emma b. says

Monday, September 24, 2007

Our Parents Die

I was driving when I heard the news. She called me back after I had left a glib message, I can't meet you for lunch. Are you OK?
Her dad passed away last night, her disciplinarian softy dad who towed us on waterskis and cuffed us on the head. He used to call me George, as in Boy George, due to the electric blue eyeshadow I used to sport in those stupid-early days of adolescence. If I have any love of baseball, it's thanks to him, for meandering days of summer, idleness in each other's houses, and B always had on the game on the radio, and it never failed to lull me to sleep, crowds on the radio.
Now he's gone, she's a daddy's girl just like me, it fills me with undescribable loss, for her family, for him, going out pissed off til the end, for my parents, for my father. For those long ago long days of summer, we girls in the back of the truck when it was still legal, with the boat and the boom box, listening to Howard what's his face or Erasure, the wind in our eighties hair, and Buddy Senior with his cigar ribbing us and loving us.
Of our parents, those of us from our tight knit small town, his passing is the fourth, I hate this inevitable count down. Four shields passed out of this life, four guides gone. Scolds, fucking all of them, but in a gentle (well, memory distorts) still, we loved them.
I know you went out irracible, I hope you and your family, your daughter, my very old friend, got a little peace.
Heaven is for good men, and women. I think, at least I pray, if there is anything at all, let it be late summer, with baseball on the radio and all wet and windblown, the last ride on water skis, down in the water with the flag up, let it be bobbing there amid the swirling petrol rainbows, let it be quiet within the rope's circumference.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Little by little

The drawers and closets disgorge. Thrown up into reject piles only to be sworn in again. I have tried so hard to be ruthless. I have entreated myself, I have begged myself, I have offered myself generous rewards of hamburgers, and my otherself has just laughed in our faces and pulled that tank top out of the goodwill pile and had a hamburger anyway.

I think I might be halfway done, dwelling in a city of mismatched boxes, and I am so tired, every last crevice of me aches, deep muscle ache, only alleviated by a good cathartic cry. But nothing comes. My eyes couldn't be more dry, I just get curiously zenner, uh huh, I just said zenner and meant it.

I thought I was well on my way to have a collassal melt down when I went to move my car the other day and discovered that THOSE MOTHERFUCKERS HAD BOOTED ME!!!!! and I came home totally prepared to throw shit and break things, at the very least stomp around and nearly drown in my tears of frustration, and bat blame around like a stinky wicket. Nope, nothing. The guru in me said only, you have assets, use them.

And I am fine, I am cool, goddamn me if I am not the coolest cookie in the history of upheaval, that doesn't mean that I want to make my bed, after my (hopefully) last visit to the crack laundromat.

I need a massage and a joint, I need to cry, I need to stop leaking money. I wake up every morning disoriented, but I am quite certain that if I could, I would never work for money again, if I could help it. I say this only because I haven't yet found the thing that I love. Short of that there are sad songs, which should so the trick..... except that they haven't.

This is my home I am boxing up, my stubborn, willfull home, I shift from forgotten closet to sealed box, so it can gather dust in another state, in another State. I, evidently, don't function on planet ruthless, I do the best I fucking can on planet Cass is a sentimental fool, I am pretty sure I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Eat, Snob, Love, or the Feminist conundrum

Two people, two women, who I admire have recently recommended that I read Eat, Pray, Love. It's been out for awhile and widely reviewed as a puff piece of post feminist self indulgence, at least according to the critics I generally admire and not all that well written to boot. Plus, according to the overlords of investigative snark at Gawker media she neglects to disclose she's cheating on her husband before she leaves him...

But they said, look past it, it speaks.

Full disclosure, some months ago, when I was coming apart at the seams, I was at the gym watching Oprah. This was when she was touting The Secret, so I thought what the fuck, I'll give it a shot. They had it at my video store and I swear to god you would think I was renting kiddie porn from the glances askance. I spent the next however long the running time was pitching expletives at the screen and wishing I had not misspent that precious time. What a boat load of hooey, preying on those who would gladly sacrifice hard earned dollars at the altar of a bunch of capitalist quasi-mystics regurgitating philosophy 101. My head exploded, also I am a snob.

I am a snob. I do not buy books that have pink jackets. I am a snob. I do not purchase anything that is marketed to me as the One solution, the Ultimate diet, I vehemently, vehemently despise the genre known as chick-lit, even more than I despised Harlequin romance novels -- at least they weren't trying to be didactic, they just wanted to elicit a furtive soft core orgasm, and as far as I'm concerned that can't be all bad (even if it weren't my style)

So this book, I am three quarters into thanks to my extremely expensive day at the car dealership. Car+ tune-up + two new tires= a grand. I called my father, I was all, is this right? and he was all, no it's not, but you don't know dick about cars, do you. Right. And he got flustered on my behalf, which I find angry making and charming all at once. Oh fuck it, it was a nice enough day, I spent it at my favorite beach (after they gave me the truly troubling PT Cruiser to gallivant in) Rodeo beach, there were lot's of surfers, the sun was out, I had my iPod, I was calm.

Back on rant. Much poorer and back in the City and hungry, I took me and the book down to Magnolia for duck confit, and this is what came to me, envy. I was up in arms over a pink book because I was utterly envious. Even though her descriptions of depression and the desolution following the demise of a marriage and a relationship were succinct and pitch perfect, I was jealous. No one gave me advance when I got divorced, I didn't get to travel, no, I was mired in a poverty and a depression profound, and yet still, I muddled through -- and right along with the envy is the admiration, I (very) begrudgingly admit that the book does speak. There is nothing wrong with eating, and there is nothing wrong with praying, and she is careful about how she speaks of her relationship with the sublime, it's not cloying, best of all it's not pink, and there is certainly nothing wrong with loving.

I have issues with women. With the F word in particular, then again I have issues with men, with people in general, fair enough to state that I am a reasonable misanthope in an unreasonable world. But back to the fairer sex, my sex, let us just say that I have a certain horror of gaggles of females. It starts with my maternal grandmother, wends many years as my own mother's understudy, the high school trials, a study in venom and tampax, coellesces and explodes my first two years in college at hippieville ground zero, where at one point I was entreated to share my vagina with a bunch of hairy legged succubi, I politely declined and fled to France. It's a testament to my mother, that she survived her mother and does the best she can, it's a testament to my highschool girlfriends that these days we get together and air past grievances with good grace and mighty laughter. As to the succubi, they effectively turned me off for forever the politics of high feminism. No, you may not see my vulva, and no, I do not want to beat on a drum and howl at mother moon with you, thank you very much, no, I think Andrea Dworkin is a shoddy polemicist, go on, go ahead and ostracize me, you fucking raging pre-menopausal hypocrite. Also, shave your goddamn legs, all that fuzz is giving you mean cankles.

Speaking of raging non-premenopausal (we hope) hypocrites, hello! I am one.

I grew up in a household of peers, there was never any question of equality between my parents. It was a given, or a hard won war in a golden period of glasnost when I came to conscience. They certainly fought as equals, hard core scrappers, the both of them. Conceits were a solid victory. To their credit, the house was equally divided, to each his own domain, and in the middle an unflagging solidarity (isn't weird how I resort to the politspeak of my childhood). I resented the term feminist, as far as I could see it had no weight in my life, I was never taught that I couldn't do anything as well as a boy could, if I so chose (and if I didn't get an education I was certainly going to end up pumping gas, a unisex fate worse than death in my family). Which must be the reason that neither me or my brother knows dick about automobiles, while my father is one of the last of his age, the man knows how to tinker (sometimes to our great detriment) while the children of this generation surrender our plastic and leave it to the extortionists masquerading as professionals. I swear the dude at the dealership wrung his hands in anticipation, here comes a girl who freely admits her total ignorance and says, well, do what you need to do now, I'd rather pay now then break down in the dark on a lonely stretch on highway one, where the sharks and the serial killers lurk.

Back on rant. For many years I forsook feminism as a sixties throw back, with a certain nostalgia, like gloves and hats and further back, corsets. I suppose I should thank our feckless leader and the ensuing elections for making me take up the Feminist mantle, with the caveat that it's a different sort of feminism, if such a thing could be had..... Most of it has to do with the pro-choice movement, and if you are not, stop reading me now, I spend an ungodly amount of time writing to my navel, but as the political season wratchets up, expect me to comment here more.

Back on rant. The other driver in my fledgling feminism is our world wide web of the internets, which has sparked me to donate to the South Dakota indian reservation to provide abortion services and which has sparked me to donate to medicins sans frontiers to the campaign for women who most likely have suffered through excision and after child birth develop fistula - if you don't know what I am talking about Nicholas Kristoff at the NYT has written extensively on the women who are banished for suffering after mutilation.

Closer to home, it started when Salon started publishing the Broad Sheet, which I read in conjunction with their political blog the War Room, and then Gawker Media got wise and started publishing Jezebel.com which is my favoritist site on all of the internets, even more that Icanhasacheezburger, yes even better than that.

I am not sure why I have never been discriminated against, I had my share of "grey rape" in my sexually precocious youth, but I always figured that half the responsability was my own, it's possible that I am making large allowances, but I never felt undone. Let's face it, pre-breast reduction I was built like a blonde shit brickhouse, in the best sense, and I am still stacked to the heavens with tits and ass. The one time in my early twenties when I was working in a hotel a sales person placed his hand on my ass, I made such an almighty stink, that subsequently no one has dared. This where I get into trouble with the feminists, take it between your two hands and raise a stink. Some assclown decides that it's his right to clap you on the ass and speculate about your future sex life, make and almighty stink. But here's where it gets treacherous, you can't do it as an animal, you have to do as a lady, a lady whose virtue has been called into question, you have do it as they expect you to. As my paternal grandmother (who never identified as a feminist, but will gladly take all your money at bridge while affably drinking you under the table) said, disarm with charm, mollify, manipulate, attack. If it's a man's world afterall, that advice has served me well. Sorry ladies, all you furry legged and up in arms ladies, I respect where you are coming from, I hear you, I hear you well, we are all on your side. We want education, we want, we all want for these girls in the age of Paris and Britney to not suffer the indignities and embarrassments that we all suffered at the hands of our peers and at the hands of boys, no matter where you landed on the social scale, it was all equally horrible. Can we all just agree on that and go from there?

Because at the end of the day we all want the same thing, the same fundamental things. Choice, access to education, wage equality, a chance at life, a chance at happiness. Dare I say it, a chance at love, she-love, man-love, girl and boy love, just plain old confounding love.

End rant.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Season of Lasts

Friday was my last day of work.

Sunday was the last time that J will color my hair.

Saturday was the last night I'll have all my friends in one room together, so I went and negated by getting blindly, wildly drunk. So I am left with impressions, a patchwork of faces, and snippets of converstations. I am certain I showed off my new boobs to a particular Anna (hi! honestly I think you and Bob are best, how come life gets in the way?)

Just this evening I found out that a very heavy last is resolved, this morning I twirled around my apartment instead of packing and found myself utterly directionless for lack of structure. So it's all really real now, I've got no job, all my stays have been systematically cut. I keep waiting for the tears, but they have yet to manifest, no doubt due to all the liquor and cheese. I've traded in my imaginary cigarettes for the real thing and I have been smoking up a storm. I know it's no good, but it's better than cocaine, and I am fine with that for the moment. I am pretty much fine with anything.

P and I had pilates this evening, a near last, but not quite yet. We parted on the corner and a young woman of indeterminate accent asked me for directions to Amoeba, and I pointed up the Panhandle where the evening light was cascading through the tallest Eucalyptus, and I couldn't speak for a moment, I nearly said follow the light westward, and turn right at the line of trees, swallow the dusk as you run, but I thought that might be inappropriate, so I gave her proper directions and swallowed the dusk ensconced in my own private universe of the iPod.

And a propos de rien why do I cleave so much to scraps of paper, I have scraps of paper, mounting scraps of paper, with scribbles, hillcocks of scraps of paper, dribbling out of drawers, quasi indeciperable, for the life of me I cannot part with them. Like old photos of people whose names have passed beyond recollection, so I have old notebooks with old phone numbers that pre-date the cell phone age, yet I filled a box today with scraps of paper. I labelled it personal, but on the day I move into my new house, my house that I will own, that box, like its many mates will get jostled into a corner and get forgotten, get added to, I figure it's for the archivists of the future, as if those scraps could constitute a life, an approximate snow angel of my history, details of a life I can hardly even figure on my own. Besides who needs them in the age of blogging, as if I could even get even navel-gazier, yes, I did just write that.

next up on the moving train, take the car for a tune up so I can bleed more cash.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

So nearly gone, or my real name is Cassandra

The Irish in the lightwell, I'm convinced are waging a passive war against me. This because I have taken to banging on the window when they host their Wednesday night parties - I am only patient past two AM, and then I get my shrew on. They are moving and have taken to leaving the kitchen light on all night long. I shouldn't care, they are nearly gone and so am I, yet my provoked ire simmers, and I have started to fantasize about throwing rocks. Then again, I have an undercurrent of anger and grief coursing through me, and I think I'd like to be armed with skipping rocks to throw, pointedly and accurately and decidedly blindly at things, at things, at ideals and at ideas and at politics and religions and inattentive drivers, at the hills and at the oceans, just because.

The minutae of such a big move are wearing me down, I get fogged in the details, I want to twitch my nose and be gone already. It's not that I don't secretly love the extra attention, and I have been dining out on my departure for weeks, it's not that I am not grateful for that last reconnection, that last validation of neglected friendships (we get, well, life just happens) I have always been a happy wallflower, and to slink quietly away would have been my first choice. I was secretly pleased when P said I was being an ass, I'll throw you a party. I want to be gone, I don't want to leave.

It's been fifteen years this August, that I have been rooted here in this City of my choosing. I could never, ever hate it. There is too much memory and too much of my exaggeratedly misspent youth still trembling on corners and under mouldering bars, there is too much of me in the skyline, what I see is that here is where I will always be. I told a friend that I was taking days to make the journey to Portland when my apartment has been emptied and the movers have gone, that I expected to weep until Mendocino, tread the sands of savage northern beaches until I had sloughed off the last of my California skin. But that will never happen, I'll be an expat and that is that. I've been an expat before, it was a guise that I flourished in. Besides deciding that I really hate my apartment, yet it's my own, my gilded, dusty cage, I really hate the Irish in the lightwell and their damned kitchen light. Could I be projecting, possibly, likely.

Friday is my last day at work, I am glad that I opted for the time and not the money (how can my brother not have any Blur or any Joy Division in his music collection) all the scattershot and careful weeding I have done in drawers and forgotten crevices begins in earnest on Monday after my massage, fifteen years piled into boxes or left on the sidewalk for the life collectors. If you ask me what I'll miss most, I'll tell you it will be my commute from the City to Marin, across the Golden Gate under varied skies, pelicans and light and quiet waters or rough waters, with that old bitch NPR in the background baiting my tears or angry indifference depending on the state of my hormones. I could have worked another week or so, fuck the money, I want the last, asthmathic breaths of summer, turning ideally into the perfect cornsilk softness that is our Indian Summer, I want days of pearl and evenings of sapphire perfumed by skittering leaves and the sumptuous death of a season, for me it's been a long and lovely and painful season, fifteen seasons, to be precise, fraught with loves and little deaths. I am not sure that I remember it all, there was a fair amount of reckless dancing on bars, and a marriage, a deep bucket of pain, a lot of narcotics, a slew of souls forgotten and a few banished forever. I've been banished myself.

It's getting late, it's always late where I am. I could give two shits about showing up for work as I have a severe case of short-termers disease, besides it's only me and the nineteen year old republican intern in the office tomorrow, happy new year for all you chosen ones. The dirty old lady in me would happily fuck his brains out on the trading floor, perhaps some restraint is called for. Or not...

uh yeah, there is that, too. The fast and furious return of my desire to be heartbroken again, which has blossomed into full fledged she-letchory... starting with my take down of the hair dresser, and not ending with my pornographic love dreams, I think it must register on the level of our primordial pheromones, because walking in the park I got all kinds of attention, I don't think it was strictly my new fabulous tits, but as a buffer they will no doubt serve me well, it was something else, I can only say it was two ounces of mojo, and two ounces of not giving a fuck, shaken and served up with a garnish of open road and zero expectations. Somehow that makes me more desirable than all of my blonde curls and the grief and beauty I carry in the blue and green light of my eyes. I've got a lot to learn from the garishness of confidence. Well, that and the right shoe, and a the understatement of proper foundation garments.