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"Rabbit, Rabbit, Good Fortune's a Habit!"
One of my ancient, long-deceased aunts assured me as a child that if I began and ended each month with this mantra, my days would be filled with happiness and prosperity. I chanted it faithfully for two years before it dawned on me that it might be a crock. I gradually discarded other superstitions as well, like not opening an umbrella inside the house (how the hell else are you supposed to dry it??). But I still do not change my calendar until after midnight of the new month. It's a way of life.
While I never had much downtime at work before, my days now without my assistant are ones of constant motion and activity. It is like jumping into white water rapids and attempting to keep your head above water while the day sweeps you furiously along. I've tried to think of it as game, keeping the myriad of balls airborne that I do in a typical workday, but I can't make it "fun," not even in my own mind. My insides tighten, I'm bone-tired, I grind my teeth in my sleep, and then do it all over again the following day.
Mark was relating at lunch today how his sister — for reasons known only to herself — had scrimped and saved and sacrificed so that she could go to Las Vegas and see Siegfried and Roy. After almost three years of unmitigated thrift, her dream was realized and she saw their animal-cum-magic act. However, immediately after the show she suffered a serious heart attack, which she survived, with only one complication—she could remember everything before and after her attack EXCEPT seeing Siegfried and Roy. I burst out laughing at this; everyone looked at me, horrified.
I thought it was the punchline.
Thanks to direct deposit, on-line banking and ATMs, I rarely have to go into my bank anymore. However, due to a complex cash transaction, I found myself within its stuffy hushed walls this afternoon. At the teller window in front me stood a woman with her adult child of Downs Syndrome, who was about 19 years old. Suddenly the adult child let rip an explosive wet fart, followed immediately by several rapid, staccato after-shocks.
Dead silence. I think the bank manager fainted. Her Mom, horrified, said reproachfully, "Linda! What do you say?", to which Linda promptly responded, gleefully, "Good one!!"
My friend Jake (see August 25) called me tonight, in a mood. He declared he was tired of being alone, he was tired of seeing me alone, so he was going to turn gay and I would be his bitch. Knowing he needed to talk, I jocularly volunteered to introduce him to the wonders of Gaydom, and then put two beers on ice for one of our heart-to-hearts. Upon his arrival, however, Jake shocked me by grabbing me and kissing me passionately, fervently, full-mouthed, tongues jockeying for position. Jake wasn't gay by kiss's end, but I was, tremblingly, born-again Gay.
Often I feel my 100 Words are blurred distortions of what I am failing to cleanly articulate, like an exercise in writing an unintelligible form of Cantonese. The words come together to form well-shaped sentences, but the meaning is vague and opaque, obscured perhaps by my reluctance to shine too bright a light inside my cranium and see what gives. My 100 Words feel like fold-outs in magazines, advertising a car, designer dishwashing detergent, or the latest unisex cologne; one dimensional gloss that is not always accurate. I want to be unflinching in my honesty, but its awfully hard work.
‘The indecent purulence of your refried hatred diminishes you, minimizes your credibility as a human entity. …Your spiteful philippic sinks like fangs into soft flesh, your callused soul warmed only by the blood resulting therein. …You shit where you eat, and never seem to learn the lesson.'
Excerpts from my letter to EX-husband Tom Cruise, a.k.a. "Fuckbag." Running around behind my back with the likes of Jude Law and Ralph Fiennes! And I innocently unknowing, had it not been for my ally, my pharos, Jesse Helms, praise Allah! (By the way, did I mention I made
Jesse Helms: "Honey, you're breaking up with Tom Cruise AND converting to Islam?!"
Me: "Don't call me ‘honey.' My new name is Abdullah Mohammed Jallala al-Sahid. Oh yes, and I spit upon you."
Jesse: "Why are you spitting on me?"
Me: "Because you're an American."
Jesse: "Why do you hate Americans?"
Me (puzzled): "I'm not sure. I guess because you aid Israel. I haven't finished reading the Rule Book yet."
Jesse: "‘Rule Book?' You mean the Quran?!"
Me: "Whatever." (pause) "Are you Jewish? Because if you're Jewish AND American, I think I'm supposed to hock up a loogey."
Jesse Helms: "You know you can't be Muslim AND Gay, don't you? In some Islamic countries, being a homosexual is punishable by death."
Me (quickly crossing myself, reverentially): "Thank you, sweet Jesus, for delivering me from mine enemies."
Jesse (exasperated): "I pity your poor parents! You must have been the type of kid only a priest could love."
Me (defensively): "Father Roger and I attended vespers together, that's all!" (smiling) "At least that's what WE called it!"
Jesse: "Aren't you forgetting your break-up with Tom Cruise?"
Me (suddenly sobbing): "That fuckbag!"
Jesse (affectionately): "Now THERE'S my little faggot!"
I sold our house. David's and mine.
For a variety of reasons it was an appropriate decision, so a while back up it went for sale. It has been my domicile for fifteen years, nine of them shared with David. This was our dream home; it was the house in which David died. Still, I thought I was ready to let it go. Until yesterday's telephone call from my realtor.
It reminds me of when David passed away. I thought I was prepared for it—until he exhaled his final earthly breath.
Only then did I realize I was not.
Most all of the photos, paintings, tapestries, and decorative impedimenta have been taken down in preparation for moving, revealing the distinct, vibrant silhouettes of themselves against the walls, a vital, visible memory. There is a metaphor here, fraught with a sentiment I should be embarrassed to reveal, about how David's shadow has been cast upon me, a perfect, glimmering imprint, while the surrounding area has quietly, inexorably faded with age. But 'AY! Give me a break. I am physically and emotionally exhausted tonight. Sloppy sentiment is all I can summon up right now. (I will soon leave this house forever.)
I received a call from David's witch of a sister-in-law, Linda, who demanded that half of the money resulting from the sale of the house should go to their family. She advised me to quietly cut a check, without fanfare, or she would create a spectacle and take me to court. I responded, "I'm gay, I love a good spectacle, so take me to court, you fucking cunt," and hung up on her. Little does the bitch know MY paycheck paid the mortgage, David's paid the groceries. If she still wants it, I'll happily regurgitate on her slimy, mean-spirited head.
I'm still seething over Linda's phone call. It isn't the first time she has attempted to swoop in for fast cash.
The morning after David died,
she stated that, since our marriage wasn't "real," she and Michael were entitled to David's share of our savings—the man who, while alive, she couldn't have cared less about. Suddenly he was "family." David's will was obviously made under my "evil" influence, ergo invalid. Her demands ceased when she learned that, due to medical expenses not covered by David's insurance, we had no stock holdings nor nary any savings left. What a cunt.
Now that I have a digital camera, I have to remember to carry it around with me more often. I missed an incredible photo op this afternoon. Although we're experiencing an underwhelming autumn in terms of foliage color, there are isolated spots of real splendor here and there. As I drive home from work I pass this little waterhole that has a magnificent sugar maple near it's bank, resplendent in bright reds and oranges. And wasn't there a swan on its calm surface today, swimming its snowy white self around and through the shimmery reflected tree in the aphotic water?
I had been recently asked to assist in writing and directing a show commemorating our town's 250th anniversary. I said I would think about it, but with everything happening in my life right now, I decided it best to bow out. Until it was announced in today's local paper, naming me as co-writer, co-director, and co-producer. Oh, well. I guess I'm in.
I envision an elegant evening, concert-like, showing off some of the local talent. My cohorts are thinking goofy vaudeville and slapstick. Can there possibly be an in-between??
Maybe a guy singing
whilst spinning plates … HELP!!
I'm hating David's evil sister-in-law Linda tonight with an intensity that sticks, fiery and huge, in my throat, so I'm going to be sophomoric and think up hideous fates that could befall her. Like sealing up her smelly twat with a super-strong epoxy that could only be removed with blasting caps. At least she'd never lose a piece of zucchini up there again (David swore it was true). Or utilizing the same epoxy to cleave her tongue to a sizzling frying pan. Or she might swallow shards of glass, with me standing nearby, making a joyful noise. The nasty gash.
One last rant about Linda suing me for half the sale of the house, and then I won't bring it up again, I swear. As angry as I am at Linda for starting this mess (her lawyer has contacted my lawyer), I'm even angrier at our litigious society that would allow this to happen in the first place. Had I bought the house through "straight" channels, had David been my wife, taking me to court wouldn't even have been a consideration. Instead I'm faced with a lawsuit
that I could possibly lose
because God allegedly hates fags. It's positively medieval.
I have a mild form of synaesthesia, an integration of the senses, which most commonly manifests as people who see letters or words—or hear sounds—as colors. Predictably, my situation is not nearly as interesting or artistically exotic; I experience some abstracts as possessing spatial properties around me. The best example I can give is how I perceive a calendar—October is approximately level with my right hip and about fourteen inches away from me. November lies behind the left side of my head, but is in closer proximity—about three inches from me. December swirls around my ankles.
I went to get groceries this afternoon, and on the way I saw a father and son walking together, the son about 15 years old, all ears, happily animated, passionately gesticulating, and the father, looking at his son with rapturous, beaming pride, and it was clear they were sharing a profound moment together, on a breezy autumn day in New England, the sky milky white, leaves airborne, whirling up above them and spiraling downward, and by observing them, I shared in the experience, by writing it down, I helped to shape it, my acknowledgement lends it its voice, its celebration.
My cats, Cheyenne and Chloe, are aware that something is afoot here, what with the flurry of packing and getting ready for the move. They often look at me with disquieted stares, and walk slowly, timidly around, just like they did when I first brought them home from the shelter. Most telling, however, was how I found them this morning when I awoke; both were on either side of my head, purring loudly, fluently, almost desperately. At first I thought it sweet, until I remembered that cats will purr whenever they feel something profound, including pain and anxiety. Poor babies.
I was told at work today that I might have to go to the San Francisco office for two weeks to oversee its shut down. In the midst of all this packing, I might have to go to California to … PACK. It's not the best news I've ever received, and if things weren't so tenuous at work, I'd try like hell to get out of it. But such an attitude might place my name on the
lay-off list. Of course I could work like a dog and get laid off anyway. Such a myriad of marvelous choices. Oy.
After much practice, I have been able to cultivate the power of lucid dreaming, although it only occurs when a dream is escalating into a full-fledged nightmare. Still, count your blessings, right? So last night I dreamt I was being chased by a man intent on murdering me. I suddenly "awoke" in the dream and took control. I transformed my pursuer into Antonio Banderas and, instead of murdering me, we had sex. Okay, so it was more like rape, but that was the dream portion maintaining its inherent violence. It was rough and nasty and loud, and I awoke satiated.
Although in Boston it merely rained, those of us north and west of the city received our first snowfall this morning. It was coming down at a prolific clip just in time for my morning commute. The scary part was that it actually accumulated. We received about 1.5 inches here; some places got as much as three. It was heavy and wet, and the trees sagged from the weight of its load. By this afternoon there wasn't a vestige of it to be seen, but it's a sign of what's to come. Autumn in New England, thy name is "Short."
Something very strange indeed.
I noticed Chloe, one of my two cats, had jumped up on the back of the sofa tonight, looking up and listening intently to the ceiling. I decided it was simply mice, scurrying about the rafters in their busy existence; but suddenly Chloe, inexplicably spooked, leapt off her perch and landed in what looked like a painfully splayed manner on the floor, before taking off for her hiding place under the bed. Wondering what on earth, I listened closer.
It sounded as if the ceiling was breathing arrhythmically. Reedlike. Labored. Shallow.
It TOTALLY creeped me out.
I have dreamt about David for several nights in a row, because, I suppose, of the impending move. Last night's dream was the most wondrous so far: it was a breezy summer evening; the stars were vibrant, far-flung, infinite in number; we were out on the lawn, laughing uproariously about something. We finally collapsed onto and into each other's arms, breathless, happy. His peculiar, sensual pheromones immediately pervaded my nostrils, consumed my consciousness; I pressed my nose into his neck, inhaled deeply, and whispered, in tear-stained euphony, "This is what I miss most … this is what I miss most."
Hands over hearts for Senator Paul Wellstone and Sir Richard Harris, two very different men who both left this world within twenty-four hours of each other. Sen. Wellstone's politics and my own are identical; he was a great senator and a great human being and his death is heartbreaking. Equally heartbreaking is Richard Harris' demise. As a child I had an enormous crush on him—I found him incredibly dashing. Sen. Wellstone would have liked and respected me; I doubt Sir Richard would have. To him I'd be a "fairycake" and my inability to hold liquor would have appalled him.
I've officially moved from my three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath house, into a two-roomed in-law apartment over my Mom, who really needs to have someone with her, especially at night. The house isn't empty yet by any means; what's there is going into storage later this week. I think my actions inspired Mom—today she gathered my Dad's clothes and put them in bags for good will. At long last, we're both feeling ready to get on with it. But leaving the house was heart-wrenching; I needed to reassure myself that I'm not abandoning David's memory, but moving forward with my life.
Something extraordinary happened. David's brother Michael called to say that not only did he leave Linda and is suing her for divorce, but advised her if she doesn't drop this lawsuit against me, he will counter sue because, after the divorce,
she will no longer be legally related to David.
I have no idea what will happen next. But I do hope Michael follows through with the divorce. He told me he was planning to walk out after Joey was grown and out of the house, but that this deal she's laid on me was the final straw. Way cool!
I watched two recently released thrillers today: "Frailty" and "Insomnia." Without giving anything away, I will say I thought "Frailty" was fair, not a bad directorial debut for Bill Paxton, and a rather interesting twist at the end. But I think it's a mistake to analyze the "message" behind the movie; I don't think one was meant. "Insomnia" is a much richer story; the moral ambiguity presented to the audience made it very compelling to me. And the backdrop of Pacino's character's tortuous insomnia is palpably rendered, further skewing his judgment and blurring his principles. Well-acted and directed, beautifully mounted.
I have a quarrel deep inside me, poking, teasing, testily vicinal. It begins to rise up, with belligerent tumescence, and then just as suddenly quells back towards a quiet grumble. I am unable to determine its origin, its motive, its validity.
I overheard someone say "Thanksgiving is so gay!", and perhaps that stirred an ember. Like we queers actually invented such a holiday. Please. We might admit to Halloween, with everyone dressing up in freaky drag and asking for "candy," but Thanksgiving? Not on your life.
But I'm long past such pettiness. My elusive quarrel is more epochal. More plaintive.
Life has a way of collapsing in on you. Then it heaves upwards and sends you tumbling through an endless expanse of ether. That is how October feels to me. Chaotic. Momentous. Heart-stopping. Unlike Master Jeff, who writes diligently through it all, I need a break. One month, and then I'll return to writing 100 words. I'm hoping on the other side of November things will be calmer, more settled, and I will feel worthy to be part of this again. I'm not disappearing, however; I'll be affectionately lurking, reading these pages, listening to the murmuring voices, experiencing the glow.
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