the AustinMama.com Mailing List and receive occasional coupons,
promotions and invitations from select local businesses, announcements
of special services and events—deals
our readers have grown accustomed to seeing on the site, now delivered
to your door!
Mama will NEVER sell, abuse or divulge your information to other
entities. Materials to be mailed will be done so by AustinMama.com. This
is a private, complimentary service for our readers, run and operated exclusively
Just fill in your info below.
How can your business get involved?
Contact kim @ austinmama.com
Thursday, September 06, 2007
slouching toward babylon
Yes I was jealous Because you are sworn How could you come undone to a word so strong My beating heart the anchor to a ship so warm You're supposed to have the answer You're supposed to have living proof Well I am your answer I am living
~Cat Power "Living Proof"
today was a fortune in the eyes of the night before. this morning i manifested new friends yet i already dread the long night ahead, for my near future is full of boxes, some taped by the very hand i rode upon the night before the end of my life in austin. to unpack them is to remember foolish endeavors and the present hijinks...it's absurd, really, to expend any effort trying to understand how i got here or why i came. hey you--yeah YOU. i know i created this. and it's not because i like to be in pain. i'm just looking for my bliss, man, and all that matters now is the assimilation of fact and the proof of my existence is all around to remind me that it must be done. i don't like being connected to a mess or accused of being tiresome. i don't judge others for their wanderings or for being lost...i been TCB on my own for some time now and i got sidekicks to think about. mama's tired and confused...i wanna be the only one sometimes, that's all.
last night i met with an old acquaintance. we met years ago while i was gestating Thing 2 and she was baking her third wee muffin. it was through an international unassisted childbirth support group and she lived hours away so we're not "friends" in the traditional sense...nonetheless we share many key commonalities and are compatible. i called her up when we moved to longview this week and we made plans to meet for a drink and "supper" (that's what they call it here, y'all). after catching up over a few beers at my mom's house, we hit a mexican hole in the wall, dining on shitty tex-mex and conversing about our oddly similar circumstances. in addition to being unconventional about our simultaneous pregnancies, our breakups with the fathers of our offspring coincided and when discussing the facts behind it all, we spooked one another with the similarities. we even had the post-breakup-fell-hard-for-the-unlikely-guy-who-helped-reacquaint-us-with-our-inner-harlot in common. i guess it's a trend. seems to me that, in addition to moving through the seven stages of grief, following the demise of a longterm relationship one must often navigate a hairy obstacle i like to think of as the "horndog phase". 'nuff said.
we wound up going to a club. actually, we went to THE club in town and it was mind-blowingly grim and possibly one of the ugliest spectacles i've had the misfortune of subjecting myself to. allow me to set the scene...fat men in cowboy gear, twirling fat women who look like men around the dancefloor. skinny men in highly starched cowboy gear with belt buckles the size of pizza pans looking to dance (ahem, grope openly). obese women in sparkly tanktops the size of carnival tents, behemoth breasts defying gravity in trusses which resemble lacy ox yokes...dirty dancing (moxie ain't no prude but this shit was not okay) together as if they might whirl and grind against one another hard and fast enough to break the barrier between themselves and the girls-gone-wild they so desperately wished they were...
god, it was bad. the lite beer, the rolls of fat and french manicures, the coiffures and wranglers...ah, despair, i nearly lost my bowels when they started line dancing to "...my neck, my back, lick my pussy and my crack...". i got the fuck out of there as soon as i could but not before having been accosted by a few of the patrons, despite my mirror shields (maybe i need to upgrade the sheilds o' drunk asshat east-texas strength magick?). in the parking lot, my cell phone bleeped at me, indicating a voice message. back in the safety of my car, surrounded by the soothing sounds of familiar music, i rolled up a smoke and listened to what turned out to be the longest, most lovely message i've ever gotten. it was a friend from austin, one of my sister teachers at ye olde granola cruncher school, calling to tell me how bereft she felt at the school without the presence of myself and the girls. she described us so generously, spoke of our beauty and light, jocular and maudlin with a voice that reminds me of a cozy bed....she poured her heart out and i cried, cried, cried, with nobody but the honey moon as my witness.
why did i leave? why do i need to do these things--hard things, always? i wonder if i have a hand in making things more difficult that is necessary. is it me? ok, maybe it is. i know i have a proclivity for losing sight of my goal in favor of fun and have been known to become so enraptured by a particular detail that the process unravels, tufts and threads around my feet. i have been blinded by the thick veils of obsession more than once. i get sidetracked by things that feel good and in an attempt to deny the difficulty i have with being linear and taking care of my responsibilities i embrace the wanton pleasures of drink and carnality to the detriment of my obligations. i have a hedonistic bent in practice that my rational mind just can't get behind. i rebel against the constraints of time because i am so fucking pissed about being culpable and bound to external forces . epicurean pursuits are too rigid and i envy those who have the ability to balance between acsetisism and bacchanalian endeavors. i engage in pleasure seeking, yet so it is written in the charge of the goddess "all acts of love are my rituals". i am an aphrodite woman. does this make me exorbitant and vainglorious? that is my fear. it's a private thing, and flaunting these facets of my innerworkings is an onerous task but it is one that must be undertaken if i am to surmount the challenge. i have been under my own lens, scientist and subject...observing and wondering if his criticism bears any weight.
this narcissism is savior and the devil in stereo. it's a fine line there between self preservation and megalomania.
a few hours ago we had a birthday dinner for Mr.Hobbledog. we have a lot of friends with children, so we have them early- started at four and everyone was gone by seven. that way all the families can maintain their schedules.
the party has been picked up, the dishes washed. even the dishwasher cycle is over, and an empty sink congratulating it. i have walked a load of trash to the dumpster, sidestepping snails and raindrop-lidded branches.
i'm sitting naked in front of a large open window. today was our first trip to a nude beach. i was created by the Maker to skinnydip. i have a proficiency, and aptitude, and inclination, a calling.
at night i like to lay near my husband, who lays on his back, with my hand across his scapula, fingers resting on his pulse. i sense the blood moving across his neck, making him alive. that blood must flow, it is what makes us alive. mortality is as apparent at 10 pm as it is other times.
my brother-in-law has elevated liver enzymes. he has a liver biopsy on thursday. i am feeling very awkward, because i cannot imagine that there is anything serious wrong. an auto-immune disorder, cancer, what else? but only a year ago at the end of this month, my best friend was diagnosed with cancer of the soft tissues. the tissues in this case were her arterial and heart tissue, her kidney tissue, her lung tissue, and her liver tissue. she was dead within two months.
three years old in october. i dare not touch the places where the blood runs through him. i can't know that he will end. sometime long ago our ancestors found that killing other humans for sport or glory was abhorrent to them. we began to travel the world, and enslaved one another and kept killing one another. we made profits, and wrote histories. and everywhere in between the profits and histories people hurt and took care of one another. symphonies and arias were composed. and while they were composed we stuttered and stammered our way towards unity. we changed everyday, and were changed. everyday.
we were worth it.
i know enough about the moment of my friend's death to imagine it. she was in hospice, we had been there earlier that day and it was a monday. in her last days, she was not sedate or conscious. she was physically like a baby person, wriggling and gurgling, but still thirty inside. her body was failing her. she couldn't communicate, but she strove toward it. her nurses asked the family to wait outside so that she could have a bath. they put on willie nelson, and cleaned her gently, long, by hand. washing her silky chestnut hair, because she didn't have time for chemotherapy. they were hearing "Waltz Across Texas" as she slipped down into the tub. and as the words began... "turn out the lights, the party's over" she slipped away.
i'm listening to madeleine peyroux and watching him, the place on David's neck where his life is. life is all over this place.
"maybe ain't no use in sayin' what i want it to be maybe ain't no use in playin' a tune maybe ain't no use in singin' my blues but there's always a use in you and me"
Today my son, who's 5, went to the hardware store with my husband so that they could pick up some wasp spray.
When they got home, my child - the spawn of my peacenik loins - stood in the doorway, shook his tiny fist at the wasp nest and said in a quiet, Christopher Walken-esque voice, "The death squad is coming for you, you wasps."
Where does he get this stuff? They have death squads on Noggin?
the women in my family of origin were known for having raging mean cases of premenstrual syndrome. but the term "PMS" meant something altogether else. it is the monogram of the man in our lives, my stepdad, michael. when he and my mom re-met, in line at the grocery store, after decades of not knowing each other, he became the first producing artist i had ever met, the first texas trivia buff i had ever met, the first hot-pepper-eating-pearl-beer-drinking-kierkegaard-spewing-scirocco-driving- gallery-running ticklemonster i had ever met. and he became the first example of what a good man should look like. i. had. ever. met. he took abuse, more and more it seems throughout the years. my sister cried through their entire wedding. while he was recovering from a major surgery on his abdomen in which cancerous tissue was excised, he discovered i had pilfered $600 bucks from his checking account with his ATM card. one evening, when my mom was out of town, i came home after 12 hours of LSD and broke down and he just talked to me. he picked me up from ballet. he picked me up from drama rehearsal. he picked me up at the municipal court at midnight while i was there protesting a friend's arrest. he picked me up from jail. twice. he used to make our lunches for school and everyday he would draw a cartoon and a joke, or an endearment. and he was talented at it! last year, when i was sitting with my family at dinner on a return visit, i expressed to them how sorry i was that i had hurt them, that i had messed up so badly when i lived in their house. and mess up badly i did. very very badly. he looked at me and said, "that wasn't you." plain and simple. it wasn't me. he has loved me so much for so many years that the part of me that sins he can't even recognize. he reflects jesus to me. and he shows me what a daddy is supposed to look like. as a result, i was able to choose a husband, and eventual dad for my own child, who is good and kind and forgiving and selfless. PMS is now "pop." my son is obsessed with "pop's hat." and they are great friends, becoming greater. pop and i have a connection; he is one of the most tangible pieces of evidence that god exists for me, because i can't imagine another dad coming along that was more suited to my weirdness, or another daughter coming along more suited to his. this father's day is for him. happy father's day, dad!
on the mornings i wake up and there is no intense sun jetting through the tiny crack allowed by my curtains, my heart leaps. maybe it will rain!!!! i always play this game with myself, excitement and anticipation. maybe i feel like the rain will wash away sins, maybe it's a diversion, maybe things will cool off, maybe the grass will grow, maybe my boy will want to go puddle-diving with me and a rainbow umbrella.
but i should know by now that the clouds over austin are pregnant, overdue, and that they usually have stillbirths. like i said to my dear friend, though, the green is greener. what am i to make of that? where are we in all of it? there is beauty even in an aborted promise of the sky and there is respite in our smallness as we shake our meager fists at it.
today feels heavy, laden, blancing on a razor's edge: morosity on one side, ecstasy on the other. maybe today i will shut off my central processing unit and become a vehicle for sensory input. tiny arms wrapped around my neck, hot bitter liquid rolling down my throat, rumbling clothes dryer, a few withered leaves hiding among the turgid ones, beads of sweat sussed out of my pores in a diffusive scramble to get where the party's at.
a beeping when it backs up.
all mundane, but all sparkly 'cause it all keeps being made of molecules.
we were approaching austin sunday night during the lightning storm. my heavens! we had dropped off the critter at my sister's house in kyle to spend the night, and were on our way to see mice parade at emo's. as we hit the city limits, we could see the lightning in panorama, literally covering the horizon and maintain a high tempo. it wasn't till i saw the first flash to the right, and not to the front, that i realized.... "oh. we're driving into that. right."
by slaughter we could feel the hair on the backs of our necks standing up. my teeth were vibrating. and there were bolts showering down all around us. the rain got too thick to see much of anything by riverside, so we pulled over and parked in front of somebody's house. we made out until she came out on her porch to see what the storm was doing.
when we got downtown, it was virtually vacated. we had an hour to kill, and were hungry. it was still raining pretty hard, but it was warm. we just let ourselves get soaked it felt so nice. as we walked up sixth, though, i thought to myself "wow. there are a lot of homeless people out tonight." and then, like lightning, it hit me. there weren't more than usual, it's just that EVERYONE ELSE HAD LEFT DOWNTOWN AND GONE HOME. i have never had a more visceral understand of homelessness than i did seeing those neighbors huddle under awnings, tear neck holes in garbage bags, and set their teeth against the weather. i imagined what it had been like for them while the full rage of the storm had been about them. i was in a comfortable toyota with my kind husband keeping the vehicle steady. they were subject to the full force of those strikes. did anyone get hit? they are abused, whored out, living in their own vomit, addicted to whatever gets them through a night on a bench, untreated, unrecognized, dispossessed, and they are our NEIGHBORS. they are not hoarding resources which could be ours. i could have given them my huge comfy yellow raincoat and they probably would have given it away as soon as it stopped raining.
i am scared of them. i am even more scared of the ones who are not white than the ones who are. what did i do with those people? nothing. nothing except grok that they are people. but i resolve that something will be done. it must, right?
I became a mother by surprise, the result of a spontaneous couch excursion as the male half was leaving to return a video. Nothing could have resurrected me from the solipsis and thrill-seeking like this peculiar brand of salvation did. And I named him thus... "Salvation." He is another person, and though I have a piquant sense of his childishness, I believe in his independence. Everyday I find ways to establish my identity other than him and every day his, but as he grows they seem to mingle more and more. He makes me love more. Sunshine more. Sigur Ros more. Trees more. Tragedy more. I often don't believe this earth will tolerate us for many more years, and when I think of him, I see war and strife in his future. I write to push the war out. To name that demon and demand that it get behind me. I believe in his right to live and to provide life. I believe he is a child of the cosmos. And he welcomes me here...
its the dawning of another calendar block and the unshed thing feeds my rue for the day troubles stacked high enough to make a fine roost
tucked away in places unreached by the whinnies of morning crows bundled in my darkest heart where only the strongest of beautiful repercussions grow hearty regretfully, i surrender /repose
something about the weather everybody's reckless and maudlin this week i lay down underneath it cast it out, will it gone thank her for the glance into my spit-nettle graceless mess give her a name, show her around the places where they know me we talk in staccato and jab, by turns
god, to be all that humility--just a part of the machine this darwinian sex monster takes no prisoners this prickly pear is host to unexpected hostage a hostile arrangement a brief bit of fuckery a reason to call quits alls well that ends well the ins and outs of these politics and the me of the youniverse
this brutal coil of want and retaliation a game of skill and fortune favors those who come prepared
i have never been good at plotting thoughtful consideration given to fractures and faultlines is lost on me nevertheless, too late, i reframe shamedogged retreat and hangface regret over what i cannot take back and pathological approval seeking
slap happy and gaslit gestalt of the my-crocosm come around to see the uneven playing field and brutal nature of this greatwork, this "great" rite female of the species
Having peeked at my blog prior to my appearance, they complimented me on my casual but not too dressy outfit (as they sat there in their jeans and zippered sweatshirts). Next time I'm fortunate enough to be their guest, I just might show up in pajamas!
Also, Betsy and Sal showered me with swag. Swag! Travel bottles of hand cream and foot cream, and a brand-new Land's End pink paisley tankini!
Alas, the foot cream caused a bad reaction on DH's toes. He was so excited to get a foot rub and the end result was sad and painful. Poor guy; life can be cruel. Do you think he'll stop asking me to rub his feet?
And the tankini? Well, it fit, but, oh, words fail me. I'm going to pass it on to some other lucky gal. It's be like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, only for middle-aged moms. And instead inspiring love and confidence, it will remind us never, ever to get pregnant again.
I wasn't eavesdropping on a public cell phone conversation (not this time, anyway), this is from an episode of ABC's new show, Notes from the Underbelly.* Cooper, the never-say-pregnant career gal, advises her newly pregnant friend, the series protagonist Lauren, not to quit her job with these choice words:
You can't just drop out of the working world and waltz back in. You'll be the annoying old lady who can't figure out the phone system. And everyone who didn't take five years off to find themselves will hate you for constantly having to tell you, "It's pound 7. #7!"
It's true that if you've taken a few years off of work, you may need some time to catch up with technological advances, but still. The annoying old lady? Ouch.
I woke up this morning to find a huge purple bruise on my thigh from where I crashed into something on my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
After admiring my fabulous hematoma, I noticed one of my children had yellow gunk coming from her nose. Nice. Upon his waking, I saw that my other child had green gunk coming from his nose. Perfect.
And the dog? Somehow the dog has given himself a blue asshole. And no, I'm not speaking euphamistically or about an alcoholic drink popular with college students (though "blue asshole" would be a perfect name for a shot). My dog actually, physically, has a blue asshole.
Apparently, while blissfully slumbering last night, an Evil Rainbow descended upon my house and exploded.
so, yesterday i brave the microorganisim/virus/bacterial wasteland of the doctor's office to take my kids for their semi-routine check up. that's right folks....we go to the doctor's every two years whether we're sick or not. i know, i know. i should do it more often, at least according to conventional medical wisdom. it's just that i hate the fucking doctor's office. i have overwhelming images of infectious diseases culturing themselves on every surface and crawling toward my mucous membranes. overcome with the paranoia induced by the institutional odors and insulted by the empty promise of sanitary conditions and supposed sterility of things, i am hypersensitive. my neurosis kicks into high gear when the nurse comes in and, wearing the gloves she touched the doorknob with, proceeds to touch one of my kids, pick up her pen, scratch her ear, jot something down, rub her eye, and leave again...old germy ass gloves still in place. brilliant. thoughts of seeped secretions and spilled body fluids, lanced boils and athlete's foot, pink eye, necrotic wounds and itchy ball syndrome...jesus christ, by the time the doctor gets in there (an hour after the hour the appointment was set for, ahem!) i'd be climbing the walls if i weren't so afraid to touch them. icky bad. during our wait, my kids are doing their best to engage me but i am consumed by the consideration of prophylactic antibiotic use and i feel a sense of deep regret that i didn't up our vitamin C & zinc intake a week in advance; you know, like a little booster for what i think of as an immune system triathalon. yeah, my kids are gonna be weird because of these hang ups of mine, i just know it.
so, to make a long and boring story shorter and more interesting, i'll fast forward to the part where i got really pissed. the doctor came in and stepped onto his golden podium (which i promptly hacked down). he began explaining stupid things to me in a manner that my second-grader would find patronizing, and thus ensued The Power Struggle (which i promptly won) between the good (that's me) and evil (that's the patriarchal/pharmaceutical juggernaut faction) forces of the universe. why, oh why, dearest beloveds...why would this asshat want to walk in and inform me, ME (if he only knew) of all people...that my daughter is in the 95th percentile ranking in height among her peer group. he continues to tell me that she's in the 90th percentile for weight. in my mind, though completely irrelevant and about as useful as, say, baseball scores from the turn of the century, this makes sense. if you are in the top percentile in your height, it's not a big mental leap, understanding that it is proportionate (and perhaps even desirable) to be in the upper end of the range when it comes to weight. it's called balance.
this dickhead had the fucking iron clad stupidity and nerve to dangle his balls in my face by saying these words in front of my daughter....
"I'm not saying that she's fat or anything...but you'd better be careful. She could have a tendency toward getting fat. Tell me, does she actually DO anything? I mean, like, you might want to make sure she's getting enough activity in her day to day routine...just, watch out for that. We don't want her putting on too many pounds."
Of all the fucking stupid, dumb things a person could say in front of a child. THIS has to be up there in, say, the 99th percentile range.
p.s. she's 8 years old, 4'2 and 72 pounds. she's at school from 8am to 6pm monday thru friday and I SEE HER running, jumping, hiking, gardening, walking, doing yoga, and playing actively all day long. she eats a balanced diet with very little sugar or crap-carbs. WTF???
i recently found myself in a situation that devolved into the type of drama that i pride myself for not humoring. yes, friends, i was the guest star in my own personal soap opera and this particular novella included a cameo appearance by a member of My Favorite Band. okay, i actually have three favorite bands but for the sake of this saga, it will be understood as my favorite and from here on, i'll refer to it as MFB. what follows is an unfortunate example of the drawbacks to the age of instant communication via electronic mail. once you hit that send button, it's bye-bye message and hello to things said which cannot be undone. even as a lover of the word, i am hesitant to write, at times, because of my scorpionic paranoia which shrieks this admonition in instances of emotional excess: leave no written proof. the pen (or key, as it were) is a mighty sword, indeed. this is my story.
it's a regular day. hum drum and blah, i've got a lot of shit to do. as a recent addition to the ranks of the single mother set, i am confounded by the amount of bullshit with which i must contend in the course of any given 24 hour period. i work and i raise children. i work at my older child's school and my preschool daughter tags along with me every step of the way. so, you see, in addition to working and raising children alone, i work raising other people's children while they do jobs far away from the stink of overflowing toilets and projectile puking booger machines. it can be cloying at times and i am embarrassed by my longing to get away from it. stealing away to the sanctuary of my desk, i bow to the pc altar and proceed to check my email. i pop into the myspace universe and log on to instant messaging, slipping into my computer generated un-reality with a relish that resembles addiction. big sigh...it's nice to be home. i live there more than i care to admit. what can i say? it's my new-age calgon and it takes me...away. on this particular day, i am delighted to find that MFB is playing at MFCH (my favorite coffee house, ahem). yay! this, i tell myself, is a sitter-worthy occasion. i text message the sitter and post a myspace bulletin to find a friend up for a last minute late night of irreverent musical glory, camaraderie and beer drinking. this is the pinnacle of weekday excitement for me and it gives me a charge to make a plan for myself that will definitely not include packing granola bars, extra underwear, hand sanitizer or a busy bag. yes! i've got a bite...two, now three. i'll have a date for sure and i know that at least two of them will flake but three's a good number and i know one will pan out as my sidekick. MFB is a collective of extremely talented musicians who are funny, political and stunning on stage. they are one of three bands who do not bore me mid-show and i've been attending shows for over a decade. i do not know any of them personally but i've had a number of offhand exchanges with a few of them over the years at bars, parties and once, at a job where i waited tables and cocktailed during their regular sunday gigs. they don't know me but dammit, i've got to say, i feel like i know them. i'm a fan with an observational prowess and curiosity that probably borders on the weird. i can't help it: MFB is full of fascinating individuals and sometimes when one of them throws back her head and belts out a blazing scat (she's the blackest sounding white girl i've ever heard) or another rocks out on a hillbilly rap reminiscent of the film "deliverance", i swear i've died and gone to the heaven where common thinking folk can come on in out of the cold for a the musical equivalent of a vaudeville lapdance. even my children agree; they rock.
i have a date. i have a sitter. i have cover in my pocket and--fuck next week's grocery budget--i've got some lechuga for drinking, too. lipsticked and hot assed, hair fluffed and attitudinally correct, i arrive at MFCH's door and see my date, already tucked into a drink and in a prime location--joy! i love my friend. she is not one of my closest sisters but we have had some good times, shared some tears and commiserated countless times over the realities of Life Without A Partner and My Ex-Husband is A Fucktard. we hug our hellos and i dash away to get my booze. MFB is gearing up and i barely make it back to my seat before the show begins. There are Rules at MFB's shows and one of them is that the audience must be very quiet. I aim to please and I observe the Rules, after all, I AM a model fan and i wish to set a good example for any newcomers--i imagine that my shining display of band-sanctioned show protocol and excellent lyric knowledge earns me some gold stars somewhere in the good fan hall of fame. i take this whole business entirely too seriously, i know. it's just proof of my inherent dorkiness and tendency to deify anyone with a smart mouth, quick fingers and a rosined bow. i am unapologetic.
this show is a good one. there's a new member in MFB and he's pretty good. he's interesting and he definitely holds his own but i'm still longing for the guy he replaced. incidentally, several weeks before, i met the missing member by chance down off 6th street. he was busking in the cold and he took my request, playing the song about my homeland--the one that always makes me cry. honestly, it's the most powerful song i've ever heard. ever. i was drunk enough to be uninhibited and my friends and i danced wildly, tipping and thanking him for his contribution to humankind. i secretly wanted to bang him--not because he's all that attractive but--goddamn!--the way he does his thing when he opens up his soul and pours it out--it's like some kind of psychotropic mind altering jambalaya with a fiddle in place of the andouille. who knows? the guy may be a real asshole who likes to kick cats and box the ears of unsuspecting children. i don't know and it's these times that make me wonder about my own judgement, given my temporarily suspended distrust for most people. this naive proclivity of mine...it's worrisome. i should know better--my own father was a steel guitar god and also very much a colossal garden-variety fuckup who never amounted to more than a couple of bastard kids and a good strong background in illegal asshattery. i digress, though. back to the show. it was a good show. my friend and i roared and sang and danced and hooted at all the appropriate junctures. we even considered showing our tits--it was topical. the performance was everything i'd expect from MFB and they even took my request for that really lusty number that makes me very hot. yes, it was a good show. i am pleasantly buzzed, extremely satisfied and i even managed to (mostly) fight the urge that remains from my years of yon--you know, the one that makes a gal have a look around the place, sussing the other patrons for potential one-night-stand-ability. i'm beyond that now, right? well, i should be--i'm a mother. i'm thirty-something and i have a sitter to pay with next week's gas money and a job to hold down. at the very least, the fact that i haven't shaved in a week solidifies my vow to chastity.
on the way to the john, the drummer catches my eye. he smiles and holds my gaze. giddy, i do my thing and come out and fall right back into the non-verbal "hey baby" bone he's tossing me and i think..."hmmm". i go to the bar, grab a beer and close my tab. mister man is still looking my way as i walk out to meet my friend for a smoke and my inner adolescent gives me the thumbs up. i brag to my friend that i got the eye and we giggle. as neither of us carries a lighter--it's a great excuse to talk to interesting looking people--i jump on the opportunity to find an interesting person (i.e., the drummer) to bum a light from. back at the bar, i'm sandwiched between two delightful men from MFB--what luck! i engage one of them, get some matches and return to the table where my friend and i rave about the show and catch up. conversation turns when the drummer walks out and smiles my way--my gal's got the inside line that he's recently single and we speculate and indulge in a little good natured gossip. we are women, after all, and it's fun to live vicariously when you're feeling out of the whole youth loop. i am certain that he's looking at me and feel all warm inside. i've been weathering a helluva dry spell and what little rain i've gotten wasn't enough to wet my roots if you get my drift. mama just needs a little fun, too, y'all. my friend is telling me about a republican she's been seeing and, based on the details she's given, it sounds, despite his scary political resonance, like they might have a connection. good for her but in that moment, i was thinking more about my own connections and what the little drummer boy might have to offer.... at last, we agree to end the evening and after kisses, we depart.
the next morning, geek chic firmly in place, it occurs to me that i might find MFB's drummer on myspace. i check my email before getting down with my search engine finger and find a message from my friend. it seems she's employed her inside line to get the drummer's email address. assuming that she's being a helluva gal and trying to get me the hookup, i neglect to read her email in full. i abandon the notion to look him up and surrender myself to the winds of fate. as fate would have it, she was actually inquiring for herself. my tall, reserved and sophisticated friend...what a drag! i was blown away by this new development. i was....jealous. in her last email (there were several), she broke the news that she'd gotten a date with him and hoped i wouldn't be pissed. sucker punch! i was stunned! could this be? wasn't she breaking the code? is there a code? surely there's a code! surely, not! no! she'd never....would she? indeed.
i was overwhelmed. really, i didn't have that great of an interest in the guy as a conquest or otherwise--eye contact does not chemistry make and i am familiar enough with the language of flirtation to know that it didn't amount to anything, those smiley faces and unblinking stares across the crowded room. nevermind that, though...the part that got my goat was that she'd go to the lengths she did when she knew i was all happy pants and flattered by the attention. it just seemed so....uncool! oh, i guess i didn't mention my impending hormonal d-day, now did i? no. nor did i mention the fact that i was dealing with some ex-husband antics that put me in Another Bad Predicament. it was a bad day and my frame of mind was a fast tunnel down to the reptilian place where the wild things dwell. i'm only human and i reacted, vitriolic and base. without really thinking, i ganked dude's email addy (she'd forwarded me one of their correspondences) and composed a short, not so sweet, but cleverly versed note in which i called my friend a Very Ugly Name. It was actually sort of funny in a psychotic kind of way and, overcome by my own shortsightedness, i sent it. ah, hell. all's fair in love and war, right?
several days later, in an altered state of consciousness, i called my friend. she was not happy with me. i was not happy with her. nobody was happy and the conversation pretty much went downhill in record time. true to her sagittarian nature, she held her ground and refused to budge. tearfully, i exited stage left, feeling like both a bad guy and a victim of circumstance. dammit to hell. haunted by my rash lashing, i slept fitfully and awoke to feelings of deep regret and self hatred. not only had i behaved like a sophomoric jackass, i'd also displayed my dirty laundry to a member of MFB--oh the shame of it all! "universe! what is this douchebaggery which hast befallen me?!" i demanded the answer. it came to me slowly that the only thing to do was to grab a bib and serve myself up a dish of crow in the town square. reluctantly, i made the leap. deep breath. yahoo mail. log in. compose. i am sorry, literary flourish, i suck, additional literary flourish. contritely yours, my name. period. insert friend's address. cc: drummer of MFB. re-read message. send. exhale.
the end. the moral of the story? never fall for a troubador or a man in a band...whatever. you figure it out. i'm busy learning how to live in the real world without the luxury of a delete key and editing capabilities.
tomorrow is the spring equinox. 9 years ago on that day...i was initiated as a wiccan priestess. that same night, i met the man whose children i bore. nine years--nearly a decade of my life. i defined myself in terms i was never quite comfortable with. i was passive, fearful...moving at the pace of the tides that swept me in and out again. i'm not sure what the hell i was thinking...maybe that it would get better. i think it seemed easier to live someone elses life than to risk making bad choices with my own. making that man the central focus of my universe was a risky, and fruitless endeavor. i have his children, yes, and when the first was born, she gave me something to do besides him, which was fortunate because for her first year, he was MIA much of the time. now that i think about it, all the times i've called him a good father, i was mistaken. to be a good parent, one must think of the offspring first and prioritize accordingly. that has not happened.
he says he's coming back. the exhausted mama part of me wants to jump for joy. another part of me knows better. it's likely an empty happiness. i am still feeling the violation of having been abandoned with no real recourse to speak of. no form of retaliation or vengeful act of spite could ever make it better. it's a deep wound and one that will take some time to knit up. so much the better for him to return, though, i guess. perhaps he'd pick up some slack so i could recharge a bit from the trauma of it all. despite the rollercoaster, in a manner of speaking, this has been the most exciting and energetic segment of my life to date. i'm anxious...but excited about what's around the corner. i've been learning alot about how intent and focus shape experience. i like my vantage point. i like my life. finally, at long last, i'm feeling some comfort in my skin and some ease in my mind.
seduction would be a sweet balm for my ails, now. it's been years since i was engaged in something that carried me away to the good place. i know i'm a little fragile and might appear to be needing more than one other person could afford to give freely. i know it looks like i'm standing in a heap of mess that shovels couldn't touch but i'm a big girl and i'm not afraid to use some elbow grease or to get my hands dirty. sometimes forward motion requires a bit of a push, no? the diversionary tactics of a lover would be a welcome source of escape. i'm not sure how graceful i would be...but i am honest and effortlessly pleasant to be around.
tomorrow is the spring equinox. it's also the birthday of one of my best friends. she will be 35. i have to do a double take on that number. we have been attached at the hip to varying degrees since she was 19, just before my own 18th birthday. the first time i met her i wanted to be her friend. she made fun of my groupie chic, my wild and wanton ways. the first time i tried to talk to her i decided she was a real bitch and felt sad that she'd deprive me of her company. the more i watched her, the more certain i was that she should have theme music, like sherilyn fenn's character, audrey, in twin peaks. at some point, i won her over with my scintillating wit and ridiculous antics, many unintentional. to date, we have been doing this life thing together for our entire adult lives. we've been through so much together. we survived acid trips gone wrong, random debaucheries, bad choices o'plenty and the joys and tedium of living together. we've been pregnant simultaneously, cried alot of tears, visited the baby eraser and had our dumbass husbands leave us within weeks of each other. we have laughed, god, have we laughed--i'll never be able to hear the red hot chili pepper's "sir psycho sexy" and keep a straight face. the first big nirvana album was ours alone--we knew every word and howled it out, tooling around shreveport in her car that, to my great surprise, had no power steering. one of our dear friends died of a heart attack and we looked at death together. i was stalked by a madman, paralyzed by my own devastation after too many losses and unable to be alone. she stayed with me and nurtured me...to the point that my neighbor was convinced that we were hot lipstick lesbians and he could hardly keep his hard-on off the threshhold. how different my life would be without her...how bleak. once, after going through a particularly harrowing life experience, i moved back to my hometown from austin. one day when i visited, her mom took one look at me and said in her charming newfoundland accent, "honey, you need to find your lipstick." blessed words that brought me back to center and helped me to regenerate, an ongoing theme. i am grateful to be at a place in life where i have friends of such substance, whose lives parallel my own, even when we might be at odds. i'm glad we're not at odds and that even at the height of my weirdness and personal drama, she's stuck by, precious anchor that she is.
happy anniversary to me. happy birthday to her and good riddance to old ways that no longer apply.
AustinMama operates on a shoestring budget, which is often untied
causing us to trip a lot. Our noses could probably use a good wiping,
too. But we are decent people who will never be too proud to accept
charitable donations to our cause. We promise.