Thursday, March 31, 2005

Mental trots

I'm so begind in my blogging I don't know where to begin. I've got this incredible, manic-depressive backlog of thoughts. There is no way to organize them (much like my brain) so I'm not even going to try. Rather than the dense, solid, well-shaped treatises you are accustomed to reading here, the following will be watery, inconsistent, and seemingly interminable. It is not an attempt at contemporary, stream-of-consciousness literature (which is also crap) - it is merely what you get when your body is in the northern mid-west but mentally you are someplace warm and tropical where you can't drink the water.

Someone made me an offer recently which at the time it didn't even occur to me to consider, so I dismissed it. Last night in the shower it dawned on me that it might not only be possible, but a really good idea. I contacted the person who made the offer, but it was too late: she'd already offered it to someone else. Unfortunately between my shower and my receiving her email this afternoon, the thought of taking the offer up consumed my brain. It grew from a vague possibility to an obsession overnight. What was this stupendous opportunity that i was too stupid to notice even when it was sitting on my lap? You'll never guess. A return trip to England! The woman whose kids I babysat last summer is looking for a new nanny. She needs someone beginning July 1. All day I've been fantasizing about moving back to Chorlton for the months of July, August and September, babysitting the coolest kids in the world, living in a great flat, and rowing with Agecroft. It's the rowing that really did it. All winter I've been contemplating the misery of a summer without rowing. For a few hours this morning I had it, and now it's gone again. I'm in my prime. I feel stronger than I've ever felt in my life, and I feel myself improving every day. I only ride my bike at one speed: as fast as I can go. I only run at one speed: sidestitch. I am strong and long and driven. I was in the car yesterday and Summer of 69 came on the radio. I love that song. It's about lost innocence and glory days gone by. It's about focus and obsession and taking risks and laying it all on the line for the thing you love. I need to do that right now. I'm ready. I need to row until i collapse. I need to row until the blisters on my hand bleed my lycra red. I need to feel my thighs scream and my throat burn, grip the oar, hear the gate, feel the drive. I was once told by a man who had coached olympic teams to medals that i had the potential to go all the way. For the first time in my life, i'm starting to believe him. I feel it in me. One of my former teammates has been recognized as an athlete of distinction by whoever scouts for the british national team. they're watching her. and i'm better. she's a great rower and a great woman and i'm really happy for her. but i'm better. and if i were there right now, they would be watching me, too. In one year in England I stretched myself in every direction, and i've returned home to find i've outgrown my bowl. It's too small here, and i'm suffocating. Then I walk around town and I see all the good I could do if i stayed here. The community college is hiring new teachers. I'm a shoo-in. The local park needs someone on the board who understands environmental management issues. I could get on it. I could make a real difference. On a very small scale, granted, but a real difference at the local level. I could ride my mom's local celebrity coat tails until i grow a set of my own and become a prominent local citizen. I could settle down and marry a mediocre guy who like riding lawnmowers and drinks MGD and be stable and content. But in a thousand years, no one would remember my name. Everyone tells me i'm a fool. For years i listened to them. I played it safe. I did the practical thing. I gave up rowing my sophomore year of college so I could take a job in the botany lab that would lead to research opportunities and a steady job. I did the mature thing, the responsible thing. Everyone's looking at me now to do the mature thing again. I'm sick of maturity. I'm sick of responsibility and practicality. I was mature waaaaaayyyyy too young. I grew up when I was 14. From now on i'm going to be self-serving and fuck pragmatism and take risks and go for it. I want to row. I'll do anything to row. I need to do it now, to test myself. Time is running out. I've got the rest of my life to play it safe, but right now if i'm going to get anywhere, i need to be leaving 10 minutes ago. I'm in my prime. I am powerful. I am writing really short sentences. I had another revelation when I was out jogging this morning. This is in no way whatsoever intended to be a justification for W, but it makes it a little easier for me to wrap my brain around him. I saw a pair of sandhill cranes nesting, and a herd of deer (got within about 15 feet of one, who just sort of looked at me quizzically; cutie pie), and two species of woodpecker. It was one of those beautiful mornings, and I was running through the countryside and thinking about why the land around me is the way it is. Why the former fields are now fallow, and what they were before they were cultivated. The USA is a frontier country, or it was at any rate. Western Europe has been so densly populated that for the last thousand years every piece of land has been owned by someone. Maybe a serf with just a few acres to feed his family, or a minor knight or a great earl or the king of whatever, but every bit, even the forrests, was someone's property. In America, as recent as 100 yeas ago out west and in living memory in Alaska it was still possible to wander out into the wilderness, find a bit of land with nothing on it, look around and declare, "Finders keepers; mine now." And it was perfectly legal. Not only legal, but admired. Homesteading was both financially encouraged by the government and socially encouraged by early American culture. We made heros out of the people who went west, looked around a bit, and plated a flag in whatever chunk of dirt suited their fancy. We glorified them, and still do. It never occurred to anyone that any of it could run out. The forrests and plains and mountians and tallgrass prarie went on forever. It was inexhaustible. The government was actively perpetuating this myth well into the 1970s. When fishermen who used to catch 80 pound cod in the Grand Banks reported smaller and smaller catches every year and said it was hard to find a cod that was even 30 pounds, the Fish and Wildlife service issued a report stating that the fishing stocks of the Grand Banks were fine. Whether is was the cultural mindset of willfulf denial that made the government hesitant to report the truth and break the spell, or the government consciously perpetuating said mindset is unknown. Maybe both. But we've only recently been able to recognize that natural resources have limits. W hasn't gotten there yet. He's a Texan. He comes from a frontier state that still has a frontier mindset. He's not interested in protecting wilderness, he's interested in taming it. He still thinks that he can walk into any bit of land that doesn't already have something on it (caribou don't count), plant a flag and declare it his. That's what he's doing in ANWR. As far as he's concerned, there's nothing there. And that's why the gas prices have all gone up recently. Don't tell me this is a coincidence. The moment the Senate started discussing the vote on approving drilling in ANWR, all the gas prices went up. WHY THE FUCK DIDN'T THE MEDIA REPORT THIS?!?!?!? Everyone (including the Senate) is walking around saying, "gee, regular is up to $1.29 a gallon. We can't afford to buy all this foreign oil. We need to start more drilling in the US. Alaska looks good." Why don't you morons see that the gas prices were deliberately driven up by the government to make you think that? Don't you know what pawns you are? Now here this: YOU ARE A TOOL. At least my cat is getting better. But then, she's the thing I know I'll miss most when I leave for England again, whenever that happens. I'm still counting on September. But she doesn't understand why I have to go, or that I'll be back, or that I'll still love her. She just feels abandoned. She was in terrible condition when I got home. If I hadn't come home, I'm sure she'd be dead by now. She had a thyroid condition and she was thin as a rake. No one noticed becasue she has long hair so you couldn't see how thin she'd grown, and no one else ever pets her. When i got here and petted her, I could feel all the bones of her spine. And her fur was all matted, and she wasn't taking care of herself. I took her to the vet and got her on medicine for her thyroid and some for her liver and pain killers for her arthritis and got her de-flead, and she's healthy and happy and she sits in my lap every evening and purrs and follows me about and looks cute all the fucking time and her grooming is better so she doesn't have any more mats in her fur and all is well. And I can't stand the thought of leaving her again. I actually contemplated staying here until she dies, but that could be years yet. She's 17, but she could make it to 20 if she's properly looked after. She's lithe and nimble and still jumps up on things and chases bugs and stares at specks in the carpet (go read 9 Chickweed lane -- it's too true!) and flops in sunbeams and flicks her tail and has a great life. But if I leave -- when I leave -- she won't be as well looked after. She won't get her medication regularly, and when it runs out, the prescriptions won't get refilled. I'm not saying my parents are bad people, but she's my cat and they just won't put a lot of effort in. And she'll deteriorate and die. I can't stand it I can't fucking stand the thought. How can I leave? But how can i stay? I'm going insane with having to bite my tongue every 10 seconds, with not being able to tell my parents anything i'm feeling because i'm not allowed and it would be ungrateful to express dissatisfation and the current living arrangement. I can't tell them that the things they say and do sometimes upset me. I'm ready to scream every minute of the day. Right now I can't stand them, and that's one of the saddest things, because I've always had a really good relationship with my parents. I like them a lot; they're neat people. But part of maintaing that good relationshipe means keeping our distance and giving each other appropriate space. I don't want my living here to ruing my frienship with my parents. I don't want my leaving to kill my cat with neglect. And god forbid, what if I don't get accepted anywhere. I don't even have a plan B right now. I'm so determined to get into uni for Ph.D. i have made any arrangements for a backup scenario. What if i'm not accepted. I'm screwed. I have no idea what I would do. I'm afraid to even think about it. And while I'm definately not moving back to England for someone esle - I'm doing it for me - I would be lying if I were to claim that there wasn't another person who's a factor in all this. Last fall I met someone who, well, I don't believe in the The One. I refuse to. But i've been alone for a really long time, wait, not last fall, two falls ago. god it doesn't seem like that long. OK, two falls ago I met someone with whom I think there exists the possiblity of a really good long-term relationship. He's more than just cute smart and funny. Cute Smart Funny is dime a dozen. I know a million guys who are CSF. This one's just on another level entirely. He's the most honest, trustworthy person I've ever met. I would trust him with my life, my children, and my checkbook. He's good people. Maybe it won't work out, but goddman it I have to know. I can't sit here with that kind of potential sitting over there. I can't spend the rest of my life wondering "what if..." I need to be there, see if he's still interested, and maybe make it fly. If it crashes and burns, or if he no longer has any feelings for me whatsoever, fine. But i need to know that. This limbo shit is for the birds. I've spent the entire year waiting. I can't stand waiting. I've lost patience and now I need to make my life happen, rather than sitting here waiting for it to happen to me. Trite and cliche' I know, but true. Cliche's do come from a kernel of truth. Are you bored yet? Are you still reading? Get a life, man. This isn't for you. Quit wasting your time reading my short sentences. You're doing what I'm complaining about: living a life that isn't yours. This isn't for you. This is for me to expunge my thoughts and purge the bowels of my brain. This is for posterity, for all the people who will claw each other's eyes out for the chance to write my biography. I'm going to be famous someday, after I've won my gold medal in women's pairs and been elected the first female president of the USA and been awarded a Pulitzer, and people will want to know what I was thinking when I was 26. They'll want to what I was thinking and doing during the time that I came back to the nest for a year, and I won't be able to tell them because I will have blessedly forgotten, and will be all the happier for it. I don't want to remember a minute of this year. My eyes are losing focus and my fingers rapidly losing dexterity, so I'm going to quit now, take my antibiotic (for my acne; as if all of the above wasn't enough, my face took this time to erupt like a volcanic pizza) and go to bed.


Gothamimage said...

Good luck on the degree, and pleasant dream - everything is bent toward England.

Gothamimage said...

Dubya is not a native Texan, but has adopted that ethos as a public pose- when he lost his first congressional race to a real Texan, he made a commitment to not be 'out-Texaned' again- back then he did not have his current drawl, etc- he was mocked as a Yalie and and Harvard type- he was ridiculed as jogger, etc- even his 'ranch' was bought rather recently. Phillips Andover, his high school, is in NE, as is Yale and Harvard.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

Hullo WC! (That's a rather unfortunate set of initials.) You are completely right. I had utterly forgotten that the Bush family is from a hoity-toity town in Maine, and that the cowboy image is purely a political facade. How could I have been so duped! Thank you so much for reminding me that he's an even bigger asshole than thought. We should all keep that in mind.

ZB said...

Yeah limbo sucks. I'm going through nice bum headfuck limbo for the umpteenth time. The depressing thing is, last time we split it took me three years of sleepless nights and rowing until I puked to not spend every moment feeling the desolation of not having her. So, by my reckoning, I now have three years from now of feeling this shitty. Man, I've never ever said this before but I wish that I'd never met her. She might be the one but the moments of happiness she's given me are way outweighed by bleeding to death from the inside.

hendrix said...

CB - just do it. Beg borrow or steal enough cash for the fare and come over. You're worried about your cat - bring her too. OK she would need to be quarentined but better that than you both pining for each other.

I've nearly always done exactly what I wanted to do with my life. Some things worked -some didn't but I tried anyway. You never regret the things you've tried only the ones you didn't. The one time I tried limbo it put me in hospital with a cyst. These feelings don't go away - they just crystallise into something life threatening.

You've got your plan A but no plan B? Doesn't matter. If this where you need to be to do what you want to do then a way will present itself to you. It's amazing how fast you can come up with a whole alphabet of plans when you need to. You speak the language - you know people - where's the problem. F moved from France to LA aged 19 with nothing other than $1,000, a guitar and the telephone number of someone he'd met on the beach in France the year before. He didn't speak any English and he had no green card. He stayed there for 10 years and left at the top of his game. There's something about doing the right thing that makes it all easy once you take that first step.

Go for it.