I’m Pretty Sure the Roof is Supposed to Prevent That

I’m laying here reading my Google reader and listening to what sounds like water descending from upstairs and making its way through pipes in my wall.  It’s a nice sound, if you can imagine it, the refreshing OOOooossshhhhhooohhhssshhhh of running water.

But world, there is no bathroom or kitchen above me.  There’s not even any upstairs.  You can get into some kind of attic space through a hole in the ceiling of one of the closets, but there aren’t any water pipes in the walls in my bedroom.

I think I’m sitting here listening to water, from the passing storms, running down the innards of my place.  That just can’t be good.

I Should Have Just Stayed Home and Sniffed the Air

I swear I’m having the kind of day where I’d really just like to sit in the back of a coffee shop with a friend and make bitchy, bitchy comments about all the people I hate until said friend has me laughing again.  I want to punch people.  I want to run over signs for cute things.  I want to say to folks, “If you think you can do better than me, step up to the plate, otherwise, shut up.”  I want dinner to be magically ready when I get home.  I want the bills to be in a neat pile where I can find them and I want there to be enough money in my account to pay them.  I want the dishes to have done themselves.  I want there to be shit on tv I want to listen to while I work on my afghan.  I want to remember right now what the fuck I thought I needed from the store so that I can acquire it right now rather than having to go back out in the rain when I get home and see that I’m out of… whatever the fuck.  And I want to know how you’re supposed to know when it’s time to replant your jade plant.

And I want to skulk around all day frowning.

I’m going to take up smoking just so I can take smoke breaks on days like today.

‘God Bless America’ Water

O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?

–Wallace Stevens, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Today, over at Pith, there’s a photo of two bottles–one is an unopened bottle of “God Bless America” water and the other is a bottle full of dirt from the Arizona-Mexico border.  I love this photo so much that I’m not sure words can express it.  I would hang a copy in my office just to have something to ponder on slow days, if I could, because, to me, it pretty much sums up the border debate.

Here you have these two things–water and dirt–which have great symbolic weight, but the kind of symbolic weight that tends to resist easy politics.  We, ourselves, are mostly water.  We might say that, for most humans, water is the cradle of life and earth the cradle of death.  Though, of course, we might tell stories that suggest just the opposite.  What water and dirt mean varies from culture to culture, but seemingly all cultures share a deep belief that they mean something.

So, here you have these items, with deep, resonant meanings, bottled up and labeled–in order to give them meaning.  It’s like seeing someone trying to put a feather boa on a peacock.  Do you not see what is in your hands?  Do you not feel what’s beneath you?  Like Stevens asks, do you not see the blackbird about your feet?

And I’m starting to feel the exact same way about the American population.  Like figuring out what water and dirt “mean,” it’s impossible to nail down what being an American “means.”  But it’s also obvious that it means something to most folks.  And like bottling and labeling water to make it appropriately god-fearing and patriotic, or scooping up dirt and trying to insist it represents some obvious border between Here and There, saying “Here’s a wall we built, here’s a sort we did, and now everyone on this side of the wall is safely ‘us’ and everybody outside the wall is safely not,” seems laughable.

I don’t know how else to explain it except to say that it reminds me of the imaginary golden bird that distracts the thin men of Haddam from what’s real around them.

What the Bright Blanket Illustrates About Feminism

I swear, I’m just about to move on from this for now, but I wanted to say this.  When I was in the process of making the squares for the bright afghan, I folded the large squares in half and then in half again.  The medium squares I did the same for.  It was easier to store them that way, while still having their colors and patterns as a reference when working on the next squares.

Over time, because it’s cotton, the squares have begun to crease along the same folds I keep making in them.

My goal has always been to make an afghan out of yarn I dyed myself.  Those individuals squares have always been destined to be a part of an afghan, even if I wasn’t sure how that afghan would turn out or whether I’d even have enough yarn or what.

And yet, as I’m starting to sew squares into panels which will eventually be sewn into a blanket, I was taken aback last night to discover that, when I folded the panel I was working on, I didn’t use the old creases.  The panel is a piece that has different folds.  And when the afghan is done, it’ll fold in even different places.  Once those squares are a part of the afghan, they aren’t going to behave in the way I’ve grown accustomed to them behaving.

The big ones will probably never be folded in fourths and the little ones, which didn’t fold at all, will fold when joined together with others.

I’m not trying to say that feminism is ever going to be some uniform thing, like an afghan.  What I’m trying to say, and I need to hear this as much as anyone, is that we cannot take for granted that how things work will always be how things work and we can’t expect that things will always work the same as they’ve always worked.

If we want to make anything–an afghan, progress, whatever–we have to allow for change and surprise and for learning that we are just another part of things and not the most important.