Thursday, January 16, 2014

Tiny Little Mopeds in Your Mind.

My employer is moving to downtown Detroit after being in our current building for a bazillion years. It's a good move because the city where we are currently located is a pretty depressing place. There's a retail area/strip mall that is completely empty. There are "WE BUY GOLD" signs and a Planned Parenthood. Don't get me wrong. I'm a huge fan of Planned Parenthood. I got my prenatal care there when I was first pregnant with my son and didn't have medical insurance. But Planned Parenthoods are not usually in the most desirable neighborhoods.

I went to a nail salon once by work and it looked like a place where former nail technicians go to die. The bottles of nail polish were all dried up and there wasn't a bottle of disinfectant in sight. I think the last time it had received a good scrub was probably somewhere around the Carter administration.

I have a co-worker who used to get blowouts just down the street from our office on Fridays for $20. She was so excited she found a place to give her hair a blowout for $20! The only problem was that the hair stylist gave her said blowout while simultaneously smoking a cigarette. My friend did notice she smelled like smoke on Friday nights. So we renamed the $20 Blowout, "The Smokey Blowout."

Anyway, it's quite industrial, this stretch of a highway. It cuts through the east side of Detroit and carves a path through a town that's been left behind to slowly rot into the concrete that surrounds it as folks move further and further north and leave this old Blue Collar town behind. This is the kind of town that was inhabited by the workers of the many automotive plants that loom along this stretch of road.

Most days I look out my window and see concrete as far as my eye can see. Concrete parking lots. Concrete buildings. Concrete sky. It's a town that's been built up and beaten down by the very industry that sustains it. Anyway, moving to the thriving entertainment district of Detroit will be quite an improvement for us in many ways. Downtown Detroit has a lot going on (despite what you may have heard) and we will be right in the middle of all of it. I'll also be able to have lunch with my husband on occasion, who also works downtown. We'll be like real city folk instead of the boutique suburbanites we've become.

So there are moving boxes and oddities littering the halls of my office building now. We have to box up all of our personal belongings and take them home. Only our desk chairs and our desktops (if we have them) and two containers of office supplies and other necessities will be moved to the new location. I walked by a typewriter today. I saw an empty Miller Lite can in the sink. I sifted through artwork that my son Cracky made for me when he was a toddler and I had just started working here. He drew me as a large balloon-like lady with sticks for arms and legs. I'm so enormous that I dwarf everything else in the picture, including his Defensive Tackle father, himself, the sun, the moon. I am that god-like and all-powerful. Seven years later and I still think he sees me that way.

In other news, my teeth ache from a new Invisalign-type device my orthodontist has inflicted on me in order to shove a wayward tooth back into place. It's like the first week of braces all over again. When I take the retainer off, my teeth feel loose and wiggle in their sockets. My gums throb with the beat of my own heart. I believe orthodontia would be a good torture device. I'm surprised our leaders haven't looked into this. I mean, sure, yeah, it's cruel and painful. But all of our war criminals leave with nice straight teeth! You can't Geneva Convention us for that.

Just kidding. I don't even know what the Geneva Convention is. I write ads for a living.

I started off the week with a bizarre form of food poisoning from red kidney beans. Did you know that they're toxic when they're undercooked? Yes, yes, they are. You either need to eat them out of a can or you need to make sure you boil them for 10 minutes on the stove. Do not cook them in a slow cooker.


If you get nothing else from my blog today, please get that.

Apparently cooking dry kidney beans over long periods of time at 80 degrees or less increases their natural toxicity 4-5 times. I was so violently ill, I didn't know which way or out of which orifice things were going to rocket out of my body. (Apologies for the graphic nature of this kind of poisoning.) After the third or fourth trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I briefly wondered whether I could simultaneously reach one end of myself towards the toilet and the other end towards the sink. It was that bad. And worse. But my husband says there are some things I probably shouldn't say on the internet. This coming from a man who is known for being inappropriate and having no boundaries. So, I think I will heed his warning and keep my description somewhat vague. Needless to say, I lost 6 lbs in 6 hours on the Hell Bean Diet. Cook yourself up a batch this weekend!

Then, after all that, I got in a disagreement with my husband. (Re: He was wrong and I was right and he refused to see that.) I guess two people aren't at their best when they've projectile evacuated all the liquids out of their bodies through every available orifice. And it wasn't really a fight, fight. Like, there weren't any punches thrown and I didn't take a baseball to his brand new car. Haha. I know he just flinched while reading that. But truly, I hate conflict of any sort. So does he. Whenever we have a disagreement, we both go and nurse our wounds silently in our own little pain caves. I think we both feel as though each hurtful word has been administered like a baseball bat to the tender hood of a BMW. Hahahaha. Just kidding. (I bet he's removing all the bats from our garage right now.)

All kidding aside, I do feel beaten down. Have you ever noticed that when you start off your day with a good hard cry, you feel it in your eyeballs for the rest of the day? I can still feel the salt in my eyes, left there like tiny crystal reminders of an earlier pain.

God. Relationships suck. They are so much work. They get right down to your deepest, darkest places. The places you were most hurt when you were most vulnerable. They conjure up the ghosts of our youth and reenact them like a morality play and you're the only sinner. Blergh. "Working it out" and "Compromise" have been the mantra of my adulthood. These are relatively new words for me and so I'm having to navigate this whole "Conflict Resolution" thing like a stranger in a strange land. I thought running away from conflict solved conflict? If I run away, the conflict is far away. See? All better! This new way is complete bullshit if you ask me. But I guess the trail of disastrous relationships that I've left in my love-wake suggest that maybe it's time I tried a new way. So fine. I'm doing that, but I'm doing it under protest (even if it was my idea).

Aside from all that, I'm stuck in a rut in my book. I'm about 2/3 of the way done and I feel like it's become monotonous. I feel like I'm telling one chronological story after the other, with a neat beginning, middle and an end. I want to break free and not write in any order or not meet some specific plot device. My writing coach is helping me with that. She's given me some free-writing exercises to play with this weekend that have nothing to do with plot. I just want to roll around in the words and luxuriate there. My tiny womb of words. My dreamy cocoon of images from my youth. I want to say something beautiful that has no point.

I want to paint you a picture of a lovely boy and how he looked when he pulled up into my circle driveway in the full lush of spring. I want you to know what it was like to run out of that dark house and into the bright sun with a boy on a moped waiting there for you. I want you to know what his heartbeat felt like when you wrapped your arms around him and got away. Any away. Didn't matter where. And he never asked too many questions. He never judged.

"How bad is it?" he would ask.

And all have you had to say was, "Bad" and he would drive you away like a white knight on a tiny little moped.

Yeah, so it might've been bad, but I had a boy on a bike who would come and get me and take me away. Sometimes life gets to be too much and I close my eyes and I scoot off on a little Honda moped in my mind.

Beep beep, baby.

God it's good to drive. To have a license and a credit card. Maybe it'll take me to the mall where everything is shiny and beautiful and new. It's never that bad if you have someplace to go. Someplace to be free. Someplace where nothing ever changes, beans never go bad, and you never have to compromise like a grownup ever.

Yeah, I wanna go there.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Nude Year Resolution.

I don't care for New Year's Resolutions. They seem like opportunities to disappoint oneself. If I'm going to enact change in my life, I'm going to do it throughout the year and not in one grand statement per annum, thank you.

But if I do make a New Year's Resolution, I try to make it fun. Usually it involves sex or going on vacation or having friends over more often. It never involves weight loss or quitting things that are fun. You get the gist.

So this year my resolution is to go to bed naked every night.

(Sorry mom and dad. And apologies to my son who may google my name someday and find this. I tried to warn you. See? You should listen to your mother.)

Anyway, if you're naked fun things are more likely to happen. Clothes get in the way. They communicate distance or at least offer a bit of a challenge. Going to bed naked every night is an invitation. An open door. The gateway to Sexy Town.

Just kidding. I would never say "Sexy Town." Well, not without laughing.

However, even if it doesn't lead to sex, naked skin leads to more direct contact. Skin on skin contact. I think humans never lose that infantile need to have skin on skin contact. We need it to thrive. All of us. The warmth of skin is healing. The warmth of skin can save lives. If you're freezing to death, you're supposed to strip down naked and get into a sleeping bag together. Or something like that. I read it somewhere, once upon a time. It's the kind of folk knowledge that comes from living in Michigan and other cold places.

It's also 12 degrees here on this New Year's Day. The cat won't get off me. I'm wrapped in a fuzzy blanket and wearing a turtleneck. I've got the thermostat cranked up to 72 but still I feel a draft. Seems like just the right time of year to make a resolution to get under the covers each night without a stitch of clothing.

I've never really been a fan of pajamas anyway. They're so fussy. They get in the way. Seems like we were made naked and we should be naked more often. Give your skin a chance to breathe. Maybe rub up against the naked skin of whoever is in your bed. Yes. I'd say let's have more of that this year.