Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Dear friends of this blog,
I'm taking a couple of weeks off to get my holiday on. Please pour yourself an eggnog and warm yourself by this hollow gif, and I'll be back to my normal Wednesday posts on December 31st.
Wednesday, December 03, 2014
There’s a card in the Tarot, the Six of Cups, that I have a special feeling for. Some cards play one clear emotional chord—boom, happy; boom, tormented—but the Six of Cups shifts around. It’s slippery, it refracts the light differently depending on how you look at it. Some decks attach one-word meanings to the face of the cards (which I hate because that sucks the nuance out) but in those decks the word for the Six of Cups varies in a strange and pleasing way. Innocence. Nostalgia. Goodwill. Sorrow. Pleasure. I like that there’s no consensus on whether this card plays a minor or a major chord. I love the Six of Cups in the same way I love Pachelbel’s Canon in D, which I think remains ridiculously beautiful no matter how overplayed and ground into our consciousness it is. They make the same sounds, they attack the same feeling.
—Yeah, come over.
Ba-dada da-dat-da DUMP
Once, about a year ago, my friend Barbi and I went to the movies. We made a last-minute date and she picked me up at my house and we were both raggedy and undone in our sweatpants and general I'm-not-leaving-the-house clothes, but we were going to Mountlake Terrace where nobody would see us, to a movie theater where they bring you real live food to your seats, so we ate cheeseburgers and chocolate chip cookies and I drank a margarita because I wasn't driving and we snuggled up in our dumb clothes in public and watched The Wolf of Wall Street. I want us to have that same date again with a different movie. (Barbi, I'm asking you right now, right in front of the world and everything. This is like one of those proposals people do at sporting events over the Jumbotron. You'd probably hate that, but marry me for this date anyway.)
I don’t call people enough. I never have, but now with two children I really, really don’t. Some of it is that I’m talking all day. I live with five other people: my husband, our two children, my brother and my mother. I love these people, but that’s a lot of talking. And with children, talking isn’t always casual chatter. There’s a lot of urgent talking, the kind that requires projection. So at the end of the day, I’m usually talked out. I don’t want to use my voice any more.
Whatever. If reasons were wishes, cows would have wings or something. Having reasons why doesn't pay the friendship bills.
I don't know what it is with me and my bathroom, but I can't take a shower or wash my face or do anything in there without thinking about the friendships I've lost. All the dark feelings and cranky thoughts that leave me alone all through the rest of the house swarm me when I go in, and I'm constantly having daydream summits with these lost ones, telling them how it was, asking them why it was, lecturing them, having imaginary encounters where I act like it's no big that they're gone. It's like a friendship graveyard wifi hotspot in there. I'd like to heal these things because it's good for you to do that, but I'd also like to heal them so I could have a plain old shower once in a while.
When we move away from New York, shortly before my ninth birthday, I go visit Allison one last time. I’m wearing a dark red and white pinafore and dark red sandals, and she wraps a lei around my neck and prepares to take a picture of me. So I do the hula, both arms to one side making a wave. I’m smiling in the photograph, but it’s a sad hula. I don’t want to leave her.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
None of these words I’m about to write are the best words. If I wait until I can write those, I’m going to be waiting too long. There are better things to say, and people saying those better things better than I’m going to be saying anything today. But there’s no time to waste. There’s too much wrong. It’s time to move.
This is what I need, dear friend. I need to know that you are not merely worried about this most tragic of worst case scenarios befalling my son; I need to know that you are out there changing the ethos that puts it in place. That you see this as something that unites us as mothers, friends and human beings.
I don’t know Keesha, but I hear her, and I care about her, and every woman out there like her. She’s in pain, she’s in The Pain, and she needs more than talk, more than our tears and our head-shaking and handwringing. I don’t want to paraphrase her words. I want you to read them yourself. (Go, read, click the link.) But she needs us to read up, and to speak up, and to take action.
Becoming a White Ally to Black People in the Aftermath of the Michael Brown Murder
Time to fly that plane, even if we’re not that confident in our flying abilities. We’re out of time. Somebody else is going to get killed.
P.S. If you're white and you have criticism about how black people are responding to the latest news, I say this: keep your eyes on your own work. That's not your business. You have more than enough of your own work to keep you busy. And if you're having trouble comprehending black rage, The Case for Reparations, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, is required reading. (Oh, screw it, it's required reading for everyone.) If you're not feeling it after that, I don't know what to say except you're going to be a lot of work for the rest of us.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Wednesday, November 05, 2014
A few years ago I had some surgery, and surgery, while it buys you pain, also buys you pain meds. There are probably some noble souls* among us who don’t exult when they find themselves in position to take heavy narcotics, but I’m not one of them. A nice little prescription for some Percocet or Vicodin is the dangling carrot on the other side of whatever crappy something-or-other I’m going to have to go through to get it.
*or chronic pain sufferers—a tip of the hat and an apology for the above bit to you guys, all of whom I’m sure would love nothing better than to be able to get off the pain meds. I see you, I note you, and I’m wishing you freedom.
• feeling of warmth
• feeling sad or empty
• feeling unusually cold
• trouble concentrating
• unusual feeling of excitement
• cold and flu-like symptoms
• difficulty moving
• disturbance in attention
• false or unusual sense of well-being
• feeling hot
• feeling jittery
• flushing or redness of the skin
• headache, severe and throbbing
• hot flashes
• loss of voice
• muscle aching or cramping
• night sweats
• tightness of the chest
• trouble sleeping
• trouble breathing
And then there are all the side effects that you have to call your doctor/head to the emergency room about immediately, but this isn’t a PSA and this post isn’t about prescription drugs even if it really seems like it is right now, so I’m not going to list them.
THE ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY THAT YOU ARE GOING TO DIE
CONCENTRATE WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT AND GRAB ON TO LIFE WITH TWO HANDS OR ELSE YOU WILL EXPIRE IMMEDIATELY
IMMINENT TOTAL DOOM
which I guess all fall under the “agitation” heading. I was sweating, freezing, nauseated, metallic-feeling and dead panicked, and I spent the whole night until the sun came up googling Tramadol horror stories (oh, you can find ‘em), pacing back and forth between the bathroom and the bed, and praying my fucking head off.
Nurse! (Web surf.)
We just keep blocking most of it out.