Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Light the Candles, Pour the Wine

I shared this quote on my personal Facebook page today. I almost shared it to the big page, but let's face it, "after thought" should have been one word and I'm pretty anal-retentive particular about stuff like that. It's important that stuff I post to the page not have typos and grammar mistakes and shenanigans like that all over the place. Anyway, I collect those inspirational af quotations. I click "like" over and over and comment things like “word to all of this”  or “THIS FOREVER” or sometimes something like “Ain’t that a bitch?”  

This particular quote is about not holding back, not caring what other people think, not limiting yourself or depriving yourself or censoring yourself, because ultimately, you’re going to be dead so who gives a fuck unless you enjoyed yourself?  Yanno?  And it always resonates with me, I always do that mental fist-pump, you know, f’yeah man, true story, I gotta remember that.  And why don’t I?  And why am I the kind of person that needs to be reminded, why aren’t I think kind of person that is ALREADY DOING THIS?  Why am I not living my life like this already?  

Because, basically, I suck.  So much for inspiration.

My friend liked the photo, and posted a comment that made me smile.  “Burn the good candles.”  She is so right.  Right now I am looking at a beautiful arrangement of candles and I don’t even have a way to light them.  I’m going to have to twist up a paper towel and light that from the gas stove and then light each one of the candles with that like a fucking acolyte.  Go ahead and google “acolyte” but I’ll save you the time and tell you it means the assistant candle-lighter at an Episcopalian worship service.     Like so:  

But I’m going to do it.  Yasss, queen.

Because this whole thing reminds me of the last time I read something inspirational af like this.  And I asked myself, “What are you waiting for with this 2003 Regusci Cab that is staring at you like, ‘Drink me ffs it’s too damn hot in your house and I would be great in another five years if cellared properly which is like the opposite of what you did so let’s go before it’s too late.’”  And then I said to myself, “He’s right, you know,” which is a very odd thing to say when the antecedent of the pronoun is a bottle of wine.  

The point is, what are we waiting for?  When am I going to cook the meal or have the people over or stage the event that merits the serving of this fantastic bottle of wine?  (Hint:  Not bloody likely any time soon).  And that shouldn’t matter anyway because who is going to appreciate this wine more than me?  (Hint: no one).  None of my friends know wine well enough to appreciate it except Bossman and I spend enough time with him each week already so, no.

So I pull the 2003 Regusci Cab from its place on the shelf and dust it off.  Yes, I know I just moved six months ago, but dust is dust and it won’t be denied.   I get the corkscrew (now people are going to yell at me about how I should be using some other contraption besides a corkscrew but honestly, just save it because I am in no mood to be lectured) and open it up.   But the sad thing is that I waited too long to drink this wine and I didn’t store it properly because there was too much variation in temperature and moving it around a fair bit what with hiding it from my ex in several different places over the last couple of years.  ANYWAY.  The cork dried out and broke off in the middle of the bottle so I had to strain the wine through cheesecloth only I didn’t have cheesecloth so I tried a paper towel but that was an epic fail so I just poured it into a glass and tried to filter out the pieces of cork with my teeth but that didn’t really work either.  

So the point of the story is drink your damn wine before nonsense like that happens.  Because I’m dying a little inside to think of how I wrecked that wine by saving it for something special.   #irony

HEY I’M SPECIAL, yanno?   Just because I am.   Special enough to drink the wine and light the candles and celebrate EVERY DAY.  

(Also privately, I’m high-fiving myself with incredible relief that that scenario didn’t happen with Bossman standing there watching me fuck up one of his favorite wines.  The end.)

Monday, June 22, 2015

500 Words, Day 30 - End Game

Wrapping up the #500WordsADay experiment via @KaleandCigarettes with one last post.  Looking back over the last 30 days, I see that I’ve written more posts in the last two months than the last two years combined.  I asked at one point whether it was better to write every day to see what came of it, or to write only when inspiration struck.  The consensus was, “write every day,” because you lot are a bunch of suck-ups, basically.    

But let’s do a little recap, shall we?   Some observations.  How meta.  (I got to say that AGAIN and I’m thrilled).  Anyway.  Some overarching themes emerged.  There were quite a few where I was casting about wildly in search of a topic.  Where it was time to put 500 words on the screen and basically I just let whatever came into my head out through my fingers and called it good.  Well, no.  I called it shitty and then I called it done.  

Winning at wallowing. 
There was perhaps too much wallowing.  Although I tend to rock the wallow overall, if you don’t mind my saying.  The third person narrative turned out well.  A bunch of you really liked that.  Hell, I really liked it too.  Award Night, Kitchen Work, Round We Spin.  Yeah, those were good.   I went back and I read those a lot.  (Spoiler:  I. Cried.  Every. Time.)  Reading back over those make me want to pull my shit together and shop it, maybe see if there is someone who would be interested in it.   I have no idea how to do that.  Shoot me a message if you have some guidance for me on that. ( and I'm pretty sure I'm going to regret doing that so don't spam me, bro)

There were a couple of funny ones that turned out well, I thought.  The OkCupid one, the Senior Discount.  The Sign Says Yield, the hiking ones, both of them.  Twitter.  So, yeah, that book is gonna be bouncing around a fair bit.  (SURPRISE)  

Maybe make it two books.  One that’s composed of all the cutesy ramblings, and one that’s a “thinly disguised roman à clef” as someone put it, where I write about all my problems in the third person to make them seem more literary and less pathetic.    But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, aren’t we?   Haven’t even figured out the first step and already I’m one volume shy of a trilogy.  Besides, I’m still waiting for everyone to die so they don’t find out what I wrote about them.   Or what I wrote about myself.  Will the real Klonnie please . . .  oh for fuck’s sake.  Enough.  

One result of this experiment has is that I have resolved to write every day, even if I don’t post the fruits of the exercise.  If I treat writing like a job, I might take it more seriously.  I might really try to do something with it.  It may end up being nonsense, but maybe it’s like that room full of monkeys, banging away on typewriters.  Eventually one of them’s gonna type out some Shakespeare.  And win a goddamn Primate Pulitzer or something.  It could happen.     

It means a lot to me that you guys read this nonsense and get something out of it.  I appreciate all the feedback, I love hearing from you. Thank you reading, and writing, and getting it.  Seriously.  You have no idea.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

500 Words, Day 29 - Mason Jars

I just spent a half hour looking around on my Facebook page for something I wrote about Mason jars that I was going to use to get started on 500 Words, Day 29.  I failed to post on the appointed day, but a deal is a deal so I’m just going to finish up a few days behind schedule.   If I’ve learned anything about myself on this month’s voyage, it’s that when I say I’m going to do something, I take it very seriously.

So now I’m working with that sick feeling you get sometimes when you have to reconstruct some work you did that was pretty decent at the time, but now what was brilliant about it is escaping you so you have to write about the process of writing the story instead of the story itself.  How meta!  (I love that phrase that I learned this month, so thank you to The Frozen Yogi, Ph.D.)    

The background:  We were going through glasses faster than the dishwasher could keep up, because in addition to moving in my daughter’s lowlife drug-dealing boyfriend, my ex had also moved his nephew in from Alabama.  “Just a few weeks while he figures a living situation out,” was how it was explained to me, but by the time I myself had moved out six months later, he was still living there, rent-free, despite having located a job where he made more money that I did.  (That sentence is needs some real structural help but let’s leave it for now because I spent a lot of time looking for the Facebook post instead of writing the piece I was going to use it for, and now there’s very little time left to write, let alone edit.)

That’s how I knew that I had posted the vignette sometime between August 2012, when Nephew moved in and February 2013, when I moved out and stopped caring whether there were enough glasses to drink out of between dishwasher cycles.   I had gone to Goodwill because I had wanted to buy a bunch of glasses that I wouldn’t care about if they broke because cheap.  But of course I found really awesome glasses that I really cared about when they broke because conflicted.  

While I was there, perusing the shelves of glassware, I saw a young woman, maybe 22 or so, who appeared to be looking frantically for something in particular.  She hurriedly pushed aside the glasses until she came across a Mason jar, setting each one she found carefully in the handbasket she had lined with a silk blouse that I recognized from the women’s clothing racks.

She turned to me.  “If you see any more glasses like this, can you grab them for me?  You know, if you don’t want them.  I know they’re hard to come by.”

“Actually,” I offered helpfully, “They sell them by the dozen at OSH and a couple other places around here.  Are you doing a canning project today?  What are you going to put up?”  

Blank look.  I couldn’t tell if she was stymied by the question or the discovery that her search was unnecessary.  “Canning project?  What do you mean?”

“I mean, you know, are you making jam or spaghetti sauce or pickles or what?”

“Well, I’m having a barbecue.  I’m making mojitos and the guys are bringing beer.”  She furrowed her brow quizzically.  “Do you mean people use these glasses to make jam and pickles? How funny.”

I am not even kidding right now.  That really happened.  And when I wrote about it the first time, I told it a lot better than this, which is why I’m mad at Facebook right now.  And mad at myself for not preserving greatness.    Haha.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

500 Words, Day 28 -- Violated Space

She hadn’t known her son had plans with his dad today.  Around ten a.m. there had been a noise at the window.   She had glimpsed a male figure walking by the half-opened blinds in the living room.  She had assumed that it was her neighbor, walking his dog.  And in fact, her neighbor had walked past the window at that moment, which confused her when she realized that there was a second person there, and that it was her ex.

A dozen thoughts flew threw her mind at once.   The first one, and this screamed inside her head GO AWAY (what are you) GO AWAY (doing here) GO AWAY.   It was primal, not cerebral, a feeling-thought-no-feeling coursing through her reptile brain.  The veep veep veep of the violins in the Psycho shower scene.  The adrenaline shot through her, and her first instinct was to duck and hide.  Don’t see me.  Don’t be here, but if you have to be here, then let’s pretend I’m not.

The screaming fit she threw in her head was followed quickly by self-doubt.  “Dammit I don’t want to be that person, that woman who is so crazy that she won’t let their father of her children into the house he pays for,”  she thought.   She didn’t want that to be his narrative.  She didn’t want to give him any material for the stories he tells about how he is the wronged party in all of this, how she and her craziness drove him away even before she left on a whim.

He had skulked around outside the door.  He might have texted her son, but he was curiously tech-challenged for an engineer.   She concluded he must have rapped on her son’s window, peering in like some kind of fatherly Peeping Tom.  Her son came out, saying over his shoulder, “Just gotta put my shoes on.”  He didn’t look at her.

She sat at the kitchen table, composing her face into a neutral mask that would not betray her.   She would not ask what they were going to do.  She would not ask why she had not been consulted, or even notified about this impromptu outing.   She didn’t follow her usual pre-departure, didn’t ask the usual questions, did you eat, do you need money, when will you be back.  She sat, impassive, resolute.  She sent a silent message to her ex with her mind:  You have no effect on me, even though you want to.   You’re trying to manipulate me, but I am immune.  

She wants to throw open the door and hurl invectives at him, where is the paperwork the lawyers need, why don’t you return their calls, how long are you going to stall on the settlement, why are you such an asshole, costing me so much money, forcing me to go to court to compel you to do the right thing.  But to do that would be to acknowledge that what he does affects her in any way.

Why do you hate me so much, he had asked her one night, his voice thick with bourbon, his stance in the doorway unsteady.  I don’t hate you, I nothing you, she said.  

As her son muttered something in parting and closed the door behind him, the tears that lived permanently at the outskirts of her eyes welled up again.  She sat at the kitchen table, lost in thought.  She wondered if it would be easier to recover from death of a spouse than from the end of a marriage that trails off weakly with no real resolution, just denial and blame and awkward avoidance.     Her chair scraped the floor as she got up wearily and began to inventory the fridge and cupboards to make a list of groceries they would need for the coming week.

Monday, June 15, 2015

500 Words, Day 26 and 27 -- Too Many Words Written About Few Words Spoken

Tonight I’m going to write about the words I said today.  Out loud.  To other people.  There weren’t many.  I love days like the one I had today.  Let’s see, I got up and behold there was coffee and the Lord said indeed the coffeemaker has been blessed with a timer that there shall be coffee with no effort whatsoever upon arising.   And verily, there was no other individual in my home except myself.  As much as I love weekend mornings with my son, and cooking all the pancakes and french toast with lots of real maple syrup because I’m on Atkins and I can’t eat that shit but I love watching him because I’m a masochistic voyeuse.   No, The Gamer went to stay at his dad’s this weekend, and you know what?  Thank SBJ because it was getting hella awkward, dancing around that elephant in the room.   He should spend some time there, with his dad, they both need it.  And let’s face it, I need it too.  Maybe someday I’ll have a dude in my life and he’ll stay over on nights like that, but for right now, I don’t and that’s JUST FINE with me because space and distance and privacy.  I have never been really alone in my whole life unless you count my childhood and let’s face it, kids shouldn’t have that kind of alone time growing up.  I mean hours on end, not ignored exactly, but “left to my own devices.”  Deconstructing that phrase would be a fun rhetorical exercise, don’t you think?  What does that even mean?   For me it meant reading and writing and pretending I was a back-up singer for James Taylor and Elton John.  And knitting while I listened to Top 40 on AM radio.  The sailor said, Brandy, you’re a fine girl.  Double yoo eff I ell.  

But I digress.  (Surprise!)  After I had my coffee, and cleaned the stove (this was the weekend for that because I didn’t cook breakfast as I mentioned), did a load of laundry and cleaned the bathroom, it was time for The Hike.  Which really was a hike this time, not like the other time, which that one is more of a walk.  But this one is a little too real of a hike, actually, with a lot of what I call gratuitous descent which is a pleasant surprise but also kind of a drag since you worked so hard at climbing, and you would have to do that again very shortly.  So big whoop it was six miles and I got a lot of cool shots like this one with MY PHONE if you can believe that shit.  

Guess what?  Got to be two o’clock in the afternoon and still no words spoken.   The last thing I had said was the night before and it was  “Are you fucking me?” when the cashier said “That’s 9.95” for my small popcorn and bottle of Coke Zero.  Well, no, that was the penultimate thing I said, which means “next to the last” and is basically my favorite word ever.  The ultimate thing I said was, “Thank you, and sorry for the swear,” but guess what, I wasn’t sorry.  Anyway, that was the night before around 8:00 p.m., and then I said “shit I should have gotten here earlier” when I saw that I would have to sit way in front, but I didn’t say that to anyone but myself so that hardly counts because I talk to myself all the live-long day.   I saw “I’ll See You in My Dreams” and I can never remember the title for some reason, so I have to keep googling “Blythe Danner luminous” because that was how the reviewer described her.  Another great word, luminous, and accurate as applied to Blythe Danner in this film.   And it had Sam Elliot, so it was a slam-dunk in my book or basket as the case may be.   It had this young man whom I recognized at the outskirts of Memorytown, but I couldn’t quite place him, just out of reach he was in my mind.  Maybe from Wes Anderson films?  I couldn’t get it, and it was alternately fun and annoying to try to think of his name, or at least where I knew him from.   So roll credits on this sweet little film, and get the actor's name, Martin Starr, and I google him on my phone (because when the lights come up, I figure that pesky phone restriction has been lifted as well) and come to find out it’s Bill Haverchuck from Freaks and Geeks, looking nothing like his character there, but I guess enough like him that I would recognize him in this movie.  So that brings me to another one of the few things I said out loud:  “I knew it!  I knew I knew him from somewhere.”  And once again, I hadn’t really said that to anyone, although the couple trying to sidle past me to the aisle were a little startled by my enthusiasm. “Bill Haverchuck, Sam’s friend on Freaks and Geeks, that was the pool boy.”  I did say that directly to them, but they were having none of it.   So I instantly regretted it, realizing as I did that the bit about the popcorn was not in fact the penultimate thing I said, and I kind of wasted thirteen pretty gratuitous words on people who didn’t care enough to deserve them, but the sentence was said, and I couldn’t take it back.  

So back to the hike, where I still haven’t spoken a word to another person.   But hiking, see, you have greeters and non-greeters when hiking and it can be super awkward if you’re a greeter encountering non-greeters.  Me, I’m a greeter, which I bet doesn’t fit with what you know of me, but hiking is as close to team sports as I get.  I feel a camaraderie with people who will drive a long time to walk in nature, and if that doesn’t merit the monosyllabic version of “namaste” then I don’t know what.  So I had several times where I said “hi” to people I encountered and some mofos said “hi” back and a couple mofos did not and life is like that sometimes.   You can meet with rejection on a beautiful hike and not feel some kind of way about it.  

So after the hike I didn’t say another word to anyone until I got to the gym, where I said “hi” to the guy at the front desk. I didn’t need say "hi" because you just scan your card yourself so I don’t even know what that dude is doing there except to give you the side eye if you take two towels instead of one.  But I like two towels because I like to wrap my hair up in one of them and dry off with the other.  This time I didn’t take any towels, so I feel like I should be able to put one in the bank, but I seriously doubt anyone really cares that much.  I was just going to do my weights for a few minutes on my way home from the hike.  I worked on my arms and my gut.   You may recall the moment of truth in the hotel bathroom with all the mirrors and fluorescent lights from a couple of weekends ago.  My legs are still pretty good plus I had just hiked for three hours so I gave them the day off.  

I went home to take a shower which felt so damn good that I probably stayed in there a bit longer than I should have because Drought Guilt.  Then it was time for Movie Night again because I really liked going by myself the night before.  I could make this a thing, this movie-going.  This time I saw “Spy” with Melissa McCarthy, whom I adore.  But that brings me to the last thing I said.  It wasn’t to the popcorn person because this time I made my popcorn at home and poured my Coke Zero from my can into the bottle from last night.  Because JFC I can’t afford to make Movie Night a habit unless I bring my own snacks.

But they must have renovated the movie theatre since the last time I was there because I am not fucking kidding when I tell you they have, like, LA-Z-BOY recliners up in that bitch now.  And assigned seating so that when you buy that ticket you know you are not going to have to maneuver your way over people to find a seat that turns out was actually a seat for a jacket.  Come on, people, that’s just weak.  Anyway, I climbed into my assigned LA-Z-BOY and after the hike and the weights and everything, it felt incredible. I got out my popcorn and Coke Zero even though the lights were still up, because seriously what are they going to do, make you throw it out?   

It was simply an amazing day, capped by the last thing I said out loud to another person, was when I turned to the couple next to me, patted the arm of my leather chaise lounge, and said, "Are these new?” and they concurred that it must be so, because they hadn't seen them before. I was pretty relieved that it was not just me.  Fucking awesome weekend, even if I did have to work yesterday.  I didn’t HAVE to work, but I like to come in sometimes because I get tons done when I don’t have to talk to people.   And I have written 1,600 words to describe the 41 I said in over 24 hours, when I was only supposed to write 500. There’s a word for that and that word is “ironic.”

Saturday, June 13, 2015

500 Words, Day 25 -- Coming Down

I feel like all I am doing with this experiment is writing about all the sadness and pain of the last several years.  That and depression and feeling so horrible.   It seems that way because I keep going back through stuff I started writing the past, searching for something to dust off and make into 500 words.  It’s always so much easier to edit than to create (especially if it’s someone else’s work lol).  Yanno?  I pick up one of these drafts, do a word count, write an intro, boom, 500 words.   Done.   

I do feel this way a lot, it’s true.  But I think some good writing comes out of it.  So bear with me.  Maybe I’ll be funny again soon.  Hey, you know what, that Twitter thing was pretty good, the senior discount (still smarting over that one), the OkCupid nonsense, jazz like that.  It’s not all doom and gloom around here.  I mean, you know, right?

From February 2015 -- After I found the place; packed up all my shit; dealt with the closing; dodged the passive-aggressive arrows being shot in my direction; got my place set up; moved in; moved The Gamer in.  All of that almost on auto-pilot what’s next let’s do it don’t think just keep moving -- I think I was probably hypomanic, and I think that was a good thing.  GET SHIT DONE.  You know?  Crisis mode.  Except you can’t be in crisis mode all the time.  You have to ease up at some point.  I think that might be where all the sadness is coming from these days.  Summer doldrums.  Time to reflect.  Can be a double-edged sword, you know?

My back is aching in a new place.  Between my shoulder blades, just below my neck.  It feels like hardened concrete.  Like it was fluid and overnight, it turned to stone.  It also feels warm and sore, like sunburn, although it’s February -- I haven’t been out in the sun.   Am I sitting funny at work?  It's not like I pulled something.  I recognize that feeling.   This is as though I have sent some emotional pain to that place and now it's just radiating outward.   My hip joints ache, and if I sit too long, I'm stiff when I start to move around again.  I wince and limp out of bed in the morning.  My carpal tunnel is back -- my wrists alternate aching and numbness.  I got the wrist splints out again but I forget and fall asleep before I put them on and the pain wakes me up in the middle of the night.  Like there’s a string inside my arm that has been cut too short.

My body is trying to tell me something.  

I find myself swaying when I'm standing still, like I used to do when the babies were little, to soothe them.  If we had to wait in line at the supermarket, for example.  Just now, I reached back to touch my back between my shoulders, under my neck, where it's so tender and sore.  I started swaying and gently massaging my own back where I could reach, and out of nowhere, the tears came.  I carry all that fear and stress and anger and sadness around on my back like a big stick with a bucket tied on each end.   And I just stood and swayed and rubbed my own back and cried, silently, just taking deep breaths and letting them out, shuddering quietly.

I am a mess.   And I’m going to soothe myself and help myself heal and put this mess back together.  

See?  Done. 500 words can kiss my ass.  Let’s go to the movies.   Thanks!

Friday, June 12, 2015

500 Words, Day 24 -- Much a To-Do About a List

Things to do today that maybe could double as blog posts:

Pay PreMed’s tuition for Summer Sessions 1 and 2. This is a blog and a half right here.  PreMed and her tuition and the goals those classes will advance -- the convoluted nature of having two daughters so close in age yet so far apart in temperament, worldview, and life goals, it’s as though they were raised by different people. And in a way, they were. Troubled gravitated toward her dad, fun-loving and indulgent; PreMed was pulled in another direction, maybe not towards me exactly, but towards choices that I could support.  The way it has ended up, Dad gives Troubled $1,000 per month for living expenses.   He wanted me to split that with him, but I refused to even partially subsidize an indolent life of part time work, no school and nothing to show for it.   Instead, I chose to give PreMed $1,000 per month for her living expenses and get loans for tuition and put the rest on credit cards with zero interest on balance transfers and keep transferring the balance to a new card to keep that tuition flowing.  A double-major in Biology and International Relations.  On her way to a Master’s in Public Health.  That kid is going to save the world someday and I will be able to say I helped make it happen.  Next.

Call one of my two IRL friends
Call the other one too
I was this close to actually doing this today, but the thought of talking to anyone about what’s happening with me these days make my throat close which makes it hard to swallow, and I can’t really talk when I’m crying anyway. Which is why I prefer to write.  Next.

Curl up under bed and practice fetal position--I’m pretty much a champion at this already.  I’m not going to practice so that I can give you guys a chance to catch up, skill-level-wise.  You’re welcome.  Next.

Exercise--yes.  I will.  I have to get past the 2nd quarter estimate deadline on Monday but then I promise, back to the pool.  I can cry underwater and no one knows.  Well, they probably do actually but fuck em.   Next.

Laundry -- my favorite of the household chores and I am not being sarcastic.  Even though I don’t have laundry in my place anymore.  The laundry room at my little string of garden apartments is not far, maybe fifty yards down the row.  The periodic breaks to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer punctuate the day very nicely.  Thirty minutes is an episode of Girls or a half an episode of West Wing or time to get a meatloaf and roast potatoes in the oven for Sunday dinner.  

Sit quietly and look back at the past month or so and realize that all signs point to depression.
Not like oh I had a bad day 26 days in a row or even because there’s sad stuff happening.  But overall there’s good stuff happening, and the fact that I get teary way more often than usual even for me is telling me that this time it’s my whack neurochemistry.  You can offer me all kinds of advice and ta very much because I know it comes from a good place, but I’ve been rocking this gig for longer than some of you have been alive.   So believe me when I say I got this.  Sometimes you have to feel it, let it wash over you, accept that it’s happening, don’t beat yourself up, but pay attention.  Work with it and maybe go see your shrink or therapist and say, it’s really bad right now and I just want you to know.  Maybe we should adjust the meds but I dislike doing that because when I start to feel better I never know if it’s the meds or me pulling myself up on my own which let’s face it would be the better answer in that particular scenario.  


Thursday, June 11, 2015

500 Words, Day 23 -- The Twitter

So I’m taking another stab at The Twitter.   (Follow me!  @KlonnieChron!  Well, no, there’s no exclamation point, it’s just @KlonnieChron with no punctuation or anything.  A Twitter handle, that’s what it’s called right?  Username?  I don’t even know.)   Anyway, Twitter is even more like high school than Facebook, if that’s possible.  Facebook is the cafeteria, but Twitter is the hallway, where people sidle insidiously up and down the halls, muttering to those who pass.   Some random sumpin sumpin, some little quip, something pithy and relatable.  But make it quick.  You only get 140 characters.    You either repeat what you heard verbatim and get a pat on the head, or embellish it, or mock it, or simply outright steal it for your own.  I don’t know what happens then.  Probably you get chased into the bathroom and they blow smoke in your face or something.  #jerks  

I don’t understand how to control my Twitter feed.  I don’t know how I ended up following 600 people.  I must have gone on a Following Rampage in some kind of fugue state at some point. Like in Monopoly when I was a kid.  Land on it, buy it.   What is this, Baltic Avenue?  I’ll buy it.  Same thing with Twitter.  Neil Patrick Harris?  Fuck and yes.  Boom, following.  What do you mean, it’s not really Neil Patrick Harris?  That’s his photo.  RIGHT THERE.   #what

But even weirder is 900 people follow me.  How did THAT happen?   It’s like finding mysterious bruises after Girls’ Night Out.    Hmmm.  Here’s a clue -- for a while I had my Facebook page set up to Tweet whatever I posted on the page.  If the post was longer than 140 characters (um, hello, do you, like, know me at all?), there would be a link to the page to continue.   I wasn’t even paying attention to Twitter but I figured if I’m going to be shouting nonsense to strangers, I should make sure to shout it on every possible stage.   #narcissist

Here’s another thing about Twitter.  It’s like double dutch jump rope where you have to wait and watch for the perfect time to jump in but don’t wait too long or you’ll lose the moment, you know?  If you miss your window,  you’ll end up feeling the way you do when people are shout-talking to one another to be heard over really loud music that ends abruptly and so they’re just shouting into silence which is AWK-ward.   A friend told me.  And that really IS like high school and the rest of life, because with the spoken word and to some extent the written word, timing is basically everything.   #trustmeiknowthings

So the bitch of it is, there’s no “edit” in Twitter.  It’s “tweet or delete,” my friends, and if that isn’t some buzzkilling anxiety provocation right there, then I don’t know what.   I already tweeted something kind of brill, but there’s a typo in it and I can’t decide whether to delete and start over or let it stand.  It’s probably going to keep me up very late tonight agonizing over it.   #surprise  People have “favorited” this tweet already, so how are they going to feel if I delete it?  I guess I don’t like that “favorite-ing” nonsense, anyway.  I mean, I like it but it’s not my favorite, yanno?   #hyperbole

This shit is hard.   #500WordsADay  @KaleAndCigarettes which isn’t a Twitter handle username thingy so IDK what will happen if you try to search it.  But @KlonnieChron though.  #yeah 

#sonofa . . .

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

500 Words, Day 22 - Hashtag Heaven

The bad news:  Anne Lamott fucked up today.  
The good news:  I have rediscovered Twitter.  Again.  
The bad news:  I’m out of popcorn.  
The good news:  I’m on Atkins so no carbs.  

My love for and obsession with social media is ironic.  I saw the Anne Lamott debacle unfolding and my thought was, “Oh good, 500 words will write themselves tonight.”  It’s like a snow day for blogging.

Does it really matter what the flap is about?  I mean, in the grander scheme of things (a colleague in this experiment says “How meta” which is my new favorite phrase and which I’m going to suck the life out of from overuse), the reason I’m interested in it is because sociology.  Also voyeurism. Also schadenfreude.  Anne Lamott is a writer who has many followers because she is inspiring.  She writes in a way that produces pithy, relatable, encouraging quotes.   Today she tweeted the following:

“Is it okay to be a tiny tiny bit tired of Caitlyn?  Yes, was very brave but so far he's gone from man to mannequin, instead of man to woman.”

As several people I only know from social media said, “Oh dear.”

When I see shit like this go down events like this occur, my first reaction is to observe and analyze.  This kind of detachment is the result of many years of academic paper-writing, when ten pages on, say, the use of metaphor in the expression of abstract concepts, was due by 5 p.m. the following afternoon.  Everything is a potential thesis sentence, something to see as yet another example of a simple human truth, the stunning brilliance of which doesn’t crystallize until 2 a.m.

If I were still in academia, I would write a paper on the phenomenon of social media, how its mercurial nature facilitates the human tendency to blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.  

Still only 381 words.  385.  Three hundred and eighty-nine.  (See what I did there?)  And that’s including the footnote about PreMed that made sense at the time, but I struck the lead-in that would have made it even remotely relevant, so now it’s just hanging around down there like an old man’s scrotum, and now that simile has me running over with silent, adolescent giggles.

It’s 11:55.  I will close this now, as though it’s important to post it on the day in question.  Well it is to me, actually.  It really bothered me that I couldn’t post yesterday’s until I finished it this morning.  Even though it turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself.  This one, not so much.  11:56.  I’d better get a move on.  (Footnote time!)1

1 My middle child, a daughter, known to the Nutjobs as “PreMed,” is the wisest, kindest, most loyal, staunchest defender, keenest bullshit detector I know.  An old soul of the first water, my spirit animal if you will, who taught me the phrase “ride or die” by saying that I was hers.

500 Words, Day 21 - Kitchen Work

Crashing wave of fatigue.  Good thing it’s time to get in bed, anyway.   She yearns for her bed, almost as soon as she gets home, she wants to set the groceries down and climb under the covers.   Just cook this chicken, this rice, then you can go lie down.  Just put the clean dishes away.  Just cut up this fruit for snacks tomorrow.  She consoles herself.  Then you can go lie down.  Then you can curl up with a season of something.  Just write this piece.  Then you can.

As she moves around the kitchen, she feels the inevitable tears welling, and she stops to consider this, to pay attention.  What is happening right now that is prompting this sad, familiar overwhelm?  Everything in general, nothing in particular.  But no, stand still, notice.  What is this really about, this time?  

As she moves around the kitchen, she stops occasionally to take a deep breath.  There is something keeping her from fully expanding her lungs, she stops short of a complete inhale.  It’s like the breath is stuck.  The almost frustrated sigh that escapes her is what’s triggering this wave of sadness.  It’s a sound that she grew up with, a sound that shades her memories of her mother, who moved around the kitchen after work, trying to breathe, and sighing instead.  It wasn’t disappointment or irritation or a passive-aggressive request for help, she had always thought.  She realizes this now as that same sound escapes her lips, and she steeps in the feeling that provoked it.  

“Just like your mother, just like your sister, destroying what makes you happy, and ending up alone.”  Her husband’s voice intones in her mind, confirming what she already suspected, that the her family history and the patterns of dysfunction inform her decisions like DNA, dictate her choices.  Her life is merely a vehicle for perpetuating the misery that infuses her emotional genes.

She nods ruefully to herself, yep, he’s right you know.  Ending a marriage, moving out on her own, single lady at 52.  The last kid will graduate high school, move out, and she’ll be alone.  “Just like your mother, just like your sister, you’ll be all alone, and wish you hadn’t pushed everyone away.”  He knows exactly what to say to completely wreck her.  

She tries to shake it off.  It was the right thing to do, leaving, starting over.  That’s what going over those old blogs is for.  Reminding herself that she’s not crazy, this disaster is not her fault.  Some very sick and painful stuff happened because of NOT HER, and this was the only healthy response.    As her therapist keeps reminding her, being the polaris in that constellation for twenty years was the sickness, propping everyone up and smoothing everything over for a generation, that was the madness, that was the crazy thing.

But standing at the kitchen sink rinsing dishes and hearing her mother’s sigh whistle through her mind, looking at a solitary life so parallel to those that came before her, it’s hard to remember.  She dries her hands on a dishtowel and heads to bed.   

Monday, June 8, 2015

500 Words, Day 20 -- The List

With 1:16 to go, I guess I should get started on my essay for today, huh.  It should be obvious that weekdays are my most difficult days for the experiment.  I do have huge blocks of time at work where, if I were a different sort of person, I’d fritter away on my blog and other internet interactions.  

As it is, I take Facebook breaks often, to tend to my page and see what my imaginary friends are up to.  We work in The Cloud in my office, and frequently the software can take a minute or even two to load, which is a decent interval for checking social media, as well as my phone, in case the notifications I have set have somehow reset themselves and I missed an all-important text.  It could happen.  But all too often, my lock screen looks like this:

which means no one loves me, not even the New York Times.  How many people can say that?  You might ask, “Why don’t you set Facebook to notifications?  Then you’re sure to have something on your lock screen every time you open it.”  But that’s too easy.  That wouldn’t count.  As you might have come to expect with me, it’s complicated.  

So to put 500 words together, I’m going to type up the notes I made this evening at the conference The Gamer and I had with the director of the tutoring center, to create a summer schedule to get ahead of the game in AP Physics and AP Calculus, as well as a host of other chores as will follow in the lines below.  

It was a meeting that I had scheduled, and it was not to include The Gamer’s dad, my ex, primarily because I want to shut him out of our son’s life limit our son’s exposure to what I consider to be an unhealthy environment that will not be improved until I see my ex making progress on getting sober, and by that I mean ceasing to drink.  Somehow he found out about the meeting and showed up.  I staunchly ignored him, to my delight, the director did as well, knowing that what little influence he has on The Gamer’s academic progress is mostly that of good-natured and unintentional sabotage.  In any case, what follows is the list of notes I took.  Considering I’m well over the 500 words, I will let them speak for themselves, without translation or interpretation.  

Find out can make up failed PE (local community college)
Run mile in 9:00
Eat healthy
Crunches rhythm anime subtitles
Bike to run
Bike to lift Y guest pass for (name of best friend)
Finish online health
Start calc and physics
2 weeks or as needed check in
Khan Academy online
Catch up on Japanese convo
Get text for Japanese 2
ID weakness  vocab
Free app android
Go thru book ID words don't know
Long term goals
ACT prep
MIT Lectures physics prof Lewin broad ideas
Khan academy for prob sets
EFT Check ins
Therapist - (name of my therapist)
Wrestling with motivation and follow thru
Desire to complete v paralysis
Self-soothe with entertainment; distraction
Pomodoro schedule
Make appt to go over it

Sent from my iPhone