*In my world we say what’s on our mind. This won’t change anything, but I feel a lot better for having written it.
This is not an attempt to open up any lines of communication. I want nothing to do with you. I have made that very clear. I am not looking for a response. This is my way of getting closure. I know that you’re reading this. I know that you ask about me. You should stop.
You can defend yourself to the people that listen to you and still believe the bullshit that flows from your mouth like…well, the bullshit that flows from your mouth.
You are the scumbag. You are the liar. You are the philandering (that means cheating, you stupid fuck) piece of shit that you constantly accused me of being. You went to great lengths to deceive me, why? Why didn’t you just leave me alone? Why did you think I deserved this?
I already know the answer, because you’re mentally ill. You play games with people’s emotions for your own entertainment. You get your jollies from deceiving people, it makes you feel superior. You aren’t, you are the lowest life form on the planet. I’ve coughed-up mucus with more integrity than you.
You wasted my time. You pretended to be someone you aren’t. Did you think I wouldn’t find out? Did you think you could threaten and intimidate the whole world into silence, like you did me? If you wanted to snort cocaine and screw guttersnipes, you should have done that and left me out of it. I bet it was great fun running around behind my back and making a fool of me, while trying to control my every action.
Do you realize who the fool is now? Did you use your food stamp card to cut your lines? How do you look at yourself in the mirror every morning, or afternoon when you finally drag your worthless carcass out of bed, and not become nauseous? I have never seen anyone so brazen (that means bold, numbnuts) and unapologetic for taking things they have no right to.
People tried to warn me about you, I should have listened. Maybe I would have spared myself the fantastic experience of being relentlessly stalked. I saw you, you aren’t very good at it. But, you should be used to hearing that by now…you aren’t very good at anything tangible (that means real, shit for brains). You’re awesome at creating your own little world, where you are always the victim and everyone is out to get you. You also excel at being selfish, dramatic, and violent. Good job, buddy…those skills have gotten you where you are today.
Everything you said you aren’t, you are. “I’m not a cheater,” lie. “I wasn’t doing coke,” lie. “I’m a good man,” lie. You aren’t a good man, you are a waste of human flesh. One seriously fucked-up individual. The more time I spent with you, the more I became like you…boy, am I glad that’s over.
You moved in with me, and then lived off me like a parasite. You played sick mind games, because it made you feel better about your pathetic existence. You were jealous of my son, you didn’t love him like he was your own. He was a nuisance to you. He took the attention off of you. He deserves my attention, you do not. How dare you use him to make people feel bad for you, as you ranted like a lunatic about me on Facebook. You didn’t care about him, why pretend you did? Did that get you laid?
How dare you tell people you had to leave Florida because of me. You had to leave because you ran out of people to live off of, you exhausted your supply of trusting people of which to mooch. I’m not on some committee that gets to decide who lives in the state and who doesn’t. You make your own decisions. I can’t make you do a damn thing. If I had these magical powers you’d be reading this from under a rock in the Hudson River.
People like you are hatched, they aren’t born.
How many women have you done this to? In case you were contemplating (that means thinking, jackwad) telling your next victim that you improved my life and helped me as a person, like you told me you did with all of your previous girlfriend’s…I recommend you don’t. I am a better person now as opposed to when we met, but I did all that work on my own. You deserve and will receive absolutely no credit. You did nothing but try to break me. You didn’t succeed. Through your torture I learned what a strong, intelligent woman I am…and what a weak, miserable prick you are.
I hate your fucking haircut, you psychotic bastard. Since you sent me about 900 text messages asking me if I liked it, I figured I’d give you the answer.
It’d be nice if you stopped trying to damage my character and reputation. For someone that hated my blog, you sure read it a lot. Did you start your own? “The World According to Bullshit” wasn’t that what you were going to call it? At the time it was an insult, but now it seems like an appropriate name. Maybe you could put offensive, horribly misspelled cartoons on it?
The demanding that people not associate with me, that was a nice touch. Were you afraid I was going to tell them what you really are? It’s hard to elicit (that means get, Mongo) sympathy from people when they find out what a giant douche you are. Well played.
There’s a lot more I’d like to say to you, but I’m not going to. I’m going to move on with my life and forget I ever met you. I was going to say “knew you,” but I never actually did. I just spent a lot of time with a monster.
I don’t burn bridges, fucker. I blow them up.
My grandmother will have been gone for one year on Sunday, May 5th. It figures she’d have picked my second favorite designated drinking holiday to die. If you’re thinking “Gee, Scarp! That sounds heartlessy and bitch-tastic,” these are two qualities I learned from her. You really had to know the woman to appreciate the depths of her douchebaggery. Yes, she gave me a lot. I appreciate her contributions, but she didn’t do it because she loved me. She did it to control me.
Some people find control far more fulfilling than love. I’d like to invite all of those people to drop dead at the count of three. Ready? One…one-and-a-half, twoooooo…two-and-three- quarters…Three! Dammit, why aren’t you dead? Well, I suppose it’s just as gratifying knowing that your life is miserable; always has been, always will be. How do I know this? Because, I know things, lot’s of things…almost everything. I’m pretty smart.
My life has been a juggernaut (that means: an overwhelming, advancing force that crushes or seems to crush everything in its path, just in case you don’t understand words with more than two syllables. Yes, I’m being condescending (that means: I’m treating you like you’re stupid)) of activity that I have not been able to escape, since she passed. Recently, things have started to calm down. Calm is awesome.
My grandma spent her final years living in my apartment, with her nurse, and her nurse’s daughter. Several of my neighbors have approached me and said things to the effect of “I miss your grandmother, she was such a wonderful woman. So sweet…God rest her soul,” this always shocks the shit out of me…as I wasn’t aware she had a soul. The lady living in my apartment, I don’t know who in the hell she was….but she wasn’t my grandma.
My grandma was the love-child of Hitler and Zsa Zsa Gabor, not literally, I’m giving you a visual here. She got Zsa Zsa’s looks and Hilter’s Canasta playing skills. I know there is no historical record of Hitler or my grandmother actually playing Canasta…but just work with me. In both of their reigns of terror, everything had to be “just so”. It didn’t matter who you were on the inside, as long as you were perfect on the outside. Had my grandmother had a larger oven, I’m pretty sure she would have been known for something other than baking a delicious ziti.
I watched her manipulate my mother my whole life. I watched her hold things over her head, I saw the enjoyment she got from giving and then taking things away. Recent (unrelated) events in my life have helped me identify just exactly what my grandmother was: a narcissistic sociopath (Google it, if you identify with more than two of the characteristics…please follow the instructions written above in paragraph two.)
The strangers my grandmother encountered would describe her as warm and caring, that’s because they weren’t aware that underneath the expensive clothes, diamonds, and perfectly styled hair…lurked a giant asshole. She cared what the rest of the world thought of her, she didn’t really give a shit what we thought of her..because she was in a position of power. Anyone that defied her power was excommunicated and sent to live in New Jersey.
She had a lot of things, expensive things. She traveled. She bought enough anti-wrinkle cream to fill the Adriatic Sea. She was never happy. Nothing was ever good enough. Her life was a perpetual state of misery because she lacked the ability to give and receive love. Instead of people, she loved inanimate objects. She grew frustrated when the things wouldn’t return her affections.
I find it very hard to bite my tongue when people say nice things about her. I do it, but I don’t like it. I’d like to announce to the world how she went out of her way to make people unhappy and then played “helpless victim” when shit didn’t go her way. When my neighbors say, “I miss her,” my first reaction is to laugh, really hard. I say, “Me too,” but what I’m really thinking is “I miss her spaghetti sauce.”
Her last years of life were lonely, that’s what happens to jerks. They end up alone, because nobody likes them. The people they got so much pleasure out of torturing get to watch as they fade away. The problem is, another jerk is born every minute.
The boy and I had an interesting day of bonding. He was my lunch date on Saturday, although he didn’t really want to be. “I don’t like food anymore, can’t we just go to the toy store?” I had promised him a reward, he was determined to collect it. “You can’t toy shop on an empty stomach, dude. This is serious business,” I said, instead of trying to debunk the “I don’t like food” defense. “I guess you’re right,” he sighed, as we pulled off the road and into a restaurant parking lot.
As we got out of the car, he began to crawl on his hands and knees peering at the undercarriage. “Um, what are you doing?” I asked, as I think any reasonable person would. “There’s a can under there, I wanted to see if you crushed it when we pulled in. You didn’t, can you try to smash it when we leave?” “I’ll try my best,” I responded. I helped him up and led him into the restaurant. We sat outside on the patio, it’s starting to get ridiculously hot here, again. I knew it wouldn’t be crowded and we could quietly chat. He touched the table the way old ladies do when you take them someplace to eat they’ve never been before. “This is nice,” he said, smiling and inspecting the children’s menu.
“Hi, my name is Chris. I’ll be your server today,” the waiter was cheerful and eager to bring us things, I like those qualities in a waiter. “Hi, I’m five. I can ride my bike without training wheels,” my son said with the confidence and demeanor of a politician, while throwing his elbow over the back of his chair. “I don’t wet the bed anymore and… I have a Puffle named Willie. I’m just throwing that out there. What’s your Puffle’s name?” The waiter looked at me, I could see he was taken aback by the little dude. I waited for him to respond, when he didn’t, I wasn’t sure what to say. I figured things couldn’t get anymore awkward than they were at that moment, so I went with, “Hi. I’m 34. I don’t wet the bed anymore either. I helped name the Puffle, and I’d love a rum and coke in the biggest glass you have”.
“What is a Puffle?” Chris asked. “The thing that makes me want a drink,” I responded, hoping he’d walk away without any further questioning. It didn’t work. My boy might have a future as a Jehovah’s Witness, as he insists on spreading the good word. “Willie is Jr. Flappers’ pet. Jr. Flappers is my Penguin. Willie is red and fluffy. He doesn’t have any arms or legs…but he still rides a skateboard pretty good. I play with them”.
For anyone keeping track, my little nugget of awesome is claiming we are harboring an arctic creature in the simmering heat of Florida, and are forcing a long-haired, quadriplegic, life form to entertain us by riding a skateboard. No, I haven’t replaced his nutritious breakfast with frosted LSD and please don’t call PETA.
All of these things take place in the virtual seventh circle of hell known as “Club Penguin”. Disney thought it would be a great idea to create a social networking site, infused with games, and of course…Puffles. “I have a membership card, wanna see it?” Yes, they sell membership cards. Yes, he carries it with him. “Jr. Flappers has an igloo, you should stop by sometime.” Yes, he just invited someone over to his igloo.
“That’s awesome, I have a daughter. We haven’t reached the Puffle stage yet, I guess.” I was thankful that the waiter had experience wrangling small children and I didn’t have to try and explain. You can’t control what they say, resistance is futile. You can either be embarrassed or embrace it. I want him to be able to carry on a conversation. These are the things that are important to him, so this is what we talk about.
Sometimes, admittedly, he throws me a curveball. “Mommy? Why is the water blue?” he asked as he was getting ready for a bath. I tried to pull up all the long forgotten Earth Science information I still had stored in my head. I said something about reflection from the sun and depth of the water, but I was clearly just making it up as I went along.
He stared at me blankly for a minute, “No, I mean in the toilet…why is the water blue? Everyone knows why the sea is blue.” Apparently, my long-winded explanation about the ocean bored the hell out of him. “Oh, I put stuff in there to help me keep the house clean,” he thought about my answer and then, “Does it help you concentrate?” I laughed and responded, “Uh, sure.” I still haven’t figured out where that one came from, I guess he must do most of his thinking on the potty.
The toilet cleaning tablets went in the tank on Sunday, but had they gone in on Saturday…I’m sure the waiter would have heard about that, too.
“What’s that?” he asked as he walked by the dining room table. He was eyeing a shiny leather case with the word “Kodak” embossed on the front. “It’s a camera,” I responded. In pristine condition, this relic belonged to my grandparents. Everything they owned looked like it had never been used.
“That’s not a camera, it’s too big to be a camera,” he laughed. Born in 2007, he is of a generation that will never be able to look at a common household item and fondly remember its Buick-sized predecessor.
“Can I have it?” This is a question he asks when presented with just about everything he’s not familiar with. Sometimes I give in. “I wanna break it,” he chirped. Thankfully, he hasn’t developed the ability to mask his true intentions. “No, that’s mommy’s,” I said, grabbing the case and moving it to higher ground. The safest place in the house right now is atop the refrigerator, next to the cheese grater and the other things I don’t want him to touch. “Are you gonna break it? I wanna help!”
The boy stood in front of the refrigerator; his arms extended, pointing at the camera. He was trying to will the the camera to leap into his arms. His face twisted in frustration when it didn’t work. He tried again, this time standing on his tiptoes.
“No, I’m not going to break it,” I said calmly as I put dinner in the oven. There are times when the memory of my grandparents has made me want to break things, but this was too cool to smash into itty bitty pieces. I was amused by my son’s experiment with telekinesis. Quietly, I wondered if the Russian scientist who coined the term ever encouraged his test subjects to “put some toe in it,” for extra oomph.
“How does it work?” Relentless curiosity, it’s a good quality to have. He’s also quite the food critic, so I made him wait til I set the oven timer before I provided an explanation. No one likes burnt nuggets. I handed him the camera and let him examine it, watching carefully. He flipped it over several times, pushing the buttons and turning the knobs.
“Where’s the screen to see the pictures? This thing is broken.. You should throw it out. Can I have it?” this sentence came out of his mouth so rapidly it sounded like one long word. “It doesn’t have a screen. It was made before they had screens, they used film. It’s not broken. No, you have your own camera,” I replied, just as quickly. “Fiiiilllmmm?” he repeated, as if I was teaching him a new word in a foreign language. I started to explain what it was, his eyes went blank. I’d lost him. I was thankful, because I know about as much about cameras as I do….mid-century Chilean porcupine sedation techniques.
“I don’t have a camera!” he declared The child has a mental inventory of every object he has ever owned…which makes it hard to pare down the growing collection. Even if something is broken he still demands it be kept, heaven forbid you throw out the severed arm of a missing lego figure. He knows exactly what he has, until he sees something he wants. Because of this talent, I also have to keep a watchful eye on the toy chest to keep duplication to a minimum. “You most certainly do, the red one,” I reminded him.
He knew which one I was talking about, but he paused for dramatic effect. “The red one? Oh, that red one! Where is it?” I wasn’t going to divulge that information. I’d made it temporarily disappear a few months ago. His laughter showed me he was still incredibly amused by the actions that caused the camera to go into seclusion.
It was January, the weather was crappy and we were stuck indoors. There are few things worse than being holed up with a rambunctious child. Admittedly, I was hiding. I could hear him laughing from the other side of the door, but it wasn’t the evil genius laugh. I assumed that he and the dog were still playing the loud game of tag that sent me seeking refuge. It’s not really tag, it’s more chase the dog until she hides under the table…wait until she forgets why she’s hiding…then chase her again. Semantics. As long as a wagging tail is present, I don’t interfere.
I let my guard down and the laughter got further away, resuming my immersion in the article I was reading about Kim and Kanye. I had just gotten to the part where Mr. West introduced Kim as his “babymomma”. I stopped to gather my feelings, which I grouped thusly: A) I was not aware that Dolce or Gabbana designed maternity wear. B) I pictured the woman of his dreams to feature a diamond encrusted release valve, vast amounts of air behind vacant eyes, and a permanently puckered facial expression. C) Kim Kardashian is probably the closest thing to a blow-up doll society has to offer at this point.
I was just about to move on to “D” when the door swung wide open, wildly bouncing on its hinges. “Say CHEESE!!” screeched my boy, clad with his Disney trademarked digital camera. He blinded me with the flash as he rapidly snapped photos. When he stopped and I was able to commandeer the device, I went through the memory of the camera. At the end of the 700-and-something close-up pictures of the inside of his nose and the dog’s butt, there were at least 35 shots of me…sitting on the toilet…wearing my pants around my ankles, and a less than thrilled expression.
If I went through them fast enough, it was almost like one of those flip-books I made as a kid with the galloping horse. I could see myself go from surprised to irritated, mouthing the words “What are you doing? Get the hell out of here with that thing!”
Some of the photos even had me on the commode, seated right in between a smiling Lightning McQueen and Mater. Apparently, you can press a button and add a digital version of your favorite character to the images. Disney really pulled out all the stops when they dreamed this toy up. It’ll be fun, they said. Let your child capture memories on their own, they said.
Either he was prepared to suffer for his art, or he now realizes that he is always granted immunity when his acts of mischief are hilarious. The boy didn’t even try to fake remorse, he just giggled, grabbed the camera out of my hands, and ran into the living room.
As I relayed this story to my parents, they laughed. Then my mother said, as she always does “You’d better look out, you’ve got your hands full. I don’t remember you guys ever acting this way.” We totally did, my brothers and I just tormented each other, instead of our parents.
“2:15 today,” that’s all the email said. Damn, I wasn’t expecting her to respond so quickly. It’s not that I wasn’t grateful, but I was hoping it would be a little later in the week. I dug in my purse for my cell phone to enter in the time and date on the calendar. There was no chance I was going to forget…but, I’m trying to be more deliberate in the organization of my personal life.
Blindly foraging for technology at the bottom of my bag, I felt something squishy. I’m used to finding all kinds of items in there that are not mine; they’re usually from Taiwan, by way of Hot Wheels. This feels more like something that Darwin might have studied, it wasn’t moving…so that’s a plus.
I’m relieved as I discover that a pink, rubber gecko has been added to the fleet of vehicles in my purse. My son probably thought it was a suitable trinket because it was pink. Since I am female, he has decided that pink must be my favorite color…or maybe it was placed there for insurance purposes.
I left it in there, you never know when you’re going to need a lizard. Parked next to what feels like a miniature pick-up truck is my phone. I normally use the calendar function to amuse myself. My alerts read something like this: February 10th @ 7:00 a.m.- Put on pants. The appointment that I entered for 2:15 said, “Meet boy’s teacher, apologize for inappropriate language. Research ball-gag”.
I wasn’t sure just how inappropriate we were talking. In my head I pondered, on a scale of “gosh darn” to “go fuck yourself”…what exactly was the infraction? I didn’t put my thoughts in writing. I’m pretty sure there’s a filter on the school’s email that flags this type of language as very naughty and probably put me on a list to be investigated by Child Services.
My son wasn’t exactly forthcoming the night before when he’d told me about getting in trouble. He said it involved another “cwassmate,” actually, his exact words were “baby-head, toy-stealing, cwassmate”. While he’ll freely report his short comrades for acts worthy of receiving a “red” smiley face, he was tight-lipped.
He will happily present the little strip of paper with a green smiley face on it. Green means good. He’s crafty enough to destroy the evidence if a yellow or red is sent home. Until today, I was unaware that there is a primary color far more damning than red. The boy had gone blue. I don’t even know where that fits in on the color wheel.
It was almost as if he’d rehearsed his confession, “I had to be spoken to about inappropriate language. Don’t tell Dad,” he politely requested from the back seat. “I can’t keep this from your father. Daddy has to know,” trying not to laugh, I said this firmly. In the parenting arena I’m the one that is reactionary. It’s me that raises my voice. This interaction let me know I’m not nearly as intimidating as I think I am.
“I want to sing you a song,” he said. As random as that might sound to you, it’s kind of the norm when it comes to communicating with the under-tall.
His song was Valentinian in nature; something about puppies and hearts…and there was some barking. After the third verse, his voice cracking when he hit the high notes and a freestyle “ruff, ruff, ruff,” the back seat concert was over.
He must’ve learned it in school, because it wasn’t his signature style. Not the ode to farts or monster trucks he would have come up with when left to his own devices. “That was very good!” I said. “Ok, so that means you’re not going to tell Dad…right?”
His teacher was pleasant, we met with her in my son’s classroom. The term “whirling dervish” was used to describe him, more than once. Accurate? Yes. When we talked about his inability to focus, I was not at all surprised by this information. I just don’t exactly know what to do about it. I suffer from the same affliction. People have been trying to fix me for years. I’m not broken, neither is my boy.
This does not mean that I have abandoned my son’s educational endeavors. I am not acting defiantly, insisting that my son is a genius and faulting the teacher. I’ve seen what this does to a child. When you allow a person to sidestep their responsibilities in a situation, you create a lazy, self-absorbed, douchebag…gifted in placing blame on others…but lacking any other talents.
My son may grow up to be a giant asshole. If he does, I want to make damn sure he has the skills to back-up a big mouth or an inflated ego. I refuse to spend my golden years helping him dig out from under the self-created shitstorm that would be likely be his life if I ignore the problem and blame someone else. We all agreed that we are going to push to have him tested for learning related issues.
Once that was out of the way, the topic of inappropriate language was addressed. Keep in mind that I was seated at his desk…in his chair. In order to attain any level of comfort I had to contort my body into a position much like the “brace for impact” illustration on an airplane safety card. Almost expecting an oxygen mask to deploy from the ceiling, I bolstered myself for what I was about to hear and prayed that it wasn’t the four-lettered, grand-mother-of-all-curse-words.
The teacher tried to broach the situation delicately…but there wasn’t any real way to do this. Finally she blurted out, “He said bullshit”. She didn’t look at me as she said it, in fact, she turned her head completely around…like an owl. I laughed, even though I know I wasn’t supposed to. I’ve never acted appropriately before, why start now?
From the information I was able to gather, he was involved in a small dispute with a classmate. My boy felt that the best way to handle the argument was by getting a few inches away from the other child’s face and yell “BULLSHIT!” whenever the tot tried to speak. Since the boy’s father was seated right next to me, I couldn’t blame this language on him. This is one of my choice words to express frustration. He was also mimicking my preferred method of delivering the message. It was difficult to put on the air of disgust, when I was clearly thinking that it was pretty fucking awesome.
My son relays the story differently. He does not dispute the fact that there was an argument, but claims that he and the other child were playing with building blocks when it occurred. “I said “push it”. I wanted to play Godzilla and he wanted to finish the building”. I did not buy my boy’s alternative version, but I was impressed with his ability to find a non-offensive phrase that sounded so close to “bullshit”.
We had several discussions about there being a time and place for this kind of behavior. “You’re not supposed to say those things at school, dude”. “Or at work or church,” he added as he looked down at his feet.
I fought the urge to correct him with “No, you should totally call bullshit in church,” but I didn’t want to force my views on religion on him. “Mommy, can we go to church? Quincy goes to church…with his grandma”. I couldn’t believe he’d just asked to go to church. I could just see my little angel telling his Sunday school teacher she sucks. “Ask your father,” I replied.
I asked to see the “blue” smiley face. I was hoping to add it to his collection of undesirable notes. Somehow it disappeared. Perhaps a little religion wouldn’t be a bad thing.
Unlocking the deadbolt, I open the front door. I’m always uneasy about what I’m going to find. Betty White predictably greets us. She’s a happy soul with a destructive nature, it’s exactly what you’d expect of a creature her age.
The entry hallway of our condo obscures the living area. As I round the corner I hope she hasn’t entertained herself by shredding important documents, crayon desecration, or artfully arranging my dirty underwear in front of the sofa.
My son darts ahead of me, at his age everything is a race. “I win! In yo’ face, Betty! This is MY HOUSE!!!” he giggles, pretending to stuff an imaginary basketball through a nonexistent hoop. He learned this celebratory taunt from me, I borrowed it from Charles Barkley.
Ms. White, completely unaware that there was a competition sits down on the floor. Her memory isn’t the best. She reacts with surprise, even though the same scenario plays out consistently. It’s not the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, I’m not ignoring the warning signs of deteriorating cognitive abilities. I’m also not holding a 90 year old Emmy winner captive in my home. Betty is our Shih Tzu puppy.
“Ewww! Underwear!” I was waiting for my sons reaction. It’s a daily thing. He’s disgusted by her hobbies. He doesn’t have Alzheimer’s either, he’s five. Words like underwear are hilarious to him. “Farty, fart, fart fart! You eat underwear!” he sings to the small ball of fluff as she wiggles with excitement. “What kind of dog is Betty, again?” he asks me…knowing full well what the answer is, but doing a pretty convincing job of feigning ignorance. “A Bull Mastiff,” I say, winking at him. “No she’s not, she’s a SHIT SUE!” He’s jumping up and down as he says this, I can’t tell if Grandma’s cookies are to blame for the burst of energy or he’s still ecstatic that he gets to yell the word “SHIT” without fear of punishment.
I grab my unmentionables and take them into my room. We got Betty from a friend in September when she was the size of a coffee cup, she isn’t much bigger than that now. My friend told me that the breed was used to guard the castles of ancient Asian royalty. Throwing my undies in the pile of dirty clothes in the corner, I laugh thinking about this. I try to piece together a scenario where a stealthy man dressed in black leaps over a wall. Carrying an arsenal of primitive weapons, he wanders through a bonsai garden without detection. Finally he reaches a house, as he scurries around a rice paper wall he slips on a puddle of freshly squeezed dog pee and a shredded piece of paper with important elementary school telephone contacts printed on it. Suddenly he hears a burp, his ankles are being licked aggressively. He retreats in fear, deterred by a small-bladdered mop with feet, and an underwear fetish. “Ninjas must not be the fearless warriors we assume they were. Pussies,” I mutter under my breath.
“Mommmmm-mmmmyyyyyyy! Betty is in my room! She’s got Sharky! She won’t let him go!” I hear the boy shout. Yeah, he’s telling on the dog. “You should learn to pick up your toys, buddy! Keep asking for a little sister”. I yell in response, amused by his exasperated tone.
“Betty is NOT my sister!” he declares. “Oh, but she acts like one. She’s doing exactly what a little sister would do. I should know, I am one.” Sharky is a plastic Great White. He was a purchase from the art museum gift shop and broke approximately 30 minutes after swiping my debit card. The boy only shows interest in him when he’s scheduled to be thrown away or he’s covered in dog spit.
“But, he was my present from the buseum. Remember? We got him when we went to see the shark exhibit and Larry Walmart?” he yelled from the carpet in his room. He was trying to elicit a fond memory so I would come to the rescue of Sharky. “Warhol, buddy. Andy Warhol,” I correct. ”Whatever,” he said.
I did remember our trip to the “buseum”. I told him we were going to do something fun, it backfired. “This isn’t fun, mom. Fun is getting dirty. This is boring”. I must have heard him say, “culture sucks” at least a hundred times that day.
Even his pint-sized protest could not persuade me to leave. I love art, someday I am determined to force him to love it too. The “Larry Walmart” exhibit was a collection of Warhol’s car paintings. Once we trudged through the shark exhibit, with the security guards laughing at my efforts to get the boy to appreciate the sculptures and paintings, I was certain my boy would change his tune.
“A BMW!!!!!” he chirped as we made our way up the stairs. “We should paint your car like that!!!” Admittedly, I considered it…but only for a minute. “No, I don’t think so,” I said guiding him to inspect the brightly painted German engineering. ”Mr. Warhol said that in the future everyone would be famous for fifteen minutes,” I thought imparting this pearl of wisdom would catch his interest. “He was wrong, mom. I’ve never heard of him,” ignoring me, he let go of my hand and tried to get a better look at the car. I held onto his shoulder, not because the museum was busy, but because I know my son.
“Don’t touch,” I ordered. “Mommy can’t afford to buy a damaged Warhol” He seemed to be okay with just staring at the colorful pieces on the wall. “This guy should paint sharks!” the boy declared. We spent quite a bit of time on the second floor, I was pleased that I’d tricked him into culture. We made our way towards the exit. like everything in Florida…Walt Disney’s marketing strategies leaked in. Gift shops materialize out of nowhere.
I was hoping to get out of there without dropping an ass-load of coin on a cheap plastic memento As I scanned the bins I noticed that there were no cars, I thought I was off the hook. My boy wasn’t interested in the art prints. “Success!” I thought. We wandered towards an elderly man in a navy blue sport coat. He smiled as he saw us coming, “It’s always nice to see a young person here”. The boy was suddenly shy, he whispered “I really liked the trucks,” as he pressed himself against my hip. “That’s great! Let me get you a coloring book!” the man said. He motioned for us to follow him. What seemed like an innocent act of generosity was actually a trap. The route to the coloring book lead us to another gift shop. This is where the toys were.
The boy thanked the man for the book. As soon as he was out of sight, I was handed free gift and my son was on the hunt for something…less free. He wandered through the merchandise, I stood near a shelf making sure he couldn’t escape and molest the artwork. As he shopped, I perused the pages of the coloring book. If you’re wondering what feeling an Andy Warhol themed children’s pamphlet gives you…the answer is creeped-out. The pages contained a cartoon Andy saying things like “Hey kids, this is art”. From what I know of Warhol, I don’t think he would ever have said that. My little art critic came bounding back with what, at that point, was the unnamed shark.
“You didn’t even like the sharks,” I said, as I saw the price. “No, but I want to paint it like the BMW. It’ll be cool.” It would be cool, I couldn’t argue with that. I paid for the shark without any more questions. I put the coloring book in the bag with the PVC creature from the deep. When we arrived home after our day of culture, Sharky had been named and Warhol had been forgotten. We took Betty out for a walk, she seemed to be hanging on the boys’ every word as he told her of his adventures at the museum. Clearly, she was enthralled. She came back in the house and promptly began eating his coloring book. I didn’t realize this until my son presented me with the pieces…stating “I guess his 15 minutes are up”.
“Brandy said she was praying to a book of matches or something,” he said in that slow, surfery Californian way. We were talking about Mary Ann. I wasn’t asking about her in gossipy, water cooler chatter way; I was concerned for her well-being. Up until a few weeks ago, Mary Ann ran the cafeteria in the Shipyard. Apparently, behind the smile and the friendly demeanor…Mary Ann was hiding something.
I’d seen her the day she allegedly started asking for forgiveness from the fire-making implements. She walked around the parking lot, with her arms raised towards the sky…mumbling something about God to herself. I didn’t really think much of it. Her boss is a dick; I thought maybe he’d insulted the Chicken Pot Pie or something, and she had stepped out for a breather. No, she was having a nervous breakdown.
Lucky her, it happened at work. Everyone got to watch as the cheese slid slowly off her crackers. Brandy had been given the assignment of running the cafeteria and making horribly transparent excuses for why Mary Ann was out. I found out today that she wasn’t coming back, I can’t say that I blame her. I wouldn’t want to come back either.
Everyone has their theories, like a giant game of Clue for the stupid and insensitive. “I think she’d been out with Mark, you know Mark? The chubby guy with the Mustang that the doors don’t open on…” I did know Mark. I also knew that the doors on his car didn’t open. It’s hard not to notice a 50 something year old man with plumbers crack, hoisting himself into a bucket of rust outside your office window…everyday. On rainy days I place a little wager with gravity, betting that his orthopedic sneakers would lose their grip on the peeling paint, and he’d take quite the tumble. He is strange, most boat Captains are. He’d been inviting me to Mexico to see his Yacht on a regular basis since mid October. I’m not special, he does this to all the young women. I’m also not going to Mexico to see his Yacht.
Mark’s being accused of taking the lunch lady out on the town and slipping her ‘shrooms. I don’t think this is true. Not because I don’t think Mark is capable of drugging someone without their consent or knowledge. Mostly, because the guy telling me this story is a moron. I had to stop him a few weeks ago from trapping and hugging a wild racoon. I don’t know why I felt the need to emphasize that the raccoon was not domesticated, there. It’s not like people have visions of throw pillows and carefully arranged furniture when you say the word “raccoon”.
I didn’t really want to talk about the wild and crazy personal life of Mary Ann. She was obviously under a great deal of stress and lacking the proper tools to deal with it. It doesn’t matter to me what caused it, it’s really none of my business. I was more or less asking because I thought she and the guy I was talking to are friendly. I guess I was wrong. He wasn’t speaking about her as if she was a friend. He was trying to distance himself from her, like the CDC recently released findings that insanity is spread mainly by droplets made when people with it cough, sneeze or talk. I found his behavior to be, for lack of a better term, shitty.
But, I guess human nature is shitty. Hell, it’s not just human nature…it’s nature in general. The British guy that does the voice overs on the nature shows where animals eat each other; you know, “As night falls on the Serengeti plain…”? He always points out that, “the weakest members of the herd are stalked by the hungry Cheetah”. For all I know, racoons surreptitiously plot against the members of their um…(flock? gaggle? pride? Forgive me, I never learned the proper term for a group of raccoons. You never did either, so don’t try and get all intellectual on me ) for not having the best paw/eye coordination.
We naturally distance ourselves from people with ailments that we don’t understand. I guess we’re afraid or deep down inside we’re assholes.
“Hmm…that’s new,” I mused as I sat at my computer. I’ve had that reaction a lot in the last few months. My body is always giving me subtle clues that it is reaching it’s breaking point. My palms now start to sweat whenever I walk into the office. Briefly, I wonder if it’s because I changed antiperspirants, and the fluids that used to seep out from under my arms are now draining down to my palms. I decide my hypothesis is stupid…before I ask Dr. Google, I click on my astrological sign for a little pick-me-up.
I’ve taken up reading my horoscope, I know they’re just broad, sweeping generalizations written by people gifted at making broad, sweeping generalizations…but they kinda make me feel like someone knows what in the hell is going on. Today is a 5. Something is going to change by the end of December that will remind me that I am special and good things will start happening for me. Sounds like today is closer to 6 territory to me. I should ask Jodie about this one. Jodie is my neighbor, she’s in her 60’s and she’s insane. In her spare time she’s an internet psychic and doting mother figure. She likes me, she always has.
I usually run into her in the parking lot, when I’m already late for something. She’s the kind of person you don’t mind making yourself late for; she always has the building gossip and offers to read my tarot cards or do my astrology chart. Jodie used to manage an art gallery, but after some soul-searching she decided she’d missed her calling in life. Some people never find their calling. Jodie decided her time was best spent in front of her computer in her pajamas, with her dog, keeping people from killing themselves by replacing the death card with something less…deathy. Occasionally, she will stop me to tell me my Aura is cloudy and it needs cleansing. Having never seen my Aura, I wouldn’t have any idea what cleaning agent I would use for that…Woolite, maybe? I hope its not too neglected, my mother would be mortified.
Jodie is the first person to tell you that Astrology is a bunch of shit. She says that a lot actually. That, and “Anyone could be a psychic if they were just more aware”. On the surface there’s really very little difference between a psychic and a therapist, except the wardrobe. Jodie always sparkles, my therapist is decidedly less shiny. I wish I’d known her when I was in High School, when my best friend’s mother sold all of her earthly possessions and moved to Arizona. Her um, her…psychic…suggested it might be a good idea. It wasn’t. Arizona turned out to be a very bad idea.
I don’t know exactly what happened out there in the Painted Desert, but I know she was back a few months later, renting a room in a trailer, and looking for a decent used toaster. We made several trips to Goodwill. I learned a valuable lesson from this: if you find a good toaster and you let it go, it won’t come back to you. Sometimes the all knowing take advantage of the vulnerable. Jodie isn’t a predator, she doesn’t make potions or own a crystal ball. She doesn’t communicate with the spirit world. For 15 cents a minute she will gladly listen to your problems, but she’d probably do that for free. She makes a killing, even when the economy is bad.
People always want to know what’s next, except me. I’m not ready for a change, nor am I ready for things to be better. I just got used to the way things are. If things had to change…I’d like people to stop monitoring my weight. I’m not going to eat any more or any less just because you’re watching. I’m thin, I know…it’s not on purpose. I even have a new nickname that I don’t answer to. I’m “Skinny Bitch”…yes, it’s a pleasure to meet you, too.
It bothers me when my weight is the topic of conversation. It often is, because my office is in a shipyard now. Behind the gates and the security guards there’s a lot of testosterone, spitting, and scratching of private parts. Men often gossip more than women, or they’re more open about the fact that they’re talking about you. In here there’s no shortage of sweaty men dressed alike in blue work uniforms, with their names embroidered on their chests. If I walked out into the parking lot right now and yelled “Mike,” there’s a good chance seven dudes will turn around and wave.
It really doesn’t matter what their shirts say. I have my own names for all of them. “Pervy golf cart guy” is my favorite. He must’ve just been released from prison. He tends to aim whatever small, recreational vehicle he’s driving at the nearest set of ovaries and forget where he’s going. I’ve seen him jump a curb at 15 mph to get a glimpse of what he thought was a good-looking woman. It turns out it was just some European guy in short shorts. But, there’s also “Captain Crotchface,” he’s older and works out quite a bit. It’s obvious from his physique, and the fact that all of his stories start out with, “So, I was at the gym…”
I call him Captain Crotchface because he can only communicate while standing with his right leg propped up on something about a foot higher than ground level, his elbow resting on his knee, and his crotch uncomfortably pointed towards my face. He offers unsolicited exercise advice and dating tips. “A man likes a woman with a little meat on her bones,” he’ll say as he watches me skip over the open faced Reuben Sandwich, and grab a something green-and-not-covered-in-cheese from the refrigerator in our cafeteria. This almost always reinforces my choice.
He habitually approaches me from behind, gives me a little poke in the ribs (which I hate, by the way) and snorts “Dang (yes…dang) girl, git ya something to eat, you’re skinandbones,”. He did this to me at a recent company event. It triggered a nearby, slightly familiar looking woman to approach me and talk about dieting. I don’t know who she was, but she clearly remembered me. It made me wonder why no one ever walks up to the chunky broad at the holiday party and says, “Oh my GOD! How are you?? Man, YOU LOOK SO HUGE! What size are you now? How did you GAIN ALL THIS WEIGHT? Tell me, I have to know your secret! Honey! Honey?….Look at her! Isn’t she just ENORMOUS?” …it’s never going to happen, no matter how interesting it would make the festivities. On top of not being remotely polite, it would hurt someone’s feelings. Unless you’re a giant asshole, you would probably agree that you don’t go out of your way to offend people. But remember this, just because a chick has a big ass doesn’t mean she has more feelings per square inch…it doesn’t even mean she has more nerve endings per square inch…it means she likes Twinkies or has a medical condition. You wouldn’t offer to get her a diet soda or slip her the number to your endocrinologist…so why would you think it’d be ok to warn about the dangers of bulimia and point me to the dessert bar?
I’m a size 0, and extra-small, if you will. A hanger with a head. It has it’s benefits. There’s still things left on the sale rack in my size, after the sale has been going on for 6 days. I don’t have to say, “excuse me,” much, as I can usually squeeze through whatever opening is readily available. I can say “I don’t have an eating disorder,” in four languages. And, no one is surprised when I order a salad as an entree. It has it’s drawbacks, too. My son often complains that I’m not comfortable when he tries to snuggle. Hip bones cannot be fluffed, no matter how hard you try. Additionally, it’s hard to figure out just how drunk I may get, if I have one too many. Oh, and I’m my own traveling Carnival side-show. I can hear strangers trying to guess my weight as I stand in front of them in line. You aren’t in a soundproof box, folks. Just because you turn your head and slyly cover your lips, it doesn’t make you any less audible.
I forget that I’m smaller than I was, until laundry day…when I notice that I’ve removed all of my jeans without unbuttoning them. It’s like a magic trick, for the very lazy. My friends, some of them have admitted to being jealous…but only slightly. They battle to keep the extra pounds away, and I bitch about shrinking body mass, arid armpits, and sweaty palms. It makes for a delightful conversation. But, at very least, it keeps the stories about Pervy golf cart guy and the Captain to a minimum.
Behind me, the noise of daily life…the coffee table which doubles as a race track, the kitchen sink that I could swear was empty a few minutes ago, and is now full of dishes…and the laundry, don’t forget the laundry. It all dissolves as I close the sliding glass door. “I should really scrub that wall,” I said out loud as I sipped my coffee. Abruptly, I corrected myself, “Who in the hell am I kidding? I’m not scrubbing shit. You wall, can stay dirty.” Yes, I was talking to the wall and no, I’m not the least bit worried about it. I did what every good mother does when she sees something that needs to be cleaned, I looked somewhere else.
I focused my attention on the nature preserve behind my apartment. It was this view that sold me on the place. The inside might have looked like a 1970’s porn movie set, alright, it definitely looked like a porn set, but it didn’t matter. There is no hint of civilization from this angle, not one glimpse of parking lot or swimming pool, just trees and big fucking spiders. The spiders and I have an agreement, as long as they stay on the other side of the screen- I won’t kill them. For a few seconds I was lost in the gentle motion of the branches swaying in the breeze and the chatter of the squirrels. This feeling was fleeting…chaos is now old enough to open the door. ”Look, those little bastards ate all the Cheerios,” came wafting over my shoulder. I had company, an invasion of the short, car enthusiast variety. He and my boyfriend had set out some cereal for the squirrels a few days earlier. He was right, the little bastards did eat the Cheerios. It’s hard to get mad at him when he uses the words in the right context. He knows he’s not supposed to say things like this, but he also knows that he’s not supposed to run around screaming without his pants on and a bucket on his head…so…there’s that.
I woke up in a particularly shitty mood, it wasn’t getting any better. My next door neighbors have three children under the age of five, this alone makes me question their sanity. Kids are loud, it’s what they do. I understand and accept this. The neighbors and their children were involved in their regular early morning stampede, on a good day I can sleep right through this. Saturday was apparently not a good day. The pitter patter of little feet coming through the walls of my master bedroom had awoken me…and I was pissed. All I wanted to do was sleep past 7-fucking-30. That’s it. I wasn’t looking for a unicorn to bring me a breakfast of fresh fruit, bagels and neatly folded twenty dollar bills. I just wanted to sleep in. It was too much to ask. I tried the ol’ pillow over the ear trick, but there was no muting the little curmudgeons or their disagreement. I have no idea what the argument was about, it was in Spanish. Everything said in Spanish around me before 8 a.m. sounds like someone is asking for directions to the library, or whatever incredibly useful phrases I learned in my 10th grade Spanish class. “Juan es muy guapo,” I mumbled, to keep myself from wishing them dead out loud. If I can hear them, they can hear me. They’re actually nice folks, I don’t really want them dead…I just want them quiet.
I had the usual weekend errands to run, I wanted to get them out of the way early so I wasn’t scrambling on Sunday night to get prepared for the week. I should have been thanking them for rousing me, but “thank” is not the term I was putting in front of the word “you” at that particular moment. I know planning is the responsible thing to do, but I sometimes resent it. I am aware that there’s really no way around it once you breed. I held out for a long time, I was the anti-planner. I guess I assumed that it was the gateway behavior to chin length haircuts, book clubs, minivans, and checking to see if my son’s pants were roomy enough in the crotch…in public.
Instead of openly embracing the morning and scooting over to the grocery store, I went out on the balcony to brood. “My son is down there with his shotgun. He’s driving his black Dodge Ram and shooting bears. See?” the boy said, trying to get me to peer over the side of the building and down towards the ground. I looked, there weren’t any bears, trucks, or guns. Yes, I am a grandmother and sometimes, depending on the mood, a great-grandmother. I don’t know exactly when this happened. Chronologically speaking, if you ask my son, my grandson and great-grandson were born in 2006. This is puzzling to me, since I vividly remember the day in 2007 when my son entered the world. “My son Jack is six and his son Schmootchu is six, too,” the boy will tell you if you ask him…and also, if you don’t. Even though they are imaginary, we talk about them all the time. He’ll even whip out his fake cell phone and show me pictures of them, while bragging about their accomplishments. Jack has quite a few trucks, he’ll rattle off a list of the vehicles Jack owns on the way to wherever we’re going. I’m not sure where he gets the money, I think he might be into something illegal. I never ask, though.
Apparently there is no Department of Imaginary Children and Families to keep them from driving motor vehicles or using firearms without a permit. The boy claims that his son Jack was named after his grandfather on his mother’s side. I happen to know that my father’s name is not and has never been Jack. Infact, no one on my side of the family is named Jack…or John…or Robert…or Roberto…or…Jacktholomew. His grandson’s name “was found on babynames.com,” just in case you were wondering. No, I don’t know where he comes up with this stuff either. He’s too young to being ingesting acid, so this must just be the way his little brain works. The mothers aren’t in the picture, they have been forbidden from any contact with their figmental offspring because I am told, “girls are stupid, except for you, Mom.” Can’t argue with that.
The other day, while I was cooking dinner the boy announced that Schmootchu was no longer with us. I was secretly pretty happy about that, because saying the name Schmootchu in public just makes me feel like an asshole. I prepared myself for a conversation about imaginary death and feelings. I was relieved when I didn’t have to go into that, though. My son went on to say that Jack sold his beloved Schmootchu to buy a new truck. Mystery solved, Jack makes his money in human trafficking. After the laughing stopped, the boyfriend tried to explain that you’re not supposed to sell your children. Although the boy said he understood, I’m not sure that he did. I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a note coming home from school asking me to speak to my son and inform him that the correct term for a squirrel is not “little bastard,” and it is in poor form to pedal his classmates for material goods. I can’t wait. At least Schmootchu is gone, for now.