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I came to terms long ago with the fact that I’m not going to stride through life.  I have watched the striders with no small amount of envy.  They seem to simply step over life’s hurdles without losing a beat.  These karmic titans have a confidence and determination beyond my grasp.  They are resourceful and quick-thinking.  They see problems as opportunities and opportunities as the fuel to continue ever forward.  I don’t know if they were born this way or they are privy to some secret I have yet to discover.  As I said I envy them . . . their strength, their success, their competence and their power.

I’ve known people that wander through life and once thought myself to be one of them.  When wanderers come up against a barrier, they turn right or left or go back.  When necessary, they leave the path undaunted and meander until a way presents itself.  It may take them longer, but they always find their way sooner or later.  They often learn more on their circuitous course than those taking a more direct route.  Life has a way of making them wiser for their travels and provides them a calm serenity that makes their passage look somehow easier.

I have even known a few folks that float along their feet never touching the ground.  I’ve seen that which they need miraculously provided time and time again through no effort of their own.  I don’t really begrudge the floaters this ease as I’m aware they don’t learn to overcome adversity and someday there will be an obstruction they can’t glide over.  Some very small number of them never experience tribulation and they appear to exist inside the glamour of a fairy tale or sweet dream.  The rest are inevitability crushed when faced with hardship . . . their psyche too fragile to suffer the rigors of harsh realities.

I’ve had association with those unfortunate enough to fight every moment cradle-to-the-grave.  My heart goes out to them.  They throw themselves against each obstacle repeatedly until they batter it down.  They charge headlong through their misfortunes emerging bloodied and bruised, but emerging nonetheless.  They are the warriors that frequently blaze the trail for others to follow.  They are courageous and fearless and selfless.  Even when they end their journey tired or broken, their valor must be respected and we should all give thanks they are in the world to lead the way for those of us lesser beings.

Then there are those that stumble through life.  They take a stride or two, only to falter.  They wander, only to become lost.  They leap attempting to float, only to crash.  They beat their heads against the proverbial wall, only to knock themselves silly.  Mostly, stumblers fall.  It’s what they do.  They often bounce up after a tumble quickly dusting themselves off and assuring others everything is okay.  At other times, they are more like a brain-bruised boxer that doesn’t know the knock-out punch has been delivered and stagger back to their feet only to fall down again.  Stumblers are easily distinguished by the bloody scrapes on their hands and knees.

I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.  It sure feels like I can’t get up, but I know I’m a stumbler.  I’m not bright enough to throw in the towel, so I’ll lay here for the start of the count resting a bit.  I’ll be on my knees by the count of eight and manage to get my feet under me before the count reaches ten, because — as every stumbler knows — part of falling down is getting back up.

I’m trying very hard to normalize my life after all that has transpired this past couple of years, but this Alice, alas, has fallen down the proverbial rabbit hole. I tumbled . . . rolled . . . lurched . . . lunged . . . plummeted and finally crashed. It was truly one helluva drop. I did not land on my feet or gracefully arrive. Rather, I came to an abrupt, teeth-jarring halt flat on my ass. Blessed be an ample and cushy posterior. You never know when you’re gonna need one.

There was a bottle at the bottom tagged “Drink Me” and, as it was not also marked “Poison,” I drank. This served to shrink me enough to get a job. Now, from 8-to-5, I am a wee, tiny version of myself. There was much concern that my significant experience, out-going personality and self-confidence might topple the precarious arrangement of cups, saucers and other china at the Tea Party; therefore, I must regularly spike my tea in an effort to remain adequately small as to be non-threatening . . . mostly.

We all know the importance of appeasing the volatile Queen of Hearts when in Wonderland. I strive accordingly during my daily rounds of Croquet to keep myself and my flamingo out of the way of my personal trio of Red Queens. Despite numerous cries of “Off with her head,” I have to-date managed not to get the axe. I – like Alice – realize common sense and sanity have little to do with surviving in this world on the other side of the looking glass.

My training is by osmosis with the dormouse designated my primary source of information; at least, they keep telling me – figuratively – to “remember what the dormouse said.” When I ask what it is the dormouse said, they go all Mad Hatter on me and can only respond, “I can’t remember.” I keep telling myself there will be an “aha” moment and suddenly Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum will start making sense or the Cheshire Cat will solidify. Instead – for now – things just keep getting . . . curiouser and curiouser!

What would happen if I woke lost in the woods?  Well, there’s a bit to take into consideration when pondering such a dilemma.  There are some rugged individuals that love the wilderness and “roughing it.”  That’s not me.  I deem “roughing it” to be staying in a hotel that doesn’t have room service.  I don’t want to wake up to the sounds of wildlife just beyond a thin piece of polycotton fabric.  I don’t want to wake up to animal noises at all!  I want Eggs Benedict delivered to my room, not bacon half-cooked on an open fire.  Besides, when is the last time anyone managed a decent 24-ounce soy, vanilla latte without the assistance of a well-trained barista?  It just don’t happen people!

I have needs, especially when I rise in the morning.  There are things I have to do before I’m ready to face the world.  Believe me, the world wants it that way.  The first requirement to start any day is a shower.  Standing naked in a cold stream, river or lake is torment, not cleansing.  Any proper shower includes hot water, lots and lots of hot water.  The purpose of this ritual is to slowly re-introduce my psyche to consciousness.  I must have a minimum of 30 minutes of basting in perfectly-regulated, temperate H2O to wash away the wicked witch that occupies my body upon waking.  She is not something any human or animal wants to make contact with . . . trust me on this.

I further find it essential to have another 30 minutes for my hair care regime.  In addition to applying the necessary “products,” any hair dryer must have the requisite diffuser to effect proper styling of my hair.  I am in complete agreement with The Sheeple Liberator when it comes to the inadequate nature of hotel dryers and find it necessary to transport my own hair care appliances with me wherever I go.  These devices only operate with electricity.  Last time I checked, there are no electrical outlets available in the woods.  This is really ironic when you consider, the only hair style obtainable without electricity looks rather like I’ve stuck my finger in a socket.

Lastly, I put my face on in the morning.  It is for the protection of small children and those easily frightened.  I’m considerate that way.  I wouldn’t want to scar anyone for life.  I know what I look like without the benefit of Loreal, Cover Girl and M A C . . . it’s not pretty.  It would be a crime against humanity to run around without making every attempt possible to protect the general public.  It would only be good manners to extend this courtesy to woodland creatures.  I have also learned I need a mirror with very good lighting or I’m liable to look like Bette Davis in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?  Still, there is an argument to be made for that being better than nothing at all.

The outcome to my waking lost in the woods is fairly easy to predict.  There would, of course, be the screaming . . . ear-piercing screaming with intermittent pitiful wailing.  Anyone tracking down the source of the shrieks and cries would come upon a very ill-tempered, smelly ogress obscured by a mass of unruly hair with a terrifying visage dominated by wild eyes.  All trace of humanity gone with the loss of my modern conveniences.  I would surely be mistaken for some long-lost missing link.

Now, this train of thought brings me to a simple conclusion.  There is a mythical monster that roams the woods issuing strange bellows; angrily bashing the woodsy foliage; covered in a coat of matted, stinking fur with glowering orbs.  What else can be made of this?  Big Foot is nothing more than some poor woman forced into a wilderness vacation – most likely by some Bear Gryllis-wannabe spouse – unexpectedly awakened in the forest . . . lost, scared and deprived of the most basic necessities.

Written for The MindSlam Write Wednesday prompt.
Week 9 Idea: Create a short little story about you waking up in the middle of the woods being lost…make it scary or fantasy.

I realize it’s been more than a little while since I’ve had to look for work.  It was – OMG – before the turn of the century, when I last performed a “cold call” job search.  Sure, I changed jobs during that time, but then I had an extensive network of insiders setting me on the fast track to employment nirvana.  My old contacts are just that now . . . OLD . . . retired to Tahiti, put out to pasture, or relegated to positions where their senility will cause as little harm as possible.  Boy, oh boy, have things changed.  Today the process of ferreting out a job has been electronified.  I know, electronified isn’t a word, but it should be ‘cause that’s exactly what’s happened.  Nothing can proceed in the real world until the requirements of the virtual world are met and there’s the rub.

SEO-type software is often the first obstacle to overcome.  My resume and/or application will be examined with an electronic eye to determine if I have the basic qualifications the potential employer desires.  In other words, no human discretion will be used in this initial assessment.  Stupid spiders can’t be dazzled with the brilliance of my writing skills and will send me straight to the shredder should I fail to satisfy their grubby, little appetites for repetitious goo.  I’m a smart gal and I can make the creepy crawlers happy by designing a masterpiece of “job duties” and “required skills” plagiarism.  Come on, it’s all right there in the job posting and I know how to cut and paste.  Duh.

Provided the insidious insects are sated, this compilation of mind-numbing glop is passed on to a real live human.  Worse, in the case of the technically-challenged organization, it will go directly to this poor schmuck.  This pitiable individual has already been tortured with reading the 50 piles of crap arriving prior to mine.  If those applicants have also provided the requisite spider slime, the unfortunate breather will doubtless be a blithering idiot at best and most likely completely comatose.  Let’s say, my maggot-num opus actually reaches the desk of someone still able to put three words together in a coherent sentence.  This tour de farce will – and rightly so – be delivered unceremoniously to the nearest trash heap.

So my struggle to create that perfect balance of literary luminosity and bug bait continues thus far with little-to-no success.  Did I mention this work of genius must be two pages or less?  I’m confident I have the experience and ability to exceed all expectations as well as the performance of any predecessors once I’ve secured a position.  We all know how wonderful I am.  Hey, you in the peanut gallery . . . we don’t need your disparaging commentary, so stuff a sock in it. 

Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes, I’m flooding the electronoverse with my perpetually-revised, self promotion and waiting for an opportunity to deal with the next hurtle.  What could possibly stand between me and the job of my dreams (read any flippin’ thing that pays the bills)?  How do I help some poor child – that hasn’t filled as many posts as I had before they were out of diapers – get through the interview process and recognize my virtuosity?  But then that’s another story.

This post was written for The Mindslam Write Wednesday prompt – What has been your favorite job so far? If you haven’t had one yet, what would it be?

1984 Trans Am. Not quite mine, but as close as I could find.

She was beautiful . . . the perfect balance of flash and class . . . long and lean with just the right amount of curve.  Her voice had that low, throaty growl men are powerless to resist.  She inspired desire in all that laid eyes on her and no one could avoid looking.  She was every teenage boy’s wet dream and the answer to any male midlife crisis.

She wasn’t my first dance, but once I felt her power surging through me as the pavement was devoured by her sleek, sloping frontend, there was no going back.  She forever eclipsed the allure of the petite, foreign cuties I had boogied on down the road with before.   I sold the TR8 and let the spouse-of-the-moment have the Alfa Spider.  I stopped lusting after the 911. 

There was something about the weight of her and the way her low-profiled, 101-inch base hugged the road.  I was never happier than when I was wrapped in her butter-soft leather, Recaro seats pushing the RPMs toward redline.   She was raw power and sex appeal.  She was in-your-face with not one wit of apology about her.  All-American muscle – built-to-spec down to the factory-painted, Vette louvers on her rear window – she was special ordered by a retired cop.   He may have had her built, but she was meant for me. 

I left her behind with all my other dreams when I fled to Washington.  She was a California girl in every respect.  It’s where she belonged.  T-tops and ground effects weren’t designed for the road and weather conditions where I was going.  I needed four-wheel drive, not cross-fire fuel injection.  My heart broke as I watched her pull away ablaze in all her glory . . . seducing her new driver as she once had me.

I couldn’t replace her if I wanted to . . . she was a once in a lifetime love.  I’m good with my current little, front-wheel drive, fuel-efficient model.  It meets my needs.  Still, when I close my eyes, I can feel the wind in my hair as I would fly down the open desert highway – tops off, engine in overdrive –  behind the wheel of my ’84 Pontiac Trans Am.  Don’t call her a Firebird or I’ll have to hurt you.  Anyone even thinks firechicken and they’re going down!  And you thought I was going to be all serious and stuff.  *wink*

Written for The Mindslam Write Wednesday Prompt – If you could pick any car/truck/suv right now to have (past or 0present), what would it be & why?

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