By Allen David
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 10
Full of woe.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 11
Judging from the obituary for Shannon Arlene Wallace, which is posted this morning in the Big Bear Grizzly, it wasn’t often easy to watch her 29-year trudge through life, which ended 12 days ago. Whoever wrote the obituary summarizes Shannon in three paragraphs that give a straightforward and stark account of a young woman who didn’t realize the dreams that were most important to her. These dreams were simple, and she seems to have pursued them with sincerity and effort, but life denied them to her. For those who loved Shannon, watching this must have been painful—pain hangs from nearly every word of the obituary, clings to the letters like that thick, sharp crust of minerals that grows onto pipes that have carried very hard water for a very long time. Shannon’s obituary seems to have been written by people who loved her, people who were tired by the time she died, rightly tired from what was required to truly love her, steadily and fully, from the beginning on March 18, 1982, in Downey, to the finish on July 30, 2011 in Colton. I can’t stop reading Shannon’s obituary—this is my fourth or fifth time since I happened across it maybe 20 minutes ago—because each reading seems to bring a slight shift change in tone. Something more than love and its pain, something wet and pure, begins to seep from the dry, unadorned descriptions of Shannon’s trail of tragedies, and something refreshing and strengthening becomes evident in the people who wrote them. These witnesses can never pretend life holds guarantees after receiving such long and convincing proof that shit (and much worse) happens. But perhaps they are on their way to realizing that that loving Shannon through her difficulties, accompanying her each time she got up to continue on, was one of the profound lessons of their lives. Judging from the obituary, they have been inspired.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 12
One more time, for the love, the pain and the inspiration:
Shannon Arlene Wallace was a Big Bear resident for 19 years and graduated from Big Bear High School. After graduating Shannon wanted to become a nurse and take care of people. That was her dream since she was 5 years old, but unfortunately she was sick. Other things that Shannon experienced were being married, being pregnant, but unfortunately losing her only daughter. Even though she had a lot of struggles in her life, Shannon was happy all the time and strong. We all will miss her.
Shannon is survived by Mardrie Cizan, grandmother; Alex and Karen Vargas, parents; Anthony Vargas and Christopher Masters, brothers; Jose Salazar and Charlie Vargas, uncles; Kim Salazar, aunt; Rebecca, Ashley and Willow Masters, nieces; Brandi and Blake Cizan, Andrea and Nathan Dargo, Sammi, Marcus and Richard Louis-Salazar and Matt Salazar, cousins. Services were held at Big Bear Mortuary Chapel, followed by interment at Gold Mountain Memorial Park. Big Bear Mortuary, directors.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 13
Here comes an economic thermometer: California’s tax revenue plummeted in July, missing expectations by nearly $539 million and raising fears that deep education cuts will be needed to keep the state budget balanced.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 14
And here comes another: The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), the country’s largest public pension fund, has lost $8 billion since the beginning of July. No, wait, that’s wrong. It hasn’t lost $8 billion—it’s lost $18 billion.
MONDAY, AUGUST 15
Hey, check it out—today is the Ides of August! You know what that means.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 16
Charter Cable switches the channel that carries the meetings of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors every Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m., moving from public access channel 32 to the City of Riverside’s channel 3. Seems like a small enough adjustment . . . unless you consider who might comprise the regular audience for Tuesday-at-8:30 a.m. broadcasts of Board of Supervisors meetings. Political junkies? OK, but let’s go deeper than that. What other kinds of people might like a show paved in the wide smooth visuals of wood paneling, durable carpeting and conservative suits? Who might be drawn to a soundscape in which the long, steady undulation of pompous political droning is sprinkled with the arrhythmic syncopation of rusting papers, tapping pencils and the aspirated puffs of mouths talking too close to microphones? Answer time: insomniacs, hungover drunks, the clinically depressed, speed freaks, potheads, shut-ins . . . and of course the members of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors. No, it’s not pretty—and it gets uglier when you imagine what happened this morning when this gang reflexively punched “32” into their remotes—and neither windbags nor blowhards appeared on their screens. Can you visualize the many thousands of traumas—all experienced simultaneously, each manifesting differently—that were detonated across the wide geography of Charter’s cable monopoly among the cretins who are some of its best customers? Can you sense the paralysis? The catatonia. The halitosis? And to think all they would have had to do to escape it all is punch in channel 3. Of course, it’s much too late for that now.