Don’t Mind Me

If I could be anywhere other than here right now, I’d be on a dark porch swinging slowly in a cotton dress with buttons undone both too high and too low, but I’d excuse it because of the heat.  My shoes are someplace, probably in the grass, but maybe someone set them in the kitchen.  I’m drunk and I’ve got a plate of barbecue half eaten sitting on the table next to me.  If I think about it, I shoe the flies away.  The dog is waiting for me to give up and let her eat the rest.

Someone’s got Skip James playing softly in the background and your man is sitting right up next to me, one hand working its way slowly up my leg, the other on his sweaty beer.  He’s leaning in so close I can feel his stubble on my cheek and he’s telling me how I’m not like any woman he’s ever known.  And I know he’s full of shit, but I smile and encourage him, because I really don’t give a good god damn about anyone else or anything else and I need to hear some sweet things from a person who’s got no business saying them.

I want to be distracted with good music, a sweet old rascally man, and cold beer on a hot evening. 

If you see me today and I have a weird grin on my face, that’s because this is exactly what I’m thinking about.  Don’t mind me.

Buster is Missing!

The good thing about having a dog is that, even if you want to declare today “Stay in bed and feel sorry for yourself day,” you may not.  Because someone is depending on you to take them outside to shit.  And someone is also wondering why, if you’re not doing anything more important than crying into your pillow, you aren’t instead rubbing her belly.

You saw how cute she is.  It’s impossible to feel quite as bad as you feel like you have a right to when she’s nosing around and licking your face.

So, we went for our walk, which was an object lesson in “Things Could Be Worse.”

For one, Buster is missing.  I don’t know who this little brown mutt belongs to–I hope it’s not the guy in the boxy van–but someone has put flyers up all over the neighborhood.  Hopefully Buster is just down along the train tracks having a good old time dogging it up.  Let us hope Buster did not make his way onto the interstate.

For another, there is a rust red Nissan Stanza parked at the top of the hill, and as we were coming back from our walk, Mrs. Wigglebottom noticed that there was a plaid sleeping bag next to the car.  She wanted to check it out, but I thought, “Look at that.  Some guy is sleeping, tucked up against his car.” and I thought it would be rude to wake him.

Last night, the Butcher said, “You can yell at me if you want.”

I don’t want to yell at him.  I want him to get a job and keep it until he finds another job, just in general.  And I want him to find a job he likes that is worthy of him–and I know this will not happen right away, but I wish, at least, it was something he believed was possible.

Nashville, Teach Your Sons to Read!

On my way home, I stopped in the park to pee.  The bathroom has four stalls, but no doors.  I was in the last stall.  Two little boys came in to use the first two stalls. 

When I stood up, I startled them. 

"Whoa, shit!"  One of them said.

"What are you doing in here?" the other asked.

"Same thing you are," I said.

"But no girls ever use this."

"It is the women’s bathroom."

"Where’s it say that?"

"On the door."


The Long Walk Home

I walked home today.  I thought it would give me time to clear my head and get out in the sun and feel better.  It took me a long time to get home, because I felt bad the whole way.

I’m unhappy.  I’ve been unhappy since… I don’t know since when.  For a long time.  I don’t know what would make me happy.  Maybe switching jobs.  Maybe finding a cool hobby.  Maybe developing a collection of sex toys so exquisite people blush when they pass by my house on the interstate, even though they don’t know why.

No, I know when.

I’ve been unhappy since they repossessed the Butcher’s car.  To me, a car is a symbol of a girl’s freedom and without one, I feel just as trapped as trapped can be.

I need the Butcher here.  I don’t expect you guys to understand that.  I know from the outside, it doesn’t make any sense, but I feel like a big lonely fearful freak and having my brother around makes that feeling less acute.  If he leaves under happy circumstances–he falls in love and wants to run off to Vegas and get married–I’d be thrilled for him.  But that wouldn’t feel like losing him.

When he pulls this shit, I know I should be mad.  I don’t feel mad, though.  I feel very afraid.  I’m afraid he’s trying to leave me.  That what I ask of him is too hard and that’s why he can’t do it.

And, too, I know that that’s really stupid.  That his inability to figure out what might make him happy and do it isn’t any referendum on me.

It’s funny.  I was telling the Professor today that just because you can see how you’re fucked up doesn’t get you out of being fucked up.  Knowing you’re fucked up will not prevent you from doing fucked up things.

And so I know it’s fucked up to experience every change as fear-inducing.  Big whoop.  Whoever said "knowing is half the battle" is an asshole.  All I do is know.  I sit around and mull shit over in order to know it better and what’s it gotten me?  A great deal of unhappiness.

Here’s the Butcher’s problem, I think.  I think he’s got some fucked up notions of justice.  He doesn’t like the job he has now because he feels like they lied to him about what they’d give him if he’d leave Kroger to take the job.  But he hates it because of how they treat all their employees.  When he quits a job, he always goes out in some righteously indignant blaze of glory, as if he’s been betrayed by the ways these shitty jobs grind everyone into mean-ass shit.

The Butcher’s an awesome person.  He gets along well with everyone.  Unlike most people his age, he’s not snobby or a know-it-all.  He’s able to seem comfortable in all kinds of situations and he’s graceful around strangers in a way that most straight men aren’t.  He’s smart and silly and charming.  I think he’d be really good at selling things, if he believed in the product, because he really connects with people and people tend to want to be around him and do whatever cool thing he’s doing.

He’s creative, though he’s never had a job that really tapped that.  He’s got the whole front of our house transformed into a makeshift art studio and he’s always filming something or lighting something as if to film it.

He’s always doing wacky things–like the fire breathing or wrestling with the cat or making monsters out of paper clips.  He might make a good bartender at a burlesque club, if such a thing existed, or a nanny for an artsy family.  He’s really good with kids and he likes them and they like him.

Like everyone I care about, he sells himself short, I think.

As for me, if I could have any job, I’d like to do this and get paid for it.  I’d like to either write things and then spend my time watching as fascinating people mull those things over or I’d like to find some other way to get paid to socialize.  In the job I have now, I spend a great deal of time alone, and it’s grinding me down.  I feel lonely and isolated.  I don’t feel like what I do matters.

Aha, you see that!

Look how we went from talking about me to talking about the Butcher to talking about me again.  Because, I envy the Butcher his ability to believe that he deserves a job that doesn’t make him miserable and his willingness to quit doing things that make him unhappy, even if he’s got nothing in place.  I could never do that.  It’s not just that I feel responsible.  It’s that I’m not sure I can expect not to be miserable.