emma b. says

Saturday, July 28, 2007


I was sitting in my father's study earlier, trying to wrest my thoughts from the murk of anesthesia when a bird flew into the window at my eye line just beyond the monitor.

I threw open the door and ran down the stairs and there it was a gross beak, a beautiful little bird, yellow striations and white spots, a fierce little mask and it was dying.

I ran back into the house and grabbed a wad of paper towels and a zip lock bag and I thought I should take the kitchen mallet, but I couldn't.

I ran back down the stairs to where the bird lay, and I wept uncontrollably, inconsolably because I could not kill it, I could not kill this frail, lovely creature and ease it's pain. I watched it die, helpless and angry that I could not order my clumsy fingers to be quick and throrough, and I cried and I cried. It flipped onto it's side, it's tiny claws already in rictus and then it's light blinked out and the bird was gone.

My mother found me there, at the base of the stairs, in the heat with the corpse of a small bird at my feet, sweating through my sutures, furious at my lack of stoicism to be able to grant these small mercies.

More later on the surgery, suffice it to say the old girls are off and the new ones are stitched. I can't say more than that because I have not had the courage to look, and can't really as I am bandaged like a mummy....

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The goodbye girls

I should be packing, I should have been packing, doing things, like cleaning and weeding books. But I haven't. In my sincerest dorktasticness, I went to hit balls in Marin and ended up reading Harry Potter poolside, could not be wrenched from the story. Had intended to save it for the recovery after the completion of my remodel, operation new tits on Tuesday. Instead I finished it last night, then my eyeballs fell out and sought respite under the bed.

No spoilers here, but I was satisfied with the epic's conclusion.

I should have been packing and I should be packing.

Instead I spent hours with foils on my head and insufferable minutes under the dryer and spent many dollars on strands of hair. I am quite perfectly blonde with undertones of strawberry to perfume my ego. And then I wrote a sizeable check. Does anyone know of a really, really good colorist in Portland? Also someone who can manage my curls? also a good manicurist? Do they have chinese ladies in portland who speak incessantly as they competently file my rapidly growing claws - everything on me grows fast, hair, nails, ass.... How about pilates? anyone know a good pilates studio in portland? Oregon, that is.

I was thinking about driver's licenses as I was walking in the park this morning. I have several of my old boyfriend's licenses, which is probably silly in the age of identity theft, still I thought it was grandly romantic to take up that which the beloved was going to discard. Infact I have the drunk dialer's license, I looked at it this afternoon -- circa 1986, you know, back when the fax was revelutionary and we all scoffed at the nerds hunched over the apple IIe's. I have a my old passports, but I never kept any driver's licenses, there is a student ID or two floating around, from this institution or that, but as a driver, I have only ever been a californian. It occurs to me that I will have to have an Oregon driver's license. It occurs to me that I will have to register my car for new plates and as much as I have been having fun in my head playing grown up dress up with real estate online I can't imagine driving a car that belongs in Oregon, flashing my ID in a state that doesn't have sales tax nor sell liquor on Sundays. I can't imagine not being a Californian, it's the only skin I know. The years I spent in France I was an ardent and defensive Californian before I was ever an American. D'ou viens-tu? La Californie, et surtout pas LA.

I have trouble thinking that identity is as simple as a mantle to don or to shed, a sense of place is as deeply ingrained as my name, though I have long lived away from the town that I grew up in, it will always be home. I think even if my parents were no longer there, it would still be home, even if I never saw it again, it would still be home, if not in the definitive sense, then in something abstract, the notion of place. Where I could return to, and not even necessarily be welcome, but the pavement and the trees and long gone shops hold some vestage of me, like sap, like tar, like memory.

Or maybe I just haven't found it yet, the other home, in a person or a place.

I realize that most of what I have just written is the product of a relatively fortunate and happy childhood. Growing up in a small town the first thing I wanted to do was leave, but I left under an umbrella of benevolence and a rather large dollop of idyll. I was speaking to someone I had just met at a party this afternoon and we were swapping so-you-think-you-grew-up-in-a-small- town stories and his were full of a sort of abject bloodless horror and mine are full of meanderings in cars with the friends I am still close with, minus the casualties that the road and booze took, and combined they took many.

I had a point, and the point was that I should be packing, I dunno, non binding tee shirts and the like for phase II. In truth I am prevaricating because I am a little bit terrified. Now that I know what I am in for, now that I have experienced, continue to experience the trauma of alteration. Like how my sides still feel like modelling clay and as my flesh revives it fucking stings and clothes chaffe, and I should like to be suspended in jello or outer-space. So great in addition to my core having been supremely pummeled, now I get the countless sutures.....

I am not sure why I am so worked up, I want this, I am ready for it and all the rest, it's not the pain and it's not even the scarring, it's maybe the definitiveness. In terms of embracing change, this will be the herald that I carry, even if no one else can see it, it will be imprinted on my skin, it will be a talisman, more meaningfull than a tatoo. When they revive my inert system and hustle me out to my mother's car that ephemeral point of demarcation will have been penetrated. This is just me and my arbitrary set of milestones and adjustable morality, but this beyond moving to another state, this is huge. So you will pardon me if I hesitate, and if I grieve, perhaps some of you out there and far away can empathize, other will think I am just a silly, spoiled girl with body issues, all of you would be right.

For all my florid virtuousity I couldn't quite ever succinctly, efficiently verbalize that twin states of terror and hopefulness that have pitching me hither and thither, I could never effectively relay how my tits are involved, you will just have to trust me when I say that when you begin to molt all the casual markers of identity, like skins and places and breasts, it's very disconcerting to someone who is by her nature deeply loyal, and perhaps to her discredit, imagine it this way, I'd be the last mussel adhering to the dying pier that she loved for no reason other than it was the only thing that she knew.

So the letting go is in places surprisingly slippery in other it's scaling tall mountains perfectly naked and without ropes.

ps. I took pictures tonight of my goodbye girls for posteritie's sake, maybe someday when I am proficient in the internets I will post them.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Gallery of things that are awesome

* I was awoken this morning by an earthquake.

* I stood in line at midnight for a child's book.

* My highschool sweetheart still drunk dials me after nearly twenty years.

* it just gets better from here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Dear Cute Bartender,

Thank you it's been ages, it's been months and eons since I felt that.

P and I had gone perambulating in the panhandle and my hair was in disarray thanks to the soupy fog, I was in non-fetching sweats and sans war paint, not even a stitch of lip gloss and I sat down at the bar and you looked at me, you looked at us and my neutered heart skipped a beat, my intuition mesmerized, and I even flirted a little, I even blushed a little.

I was watching you as you were watching me, and what it is and what is might not be, but all of that is armchair speculation, what it is, what it really is, is the thrill of mutual admiration, a raucous kick to the gut, me admiring your hands as you pour my wine, me undressing you behind the bar. And it might be all in my head, save the egging on from P.

And here is why I launch into why I don't date, I don't date because I trust my gut implicitly, and my gut responds with some kind of visceral signal, maybe I am totally wrong and it's just gas, and maybe my gut has poor taste in men, because I wind up wiser but bereft, maybe all that love was a preamble to the future, but my gut has been unmoved for moons until tonight. And it lurched and half gurgled an untranslatable poem, and I stammered when I ordered the spaetzle and twirled my hair and found myself verging on parody, I thought it might pass, oh but I wanted him. P just looked at me askance and volunteered to leave. I hardly knew what to do with that blushing girl, so clearly mooning on the other side of the bar, so I collected my dignity, asked his name and fled.

It felt good, more real and more tantalizing than all those kisses I have been dreaming about, christ it felt good. The thing about my gut, is that is falls in love, fast and fatally, but my gut is never, ever wrong about the passion, my gut might ultimately be a shitty judge of character, but my gut can spot a sporting fuck immediately. My gut thinks I ought to stalk the lovely boy with the lovely hands at his workplace, but little miss practical, who is still scarred, and bruised and in pain, is all phase II and moving away and real estate and packing and money, and money and resumes and six to eight weeks of healing and sutures, stick to plan, stay the course, whilst little miss love and her super precocious gut are all deviate for a moment, he looked at you and you saw him looking - well maybe he was wondering what kind of tip he would get out of the ladies (a good one)

On a different, but similar note, sometimes, most times patience bears out, sometimes it takes months, maybe even years to hear what you needed to hear from the of the person that you needed to hear it from. My father often gets weepy when he speaks of his father, because whatever chance they had at reconciliation and even more powerfully recognition died on the day that he did, tonight my old friend parsed the words I had been wanting to hear, that when I thought I had detonated a friendship in an attempt to salvage old friends from the detritus of implosion, that I had helped... that is all I ever needed to know. We are fundamentally and magnanamously fucked up, each with his or her own very specific pseudo monstrosities, that get magnified in enclosed communities, we are doing the best we fucking can, saddled with this modern world's stinking expecatations - it's not a judgment and it's not a cop out, it's just a whispered plea for a bit of empathy on all sides and a pass for the inadvertant girl in the middle. For many years I was content to be a third wheel and a willing sidekick, I got the most adult friendship I have ever had, and I happily settled into the embrace of routine....

and then something happened at the laundrymat. except that is not entirely honest. something happened at the laundrymat after I realized I wasn't going to go anywhere fast wreathed in my fetching cocoon of the people that I loved who were going to make me crazy because I was too deeply entrenched, plus I decided right then and fucking there that I was far too old to be washing my delicates at the crack laundrymat with the lachrymose keeper who always closes too early, that and I would like a dishwasher and a fucking puppy.

Doesn't mean I don't still love them, those who would conspire to drive me batty, just tonight I had the pleasure (and I do mean pleasure) to inform my former husband that happy birthday I am holding a warrant for your arrest in my hands! just means, just means I will have to love you enough to let you all go, and I do. Right along with headlands and the distemperate bay, right along with the little pink stuccoed houses, right along with every salty white cap breaking against our bird beshat coast, right straight into the stony blue immovable, impervious deeps.

There, late at night, when I am dreaming, you will find me beneath the sea cataloguing memories and past lives, with the jellyfish and the whales and pinocchio and a nameless teddy bear and an unlimited supply of water proof batteries, captain ahab is conducting tonight and jules verne is first trombone, seek out the air pockets in the forlorn wrecks on the reefs in the near shallows and remember to breath deeply in the wake of delicious bartenders, just parrot fish in plumage, just a rumble of your fallible gut, just no one's beginning and no one's end.

I should really be asleep

but I am busy trying on old songs to see how they fit on this hour of this night, to see how I wear them at this juncture, is the hem of that favorite song wrong, does the seam hit my shoulders just so, did I outgrow that melody, or did I just get older, accidentally, inadvertantly.

Or not older, maybe just a little more jaded and conversely that much more romantic, in a spindly sort of way.

I must be nearly ready to be heartbroken again because I dream of kissing, strangers and strangers and familiars, kissing, all of them. It's all that dream kissing and real estate listings in other states that have tumbled me into a state.

On the day after Bastille day, after a lovely party, creamer potatoes rendered in duck fat, hello heaven, and some seriously stoney pot, yuh, that's a lot of creamer potatoes and champagne, I awoke in bed not one hundred percent sure how I got home and undressed... but had a tickle of randyness and so was hugging on my bear and getting warmer, so I reached for the BOB and so undid myself, jeesus, but BOB's are efficient, and rather then feeling self satisfied, I started to weep. Because I had just given myself a 30 second orgasm, because I ache for contact, for skin on skin and weight and friction and mouths reaching.

I have hit the celebate nadir, my own personal best, minus the random Irish in the wilds of Oregon, I am feeling desperately sorry for my illspent prime, spent on batteries and latex. And yet, with the last twinges of regret that I slough off the last remnants of love that I had for maudit engineer - maybe I'll tell the tale of how I finally got furious, maybe I wont. I sort of revel in this late blossoming furor, it's another weight to bear and yet it's innvigorating, it's my tinder, it's my tender, radiant spark that is going to ignite the wildfire in me, where I set it all ablaze, turn my back and walk away.

It's close now.

Strike the match.

Next week starts phase II of better living through plastic surgery, I gave notice to my job, I am scarily galvanised, the very portrait of rectitude. Oh who am I kidding, I am a quivering mass, I just want to drive away and be done with history. It's just not that simple or maybe it is. It's too late to be chasing after prehensile tails, imagined and otherwise, go to sleep, hold tight to your bear, it's an inanimate comfort, but you will take what you can get in the absence of love or even desire, it's something to hold to when the hour turns towards witching.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

On Days Like This

How could I be anywhere else, to miss out on the clarity of the day, and the forget-me-not blue of the bay. Sitting in Sausalito at happy hour looking out across the jagged horizon towards my home, just about to shimmer at the onset of dusk, and the windows to the east spontaneously errupting in flameless fire at the sun's descent.

How could I be anywhere else, but here now, and maybe forever. These rare evenings dripping in beauty, they can't sustain a life, they are a false patina, and just a sunset afterall. I am feeling lonely in advance and I haven't even left yet. The aesthete and the dilletante in me are having a hard time, their collective stub nose is bent out of joint, they have issues with Oregon and are leery of hicks, mostly they cower at the grostequeries of suburbia and fear that might be part of our lot up there in Portland. So I turned to them and said if I turn forty in my wee bottom floor shitbox of an apartment, I swear to you I will cut off your pert nose to spite my motherfucking face. And they sniffled into lace hankies and muttered to one another about museums and artisanal tequilas at $22 a shot....

Mostly I am exhausted by the all of this emotional thrusting, these vying angels and demons whittling at my last nerve, christ have I not been pummeled enough? Metaphysically and metaphorically and bodily, I have been in some grade of pain ever since Dr. Remodel rearranged my middle, and though the bruises have mostly faded my skin is slowly reviving, tingles and twinges and pulls and numbness, and yes it's fucking great but I am about to embark on another couple of months of bruises and stitches and an alien body as I head into phase two of the remodel.

I was at dinner on Monday with the usual suspects and we were talking about phase II, I was feeling particularly hormonal and got a little weepy lamenting the fact that no one was going to enjoy, that I was not get to enjoy one last romp with my tits, I consoled myself with wishes that my tennis serve will improve exponentially, and then I went home and wild dreams featuring Matt Damon, huh, wha?, OK, well whatever works.

That's the thing about better living through plastic surgery is you have to be forward thinking. Also, you become the defacto expert at the dinner table on all things inappropriate when the main courses are served, in fact you are served up at the table, opened up to mild opprobrium tinged with circuitous envy, suddenly everyone wants to weigh in on the state of your nipples and one of your dining companions does something so lewd with his tongue that you are tempted to go hide behind and then get under the italian waiter...... commo se dice - eh - you wanna fondl-eh my eh boobies-eh???

Right. See this is what happens to the chronically undersexed, and I won't even mention the Larkspur firemen at Peet's today. Except HaChaCha.

I have been intentionally forthright about my remodel, I'd rather not have to be coy and dissemble the truth about why I look different, says she though a mouthful of duck confit.

As for Portland, the signs still augur, this morning I opened up the New York Times and I swear to God there was another feature on Portland, this time on the proliferation of precious tea shops, it's the fifth or sixth feature in four months, the aesthete was pleased, the dilletante was all, ugh, tea, but, but kombucha is a magic dietary aid, and the snark was quelled. I am going to have to learn to appreciate beer, and Crocs, may the good lord have mercy on my Louboutin loving soul.

I gave my two month notice at the office with the caveat that they not kick me to the curb before hand, so now it's all really real. Before it was all playing house on line and sussing out the mouth feel of leaving on friends, now my livelihood is at stake and they have set about looking for a replacement. I am of mixed minds on this, I felt suddenly covetous of my job and alternately incensed that they did not beg me to stay -- in truth one of my colleagues and friend knew what my plan has been for a long while, but I made it official and the incontrovertable wheels of change commenced their solemn grinding, meanwhile in my head I am screaming, wait! wait! I'm not totally serious! kidding! beg me to stay, please beg me to stay?! that and pay me more money!! Which is pretty much where I am at, just a hare's breadth ahead of the incontrovertable, grinding wheels of change, gouging the earth in their wake, I fear I'll just have to keep up this exhausting pace until I find the right house of my own to hang my sweat tinged hat in, any other rabbit hole would be an unholy diversion, furry tea party orgies with soporifics and duels with two dimensional huffy queens, wait that was yesterday, or maybe this saturday - bastille day, oui, and as for soporifics, I still have a ton of vicodin....