On My Mound

24 Oct

What IS it about The Baseball?  Or perhaps, more specifically, The Giants?  When once I was a non-believer, interested only in enjoying the architectural beauty of Our Stadium, eating garlic fries and gazing wistfully out across the Bay – invariably missing the sporadic, unpredictable bursts of action down on the field – today, mysteriously, I am one of the converts.  In Bruce we Trust.

“What happened to you?” my family members keep asking, suspicious not only of my newfound enthusiasm, but the mere fact that I would have the slightest interest in any sports whatsoever.  My lifetime Punk Rock Aversion to Sports was once perhaps greater than that of my ilk, aggravated as it was by sour memories of my father, simultaneously watching football on TV while listening to baseball, his transistor radio held inches from his head as he ate dry handfuls of Grape Nuts. I would spend that precious father-daughter bonding time bouncing around the living room, jumping from sofa to floor to tabletop with a furious, desperate “Dad look at me Dad look at me!” energy, but to no avail.  But I’m not bitter:  if it wasn’t for that, I probably wouldn’t have ended up in gymnastics, and later, as the notoriously attention-demanding adult that I am today.

Zen. Fucking. Perfection.

Zen. Fucking. Perfection.

I am not going to bother to try and describe the layers of beautiful Zen perfection that is The Baseball. So many others have already done this time and again, considerably more adeptly than I would no doubt, so I won’t join the fray.  But it IS there – the layers of beautiful Zen perfection that is – and I am awed by it.  Also at my age there is now the added bonus of unabashedly discussing the fuckability/lack thereof of each player with my fellow Giants fan/cougar housemate, and comparing how much nicer baseball bodies are to football bodies (ew!).  And the addict in me deeply appreciates the rabbit-hole quality of knowing that this game, this inning, or perhaps the next one, or surely the one after that, will really be IT, you know?

We just have to keep watching.  Vamos Gigantes!

The Pariah Chronicles (yes, again), Vol. III

26 Sep

Lately here at Pariah Central, we’ve been contemplating the ever-growing possibility that the Wounder (yours truly) and the

This Guy.

This Guy.

Wounded (baby-daddy) shall perhaps never speak again.  He and I have settled into a comfortable habit of terse texting, characterized by a predictable pattern of lengthy logistical questions reciprocated by one-word answers.  What would we do if we were suddenly transported to an earlier, pre-texting era, I wonder?  Hopefully I would be fortunate enough to have a manservant at my disposal to deliver beautiful, handwritten notes on the highest grade parchment.

And oh! At one time we were so close to actually exchanging words!  Several months ago we both attended our son’s high school graduation, driving there together in the very same car and sitting on either side of the same corner of the dinner table at Boulevard (fancy restaurant name-dropping totally unintentional, btw).  That was followed a few weeks later by an email exchange that involved full sentences, as well as some thoughtful responses, so I felt encouraged that perhaps Resolution may soon be around the corner.

That's the ticket.

That’s the ticket.

But since then, something has gone amiss.  Either some sort of decision has been made – to which I am not privy, of course – or perhaps a tinge of mental illness has started to settle in.  Based on intimate knowledge of the Wounded’s proclivities, my suspicion is that it could very well be the latter, unfortunately. Not meaning to be cruel or glib (me?), in all actuality, it is not outside of the realm of possibility that he has created an entirely new reality for himself, one based on a memory of spending the past 18 years at sea, exploring new lands, whaling, carving scrimshaw and collecting specimens for his vast collection of rare gemstones.  The progeny that now lives with him is the result of a chance, passionate encounter with a mysterious Nordic maiden who disappeared into the night as ethereally as she entered it, returning many years later only to deposit their teenage son at his doorstep and slip away without a word.  Yes, the silence and solitude would appeal to him.

Though I suppose I don’t blame him.  I conjured up a bit of an emotional shit show thank you very much, so getting as far away from that as he could was probably a pretty good idea.  And as we all know, fantasy is considerably more appealing and satisfying than reality … unless you’re talking about the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Or World of Warcraft.  Or basically anything in that same vein with pointless quests and clanging swords and ridiculous beasts and whatnot. Horribly tiresome, that.

So. Much. Safer. In. Here.

So. Much. Safer. In. Here.

Of course, Option#1- that of making some unknown personal decision that has sealed off his already difficult-to-access self from me permanently – is an equally plausible potential reason for the silent treatment. Unfortunately, that option leaves me to dwell in the world of Conjecture, Hearsay and Rumor, and I’ve never been a fan of that neighborhood, so I best be getting on the 14 Mission back to the Excelsior straightaway.  Fuck, my Clipper Card’s empty again. I guess I can walk.

So what will this future of sustained non-verbal communication be like?  (And by non-verbal I in no way mean the fun, pleasurable sorts of non-verbal communication with which most adults are familiar.)  When I try to envision it, for some reason I keep thinking of that scene in Walk the Line when Joaquin Phoenix/Johnny Cash is pouting and moping about Reese Witherspoon/June Carter, and he’s all fucked up on booze & pills and gets his tractor stuck in the mud down at the bottom of the hill. Reese/June’s mom tells her daughter to go talk to him, to which Reese/June replies “oh Momma, he needs to figure that out himself, I’m not gonna go down there with him!” and Momma says “You already ARE down there with him, girl!”

Yeah, it’s like that.  Only without the storybook ending part.

The Pariah Chronicles, Vol. II

9 Jul

In which The Disgruntler continues to whine about her current state of affairs; see previous post for backstory.

Revelation of the day: Being a pariah means that you 1) wait around a lot, and 2) generally have to keep your mouth shut, or at least try to.  Funny story, though: it just so happens that those are the two things I’m worst at.   Both of them are standard expected etiquette of a pariah, because as the vilified one, you are never to take the lead in communications with your Injured Party, insert your opinion into any conversation, or otherwise draw undue attention to yourself (like say, by blogging).   You have to be a reactor, not an actor, and always Know Your Place. good-dog

What’s unclear is how long this state of docile humility is supposed to last.  I know of other former pariahs who have paid their penance, then moved on to the much-coveted state of Resolution in a matter of months, weeks even.  But most likely, in those cases, their Injured Parties aren’t as emotionally constipated or prone to a glacial pace of decision-making as mine.  Also my particular Fuck-Up(s) – the ones that earned me pariah status – are fairly stellar, and I imagine the severity of the Fuck-Up has a direct correlation to the ultimate duration of one’s pariahdom.  Surely there must be a handbook for this somewhere; I’ll check the interwebs.

In other news, the upside to Waiting Things Out is nights out with girlfriends for cocktails, live music-enjoying, and general carousing.  Which is, of course, not something to be flaunted before the Injured Party (like say, by blogging), but it does help mitigate the Wait.  Not so great for the Keeping One’s Mouth Shut part however, though in my case, so far so good; I adhere firmly to the edict Don’t Drink & Text, You Fucktard.  Words to live by.

Stay tuned for more informative missives from Pariah Central, where I’ll continue to report out from the front lines. Er, well, to the degree that I can anyway, given the imposed restrictions of #2, above.  Actually #1 is also giving me a little trouble here too, since there’s only so much to report until I see some signs of life from my Injured Party. But there’s ways to jump-start that …. like say, by blogging.

The Pariah Chronicles, or, Why I Haven’t Posted Anything Here in Exactly One Year

25 May
Image

Hollywood’s interpretation of Disgruntler as Pariah

Vol. I – November 2013

So I recently ended a long-term relationship, a transition that started off sort of OK, then I royally fucked it up with a Death Spiral of Lies, and then basically got booted out of my house. That’s the abridged Reader’s Digest version. Actually I think that summation may be short enough to be a tweet, plus no-one probably even knows what I’m talking about when I mention Reader’s Digest …. So yeah, I guess that’d be my Twitter feed on what went down … except that I thankfully have no personal bandwidth available to participate in Twitter. And if I did, I really hope I’m not self-absorbed enough to go ahead and tweet something like that for the entire blatho-sphere to suck down.

However I am the person guilty of the Death Spiral of Lies, so who knows what I’m capable of these days.

Let’s back up.

I fucked up big time, I’m a fuck up, I’m living the fuck-hole life of a fucking pariah right now (I think I need to invent a new word that combines “fuck” and “pariah” in order to really capture it), which is, as I’m sure one can guess, perfectly fucking lovely. Among many other things, being a pariah automatically precludes one from publicly airing snarky commentary or making humorous observations about her predicament (if there actually are any to be made), which is sort of my general M.O., so it’s been especially tough. Writing like I am now is the best way for me to process and make sense of things, but I haven’t dared to since this whole thing started. I guess I feel like I don’t have the right.

Vol. II – May 2014

Jarring jump-cut to the present day. Have my rights yet been restored? Perhaps partially. But I can’t speak to whether or not time heals all proverbial wounds, since I am the wounder, not the woundee. Things here in Pariahdom have gotten a bit smoother, a little less pariah-y, and some of the people peeved at me have grown slightly less peeved, I suppose. Unfortunately, the only existing route to the Wounded Party still remains the Eggshell Highway, and most likely this will continue to be the case for some time. It’s a road I must traverse regularly I’m afraid, given that we have a kid and a house and related logistics to negotiate and whatnot. Ah, modern life.

What’s proven trickier, however, is the slow unfurling of my suddenly very tightly-guarded self. Virtually overnight, some 7 months ago, I went from Open Book status in almost all affairs, to holy shit, Circle the Wagons. And when you are a Wagon of One, your circle is very very rigid. Since barricading myself here, I’ve barely dared to breathe, lest I make any pariahdom-aggravating missteps. I painstakingly question and evaluate every move I want to make before I make it, putting me into a perpetual state of second-guessing myself that has been an especially difficult adjustment, given that my natural emotional state is Casual Friday. I don’t really have the wardrobe for anything else …. so I guess that’s why I haven’t ventured out much. Emotionally, that is. Jesus I’m getting lost here inside this ridiculous metaphor … where was that emergency exit I saw a few hallways back?

oh, here it is

As for the unfurling, I suppose it will come with time. I have so much I want to overshare and blather on about, good things as well as bad, but I can’t just yet. Actually, almost all of it is good, but of course “good things happening for oneself” is an especially taboo topic of discussion for a pariah, so I’m keeping a lid on it for now. In the meantime kids, my recommendation is – don’t try this at home!

 

Dante’s Infirmity

23 May

For me the greatest irony of living in a large, multi-kulti city is that, while familiarity with a diverse cross-section of humanity has expanded my consciousness, cultural horizons, and overall tolerance, it has also made me fantastically more judgmental.  But as a wise man once said – I’m not prejudiced; I dislike everyone equally.

annoying and ridiculous

annoying and ridiculous

Naked gay guys? Annoying and ridiculous. Old Chinese people?  Rude, pushy and cheap.  XXXL, Suburban-driving 49ers fans?  Neanderthals.  Panhandling Haight Street crusties?  A scourge on humanity.  White collar, high-maintenance Uber-Moms?  Self-righteous be-yotches with fucked-up priorities.  Skinny-jeaned, fixie-ridin’ hipsters?  Poseurs.

See what I mean?  All are disliked equally.

So obviously, no one cares what I think; that’s not my point.  My point is that I am so uncomfortable with the paradox.  I am tortured by my co-existing but irreconcilable traits, Love-of-Diversity and Disdain-For-Virtually-Everyone.

Eons ago I ran a homeless feeding program in Hollywood.  While I took on the job primarily for the employment, not for the sake of being some Amazing Fucking Altruist, I felt good about helping my community.  Homelessness in Los Angeles, is after all, you know, a problem, and I might as well be a part of the solution, right?  Fast forward six months, however, and my capacity for empathy had shrunk like wool socks in a dryer; I began to see the clients as perpetually whining infants incapable of doing anything for themselves.  Without a background in social work or psychology or drug counseling or mental health treatment (HOW did I get this job?), I had no tools to understand or grapple with their vast gaps in logic or lack of basic life skills.  I just wanted to slap and shake some of them and shout “has it ever occurred to you that maybe there’s a REASON why you are homeless??!!”

It's agreed - she's in

It’s agreed – she’s in

That is just SO wrong.  Is there anything lower than hating homeless people?  As I couldn’t reconcile my newfound Ninth-Circle-of-Hell evilness with my generally liberal social beliefs, I quit that job before Satan or Jesse Helms or whoever’s in charge down there recruited me to be his right-hand gal.  I do really and truly, deep down, want to embrace the beauty of imperfect humanity, love my fellow man, and live and let live.  Really and truly.

Which I guess is pretty much what I DO do.  Secretly.  And with judgments, lots and lots of judgments.  Mostly as a survival mechanism when the great crush of multitudes gets to be too much, or – fuck it, let’s face it, it’s fun to make snarky comments to yourself about people you don’t know.  Whenever I get a little too nasty though, and wonder if maybe it’s time to blow this leftier-than-thou, ridiculously expensive popsicle stand, I realize the alternatives would only magnify my misanthropy.  A few hours in my native Orange County and BOY do I remember how I love the City folks!

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Dead People

26 Apr

Disgruntler Alert: the following post contains little-to-no snarkiness, offensive opinions or crude observations. We will return to standard programming when we damn well feel like it.

After a fruitless morning search underscored by a complete lack of planning, I now found myself waist-high in blackberry bushes, breathlessly close to a discovery.  The brambles clutched desperately at my clothes, as if to intentionally delay me in my quest;  Nature Always Finds A Way, I thought to myself.  This tangle of thorns had made short work of overtaking the graveyard, and now turned its attention toward the unexpected human invaders, reminding us that they – the bushes, the earth – would ultimately have the last word.  At least I was wearing my motorcycle boots.

As much as I’d like to say the stone marker beckoned to me in some way, that it was psychically calling out “Over here!” with cinematic flair, in reality, it was simply the last accessible gravestone left in the plot, and I was going to be bummed if it didn’t pan out.  I tried to fabricate some sort of meaning from the ominous, foot-swallowing critter hole directly beside the marker, as if this hole was a clear sign that This Stone Must Be It.   But the agnostic in me knew:  that’s no omen, it’s just a fucking critter hole.

A short couple of steps up the hill, then a brief struggle with a particularly determined clump of bushes, and I awkwardly managed to work myself around to the other side of the stone. Clearing off some clinging Virginia Creeper, I was startled to see my imagined cinematic scenario fulfilled. “TALBERT,” it read.  Really?  Yes.  “TALBERT.”

No specific individuals’ names or dates were listed, but it was the surname I was searching for, and felt satisfied to have found this much.  It was already more than I figured we’d be able to accomplish, given that, as I said, there’d been a complete lack of planning in this venture.  I guess I had just thought I’d roll into Abingdon, VA – my father’s family’s home for over a century – and see what I could find.  Check out what’s in the historical society, stop into a few stores and ask around, what have you.  Except that I didn’t think about this being a Sunday.  In a small town, in the South. To my fellow confused Californians out there:  this means that basically everything’s closed.  Strangely, no-one seems to be home either.

Earlier that day, armed only with Google Maps’ insistence that there was a small plot of land here called “Hayter Cemetery” – where I knew that the Talberts, my paternal grandmother’s family, were buried –  I had quickly discovered what any native Virginian could have easily told me; that there are hundreds of family cemeteries all over this history-riddled countryside, but many have been moved, destroyed, or otherwise made virtually inaccessible, laying within the confines of other people’s private property.

Which explained why the “unnamed street” where the cemetery had appeared on the map turned out to be someone’s driveway.  And why now – pinned between blackberry bushes and the gaping hole of some animal’s den, amongst the remains of my long-dead ancestors – technically, I was trespassing.

Image

Next up: creepy things happen!  And then we go to the theatre.

Because I Do

12 Jan

As much as I enjoy my own misanthropic tendencies, the growing realization that this questionable attribute has clearly been passed on to my offspring, leaves me with some misgivings.  Certainly I have not done him any favors.  The world smiles upon those who are apt to smile back; but for the rest of us curmudgeons?  Not so much.

While I am more of a private hater (prior to going public in The Disgruntler), and have spent my life compensating for my secret via outgoing antics and a passable degree of friendliness, my son seems less interested in such nonsense. His disdain is Out. True, at sixteen, he is probably at the nadir of his charm, with nowhere to go from here but up, personality-wise.  But it is impossible to ignore just how spot-on his highly judgmental yet hilarious descriptions of people can be: “basically a Burning Man sleazeball,” “your typical film school douchebag,” “generally dislikable sports-type meathead,” “hipster with stupid nerd glasses and an ugly sweater,” “self-righteous Noe Valley mom who only gives her kids herbs for medicine or some shit.”  That’s more than mere 16 year-old ennui talking; I think he’s in solid curmudgeon territory here.

So, as I said – misgivings.  It can be a fine line of difference between the neighborhood Cat Lady and, say, Aileen Wournos. On one side, there’s your healthy punk rock aversion to mob mentality/fashionable trends/shopping malls/mass-produced culture/suspiciously enthusiastic people/overattended events/etc. – that’s the sort of misanthrope I am – and then there’s the sociopath.  I really really REALLY hope I haven’t unwittingly created one of those.

Or are the real Bad Seeds something that just come out of the blue, an evolutionary luck of the draw sort of thing? You reach into the genetic grab bag and pull out – oh shit, it’s Richard Speck.  I’m just riffing here; in no way at all do I question my son’s sanity or grasp on reality.  He’s clearly paying attention to the details, that’s what makes his wit so razor sharp.  Though I’m sure just being a 16 year-old boy alone qualifies one as borderline sociopath; and since he won’t be sixteen forever, in theory, he’ll grow out of it.

And if not, well maybe it’s preferable to a generally dislikable sports-type meathead.

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