598: Failure

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Nobody likes to fail.

Nobody likes ADMITTING that they failed, much less the painful process of actually FAILING.

The constant mental re-plays…if only I had done THAT instead, it would have changed the outcome……why didn’t THAT occur to me at the time, so I could have done something differently……why did I not recognize that as a RED FLAG? Heck no, at the TIME, that red flag was a glowing, rosy PINK flag……..sheesh. Gotta get rid of these glasses.

And then comes the sneaking, stealthy, sly subconscious. The DREAMS about failing. Not necessarily the specific thing I failed at, oh, no! These are horrible, inventive fantasies; dark, macabre imaginings of all the OTHER ways I could possibly fail at something.

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Such as – dreaming of being a waitress (yes, I, too, did this in college) at a pizza-cum-sandwich shop – and getting ALL the orders wrong, having to apologize profusely to all the incensed customers, take all the blame, and give them their food for free – which I know is going to come out of my miniscule paycheck, of course. FABULOUS dream. Can’t WAIT to have it again. The groveling, you know, that’s what excites me the most.

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Then there’s the nightmare about the trip – I get to the airport, after having meticulously packed (and pre-weighed) my bag for this international flight, and discover my purse (with the passport, of course), is missing. Instant panic. WHERE did I leave it on my journey to the airport? On the train? In the taxi? OMG! The flight departs in an hour! Or, (alternate variation on this theme), the bag I carefully packed and weighed to comply with all the myriad regulations for flying (which I looked up online prior to getting started packing, just to be sure), ISN’T in compliance, after all. And now I must choose, standing at the inspection table surrounded by harried passengers, which items to discard so they will actually let me get on the flight using the ticket I have paid for. Should I ditch the shampoo? The tampons? The evening gown? The sandals? The sunscreen? AAUUGGHHHhhhhhh…………! Meanwhile, the clock is ticking down to the time they will close the boarding gate, and I will be…..LEFT BEHIND. With no refund of monies paid.

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Or the teacher dream: supervising a field trip and having something go wrong when I am responsible for twenty something (or more) students and chaperones. I am scrambling to fix whatever thing has gone awry, and doing a perfectly miserable job of it, because, of course, this is a FAILURE dream, and nothing I do in one of those dreams works out to my advantage. Ever. And usually, it involves a copious amount of my favorite thing – groveling to all and sundry as I meekly confess my culpability.

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Or my personal favorite – I am fleeing a menacing, pursuing presence through all the halls and rooms of an infinite decaying, crumbling mansion….for hours and hours, all the while knowing that the terrible pursuing menace is going to corner and catch and murder horrifically. Yup. Personal favorite. I usually wake up trying to scream from that one, panting like I’ve just run the Boston Marathon.

Bad enough to fail in real life, when I am conscious. Failing in my dreams is infinitely worse – the dream failures seem every bit as real as the real-life failures, and I can have more than one of them per night. Subconscious self-torture. Whoopity doo.

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172: Pick Your Own Peaches

In Georgia, there are orchards where you can go and pick your own: apples, plums, blueberries, pears and peaches, among other goodies in season. Apple orchards are in the north Georgia mountains. The peach orchards begin down around Macon. These are very popular places, because you can get exactly the fruit, in this case, the peaches, you want: the very ripest ones, or some greenish ones that will keep well and ripen slowly as you eat them, or smallish ones for pickling. The hidden benefit to picking your own is that you usually get to eat all the fruit you want while you are picking. For me, that means all that I can HOLD. All I can STUFF down my gullet. Plus just one more!

The first time I went picking peaches, I was with my paternal grandmother and my great-grandmother. We loaded up the car with five-gallon buckets, and set out. When we got there, I discovered that this orchard had two delicacies I had not been informed about: Georgia Belle peaches, and nectarines. For those of you who do not know, Georgia Belle peaches are extremely sweet, white-fleshed peaches that do not keep well once picked because of the very high sugar content. Plus, they are fragile: quite soft when fully ripe. This is another reason why you seldom see them offered for sale commercially or in stores: it’s hard to get these treats to market without damaging them.  But, we were at a pick your own orchard, and the trees were loaded with sweet and juicy Georgia Belles. It was hunting season on peaches, and I had an unlimited license. I feasted on so many of them that the fruit acid made my teeth “sharp.” This means that my tooth enamel got sensitive from all the fruit I was eating.

Plus, there were nectarines, which are a hybrid cross between a peach and a plum, I think: the nectarines have no fuzz on them, which peaches have. Peach fuzz covers peaches like a young man’s first beard. It is soft, but prickly at the same time. And it rubs off on YOU. Nectarines allow you to avoid the fuzz problem: but I was gorging on Georgia Belles, and picking the nectarines for the buckets. So, I got peach fuzz all over me.

For those of you who do not know what happens when you get peach fuzz all over you, allow me to make a comparison: have you ever installed fiberglass insulation in the attic of your home in the middle of a summer heat wave? Fiberglass has very thin rods of glass in it, so thin it looks like hair. It is not hair. It is glass, and the bits of “hair” break off and imbed themselves in your hot, sweaty skin. Allow me to make another comparison: have you ever been bike riding and “lost it” just as you were passing a big patch of prickly pear cactus? Prickly pear cactus spines act just like fiberglass- and just like peach fuzz. Other similar comparisons I have also had the misfortune to experience include throwing hay bales up on the collecting wagon, again in the peak heat of a hot, dusty Georgia summer (grass is hell on hot, sweaty skin), and finally, going swimming in the ocean when there is no shower to rinse off the salt from your skin before it dries. Ocean salt on skin will inspire you to claw yourself raw, as will every other comparison I have made here: hay grass, prickly pear cactus spines, fiberglass and …..peach fuzz. It is every bit as bad as poison ivy, or poison oak, or poison sumac (the only one of the three I have not yet personally met).

And I was covered with it. OMG. Torture. I am not sure that even the gorging on the Georgia Belles was worth it. By the time we weighed out our fruit and paid, I was miserable, and trying VERY hard not to scratch. It was a thirty-minute drive home. It seemed like it took three days. Ever tried NOT to scratch a monumental itch – all over?? When we finally got home, GrandmaBob got me in the shower post-haste, and covered me with calamine lotion when I got out. I was about eight years old, and I have never picked peaches since. Apples, plums, blueberries, blackberries, figs, grapes, strawberries, and various other fruit, yes. Peaches? Never again.