February 17th, 2005

Coffee Squirrel

i do TRY to be a good friend...

You scored as Samwise. You're Samwise Gamgee! Samwise the brave is the most loyal friend that you could ever ask for. He'll be there for you through thick and thin, and be willing to do anything for you.
"There is some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it's worth fighting for."




















Which LOTR character are you?
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Coffee Squirrel

okay, this is a real one...

no pasties! tee, hee. following is a piece of writing. it is typical of my self-deprecating humour, to be sure. but i'm not looking for response on the content. i came up with three separate essays i could make out of it:

1. coming of age/sexuality
2. imaginary vikings
3. my times and travels w/Eric

if i'm wrong of if you see more or have a say about the structure, fine. i'll take it. i'm X-posting this to a couple of writing communities as well... thanks for any feedback. here goes:

If you spend enough time sharing someone’s nightmare, you don’t return to the everyday world unchanged. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You sort of become family, whether there are blood ties or not. I’ve waited in hospitals enough for Eric. I’ve helped fill out forms. I’ve worried enough over those missing hours. I’ve earned the occasional haunted, fearful flashes in the recesses of my irises. It’s not deepened my appreciation for the banal and the work-a-day. It’s worked the magic of doing the opposite. It’s made me angry that the everyday comforts that might soothe another are, because of a random mishap of brain chemistry, denied the one I love. And in turn, it’s been denied me.
There’s no way to burst open the suburban doors and force everyday people to be just a bit more kind and patient with those like Eric. And he wouldn’t want that anyway. If it’s forced, it chafes something in him. He knows it instinctively.
Eric has schizophrenia. He is an alcoholic. He is my shame, my love and my secret smile. I wonder what I would be if I were alone. I’m sure I’d become another short, fat Black girl but with nothing in my head and nothing in my heart. I’ve pulled away from the world. I’m aware that on some level this has hurt me. I’m also aware that I don’t give up easily. I’ve somehow felt obliged to this man who is no kin to me. I have given to him things I won’t give my own family. I’m allowed with him to express things no mother would care to know of her daughter. We both understand the delusion that one human projects upon another. We never had to be in love. I knew him in high school. We saw each other ten years later and we just were. We were together.
I was told of his years of travel, his lovers, his psychotic break in Amsterdam and subsequent return to the U.S. His mythic fall from grace with the Netherlands – the country he loves. He’s made me afraid for him, but never for myself. He’s been terrified and comforted by the fireworks in his head. Who am I to tell him not to self-medicate with alcohol?
He knows of my nothingness. He knows of my detachment from and need for all things human. He knows my covetous heart. He knows how I search for beauty and truth and am rejected by both. He knows that beauty won’t fit within me easily unless it’s of a twisted kind.
We were never in love. We still aren’t. I simply love him. It was never a dream. I’ve never been lucky or unlucky enough to have anyone in the world enamoured of my little, brown self and have it reciprocated – none of that celluloid love at first sight. I’ve had lonely trysts with those who were real people who happened to be between loves. But who needs to be lonely while with someone who’s only convincing themselves they’re not a carbon of every commercial heart? I’m broken. Perhaps it’s right I’ve found someone more broken than myself.
Eric looks for signs. Perhaps I’ve been infected with this inclination. I wonder what the world is telling me. Mostly I feel it’s laughing at me and my impotent, silent rages. Reminding me that there’s not much I can do to climb out of the sexless, fat, black female role. I’ll admit to being laughable. I’m lost in Beula-land. Eric thinks I’m adorable. This makes me feel special in a way it shouldn’t. In the end, it’s his world that’s the more complicated one. The deeper one. I’ve been issued a glimpse. I’ve been allowed a peek at a place where internally, one can be more than a brown Zelda Rubenstein. In the end, my own battle will always be with that feeling of being locked out. Eric is wild and is not searching to be let into society, but to be loved and accepted where he is.
Eric is my family here in Minnesota. And having family is nice. Just a few months ago, the thought of not ever having sex again was a bit disturbing. Now, I realize it’s almost a gift. I see things from a place of clarity. Even those who might be attracted to me are not able to ignite anything in me. I have an unattainable ideal; and even this ideal wouldn’t be attracted to me. No spell, no magic, no wish seems to change this about me. We all have an ideal to which we’re initially attracted. One is lucky if we are born into a form that fits someone’s ideal. I wasn’t. This is wisdom: desire breeds contempt. Eric is family. I don’t desire anything except his comfort. Ultimately, it’s about how my love for Eric has nothing to do with who I might be physically attracted to at any given time.
Here was the birth of my libido: I watched the Monkees. I wanted Peter and Mike both. I made myself invisible in the quiet of my grandparents’ home and rocked back and forth with my heel in my crotch. I imagined a threesome before I understood or heard the term aloud. I spent a lot of time escaping to my grandparents’ home. I stayed up late and tried to make out the naked bodies between the wavy lines of the channel that would have been Playboy if my grandparents had cable. I was the aggressor in a way I could never imagine myself being in real life. I was the knight in a gnome’s body.
Here was the beginning of the death of my libido: I walked past Dan and he pretended not to see or know me. And I let him. He who wrote the scathing parodies. He who insulted me in ways that made me know I was unworthy and in the presence of greatness. He had the stories. I had none. He of the tales of drunken debauchery. He whose mind I admired and whose body I thought sublime enough to offer my virginity at twenty-three years old. He ignored me.
I was grateful at the time that he was slumming with me – even when he made it clear he was slumming. I’ve not been so directly and thrillingly insulted since. I simply see the fear, dread and disappointment when I reveal any depth of feeling to someone I’m physically attracted to. I see the look and a piece of what makes me hot dies. Even when I was able to get a piece of ass out of the deal, I could sit back and count the minutes, the hours, the days until I saw that look flicker across his face and then the effort to hide it. There’s none of that heat left. I’m drifting back to the times before sex, before self-knowledge – before the fall.
I’ve come full circle it seems. As a child, when I felt lonely I saw Vikings. They took care of me when my mom was too busy with her five other children. I didn’t have many friends, but there was a world in my head. Each rejection absorbed from the real world served to add another brick to the world inside. In that world I was smart and funny and strong. And in that world, I was a little, brown baby-girl protected by Vikings and my big brothers. I don’t want to be a Caucasian girl. I’ve grown to love my skin and accept the fights with my nappy head. The Vikings were just there. And now I have a tall, burly-looking guy with reddish-brown hair and a scraggly beard who wants me happy. For now, we’re walking the Earth together. Who knows where our next stop will be? He’s my family. And family is nice.
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Coffee Squirrel

another one..

this is a piece i wrote about my first road trip in my former car. the car is now a piece of junk somewhere, but i had a good time on the trip and reconnected with an old friend. i started writing about it. let me know what you think.

X-posting to my own journal and a couple of writing communities. thanks for any response. here goes:

The filth felt like home. I was let inside and immediately sussed out the smell of an unbalanced mind. It was very familiar, the house. The city itself was Chicago-lite. There was some element of menace that hangs over a large city. There was none of the forward momentum, though. The city was sad and the house was unbalanced. And it was good to see my friend again.
His wife was gone. She took a trip to the West Coast. He and the kids were home, though. He apologized three times for the state of the house and then said: “Okay. The place is a mess. I’m not apologizing for it anymore, though…”
This made me smile. I think his house was worse than my apartment. Old food and cat hair covered the place. A haze of smoke wafted through the place. I have a similar haze in my apartment, as Eric is a chain smoker. Boxes, books and half-finished art projects were numerous. I don’t think there was room to eat at the table even if Peregrin did cook regularly. Self-sufficiency was the order of the day. The kids were great. They were independent and didn’t mind at all that we were there. They asked questions with no sense of their being on a lesser level than the adults in the house. This was refreshing after so many homes where children were treated as pampered guests rather than part of a working family machine.
My eyes burned as they do on occasion at home. It occurs to me that I need more friends who don’t smoke. Then I wouldn’t, despite red eyes and hoarse throat, be tempted to bum a cigarette of my own to inhale since chunks of the nearly solid gray mass were inevitably making their way to my lungs anyway.
We were on our way to Chicago for my family reunion. My visit was a complete surprise. I knew that if I planned it, the logistics would fall apart and I would not have stopped in Racine. I was hoping to see both Peregrin and his beautiful wife, W. She of the libertarian leanings and multicolored hair; I don’t think she knows how much I admire her, even when we aren’t in touch for a time. Peregrin I don’t worry so much about. I could drop in on him when we’re both in our sixties and feel we were continuing an ongoing conversation – starting where we left off. He’s one of my Platonic loves and always will be in my heart. So will W, but I don’t know how solid that concept is for her without the verbal buttressing and concrete gestures to reinforce it. At any rate, she was not home. Eric and I were told we were welcome to make ourselves at home for a couple of days before the reunion was to begin.
So here we were -- three adults and four children with a blank weekend ahead. I don’t think any of us knew what to do. We went out for beer and caught up for a while, talking deep into the night. It wasn’t too hot, though it was the end of July and I’m sensitive to heat. We went to a Salmon Festival the next day. Peregrin saw a few people he knew. He lifted the daughter of one couple into his arms with a charming lack of self-consciousness. I find him decent and fair in his interactions with children – not in the least condescending.
Then we went to the store Peregrin and W run together. There were lots of silences. There usually are when Peregrin and I get together. For once, Eric filled in some of the empty space with a few words of his own. It was nice. We had lunch, met the dog for the first time and settled in to talk. The next morning, I would have to leave for Chicago. Waking up that morning, I played a couple of games with the kids waiting for Peregrin to wake. It was getting late, so we had to go. I whispered my good byes through a crack in his bedroom doorway and haven’t seen him since. If I had a car and drove to Racine tonight, though, I’m certain I would be welcome.
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Coffee Squirrel

the hits just keep on coming...

i'm here at the employment center that the MN Dept of Employment sent me to when i started receiving unemployment benefits. i'm using their computer. it's great that they have no time limit. but i will be going home soon. it's not been the best day.

i went to H&R Block for my taxes. not good. i OWE the state of MN. this is the first time i've owed on my taxes at all. i couldn't afford to pay out of pocket so they gave me my W-2's back and i left nearly in tears. i came here and was told about a place that does taxes for free. i'll have to go there. it turns out that it's the unemplyment benefits that threw me into a new tax bracket that gets me LESS money.

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