Seen / Déjà vu

If you're at all interested, and I don't see why you should be, this page reads from the bottom up. The most recent entry is at the top.

Also, I've added a new subsection. You can learn more about it at the bottom of the page. Look for the lavender entry.

July 2001

I was listening to Garrison Keillor saying that it's not really a story unless someone has suffered...

So, if I were to tell you that Ume and I went away for the weekend, relaxed, enjoyed some fantastic weather, and sat on a gorgeous beach, that'd make a crappy story. However, if I were to tell you that Ume and I went away this weekend, sat in the world's most ridiculous traffic jam, wrote a stinkin' awful Ode to the Sagamore Bridge (and the rotary that creates this stupid traffic...), got sunburned, camped on the coldest summer night on record, got the last available camping spot on cape cod only to find our neighbor was an abusive asshole to his wife and kid... it'd make a better story.

Why is that?

Maybe, because if I tried to get away with the former version, no one would believe it was me. To tell the truth, it was both. Once we figured out our neighbor was one of those unbelievably asinine, pathetic, insecure shitheads who thinks he's a bigger man for bullying small children and women who don't know enough to shoot his sorry ass, we moved to a newly vacated campsight and had a good time. Despite the sunburn...

Half of you are out there scratching your heads asking, "What's a 'rotary'?" That'd be because you've never driven in Massachusetts where, for some ungodly reason, they're still legal. They are circular intersections (makin' more sense by the minute...). A place where several roadways intersect, and instead of lights or over and underpasses, they make a large circle for people to drive around and get off at the roadway of their choice. A logical solution to a difficult and expensive to solve problem.

Logical except for a couple of things... A: This is America, where it is our inalienable right to drive two ton vehicles and not signal anyone behind us what the hell we intend to do with said vehicle. B: This is New England, where good signage is also illegal - apparently. Put these two things together and a rotary is a deadly place to find yourself of a weekend afternoon.

Still, the Cape's worth it. Such a magical place. All of that ocean air, and tortured seaside landscape. Ahhhhh...

Note: Most oft quoted phrase this weekend, "Now that's an interesting beetle."

Click here for a momento.

There's a soccer game on tonight.

I don't watch soccer so much as I listen to my neighbors react to it. Someone just scored a goal. Want to know how I know this? Once again, I wish you all had Flash, I'd record the mind numbing shouts and whistles that flit merrily (but unwelcome) through the walls and open windows here.

Any key play is followed by these outbursts. Just now I heard, "Did you SEE that! He catch the ball! He catch the ball!" Why these guys exclaim in English (they're all Slovaks), I don't know. Occasionally, I'll hear something else, but for the most part I can follow the game without translation. It wouldn't matter what language they spoke when someone scored a goal, that's easily discerned by the rise in the decibel level.

Sigh. They're not so bad really, my soccer neighbors. Just excitable.

PS. Why does a certain stripe of man play with the waistband of his pants? I need to know this.

Getting link lost again... Found these two sites.

The first link to the Dyxsploitation site goes to an internal page, the Feminists who Suck Dick link tackles that difficult issue head on... (The sad part of that last statement is that it wasn't intentional... I could never be a radical. I'll always be a geek.)

The Dyxploitation home page seemed kinda... unsubtle and slap happy. So I skipped it, but y'all might get a kick out of it while you're over there.

This next link came off the Dyxsploitation site. I thought some of these portraits were decent even if the layout was unfortunate.

    With the single exception of Homer, there is no eminent writer, not even Sir Walter Scott, whom I can despise so entirely as I despise Shakespear when I measure my mind against his... It would positively be a relief to me to dig him up and throw stones at him.

George Bernard Shaw
Dramatic Opinions and Essays

There I was, flipping through the good old Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, and I ran into this little ditty. Shaw was such a pisser.

Here, let me impress you some more with my typing skills:

Do not do unto others as you would they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same. - Maxims for Revolutionists

Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it. - 'Liberty'

Democracy substitutes election by the incompetant many for appointment by the corrupt few. - 'Democracy'

I am a woman of the world, Hector; and I can assure you that if you will only take the trouble always to do the perfectly correct thing, and to say the perfectly correct thing, you can do just what you like. - Heartbreak House

I'm exhausted and I probably shouldn't be typing. I should probably be in bed. But I just ate a large portion of watermelon, so y'all are going to have to put up with me until it's sufficiently digested. Gross, huh? My mother used to say that I could be crude when I really put my mind to it.

She used to say a lot of stuff that was entirely contradictory. Mostly that's due to the fact that she was just this side of sane one, maybe two days a month. But I don't hold it against her. We explained the sane days away as aberrations that could have happened to any decent person given the stressful condition that was her life.

I remember when I first figured out that my mother didn't have a compass embedded in her head telling her true north and right from wrong. She had something screwy up there akin to my crappy gaydar that tells me stuff like, "Ooh, see that really gorgeous woman standing over there with the Ken doll husband, three picture perfect kids, the dog and the baby carriage? She is so hot for you she's melting in her not so comfortable shoes." And maybe it's not just my gaydar that's misaligned, because I didn't figure out that my mother couldn't make up her mind until I was a sophomore in college. That's when I started to grow my hair out.

The events are related...

I cut my hair off in High School. Not all of it, but enough of it to raise eyebrows and inspire my mother to comment, "Just who do you think you're going to attract with a haircut like that?" It was a rhetorical question. With my short coif I looked kinda like a choir boy. I attracted a lot of men. They weren't the ones she was hoping I'd attract.

Anyhoo, she also had me stand in front of my father, who was sitting and reading the paper, and said, "Look what she's done to her hair!" He, being classic father material, lowered one corner of the paper, glanced up without moving his head and grunted. Just then, one of my elder sisters walked in and said, "Holy shit, the dykes are going to come after you!" This is the same sister, who when she found out that I had tumbled gracelessly out of the closet (that another sister had forgotten to close after rifling through it...) said, "Shit Brulee, you goin' homo on me?" She then offered me the name of a therapist to speak to. I didn't mind that so much because she actually meant it in a supportive way, realizing that no one in my family was capable of addressing any issue, much less one that dared not speak it's own name. A taboo with self-imposed communication restrictions... Anyway, I thought her offer was nice in contrast to the other sister, who'd so helpfully outed me earlier in the day and had spat (in high villainess tones) "You're sick! I'm getting you the name of a psychiatrist so that you can get some help!"

For the record, despite the short hair, the dykes did not come after me. The fact that I was a raving maniac kinda kept people at a distance - if only they'd known what a lovable raving maniac I was! After several years of no action, I grew my hair out (and bingo, I got laid, but that's another story). I'd been growing my hair out for several months and I went home on break from school and my mother takes one look at me and says, "I thought it looked cute short. Why are you growing it out?" In protest, I grew it down to my ass and haven't cut it since.

I think that watermelon's digested. 'Night all.

Rigorous discontent.

Someone clued me into this link and while the piece is unfinished I found the look and feel appealing. And promise of adventures! You know how I enjoy those. Some excellent work, check it out.

Be warned, it's a Flash site that requires some processing power. Yeah, yeah, another one. It's worth getting the plug-in. All the necessary links are given.

Here's the puzzler I'd like to send into 'Car Talk' (geeky radio show about cars on NPR - I NEVER listen to it, not on Saturday, not on Sunday, never...).

There are two boats in a race. Two of those long, fast type river rowing boats, called skulls. There are eight rowers and a coxswain in each boat (coxswain is the person who sits low on one end, steers and 'encourages' the rowers to work together by calling out a rowing rhythm, etc.).

The coxswain for one of the boats is a sadist - all of the rowers are masochists. The coxswain for the other boat is a masochist - all of the rowers are sadists.

Which boat will win?

Digestibly normal.

I didn't feel like doing the relationship tension thing today. You're thinking, "Ooh, ooh, trouble in paradise. Finally, some dirt." Well, it ain't paradise over here as far as I can tell and if you want dirt you can look under my dresser because I haven't vacuumed under there in ages (you know, like, iron age, bronze age - those kind of ages).

Relationships are curious things. Mine's a mystery. I've never quite figured out how it is that I can screw up basic addition and still have a relationship that works. Best I can figure is that Ume finds me so pathetic, she takes pity on me and gives me a lot of slack - with which I've become adept at hanging myself.

We have a lot of respect for each other and when that fails us there's the thing about us being incredibly shallow and lustful and stuff so we stay together because we're horny and we fear dating. I think this is an acceptable strategy for a long term partnership.

We have some single friends. They are some of the bravest women I know. They date. I find this remarkable given some of the experiences they've had. Everything from mild stalking to outright abuse and I'm not sure why none of that worked on the women they met because it sure seems to turn women on in the movies. They've even tried dating each other... to no great effect. It does, however, make seating arrangements for dinners kinda complicated.

All of their misadventures make Ume and I wary of the whole singles thing. And because we're increadibly lazy, we figure we ought to hedge our bets and stay together. Imagine, we could like, split up and end up with some weirdo who spends all of her time surfing the internet, writing fanfiction and posting her life's insignificances to no one in particular on a regular basis... Freaks the lot of 'em.

You know how some people save everything?

"I just know I'll have a use for this broken motherboard. I'll make a bookmark out of it."

"Are you going to throw that mug away? I could fix that crack."

I grew up with a father who was so obsessed with recycling (long before it came into vogue nation wide) that nothing went into the trash uninspected, unthought over or uncommented upon. He grew up during the depression and it shows. I am his daughter, and it shows.

I throw nothing away without first contemplating some alternate use for it, stressing about it's impact on the environment, and considering the overall picture of that item in particular while forgetting that I'm standing there next to the trash wasting a full five minutes or whatever of my life. Old screws from broken appliances -- I saved 'em. Extra brackets from shelves -- I've salvaged 'em. Broken odds and ends -- got some of them too. You never know, you might fix the wiring in that lamp one day. Perfectly good lamp. Why throw it out?

I just wanted you all to know that this excessively anal activity has paid off. At long last.

One of our fans broke. Bad day for a fan to break, it's hot. I rummaged around in ye old spare, recycled, salvaged hardware bin and presto. I found THE screw. Exactly the right one to fix that damned rattling guardpiece thingy. Yeehaw! All of my obsessive caching of flotsam and jetsam, it's not entirely in vain! I know this flies in the face of convention and I should have just thrown the fan out and bought another one as the consumer culture demands... But hell, I'm tickled pink that I fixed it instead. And there's one less piece (albeit a small one) of "shoulda chucked it out" lying around.

Now that you're thinkin', "Man, I hope something keeps that impulse in check. That kind of thing can get ugly and we want that nut to be able to find her keyboard midst all of that 'shoulda chucked it out' so that she can keep updating us on her peculiar brand of living." I'm, once again, touched by your concern, so I'll tell you about my old neighbor Bart. That's not his real name, but he'd be okay with that.

Bart was a nice guy. He lived across from my family in a house that he part owned with his brother and sister. They lived elsewhere and stopped by occasionally to check in on him. There were reasons they did. They probably should have done it more often...

Bart lived a simple life. He'd retired and was a deacon at one of the local Episcopal churches. He must have done other things too, but mostly he walked around collecting newspapers. I started to notice that Bart was coming home with a lot of bags filled with these papers, but he wasn't leaving with any. My bedroom window looked down into Bart's enclosed front porch. Those bags started to pile up there. Once the porch was filled, I kind of noticed that the one window that he left cracked on the second floor of his house had a few papers peeking out of it too.

I went off to college and heard sometime later that the department of health came over and cleaned Bart's house for him. But it wasn't really his house that called people's attention to the problem. The real problem was his garage in the back. Because, while Bart had been collecting newspaper, he'd also been buying groceries. He'd been storing those in the garage.

This is the cautionary tale I relate to myself when I get a little too clingy around the trash. "You want to end up like Bart?" I ask myself.

"Well, no, of course not. But just think of the reference material that man had on hand..."

"Shut up and throw that damned busted comb out, you psycho. It's lost so many teeth you couldn't even put tissue paper on it and get a tune off it."

Speaking of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, I once worked in a library. I was young and energetic and found the Dewey Decimal system intriguing. This fascination was not shared by several of the Vietnam War Veterans who made the library where I worked their home away from home. Perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps they were so fascinated by it, so overwhelmed by the elegant solution it offered for organizing large amounts of volumes, that they developed a new relationship with it. Or maybe they didn't like me much and got a kick out of making my life harder. Not sure. But as I read through shelves (this is what sub-librarians are made to do to deter them from ever getting librarian like ambitions) I would come across tall stacks of books at the end of a row or sometimes on the floor at the end of the shelf. It was as though these guys had decided that they'd rebel against the system and authority in general by taking a crack at the Dewey Decimal System first. Or maybe, like I said, they just had developed a revolutionary approach to the system that I never had time to figure out because I was too busy trying to reorganize those damn books. And were they considerate? No. Every book in those piles came from opposite ends of the stacks.

Note of interest: If you're ever perusing the stacks of a library and start to come across books that have been placed on the shelf with the spine, not facing you, but the ceiling, you have come across a shelf reader-in-training's work. They have to shelve books, spine up until it's deemed (by someone who suffered through the interminable boredom of library school) that they have sufficient mastery of the Dewey Decimal System.

I admit that I was a pretty happy camper when they started letting me shelve the books like the big kids. I got all kinds of delusions of grandeur. I started eyeing the reference librarian's desk. She was way too tough, so I lowered my sights on circulation. Within a month I was checking books in and out of that place like it was nothing. I had to stop working that job, but I was sure I had that reference librarian shakin' in her comfortable shoes.

Doing something I haven't done in, what? Months? Years? Dunno.

Feeling conspicuous in culture spy mode here penning my thoughts in (gasp) a public space. I'm doing that obnoxious coffee shop writing thing. And I don't even drink coffee. I'm not alone here - I'm surrounded by folks. A mess of culture spies in this joint.

Someone next to me is reading A Critique of Post-Colonial Somethingorother and The History of Sexuality - eeegads! I could be sitting next to a deconstructionist! I hope that's not catching. Wouldn't matter if it was, really. I can't understand any of those guys, much less pronounce their names. Fou- who? Deri-what?

This place is so very atmospheric and get out! they're playing an Orff piece (rowdy opera). I'm stuck in a bad joke. At least I can relate to the people nearby trying to play chess. Oh, but no! The guy's teaching his girlfriend to play. Painful. "I wouldn't recommend that move." He says. "Stuff it mate." I says.

Anyhow, I'm probably so crabby because my life's so unwieldy this week. I knew this week was fucked the moment I woke up in it. Hey, I should start my next story with that line... Anyway, I'd had warning that the karmic load would be dumping on me this week, I'd just hoped that the dial had been set to Not So Heavy. No such luck - I'm beginning to think that this game's rigged.

I've had the pleasure to entertain new life and the misfortune to encounter the specter of death this week. Irony... I can live without it, but what are ya gonna do? I won't trouble you with too much in the way of detail - but I'll let you know that all systems are go and we're dealing. Most you can do really. And the perfect little unfreakin' believably beautiful baby shining up this picture is Ume's very new niece. So we're pretty psyched too if not also a wee bit biased in aunties puffin' out all over in pride mode.

Otherwise, I'd like to tell whichever Fate that decided to yank on my life strand to like, piss off. I'm not in the mood.

Oh, hey, big surprise, there's an argument over at the chess table. I'm like, in shock. He's beaten her 4 maybe 5 games. Now she's making digs at him. Telling him she doesn't want to go camping with him. "I don't want to listen to you grousing the whole time! You're an old man (he looks about 26)! 'Oh my knee. Oh my groin. Oh, my bug bites. Oh, my blisters.' I do not want to go with you!"

That makes sense, he beats her in a game, she obliterates him emotionally. Word to the wise buddy, next time, let her win one. Better yet, don't play at all. Chess is a difficult game to lose. Play with people who you're not interested in having an intimate relationship with. I sure as hell wouldn't let anyone touch me after they'd beat me at chess.

People who play chess well have interesting minds. Well, the people I've met who do have them. I knew someone who once played Bobby Fisher (he's the grand master enigma man of chess - just be impressed if you don't recognize his name). Anyway, she was totally wacky. And fascinating if you could overlook some of her more pronounced personality traits. But isn't that the way with people who are exceptionally good at things? They have these extra defined edges - like their advanced intelligence or talent somehow interferes with their being able to interact with other people in a normal or comfortable way. They're off a beat or something - the social skills area of their brain is crowded out by their overly large talent or whatever. It's interesting. I'm glad I don't have that problem. My social skills area is crowded out by all of the useless trivial chatter about chess minds and deconstructionist blather.

Compassion Fatigue Entry - E-mail from Jesus

Having a relatively quiet night at the homestead. No breaking of windows and a minimal screeching of tires. The natives ain't restless, so I'm suspicious. They must be planning...

It's been a week from hell. I don't want to think about it - denial, the spice of life. So I'm going to sit here and tell you about... the wussy worm guy I ran into at the library... nah, that'd be petty... the snotty dyke cafe I ate at yesterday... nah, that'd be divisive to the community... getting beat by Ume at Cribbage... nah, bad enough the first time... the meeting I had today... nah, y'all would fall asleep. Hmm, what to say... Oh, I know! I'll tell you about the phone call I got from my sister last weekend.

She called to wish me a "Happy Gay Day!" She even sang a little song. It was kinda schmaltzy but not bad. She was going off to march in the Pride parade in her city and was so overwhelmed with cheer that she called to sing to me.

I got this in the form of a message left on the machine. She said that she had to rush off or she'd miss her very favorite part of the parade, the dykes on bikes sendoff. She said, "I don't know what it is, but there's something amazing about watching powerful women on powerful machines. I get teary eyed." And indeed, she was even getting choked up as she was saying it. My sister, you may be surprised to know, is not gay or bi, just really, really corny.

We went camping once and on this trip we went kayaking. It was an uncharacteristic thing for us to do (it being a group activity), but we did it anyway.

Have I mentioned that I'm small? Well, group tour type kayaks where we went were geared toward a larger tourist class and I almost didn't fit. I'm not that puny for cryin' out loud, so I don't know what the big deal was, but it became a point of humor for the leader of our group, Kirk, or Chip, or Ken or something equally annoying like that. He was your average ski bum / kayak tour type of guy - easy going, considered himself funny and attractive - you know the type.

So we get out into this channel and we're poking along and Kirt's flirting with the ladies and my sister in particular. Have I mentioned that my sister attracts people like moldy cheese attracts a Frenchman? She does. So we're moving along and watching the wildlife float by and I'm hoping not onto or into the boat. My sister, who is also built like a mac truck, even though she doesn't look it, is asking me why I can't paddle faster. I tell her it's funny that I'm the dyke in the family when she's so clearly the amazon. And just to be a pain in the ass, I paddled slower - but kept my eyes peeled for seals and anything else that might have ideas about getting to know me up close and personal.

I have a long running complaint that my sister, who is extremely competative, but would never admit to such a human characteristic, is so competative with me that when she found out that I was a lesbian, set out to become the most queer straight woman you've ever met. She has more lesbian friends than I've ever had, belongs to drumming circles and has organised solstice events. It'd be unlikely that you'd spot me shakin' my booty at either of the latter activities (understatement).

She even invited me to her super extravaganza-in-the-woods solstice festival one year. I gracefully declined (yeah, yeah, so maybe I shouldn't have burst out laughing...). Perhaps in retaliation, she assured me that I'd have company because there'd be women there who were... um... less than strictly feminine... maybe closer to what might be taken for 'butch'. Again, perhaps I shouldn't have burst out laughing, but we find these moments amusing.

My sister and I had never talked about how I do or don't sub-identify myself. I can be a total curmudgeon and I guess lots of people associate that with a butch sensibility. I assured her that having company at her "gettin' it on with nature weekend" wasn't my problem. I said that perhaps in the future I might evolve out of my buttoned up sensibility and join her at one of these events. I'm not a total twit. But I'm not evolving all that rapidly either...

Anyhow, my sister admires people, especially women, who are clear about who they are and what they want in life. I think that may be why the dykes on bikes imagery strikes such a chord with her. Or maybe it's the fact that she once had a nasty spill on a dirtbike (hit a wall and scared the hell out of me) and she admires the dykes on bikes for staying vertical. Who knows?

Me, I'm glad she called. I enjoyed the tune.

Déjà vu - July - June - Misadventures- April

Compassion Fatigue Entries - 2001

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