The Asylum…

My father’s youngest sister is schizophrenic.  She was diagnosed in the early 1970’s back when there wasn’t as much known about the condition as there is today.  She lived with my grandparents into adulthood but from time to time they would have to have her hospitalized

I’m not sure what the total length of time was that she spent in the Weston State Hospital, I just know that she was there a lot.  She frightened the hell out of me as a child.  She was very scary.  Once, when I was really little she became convinced that I was possessed and tried to shove me out of a moving car.  So really, when I went to visit my grandparents and she wasn’t there, it was a much better and safer visit for me.  When she wasn’t hospitalized, you couldn’t sleep in my grandparent’s house without pushing the heavy dresser in front of the guest room door.

Today I cam across a news item on Drudge about the hospital.  It has been sold to a family who intends to use it in various ways that seem somewhat exploitative of the hospital’s history.  I tried to work up some offense but mostly I am happy this historic building isn’t going to be left to fall into ruin.

Both of my father’s parents are long since dead and my aunt has disappeared.  It was very difficult to get her put into a mental health facility involuntarily and none of the remaining family members were able or willing to take care of her.  That’s a shame because there was plenty of money left specifically for her continued care, whatever the need.  The last any of us knew, she was living under a bridge in Point Pleasant, WV, but nobody seems to know where she is now.

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Trust but verify…

A few weeks ago S mentioned to me that one of her fellow teachers was going to be performing with one of his many bands at one of the many bars in our little city.  She said she felt like we should go since she has become friendly with this particular teacher.  Back in December we had gone to see one of his bands and it wasn’t an all together unpleasant experience, so I agreed to this outing.

Once again I should mention to you that I am a Home person.  I love my home.  I hate to leave my home even for short spurts of time.  I like to cook at home and eat at home.  And if I am not going to cook, then I like to order in.  I like watching the sun set over the back yard.  I like to be in our living room all evening long.  I enjoy everything we do at home.  That is a 100% enjoyment rate of anything that happens in my home.  I could have a root canal done in my kitchen and I would find some way to enjoy it because it was happening in my home.  I have about a 37% enjoyment rate of things that take place not in my home.  If I were to win the lottery and the big check were handed to me at the lottery offices, I would not enjoy it all that much.  Which is why I have to hope to win the Publisher’s Clearinghouse money because they bring it right to your front door.

Anyway, as the date of our outing was approaching I asked S what kind of music the band was going to perform this time.  That last time it was rock ‘n’ roll covers.  Much to my surprise, she said it was a jazz trio.  Yeah!  I love jazz.  I love live jazz.  I used to manage a restaurant that had live music on the weekends and I was in charge of booking the music.  Most of the time I chose jazz.  There was this cool little jazz duo named, I think, Colter Harper, who were brilliant musicians even though they were just high school kids.  And then there was my regular favorites, The Nate Peck Trio.  And every so often I had the pleasure of booking a jazz/blue grass group called CoalTrain, and they were just too good for mere words to describe.  So, I love live jazz.  And S said we were going out to see live jazz.  There was potential for a 53% enjoyment rate.

When the Friday night finally rolled around I was feeling lazy.  We’d had too much delicious dinner and we were midway through the fifth season of our West Wing dvds.  It was cold outside and snowy.  We’d been up since 6:43 in the morning going about our busy days.  I really, really wanted to just stay home that night.  But S felt compelled to go since she had told the teacher that were were going to be there.  I protested the whole time while I changed out of my comfy pajama bottoms and into real clothes, but S still made us go.  And then it was almost impossible to find a parking spot because of the mounds of snow along the streets.  And the bar was in a blighted part of town which made me reluctant to park our car anywhere, let alone walk the darkened streets.

When we got into the bar the band was on a break so we had to sit and chat with them.  I suppose that wouldn’t be so bad if I had any social skills, but I don’t.  S is much more social which is sad to say because she isn’t much of a social chatter either.  We must either come across as stuck up or mutes which is odd because people keep inviting us places.  The bar was a total dive.  I did not want to partake of my beverage out of their glassware for I was certain that a Herpes virus waved hello to me from the rim of my glass.  There weren’t that many people there, so for a few moments I was happy that we did go because we filled out the audience a little bit.

And then the band started to play. A guitar, a bass and drums, seemingly a jazz trio.  But no.  After a minute I leaned into S and asked:

Me:  Did Mr. Teacher happen to mention to you that they were a  jazz fusion trio?

S:  What?

Me:  Jazz fusion.

S: What’s that?

Me: It’s a sin against G_d, that’s what it is.

S:  I still don’t know what it is.

Me:  It’s what they are playing right now. 

S:  Oh.

Me:  You told me jazz.  This is not jazz.

S:  I think his e-mail said jazz.  I don’t remember.

Me:  This is not jazz.  This is jazz fusion.  There is a world of difference.

S: Oh.  Yeah, I don’t really like this.

Me:  I think I am having a stroke. 

S: It’s not that bad.

Me:  Of all the things in the world that I hate, and there are many, many things, jazz fusion is on a whole other level of hatred.

S:  Sorry.

Me:  Seriously, I think I am having a stroke.

After about an hour of what I swear to G_d was all the same song the band took another break.  S and I had been planning to get the hell out of there during the break but we were thwarted when the band came over to our table for more chatting.  Though it seemed that they had caught on to our social inadequacies and really just talked to each other while we nodded.  At one point the drummer looked at me and said:

Drummer:  It must be boring to listen to musicians talk about music.  Sorry.

Me:  Oh, no, it’s not nearly as bad as listening to actors talk about acting.

Which is precisely why I don’t talk much when we are around other people.  I say things that shouldn’t be said out loud.  Things that are true but aren’t polite to point out.  I mean, I could have said that it wasn’t as bad as listening to artists talking about art or lesbians talking about the antics of their cats.  All of which would have been inappropriate because I am admitting that what the person is talking about is bad, just not as bad  as being left for dead in a dark alley with a bullet wound.  I should have said, “Oh, no, it’s fascinating,” or some such blather.

Anyway, we were stuck listening to half of the third set before we could make an acceptable exit.  Which was totally not fair considering the the bass player’s wife got to leave during the second set.  Poor S had to listen to my anti jazz fusion rants until she drifted off to sleep that night and for a portion of the following day.  She has now accepted that the evening was all her fault and I have been milking it for two weeks now.  If one of the dogs is begging to go outside and I don’t want to get up, I just turn to her and say the magic words, “Jazz fusion,” and she does all of the things I don’t want to do.  She has also accepted that from now on she has to ask more questions when any of her fellow teachers ask her to come see their bands (and it is scary the amount of teachers that have bands).  I have promised that I will go see any band so long as it is not a jazz fusion group.

Dear USC…

You suck.

You have really messed up my bracket.  I was counting on you and OJ Mayo (West Virginia native) to carry on to the third round where I predicted you would get beaten by Georgetown.  But no, you couldn’t hang on against Kansas State.  Seriously, they are good, but you really seemed good too.

So now, not only did you cost me points for the first round, you cost me points for the second and third rounds.  You should be aware that I am going to go back to hatin’ on all things USC, with the exception of the brilliant Troy Polamalu.

Madness update…

I never should have picked Kent State to beat UNLV.  It was a total “homer” pick.  I listened to local sports talk radio the day before I filled out my brackets and, of course, they said great things about the Golden Flashes.  Golden Flashes?  I should have picked against them just for having that stupid name. 

Other than that lousy pick, I did great on the early first round games.  I’m looking forward to watching WVU tonight.