Ocdbloggergirl's Blog: OCD, Life, and Other Misunderstandings

More Mental Malaise, Less Donald Trump

Pepper to Taste — June 20, 2013

Pepper to Taste

Ever since my old therapist chucked me due to new Medicaid restrictions, I have a  new therapist named Pepper. It isn’t a pseudonym, her name really is Pepper. I have no idea what her last name is, just that she’s a therapist. I just liked her when I met her during an intake interview and asked if she was taking new clients. So voila. When I think of Pepper, I think of that doll by Ideal from the 1960s. Pepper the doll had red hair. Pepper the therapist has red hair. In fact, if Pepper the doll had an age progression photo done to age her into her late 50s, she could be Pepper the therapist.

ImagePepper

But let me digress a bit. So new Medicaid restrictions were causing dumping of us ghetto/trailer folk all round. The first to fall was my eye doctor. People on Medicaid apparently do not have eyes. They literally cut all coverage for eye exams, glasses, etc. Well OK.  Next was my dentist. Due to the fire hoops all Medicaid providers must jump through, my dentist dropped all Medicaid folks. Then my therapist dropped Medicaid for the same reason. “I’m just not going to play their game,” said she. I don’t blame her. My psychiatrist, though, was the most emotional about it. Her eyes got watery as she said she really cared about her Medicaid patients, and would do her best to try and keep us. She told me before that she  felt an obligation to my  late mother to make sure I’m OK. Well, OK.

My psychiatrist was determined to find the loophole in the needle that was in the haystack to keep her Medicaid patients. I sometimes wonder if it was the specter of my mother urging her on, though I’m sure she has other far  more likeable patients than me. My mother was the likeable one. The shrink should know, because I drug my mother in with me every time. When I came in the first time after my mom died, she thought my mother must just be parking the car. Awkward. I always had been    intimidated by my psychiatrist, she who wielded the power to diagnose my crazy ass on a whim. My shy, awkward ways, my lack of smiling all made her wonder if I had Asperger’s.  I think she later figured what I believe to be true, my lowwwwwwww self-esteem and fear of doing the wrong thing is the culprit. I get social cues, so next diagnosis please.

Dependent personality disorder. Oh swell. I might buy it and I might not buy it. I’d be more apt to believe it if I didn’t do so well on my own, and for the most part want to be alone. But my past is my past. When my mother was alive I depended fully upon her. When I was with he whom I called my Soul Bro, I thoroughly depended on him to the point of sustaining  emotional abuse. Why do I still see him as the great love of my life? I must be a head case.  I’d rather not be dependentocdbloggergirl.wordpress.com, thanks.

 

And back to Pepper. Pepper is great. Pepper is awesome. I even try to take her advice sometimes. Whereas my former therapist mainly did talk therapy, Pepper is big on cognitive behavior therapy, mindfulness, and shit. I preferred talking and my therapist giving me insight, but OK. She is trying to give me coping skills, assertiveness skills, and learn not to obsess on doing everything to please everyone. Learn how to breathe all mindfully,  be aware of other things going on around you. Cool. Sometimes, however, I must refrain from mumbling, “Lady, are you for real?” Such as the Kitty Cat Exercise.

 

Yes, the Kitty Cat Exercise. One day, I showed up in her office flushed from a hurried walk from my apartment, a good little jaunt. I either missed the bus or didn’t have the fare, and I was late. I apologized profusely, though I am the type who will be late to my own funeral.

Seeing my state, Pepper asked me what my favorite type of water was that I liked to visit.

“A pool” said I, so the idea of me thinking of ocean water and hearing the waves was out of the question, I guess.

“Well, what is your favorite sound?”

“There is nothing nicer to me than the sound of a cat purring.”

This Pepper could work with, so she had me relax, turned on a ‘relaxing sounds’ app on her smart phone, set to purr mode. Then she cut the light in her office out and had me imagine a long-haired grey cat with a bit of white on her nose and me stroking her fur.

I tried to do the exercise, but my mind decided to be a smartass as usual.

That cat sounds like it’s on a respirator.

Then the cat I pictured became Nyan Cat, the animated cat with a pop tart body.

When the exercise was over, Pepper suggested I find such an app so I can do this on my lonesome. I said, “Yes, that sounds like a good idea.” Or I could just go home and pet my cats, same results.

 

One last thing though, and I don’t want to be maudlin, but I had the most bizarre dream. It is in my dreams that I remember I once had a mother, and that my memories of her and my life before she died are my memories.

I dreamed that my former roommates invited me back to live with them when I wished for $250.00,  but I still had my own apartment. Things had not changed though, they were both insulting me and I felt a constant threat of making them mad, or being thrown out of Faux Bro’s life which I was paying to be in. Philippe was with me. If you remember, Phil was the cat they wanted to keep as their own, the other two my nurse had to retrieve from the pound.

Then I found myself at the McDonald’s down the street, a place I had gone to get away from that oppressive environment sometimes during the final days. And there sitting waiting for me was my mother, my dead mother, which I kindly reminded her of her state. “Mom, this is a dream. You’re dead. You can’t really be here. Please stay.”

At the end of the dream, I venture back to my own apartment with Phillipe in my arms. 

 

Thanks for reading and I’m sorry I haven’t been around here or at your blogs, will do  better. XOXO

Short Story: A Day in the Life of Mary Smith, Cliche — August 14, 2011

Short Story: A Day in the Life of Mary Smith, Cliche

Three first editions of Barbie dolls from 1959...
Image via Wikipedia Choosing Mary Smith

This is the story of a cliché. Her name is Mary Smith like thousands of other women. She’s in her thirties and lives in a high-rise apartment in New York City, Boston,Chicago, or perhaps in Los Angeles. What does she look like? So many choices. We’re pretty sure she’s white though, the ultimate cliché color. Is she a ginger? No, too uncommon. We want something common in print. Golden strands of blond silk luminescent in the sun? Possibly. Brunette, her hair nearly as dark as her disposition? Also a possibility. Chestnut or mouse brown hair, tied conservatively behind her in a style reminiscent of a school marm?  Depends. Is Mary Smith a savvy professional woman with three or four friends trying to find love and sexual gratification in a city? Or is she the tragic soul who ends up throwing herself from a bridge in utter agony (Oh the demons! The demons of her psyche! Oh lost love!)?  Or is she that woman from whatever romantic comedy is in the theater every  other week, who by happenstance finds her true love? We think Mary Smith resembles the marm the most. But let’s read on, the obligatory scene before the mirror is being written…

Mary Smith stands before the mirror, a figure of brown. Her hair is mouse brown, her skirt tan cotton and slightly jutting away from her skinny frame. Her eyes –brown also- appraise herself with care, bringing her ponytail from her back to spread down to her small bosom.  A heroine.

Mirror spinning out of the way, she begins to sing a ditty:

Today, maybe today. Today!

Not yesterday, maybe today. Today!

Today!

Today could be the day. Maybe today!

Today, please today, something could happen today!

Todayyyy!

I feel it! Can you feel it? I think I feel it!

Maybe today! It didn’t happen yesterday, could be today.

Maybe love today, my destiny today. Today!

My life could change todayyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

 

This song is transcribed here for  inspiration and hope. But  a story needs a hint of pathos or some critic will criticize this as being too one-dimensional. Since Mary Smith is a cliché, we really shouldn’t care, though, should we? She reaches into her medicine cabinet and becomes the face in the latest anti-depressant commercial. I talked to my doctor about my depression and he gave me…

What should we say he gave her? Something easily recognized as an anti-depressant. Prozac? Paxil? Zoloft? Lets say Zoloft. Zoloft for the  so lofty dreams soaring over whatever clichéd demons Mary Smith subscribes to.

It is summertime and NYC, Boston, Chicago, LA, or wherever the hell our cliché lives. It is an oppressively hot day late in July. Mary Smith works in a paperback exchange, but will one day be the editor of a large publishing concern or maybe the romance columnist for a woman’s magazine. Some people are coming in, milling through the narrow aisles, not really interested in the mass market used paperback bonanza around them. Nor is Mary Smith interested in them unless they approach the counter, book in hand.

“Is it hot enough for ya?” is Mary’s attempt at being friendly with a book-clad fat woman in her 40s.

“Yeah. Hot.” A book called Savage Passion is  dropped on the counter. Typical cover in the Indian/White Heaving Breasted Lady genre: An American Indian  who looks like he lifts weights. He’s  wearing a feather, loincloth, and not much else. A lady, poofy blond hair like a 1980s porn star, with lots of green eyeshadow. A bit of tit and leg is showing from her Victorian gown, leaving enough to the imagination to be allowed at a grocery store bookrack. Mary Smith used to read such books, mainly when she was 14, and grew weary of the genre shortly thereafter, for even clichéd characters can only stand so much of the same. Mary Smith prefers the various yarns  spun by Danielle Steele. Now that is literature, is what Mary thinks, and that she need never vary in her choice of author, as Steele releases a new 400 page tome to indefeatable true love every three days or so.

And then he comes in. Mary Smith hears the refrain from that awful song she somehow made up on the spot this morning. Todayyyyy…

 

He’s the one, thinks Mary. He likes to read, he’s handsome, he’s perfect. Will he notice me?

What does Mary Smith’s future lover look like?  Hugh Grant ( He’ll look like Hugh Cronin by the time this story is over)?  We think he should look like perfection, the sort manufactured not by nature but by a Mattel factory. He is Ken articulated with the breath of life and perhaps looking for his Barbie in the flesh.

Mary Smith is a Barbie doll, Paperback Exchange Barbie, not manufactured by Mattel, but still ‘swell.’ She fantasizes about this man coming up to her, giving her a lengthy kiss rivaling a 1940s movie scene. I love you, Mary…

He’s  coming to the counter. He’s coming.

“Hi,” Mary Smith says for the first time in a long time without having to fake enthusiasm. 

“Hey,” says Ken, putting one hand in the pocket of his jeans. “You got a public rest room?”

 

 

The day progresses. It is around 3pm. The book store has thinned out and now Mary Smith is alone with a newspaper crossword. A mother comes in dragging her son by the hand. He looks to be about 6,  years-old, brown hair almost the color of Mary’s. Mary Smith thought as a young girl that she would one day have a child of her own. Maybe her phantom child would look somewhat like this little boy.

She goes back to her crossword puzzle. The boy is bored as his mom looks at suspense novels. The  owner of the bookstore likes knickknacks, the kind that have a sticker on the bottom that says, “Made Exclusively for Dollar Tree.” Cherubs, frogs, gnomes, and ceramic Jesus Christs all vie to be noticed on the tops of the bookshelves. One curio, a genuine African Mask (made in China of painted china), has caught the boy’s attention. His mother is oblivious to him though she is roughly 8 feet away. He starts to climb one shelf to get the mask. It would be fun to put over his face and pretend he is a masked superhero , we believe the child thinks.

The shelves only are about eye level to the average adult, so from the first shelf, the boy can reach…just reach. 

Suddenly a crash, the little African Mask now lies on the linoleum floor in several pieces. Mary Smith turns to look at what happened. The boy is still standing on the first shelf, one hand frozen in mid-air, the other clinging to the shelf. Before Mary Smith can reassure the boy’s mother that the mask was of no real consequence, the mother has gone red with rage. “Now what have you done? G—damn IDIOT!”

Don’t look, Mary.  Not your problem, Mary. Mary Smith resumes writing an answer on her puzzle. Her hand is shaking just a bit. She isn’t looking, but she hears. We see that the mother is small, blond, and in her early twenties. She doesn’t look capable of hurting her son, nor does she look capable of keeping him under control. Her frustration and rage is peaking. She grabs the boy off the shelf, but holds him kicking at the air 2 feet below him. Walks far enough away with him to clear the remains of the china African mask before dropping the child to the floor. The sound of the child’s body hitting the floor makes Mary Smith’s pen draw a line off of the paper as her shaking hand drops the pen.

Mary Smith can’t open her mouth. Her lips are stuck together, her tongue sticks to the roof of her mouth. Her voice is paralyzed. A movie of the week scene and she can’t turn the channel or swallow. The woman grabs up her son so that he stands again. He is winded, shocked, and not crying. She grabs his hand and they leave the store as they came.

Mary Smith is alone now. The mask is in the floor in several pieces. One piece containing a hole for an eye and a bit of forehead is on its side. To Mary Smith it looks like the eyeless socket is staring at her.

There was a time when Mary might have said something. How long ago was that? Ten years ago, maybe fifteen? Since before she let life pass her by. Before she began just trying to get on with life. Before her ideals began to shrivel and maturity blotted them out.

Mary Smith begins to pick up the pieces of the china African mask until she feels a sharp pain in her palm. The piece that had pricked her conscience has now cut her hand. This is the high melodrama we hoped Mary Smith, cliché of the great American short story, would  give us. Emotional, physical pain, the kind that will translate well on the silver screen. Keep going,Mary!

Mary Smith drops the offending piece into a plastic bag she is using to collect the debris and then opens her palm. Blood, not  massive, but considerable enough is leaking from a small cut. She stares at the red fluid that pumps through her body as though entranced. Funny the thoughts one thinks. Look, Mary, you’re alive. You’re still a person. Can you feel it? (Mournful reprise of the “Today” song’s music should be placed here in the movie version).

Perhaps a potential vampire boyfriend should materialize like a shark smelling blood? You know, a nice pale guy, handsome, opens the door for his lady-love before draining her of her lifeblood. So popular now, but we decide we like this story sans Dracula, and…

Mary Smith bandages her hand in the bathroom, places the last piece in the bag, and makes her way to the wastebasket behind the counter. But for some strange reason she can’t toss the tied bag into the basket. Something, some force has prevented her from throwing the mask away. Perhaps the mask is cursed, right? Not likely. Hello, it came from the wild forest pf The Dollar Tree, not an ancient African tribe. Probably something else. It seems to her that to throw the mask’s remains away after what happened would be wrong…almost bordering on disrespectful for her phantom son’s pain.

It’s time to close. Mary Smith is glad. It’s been a long day. I’ll throw it away when I get home, and with that she stuffs the plastic bag in her purse. The ‘closed’ sign is hung on the door, she sets the alarm, and locks the door . She is out on a generic sidewalk in NYC, Boston, Chicago, or LA.

  The loneliness of a large city is something Mary Smith is used to, but something has happened. The late afternoon sunlight is almost like it’s not there to her. The oppressive heat seems to not bother her. She almost feels cold. The world is gray  like an anti-depressant commercial pre-pill. People are all around her and she feels invisible until she bumps into a man (OK, here must be the meeting of the male romantic lead. FINALLY. Such a tedious read).

“Why don’t you watch where you’re going?” a man in a business suit admonishes.

“Sorry,” Mary Smith replies in the same tone as the gent.

Everything is wrong somehow. People are so unkind and she is tired of it all. Mary Smith is relieved to lock herself safely into her apartment away from everyone. Suddenly she  remembers skimming through the  paper that day, the stories. Along with the daily dose of murder, mayham, and outed gay conservatives, there was the story of a man who lived in an apartment building not far from where  Mary Smith lives. He hung himself in his closet and wasn’t found for a week, not until someone smelled him. What if one day that happens to me?  What if I died one day by natural causes or by dispatching myself  and they only found me because I stunk? Would anyone wonder what happened to me? Would anyone care? Oh, knock it off,  Mary. Someone would call, your employer, your landlady sure would be  on the case if the rent  was late. Maybe a friend sometime.

  My life doesn’t matter.

Eat something, Mary. You’re just tired and hungry.

 

Would anyone remember me for anything? No one would. I’m nothing in this world.

Rinse off your face. Get a grip. Ugh, no wonder no one loves me.The mirror doesn’t lie!

The mask is still in her purse, which she has hung on the coat rack. She takes the bag out of the purse, empties the pieces on a tray, hunts down her super glue, and pieces The Dollar Tree African mask together.

Watch something on the TV.

Canned laughter, fake, beautiful people sitting on couches talking their humorous adventures in love and life. Oh kill me now. I’m going to bed.

“Maybe today? Fuck it. Tomorrow,” she sings as she slips into bed. Mary Smith covers her head with her pillow and drowns the out the world.

The next day she picks up the dried mask from where she glued it together. The mask falls to pieces again.  Mary Smith sweeps the pieces into the plastic bag and throws it away on the way to work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blog Shorts II: Insect — June 2, 2011

Blog Shorts II: Insect

Is it alive?  Dead insects aren’t so plump. Hand goes out, misses a couple of times, but the third time  charms. Lily gently sits the fly on the pool’s ledge.

(Author’s note: No Kafka for you).

Miss Muffet: Modern Version Late Thursday’s Poets Rally — April 13, 2011

Miss Muffet: Modern Version Late Thursday’s Poets Rally

Clynotis severus, Female, Austin's Ferry, Tasm...
"Loving You is Easy 'Cause You're Beautiful" Image via Wikipedia

 

Big Ms. Lisa sat on her toilet

after eating pancakes of flour and milk,

When along came a creature just then to meet her

hanging from unseen silk.

She closed her blue orbs,  almost frightened away,

for vision she was partial to everyday.

 

“What the hell was that?” asked Ms. Lisa to her three sisters: Me, Myself, and I.

“Maybe it was an angry bee,” she said to Me, who did not disagree.

“Mighta been a ‘skeeter,” offered Myself, eyeing I.

I said, “It ain’t neither. Wonder if we have some pie?”

 

Ms. Lisa dared to  look herself and what did she see?

A spider in mid air, from the coils of Big Lisa’s big hair.

Ms. Lisa knew what had to be done,

and instead of run she grabbed a book

for the spider to be took.

 

Spider, however, had other desires,

book seat declined, he decided instead to go into its spine.

Ms. Lisa then divined that it takes much time

to free a spider when he otherwise is inclined.

Morally Bankrupt; or, I Really Wanted That Barbie Doll — September 4, 2010

Morally Bankrupt; or, I Really Wanted That Barbie Doll

So we’re back to my regular sort of post. I sometimes worry that I will one day not be able to come up with something or will totally end up never writing another humorous word again. I don’t even set out with ideas for humor in my posts for the most part. I just fall into it and lots of times I am not sure how it will be received. Maybe tonight is the night I lose my ability to make mundane incidents humorous or interesting. But they say write for yourself and it’ll all come out OK, so we’ll see how I like it .  Say, we should keep a tally on what I think about the direction this post is going,  It’ll be like the director’s commentary version of  a film on DVD. Morally Bankrupt -The Director’s Commentary. What the hay, why don’t y’all have a capital time as well? Take a sip of your favorite 40 oz. malt liquor beverage each time I say something that could be remotely construed as humor, regardless if it’s truly funny or no. Or if alcoholic beverages aren’t your cup of tea, perhaps take a puff from  the blunt you must smoke in order to truly understand my very deep writing. Or if neither  tickle your fancy, might I suggest a sip of  Wal-Mart brand add-to-water fruit punch like I’m drinking. It all works just fine in a drinking game I’m sure. Let’s begin!

(Cut! Here’s where I yelled cut because it was 2:30 am and I yearned for the comfort of  my pillow. Pretty lame movie so far, isn’t it? Bet you’re wishing you rented Twilight instead.

But anyway, ACTION!)

It’s Sunday and I decide I will spend much of the afternoon at the pool….You know, before a hurricane sweeps us all away later this week, or worse, makes it impossible to use the pool from debris. For breakfast, my mother is preparing a new end of the month masterpiece of cookery: Pancakes made exclusively of  flour and water, garnished with margarine and homemade brown sugar syrup -apparently we’re out of Aunt Jemima too. While not exactly IHOP, it does  very well when you’re craving something sweet and semi-tasty at the end of the month.

(CUT! That ain’t nothing, really in the annals of  Budget Living. Mama smoked her last cigarette last night, so this morning she took tiny bits of tobacco that fell out  into the pack and started chewing them in her mouth. She said that it tastes terrible, but you get a tad of nicotine. It reminds me of this woman I used to know named Candy who lived in a trailer park……and had no compunction to pick up cigarette butts off the ground to smoke. Um yuck, but I didn’t share this recollection with Mama or remarked “could she get more ghetto/trailer if she tried?” I deemed that since she’d been several hours without chaising ‘Puff the Magic Pall Malls Dragon’ that I would keep such observations to myself.)

(Back again, really should try to start blogging earlier in the day, so that it doesn’t take a week to write something. Exhaustion and my penchant for becoming distracted work against me, plus I’ve always been the slowest at any damn thing imaginable, but oh well. Y’all got other blogs to read as you anticipate my next words, right? Oh and hurray, first of the month passed. Cigarettes and other vital hurricane supplies got. I didn’t figure this hurricane would amount to anything.  I was sitting out on my lounge this evening and the wind picked up -so I adjourned to the covered patio in the hopes of not being whacked in the head. Though who knows? My head is indeed somewhat addled to begin with, so perhaps being bonked on the head by  a stray pine tree branch just might be the cure for knocking my brain cells into place. But anyway, back to the ‘film.’ ACTION!)

Yeah, Sunday. Pool. There. While I’m bobbing about in the deep end, I listen to a curious conversation. I believe the woman’s original aim was to sit in her floating lounger and read, but it didn’t seem to matter to Mr. Horny Ex-Con. He set her as his object and talked and talked. There is one thing to be said about being a bit less than comely, and that is that such crap seldom happens to you. In fact, the only guy I ever had trouble with was a drunk, simple-seeming Mexican fellow with one reddened cheek (punched or skin condition?). He kept advancing on me and tried to mess with me, to which I screamed in the most hateful voice I could muster, “Leave me the hell alone!” and left the pool.

Mr. Horny Ex-Con proceeds to relate how his life has gone “since he got out as he put it.  He says that he spent nearly a decade in prison and there were plenty of homosexuals and guys who did the homosexual thing while in prison, but no rape because everyone from particular states looked out for their own. That was interesting to know , so it wasn’t Oz, but he never said what he did to merit 10 years in prison. Somehow I doubt it was jaywalking, especially if he’s the roommate of who I think he is, who’s an “Evil One” indeed.

I nearly laughed when I heard him say, “All the women I’ve met since I got out in March have turned out to be lesbians.” Bwhaaaaaaaaaaaaah ! I think just about any girl would suddenly claim to a sapphic bent if he was talking to them. Not that he was ugly, no he ain’t, but what the hell do you do to go to prison for 10 freaking years? The woman was finally spared his wooing by his admission that he needed to pee. Did Romeo and Cyrano have such hurdles to overcome as a full bladder at an inopportune time? I sometimes think that I’m not missing much by no one dying of love for me or lusting after me from my observations on these matters.

Now to my hideous lack of morality, my great sin almost committed. I would have done it too had a couple of variables not interfered with my depravity. Really, it is pretty bad. So here’s my confession:

Some little girl left her Barbie doll at the pool and did not come back for it by closing time. So I approach the Pool Matron and say, “Um PM, do you know whose Barbie is that?” She doesn’t know.

“Do you think it would be OK if I take….Oh, nevermind.” Pool Matron’s little son grabbed the coveted Barbie. “I just thought I might…..since it’d been there all day….and the pool being closed tomorrow….but maybe someone will come back for it.”

So the little boy and his mother spared me from what in retrospect can only be conceived by me as sorta-kinda-maybe stealing. Now, to be fair to me a little, I recall last year Pool Matron saying she threw stuff away that got left behind, so with that logic, I’d hoped to have that pretty black Barbie doll (I love ethnic dolls the best, so sue me).

I consider myself a moral to beyond moral sort of woman, so my mind began the deserved attack upon me as soon as I left the pool. “Thief! Stealer of children’s playthings! YOU SUCK!!!”

My only solace is I looked at the pool the next morning and the near-purloined Barbie was not to be seen. I bet Pool Matron’s kids took her home that night. At least it wasn’t me.

I nearly had a similar temptation a few weeks beforehand. I was still cross at the little rat bastard that took my goggles after I specifically asked him to return them when he was done. Well, someone left goggles at the pool overnight. The next day I saw they were still there, and I thought to myself, perhaps if they are still here by the end of the day it would be OK to take them and the person who left them won’t come back. So I borrow them for a set of laps, then returned them to where they sat. By the end of the day they were gone, but sort of doubt that they were restored to their rightful owner. But at least it wasn’t me lest the  poor soul who lost them came back. I am not a believer in “Finders Keepers,” but it seems as though I need to remind myself. I’m not happy.

(Cut! That’s a wrap!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiKPZRFnIIM&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAX37IIJ4O0&feature=channel

Why I Am -Part I: Who’s Your Baby Daddy — August 26, 2010

Why I Am -Part I: Who’s Your Baby Daddy

Okay, so I’ve been working on this on and off since May. Today’s posts, mercifully cut down from one  giant 3000 word monster to a couple posts,   is the beginning of my life story and will continue it when there’s nothing better to bore you with. The story of my father is told here as I remember it being told to me over the years, so if I get something wrong, I will let you know.  As weird as this story sounds, it is the truth as best I know it.

The Basket Case
Basket Case


How did I become this way, an obsessive-compulsive woman-child; a timid, anxious individual? Genetics? Brain damage at birth? Life experiences, both remembered and forgotten? Alien abduction? Almost all the above? Probably.

The years 1976-1977 were not good years for love or fashion. People walked around wearing puke green, brown, and orange; all the while love conquered all, including common sense. At least this was true in my mother’s case. What do I mean? I mean Mama sure knew how to  pick a man. She decided to dive into a gene pool of  green, stagnant water and I am the result. My father was an alcoholic, which in itself is nothing new or that different from other people. It’s all in how my mother met my father that is the difference. You see, my mother was a nurse who at the time worked as a counselor to alcoholics, which is where she MET her husband, a patient. Love Story.  Just how my father beguiled Mama, I’m not sure. She was 34 then, her true love turned out to be a prick, and several years had gone by since their break-up. Perhaps she was super lonely and my father was a nice fellow. Likely also, and this is a trait I see in myself too, she had a similar urge to save or help people .

My grandmother, Zoulean, yes that was her name, always warned my mother against marrying a drunk or dating anyone she wouldn’t consider marrying. There is even a story showing how much Grandma hated intemperance. When she and Grandpa first got married they stayed at his parents’ home. The first night they stayed there, Grandpa and his two brothers decided to go out together, a boys night out. So my grandmother went to bed, only to be awakened later by the brothers’ wives.

Hazel and Margie were two prim sisters who had married my grandpa’s two brothers. “Come on, Zoulean,  our husbands are in jail. We gotta get ’em out.”

“Y’all can go if you want, but I’m staying right here,” said Zoulean.

Which set the sisters clucking. “You can’t leave your husband in jail overnight!” exclaimed Hazel, and the two sisters clucked, clucked, clucked until they were gone. The whole house was roused from sleep, but Grandpa’s parents sided with Zoulean. He had left his new wife in a house with people she barely knew to go carousing with his brothers. Let him stay overnight in jail. Would serve him right was their verdict. Apparently, alcohol is no cure for claustrophobia, and Grandpa learned his lesson well spending the night in that jail cell.

Maybe it all made my father more appealing, forbidden fruit. Forbidden by parents and no doubt kind of frowned upon by Mental Health for upping and marrying the patients. But whatever. At least she didn’t meet my dad years before when she worked an internship at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. (Fun fact: John Hinckley resides there nowadays). So my mom married my dad in a charming civil court ceremony and they honeymooned in South Carolina after he asked her, “Do you want to get married?”  Their married life together and apart and together again lasted a whole 6 months. Like I said, love conquers all, right?

But it wasn’t all bad. He was a binge drinker, so he wasn’t drunk all the time. He was a good guy when he wasn’t drinking, I’m told. Give the shirt off his back type of guy. But just before he went on a binge, he’d get agitated acting, like something was building up in him, and voila, a several day binge.

(Stop the presses a moment. Here is where I grow suspicious of Daddy Dearest and wonder if his contribution to my genetic make-up was that of Mental Midgetdom. Almost every man in his family was a drunk, which makes me wonder what the hell they were trying to dull down. Anxiety? Depression? Was it compulsive? Or were they just a bunch of assholes who could find no  better diversion than getting plastered?)

My father was also supposed to be a smart man, though he only made it up to 8th grade before his family needed his labor. My father’s life consisted of living by his wits and hands. At one point in their six month marriage, my parents decided to move  to Alabama where my father could find work in landscaping and carpentry-type work. While there, my parents started going to a Baptist church and Dad slowed down on the drinking for a time. For a time.  But in the end the alcohol won. Their relationship went something along these lines: Things are ok. Things are not ok, so Johnny spends up the money drinking. Johnny sobers up and swears he’ll never drink again. Things are ok. Things are not ok….

Wild Irish Rose
Daddy's Little Marriage Helper

Once when good and sauced,but before he got into angry drunk mode as was his custom, he told Mama  that he was part Cherokee Indian. When they said in vino veritas, they probably didn’t mean imbibers of Wild Irish Rose Whiskey. Before my mother knew him, one of my father’s jobs was ‘orange picker’ in Florida. I suppose  he got himself a good tan out there working with his co-workers, all Mexicans.  So good in fact that when Immigration rounded up everyone, they picked up Johnny too.  Before he was deported, however, he was able to negotiate his freedom. Perhaps it was my dad’s southern accent that tipped INS off, or maybe it was that he didn’t know one blessed word of espanol. My hair is dark too, but very curly, my cheek bones aren’t pronounced (even when I wasn’t chunky), and my eyes are a dull blue, so how do you like them apples, kenosabe? Just another mystery, though Grandma told me she knew that family  forever, “and there weren’t no Indian in  none of ’em.”

In another  alcohol soaked scene  of domestic tranquility, Dad called the police saying he had a gun and was going to kill himself. My mother was not amused.

Talking to the police outside of the house, my mom leveled it out with them, seething. “NO, he DOESN”T have a gun . NO, he is NOT suicidal (though at that point, Mama probably could have killed her husband with her own hands). The police worried about leaving her alone with her drunkard husband, but Mama swore she would be fine, and she was. The fact of the matter was my father on a drunk aspired to being  wife beater, but never could reach his mark. Kicking or trying to lash out at the air all the while hurling  bizarre combinations of curses and insults, my dad  wasn’t fast enough or coardinated enough to actually catch my mother.

Sometime in all the breaking up and making up, Mama got pregnant and miscarried.  She wanted that baby, ailing marriage or no, but for whatever  reason my sibling ceased to be before it had a chance to become.

The final break up saw my father running out to the car in his underwear as my mother drove away. She circled around once to make sure the man she married got back into the house safely, and that was that. Little did she know when she made the long trek  home to her parents that for about two weeks a memento of a marriage best forgotten grew inside her.

Wild Irish Rose photo used w/o permission from blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com

A Summer at Club Ghetto/Trailer-Fabulous…The First Swim — June 19, 2010

A Summer at Club Ghetto/Trailer-Fabulous…The First Swim

Ah, the Gates of Paradise have opened for yet another summer of clean, wholesome fun. Sure, it took until a week into June to open because the Health Department said “You need this, that, and some of those parts  too,” but better late than never. I’m pretty sure last year they replaced the old drain as per new federal law with the kind that won’t disembowel you when it drowns you. Plus the water ain’t green and is no doubt only 25% urine at the end of each day. So open the damn thing already, Health Inspector!

Being more than slightly socially anxious,  I find a lounge chair sort of away from other people . I must hurry about this business anyway, as it is nearly 11am and if I don’t hurry my pasty self along, I’m going to  get burned and shrivel up like a California Raisin.  A large man in his 50s is already in the deep end clinging to a ladder and I am careful to find a place to jump where I won’t splash him. The apartment pool was built around 1972 when they still made pools good n’ deep, so the water ranges from 3 to 8 ft. I choose somewhere between 5 and 6 ft, a respectful distance from the portly man at the ladder. Once I pop up, I bob in the water. I can tread water without ever treading, my head can stay above the water like I’m standing, but my arms sort of  are away in front of me, kind of like a frog or turtle with its head above water.

And so the man says something along the  lines of, “Wow! You sure can stay afloat well without doing anything.”

I don’t really look at him because I’m floating the other way, and have I mentioned before that I’m shy? Just checking. I say in as cheery  a voice as I can, “That’s because I’m chubby!”  He says “Naw! I sure can’t do that.” But whatever, my good man. It is what it is.

I commence to my laps.  I could just leave it at that like a normal person would, but Gentle Reader,  then you wouldn’t get all the subtle nuances of the obsessive-compulsive experience.

I have little rituals for everything.

Everything?

Yes everything.  I will share the swimming only since I don’t feel like writing a post as long as War and Peace tonight.

Once I jump into the water I feel it is a necessity to acclimate my body to the water temperature no matter how warm, hence the stand up floating.

One, one-thousand. Two, one-thousand. Three, one-thousand. Okay.

After saying this in my head, if I haven’t hit the side of the pool, good for me, because that means I don’t have to repeat. If yes, do it again, unless the pool is just too crowded or you really gotta be somewhere soon. If the pool isn’t overcrowded,  and I am at risk of bumping into someone, propel away, preferably 3 strokes away because I tend  to favor the number 3 (since, it has a religious significance in Christianity, I took it sometime as my ‘lucky number,’ everything else I prefer evened out. If you don’t hit the wall where you can start swimming the length of the pool, breast stroke, head above water until you reach the furthermost part of the deep end.

I don’t like the breast stroke. I will leave that to Michael Phelps and let you know how I swim laps. Besides, it is somewhat impractical in the Ghetto/Trailer pool, since a) the rope that divides the deep end from the shallow will intercept you

and b.) lots of times you got to focus on not running into bunches of kids. So I swim like a frog just under the surface of the water. What I do is fill my lungs almost to capacity but not quite and swim the length of the pool, which is perhaps 25 to 30 feet long without coming up for air. About halfway, I suck the rest of the air in my mouth through my lungs and that sustains me to the other side (not like it’s the English Channel anyway). I’m not sure that is something for everyone to try at home. Perhaps some people would end up sucking water in through the nose. Perhaps it may be that since my muscles never quite relax, I have a bit more control in my breathing, or perhaps my nose just clogs up. Or perhaps, if evolution is true, I didn’t quite evolve from my amphibious ancestors.  Most likely, though,  it is unremarkable and the folks who seem surprised that I can get to the other side without coming up just ain’t tried it right yet. I usually can’t make it in a typical size lap lane without coming up, so there you go.

Once I get to the other side, I must rest at least 10 seconds  before I complete the lap by returning to the starting side. At one point a man says, “There sure is a lot of chlorine in this water.” I’m not sure if he is talking to me, but once he repeated his assertion I said,  Ohhh, I didn’t realize you were talking to me…….Yes, but my eyes have a high tolerance for chlorine.” I worry that the man might think  I didn’t answer at first because  he is African-American.  (I really could have used a ‘White Guilt Day’ greeting card right then preferably a waterproof one: http://zodiblog.wordpress.com/2010/06/12/dead-demon-fish-and-bill-murray/).  I’d hate for someone to think I was hesitant talking to him because of race, when in all actuality, my painful shyness is very much an equal opportunity pathology).

Ahh, but this year Club Ghetto/ Trailer pool must have decided to put more chlorine than they used to do, because Ms. Blue-Eyes Invinsible here starts feeling pain on her sixth lap, and by the time she finished, she could barely open her eyes on dry land. Whoops! She will later use the lid off her mouth wash as an eyewash because her eyes bulged and looked like she  was on an 8 day drunk.

At another point Club Ghetto/Trailer-Fab’s monitor comes out checking pool passes and while there she informs me I can’t wear a shirt in the pool over my bathing suit. Stupid, but I have promised myself to take it all in stride this year and only gripe when truly merited.  I saw 10 shades of red when they wanted to ban beads and hair weaves in the pool. Supposedly beads from kids’ hair were getting stuck in the filters, but I imagine if you dangled one of those young’ins over a balcony, just grabbing the child by one beaded strand, her beads would remain in her hair. It might not have meant to be a racist thing but it ‘felt’ racist, and it was a rule picking on little kids.

So off goes my shirt and I throw it over towards my chair. Now, I felt I had two pretty decent reasons for not wishing to relinquish my shirt. A.) I didn’t want my back turning fire engine red and B.) My bathing suit is old and severely worn out. In fact, it’s in such shit condition you would think it had been in constant service since the time Esther Williams did movies. For one, it has a rip in the side and then it’s all motley. But it wasn’t just aesthetics. It was that my suit for while has been stretching southward, a victim of gravity that dared me to have a wardrobe malfunction. But since the straps have elongated so much, I tie the straps together at my nape every now and then to prevent my stretch marked bosom from making a special appearance. Wish I could find my damn good bathing suit or buy a new one at the moment

Once I finish my 12 laps, 12 because I want to make sure I at least get 10 in case I miscount , I either float on my back  if no one is in the deep end, or  the stand up float if there are people. All that 1,2,3 jazz like I mentioned earlier. Hit one end of the pool like earlier after the 1,2,3 crap is done in my head. If there are people on both ends of the pool, I may exit. If not, I get to float at whatever jets are at that side of the pool, so it will propel me, which is amusing, If I am on the opposite side iof the jet, breast stroke over there I go. Then once I do that, I do one more floating session just pushing off the side. One and a Two and a three with an “okay.” Now I can exit.

I dry off, rest in a lounge chair, count to 300 in my head to relax me and give me time to adjust  to the temperature on land. Then I can return home. So soothing. Was my pool rituals as tedious to read as it was to write them down?

Visit a Vet and Your Therapist. — June 10, 2010

Visit a Vet and Your Therapist.

Just when you think things are going ok and that you might be able to stay out of the pawn shop just one month, someone goes and kicks your cat.

Granted it wasn’t on purpose, but the cat was kicked all the same.  You see, Mama was in a hurry  to use the can and there are two doors to said can; one being the entry from the hallway, the other opens into the master closet.  As I stated before in one way or another, I am not about to be on the cover of Martha Stewart Living. So when I throw dirty clothes into the master closet for later washing, theoretically, the clothes are supposed to go into a hamper.  Said hamper in said closet is usually overflowing with dirty clothing, however, so I tend to aim, throw, and let my discarded clothing  fall where it may. And this is how the tragedy began.

My mother, in her haste to close the closet door, kicked a pair of black shorts that were obstructing the door. Unfortunately, Babee Dondee was curled up on that pair of shorts. Babee Dondee is small and black except for the occasional white hair here and there, so he was perfectly hid on that  black  background. My mom’s swift kick made hard contact with shorts and cat.

Mama felt terrible, placing the blame on herself, though I think if it is anyone’s fault, it’s mine since I’m a total slob and it was my shorts left there by me. She apologized repeatedly to Dondee and I think he realized Mom didn’t mean to do it to him.

But whoever’s fault it was, it became obvious Dondee needed medical attention, because he still limped this morning and wouldn’t emerge from the closet.  I hate taking my cats to the vet, Dondee especially, since he is absolutely terrified of riding in the van in his carrier. He cries the five minutes it takes to get there, and is an awful thing to hear, especially when you can’t  tell him what is happening in a language he understands.

The vet who saw us is a man in his 50s, whom I distinctly get the feeling likes animals more than humanity, or maybe he thought we meant to do it, and I feel horrified and guilty in his presence. But I think (hope) he knew we didn’t mean to, because I doubt the average person who abuses animals takes them to the vet afterword. I tried not to avert my eyes as much as usual, lest the doctor  think we meant to do it and mistake my social anxiety as guilt.

In the end, nothing was broken, but his nerves in his shoulder were inflamed. He received steroids for that and antibiotics just in case he was bit by something instead of my mom’s kick because his temperature was up.

My mother gave me the joyous task of settling up with the receptionist since I had the money, but I knew it was going to be more than I have. And so it was. I’m too chicken shit to say I don’t have $195.00, so I beckoned my mom over and show her the invoice.  Mama explained the situation and that we’ll be back as soon as possible.  $96.00 down, $99.00 to go. So we take Dondee home, grab up some pawnable merchandise, and back out we go.  Meanwhile, one of the maintenance guys told us the pool passed inspection and will probably open today. Great, figures the damn thing would finally open and I’d be on the……nevermind.

I think the receptionist was pleased we came back as soon as we did, and hopefully, since we brought the money back so fast, that will give us a gold star in character and somehow show them we don’t abuse animals. Lord.

Then, this afternoon was a trip to my therapist. Now my last trip to see her, she kinda sorta almost yelled at me, or was very firm.  Well, at least it worked. Plus my mom, my best friend, virtually everyone on earth, also wanted me to do what I did. So I did and I feel the better for it. Guilt and elation, anger, guilt, then elation again. Some things that are easy  for other people are much harder for me. I meant well, though.

My therapist was glad I went out with Green and that I had no real problem with talking to him or the Hippies, that I didn’t freeze up. She wants me to contact him again.

She isn’t so happy I’m so nervous-acting, I don’t think, because she asked me when I last saw my shrink. It was a couple months ago and she couldn’t up my meds, but thank God, my depression lifted a lot since.  I went from life-sucks-just-let-me-die-or- something  to life-sucks-less. Good enough, man. Party!

She seems to think my little perfectionist  bent  is a tad maladaptive. I can’t stand my inability to do everything just right. If I feel I haven’t done things perfectly, I will go into a rage at myself and go take a nap. One thing goes wrong, EVERYTHING is wrong. If I raise my voice at my mother, I will get angry at myself, feel I’m a failure at life in general….and go to sleep.  Every morning I wake up and promise myself  today I will not make a mistake. Doomed to failure, but I can’t stop. I’ve done this off and on in some form or another since I was a small girl. Nothing I would expect of another person, but I  can’t stand  my lack of measuring up to normalcy.  Oh well.

952 words, I’m shutting up now.


Protected: Neighborhood Watch — June 6, 2010
Princess Rubenesque’s Adventures Downtown — April 30, 2010

Princess Rubenesque’s Adventures Downtown

(Started Apr 12, bothered to finish today. Yay, I’m caught up!)

I intended on going to the parade Saturday morning, but awoke flustered and despairing of getting there on time, so I fell back on the couch and watched the thing on TV.  I was angry at myself for not going…I always go. It was so cool that our local hero was the parade marshal. Such a small, normal looking woman and God only knows how many people she saved when she took that guy down. She once was a police officer at a local beach where nothing happens and now look at her…people around the world know what she did. I bet she wishes it never happened though since she can only walk a bit now. I will reiterate though she is mega cool.

Saturday evening my mother and I went downtown to see the fireworks. We walked 6 blocks to the river, but it was a lovely evening and a pleasant walk in the historic district.  At night sometimes one can see inside their lovely homes, the painted or wallpapered rooms with their  pretentious chandeliers and antique furnishings. The other joy is all the people observing one can  get in, like the actively hallucinating guy who walked past us giving consolation to someone we couldn’t see. With the advent of bluetooth technology it can be difficult to tell if someone is nuts, but this guy’s jerky movements made insanity  a certainty. “He wouldn’t give us any money,” he told his invisible friend, then said, “Don’t worry about him though, man.”

The fireworks were beautiful and I think we had the best view we ever had, sitting in our fold-out chairs in clear view of where they were  shot off.  Then we went to the Chinese take-out for some soup. This joint gave birth to the term “seedy.” There’s always interesting people there. Someone opened the door to yell to a patron that their mutual pal is in jail, but she already knew and was cross but seemed to not view it as being as newsworthy as her friends did.

Soup is a rather ritual-oriented meal, especially the robust hot and sour they serve at Seedy China.  The soup is spicy hot and would not do for the average Anglo to gulp down, but it is the best I’ve ever tasted. In case you aren’t fortunate enough to know how to eat a pint of soup the proper way, allow me to school you on the perfect and essential way. You can thank me later for this vital skill.

Please recall, gentle reader, we did not grow up in a sty and must act accordingly. Unfold your napkin and set it in your lap (if you are lucky like me your stomach is one  large flap and if utilized properly, can act as a ‘paperweight’ for the napkin in your lap).  Take your spoon and begin. Begin from the left and take  sips until you’ve taken a sip by dipping your spoon, working vertically until you’re at the right side of the bowl.  Then put a few of those crisp noodles, at least 3 of them since you really prefer things in 3’s.  Eat the noodles in your soup. Now repeat the entire ritual until you’re done, and if you’re good at it, people won’t even realize you have a ‘strategy’ for eating.

Downtown’s most prevalent establishments open at night are bars, bars, and then bars.  You have to be careful down there because girls have got into trouble, but if you aren’t alone you’re pretty safe, especially if it isn’t really late at night.  So when the drunk chaps rolled up to the red light, two cars of them, I wasn’t worried for my physical safety.

“HEY BITCH!  LOOK HERE! YOU’RE FAT!”

Oh. How. Original. I’m sensible enough not to reply or look at them. As they drive away, to preserve my dignity, I mutter, “Fucking assholes.” But I seriously felt very little. I wasn’t aware of being angry or sad. But then I had one of my bad thoughts, the kind that are very disturbing to someone with OCD. My mind conjured an image of  those guys in an awful car crash, the kind with glass everywhere  and the cars crushed like soda cans. Which immediately upset me because I didn’t want the little bastards to die or be injured and I hoped they got home okay. Then I started to worry. A thought is just a thought, but I don’t like the thought at all. I started worrying as though the thought of them being killed would come true, though I knew I was being stupid.

What if the thought means you want them to crash?  I asked myself. No, and you know you don’t want any harm worse than a hangover tomorrow to happen to them, Lisa, I replied in my mind. But the awful thought of those guys dying lodged into my mind, and I sought reassurance from my mom.

“I wish you could worry about something. No, you don’t want them to crash or die,” Mom said. I really exasperate her sometimes, but I eventually realized she was right. If I really wanted something to happen to them, I would not be worried about it or if I wished it I would know I wished it. Fair enough.

And far as I know, the two cars of  drunken idiots made it home safe and sound that night. All’s well that ends well.

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