Archive for the Philosophy? Category

[I, Petunia] Not for sale; Decency II

Posted in Documentaries, Honesty, I Petunia, Life is like Christopher Guest said it was, Life Performance Art, Literary, Love Thy Fellow Man, MANNERS, Mockumentaries, Narcissisim, Non-Selective Empathy and Compassion, Petunia, Philosophy?, Regretful Human Behavior, Thoughts with tags on July 20, 2013 by Admin

A work of fiction, by Petunia Jablonsky, to be presented in serial format, a few sentences or paragraphs whenever… our attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.

 “The important thing is to write and to keep writing…for when you start you won’t stop until your story has been told, and you never know what you might find along the way, or at the end. You have a gift. Certainly all the money stolen from you — from “family” no less, and including the man you’d called “dad” who kept the money your Grammie left for you, excusing it by saying, “I’m keeping that money; I earned it by being stuck with a sick woman all my life”, and the brother you’d always protected and who’d stolen well over half a million dollars for you because his life is devoid of the things that matter more than money” — means you bought and paid for these stories, so write them and don’t stop for a minute. Do not edit, do not re-read, just write forward and never look back” 

I, Petunia, often think of the good times, the hilarious times, the great times, regarding both of these aforementioned situations and peoples.

When we first met at the wedding of a friend we clicked immediately, in a good way and a true way, not a heat-driven or cheap way. We laughed and danced and smiled and laughed again. I left with him and his friends, a hilarious couple, all of us exuberant and unwilling to let the evening end, and my friend K drove back alone, without minding or worrying, as these were all friends of friends. On the way to an after party of some unknown shape or destination they suddenly pulled over to the side and so we pulled over behind them. They got out, so we followed suit. We all looked at each other, still laughing, not knowing or caring why we’d stopped, and because our radio was blasting Brick House we all began to dance on the sidewalk as cars drove by honking and staring. After a few minutes of this we all, without a word, got into our two respective cars and simply resumed the drive as a mini convoy, still laughing. The days that followed were heady, hilarious, epic, swoonful.

I digress… I promised to just write and write and this is easy for me as I, Petunia, do not write so much as let my three typing fingers do their jerry-rigged thing, loudly as I am often told, on the keypad. There never seems to be any communication between mind and fingers; they just go, seemingly of their own accord. After years of promising that today is the day I will get back to my blog, I, Petunia, have begun, and I will honor that promise and neither rein in my fingers or look back. Editing is not an option.

… So, according to the 48 year-old ex-brother (8 years older now than in the title of that aforementioned Steve Carell movie that I shamefully snickered about)  who, until he got the/our father, incapacitated by stroke, (it was in the newspaper, as such things are) to sign over the house that the martyr already half-owned in addition to his half-ownership of all the bank accounts and funds (he is not very bright but he is crafty. My mistake was never seeing the crafty side and believing a diligent church-goer would never lie, steal, or chat) by way of legal maneuvering,  was reportedly couch-surging, yet I always had my hand out. And he finished that fabrication up with, “Ya know?”, as if anyone “knew”, or would ever believe that I was anything other than what they knew me to be, and saw for themselves, all along.

I get reports from… let’s see.. (counting), 5 states. I pretty much hear most of they say, though they likely believe I am universally ostracized as the results of their efforts toward that end; that the wife is “openly-loathed” to the south and “barely tolerated” to the north; that her husband, my ex-father, is not allowed private conversations and she is often on the other line listening; and that of all the family friends who’d loved my mother (may she RIP, and who would be utterly-appalled at all that has transpired since her passing), and who’d attended her funeral and wake and all the parties over the years that only 2 friends and 3 relatives were at the wedding. The Mole (the new “stepmother”, who the martyr had once called a golddigger, pushy, manipulative, and not at all a nice person) calls herself a widow, but sometimes, after her 4th or 5th drink, she refers to her deceased husband as her “ex”. Once friends of mine had offered to pay for a private investigator, sure that something other than a lie about widowhood would turn up about the woman whose being made the hair on my arms stand up from the first meeting when she’d smirked at me upon introduction, but I declined. It doesn’t matter any more. Or maybe some day I will accept. I prize my clean conscience above all for I, Petunia, cherish my untainted integrity above all. Money can’t buy shit, beyond material things.

“Oh, he (the martyr) stays at the house when they let him and sometimes he stays at her place” (her being The Mole; the misogynist new wife and perhaps, hilariously, my stepmother, who once followed me to a place out of earshot and asked, faux innocently, if I saw a dermatologist for the “rosacea” that I had no idea that I was burdened with, and them smirked at my shocked expression) — “he just flits about. The two of them are thick as thieves, always giggling over things and buying each other gifts for each others’ homes (this from back when he had a home, where he paid actual rent, rather than sponging) and talking decorating, like a couple of old queens”.

A hilarious, and highly ambitious, lie, that of me having my hand out, considering the source and considering that I have supported myself all my life, in my own apartments, since I graduated from high school, including paying my entire college tuition and rent at the same time, working two jobs till I cut down to one at age 35 which is, coincidentally,  the age at which he finally moved to his own apartment, after finally growing tired, in his own words, of his friends calling him a “Mama’s boy”.

At around this same time he began his scheming with the estate lawyer — “I can take a day off work and drive out from Boston to go to the meetings if you like. But I have already used all my days watching mom while you and dad took vacations so if you don’t need me then I won’t bother. I trust you“. Fucking hilarious last words, now — to not only get the big prize, the house, but also to get every penny meant for me.

“Mom always made the shittiest steaks. They were so thin and tough.”

“WHAT?  The Martyr, can you possibly not know how poor we were? Did you think the whole, “Hey! Let’s have breakfast for dinner” thing was because pancakes from a ready-made mix with fake syrup were so delicious and healthy? Why do you think dad always worked two jobs and we didn’t eat in restaurants and every vacation was spent in tents a short drive away? Do you not remember all the talk of medical bills killing us and being why Grammie and Grampie slipped mom money, because dad was too proud, then, so he said, to take their money? Were you that self-absorbed?”

The Martyr is a bit obtuse and self-occupied, but I guess I don’t blame him. I will get to the why of all this.

One night, late…

“Dad, can I talk to you? I am wondering if you can maybe tone down all the talk of ____’s kids living in McMansions (my word/take, given the size of the houses as compared to the little lots they were built on) and making so much money? The Martyr has told me that is greatly upsets him and makes him feel like a failure so I am wondering if, for his sake, you can sorta tone it down. He has talked to me about this and so I am asking you on his behalf. He is very sensitive, as you know.

Also, WHY don’t parents ever brag about how their kids turned out to be such kind people, or brag about the volunteer work they do? Remember the time Nate (not my older brother’s real name, may he RIP) came to you and suggested that you become a contractor since you do construction in your part time anyway, and because you would make so much more money? You blew up at him, you were so very angry at that, and lectured him on how money is not as important as doing what you love, and how you love teaching so much regardless of what it pays and will never worship at the altar of money. I totally do not get how that aligns with all the mentions of whose kids are making the most money and what fancy material things they have, as if you are in awe of that.”

“Dad, can I talk to you? The martyr is freaking out because you are suddenly using The Mole’s name in every sentence and he is having trouble adjusting to the fact that you are dating someone other than mom. Can you just try to sort of ease him into the situation? I have no issue with this woman and look forward to meeting her — and my philosophy is the more the merrier — but TM is freaking. He is till not over mom’s death so maybe just try to be cognizant of that and try to scale it down? there is nothing wrong with it and we all do it but in this case it is causing him to jump up and run out of the room a lot, lip trembling. Could you do that?”

NEXT: THE “HILARIOUS’ JOKES ABOUT THE FUNERAL PLOTS, AND MORE…

I, Petunia, will be back.Every day, as promised to my therapist, whom I will call Theresa, bc she has been my Mother Theresa.

PIXY103.com

[I, Petunia] Not for sale; Decency

Posted in Communication, Confusion, Fellow Human Beings, Honesty, I Petunia, Life is like Christopher Guest said it was, Life Performance Art, Literary, Love Thy Fellow Man, MANNERS, Narcissisim, Petunia, Philosophy?, Regretful Human Behavior, Schemes, The meaning of life with tags on July 19, 2013 by Admin

A work of fiction, by Petunia Jablonsky, to be presented in serial format, a few sentences or paragraphs whenever… our attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.

I, Petunia, am not angry. I no longer feel anger, at anything; I am angered out and logic has prevailed. I am flattered in some cases and proud in others. The common denominator of what I, Petunia, feel is pity. I am absolutely content. I always survive. I have me to thank for being that smart, that logical, that strong, and I am that grateful for these gifts such that all I can muster is pity.

They say we teach others how to treat us, that we seek that is what is most familiar, that the first 3 months of a person’s life are the most important in terms of early childhood development, that we make our beds. I, Petunia, believe all of this. I believe I am the common denominator of all interactions i have in life and thus I merit some responsibility for my part in them. I did not choose my adoptive family but I did choose my partners in life and I taught them how to treat me. Once I realized this I set about changing. I’d always been working toward change, struggling to evolve, but it often seemed like shoveling against the tide. Sometimes if you cannot beat the mouse infestation you need to burn down the barn. My barn was burned down when I was robbed, emotionally beaten, and left for dead. It took a complete breakdown to rebuild where effecting change was unsuccessful. Thus, I would not change a thing that has ever happened to me and with me, because it is how I got here — to complete contentment, however modest.

“She always had her hand out”, explained my ex-brother regarding my years-long absence to one of our relatives in the state to the north, who listened and nodded, filing this tidbit away so as to tell me later.

greedIt was an absolute and absurd lie as he, the ex-brother, the “martyr”, had schemed and plotted over a decade or so to steal my inheritance because, as he’d reminded our entire family ad nauseum since the day he arrived as an inexplicably grasping, greedy, and sad infant, that he was “the good one”. He got off on being “the good one” as he had an empty life and so money and material gain, the reward of attaining all of these empty means, became both void-filler and lover of sorts. I used to be angry about it but after many years of rumination could muster only pity, though there was a time when I was all too aware of the fact that his daily walk from home to office meant having to walk past the huge marquee announcing the movie, “The Forty Year-Old Virgin”, during it’s run at the little theater downtown. Now I feel shame for snickering at that, and can muster only pity.

I’d never coveted money — preferring to spectate as others shamelessly and transparently fall all over each other, selling their souls and yet believing themselves absolved by way of a weekly trip to church or whatever justification they fabricate — and had let this happen while never believing it could happen, just as I had politely turned down the lawyer who had insisted I sue another ex, the sole ex boyfriend (of a list I can count on one hand) with whom I am no longer friends, for Malicious Prosecution, after he’d unsuccessfully sued me (not his first or last visit to that rodeo) in a case the judge had thrown out while shaming the DA for even daring to present such a travesty in an actual courtroom, though it had cost me $4800 to hire a dense lawyer; a criminal defense lawyer at that.

Lrainater I was told that the window clerk who’d allowed the bitter ex to even file the criminal complaint — an expansive and sad girl “not impervious to flirtation” — had been reprimanded, as had the clerk of courts who’d nervously allowed this farce to proceed from complaint to trial, and the DA who’d blushed when the judge had forced him to repeat the charges aloud, so as to emphasize the taint now blighting his career record.  The judge had later insinuated that he might feel inclined to award treble damages should I wish to pursue damages for the time and money I’d spent, but I declined, finding the idea unseemly.

220px-40-Year-OldVirginMoviePoster

I’ve forgiven both exes since, on my own and in lieu of any sort of apology or reparation though I have reached out and provided the opportunity, and have unloaded that baggage in a metaphorical dumpster, content to have my integrity intact, yet I feel the stories are forever mine to tell, as I am a fictional character and this, of course, is a fictional tale…

It was 2 am as my dog and I walked the dark mountain road through a monsoon reminiscent of the ones Tony and I had experienced in Chaing Mai, with rain of the sort that was not made of raindrops and did not fall, but rather drove and it pounded in sheets,  punctuated by thunder and frequent lightning which seemed to hit the ground dangerously close, and we were terrified. A car rolled up and I heard my name…

THE KEVIN SERIES: American Kevinstand

Posted in Activism?, Adventures and Interludes, Exhibits, Important Social Issues, Life is like Christopher Guest said it was, Life Performance Art, Love Thy Fellow Man, Narcissisim, Obsessions, Philosophy?, Photoshopping Kevin, Popular Culture, Profiling, Science?, Special People, The meaning of life with tags on November 26, 2012 by Admin

Kevin’s wife Juli is my biggest supporter.

THE KEVIN SERIES: Intricate Polychromatic Art Speak for Incongruous Fun Torturing Kevin

Posted in Activism?, Adventures and Interludes, Being a Virgo, Communication, Confusion, Life is like Christopher Guest said it was, Life Performance Art, Literary, Narcissisim, Pest Control, Philosophy?, Photoshopping Kevin, Special People, The meaning of life, The Process of Art, Therapy, Thoughts with tags on November 26, 2012 by Admin

An old image I found years ago:

which was then modified for an old blog post:
https://benigngirl.wordpress.com/2008/04/05/intricate-polychromatic-art-speak-for-incongruous-fun-and-conflative-prophet/

recycled for THE KEVIN SERIES.

THE KEVIN SERIES: Dissecting The Projectile Photshopping Opus Of My Muse, Kevin

Posted in Activism?, Adventures and Interludes, Being a Virgo, Communication, Confusion, Life is like Christopher Guest said it was, Life Performance Art, Literary, Narcissisim, Pest Control, Philosophy?, Photoshopping Kevin, Special People, The meaning of life, The Process of Art, Therapy, Thoughts with tags on November 26, 2012 by Admin

This is part of a new series I have only just realized I have been working on for days and which I shall post here as both intellectual fluff and bloggerly filler, as I slowly find my way past the crushing pain (I live with NINE herniated disks/sheer pain, daily) and back to the habitualities of blogging regularly.

This blog has been untended for some time yet I realize that with this sort of Spy vs. Spy relationship I have going on Facebook with my pal Kevin, I have created a series of artwork which should be shared with all, for Kevin says and does the craziest things.

After a grueling day spent posting about politics (which hurts my head, even to simply post that which I have observed, for posteriority) my brain needed an exorcism of sorts and so I made ART. I have a new muse, Kevin who, much like Dwight Shrute, is a farmer. Kevin is my muse. Kevin pretends to me angry about this, he rants, he raves, he threatens, and yet if I miss a day he starts baiting me which I smartishly recognize as begging for more.

Also, this is how my brain works:

And so, I present the new and ongoing series (until I become apathetic), Photoshopping Kevin. It begins with random photos stumbled upon in the interwebs and takes on a life of it’s own. So each opus shall include the before image.

I call this one, Dissecting the Projectile Photoshopping Opus Of My Muse, Kevin, With Identities Blurred.

Before:

After:

The Road to Hell Is Paved With Unwanted Ceramic Owls

Posted in Confusion, Fellow Human Beings, Philosophy?, The meaning of life, Thoughts on September 26, 2012 by Admin

An exercise in/of unfinished and unpolished fiction, with interspersed summary of Babbitt, by Sinclair Lewis — a brilliant parody of “idealistic” middle class life from the perspective of one man’s (aka, everyman) delusional self-satisfaction arisen from self-perceptions of “superior social standing”, materialism, and delusions of grandeur as derived from comparison between oneself and others  — courtesy of sparknotes.

On April 20 1920, dawn breaks over Zenith, a Midwestern town bustling with new skyscrapers, automobiles, and factories. George F. Babbitt, a 46-year-old real estate broker, reluctantly awakens from a recurring dream about his fairy girl, a slim maiden who fulfills his fantasies of being a “gallant, romantic youth.” In reality, Babbitt is a middle-aged, rather pudgy family man. His home, replete with all the modern conveniences, is located in Floral Heights, the middle-class residential section of Zenith.

Petunia was in the parking lot of her boyfriend’s office building, waiting. It was a small and nondescript one story building in a suburb well outside the big city where he evidently made a lot of money, but she had little interest in money — a taste she would never acquire —  though she worked at the plush corporate headquarters of a purposely snooty worldwide women’s fashion retailer. Petunia’s responsibilities sometimes included making copies of the buyer’s sheets for clothing purchased in China and marked up, for example, from an $8 purchase price and sold through their catalogs and stores for an end price of 98$, to women of a certain self-satisfied confidence like that of the women executives at the retailer, who, according to their oddly loud conversations while in line at the cafeteria, would wear their new garments to garden parties on the expansive grounds of stately homes, or weddings in which the bride would carry pink roses and the place settings would be marked by monogrammed green golf tees. She often wondered if the green tees would ever make it to a gold course and why these women never smiled. Petunia did not aspire to this world. It did not seem like much fun. In fact, Petunia would never fail to be surprised upon encountering those who did aspire to this life, and this would become a lifelong series of such surprises from what she thought of as unlikely sources.

The morning newspaper calms his agitated nerves. He reads it aloud to Myra, but only the popular society column interests her. Babbitt grunts at the praise heaped on Charles McKelvey’s parties at his lavish home. Myra hesitantly ventures that she would like to see the inside of his home. Babbitt asserts that Myra is “a great old girl” and states that it is regrettable that he didn’t keep in touch with McKelvey after they graduated from college. Babbitt kisses her before leaving for work.

Grumbling to himself at Myra’s desire to associate with “this millionaire outfit,” Babbitt exits his home to start his beloved car. He wishes he could dispense with “the whole game.” He doesn’t mean to be irritable, but he constantly feels tired.

While waiting for her boyfriend, Fred, to exit the building, Petunia watched his co-workers parade past the car. Some seemed startled at the sight of her behind the wheel because she was definitely not Fred, yet she was in his unmistakably very bright red car, but then they kept walking.

Petunia liked her boyfriend’s sense of humor, as well as the fact that she had met him once as a child while camping in another New England state, the one he was from, which made him seem more down to earth and where he would register the red Porsche he’d be driving when they would meet again years down the road. The car she sat in now was also red, though not as expensive as the Porsche would be. This one was registered in the town he actually lived in, also outside the big city, which he shared with 2 other very aggressive salesmen. The term “salesman” made her think of Rotary Clubs, Fuller Brushes, and the novel, Babbitt, by Sinclair Lewis, who also lived in that other New England state at one point.

Babbitt is first and foremost a parody of post-World War I middle-class American culture. The name of the town, Zenith, implies that Babbitt’s community views itself as the highest point of American civilization. Zenith worships the world of business: its skyscrapers, factories, and automobiles are symbols of rampant commercialism. Babbitt’s home is a miniature representation of the American middle class’s worship of material objects. It has all the modern conveniences, including an alarm clock blessed with all the latest technology.

One might think that Zenith’s gleaming, modern skyline and Babbitt’s slick, modern home imply that Zenith is indeed a wonderful, interesting place to live. However, Babbitt’s fantasy fairy girl reveals that Babbitt is dissatisfied with his life as a middle-class family man. The description of his house reveals that its sleek, modern appearance is just that–appearance. It is designed to show off the occupant’s wealth more than anything else. Lewis states that Babbitt’s house lacks the aura of a home, that it is as impersonal as a hotel room. He compares it to an ad in a magazine for “Cheerful Modern Houses for Medium Incomes,” further emphasizing Zenith’s empty commercialism. Lewis’s description of Babbitt’s house reveals the monotonous conformity of the American middle class. All of Babbitt’s modern household appliances are the “standard” possessions of his class. Babbitt’s house is simply a mass-produced, standardized symbol of middle class affluence. It is like every other prosperous middle-class house in Zenith and presumably like middle-class houses all over the country.

Petunia had the fancy red Saab because her Hyundai was in the shop, and Fred, her boyfriend of several months, had let her drop him off a work in the morning so she could drive to her own office. When she got to her office she’d not been able to get the key out of the ignition so she’d had to leave it unlocked while she ran to her desk to call his office. It turned out that Saab’s must be in reverse with the hand brake on in order to be able to remove the key. Everyone had a good laugh at that. When her boss saw the car she’d advised Petunia, “Marry that man”, but at 21 Petunia felt too young to get married.

[Babbitt’s wife’s] entire outlook on life is heavily influenced by the middle-class worship of material objects, as her argument with Ted about the family car further reveals. Like many other middle-class college graduates, she is more in love with the idea of liberalism than anything else. Ted is obsessed with nice clothing, cars, and girls like other middle-class sons. Again, Lewis emphasizes that the materialistic middle class favors appearance over substance.

Petunia “liked” liked Fred but his friends intimidated her as they were all of the aggressive salesperson type and all talk was of money and commissions. Petunia had convinced herself that Fred was different despite the book on his shelf titled, “How To Dress Rich”, which she thought somewhat hilarious, especially the part about wearing the oh-so-obvious cravat. Petunia’s dress was from the Dress Barn in the same town as her office, but she thought it looked good enough, given the compliments she’d received. It was not her size but it was cheap and flowey so she’d gotten it anyway. Fred had said he’d liked it the last time she wore it.

They’d gotten off to an odd start as weeks had passed since he’d first called her just two days after meeting her in a bar downtown and she’d had been unable to accept his offer of dinner due to firm plans to go to her hometown for her brother’s birthday. She’d then heard from Fred weeks later only because one of the friends she’d been with at the bar that night had been dating one of his co-workers and had suggested they all four go out. They laughed a lot.

Babbitt’s diatribe against Verona’s “liberal” opinions and his reaction to the morning paper clearly indicate that he has few original opinions. Rather, his entire belief system is based on the opinions of his community, often absorbed without question from the newspaper headlines. His middle-class hubris is revealed in his empty diatribe against giving the poor “notions above their class.”

A few minutes before Fred finally emerged from his office building, a woman had walked by and had made a point of staring at Petunia as she sat in the driver’s seat. The woman seemed older than Petunia by six or seven years with a somewhat dated yet preppy dressage and hair which had obviously been blown out straight and set on rollers; women still used hot rollers back then. The woman lingered longer than might be polite and Petunia had the odd feeling that her own hair and dress were somehow not acceptable to this woman. Petunia’s hair was not styled, nor straight.

When Fred, who was a year older than Petunia, had finally emerged from the nondescript one story building, he’d seemed troubled — a different person from the extremely happy guy of the night before and that very morning. Petunia made some small talk yet Fred remained distracted, troubled. Finally Petunia asked what was wrong, to which Fred replied, “Jennifer, our secretary, just said that she saw you in my car and that you “don’t look like my type.” Fred seemed disproportionately unnerved and in Petunia’s mind she saw the book on his shelf.

Years later at another downtown bar near her apartment Petunia and a friend would bump into Fred (after an embarrassingly unsuccessful attempt to escape through the back door, thwarted by a security guard), and he would regale them with stories of having been cleaned out in his divorce from a woman named Jennifer, joking that he’d gotten nothing but an unwanted ceramic owl received as a wedding gift, adding that he could not recall from whom it had been given.

When the bar closed they’d have drinks on his friend’s large boat docked nearby — named for the business scam by which it had been purchased, a scam not to be divulged yet to be hinted at repeatedly — and have non-conversations about material things. The next day they would take a ride in the bright red Porsche registered in the other New England state to save money, and when Petunia picked a long blond hair off the seat and remark that she must be shedding, Fred would laugh and say, “No, I am sure it was already in the car”, and Petunia would be glad to get home.

Petunia would remember this decades later when a friend would say, “So, Jane asked me the other day (imitating a falsetto-ish voice), “Oh, is Petunia your new best friend now?”

Although Babbitt is quick to demand that the poor stay in their assigned place, he and Myra harbor a desire to move into the elite circle of the McKelveys. Myra wants to be invited to their parties. Babbitt criticizes the McKelveys as snobbish highbrows, but it seems that his criticism is merely a means to salve his bruised ego at being excluded from their world. Lewis implies here that typical Americans, regardless of their class, are obsessed with excluding those less fortunate, as well as gaining the acceptance of those more fortunate…

…despite the pleasure he seems to take in his affluent lifestyle and its accompanying symbols, he seems rather dissatisfied. He mutters that he would like to dispense with the “whole game” as he leaves the house.

Wonder Bred

Posted in Activism?, Adventures and Interludes, Being a Virgo, being defensive, Confusion, danger, Empathy, Fellow Human Beings, Get Informed, Honesty, Important Social Issues, Life is like Christopher Guest said it was, Life Performance Art, Love Thy Fellow Man, Non-Selective Empathy and Compassion, Northampton Police Department, Philosophy?, Regretful Human Behavior, Special People, The meaning of life, Thoughts, We Are ALL Peers with tags , , , , , , on September 19, 2012 by Admin

UPDATE: It seems that Mr. Sir and John counted fourteen policepersons in all on this fateful evening and so I thought this worth adding. Because so often people tend to exaggerate numbers and situations, it is my way to… what is the opposite of exaggerate? I am going to check the antonymary… I am going to go with understate. Anywho, I tend to always round things down as I find that hyperbole discredits the point one is trying to make. My memory of that evening is very clear though it is the emotional part of it that is most fixed. As we waited for forty-something minutes for the FOURTEEN policemen to decide what to do with us, I ruminated on the inherent hypocrisy of the situation, the shame, and the tragedy, while my ethnic companions counted cops over and over, as the numbers increased. Part of me doesn’t want to believe there were quite that many uniforms surrounding mar car but I know my companions to eschew hyperbole as well. I am not going to go back and edit the post below, so this update shall suffice as sufficient edit.

All that for a YELLOW light.

I have a friend, whom I shall call Mr. Sir for this post, and who is a rather wonderful mixed breed of African American, German, and Native American, which is rather evident in his features. Mr. Sir is a well-educated and accomplished sort of sir and holds a very prestigious position at a highly regarded art museum with a notable (7$s worth) collection of Fine Art. Often Mr. Sir is sent to other countries by this museum as trusted escort for priceless artwork — by the likes of Monet, to name a one — when this museum borrows or loans work from/to other prestigious museums. Museums do this, and the work being shared MUST be escorted for various reasons, all of them, like, totally important. He has also been sent to other countries to authenticate rare works of art ($729,000 worth of rare art on one trip alone) before his employers write the check, and is responsible for conserving six figure works, like when kids stick gum to paintings and whatnot.

Art is also “handled” by “Art Handlers” and shipping companies, but that good, bad, and sometimes rather ugly inside scoop is for another post. Mr. Sir is not an Art Handler though, yet our pal Biggie is, who is big. And strong.

Cowboy Curtis,  looking surprised, in a gold fine art frame. I kill me!

Mr. Sir has experienced his fair share of flights running late, resulting in his dashing through airports alongside said priceless works (think very large packages and/or crates) in order to make connecting flights and he has been stopped — due to the packaging and the features and the dashing — at a more frequent rate than other running airport people, the point being that he is among those who seem to attract such visual scrutiny in airports. Therefor, Mr. Sir is ever-s0-vigilant to shave on flight days, even if that means shaving at 3 am, because he has learned by the seat of his delayed-ass pants that the combination of facial hair plus dark skin color and exotic features can result in scrutinizinglied missed flights, and how often can one ask their employer to purchase yet another last-minute flight due to attention attracting (not ALL of it bad, actually) exotic features?

I have tried to walk a figurative mile in Mr. Sir’s various ethnic shoes yet I am merely able to  approximate what life must be like for persons of different colors and ethnicities, having been born a whitey through no merit of my own (I’m looking at you white people who feel superior for “winning” some sort of pre-birth lottery). Recently, however, I had a small taste of this thanks to the Northampton, MA Police Department. Thank you NPD, I am now ever more sensitized to the dubious perils of being non-white. Though having been pulled over in the south — by another baby-faced, blond-haired, blue-eyed officer — and astronomically ticketed for being a Yankee,  I know a wee bit of the helpless rage one feels at such injustices.

It’s all fun and games until someone gets profiled and finds their car surrounded by policemen wielding flashlights and a few rounds of hollow-point suspicion.

I don’t choose my friends by visuals; I choose them by their souls, how they make me feel about myself, and that which is abundant in their hearts. My companions on that fateful night are two of the most sensitive, sincere, compassionate, spiritual (by which I mean that they believe in and practice that which is truly good and beneficial for fellow humans, though not affiliated with any particular brand of religion), kind, generous, intelligent and evolved people I have the fortune to know. They are beautiful people, inside and out.

Mr. Sir, like many of his related relatives before him, has in the last few years been getting more involved with his Native American roots.  He grew out his adorable jheri curls and now sports braids, often sporting Naive American-ish clothing. Noooooo, not feather headdresses and immodest scraps of buffalo hide barely covering his manly bits, I mean “ribbon-ed” shirts and beaded necklaces. “Ribbons” in this case refers to hand stitched designs — by an authorized person — which signify one’s specific tribe and whatnot, including admirable accomplishments I believe, though not scalps of whites brought back to the rez, silly. I don’t understand all of it and so I will leave it at that. Mr. Sir goes to Pow Wows all over the country, participating more and more in Native American ritual and philosophy, which is about kindness, peace and forgiveness. They best believe in forgiveness, for what was done to those native to this land was deplorable; being slaughtered and herded onto fenced millifractions of what was once their own land. And it hasn’t ever gotten much better, though the slaughtering ceased ages ago.

My stash.

Mr. Sir always bring me back a satchel of sage blessed by a Medicine Man at the Pow Wows and I burn it for friends who need prayers. I swear sometimes it works. I have never been to a Pow Wow or even a reservation — not because I haven’t wanted to go, but because, “It’s not a fucking theme park”, and I get that.

Through Mr. Sir, I had the fortune to meet Gary Farmer, an accomplished actor (Dead Man, Adaptation, and Dances With Wolves — in which he uttered his now-iconic line, “Stupid Fucking White Man”, and who now tours North America with his band, Gary Farmer and the Troublemakers, and with whom I once did a pretend duet at a gig and furtherly for whom I am to one day do a documentary of his life as activist, actor and blues musician — our interview went THAT well. Mr. Sir plays in Gary’s band, as does his pal John, who is part of this story.

BTW, soon I will post here an interview I did with Gary Farmer over a year ago (shamefully delayed) and which I have since been editing down to an hour.  Our conversation was so fascinating that I didn’t want to lose a single sentence of it but, alas, 2.5 hours is too much.

AnywhatthehellwasItalkingaboutanyway, this post is about profiling in what had once been considered one of our most “sensitive” and progressive  towns here in “The Happy Valley”, and involves a traffic stop, a few police cars and foot/bike patrolmen, my car being surrounded by EIGHT policemen (there were no female police present, hence the term), and a subsequent verbal warning, after about 40 minutes in all of boredom and profound embarrassment for all involved (looking at you and your armed cohorts, Babyface).

The Northampton, MA Police Department at work; As seen in my rear view mirror.

It all started one night when Mr. Sir and his pal John and I were on our way back from seeing a band in Greenfield, Ma. It was a dark and stormy night… yet it was a clear and balmy evening.

John, the other passenger, was in town from Rio Rancho, New Mexico for a visit with his pal Mr. Sir, as well as for a reception; he was showing his work at an area gallery. John is a big guy, and has hair down to his waist. One can easily guess at his heritage. John also has a business crafting beautiful custom guitars and plays as a studio musician and in several bands including Gary farmer and The Troublemakers. A friend of his from high school in was playing at The Art Bank in Greenfield and so we all went to see her band and I paid 3$ for a airplane-sized bottle of water, while Mr. Sir and John each had a single $20 (ish) beer, as I don’t often drink and we’d been fairly depleted by the $10 cover charge.

On the way home we took the scenic route and as I approached the intersection of Main and King/Pleasant streets in downtown Northampton, MA the light suddenly changed from green to yellow, just as I reached the stop line. Rather than slam on my brakes — though I was in second gear and thus only going about 20 mph, having just stopped at the Cumberland Farms for a candy bar and thus having not driven far enough to get past second gear — I felt it safest and perfectly legal (it is) to just go through the intersection. As it is a short yellow light, it turned red just as my tires crossed the stop line at the other side of the intersection.  Just then Mr. Sir said, “Monkey (he calls me ‘Monkey’, because of this picture of me as a child, in which, logically, I look like a monkey), there was a cop right at the intersection on the left, facing us!”, and I said, “No problem. That was a perfectly legal maneuver.” But the cop had seen Mr. Sir’s ethnic face in the back seat window — they looked right at each other — and soon enough I saw the flashing lights in my rear view mirror.

I pulled over immediately, which un/fortunately was right in front of The Elevens ( a local bar popular with the young folk), and as luck would have it, half the bar was on the sidewalk out front providing us with an audience. It would later turn out that one of Mr. Sir’s coworkers was on that sidewalk, watching the whole show and wondering whether or not to jump in, being a sophisticate and well-connected and all that.

View from passenger side window.

Then there was a flashlight in my face, held by a young, very white face. “Do you know why I pulled you over?”

“Yes, because I went through a yellow light.”

“Well, it was red…”

“It was yellow.”

As we spoke, his flashlight searched my car. A second cop then joined the non-fray, and his flashlight also got busy all over my car through the window on the passenger side, including into Johns face in the passenger seat, and all over the back seat including, as I noticed during one of my rear view mirror glances, right into Mr. Sir’s non-buffalo-hide-clad crotch.

“How much have you had to drink tonight?”

“Nothing.”

“You sure? Because..I mean, you ran that red light back there.”

“It was YELLOW. I had nothing to drink. Check me.”

“Well, no, I don’t really smell alcohol.. it’s just that…”

“Check me.”

His flashlight continued roving the depths of my car, breaking up his sentences as he divided his attention between what he was saying and whatever insidious contraband for which he eagerly searched. It shined into my eyes, down to my feet, straight into John’s and Mr. Sir’s faces. New flashing red lights arrived, reflecting off the rear-view mirror, and then there were a few more cops comically/cautiously nearing, elbows bent and hands twitching near hip-mounted gun holsters — while yet more approached the car, and us perps, from a different direction, suggesting they were not from the arriving/flashing car behind me. Perhaps they were on foot and/or bike? Northampton, MA has a few bike cops, because it is a very dangerous town. In all I counted ten cops, which suggests some of them had to be on bike or foot, as there were only two police cars; ONLY. I amused myself by picturing them all tumbling out of a single cruiser clown-style, while we waited. And waited.

“Go ahead. Check me. I give you my full permission. I had one small, over-priced 3$ bottle of water.”

I had handed over my license and registration, and so I added, “Run my license. I have a clean record. Perfectly clean.”

Me and my homies. Werd.

Throughout all of this both Mr. Sir and John had been staring straight ahead, neither saying a word. They seemed oddly immobile, and even possibly nervous, which surprised me because one does not get arrested for running a yellow light. And that’s when it hit me — this, the two police cars, the ten policemen in total circling my car with flashlights, the lights GLARINGLY flashing, all of it — this is what happens to them, this is what they expect and are what they are used to, even for more minor “transgressions” than running yellow lights. This was a nearly inconsequential example of what it is like to be them, to be viewed with what seems an awful lot like an assumption of guilt, rather than an assumption of innocence, or an assumption of neither.

Were I, a white woman, alone, and had that light actually been red, I sorta doubt there would have been an extra police car and a few extra foot cops. I felt angry, embarrassed to be white, sad, and resigned. With the crowd waiting and watching from the sidewalk across the street — likely thinking this was some serious shit going down and someone was about to be cuffed and taken away, due to the sheer number of cops and cars — I felt shamed, demoralized, furious. I am grateful that I am not made to feel this way on a regular basis, but there are those for whom this is a way of life simply by virtue of their appearance and it begins at birth.

NOTE: Neither of my passengers wore gang colors, do-rags, or saggy pants; both were securely belted, seat belt and otherwise. Neither of them wore face paint or wielded bows and arrows. There were no battle calls, tomahawks, guns, knives, glassine packets, glassy eyes, or vicious dogs involved. No test tubes, scales, suitcases full of cash (else I might have had an adult-sized bottle of water at the bar, or even two), there was no cloud of smoke in the car, no odor, and no lawyers on board.

I forget what the blue-eyed cop with the fair and enviable baby-smooth skin said next, but before he walked back to his car to run my license I found myself blurting/explaining, “Look. My friend here had one beer at the Art Bank, and he works at ____. And this is our friend visiting from Santa Fe, who is a musician and artist. I think he had one beer as well.  We went to see a high school friend’s band and now we are tired and on our way home. That is all.”

The accessories make the scofflaw.

My young, fair, blond, blue-eyed cop joined the bulk of the group of now TEN cops — well, he joined five of them; four were in front, ostensibly keeping an eye on us, while the rest had gathered behind the car. I watched in the rear view mirror while they discussed “the matter”  for 20 minutes. Does it take that long to run a check? For 20 minutes we sat and waited, and I kept an eye on them in the rear view mirror as they discussed us while facing my car from the back. There seemed to be some brainstorming going on as they chatted back and forth, while looking at my car, at us, back at each other, some chin stroking going on, some harsh reproving glances, more chatting, and then FINALLY Blondie came back to my window.

“I’m going to give you a warning. This time. But [something something something] red lights [something something]“, to which I replied again, yet this time halfheartedly, “It was YELLOW“, and he nodded, handed me my license and registration, and walked away. No written warning, just a mere verbal warning.

I was a bored/exhausted nervous wreck as I pulled out back into traffic, and I had trouble seeing because of all the still-flashing lights, but then we were free, and we waved to the few dozen patrons of The Elevens still on the sidewalk as we drove off, at 5 mph.

All that for a verbal warning.

This is fucking hilarious!

In Which Paula Burns Her Head With Her Instyler and I Come To A Rescue, Of Sorts

Posted in Activism?, Adventures and Interludes, Advice, Being a Virgo, Confusion, danger, Fellow Human Beings, Important Social Issues, Life is like Christopher Guest said it was, Life Performance Art, Literary, Philosophy?, solutions, The meaning of life, Thoughts on August 1, 2012 by Admin

For a client (facebook friend) who required that a customer service letter be written after tragically burning her head with her Instyler (whatever that may, or may not, be, which is in question on my end) in order to alert the proper authorities to the hazards of Instyling hair:

[IMAGE LINKS TO SOURCE]

Dear makers of Instyler,

While using my Instyler yesterday — which I ALWAYS use with the utmost measures of care and precaution — I somehow managed to burn my head. I wholeheartedly believe (due to said care and precaution) that this is the direct result of a flaw inherent in the design of this implement and/or that it lacks sufficient safety precautions for mere mortals such as myself (though I humbly yet honestly assure you that I am an extra-ordinary person, exhibiting a cerebral capacity and wit not common to the masses, yet, as I must now also candidly admit, is perhaps but a mere smidgen below that [intellectual capacity] of Marilyn Vos Savant, whom I find to be, at times, overly obsessed with dry unbuttered facts, and a twee bit humorless, as does my friend Malraux, who once notoriously spit out an omelet fed to him by Jean-Paul Sartre composed of cigarette, some coffee, and four tiny stones, and who, yet, was able to see the profound humor in such an experiment, for Sartre’s Cookbook.

As you may by now have discovered vis a vis (added for affect, not pretension) my unmatched capacity for oxymoronic and enthralling run-on sentences, I am a multi-faceted and fascinating genius, and thus this accident — the unceremonious and unintended burning of my head (of which my horoscope* (reproduced in its full coincidental warning bell-ishness below) warned against this week, which has added to my new anxietal condition, for the wrath of the stars is vast and fierce) — is not likely to be the fault of a pedestrian intellect nor a careless use of said Instyler.

Perhaps hair was meant for self-protection, rather than serve as point of potential vulnerability, the maintenance of which, heretofore, herewith, and hereof/in can lead to catastrophe vis-a-vis flawed styling implements and their inherently herein-ted insouciant lack of the most basic human safety precautions and/or inherency-filled obstacledom to self-harm/foldment/spindlement/mutilation-ment, and so on and so forth, by way of desperate attempts to meredly adhere to ludicrously unattainable societally-imposed standards and measures (with applicable charts and graphs) of beauty? Such are the dramas, the potential traumas, the tortures of the mind, the conundria that Mr. Rogers never explained, which Captain Kangaroo never disclosed (because dude was absolutely into aesthetica, yet in a manner in which we were too meredly mortal to grasp) which torture me, keep me up at night, erode the last bastions (bastonia) of my sanity, as I insomniacally wonder  at the lost innocence that never was in this world in which we so dramatically and yet so shallowly live, in such an aesthetic manner. Werd. 
[IMAGE LINKS TO SOURCE]

While my grammatical tendencies may belie a jaunty disregard for the parameters of language and its regulatory aspects, I can assure you that one must be exceedingly well-trained in such grammaticalistic disciplines in order to thus nonplussedly swat them away with such a level of jaunty disregard, and thus, as it very logically follows, the masses are in the gravest danger lest safety measures be added to the Instyler.

Since the head-burning I find myself perplexed — a perplexion born of sheer terror and anxiety, which has resulted in a befuddlement of the most basic brain functions — by the simplest of appliances and tools. My anxiety has grown and has taken root like that of an aggressive climber such as a Clematis plant, perhaps, with a power like that of bamboo to voraciously take root and assertively unseat the foundation, in this case of my mind. I am utterly paralyzed by the thought of using my Swingline Stapler or grinding my coffee beans and as a result both my stapling and filing needs, as well as my nutritionary needs, are being less met with each passing, torturous hour, as my life devolves into complete chaos, directly opposed to my Virgoan tendencies and thus in opposition to the stars, the universe, life as I knew it.

The Instyler sits on the counter in my bathroom complete with attached piece of my burnt head and a pile of noxious odour (spelling used to insinuate my boarding school days in London), mocking me, mocking my un-Instyled hair, mocking my very existence as a now-damaged being. It cannot be long before my increasingly bizarre behavior will be noticed by my fellow Mensa members and soon the only club that would have me will have me no more, furthering my eddy-like clockwise-ishly (there must always be some Virgoan order, even in the throes department) descent into madness.

I fear it is too late, domestically — it has been noticed by my husband, whom I now suspect of trying to lock me up in a room adorned by the most crazy and appalling yellow wallpaper under the guise of  “a relaxing week’s vacation in The Berkshires”, while stroking our cat, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, who smirks at me now  with utmost insouciance. He ( for Charlotte is a he) is the enemy, or is it my Instyler? I no longer have the mental capacity to tease such discernments out of this situation.

And how, pray tell, will I present myself to Berkshire society with un-Instyled hair?

Please, if you are human, help me. Please.

With utmost sincerity in run-on sentencery,

Mo Gareau

*Virgo Horoscope for week of August 2, 2012

Verticle Oracle cardVirgo (August 23-September 22)
A few years ago, a Malaysian man named Lim Boon Hwa arranged to have himself “cooked.” For 30 minutes, he sat on a board covering a pan full of simmering dumplings and corn. The fact that no harm came to him was proof, he said, that Taoist devotees like him are protected by their religion’s deities. I advise you not to try a stunt like that, Virgo — including metaphorical versions. This is no time to stew in your own juices. Or boil in your tormented fantasies. Or broil in your nagging doubts. Or be grilled in your self-accusations. You need to be free from the parts of your mind that try to cook you.
Whether it’s your time to ferment in the shadows or sing in the sun, fresh power to transform yourself is on the way. Life always delivers the creative energy you need to change into the new thing you must become.

[SOURCE]

ED NOTE: To me, Lim Boon Hwa is alliterationally reminiscent of Sis Boom Bah and thus it should be followed with a ! where appropriate.

SHARED POST: I AIN’T NO BROKEN WINDOW

Posted in Activism?, Empathy, Fellow Human Beings, Get Informed, Homelessness, Important Social Issues, Love Thy Fellow Man, Non-Selective Empathy and Compassion, Philosophy?, Regretful Human Behavior, Special People, The meaning of life, We Are ALL Peers with tags , , , , , , on April 2, 2012 by Admin

An important read from Arise For Social Justice, a “Western MA low-income rights organization which believes we have the right to speak for ourselves. Our members are poor, homeless, at-risk, working, unemployed & people pushed to the side by society. We organize!: voting rights, housing, homelessness, health care, criminal injustice & more!”

Why do we stigmatize fellow human-beings who are less fortunate? To look at them as unsightly is to be devoid of empathy for people who are just like us, yet not like us, yet possibly like us, for one big financial or physical catastrophe could take many of us down. Read on — “Jenise Standfield from the Coalition on Homelessness in San Francisco posted this essay online today.  Springfield had its own Broken Window proponent, former police commissioner Edward Flynn, who would have his officers take pictures of homeless people, so this article struck home to me.”

The person credited with coining the theory of Broken Windows policing died last month and people are starting to ask what Broken Windows are all about.  Those of us who have been identified as no more than a broken window are sick of it.
The Broken Window social theory holds that one poor person in a neighborhood (or, using social theorist James Q. Wilson words, “a vagrant or a drunk”) is like a first unrepaired broken window.  If the window is not immediately fixed, if the vagrant is not immediately removed, it is a signal that no one cares, disorder will flourish, and the community (warehouse) will go to hell in a hand basket.
For this theory to make sense, you first have to step far far away from thinking of people, or at least poor people, as human beings. You need to objectify them.  You need to see them as dusty broken windows in a vacant warehouse.
Wilson himself admits that his reasoning here seems unjust.  One drunk or vagrant suddenly becomes a score of drunks or a hundred vagrants.  They will destroy an entire community, and they will destroy an entire downtown business district and that is why we now have Business Improvement Districts with police enforcement to keep that neighborhood flourishing and poor unsightly people out of it.
TO READ THE REST OF THIS ESSAY, AND I WISH YOU WOULD, CLICK HERE.

Suisse Miss Meltdowns, Adventures, and Garlicky WTFs?

Posted in Communication, Confusion, Home remedies, Learning Spanish, Life is like Christopher Guest said it was, Life Performance Art, Narcissisim, Philosophy?, The meaning of life, Therapy, Thoughts, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2010 by Admin

Note: Since I can never finish anything here, so it seems, I am just going to hit publish for this mess, and update it regularly. So, MESS warning… I will fix this when I FINALLY have enough time to myself. Maybe tomorrow…

One walks through this fountain to get to the pool at lac de Geneve. We waded through, but swam only in the lac.

So, today I snapped.

The ridiculously tiny shorts I was given/circumstantially-forced to wear while awaiting the arrival of my equipage, a day later, after my day late arrival. From the closet of a 16 year-old girl. Ridiculous at my age.

I partially melt down, here and there, because there is so little that is easy, comfortable, or painless, though everything is beautiful, glorious, exotic; a roller coaster adventure in Nounou-ism, de la maison et le chien, en Suisse. It took me days to figure out how to use my mobile phone because it is in French, and it navigates counter-intuitively, like the Blackberry I tried for two days and returned. After taking a picture of the washing machine dials and then sending them to a friend who is fluent in German, I finally did a proper load of laundry.

We had dinner in Carouge on the night of the world cup and when we found that Spain was a point away from the inevitable mayhem regardless of who won we scram-aised. But only after a feast of gastronmie galore.

But I exaggerate only un peu; mostly it is Shangri-la here. I made a new song last night — when I had a meltdown-ette over the big, BIG, inexplicably huge and very loud, frog that now lives in my house; the tick I stunned with dissolvant (nail polish remover) and wrenched from Leon’s face; the giant hornet in the house which sounded like a helicopter; the broken ‘Insekt Tenschroter’, which means I now cannot kill the bugs and hear the popping sounds when they explode anymore (one of my favorite sounds); the big FROG in the house, redundantly rattling around somewhere in the pots and pans; the screaming cat who won’t eat her food… and etc —  so my song, “I’m fou-uuuuu, fou for feeling so blue…uuue.” sung to Patsy Cline’s ‘Crazy’. Fou is crazy, in French. I am not really blue, just at times overwhelmed about everything that prevents me from getting sufficient rest.

Smoked salmon with dill, Shrimp salad, terrine, avocado, melon with port wine (which was the simple surprise gastronomie) and more.

Today I receive hope for all good times and no more discomfort, from the stars:
Hi Mo! Here is your Daily Horoscope for Tuesday, July 13
You’re feeling a little overwhelmed with all the crazy action going on around you, but there’s good news as well: you’re reaching the climax of this insane time. Things should be settled by tomorrow.

On the way to the BBQin Gruyere, in those Alps, we passed this chapel of indecision or whatever it is. the Alps were spelndiferous! I was floored.

Adrianna, Creo que puedo encontrar la manera de llegar a mi casa desde aquí, así que está bien si usted desea ir a su casa desde aquí. Voy por mi cuenta. No quiero que usted tenga que caminar padre que es necesario porque hace mucho calor y una tormenta está llegando ahora. Eres tan dulce. Le doy las gracias por ayudarme. Estaré encantado de verte el sábado o el domingo, cuando próxima vez que vengas.

translation: –> “Adrianna, I think I can find how to get to my house from here so it is fine if you wish to go to your home from here. I go by myself. I do not want you to have to walk father than is necessary because it is very hot and a storm is arriving now. You are so very sweet. I thank you for helping me. I will be happy to see you on Saturday or Sunday when next you come.”– my note to the housekeeper, who helped me find the market, for the first time, after weeks of “going” there every day to get food.

I take a lot of pictures of fowers here. I envy them for being able to be outside yet not being covere with bites. I am being irrational and elusional. A sign of bug poisoning, so they say.

It had all been leading to this juncture in the journey. Fortunately no one I knew was there to see it, well, except Adrianna, but she was not entirely listening and she does not speak English. (I didn’t actually yell any of this, I internally-musttered [love that typo! Mustered + muttered; keeping it] it, but for the sake of this post let’s say I quite firmly spewed it). <– Oh, the tangled grammatical webs we weave, when at first we set out to… relieve….? (what? my conscience? MY God says it is not so much a bad word, but rather a word that means, “exponentially, whatever I just said, like, to the
googol (aka, ten duotrigintillion, which is how many mosquito bites I have, to date, more or less, which the garlic tablets, evidently made of gold, are for)”, though it does have a naughty, naughty, angry sound. I mean it endearingly and frustratingly, and not literally.

The chalet in Gruyere, where we went to the BBQ.

And then, everything was fine. Hilarious even. The calm after the storm. By the way, a real weather storm is moving in and I am la-de-da-lighted! It is finally cool! I am comfortable! I am wearing jeans! socks! and even my Bearded Lady Piercings Sweatshirt! I made her a blog in exchange for swag, which is now the property of a few Genevans, and they will now send in photos of themselves wearing them in Columbia, Paris, and wherever they go, as a favor to me, because I talked my amiee Amiee (the Bearded Lady) into this blog, saying of course people will come and comment and send in their pictures! I digress a lot.

My favorite photo at lac de Geneve. I made certain to try not to accidentally capture any speedos.

Anywho, the breaking point for me was, “Eighteen Fucking Francs for Garlic Tablets?! 50 FUCKING garlic tablets? For… 18 fucking francs!? FUCKING FRANCS!? GARLIC FUCKING TABLETS? CHINGANTE TABLETAS DE AJO? Putain 18 francs pour les comprimés d’ail!?” (I had made my shopping list in both Spanish and English, as Adriana helped me shop today. Usually I make it in English and French, but then, I come home empty-handed as I rarely actually find the market). As opposed to… whatever!? It – the opposite of anything — does not need any opposition; it is my illogical, ludicrous, POO TO THE GAZILLIONTH, Naughty Swiss Miss MELTDOWN. I forget what I am saying. I am losing it, un peu, a veces. Soon I will be staying at Belle Idée (Hôpital for Adultes Difficulté Sociale et Psychologique)!

Sunset in Confignon, at the end of the Alp-ian BQ day.

I am not even certain off the top of my imploded head what a franc equals in American money; I just know that my entire groceries — including pate de whateverthefancyfuckingshmancykindofmushrooms that I had just bought — cost 70 francs, and NOW the pharmacist with her poo of english (“peu” is little, and is actually pronounced “pueh”, like a short burst of garlic breath. When I asked if she parlez vous anglais she replied, “un peu”. My french = 1/2 a poo, literally, and one of my pet peeves is how people say “literally” when they mean “actually”, so when I say “literally”, I generally mean literally, but all’s fair in an actual meltdown. I might not even be spelling peu correctly but at this point I am on a roll and will NOT stop to look it up. I am sicksicksick and tiredtiredtired of looking everything up. THIS is a meltdown; THIS is a situation we have here), sigh I no longer have any idea what to do to complete that pile of illiterate lint/”sentence”, with all it’s horrible, jaunty grammar; a reckless disregard for the structure and formality of language, and I am languaged-out. I lost that one. I have lost a lot lately; pints of blood, my way, the ability to sleep well, the ability to do laundry, the ability to figure out how to use my mobile phone…

Walking back to my Fiat Punto HSD, after dinner with Claudia in the old town of Geneve, at Malakoffs. I Genevois-ian had escargot.

So, to start at the very beginning (“a very good plaaaaace to start….”, a la Doris Day, which I am singing aloud as I type (have I mentioned that this is really a meltdown?). BTW, I know every word to every song on that album. IN ENGLISH.

The clouds over lac de Geneve, approx 7 PM.

Oh, and then the pharmacist said, sweetly, helpfully, “You take two tablets, three times a day!”

WTF?! I can do that math and it means I will be spending more on garlic tablets than pate during my month here.

So back to go, (or, Doh! — a deer)… Today I arranged for Adrianna (the housekeeper here) to go to the market with me, and to only do a perfunctory job of cleaning the house, because every day I take my Fiat Punto HSD out to find places and I circle endlessly till I get home, often empty-handed.

Oh, by the way, I am house and dog sitting in Switzerland. I don’t speak French. I speak some Spanish and am fluent in English, Spanglish, and jaunty grammar. I am in Loëx (pronounced Looh-AH), population 48 + me, and likely 4 dozen illegitimate puppies fathered by the unfixed, randy, Leon, but we’ll get to THAT part of the meltdown later.

My view from the front yard,the 'Lignon' of Geneve. From the back yard is all farms and vineyards and cows.

Sweet, sweet neighbor cows, whose bells I hear tinkling all day and all night.

I was (e-motion-ally) sick of driving in circles and sick of craps (the crepes I taught myself to make, which are actually pronounced sorta like that) and of living off the eggs from the hens and whatever I can pick from the gardens, so, as Adrianna comes on Mondays, I arranged for her to have a field trip with me as opposed to actual cleaning, and of course she agreed, she is being paid. Mutually advantageous. I think at first she was not terribly psyched as she was on her cell phone while she swept and mopped and I could swear I heard, “Americana Estupida”, followed by giggles, but I have learned to enjoy being paranoid here and as I call myself that, she is free to do so as well, with my blessing. Fair is fair. I love Adrianna. I look forward to Mondays.

The boats - none of which are mine - at lac de Geneve.

We got in the car to go and at first it was awkward; I had only spoken a few paragraphs to her over the last 2 weeks and I am not exactly sure what tenses I had used and what I had said. I believe I said most things correctly but I might have skipped around tense-wise. I might have even said, “I am going to be so hungry last week so I thought I would have needed more food for my tomorrow day, and some killing things for the very evil swimming, which I had liked to have swum in yesteryear, which is part of the razor why I come here and kill mosquitoes, as well as grand batteries for my tenshooter.”

Gruyere, what a delight, especially to buy fresh local gruyere cheese and double cream for my crazy-strong morning coffee!

I have a tennis racket thingie that they gave me which is a bug electrocutioning thing and it says, “Electrk Tenschroter” on it. Swear. True, that. My favorite sound here — over the constant tinkling of the bells which the oh-so-sweet cows in the yard wear; over the myriad birds, including the one who does a wolf whistle, even when I am not in my bathing suit, every day; over the roosters; over the hens that make a sound like they are laughing hysterically at me when I tiptoe into the henhouse; over the crows that sound like horses whinnying; over the actual horses that go by, authentically whinnying; over the wind flowing through the wall of bamboo between my front terrace and the trail beside which I live, which so happily reminds me of riding an elephant in Chaing Mai in August of 1996 — as I have developed a bloodlust for revenge.

Posters, as you enter the part of lac de Geneve with the bathouses.

In actuality, I only have 200 or so bites. They hurt like bee stings when they happen. They then spontaneously combust into bleeding scabs. The crows have it wrong; I don’t look haute in my bathing suit, I look ravaged. Some of you have seen the pictures I sent privately. I’ll NOT be posting those. Many people can attest that any comment like, “Oh, they love me too!”, would be insensitive and irrelevant at this point. Anja – the woman who owns the house with her husband — presented me to the chemist the second day I was here, who Frenchly gasped. Aloud. And gave me sprays and lotions. It took only one day (in the Alps, I am actually having the time of my life) to get over 100 bites. Chemists/Pharmacists here seem to be mainly female, in my limited experience.

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I had accepted this gig thinking many things, one being that I would swim in the pool every day. But it has since been abandoned and is now symbolic of my pain. It is very very hot here, we do NOT get a breeze from the Rhone which is like 50 feet away, and the pool sits rottingly, stagnant, full of standing water, where the “mozzies” breed like uber-bunnies. There is also a pond where they breed, which is fittingly Estanque, in Spanish. There are also no screens but for two of the windows in the entire house. There is also no air conditioning. No fan. Nada, zip. They are in the habit of leaving the door open all day to go in and out and to also let Leon — the swiss chocolate lab I am responsible for — in and out as is his wont or whim. Inside there are almost as many bugs as outside. I battle them. I had cleared out the house for the most part, with great effort, and then Anja’s teenage daughter came by to get some things and… left the door open. I almost sobbed.

Foreshadowing...

So I have been waging an heroic war against the mozzies. I wear bug spray all the time and constantly refresh it. I take shots of apple cider vinegar as often as I can override my gag reflex, to change my PH balance. I have made traps in and out of the house out of two-liter plastic bottles so they go to lay eggs and die. I pick fresh rosemary from the gardens and boil it into a tea, and then soak in it. I spray every drop of standing water in the house with bleach and water. I make traps of vinegar, covered with foil, with a tiny puncture and they go in and die. I put antihistamine on the bites and never, ever, scratch. I keep all windows but for the two with screens shut tightly. I cover all empty wine bottles with foil with a single puncture so they also go in and die. I put tablets in the stagnant pool to kill them and stop the breeding. I wear a vitamin B1 anti-mozzie patch. I soak in baking soda and ginger powder to remove the toxins from the DEET and reduce the swelling. I mix pure Calendula with moisturizer lotion and slather myself till they fairly drown on my skin. I wield my Tenschroter and delight in the ZAP! which means they are fried. Before bed, I go around the house turning on the lights and then kill anything that gathers and/or moves around the lights or anywhere. I keep a double-broiler on the stove all day long, keeping honey-vinegar-water warm, with that aluminum foil with that good ole puncture in it so they go in and…die! And I take million-dollar garlic tablets.

A house in Fribourg with a painting on the outside.

So today Adrianna and I went off to the market! On the way there I gained courage, lost stage fright, and after a while we were chatting — me mimicking bilinguality — and she began to laugh with me, a sign to me of success with a foreign language. We combed the stores for tablets to put in the pond (Estanque, in Spanish, coincidentally, redundantly) which is safe for pets and fishes but kills mozzies and their eggs, to no avail. We scoured stores for gluten-free foods. We made fun of pissy salespeople. We had a lot of fun actually!

Watching planes land from my back garden at 1030 pm

And then I felt bad because a storm was coming in and while she had offered to accompany me back to my casa, I did not want her to then walk farther than usual to get to her home in the city. So I said I am certain I can find my way home. I insisted she go home from there. She said, “Remember, to get home you just keep turning right; Derecha, derecha, derecha!” and I said, yes, I CAN do it! I will do it! and we kissed cheeks three times, as one must in Suisse, she left to wait for her bus.

This guy seriously passed us in Fribourg (land of the free).

So I drove home, turning right, and right and right, and then I was back at The Coop! I giggled, thinking Adrianna can likely see me from her bus stop and is likely thinking again, ‘Americana Estupida’!, and I quite delighted of that image. So I tried again, driving around the impossibly narrow swiss roads, grinning in the aftermath of my garlic tablet meltdown, and even laughing aloud, and again, I found myself at… The Coop! At the third arrival at The Coop, I was hysterical. On the fourth try I found myself on a dead-end street at which I often find myself, so I pulled a now-habitual, highly illegal U-turn and then, I noticed a car also U-Turning. I kept trying different streets and everywhere I went, this car was behind me. I studied the occupants, at a red light, in my rear-view espejo and they were two men in white shirts. I wondered if they had matching pants

We crossed lac de Fribourg on a viaduct.

Earlier I had said to Adrianna, in Spanish, “As I drive around in circles each day, talking aloud to myself in Francaislish, I often wonder if one day they will take me to Belle-idée!”, at which she looked at me to see if I knew what I doth said, and then she laughed and laughed. Belle-idée is a mixed-use geriatric and psychiatric hospital in Geneva. ;-)

The men in white shirts following me in endless circles looked young and clean-cut, so I pondered if they might be Jehova’s Witnesses. But they both had such a mad and intent grin on their faces that it reminded me of the creepy cover of an issue of Wallpaper I had at home.

So they keep following me and I keep over-imagining paranoid scenarios. It hits me that they are probably Scientologists! Because of course I have failed their usual, handy-dandy, “personality” tests which they give to potential converts, as reason to tithe away all their future earnings, and now I am hysterically laughing-afraid. So now I start turning only left (“Be like a Marxist, if you keep turning left all the time, you will find the market”, Claudia had advised me on my first day driving here) and they do as well. Finally I lose them, I find my house, and just get inside in time to beat the storm, only to find that the wind had blown my last roll of papel de toilette into the toilet; the one thing on my spanglish shopping list which I had failed to purchase. I can not even accomplish a shopping list with a minder in tow to care for me.

The better option I wore to the BQ in Gruyere which might have looked more dignified with real underthings, rather than the borrowed pink thong.

The better option I wore to the BBQ in Gruyere which might have looked more dignified with real underthings, rather than the borrowed pink thong. With a bow. Thong. At this age. Bow. Pink. 46.

En route (literally. HA! Get it? PET PEEVE: Whenpeople say

Ok, I am off to get lost in my Fiat Punto and eventually find the Pharmacie in Old Town, and get some Caladium Segium pills which Claudia has them holding for me – the only batch they have — which her co-workers say I must have, after she told them, “I have NEVER seen anything like it; the way the bugs attack Mo, you should SEE her”…

TO BE CONTINUED…

Flowers of the Alps

Fribourg, Bulla line. Stop and smell the prayers along the way.

And smell the Lacs along the way. Oui.

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