September 14, 2007 10:50 AM- oh me oh my oh

Do you know that people in Ohio can create 8-lane freeway traffic as thick and deep as their East and West coast counterparts? Perhaps you do. Perhaps, unlike me, you are not a provincial country mouse who doesn?t make a car rental reservation when traveling to Columbus, OH because there are a half dozen rental companies at the airport and surely they?ll have a car for you.


Um, Hertz? Avis? Enterprise? Budget? Thrifty? Dollar store? Man on a bike? That would be no no no no no no, no.

That?s right, I arrive at the Columbus, OH airport on Wednesday morning to find there is not one single vehicle on the premises for rent and I need to travel some 40 miles to my destination. (NOTE to self: living on the side of the mountain with three dogs can make you think you are the only person in the world?please be advised, this is not the case).

Anyway, it all worked out after some utterly unnecessary stressful hours and I reached my destination, and settled into my hotel (yes, thank you, I HAD made a reservation for that?since it was full up which brings me back to my original point)?

Who are all these people and what are they doing in bucolic Ohio?

Seriously, freeways?freeways filled with traffic. Although, I do kind of get a kick out of it since there?s a total absence of mean people energy. (Everyone?s just chugging along, happy to yield?there?s just none of that ?road rage/get out of my fucking way? energy.) It makes me laugh?kind of like a suburban pre-pubescent dressing like an urban rapper?a sweet kid trying to look all tough.

Here?s another random fact about Ohio (which unlike the above is not simply one person?s extremely limited experience being expanded into a sweeping generalization, but an actual, objective truth): there are blue laws still on the books in Ohio that say a gathering of five or more women is illegal as it constitutes a brothel.

Do you believe this? I have not run this by my fact-checker, but it was told to me by a most trusted resource: a freshman college student. So I accept it as true because as we all know, freshman college students are so deeply grounded and wise in the ways of the world?they are the genuine jedi masters.

As I am here through Sunday, I hope to learn still more from these freshman women who have so warmly and lovingly welcomed me into their midst. And I have to tell you, I love a college campus?I really do. Walking everywhere, cute boys with dogs playing Frisbee, music blaring out across the quad?yum. It also doesn?t hurt that when I left Boston rain was pouring down dark and heavy for hours, but Ohio has been nothing but sun and blue skies.

Which is a helpful bonus as I came out here on something of an emergency excursion. My niece who began her freshman year a mere fortnight ago was escorted to the hospital for suicidal thoughts/behavior last week.

I got the call last Thursday moments after I had cleared the Sagamore bridge and was an hour from Truro. (The call came from her parents and sister all of whom were in Prague at the time?but that?s a whole nother story) At first I planned to just go right out on Saturday, but then since I?d have to turn around and come right back on Sunday?it did not seem like the best plan. Now that I am here and have days and days with my niece?I am so glad it worked out this way.

It?s a funny thing. I often experience ambivalence in my life. No matter what I am doing, I often feel like I should be doing something else. Oddly, despite the fact that I loathe hotels, ?the golden mile? of fast food and box stores, and traveling alone to places I?ve never been before, I have never felt more calm, more sure, more confident that there was nowhere else I should be right now. Nowhere else in the world I want to be right now. Nowhere.

It turns out, all my life experience, my particular skill set and the fact that I have been a part of this child?s life since the day she was born combines to make me ideally suited to pull her out of the quicksand and get her back onto the good red road.

I was extremely apprehensive before I came out here. There are no guarantees and you never know the intricacies of the mental thought patterns that have been created. I had no expectation that I was going to succeed in shifting or changing her energies/thoughts, but I knew that I would use absolutely everything available to me to try and save this sweetest, loveliest creature.

And the good news??that there is good news.

You can never know for sure?but things are going really, really well out here and for the first time in my life I feel useful because I know the combination to the lock is unique and it turns out, I have the particular code for this particular kid. And if I do nothing else but get this beautiful young woman on a path to experience a deeply fulfilling life (not exempt from the vicissitudes of life, mind you), then I will have served a purpose in this lifetime.

But quickly, before I head over to campus I?ll share one moment from last night.

We had gone out to get some magazines for art inspiration. (We?re making art journals, goofy stuff, etc). At the register, the clerk scans the copy of Cloth, Paper, Scissors and then the copy of Selvedge. She stops, picks up the Selvedge magazine and asks us (in a voice that reaches everyone in line behind us),

?Do you know this magazine is twenty dollars? Twenty dollars for a magazine??

In response, my niece flashes a winning smile and her Barnes & Nobles gift card.

?It?s okay,? says my niece. ?I have a gift card.?

Because, as you know, a gift card makes it free.

And all was well in the kingdom of fiscally concerned clerks.

The princess and her aunt with the expensive magazine habit climbed back onto their dappled mares and cantered off into the sunset.

got 2 cents?

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T says:
seems like the comments are fixed-- sorry about the down time!
posted on: September 16

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Tami says:
I hope you and your niece have the time you need together. Maybe you could go out on a few excursions. Isn?t the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame there?
posted on: September 16

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Janeen says:
You are such an inspiration to me in so many ways that you'll never know. This is just beautiful.
posted on: September 16

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Bridgemor says:
BP, your niece must be grateful that you were able to come and be with her at this time. Going off to college and being on your own can be a very precaious time for even the most stable person,(if that is the case). Your instincts about getting art material for journal making is right on and not as goofy as you might think. As an art therapist, I can say that creative expression, whether in journals, painting, or collage making, is a very effective way to externalize and process feeling, thoughts, and emotions that sometimes bring us to the edge of our life. Your niece is very luck to have you as her safety net at this time and with your guidance I am sure you can help her get back on the "good red road". My thoughts and prayers are with you both.
posted on: September 16

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Claire says:
beautiful...your family are lucky to have you to call on. Once when I was buying a magazine on holiday in rural devon the clerk said the same thing and also informed me I could've bought six packets of sausages and some kindling for that price.
posted on: September 16

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Molly says:
Thinking of your niece, hoping words help her too. So good to feel needed--I'm glad you are there to help!
posted on: September 16

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teahouseblossom says:
Hmm..I read somewhere that Ohio is actually one of the more populous states..it's deceptively large in size. I'm glad you eventually got a car!
posted on: September 16

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bella says:
I keep coming back to this post and it warms my heart to see how much love you have for your niece. In different ways, so many of us go through a really rough time at some point in our lives. I wish I could have had an aunt like you. She is a in good and loving hands. I'm thinking of you both. xo
posted on: September 17

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misty says:
i don't think that there is a more comforting feeling of knowing you are right where you want to be. i cherish those times in my life when those feelings are with me, like you I am often wanting and thinking about what else i could be doing. how lucky you both are to have this time together. reservations do seem like a good idea...a many years ago Kevin and i thought we would go to Amsterdam on new years eve without a hotel reservation....we FINALLY found a room that was as wide as a twin bed (bunk-beds). ;-) take care and enjoy your time in Ohio....round on both ends and high in the middle...i know, you've heard it, but i couldn't help myself.
posted on: September 17

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Heather says:
You are a saint, BP. I lived in Columbus for 3.5 years, and yes there is traffic, but you're right, it's rather benign. I kept trying to envision which school your niece might be attending - Kenyon perhaps? It would fit with your personality so...
posted on: September 17

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Joy says:
Aw man, I wish I had a bp of my very own.
posted on: September 18

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