Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Overkill



I can't get to sleep.

There are heavy thoughts doing in my head. Not the least of which is another shooting. Purdue. The long-standing rival of my Alma Mater was the latest scene of this ongoing carnage. This rolling shit show of pain and suffering dealt out by troubled young men.

Another life cut short. Well done, United States of Dumbasses. You're winning something ugly and horrible.

I think about the implications.

I recently learned that there was once a guinea pig named after me. Not a kitten or a sweet puppy with soft ears and that precious puppy smell. No. A guinea pig who was probably shotgunned by a weed smoking and cruel older brother. Lisa was never quite right after that.

Of diving in too deep
Possibly the complications.

The Electrician and I signed a lease on a nice duplex somewhere between our hometown and this current place.  I should be happier than I am right now about that. It may have to do with the stripping of wallpaper border and preparing walls for a fresh coat of Happy Cloud.

According to my shoulders and knees, I'm not as young as I was the last time I redecorated.

I'll be damned if I give in though. There I am some day dropping dead in the middle of rearranging the furniture in my semi-private room at the nursing home.

Ultimately, I want the hard stuff behind me. I want to be moved in and settled (watch for that word to recur), and feel like at least a tiny corner of my life is normal and under control. (Thanks, Ginger, for offering that bit of wisdom.)

Especially at night
I worry over situations

The Electrician will be working on the road indefinitely which means I'm pretty much living alone. I'm adjusting. This is not what I signed up for but sometimes life gives you exactly what you need when you need it.  Whether you want it or not.

I know we'll be alright
Perhaps it's just imagination

Perhaps.

Day after day it reappears
Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear

I'm over thinking things. It's a bad hobby. I'd be better off addicted to eating toothpaste, but there I am making mountains out of molehills like I might win an award for doing so.

Ghosts appear and fade away

Returning to the place of my youth, has been eye opening. I've been reminded of so many memories that I didn't retain at the top of the pile. I guess that's one of the things we do for each other. We remember. We serve as the memory keepers of people who've touched our lives.

As a writer I feel shame. How can I write if I can't remember?

Conversations with old friends have been the highlight of the last few months. On some level, you can go home again.

Alone between the sheets
Only brings exasperation

Being here has reintroduced me to my old dreams, the way I thought life would turn out.  The joke has been on me.  Turns out, you have to work for that shit.

What's the line? What you'll settle for is what you'll get? I'm sure Mark Twain or Dorothy Parker has some witticism about that.

Hell, even I've got some thoughts about settling. There are so many meanings to that word.

It's time to walk the streets
Smell the desperation

Thank you, Colin Hay. I love you and your goats.




Friday, January 10, 2014

They didn't appreciate me calling Sons of Anarchy a soap opera with motorcycles either


Early September 2013

I packed up a fraction of my things, stowed them in my falling-apart car, drove north from the land of cotton and forced my way into the home of two childhood friends where I took up residence and, as people who know would not be surprised to learn, started cleaning.

I'm closer with one of friends than I am the other. You can interpret that however you like.

For the purposes of this blog, we'll call the one I'm close with The Electrician. The other we'll call Uncle Si. Except he doesn't carry around a Tupperware tumbler of sweet tea. He totes a mason jar of Hawaiian Punch.

To each his red-mustachioed own. He's not a bad guy. In fact, he's a good guy. We are just so bloody different.

There is no mistaking the fact that I am the interloper here. I get that. I'm also very aware of the fact that I am not the first. The jury is still out on whether I will be the last.

Fifteen minutes after I pushed my way into their lives, The Electrician was laid off from his job. For about five weeks he rested up and contemplated things. He helped me adjust to my new surroundings by insisting that I take an interest in something instead of dwelling on the people and the life I left behind. Funny how pushing people out of your vagina forms this bond that is damned difficult to ignore. Nevertheless, carefully applied cold compresses and a working knowledge of the DVR go a long way.  The Electrician's solution to my (and most) problems took the form of some 269 television programs.

I am digressing. But mark my words - The Electrician's vast viewing history and his almost superhuman interest in television and film (okay, movies) will likely be the centerpiece of future posts.

Now the Electrician is a good union man. He believes in the power of Brotherhood. It's something about him that I find very appealing.

So when his layoff happened, he warned me what might happen next. It was possible that he would have to go out of town for work. I'd be lying to you if I said I understood the gravity of this concerning both living situations - the one inside my head and the one outside of it.

It happened sooner than I expected.  About six weeks after I moved in, The Electrician went on the road leaving me and Uncle Si to make do with our own two, disparate selves.

We're friendly enough, but the fact that I open the blinds and do girly things like bring home rescued houseplants irritate him. Outside my earshot, he gives The Electrician the old WTF, dude?

And who can blame him?

I, on the other hand, get a little testy when someone helps themselves to my ice cream and, what's more, does so directly from the container. Ditto when they replace the tiny remainder back in the freezer for me to find. A disgusting surprise.

And while I'm at it, I could live without the hockers in the sink, as well.

Naturally, The Electrician hears it from me too. The purloined ice cream. The toxic conditions of the bathroom. The Sloppy Joe skillet left in a dishpan of water that resembles something from an environmental documentary. We are on Day Three of that epic soak, I tell you.  So far I've resisted the urge to set it on fire, but restraint can't be counted on for too long. I am, after all, me.

Intellectually I know it's not his fault the way things have turned out. Just like much of my situation is out of my control, so too is his. Trouble is, my intellect is no match for my ability to get riled up.

Even though he believes, without reservation, in supporting his Brothers and being the best in his trade, The Electrician is a practical man. He's out risking his acorns in the frigid temps for nothing more complicated than a paycheck and benefits. He's the classic worker with his eye on retirement. Goodness knows he's more intelligent than I am in that regard.  He's got a plan for retirement. Meanwhile I'm in reverse.

Retirement?  I used to joke about having to work until I drop.  Now I realize I won't even be allowed to die.  I'm going to be kept on life support so ghouls can harvest any useful organs to settle my debts.

Early January 2014

I think we're coming to the crisis, such as it is. The Electrician and I are looking for a place of our own, which has, of course, also proven to be a challenge. Questions of where exactly and if it's even a good idea to commit to a lease together have arisen. We may be irresponsible and impetuous but you can't accuse us of believing in fairy tales either.

Knowing that's a minefield and having the wherewithal to keep the fuck out of it also seems to be proving a challenge. For purposes both practical and so impractical, right now we need each other.

I suppose if life consisted of unicorns blasting rainbows from their backsides, I'd have nothing to write about. I'm too lazy to make things up.

Which brings me back to Uncle Si. I'm sure he'll be happy to have his situation back to what it was before I horned my way in. I can't be easy to live with, obviously. Look how quickly I made The Electrician prefer to be a weekend visitor in his own home. And he was getting laid.

Change is coming.

When I do go, I'll thank Uncle Si, with his own 1.75 gallon of Turkey Hill ice cream and a big hug. Because the truth is, when I needed a place to go, he agreed to give me one.

As long as I kept those blinds shut.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

As life breaks new ground



What I've learned this week (so far):

1.  A taste of one's own medicine is a bitter reminder of how flawed we are.
1a.  Feeling someone else's pain isn't really possible, but feeling our own pain in the same way that we've dealt it out to others is a powerful lesson.
2.  I want desperately to be independent because ----- who needs a reason?
3.  Under extreme stress, I am ugly.
4.  The happy pills had their advantages.  Feelings suck.
5.  Feelings are necessary.
6.  Music is a better drug than anti-depressants.
7.  Vodka and determination can make a frozen gas cap lock unstick.
8.  Sometimes having an epiphany about someone else can be like opening a door upon one's own psyche.

For example, realizing that someone who is quite accustomed to being the smartest kid in the room, the best person in their field but who also refuses to retain information about the most basic aspects of using a computer is being mentally obstinate because he/she cannot accept being not the best.

It's not that they can't. It's that they won't.

Which could be applied to yours truly when it comes to writing. Admitting this doesn't please me, but there it is stark and real. Damn it.

Now that I know this about myself, it's up to me to fix it.  Damn it again.

And yet....


 

This is like a hell list of vaguebooking, but until I decide whether or not to start blogging anonymously, I've gone as far as I'm willing to go. My point here isn't to shame anyone but rather to remind myself that Karma, the way most of us misunderstand it, is indeed a bitch.
Writing this does help, too. I don't know how it does, but it does.
What have you learned this week?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Not exactly AWOL

In a scene from one of my favorite TV programs, an RAF flyer has gone nearly AWOL. He turns up on his girlfriend's doorstep and she takes him into the parlor where he has a mini-meltdown.

Please don't make me go back. I can't. I'm so tired. I can't.

I reenacted that scene yesterday when it was time to tear myself away from Georgia and return to real life (read: work, sleep, watch Turner Classic Movies) in Indiana. Neither Sophie nor the cats who looked disgustedly on were all that moved by my self-pitying display.  Thankfully not one of them uttered what we were all thinking.

You asshole.  You chose this situation.

So here I am again in my 8 x 14 self-exile.  Watching Turner Classic Movies (hey, silent films starring Joan Crawford!), wrist deep in a bag of Pepperidge Farm Brussels. Still feeling like an asshole because I'm actually comparing this situation to flying sorties and delivering death and destruction upon fellow human beings.

The worst I had to deal with today was driving in snow (thank goodness for muscle memory) and a boss who thinks it's okay to place her personal mail on my desk and expect me to not only add postage to it and deliver it to the mailbox but to also seal the envelopes. I'm here to tell you that my tongue has been better places.

That's not war, that's middle-aged women behaving badly.

The only redeeming thing I did today was give a random hug to one of my coworkers. I think we both needed it. Things were hinkey in Suite 450.  It was as if each of us had made a resolution to be muddle-headed.

I don't know what possessed me to do it. Perhaps it's that recurring theme in things I've been forced to read on Facebook and Pinterest in the form of boxed quotes.  Kindness matters... A smile costs you nothing. (Tell that to my mother who paid for my orthodontia.)

Et cetera.

And so it came to be that I was embracing my mildly shocked coworker in the middle of the morning and through no fault of her own.  I still don't know the origins, but considering that I have, in fact, flown a few sorties of my own, spreading destruction, if not death, a hug is the least I can do.

P.S. Comments are off. I mean, after this horrifying narrative, what could you possibly say?  Exactly.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

While we wait for some balls to drop


I'm thinking in cliches.

Long time, no blog.  Tap, tap.  Is this thing on? Someone please break my fingers already.

Here I am on the last day of what has been a very strange year, glad to see it over and wishing I could go back and do so many things differently. I wouldn't be me if I didn't second guess myself.

Am I looking forward to the coming new year?  Yeah, I am. In an effort to be less like myself, I've made some resolutions. They're pedestrian and I'll likely fail at least half of them by 12:10 a.m., but like Homer Simpson says, trying is the first step to failing.

I'm on it.

One resolution is (don't be shocked) to start writing again. I've considered going anonymously so I can put it all out there, but I'm just too lazy to bother. Plus by the time I get set up to write with a new name and a new blog, it'll be 2015 and I won't have kept a single resolution, carbs or not.

And I don't think it will be a bad thing for me to have a wee self-imposed filter in place. At least for a while. After a couple of years of mind-altering pharmaceuticals, I'm afraid the emotions that have started springing out at me like my sister used to do when she knew damn well that I was terrified of monsters in the closet will come spilling out onto the screen and oh god.  That will not end well.

So I ask you to watch this space. There will be new characters and different settings. I'll fill in the gaps and try to wrap up some old plot lines. Not because I really think you care or have given it much thought, but because of that Joan Didion quote:  I don't know what I think until I write it down.

I promise you no twerking, no fiscal cliffs and no Duck Dynasty.  I cannot promise you that I won't dive head first into whatever scandals and viral goblins seize our collective imagination in the coming year. I mean, some days that may be all that stands between me and those menacing emotions.

 For now, I wish you a happy, healthy 2014. What do you plan to do differently?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A lot less bolder


"Now sweet sixteen's turned thirty-one, get to feeling weary when the work day's done...."

Those lyrics opened a short story I wrote in high school.

The story was about a woman who found her life so unbearable that she packed her bags, carefully placed them into the trunk of her car and drove away from her husband and children. At the conclusion of that story, the woman returned home before anyone had even noticed she'd left.

That story, along with several others,  now resides in a box, placed carefully in the trunk of my car on day a couple of months ago.  They remain there because I am not yet ready to unpack all the bits of my life I saw fit to carry with me when I left.

Turns out I wrote my own future in that wreck of short story. After a couple of attempts to live out those words written in the looping script of my eighteen year old self, I finally broke free of the gravitational pull of security and drove away.

My marriage, that once seemingly indestructible thing, finally gave way to the slow, steady erosion of time and dysfunction. Lovers of symmetry, we gave ourselves a final divorce hearing on our 25th wedding anniversary. Contrarians to the end, we had no use for the tradition of silver on that day. No, we went with paper and ink, signatures on the line.

Let it be Decreed and all that. Dissolved like sugar. The solution was dissolution.

Friday, May 3, 2013

It won't be long now before those reparations are a reality

May 2009
That was then.

 This is now.


The President, Faculty, and Board of Trustees Of Brenau University announce that Chloe Francesca Pamela is a candidate for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts during the Graduation Exercises Friday, May third, Two Thousand Thirteen At Four-thirty in the afternoon at Brenau University Front Lawn Gainesville, Georgia.

Congratulations, Chloe, on this achievement. It looks like next fall she'll be heading up to the University of New Hampshire to attend their School of Law. I'm so proud I can barely stand myself. And I may just say phew! One down. Two to go.