I was there, at my mother’s house, not at all enjoying my spring break, tending to her after her knee replacement surgery, when I discovered she’d been lying to me to get me up there.
Her cats had tapeworms again. After I had taken them to the vet in January, two months before. This was one of the few things I told her I needed her to do for me to come up there. I just needed her to treat them for fleas consistently so I could be in her house without parasites. She said she would
I felt manipulated. Used.
At this point, I don’t trust her anymore. She’ll do whatever she feels she has to and will say whatever she feels she has to in order to get whatever she wants. My needs, comfort, health and safety don’t matter.
That’s not at all to speak of her cats’ health. I asked a couple of people if I should get them treated again and they told me the same thing: if you treated them two months ago, and they’re sick again, they’ll just keep getting infected. There’s nothing you can do for them.
Unfortunately, I think they’re right.
Then I came back here and tried to get work done. I didn’t get anything done up there. Yes, poor me! I have the privilege of being one of the elite few in the world who can earn an advanced degree full-time. I have no illusions about where I am in the world. This is the top, really. I have clean water, a safe place to lay my head, an automobile–this is great. I do get anxiety, though. I’m behind in my work.
And I churned out a book for a contest just now. I’m proud of it, and proud of myself. It’s good work. Poems. No one would read it except for my boyfriend. They’re too depressing. Everyone said to send them some, but they didn’t really want to read them because they’re too down. I understand; they’re all about death. That’s not something people really want to read.
My habit has been to wait for the muse to come to me and then work off of inspiration, and I didn’t do that this time. I just worked through the time I had allotted. There was only so much time, so that’s the amount of time I had to work on it. It’s still work I’m proud of. This means I can do this always–it’s a new skill for me. I feel like I should have had this sooner (I’ve been writing for twenty years! I should be here by now!), but I’m at where I’m at and it’s here.
I also feel bad today because I set a boundary that was the right thing for me, but I don’t think the other person saw it that way. I can justify and explain and make a case to you, but I don’t have to. I know what was the right thing for me to do. I can’t hurt myself today because that’s what I think other people want and need. I have to put my own oxygen mask on first. Besides, I don’t know what they need! I’ve never been that good at figuring that out. I destroyed my own life and showed up somewhere with a shoebox full of most of the pieces and needed help putting them together. What do I know from life coaching?
Boundaries are tough, y’all. But living without them? Way fucking worse. You can take that to the motherfucking bank.
I’m not sure when my friends and I became the cliché of new Berkeley. But we did.
I’m getting ahead of myself.
I had breakfast with Sparrow and Miss DeLoop the other day. Brunch, I guess, since they got eggs and I got carnitas. It was noon. We had planned on eleven, but then Benjamin Franklin et al. got all up in our shit and messed up our morning with some Daylight Savings bullshit. And then we couldn’t reach Zorro Smitty. (Yes, these are my noms de guerre for my friends.) He was off the grid. This shit doesn’t happen in the Age of the Cell; it used to happen all the time when we first met. Remember? When your friend wasn’t home and wasn’t at the spot and for all you knew they were being probed by the Alien Head from 1995? But these days it’s disconcerting. Someone could be trapped under something heavy. Someone could be having a stroke.
Anyways, it turned out that Zorro Smitty had a callback for an audition, so hooray for him–for us all, really! He got the part, too, but we didn’t find that out until later. Zorro Smitty is a star! And I am a star fucker, so I’m keeping my wagon platonically hitched to that boy. I would anyways, but star fucker is so fun to say.
Sparrow is the one with a real job, a real grown up job that had sent her to Europe recently. She’d even gotten to go to a fancy tech party with bands and shit. It turns out traveling to other continents on business isn’t glamorous–this is what everyone has told me–because the time difference fucks your shit up so badly you can’t get right in a day or so for meetings. You don’t have fun. You just try and get your sleep right and feel out of it.
I am the old ass obligatory graduate student of the bunch. I’ve had three real, grown-up jobs in the past. But now, I am the one who regales them with tales out of school. I have two professors who I think might be sorceresses. I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw a magic throwdown between them one day. I think the one would have a raven as a familiar, the other an iguana. No clear winners as far as I can tell.
(Also, students take note: red light + theremin + animal costume = bad performance art. I’m just saying. That’s right up there with yarn in a tree. That’s art school 101. What, are you going to write “whore” all over yourself with red lipstick and jump up and down in a cheerleader outfit next? Step up your game, people. Maybe then people will want to attend your “happenings” instead of walking by your forlorn sad little venue.)
I got to the restaurant first, then saw Miss DeLoop. She was still covered in body glitter. Her back is doing better, so she was able to do a show for the first time in a long time last night. She’s a trapeze and aerial artist, not a stripper. [Do folks ask you that, Miss DeLoop?] The show was for a birthday party that must have cost as much as a really, really, really fancy wedding. As much as a really, really nice car. With options. I still think spending that much money at one time is like a potlatch, but not the productive kind, the kind where all this shit is amassed and destroyed. You could feed a bunch of little kids. Find someone in anxiety over their cancer payments or something. But I guess you gotta spend money to light money on fire or something.
And then Miss DeLoop dropped a bomb on us.
“And I got humped by a lemur!”
Pics or it didn’t happen.
–She showed me the motherfucking pics. Of a lemur on her shoulders with his little gleaming demon eyes. Sexual demon eyes.
“He crawled up my back, and he liked my fuzzy coat. And his trainer was all, ‘Uh, no Taj. Stop, Taj. Taj. Bad, Taj. No. Taj.”
She said it was scary. I can’t stop laughing even now.
Miss DeLoop, please send me the pic. I think we’d all like to see it.
I imagine it went a lot like this:
I don’t try to hide my shadow-side nature. I don’t see why I should. I don’t care for most people. I think most people are a waste of most people’s time, and I’m surprised that other people don’t see things this way. Do you want to meet most people there are in the world? I don’t think you do. I don’t think most people do. I have a friend who is very friendly, even though he doesn’t want to make friends with everyone. It’s the only way that he can curb what he feels is his true misanthropic nature and keep it from taking over. I think he’s really a nice person, though. Problem is, people want to be his friend, and he doesn’t want them in his inner circle. Content to have them as friendly acquaintances. I head ’em off at the pass by not being friendly. Pleasant, yes, but I am closed. We’re both hard to get to know, but everyone can tell that about me. You can’t tell that about him.
Please Seer, can I have some more?
I have been friends with the Shadow Fairy for nearly thirteen years now. We’ve been through a lot. Hospitalizations, weddings, deaths, divorces, people running away to other states (there have been at least three people we have had in common who have done this on us)–a lot of drama. We’re getting less and less drama. We’re learning to choose better. (Most of the time.)
Please Seer, can I have some more?
So remember the other day I was all buttsore about how no one was helping me and I was drowning in moving? How dare my friends be out-of-town and taking care of their children and at the doctor? The nerve! Nobody loves me! Pass the Tapatio and a bib for my worms, please.
Okay, so that’s moot now. Everything’s fine and I was trippin. The end.
No, I’m just kidding. Why say a little when I can say a lot?
I have had the, um, experience of living with my mother as an adult. I was in my early twenties at the time. First when I dropped out of college, then when I dropped out of college again. (I proceeded to drop out of community college and to drop out of college one more time while I was living in her house. I am an overachiever at underachieving.)
So someone else is dead. Her name was Amy Winehouse. She was a famous person. She sang songs and served as a punchline and an object of fascination for a long time for a lot of people. I’m sure she’ll continue to be a punchline even though she’s dead now. A lot of people have compassion for her because they believed she was talented, and some have no compassion because she liked drugs and didn’t stop using them despite the overwhelming evidence that drugs were problematic for her lifestyle.
Lots of people like drugs and don’t stop using them despite lifestyle problems. I did tell you my friend Skeptic died last year, I told you about it often, but did I tell you how he died? The fire, but exactly how? I’ll tell you after the jump. It’s gnarly.
I can handle it.