Thursday, October 26, 2006

To Sir, With Apathy

I've always been pretty good at admitting my faults. I used to just be good at telling people that I'm not very smart or attractive or outgoing. Now I'm also able to admit to the seedier traits, such as jealous, competitive, and mean. I am all of these things. Don't argue with me about this last list, because it's all true pretty much all of the time and I'm ok with it, at least most of the time. The first list is only true some of the time. For example, sometimes my hair actually looks really good, but it hasn't for quite some time. I tried to cut my bangs myself and I now look like a cross between a monk and Farrah Fawcett Majors. And sometimes I amaze myself with the way my brain works, and sometimes I wonder if my mom forgot to tell me about that time she dropped me on the patio. Sometimes I love people and sometimes I'm in the cave. Right now I'm about half in and half out of the cave. I had a party recently with my new roommate and did not end up cowering in the corner for any of it, but I did fail to notice that one of my guests had been hit by a car on the way there. I'm not balanced is what I'm trying to say here. Or actually, I am balanced, though it may come across as the opposite. Also I'm drunk a lot.

I used to tell people that I didn't like sports such as croquet, badmitton, and kickball (these are the games my family likes to play) because I hadn't a competitive bone in my body, and I didn't see the point. The truth is that I'm the most competitive person on the planet and also not very coordinated, and everytime I played croquet with my brother, who has won everything his whole life with no visible effort, I either ended up hitting his ankles with my mallet or stomping off mid-game, red faced and sobbing. Once when shopping in a Goodwill with my friend P., another closeted competitor, we had a silent standoff about a skirt with mallards on it. She had found the skirt, but it was really clear to me that she would never wear it, whereas I would have worn that skirt to threads. I'm not talking tacky preppy mallards here, I'm talking tasteful mallards flying above a lake printed on a perfect khaki skirt. We never voiced the battle, but words weren't necessary. There was a lot of uncomfortable laughter. She wasn't giving up the damn skirt because she found it. I thought something uncharitable about her on our way out of the store. As far as I know she never wore the skirt, and this still makes me feel ansty even this many years (10?) later.

I'm saying all of this, for some reason, because I decided today that I don't want to teach. For over a year I thought that this is what I would do when I moved. For over 6 years I assumed that this is what I would do with my life. I love kids, even the mean whiny middle school ones (especially them)and I love the schools here. I love the thought of summers off and long vacations. But I don't want to be a teacher. I just don't. And it's not because I'm mean and competitive and jealous. It's because I don't think I can really be a teacher and be completely myself. And when I'm not myself all I can think about is what a bitch I am and how I have to change (Exhibit A: my marriage). I want to be a bitch and be ok with it. I want to be me and be ok with it. I don't think I can do this and teach, at least not right now.

I'm working in an after school program right now with a lot of amazing 6th graders. They're writing and playing and saying all kinds of cool stuff. And I keep thinking that someone else should be there to witness it, someone who really would be there even if it weren't for the measly pay. I am not this person. There's this one kid with so many problems, and he's also so cute and weird and smart, and I just don't want to get invested. Not because I'm callous or a bitch or any of the other things I happen to be, but because I'm not a teacher. I think I'm not a teacher. This is one of the weirdest realizations of my life. My whole family is teachers. I am not.

So now I'm going to go figure out what I am. You know, in addition to being a writer. What I want right now is a big, boring job with benefits. A job where I know what I'm doing and other people come to me for answers. Where I'm a professional. Weirdly, this kind of describes my last job, which I thought I didn't like. Until now, I thought my options were office drone or teacher, but now that I live somewhere with more than one employment opportunity, I'm starting to see that my job may be doing something I never anticipated. I'm so surprised that I want the 9-5 thing. That's what I want. At least right now. So this is good to know. But I definitely need a drink. And drugs, drugs would be nice.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I've been addicted

to this for awhile.

I just spent a good part of this weekend in heated debate about the stealing of Gram Parsons' body. I mean a long time of being very defensive and hating on Phil Kaufman. If you don't know the story, GP's road manager stole his dead body from an airport in a stolen hearse, then burned it inadequately in the California desert, leaving his estranged family to pick up the remains (left on the side of the road) to bury in New Orleans (where Gram is not from). I'm not going to go on and on about how I feel about this. I'll just say that while I know I am obsessed with dead people as a way to avoid the complexities of my nondead life, I can't stand some of mythologizing that takes place as a result of cute guys dying young. Of course, my obsession with GP would probably lessen if he had died of old guy stuff, but I must say that most of my obsessions with dead musicians has to do with their music and not with their druggy deaths.

On a slightly related note: I think GP might still be alive today if he hadn't had a trust fund.

Ok, now I'm going to go get a life.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Your town is very famous for the little girl whose crying can be heard all around the world

I feel like total crap. I was supposed to go to this wedding this weekend, a wedding I bought a plane ticket for like 3 months ago, back when I thought maybe I'd have shit together by now. Wrong. So last night I cancelled the ticket approximately 12 hours before my plane was supposed to take off. And now I feel horribly guilty, sad, depressed, relieved. I've been pulling stuff like this for quite some time, it feels like. I think I'll be able to go through with something until the very last minute when I'm suddenly like, Oh, actually I can't do that. I can't go to weddings. I may never go to another wedding again. I can't really be social or look at your baby pictures or smile with any sort of sincerity at the sight of some fucking couple holding hands. I can't pretend to be normal. I can't pretend that the fact that I plunked myself down in a completely foreign world with barely any means of supporting myself only two months after getting divorced means nothing to me. Right now I can do the following: cry.

There are other things I want to do. Things I want to watch or listen to as I retreat into my cave of self loathing/pity. But I can't do these things because you-know-who took them. Here's what I currently need, some of which was taken by that fucker, and don't have:

1. The Who's The Who Sell Out
2. All albums by the Red House Painters
3. The Wes Anderson movies
4. The Graduate--that was mine, goddamnit!
5. The Francois Truffault movies
6. Ziggy Stardust
7. For the Burritos-era Gram Parsons to come back from the dead and cuddle with me
8. I really need The Who for some reason. I need it in my car.
9. An ipod because Ijust figured out what one is and I think it may solve many of my problems
10. A job, but I can't even write those words without the panic rising even higher
11. The new Killers album
12. Books written by my friends
13. The new Mary Ruefle book, which may not be out yet
14. A newly unearthed season 8 of Buffy
15. A boyfriend to go get me a bottle of Maker's and then disappear so I can drink it alone
16. Pride and Prejudice on DVD

I'm drinking carrot juice right now that I just got at Whole Foods. I bought it because it was really cheap and I normally really like carrot juice. But this is bitter and strange. Then I just remembered that didn't a batch of carrot juice just give a bunch of people E Coli or something? Cool. I could be sitting in a hot tub at a bachelorette party right now, but instead I'm going to have E Coli alone. I knew there was a reason I stayed home.

I do have some things. Here are the things I have that will help me get through this weekend of shrew-hating:

1. A bed
2. A comforter
3. A warm and loving dachshund
4. Kelly Link (thanks to Nix)
5. A loaf of Seedsational bread (if I can bring myself to eat)
6. The Gram Parson doc but I really shouldn't watch it anymore--it makes me too sad and desperate and lonely

Oh my god, that's it. I was planning on revealing to myself some really surprisingly inspirational information. The truth is I don't have much right now. That's all the news from Depressoland. I'll be in my cave if you need me.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

When I disappear for the next 4-6 weeks, it's because of...


It finally came out on DVD.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Dead Crush #17

In honor of Rock Hudson, who croaked on this day in 1985, I give you this poem I wrote about him a long time ago, which will never be published elsewhere.

If you want to know why I love him so much, watch this movie.

Like Love, Only Far Away

We made friends over a mutual admiration
for each others’ coats, and then that
turned into love. Love has helped me

to decide that I can’t live in this town
anymore, that I have no use for its barn
theaters, fish-scented trees, novelty

paperweights, and turn-of-the-century
patio furniture. Every day we grow
more tired, and every day there is less

of a bed, more of a pile of dirty magazines
or unclaimed hairpins. But I don’t want
to write about this. I’d rather see someone

famous and dead speak on a subject
of my choosing and write about that.
The person I choose is Rock Hudson

and the subject is animal rescue. Rock
is a bronze statue in chinos and a work shirt.
He gently cradles the napkined biscuit

I give him, rubs his nose and tells me
about the Lab with a severed leg
on Dover Point, the tourniquet and piercing

cries, a tongue lapping radiator water.
I am moved but warn him of the dangers
of running into traffic, how it might not

be worth it, what our human lives are
or are not worth. But he tells me of kittens
wrapped in a towel as his lip trembles

like a broken fawn and the large leaves
of his hands brush his face, he talks
about a wizened Chihuahua trotting north

on I-95, horses abandoned to the white
grip of winter. He excuses himself
to the patio, and I watch through

the sliding glass door as he lights up
and blows smoke cloudward, tears shining
in the late sun. This isn’t going like I’d planned:

my one idea is getting into his truck
and driving away. So it’s back to the barns,
paperweights, magazines, hairpins. I need

to move away, get out of here. I’ve lived
in Maine; I could get work as an ornithologist
or other animal expert. You don’t know

what you’re talking about, he says. He is
not Rock Hudson. He is alive. He is right.
My cries into the skin-scented cushions

are like those of a tropical bird. I’m no expert,
I cry, but I have loved so many things.