An Unattached Wall with Black Mould
Last night I dreamed that two of my teeth fell out. That’s supposed to be a metaphor for something, I think. In my case, I think it just means I’m afraid that my teeth will fall out. A lot of people must feel this way, but it’s somewhat justified in my case as I have pretty active periodontal issues. My dentist called it “extreme periodontal breakdown” in his first diagnosis, though it is much improved since that initial dismal prophecy, thanks to my amazing hygienist, Sherlyn, and also to my devotion to all thing floss, mouthwash, oral b, proxy brush and that little red brush that I use to reach behind that I don’t know the name of.
You get the picture.
Anyhow, last night I had a toothache and it was giving me a headache and even though I took an extra Advil before bed it must’ve carried over into my sleep giving me the teeth falling out dream.
As I said, I couldn’t remember what the falling out teeth thing was supposed to be a metaphor for, but it reminded me of a picture from my childhood. The photo is the classic small child in the bathtub. In this case, it’s me. I’m in the bathtub smiling brilliantly into the camera. When I see that picture I’m startled by how happy I must have been sometimes in childhood. Here’s the clincher: If you look behind at the wall where the tub attaches you can see two things. First of all, the wall is completely rotted through where it should be attached to the tub and secondly, just above that non-wall is a substantial line of black mould following the rim of the bathtub.
Recently I’ve had a slight epiphany. (Side note – is it possible to have a slight epiphany? Isn’t it like the word unique? Something cannot be ‘totally unique’. This is poor English. It is either unique or it is not. I think this is the same thing with an epiphany. One can’t have a slight one. You either have one or you don’t, n’est pas?)
So my slight epiphany (yes, I’m wincing) is that the above-mentioned picture says something about my childhood:
There was great happiness there but it was supported by an unattached wall on which black mold was growing.
Raquel told me a story many years later about how her and my mom had stuffed newspaper down the toilet in the same bathroom in order to deal with raw sewage leaking all over the floor.
Interesting and creative plumbing solution.
Ok, back to the story.
We had just left off as our heroine was being loaded into the back of a pickup …
To Nelson in the flat deck of a truck
Just to remind you we were talking about that trip I had taken with R, R and the kids to her mom’s place in Nelson where I was required to travel in the in the back of the pick-up lying down in the bed with the luggage.
There was a canopy so it was covered. They had some standards.
The only thing I remember about the traveling part was they shoved all the luggage and camping stuff in and then I was made to lie down and they closed me in.
As you can well imagine, traveling like this seem interminable. I mean traveling a long distance when I was a kid seemed to take forever, even in normal circumstances. I think we can all agree these weren’t normal circumstances.
In their defense, they did check on me regularly.
Now I know by today’s standards all this sounds incredibly irresponsible and in reality, it was, but that isn’t what strikes me about it, looking back.
What stands out for me is R’s willingness to take on more responsibility than she already had.
I mean here’s this single mom with 3 children under the age of six, an asshole of an ex-husband, a nice new boyfriend who seems very supportive, abet slightly skittish around children and she was still willing to take on one more.
Nowadays they would’ve just said, ‘We have no room’ and that would’ve been the end of it.
Yes, by today’s standards it is definitely irresponsible to travel around with an extra child in the flat deck of your truck, but that kind of thing was done back then.
Not only in my family.
There were no seatbelts in the back of cars and babies were simply held on their mother’s laps as they traveled home from their prescribed births and let’s face it, it did seem like driving drunk wasn’t really illegal, didn’t it?
Every time I tell someone a story like this, I almost always get a similar or more distressing one back.
One lady who I met in my shop, told me of how the kids in her family used to scramble to be the one traveling on the hump (the driveshaft) on the floor on the back seat on the car, on family outings.
Apparently, this was a seat of honor with the moral equivalent of calling shotgun.
No one was allowed to travel in the middle part of the front seat with their parents as that’s where they kept their beer!