Wednesday, June 24, 2009

10 things about Chas

I woke up this morning and got hit in the face with grief. I think I'd been dreaming about him. I feel the need to share, which is odd. Despite my tendency for brutal honesty here, I don't ever like to let on that I'm hurt or upset in the meat world, even when I have perfectly good reasons for being both. Not too long ago there was a string of deaths, 6 people, and I couldn't go to the funeral of any of them. The Kid says I need to go to Chas' service, or he'll haunt me and I'll never deal with it (Kid is a smart one, I tell ya).

But since I know me, and I know that I am likely to clam up at the memorial service and start to feel all anxiety attack agoraphobic, and that in my head I will be feeling guilty for feeling sad when obviously there are people there (his wife and kids) who have more right to feel sad (I know- it's stupid- I'm not going to be able to break a lifetime of being told my feeling aren't important enough right now), here's what I want to say.

1. Chas is the reason the Kid had a Christmas this year. I spent Christmas week helping him get his house together (and keeping him from having psychotic breaks) and he made sure that the Kid had something to open, an mp3 player that hasn't left the Kid's ears for months.

2. Chas is the first person to ever pay for my writing. Granted- he had me write coffee porn (or coffee erotica) but it was a paying gig.

3. Chas and his darling wife Carolina nursed me through the worst break up in history with the worst boyfriend ever. Chas offered to perform numerous illegal acts of revenge for me, but I declined. Thing is- Chas would TOTALLY have done it if I asked. How many people do you know who are willing to commit illegal acts to make you feel better.

4. Chas hid his good chef's knives from his family, but he would pull them out and show them to me. They were glorious, and he was a hell of a cook.

5. Chas saved my broke ass on more than one occasion by offering me little jobs, hemming curtains or cleaning or writing. He bought my awesome digi cam off me a few years ago, and then gave it back to me at Christmas.

6. Chas once had me smuggle a lamb burger on an airplane for him.

7. Chas was my go to guy for "boyspeak to English" translations.

8. Chas was a bigger pack rat than anyone I have ever met. He makes my family look tidy. I helped him organize his basement and was under strict orders not to toss anything, including old zip ties and random candy wrappers.

9. No one on the planet can wear funky hats as well as Chas. No one. He wore a Captain's hat and navy blue blazer to one of my birthday parties and he was the bomb.

10. He was a much better friend to me than I have been to him. And I really wish I could make that up to him. I had a project that I wanted to do with him, that he would have loved and would have distracted him for a little bit. I meant to call him about it last week. But I put it off. I'm sorry Chas.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Dear Friend Lost

My phone rang today. I thought it was my dear friend, and answered with my usual greeting for him "What up G-Money!".

It wasn't him on the phone though. It was his wife, who sounded weary and sad. Before she said it, I knew that had killed himself.

Chas was a bright and shiny ball of energy when he was happy. But PTSD and other, never fully diagnosed, mental illness had crippled him for the last year or so. Last time I saw him he had elaborate plans for escaping the country. He was in so much pain that every thought was a torment. He loved his kids and his wife, and worried what his illness was doing to them.

Chas is the reason I started blogging a million years ago. He's responsible for this pile of digital words. We wanted to seceded from the Bushwhacked country. He was protective, like a big brother, when he was healthy. He had these little idiosyncratic insecurities that made him adorable, like a teddy bear that is missing its button eye (though the missing part was lower, and I've been told that since he kept it in a jar after surgery, it will be cremated with him).

Chas tried to get help through the system. The VA failed him. The only thing that calmed the constant anxiety was smoking pot, so the VA labeled him a drug addict. He was intensely pissed off that trying to make himself feel normal made him a criminal. Other drugs failed. Lithium failed. Multiple cocktails of pharmaceuticals just made him groggy and tired and sad. Therapists failed him. I failed him. I should have called. But I've been wrapped in my own cocoon of worry and fear.

I will miss you terribly Chasito. And so will everyone who ever met you and your gargantuan spirit.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dear France:

To Burqa or not to burqa is the wrong question, and outlawing one style of dress is oppressive, whether that style of dress is a mini skirt or a burqa.

If women were really equal everywhere, including France and the U.S., then there would be no push to outlaw a style of dress that many women CHOOSE to wear. By banning a style of clothing, you perpetuate the idea that women cannot decide for themselves even the most basic of things, like what to wear. It is just as bad to ban a burqa as it is to force women to wear one.

Women are not children who need protection from the big bad world. We are adult human beings who need to be treated as such and allowed to decide on the details of our own lives.