Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I always wanted to be somebody

I'm having one of those "What have I done with my life?" interludes. And then I ask myself, "What will I be when I grow up?" Oh damn, I am grown up.

As I mentioned before, it kind of freaks me out that I can now say "twenty-five years ago" and know that I was fully sentient at that date. "A quarter of a century ago, when I was in high school, before the advent of ATMs, DVDs and personal computers . . . when the woolly mammoth still roamed the earth. I've spent a lot of time trying to grow up, and I'm not so sure about the results.

I've never had a lot of ambition. I didn't so much navigate as float along wherever the current took me. Well, let me qualify that, I tended to buck the current, but that just meant that eventually I drifted off in some other, less mainstream direction for a while. Still, I had some ideas about who I was and what kind of life I would have. It turns out they were all off base.

For instance, I thought I was gay. I was pretty certain about that for a while. I also loathed the very idea of marriage, which seemed like such an outmoded institution. I couldn't figure out why that needed to be imported into homosexual unions. I was agnostic. Sure, I loved beautiful cathedrals and Christian art and so on, but if anything could destroy my faith, it was your average Christian. So, of course, I hated organized religion, which seemed to have organized for the sole purpose of putting republicans in office and ranting about abortion and sodomy. I was certain, beyond certain, that I would never have children. I didn't like them. I didn't get all moony when someone showed up with a baby. I didn't think they were cute, or the epitome of innocence, or any of that. I didn't understand people got all woolly-brained over them. I was fairly certain that I would always live in New York City, maybe Chicago or San Francisco at a stretch. I wasn't provincial enough to think that the world outside of NYC was not worth noticing--I just couldn't imagine living without the brownstones and Central Park, the theater and opera and the Village.

And here I am, straight, married with children, a Christian living in the same state where I grew up.

My previous self is practically a stranger. She doesn't really feel like home, but the current self feels like a default, a garment I happened across and it fit, but it isn't my style and it doesn't do a thing for me. Sadly, I am not myself around, well, pretty much anyone here outside of Dear Husband. I'm always being careful what I say at work, pretending that I'm just as pious and conservative and Reformed as they are. I don't know many other people here, so I tend to assume the mask of parenthood appropriate to my environment. Just your neighborhood mom here, listening to the local Christian radio station and standing behind good old fashioned family values. I'm not sure what happened to my more brash and defiant self. The protester. The one who dressed exactly as she wished, who liked to shock, to provoke, to push the envelope. I guess I still question everything. I just keep it on the down-low. I'm still restless. And you know, 42 years of being restless is kind of exhausting.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Revisted One Time Too Many

I've started a few posts and then stopped because I seem to do nothing but whine and flop about. I'm 42. That's old enough for a sentence that begins "Twenty-five years ago" to pack a whallop, because 25 years ago is now a real time.

Twenty-five or so years ago, I tuned in weekly to see the BBC adaptation of Brideshead Revisited. Twenty-five years must truly be a long time, because a movie producer somewhere decided it was time to mix things up and shove what took a dozen or so episodes to explore in 1981 into a 2-hour movie in 2008. Seeing as I think the BBC miniseries was the best of all possible adaptations, I'm prepared to be horrified by the film version. I've seen the trailer, and I have not liked what I've seen. I know they tend to sex up trailers to draw the viewers (though I don't understand why they need to sex up a story that's only drawing the literate artsy crowd anyway), but it seems pretty clear that they've beaten the plot into a love triangle with Charles Ryder, the protagonist, torn between Sebastian and Sebastian's sister Julia. This is so off target it makes me want to find the screenwriter and rap his knuckles. Charles doesn't give two hoots about Julia until halfway through the book, after they've both been stuck in disastrous marriages for years, by which time Sebastian is drinking himself into a stupor in Morocco and beyond caring. This change does nothing to enhance the story--it throws it off kilter. Motivations will change. The emotional landscape will change. Just how much I won't know until I see the movie, which I feel obliged to do even if it gives me apoplexy.

I pity the actors playing Charles and Sebastian, because they can never upstage Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews. But I gather Charles and Sebastian get to kiss in this version, which was more romantic action than they got in the miniseries, primarily because no such scene ever occurs in the book. This is hardly a story about gay liberation--Waugh's views are not calculated to make gays happy, since he believed that gay love was a mere precursor to a more mature love for a woman, and finally for God. Still, a kiss would have been a nice touch, given how pretty Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews were.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Partial Accounting of My Life

1. The toilet sprang a leak.
2. One shower is leaking through the grab bar into the garage.
3. I don't know anything about plants and I have a half acre of land.
4. The switch has tripped and I feel like I'm dragging around.
5. I need to find a new psychiatrist to manage my medications.
6. My medications aren't cutting it.
7. I love the sunlight in the kitchen and the view from our windows.
8. What do brown recluse spiders look like, anyway?
9. What are all these odd little beetles that cling to my front door at night?
10. I have to recaulk the tub.
11. The plumber told us that was a waste of time and we should just pull of the tiles, bleach everything and redo the tiles.
12. I am not that handy.
13. Did I mention that my medications aren't cutting it?
14. Firecracker can't get to sleep and she wakes me up several times during the night.
15. I need a haircut.
16. I hate cooking.
17. I like being fed.
18. I have watched more Spongebob Squarepants than I ever thought possible.
19. I would be happy if I never saw Hannah Montana again. Or the Jonas Brothers.
20. I love my Mat Kearney CD.
21. Dear Husband surprises me with his enthusiastic embrace of home improvement.
22. Dear Husband is getting sick.
22. Oh, and my medications aren't cutting it.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

We're In Our New House

We survived the move. Somehow. On Saturday morning DramaQueen boarded her flight to LA. While Dear Husband was doing that, I dropped off my car because the alignment was wacko and spent three hours at Wal-mart with Firecracker, wandering around toys and furnishings, getting her goggles and floaties and swim shoes for camp, and eating at McDonalds. The whole time she complained about her toe hurting. She told me that someone had stepped on it at camp, so I didn’t think anything of it.

Then I dropped her off to play with a friend while I went to the new house to wait for the cable guy and Dear Husband and friends moved boxes. And more boxes. When I picked up Firecracker the friend’s mom said it looked as if she had insect bites on her toe. Well, maybe that’s it, I thought—she’s having a reaction to ant bites or something. On Sunday morning I knew something was very wrong, because her toe had blisters all over it, so off we went to Urgent Care while Dear Husband moved more stuff. The doctor diagnosed a staph infection and put Firecracker on antibiotics.

Well, then she couldn’t go to daycare on Monday or Tuesday, and I had to bring her to work briefly because everyone who knows anything about my job is on vacation. In fact, I had requested the days off and couldn’t get them for that very reason. On Monday night Dear Husband broke the ball cock off the master toilet (I never knew the name until I saw the packaging on the replacement—I always called it the ball floatie thing) and on Tuesday he called a plumber to fix a leak in the laundry area. So we’re off to a rousing start with home ownership. Yesterday afternoon I lay down for a nap and didn’t wake up until 6:30. I don’t know how Firecracker amused herself during that time.

We did let the wormies go before moving, and this time Firecracker was fine with it, in fact she was eager to because it was raining and wormies like the rain. She called them all by name as they wiggled off (although some didn’t wiggle at all, which I didn’t comment on). She was then very concerned about the cats because we waited until last to move them, and she was worried we were leaving them behind forever. Then she made it her task to cajole, comfort and generally hound the kitties into acclimating to the new house. “They’re shy,” she said.

Tonight I am making another trip to the apartment to see what else could be left behind, and to empty the fridge. I know there’s chocolate mint ice cream, and I think I deserve it.