Thank you for the turkey and everything

We were out delivering Thanksgiving meals as part of this: http://www.opendoormission.org/events/2012-11/drumstick-wheels

We went last year and, as this year, it is such a humbling experience and yet so fantastic to say “Happy Thanksgiving” to someone and hand them a huge turkey, a case of water and a box full of ‘fixings’ (accompaniments like stuffing and gravy) – all for free.

One area had a whole bunch of people with the hoods of their cars propped up and wires going from the batteries through their windows – and this is how they get their electricity; several houses powering their homes by their car batteries – not in an emergency or because of power failures, floods or storms but as an *everyday thing*. Not one, not all – but many. I didn’t see any satellite dishes, air conditioning or pools but then the area actually barely had more than a clearing in the grit amongst the houses to call a road. I have no idea how they make it through the frigid beating they must get from your average Nebraskan winter.

Shame on me for closing my eyes to the fact that this happens. 

Walking up to several houses where it was difficult to find the house because it looked like no house was there in amongst debris, was made from the debris, was patched together from a multitude of planks and offcuts. People who would hobble to the door. People who were clearly on their own and really needed not to be. Other people who apparently lived in abject poverty amongst huge houses with a fleet of cars parked here and there in front against the ramshackle backdrop of an unkempt driveway of the person who rushed outside after putting his turkey inside and shouted to us “have a blessed day, thank you, thank you” as we tucked ourselves back into our car.

When you see this and more, as we did today,  you realize that real life can be a very unequal existence even in a city full of joie de vivre and that you are (and should be), indeed, very thankful for small mercies.

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I’ve taken holy orders and become a monk

Ok, well maybe not.   It’s a bit like that though if you take in the altruistic character disorder I seem to suffer/benefit from and my current cloister-like surroundings.

I have now successfully given away virtually everything I own, save for the clothes I am taking with me to the USA and some random bits and bobs like my poetry books, a laptop or two and, essentially, my snow boots.  I will need my snow boots – my Christmas visit to Omaha made that absolutely crystal clear.  The car goes back to its owner on Saturday (newly returned from rescuing the free world from Enemies Of The State) after which I think I may get a bit fitter – it’s so *easy* to jump in the car for even the shortest journies.  Still, good training for being a non-walking American.  😉

I’ve moved out from my sister’s house where I’ve languished for the last few months (I’m missing Bouncer, her dog, already) and I’m now firmly entrenched in a B & B hotel 2 minute’s walk from my office.

Visa progress: I’ve now sent off “packet 3” which is the penultimate part of the K1 US immigration visa process.  I’ve scheduled my US visa medical appointment for within the next week and the US Embassy in London has all the information they could ever want from me about my life.

A weird amount of information they need too, including details of *every* address I have lived at since the age of 16 – and the month I moved!  I don’t know about you but given that I am in my mid-forties and led a bit of an itinerant lifestyle that’s a hell of a time period to cover.  So much so I had to sit down and write out a chronological biographical timeline stretching from when I was born to the present day.  Still I got it done.

So what happens next?

This Saturday: give back the car.  The following week: full tackle-out don’t blush we’ve-seen-it-all-before medical.  A couple of weeks after that (or, please God, sooner) I go for my embassy interview where the final decision is made and my visa is issued..or not.  The chances of it being “not” are extremely slim but you just never know.  😦

Lisa and I get asked all the time “so, when are you getting married?”  This is an impossible question to answer: it’s really in the hands of the US State Department and when the embassy get around to assigning me an interview date.  The current theory is I will be “in America by the middle of November at the latest”.  In practice it’s likely my interview date will be “some time towards the end of October” but it could be middle of November or who knows when.  Sigh.

I’m ready to go now..really really really really ready to go now.  Please.  Pretty please?

Oh, in other news I have some more poems coming out in a few magazines.  Popshotzine are featuring “Not my baby” in issue 2 (with artwork and everything – woo!) and Monkey Kettle are publishing “Winemouse”.  I seem to think  someone else asked for permission on a couple of others as well but I can’t remember who at the moment – the curse of visa stress – if it’s you then please let me know so I can show off about it to anyone who stands still long enough.

I’m shy really.  Honest.

😀

Reflection

Despite being garrulously sober – something I nowadays and have for some time made a great habit of – whilst walking back from the cinema (after watching Stepbrothers which I found hilarious as did most people in the cinema but I suspect is an acquired taste for some) a mood of sombre reflection washed over me.  My new job is going well, so far; my man-flu, which has persisted now for three weeks, is definitely losing the battle against my immune system; my flat is not flooded, something which many people around the country cannot say at the moment and, in general I have very little to moan about.

But it’s not enough.  I am like a plant-pot without a plant.  A cup without a saucer.  Salt without the pepper.

Yes, I do mind being on my own in the world.  I mind very much.

Sorry – just needed to write it down.

Roll on October.