Friday, March 16, 2007

part one in a series

Lets take a trip down memory lane, shall we?
(note: this a.m. i spellchecked and changed the family names. oops!)

Waaay back in the late 'Seventies, after I left The Dishrag, I found myself temporarily homeless. I moved back to Milwaukie where I stayed for awhile at a former boyfriends house until that arrangement upset his mother.
Now mommy dearest lived in a separate house, and sonny boy was 22; still, she ruled the roost. But rather than simply ask me to leave, she did a very strange and rather creepy thing... she started following me to the bus stop every morning and pointedly ignoring me. And by this I mean following me at a distance of about five steps, up a number of blocks to the top of the street and standing nearly shoulder to shoulder with me, waiting for the bus...with her back turned the whole time. Making sure she sat in a seat near me. Looking away whenever I glanced in her direction.
She had no idea how badly this backfired. That is, if her object was to keep me off sonny boy.

Fortunately (or not, read on and you decide) the people next door to where I was staying were in the process of remodelling a nearby house. They offered it to me as a place to stay, free of charge, so that they could continue to claim it as occupied and keep the fire insurance rates low.
I was happy to take them up on this. I moved into the abandoned house, set up a mattress on the floor and a little bedside table for my tequila, ashtray, lighter and asthma inhaler, and I was all set. I had my unemployment check (my boss fired me after he found out that I'd left my boyfriend and wasn't looking like giving him nexties) so I could buy sandwiches. It was June and the weather was fine. The place had a roof, some clean places on the floor where the previous resident's appliances had been, no electricity and no heat.
There was no toilet; but there was a hole in the floor where the toilet had been. Not a problem unless I had to get rid of some beer in the middle of the night. After splashing my feet a couple times I soon became an expert markswoman, and remain so to this day.
Everyone has hidden talents. Sometimes it takes a certain set of circumstances to bring them to the fore.

And life was actually pretty good for awhile. At least, I wasn't living with a junkie and being threatened with corkscrews anymore. So yeah.

But that couldn't last, of course. I was expected to help with the remodel,and that meant having contact with the family.
The family themselves were named Meadows. Remember that name, kids. (or not because I just changed it. woops.)

Mr. Meadows was a milkman. He delivered for Dairygold in North Portland, where he spent a good part of his shift committing acts of commercial miscegenation and eating pork feet. Every morning I would meet with him and his sons around their breakfast table, where he'd pour us a pitcher of screwdrivers and line out what the remodelling project was for the day, and brag about hookers competing with each other for his business, and berate his sons for being lazy and useless and not worth feeding, and question me, leering like a chimp, about my recent past as a 'shack-up job' as he termed it, and other warm family subjects like that.
Because he was Satan. Satan the Milkman.

Son the youngest was named, and I kid thee not, Kelvin.
Kelvin was exactly what you'd expect with a name like Kelvin... a 22 year old bachelor who lived at home and worked nights as a janitor in a grade school (eew). His bedroom was in the garage. The front portion of the garage, partitioned off with some plywood. (still had the garage door; when it would rain the water would wash a puddle full of earthworms underneath it) His room was exactly what you'd expect, too; tinfoil on the windows, black mold growing up the walls, full of unwashed wads of laundry, science fiction paperbacks, and old t-shirts stuck to the floor with jizz.

Kelvin had the worst case of night terrors I have ever seen, and I've seen quite a bit in my time. He could fall asleep almost instantly, anywhere he was, and in a matter of minutes he would be screaming and fighting ghosts. One morning, as we were sitting around the breakfast table discussing panelling and passing a bottle of Midori, Kelvin wandered off to sleep on the couch. Five minutes later he was bucking some couple of feet off the cushions in full arching convulsions, , eyes bugged out, screaming, punching himself and yelling "Motherfucker!' He ended on the floor and rolled halfway across the room. Never woke up.
I didn't know whether to shit or fly south. Everyone else ignored him. Ignored him COMPLETELY.

One night in particular I recall him tearfully begging me to go out with him. His endgame very nearly melted my resolve, too..when he said, with utter sincerity, in a hurt puppy tone "Well, you're doing it with everyone else on the block, I don't understand why you won't let me go too!" you say...lacked game.

So finally, one night he tried to 'kidnap' me, presumably to have his evil way with my tender flesh. He was supposed to be giving me a ride into Portland when he suddenly turned off the man road, smiled at me and started to head out into the county. I burnt him on the wrist with my cigarette and told him to quit screwing around and take me into town.
And he did. Happy as a clam.

Ever read 'Myra Breckenridge?'

Years later I realized that I gave him a moment right then that he's probably spent the rest of his life trying to recreate.

To be perfectly honest, I was not screwing everyone else in the neighborhood. Just his older brother and two other guys.

Now his older brother was an interesting kind of guy. Interesting, friendly, kind, sociable, extremely intelligent and a stone fucking lunatic.
He quit a job working at a meat cutting plant 'because there was too much blue light'. He quit a job in a refrigeration manufacturing plant because there was 'too much emr and it was giving him epilepsy.' He quit his job with the Navy by dumping a bucket full of sand into the ships' engine and then reporting himself to the officer on watch, still holding the bucket, because 'he knew it was time.' He claimed to have been handed the reins of the universe by God while walking over a bridge in Singapore. Explains a lot, doesn't it? The universe is presently run by a man in Oregon whom I had to teach to wear suspenders so his pants didn't fall down around his ankles every time he got up from a chair. Because he wouldn't wear a belt; it cut off his chi.
I wish I was lying.
And yes, I was bonking him. Enjoyed every minute, too. Guy was nuttier than a tree full of squirrels, but he had a great 'can-do' attitude.
He firmly believed that he had to protect me from the evil forces wielded by his mother, who was trying to 'posses' me and 'vampirize my aura'. He caught her fingering a pair of earrings I had left on the table one morning, and when I went looking for them he presented them to me in a cup of salt water. In order to 'purge the bad vibes' from them before I put them back on, as he explained. Hell, I thanked him. I'd met momma.

Her name was Sunflower. I cannot adequately describe this woman and I've had years to think about it, too. I'm gonna try.
Imagine Betty White, playing the character Sue-Ann Nivens on the Mary Tyler Moore show. Cheerful to the point of mania, syrup-sweet, smarmy, utterly insincere. Now blow her up like a big, red, manic balloon and feed her a bunch of LSD and caffeine. Dress her in a flowered dirndl, rolled hose, and a pair of harlequin glasses and give her lines like "You kids don't know what I have to go through! Your father makes me take my teeth out for him!" and have her interject them into casual conversation.

The woman would say and do whatever came into her head, like a two year old. she had no boundaries and no sense of what was or wasn't appropriate.
One evening I walked into the kitchen and caught her eating out of a pot of ramen soup I had made for myself. Dip, slurp, spoon back in the pot, slurp, drip, back in the soup. No 'may I' no nothing. I put it in a bowl for her, and made myself another pot.
And dumped a third of a bottle of Tabasco sauce into it.
And went to the bathroom.
About a minute later I heard a screech from the kitchen and the pot hit the sink.
'You shouldn't do that! she scolded, ramen everywhere. 'That much Tabasco isn't good for you!'
Yeah, you either, huh? After that everything I made in that kitchen had Tabasco in it. And it's a good thing because I'd catch her huffing whatever I had on the stove just to check and wrinkling her nose. I learned to keep the bottle of Tabasco out on the table where she could see it and told her I was part Mexican.

Then she decided she didn't like my hat-a nice grey cashmere flatcap I kept my hair up under. One morning I came into the living room to see the last of the bill crumbling away in the fireplace. 'Oh, I threw it in the fire. I didn't like it on you,' she cheerfully said. A 20 dollar hat. In 1970's dollars, too.
Well, alrighty, then.
I decided I didn't like her mail.
For the rest of the time I associated with them, she never received another piece of mail. As long as it had her name on it, into the fire it went, flick, flick, flick. Birthday cards, bank statements, magazines, paychecks-oh yes. You bet. Up the chimney like Good Saint Nick.

She had a repulsive and bizarre habit of grabbing you by the arm suddenly and talking to you, for no apparent reason. Her grip would get tighter, she would pull you in closer, and whatever she was talking about would gradually turn into some kind of strange, confidential rambling story about God knows what, as anything like logic or subject was completely overtaken by whining, or weird, sexualized free-association. It sounded like it was about something. The intonation was there in the right places. But you'd wrest yourself away and think about what you'd just heard and it was just...freaky weird.

But now and then I would catch her looking at me with the oddest-for her- expression of calculation on her face; her usual look being one of utter simpering vacancy, like a drunk person at closing time. That's what convinced me that there was probably a really good reason why her son thought she had demons that did her bidding. Not that she did, but that she was way less sick than she acted, and she played it because she plain got a kick out of being disgusting and weird.

One night I came in to take a shower. Took the shower. Turned off the shower.
Gracious, what was that odd sound?
The Mr. and Mrs. were doing the hibbity-bibbity.
And not just the hibbity bibbity.
The pounding the walls, bouncing the bed frame off the floor, slapping, squitting, grunting hibbity bibbity.
Now the fact that those two ALL was wrong. Wrong, and sick. That the two of them kept up a steady commentary throughout in what honestly sounded like character voices...Like Edward G. Robinson fucking the daylights out of Billie Burke to be specific, I swear to God. THAT was Blue Velvet times Videodrome.
Little Caesar banging away on Glinda the Witch. Squit, smack, thump, yip, Oh daddy.
This went on forEVER.
And I was trapped.
The bathroom opened right across from their bedroom, and their door was hanging WIDE OPEN.
I turned on the shower again. I flushed the toilet about six or seven times. I ran the water in the sink. I put my fingers in my ears and put a bathmat over my head.
Finally I just decided fuck it; I pried the screen out and climbed out the bathroom window with my hair still in a towel.

Middle of the night. Teenage girl with a towel on her head wandering around town barefoot. Walked back to the abandoned house, sat on the stoop and drank tequila. And smoked. I coundn't quite bring myself to laugh, but I couldn't quite keep from laughing. I'd get chuckling, and then gross out and stop. And then do it all over again.
Middle of the night, sitting there with a pink flowered towel on my head, slashing booze straight out of the bottle, chain smoking and giggling to myself.

I didn't realize it at the time, but I was beginning to fit in.

Oh yes, there's more.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Book Meme!

book wishlist meme, janked from Billy

1. The White Goddess
It made my brain hurt. What a book! There were simply too many new ideas and theories to digest before I had to return it! (are they good ideas and theories? that I don't know; I could never finish it.) I need to own it - in paperback, used- so I can stick it full of postits and spill shit on it.

2. The DreamQuest of Unknown Kadath, Arkham hardcover edition
I have it in paperback and I've just read it to death. I forget how many copies that makes now.
Arkham House puts out a beautiful edition, and how perfect and appropriate that I own my favorite Lovecraft under the marque that was started in his honor! I already own three early Arkham editions of Lovecraft, and every move I've ever made they travelled on my lap wrapped in a cloth.

3. The Notebooks of Leonardo DaVinci
I've read the quatrecentennial set five times. Because they're library books, so have lots people who smoke, eat jelly sandwiches, own cats and have small children with crayons. I no longer feel like sharing.

4. Albrecht Durer, His Complete Works
Because I heart Albrecht Durer.

5. The Bauhaus and Early Modernism
Has a good beat; you can dance to it.

6. Ancient Textiles, Methods of Construction, Design and Embellishment
I just need it, ok? I do.

7. Annotated Margery Kempe
I have the commentary 'Life of a Medieval Woman' but that's not the same as owning the origional, is it? Margery Kempe was a nutjob. Her writing is referenced all over the place by people I suspect didn't realize that they were taking the words of a woman with a severe mental illness as gospel. I need this.

8. " " Hildegaard of Bingen
Nutjob lite, with purdy pichers.

9. The Story of Alchemy and Early Chemistry
Fantastic book. Superior book. The last time I checked it out, the thing fell apart in my hands; the binding just crumbled. I killed it. I need one of my own to mistreat.

Tag yourself; I'm out of pinecones. Stupid ducks.

chasing babies

As the Stainless Steel Amazon's fiance, the Poor Bastard, has taken on more responsibilities (YAY FOR HIM!) I see the Goonybird less. I had him 24/7 in his infancy, and during the days after that, then two days a week, and now one evening each week. The less I see him, the faster he grows up.

A little boy is entirely new territory for me. I had no brothers, I raised no sons. The only little boys I knew about were two young cousins, who were not entirely human so I don't think that counts. Unfortunately, they made a very deep impression on me. Consequently I always search my grandson for developing feral traits, which is both unfair and stupid. But I still do it.

Following the instructions to the letter, my cousin's parents had money, owned a house, car and boat, and mom stayed home to raise her kids (that last probably a large part of why they ended up being psychotic, rabid weasels.)

The Goonybird's mommy rents, works outside the home and attends college...and sometimes other people watch her child. The Goonybird is not a rabid weasel. In fact he does not resemble any member of the mustelid family. He is a sunny, happy little guy. He still eats stuff off the carpet, but now he avoids things that obviously aren't food, like tacks and paper.

The difference is, the Goonybird has an excellent mommy who loves him. The weasels had a couple of raving drunks who didn't even like themselves.

Now that the Goonybird is three years old the baby traits are fading away. I admit; I miss that. He was such a cute little chuckle duck, and way more portable too. He is becoming an independent little person of his own now, and he's heavier and kicks harder. But like his mother before him, he is becoming a very strange little person. Just in a different way.

His mommy liked to play with lettuce. I could crack off a leaf of iceberg lettuce, hand it to her and she'd derive hours of entertainment from it. Wear it on her head, lie on the floor with it on her face, sticking it to the TV screen, slap herself on the tummy with it, stick it down the back of her diaper; she was a happy camper. The Goonybird is not interested in lettuce. The Goonybird would rather cook firetrucks in his Teflon frying pan with pepper and water.

His mommy was mildly intrigued by the contents of her potty but was content to slosh them around and sing them songs.
The Goonybird went through an intense 'brown period' , during which he explored feces as an expressive medium. He developed a preference for vinyl flooring as a support, having experimented variously with the carpet, the television screen, and the inside of the tub.

His mommy was perfectly content to wander around crusted with drool, partially masticated carrot, fuzz, hair, lint, stray candy bar wrappers and bits of string. She had distinct adhesive qualities, in fact. Instead of vacuuming you could just roll her across the rug.

The Goonybird has an absolute COW if he makes an accidental mess. His entire world falls apart; he starts screaming for a towel. Not that he won't paint his head green in art class; he is his mothers son in that respect. But that's intentional. That's different.

His mommy was born with an Imelda Marcos gene. She and her father got along like cats and dogs a lot of the time, but send the two of them shoe shopping and they were of one heart and one purpose.
The Goonybird loves his barn boots. Them, and only them. He will take a fit if he cannot wear his barn boots. There is no other footwear in his world than the barn boots.
The last time I gave him a bath he went right to the barn boots, grabbed the towel for a cape and marched around the house naked announcing "Flying man! Flying man!'
Apparently you cannot fight crime without barn boots.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

bitch bitch bitch.

I'm here...just kinda burnt out. Been chasing around after old men and babies.

Sometimes being the Playboy of the Western Worlds' gal Friday is a pain in the ass.Mainly because I have to drive all over hells half acre when I run errands for him in addition to the sixty mile round trip, and the man always has an 'Oh, by the way'. Then there's the doctors' appointments that are never, never running on time, and the getting in and out of the car whang dang doodle... open his door, get him in, fold up the walker, carry it around to the trunk, open the trunk, rassle the walker into the trunk, close the trunk, close his door, run around and open the drivers side door. Lordy, it gets old. And when I have to dodge traffic, weather and winos it's even more fun.

Most of the time I'm happy to do this because I like to get out of the house too, and the man's simply good company. We have a blast together. But sometimes, dammit, I simply do not feel like leaving the house or socializing. When I'm in this mood, dealing with a man who says 'Huh?' or 'Excuse me?' every SINGLE time you say something because he doesn't feel like getting a hearing aid makes me want to put him in the trunk and drive down ten miles of rough road. Him and his goddamn walker. And his 'oh by the way.'

I know I am blessed in so many ways by knowing him. He's someone that I would have been buddies with anyway, and that he's my husband's father is icing on the cake.

I think the reason I'm mad is because all his doctors just wrote him off. After all those tests and all that horseshit, every single apointment I've taken him to lately is another doctor telling him 'There's nothing else we can do. Go home and die.'

His neurologist showed him the results of his catscan, showing progressive narrowing of the nerve channels to the brain. Told him 'You're too old to operate on. Bye now!'

His heart specialist handed him a printout of his cardiogram, which shows every artery blocked to a greater or lesser degree, and some of them in several locations. All near the heart. The guy told him 'You could have a stroke at any time. You might have ten years, you might go five minutes from now. Well, bye now!'

He's at peace with it. I'm not. It's not the death part. I know from what I went through when my grandmother died that he's getting off easy. Really easy. It's that I feel like I just got to know him and he's not going to get better.