Secret Pop

Nov 16, 2004

Nobody knows the wreck of the soul the way you do.

I'm all for quiet days and for nights in. Especially in this latest speck of life-time. It's been a murderous few days of work stress and time pressures and still making time to be fond and out there and hopefully stringing together the sentences in a less than ordinary way. But it feels as if it has been more than a few days. I've been in the aging chamber. For now, the pressures have eased. My bid has been submitted, and I'm in a state of benignly optimistic relief. Especially because my client did not yell at me for getting it in so late.

I worked last night until it was today. Some time well after midnight, I could be found driving to Koreatown to deliver a DVD of images to Josh. I had Audrey on my lap, and every 7-11 I passed looked like Mecca to me. When I came home, I took Audrey for our usual spin around the block, and there was a scary, loud fellow yelling obscenities, mad at the world, as he mopped off his windshield with a t-shirt and made ready to drive away. He was excitable enough that I got my keys out and had my cell phone at the ready. Maybe my mind was dulled by overuse, but I began having morbid fantasies of my assault and ensuing death. It never came to pass, but it was good in terms of waking me up and getting my blood going so I could go back home and work the rest of the night. Which I did.

Today, I worked all day. From the moment I tumbled out of bed. I had a catalog deadline to meet and a bid to submit, and that amounts to a lot of PDF-making. I make so many of them these days. And yet I can recall a time when there was no such thing. Just as I can recall a time when there had never yet been a psychotic postal worker showing up to blow away his supervisor at the depot, so the phrase "going postal" made no sense at all. And as if I wasn't already feeling a bit on the old side, I went to with the intention of shopping for an Xbox so I can play Halo 2 with Steve and Chris, and my page was headed by a promo for the Phillips Heart Start Home Defibrillator. I'm totally putting that on my wish list. Not the Xbox. I'll buy that myself, because you can't be counted on to get me what I want on my schedule. But the person who buys me my own defibrillator will go down in history as a total freak. And one with $1500 to spare apparently. Good for you, future freak. You must have managed your spending properly. My mom would really like you and tell me to watch you carefully so I might learn something.

They died in the drink.

The other night, the ants were out again. I left a glass of water on my bedside table, and they had found their way into it. And drowned there. I did not pity them. I went and got my can of Raid and made sure to take care of as many of them as I could see. When the climate changes or when the exterminator visits or in certain other non-scientific scenarios, they come into my bedroom, and I wake up feeling one or two crawling on my arm or on my face, and it gives me the willies. My grandmother died of a stroke when I was just a child, and when the tale was retold to me, I remember my mom saying that, before she died, her mother was complaining that she felt as if there were ants crawling on her forehead. That has stuck with me.

And maybe because of the proximity of my bed to the windows in my bedroom, I always seem to find out I have ants by finding them on me, and I hate that. I have been thinking of redecorating. For some time now. Maybe I will face my bed the other way. The Chinese believe it's bad luck to have the foot of your bed facing the door anyway. Apparently, Death can come in at night and snatch you away by your feet. Apparently, Death isn't one for snatching people away by the head, arms, or shoulders.

Ironically, as much as I knit my hands together and laugh with glee when I exterminate entire races of ants, please, HBO, please please PLEASE stop showing documentaries and investigative reports about dogs being treated cruelly or disposed of or abandoned. I simply cannot bear it. My little sister and I cried our eyes out when we watched Shelter Dogs. And now, there are promos for an episode of Real Sports about what happens to greyhounds after they are done with their racing careers. And I know better than to watch it, if I want to keep my mascara intact. Horrible horrible. My little Audrey, curled up on my lap right now, came from a rescue, and -- although she has her share of behavioral problems -- I can't bear to think of what would have happened to her if she hadn't found a home. With me or elsewhere. She's my sweet little angel. You couldn't help but love her. Even though she will try to bite your face off when she first meets you. And every time she sees you after that. No matter how many treats you give her. Her tiny little skull is so smooth and round, you just want to bite it in two.

How could you believe me when I said I love you when you know I've been a liar all my life?

Jane Powell sings so pretty. I'm watching her in Holiday in Mexico, and I'm remembering that great number she did with Fred Astaire in Royal Family. And thinking of Fred Astaire makes me think of The Barkleys of Broadway and that splendid dress Ginger Rogers wears -- the one I once said I would like my wedding dress to emulate. And watching That's Entertainment! on television with my dad and having him play docent to the golden age of cinema. Movies were such an offshoot of Vaudeville back then. Jose Iturbi got to be in all those movies just because he was a piano virtuoso. Good old Vaudeville. I miss movies with big musical numbers in the middle of them. I miss men in funny pants. I miss slapstick.

But I also wish I could live in deep space. On a space station. Where the light was always sort of blue and the buildings always sounded as if they were breathing. I'm always in the wrong time. Now. Then. Yet to come. I'm the girl on the train platform and you're the boy on the opposite side of the tracks. And we run down the stairs to meet each other and end up on opposite platforms again, laughing like fools. But -- unlike in Cousins and whatever other list of movies that happens in -- we never end up on the same side. You give up and get on the train going one way, and I get on the train going the other. And we both find newspapers that someone is finished reading, and we get lost in current events and department store extravaganzas. And before we know it, none of it ever happened. Do you ever get that feeling?

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