Saturday, March 20, 2010

Potty Mouth

I always seem to be making jokes at the worst times. I once went with my mom into the Urgent Care center because she had been peeing approximately every 20 minutes and in the middle of the nurse's routine questions i burst in "it's probably all those cocktails she's been havin'. She's been drinking like a maniac!"
And we did have to take a few moments to assure the nurse I was only joking, before she would go on with her questions.

That was a harmless incident. All it cost me was a sideways glance from my mother. But the other night, I think my joking permanently struck some nerves with the guy. In fact, possibly got that particular cluster of nerves forever whispering "we don't like her" to the guy whenever I come around.
We were spending the weekend together. And well, quite frankly, I just hadn't had my bones jumped as much as i'd liked to. I was feeling the guy was being distant, I was feeling rejected and with no way out. Either talk and make things worse, or be silent.
Silent has never stood out to me as the right choice (even when it has been) so I took to warming up a bit to Captain Morgan, and after a while that pirate got me a little rowdy.
It all began with the itch of an eye and I said "Damnit. I think I got that eye thing again. Did I tell you, last week I kept waking up with my eyes all sticky and crusted shut?"
The guy asks "why are you telling me this?"
And that was enough to shoot this cannon off. I already didn't feel he found me attractive, may as well seal the deal right? May as well let him know just how gross it can get and find out now if he wants to stick around. (Captain Morgan had totally comandeered this ship by now and i'd like to say this was his answer not mine)

"Because I'm gross, ok, Guy. Because I can be gross and you should know that! I have bodily functions, did you know that?"
"I know that," Guy is trying not to let this go any further. Wasted efforts.
"You know, Guy, I dont think you do know that. You're a photographer. 99% of the context in which you see women they are perfect and beautiful. That's got to have tainted your perception of them whether you like it or not."
"No, it has not."
"Oh yeah?" (there's no stopping me now) "Well what if we took a trip to Mexico, and I accidentally drank the water and had to develop a very close relationship with the toilet?!" At this point i'm thrusting my arm in the direction of said toilet as if sending a kid to time out. I've also gotten Guy's attention.
"I would have no problem with that." He says, "but I'm not going to take a photo of you doing it because it wouldn't be particularly lucrative for my career."

What do you think? I really won back my dignity with this one huh? least it was funny.

Friday, March 19, 2010

We All Got Traumas

First off i'd like to say my relationship with this blog is officially the strongest one in my life at the moment. I set out, determined to go for an hour power walk, but fifteen minutes into the walk had thought up a storm for my new post and made a u turn and high-tailed it back to my computer. I guess I should just take this bad boy with me wherever I go huh?

I don't quite know how to get into this post, but I can start with this: at some point, some how, we all either have or will experience an event that will show us that there are no guarantees. I don't mean guarantees that you'll like the new thigh master you ordered off an infomercial. I am talking about getting hurt, emotionally. There are no guarantees against that.
I was thinking about the different ways people deal with this realization. I have friends that are seemingly the cheeriest people I know--applying for every job they want, chatting with every guy they find cute etc. They see something they want and they charge forward.
"Well, this person has clearly never had anything bad happen to them." That has been my thought about these sorts of people. And i've been proven to be a fool many a time. And good! What a relief, what a giant relief, to find out that a friend of mine, one of the happiest people I know (she even claims to be one of the happiest people SHE herself knows) had a boyfriend who committed suicide years back. I get no relief, no joy, from this fact. The relief comes from knowing that shutting down isn't the only option after an experience like that.
But for some people, they believe shutting down is the only option. We all know someone like this--someone who will not go on dates anymore, someone who has given up on trying to publish their novel, etc.. And when you prod them--whether it be delicately, lovingly, or whether it be more of a "get your ass up and DO something!"--they will break down and they will say "I just can't, I just can't. Not after (insert traumatic experience here) happened!"
While our impulse in moments like these is to tell the person all the reasons why that most likely will NOT happen again, I resist that impulse. I would be a bad friend if I indulged that impulse. This is the truth--it's hardass, there's no silver lining, but this is it--there is no guarantee that won't happen again. I am telling you right now, there is absolutely no guarantee. Know this. Just know this, and decide what you want to do with this fact.
I said this to someone recently and he said "I don't see how you would know anything about this."

Well, actually, I have all the reason in the world to be cynical should I choose to be. Here's my sob story. My father was a bigamist. No joke. Second wife, second set of children, 20 years out of his 22 year marriage to my mom. If I wanted to decide that people were shit, If i wanted a reason to provide whenever people asked me why I don't reach for more--I could take that reason. It's right there waiting for me. But....ok, so what? So now what? Nothing. Then you stop. No one is going to say "oooh, ok. no no, i get it. ok well, why don't we send you to the island of the traumatized and you can watch cartoons and eat pudding. Nobody will ask you to do things anymore there that you're afraid of. You are exempt from that."
Fun sounding island huh? And you know, in our own ways, we can create such islands for ourselves. But--it turns out, they're not very satisfying!

And there are some folks who I don't even want to grab them by the shoulders and say "look, there is no guarantee you won't get hurt." Because they may not actually be ready to charge forward again. They may say "ok, i can do this." but more bad thing happens to them, and they just add it to the pile of reasons to not go forward. You do need to be determined to never look at a bad thing as a "reason to not go forward" again, before you, well, go forward again.
I hope this post didnt come off as cold hearted. I should come down from my thrown for a moment to say it took years of therapy, years of living on my island of cartoons and pudding, years of not dating or, being emotionally abusive (yes, me, as a defense to not be hurt) before I realized that there just simply never would be any guarantee, but living on that goddamn pudding island was not a life. It was the beginning of death.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

All Dignity Aside, in the Name of Humor

Now I know us bloggers are these highly intelligent, very cognitive beings. We identify ourselves by our minds. We’ll never meet; we’ll never see each other. Here, we are brains. Bodily functions..what? What are those?
Well, maybe we’re not supposed to do it, but I’m bringing a little bit of my body to this blog.
I paid a little visit to a stomach doctor recently, and met my mother for dinner right after. A grey-stone fountain trickled next to our table and waiters put one hand on their stomach and the other behind their back while taking your order in that polite, only five-star restaurant way. I ordered a filet mignon with some French sauce I cannot pronounce and then announced,
“Well, I had my first rectal exam today.”

Trying to keep this as proper of a moment as possible my mom cleared her throat and creased the napkin on her lap and said, “well, welcome to the world of women.”
I contorted my face and was about to say, “but mom—men have rectums too.”
But I held my tongue, and just looked at my mom in her crème, crewneck sweater from Ann Taylor, her Swarovski white diamond earrings and I got to thinking, I don’t think my mom and dad had the most adventurous of sex lives. And she never did have a son. Maybe she actually doesn’t know that men have rectums!

I’m only kidding. I love my mom, and I give her more credit than that. In fact I must, when I think back to when my dad had his first ever, unavoidable milestone that comes along with the senior discount packets—the colonoscopy. I remember him carrying around that giant jug of yellow liquid that was meant to “cleanse” pre-surgery and looked like a generic laundry detergent. He had to drink that thing all day and there was just no knowing when it would kick in so sometimes, mid sentence, his eyes would just about bulge out of his head and he’d suck his lips into his mouth and make a run for it.

And my mom wouldn’t laugh, wouldn’t even move or make a face to indicate anything was going on. She would just have a warm cup of tea and a back rub waiting for him when he came out of the bathroom.

So, I will take my mom’s warm welcome into “the world of women” as simply a welcome into the world of adulthood. A world in which things start to fall apart and we can no longer ignore this warm, bubbling, farting, aching, often flawed flesh that lurks beneath these immaculate minds (we are bloggers after all). Soon, there will be no dignity left. Only in the blogging world (and perhaps I have just stripped myself of that as well) Cheers!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Russians know how to Use Their Words

I am not referring to any peace treaty or anything historical at all for that matter. That's not my area of expertise.
However, in my Chekhov class, a guy gave a presentation on the Russian Language. He said that there are all these little intricacies to the syntax of their sentences, and letters that can be added here or there that can entirely change the meaning of a sentence.

(This guy looks like he is itching for some good conversation. Or that he has some celebrity gossip)

You add something like a "shk" at the end of a name basically just called the person an a-hole. Or you ad a "anya" at the end, and you called them "my darling." I'm not correct at all about these added letters but you get the point.
Basically, he was letting us know that we very well could have misinterpreted the entire meaning of most of the stories we have read in this class. All because of a WORD. But, it's true, if I were to realize now that one character was calling the other one an SOB at the end of every paragraph, it would certainly change things for me.
But are Words this important in real life? I must think they are because i'm an aspiring writer, and i've brought my "writeriness" to my real life a lot. My guy has pointed this out many a time, like when i'll be crying, andt it will be stormy and raining outside and i'll say "look at this goddamn pathetic fallacy." *pathetic fallacy is the notion that nature sympathizes with our human emotions.

It's times like these when my guy will just turn his palms up and go, "okay..what?" or "you like to write life"
(i scrunch up my nose at him and glare but secretly take it as a complement)

He and I...we get in the occasional tiff. And we both see therapists so we are know....the "communicative type" (said in the voice of the guy from the Clear-Eyes commercials) Don't get me wrong, i think it's great, I just want my readers to know that my nose isn't up in the air when I say that. I hear my therapist talking out of my mouth all the time and can't help but just laugh.
The point is, the guy and me, we can talk our way out of any argument. We can explain any bad feeling into non-existence.
"I thought when you did this, it meant this, so that's why I did that thing after that pissed you off."
"Oooooh. I get it. Ok, lets kiss and make up now."
We can be all puffed up and in fumes and then, piece by piece, strip away all the confusion. And that's great. Really, I think it's great.
And I said that to the guy once. And he said, "Ya, it is. But we shouldn't need words so much."
*GASP* I was one very offended aspiring writer.
But he said sometimes a feeling should be enough. A feeling can carry you through something. That we don't always need these explanations--if we feel the other one is trustworthy, loyal, whatever...we should come out of these things just fine without all these words.

What do all you bloggers think about that?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Never Too Old to Play Doctor

We may be older, but we still don't know what we're doing!

Diagnosis #1)
“You don’t let anyone get away with anything .” “ You don’t put up with any bullshit.” I have memories of various friends, at various times and places saying variations on the above statements to me. I have had many girls express their envy of me because I don’t put up with any nonsense from guys I date.
I started to reflect, two days ago when my roommate looked me square in the eye and professed that same admiration of me—I started to reflect on the context in which these statements have been said to me. And it hit me. Every girl who has said this to me has done so in the midst of complaining about some unfair way their boyfriend treats them. They talk about the bullshit they put up with from their significant other. Then they, the ones in the relationships, say to me, who is chronically single, that they admire my zero-tolerance for bullshit.
So I am going to pose a question that I’m sure I will spend the rest of my life discovering the answer to—is there inevitably a certain amount of bullshit, of “letting things slide” that one has to do put up with in order to be in a relationship?
And if so, how much is too much? From my track record, it is clear that I decided that any amount of bullshit at all was too much.
The next time I have someone say that they admire this quality it me, I may just resent it. It could be proof that I have not grown or advanced at all---that I have not become more allowing or patient.
But actually...some one else did me the favor of pointing out just that...

Same Quality, Different Perspective:

Second Opinion)
“You think everyone is going to hurt you. You just think people will hurt you.” I visited my sister recently at her Co-op in Berkeley, where people hop beds nightly. I had just broken up with yet another guy because i had my regular zero tolerance policy for yet another batch of bs. My sister had no criticisms until I (and i'm not proud of this) had a few drinks and made a side comment about her promiscuity. So, the above statement is what my sister loudly exclaimed to me in front of three of her housemates. I have to admit, I deserved it. A somewhat uncomfortable silence ensued.
So what is she saying? That my being with no one is a sign of my fear that people will hurt me?
Well perhaps I think her being with everyone is a sign of that same fear in her.
Being with multiple people is the same as being alone.
Maybe we are both afraid of the same thing and have just chosen entirely different lifestyles to deal with it.
I miss my sister. But I missed her while she was right in front of me. I think we are missing each other.
What do I care how she deals with our shared fear? (well, health concerns aside) We're trying to play doctor to each other when we're both a patient.
I just dont want her to have that fear. I dont want either one of us to. Here we are criticizing one another's symptoms, when they come from the same cause.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

God Disguised as a Cleaning Lady

I walked for two hours yesterday through the Beverly Hills neighborhoods--every single home demanded a second look. Steel, grape-vine gates protecting warm yellow stucco walls, steep lawns with red brick stairs zigzagging through them, leading to white wooden-planked homes with french shuttered windows. You get the picture--they were beautiful.
"I want this," I thought, "I can't wait to have this." I became intoxicated with ambition, picturing myself clicking heels down the halls of a fast-paced office, poking my head into rooms to spurt out a few, short words of office jargon that i don't even understand because i made them up. I was picturing all this, with one of these lovely homes as the background to my fantasy--a smile on my face knowing i got to come home to that.
At the peak of my daydream, I was affronted. There was a smoker--a SMOKER! in the middle of chirping birds and kids learning how to bike in their driveways full of bmw's and range rovers. A woman, in a red, over-sized Tommy Hilfiger t-shirt, washed out looking jeans and sneakers. A whole outfit from target or walmart i would imagine. Her skin and teeth were a little yellow (i would know because she gave me a tired smile) and her figure was lumpy, awkward. Not the trim toned mothers you would expect in this neighborhood. And puffing out her smoke--something a little grungy in this clean, clean place.
A trim, toned woman poked her head out a window and yelled "Manuela! Las ventanas en la cocina, por favor!" and my smoker flicked out her cigarette and rushed inside.
She was a housekeeper. In this picturesque scene, in the middle of my daydreaming, i couldn't help but feel suprised, a little off even, about her presence in the middle of it all. And I was ashamed. I was ashamed that I needed traces of other kinds of lives out of the picture in order for me to enjoy my picture. And I remembered a very, very different account of a housekeeper I wrote just a year ago, when I wasn't daydreaming about Beverly Hill homes yet. Here:

There is a cleaning lady sitting on the swing set behind me. I saw her in the library bathroom today, and very early this morning right outside my dorm. Just cleaning. But now she is thinking and she is alone and she deserves it. Maybe it’s cliché, I shouldn’t make assumptions. She could be a bitch, a hard-ass mother, or narrowminded, or completely intolerant. But I cant help but feel complete warmth towards her. I always feel that way towards cleaning ladies. We run around thinking all our tasks are so important. So important that cleaning is just an inconvenient frivolity.
Now she is humming. She is back there swinging and humming and I want to go sit in the sand in front of her and lay my head back in her lap and have her stroke my hair. Does she feel the position we impose on her? Doe she really look at us as the gods we think we are and have faith that we are doing great, important things and cant be bothered with cleaning?
Or does she feel bad for us? I feel like she has a wisdom that knows that all my fears, and ambitions, an silly goals are so small in the scheme of things. We are like a bunch of chickens running around with our heads cut off. We are like busy little ants, frantically running around, running, running until we die. And she is god, disguised as a cleaning lady. Keeping things simple. Watching us. Pitying us. Knowing us. Oh god the humming. This is one of those moments worth living for. I don’t deserve to be so close to this intimate moment of hers. Just within earshot of her solitude. Probably her first god damn moment of solitude all day. Maybe if she could read this she would be like “damn, this girl thinks way too much, I’m just swinging and waiting for my ride!” Some maintenance men just arrived and are speaking to her vividly in Spanish. She is walking away with them. Good. They should take her. It was too good to be true to have her back there, all to myself. But I will never forget that humming.