Thinking and Writing About Your Stuff

fire

The other day, I dutifully checked in on the Ex Wife’s literary efforts, not just because I’m nuts but because they are so breathtakingly stupid. I always come away feeling both gratified and enraged.

I can’t help it! She writes a monthly column for her community paper. If it wasn’t there, I wouldn’t need to read it. But it is there. Like Mount Everest.

So the column this month is about packing up when a fire forces you to evacuate. You don’t have much time and there is limited room in the car.

What stuff would you take if you only had a small suitcase?

The stuff she packed was nothing special: “the important papers, and the photos, my doll, the few pieces of good jewelry, family videos.”

I guess the doll is a little suspect and who still says “good jewelry” but let’s move on.

Safely back at home, she removes the precious things she had stuffed into a washer and dryer, and here’s where the fun begins.

My old volumes of Shakespeare, heavy and dark with wisdom,

A collection of glittered Advent calendars holding all the magic of the season,

The Happy Birthday banner handmade by my father,

A pink sequin dress, old family bible, my Beatle cards.

One shabby, brown flannel shirt, well worn and shared by everyone in the family.

Miranda’s report on Ground Squirrels, complete with illustrations.

An Anniversary card from a man who loves me still.

A popsicle stick-framed picture of a guru, the Batman book, Riley’s small handprint,

The copy of, “An Actor Prepares,” that Cindy gave me all those years ago,

A Smashing Pumpkins tee shirt, a stuffed pink pig named Peddly,

Mike’s old surf jacket.

And a faded needlepoint from my mother, reading,

“Dear House, You Are Really Very Small, Just Big Enough For Love, That’s All.”

Jesus Christ. I can’t even.

How does a person get to be so enchanted with their own self?

I believe this is the key to my fascination. It is unfathomable. And so awful.

I asked my sister what she’d pack if she was in a hurry to evacuate. Her answers were reassuringly normal. Photographs and family mementos.

My husband’s answer was thrillingly concise: Instead of a suitcase, he’s take a guitar case, and a guitar. I could not love him more for this.

Me, I’d take the photos and the things I sleep with. I’d throw all my jewelry into a pillowcase, and if there was time, I’d take my hard drive.

I couldn’t manage to be poetic and nostalgic about my itemized stuff.  And believe me, I tried, on the phone with my sister. I’m just not enough of an idiot, say what you will about me.

Now! What stuff would you take, and for extra points, try to emulate the Ex’s lovingly descriptive tone.

 

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Posted in Disorders, revenge, Words | Tagged , , | 26 Comments

Botanica: A Field Trip

botanica santeria2

Remember going on field trips when you were a kid? It was a chance to get out the classroom, and it would an adventure. Not always a good one, but a diversion from the routine of school.

Last week I found a Botanica just a few miles away, bit it was like entering another universe.

This was a real, authentic Botanica, not the one in Hollywood that sells candles to hispters. It was dark and dusty, crammed wall-to-wall with weird packets of herbs, oils, religious statues, Santeria supplies, trays of amulets and charms and some shit you didn’t even want to know what it was.

There was a girl behind the counter in full cola uniform and manner. She might have been Filipino, and she didn’t speak much Spanish. She had died blonde hair with long black roots, heavy winged eyeliner, and a tattoo in gang writing down in her cleavage,

Her name was Jenny, and she watched me ogle the stuff behind the counter. I told her I was looking for something to cure a friend’s illness, instead of admitting to being a nosy Jew on a cultural field trip.

She asked me if I believed in “that stuff” and I said “nah,” immediately outing myself by mistake.

We talked for a bit and she told me she had a month old baby. It turned out that her husband was in jail, BUT IT WASN’T HIS FAULT.

Of course it wasn’t his fault! I watch Lock-Up, I’m not an idiot!

She told me his story and I narrowed my eyes like Nancy Grace and asked: “Who threw the first punch?”

It was the Other Guy, not her husband! But somehow the other guy’s wife, a crazy bitch, told the cops that bla bla bla bla.

Poor Jenny! Only twenty-two.  She was watching the counter for her husband’s mother, who owns the shop and gives readings and ‘cleansings’ in a back room.

Jenny revealed that her baby was asleep in the back of the shop. She insisted on showing me the baby girl, who has some stupid name like Kaylee or something.

I cooed at the baby appreciatively. A fat little girl appeared and spoke to Jenny. She seemed to know her way around the store and might have been the innocent husband’s little sister.

The little girl fingered the tiny evil-eye bracelets and Hamsa charms in front of me. I told her that I love Hamsa’s, which actually isn’t true,  but I wanted to engage her in conversation.

“Good for you,” she answered coolly.

What a fat little bitch, I thought to myself.

I am thinking of going back to get the owner to give me a spiritual cleansing in the back room. I am completely serious.

Plus I want to hear more about Jenny and her predicament.

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Posted in Disorders, Religion | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Learning to Shut Up

TORTUE-ET-DEUX-CANARDS

The other night, I was upset by something someone had dropped into a phone conversation, and for hours afterward I struggled with the impulse to demand an explanation or retraction.

By struggle, I mean I actually had to stop myself repeatedly from sending an email to outline my hurt feelings and question the person’s motives.  Why bring that thing up? Why are you being hostile? What was your goal in saying the mean thing?

I needed my husband to talk me down; I stopped feeling agitated and accepted that for the greater good I could just let it go.

For me, this is a real triumph. My whole life seems like a series of embattled relations with someone or other due to the fact that I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. I just remembered that my dad used to call me ‘bigmouth’ when he was mad.  He also called me ‘dummy’ but bigmouth felt like a worse insult.

When I was a kid, I loved my book of Aesop’s Fables. The illustrations were nice and the morals were easy to understand. But there was one story called ‘The Turtle Who Couldn’t stop Talking’ that I felt was directed at me personally:

There’s this really talkative turtle who wants to travel across the sea. He asks a pair of swans if they will carry him across by holding a stick in their beaks. He can just hang on by his teeth. The swans warn the turtle that if he opens his mouth, he will fall. Half way across the ocean, the turtle has a comment to make and can’t contain himself. He starts to speak and falls.

I guess the moral is Keep Your Mouth Shut. Who the fuck thought of that moral, Stalin?

In any case, my stubborn belief in freedom of expression has brought plenty of unhappiness but I persist in shooting my mouth off at the slightest impetus. I hate rules that threaten my so-called efforts at honesty and frankness.

Revealing myself is easy. It just comes naturally. Shutting up is hard.  But just shutting up on this one occasion has been so positive!

The power to shut up is worth developing. We’ll see if I can keep it up.

No You Shut Up- small

 

Posted in Disorders, Words | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Big Black Boots

my-big-biker-boots22

Years ago, I posed in these big black boots, aware that they looked stupid with the dress but probably thinking I was cool anyway.

It was eight years ago and a whole other life.

The boots are in my closet, languishing with all the other shit I’ve wasted money on, always forgetting that I don’t like to get dressed up and I have nowhere to go. Each time I get out my credit card, I’m under a spell where I believe I’m someone else.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure I’ve worn the boots on two occasions. They cost around 950 bucks (I know!) so that’s $475 per use.

But wait.

Today, I clicked on the Maison Margiela Autumn 2016 collection and discovered that there’s hope for styling my boots after all.

John galliano for maison-margiela

I can wear them with a big upside-down orange coat-blanket thing, cinched at the waist with an uncomfortable belt! I even have the pasty white legs for this look.

Or, there’s this:

maison-margiela_boots

Okay, so a silver hooded cape (unless that’s a hat?) over a silver mini-dress  with a nice kangaroo pouch.

It’s good to switch things up, I’m always hearing. Why wear jeans and a t-shirt every day? I’m not getting any younger. Even if I’m just going out for coffee or groceries, there’s no reason not to throw on an upside-down coat and rock my huge boots.

Another idea is to forget about the boots and patiently wait to die so that some girl with size ten feet and an appreciation of offbeat overpriced crap can be the happiest person ever.

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Posted in Disorders, Fashion | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

The Good Kind Of Mansplaining

good kind of mansplaining

You know how when you’re watching TV and you can’t quite recognize that actor who looks familiar, or you don’t understand what just happened, or a character mumbles something and you didn’t catch it?

So you ask you husband, “Who’s that guy again?” or “Why are they doing that?!” or “What did she say?”

And your husband gets mad because he’s trying to watch the fucking show and you keep interrupting? And instead of answering a simple plot question, he says “WHY DON”T YOU WATCH AND FIND OUT?”

It occurred to me that we need an app for this. If we had an app, we could get the answers to our questions without irritating our husbands and being subjected to their condescending sighs.

The app will be programmed with a database of every movie and tv series in existence and you will just type in the title. Then, you can get the cast, as well as plot points and dialogue, by scene.

Plus, you can do this silently or choose an audio answer in a friendly male voice.

HOW FUCKING HARD WOULD THIS BE, PROGRAMMERS?

Women I’ve talked to about this all share my shame and frustration at needing help just to watch TV, but that’s what it’s come to.

I hate mansplaining as much as the next person, more even, but where does the mansplaining impulse go when you actually need it, eh?

Let’s get the app. First, we need a name for it.

Thoughts?

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Posted in irritants, Words | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

When Your Kid Breaks Up With You

when-your-kid

So you’re going along being a mom, and you think it’s permanent, because, you know, but then all of a sudden he or she decides it’s over.

He or she refers to you as a “biological mother” and pretty much tells you to fuck off.

He or she is just not that into you.

Naturally, you didn’t see this coming and you start wondering what happened, what drove him or her away.

Were you too clingy or too distant, too needy or too demanding, did you complain about the messy bedroom too many times? What did the other moms know that you didn’t?

Were you not a good listener? Were you too involved or not involved enough, too protective or too negligent? When they got big and started to scream at you, was it wrong to scream back? When you patiently read to them or tucked them in bed or served them dinner, was it stupid to think it was part of a lifelong deal?

When you get dumped, you have to let go. Mommy up.

They once loved you but now it’s over. Don’t stalk them online, looking for news, because  they’ll just block you until you get the message. Even on Instagram.

It’s hard! But there’s nothing you can do. Accept that you have no power. It was good while it lasted. It was fun nursing them, dressing them up in those cute little outfits, watching TV with them, wrapping their Christmas presents, taking them to see Patti Smith, visiting their college.

They never asked to be born, remember?

Just try to forget about him or her. There are plenty of other kids out there.

 

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Posted in Horrible Stuff | Tagged , | 21 Comments

Silver Linings: The Limited Edition DRAT Bag™

Commemorative Disney World Bag

You know how people always want to find the silver lining of an awful situation, like “The Gift Of Cancer”?

In that spirit, I’ve figured out how to make the most of the Disney World Alligator Tragedy, or DRAT for short.

They cut open five alligators while looking for the missing toddler, only to find out later that he wasn’t eaten.

Instead of wasting those alligators, how about a limited edition Disney World Commemorative Bag?

The beautiful hand-crafted bags, made of genuine Orlando alligator skin, will be numbered  and embossed with the Disney World logo, and will feature a resin baby-head clasp modeled on a classic Kewpie Doll.

The DRAT Bag will come with a certificate of authenticity,  and 5% of the purchase price will go to PETA.

It’s a win-win.

Show how much you care by investing in this gorgeous bag! Because hashtag PrayForOrlando won’t help anyone, human or animal.

Posted in Art, Horrible Stuff, News | Tagged , | 13 Comments

Shoes To The Rescue!

shoes to the rescue

When life gives you lemons….. .ugly shoes!

Ugly shoes got your back.

Thanks, Miu Miu.

I don’t even know what these shoes want, except to offend. Mission accomplished, Velvet Ankle-Wrap Ballerina Flats!

Just tell me, why those fucking buckled straps? Are they there to make sure no one can yank off your $890 shoes and run off with them? Or are they just there to discourage potential suitors?

These shoes are the essence of ‘I can’t even’.

I hope they bring you a spark of joy, as Marie Kondo might say before throwing them out.

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Posted in Fashion, Horrible Stuff | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Looking For My Group

my-group

In my desperation for contact with kindred spirits, I joined Meetup.com with the idea of finding a social group in my community that I could join.

You punch in your zip-code and you’re presented with a bunch of categories to click on.

There’s arts and culture, fitness, career, health and wellness, hobbies and crafts, etc.

It wasn’t long before I realized that I don’t like to do anything! It came to me like a bolt of lightening, even though you’d think I would know myself by now.

Hiking, no. Goddess Women, no. Yoga at sunrise, nope. Watercolor, no. Spiritual living, beginning motorcycle, exploring pubs, paper crafts, games, improv, no no no.

THERE I S NOTHING ON EARTH I WANT TO DO.

I complained to my husband and I complained on Facebook. Where’s the stuff I like? What about sitting around complaining? Where are the people who enjoy that? I can’t be the only one, right?

So a couple of days ago, I went to my own group called “Wandering around Nordstrom,” and talked to a beautiful young Russian emigre who works in cosmetics. She was willing to help me look for a product whose name I forgot by a brand I wasn’t sure about. She had beautiful long hair and a nice accent that she let me try to imitate. I fucking loved her!

We admitted to being kind of isolated in our new communities. So I told her about my effort to find a social group. She had tried that, too. We mused about forming a group to talk about fashion and hair. I added complaining and she was down for that too.

Feeling inspired, I went home and began to start a new group at Meetup. I was pretty happy with my description of ‘Fashion, Hair, and Complaining’, and clicked on ‘finish.’

They wanted $9.99 a month to list my group. Deal-breaker.

Somehow, that ruins it for me. That would be like buying friends, almost. I can’t stoop that low, even though I’ve stooped much lower on countless occasions. But still. I logged out in disgust.

Now they’ve sent me an offer to start a group at half-price.

Are they testing my principles? Or just trying to see how cheap I am?

Please advise.

 

Posted in Disorders, irritants | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

Six Years In

Grave of a Suicide Victim - Wilhelm Kotarbinski, 1900

I went to the cemetery today to mark another year. It’s the most barren, godforsaken cemetery you could imagine.

Across the way, there are great big headstones and grass, with benches to sit on. On our side, the side for indigents, there is no grass and no benches.

You have to sit in the dirt, wipe off the flat gravestone, and pay your respects the old-fashioned way, on your knees, with tears.

One year, I went to visit with my best friend. Have I told this story before? Anyway, it was around 100 degrees, the gate was locked, but a gardener for the Nice side let us in.

The gravestone was dirty, with what we thought was a footprint. My friend pulled off her shirt and began wiping the dirt away. I was stunned to see her in the harsh sunlight, bending over in her black lace bra. I took off my shirt to help  I will treasure her gesture forever and ever.

Today we kept our shirts on, and my husband used some napkins to wipe the gravestone. It says “Max is King,” a proclamation he used to write over and over when he was a kid.

My husband left a purple guitar pick and I left some stones I collected since last time. I almost forgot to show Max my new tattoo, but I remembered! It’s a piece of toast with butter, his favorite thing besides music.

And I imagined I felt his pleasure.

toast-butter-tat-small

Max is King.

 

Posted in grief, love | Tagged | 14 Comments