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The alarm woke me up with Dawson's Creek type moody pop music, and I realized that the cats no longer have rules. I think, if I had the time, I would sit at home today, in the cold, and drink beer until I cried. This summer, I will save the world through legal aid, lose fifteen pounds, learn how to play bass. I will fall in love, become graceful, learn how to keep house. I will find a way to buy fresh produce, and I will learn how to prepare it. I will mop the kitchen floor and become clean.
Intellectual prostitution. Now I remember why I don't work on my feet anymore. Calf cramps. Remember why I have opted to work on my ass, in chairs with cushions, slowly spreading to fill all the space between the armrests. Become one of the opulently fat. Obese by choice rather than economic necessity. But not quite yet, still have to stand to make money. My work ethic comes and goes. Spurts and stutters, like starting my old impala, the one that could fit eight people. I don't have time to make myself better, I still have too much work to do.
Damn Shaggy, looping through my head. The norm of incarceration intertwined into cheesy pop love songs. White suburban teenagers probably make out to it, think they have cred. What I learned at my summer job: A 'hype' is a drug addict, usually a needle junkie. A 'shortie' is a small child, specifically, the ones that you have hold your drugs and guns for you. Thirteen year olds convicted of drug charges as adults are ineligible for federal financial aid. One Thousand feet laws are only prosecuted in the inner city. Yeah, baby, closer than my peeps you are to me.
Today was the day of public transportation. Bus and El. By myself. There can be disproportionate joy in small successes. Look at me! I am the girl that can ride buses! There is still much of Indiana in me. I don't think I will ever be sufficiently 'urban.' In Indiana, if you can afford a car, you drive a car, none of this young wealthy commuting mass trans. There are free parking lots and lots of drive-thrus. It took 5 years in the city to get me on the bus. But today is a day of celebration, all hail CTA.
Crap. It was a happy day. One of those days were everything felt right, stuff actually got done. As if attuned with the Tao or whatever it is that one should be attuned with. As if I had make a series of right decisions to get here. And I hate these days, because, then when it all goes to hell it is sad rather than just inevitable. I have then mourn the realization that this happy life isn't really mine to keep. Optimism can be poison. I have to RSVP to another damn wedding. When is everyone buying me presents?
My cat sits in my laps and rests his nose on the keyboard, and it makes it very hard to type. I think that I am barred from writing about many of the things I want to write about, because of ethics and confidentiality. It was very foggy today, so as I stared out the window at work, the miles of public housing towers faded into what looked like clouds. I researched obscure procedural points of law, and watched kids play basketball far below. I rode the el downtown for a lunch meeting, where I was encouraged to feel self-righteous.
Today, someone left me an obscene voice mail message. Apparently they would like me to call them at 530-4093 and describe the juiciness of my panties. Why is that only perverts use the word panties? If I do not call the number, then they will call back. They called from a private number. Stupid? Yes. I supposed I could call the police or something, but it doesn't seem worth it. But all the same, it will make me afraid when I try to fall asleep tonight, and I hate that feeling. Conquer fear or seek safety, I despise life's choices.
It is frustrating to realize that there are not solutions to injustice. People look at you expectantly, thinking that you will momentarily be able to correct the situation. But, the law does not always offer the protection that it should. How to explain that the law just doesn't recognize the complaint, or offers no remedy. It is not a cognizable issue. Or simply, you will lose. Perhaps I should join the ranks of the anarchists, but I still think that many people need some coercion to act decently. So am still searching for the right meta-normative-ethics to instill in citizens.
How about a moment: After weeks of cold and rain, the sun finally came out for the Blues fest. Descending on the Loop, the musicians, the fans, the suburbanites with their sport utility baby strollers and Ikea inspired collapsible canvas lawn furniture. In Gotham loop two young boys played percussion on plastic tubs, with precision, and skill, and the hippy kids stood around and threw money into their box. There was a pair of blue jeans in the middle of the sidewalk. What could I do, except smile and walk on, because it is summer time, because it is Chicago.
I am going to have to shave my calves. I made it over a year, but it grows in dark, and I will melt if I try to wear tights all summer. Wouldn't people prefer a lawyer who didn't have to waste time shaving their CALVES, and thus could spend more time doing legal work? But as counsel, there are all these things I have to do, dress, grooming, not for me, but for the sake of my client. I refuse to compromise on make-up. I shall convince myself that it is all part of paying my dues. Damn surrender.
Sun splayed through branches: The South Side is full of the historic boulevards, the ones where traffic is divided by large green medians, where trees create arbors, families have picnics, young men walk their rottweilers, teenagers congregate, and old men sit on benches and watch the traffic. The streets are bordered by old greystone mansions, empty lots, gated storefronts, and new development townhouses. The boulevards provide yards, and stream into the parks. Children enjoy their liberation, days without structure. The beginning of the summer is always beautiful, when green is such wonderment, and everyone is out to see the sun.
I have never understood why the rain makes the worms come out to die. I once dated a guy who lived across from a tennis court, which was covered with worm carcasses. The court was all cracked up, and there was a worm carcass every few inches. I called it the earthworm burial ground. If you were careful, you could find a path to the center without stepping on any, and then look around and find yourself effectively trapped by dead worm ickiness. I think they built a subdivision there now, and I hope it is haunted by worm ghosts.
Hot. Muggy hot, sticky ugh. Brain broken. Nothing to write. Too much pressure to write something witty or poetic or profound. Stalled out. There was nothing in the rules about dead brain days. Hot. I am sweating as I sit here. I need to make phone calls for work. I want to take a nap, but I did that yesterday after work, and slept until it was time to go to work again. Sigh. Have I written about my Pooh checks yet? They make bill paying fun. Six different scenes, and gold embossed bumble bees. And they even include Eeyore.
The house once was solid, but now it is nothing more than woodlace, and the outside is coming in. It started with a few drips when it rained, and turned into downpours, the weeds starting on the roof, and then sprouted through the walls. There are squirrels, and mice, and raccoons, rattling not only in the crawlspace, but in the spare bedrooms upstairs. Forty years I've been here, children, and man, all passed or moved on. The frigidaire stopped working, there's no water in the sink. The man said they were supposed to fix it, but they never came back.
It's hard, because I don't really like conflict. I know, how could I not know, that he lies to me. Has in the past, will continue to do so, but still, if there was a way that we could take care of things, without all this, well, conflict. I am not afraid, not really. He needs to learn that he doesn't get his way just because he is the man. I am a strong woman. But still, maybe if I just went and talked to him again. Thoughts on the stream of women come though court for orders of protection.
You wouldn't really think it, but Indiana is beautiful. I forget, until I get back there, and see that it really is the life that everyone over a certain age is trying to afford in the city. Houses, and driveways, and gardens and yards. And parking, parking, parking. The drawback would be the nightlife. I moved away 6 years ago, and the bars are still playing the same songs that my friends and I danced to during our weekly girls night out. Tonight I watched a guy who looked like Jesus get funky to the Wild Thing and Pussy Control.
When I leave for a couple of days, it always such a pleasant surprise to find all my stuff still here when I return. Not that I really think that anyone is going to steal it, but there is always that chance. Not that there is really all that much to steal. The real risk is the sense of invasion, which would result. So it is so nice, to come home and see everything where I left it. This is my home, and I can lull myself into believing that it is inviolable, it can continue to be my sanctuary.
Watching boy and puppy frolic, I should be filled with happiness. Instead I am filled with panic. I cry while watching boy hug puppy. Pure, innocent, pure. Until the puppy gets run over, before the boy gets shot, before the puppy gets shot, before the boy shoots someone, before the boy shoots the puppy. Before boy's dad beats boy and puppy. There is so much potential for horror, tragedy, evil, and I am powerless to protect or save. So many of the small things will suffer, will be harmed, be corrupted, become hard, and endure to prey upon smaller things.
Ah, mind plays into cacophony. So many upsurgings, the swirl and maelstrom. Too much, too fast. So many longing, so many repulsions, magnetic turbulence and intangibility. Asides, I am forgetting what touch is like, what tactile pressure means. I could be . . . Dislocated temporally, spatially, there is so little am. Important to take the time to feel sun, wind, wet. Put legs solidly to the ground, and to focus and feel the moment of standing. To stroke one's own arm, to massage awake the nerve endings, to confirm that there is still, at least, the capacity for feeling.
There are around 20 states where the marital rape exemption exists in some form or another. In its pure form, the marital rape exemption requires the state to prove that the victim of the rape is not the spouse of the accused. It is not a crime to rape your wife. Milder forms make it a lesser offense. Some states avoid the equal protection problems by making it the spousal rape exemption. Women can in fact rape men, but, statistically, it is rare. The more I learn of what marriage means, legally, the less likely I will ever be married.
I am an independent woman. Luckily for me, this the current trend topic in pop music lyrics, so there is very little trouble involved in arranging a sound track for myself. I can be a survivor on the way to the grocery store. Cynically, I see love as the crippling speed bump that has side lined so may of my friends. Naively, I still hope that there is some kind of romantic passion which strengthens rather than weakens, that illuminates rather than dims. Realistically, I think the whole thing was really done and decided when I accumulated the second cat.
Still those brown eyes. Confonted with my middle school obsession, I found him older but still felt small pangs of puppy obsession. Fortunately, some framework of mutual respect survived the stalking and the phone calls and the millions of inappropriate and always ineffective displays of affection that I thrust upon him. He is a vessel of knowledge of so many stupid things I have done. But he was pleased to see me and that lends some merit to the whole pathetic history. We, survivors of pre-adolescence, bonded in some kind of mutuality. Good to see someone I have vomited on.
When I go to my parents house, they feed me. Not only is there food there to be prepared, but I just show up at the table and the serve it to me. Wake up to eggs, or sleep in hungover and wake up to something cooked on the grill. Life simplifies when one doesn't have to take care of the details. It is no wonder I drink like an idiot when I am here. It is good to have places where you can show up with nothing, clothe me, feed me, let me not worry, just for the weekend.
Hung over, bruised, woozy blah. Long weekend of drinking, catching up, drinking, not sleeping enough. I think I shall be glad to go to work tomorrow. Perhaps I have finally fallen into the adult rut. But when I see old friends, the admissions come out: we watch a lot of TV. It's like the wall marathoners hit, the age of the hangovers, the beginnings of aches and pains. Not significant yet, but there is something eerie about knowing that I can't abuse my body the way I used. Things taken for granted for too long now require care and maintenance.
Anxiety. Chest tight. Moments when it all starts to come together, and make some kind of sense, and all I can say is oh my god, is this what I planned? Banging my forehead on adulthood. I would remain adolescent, I would not be putting on a suit tomorrow morning, or at least would be able to wrap my mind around the idea that this is me and this is my life. That at any moment I could stand or fall, but more likely will place somewhere in the mediocrity. People feed me sugar, and that perhaps soothes it somewhat.
At 5:30 am, my cat brought a dead mouse to my bed. At first I thought it was a toy mice, but then I realized that toy mice don't have feet and tails that long. At least it was dead and I was spared the ethical dilemma of my save the rat/ kill the rat nightmare. Sad that the mouse was dead, glad that the mouse was dead, wondering if this means there are more mice, and what if anything I should do about it. Apartment is too messy to call landlord. I wish someone was here to discuss it.
There was a woman on the bus drinking something fuchsia out of a Styrofoam cup. She kept shaking the cup to mix it, or to make noise with her ice cubes, or she just shakes all the time. She was with a man who had sunglasses and a big cane. The only rode the bus for two stops, and then they got off. Two young girls discussed whether the guy who pierces nipples is like a doctor, and if it was okay for him to see their breasts. I leaned my head against the window, even though it was sticky.
Nightmares last night. Some rabid lumberjack stalking my family with an assault rifle, we had made it through the first two break-ins with only minor injuries, but more was coming, and my bother was crying. Too many windows, unsecured doors, trying to eat dinner. Can never quite run fast enough. Best to wake myself up, walk through the house looking for the cats, bundle them up protesting and put them in bed with me. Heat, dehydration, serial killer books before bed. Fall back asleep, put on nice clothes, go and be an earnest intern. No time for panics or analysis.
There is something about sleep. Just withdraw, curl up, have small, blurry eyed interactions with cats, and worry about nothing. Become languid, and realize that standing, sitting, require too much energy, too much struggle with gravity, best to sink back down into the bed. Stretch while laying, work out the crinks in back, arms, legs, lay with limbs extended. It is best when there is the option of waking up, but not the necessity, so the sleep becomes a gift to oneself. So preferable to the tired achy daze of computer screens and coworkers, cranky professors and verbose case law.
I missed the second half of the Xena series finale. Xena airs twice here, once late at night and once in the afternoon. Last week, I watched the late night version, and saw part one, this week I tuned into the afternoon and got an unrelated rerun. She has been my late Saturday afternoon hangover companion for years. Xena and taco bell. She has given me the strength and inspiration for Saturday night drinking more than once. She is one of my solitary living routines, and now I have to find another point to waking up before dark on Saturdays.
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