Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I have become obsessed with reading the horrifying things that people say on the virtual bathroom wall. I read The New York Times and the local town crap paper every day. Both allow readers to have a say, rant, diatribe, or sometimes even discussion after each article. What I am seeing is the way that no matter what the article is actually about the readers, as each chimes in, seem fatally pulled towards polarities. They just can not seem to stop falling into stock character discourse. Why? Are we really so desperate to make it all simple and black and white and victim blaming?

I often consider joining the fray, but when I do, I catch myself as I start to make a comment, seeing that I am too emotional and too invested and too full of my own righteous indignation to make a dent in the dense bigotry, sexism, or other slightly more specific other-bashing . Today one article that caught my eye was on divorce. Breaking Up is Hard to do After Housing Fall explores the problems of divorcing couples who don't want the house- jockeying to get the other one to do the buy out, as values fall. The comments by readers quickly focused around class issues- directed mostly towards the wife who has whined that she may not be able to live in upper middle class comfort, without working, if this keeps up. AW. But the comments get really class-personal, including the suggestion that she stop getting such expensive high lights for her hair. Ouch. Maybe the fact that I am still trying to get my ex-husband to buy me out is a factor, or maybe the fact that I have had to go four months now without freshening up my highlights, but I don't like the sexist tone, or the suggestion that maybe the economy going balls up is a good thing because now these selfish whiners might have to actually make an effort before getting divorced. Huh? I did make an effort. Oh wait, they don't really want to solve anything just blame somebody- rich people in this case.
The next article is about a rape arrest in my town. Sadly this is the second time THIS WEEK that there has been a similar story in the paper. Both cases involve young women willingly going home with guys. Once at the young gentleman's house things get out of hand and next thing you know she is all upset, crying rape, and what on earth did she expect? I mean, men will be men, boys will be boys. Where was her judgment? Was she drinking or what? This is the tone of the article in the paper, not the comments which are far worse. I wonder if it is possible that these lovely writers who live in my town would prefer that the young women travel only with a male escort- a father or brother- and maybe wear a veil? Because otherwise clearly they are just looking for trouble. I wonder about this whole issue. It seems to make dating impossible- because there is no safe way to be alone with a man, according to this logic.
Then I read an article in the Boston Globe about the whole ponzi scheme disaster and watched the comments disintegrate into neo-nazi horror, complete with quoting scholarly anti-semites.
So what am I going to do about it?

Monday, December 29, 2008

The special combination of smells and emotions

This morning my daughter and I compared our extra long vacation length complicated anxiety dreams over coffee. As usual we both had plenty to say. I have been playing way too much of a particular game on my computer- that involves shooting rows of colored beads with a cannon, eliminating them as fast as possible. When I hit certain special beads the rows will run backwards, or slow down to a crawl, so that I can get caught up. Now when I fall asleep at night I see rows of colored beads racing in spirals on the inside of my eyelids. And when I fall asleep I dream about being on trains that run backwards.

In the middle of retrieving a dream, my daughter asked me;
"Do you ever have a dream of a place that evokes a brand new blend of emotions? Something you have not ever experienced before?" I thought about it, and realized that while I can't say for sure about my dreams, I do have certain places that have their own blend of feelings. For example my arts magnet high school was a particular blend of creative excitement, bright lights, the smell of fixer and paint and cigarettes, overstimulated teenage hormones and a little wisp of anxiety. My regular high school was dust, pot smoke smoke in the stairwells , pee in the stairwells, and a little wisp of ever present anxiety. My grandparents summer house on the ocean was sea air, mold, baking cakes, sunscreen and a little pocket of anxiety.

Thinking about blends of feelings reminded me of one of my favorite articles of the year, a survey on the special blend of smells found in each of the various T stops in Boston.
There must be some way to put up the link that looks more professional- just know that I am working on it.

Each station has its own mystique- forest hills smells like blunts, south station like the great unwashed, davis square like patchoulli, but they all smell of a faint whiff of pee.
I realize that for the MBTA pee is the base note that links all the various stations. For me, anxiety is the special ingredient, a little tiny bit of it mixed in to every special place and mood.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Presents from the X

Last year for Christmas Mr. X gave me a large bottle of extra-strength Tylenol, a box of Kleenex, and a big bottle of generic store brand blue mouthwash. We were separated, but not yet divorced. I was touched, deeply, by the thoughfulness of these gifts because I was truly having a tough time of it. And who doesn't always need these kinds of household products? And if he didn't waste time and paper by wrapping them, and just handed them to me in a plastic Walgreens bag? Well, good. I could use the bag to clean up after my dog. He may have "meant something" with these gifts, but I am sure it wasn't " oh go overdose on all those tylenol, you big cry baby with bad breath!".

This year though, I am wondering just a little . He got me a gift certificate to a very fancy spa. I can use the gift certificate for any number of exciting treatments- a seaweed wrap for example. But he got me the exact amount for the Colonic Hydrotherapy. This is a nice way of saying that I will get to spend 40 minutes with a hose up my ass, as warm water washes away anything that might be blocking up my large intestine. I think he might be trying to tell me something.

Opening Disclaimer

I have been told, from time to time, that I exaggerate. I also “remember things out of context”, ‘lie’ and “make shit up like crazy”. Don’t worry- I am a writer! So this is all part of my joy loving, colorful, it-could-have-happened-that-way-so-let’s-just-say-it-did creative nonfiction way of being. But just in case anybody wants to fight about it, I am warning you right now. I might be lying. And if you ask my family and friends they will definitely remember it all a completely different way.