Friday, July 31, 2009

Sometimes a curse is called for. You know what I mean. An invocation to the PTB to bring misfortune upon an evil-doer. It basically does jack-shit but there’s a trill of maniacal power that hums when you say it making you feel better at a time when you need to feel better. Threats, curses, self-righteous proselytizing—they all serve the same purpose. Give you the mistaken impression you have power over a person or situation.

So, I’m in the Dread Sigil Walmartus yesterday to buy white sewing machine thread. Since Walmart made the idiotic decision to do away with their fabric department, even in rural areas, it’s left a gaping vacuum. See, the fact that they even carried fabric put most fabric stores out of business and now I must drive two hours to buy fabric. Yet another reason Walmart is a purveyor of The End Times. The Reasonably-Priced Horseman of the Apocalypse. But they still have some notions. But they only had three small spools of white thread yesterday.

I snap up those spools and head with my cart to the grocery section to get some milk, but on the way have to stop to use the facilities. I dutifully leave my cart outside of the bathroom and when I come out, some tooth-sucking asshole has stolen my cart. With the only three spools of Coats and Clark white All-Purpose Dual Duty in the store. Fuck me.

I’m in a bad mood already so I go into a major whine and mobilize 10 managers to run around the store looking for the thread. I don’t care about the cart, I say, those are the only three rolls of white thread for sale in Newport and I must have them. I sit on the bench in the shoe department directing my minions with ill-tempered demands, deliberately becoming every retailer clerk’s nightmare. And I know the poor bastards don’t get paid nearly enough to put up with this sort of abuse. It’s not pretty.

Suddenly, my ire turns on the slack-jawed trailer trash who took the cart and I start to level a curse upon their no doubt mulleted heads.

I hope they….

At this point reason kicks in and says, for Chryssake’s woman! They stole your damn shopping cart—it’s not the end of the world and the poor dumb fucks no doubt live in a hell of their own choosing, far worse than anything you could think up.

So my vicious “drop dead” turns into a weak, noodley,

…have a really bad day…

Oh. Yeah. I told them. Have a really bad day.

It now occurs to me we need a wider range of curses. Something to use when the Old Testament is just overkill. Here are a few I think might work:

May inanimate objects love your feet.

May the hem of your skirt be caught in the waistband of your pantyhose without your knowledge and may you walk down the aisle of your church or some other public place with your ass hanging out.

May your Axe body spray offend the object of your affection. (Okay, that's sort of a given...)

May you have an enormous, disfiguring zit on your wedding day.

May you suffer bloating and gas in a no fart zone.

May your mother walk in on you masturbating...

So that's a start. I'm sure you can come up with more and invite you to do so. We really need some milder curses. After all, living is harder than dying.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The problem with dropping back into the world after dropping out is that you will never be quite the same. It changes you, making you a bit less able to navigate the so-called "real life." Think about the characters we know of the sort--von Munchausen, Crusoe, Gulliver...the message is pretty clear. Yes, of course we want to hear all about your fabulous tales, but you must be some sort of freak. Yeah. It marks you, if only with some sort of invisible, anachronistic rune.

Recluses are also weird in the public conception. Salinger, Hughes, the late great M.J. There's no doubt that nothing says "not like us..." like keeping your own company and much of that is just being out of touch.

I never wanted to be like any of these people, yet, here I am. I was trying to explain to teh therapist yesterday about how "sensitive" I was as a child and how the only relief I had from the anxiety of socialization was the moments I could steal by myself. (Luckily, this was not so difficult.) How I seem to have sought that peace for myself as an adult and how it seems now, ultimately, to be a source of regret. But at the same time, it was inevitable, a foregone conclusion. Fate.

They drug children such as I was now. Rightly so, I suppose. But I have to wonder if it is a bit like helping a chick out of an egg? Chicks like that fail to thrive and usually die. I wouldn't be who I am without that struggle. But at the same time, I know it would have been an unspeakable cruelty to allow me to founder in that emotional misery had there been some other choice. I was so lucky to be born to the mother I had--she was such a fierce protector of her wounded chick.

Anyway, what brings this ramble to the surface is pretty funny. Friend Patti and I went to K-town the other day to meet with a group of like-minded women at a local coffee shop. Friend Patti doesn't carry my stigmata since she is not here by choice exactly and fights the good fight to keep up with the outside world and its strange magicks.

We had a good time and it was the first time in years I'd been outside in a social situation in ages. And yes, I speak of Cocke County as though it were some hinterland shrouded in mist because that's exactly what it fucking is. Mist shrouded hinterlands-R-us.

Toward the end of the evening, we are listening to an attractive 20-something bemoan her attempts to connect with the object of her affection. It's a familiar tale, told again and again from caveman days. I love you so much I can't bear to talk to you and anything I say is going to be wrong anyway so maybe I shouldn't talk to you at all--whaddayou all think? Huh? Huh? Puhleeze??

Love sucks. Don't let anyone tell you different.

This discussion swirled around exactly what the perfect text message to send might be. So I say, "Hey. Look. What would be wrong with just calling her up and saying, 'Hey, would you be up for dinner tonight?'"

Everyone looks at me like I just intoned, "Yea verily, what say you to inscribing in cuneiform your sentiments on yon clay tablet and dedicating it to her honor with the blood of a virgin sheep?"

Someone rescued me by breaking the stunned gaze and saying, "Yeah, what's wrong with that?"

I haven't had a cell phone in seven years and apparently missed the point in polite society where a text message could bear the considerable weight and import of a heart, besotted, tortured or broken.

Old school, baby. It's how I roll.

Monday, July 06, 2009

The God of Blackberries requires child sacrifice, blood and scratches, owies laid open, knees scraped and elbows skinned. Walk into the brambles and shuffle the canes, picking as you go, but leave behind rich redness and pain. The God of all Blackberries demands a price, stinging skin pierced by thorns you didn’t know about until the lemonade spilled. And who is to say at the end of the day whether or not you lie when your red-smeared mouth proclaims you ate none, brought home all.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Take Three...

Did everyone have a fun Fourth? Have your fill of hotdogs? Damn, I loves me a skinless Nathan's, know what I mean? Me? I spent a pretty quiet day. Watched some episodes of Oz. Drank some hot tea. Mowed the lawn. Watched the fireworks.

Anyway, my buddy, Leslie, over at Leslie's Omnibus, lured me over to blog story writing with her Take Three exercise. It's a bit more constricting a prompt than I'm accustomed to working with, but I gave it the old college try. The prompt was to write a story in under 1000 words with the following three sentences:

I hate nature… and WalMart.

And that’s when Nana went commando.

Moments like this make me very, very nervous.

So...I give you for your blogging consumption...

Hippie Chick Gets Us Busted at the Walmart Parking Lot

Donnie threw a hand up to shade his eyes, looking across the Walmart parking lot and the four-lane highway to the county sheriff's depot. The wind blew just right, 10 mph the paper said, wafting right into the right-hand corner of the Wal-mart parking lot. The monthly marijuana burn was about to commence and Donnie was looking forward to a free contact high.

He squinted and spat, kicking some garbage left by the fireworks vendor who'd vacated that bit of concrete that morning. Walter and his hippie chick girlfriend pulled up in the parking spot next to Donnie's truck.

"They started yet?" Walter hung his head out the car window, his squinty ginger eyes fading into the freckles of his ginger face and ginger hair.

"Nah, but they moving everything out onto the bonfire."

Walter and the hippie chick joined Donnie on the tailgate of the Ford truck.

"Hey man," said Donnie, "You got any crack?"

Hippie Chick scowls. Walter rolled his eyes. "Nah, Sasha don't let me do none."

"It's not natural," Sasha the hippie chick said as she jumped from the truck and began dancing a jerky, inelegant dance, not at all inconspicuous.

"Moments like this make me very, very nervous," Walter said, as shoppers turning into the Walmart rubbernecked at Sasha's dance, her hairy armpits all exposed. He passed a few hydros into Donnie's silent palm while Sasha wasn't looking.

"She's gonna draw a crowd."

"No shit. Rentacops too, prolly."

"So where'd you get these? I thought your uncle had your granny?" Donnie popped the hydros.

"We done got her back. Unc let her get away from him in Home Depot. She got one of them lawn tractors started and that's when Nana went commando."

"Christ, man! Shut the hell up! I don't want to hear nothin' 'bout your granny's va-jay-jay!"

"You perv!" Walter shoved Donnie in the arm. "I mean she went crazy! Mowed down half of lawn and garden. Put three guys in the ER before they stopped her. Anyway. Court ordered her back with us so Momma's got control of her meds and social security again. Unc's madder'n'hell."

Sasha pirouetted, bare dirty toes gripping the concrete as a cloud of blue, marijuana-flavored smoke rose from the depot and came roiling across the parking lot. She spread her legs wide, picked up the hem of her blouse and fanned the smoke into her face. She wasn't wearing a bra.

"Let us thank Gaia for her bounty!"

"Fuck me, what the hell is she on, Walter?"

"Mushrooms. Jimson weed. Tree bark. Christ, I dunno. She don't take nothin' less'n it grows in the woods."

Sasha stripped her top completely off.

"Make her stop, man! Woah--that's more 'nature' than I need. Shit man, Walmart done called the cops," Donnie said as the city cops came peeling into the lot.

"I hate nature," Walter said, "and Walmart."