Archive for January 2010

Better An Honest Bitch Than A Lying Pet?

January 30, 2010

I’m a terrible liar. In fact, I’m such a bad liar that I don’t lie ever–the worst.
Although really…that’s probably not true. I suppose I do lie in certain situations. For example when a telemarketer calls–sure, yeah that’s pretty common. I think that what enables my lying gland in this circumstance to start secreting falsehoods is the fact that I am convinced that nothing is at stake.

The telemarketer needed a job; got this one, and must then keep their job by showing up and doing that which is asked of them; and what is asked of them is that they call me and try to sell me something. I see my response within this matrix as being of little or no consequence; my obligations are no more than to pick up the phone and ideally, to be polite.
Lies, then, come to me naturally in this scenario, and I tell them without remorse.
“Sorry–I was just on my way out the door!”/ “Oh, shit sorry, the baby just started crying–could we do this later?” etc.

There is another context though (another familiar on the mean streets of adulthood) where, I have noticed, lies are also considered par for the course. Here, I find myself impaired somewhat; my lying gland fails to respond. Because, you see, there’s so much more at stake with Matters Of The Heart.

This is not about love. This is at most lust and at the very least, boredom.

I’m the kind of girl who tends to elicit great positive responses from….hearty types, shall we say? Jocular construction workers, chatty homeless people, and bikers out for a good time. They love me. And I can smile and laugh or walk on ignoring them without complaint so long as the interaction takes place entirely in the public realm. After all, we both know they don’t really wanna take me out anyway! They’ve got a lady at home, or across town in an office somewhere and they’re just yelling at me to pass the time. Fine, sometimes I yell back. Easy. They don’t take it seriously, and neither do I.
What is not so easy is when it moves from the street to somewhere more intimate, and the crowd is gone and it’s just you and him and his heart. Gaaaah!

But then, here I have to interrupt myself. Just a few sentences ago I reduced these interactions to the stark motivations of lust and boredom, but really, I don’t see it quite so simply. Somewhere in the middle lies infatuation. So much more fragile! Always the product of generous helpings of lust and boredom and a lil’ something else, infatuation doesn’t even know itself in the mirror! Poor thing! It thinks it’s something much nobler….much more inspired, and for this we must tread carefully (in case you can’t tell, infatuation and I go way back….).

During the fall a construction worker who had been working for several months in my building started showing me a bit of attention. I had always been friendly with him, inasmuch as my home is his workplace, so a ‘Guten Morgen’ and a smile seemed appropriate. Then, however, he started complimenting me; then asking if he could get to know me better; and asking again when I brushed it off as if he’d been joking.
This was not a ‘Hey hotstuff!’; this was a guy with a crush. He had the quality of a puppy that thought you wanted him, only to be pushed away. People to whom I complained of this unwanted attention around my house advised me to tell him I had a boyfriend, but I could never seem to think of it in the moment. More than that, it even seemed a bit wrong, where it was probably pretty obvious that I was single–I’m always coming and going alone.
I know what it’s like to have feelings for someone who doesn’t reciprocate, and I felt this need to do right by someone who seemed to have that with me. Somehow, the idea of finding a person so unappealing that I would lie to them to shake them off seems harsh and unkind. This despite the fact that most people would probably be less hurt to see love’s arrow thwarted by the specter of a rival than to find out that they just had shitty aim.

In all, I think he asked me out 3 or 4 times. His persistence wore away at my sympathy, and I still resent the feeling of discomfort I get when I see him around the house, but all the same I haven’t yet brought myself to lie to him.

I suppose it has to do with the idea of being taken seriously. Lying–no matter how harsh the truth can be–seems so laden with contempt. The wonderful thing about lying to a telemarketer is that they probably feel contempt for their employer too! But when someone is putting their heart out there–no matter how obnoxious, or unappealing that heart may be–it’s the most they have to offer.

I realize that I probably took the situation with the construction worker more seriously than he himself did, but then I tend to do that. And I still wonder if I wouldn’t just be better off steeling myself up and developing a knack for the old *artful dodge* to deal with unwanted attention–honesty, in this event, seems more fraught than lies. How much less complicated my comings and goings would be….ah! but then, what would I write about?

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Another Possible Name for a Dog…

January 26, 2010

Or what about Gonzo for a dog?

While I do feel that there’s something a bit tacky about going for a name that already has such a strong character association behind it–Garfield or whatnot–there’s something about Gonzo that seems capable of going beyond the Muppet….
Which is not to detract from the original Gonzo….rather to keep our attempts to model our lives after popular culture to a minimum—hair and makeup sure (where else are we supposed to get those things from but television?); cats named Ross and Rachel, nein.

Anyway, one thing I like about Gonzo is that if he had a really frisky temperament it would work:
crazy little Gonzo ate another one of my paintings!
But then if he was really sober, and low-key it would take on this kind of south american guru quality–like the quiet guy who sits in the corner of the local tavern with a beer just watching everybody, and nobody really knows where he comes from or what he’s about, but you’ve heard it said that if you’re having trouble with the debt collectors you should leave a freshly-killed goat on Gonzo’s doorstep and he’ll sort you out–if he likes you.
That could be my dog!

Anyway, think on it…..

Sunday, January 24 2010, 3:08 a.m.

January 24, 2010

A short conversation this evening with a stranger (of unknown character or pedigree) gave form to an intuition I’ve had for awhile. That is that the peril of people who live altruistic lives is to lose all appreciation for the opera in everyday life, eyes focused on the horizon for an ever-more malnourished soul.They forget how to cry over spilled milk, and eventually the milk just stops caring.

Hillbilly Haiku

January 24, 2010

I respect the 420 character limit of a facebook status update as a new art form.

You might think of it as a ‘hillbilly haiku’.
As such, I sometimes try to use my own status update to aesthetic effect; to make it sing, as it were. This is as opposed to delineating the stuff of my breakfast. The standards for status updates are not yet what they might be.

Once in awhile, I’ll re-post a status update to this blog as a way of giving it a little more longevity–you could think of it as writing it down in a notebook in one’s office, as opposed to scribbling it on a napkin in a cheap bar.
All such entries will be assigned to the NEW category, Hillbilly Haiku.

It is my sincerest hope that to have ever had such a category will one day make me appear very dated.

The Elegance Without: Mastering a Refined Lack of Judgement

January 20, 2010

I consider some small deficit of practicality in one’s nature to be key to a well-rounded personality.
Example: The persistent wearing of heels during periods of snow and ice on the ground.

Personal amusement may be found in discovering unexpected ways to explain or justify these impractical life choices.
Example: The focus of pressure on the spike heel causes it to sink into the snow, forming a natural anchor with every step!

*sigh* In fact I remember how, in my early years of university, I had a particularly impractical way of making an early morning class on 2 hours sleep and a hangover.
First of all I’d insist on setting my alarm to the normal time–I was going to need the standard prep time and then some to make this carcass shine! Then I’d design my outfit around the spikiest, bitchiest stilletos in my closet. Wearing them out–sometimes still a little drunk–I was forced to be aware of every move I made. No sloppy shuffle for this delinquent; it was heel-toe, heel-toe all the way from ass to class!
My method never let me down: I abhorred (and still do) the idea of my social life getting in the way of my responsabilities. Because it’s all fun and games until someone sleeps in…*shudder*

Unfortunately, it is not always so clear where, exactly one should draw the line between a small deficit of practicality and an excessive one.
Example: The persistent wearing of heels during periods of snow and ice on the ground, and attempting in such conditions and with the same footwear to ride a bicycle.

This can lead to uncomfortable reminders of the results of excessively absent practicality.
Example: Attempting to brake on a busy street when–having known your hand-brakes were frozen and that you would need to rely on the foot brakes–you find that the pedals of your bike are also stiff and resistant to backwards motion–forcing you to abort into a low snowbank.

You might have been able to put your foot down and slow things sufficiently without falling, but the stilettos compromised your balance a little too much! As a way of imprinting–deeply–on your brain just how ill-advised your choices were, you manage on your way down to scratch one leg with the long, sharp heel that brings to an elegant climax the line of your other (falling) limb.

As you sit assessing your surroundings from the snowbank you feel that you have fully absorbed the difference between a small, refined deficit of practicality and a full, blubbering void of common sense. You lift yourself up, and drag your bike up onto the cleared portion of the sidewalk, turning it towards home where you see now that it will have to stay for a little while longer. You are officially the type of person who is far too practical to ride their bike in the snow. Now that you’ve tried it.

The Simple Truth About Bears and Dogs

January 19, 2010

Tonight I walked home in the company of a 3-legged dog.
Not only was he possessed of only 3 legs, he was scruffy too. Scruffy in that natural, unintended way, like Brad Pitt in A River Runs Through It.…or homeless people!
Born scruffy.

The woman who appeared to be his was walking a few paces ahead of us, and looked back often to urge him on. Let me be clear about this, though: her urgings were not endearing–they were the urgings of a woman who has urged long, and urged often. Indifferent. Without enthusiasm.
At these points the dog and I would glance at each other in understanding:
‘I don’t know why you bother…’ my eyes said.
‘She feeds me.’ his eyes replied.
I had no answer for that.

Interestingly, the woman wore a sort of patently-faux fur jacket. It flared out a ruler’s length or so beyond her supreme motherass, giving her the look of a dog shuffling slowly mid-air. Or maybe the effect was more that of a bear; she was, after all, bipedal.

Every so often the dog would pause–his entire body undulating with heavy breaths. He’d look about as if to ask why we were all going so fast, and then gear himself up again, limping even faster now to catch up with the bear what feeds him.
In these moments I wanted to scoop him up in my arms and kiss him and tell him how perfect he is–but I know my place. Instead I walked on past him and the bearfrau, towards my flat.

Walking through the hallway of my building I noticed a sign handwritten on masking tape and stuck on one of the little doors-in-the-wall that make up the post boxes. The tape read: ‘hincapié’; the spanish word for support. That’s all we need, isn’t it? A little support.

In the eyes of a 3-legged dog I read the simple truth:
No matter who we are, or what we’re dealing with, we’d all like to have a woman dressed like a bear take us home and feed us. And a tree to piss on.
No wait! I think I wasn’t supposed to read that far into the dogs eyes…shit.

Some People’s Children…

January 15, 2010

A long time ago I had the idea that one should always smile at babies and dogs, because whatever the hell’s going on around them, they didn’t ask for it.
I’ve since grown more suspicious of babies, but I still see dogs as scruffy little pawns forced to sit at the right hand of humanity, and so deserving of our smiles (if not our bones!)

I spend a lot of time looking at people and their dogs. I enjoy their dogs immensely—from afar—and I try to acquire some token level of satisfaction that the dog’s person is suitable. I do my best not to weird people out by seeming overly taken with their little fur-ward, and I usually throw in a reassuring smile to the owner to acknowledge their presence in a way that acknowledges our both being the ‘humans in the room,’ as it were.

These dog-watchings most commonly take place as I am sitting in the window of my surrogate parlor, Goldhahn und Sampson. While the unedited panorama of neighborhood dogs and their walkers is a recognized perk of sitting in such a large window, the view goes both ways. Occasionally my smiles and loving stares are taken by the dog-walker to be directed at them—an unfortunate, if not entirely surprising, event. When such awkwardness occurs, I have my Catholic upbringing to keep me warm and I draw upon all the reservoirs of demure smiles, downcast eyes and—most crucially—tightly-drawn knees that the catechism has to offer. Ultimately though it will be the dog who saves me, as it is usually by this point well on it’s way to licking the face off of a small child and the owner must rush off to save the rest, as it were.

What troubles me more than such misunderstandings (which could, in the worst case scenario, be put off roundly with the simple phrase ‘It’s not you, it’s your dog…’) is when the human seems unworthy of the dog.

Yes, when the human is a slobbering, swearing, hateful mass of humanity, then I fear for the creature that must go home with it and live in the cold presence of a numbskull. I take comfort only in the thought that the dog, in their dogged way, loves their person in spite of their faults and maybe even in ignorance of them too.

Occasionally the dog can bring a sort of redemption to it’s person; bringing out qualities in them that they find hard to share with other humans. To witness this kind of love is truly special–indeed, the dog that humanizes the man doesn’t need my help….all the same I’ll be there to cheer him on if he decides to take a bite out of the S.O.B anyway!