Worthwhile Mercantile Co.

I am an artisan; this is my sandbox.

Safe House

Some really bad things happened to me when I was a little girl.  As my daughters have become of the age that I had been when those bad things happened I have been finding myself crumbling in new and unexpected ways.  Turns out I’d had some seriously structured coping mechanisms operating in high gear for decades.  I have been learning the words that describe them.  It is getting easier.

My doctor told me that when I hug or comfort my daughters, I should try to feel myself giving that maternal comfort both to my children and to the girl I used to be.  I should feel compassion for the girl.  I can take care of her now.

I have been thinking about what my doctor said.

My youngest daughter has been reading in bed tonight.  The fan is on, the crickets are making sounds through the open window.  She came out of her room for a moment to show me a passage that she’d just finished in the book.  It was about the mother of a boy warrior who had died.  She told me she hadn’t realized how intense a mother’s love is.  She said that she knew mothers loved their children, of course, and they cared for their children, but she hadn’t considered how fierce the love was.  She seemed impressed.  She told me I was a very good mother.  When I hugged her, I felt her small body in my arms, and I thought of the girl that I used to be, how small I was, and I told that little girl that we were safe here tonight.

This has been one of those Inbetween Days.

My nine-year old daughter’s alarm clock is set to go off 15 minutes before mine.  She’s on a year-round schedule, so school started for her this last Wednesday.  It’s been hot lately.  I almost didn’t believe Summer was going to happen, and then it did, with fury.  June turned into July and we ended up with an 11-day heatwave of record-breaking temperatures.  Triple-digit Fahrenheit.  We try not to use air-conditioning this year; money’s a little precious.  It’s been intense.  I like it.

6:45 this morning, I put my robe on, set the coffee on.  Put the NPR on.  I like to wake up with the news.  After two minutes of bleary-eyed contemplation, it dawned on me that something significantly awful happened today.  The radio told me there was a gunman, double-digit death toll, many wounded.  Fucking Colorado.

I turned the radio off, but the news kept filtering in, from other radios, from televisions, from talking about it, just a little bit, all day.

There are some days that I remember, when the news was particularly bad.  I remember the morning I spent obsessively reading about the man who came to the Amish school in Pennsylvania, who methodically separated out the little girls from the little boys, who tied up the little girls in a line near the chalkboard inside the schoolhouse, who let the little boys go, and who shot the little girls, all tied up in a line, in Pennsylvania.

I remember the night I stayed up late with my college boyfriend, who became my young-adult husband, who became the father of my children, who became my ex-husband, who became my friend, who subscribed to the New York Times and I had never read the New York Times before.  We lived in Berkeley, and we had been tripping balls overnight on the things that college kids do, and when the sun was coming up, I went outside in front of our apartment building, and I picked up our newspaper.  I watched the sky pinken from black as I read about the terrorist bombings on U.S. embassies in Africa.  I remember that day, I remember that morning.

And I remember September 11, 2001, in my own little way.

I’m tired of remembering the days that the news was so bad that it made me sick.

My first thought this morning was, “Those people who made that Batman movie are so fucked with bad luck.”

We were going to go to the movies today, Ronny and I.  I unabashedly like Batman.  I will throw down for Batman over Superman any day of the week, and I also like the coldness of a movie theater with air-conditioning on a July day in North Carolina when everyone else is at work.  But we ran errands today instead.  We did not want to do the movies today.

There was the bank and the post office, and the pharmacy, and the other pharmacy in Pittsboro, and driving through the country, talking, dreaming, and believing the things that we believe in.  We ran errands today instead.  The radio was sometimes on.  I heard the disbelief in their voices.  It is senseless.  It is SENSELESS.  It really is, senseless.

These things have always happened, people hurting other people in really severe, spectacular, permanent ways.  They are always devastating.  I am reminded of that again, traveling up the green hills and down again, in a car, traveling, moving forward, going forth.

Crispin Glover in River’s Edge, 1986. 
I saw this, finally.  I identified with the movie far more than is probably healthy.  Not the killing part, but the blankness and bleakness of the community, the children’s coping mechanisms, and the desire to enjoy simple pleasures in an environment of petty violence.  Fantastic movie.  Glover was particularly good.

Crispin Glover in River’s Edge, 1986. 

I saw this, finally.  I identified with the movie far more than is probably healthy.  Not the killing part, but the blankness and bleakness of the community, the children’s coping mechanisms, and the desire to enjoy simple pleasures in an environment of petty violence.  Fantastic movie.  Glover was particularly good.

When I was being raped, sixteen years ago in a bar in Mexico on the night of my high school graduation, the bartenders poured tequila on me and laughed.  I don’t think that’s an appropriate response to seeing someone rape someone.

France Gall - “Laisse Tomber Les Filles”

I saw the Sex Pistols documentary “The Filth and the Fury” last night.  I never really got into the Sex Pistols’ music - too aggressive for me, I guess - but I have from my very first teenaged years identified with Johnny Rotten’s exasperation with being expected to have heroes and role models, and his fury that there are no heroes worth having.

I saw the Sex Pistols documentary “The Filth and the Fury” last night.  I never really got into the Sex Pistols’ music - too aggressive for me, I guess - but I have from my very first teenaged years identified with Johnny Rotten’s exasperation with being expected to have heroes and role models, and his fury that there are no heroes worth having.

The Mountain Goats - “Song For An Old Friend” 

the garter snake passed lazily through the tall yellow-headed sourgrass
there was cold, clear water in a tall, clean glass
the sunlight hit the sides and it came through the water tilted
i saw the condensation on your hand 
i could feel the glaciers melting

and a warm, soft wind
covered up everything
on the day your love came screaming through me

you had oranges and lemons in a canvas bag beside you
and seven different kinds of light welling up inside of you
you smeared citrus pulp all over me, it felt okay
good old east rutherford three thousand miles away

i felt the warm surge blast my mind
coming in from behind
on the day your love came screaming through me

in the fresh light of day
i felt something falling away
on the day your love came screaming through me

I like to see the shapes that water and sand make when they come together, after the water falls from a bathing suit or the hair on a person who has just recently stepped out of the ocean.  If the sand is dry, the water and the sand will reach out for each other in the moments just before they collide.  The tension between their two physical states causes an affinity for each other, their molecules are drawn together, they want to be combined.  The shapes of collision vary depending on the velocity and angle of the fallen water.  And the volume - sometimes a woman wringing out her long hair will cause a lettuce-shaped splash on the sand.  My favorite shapes are formed from the smaller drops that fall, tiny speckled lozenges on the surface of the sand that have been dimpled, just-so, on one side.