May 3, Houston: The big one -- the Inprint reading -- occurs at the Alley Theatre on Monday, May 3. Do not miss it or you'll be sorry. I'm not kidding -- I'm going to say the craziest, most intellectual yet hilarious stuff I can think of, and I'll be sharing the stage with the ultra sexy Oscar Casares, too.
June 24, Houston: I'm one of the peeps scheduled to read at Poison Pen, at Houston's famous Poison Girl bar. Besides me, everyone there will be ultra, *super* sexy. Come see me and drink!
June 26, Washington, DC: I'll be reading at the American Library Association conference. Come on down.
My other blog: Go read my the Houston Chronicle parenting blog (or my ChronMomBlog, as I like to call it) and make sure my kids won't resent me more than other kids resent their own parents.
Buy my new novel, Lone Star Legend. Already did? Well, buy a few more for your friends, then. :)
Wednesday, May 30, 2007I thought of this one all by myself.
LOL Avian Flu.
Labels: photos8:49 AM # (3) comments
Friday, May 25, 2007This is my week to come clean, apparently.subtitled The Asperger's Post
When stressful things occur in my life, I like to take a week or month or year to process them before discussing them with anyone else. I think it's a superstitious thing -- I can't risk having things "jinxed" while they're still freshly occurring. Or else maybe they're like paint -- not safe to touch when freshly applied.
Hence, I'm just now telling y'all about stuff that's been on my mind for months now. I think it's a good sign that I can talk about these things on the blog now. It means I have them a little more under control. That said, I'm gonna talk briefly about one of my kids now, and what's been going on with us.
My middle son, now 12, was recently diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, which basically means "touch of autism." This didn't come as a big surprise to me, because I noticed shortly after his birth that he had some autistic-esque symptoms. I'd never bothered to have him formally diagnosed, however, because he's very bright and had managed to get along well enough through his younger years.
Until now. Now, in middle school, he's been having a lot of problems. Or, maybe I should say that people around him have been having problems with his behavior. At first I defensively blamed our new school district, branding their staff as intolerant, but it was bound to happen, I suppose. In elementary school, everyone was used to Dallas's slightly un-typical ways. No matter what middle school he went to, I suppose it was inevitable that people would notice and react to his differences in a bigger way.
So, we started the formal diagnosis process back in November or December. I was really, really reluctant to have my child labeled, but by then, it had become the lesser of two evils. My son's behavior was being misconstrued in a way that affected his grades.
Common Misconceptions Surrounding People with Aspergers
1. People with Aspergers often find it uncomfortable to make or maintain eye contact. That discomfort can be misconstrued as disinterest or disrespect.
2. People with Aspergers often cope best with situations in which the rules and expectations are logical and clearly explained. Questions about rules can be misconstrued as disrespect for authority.
3. People with Aspergers, although often extremely intelligent, sometimes cope with stress by doing things that "typical" people don't. Like verbal tics. Or repetitive movement (rocking, hand flapping). Or focusing on inanimate objects. Or seemingly disengaging mentally.
Add to that the fact that people with Aspergers are frustrated by things that don't necessarily frustrate neurotypical people. Like certain noises, or prolonged eye contact, or seemingly illogical occurrences, or flickering lights, or being touched on the head, or being touched at all. So... someone reacting atypically to something a neurotypical teacher would not find stressful can be misconstrued as willfull misbehavior. Or horseplay. Or constant lollygagging. Or disrespect. Or mental retardation. Or Tourette's. Or a condition that, although unidentified, would surely be improved by a little Ritalin. Or stupidity. Or simply something "weird," that needs no investigation or empathy, but only for this weird kid to be removed from your class. From your sight. From your mind.
4. People with Aspergers don't learn social skills in the same way that neurotypical people do. Whereas most people make eye contact with their mothers and caregivers instinctively, from birth, people with Aspergers might not make eye contact unless they are explicit told to do so on a regular basis. And, even then, they might not make it "correctly." Whereas you or I might grow up with a general instinct about eye contact -- when it's appropriate and when it's creepy -- a person with Aspergers might need to have every detail of that knowledge explained.
And how do you explain knowledge you were born with, or knowledge you picked up on instinctively? If a person can't make sense of the rules of eye contact, the first building block of social interaction, on his own, how will he make sense of the intricacies of small talk, or making friends, or finding romance? Will he be able to detect dishonesty, insincerity, or malice? If people are threatening him, bullying him, taking advantage of him?
(The answer to that last: Maybe he will learn these things if he concentrates very, very hard on understanding them. Like Mr. Spock struggling to understand Captain Kirk and Dr. Bones. Or maybe he will learn these things if he's taught them by very patient, very empathetic people.)
Back to my story... the story of an overly stoic mom...
So, like I said, I feared having my son formally labeled. Why bother, I thought, when he gets along just fine at school? And when there's no cure for Aspergers or autism, anyway? What's the point? Why go through the hassle? Let him keep passing as a neurotypical person.
I wasn't in denial, exactly, but I do admit that the idea of identifying my child as "disabled" had some strong conotations for me, personally. For instance: I was raised to believe that going to the doctor is only for emergencies. That asking for help is only for emergencies. That highlighting one's own differences is at best a cry for attention and, at worst, a cry for pity.
I would take care of it by myself, I decided. I researched and read everything I could. I coached Dallas on my own. I talked to his teachers frequently and diplomatically and smoothed over the few incidents that occurred. (It helped that his teachers, on the whole, were very empathetic people. For that I thank God.)
Y'all might remember that I was very disappointed last year when Dallas didn't get into any of the middle schools that we applied for. I'd had my heart set on staying in Houston's Inner Loop, but it seemed apparent that the Inner Loop had its heart set on ejecting us and replacing us with someone richer.
Y'all might remember that I was equal parts happy and apprehensive about buying a house in the suburbs. Although people have been thriving in the suburbs since caveman times, almost, it was new and alien to me, and I feared massive culture clash and change.
So now we live in the neighborhood that I will call Farfield, and my kids go to school in Farfield ISD. And, as I mentioned above, people at Dallas's new school noticed right off the bat that he was not typical. And, so, it came to pass that diagnosing his atypical-ness was what I had to do, if I wanted it construed as what it was, and not as disrespect, retardation, stupidity, or a disability requiring medication.
And now that that's all been done, I'm glad. Farfield ISD turns out to have some extremely awesome, competent educational professionals. And they have what promises to be an awesome program to help kids with Aspergers learn the things that they can't learn instinctively.
So, in a hokey, superstitious way, I've come to believe that the circumstances that led us there did not take place by chance. Inner Loop gentrification and housing inflation, Dallas's bad middle school application luck, our apartment's sudden rat infestation -- it all led to Dallas traveling to a place where he'd get help.
Which is good, because people need all the help they can get, I realize. Even me.
This is going up unedited now. More on this later. Much more, way later. Thanks for reading, y'all. 6:09 AM # (28) comments
Wednesday, May 23, 2007Things to Which I'm Looking Forward
1. Going to the beach with my kids and my friends. This weekend, if it doesn't rain.
2. Vicariously, the kids' last day of school. It's tomorrow. Although my boyfriend and I are bitterly envious of them and wish we could have a summer vacation, too, I can be very happy for them at the same time. Yay, summer.
3. Getting home tonight and watching more Battlestar Galacticas (with my kids, who make the funniest observations about the show).
4. Losing enough weight so that my new slate-blue blouse looks very pretty instead of just cute. Should be a week or two, now that the ball is rolling.
5. My next two books coming out in spring of 2008.
6. Spending time with my boyfriend, alone, next weekend. Maybe going with him to our fave teahouse in the afternoon, and then playing some cards.
7. The next Harry Potter book, because I'm a nerd. The next Harry Potter movie, because I'm kind of a complete dork, in case the BSG item didn't already tell you that.
8. The next time I travel. Don't know when it will be, but I am very much looking forward to it.
Things I Always Want to Do, but Don't
1. Go to a farmers' market. Last one I went to was in Rice Village (frou-frou shopping center), more than a year ago, and it was unsatisfying. But I know there are better farmers' markets in town. I even know where they are - - I just have to get off my butt and go to one. I guess I don't because no one I know cares about farmers' markets, and I don't like to do things alone?
2. Go roller skating. In a rink, or on the street, I don't care. Long, long-time readers may remember that I bought men's rollerskates -- black and fluorescent green low-tops -- from Academy a long time ago, then used them on the sidewalk in front of the double-wide trailer where I used to live. But I don't know what happened to those skates after I left that house. I think I might have sold them. Anyway, I want to skate again, in a better venue. With high top, pink and white, vinyl ladies' skates. And pom-pom laces.
3. Go to the zoo. With my friend Ashley. For a long time. And look at every single animal. (Every time I go to the zoo with my kids and/or boyfriend, they complain and make me go home without seeing everything.)
4. Goddammit, I want to go to an amusement park and ride the rides. Dammit! And not alone. Now that Houston's Astroworld has closed down, that won't be as easy. But I'll do it some day, dammit. You hear me, people? I'm not playing around.
Things I Always Buy but Never Use
1. Coloring books with pictures of historical costumes.
2. Liquid eyeliner in metallic colors.
3. Cross-stitch patterns for samplers and fruits.
4. Crochet patterns for Barbie outfits.
5. Cookbooks about canning and pickling.
5. San-x stationery.
6. Knee-high socks.
I think this means that my secret inner gay man, my secret inner Midwestern housewife, and my secret inner Japanese school girl are fighting to take over my soul.
Use this for a meme if you want. 12:04 PM # (3) comments
Monday, May 21, 2007Dead Bird O Rama
Lately there are more and more dead birds on the plaza around our office building. Last time I walked through the glass-encased walkway, there were three. A couple of weeks ago there was one wedged into one of the benches where the smokers hang out. They usually end up in weird positions. Upside-down and twisted, feathers still bright. It makes me sad. I went online to see if there was something strange going on. But no... a single skyscraper causes the deaths of 200 birds per day, I read.
The other day I was in my mini-van listening to the radio, and a local news station's daily terror-mongering teaser was on. Every day they tell us something new and horrible that we have to tune in at 5 PM to get the details on.
I live in Houston, Texas. As some of you know, a lot of Hurricane Katrina evacuees moved here a couple of years ago. As I mentioned at the time, some Houston residents were bitter about that. So, of course, the local media jumped on that, and they've been jumping on it ever since.
So I'm listening to the radio the other day, and the local news station runs this promo that can be paraphrased like so:
[Ominous music.] Your tax dollars... WASTED. Two years ago, Houston took in New Orlean's poorest citizens when they needed help. Some say they've repaid us with crime, violence, and LEECHING THE SYSTEM. Last week Hurricane Katrina victims left FEMA trailers in shambles. Furniture was stolen and rooms were FILLED WITH HUMAN WASTE. Tonight! On Watchdog TerrorAlert HateMonger News!
I heard all that and thought, "Man, that's kind of cold."
Then, immediately after, kooky, carefree Zydeco music flows from my stereo. It's another commercial, in which a Cajun-esque voice invites me to come on down to New Orleans and enjoy the (newly restored) atmosphere for which it's famous.
Hmm. I bet that if the people who paid for that ad heard the one that immediately preceded it, they wished for a refund.
Meanwhile, they prevailing belief among my set is that all the rich people in New Orleans are probably happy that all their poor people are gone now. They're gone, and they can't afford to come back.
I don't regret that Houston spent money on and made space for the evacuees that we took in. It was the right thing to do, and I'm proud that my hometown did it. However, I think rich people from New Orleans should consider visitng us and spending some tourism money here, instead of the other way around.
Or, you know--someone should plan the commercials better, at the very least.
Big, Wrinkled, Teenaged Girls
I hate it when supposed adults act like immature children. Especially when those adults are older than me. It makes me uncomfortable, and makes me embarrassed for them. Especially when their immature behavior takes place in a professional setting.
No specific story behind this--just a general weariness.
Big, Mean, Passive-Aggressive Public Service Announcement (Because, Apparently, That's the Kind of Person I Am)
If you've semi-recently stopped being my friend (maybe because I told you I didn't want to hang out with you anymore), then please, please, please don't email me. Don't leave me voicemails, and don't write about me on your blog. Or, if you do choose to write about me on your blog, don't take my reading it as a sign that I "can't let go," or that I want to have contact with you. I'm a human being. It's human nature to be unable to resist reading blogs about oneself. Especially when the entries are completely deluded and disjointed from reality. You may check your referrer logs and see that I've been reading, yes. But it doesn't mean I'm obsessed with you. It mostly means that I'm trying to gauge how psycho you're likely to become.
I know that posting this here is passive-aggressive. Why post this for everyone to see and wonder about, instead of just telling the offender directly?
Because I don't want to talk to her. Because I know she's dying for me to talk to her. Hence the constant crazy blog entries, then contradictory, fake-friendly phone calls and emails. I've been through this before and know the routine. She will say or do whatever she can to make me speak to her, and then she'll twist whatever I say into something bizarre that she wants to believe. Actually, in fact, I'm pretty sure that if the psycho is reading this right now, she doesn't even think it's about her. That's how deluded she is.
So let me start again. New open letter: If you are the friend or spouse of someone who stopped being my friend, but who won't stop talking about me, then please, please exert all your influence to keep her from contacting me anymore. Take everything she's told you about me for the last five months, and apply your common sense to it. When she tells you that I used to like her very much, but something mysterious made me stop liking her, know that it was her creepy behavior. When she tells you that I'm a horrible, passive-aggressive, cowardly person because I "made lame excuses" for not wanting to hang out with her anymore, know that I tried to get away from her as politely as I could, with as few of her angry outbursts and veiled suicide threats as possible. When she tells you that I'm obviously disturbed, and that I "just can't let go," go back and read her blog entries about me from the last five months. And then check her cell phone records to see how often she's called me since she first told everyone I was a crazy, mean bitch... even though I never call her. And then check her email and see that she emailed me just the other day, as if we were friends. As if she hadn't spent the last five months publicly disparaging me and thanking God that she's on antidepressants that help her cope with my evil, hateful behavior.
I've been waiting for this to be over for five freaking months now. That's longer than our friendship lasted. How long do I have to wait?
Please, I'm begging you--tell her to leave me alone. If you can't make her stop doing this--to me and probably to every friend she's ever had--and if you can't make her go to counseling, then please, at least make her stop emailing me. Whatever else you may think I deserve, I don't deserve this. I don't like constantly wondering, in the back of my mind, what she's going to do next. I don't like being unable to go places where she lives/works/eats without worrying at least a little that she'll turn up and do something strange.
All I want is to be left alone. In exchange, I will continue not to tell mutual associates what your friend/spouse has been doing, and how effing crazy she is. Thank you. 5:58 AM # (13) comments
Friday, May 18, 2007Ghost Issues
Every year of my life, I try to work on my issues and improve myself as much as possible. This year, I'm working on two main things: Eradicating all passive-aggresiveness from my life (not practicing it, not tolerating it from others), and the ghost-issue of control.
I say ghost issue because it's not something that ever really happens, just something I irrationally fear. Like, for instance, here's a fictional example, okay? Let's say I'm fat, and I want to lose weight, because I want to wear nicer clothes for cheap, all right? And let's say that I'm reasonably intelligent and experienced in these matters, so I know how to lose weight. I've done it before.
But, at the same time, I'm afraid. Maybe every time I try to indulge in a fantasy about weight loss, my mind derails and takes me back to a time when I was thin, and someone hated me for it. Very vividly, instead of being able to think of a dress on clearance at Target, my mind calls up a woman who went to my church twenty years ago, who said to me, in front of the priest and everyone, "But I guess with that cute little figure of yours, you don't have to be smart."
Or it calls up the sensation of a man on the bus, twenty-two years ago, who purposely rubbed against me on the way to his seat. Or it calls up something disgustingly inappropriate that I heard someone say to a thin woman just the other day. Or the completely fictional idea of being raped.
And... this is not a real issue. Because, hello--people say rude things around me all the time, whether I'm fat, thin, purple, or green. There are haters and perverts everywhere, and they victimize whoever they can, no matter what. So why should their opinions matter more if I'm thin?
I have an irrational feeling that my control over my own body extends inversely to the minds of the people around me. As if losing ten pounds will make ten more people try to break my boundaries, and therefore force me to be ten percent more vigilant, or ten percent more afraid. I know it's irrational, especially to people who know me in real life and know that I'm way too much of a bitch-face to get sexually harassed very often. But I still feel this irrational feeling, hypothetically, and therefore I have to work through it.
I try to explain it to my friends, and I'm not sure that they understand. One friend does, actually. She says it's probably PTSD. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as we all know, can be worked through. All you have to do is identify irrational thoughts, and then rethink them. Like this:
"A lot of people are assholes, but that's no reason to let assholes affect your decisions on what to do with your life."
(Even the hypothetical not-rude, not-offensive behavior starts to upset me. Just thinking about the fact that when I'm thinner, more people talk to me, smile at me, and like me... bothers the living shit out of me. It makes me want to stay fat, sometimes, seriously. I feel like, the people who like me at this weight are the only ones I want as friends. People who only like women of a certain weight, I don't want anything to do with. But that's a different issue, I think. Not a control issue, but rabid, hypersensitive feminism and anti-lookism, and a deep, futile desire to be respected for my mind. :) One of my friends says that this observation is untrue--that people aren't treating me better because I'm thinner, they're treating me better because I'm radiating more happiness and confidence. But I don't believe her. She's only ever been young and thin, and I've been both fat and thin, both young and not-young, so I think I have more bitter, real-life experience with lookism. Unfortunately. Stay gold, Ashley! Stay gold!)
My boyfriend says I had a lot of nightmares last night.
"You had a lot of nightmares last night."
"I did? No, I didn't."
"Yeah. You were all yelling and trying to run in your sleep. Oh, and you had that one where something's wrong with your hand."
"Oh! Did I wake up and tell you my fingers were broken? I dreamed my fingers were all bent the wrong way, and then I woke up and pulled my hand from under the pillow to make sure, and my hand was asleep, so I thought it really was broken, and then I yelled for you to take me to the hospital. But then my hand woke up, so I went back to sleep."
"You always have that dream when I spend the night here."
"I know. It's because, when you're next to me, I don't have any place to put my hand. We need a bigger bed." 6:04 AM # (7) comments
Wednesday, May 16, 2007Freedom vs Pressure
This morning I made an announcement to a couple of friends. "I have given myself permission to stop writing." My boyfriend told me he would support me, if that's what I really wanted. My friend Julio told me I was full of shit.
But that's not what I want, and not what I meant. Of course I'm going to keep writing. I just gave myself permission to stop. Meaning, I don't have to write (or sell) another book right now. I don't have to do anything I don't feel like doing. If I want to paint or sing karaoke for a while instead of writing, I will. If I want to lie in bed and watch TV, I'll do that, too.
Really, I'll probably start a new book soon. But I like doing so without the pressure. And so, I let myself off the hook.
Summertime: Living Is Easy, Grooming Is More Complex
It's getting to be funny now, how exactly like clockwork it is that the sun's heat can change my mind about certain style choices. Before the heat, I can't wear beads or sandals or self-tanner, and I can't even really think about highlighting my hair.
But it's been getting hotter lately. Hot enough for sandals (and therefore pedicures). Hot enough for jewelry I thought was tacky a month ago. (For some reason, metal is for winter and beads are for summer, in my mind.) Hot enough to do my first batch of self tanner, when mere weeks ago I was saying that I'd never do that crap again.
Not yet hot enough for highlights, though. Today I still feel like last year's blond highlights were a mistake--a little tacky--and that I'll never do them again. However, I'm prepared to change my mind by the end of May. Really, it's funny how some things look different in the heat of the sun. I guess the heat just makes me crazy.
Pretty Boys (and a Pretty Girl)
My friend Ashley tells me I have a thing for pretty men. All the actors I find attractive, she says, could just as easily be girls. I don't know why, though. I never noticed til she said.
Last night I dreamed I was dating a very beautiful man, with green eyes and black hair. Meanwhile, an overweight, sad man (with brown eyes) was upset with me because he loved me but I refused to love him back. I tried to explain to him that it's wrong to get pissed off at people, just 'cause they won't love you.
Meanwhile, my pretty boyfriend wasn't very polite, and wasn't very considerate. After I got done talking to the sad man (and my lecture didn't work), I chased my boyfriend through an indoor lake of dark green water. As we dried, I scolded him, saying that he was spoiled. I said I didn't want to date him anymore, because being beautiful had made him a rotten person. And yet, while I said this, I never let him go.
Pretend I'm not talking about my weight.
I stopped trying to do Atkins, because it no longer works for me. In fact, I gained even more weight last month, even though I dieted very diligently.
So now I'm doing it old-school style. I did the math and the science, and now I'm counting calories. I am eating 1600 calories or less per day. (That's how many I need in order to lose weight at a healthy level. Science.) I always thought I'd hate doing that sort of thing, but actually I'm finding that I like the math. It's kind of fun, adding up my meals in my mind before I eat them. And I like that it has an underlying formula: [your weight] X [a variable relating to your activity level] - [500 for one pound a week] or [1000 for two pounds a week]. Also, it's kind of fun to eat carbs again. I admit it.
I'm not telling you this so that weight-obsessed people can come out of the woodwork and give me unsolicited, pitying, patronizing advice. I'm telling you this so that, if it works, you'll know. And also, because I like the math. Really, I'm just telling you that math is fun.
Seriously, though? If I don't lose any weight after a month of this, I'll start freaking out a little. This is the longest I've gone without being able to lose weight relatively easily. I know--I'm getting older, and that's what happens when you get older. But still. The new resistance of my fat is unsettling. I don't mind getting old; I just don't want my body to fall apart in the process. Ha.
Okay. That's all. Next time, I'll tell y'all something interesting. 2:07 PM # (5) comments
Wednesday, May 09, 2007I've been sparing you.
Haven't posted in a while because I'm in a state of drudgery, and boring, cyclical drudgery, at that. All stuff you've heard before, even down to the fact that I didn't get the last child-support check owed me, and therefore am broke. Same old shit. Same shit, different day.
Watching all that Battlestar Galactica lately has got me thinking: What do you have to look forward to? Obviously, if you're indefinitely stuck on a battleship because robots took over your planet, you're desperate to find things to look forward to. Right? But what about for us peeps on Earth, waiting as we are for Edward James Olmos and his crew to find us? What do we have to look forward to?
I've been asking my friends, and it's interesting to hear their answers. Especially the chronological range. (I think that's the big word I mean.) Some people are looking forward to things that will take place three months from now, like parties and TV shows. Some people are looking forward to more misty future events, like what they'll do when they retire.
Alone at night, before I slept, I tried to count five things I was looking forward to. I counted two that had to do with my next books' release, in Spring 2008, and one that wasn't as much a thing as it was a hope. ("Uh... selling another book? If I do?") And then I told myself that I can always look forward to creating more stuff, books or whatever else, whether I end up selling them or not. And then I fell asleep, I think.
How much of what you look forward to is stuff you can control, and how much is controlled by someone else? I was rereading The House on Mango Street the other day, and identified strongly with the narrator's disgust at her parents looking forward to winning the lottery. And yet, at the same time, thoughts of lottery winning often buoy me up throughout the work day, work week, work year.
I think I can only look forward to things I'll control, to things I plan to do... and then realize my hopes by getting off my ass and doing them. But sometimes I get tired. And sometimes, I run out of money. Also, no matter how determined I get, I can't plan the future very far in advance. (I've never been good at chess, either.)
Next weekend, barring unforeseen bullshit, I'll go to the beach, maybe.
My horoscope keeps saying annoying crap like, "Although it bothers you not to be in control and not to be accomplishing anything, you should take this time to take stock of your strengths and weaknesses. Heal old wounds. Take some time to relax."
I'm going to stop reading it. From now on, I'm only going to read superstitious crap that fills me with optimism. 10:10 AM # (4) comments
Monday, May 07, 2007Pastoral
Sunday I drove to a point north of Austin, like I do every other week. I turned on the radio when I reached the city limit, because Austin's radio stations are more exciting than Houston's.
In the town of Paige, Led Zeppelin's "Been a Long Time" went very well with the cloudy skies and all the antique pick-ups on the sides of the road.
In Elgin/Coupland/Taylor, I switched to KMFA. The woman told me it was almost time for her to go. She said something like, "...KMFA, one of the very few places where you can hear Beethoven's Symphony Number 6, the Pastorale, in its entirety."
Like some of you may be doing right now, I thought of the movie Fantasia, the part with the dating centaurs and baby pegasusses and Zeus's lightning bolts. I decided to listen to the symphony all the way through. It went well with all the wildflowers on the side of the road. Not bluebonnets anymore, but four or five kinds of yellow flowers, then yellow and red, then just pure red like blood and strawberries and glowing coals. Then those against white. Then, yes, a tiny bit of bluebonnets remaining.
I didn't think I liked that symphony that much. (I thought I only like Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, even though the dinosaurs were dying.) But I guess I did. Either that, or it made me remember a lot of stuff, like my oldest son as a toddler, more than ten years ago, begging to watch again the VHS of Fantasia that his grandmother got from a garage sale. And spinning, spinning, spinning to the Beethoven. And swooping and jumping to the Stravinsky while I listened from the kitchen. And falling asleep at the Ave Maria. Because it made me a little bit emotional to hear it, after all this time.
In the town where I was supposed to end up, I switched to the big band station, just like always. It gets the best reception there, on the radio and in my mind.
My boyfriend is six years younger than me. Later, I asked him if he'd ever seen Fantasia. He said, "The one about Mickey Mouse in the wizard suit?"
Yeah, that one. I didn't even remember that part until he said it.
My Fellow Travelers
Recently, on the freeway, on my hour-and-fifteen-minute commute, I have seen:
a woman curling her eyelashes
a woman reading a book
a man eating an economy-sized can of apricots, with a spoon
all while driving.
I can always tell when people are new to my commute, because of the way they're shocked at the lane merge, the way they scheme to cut around the rest of us, and then the way they're finally shocked at the length of the drive. The way that they're so angry. I used to feel that way, too, when I first started. I railed against my fate. I used to let fate get the better of my blood pressure.
Now I just listen to CDs.
Sex and Violence
My kids are annoyed with me because I didn't let them watch the last DVD we had of Battlestar Galactica. See, we're renting the seasons, disk by disk, and I watched a disk while the kids were at their dad's for the weekend. This one only had two episodes on it, so they didn't miss much. But I decided to return it without letting them see it, because the second episode was very disturbing to me. It contained violence and rape. And, not just rape, but an actor doing a very convincing portrayal of someone who enjoyed rape. It was horrifying. I could barely watch.
"It sounds disturbing," said my middle son, twelve years old, "but now I want to see it for myself so I can know for sure."
"No, it was sick," I said. "I can't believe they showed that stuff on TV. Even cable."
"Well, now I'm just pissed that we missed it," said my oldest.
In general, I think it's good when your kids grow up with so little trauma that they aren't afraid to see bad things on TV. Personally, I thought I was going to have nightmares that night. (But I didn't. I dreamed about Carmen Electra, instead.) 8:17 AM # (2) comments