was pretty decent in theater. Yup, so… what am I supposed to do with that? Doesn’t amount to much, so I thought.

I thought I finally figured it out in high school! I want to be an actor! That’s it! I’ve always been a ham, I crack jokes, I got the female lead in “Fiddler on the Roof”… I’ll be an actor! So, come college search time and I excitedly tell my parents I want to major in theater. Great, right? “We’re not paying for you to go to college to become a waitress”, was their reply. Exact words. Wham! Thud. A blow right between the eyes of my self-esteem, hopes and dreams.

However, in the last few years in my period of rediscovery, with no real preparation I tried auditioning for a few things and failed miserably, so maybe my parents did save me some time.

But to their credit they gave me an alternative to ponder. My Father’s brother had been the President of ABC News until his death in 1974, “Why don’t you go into broadcasting like Uncle John, that’s a new major now.”. Hey ok, I always wanted to be a DJ. It was the early 80’s it was a new thing. It was great until I got out of school and my hopes were dashed realizing that being a DJ on the radio didn’t mean you could play or say whatever you wanted. It was cue up the record, announce it, then say “we’ll be back after these messages”. Then all the corporations came in in the 1990’sand bought up the stations and I just wasn’t a good corporate, yes-man team player. I grew bitter. If I could only just be a coporate guy.

I had just gotten married and within 2 years gotten pregnant. After my son came along is when I realized I wanted to be a full-time mom. My ex-husband said no. I begged for a few years then I got to because I was on bed rest. I was happy, all the while him telling me that I was useless because I wasn’t bringing any money in. When my third baby was about 16 months old, we called it quits for good. Being “just a mom” wasn’t an option anymore. I was told I had to work. I scrambled to find something that would bring in money. I was working to cover daycare, nothing extra. How fucking stupid. I wish I’d had the guts back then to say no, until these kids all get in school I’m staying home and you’re paying. (believe me, he made enough) But I was stubborn and wanted to show I was no “freeloader”.

I jumped from one job to another over the last 13 years trying to figure out what it was I was supposed to do. However, I never really had the opportunity to find something I love,d it was always “grab the first thing so you have an income”. I was never happy, I was never really any good at any of those jobs, and I was always late or taking a sick day because to me, kids came first (they certainly didn’t to their Father, so someone had to). Sorry, a 6 year old can’t stay home vomiting by themselves. I kept taking sales related jobs because everyone thought I had such a great personality for it and had the prospect for good money. I hate sales! And I suck at it. “I wouldn’t buy this either, put your money to better use.”

About once a year or so I’d find myself looking for another job again for a variety of reasons. The main one I’m finding is because I didn’t choose wisely, I just went for the first paycheck I could find. I’m tired of that. I’ve been trying to leave that behind. I think I’ve finally found what I love but the pay is somewhat lower than craptastic right now and not enough hours. Doesn’t fit into the plan my family always told me I was supposed to take. And it’s hard when you’re trying to feed, house, and put three kids through college.

I lost a job recently that was really good pay for part-time and it was helping to keep the boat afloat. But due to cash flow problems, I was let go from that sinking ship. It was a blessing actually because it was emotionally draining for various reasons, but losing it left a big money void, so here I am once again figuring out what to do. At least I have recently been blessed with realizing that I don’t have to tow the party-line. I don’t have the pressure of believing I need to do what my parent’s thought I should do. I’ve been blessed to have several articles and books put in my path that said there are a lot of famous, brilliant, happy, and sometimes rich people that failed out of college, been fired from jobs, and had several failures in their life until they found their purpose.

Albert Einstein, Jack Kerouac, Buckminster Fuller, Lucille Ball, Bill Gates, Thomas Edison, Oprah, Emily Dickinson. All either failed school, were called dumb, been fired, or had countless business and life failures… but all ended up becoming revered in an area which they finally thrived and persevered. Yay, maybe I found a club to join, losers unite!

We’re not all conformists with a perfect path. I have accepted that I don’t conform. And that’s ok. I think. Some have gifts we haven’t quite figured out what they are yet. Some of us think we have gifts but spend too much time listening to the expectations of others. Some of us think we might have figured out the gift or purpose but just aren’t quite sure how to exactly use it and break out of the wrong path we’ve been travelling on.

Buckminster Fuller spoke of the epiphany he had after trying to kill himself because of several recent failures. He said:

“You do not belong to you. You belong to Universe. Your significance will remain forever obscure to you, but you may assume that you are fulfilling your role if you apply yourself to converting your experiences to the highest advantage of others.”

Or sometimes you realize you just really want to lay concrete for the rest of your life. That helps others, right?

Isn’t that a nice thought? I don’t know how realistic it all is, but it proves my concept of figuring out what you’re supposed to do and still try an earn a living. You guys are lucky that have a specific vocation, “I want to be a hairdresser”, bam! Fulfillment, success and money. Those of us who can’t seem to put our finger on our purpose, feel rejected. It gives me food for thought, but still doesn’t tell me what the hell I’m supposed to do.

 

 

Why Do I Care About You, I Don’t Even Know You?

10 Sep

Holy cow, it’s been a while eh? Well it’s been an action-packed six weeks or so for me.

Most of August was spent caring for my significant other as he had to undergo surgery for prostate cancer. Everything eventually turned out ok, and we are monitoring things over the next few months to make sure it isn’t anywhere else. He was in the hospital for almost a week as he had developed an infection, so it was a little stressful.

I also had to get my son home from working at camp in Massachusetts and then get him back to school at NYU. Then had to prepare my 2 daughters for back to high school. I’ve also been crazy busy with my new position as Associate Editor at Rochester Woman Magazine.

Soooo… how’ve you all been?

Other than that stuff, it’s been kind of and emotional week or two. A lot has happened that has little to nothing to do with me but I find it emotional… and I wonder what the hell is wrong with me?

For one, Robin Williams. Enough said. Then Joan Rivers died. I enjoyed watching Fashion Police every Friday night, and her shows after each award show were a must-see. I saw her in a whole new light after I saw a documentary on her about a year ago called “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work”. That woman had been through everything, was educated and had to fight her way into show biz. She worked like a fiend and was a fantastic writer. She wrote every day. She was an entrepreneur who wasn’t happy unless her schedule was full from dusk ’til… dusk. She was a role model and idol to me. I was very sad. I was so sad this week after Martina Navratilova proposed to her girlfriend… Joan would have had a helluva’ joke. She had the best lesbian jokes.

Also a police officer was killed in the line of duty here in my city of Rochester, NY. A 32 year old young man, with 2 young children and a wife. Gunned down by some piece of shit parolee that he was chasing. All kinds of pomp and circumstance and rituals and traditions. Such dignity and honor, somber yet uplifting. Moving, really. But so sad. It really hit my heart hard.

You may have seen the unresponsive plane that went flying through Cuban airspace and then crashed off the coast of Jamaica? The two people in the plane that died were a lovely couple that belonged to our country club and pillars of the community. I was glued to the TV feeling dread while they followed the plane. She built a catalog company from the ground up, he was a millionaire real estate developer that was re-building downtown Rochester. Only in their late 60’s. Just nice decent folks.

Then all the stuff with Ray and Janay Rice. Geez, what do you say? You watch the video and you’re just… in disbelief. You wanna’ knock him out and you want to cry. Then she comes out with that “Why you gotta’ hurt my man and me?” statement and I just wanted to… take her away, or shake her, or tell her how that’s not how she deserves to be treated. I know how hard it is to leave. The batterer threatens the woman that if she leaves he’ll kill her or the kids or himself. Leaving is scary, whether it’s fear for your safety or fear of losing financial stability.  It brought back old memories that just turned my stomach in knots.

So, why do I get so emotional about stuff? I guess maybe because I was born with a caring heart, which sometimes makes me a big ole pushover and let’s others take advantage of me, it also makes me waste energy on caring about people that have no idea who I am. But I guess it’s good, it’s good to feel things, experience a full range of emotions, that’s living life to it’s fullest. It’s also made me a good parent.

Although sometimes I wish I didn’t care because I could probably be further in business. Sociopaths (people who don’t have empathy) are usually the most successful people. It’s true, I read it on the interwebz. I probably also wouldn’t spend more time than I wanted to on men I didn’t really want to date. ha I mean sorry but I’ve had more than my share of pity dates (I’m sure I’ve been the recipient of some too), I’ve also spent much much longer than I wanted to painfully listening to a guy in a bar telling me all about his love of Nickleback (Ack), just because I thought it was rude to walk away. In the meantime, Prince Charming who made a witty remark to me and was waiting for me to come back to the bar had already left. Sad face.

I guess it’s good to have a big heart but it can also be emotionally exhausting. I’ve learned how to curb it, I don’t let it consume me and I don’t bring it up to others (most of the time) because I don’t want to seem like I like to insert myself into emotional stuff just to get attention. Like some sort of Munchausen Syndrome. I bring it up today because well, I’m kind of curious if I’m a freak or not. I’ve always been this way. Tomorrow is 9/11, guaranteed I will have a bout of tears just like I have every 9/11 since 2001. Is that weird? Do I like humans too much? I wish I could give the whole world a hug… and maybe a reach-a-round if they’re lucky.

Maybe it’s just PMS. A lot.

Please take care of yourselves and each other. That is all.

 

Wait, How Did I Start Watching Kangaroos Mating on TV?

31 Jul

Did you ever start watching something on TV, get a little sucked in, and then suddenly realize, “Why the hell am I watching this?!”

The man of the house was flipping channels and he stopped on a show which I never would have pegged him to watch. Oh wait maybe… oh yea, I see it now… see the title of the show was “Sex in the Wild.” So I get it now guy = sex. But anyway it was on a channel that he never ever watches – PBS. I think he thinks it’s a liberal commie pinko channel. lol (you know I’m kidding dear, kind of)

However, I think he was a little disappointed when he clicks on the station and on the screen appears a kangaroo giving birth. But ya’ know with some people sex is sex, and me being a mother I was a little interested. I didn’t want to see the baby coming out the birth canal (as was being shown) but I found it interesting what the narrative said about the process. Did you know that kangaroo joeys are about as big as a gerbil or hamster baby and after they come out they climb their way up the mother’s belly and into her pouch and incubate there for a while until they are done cooking.

That was all fine and good, then it got a little weird. First it showed the normal wildlife type scenes of the mating rituals of roos, you know hopping around, chasing, then finally the dude mounts the victim potential mate. All right. Then the narrator starts talking about the kangaroo penis and they show a diagram of what it looks like and how it enters the female’s vagina. Ew.

kangaroo-boxing-300x256

(This is all I want to see kangaroos do)

 

Then they show them humping and explain how the male is holding the female and thrusting her onto his… ya’ know. So, um I took a little walk to… any other room in the house but there. The man continues to watch and laugh.

When I come back they are showing koalas.  Awwww, how cute! So they show a little koala dude up in a tree and he starts making this bellowing sound, it sounded like Mr. Limpett’s noise combined with a Chewbacca cry. Apparently that’s his mating call. Fair enough. All of a sudden there is some vet showing this contraption and nearby there are a male and female beginning to mate on a tree (which  they go into great detail of the process). The next thing I know the doctor has delicately pulled the male off the female and inserts his private bits into this contraption. The next thing I know this vet is ummmm,  well manually uh gratifying the male into this basically fake vagina to collect his sperm! What What?!

koalas

(“Privacy please.”)

 

My first thought was, why in God’s name did someone give these people a grant to study koala sperm? Second thought, why are they studying koala sperm? And third, why the hell am I watching this?!

Because… science. I’m interested in stuff. Ok, I watch some of that stuff because I think I should, you know to get edumacated. But generally I do find it interesting. But, excuse my language… jerking off a koala is where I draw the line.

I can’t unsee that. And of course writing about it makes me relive it. And ok it’s a little funny, like funny odd, not necessarily funny haha. But it’s just… have you ever just started watching something like it’s a car accident? You want to look away but are oddly curious to see what happens? Much like an episode of Full House?  I felt that way about mating and childbirth but when it came to koala sperm harvesting, it was time to go to bed and read.

Madge is So Short… How Short is She?!

17 Jul

I’m short. I’m 5’2″. That might seem average to some women, really short for some guys, pretty tall for small children.

All I know is I can’t reach or see shit most of the time.

I can’t reach the top shelf at the grocery store if something isn’t right up front. I’ve caught people looking on in amusement to see if I start climbing the shelf or fall on my ass or what. Yea, thanks for you help there, pal. Luckily a couple times I’ve caught someone out of the corner of my eye, I turn my head and it’s a male employee with a slight smirk coming toward me saying, “Can I help you reach something?”  I feel grateful, although embarrassed. To the ones that simply stand by, I say “I couldn’t afford a gym membership, that’s why I come to Wegmans and climb the shelves” and walk away.

gotta-hand-it-to-short-people

I also get snickers when I’m at the drive-thru bank teller and I have to open the door and step one foot out to grab the pneumatic tube. I half expect the teller to say, “You OK little fella?” Bastid…

I can’t reach the shelf in my daughters’ bedroom. I have to get the taller one to help me, my younger daughter is cursed with my height.

I can’t reach wall displays in retail stores. I have to go get an associate to reach the one in my size. And I love it when they loudly announce, “There isn’t a 34DD up here ma’am, maybe I can find you a 34DD over there. Wait here’s a 34D, do you want to try that?” Thank you so much for announcing my bra size to the world. I can just imagine everyone cringing as they visualize (because you know they do) this 49 year old woman in just a bra. I feel their eyes piercing me.

I can’t trim bushes that go higher than a window sill. Ladders and long handled clippers aren’t a great help because I usually have to trim blind then. Rather than nice even bushes, I end up with unintended topiaries.

Some sexual acts are more difficult. I won’t go into it but just think about a short girl or girl with short legs with an average to tall guy. And please don’t visualize me in this endeavor.

If something rolls under the couch or bed, forget it.

Can’t reach under a sneeze guard while keeping my head above it.

t rex sneeze guard

I can’t scratch my own back past my shoulder blades. It’s rubbing against the ole corner of the wall if I have an itch any further down my back.

I can’t pull the cord on a combo light/fan fixture on the ceiling, so everything runs whether I want it to or not.

I have to hem everything.

It’s not all terrible… being short enables me to sit reasonably comfortable in an airplane seat or the back seat of a compact car.

And… ummmm… that’s about it.

Whatter’ ya’ gonna’ do, ya’ know? I just deal with it.  Can’t change it. However you could cut me some slack and stop calling me, munchkin, shorty, peanut, and small fry. If you don’t I’ll just go with my new nickname for you… asshole. :)

What I Really Meant to Say Was “Get the Hell Away From Me!”

10 Jul

I fancy myself as pretty direct. I try to give my honest thoughts without serving up a bunch of bullshit. Now of course it depends on the situation. There are some situations where it’s best to acquiesce and move on. You know like those involving bosses, police, parents, and a 6’4″ 300lb man with “Vato Loco” tattooed on his neck.

I should only weigh about 115 lbs with the fancy footwork I do every day trying to dance on that fine line of honesty, directness, and diplomacy. Alas, my ass is still fat. Probably because I’ve become less lippy in my old age and more diplomatic, it’s come in handy trying to keep down the number of jobs I get fired from. However, in other instances I find myself, like here and in social settings where I just don’t care anymore. Hence, the dance.

So, in order to turn the release valve a little and let out a few of the steamy zingers that float in my head 24 hours a day of things I’d really like to say… I give you the Madge Translator.

 

What they say: “Just a few more changes, could you make the first letter of every word capital,  shorten 1st paragraph, lengthen 2nd paragraph, and change the font.?”

What I say: “Ok, are you sure that will work for what we are trying to accomplish?”

What I really want to say: “Could you be any more of a pain in the ass? Leave the writing to me and you go fix people’s teeth!”

 

What they say: “How was your weekend? Oh we went away to see my daughter and her children and we started out and we got off the wrong exit but then we decided we needed gas, so we got off the next exit got gas, then we finally got to my daughter’s and we walked in the house and had some lemonade…”

What I say: “Mhm, good thanks.”

What I really want to say: “Do you not see me working here? Are you really that oblivious? I don’t give a shit about your trip. STFU!”

 

What they say: “When will you be home? What are we doing for dinner?”

What I say: “I’ll try to be home by 6:00 and I have some chicken but what would you like?”

What I really want to say: “I’ll be home whenever I feel like it, and make your own damn dinner, I’m tired of cooking!”

 

What they say: *nothing*

What I say: “Um excuse me, when you have a minute…”

What I really want to say: “Hello! What am I, f*cking invisible? Stop texting and get me a drink!”

 

What they say: “Girl you look like those shoes would make nice earrings, wanna’ do a shot?” (he’s wearing a camouflage t-shirt and trucker hat and shit kickers)

What I say: “Oh no thank you, I’m waiting for someone.”

What I really want to say: “Get the hell away from me! Do I really look like I’d enjoy a tractor pull? Pull this pal…”

 

What they say: “Oh my you look like you’really going to a costume party”

What I say: “Haha, well I have my own style, it’seems it’s not for everyone”

What I really want to say is: “That’s really rude and what would your J. Jill wearin’ ass know about fashion anyway? You look like a lesbian that stepped out of a 1987 time capsule!”

I could go on and on. But I thought I might leave it to you… what is something you’d really like to say?

 

I Wish They Made Stick Figure Family Car Decals Where Kids Have Big Brains and Integrity

26 Jun

I’ve got a lot of things going on right now that I’m trying really really really hard to listen to the Universe so it can tell me what the hell to do. Remember that blog I wrote about listening for cues?  Listen to Where You’re Being Sent. Yea, I’m about to invest in a f*#kin’ hearing aid! I’m at some crossroads, traffic is coming up behind me, I need to (as my feisty Irish Mother used to say) “Shit or get off the pot”.

Anyway, while listening for cues, or like the old Robert Palmer song “Looking for Clues” (sorry I have ADD today) I was blessed with a bit of perspective today…

I was driving through the city and had a convertible Porsche behind me most of the way. I thought to myself “Damn wouldn’t that be nice?”, in my bout of car/wealth envy.  It turns out the Porsche and I had the same destination… Wegmans. For those who don’t know, Wegmans is the regional chain of supermarkets that is ranked like best in the world or something. Seriously, the store has like… cult-like status. Anway, the car parked right next to me and we got out at the same time. It was a fit woman probably late 30’s/early 40’s long dark hair, designer sunglasses, a polo shirt, and I think a golf skirt and a sweet looking young girl in shorts and a sleeveless blouse with blonde hair neatly pulled back.

The woman approached me with a big smile on her face and said, “We’ve been admiring the back of your car for the whole ride, envying your stickers”, as she pointed to the stickers on the back window of my car. On the back of my car I have a McQuaid sticker, which is a local all boys Catholic School that my son went to, it’s highly regarded for it’s academics. Also an Our Lady of Mercy HS sticker which is the girl’s equivalent of McQuaid that my girls attend. Both require an entrance exam. And I have an NYU sticker.

NYU (1)

The woman pointed to each sticker and said, “My daughter will be going to Mercy next year, and my son hopes to go to McQuaid some day, and my daughter’s dream is to eventually go to NYU”. I smiled ear to ear and told her that was so wonderful and that my son who went to McQ now goes to NYU, and I have 2 girls at Mercy. I asked the young lady what grade she would be going into and she said 7th. I replied, ” Oh my girls will be in 10th and 12th grade and have been there since 7th, they absolutely love it, so will you”. The girl flashed a big smile and the Mother said, “Oh yes she’s very excited” and the girl added, “I can’t wait!”.

The Mother introduced herself and I told her to look for my girls.  She again mentioned the dream of NYU and I pointed at the stickers and said, “Well I am particularly proud of this because I’ve been a single mom for a long time and if you work hard you can make your dreams come true” in reference to the girl’s ambitions. The Mother was surprised, smiled and said, “Oh wow, that’s wonderful, good job! I admire you!”.

A lady driving a Porsche who looks like she just came from the country club admires and envies me. Heh. WTF? I just got off food stamps a little while ago and she wants for her kids what my kids have.  She didn’t know my story, she didn’t know my kids are on scholarship, it didn’t matter, my kids did the work and I vowed to make it work. She didn’t need to know that. I don’t want her to know that, it doesn’t matter anymore. I kind of wished I hadn’t told her I was a single mom but it was in reference to no matter the obstacles, little girl, you can achieve big things.

I was fighting back tears after she left and I gathered my reusable shopping bags from the car. I truly felt blessed. It was a sign. I know I did the right thing for my kids, and continue to do so. I have great riches in the form of great children. It’s all about perspective. Perhaps I had a sob story a while ago, but overall I am truly blessed. All the hardship seems to vanish now. I’m feeling less of a need to talk about it. That’s why my second book has been put on hold. I don’t know if I want to keep telling more of the same story. Perhaps I’ll keep tuned in to the Universe to figure out what to do on that. I will be sitting tirelessly next to the receiver, spinning dials to get a signal… “Tune in Tokyo”.

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