CSI: Nashville (Car Scene Investigation)

Here’s why I’m done with my mechanic.

One, he called me up in the middle of the day (let’s remember that I had just had my car in there to have the front brakes fixed and oil changed and whatever other crap they did) to say that I need two new front tires and to have my car aligned.


Then he calls back and says no, wait, I need a whole new wheel, because mine is broken.

That’ll be $250.

Yes, those fuckers wanted me to sink another $500 into my car in the Month of May.

I say, “No, don’t do anything.  Don’t touch it.  Put it back together, I’m coming to get it.”

My plan now is to take it to Mack, and let him deal with it while I sob in his bathroom and drink his booze.

But I show up to get my car and my mechanic is all like, “I wouldn’t drive it.  It’s worse than it was.”

And I’m all immediately Jessica Fletcher on his ass, “Worse than it was?”

And he’s all, “I just mean that it’s going to get worse.  You can’t just hope that it’ll stay this bad.  That metal could, at any point, puncture the tire and cause a big blow out.”

America.  My aluminum rim is broken.  It was not broken before I took it in to them so that they could change my oil, which turned into the brake job and something else that’s slipping my mind… Oh the mysterious missing coolant… that set me back $500.

So, worse than it was.  Again, was when?  Because it didn’t mysteriously grow worse sitting in their parking lot.

No, I suspect that they broke it or, shoot, maybe they just bent it and the Butcher or I inadvertently sheared the rest off and don’t recall.  But the thing is that my wheel was fine before I took it in and it’s not now and neither the Butcher nor I recall breaking the rim, which, let’s be frank, is not something a girl is bound to forget.

So, I took it up to Mack who then proceeded to scare the shit out of me by jacking the car up, sliding weird metal things under the car, and taking the crappy front wheel and moving it to the back and giving me a good wheel for my front.

It’s clear that the whole thing will have to be aligned and it’s clear I need a new wheel.  But it’s also clear that the fucking mechanic might have rotated the tires when I paid him to and thus I wouldn’t have really heavy wear on the front and not so much on the back; the wear would be more even.  And I wouldn’t have had to stand out there in my friend’s driveway feeling like I was about to throw up for fear that my crappy car was going to fall on him as he tried to make it at least semi-safe for me to get around for the next couple of days.

Gah.  I want to scream and cry and then cry tears of relief and then I want to curl up in bed, with my dog tucked safely up under my butt, and go to sleep.

But I’m kind of wound up so I’m not sure that’s going to happen any time soon.

May I Borrow Your Gun?

If my car were a race horse, I’d have to take it out back and shoot it.  I may still have to take it out back and shoot it.  I just hung up the phone after turning down the mechanic’s offer of doing another $500 worth of work on it.

“You’re not going to drive it like that?” he asked.  As if I have a choice.  As if I have another $500 to hand to him.  I wanted to take off my four year old sandal and beat him to death with it, but I was afraid I might mess up my six year old skirt.

“Yes,” I said.

“Ma’am, I would not drive it.”

Art Helps Souls

You know that moment when you finish a particularly good book and you just have to lay there for a minute, because you’re not sure if you can get your feet up under you, and how you walk around for the rest of the afternoon in a kind of daze because you’ve made some small leap from the person you used to be to the person you are now and it’s taking a moment for all of you to catch up with that?

Or how it tastes in your mouth when you read it out loud:

We had the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made or only just happened. Jim he allowed they was made, but I allowed they happened; I judged it would have took too long to make so many. Jim said the moon could a laid them; well, that looked kind of reasonable, so I didn’t say nothing against it, because I’ve seen a frog lay most as many, so of course it could be done. We used to watch the stars that fell, too, and see them streak down. Jim allowed they’d got spoiled and was hove out of the nest (Huck).

Go ahead, my friends, read that out loud and know it as words written for you, and about you, beautiful, ridiculous America.

I realized that I had died and been reborn numberless times but just didn’t remember because the transitions from life to death and back are so ghostly easy, a magical action for naught, like falling asleep and waking up again a million times, the utter casualness and deep ignorance of it (Jack).

Read and know that other America, the places in-between, the haunted spaces where you and I and the ghosts of a half a thousand years of tragic history can share a beer and a tear and be crying for you, dear, you were on my lonely mind. Words, that uniform hieroglyphic

And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow zones,
Growing among black folks as among white,
Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the same, I
receive them the same. (Walt)

Carole Maso predicted this day would come–“You fear the future, OK. You fear anything new. Anything that disrupts your sense of security and self. Everything threatens you.” and “You can’t see a place for yourself in it and it frightens you. You dig in your heels as a result. Spend all your considerable intelligence and energy conserving, preserving, holding court, posturing, tenaciously holding on, now as you munch your last green leaves, yum.”

You should read the whole essay, out lout, to me while I sit on your couch with my eyes shut, slowly sipping my drink. And when you’re done, lay here next to me and I will take my turn reading it to you. At least this part, know this part:

You can’t have a genuine experience of nature except in nature. You can’t have a genuine experience of language except in language. And for those of us for whom language is the central drama, the captivating, imaginative, open, flexible act, there can never be a substitute or a replacement.

Language continually opening new places in me [and me, too].


And I say faced with the eternal mysteries, one, if so inclined, will make fictive shapes.

What it was like to be here. To hold your hand. An ancient impulse, after all.


It’s greater than we are, than we’ll ever be. That’s why I love it. Kneeling at the altar of the impossible. The self put back in its proper place.

I quote this at length because I want you to love it. I want you to think about how a great piece of literature can crack you open and pour the Universe in, how reading, say, The Scarlet Letter, puts you in the company of everyone else who has ever read it, rich or poor, public or private schooled. Reading literature puts us in the company of our fellow man.

Which is, I suppose, ultimately what makes it so unseemly, why it must be removed from the curriculum. Commoners reading with the elite? The rabble being taught that pleasure is available to everyone? And that they, too, can and should have access to our common culture? It is revolutionary.

And we should not be surprised to find someone like Ann Althouse is dead against it, for that reason. Still, it does surprise me, continually, to see such hatred levied against literature (she claims she doesn’t hate it; she just thinks it should happen at home, not at school, but it’s hard to read that entry and not sense the contempt).

How long can Conservatives hate pleasure and still get people to take them seriously?

The Unapologetic Mexican has a term in his glossary–The Haunted Land— which he uses to refer to America, as a land that, because it will not deal with its founding trauma, is haunted by the ways that trauma shapes and still surprises us. I want to draw a line here, between what the Unapologetic Mexican is talking about and what Althouse is doing. I don’t quite know how to draw that line.

It baffles me how many white people in this country shy away from pleasure and accept misery–their own and others–as the proper state of being, and how many of us work so hard to purge our own lives of pleasure and to make sure others are miserable, too. Is this guilt? Is this us doing penance for sins we refuse to admit we’ve committed?

I don’t know.

Anyway, I think Auguste over at Pandagon is right about what literature is “for.”–“The theory of literature in schools is, as I see it, two-fold: 1) Art helps souls and 2) Draw them in with the fun, and then hit ‘em with the learnin’.” Since that’s the case, why should we stand idly by and watch pleasurephobes wax philosophical about cutting our children off from art?

A Penis is Like a Dog

It’s not every day you get to write a poem about a penis, but maybe the world would be a better place if you did.  Here’s the one I wrote today.

A penis is like a dog

There’s nothing better than feeling it against you in the night

Knowing that its affection for you can come unbidden

And without complications


A penis is like a dog

Its loyal devotion to you

Is matched only by its friendly attention

To every other lap

Ha, we should have a penis metaphor contest.  Best one wins ice cream, though you have to treat yourself, I guess.  So, ice cream for everybody!  Still, bring on the penis talk.

Get In On Some Ridiculousness

Mack & Them (ha, that would be an awesome band name) are throwing a Send B. to Beantown/Let’s All Get Together and Get Drunk (depending on how big a shit you give about me getting to Boston.  You can hate me and still come.) party.

If you’d like to come, email Mack and he’ll get you on the list.

If you’re on the East Coast, you could come see the play.  Check the details here.  I’ll be up there the weekend of the 7th and 8th, thanks to the goodhearted ridiculousness of Ginger, Ivy, Coble, and Mack.

Ha, this is so awesome.  I’m about dying of how ridiculous and sweet this is.

I only hope the next thing y’all do for me is some kind of love-in on my car, because I have to take that fucker back in today!

Sweet Jesus.

I blame the Man from GM.  He’s supposed to help me by osmosis keep my car working.  He also claims he’s reading Tiny Cat Pants in his Google Aggregator.

I’m suspicious he’s neglecting both duties.