emma b. says

Monday, November 30, 2009


Just listen to a lot of Exit in Guyville, I said, you will be fine. This to my friend who had just signed divorce papers.

I said, I know of what I speak. And then we drank hot toddies in the hot tub and it started to rain. It could have been the seventies, but it was an hour ago.

It was an hour ago and it was ten years ago and I got a little lost in the folds of time and woke up near the end of a vaguely shitty year and realized that the heads that talk and the internets were preparing to eulogize a decade, full of Very Important Markers and eight years of war. Eight years of war. Farewell to the Oughts.

In my head it is still August of 2001, in my head I am just turning thirty, in my head it bubbles with possibility, in my head it is not unseemly to pick up boys in bars, though I never really ever did, in my head it is always a clear day in San Francisco, in my head I am wildly love with someone who is not my ex-husband or anyone since, in my head we drive along the delta in Autumn, fast, through an onslaught of falling leaves and wonder what it would be like to be farmers.

Sweet, cruel reality.

Outside my head, but within the confines of this house where I live now, I am only just scraping by in Oregon. These walls they are mine, lathe and plaster and foundation. The furnace I pray that doesn't bust.

So. The lessons, they abound. Hubris, humility, going a little without, compromising this for that, a tit for a tat, valuable, certainly, painful, certainly. Take a lot of comfort in that you are not the only one afloat In These Uncertain Times. And still. Thanksgiving. These walls might be a millstone, but they are mine and thus far they hold. And I might be a hair's breadth of losing everything, I cling, I cling. I am not in any jeopardy of going hungry, last night I made a mad good stew for the week's lunches and tonight my new divorcee gave me a dozen of her mother's eggs. I am thankful. I give thanks.

I read something today that was so apt, it was on The Awl, about how my generation, is something like the middles, caught between this great seismic shift of the way we digest media and the soft, surprisingly strong furling tendrils of nostalgia and the constant pervasive now, what the hell does celebreality mean anyway, any yet anyone who has spent anytime on the internet or trolling through cable channels knows, people have possessive opinions about that irritating non-entity Gosslin, famous for what, in vitro?

They don't execute people in public squares anymore, but that rabid public still bays for blood, these days we say knowingly that it is snark. We eviscerate in the court of public opinion. Meanwhile the real culprits, the ones who deprived of us our four hundred dollar boots and caviar (snorts derisively, sorta) are free to duck hunt and figuratively rape the country they purport to love so.

Thus as it ever was I suppose.

My new friends ask sideways and my old friends ask askance if I would take back if I could, this, this move, this starting over. No.

The Taurus in me squared her haunches and dug in, things could have been different, things could have always been different, but in my mind it's a constellation of events that led to this and here I am and here I shall remain until a separate constellation guides me elsewhere. Recently I have been plagued by the same grostesque demons that used to haunt me in San Francisco, you can't out run them from state to state, that was my mistake. You can't pick up and leave all that you knew and loved and expect that things will be different, they will, they will be radically different, but the things that cleave and divide, they will remain, no matter what the weather, I said that too, to my newly divorced friend - do you know that in Oregon a divorce can be finalized in a matter of weeks, unlike California where I had to wait by the mail box for a year.

And I am thankful, chiefly to my little brother who eagerly opened his amazing group of friends to his beleaguerd older sister. And I am thankful to my parents who continue to believe in me, when I am completely convinced that I am the world's biggest fuck-up, and I am thankful to my very old friends and my very new friends for their good grace and infinite kindness, I am thankful that I remain fitfully employed and I am thankful for insurance. I am thankful for our President, good luck and Godspeed, friend. I am thankful for the good and fraught ghosts of boyfriends past, I am hopeful that Someone will send me some love soon, because I need it and I want it.

I am even sort of thankful for raking, but not really. Fuck, I rake a lot. Leafs! I like you best on the branch.

P.S. In the state of Oregon 38% of households are food challenged, regardless of employment status, California is not far behind. The next time you are at the market pick up a bag of rice or lentils, donate. Do it. Food banks traditionally need lots of protein, beans, canned tuna, cooking oils and breakfast items. Do it. Spend ten bucks, do it. It might be you standing in that line.