Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Taking a stand:
I take stands all over the place. What is it with me? I mean, there isn't just one incident that bubbles to the surface of my memory when I think that phrase. In my life, I pretty much get what I think that I want. This is totally different than getting what I actually want.

When I was in college, I wanted the dishes to be washed every night and the kitchen put away. Nothing strewn about, underwear wise, in the bathroom or hallway. No wet towels balled up on the bathroom floor. My lunch for the next day uneaten. My CDs all in their appropriate cases. I let my live-in boyfriend know as much, and soon after, he moved out. I got my way, but not what I wanted.

I wanted to leave my floundering marriage, which, to be fair, wasn't pleasing my husband either. But by instigating that change, I lost my house and my dog, my own private studio, my garden, and an easy life subsidized by marrying into wealth. I got the station wagon and an apartment besieged by roaches. And oh! The paperwork! Holy crap, if people knew how much paperwork there was involved in divorce, maybe they'd give couples therapy a last ditch effort. Plus, there's nothing like sitting across the table at the courthouse from someone whom you've told you don't want to be married to anymore, that your life together cannot go on, and having them stare you down over your strategically placed cup of Starbucks coffee. Be careful what you wish for; blah, blah, blah.

Of course, I also got Chris out of the deal, who is silly and wonderful and who baby talks to the cat just like I do, so it's not bad. But when you're in the shit it all seems that way.

I haven't ever been able to take a stand with my mother. Doesn't everybody feel that way about one of their parents? I was wondering aloud the other day about a time in the future when I would be able to take grown-up vacations that don't involve using up all my vacation time going to see my family. My sister's boyfriend said, "As soon as you tell your mom that you aren't going to come and visit her this summer, but are going somewhere for yourself instead." This horrified me, as if he had advised me to hit her on the head and roll her car into the nearest body of water. But he's right. It's time for me to start loosening her arthritic yet tight little grip on all of my time off.

Monday, March 21, 2005

I board the bus with Eddy and Chris. I sit at the far end of the section of three seats by the back door. Eddy sits next to me. Chris wanders into the bowels, swallowed by a section of street punks with ripped jeans and bad-itudes.

There is a guy on the other side of Eddy, pasty, dredlocked, who taps me on the shoulder as I press my fists into my chronically itchy eyes. I look up and behind Eddy.

"What's your name?" he asks.
"What's your name?"
I panic and blurt out the real thing: "Angela."
"Oh... I'm going to write a poem about you."
"Okay," I say, because, what else can you say?
"That's why I needed to know your name," and with that, hey guy gets up and bolts out the back door.

Eddy appraises me and says, " I was wondering why he gave me the evil eye when I sat down next to you."


Monday, March 14, 2005

My corduroy pants are never so loud as they are at work.

I walk around in the closed stacks and a zipping sound whispers from between my legs. My thighs don't ordinarily rub together, I am generally thought of as 'just a little bit of a thing,' but wearing corduroy, everyone can know the joys of thigh friction.

I think about how wearing corduroy would translate into the food service industry, where 'Waiter's Ass' runs rampant for both sexes, and how everyone I've ever known waiting tables, including me, carries either talcum powder or a tube of cortisone in their bags. Don't leave home without it! (FYI- this is when you are cruising around at high speed in a hot, often moist environment, and your butt cheeks rub together in the most unpleasant way. Eventually, after hours of this, a red, raw rash will crop up and cause the worst kind of pain and itch you would wish on your most foul enemy.) I think that polyester is the best fabric for that job, based on my personal experience, because it stretches when you do and if you spill some hollandaise on yourself, you can just wipe it off. So no cords while waiting tables.

I also think about this obnoxious fat kid in sixth grade named Brooks. He was loud. He farted and then shook with laughter, every time. He was a friend to no one. He made fun of everyone for any reason. I can't think of a single person who even pretended to like him.

But he did wear these blue cords, and he was big enough so that his thighs scraped together audibly when he walked. There were rumors flying around that he had run to catch the bus and his pants went up in flames because of the furious rubbing of fabric between his legs. I wanted to believe this was true so much that eventually, I did. Brooks was fond of calling me names. "Chicken Wing, Chicken Little, Turkey Neck." Anything that called to mind a small, scrawny, helpless animal. I loathed him.

Even though the fabric of those cords gave in to the tremendous pressure and blew out two bagel sized holes that could be seen if you bent over and looked just under his butt cheeks, he still wore them. I don't know why.

Sometimes, I wonder what those pants of his smelled like.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Opening my eyes this morning was like peeling gauze off of still-damp red crackle paint. For the first time in years, I looked stoned. I closed them immediately and pressed my fingers deep in the sockets, feeling the relief that only pressure can bring to itchy pain. I rolled my eyes experimentally, feeling my scarred marbles move in painful synchronicity.

I thought: "It would be cool to have a wall-eye that I could control. I would freak people out with it all day."

I released my face and looked at the puffy blue-black that surrounded my crackle-glazed stare. Whoa! I looked like hell. Welcome to hay fever country.

Last night Chris and I made a compress soaked in lavender and I sprawled on the bed, pajamas with the baby chickens on them swaddled around me, washcloth tamped into my eyeholes, listening to an episode of Monk.

It felt good, the compress. As long as it was on my face. The relief ended as soon as I removed it and was hit full force by whatever was in the air; Little Portly's fur and dander, dust, mold, pollen, what-have-you. I am starting to hate air. Every time I breathe or otherwise encounter the stuff, it gives me trouble.