Did I speak too soon? Watertown has been the center of the world’s attention and I have been lapping it up

Oh sure, as a person who for certain is not Miss Popularity, I can tell you I have never before had so many “likes” on Facebook than over the past week when we had our little adventure here in Watertown following the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings.  I made sure to let everyone from out of town know that yes, I did live in Watertown.

Why?  I am quite the ham at heart.  I love getting up on stage and getting the attention of an audience and have rarely had stage fright.  As a writer, I love giving readings, that is, reading my own writings aloud to live audiences, and making folks laugh or cry or giving them chills.

More than anything, I want to make a footprint on the world.  But generally, on Facebook, as I said, I am not Miss Popularity and I am overlooked and I consider Facebook more or less a popularity contest.  The whole Facebook scene in the past has sickened me that way.  I think Facebook is very dangerous and can be used in a harmful manner for this reason.

It’s like a huge version of my elementary school playground, when the kids used to pick teams.  It was all stacked against me.  I was the shortest kid in the class.  I was doomed.  The last to be picked for the team. The first to be called for Red Rover, because I was bound to blow it.  To make things worse, I wore glasses, I was Jewish, and I was a girl.  My mom always embarrassed me with her loud talk, she always forgot to pick me up from school, would send me to school wearing the most embarrassing clothes imaginable….

I suppose each of the kids in the same school would tell you the same story.  We were all embarrassed kids.  The other kid had it better.  The grass was always greener.  Every kid had their moment they wished they never had to go back to school ever again.

I’m not sure if other people grow up and are comfortable fading into the woodwork and never making a mark on the world, slipping away unnoticed.  I can’t see that this is a way to live a satisfying life.  I think it is human need to have a sense of purpose in life.  Generally, this means we change something here in our environment.  Sometimes it means having a relationship with another human, raising animals, or raising good children and then setting them loose in the world.  Other times, it means doing work in writing or the arts and setting our works loose just the same as if they were children.

There were a lot of changes here in Watertown I guess over the past week or two.  I hammed it up on Facebook, just for the “likes” and stuff like that.  I just figured that my phone wasn’t going to ring anyway and I’ve been dumped by most of my real-life friends, so I might as well have a little fun for the heck of it.

So now it’s all over.  What is friendship, anyway?  You get to know it’s kind of meaningless after a while.  Especially when you are lying down in Watertown with your dog, they have told you you cannot leave and no one can come in, and the incessant helicopters are flying overhead, over and over.  Who is with you? Your dog and no one else.  That is the reality.

It is what I have been saying all along.  You are all alone in this world.

And so the helicopters flew over, again and again, and the Watertown sky darkened with the stink of them.  I saw on a streamed-in news station that our tiny malls that sold cheap bargain products from China were suddenly riddled with FBI agents and the like.  No one from Watertown ever went to these malls.  They were for out-of-towners to do their Christmas shopping, with the exception of Best Buy or Home Depot.  I guess a lot of local elderly people still go to that restaurant in the Watertown Mall called Old Country Buffet, but to me, the food that place serves smells like nursing home food.

Walking my dog on Watertown’s back streets after the massacre is finally over, Friday night at 10:30pm

I couldn’t bring myself to make the turn onto Main Street and join the crowds that were cheering and clapping away.  I even heard some folks setting off some sort of firecrackers.  Instead, I chose to stay on the empty back streets, where no one was walking.  I heard the sound of wind chimes and the air was damp.  Branches swayed as the wind tossed them this way and that.  Today had been our warmest day yet, but we hadn’t been allowed out by police.

Police.  Those guys in uniform who were now being hailed as heroes.  Who were they to me really?  How many times had I had to call 9-1-1 in the past year?  I couldn’t even count.  Would anything really change now that this had occurred in our town?  Would calling 9-1-1 be any different for me, a low-income person on “psychiatric disability”?

Probably not.  How many times had the cops seen to it that I’d been properly “sectioned,” that is, taken to a mental hospital, locked up and put “where I belonged,” safe from society” where I would “not harm anyone”?  How many times had they searched my apartment unnecessarily when I had phoned them about something else entirely?  How many times had they accused me of things I had not done, only because I am a mental patient?  How many times had they not believed my story only because I am a mental patient?

What the fuck does it take to gain credibility with these people?

And how many times have I phoned 9-1-1 with legitimate MEDICAL concerns only to have it considered PSYCHIATRIC even before I have arrived at the emergency room, even before I was seen by a doctor, just because the folks who arrived at my door or even the one that answered the call learned that I take psychiatric medications?

I am tired of “the look” I get from the people in uniform as soon as they arrive at my door, just because I live in subsidized housing.  Now those of you who own your own homes do not get this look, so you have  no clue, you have had very good experiences, but those of us who live in low income housing know very well the look they give us.  We are trash to them.

I have heard them yelling at the lady down the hall, who does not speak English, screaming at her while she lay down in front of them.

Disrespect is disrespect.

Does this event change what happens next time I call 9-1-1?  Actually, after my last experience, I resolved I would never call 9-1-1 again.

So no, I sure wanted to walk alone tonight at 10:30, just didn’t have the heart to wave around an American flag or run around with humans, wanted to be alone, actually.

 

When I was 19, on the run, and hid in a boat

I suppose I would have done about the same thing.  I was a small kid, only five foot one, so I fit in small places.  I dared to go anywhere.  I wasn’t the type to steal, no, I wasn’t a thief, not me.  I didn’t do drugs or alcohol.  Even though I ended up with an eating disorder later on, I never stole laxatives or diet pills from stores. That would have been too embarrassing to explain. When you’re young and scared, you don’t want anyone to see you.

So I was always the invisible one.  Always one to sneak around unnoticed.  Once, me and this girl and her sister, we slept on a school bus one night.  I drove the car.  I had the keys.  I parked the car, kinda far away from the school bus, or so I remember.  It was my mom’s car.  The car was orange.  What a stupid color.  It’s stupid cuz it’s noticeable and bright. At least it was a Datsun.

So it was my decision.  I say that because I drove the car.  So the one who drives the car, they are the one who decides.  So we spent that night on the school bus.

I was the oldest, too.  I should have known.

In the morning, all the school buses were getting ready.  Ready to pick up school kids and take them to school.  So I said to the girl and her sister, who was perhaps sixteen, or maybe eighteen or nineteen, “Okay, let’s go.  Let’s wake up and get off the bus.”  And so we did.  And we never got caught.

Why did we do it?  Because we thought society had wronged us.  We thought we deserved a break.  Just three sulking kids.  Two in their twenties and one teen.

I can’t speak for the other two.  But I will speak for myself right here right now.

I believe I was twenty-four years old.  I was a scared, lonely and angry kid with a few secrets.  Mostly, I was desperate.  Desperate because I had an eating disorder and couldn’t get adequate care.  I knew the “therapists” who were “treating” me had no clue what they were doing, and were making me worse and worse.  My parents were paying an arm and a leg for this “therapy,” and screaming at me every day, yelling at me and asking why I was not getting better.

So I wonder why a 19-year-old will hide on a boat.  Hey, I been there.

I want to be famous: the 2013 Boston Marathon massacre in Watertown, MA from the point of view of a Watertown dog owner living in low-income housing nearby

I am writing this Friday night and it’s pretty much all over.  They’ve got the guy (don’t ask me to spell his name) in custody and there are tweets all over the place.  I don’t have a Twitter account cuz Twitter seems dumb to me, but that’s what I hear.  Yep, tweets.

Imagine: Two kids stopped our transit system and had the cities of Boston, Newton, Belmont, here in Watertown, and I guess even further out in Waltham in lockdown, all the hospitals and college campuses too.  Now have even any of our sports teams done that?  Of course not.   Not even when the Red Sox won the World  Series in 2004 for the first time since God-knows-when…oh yeah, that even got me in tears…but no, that didn’t stop our transit system or lock down hospitals.  There may have been crazy parties, but these guys are freaking famous.

I’m jealous.  Yeah, I think I am.

I’ve always wanted to be famous, ever since I was a tiny child.  Always loved to be in the limelight.  I’ve never been scared to get up in front of an audience.  I guess that’s why it didn’t take long for me to love performing in plays when I was in elementary school.  I always wanted to be a star.

I love being funny, reading my writings (hence this blog) in front of audiences and making them laugh.  Or cry.  Or moving them or disturbing them in some way.  I feel that shaking the world and making my footprint on the world, that’s my job as writer.

I want to make a damn big footprint.  I want to shake the world in its boots like these kids did.  I want to scare people good.

So I am sitting here in my little apartment that I pay one-third of what the government has decided I “deserve” because some thirty-some-odd years ago I developed, of all things, an eating disorder, and ask myself, “How the hell can I be as fantastic as these two brothers, who have these wonderful odd names I can’t even spell, and my name is so ordinary, Julie Greene?”

Wow, was that ever a run-on sentence.  I sure broke some writing rules there.  But the writing gods don’t bother with us here in this complex.  We’re all invisible here.  I’m sure all the attention is focused on Franklin Street, a few blocks away.  The kid needs all the gods to help him, now, even the lowly writing gods.