|Sometimes, you settle for|
Sunday, April 17, 2011
A diversion seems salutary what with all this waiting for an email from my son’s stroke-victim biological father who seems to be playing “guess what this art work means” game with my already-addled brain.
Because what’s with these evocations of our affair when it was full, like the moon, the glass, the untested heart? My guess: pernicious nostalgia. I'm not falling for it. He made his cowardly choice two decades ago, and you won’t see me swoon just because he saved 1 lovelorn poem I wrote back then.
Aside: I do wonder if he saved all 34 of them. I didn’t make photocopies, damn it. And that little ekphrastic [delicious word] poem on the Rossetti tryptich wasn’t half bad [http://tinyurl.com/44zqhm7], and the final poem I wrote to the Pater Unfamilias—“Obstetric Haiku"-- was penned the night before Jamie’s birth with the onset of my first labor pains.
Man, “ekphrastic,” “tryptich” and “obstetric” in a single sentence! I just hit the Uncommon AND Rhyming Diction Trifecta with that one. High linguistic five.
If PU's got those poems, I want them back from the Bastard. Just because he had a stroke doesn’t mean I can’t call him Bastard. Disabled Bastard.
Whoa, that’s sledding high speed down the bad karma luge run, and exactly why I need to refocus with a diversion.
To wit: Lovers' Lane
What the character desires: casual sexual intimacy [CSI].
Obstacle: men in academia less appealing than men in tights, though often metaphorically indistinguishable.
Internal Conflict: suffering high levels of toxicity from relentless exposure to nuclear families.
Character's actions undertaken to achieve desire:
I joined a singles bowling league 23 miles away from where Jamie and I lived.
This was not out of character for me. I grew up around bowling balls and pinball machines, not bookcases and opera and people who say “LIT ra chure.” My father managed the Lucky Strike Bowl-O-Rama in the Northeast Kingdom of Vt where we lived for some of my malformative years. My mother worked the snack bar where hot dogs rolled around and around on shiny, grease-slicked heating rods. The bowling alley was playroom for us kids—albeit a playroom thickly hazed with cigarette smoke and the mingled scents of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer and disinfectant shoe spray.
When I was 11, my social studies teacher sent a note home to my mother saying that her very smart daughter was becoming the object of some mean-spirited teasing because she often smelled like cigarette smoke. My mother bought me a bottle of Emeraude at Jerome's Five and Dime. I think you can still buy Emeraude but you probably wouldn't want to.
But I digress from the diversion.
I was just looking for some action, and with a bowler guy I could keep at a 23 mile arm’s length from my home, where I had a 9 year old in his advanced C.S Lewis stage [Screwtape Letters; by 9, Jamie’d finished the Narnia cycle].
A guy like Phil.
The important detail is that Phil, too, lived equidistantly far from the bowling alley but in the opposite direction, so the first several encounters--and technically we're talking foreplay here and that's all I'll say because this is not that kind of blog--took place in his Econoline utility van, which didn't bother me, frankly. In fact, it brought back some not unarousing [we've gone too long without litotes] memories from high school. We finally decided to go for a motel room, some musty old cabin Phil paid for in advance. I'd arranged the babysitter to stay a couple hours longer than usual.
In the cabin, I sat on the bed, unbuttoning my bowling shirt while Phil was in the bathroom. He cracked the door a hair and said: "There's something I gotta tell you before we do this."
I stopped unbuttoning my shirt. "Then come out here and tell me."
"Hold on," he replied.
"No. Now or I'm leaving," and I stood up and started rebuttoning my shirt." I was sure he was going to tell me he had herpes. Herpes were big in 2001.
He opened the bathroom door, its fluorescent tubes back-lighting him and humming unmelodiously.
It wasn't the married part that did Phil in with such immediacy and finality.
It was the sight of him, standing there, holding a spray can of Right Guard and wearing boxer shorts, a tee-shirt, white athletic socks, and his bowling shoes.
You can't go home again. I should've known that.
After I paid the babysitter, I went up to Jamie's room. The lights were out and he was tucked in but awake. We snuggled and he started to drift off, so I said "nighty night, little man--I'm gonna go shower."
In a fading voice coming to me from half-way down the road to dreamland, he said: "That's good, momma. You smell like cigarettes."
Posted by JF at 10:58 AM
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
|Peyote, the miniature bull terrier|
I feel sad [no need for litotes here].
I probably did not stage the most productive mother-son conversation ever.
For Jamie it means, apparently, the coolest thing ever, including access to a studio that is "very unique."
[Sidebar: I hate when anyone, let alone the fruit of my womb, commits the grammatical error of modifying an absolute adjective like "unique" with an intensifier, because, for the record: it's either "unique" or not.].
For me, it means more of less Jamie.
In one of my less-than-productive moments of interrogation, I asked, shrilly: "Why do they need someone to house sit if they summer in Sante Fe? can't someone just pop in now and then to water plants. It'll be summer, for god's sake."
"Peyote," Jamie replied.
I wasn't sure I heard him correctly; I haven't heard the word "peyote" spoken since circa 1974.
"Does Kirk grow drugs? Is he leaving you to tend his peyote plants because I hope you know that there's no medical dispensation for peyote, unless you're like an Indian or something? Do you do drugs with him? Are you sexually active? [that nonsequitur query just slipped out, but I have been wondering]. What does this mean, he needs you there for peyote?"
Jamie sighed the sigh of an ancient oracle and replied:
"Peyote does not grow on plants, and I do know there's no medical peyote statute."
"I'm 19. What do you think?"
Then he paused.
"Peyote is Kirk and Wren's dog. That's the dog's name. Peyote. He's old and he can't handle the travel and transition, so they are going to pay me $500 a week and let me use their studio and supplies in exchange for my being like a --what's that called--home health care worker for their beloved dog. They invited you to come stay anytime. Kirk invited me because he thinks I'm really a great artist and a really responsible kid. He laughed and said it was okay when I told him about how I lied to him about you being stuck in Egypt.[http://tinyurl.com/4lyy7mc] He respects me."
Oh, I thought. Then I said: "oh."
"Yeah," Jamie replied.
"So, what kind of dog is it? And I respect you too--I do."
"I know. A miniature bull terrier. Amazingly cute. Are we okay with all this now?"
"I'll just miss you. Ya know? I've been thinking about cooking actual meals again, and how all your friends would be coming by the house again, and we could netflix the series Slings and Arrows again....."
"Momma Jeff, we can do those things. I'll come back right after finals. and then for most of August. But this is really important to me. And the money's great and I can save most of it since I don't spend money on things like peyote. And his studio is unbelievable. I"ll send you pics from my iPhone."
Sigh. So it's agreed. And I know it's a good thing. Pretty much. I mean, I pretty much know; it's undoubtedly a good thing. I should be proud. I am proud. Maybe it will divert him from his plan to try to find the sperm donor father, who is a total lie of my own invention: http://tinyurl.com/4zknj9f
I'd just thought, you know, we'd hang out and all. But it'll give me time to work on the script http://tinyurl.com/4vbtdox. I know that Parenthetical Man would like another date so I can get into Manhattan more maybe [http://tinyurl.com/495albw.] Or even try to see, again, if I could do some local online dating [ http://tinyurl.com/4qxqy4j], just, you know, for a hobby, like knitting. I could try knitting, too.
Yeah, I'll have plenty to do this summer. Lots to do. I'm not gonna worry about Jamie unduly. This is all part of growing up; he'll be fine creating art while dog sitting at Kirk's house. No worries.
Still, you have to wonder: what kind of person names his dog "Peyote"?
A totally unique one, I guess.
Posted by JF at 2:05 PM
Saturday, April 9, 2011
|One strategy for dealing |
with helicopter parents
Just in: an email from a student's mother. Monday is her son's birthday. He is in my Victorian Novel course. She wants me to have the class serenade him with "Happy Birthday To You."
He is a junior. He will be 21 years old.
Posted by JF at 9:46 PM
Friday, April 8, 2011
|The forbidden kiss that sent |
the lovers to eternal damnation.
Well, that Tuesday came and went, and I never got the email from Ludmilla, which is not her real name, just my less-than-sensitive generic name for Eastern European women wearing babushkas and caring for wealthy British stroke victims.
But then last weekend I did receive an email from her, telling me that the Pater Unfamilas [Jamie, my son's real dad] was about to be whisked away to Portugal for two weeks of restorative recuperation in a waterfront cottage by his wife Pru, as if somehow two weeks in Portugal is some act of altruism. [For an artistic rendering of Pru, wife of the father of my child, a women who does not know her husband's bastard Jamie exists, see:
Posted by JF at 5:17 PM