Monday, December 15, 2014

Rough field

Water galloping sea horse (sorrow) finally found
a coral reef of
grief to float within.
Tears taste like the concentrated ocean.

I called his phone; it’s in a crashed car
but still working 8 days (chanukah starts tomorrow) later . . .
I just wanted to hear his voice
because he’s silenced, and now even his eyes
are laid over with a strip of gauze.

Are others as weepful as I —
I can’t know, for I am not measuring this
except for hours.
Volume can not be counted,
and if they told me they took 4 or 40 liters of fluid from
you, I would believe it.

I lost my cousin a year ago, and an uncle this summer,
and then a friend to-more-be this summer in the desert.

2014 is not doing well.
Bird friends died;
the cat is irritating and lives on.

I got to talk to your brother more than
since ever then and 20 years ago.
So, a few good things, deep, good things —
but this price is not fair.

Not until you can talk and complain,
walk and feel pain (sorry),
I won’t be happy to be again.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Then there was December 7

Becoming infamous again.
A Sunday drive for a Christmas tree
Turned into -- is it too dramatic a word?
A tragedy.
In part at least, and how far, still unknown.
Positive things to count,
Ornaments on the darkness:
No limbs lost,
No heads split wide open;
Death, specter hovering dressed in
Blood, over and over turned away.
So far.
And.
Sad.
Me.
For us.
For her.
For us.
Her.
Us.
Her.
Sad.
Hope continues to be a thing with feathers.
No one lets you bring birds or dogs (or cats, but) into the ICU.
It's scientific and clean
But it's not completely humane.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

The social life of my anxiety

It doesn't have any friends to call to go along to a music event where my husband and people who are genuine and nice (and don't all happen to be the same race, Imagine That) and who he's known for ages will be for the next four hours.

It keeps pushing little panic attacks, out of nowhere, up into the worry-receptor of my brain, the deep, sharp kind of panics that don't feel like, "Oh, God, a shark is coming at me with its mouth open!" but more like toe aches, heart flutters, dark smudges across mind fields. As if I were the loneliest person in the world, stuck forever, immobilized in my own head.

It, ma vie, and it, myself overall, appear to me, observing from within, better off than the person I was when I wrote 2014's other posts. That person seems more lost than I feel. Maybe because I'm aware of certain things I need to do -- and have actually done part-way by now. Well begun is half done, etc.

The dress I wanted to wear doesn't fit anymore.

It is enough to drive me from the burden of going somewhere people who love me are. I'm not so much afraid of hugs as of having nothing to say. And why love someone who can't fit into a dress she wore last winter?

The music is loud; I wouldn't have to talk. But you can't not say anything, and that shouting thing wears me down.

Where was the last place I was where there were just too many people, and all the interesting conversations I had imagined having (imagined in order to paint the social obligation attractive, not just an obligation, attractive so I could feel positive about going), were washed out in the din of 100-plus people without enough room to move around and who ended up having to shout at each other across round, 8-top tables . . . and then there were long speeches, long enough to last several innings of a World Series game some of us were compelled to watch . . . I didn't get to talk well with anyone I wanted to interact with. No space, no time. What was the point of being there?

That was my company's 50th anniversary dinner party. Informal enough, but terribly unsatisfying. And it was a Friday and we didn't get there until 10 minutes before buffet dinner was served due to the fact that my husband had to work late . . . and so he was exhausted and un-social himself.

I guess the only thing good is that he doesn't care that I'm not there tonight.

He went early with a co-planner/friend, who picked him up at 6:30. When I told him about the dress, he said, "Oh, you're going?" Surprised in a good way, but is not going to be surprised at all if I don't show up.

"Well [the car will be here so], at least you have the option." In a positive tone.

The both of us are really too good at not going to things. Not complementary. Rarely, even if we plan it, we both still Feel Like Going when the event comes up. Maybe plays -- theatre, opera, ballet or something that requires only observation, mental engagement, nothing "social."

So I tried all day to stay "up" and open to going out. I don't even feel as "unwanting" as I know I so often can.

But I have the option not to go. And I'm stressed out about being With People.

I've been reading blogs all day, getting into people's narratives.

And his birthday is Monday.

You would think that would make me go. Be supportive. Get over the fact that there are a couple of people there I don't like and have had real issues with. Get inspired to see a few people whom I only ever see on Facebook.

You would think.

I do like the music.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Last 39

I don't know how Google products work any more. There are members to this blog? Does that put them in a Circle? When I go to the email account for this blog, it calls me by a name I made up for logging in to YouTube.

I have acquired too many 'friends' on Facebook, so that I can't say what I feel anymore. A couple of co-workers, a bunch of artists, family members . . .

Too much trouble to create exclusive groups. What I need is a "who do you not want to see this" feature for each post.

And someone I don't know who is around my age is recovering from a second stroke, has a half-million dollars of medical debt and whose friends are sharing one of those fundraising pages while he declares bankruptcy . . . the site mentions he's "completely uninsured." I can't be nice. Who is unthoughtful enough to, after having had a stroke in their 30s, avoid getting pre-existing-conditions-don't-matter-now insurance? Could it really have been more expensive than $500,000? With insurance, perhaps it's $200,000. I'm making that up, but not the original story.

I wish I knew more about the situation so I could be more compassionate, but I can't put questions like that on Facebook.

The things I was going to do this long weekend are not happening. I spent yesterday working anyway. I had 2 or 3 hours of work to do this morning still, so no wake up master of the day feeling there.

I didn't go to lunch with anyone.

I didn't clean.

I read too much on the Internet. I barely moved. There is laundry on the line downstairs, but it doesn't matter if I don't have anything to wear.

There is art to see tonight, as was last, but I can't walk downtown and back. Tomorrow, there's a block party, but why would I want to spend my 40th birthday with strangers?

You'd think I'd be done being so negative by this point.

Thinking is bad for you, I'm sure : )

Friday, May 02, 2014

City birds

Post-dawn and pre-dusk, a woodpecker.
Not my tree, but near enough.
A heron flew over around 5 p.m., and on
Our way home from Aldi, a peregrine battled a red-tailed hawk
In view, west of our path down Charlotte.

Robins chase each other for territory in the
Maple tree, with its half-sized leaves of spring.
Of course, there is another starling family
In the eaves three floors up; nails only
Last so long.

I think the cardinals have migrated.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Horton hears a why


This morning, before I was ready to hear anything, (even) so-called deep (much less good advice), a man who works with us in a supervisory position and who is old enough to get up around 3 or 4 a.m. every day so that 9 is up-time, unlike for me, came 'round talking about "who eats" and how the poor of the world, etc. He was inspired by thoughts and composing an essay.

In other times, perhaps when I was in college, I would have been interested. Most of the time I like what he's talking about.

Since I wasn't able to edit other essays or answer emails while he was talking, I took the opportunity to unpack a box I had loaded up in January when I switched offices; my goal was finding some white peony tea from Shang. Done.

His speech turned primarily to a woman slightly older than I am but who is as "what do I want to do with my life?" She has a master's degree, though, and has just gotten a new job prospect, which involves helping some of the poorest people in our nation, the descendants of those who were here when "we" got here.

One of the things he mentioned, in his sincere advice-giving manner, was that when something feels uncomfortable, it's probably the right thing to do, more so when the risk involved is toward something motivated from . . . what did he say . . .

Compassion? Certainly the word charity was not invoked. I don't remember. I might later. It was early. I was stressed and tired. But it was about honesty and others instead of self.

About six weeks ago I accepted a job writing art catalog essays. Two of them, and then I even said, "o.k." when asked to take on a third, the subject of which was clearly "not wanted" by anyone else.

The third artist has no website and uses Earthlink. Graduated art school when I was about three years old. Etc.

I contacted all three of them in due time and then fell into pits and broke the engagements . . . not really knowing why. Maybe three is too many. Maybe my social anxiety, or to downplay it, introverted nature, is just too real.

Or perhaps the main reason that I don't care, don't care about trashing my reputation with the entire art community by blowing a deadline or about hurting certain people's real feelings and causing major inconvenience or burning a bridge with one person in particular whom I really respect, is that I took this on — like I took on my last art-related gig, still ongoing, two years and running — mostly for money.

I think this started to happen after my last wanted paid job kind-of killed me emotionally and financially. I turned into a bad-relationship rebounder without even trying. It didn't happen before that. I'm sure seeds had been sown, but that fertilizer helped.

And now I'm in the weeds.

The last job I took on because it was my "dream" ended up making my mind-yard run wild with occluding vines.

It's more than a thousand dollars. It is a totally feasible project. Plenty of time. Plenty of capability and previous knowledge (of at least two out of three of these people's work).

Not compassion. Not making the world better. Not even passion. Just money.

I'll fix it in the short term.

Will I learn how to recognize it in the longer one, in the future, and more importantly, in advance?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Write



Tuesday evening, I met up with the young fellow I mentor (as part of a structured program run by the Charlotte Street Foundation here, which gives artists studio space and opportunities) to go to hear George Saunders at a book reading event.

Will, who is approximately half my age, had bought the book of Saunders’ latest short stories (required) that for $15 that includes two tickets to the talk. He was sweet enough to court me on FB indirectly / directly to come along. We hadn't seen each other since "last year."

Actually, it had been a genuine while.

Neither of us had read anything from Tenth of December, and Saunders, who teaches at the prestigious Syracuse graduate creative writing program, only chose to read from it for about 10 minutes. The fictional selection was of the thoughts of a man whose co-worker had just died, and the text included the funeral.

It was intended as humor; Saunders approaches the fact that we, in his words, are all walking bags of bones, a uniting factor that should compel us to view each other with compassion.

Will laughed at the terse phraseology, lines omitting verbs to add masculine-sounding candor to thoughts like, “Bob = dead.”

I didn’t find it funny that the narrator was making fun of the way the Ukrainian Orthodox officiant was deadpanning about how odd or audacious it was that we “all” automatically took for granted we’d live another second, day, etc.

No, I think of this all the time.

All.

It doesn’t help that less than a month ago one of my first cousins died in his sleep on Christmas morning. He had gone to bed sitting up in a chair because it felt better. His heart didn’t make it, and he left behind a wife and three children.

He was born four months after me.

Right.

So, among the answers Saunders gave to the typical array of Book Reading Questions, is the only thing I can remember two days later, after a host of brain-scrambling, at-work, in-office meetings occasioned by out-of-town writers’ visiting, a new launch of a project I’m involved in, and an overall “new day” feeling going on at my company, is this:

“Bob walked in and sat down on the brown couch.” Is it significant that he walked in? No, well,

“Bob sat down on the brown couch,” then. Well, of course it’s “down,” so,

“Bob sat on the brown couch.” Does it matter what color the couch is? No.

“Bob sat on the couch.”

Is there any reason we need to know that?

Then, after “getting rid of all the crap,” as Saunders repeatedly characterized the non-essentials of any narrative, we’re left with “Bob.”

Not much, but it’s not crap.

He said.

Bob.

This comes from an author who has stuck to the short-story form after having been an engineer and a technical writer who attempted one, Hemmingway-esque, novel back when he was first married, which was an utter failure (the novel, not the marriage, which produced two, all-enlightening daughters who have since, it seems, have given every necessary other meaning to any apparent gap in his life since, etc. and etc. and on and on).

His breakthrough moment came when he overheard his wife laughing when she had discovered some dirty Dr. Suess-style poems and little drawings Saunders had been composing to keep himself sane during business meetings.

The triumph of the kitchen table. And a contrast to her head-in-hands pose Mr. Saunders demonstrated to us that she had had while reading the novel upon request.

So, humor.

And endless revision.

One story he referred to took him 14 years to get right.

Coming from a more theatrical sense of how narrative works, I find pleasure both in reading and writing narrative that describes movement and setting. I should exercise Saunders’ extraction principle on my one, very old short story about “May in the Crescent City.” What would be left after?

May stops being described as walking in her environment? It was important to me as a writer to use that as a way of showing thoughts during the passage of time. Those moments when ideas come, those moments when whose endings' change the opportunities to change ones course's end.

Willa Cather: without talking about that landscape, where is √Āntonia?

Steinbeck: without the corn pone fried in pork grease, how would we know the direness of the Joads’ situation? What is and what is not essential detail?

I haven’t attempted a short story in approximately two decades.

Where I’d carve that time from to do so . . .

I had hoped that going to the reading would be more inspirational than it was. I do feel a little better overall two days later, but the lack of immediate uplift troubled me.

My companion was contrasting the everyday existence of workdays with a vibrant holiday experience at home just weeks ago. I remember being that age; I did the same things, but I at this point can’t tell whether our action-paths are any different or will be. I have hopes, for both, for all. I guess I will have to keep in touch with him for a while : )

Currently he’s writing 500 words a day, at the challenge of a friend who is doing the same.

Here are about 800.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Abstemious


Nearly 12 hours ago, half a winter's day and nearly half of the daylight hours, it became 2014.

It's an arbitrary marker, when Janus looks forward and back once again and we all share a sense of beginning togetherness. In spring, more holidays that are designed to draw attention to our need to start over will follow. At the winter solstice a few days ago, other rites marked the beginning of the lengthening of daylight.

In about 60 days, the season of Lent starts, its name taken from the Old English word likewise referring to the lengthening of days.

Forty days (not counting Sundays) after Mardi Gras, another opportunity to overindulge, it's Easter — new life, etc. — all over again.

Once summer hits, we're allowed to forget bettering-ness and resolution-making?

This quote from Mark Twain showed up on "his" Facebook page today:

New Year's Day — Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever. We shall also reflect pleasantly upon how we did the same old thing last year about this time. However, go in, community. New Year's is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls, and humbug resolutions, and we wish you to enjoy it with a looseness suited to the greatness of the occasion.

It's from a letter he sent to a newspaper. He got it right that we humans are adept at trying to start over again all the time while being terrible at self-improvement. My Facebook world is full of people running their mile-a-day from Thanksgiving to Christmas, making personal records at triathalons, dieting, making home repairs and renovations. Having babies.

The bells, always off-tone, of the nearest Catholic church four blocks away are calling the faithful to the daily noon Mass. Though I was compelled to participate in three Communion services this year and found them to be increasingly less intolerable, I'm not about to voluntarily start going to proscribed liturgical events on a regular basis. Indeed, I found the call by the Christmas homily to attend to my relationship with Jesus to be a difficult command to follow, not because of any philosophical opposition to the absurd concept that there is/was a God/man whose miraculous life 20 centuries ago somehow fundamentally changed human existence, but because being like Jesus — giving over your actions and thoughts to the self-effacing, other-centered, service toward fellow humans — is damn difficult.

Very few people I know (and I do have friends who will cite life events in the context of their being gifts from God) express any desire to get better on those terms. People I work with do, but they are a highly specialized group of like-minded peers and the cause of two of those compulsory religious ceremonies I went to. Setting those folks aside, I look out into a very secular place.

Yes, the nurse at the party last Sunday who was on Day One of being a vegan will, if it sticks, experience a healthier cardiovascular system as well as avoid participating in the death of animals, be they lovingly raised before sacrifice or treated as billions of factory products.

Yes, if my friend runs more this year, she too will be happier and able to spread happiness toward others such as her daughter and photography clients.

When you're healthier and happier, you have more resources to share.

But what do we normally share?

On a daily basis, I worry about tuna. Whales. Shrimp. Frogs. Rhinos. Tigers. Birds. The Poor. Water. Refugees. Drones. Politics. Hydraulic fracturing. Pop culture's dominance. My addictions. My health.

What I do with that worry, is another matter.

I'll continue to shuffle the ever-growing piles of paper that represent bills, addresses to transfer into electronic records, cards to write, money owed to a medical institution, a friend, the fired Internet provider, the Internal Revenue Service, state and city. Banks. Three banks.

The path to this current morass is shrouded. My past intentions got me here, and I don't remember making any decisions. I know I did not place service at the forefront. That is clear. I did not focus on accumulating wealth or goods, but I do have a crushing house and a freighter's-worth of possessions.

People who are younger than I am and closer to the (first) beginning of shaping their life's trajectory have been giving me food for thought lately. Last fall, I received the opportunity to be a mentor to a person who is half my age and also a writer. We've only met a few times, for a total of about 10 hours, and I regret the limits of my house, jobs, etc. that mean I can't plunge myself into discussions about books, thought, art, writing, life constantly as I used to back in college. (That's an idealized memory, I admit. Oh, let's not start falling into regret-pits about not having done enough when I was younger, freer and, strangely, so much the same as I am now that I don't know what.)

Within the so-called Millennial generation are subgroups, as with any other. I stumbled on a Catholic one somehow recently. After I got over their "no, you can't write here unless you were 'born during the Pontificate of Pope John Paul II'" rule that excludes me by four years, I did find an article that helps express what I've been trying to say here.

In it, Jonathan Lewis talks about why the new pope is dangerous. His slant is not about how Francis is scaring the conservatives, but that the pope's most ardent followers might sit back and do nothing — not challenge themselves, not grow — because they already agree with his message about charity, poverty and humility. Kind of like what happened to Obama supporters . . . former community organizer hasn't really gotten us to do that kind of real work . . . .

Lewis challenges himself to look at what he calls uncomfortable moments. He says that's a way to grow.

It isn’t as though Pope Francis hasn’t been trying, it’s that we haven’t been trying. He has said plenty of things that should make us uncomfortable no matter our ideological leaning or pet issues:
(Pick one and talk to God about why it makes you uncomfortable and invites you to grow.)
  • He embraces disfigured people who we would walk past every day.
  • He intentionally chooses to not talk about abortion regularly.
  • He reaffirms Pope John Paul II’s definitive statement against a female clergy.
  • He encourages us to go to confession regularly.
  • He holds the fire to an unbridled capitalism that robs from the poor, challenging even the abundance that can be found in the closets of priests or middle-class millennials!
The danger that Francis poses to each of us is the same danger that our interpretation of Pope Benedict posed as well; it is simply a different audience lulled into the complacency of a life lived as a consumer Catholic. We create memes of what we like, skim through the rest and call it the New Evangelization.

I'm leaving this post open-ended / no further analysis.

It's already "too-long-didn't-read."

Cheers.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Acceptance vs. Denial

I have eight pets.

Box elder bugs are gone (outdoors, swarming the neighbor's lawn), recluses-of-death are long-gone (predators are fewer; it played out that way here).

There is a cat.

She has improved in how much I care (she is nice; her medical bill has all but been forgiven).

There are six birds and, by evidence, only one very large sexually dominant squirrel of any gender, living in this house right now, intermittently, and only between floors 1 and 2.

And two Homo sapiens. As I once said to several of you: it's a big, inefficient treehouse.

The others were invited (not the squirrel).

Monday, March 18, 2013

Gooooooal

They, sports announcers, bellow this when a fellow gets his kicked ball into a net.
(Past another fellow.)

Gaol:
A place worse than prison, in contemporary parlance.

I'm sure both are painful.
Scores flying by.

Shackles. (Don't Google things with similar spellings lest you lose faith — as if we had it — in humanity.)

Anyway: I'm having trouble meeting my goals.
And, it kind-of hurts.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Poem for sequester

Random bruises:
Knees, acceptable.
Elbows, visually imperceptable.

Three-pronged marks on the upper bicep, questionable.

Makes a sleuth of me.

Wonders, what didn't I see,
What didn't I feel, and
How the heel
Did I fall, and
Where, exactly, did I happen to land.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Stress test

I used to wake up in the early morning and find that I was positioning my jaws in order to threaten the roots of certain teeth.

I can't remember or physically re-create the action.

Sometimes, I would dream about it. Waking and sleep can be tenuous and mixed.

This grinding out of teeth was a huge fear of mine. As a kid and in general, I do smash my teeth together in waking life. It's like exercise, but I think it may have lessened.

The fact that I don't do this super-death-grind nor remember how to means something positive.

On an unrelated note, I think that the president (any) has a body double who goes and tries on new suits to make sure they fit, without wasting very important time.

So my body has transferred my stress from my teeth and conscious brain (and stomach) to my arteries, heart and other places. Yay?

It's interesting to me that the cardiologist called once, and the cat-dentist has called at least four times asking, "Are you coming in for that test/operation?" I find the former interesting, since I get all kinds of mis-dials on my number . . . the (human) healthcare industry does not need to fish for clients, but you would think they would have time to call more than once or send a robo-letter. Also, perhaps, the fact that veterinarians make you pay right away, with relatively few pet-havers having pet insurance, makes a difference in the profit-chasing. I don't like to accuse any health-care provider with going for the money, but my experience has shown me nothing otherwise.

The dental students who gathered at the Wichita-girl's dad-bought home last night for a "wine party" that was louder and included more varieties of alcohol than any I recall from my own college (the four-year part, not the post-grad) experience … and even if you subtract from the perception/generalized "20" that my husband who went there said said so, those kiddos didn't vote Tuesday nor see any reason to.

I am supposed to go get one of those heart stress-tests. Was supposed to do that about two months ago at this point. No one cares there, though, and I have little faith. The result is Sandy-esque, but I still want to know the answer to the whole Holter monitor affair. Didn't I buy that? Actually, I have not received any bill for that, just for the week-before E-room dealy.

Meanwhile, I have yet to compel anyone to process our 2011 taxes. They were on extension, but that's been expired for about a month. The IRS will get around to telling me so before Christmas, I expect. If I liked my former accountant, or if my prospective one had called me back . . . oh, and if I could actually pay my self-employment portion of 2011, umm, yeah.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Perhaps it's a pattern

Someone who uses her sick days … or feigns she has them to use, what a disgrace.

I do not like being closely questioned about what doctor or not I did or not consult during my mid-week illness. Would someone like to hear disturbing things that can't be responded to about my uterus, perhaps?

Looking back, my first jobs disintegrated on their own. Babysitting: the couple moved to California. Taco Bell during college: they knew my time-terms … and on the last day the A/C was out (hanging from the ceiling), and my drawer at the end of the no-electricity day [all human-based math] was at an exact $20 over. Did I take it — I who had been lectured on a few cents' difference by a manager who could not seem to keep our napkin supply adequate? No, of course, I did not steal that stupid money. What I learned was much more valuable.

I learned that I am terrible at live triple-multi-tasking, though, since then I have acquired many skills in that area; most have been while on my ass, but I trust my body could do just as well interfacing with my brain while standing. Also, no Facebook risk!

Once I quit a job with a letter. I found a replacement, though. Don't ask me why watering plants in coolers, placing pipette-tips into pipette-trays that went into the autoclave (steam sterilizer) and washing lab dishes afterhours was painful.

In many ways, I enjoyed it. Keys to a whole University Building. Flexibilty to come in whenever. Nothing difficult to do …

Then I had a job for 16 hours over one weekend during Finals (I had asked not to be put on until x-date, following Finals and a visit to my mom for Mother's Day, but …) and then I put a three-page letter in to the manager. When I went to collect my paycheck, she said something about my being an English major, but she did not note how much courage I had then to come there at all.

Having gone through the CPR and other "here are the government-approved binders of 'everyone can get this'" material at a few days' training for an overnight position at a home for developmentally disabled adtuls, I freaked out about not being able to sleep all night until my arrival at midnight, must have fallen asleep, certainly put someone's life and others' at risk and annoyance, and put the training binder into their street-side mailbox along with a letter in the morning.

When I worked at a Methodist-based social services agency, itself about 80 years old, I found myself one night upset at the computer trying to make lessons and instead crafted a six-page resignation letter. Parts of older letters were used.

I drove to the site, waited in my car until the day-care staff arrived and then put the letter clipped upright to a standing folder that was labeled "Oh no" on the cramped desk in our planning basement room. Seriously.

Then I drove to Columbia, Missouri, when I still knew how to get to the parks; I hiked around the pines. I read, in its entirety, "The Bell Jar."

My holiday season job at Bath and Body Works started one November. It crashed and burned the following April (they said it was not guaranteed to last, so I guess I was done) when, one Sunday during "change all the decorations around after hours per the hand-out from corporate (never mind that your store did not receive all the props depicted)," I happened to be painting at my other FT+ job.

We all know that Killz oil-based is a bear.

And I drove home, having overstayed, hoping we had turpintine. This place has at least three cans of paint thinner in it now.

Then, no. I freaked out and could not even bear to call and say what was going on. When you work in Beauty, you can get obsessed with how your forearms are covered in white paint.

One of my memories is of driving to Home Depot for solvents. I may or may not have found them, but either way, I was discouraged and gave up.

I sent a letter a few days later through the mail. I never did get the four books back I had lent to a fellow "associate." But I did not have the courage to go and try.

The last job I had I quit all properly, with my eyes off-focus and my rhetoric spilling out.

Before that, I was not so much fired as lied to and not paid.

The IRS experiences are varied:

first time: quit during slowing down season, and legally;

later: quit by calling in a bunch and saying I was ill / I was in school and then using my ID to get in between shifts and leave notice in my "in box" folder file on the desk outside supervisor's office by the "25¢ coffee" pot;

last time: quit by calling in and never hearing back and so being labeled a.w.o.l:

The fact that they keep sending the generic postcard to sign up for next season is charming.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Not-a-Bill Received

I would say, on the whole, that so far Aetna's 6-page missives are more explanatory than my United/American Medical Security ones ever were.

So far, it looks like nothing is going toward the annual deductible (?) and that I owe an ER-copay and a doctor's fee.

In other news, the house is getting me down. I don't know what happened to the "to do" list that was posted on the refrigerator for the first three years we were here, but I have a solid sense that very little that was on it was accomplished.

Mostly things have reached a crisis of accumulation, an accretion that threatens to bury me.

No, there are not giant stacks of newspapers everywhere, with little paths between and infested with rodents. There are small stacks of things, however, some even in proper storage containers. The problem is that they represent objects at rest upon which no force is predicted to act in the forseeable future.

There are dust bunnies that, when collected, add up to regular lapine size – and with such frequency that my ardent Swiffer-ing cannot be faulted as the cause.

A dining room table where no one dines. Upon its cloth are a few broken bowls, one containing feathers, some candlesticks, an oil lamp and a stack of postcards that represent 25¢ each were they to be processed as data entry "work at home" work.

A living room in which nothing lives. Magazines are splayed open along the sides of the couches to deter the resident feline from shredding at them. Charming decor.

The deacon's bench has not been a place anyone could sit for perhaps two years. Mostly it has items that were given to us and unwanted. I am too conservative, though, to recycle into oblivion the potentially hazardous (look up aluminum and Alzheimer's) ice-cube trays, for example. They maintain such a pleasing mid-century design and a quaint hint at engineering that I simply can't discard them willingly. There is a lidded soup-pot in the back of our car, a more recent unsolicited give-quisition … along with a few other odds and ends that obliterated the Wow, The Car Is Free Of Both Clutter And Trash that I accomplished a mere month ago.

Entropy.

I don't mind the forces of nature bringing things around in cycles of birth, decay and rebirth – what I struggle with is the human construct that it's Noble to struggle against them. A house is a place of false security. It was made once by human hands only to be ever-needy of their continual intervention.

Would I be happier replastering a hut annually with mud? I don't know. But this hut is so huge by comparison that I can't think of where to begin. I remember when, so long ago in micro-domestic geological ages, the basement was clear, its floor sweepable, its only drawback a few crickets which moved out soon after we moved in.

The basement stairs are still insecure. The stairs leading from the back door are approaching a hazardous state. The hot water pressure is laughable. Think of how depressing it is to take a shower in America like that. Good morning! I wonder that the showers in prison aren't of better quality. I might as well hoist up kettle-water and dump it from a bucket. I might not mind that if other things were not also troubling.

How about this one-year plan:

• paint the rooms that have always wanted painting; plaster up the weird holes and paint — it will improve the mental environment in at least two ways
• scrounge up $10k and get someone to replace the roof … (keeping in mind that the IRS is waiting for approx. $5,000 presently)
• take a real vacation from work that is several days longer than a standard keep-up weekend and haul away or store off-site in plastic tubs all the items that are pre-art-projects (clothes, frames, metals, material, etc.)
• make making things something that happens in a studio of deliberate intention
• see what happens when there is more free space around
• see if someone won't buy it as-is for perhaps the size of the loan it holds
• leave anyway

When I was growing up, I saw twice and for many years the way a house can tear down a life if the life is not financially large enough to support it. I suppose I wonder most about how I did not learn a thing from this long observation. I even had the lesson repeated to me as an adult. What folly the American Dream, that it is strong enough to insinuate itself behind one's own logic and training.

It may have been easier to have just had children.