Saturday, January 25, 2014

Winter is Being SUCH an Asshole This Year

A few nights ago, I was taking a bath and thinking about this guy I saw buying a bunch of lottery tickets at the gas station and I worked up this analogy of how people of limited means who are opposed to a progressive tax system because they think they'll be rich one day are dumber than people who buy lottery tickets.  But then I got out of the tub and started to write it and the metaphor grew more and more tortured so I got back in the tub, but this time with an Entertainment Weekly and a bourbon.

I want to never not be in my tub anymore.  And my tub sucks.  It's one of those shitty built in the wall ones that you can buy at Home Depot for like $7.95.  I can't keep my boobs and my toes under water at the same time.  It's small.  It sucks.  But it's warm.  Especially with a bourbon.

I'm not writing this from my tub.  Instead I'm sitting in my living room which smells vaguely of pee because the goddamn dog peed on the rug this morning because she's an asshole.  There are two cute girls on the couch watching Frozen and that's pissing me off because even though I like that movie, we should be watching it ironically.  But since they are 10 and 7 they don't know how to do that yet.

This winter sucks, you guys.  And I'm not normally a person terribly bothered by winter.  What's this winter like for people who hate normal winters? I'd send some sympathy their way, but I'm saving it all for myself.  I am only feeling sorry for myself.  If winter and the dog can both be assholes, so can I.

I used to be like Elsa - the cold never bothered me anyway.  It bothers me now, though, because it is a million degrees below zero.  Also, I'm worried that I may have unhealthily internalized Frozen since this is my fourth viewing of it.  It's too goddamn cold outside to do anything but go to the movies and you can't take a fifth grader to American Hustle.  I get Elsa (you should click on that link... ).  She's my girl, even if her head is bigger than her waist.  I want to run away to a magic castle that I never have to leave mostly because driving anywhere is impossible due to the permanent sheen of salt and frost on my car windows.  

My car's being an asshole too.

I like to indulge my pissiness by reading internet comments from climate change deniers who think that this winter is evidence that there's no such thing as global warming because then I can roll my eyes dramatically and say, "Oh yeah, this is normal, motherfuckers."   Stoking my own sense of intellectual superiority is warming.

There's another polar vortex coming on Monday.

I'm going to take another bath.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Shuddering Black Hole of My Memory

Because I have towering technical abilities*, I put a youtube app on my Wii and I use it for yoga videos.

Well, I intend to use it for Yoga videos but instead I sit on my yoga mat and watch music videos from the 80s where I'll giggle at the hair and the smoking and the casual misogyny and then I'll start watching TV theme songs which will then make me think of Too Close for Comfort which will make me remember that one where Monroe got raped by a couple of women so I'll watch that clip and then I stop feeling nostalgic for the 80s because that was so gross also Reagan was president and that was awful no matter how much I weighed 110 pounds (a number lost forever to the endless abyss of The Past).

Also, I'll watch videos I posted there from when Laney was much littler.  Like this one:

And, you guys, I know this is Laney!  This is definitely Laney.  I have vague memories of a short person who would wear dresses and spin.  But, I cannot call it to mind!  The gorgeous, 5' tall be-hoodied girl that I'm trying to figure out how to talk into a training bra before tee-shirt season comes has entirely replaced her.

So here is the question I pose to you:  if your kid is 8, or 10, or 13, or 16, can you call to mind what they were like at 4?  When we're actively doing the rearing (raising?  is it rearing or raising? I know one is for children and the other is for cattle....), are you so in it that you can't recollect earlier stages of being in it?

And when they leave the nest, does it come back?  If your kid is 25 or 30 or 40, can you call to mind the 4 year old them?

Now if y'all will excuse me, I gotta go take some more videos...

* If you would like to share in my towering technical abilities let me share with you the internal monologue that accompanies mine: "[PANIC!][START CRYING JUST A LITTLE] Oh my god, with the endless waterworks! For crying out loud, turn it off.  Is it off?  Turn it back on. [RELIEF][OUTSIZED FEELING OF ACCOMPLISHMENT]"

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Rough Night - Short Blog

It was a rough night around here.  Lots of tears and lots of self-doubt.  This business of raising children is not an easy one and the worst thing about it is the constant nagging suspicion that I'm doing it wrong, that I'm passing on things that will make my daughter's life harder.  Sometimes I feel entirely unequal to the enormous responsibility of raising this wonderful girl.  How will I ever be able to send her off into the wide world, away from my protective arms?

And as I was kvetching about this on Facebook, I remembered a previous blog post I wrote in which I needled at the idea of re-inventing myself.  One of the first comments on that blog post was from my late sister-in-law, Debbie, who said to me "I think you're a beautiful person. I don't know why you want to change yourself at all."

Oh, that made me feel so much better!  It was so reassuring and so kind and so loving.  Debbie thinks I'm a beautiful person!  How wonderful!

So, I got to missing Debbie in the most selfish way because she was so good at making me feel better.

Debbie taught me so much about being a mother.  Outside of my own mother, I have no greater influence in this fraught, wonderful, terrifying business.  She was just so great at it!

Oh, Debbie!  We miss you so much!  I know your kids miss you desperately. But I also know they'll be OK: they were raised by a champion.  They'll do just great.

I hope I can always remember the things her beautiful, short life brought to me - how freeing it is to forgive people and remind them that you love them. How much it means when you tell someone that you think she's a beautiful person.

Debbie was a beautiful person.  And we were so lucky to have had her.  The best honor I can do to her legacy is to remember what she brought to me; to do the best I can and to remember how much it means to tell someone you think they're beautiful.

Still, I feel so sad right now.  I miss her.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Facebook is like a Car... or Something

I have long aimed for more equanimity.  I want to be a person who let's things roll, man, lets it go. I find this especially difficult when I'm driving - tailgaters, drivers who don't turn their lights on in inclement weather or who turn on their blinkers as they're making a turn make me want to Cut A Bitch.

It's similarly difficult with stuff that annoys me online.  That stupid FB badge seems to exist independent of the human who posted it, kind of like how the car that cut me off seems to exist independent of the fully-realized individual operating it.  It's like the car and the person are one less-than-human irritation and that obvious Abraham Lincoln misquote with "you're" spelled wrong has subsumed the reality of the person with feelings who posted it when she was drunk.

I do not flip other drivers off or lean on my horn, though, no matter how irritated I am because I have trained myself to remember that there are Real People in the driver's seat.  And I do not go ALL CAPS when people post Facebook memes that make me bonkers because I have hurt people's feelings and gotten in rage wars on the Internet which are just depressing.

Still, much like drivers in Suburbans who can't parallel park set my teeth on edge, there are some things that popped up on Facebook multiple times this year that shutting up about has given me stress headaches.  Want to hear about them?  Here they go:

Thing The First: The Old Lady with the Plastic Bags at the Grocery Story
If you're on Facebook, I'm sure you've seen this posted about 4000 times over the year.  The short version of the story is that a cashier at a grocery store tells an old lady she's a total jerk for not bringing reusable bags to the grocery store.  Then the old lady totally schools the cashier by telling him that the old days were green on their own (reusable milk bottles, drying clothes on the line, etc).  I'm cool with the gist of this story.  Most of our environmental woes now are due to mod cons and rapacious over-consumption and the relentless corporatization of the world.

But this story hinges on the clerk being a total asshole to the old lady, with the easily inferred assumption that your reusable bags are bullshit, man.  I would wager that the Venn Diagram of People Who Bring Reuasble Bags to the Grocery Story and People Who Are Assholes to Old Ladies in Grocery Stores is two disparate circles.

I cannot tolerate a straw man argument.  It is the very height of lazy rhetoric. If you want to make an argument that we should embrace the old ways a little more, you can do it without inventing a dickhead Trader Joe's cashier.

Thing the Second: My Mom Smoked and I Played Unsupervised and That Makes Me Way More Badass than These Fucking Kids Now

I had really hoped my generation, which grew up under the wearying moral superiority of the Boomers, would have been done with the Hatin' On the Kids Today thing that is emblematic of every generation's introduction into middle age.  Alas, I was wrong.  This is a link to a blogpost that runs through the general thing.  But if you're on Facebook, you've seen it in a million different ways - we played outside unsupervised, our moms smoked while pregnant, and (my personal favorite) we rode in cars without seatbelts.  And this is why we are Made Of Awesome.

My only response to that is gonna be these charts on childhood mortality from the Dept. of Health and Human Services:

Apparently, all this crazy attention to safety has ended keeping a bunch of kids alive who will end up ruining America by being insufficiently awesome.

Thing the Third: If You Choose Not To Consume Meat You Are No Fun at Parties

This is from Buzzfeed (and is also cribbed from a joke made by a vegan comedian):

More than the other two, this is emblematic of something that shows up a lot:  the poster is annoyed by someone else's dietary choices and so posts something about how intolerant vegans/vegetarians are of meat-eater's dietary choices.  The old pot/kettle strawman again.  It is true that Morrissey or PETA show up in the intertubes a lot saying stupid things, but making the assumption that all vegans are Morrissey is equivalent to assuming that all meat eaters are Ted Nugent.  

Based on my own experience as having lived both as a meat eater and a vegetarian, the chances of having someone shit on your dietary choices are a lot higher for the vegetarian than they are for the meat eater because the veg is in the minority.  And if you choose to live your life as a vegan, I am here to tell you that you are actually badass, because that shit is HARD!   

If you enjoy meat, go eat a fucking hamburger, but if you assume your bacon consumption affords you moral superiority you have become the vegan you love to hate.

Bonus Thing: White People Stop Misquoting Bill Cosby

That thing you think Bill Cosby said he probably didn't say.  Also, if you are a white person, don't make grand sweeping statements about how black people need to improve themselves.  It is the very height of obnoxious.   

Well, this bout of bitching has left me feeling rather unencumbered, and wondering what the Irritating Facebook Memes of 2014 will be.