March 4,2003

This column is brought to you by CAPTAIN MORGAN.  Aye, Mateys... Sage may regret it in the morning, but tonight, it goes down soooo good!!  Anything that goes down as good as Captain Morgan is a friend of Sagey's and that's the truth!  This is totally off topic (although a good bit of it is better than the shitfest you're watching on ABC these days, lemme tell ya what), so if you're looking for the friggin (I changed that from fuckin so you guys wouldn't think I was all tacky and stuff) holy grail of who really, really, really killed Alcazar or whether or not Finola's coming back, this isn't the place, so keep on moving.  This is just me using the site access that (on this night anyway) Katrina was unfortunate enough to trust me with to babble on mindlessly about bullshit.

I've decided to call tonight's drunken ramblings "Sage Exposed" because you are going to hear some of the deepest darkest Sage has and find out why I haven't been around much lately and all of the, or at least some of the (Honey, it ain't that long of a column) drama, drama, drama that's been going on in Sage's perfect little world run amuck.

OK, it all started when Katrina's mother died and as some of you can remember, I got all weepy and shaky myself, thinking about how the last year went and how close we came to losing mom and all that.  So then the thing happened where Ginger hooked us up to go to the resort and most of you know what happened THERE.  I've gotten a lot of questions on the James thing (and YES I still have his card), so it's time for the rest of THAT story to come out.  Here is the real, True Hollywood (unedited) story of what went on at the resort.  It's not that I was trying to conceal anything.  I just wasn't ready to share it with the whole world yet.  CLICK ON ME, DAMMIT.

So you can see that there was a little bit more going on than was previously discussed.  Ennyway, I got home and was shocked to find that the bitching from Mom continued!  It's important to know that my mom and I almost never argue.  We live together very peacefully, honor one another's privacy and pretty much enjoy one another's company most of the time and stick to ourselves if we're feeling moody.  I've lived with Mom for 41 of my almost 45 years.  I lived on campus for two years of the time I was getting my degree and then after I had my degree, Mom suggested that I travel the world for a while, which I did.  She had a good store of savings and investments of the money Daddy left us when he died and I had the rare opportunity of backpacking around a lot of places no one else ever gets to see.  It was a really great couple of years.  When I came back, I knew I didn't want to really pursue anything involving my degree (although I did go on to get my masters just for the hell of it) and Mom told me I should go to cosmetology school and learn to cut hair.  I'd been fascinated by people's hair for my whole life and boy, did she ever hit the nail on the head with that.  I'd never thought of doing it professionally and I was very excited at the idea.  Mom put me through THAT and helped me to set up shop.  Before too long, I had a good client base and was able to carry the household expenses myself on what I made (our house and cars were paid off long ago, so actually, our needs are fairly limited) and put some back for savings and investments as well.  Mom continued to save from the pensions from her and from Daddy.  So we were doing OK for ourselves and time just passed by faster than you can ever imagine.

I'd always said I'd retire out after 20 years and last year I did just that.  It was great to put down the scissors and to this day, the only time I've picked them up again (as I promised myself) was for Natalie and Ginger's wedding.  It was a great time and a great run and it just happened that the 20 years was up right when Mom's health was so bad and she was needing lots of care.  I'd already had to clear out appointments with very little notice more times than I could count, so it was good to be completely available to Mom.  Then she started to get better.  The oxygen therapy she was on after her bout with congestive heart failure, as well as the drug therapy they put her on perked her right up and she was doing just great.  In fact, she was doing better than she'd been doing for years.  She had her first really bad spell in late 1999 (a stroke) and although she bounced back from that pretty well, she was never really up to par again until this time.  In 1995, she fell and broke a hip, but although she was down for months with that, she was still very vibrant and very much herself and healed so fast, the doctors were shocked.  This year, she got down as far as not knowing who we were, sleeping all the time and being a total invalid.  At one point, it even got to the doctors telling us to "call in the family."  Yikes.  Anyway, now she's up and around taking care of herself and wanting to go out all the time.  Lord knows she can't drive herself and managed to wreck the Continental the last time she tried (no one was hurt, she just cruised into a stop sign and walked back home), so I have to take her everywhere.  So really, it's been a few months now that she's been well on the mend. 

Anyway, there's the background.  We've always done well together.  I should have moved out a long time ago, but things went well for both of us with me living here, it was necessary for me to live here when she was so ill for a few years and now I'm still here.  I guess I didn't realize how difficult taking care of an ill parent had been for me until I was at the resort and had time to think about another life and what it might be like. 

Mom is very psychic and has been for as long as I've known her.  It's just a part of our life to know that Mom sees things and knows things before they happen.  She always knew when the girls were expecting and always knew what they were having.  She'd never tell anyone.  She'd just sew all of these little items and when the baby was born, she'd produce this incredible layette with all of the gender appropriate gear.  She has told us not to take certain trips and we always listen.  Don't fly on this day.  Don't go to Big Bear skiing this weekend, there's going to be an earthquake.  She'd tells us, "Oh, I think that young man, River Phoenix is going to die tonight and there's a snake involved."  Then we find out he OD'd in front of The Viper Room.  It was just life with Mom.  She knows what slots to play in Reno and says flat out she'll never win the lottery, so she refuses to buy a ticket.  She swears she knows the day and hour she will die, but won't tell anyone. 

When I got a computer back in 2000, she was mortified.  I tried to familiarize her with all it could do and pimped it as "the world's biggest library."  She was impressed with all of the ready information and eventually settled down about it.  I found Katrina (my webmistress - ceeerack the whip, baby) writing for Soap Opera Central and was instantly in love.  She was so deliciously irreverent and catty and I just adored her.  I got up the courage to write to her and then followed her over when she started Eye on Soaps.  I was excited when she asked me to write the gossip column for the site, but I was very reluctant to get in the middle of the board wars and to deal with what total assholes people can be on the net.  My life was very carefully set up so that I didn't have to deal with much negativity and stress and I liked it like that.   I was grateful, but declined and Mom said it was the right thing to do.  We talked back and forth for about another year and got to be good friends and then she asked me again.  I was drinking at the time and the idea actually sounded pretty good.  So I agreed and sent in a sample column and the rest, as they say, is His Story.  Mom flipped out.  She had some kind of premonition that I was going to be killed as a result of my internet involvement and she just knew that this was how it was going to happen and Katrina was the Grim Reaper, coming to collect my soul in a burlap bag.  The more I defended my decision to Mom, the more I wanted to do it.  I called Katrina and told her that I couldn't do it.  Then I e-mailed her and told her I would.  It was madness.  Mom was crying and hysterical and finally I told her it was really, really what I wanted to do and she settled down.  I promised I'd remain very inaccessible and not directly connect via phone or meeting with anyone other than Katrina (and she still grumbles about that), that no one would have our address, that I'd even use a veiled e-mail through Eye on Soaps, blah, blah, blah.

After a while, it seemed like she got comfortable with what I was doing.  She loved and loves "her girls" and was so excited over the Birthday Guestbook everyone signed for her.  I thought we were on a role.  Wait.  The birthday guestbook was after the bigger flip out.  That's right.

Anyway, things were getting better and then the bottom fell out of the room.  My sister, Ginger, the one who married Natalie, was involved with this dumbass guy named Bender (who is in prison now) who I managed to piss off enough to send me a death threat.  The police were pretty sure it was from someone online (all of our cops are proud graduates of the Bo Buchanan-Mac Scorpio School of Policin') and there was Mom's foothold to go off on a rant.  Reminding you, here, that she doesn't normally rant and these were real rarities, which is what made them so odd.  So it turned out that it was Bender after all and I stroked her fur back down again and all was well for about 30 seconds.

Then Alice, my niece, found out that I had put pictures of her daughter, my beloved grandneice, Amelia, on the website for people to see.  I'd sent a million links to her to show her where I was showing off her beautiful little girl and even forwarded letters to her where people talked about what a cutie she is (and she is).  I'd asked her when she had the baby if it was cool for me to put pictures of me and the baby on the site and she said it was, so I did.  Out of nowhere, she lost her mind and called me up screaming that she'd never given me permission and that I'd violated her trust and all this and I was totally devastated.  I promised her I'd immediately take down all of the pictures, which I did even while I was on the phone listening to her rant and rage at me for an hour or so.  As if that wasn't enough, Mom and my sister Cammie (Alice's mom) also started wailing on me about it.  Mom insisted that I take allll of the pictures of me down (and the cops had, bless'em, told her how dangerous it was for me to have photos of myself on the site), so I did and that's when the cats came along.  I do like cats, but for the record, I have two, TWO cats, none of whom are the ones on the site.  I just like that the cats have a ton of expressions and can adequately reflect my mood over whatever column I happen to be doing.  So for you people who are seeing me as some old spinster fag living with his mother in a houseful of cats who do his sexual bidding, screw you.  If I *did* have a few hundred cats, you can bet it would be more of a Willard situation and I'd be sending them out after the dumbasses on the message boards who talk trash all the time (Not you nice people, trust me.  They'd just catch your mice and bat your aluminum foils balls around and look cute) and make my life suck.

So Mom feels better when I take down the photos and I think we're sailing along again (although frickin Alice and Cammie STILL won't talk to me over that bullshit and I hardly ever get to see Amelia now because I "recklessly endangered her life" for my own benefit and entertainment.  WTF???) and I even go so far as to set up my old computer for her when the Christmas Elves brought me a new computer.  She's Miss Surf the Net then and I'm pretty excited because *heave sigh of relief,* she seems to have beaten down the Paranoid Net Demons, then she goes onto some site, I think it was like or Soapzone or some other damned place where people were trashing me out (as if I care) and gets all hysterical about it.  So she has this giant green ledger and she keeps track of all of the sites and goes to the boards and reads all of the bad stuff people say about me and (get ready for this one) rates them according to the degree of hostility and potential threat and traces their IP addresses and logs THOSE in next to PRINT OUTS of the messages. She keeps track of who posts what how many times and on what board and on and on and on.  She's on about her 3rd ledger since Christmas.  At least it keeps her busy.  She says it's evidence for the murder investigation after I'm killed. 

Although I didn't think it was healthy for her to be living in a state of constant fear and paranoia like that, I didn't really discourage her aggressively because A) I knew it would do NO good and B) as I said, it kept her pretty distracted.  I let her know right off the bat that I have no interest in hearing the negative things people are saying about me (and she never bothers with the good stuff people are saying because that doesn't help the investigation), so she's finally stopped reading the putrid shit to me.  She's also stopped phoning the sheriff's department when one is particularly vicious.  I think they threatened her if she didn't leave them alone.

So that was pretty much where we were when we went to the resort.  Then I met James and his friends and she saw that they knew who I was through the site and she went ballistic and now, it's something like a month later and she's STILL griping about it every day.  I missed any opportunity with James because she was yammering and I actually thought about calling him up since I have his card and she heard me mention it to Katrina and starting pulling some Fred Sanford heart attack, "Frank, I'm coming to join you" bullshit on the spot. 

I went up to visit Katrina a couple of weeks ago when her son was in visiting and Kye said Mom was "very anxious" the whole time I was gone and when I got home, she was all weepy and thanking The Universe I was safe and such.  I immediately got dead ass sick from some bullshit cold Katrina gave my dumb ass and it doubled up with a GI virus.  The two tagteamed me for 2 weeks and I felt like total and complete dog mess.  I just got up and about a few days ago, Friday, I think it was, and so that gave me plenty of time to lay in bed and think.  I had a fever a good bit of the time, so I had some interesting dreams, none of which I much liked.  I wrote a couple of columns I don't remember writing, but hey, they were pretty good, so oh well.

Next Morning:

Well, afternoon. I woke up around noonish and got a bite to eat.  Head kind of hit the keyboard after I typed "oh well" and I woke up with a backwards alphabet on my forehead.  Breakfast was pretty nigh on disgusting (old danish, didn't feel like cooking), so I passed.  Had some toast instead.  Mom was out in the garden (it's a beautiful day in Cali).  It's past lunch, so I grabbed another drink.  I don't do this often and want to do this well.  Don't worry, don't fuss, don't tsk tsk.  Sage is fine, just reflective.

OK, so where I was I?  Oh yeah, went to Katrina's and got doggy sick.  Lived on vanilla chai tea for a while and lost some weight, but I slept bunches and thought a lot and let Kye come in and take care of Mom a couple of times a day.  I think I was just nurtured out and needed to take some selfish sick time.  I ate every kind of soup imaginable.  Chicken, potato, cream of celery, tomato and about anything else you can liquefy.  It was like the years of taking care of Mom all settled into me and I was just bone tired.  It's like how you collapse after the crisis.  Now that she's better, I was free to react.  I think also what set me off was the way she was hammering at me about the internet.  I had a lot buzzing around in my head (more like pounding in my head).  Of course, one of the main issues is that frankly, to my knowledge, Mom has never been wrong with one of her predictions and to be perfectly honest and totally selfish, I do want to live.  What if she was right and I'm going to be killed because I said the wrong thing to the wrong person about Sonny and Carly?  If I turned off the computer now, never to turn it on again, what do I gain?  Maybe life?  Maybe her not bitching nonstop, every day?  Maybe regaining the freedom to go out there in the world and meet people like James and the girls he was with and have a real social life?  Adding hours and hours to my day?

What did I stand to lose if I turned off the computer?  I lose a forum to talk about one of my favorite subjects, ABC Soaps.  I lose a hoard of dear friends I have made on the net.  I let down Katrina and Eye on Soaps.  Before, I had days of cutting hair and yakking with people and interacting that way. With that behind me (and not a good idea to start up again in case Mom starts to slip again), I don't have anything but these walls, my garden and a big world out there.  If I give up all of that, would Mom just come up with something else to close doors on me?  Would I lose it for nothing?

I thought about how great Mom and I had gotten along until she started freaking out about the net.  We'd never even had much of an argument.  Now, there was this constant tension between us, especially since the trip to the resort.  I wanted to call one of my netfriend on her birthday and Mom flipped out for a couple of days over that.  When I went to visit Katrina while Joe was here, it was like I was defecting to the dark side.  When I got really sick it was because the Universe was "angry" that I wasn't listening to her warnings.  Lord.  I started to hate opening my eyes in the morning.  I've never lived like that before in my whole life.

I also thought about how much I miss having a partner in my life.  I wondered where I'd be when Mom does die.  I mean, I'm 45 years old in just 4 months.  I'm not shopping and don't intend to.  If it's meant to happen, it will happen.  But she totally dumped my options with one that looked like it MIGHT happen because of her paranoia and that kind of pissed me off.

Called the sisters (except for Cammie) and asked what they thought.  They seemed to think it wasn't much of a problem and that I should just humor her.  "It'll pass."  They worried about the "she's always right" part as well and the conversation was just getting too cumbersome for me.  I wasn't even quite sure what I was talking about.  I just wanted things to be good again.

As if THAT wasn't enough, on Sunday (the day before I was fully up and around on Monday, I really wanted some fresh air, so I went out to check on the garden to see what all was going to have to be done to get ready for the spring planting.  I hadn't been out in the garden in quite a while and I'd missed it.  My heart fell when I got out there.  There were 4-5 big mounds of freshly dug dirt.  Shit.  Gophers or moles or some other subterranean piece of shit was out to make my life hell.  I'd never had little diggers before and I wasn't happy to see them now.  What was bothering me is I'd always read that there would be little tunnels between the mounds and I wasn't seeing any.  The little suckers must be deep.  I stood there for a minute, trying to contemplate the metaphysical implications of my herb garden, my connectivity to Mother Nature and the Earth that sustains us, being ravaged by these little demons.  I tried to see them as fellow creatures of the earth, but I saw them as little adversaries, waiting for my precious herbs to go in so they could start munching and uprooting and wielding their vile, destructive path of death.   I had my big walking stick with me (a real stick, not the bug), so I poked a bit at the mounds of dirt and they didn't really seem very deep, just dug up in a weird way.  There was one big one back toward the back and a few smaller ones dotting the front of the garden and here and there moving back.  Got to the back one and gave it a big poke.  It seemed a good deal deeper than the first one, so I figured that was where the little suckers were hanging out.  The others were their summer home or something.  When I was poking the biggest hill (half expecting one of the little bastards to grab the stick and beat my ass with it or something), it felt like there was something *in* the hole and my stomach gave a little lurch. 

I poked it around a bit more and felt the thing roll back and forth.  WTF?  I bent down, more than a little bit curious and even more than curious, I was very nervous and antsy about it.  I had the distinct feeling something was going to jump out of that hole at me any second, pissed that I'd been poking it around.

I gingerly pushed the dirt away, a little at a time, then more.  Then I saw... IT.

And we'll continue here next week.



Just kidding.

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