Okay. I know this is gross, but I had a little realization the other day. I was in Starbucks and had to use the restroom. I went in and noticed it smelled. I thought to myself, Man, Starbucks’ bathrooms always stink. Then I wondered why. Then I realized why. Starbucks is a coffee joint. What does coffee make you do? We all know. I can’t even drink the stuff because it turns my insides inside out. Starbucks bathrooms always stink because all those people are buying coffee then having to go poop. Yuck. I just don’t think I want to go the bathroom there anymore.
That’s about all I can say. Wow. Today I was listening to Talk of the Nation on NPR. They were talking about the primaries, Edwards dropping out, how it’s all shaking down. Anyway, this guy called in and identified himself as a “White, male Southern Democrat.” He voted for Hillary in the primary, even though it won’t count. He then informed Ira that even though he’s a Democrat (supposedly), he’d vote for McCain over Obama because Obama is black. He said he has “Lots of friends who feel the same way.”
For Christ’s sake, people, are you fucking serious? You have to be kidding. What is it with people? Their thinking (if you can call it that) makes no sense. They claim ideologically to believe in the Democratic party, but wouldn’t want a black man for president because of the color of his skin? How does that affect his ability to do his job? Is this caller afraid that Obama won’t get respect as president because he is black? He couldn’t articulate a reason, other than he’s black. He’d rather have a woman than a black man.
Man, I hope one or the other of them wins, just so it isn’t a damn white man. I want something other than what has been to challenge these people out there who CARE about this stuff. The only difference it makes is in their reaction to it! If there were no reaction, if there were no “other” in the color or the gender, then the job would be what is important. Instead, in their racism and misogyny they create issues that don’t actually exist.
Gads. I sometimes wonder if there will ever be change.
My mailman is grumpy. He’s the grumpiest thing ever. I have no idea what bug crawled up his butt, but it has set up residence there and makes Mr. Mailman the grumpiest mailman I’ve ever encountered. I say hi to Grumpy Mailman, he looks at me like he wants to hit me. Maybe he does. He is a mailman after all, and mail carriers are notoriously grumpy, what with shooting up post offices and all that. It’s people like him who gave us the expression, Going postal.
He seems to have a particular problem with my mailbox. It is a new style mailbox. I got it to replace the old style one I had previously. You know, the kind that is a piece of metal bent over into a half circle, flat on the bottom, with a door that has a little handle, and a red flag. My mailman had well, issues, with my mailbox. He could not seem to close the door. I am not sure exactly why, but more often than not, I would go to check my mail and there it would be, door hanging open, mail available for anyone to look at. It was near the street and under a tree. I live in Oregon. It is wet in Oregon. So having my mailbox open under a tree in Oregon meant that even when it stopped raining, the tree continued to drip steadily into my mailbox. And anyone who is paying even slight attention knows that identity thieves love stealing mail.
I wrote a nice note. Dear Mail Person, I wrote. Would you please be sure to close the door of my mailbox? Otherwise my mail gets all wet. Thank you. That’s polite, isn’t it? I called the carrier a “person” and not a “man” (I wasn’t sure of the gender at this point). I said please. I said thank you. What more could one want?
Something else apparently because Grumpy Mail Person did not stop leaving the door open. He also kept leaving the flag up, even after taking the mail. I’d wait and wait for the mail to arrive, assuming it hadn’t because the flag was up. Then I would realize the door was open so there was no way the carrier had not been there. My mail would be inside, damp.
So I decided to go and get another mailbox. I bought a locking mailbox. It is black and kind of historic-looking to match my bungalow. It has a bronze top that makes it look like it’s old. There is a slot that is about 2 inches by 14 inches. I tested the slot to see if it was big enough for magazines and whatnot to slip through. Easy! I was so excited about my new mailbox. I installed it and waited for the mail to come.
It did. It was mangled and torn and the lid to the mailbox was left wide open.
Consternated, I examined the mail in an effort to determine what had gone wrong. It appeared the mailman had folded all the large mail in half. This created quite a large wad of mail, not easily inserted into the slot. This made little sense. Why fold it? I laid it out as originally designed and it inserted right through the slot in the mailbox. No problem. And why had he not closed the lid? Hmmmmm…
Over the next several weeks, my mail was destroyed more frequently than not. Because of the mailbox shape, when the lid was open, it filled with water. This left the mail in a drenched sopping mess. Then one day I received a certificate from the bar association for some pro bono work I had done. Clearly printed in large letters across the envelope were the words DO NOT FOLD. It was folded in half, the crease permanently embedded in the gold-embossed letters of the certificate.
Consternated, I called my mom. My mom is a rural postal carrier. She has worked for the post office for over twenty years. I told her about my mail troubles. She said that if mail did not fit then they were to fold it.
“But it fits!” I told her. “In fact it fits BETTER if it’s not folded in half!”
“Well then you need to call your postmaster,” she told me. “Your postmaster needs to know what is going on because that isn’t called for.”
Have you ever tried to call the local postmaster at a local post office? Have you? Try it. Go to your phone book and look up your post office. Right. See that? See that 1-800 number listed for EVERY SINGLE post office in your area? Do you know what that means? It means that you don’t get a local post office when you call. It means you get the central 1-800 number. It means you get to listen to post office advertising about how great it is to send packages via the US Postal Service. It means you get to listen to some really fantastic music while you wait for a human. I finally connected with the human. She took my story. She gave me some identification number. She told me my local post office would call me back real soon. She apologized for the trouble. Hey, I just want my mail flat and dry. Is that too much to ask?
A couple of days later, the local post master called. He was grumpy. I began to get an inkling that grumpiness and this post office went hand in hand. First he spent about 20 minutes trying to convince me that my mailbox was not post office approved. It was. It had said so right on the box. He asked where I got it. I told him. He said that place sometimes sold not approved mailboxes. I told him that this one was approved. He then said that older mailboxes that had been in stores a while ago and were approved then weren’t always approved now. I told him I had just purchased it the month before. He told me it still didn’t sound like it was right. Finally I asked him if he had spoken to my postal carrier and determined the box was not post office approved. He told me he had not. Then I asked him to hold on a sec. I used my mobile phone and called my mom and asked her. She had seen my new mailbox. She said it was post office approved. I got back on with the postmaster and told him that my mom was a carrier and that she had seen it and that it was approved. He finally let that go. Then he informed me that the carriers were required to fold mail in half.
“That’s crazy,” I told him, “Especially when the mail says right on it ‘DO NOT FOLD.’”
“Well that’s what I tell them,” he informed me. “It’s our policy.”
Well then you need another policy because my mail is getting ruined and it fits just fine without being folded in half. Incidentally, I asked my mom after this conversation if she was supposed to fold all mail in half and her postmaster is just the opposite. They aren’t allowed to fold anything unless it absolutely will not go in any other way. However, I was not privy to this information at the time of this phone call. And I was getting frustrated.
“You know,” I told the postmaster, “I’m getting really frustrated here. My mail is getting ruined. I had to buy a new mailbox because my carrier kept leaving the other one open and I was worried about mail theft, not to mention the fact that my mail was sopping wet 90 percent of the time. Now you just spent ten minutes trying to convince me my mailbox is the problem, and now you’re telling me all my mail has to be folded in half when it makes no sense to do so. Do you have a boss I can talk to because I seem to be getting no where with you.” The postmaster’s tone changed after that. He said he would talk to the carrier and make sure my mailbox was closed and my mail not ruined. I thanked him and hung up.
Over the weeks, not much changed except my mailbox was closed more often than not. It was still left open sometimes, but not as much as it had been. Then the weather improved and I didn’t notice when it was open because the mail did not get all wet. I kept trying to be friendly to my carrier when I saw him even though he frowned at me when I said hello. I gave him a Christmas gift three years in a row. I figured he needed some happiness with that grumpy postmaster of his. The two of them were like two peas in a pod. I would occasionally ask my mother about it, but she kept going on and on about how different city carriers were from rural carriers and how the post office was getting to be such an unpleasant place to work and on and on. I finally quit bringing it up because I didn’t want to hear about it anymore.
This fall, it started getting bad again. In an effort to avoid a call to the postmaster or the 1-800 number, I wrote out a nice note on an index card, put it in a ziplock bag, and taped it to the top of my mailbox. It said: Please do not fold my mail. Also please close the mailbox lid because leaving it open makes my mail wet. This seemed to work. The mail fit perfectly, it was dry, everything was wonderful.
Then about a week before Christmas, I went out to discover the mailbox lid wide open. Now, I don’t know if you are aware, but this has been one of the wettest years I can remember in Oregon and this day had been one of those rainy days where the drops are a half an inch across and soak everything. In the mailbox, my two bills and two Christmas cards were so wet, the letters on the cards were unreadable. I took them in the house. They dripped, literally dripped on the rugs! One of the cards held photos. They were destroyed.
That did it. I was mad. I had maintained some semblance of cool for years while my grumpy mailman went about his shitty day ruining my mail and acting like I was the asshole for bringing it up. I went online and found the US Postal Service website. It had a place for comments. It did not have a place for complaints. I went to the place for comments. I said in the subject, I do not have a comment, I have a complaint. I described what had happened to my mail. I told them that the lid on the mailbox worked perfectly, that it wasn’t rusty, that it closed easily. I then stated I had spoken to the local postmaster before and he had not been very helpful and so I was writing this message to whoever got the comments from the website.
Three weeks later I received an email response. It informed me that my message had been forwarded to the local office and I would be receiving a call within 24 hours. A week later, I had not received a call. I replied to the email. I told them I had received no call in 24 or 48 or even 72 hours, that it had been a week and that I had gotten no call.
The next day I was not home but my brother was here. He said the post office called and would talk to the carrier about my complaint. Good. I was glad. I had not had to speak to grumpy postmaster, but someone had the message.
Two days later, my mailbox was wide open. The mail inside was a sopping ball of paper. Literally, a ball. I removed the mass and held it, dumbfounded. I decided I would drive it to the post office and show the postmaster. And that is what I did. I went to the post office. I waited in the very long line. I approached the counter person (who was VERY nice by the way. All the counter people were. Maybe grumpy postmaster doesn’t affect them very much.) and showed them my mail lump.
“This is how my mail was in my box,” I said. “I have called before, but it doesn’t seem to help. So I thought maybe the person in charge could SEE what I am talking about.”
The counter person looked appalled. “This is how the mail was in your mailbox?” he asked incredulously? “Yes. Exactly. I took it out and brought it in just as it was in the mailbox.”
He went into the back. He was gone several minutes. When he returned, he was carrying a camera. “Can I take this and photograph it?” Of course. So he did. He told me he would show the postmaster. He took down my name and address. I left.
It has been about a month since I did that. My mail has been flat. My mailbox has been closed. My brother went out one day to try and retrieve his mail directly from the mailman because he was here and could do so. My brother said the mailman snarled at him and would not give him the mail. So Derek came in and got the key and got the mail. Seems none of this has made the mailman any less grumpy.
Just now, before I wrote this, I was sitting here working on my book. I saw the mailman out my window. He was walking along carrying the mail. He had a grumpy look on his face. He does not seem very happy. I don’t think he likes his job. I don’t believe he left my mailbox open out of spite, I just don’t think he pays attention. For whatever reason he is caught up in his own grumpiness and pain. It’s too bad. Today is actually sort of pretty. The sun wants to come out, though the clouds are winning. He’s wasting every minute he goes grumbling around. I hope he finds what will make him happy, whether it’s becoming something other than a carrier or learning to enjoy what he does. In any case, I just want him to close my mailbox.
I do not read or watch the news. I know there are those out there who would consider this irresponsible, and perhaps for them this is true. But I know most of it is designed to keep my heart rate elevated and probably also to make me shop, two things I have no desire to experience on a regular basis, so for over a decade I have engaged in a “news fast.”
Ironically enough, this has not kept me from being aware of what is going on in the world around me, although I did not know who Laci Peterson was, the pregnant lady who was murdered, until her husband was on trial (and in fact I had to google Lacy and pregnant to get her name for this, such is my lack of knowledge on the subject). I like to peruse the Living section in the paper and get the little entertainment blurbs. I also like the Metro section and when I’m at Starbucks or see it somewhere, I’ll read a lot of it. This is the section on Portland and surrounding areas, so often the information is useful. I will occasionally glance at the opinions section, and I like to check out the obituaries to see if anyone young died. Weird, I know. All of this is only when I’m at Starbucks or another coffee place that has papers and I’m sitting alone and forgot to bring a book or desire something a little more fluffy than whatever I happen to be reading at the moment.
I never watch television news. Ever. I absolutely hate it. When I last watched news, the stories were less like music videos than they are now. When I catch a glimpse of the news at someone else’s house or in a store where its blaring, it blows my mind how far it seems from anything desiring to impart information. It’s constant noise and visual effects and seriously, it looks like music videos. I hate it.
I am on a few political listserves, MoveOn and People United for Change. I get emails from them and I read through them. I unsubscribed from most of them because when I was getting too much, I never read any of it. At least by limiting the number I can absorb some of the information, but I limit what I take in because there is just so much to get angry about, and I do not want to spend my life pissed off. I know someone once said that if you aren’t mad, you aren’t paying attention, but I can’t spend every minute of every day being angry. I can make choices that hopefully contribute to change, but being angry all the time isn’t going to help anything and will likely make me sick, so my choice is to limit the sheer volume of information, especially about the current administration. Yes, they are power hungry. Yes, they are liars. Yes, they’ve created multiple disasters that will take years to sort out. Okay. I get it, but I’m not spending my time on this planet pissed off every minute of every day.
There is a point to this. I have a yahoo email account. I use it for things like ebay or Craigslist ads, stuff I don’t want in my personal email. When you login to yahoo, the front page is one liner news. I have been following the Heath Ledger stuff. I liked him as an actor. A lot. I thought he was brilliant in Brokeback Mountain, but he was a standout even in his early stuff like 10 Things I Hate About You. And I loved A Knight’s Tale. Plus lately it seems like I keep hearing about people dying from prescription drugs. A friend of mine died last spring from the drugs she was taking for eczema. In December, two friends of mine each had a friend who died in their sleep from taking prescription drugs, and I read it was a possibility Brad Renfro died from prescription drug interactions, possibly with illegal drugs or alcohol. (See my post from 1-22-2008. It’s a bit tongue in cheek, but I noticed all these people dying from prescription drugs.) So I have been following the Heath Ledger story out of interest from that angle as well. I’ll be curious what the autopsy report shows.
Anyway, as I logged in to my yahoo account each day, I saw the stories on Heath and I actually clicked on them and read them. Mostly the yahoo stories seemed to add a new paragraph to the top of the same story while the bottom paragraphs stayed the same. Then the other morning, I went to Starbucks and decided to hang out for a while. I went to the used paper bin and started pulling out the sections I like to read. The front page had a story on Heath, so I grabbed it. Back at my table, I started reading the story and maybe there are those out there who will not be surprised by this, but the story was one hundred percent, word-for-word identical to the stories on yahoo.
Okay. I’m not naive. I know that media is consolidated. But really, do we get one story every time we read the news? Does some person out there get to write it, then that is the story that is copied here, there, and everywhere? For the next several days, whenever I went into a Starbucks, I pulled out the paper and there was the same Heath info straight off yahoo news. It was the same whether the paper was the Oregonian or the NY Times. How boring is that?
I KNOW how publicist’s work. I KNOW that if someone wants something to be the official story, get all the news orgs to pick it up and that will be what’s reported. I KNOW the vagaries of the media conglomorate system. But does that still mean we have to have one story written by one writer that’s put out into the system of what we get to read? That is so boring! And these stories don’t have a byline. They are just bland.
I find this disappointing. Are we all so used to this now that I shouldn’t be surprised? No wonder people often don’t believe what is in the news. You get one story over and over, it’s easy to believe we’re being fed what someone wants us to believe. Reporters are supposed to report what they observe, the truth as they see it. And there are those who believe there is one truth, one thing that factually occurred. But we all know that we each see things differently according to our own conditioning. If we get five accounts of the same event, we can put those together and perhaps get a more flavorful account of something we were not there to experience. When we get one sanitized, flavorless, boring version of what supposedly is, it’s hard not to wonder if there is more to the story. I think we’re all less likely to trust what we’re given when it’s force fed, canned blandness. Or perhaps we’re less likely to question. Don’t question it and don’t believe it. It’s like the television news with its music video visual bombardment, all hype and no substance. There’s nothing there. We’re not being told anything. Here we have the internet and this theoretical access to the entire world, but we’re all being fed the same thing. We have this opportunity for imagination and creativity to flourish, and instead the entire world gets the same thing. Assembly-line news. News like Starbucks. And Target. And Walmart. And Sears. And on and on and on. Even politicians have turned into mass market products to appeal to everyone and no one. Yuck. What a sad state of affairs we’ve gotten ourselves into.
We need a change. I have been sitting here mulling over the sheer enormity of the bland mass marketing of every single thing. I guess people will have to want it to change in order for it to happen. The number of various levels on which change would have to happen to actually succeed is staggering. As such, it’s easy to see why anyone would look at that magnitude, feel powerless, and so do nothing. But that doesn’t work. Each person has to change what they can if they want things to be different. If each one of us does that, anything is possible.
Put me on a plane and fly me to anywhere. The Augustana songwriter who penned the words to this song lived winters as I do. I read some of the forums after the lyrics on a few sites. Lots of people commented that it was about loving someone who is suicidal, and while this interpretation is valid I heard the song differently. You don’t have to be buried in actual pills and blood from your slashed wrists to have the feeling that you will die if you stay where you are, and that the death does not have to be literal. How many people walking around are the living dead, medicating themselves with things, pills, obesity, illness, and on and on and on and on. This song gets under my skin. I just want to get on a plane and fly anywhere. Not away from anywhere. Not to anywhere. Just to be in the sky and marvel that humanity has made it possible to lift our physical body miles in the air.
So a short time back I wrote a rant on people who don’t “believe” in global warming. A man responded to my post. His blog can be found here. I went to his site and started to read. He made me laugh and think. I went back today to read his latest post and he had this great gripefest about laundry. Funny, today was my laundry day too. I still have piles of the shit to fold, but at least I have clothes and at least laundry is the worst thing going on, and comparatively, it’s not that bad.
I decided today that I was going to finally FINISH the fucking laundry. I do a load here, a load there, fold it sometimes, don’t fold it others. It was getting out of hand. So today I washed. It took all day. I have been avoiding this task. I poured it all on my bed so I could not go to sleep without folding it and putting it away. I did not count on a visit from my dad. I expected a visit from a friend this evening, but the dad visit threw a wrench into the entire system. So when daughter wanted me to read to her and she was on the couch because our bed was covered in laundry and it was ten o’clock, I realized I was going to have to let go of the illusion that the laundry would be completed in one day or even one twenty-four hour period. I did manage to separate it out into piles though, socks and underwear in the basket, clothes in a pile, towels and sheets in a pile. What a fucking pain in the ass. But I know, I know. I should be grateful I have clothes to fold and that this is the worst I have to bitch about in this moment. All in all, it really isn’t that bad.
I don’t have an umbrella. I used to have one, a really nice one. But over time it must have worn out because one day, the button to open it stopped working. Then on another it turned inside out in the wind and came detached from the metal skeleton giving it its shape. I have not been able to find another one that I like. I do not want to get a long umbrella, even though those kind provide a great deal of coverage. But lugging one around…Ugh! I want a pocket umbrella, the kind that folds up nicely. Only I could not find one that wasn’t just boring black or navy blue. I have kept looking; not actively looking, but noticing whenever I’ve seen umbrellas for sale. I haven’t found one I like and don’t have one. Here it is January in one of the wettest years I can remember, and I’ve slugged it out in a hat, keeping my collar up and often wearing a scarf and a hoodie.
Then yesterday, I was reading Willamette Week, a weekly paper here in Portland, and saw an article about Portlanders who refuse to use umbrellas. The author postulates that us non-umbrella Portlanders carry no umbrella out of some anti-umbrella solidarity and animosity towards this wet protection device. We are from Oregon! We do not need an umbrella! We will wear our hoodies as a testament to our city! He then encourages us to give up this foolish non-umbrella obsession and go get one, for Christ’s sake. We are even provided with a list of local retailers selling umbrellas for reasonable prices. How convenient and thoughtful!
I am here to tell the author of that article that he misses the point on the lack of umbrellas in Oregon. It isn’t that we take some bizarre pride in going it wet. Not at all! We just live in a grey, dismal, rainy place. It is grey here like 10 months out of the year. We don’t want to go hiking through the grey carrying a boring black or navy umbrella. We want color! But we don’t want to have to carry around some three and a half foot long sword to get it. I mean, I know fencing is popular here, but we don’t go around screeching “En Garde!” and poking our neighbors. Instead of exhorting Portlanders to stop their maniacal unwillingness to use umbrellas, he should be urging umbrella manufacturers to make prettier umbrellas! And of course, they have to be affordable. I saw this fantastic colorful orange and yellow pocket umbrella in NW Portland. Sixty dollars. Sixty dollars! Are they f-ing kidding me? I may as well carry around sixty dollars and toss it on the ground because umbrellas get lost. It’s a fact. I’m not paying sixty dollars for an umbrella, no matter how cute it is.
So since the author missed his chance in his article to tell the umbrella manufacturers to make affordable color umbrellas, let me take this opportunity. Please. I promise Portlanders will use umbrellas if you follow these three simple guidelines: Affordable, folds to go in a purse or pocket, and COLORFUL!! This last is the most important.
Has anyone noticed how much Brad Renfro and Heath Ledger look alike? They could have been brothers. Now they are both dead. Maybe there is a conspiracy afoot to murder blonde attractive men. They had the same eyes. Weird. I bet no one puts two and two together. I wonder if a bunch of non-famous blonde men have died in their sleep from unknown causes. That would be even more suspicious. Very strange indeed.
In any case, I hope Heath did not commit suicide. What a sad choice for him if he did. I have heard of two women near me who died under similar circumstances in the last two months. One was 39, the other was 26. Both were taking prescription meds. Both were found dead in their beds. Neither of them was depressed and neither death was ruled a suicide. I have two friends who were friends with each of them. They died within a week of one another in Portland. Last spring, another friend of mine died from taking prescription meds for exzema.
Considering the number of people in my life who have died from prescription drugs versus the total number I know, it seems the total numbers of deaths are quite high. I’ve known one person who died in a car accident. I’ll bet most would cite car accidents as more likely than deaths from prescription drugs, but based on the number of people I know who have died and under what circumstances, prescription drugs are much more worrisome.
Hmmmm…this is all stream of consciousness, but it is something interesting to think about. Perhaps there is some validity to my unwillingness to take any drugs, including prescription ones.
Hooray for best actor nominee Tommy Lee Jones for In the Valley of Elah and best picture nominee Juno! Sorry to all the “shut-outs,” but we should be glad when there are “shut-outs.” It means there were lots of good films and lots of good acting, and who can complain about that?
As a bankruptcy attorney, I dealt day to day with the fallout of the “sub-prime” mortgage crisis. It’s getting worse. ARM loan rates go up, people have less money to pay their other bills, they get behind, call the bankruptcy attorney. I heard story after story, helped when I could, but the system is broken. There are no safety nets for people.
What I find ironic, and what really actually pisses me off, is that these huge banks have been screaming Deregulation! Deregulation! Deregulation! for years and they got what they wanted. Credit card companies do what they want when they want. Sub-prime home loans are commonplace. What few laws that are left are ignored by greedy lenders looking to suck in any consumer desperate enough to want a home. And now the house of cards is falling all around us and what do the big banks do? Go crying to Congress to fix it for them.
Two years ago these banks asked Congress to punish the shit out of consumers filing for bankruptcy claiming they were losing too much and consumers were getting away with something. Consumers need to take better responsibility for their financial decisions! They need to pay for their mistakes! Congress jumped on board and passed some of the worst legislation ever designed. It ignored reality and served a very rich few. It has not stopped bankruptcy, it has only made it a bigger pain in the ass. Now the banks are suffering from their own stupidity and greed and they want Congress to fix it for them. What happened to RESPONSIBILITY? What happened to paying for your own MISTAKES? How about we create legislation like the bankruptcy laws and stick it to their asses? Oh no, they’ll whine. You can’t do THAT. It will hurt the ECONOMY! Fuck, the economy is a mess. Anything that looks like stability is an illusion. Consumer purchases are paid for by borrowed money. The US is in debt up to its eyeballs. It’s going to come crashing to the ground. It is inevitable. Congress can pretend to try and bail out these stupid fucking banks, but it’s only going to be a bandaid.
Capitalism is a triangle. It requires a bottom to keep the shit running. It also requires a down to every up. We have been in a pretend up for a very long time. It’s going to come back down. Everyone who is on the deregulation boat is going to get what they deserve. There is a reason we don’t want pure laissez-faire capitalism. There is a reason we need to regulate. We only need to look at China to see what capitalism without regulation looks like…children working horrible hours for worthless pay, no safety standards, a good deal of the country in poverty while a rich few sit back with guns, shooting those who dare to question them.
Okay. I have to stop. I’m getting all irritated. I just find it ironic that the same banks who worked so damn hard for deregulation are the same ones that want us to bail them out.
What is it with servers in upscale restaurants telling patrons that everything is their’s? What is the soup today? Well, I have the red curry muttonchop pecan basil noodle with french onions. You do? Really? Did you get that mutton yourself or did you have someone do it for you? And tell me, is bread offered with the meal? Well, no. I do not offer bread. What is that? Do they want us to think that they are the ones in the back preparing the meal, like we’re having some kind of personal relationship with this person or something? We’re supposed to pretend that the kitchen doesn’t exist and assume it’s all created out of thin air by some supercillious server?
And what is up with the attitude? Are they trying to act like an ass as a means to intercept my acting like an ass? Do they think that if they treat me with a superiority complex then perhaps I won’t roll mine out? Get over yourself. You’re doing your job. I’m buying some food and perhaps enjoying some company. End of story. Stop with the attitude already.
Finally, the food. Why is chicken noodle soup a “chicken broth basted pasta with basil and onion”? Uh no. Chicken noodle soup. Call it what you want. Charge fourteen times what it’s worth if you want to, it’s still chicken noodle soup!
Status anxiety in restaurants is the most annoying kind. Customers go in and treat the wait staff like crap because they are servers. Servers treat the customers like crap because they want the customers to know how busy and important their restaurant is. Restaurants cater to customers who believe they are busy and important because of how much money they have or the job that they do. All of it is so damn annoying and obvious. It makes me want to scream.
One time, shortly after graduating from law school, I was eating at a restaurant with a law school friend. While we were there, a law school alum and acquaintance who had been hired by one of the big ten firms in town came over to say hello. He flipped his business card at us. It was so pretentious, I had to wonder what he wanted to prove. He literally flipped it, holding it in two fingers. My friend and I discovered after leaving the restaurant that the place had just that week been voted one of the “Top Eats” in town and was a place to “See and be seen.” Getting a table there was supposed to be a feat in and of itself. Oh, okay. Business card now makes sense. Unfortunately, we were not duly impressed, we were only confused and thought it was weird. How had we gotten a table? Was it because my friend had an Australian accent? Did we give off “lawyer vibe” in our jeans and sweaters and lawyers were customers the restaurant wanted? We had no idea. That’s how it is with us not on the radar types. We had gotten a table without even trying at a restaurant where getting a table was apparently a difficulty and we had zero clue. I want to stay off the radar. I want to go somewhere and eat food because it tastes good and the company I’m with is enjoyable. I don’t want to concern myself with how busy and important the restaurant is or how impressive I am.
I ate at a restaurant today that inspired this bit of restaurant philosophy. The server was friendly until she discovered we were not ordering large quantities of food, appetizers, an entree, a dessert, and wine. It felt to my friend and me like she made an assumption about us because her attitude towards us changed after we ordered small meals. She called everything hers and the food all had pretentious names. Our order wasn’t exactly as we had asked for and she appeared at our table as infrequently as she could get away with. As this occurred, I enjoyed the company of my friend and thought briefly about this experience. She doesn’t know how much money I have or who I am. What if I had an important job (as defined by American culture) and lots of money? What if I frequented restaurants on a regular basis? Whatever her reasons for treating us like we were beneath her and for giving us terrible service, I will not go back to that restaurant anytime soon and I did not tip more than ten percent.
Every day brings me closer to the decision to move. I think I’m finally completely there. I have a realtor I spoke to in the fall. I’m planning to call him this afternoon. There are also several house things I need to finish that I can work on while I’m unemployed…in between writing pointless blogs and working on my book and articles.
This place does not like me, in spite of my liking it. It’s kind of like unrequited love with a place. Unrequited love is my theme. I am ready for a new theme. I want a place that loves me. I want a job that loves me. I want a man who loves me. And I am so ready to love them in return. I just don’t want to be the one doing all the work anymore.
So while taking the steps to leave, I’m searching for somewhere new. I’m curious where that will be.
61,872 new posts today! I’m going to hurry and post this before writing more and see if it goes up to 61,873. No! It didn’t! Bummer. I actually thought it would flip ahead like 8000 or something. But no. Neither.
My daughter woke up early this morning. Fidget. Fidget. Then that woke up Piper. Piper is an I’m AWAKE now! sort of dog. I don’t want to suffer through four snoozes on the alarm. The alarm went off. It’s time to get up. Feed me NOW! He jumps off the bed with his short little legs and starts to whimper. And whimper. And whimper. And whimper. And whimper. And…Piper! Shut UP! That only makes it worse because he then knows you are awake and only faking it. I’ve tried just picking him back up and putting him back in bed, but then he plods around on it trying to get comfy but he can’t because he’s hungry (at least that’s what I think is going on) and possibly because his legs are so short that walking on the bed for him is like crossing rough terrain for us, so he jumps off the bed again and the whole thing starts over. Somewhere in the middle of all this the alarm goes off again making it all a moot point. Yes, Piper killed the snooze alarm button. That sounds like a cool title for a song. Piper killed the snooze alarm button (gettin’ jiggy wit it in my chair).
So this morning, Piper didn’t kill the snooze alarm button because it is Saturday and the alarm was not on. HOWEVER, this did not stop Milla from wakening early and starting to fidget which woke Piper up. I’m lying there trying very hard not to move and acknowledge to either of them that I am awake. Unfortunately, Milla is the sort that thinks that if she is awake, everyone else must be awake too. She’s not loud about it. She tries to be sweet, I recognize this. Only it’s SATURDAY and there is NO ALARM so can we please lie there blissfully for a little time anyway?
No. No, we can’t. Because Milla is awake and Piper is awake. Mama, I have to go potty. Really bad. I feel like my bladder is going to explode. Okay, well. So go then. But it’s so full. Well, then go pee. But I want you to come with me. Milla, I do not want to come with you. If I get up, then I will have to pee too and then I’ll be awake and I don’t want to be awake yet.
Uh oh. There goes Piper. Our voices got him started. Uh oh, Milla. Now you did it. Now you’re going to have to take Piper potty too and give him food and water or he won’t stop. I know this. So then we went back and forth and back and forth, Milla telling me she had to go potty, me telling her go ahead and get it done, and Piper whimpering. Then me telling Milla to feed the dog too and Milla telling me no and me telling Milla since she woke up Piper she gets to deal with Piper.
Finally, finally Milla’s bladder couldn’t stand it any longer so she got up and went pee. Piper followed her. She came back to bed. Piper followed her. She did not feed or water him. Piper grew much more insistent. I mean, that little girl was up. She was OUT of bed. She even walked into the room where the food dishes are, and she didn’t feed me? What the hell is up with that? Hey, who can blame him? I would have been annoyed too. So I pointed out that Milla not feeding and watering Piper was cruelty and that the devil would dance on her bones for starving a poor, defenseless little dog, and how could she be so cruel? Piper in the meantime has not stopped whimpering. In fact, his plaintive little noises could be characterized as whining now. Full blown whining. And Edna and Molly heard the words “puppy chow” so they are up too, Edna shaking and making her tags rattle and Molly dancing around like it’s a party in 1999.
Blissful, comfortable, drifty Saturday morning? Nah. I don’t think so.
Have you ever had a brilliant thought in the car or in the middle of the night when you’re too tired to get up and do anything about it then the second you’re in a place you can write it down it’s gone? I suppose that is what separates the successful creators from the unsuccessful ones, either the ability to remember those brilliant ideas or the wherewithall to drag your ass out of bed to write the thoughts down. There is that little thing though, about something seeming brilliant in the edges of sleep, and it turns out to be pretty crappy in the light of day.
Apparently this brilliant piece of drivel was my post number 45. I don’t know why I didn’t post it or name it. I was probably distracted by living in some other moment than the one I was in, longing for Ron or Frederick or some other figment of my imagination and not paying attention to the moment I was in. So today I’m fiddling around with my wordpress account, creating a new theme, doing something different, and I notice there is a little button above where I compose that says DRAFTS. And after DRAFTS it said Post #45. So I clicked on it and found this tidbit of thought. I remember typing it, but beyond that I don’t recall much. However considering I have wasted many days in the last several weeks not living in the present and focusing heavily on the male figments of my imagination, I can reasonably assume that one of them is the reason the post was interrupted and forgotten. How sad it is. How sad indeed.
When I consider the hours, days, weeks, months, years I have wasted living outside the moment I am in….ah well. I suppose lamenting this would be futile as well. There is no way to retrieve those moments. I can only hope I remember to live in the present going forward.
Today is particularly difficult. I must remember this is only about my third day of understanding, and I would not say it’s full understanding or that my brain is in a groove with it yet. I would suggest to myself that this will take some time, but I don’t want to limit things. At least awareness is present, so that should help. But today I have been wanting to live my old patterns. I have been fighting the urge to leave the messenger on in the hopes that one of the figments will communicate with me. He has, but it has been little. I heard something on the radio that reminded me of the figment and felt something funny in my stomach. Reminder again, he’s a figment, he’s a figment. Get here. Look at the sky. Isn’t it cool? Look at the clouds swirling in the late afternoon light. The sun wants to peek through. It is cold, but it is bright. Okay, I’m here.
Post #45. Sounds like a mile marker. Perhaps I can find some interesting metaphor for the milepost to help me remember that the other stuff is all just figment. It is where I have been in this qwest to live in the moment and to avoid living somewhere else. It can help me give up the figments who are really only synapses firing in my brain. Here I am. Here is this bright computer screen. Here are these keys that I type on so effortlessly. Here is the heater on my cold feet and my bladder that feels as if it would like to be emptied. Click on the mute button so if the figment sends you an IM you do not scramble in an attempt to respond immediately, thereby engaging the figment or hoping the figment will communicate further with you. Relax. Breathe. You are here right now. And that is all that matters.
I hope all the naysayers out there who want to claim climate change isn’t happening are the first ones to drown when sea levels rise. Don’t try and tell me bees spontaneously die off en masse every few thousand centuries or that “random” changes occur up and down, and we’re just in an “up” period. There is nothing random about what we are experiencing. It’s just too fast.
When I was a child, the state I grew up in had predictable weather patterns, patterns that had held since the state became a state in the mid-1800′s (and probably for centuries before white man came along and took notice). Ten years before Al Gore was trying to convince us that the world is getting warmer, I noticed the patterns changing where I live. Again, it’s just too fast.
Go ahead, you who want to claim science is wrong. Keep doing things the way they have been done. You can choke on your money as you drown in the rising oceans and burn in the unprotected atmosphere. Good luck to you. Maybe the planet will have a small chance at survival if all of you are bones at the bottom of the sea. Those of us who are left can work to live in harmony with what is left of the planet after you’ve finished raping and pillaging and finally drowning in it.
I have been thinking a lot lately about being present in the current moment, living right here right now, because living anywhere else gets me into trouble. I have been struggling with this concept for some time now. I think I originally started with the Tao Te Ching a couple of years ago, and at that time it seemed right, but I didn’t start to live it. Then I lived the worst year of my life and the concept was placed before me in a book by Pema Chodren called When Things Fall Apart. There were moments last year where existing hurt so badly, where if I had not had my daughter I would have chosen to die (although some of the moments would not have happened without having my daughter because they came from problems with my ex and his girlfriend so who knows how things would have been). In any case, I did not want to be here I hurt that much. During those moments, sometimes the only way I could get through would be to read the book about being in the moment and be in that moment reading that book. Or I would lie in bed and hold my daughter and focus on that moment alone to get to the next.
Then Peter came along and I became obsessed with his lying and cheating and totally tossed all the living in the moment out the window. Focusing on him took the focus off me. But that got old and I finally chose to walk away. Since him, I have had a series of “relationships” where in each case, the man would be there but not be there or disappear or act in any number of ways that were not present. Finally, I have been communicating with a man for over a month via email, chat, and phone, who makes no effort to see me in person despite ample opportunity and despite many claims that he would like to meet. And with him I just realized I was projecting this entire what could be scenario onto him and absolutely not living in the present. He’s this, he’s that, he’s everything I think I want, yada yada, but these are all external things. They are not him because he is not real. He is not here. I have never seen his face in real life! Jesus, it’s ridiculous!
And it dawned on me, what the hell does the universe have to do to get me to understand this point? After the last couple of years, I have lamented to anyone who would listen, if the universe just told me what to do, I would do it. But the universe did just that: it gave me the Tao Te Ching over two years ago. I did not live it. It gave me the worst emotional pain I have ever experienced and I did not live it. It finally gave me a series of relationships whereby each subsequent man was less present than the first. It finally took one who is really not here for me to think, “What in the world am I supposed to be learning from this?” I was asking this question before, but I was NOT getting it. Now I think I’ve got it and I wonder, why the hell was it so hard to fucking figure out?
So now I am here and I am trying to live in each moment. As part of this, I am trying to accept who I am in this moment, not to judge, not to criticize, not to worry, just to be. And it is the most peaceful I have ever felt. I have been worrying incessantly about where my next dime is supposed to come from. I have been terrified of owing taxes and where my next mortgage payment is coming from. But all of those things are not hurting me right now. In this moment, the mortgage is paid. In this moment, no one is taking anything from me because I owe taxes or my family-law attorney. I am going with the dharma, existing here and now. Why waste this moment worrying about what is not happening, right now?
Yet here is where I get confused. I need to find some way to earn money. I do not want to wait until the moment when my house is being repossessed to realize that that moment sucks! There has to be responsibly planning for the future without sacrificing the now. Only I have no idea how to go about it. Another big part of all of this process is choosing the life I lead in a manner best suited to who I am. I chose law school to escape where I had been rather than to choose a life I wanted. This was a terrible reason. I hated being a lawyer. It was the biggest mistake I have ever made. I wanted to write so I chose law school thinking I could make money writing and because I feared that I couldn’t make money writing any other way and feared that my writing wasn’t good enough and made this major life choice without having had any idea what my life would be like. It was all about escape and fear and concerns about what other people thought about me and making money and nothing about living my life on my terms or accepting who I was or what I could do without worrying about other people.
So now I am trying to make active choices about who I want to be, what kind of life I want to live, doing things that nourish my soul, and at the same time, I have to pay the mortgage. One part of me says keep doing these things you need to be who you are. Write the articles and books. Try to teach the classes. Do the astrological consultations. And if you do these things, money will flow to you, because you are doing what you need to do. But I admit it. I’m afraid. I’m afraid if I don’t take more active steps like even applying at Starbucks or putting this house on the market before I get behind on the mortgage, I will lose this house and end up in a worse position than I am in now. It is all coming from fear. I do not trust the universe to take care of me. I suppose that is the crux of it, isn’t it? Maybe I should pay attention and try to get whatever lesson is in this before life gets really rough, like it did with the living in the moment stuff. But I just don’t know how. So I am asking the universe, please, give me some guidance and I will pay attention. I will do what I have to do to pay attention so you do not have to bonk me on the head. I will do my best to trust and have faith that I will be cared for and that everything will be okay. I don’t suppose I have any other choice.
I wrote to my good friend Goro in Hawaii. Because he is a fellow space creature, I asked him if he had seen the mother ship, that I was lost. He told me had not been able to locate the ship. He wondered whether I could take him to my leader. I had to tell him that I have no leader and that I have no brain.
“Haven’t you read the letter I received from Brain Restorative Services, LLC?” I asked him?
In case you are not aware, my brain was lost over the Bermuda Triangle some time ago. Aliens have no interest in me because there is no brain to probe. At least they are leaving my anus alone. There are some benefits to being brainless. I mean, you could end up president, you know? Then instead of taking people to your leader, others would bring people to you. If you were so inclined, you could pass them on to the aliens to study.
What makes a man marry? I saw this headline today on Yahoo. I’m sure they have they trot out the same boring answers, yada yada yada. Well, I’m here to tell them that the answer is easy. It’s a little date-rape drug women use on men called Beer. I was made aware of this oft-abused substance via a public service email a few days ago (Thank you, Carin, for bringing this to my attention!). It really brought to light for me the extensive insidiousness of this substance and its entrenched toehold in American society. People complain about the tobacco companies, but what we really should worry about is the proliferation of beer. How many unwanted hookups have occurred because of this toxic substance? How many, dare I say it, marriages? It is truly frightening indeed.
Brad Renfro died. Why is it this makes me so sad? Another young actor taken by drugs. It happens. I loved that kid’s energy. I noticed it early. He just had a presence. He was in the movie, Sleepers. Now, there was a movie with tough material. Unbelievable material. He was amazing in that awful story. Everything horrible that happened to the character in that movie showed on that kid’s face. Later when I heard of him having drug problems, he reminded me of River Phoenix and I hoped it wouldn’t end up being what he was known for. He obviously chose a path to learn something, but I don’t think he got it. Now he will have to come back and do it again.
There is so much I don’t understand. I’m not sitting here lamenting the travesty at the waste of youth; I get it that young people die as well as old people. I’m not lamenting the shame of it, although I recognize that it is a shame and that is something to lament. What I don’t understand is what his energy was like right before he died. What was out there? If he had made a different choice than the one that led to his death, would he realize he had dodged a bullet?
The news headline says “Troubled Actor Brad Renfro Dies at 25.” That’s what they call him, “troubled actor.” It sucks. We won’t see talented kid whose presence affected people. At least I noticed him. He may not have had the blockbuster of Haley Osmont or Dakota Fanning, but he could act and he continued working. He was this little kid and he had access to his emotions, could put them out there for us on the screen. People magazine called him one to watch under 30 when he was 13 years old. Maybe that is part of why he was troubled, those available emotions. Maybe not. Maybe he just started taking drugs for fun and then could not stop. But I looked at his bio on IMDB and saw that he was raised by his grandma. Sounds like maybe things weren’t so kosher at home. I doubt this all happened in a vacuum.
Addendum: A few days after his death, I did some searching and discovered on Wikipedia that he indeed had trouble at home before he was ever cast in a movie. He’d had run-ins with the law by age ten, and the director who cast him in his first movie, The Client, saw that maturity and pain in his eyes that I saw on the screen as well. Apparently, the director said he wanted “a tough and savvy survivor, a kid with an authentic Southern accent, a kid from a trailer park, like the character in the movie.” He then found Renfro in a police station.
Over the next couple of weeks, if they deem him a big enough star to warrant any attention, the rag mags will trot out all the stories, rehash his “troubled” history, and come to the same sad conclusion that Hollywood is terrible for kids. But I think they miss the point. Troubled dysfunctional families are terrible for kids. Not having the time to develop the tools to deal with growing up in troubled dysfunctional families is terrible for anyone, whether in Hollywood or not. Growing up in families that don’t give you those tools forces us to sink or swim. And sometimes, even when you think you’re swimming, you may only be treading water.
I have decided I’m going to become a character on the Simpsons. I don’t know who yet, but I would rather be a Simpsons character than a human. I could have blue hair and no one would bat an eye. I’d only have three fingers, but that wouldn’t be so bad. And everyone stays the same age forever. Good times!
I remembered this morning something that was said to me by the man I liked who has now disappeared. He said his biggest flaw is that he often changes his mind. Maybe I should have paid bigger attention to that? Sometimes we ignore what is most obvious. I know I shouldn’t care, because enlightened, perfectly mentally-healthy people aren’t supposed to care, but I’m thoroughly embarrassed at the prospect of telling my counselor how this has gone. And it’s not like I can’t say something. I gushed last week. Actually gushed. Eewww. I don’t gush often so it stood out. I know she’s going to ask and I’m going to have to fess up and it is going to suck, pure and simple. Humiliation, my favorite emotion.
I actually have a policy of not telling people about the men I’ve been seeing because they never turn into anything. That became another humiliation, all the times I’d say something about someone I was seeing and then it would crash and burn and then I’d have to explain it. The worst was last summer when I had a party. One of the primary purposes of that party was to introduce my fab new boyfriend to all my friends.
He didn’t show up. Yeah. That was good. The party sunk to new lows when another friend kissed me. Small problem. That friend is married. Um, can you stop? He did, but it was weird. We had gone into my bathroom together to look at the bookshelf I’d built. I’d had a couple shots of vodka. Considering I drink maybe once or twice a year, two shots of vodka was like bathing in alcohol for me. Come on shoot one, it will be fun! Those party friends don’t understand how it is for us non-drinkers. Aaaanyway, new boyfriend wasn’t at my party. I was in the throes of shame. Then bam, friend lays one on me. He’d had a few too many beers himself. We were in there, kissing, when I remembered his wife. Um, wife? Oh yeah. So we stopped. Then knock, knock, knock. Who’s in there? I need to go potty! Out come two very sheepish and shamefaced humans. Unfortunately, the only folks left at the party were those same friends who had encouraged my alcohol consumption. You know, the types who stay late at parties, drink a lot, and enjoy such shenanagins, live for them in fact. The ones who drink the most, start smoking when they never do in real life, leave last, and ceaselessly discuss what happened there for weeks. They kept trying to take each of us out for lunch and get us to fess up. Fortunately, neither of us caved. But it was weird. Weird. Weird. Weird.
What is this, blog confessional? I read an interesting article yesterday. It was about success and failure. The author theorizes that to find true success, embrace your failures. Fuck up royally? Say so. It’s liberating. I think I’m already on that side of the fence. I’ll just discuss my pathetic love life on a blog that has been read by persons in Pakistan. Pakistan! In societal terms, I think I’m quite a fuck up. Well, maybe not. On the surface, I think lots of my acquaintances think I’ve got it quite together actually. What the hell do they know? Of course, since I’ve ceased informing them when I find a new man, they don’t get to hear how the new man disappears, so that is one area where I don’t seem quite as much a fuck up, just a bit of a non-trier. But that’s okay. I don’t mind being a non-trier. None of them ever try to fix me up with any of their friends though. I don’t know if it’s that they don’t have any friends to fix me up with or if they wouldn’t want to connect me to their friends in that way….wouldn’t sic her on a friend, no way! I don’t know.
Perhaps rather than blog confessional, I should enlighten my small readership with my ideas on politics and society. Nah. I’m too tired at the moment. I’m trying to go off Starbucks chais. They cost too much. They cost less than they could because I don’t get milk, but even if I drank just one a day per month, the total monthly charge would come to $45. Since I often drink several a day, I can only imagine how well I’m lining Starbucks’s pockets. I’m considering getting a job there. Maybe they’ll be willing to hire a no longer wants to be lawyer. Last year, no one who wasn’t in the law field would touch me with a ten foot pole because I’d been a lawyer. I was finally able to finagle an interview at a temp service. The man there said it was only because I was Libbie’s friend that he was interviewing me. He said if my resume had come in on its own, he would have tossed it. Overqualified and something must be wrong. I said what is wrong is that I can’t find a job. Plus it was a temp service. What were they afraid of, that I’d quit?
So I suppose I shall stop this random nonsense and find something to do that allows me to fizzle on in anonymity. Anonymity is good. I like it here.
Oh my gosh! The Vanishing Meter is so damn accurate. I completely forgot about the thing. Then last night, I was lying in bed contemplating my latest disappearing man, remembered my red meter, and poof! A lightbulb lit in my head. Remember the Vanishing Meter! This was a case where the meter was kind of pink at first, and not all the way to the top. But after I met the man and spent time with him, it was as red as the meter could go. After spending time with him, I did not believe the meter would work. But now he has disappeared. That meter is dead on, I swear. I’m going to have to figure out a way to market this thing and make some money. I’ll get a patent even though I didn’t invent it. I discovered it, and that’s all that matters. Kind of like a pharmaceutical company going into India and patenting a medicinal flower the natives have used for centuries. Doesn’t matter if I didn’t invent it if I discovered it, right? Wow. I’m excited. Maybe this is my ticket to the big time. And I won’t even have to share the money with a man because any man I would want to share with will have disappeared. I know. I know. There is that cliche’ about money not buying happiness, but there is also that response that it sure makes the misery bearable. I’ll bear it–on a yacht in the Mediterranean! Thank you, Vanishing Meter. At least I’ve found the silver lining.
Oh, I just thought of something even better–a marketing idea to go with the Vanishing Meter! I could sell the Vanishing Meter™ and with it, I could sell special rags for drool AND for the disappearers to use after they crap their pants at the thought of someone having a red Vanishing Meter™! Wow! I’m onto something even bigger than before! These rags, they could be like those little plastic things that close bread–a simple, little idea that made millions. They will be of a special absorbency and cost very little. What a concept! I could even market on late night television…order the Vanishing Meter™ now, get two absorbency towels for $3.99!
I’m going to go plan my Mediterranean vacation now.
Today I was walking through my house to get to the back porch to feed my dogs. My greyhound was so excited at the possibility of food, she shoved her nose up my butt to hurry me along. She’s done this before. It works. Cold nose in my butt, I move more quickly to escape the nose in my butt. Dog wins.
Who says dogs don’t have a sense of humor.
And the one, having failed to express anything for thinking the other not interested, causes the other to think the same and therefore to leave.
Hold your cards close. Show your hand. Show one card. Show two. There seems to be no only answer. But how much fails to start for the lack in deciding which is the proper course of action? How many have stumbled because all of us concern ourselves with wondering what the other is thinking rather than simply asking? It is because even the simple asking can be a showing of our own cards, thus compromising our position. I hate the gamesmanship of it, yet it is there, and it is required when there is more than one and there is no way around it.
I don’t know much, but I know I cannot live here much longer. I have to go somewhere where it is sunny more than it is in this place. The summers are beautiful, but they are too short-lived. It rained most of August this year. And the other ten months…ouch. The grey and the mold depresses and dampens me. I turn into another person. I need the sun. I need to see light. I have rarely needed air conditioning. I have been my best on the hottest days. Everyone else is complaining and I’m soaking it up. I get cold in the air-conditioned buildings and go sit in my car with the windows up on those hottest days, warming my bones, heating up my core.
The sun is out today and it is telling me something. It is saying get out of that cold and damp. Come be with me somewhere warm most of the time.
I can write anywhere. I can’t survive here. I have little doubt that if I do not leave this place I will die sooner rather than later. I may have a physcial body moving around, but it will be spiritless.
I read John Mayer’s blog post for December 26. It made me laugh. Douchebag. Apparently, google searches for his name and the word douchebag alone bring up quite a few hits. Top on the list was another musician. Several other muscians and actors followed. He discusses the pleasure of the sound of the word, likens the air flowing through the lips to sliding across a wooden floor in woolen socks. I suppose it does have a sort of enjoyable wwwwooooooshhhh across the lips. Only it’s douchebag! Eewww! Douchebags are gross. Think about it. They are bags of water with a tube attached to clean out the vagina. I suppose the bags themselves never get into the vaginal canal or touch whatever is rinsed out, but still. Ick.
Mr. Mayer…If it is indeed Mr. Mayer. My ex suggested to me that Mr. Mayer does not write this stuff himself. However, having heard interviews with him, the tone and style of his blogs are quite consistent with his natural speaking voice so I tend to believe Mr. Mayer wrote the post. Mr. Mayer…Mr. Mayer? No, Johnny. Johnny then goes on to analyze what precisely makes a douchebag. He points out that it is quite possible that those using the word douchebag probably do not like the objects of their affection because they are different than the users of the word, and that they are often expanding artistic direction in ways that do not appeal to the users of douchebag. Johnny concludes that true douchebags are those who treat others with disrespect. It is implied that the douchebag word users are the real douchebags.
Johnny doesn’t say this, but it is quite likely the douchebag word users are jealous of the objects of their affection. The word users are sitting home flinging word shit on their computer at actors and musicians who appear to live the diamond life, being famous, getting the girls, spending the big money. And there is something about the level of vocabulary of the type who regularly employs the word douchebag and in the context described by Johnny, as well as the types of people they choose to use it about. They criticize what they are paying attention to, the actors and the musicians. I started to type that they probably read People and Us mags, but actually, they probably don’t read paper at all. They get their news from Yahoo front page and Myspace entertainment. Then they call people they don’t like douchebags. They ignore politicians and people creating real harm. It is not a word used to discuss those I would perhaps consider douchebags, people like George Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and their ilk. I actually prefer fascist terrorist-producing sociopath dictator wannabees myself, but douchebag does seem to have a ring to it that may be quite appropriate under the circumstances.
Anyway, interesting blog choice, Johnny Boy.
I made this story up for my daughter one night when she wanted me to tell her a story. The next night, “Tell me the story about Little Fish.” Huh? I had thrown it together on the fly. But she remembered every detail so as I began telling it, she would fix it. Together we recreated it. Then every night I had to retell it. After a bit, it gained nuance and tone. I finally wrote it down. She still loves it.
Little Fish lived in the ocean. She wanted to swim up the stream where she had been born.
Little Fish decided it was time to go. She started up the stream.
But then she saw a fisherman fishing along the banks of the stream, so Little Fish went back to the ocean to wait for a while.
She waited and waited and decided again that it was time to go back up the stream.
Little Fish swam and swam, past the place where she had seen the fisherman.
But as she swam, she saw an eagle, high in the sky, looking for a fish to eat. So Little Fish went back to the ocean to wait for a while.
She waited and waited and decided again that it was time to go back up the stream.
Little Fish swam and swam, past the place where she had seen the fisherman, and past the place where she had seen the eagle high in the sky.
But as she swam, she saw a giant fish, lurking in the shadows along the riverbank, hoping to capture its next meal. So Little Fish went back to the ocean to wait for a while.
She waited and waited and decided again that it was time to go back up the stream.
Little Fish swam and swam, past the place where she had seen the fisherman, past the place where she had seen the eagle high in the sky, and past the place where she had seen the giant fish lurking in the shadows.
But as she swam, Little Fish saw a monstrous brown bear, reaching into the water, looking for its next meal. So Little Fish went back to the ocean to wait for a while.
She waited and waited and decided again that it was time to go back up the stream.
But every time Little Fish swam up that stream and back, she grew a little bit more. And she was no longer such a Little Fish, but a very Large Fish.
This time, Little Fish swam boldly past the place where she had seen the fisherman, past the place where she had seen the eagle high in the sky, past the place where she had seen the giant fish lurking in the shadows, and past the place where she had seen the monstrous bear.
And Little Fish made it safely to the top of the stream to the place she would now call home.
Count your blessings, not your sorrows. Be glad to be alive. Enjoy what you have. Focus on the good. Who cares if you never have much fun. You’re supposed to be grateful you’re not in Darfur. But I almost wonder if having to focus on something that mattered like trying to survive from moment to moment might almost be preferable to the slow killing of a mind and spirit. At least having to focus on survival, having to work at existing in an immediate manner might be preferable to knowing without equivocation that your mind is being wasted and that no matter what you do no matter how hard you try no matter if you try not trying no matter what you do no matter no matter no matter you still end up facing that same fucking brick wall and sick to death of it. Bonk. Turn left. Bonk. Turn left. Bonk. Turn left. Bonk. Turn left. Bonk. Turn right. Bonk. Turn right. Bonk. Turn right. Bonk. Turn right. Bonk. Go up. Bonk. Go down. Bonk. It is a brick box. There is no way out of it. Suffocation. Stagnation. See a light? It’s a nerve firing in your brain. Go get a pill to wrap your brain in cellophane let it pretend it is not in a brick box let it pretend you have a point.
I need a brain transplant.
I am starting a new personal religion. Called the Church of Freezing. Why does this damn thing keep doing this? Maybe the computer wants to join too, since it keeps freezing up. Also the church of tired. Go worship in the Church of Freezing and you can build goodwill. You can accomplish anything. Stop trying to be warm because it won’t work. Go to the Church of Freezing and get born again into the world where you don’t have to avoid being who you are. You are cold! Be cold! You are tired! Be tired! Stop trying to escape into those places you cannot go called warmth and fulfillment.
My tab has decided to work now. The computer does not want to join the Church of Freezing. But every time it decides to freeze up, I will not become angry with it because all it wants to do is worship the cold as I do. I understand. It wants to be itself and only through the cold can it become fully itself.
At the Church of Freezing, you can learn to accept who you are. Your body has wanted to be cold for so long, and you have fought it for so long, but your body is wrong! For the first time, I understand the needs of people like Luther. When his body wanted pleasure, he was denying the body experiencing pain, so he gave his body pain. My body wants warmth, but in doing so denies experiencing cold, so I’m giving my body back its cold.
And this season is the high one for the Church of Freezing! It’s a time of celebration, of worship! Sit out in the cold and become ONE with it!
The Church of Tired works the same way. I was lying in bed, not wanting to get up and write or work because I was cold and tired and the bed offered warmth and relaxation. But in order to take the warmth and relaxation, I had to give up writing and working. I also had to give up cold and tired. I do not want to give these things up! Instead, I will ignore warmth and relaxation. So in a way, I’m denying them, but they are so demanding! They want my attention all the time. They do not need to have my attention 100% of the time. They are not my children. They are demanding, forceful little brats who need more than I can give them. Give back to the Church of Freezing and the Church of Tired and you will reach salvation.
Taking a warm shower for a member of the Church of Freezing is like a hedonistic orgy for a Christian. At first the CoF member feels immense pleasure. Their body tingles with delight. They bask in the sheer delight of it. However, after a while, the CoF member realizes that the pleasure is too much. It’s not as caressing, it’s not as full, it’s not as warm anymore. In fact, it is too hot! Beware, Members, of the powerful call of the shower and warm water in general. It is to be avoided at all costs! Failure to adhere to this decree will result in a level of sickness and guilt like no other. Do not do it, I beseech thee!
My words are being read. Not by many, but some. So how truthful will I be in what I say?
This life is surreal. My new favorite word lately, surreal, because that is how life feels lately. It is so unfamiliar. This isn’t a bad thing, I just have no idea how to navigate this alien landscape that is my life. I suppose I have the tools to figure it out and get wherever I’m supposed to go in this life, in fact I know I do. But it still scares the crap out of me. And right at the moment I wonder how much of my anxiety is the result of staying awake too long, how much is the result of doing things I’m not sure of, how much is just normal considering the newness of all of my life. Maybe my friend Mark is right; maybe I took on too many new things at once. But I like change. I wanted change. I guess I got it and now I have to figure out what to do with it.
Word press. Pressing words. Pressing in the sense of print media. But for me it is more like words pressing the inside of my brain begging to escape, words that don’t have any meaning for anyone except me. What is that? What is that need to tap into that energy line and disappear into the void for a while and let the words out?
I guess the words are in jail if I don’t express them. They are prisoners held captive by no will of their own, so if I don’t let some of them free, there will be a coup and I will be in trouble. Actually, trouble has been brewing for years because I have not let them out when they needed to escape, just to breathe for a while. And I paid for it. Big time.
I have a bastard meter in my brain. Well, it is not necessarily fair to call it a “bastard” meter. Perhaps it should be called a Pitiful Loser meter. Or a Guaranteed to Disappear meter. Whatever it is called, it is in my brain and it really works. It is this little meter that turns red based on how attracted I am to a man. The redder the meter, the more attracted I am. If it isn’t very red, I’m not very attracted. If the meter is red, it is a guarantee that the man is going to disappear or be emotionally unavailable.
Seriously. This thing works. The more attracted I am, the redder the meter, the more likely the man is to disappear. And get this. I can start out not much attracted to the man and the meter will have very little red to it. Then I can spend more time with the guy and get more attracted based on his personality. The meter gets redder. The man disappears. It’s amazing.
This is a remarkable capacity on my part. Over the last couple of years, I have become gradually aware of the Vanishing Meter. After a man would disappear or stand me up or after a relationship would end, I would do the usual self-analysis to figure out if there was something I could do differently. I ascertained that one common denominator was that the men either disappeared or were emotionally unavailable. I began also to detect this redness in my brain at the time of attraction. Over time, I put the two together and presto! There you have it! The Vanishing meter.
I started to test its accuracy. I set up an online dating profile. I went out and looked around. I sent hellos to men and rated them on how attracted I was to them. If I was very attracted, the meter would be quite red and they would not respond to my inquiry. If I was not that attracted, they would be all over me like ants on sugar. It was remarkable. I did not even have to SPEAK to them, just simply be attracted to what they look like, and they would not respond to me. In some cases, I would start communicating with the ones I was not that attracted to and grow more attracted, the meter would increase in redness, and presto again! They would disappear. Amazing. Simply amazing.
I applied the same scientific approach to men who contacted me first. If I was attracted, the meter would be bright red, the man would disappear or I would discover he was emotionally unavailable. I have become quite astute as asking the questions that pinpoint whether a man is emotionally unavailable. I would go on a date with a man I was attracted to. I would ask the questions and presto! The meter would turn red.
I should market the thing. Maybe I could make a million dollars. I mean I know it means that those of us who can use the meter will be forced to spend our lives with men to whom we are not attracted, and that we will have to work very hard at not liking them because attraction based on personality turns the meter red as well, but at least we’ll be able to ensure a man will stick around. Well, maybe we will not be able to ensure he’ll stick around, but we’ll be able to ascertain when the guy is going to leave or hide his emotions. That could be a good thing. Of course, considering this, I would rather be alone. I don’t want to have a man I’m not attracted to, either in his looks or personality, just to have a man. I suppose I’m destined to life as an old maid. Perhaps I should find some solitary profession for which I don’t need a man. Something like writing. Yeah, that’s it. Maybe I am onto something here…
I love that word. Concatenation. It just rolls off the tongue. And I love its meaning. I love its use in Little Women. It is a great word. One of those words I pray is not lost in the mundanity of modern word usage. I hope that since so many people are posting blogs, it means there are enough lovers of the English language that words such as this one will not die for centuries.
I did a google search for language lovers and discovered that there is a website dedicated to links to websites for language lovers. I also discovered a site called spellorg.com, belonging to the Society for the Preservation of the English Language and Literature. Very good! Very good indeed. Keep concatenation with us, as well as many other brilliant and uncommon words.
I was so tired the other night because it was late when I was writing, so I finally just had to stop. After I stopped writing, I did some quick google searching for the sites that I did not know. What I found was surprising. Most of the sites were socialization and video sharing sites. Badoo, a top search for the world, looks to be like myspace and facebook. Same with hi5 and second life. Daily motion is a video sharing site and appears similar to Youtube. As my kind commentator pointed out, tmz is a place to follow celebrity gossip.
I thought about this quite a bit yesterday. MSNBC says that its top clicked stories of the week are all murder and killing stories. I checked a few other “news” sites and found similar patterns. Yet a search for what people are looking for, at least in 2007, reveals that what we actually seek is to connect, through socialization sites and video. We’re interested in the latest celebrity scandal (i.e., tmz and Anna Nicole Smith), but for the most part, we want to connect with one another. In a sense, it could be argued that we are not so interested in murder and death as we are in life, our lives and the lives around us. Even the checks on celebrity stories could be viewed as a way to connect; we wish to see how those who appear to have everything are really human in the ways that they mess up. (And of course it is so much fun to taunt Paris Hilton when she cries about how she’s “changed” after a few nights in jail. Poor baby. Yes, you are human. Riiiight.)
I think perhaps the “news” organizations ought to consider getting a clue on this point. They design sites where you click for the “latest story.” Yet those stories are chosen by the organization and a link is created to click. They are the ones that are creating the “top-clicked stories” because they are the ones choosing which stories to present. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, created by the “news” organization. Would their results be the same if their subject matter were different? I doubt it. In fact, if murder and killing stories weren’t on there at all, they could not be clicked at all. Suppose the stories presented were about world affairs or national interest pieces. Yes, the stories may then be about killing because the stories might be about wars, but they probably would not be the sort of sensationalized killing stories available via the “top clicked sites.”
What with the proliferation of shows like CSI, I suppose the “news” organizations think all we are interested in is murder and killing. What they fail to understand is that it isn’t the murder that interests us on shows like that, it is the investigation and the finding of the clues. These are two different things. In some ways the investigation is a form of joining together between the people seeking to find the clues into the murder. Again, connection. Like the searches on google for social sites and video sharing, what we seem to seek is relationship and association, not murder and killing. This shouldn’t be surprising, but considering “news” organizations have sought to shove murder and killing down our throats as long as there have been “news” stories, I don’t expect it to end anytime soon.