things in Staunton approaching critical
Friday, November 20 2020
We had another distressing call today about my mother, this time from Piper, the woman who runs the art gallery in Waynesboro, Virginia, where my mother had kept a studio for a long stretch of years. It turned out that my mother and brother were at the gallery when she was calling, loading up more of my mother's stuff into her car (according to Piper, that car is now a Subaru Forester). I could even hear my brother's distinctive voice in the background on occasion. Piper was calling to express concern about the hallucination where my mother had seen people in her house with boxes on their heads. Piper seemed to think that my mother had actually called the police to report this situation, and they'd ended up coming out to the house. They might've done so reluctantly, as Piper told another story from some years ago when my mother apparently opened a door on sheriff's deputy while holding a shotgun. This time the cops had been understanding and concerned my mother might not've remembered to eat and that this was causing her to drop a dime on people her brain had invented entirely. But if this sort of thing keeps happening, it's just a matter of time before someone in authority comes out and declares the house(s) uninhabitable. At that point, my mother and Don would be separated and institutionalized, and that would be the beginning of the end. For Piper, this indicated that the situation was in the process of going critical. As she put it, "If this were my mother, I'd probably come down here." Of course, layered on top of all this is the ongoing pandemic and my mother's lingering hostility to me. (She has told Barbara that she would be okay with me visiting, but she still doesn't want me staying at her place. But what if she hallucinates me as a threat and the shotgun comes out?) For now, Gretchen and I are sticking with the plan of having my aunt Barbara and cousin Kent going down there to scope out the situation before we do anything. (Meanwhile Barbara's daughter Diedre thinks this is a bad idea; as she put it, she doesn't have much faith in Barbara and Kent's "executive functions.")
The day was much warmer than it had been for the past several days, with temperatures up into the 60s. I took advantage of conditions to process yet more wood from in front of the garage, most of which really can't be burned yet due to its moisture content.
Late in the afternoon, I ordered an extra-large vegan pizza from Dibella's on Lucas Avenue and then drove to uptown to get groceries and booze. Now that we're boycotting Goya products due to some dumb pro-Trump bullshit said by their president, I'm forced to buy other beans. And, not knowing how the salt-free product lines are labeled, I naturally managed to buy two cans of low-sodium black beans. At Dibella's, there was a sign limiting people waiting to pick up their pizza to just three in the restaurant, so I stood with a woman in line in the entranceway making awkward smalltalk. The balmy weather was a perfect subject for this, but so too was the awkward rules concerning the queue to pick up pizza.
Back at the house, Gretchen and I eventually watched two episodes of another NXIVM documentary, one called Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult. It was much better than The Vow, because it was much less repetitive and explained in more detail how precisely someone would be recruited and indoctrinated into the cult. It also provided a better sense of the cult's history. Part of this might've been because The Vow made Mark Vicente out to be something of a hero, which forced the documentary to hedge on revealing more about the cult's machinations, whereas in Seduced he's shown to be complicit with evil.
At some point Powerful returned, telling us how frazzling an iced-up windshield and Port Authority can be to someone who has never encountered such things before.
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