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Archive for February, 2003

|| February 18, 2003 || 11:16 pm || Comments (4) ||

Concrete Blonde just wrecks me every time.

I swear, Johnette Napolitano could fart over the requisite heavy backbeat and I’d be woozy. WOOZY, I TELL YOU!

|| February 18, 2003 || 11:04 pm || Comments (0) ||

If you google ‘Jett’, you get
ONE reference to a model airplane engine-building company,
ONE reference to astronaut Brent Jett, Jr.,
ONE reference to Jett Williams,
ONE reference to some blog*spot user,
TWO refererences to Joan Jett and
FOUR references to yours truly.

Yes, that’s right, boys and girls:

“All your Jett are belong to us.”

|| February 17, 2003 || 1:11 pm || Comments (7) ||

It started in the summer, to the best of my perception.

There we were, ambling along the dusty footpaths between the produce stalls, seeking the perfect flat of strawberries and letting the sun cook our faces, shoulders, turn the fine hairs on our arms white above the peachy-bronze skin they erupted from.

Three generations, each of them separated neatly in stairstep fashion by twenty-two years apiece: Here is nine, here is thirty-one, here is fifty-three, all carrying thick hanks of honey hair, blue eyes, strong jaw, curve of hip and long legs.

Then there was the boy, dark-haired, handsome manface in waiting, smooth skin as yet untouched by blemish or line or stubble or the care of postpubescent male ego. Sitting some fifteen yards away, he was loosely gracing a stool behind a canopied (yet somehow strangely weather-bleached) table laden with heavy-ripe tomatoes.

I noticed him only briefly before he caught her in his gaze, never noticing me, and locked on, somehow mesmerized. She was more than oblivious and never even realized he watched her, overtaken by her ambling stride and easy grace, one golden lock escaped from low, perfect-loose pigtails.

But I noticed, and it was just as my mother had recounted to me some five years back: They stop and stare and the one bearing the weight of the stare is unaware of its heft. She said it happened constantly with me and it stopped her heart for the briefest of seconds each and every time.

It was touching and terrifying all at once, for her back then and then for me in that instant. She didn’t lie about the heart thing, but then she’s never been one for exaggeration.

Seven weeks later we were driving down the road, nine and I. I was in a sundress and sandals, she was wearing a t-shirt with a monkey in an astronaut suit and a cute brown miniskirt. Not mini-mini by any means, because her stepdad has watched the hemlines religiously since nine turned seven or so.

“You’re not wearing that outside.”

“But momma said….”

“Where shortslengths are concerned, what momma said is veto-able. Please go change.”

He would have her in ankle-length burlap sacks girded with thick chain were it up to him. Her father likes this about him, because it is the one train of thought they seemed to have booked passage on together; they are both males and (as smart as I may think myself to be) privy to information I don’t have due to my lack of that pesky, anomalic Y chromosome.

Riding in the car, yes…and we are sunglassed, enjoying the day and the absence of all our boys, chatting away. At the stoplight, we are lined up with a pickup truck containing a man that would have to be no less than seven years my senior, maybe more. Mid-sentence, I look up, your run-of-the-mill traffic glance, to find the man in the truck keenly observing my young nine’s legs. Looking at her appraisingly in that way and I am immediately drowned in emotion. There is disbelief and indignant and outrage and confusion and revulsion. I want to pull the emergency brake, set the hazards, exit my car snarling with tire iron in hand but I am paralyzed in flabbergast and before I can let my anger move me to action the light is green; I am turning, he is travelling straight and what a backwards metaphor that was.

Things happen for good and right reasons and I know now that had that happened, she would have been shamed. The shame would not have been based on my behavior, but on her burst bubble of innocence at my stark explanation of the whys and the wherefores behind her bare-legged, rage-unmasked momma’s dropping this waste of flesh from his lecherous station. So things unfurl for the ultimate good, I imagine. Her innocence is still firmly in place while mine has had yet another pulsing chunk torn from it.

Still, though, I feel the heavy balance of the tire tool in my hand, feel the heat of traffic playing at the hem of my skirt, feel the ragged and primal satisfaction of crunching the steel into the man’s face, the top of his head, his cries of surprise and fresh blood mingling there in the bright day. I see all this as clearly as if it had most certainly happened.

And now there is a ‘boyfriend’, one who is well-mannered and sweet in nature and comes from a very good family with a solid core of values that I have no quarrels with. They use the ‘l’ word in that ‘this-is-what-we’re-supposed-to-say-if-we’re-boyfriend’n'girlfriend’ way. Stepdad does the requisite scoffing when papers with flowery doodles and the words ‘me-n-tyler’, ‘i love tyler’ escape her binder under his vigilant eyes: He boldly informs her that pfft, she doesn’t love anyone, she’s not allowed, she is to love only her mother and father and stepfather and brothers until she is twenty-eight, when the matter just may be open for further discussion.

‘Boyfriend’, who lives in a neighboring town, politely requested that his mother take him shopping shortly before this past Christmas. On Christmas Eve day, while I was elbow-deep in cookie dough and extended family and two sons gregariously peppering the air with carols from somber to irreverent, the doorbell rang. The girlchild, expecting more family, brightly said she’d get the door and removed her apron. She was gone for some time and just as I was turning my oven mitts over to my mother to go see what the holdup was, I was met with a shy smile and an extended arm containing a tiny ivory box.

“Look,” she said, “Tyler brought me a Christmas present.”

I was immediately taken aback by the size of the box, my mind trying to grasp the fact that there was no goofy stuffed animal lying in wait, no plastic glittery hairbrush with matching comb, no fruit-flavored lipgloss set in swirls of garish pinks and purples. The little lid was opened to reveal dainty gold posts holding emerald chips (small, but generous by gemstone chip standards)….her birthstone. My mom and I exchanged raised-eyebrow looks above the small blonde head as she dropped her gaze to the box once again. The kid knows Nice Things, and she realized that this was something big; she realized the gift for what it was, the first Nice Thing given to her by a boy not related to her.

Fuck. We, not two days before, had gifted him with a sackful of action figures. Fuck.

His mother, someone I like very much in spite of the fact that she is a female, explained carefully to me that the boy carefully peeled a few bills from his savings, asked her to take him Christmas shopping, and proceeded to pick this gift in a thoughtful and earnest manner. She told me that he got no prompting from her save the ten years’ worth of raising she had invested in him thus far and I believed her. She sounded as covertly unnerved/frightened as I was and besides, we’re not a monetarily wealthy family….so I know that she’s not plying her kid into canoodling my young one for the impending splash of dowry money into his bank account.

You laugh, but there are mothers on the make the minute their kids crown; those bitches are planning and plotting on behalf of their offspring before the body is fully delivered, while the head is hanging out and being suctioned free of perinatal goo. That Culkin kid’s folks: I rest my case.

Lately nine has been surly in turns, her sweet, steady self at other times. These times are jaggedly unpredictable and I’ve only caught on in the last week or so. The oh-no-here-we-go realization hit out of nowhere, but I didn’t meet it with a dread so much as an ohhhh, HEY, I geddit, der.

I bought her a new pair of jammies the other day, the kind she likes with comfy drawstring pants and a matching tank top. She wore them last night as she kissed me goodnight. Just as she got to the doorway of the family room I called her back to me with the untruth that I thought I’d seen something on her shoulder. In all actuality I was trying to prove that what I’d seen before (having nothing at all to do with a shoulder) was a trick of the light, some phantom vision my fatigued eyes had cooked up. I shouldn’t have been taken aback by the sight of real, actual breasts growing there where not so long ago there were just the faintest of bumps. She has, after all, had the hint of a curve at her waist as early as age six and I started buying mock-bras for her on the backend of year seven.

I am the mother of someone who, in a few short years, will be a woman and to tell you the truth, I’m abjectly terrified. Just don’t tell her that. Don’t tell her that because my fallability and humanness and fall from grace will be three of the things necessary in relation to her evolution, to her becoming.

|| February 15, 2003 || 7:55 pm || Comments (2) ||

I’ve stayed away from commentary on this whole war business quite markedly and on purpose, despite a handful of people e-mailing me and asking me my position (quite prone, I assure you, and that has more to do with the voices in my head than the ones coming in over the airwaves) on the current state of affairs. Some of them have been Americans, but most are not. I can understand their curiosity, I can understand them wanting an ‘inside opinion’, as it were.

Let me assure you, I’m a political retard. When it comes to politics and current events and mathematics, I am a self-admitted inferior being. I’m patently ignorant in these arenas. I know certain things as a result of my military affiliations, but most people aren’t truly interested in the things that come from this knowledge, because with me it emerges as a strange mix of heart and common sense. There is too much of one in all the standing arguments already as well as a conspicuous lack of the other, so I’m just here to lend some practical information.

For the record, I don’t recall seeing what I’m about to say mentioned anywhere else, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why. Is everyone too afraid to speak it for fear that they may actualize it?

Number one, we are foolish as a country. All of us. The quasi-liberals, the fence-riders, the pseudo right and the extremists from both left and right trains of thought. We are taking this debate to a fever pitch and each segment of the populace is far too frenzied to resemble anything close to reasonable. It’s like everyone has flipped the internal bypass switch, the one that re-routes thinking from the cranium to the ass.

We, ultimately, are doing more harm to ourselves from the inside than any ole baddie riding the crest of a sand dune from the outside ever could. You don’t think they prefer it that way, our purported enemies, our most ardent detractors? They are dancing with glee atop an American flag over our vile behaviours toward one another. Who the fuck needs to bomb us when we are so psychologically impaired??

Number two, we are foolish in our way of thinking. Despite all the yaysayers and naysayers chest-beating and rending their garments and crying out that those on the other side of the argument are wrong, nobody has come to the conclusion that the world turned a corner several months back. We were ‘made an example of’….why is nobody considering the very real fact that a war could visit us right here on our shores? That blood could be spilled by that stopsign down there on the corner, that your local daycare facility could become a central command post? I think, by and large, we deceive ourselves and have perhaps done so for a very long time.

Number three, buy up all the fucking bottled water you want. It can be consumed one way or the other and may, in fact, come in handy for camping trips and afternoons at the gym and such. It’s a worthy investment.

But that plastic sheeting? That duct tape? Won’t help you one fucking bit in case of a chemical attack. By the time you are told to use it, the air around you will very well be contaminated. Even if it isn’t, some visqueen ain’t gonna keep your home free of the germies. You need to have a hazmat suit, a decontamination shower and a well-stocked, hermetically-sealed room with piped-in air. Maybe a little Muzak, too, for old time’s sake and general psychological well-being. You got all that covered?

Now think about this: that plastic and tape might function real well as the makings of a few haphazard, hastily-crafted bodybags (the government is SURE not gonna tell us all to run out for some shovels and a couple bags of lime per person. Folks would show us the very definition of panic then). I’m betting that the people who are shitting their pants and buying up the plastic are not of the ilk to play coroner. So, my advice for the day is that if you think you may not have the stomach to be burrito-ing up the dead nice and solid, don’t buy the plastic. Leave it to the hardier segment of the populace.

Or leave it to the government to spend their change, the change that the assrapers skin off of your hardworking back, on proper bodybags.

If you stock up on the plastic and tape, though, go ahead and put the lime on your Home Depot charge card. Just in case. You heard it here first.

|| February 15, 2003 || 9:46 am || Comments (5) ||

A song dedication for my favorite superhero and wannabe hermit:

There’s nothing I could say / To make you try to feel ok / And nothing you could do / To stop me feeling the way I do / And if the chance should happen / That I never see you again / Just remember that I’ll always love you

I’d be a better person / On the other side I’m sure / You’d find a way to help yourself / And find another door / To shrug off minor incidents / And make us both feel proud / I just wish I could be there / To see you through

// Badly Drawn Boy, “A Minor Incident”

I’ll be the Dignan to your Anthony anytime, or vice-versa.

You know, whatever works.

|| February 14, 2003 || 5:44 pm || Comments (3) ||

Apparently I am a horny demon who loves to philosophize with Wile E. Coyote. No, really.

Sometimes I am even a gigantic foot worshipper who loves to stomp octopi.

There are even days when I am a confused organ donor who loves to pilfer samurais.

Now that you know all this, just what the fuck are you?

(You could aspire to be a monstrous Nintendo 64 who loves to laugh at dildos or a punctual cab driver who loves to stroke bears, but I guess that’d ultimately be up to you.)

|| February 14, 2003 || 12:31 am || Comments (5) ||

Last night I followed a link in my referral log to this blog, where I noticed something that had the scent of maybe a little nifty all over it.

When I got there, I was peeking around and decided to look in on the green, which landed me here. I saw this post and clicked on the link it contained. I sat there reading, marinating in a strange mixture of horror and amazement (some of the bot’s interjections were downright eerie).

As I wasn’t sure whether or not this was a work of fiction, I headed to the source, namely the blog, and I followed the archives to find this post.

So it’s all too real and I’m wondering why I didn’t hear about it sooner, and why I am saddened and surprised to find that (YET AGAIN) people have, ultimately, what they perceive as their own best interests at heart….I should have this particular lesson down fucking pat.

And this kid’s dead. Maybe they could have saved him, maybe they couldn’t have. They sure as fuck didn’t try very goddamned hard.