Monday, October 16, 2017

#metoo


This is a piece I wrote to submit to our second All the Sex Monologues, a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood, in which I'll be performing two monologues next month. It wasn't chosen, so I'm sharing it here. Imagine multiple male and female voices, crowding each other, slowing toward the end. In case it's not obvious .... me too.

What she said …

No!
Stop!
I don’t want to!
Get off me!
That hurts!
No!
Please don’t!
I said no!
Get your hands off me!
Stop!
Leave me alone!
I’ve never done this before. I don’t want to!
You promised you wouldn’t!
Let go!
No!
I don’t want this. I don’t want you!
Don’t touch me there!
Stop!
I’m afraid. Please stop!
No! I said no!

What she did after …

Got dressed and walked out
Took a shower so hot her skin looked boiled
Douched with vinegar and tears
Vomited
Called the police and filed a report
Stayed in bed for weeks
Went to the emergency room
Dropped out of college
Threw her clothes in the trash
Cried and cried and cried
Scrubbed her skin until she bled
Slept in the closet for weeks
Walked with her head down
Never ever went outside alone
Got an abortion
Ate and ate and ate and ate and ate
Went to Planned Parenthood for an STD and pregnancy test
Threw out her short skirts
Cut her skin with a razor
Picked up the phone to call the police. Put it down.
Drank until she could sleep every night
Took too many sleeping pills
Kept the baby
Only wore sweats
Told her friends
Lied to her parents
Told herself it was her fault. She shouldn’t have led him on.
Plotted the revenge she was too afraid to take
Bought a gun
Cringed whenever a man’s voice got too loud
Ran away
Swallowed her voice
Wondered if she’d ever feel whole again

What they said …

Boys will be boys.
He was drunk. He’s not like that when he’s sober.
He didn’t mean nothing by it.
What were you wearing?
He loves you. He just doesn’t know how to show it.
He’s sorry.
Why did you go with him?
Are you sure that’s what happened?
Why didn’t you fight harder?
Be more careful next time.
You’ll ruin his life if you tell.
You have quite the imagination.
You shouldn’t have been out alone.
It could have been worse.
I told you this would happen.
You’re just trying to get attention.
It’s not like he actually raped you.
You’re just jealous.
He didn’t know what he was doing.
This is what it’s like to be a woman.
He says you’re lying.
You don’t want this to be on the news.
Your skirt was too short.
Your shirt was too low.
You wear too much makeup.
You looked like you were asking for it.
What did you expect?
Girls like you always find trouble.
It was just locker room talk.
If you’d given it to him when he asked, he wouldn’t have had to take it.
Best not to tell anybody.
You need to loosen up.
He was just having fun.
People deserve a second chance.
He promised he’d never do it again, didn’t he?
He’s served his sentence.
You need to move on.
Cheer up.
You’re not the only one, you know.
He was abused.
You must have teased him.
You need to get over it.
That’s just how men are. They can’t help themselves.
At least he used a condom.
He’s been going through some stuff.
I’m sure he’s sorry now.
Imagine how he feels.
It will be your word against his.
Can we talk about something else now?

What’s changed …


(exit stage in silence)


Saturday, July 1, 2017

The smell of summer nights



That moment when a storm is brewing a few miles away, and the temperature drops a little, so you open up the windows, and you breathe in a breath of clean(ish) city air. You feel grateful for a second night in a row that the acrid smell of burning yard waste or plastic hasn't filled your house .... yet. You take a little credit for that, because two nights before you finally, at the urging of a friend who rides those big red trucks, called the fire department out to find the pyro who was setting those damn fires that filled your house with throat-burning smoke every single night for weeks and put his flame out.

You let the dog out so he can guard the backyard from the stoop, turn on your tunes and start cleaning the kitchen. You're singing along to something classic that brings back memories of summers long past when wine was forbidden and kissing for hours in the front seat of your boyfriend's Ford LTD wasn't as long as his hands didn't slip inside your clothes..... When suddenly your nose slaps your brain and yells, "Hey, dumbshit! I've been trying to tell you there's a fucking skunk out there and given how quickly the kitchen filled with the stench, it's really close." Your brain sends a jolt of adrenaline through your entire nervous system, and you run to the door, jerk it open, and start yelling for the dog to come in now. He gets up from where he's laying on the back porch barely 3 feet away from the door and runs all the way across the yard instead. Frantically you yell at him to COME! COME HERE RIGHT NOW! And he looks at you from the back gate, as if he's deciding whether you're serious, even though you've never not been serious when you've used that tone of voice. Finally he turns and comes sauntering back across the yard where a skunk could be hiding in the shadows just waiting to ruin your life, trots up on the porch, and an utter disaster is averted everywhere except in your brain, which is still dumping adrenaline through your poor veins. Fucking skunks.

You pour a glass of cold Chardonnay and wish you had a bag of Lays classics to make you hate yourself in the morning. Oh, well. You'll find something else. Until then, bring on the lightning and the thunder and the rain. It's summer in the city.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Break on through to the other side


I thought I had a blog post in me today, but I realized nobody wants to hear about what an incredibly shitty day I had during an incredibly shitty week. It would have been a book. So I will pull the one funny thing out of this day to share.

It's not news to some of you that my friend and the beloved minister of my church died of a sudden and unexpected heart attack Sunday on a trip to Boston. It's been a terrible shock. I would like to write more about him, but I can't do it yet. He was my age -- OK, about 6 weeks older. It's always hard when a peer dies. Thoughts of your own mortality and all that. And as Miss Serendipity would have it, Greg and I just had a long talk about that a few days ago, about how we intended to live decades longer. But that's not the story.

Today I had to go in to have some face cancer removed. It wasn't as easy as I expected it would be, but that too is another story. As the nurse was preparing for the procedure, she asked me about my sensitivity to epinephrine. We talked about how it makes my heart race for a long time. I told her a friend had just died of a sudden heart attack, and I didn't think I could tolerate that today, the day after most of us got the terrible news. I didn't tell her that my dad had died at age 46 of a sudden heart attack as well, leaving my mom with 2 kids still at home. I was the oldest of 5 at 24. I just have this thing about not wanting to have, or even mimic, a heart attack. She said she understood and went back to tapping on her tablet.

As I sat and waited for the next question, "Free Bird," the anthem of my youth, came over the speakers. The doctor is about my age, and a guitar player and a lover of the classics, so that's what they play. It's a good vibe for me except these lyrics hit me like a gut punch .... "If I leave here tomorrow/would you still remember me?/For I must be travelin' on now/there's too many places I've got to be ...." Greg's last post on his Facebook read, "The adventure begins!!"

My eyes filled with tears that I tried to dam up. I looked up to let them run down my throat. Not the time. I needed to focus on getting the face cancer off my face.

The nurse asked some more questions, and I answered as the long "Free Bird" solo played through. After she left the room and closed the door, the next song came on. "I, I just died in your arms tonight/It must have been something you said/I just died in your arms tonight ...."

You've got to be fucking kidding me! Right?

I sat there on the surgery chair thinking about coincidence and the afterlife. I used to have a friend who believed her late son, who was killed by a drunk driver at age 19, was still around. He'd turn her radio station so his favorite song would play when she turned on her car. Or he'd help her find things she'd lost in her house. Thinking he was still with her, somehow embodied to reach out to her from time to time, gave her comfort. I didn't deny her belief. What do I know?

The fact is, I don't know what happens to us after we die. I don't believe in heaven and hell. Neither did Greg, because we're Unitarian Universalists and we don't believe in those old dichotomies, nor the trichotomies either. In fact, Greg and I had talked early on about how we didn't believe everything happens for a reason, much as people would like to think it's true. Mostly shit just happens. Sometimes good shit happens. Sometimes really shitty shit happens. Trying to make sense of it, or trying to fit it into a religious mold, can either comfort you or it can make you fucking crazy. Greg and I were of the latter category. The shit just happens category.

But we also agreed that shit happens that is just too strange to discount. And then we don't know what to think, but it's the mystery that keeps life interesting.

And so I thought for just a second, What if Greg hasn't passed on from this world just yet? I mean, it was not his time to go. He had a lot more good work to do. What if he's hanging around for a while before he crosses over to whatever is or isn't on the other side of this life? What if Greg is fucking with me?!?

I kinda laughed at that idea. I didn't feel like laughing today, but I kinda laughed then (because I didn't know the hell that was coming, but that's another story). I had the urge to send Greg an email when I got home and tell him maybe things really do happen for a reason. Just to give him a laugh. Of course, I couldn't do that ..... And the song played on to the end.

And the next song came on. I wasn't really listening until these lyrics jumped out: "Whether you're a mother or whether you're a brother you're stayin' alive, stayin' alive ...."

"You have got to fucking be kidding me!" I said aloud. "Seriously, Greg, this is hilarious!" And then I thought, because of course the dead can read our minds, I wish I could believe you're really in this room distracting me with the golden oldies of our generation. And I really wish I could tell you about this, my friend, because this is some good serendipity. Thanks for the laugh.

I couldn't wait to see what was next, but the nurse came back in with the doctor, and I had to pay attention to getting rid of the face cancer. By the time I was listening again, the moment was over. Maybe Greg moved on and played tricks on other people. I dunno. I just know it was one of the best things that happened today, and a lot of the rest of it was spilled milk compared to losing Greg but ..... well, you've got your own shit to deal with, don't you? Stayin' alive. Stayin' alive.


Well now, I get low and I get high
And if I can't get either, I really try
Got the wings of heaven on my shoes
I'm a dancin' man and I just can't lose
You know it's all right, it's ok
I'll live to see another day
We can try to understand
The new york times' effect on man

Whether you're a brother or whether you're a mother
You're stayin' alive, stayin' alive
Feel the city breakin' and everybody shakin'
And we're stayin' alive, stayin' alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive, stayin' alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive



Thursday, January 12, 2017

Homemade cottage cheese ..... or not

A friend posted right on my Facebook wall the other day that she wanted me to do more blogging, and I thought, IKR. So do I! I wish I'd slam a post up here every day of 2017 just to show that bitch I'm not giving up. (I meant 2017, not my friend.) And then I promptly scrolled on down through my feed looking for something incriminating to share about The Donald instead of writing a blog post.

But back in the far, unaddicted recesses of my mind, I remembered. I remembered my poor, moldy, neglected blog. And today, as I was about to post some random shit on Facebook yet again, the thought elbowed its way past all the other thoughts about what to fix for supper and how I need to mop the kitchen floor and I promised Coraline we'd read our book and I need to make a list of stuff to take on the bus to the march on the 21st and ..... bam. I could post this shit on my blog, because it might be the single most interesting thing that will happen to me this entire day!

Short story short, I was trying to make homemade cottage cheese, and I made something else instead. Not sure what. I followed the directions on a website for making cottage cheese with raw milk. I put about a quart of raw milk into a bowl and left it covered with a cotton towel on the counter. The next day, I skimmed off the sour cream, which was kinda weird and stretchy. More like a skin than a cream.

The milk was supposed to curdle into cottage cheese within a couple of days, but that shit just sat there. For days. Three days at least. (I can't really remember when I set it there.) And it didn't curdle.

I might have forgotten to check it for a couple of days. I get busy doing things I can't remember the next day.

Today I remembered to lift the towel. And at first I thought it still hadn't done anything. Just like a fucking last-minute science fair experiment, like a potato battery or the life cycle of bean seeds. Out of curiosity and a desire to avoid scrubbing the kitchen floor, I pulled out a spoon and stirred it around. Damn. It had changed after all, but not into curds and whey. It has changed into some kind of yeasty-smelling stuff the consistency of yogurt. Very little whey. No wonder Little Miss Muffet ran away. She wasn't afraid of spiders. She was afraid of what was growing in her bowl.



I'm still debating whether to taste it. I don't want to die before my first ever march on Washington DC. That would be cruel. And unnecessary, given the readily available cottage cheese just sitting there in the Kroger dairy case. Also, I've been doing so well eating low carb since the first of the year, and I have no idea how many carbs might be lurking in that fermented bowl of what used to be raw milk.

I put the towel back on and left it there. It might not have finished transforming. Also, I need to mop the floor before I taste it. I'd hate to kill myself with a failed science experiment and leave a dirty kitchen floor behind. How embarrassing would that be?


Saturday, December 3, 2016

What I'd like to say to Rosie's friend Bob

Bob, you ignorant asshole. I keep wanting to call you Tom, because you're That One Man. That one man who, every time Rosie posts something positive about Hillary Clinton or something terrifying about Donald Trump, you show up at the party, shit in the punch, and then act like you presented us with some fancy pink Andre champagne. And until recently, you signed all of your comments "Love Bob." GMAFB, you condescending hound of the patriarchy. You represent so much of what is wrong with this country, and tonight, old white man, I have had it with you. I bite my tongue every day until it bleeds, and tonight I'm taking off the teeth.

You know, Bob, it used to be kind of fun to play with ugly old troll dolls like you, but since the unimaginable results of the election -- you know that election, the one where all those men like you voted for the orange man because you hated the black man so much? -- the election in which more than 2.5 million more people voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton than the loser you backed, you're not such a funny joke. Somehow people like you .... people who share possibly one brain cell among the lot of you ... you, Bob, put your finger on the button in the voting booth in a swing state and managed to go around the will of the people to put the tiny orange finger of the most dangerous reality star in the world on the button that leads to the possible destruction of the planet as we know it. You fucking idiot, Tom Bob.

Here's an example of how fucking stupid you are. Tonight Rosie posted an article titled   "Indiana Taxpayers Will Be Paying Salaries of Carrier Workers Whose Jobs Donald Trump 'Saved'" I'm sure you didn't read it. You never do. You're not here on this planet to have an intelligent conversation. Instead you said (and I'm leaving out some of the comments that don't matter so much) "The Jill Stein and Hillary recount in Wisconsin is costing Wisconsin tax payers 4.8 Million Dollars." Now, Bob, that's what we call an argument fallacy, and that's not what this post is about. Take my word for it, because smarter people than you understand these things.

Nevertheless, Rosie, in her infinite patience (she's a retired teacher; you probably think she was paid too much), refuted your claim with proof that Jill Stein had raised money to pay for the recount.

You said, "The Wisconsin State Election Official...the top dog.... was interviewed by Carol Costello at CNN and she said the fee to ask for a recount was $900,000 and by law the tax payers of Wisconsin have to pay $1 per each recounted vote so the tab is $4.8 Million dollars since there are 4.8 million votes to recount." No link to a source. Bad form, Tom Bob.

I said, because I will admit I'm just itching to wipe the smug look off your face, "Maybe they should only have counted legitimate votes in the first place. Then there wouldn't be so many Trump votes to pay for in the recount." [I know! I know! Dear readers, I know I fed the troll. Apparently he doesn't digest irony well, sharing that one brain cell as he does.]

And that's when you, Bob, repeated that oft shared bit of greasy, putrid turd that some idiot pulled out of his unwashed ass and tweeted one night while he was watching porn in his parents' basement on a couch that would glow under blacklight like LA from his many Sarah Palin-fueled masturbatory emissions: "I'd like to see a recount in California where in many polling stations across the State you don't have to show an ID to vote...maybe that is where the 2 million in the popular vote came from."

Sigh. Bob, do you realize there's a video of you, or people who share that one brain cell, that those of us with a few more brain cells have been laughing at all week. Here it is, buddy. Take a look. This is you.



Idiot.

In the meantime, your brain cell refuses to look at what happened in the news just today, starting with the Carrier travesty, which even Sarah Palin called "crony capitalism." What the fuck happened there, eh? Did you all decide to let Palin use the brain cell all by herself? That's possibly the first time she's made sense in all of recorded history.

Nor did you pay attention to the terrifying conversation Trump had over the phone with the president of Taiwan, which could damage US diplomatic relations with China. I'm not going to try to explain the ramifications, but your tiny brain should be able to find at least a bit of discomfort with the fact that Trump is investigating the possibility of building a big old resort in Taiwan.

Not even a twinge of fucking concern yet, Bob? It doesn't even bother you that the Trumps are too good for the White House and have plans to cost this country millions -- even more millions that DT has lost to bankruptcy added to the millions he's kept after he stiffed those poor working-class people you're so sure he'll find jobs for -- so he and his family don't have to sully themselves by living in the White House. You'd think he'd want to make it white again for all you "I'm not a racist" racists. And you're OK with that, Mr. Patriot of the Year?

Apparently none of this bothers you as you spout off senseless, refutable bullshit that comes straight from faux news where the reporters are telling you -- flat out telling you to your stupid fucking face -- that they've been fucking with you, because they hate you and they wanted you to see how stupid you are, but you're too fucking stupid to even see it. They punked you so hard you put your finger on that button and you pushed it. And now, unless there is a god, which I doubt now, you put the tiny, sticky orange finger of a devil on the button that can destroy the earth as we know it. A man who spends the wee hours of the night throwing twitter temper tantrums over imagined insults and reposting the ridiculous and refutable, if he only had a brain, lies of other Twitter trolls like the guy who made up the lie about the California voters fraud. This is your idea of a suitable President of the United States. Even the Georges Bush hate your fucking guts. and that second one wasn't the brightest or most honest bulb in the White House, but he's smarter than you.

And if I may go off on a tangent, I'll just say I'm sick and fucking tired of hearing that the election was lost (we fucking won by over 2.5 million votes so suck it) by intelligent, educated people because we -- and I don't include you in that group, Bob -- alienated the stupid, uneducated people who sit around on their worn-out recliners twisting in their panties over the lies they see on Faux News. So now it's my fault for not lowering myself and pretending I have the intelligence of a goldfish so they feel more comfortable about being too stupid and lazy to do even the rudimentary research my kids could do when they were in 4th grade?

Why the fuck should I do that? How will that make you smarter, Bubba Bob? How about when I show you a well researched article like this one from Politico with the real story about voter fraud in California  you fucking read it?

Instead you said, "I have friends in California....they said they are very lax in asking anyone to prove who they are before they vote."

And all I can say to you, Bob, as my lip curls with disdain is, "That's what I call citing a source." Seriously, thanks for finally citing a fucking source that proves why Donald Trump, top deplorable in the basket, could become the most powerful toddler in the world.

And the worst thing, Tom Bob, is that you are just one Fox-tranced troll and there are millions and millions of you out there ruining the world -- the world you have to live in too, idiot -- because you're too stupid to understand how stupid you are.

I'm done with you, Bob. I'm going to block you now, because you can't be saved. And don't you dare look to Jesus to save your stupid ass, because he's not coming back to this mess any time soon, and you would deport him if he did. If things go the way they very well could, the radiation would kill the Holy Son anyway. You do know he was considered an intellectual in his time, right? An educated young rabbi. A radical, socialist Jew, as the song goes.


And you, Bob, you are nothing like Jesus, you stupid Trump troll. So maybe consider shutting the fuck up and not dirtying Rosie's every post with your endlessly stupid and patronizing and easily refuted faux news vomit. Because what could have been funny -- as in laughable to anybody with a full brain -- is no longer funny. It's a dangerous fucking disaster, and the ship is sinking before our very eyes while you tuck your pasty gray head up inside your ass and repeat the lies in the dark so you don't have to see what you have unleashed on the world. 

I am terrified to see that you still don't fucking get it. And you never will as long as you rely on that one, shared brain cell.

I hope Rosie hits the unfriend button on you soon, Bob, because she's way too good for you. And you're way too stupid to be allowed to sit in her Facebook living room and participate in the conversations of reasoning adults who may not be able to save this country .... this world ... now that you and your one brain cell have won (that's irony, Bob, you fucking idiot) the election.