Sunday, December 12, 2004

These Things, Promise Me

Promise me the following:

1. When I am old and gray. When I am not working so well. When my body starts to fail and my mind starts to follow. Do not keep me. Do not revive me. Do not punish me. For that is what it is.

2. Do not maintain me. Do not plug me up to machines in a vain hope that I will become what I once was. If my life has played out to the point that the band has left the field, allow me to gracefully go with them. I've worked in too many hospitals and seen too many frail, ill, unhappy, older women growing beards and being used as rubber hose storage facilities to want the mysteries of medical science to allow me to live that un-natural life.

3. Do not let me go last. This, I ask more of God than of my family and friends. I see my grandmother. I see the looks on her face, the weariness of her body and the despair in her soul. Please, let me go first. Do not allow me to be so in love and so scared that I neglect the first two promises I ask others to follow for me. Do not allow me to keep my partner alive when it is evident to most anyone that it would be best for him to allow his passage.

4. If I am sick, and death is not impending. Take care of me. You are aware of that which I require. Bathe me, regularly - and by this I mean at least once per day. Style my hair - nothing elaborate, just something brushed, combed and sprayed so as not to invite rodents to inhabit here. Wax me - I realize this is a big thing to ask of someone, particularly if you're not female, but for the love of God, please remove the hair from those places you would not wish to view hair on women. These places may include the following: legs, underarms, upper lip, chin area, between the natural eyebrows, around the natural eyebrows to maintain shape, etc. The bikini area, I'm not so concerned with, I doubt anyone other than doctors and nurses would see this area and I wouldn't ask that of even a great friend. Make-up me - slightly, nothing Baby Jane-esque, just some moderate foundation, a light highlighting powder, a grey tinted shadow around the lid to enhance my eyes and a gloss on my lips. Finally, do not allow my ass to hang out the back of my hospital gown. There's nothing more embarassing than other people seeing your cellulited cheeks.

5. This does not follow the pattern of the previous. Be honest with me. I want this promise maintained throughout my life. When something doesn't fit me, let me know. If it doesn't look right, let me know. If I'm making a large mistake with even the simplest of decisions in my life, let me know. I may not always appear to respect your intervention or appreciate it, but I assure you that eventually in your life I will tell you that I did. More than anything.


Thursday, December 09, 2004

Ambition and Delusion

I've become ambitious.
I'm climbing my Everest.
I just lack my Tenzing Norgay.

I went a little crazy last week. Be it the season of giving (to myself as it turns out in this particular instance), the dazzling brightness of a new relationship that blinds you to the things you think you know or the knowledge that I'm inadvertently going to have to take an unpaid vacation for a few days . . . I have decided to take on a task that I have not tackled since 9th grade.

I decided to re-read the classics.
I purchased the entire works of Shakespeare for the low, low price of $10. Leather bound, gold leafed edging, knowledge and culture on paper. Used bookstores are amazing, particularly when you have credit there.
I also re-purchased (for the 3rd time) the entire collected works of Ayn Rand - a gift for someone, but it prompted me to reintroduce myself to the works.
Oh, and some Ernest Hemingway, Lewis Carroll, C.S. Lewis, F. Scott Fitzgerald, you drop a literary name and I've got some paper with their ink stamped ideas.

So, the question . . . is this true ambition or delusion?
I bought these works out of the desire to just immerse myself in their worlds, at least, this is what I thought at the time. Now, I'm wondering if I was deluding myself into thinking I could regain the feeling of knowledge I had in college.

Somewhere in the middle of graduate school I realized that I was slowly dumbing myself down. Unless the questions asked of me by others regarded the world of Neurology, Speech Pathology or Otolaryngology, I couldn't be bothered to answer. Previous to graduate school, I felt well-rounded, eclectic and even knowledgeable. I read two papers a day, I read philosophy and classics and the occassional trashy romance just to keep it real. I listened to Clapton and Morrison (Van and Jim), XTC and The Shins, U2 (Joshua Tree U2, not this crappy K-mart, poppy bullshit Bono's trying to re-invent himself with), and lots of talk radio. Now, as I drive to work on my full hour commute back and forth to work, I find myself listening to the thoughts in my head, nothing else, and they're not even original. I'm starting to wonder if I'm becoming one of those people who has become content and fails to grow any longer.

I bought a paper this morning, read it completely, then attempted the crossword puzzle. I was very distraught to discover there were at least 13 clues I could not complete. And, to be terribly honest, I'm not that certain that the ones I did complete are correct. I feel as though I'm losing myself.

I used to write for hours on end and words seemed to flow from my fingers faster than my mind could contemplate the syntax that would organize the thoughts. Now, I find myself repeatedly pausing to write even this blog. I can't think of synonyms, antonyms, hell half the time I can't even think of a word to begin with. I think "you know, that word, the one that means . . . God, what does it mean, I know what I want to write. . but I can't think of the words."

Are college graduates more likely to dumb themselves down to fit in with the plethora of non-college graduates around them? Do we become more accepting and forgiving as we get older? Am I more tolerant? Is this a good thing?? Is graduation the death of eduction?

Monday, December 06, 2004

I am an adult, I am an adult, I am an adult

Just keep saying it until it's real.

I am an adult. This means I take responsibility for my actions. This means I don't despair at the vast amount of debt I have accumulated through graduate school and my first year in the real world. It means that I condense, combine and 0% interest transfer things until I can't see straight.

It means that I stop convincing myself that one day it will hit me that I am an adult and I have to stop spending money on books and cds and start putting that $100 a week expense into my SEP plan (or to you nonself-employed people a 401 K).

It means that I have to stop calling my college boyfriend, who was a bloody asshole anyway, to convince me that bailing on another guy is the right thing to do. (I only call him because I know he'll tell me it's a good idea, he's bailed on everything his entire life - and he's 32).

It means I have to wash my sheets more than once a month.
It means I have to organize my closet instead of throwing "skinny" clothes on the closet floor during "fat" days.
It means I have to stop using my college ID to get discounts at fast food restaurants. When do they realize that that thing's old??
It means I have to stop lying to my friends about previous engagements so I can lie around under a chenille throw and read while listening to Miles Davis.
It also means I have to stop waiting on Prince Charming.

There is no such man. There's no man on this planet who will be with you through thick and thin without so much as a cross word. There's no ripped, black haired, green eyed God to date too tall, too busty, too fluffy women. There's no intellectual who knows music like XTC and The Shins and books like The Master and Margarita and The Fountainhead. There's no football loving, cat hating, sleeps on his own side of the bed man. There may be someone you can teach these things to or someone who will alter his ideas a little - but they don't come pre-packaged.

I am an adult.
I realize the limitations of hope.
I understand the insignificance of my desires.
I am an adult. I am an adult. I am an adult.

But I think I'll buy this "Doors LEGACY; The Absolute Best" album just this once.
I can become an adult after January 1.
It's so close after all.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

To Sir with Love

John and I had a lovely weekend. Just lovely. Perfectly fucking lovely. Jesus God, what have I gotten myself into??

Why is it that after spending more than 4 hours with a person I become so disgusted that I can't breathe. Literally, can't breathe. I had a panic attack the other night. I woke up and John was lying in bed beside me and I couldn't breathe. I couldn't think, I couldn't see and I couldn't get oxygen into my lungs. Then, when I could muster a very insignificant breath, I wanted to use the energy it afforded me to kick him out of my bed.

I am unsure of whether it is a fear of commitment, or a fear of my personal space being lost. I just know that everything is wonderful until they start hanging around . . .and then all I can think of is "Back AWAY." And then I start to slowly pick them apart in my mind. They're too tall, too short, too thin, too fat, too intelligent, too ignorant, they have freckles, they have a mole on the small of their back just above where I would want to place my hand, they have mother issues, they have children, etc. etc. etc. Even attributes become a liability in my mind.

And by the time this fear and loathing has overwhelmed me, I have led the person into my world and made them believe they are safe. This was by no means my intention. Yet today, as I watched John leave for parts unnamed, I could see that he was concerned something was wrong with me. I alerted him that I was just feeling ill - which was not a lie, I am feeling a bit flu-ish - and everything was fine. And maybe, just maybe, everything is fine. Perhaps the 46 hours and 28 minutes spent with him was the problem. Maybe smaller doses are the answer . . .

But how long can you keep smaller doses? How long before the smaller doses of man drive you to large doses of liquor?

I'm starting to think I'm out of my mind. I became accustomed to telling myself that I just hadn't found "the one". Then I began to believe that I didn't want a "one." Then I espoused that belief. And then, the entrance of John. The one I thought would disprove the belief. Instead, he is quickly falling to the same fate as the masses of those before him.

God save us all.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Do you take this man?

So . . had another enlightening conversation just now.
Enlightening more for her than me.
J. has been somewhat happily married (notice the somewhat) for the last 8 months. She has, since the inception of the relationship in general - let alone the marriage, been touting the benefits of love, stability and one man forever. I have finally had it up to my nose and practically yelled, "I don't want that!!!"

Needless to say, she was taken aback . . .
"You don't want what???"
"I don't want one man forever right now, for the love of Christ, I'm 24 years old. The most stable relationship I've ever held was with a pair of shoes, and even they let me down when the heel broke off and the leather finally wore off the toes."
"You don't know what you're saying. When you find the one, you will understand."

Was there even any point in arguing that?? I wanted to, because I certainly don't believe it, but how do you argue against anything so esoteric??? She would just argue in defense of the "You can't know because you've never felt it" point. But what is so wrong with enjoying yourself and not wanting to waste it on someone who won't appreciate it?

When did single-ness become the world's new leprosy? God forbid you be single and happy. That would be a travesty.

I read a startling statistic the other day. Startling only because I didn't realize so many women felt the same way I did. 80% of women aged 21 to 35 have given up on marriage. Now who knows where they got this statistic, because I certainly wasn't polled, but I can't help but say that I have some belief in it's reality. I know of three marriages, just three, that I believe are happy and faithful. The rest . . . well, let's just say that the partners involved aren't always eating at home.

And this is what I'm supposed to be searching for? Looking forward to? Despairing about not having?? Doesn't sound right to me.

For now, I chose single and happy. No worries about where my partner is or what he's thinking. No wondering about where the money I make goes (because how many women really want to fund that hunting trip to Montana for elk?). No fighting for my own covers or waking up to bad morning breath that isn't my own. If this means I give up the good side of a relationship - the sex at 3 a.m., someone to hold you when you cry, someone to rub your shoulders when work has been particularly hellish . . . then I guess I give it up for a while. Every loss has a benefit. Mine, this morning, is dancing around the house in crappy clothes with no make-up singing loudly along with Poe. Sounds like a nice trade to me.

What no one says aloud

Everyone has thoughts they don't say aloud. This should have been one of them.
S. and I were watching Interview with a Vampire tonight. Not the best of movies, not the worst, but something he had never seen and I felt like watching. S. and I never watch movies as much as we have something in the background to allow fodder for conversation. I suddenly had a thought.

"S., do you think vampires are real?"
"It's possible, I guess. But I don't think it's likely. Why? Do you think they're real???"
The incredulous tone of his voice almost prevented me from answering. I should have stuck to that initial reaction. Instead, I think I offended his church-going sensibilities.
"Sometimes, I just wonder. I guess, to me, vampires are like God."
"What do you mean?"
"There are stories all over the world, as far back as time remembers, about vampires. All of them have the same bases and the same characteristics. The stories all resemble each other in the way of the vampire, his purpose and his demise. But no one has any proof that they exist, at least none that is well accepted. In that, they are like God. Every society has some form of omnipotent being. The stories are all similiar. The God/Gods/figures all share the same characteristics, the same bases, the same purpose (to some extent) and the same demise. There is no real proof he exists, but nor is there any he/it/they didn't."
"Hmmm . . . "

And with that non-committal noise, the conversation ceased. In fact, the conversation trail of the night ended. We watched the rest of the movie in silence and then he left. He was warm, as always; a kiss on the cheek, a warm embrace, the promise of a call. But something was different. Something was lacking. And what was lacking was probably the quieting of my mind. I couldn't stop running the conversation through my head. I couldn't stop thinking of how similar the myths of our society are and how far back they are able to be traced. Can anyone say that vampires, witches, God, true democracy, faithful men and love do not exist?

Random questions with no answers.