January 23, 2013

currently

nature's air freshener

I have a christmas tree in the passenger seat of my car. I put it in there to drive it to the boy scouts or whoever takes old trees when you live in the city, only then I couldn't find where their collection place was and there was this tree in my car, and it was all dried up but it smelled good and there was nothing to do with it anyway but let it stay there. every time I'm walking to my car I start hysterically laughing at the idea that I have a christmas tree in the passenger seat. I kind of like it. the other day one of my coworkers and I went to happy hour and he had to sit in the back like we were driving miss daisy. when he asked for an explanation -- I think what he actually said is what is wrong with you????!!! -- I said, "well, I put the tree in the car a week and a half ago--" and then I couldn't finish the sentence because I suddenly realized the absurdity of it and I got laughing so hard I couldn't talk. I guess I'll have to pitch it into the woods behind the barn.

things that are good

• on new years day I'm running down the sidewalk, a few blocks from my house, and ahead a white suburban has its reverse lights on. I slow down to see if the driver sees me and he does, and waves me on. I turbo past and he calls "happy new year!" out the window. "you too!" I reply. it's simple, but good.

• at the barn, I finally meet the new barn manager, who moved in sometime in early december, bringing with him his seven beautiful horses -- rocky mountain horses mostly, plus a tennessee walker and a kentucky mountain horse. all of them are in good weight, mannerly when fed, well-groomed. the barn manager's name is jim; he's probably in his mid-sixties, and has the easy air of a person who's spent his whole life with horses. we shake hands and he asks me which horse is mine, and then he admires my rubber boots, which are plaid cowboy-style boots I'm wearing only because the soles of my normal ones have totally worn through. "hold my shoulder so I can see the bottom," he says, and then he picks up my foot just like you'd pick up a horse hoof and checks out my shoes. "hardly been worn," he declares, as he backs up a step. he appraises me. "look at you! you look good. those boots, and you've got a wrangler butt."

I have never heard the term 'wrangler butt' but I know instantly what he means, and I will take it.

• we have a quick & dirty lady date sunday, because I can't get out of orchestra rehearsal until just before 10 PM. j & I watch downton and polish off a bottle of white wine, which we drink ostensibly for its germ-killing qualities.

• tonight at the barn, I hang out with a one-day-old colt, who's the spitting image of his mama. after initial shyness, he comes and sniffs my hand, but runs away when I try to rub his neck.

• in the span of just a few days, I receive two care packages from two of my finest lady friends and both of them make me choke up in profound gratitude, because somehow my life is full of extraordinary people who are willing to come hold my hand and lead me out of my darkest places.

rachel's package is an utter novelty, mailed in a bottle, the stamps hand-canceled. inside there's candy and coffee and a few wonderful little trinkets, a pair of fuzzy socks, the sweetest letter. I drink the coffee a few days later, in the car on my way to mt. hood, and it makes me really, really happy.

katie's package is a sizable box that appears at my door, stuffed under my doormat by the mailman, who understands my neighborhood. in it is everything she's picked up for me in the last four years, none of which she's ever gotten around to sending. each thing is labeled with a sticky note. on the tiny "Pimp Your Pumpkin" decorating kit she writes, happy halloween 2010!. she sends a book along, saying, I read this a few years ago and loved it so much I had to send it to you immediately.
I laugh for ten minutes straight.

inside is a card that says

the sex & the city movie was on tv last night and I watched some of it. there's a scene where carrie is in bed and too depressed to get up. samantha brings her breakfast and carrie doesn't want to eat. samantha feeds carrie while she sits up a little. while I was watching it, I thought THAT is what jess and I would do for each other. I could have used it in the fall, and you could use it now. just know that in spirit, I am sitting at your bedside and feeding you breakfast. maybe even bacon.

I think maybe this is why I'm single. these people are what boys are up against. frankly, they don't stand a chance.

fucking with your chemical components

last thursday I shuffled into the east interstate kaiser permanente campus in a hooded sweatshirt and a wrinkled pair of jeans, my hair unwashed, to talk to my doctor about how sometimes I'm so sad it takes me an hour and a half to get out of bed. (also, I had to get a pap smear. neither one of these two things is something you want to do first thing in the morning before work). she was, as always, very efficient and kind and fifteen minutes later I walked out with a wellbutrin prescription, which was filled at the pharmacy counter by an alarmingly good-looking pharmacist. why is it when you don't wash your hair there is always a good-looking unmarried pharmacist, seriously.

I think most of us have this idea that our essential nature is something greater than the sum of the chemicals in our brains. we can understand logically that what for lack of a better word produces us is the firing of neurons and the mixing of chemicals and the strange mysteries of the body. I think most of us, though, in our secret heart of hearts, believe that our essential personhood is a thing that transcends all of that somehow.

taking a pill that fucks with your dopamine receptors in order to revert you back into a functional human is a reminder that your essential personhood is largely out of your hands.

the (surprising) sisterhood of the brokenhearted

although the sting of it has more or less subsided, I still think very often of last year's relationship that almost was. if the right sequence of songs come through my headphones I still shed a tear or two. the residual sadness I feel is probably a weight I will bear forever: a tiny knot made of regret, loss, and disappointment. in short, I frequently wonder after and miss my friend. I think (and accept) that maybe I always will.

but sometimes I think that what growth looks like is this: I occasionally think of his girlfriend fiancée as a kind of sister, rather than as a rival. I mean, if human beings were logical and if the world made sense, she and I would have banded together against the thing which so deeply wounded us both; we'd have stood tall, a pair of mighty ladies, and said, "well, we both got fucked," and we'd have dusted our hands off and given each other a consoling hug and gotten the hell out of dodge. sometimes in my quiet desolation I have imagined that rather than hating me, she wonders after me instead. after all, this shit happened to both of us. in slowly trudging down the path of healing, I sometimes imagine giving her a hug. I'm so sorry, I think to myself. we both got so hurt, and what for? I wonder about the two of us girls, playing tug of war over somebody who set all three of us up to be broken. and now they are to be married. it will always be a puzzle to me.

life is full of contradictions. he will always be my short-lived but nevertheless dear old friend, a kindred spirit, a person who woke me up. no matter what time passes or the hurts I have sustained, the truth is that even now, I would be a safe haven for him in a storm. that is -- dopamine receptors be damned -- my essential personhood. but sometimes I am grown up enough to wish her the best in that life they have, despite everything, chosen to have together. when I look back and wonder what it all means, the tiny part of me that's healed hopes that whatever he learned from me is something good she gets to hold on to. the sisterhood is precious to me. I wish I had never broken it.

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