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So much for ringing in the new year the way I'll spend the rest of the year. Well, unless lying awake at four ayem, praying for the merciful release of sleep or death is a swell way to spend the next 364 days. The early hours of 2002 had me spilling champagne all over my favorite shirt, watching British humor translated into Japanese, and finding out that yes, Virginia, still make sky bar. Lets hope this doesn't mean I'll spend the rest of the year hoarking freely and dancing with all the coordination of a marionette missing a few strings
Rumors of my death have been highly exaggerated. Yes, that's how your dear correspondent has always wanted to open a piece. The veracity of the preceding statement is questionable, but let it be known your correspondent swears she didn't start those rumors herself. I have been on the quiet side of late, not because of anything you've done, constant readers, nay, you've been asking quite a bit what has happened to me. Perhaps it was a turn with aliens, or a run-in with those "black helicopters". Regrettably, neither. I've just been lazy. Sick. Tired. Crazy. But I swear I'll change!
Ungh. To hell with Flu Shots, Echinacea, Zicam and Orange Juice. Fuck NyQuil. The only way to cure the common cold is with bullets. Preferably silver. Preferably blessed by a defrocked priest by the light of a full moon. I shouldn't expect anything less, working in a home with people whose immune systems make spiderwebs look like I-beams, but c'mon! Now I look like Rudolph, have the energy levelof your average brownout, and the pleasing personality of a South American dictator. The only thing left is to park myself on the couch and watch bad TV until my eyeballs implode.
Every once in a while, Silent Bob slips out of evil kitty mode and surprises me. Today, she spent the entirety of her waking hours attached to me with the kitten equivalent of Velcro. Maybe because I was camped out on her spot, but I hope it was because she feels bad for me. Ok. It was probably the spot. Nothing is quite as comforting as a bowl of chicken soup & a cheese sandwich on a tray, especially with a grey ball of fur and claws trying to nonchalantly fish things out of your bowl when you're not looking.
Once upon a time… I was big and strong and nothing could stand in my way. Once upon a time… fear was reserved for scary stories and things that went bump in the night. Once upon a time… everything could be made alright with a word from mom and a mug of hot tea. Once upon a time… a table draped in blankets was impenetrable by all the forces of evil. Once upon a time… you didn't have to worry about who was outside your window at night. Once upon a time… everything was gonna be ok. Fucking fairytales..
I'm paying a woman forty dollars an hour to listen to me tell her everything is fine. She looks at me, then quickly rips off a band-aid from my carefully placed collection, and informs me (albeit gently) that I am wrong. I look at the spot I thought I had concealed so well, and slip effortlessly into overdrive. No really, I wanted that to happen, see, (as I blink several times) it is fine. Really. I can handle it, and here are my reasons why. Just back me up and neither one of us will get hurt. I. Am. Fine.
It’s amazing what defense mechanisms develop, after a lifetime of denying anything’s wrong. “She’s so self assured” they all say. After a while, your mind just slips into overdrive and every person you’ve seen and studied, just seem to float to the top and take over. You watch yourself doing things you never thought possible. Outside, your smooth, smudge free shell greets the world while inside every fear you ever had plays drunken Twister with your internal organs. After a few years of this, your picture is on the news, and everyone refers to you as “such a quiet girl”…
I decided to buy myself roses yesterday. My mother always laughs, calling this the height of pathetic single-girlhood, but if I don’t do it, who else will? I went completely girly this time, finding a stash of almost favorites. Their creamy white buds edged in deep Barbie pink, their companions solid pink and pristine white, scads of fluffy purple filler in between making one beautiful bouquet. Normally, I eschew all things girlie, but roses are my weakness. I can resist the temptations of jewelry and clothing, but I find it difficult to pass the florist’s without a twinge of longing.
I don’t want to grow up. Well, specifically, grow old. I can already see behavior in myself that’s irritating, and will drive all around me to madness by the time I turn 70. I look at my residents and wonder, “dear god, am I going to do that?” Incontinence, I can deal with. Not being able to drive, I can deal with. I fear that I won’t be able to be myself. That I’ll be writing lists to take to the podiatrist, telling me to keep my underwear on, but take off my other stuff. That even then, I’ll forget…
Remember. We. Are. Professionals. It wouldn’t do to send a child in to do an adult’s work, and it’s pointless to send in an amateur when you need a pro. It’s just like Thompson said, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” There’s no shortage of weirdos right now. Regrettably, the vast majority of them are in control. What we need are drugs, lots of them, and a stockpile of weapons. Barring these, I’ll take a decent typewriter, a press pass, and an outlet with a few dozen readers. Res ipsa loquitor, and let the good times roll.
I came into it fully expecting to hate this newfound touchy-feeliness, this new-agey karmic kaka, but when it was all said and done, maybe it isn’t so bad after all. Don’t think I’ll run out for yogurt and granola (though I do have a good recipe) anytime soon, but there is something to just letting yourself go and just writing. No major epiphany here, just the realization that maybe I am not defined by what people see. I am anyone, when I write, and damn if that doesn’t feel good. But I ain’t handing in my cynic’s card anytime soon.
You know I really hate it when I feel this way. This isn’t me, it’s some strange monster who takes over my psyche from time to time. The sensible shoes lady is exerting her power over me again. Making me hate myself. Making me doubt every move I make. Making me yearn for verbalized approval. I sit here, and worry in silence, afraid that if I let them know… let you know that it will all come tumbling down. This grand illusion is just that. An illusion. I’m nothing but a house of cards blown over by the slightest breeze.
I’m learning to knit. Probably the most sure fire way I can come up with to get carpal tunnel even faster, and cement my rating as the biggest dork on the planet. Though, it’s not half bad once you get past the grey-haired stereotype. The orderliness of it is rather comforting, and the soft clicking of the needles is soothing. For a while you can just get lost in the wrapping and the sliding and the lifting, not worrying about work, the car, or what everyone thinks. You just poke and wrap and lift in an endless cycle of comfort.
I hear the snowplow rumbling by again, and memories flood my mind. I see myself in a pink coat, mismatched mittens and a red and white hat, making a snow-couch in my backyard. I see Larry, Curly, and Moe on the rail of the deck, Curly’s hair (or lack thereof) rendered in birdseed. I see moon boots on newspaper by the radiator, drying so slowly. I want to run out in it again, worship each flake as it comes down, without having to worry about not having boots, or snow pants, or mittens. Just to have fun for a night.
I feel like I don’t deserve this, like somewhere the axe is about to fall. Sure, we achieved perfection, but at what cost, and what happens when it all goes to hell again? This victory just seems so hollow and my reward was unnecessary. I just know someone’s going to come up and say “just kidding, we really knew you were a fuck-up all this time, we just wanted to see how you’d react. Now get out.” Which would actually be quite welcome, would make me feel so much more on the level. I just can’t take any more congratulations
The next time I go on a bender, fall , and get rugburn all over my face, I am so using the presidential excuse. Maybe I’ll tweak it, blame it on a crouton or a cheese-it. I’ll get a lucrative contract with the manufacturers of Chex Mix- call it the “Choke-Free Snack”. I can see it now- of course, this hinges on my becoming rich and famous but quick. If that happens I guess it’s pretty much just expected that I go on benders and fall a lot. Isn’t that what all good writers do? (Aside from die, that is.)
Step right up ladies and gentlemen! Get your very own living, breathing china doll to store in your own suburban box! That’s right! For the cost of a plane ticket and some trinkets, you too can have your very own trophy child to match your trophy wife. Flaunt your philanthropy by bringing back one of these otherwise useless baby girls. Amaze your friends! Impress your boss! Piss off their siblings! These are the ultimate vacation souvenir! And, if you act now, we’ll throw in a free pair of chopsticks, an abacus and some Hello Kitty goodies- so you’d better hurry!
Six strands of plum heather yarn snaking their way across my lap, twitching and jerking as my needles work them into pattern. Silent Bob, in all her reeking, evil badness lies on her back, feet up, doing her best to kill each bit of thread, making sure it’s dead before knitting. As much as she irritates me, I have to laugh at the look of sheer delight on her upside-down little head. Just when I’m used to her claws latched on to the ends of my needles she jumps down, off to stalk wild Bic Stics, and Sharpies to bite.
I know there were meatballs on the stove. I bet they were just like grammy’s. I’m sure the locust and the scourge have probably cleaned the pot out though. The familial equivalent of the biblical plague they are, stripping the refrigerator clean, eating the cupboards bare. Didn’t I buy chocolate milk yesterday? I swear I only had a juice glass full. Did Elvis move in all of the sudden and discover a fetish for cottage cheese? What gives? The only way to keep something in the fridge is to buy what they hate, but even those possibilities are rapidly depleting.
God, I hate weekends on. Sure, I can clean my desk off, that’s it. But, I am stuck holding everybody’s hand. I want to change my business cards to read “Evergreen’s Beyotch” and when asked, present them with a snap of the wrist and a loudly shouted, “RecogNIZE!” but I doubt it will do anything for my position. It would be a hell of a lot of fun though. Actually, I’d settle for people who knew what they were doing, and nurses who didn’t ask me medical questions. (Last time I checked, I didn’t go to nursing school. They did.)
It’s pretty pathetic when your county gets on the national radar because the local fire police are morons. Normally this isn’t newsworthy but the Penryn fire police, apparently not having anything else to do, have decided to boycott the local YMCA triathalon. Why withhold their security? Why are these seven manly men abstaining? Why, you ask? Two words. Harry Potter. After all, Potter starts with P, which rhymes with T and that spells trouble. Yes, after school, the YMCA lets kids read H---- P----- books. Next week, I hear they’re having ritual sacrifices! Ah… enlightenment! Smells like unwashed fire chief.
Watching the Antiques Roadshow, you have to wonder why they even bother asking people “do you know how much this is worth?” Nobody ever knows. In fact, they specifically pick the most slack-jawed, goober rubes to put on the televised parts, in order to make the appraisers look that much more intelligent. Though, what amuses me most are the uppity schleps who think the widget case that great-aunt Clara sent them is really the lost treasure of the Sierra Madre. Then they find out that setting it on fire probably couldn’t diminish the value of the piece. Makes me giggle.
“I love to see a woman on her knees” I could answer with. “As much as I love to see a man hand over his wallet.” Or “And I love to see a man strung up by his nipples in some kind of bizarre Native American manhood ritual. Want to oblige me?” You think he’d get the picture when the last one quit. But, that “Y” chromosome impairs judgment. (he wasn’t gifted in the first place.) But, if I have to hear that one more time, I’ll tell him that I love to see THIS woman’s knee in his crotch.
We had to sign a resident up for hospice today. It’s not like I don’t expect this, especially in this line of work, but it doesn’t get easier with time. I drove her to appointment after appointment, listened to them tell her that her heart is getting weaker, and that there wasn’t much they could do. I am watching a once tall woman waste away, losing control of her bowels and bladder, unable to even sit up in a chair on her own. Is this what lies ahead for us? Why doesn’t it get any easier? Who gets to decide?
Got my goodie bag in the mail today. Quite possibly the most amusing button I’ve seen in a while in there. “Jesus saves! (By using double coupons and shopping wisely.)” Ideal for the folks I have to put up with at work. Truth be told, I’ve been dallying with maybe trying a church again. Elvis knows it’s been years since I’ve gone. I used to be a little goody-goody snot, and went to Sunday school every week. EVERY week. Gawd, who says adolescents aren’t impressionable. At any rate. Universalists, give it your best shot. I don’t have anything to lose.
Some days I just want to say “fuck it.” I want to sit at home, and knit, and read my books. I don’t want to deal with people, well-wishers, concerned citizens, and matchmakers. I want to peruse the Ziesing book catalog, order whatever I want, and be uninterrupted. Is that so much to ask? I want to answer things in my own time, or not at all, if that’s what I feel like. Is that such a bad thing? Sure, winter brings out the navel-gazer in all of us, but I don’t want to gaze, I want to crawl inside.
My desk at work is neatly organized, and disgustingly precise. At home, I have books, clipboards, rubber stamps and old Diet Dr. Pepper cans littering my landscape. Bills I should pay, and Harlan Ellison stares out at me, informing me how messed up the gene pool really is. Why is it that I can be so pulled together at work, and so completely insane at home? Which one is really me? Am I really a complete and utter slob, or am I a neatnik? I never forget appointments, but ask me to find an old letter and we have problems.
Silent Bob’s famous today. Now if I could just get her to haul her ego ridden, fleabaggy butt off my mouse pad, I’d be a lot happier. It’s a hard life being a famous feline. All of those knitting projects she has to bite, all the pantyhose she has to snag. It’s a wonder she has time to eat mice and beat up the dog. Then again, I suppose it isn’t all glamour, like she makes us believe. She still has to crap in a box, and do it in full view of all passersby. Fame. Ain’t it a bitch?
I have to give the guy credit, Jay Russell is one smooth author. It all started with one Encyclopedia Brown fix, and wound up spiraling down into a twisted abyss of tv detectives, thinly-veiled references to Hollywood royalty, and some not-so-thinly veiled jabs at said royalty to boot. Quick, snappy dialogue to make Hammett proud, and thrills me to no end when I read it. If only I could get my fix faster. Good writers are like that, I guess, make you yearn for more. I haven’t had this kind of author jones in a while. Kinda feels good, y’know
Is it just me, or do you wonder where Dick Cheney is? Soon, they’re going to put out arial surveillance photographs of public events, and let you spot him like Waldo. I suspect he’s really just some sort of audioanimatronic device, being repaired. Apparently Gee Dub was tanked up and pissed all over the old one, completely ruining the circuitry on it. All the Veep could say was “Evil Bad. National Rifle Association Good.” So, now our top scientists are working on creating a whole new urine-proof system that will keep our country running, so bunnypants can fiddle along merrily.
Mrs. Jackson, kiss my ass! For the record, Mrs. “action” Jackson was my seventh grade English teacher, who refused to believe “waft” is a word. She never would let me use it on papers, despite my obvious penchant for words well beyond the average seventh grader’s vocabulary. Any time I would try to subtly slip it into my work, it would always come back underlined, with a question mark. I always wondered why she couldn’t just look it up. She was an English teacher after all. You think she’d have been a bit more familiar with the language. Her loss.
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