n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Friday, March 04, 2011

staying focused, trouble

I know it's technically March, but I'm still considering it February since February was sinfully short this year and by pretending it's still February, I am safe to say February sucks, and perhaps still have a passing chance that March will be far, far better.

So, I am not sick anymore, but (among other crankiness) I've been furious about how poorly everyone in Bville drives, the utter bitchy aggression of the vehicles at this time of year. Today I nearly got nudged off the freeway by someone who didn't understand how to merge. I was coming into town and got caught between two cars coming onto the freeway... the fast lane was busy, so I didn't pull over... the van in front of me didn't seem to want to speed up though, but the car that should have decelerated to fall in line behind me wouldn't alter her pace.

After we drove neck and neck for a few minutes, I gave a polite little honk to make sure she could see me (some people apparently don't have mirrors), and before I knew it, she was honking and beeping at me... as if I had an alternative! A slow car in front of me, and fast cars beside me, and this jerk wanted me apparently to levitate and get out of her way instead of participating in merrrrrrrging. I was so angry that when she finally did what she was supposed to (stop accelerating), I birded her, and when she sped up to pass me in the passing lane, we exchanged extremely and mutually scornful looks. But seriously, what the hell should I have done differently, besides not birding her of course?

And THIS is just like something that happened a few days ago, when an SUV had on a left turn signal and was stopped in the lane where one would stop were they waiting to turn left. So, I assumed it was safe to turn left myself, only to have this SUV take off straight through the intersection and nearly t-bone me... AND Herald.

I get even extra upset about bad drivers when I have Herald with me, partially because I'm irresponsible and have yet to find a gate to keep Herald safely confined to the back. When in such situations, I always remember the story my sister told me (twice now, as a matter of fact) about how this woman got into a car accident, and her dogs weren't gated or strapped in, and so the EMTs had to shoot the dogs because they were being protective and wouldn't let anyone get close to their injured owner. Herald is an unfortunately protective dog, despite measures I have taken to try to convince him I don't need any protection. So whenever someone is stupid in their cars, or the road is a little slick, I imagine the EMTs shooting my beloved baby as he stands firm and vicious, trying to protect me as the blood pours from my jugular. Yeah, I should just get the gate, because apparently this world is full of moronic drivers.

The above turn-signal dumbass actually shook her fist at me as she screeched to a halt inches away from plummeting into me. And man, did I ever want a sign, specifically one of these to line all four side of my windows:

scrolling signs
My sign will normally be set to alternately scroll through these five public announcements:
  1. Don't be an idiot!
  2. Canadians: Learn to drive!
  3. Get off my fucking ass!
  4. Only morons vote Republican!
  5. I can recommend an excellent driver's ed instructor!
And then I will have the following 10 messages on "quick text," so I can just punch a button and have the normal public service announcements temporarily change to:
  1. Get in the fucking slow lane, you moron!
  2. What part of 'merge' don't you understand?
  3. Um, drunk driving is still illegal...?
  4. Please, put the gun down.
  5. You have on your turn signal, moron!
  6. Are you a senior citizen, teenager, or just a very bad driver?
  7. Go around me, you asshole!
  8. I will keeeeeeel you!
  9. My baby on board is giving you the finger...
  10. My Bad.
Yes, I would be so much happier if I had a scrolling neon sign on all four sides of my Rocanante. In the above instance, I would have simply punched #5, the woman would have looked down to notice that she was in the wrong, and then blown kisses to make me and Herald feel better. Sigh.

Every time I start getting too pissed off, I remember how my dad used to carry a handgun under his seat, and whenever someone started bothering him, he'd pull it out and place to his right by the parking brake, and keep his hand on it until the person passed by.

Nothing worth that kind of shit. As a kid, I was terrified... clearly something to remember before I bird idiots who make me hate February more than any month.

Speaking of hate, I despite my students. It's been a long time since I've... well, for English 100: hate such a bunch of idiots. And for Creative Writing: well, I've never had a creative writing college class. It's a strange thing to like the students as people, and yet be continuously disappointed in them as students... mostly because they turn so little in. I can't help being serious and crazy and dedicated. And they can't help who they are. Community College Creative Writing Breakdown: 1/3 = students who care, 1/3 = students who thought they'd get an easy A, 1/3 = online science fiction nerds who have been gaming for years and mistook a college-level writing class as an opportunity to pass the on their 103-pages of fan fiction to an 'editor' for comments.

I've tried from the beginning to embrace all levels and all interests in writing (I have reading groups for science fiction, romance, poetry, nonfiction/experimental, and literary fiction). But what I have a problem with is people not turning anything in. It makes me sad. And bored. And philosophically irritated. And that's with 1/3 students who care.

Maybe I just take it all too personally to be an effective teacher?

And don't get me started on my English 100-er's, who are mostly high school students averse to any kind of intellectual work. At all.

All of this has me thinking, even more than normal, that I need to find a job where I can use my skills for the good of the universe, kind of like a Jedi Knight or Mother Theresa or Frederick Douglass. What's the point of teaching if most of your intellect is neglected? Even more than that, what's the point of teaching if most of your heart is neglected too?

Anyhow. I am now pretending it is March.

My seeds came in. I ordered half from the organic place, Peaceful Valley, this time only seeds that have seemed to produce at some point in the past two years. The other half I ordered from Territorial Seeds--more hybrid non-organic seeds... which I feel guilty about, but all of my spinach, broccoli, and cabbage bolted like mad all last year to the extent that I couldn't harvest any of them. So, I've diversified. And for Xmas was given pickling and sauerkraut vats/books, so that means I have to have cabbage this year in order to meet the conditions set by the holiday season.

But... in order to have room to plant all of the many, many seeds I ordered, I am going to have to expand my garden. I am now in negotiations.

I plan on moving off my mom's property at the end of this summer. It's strange to plan an expansion before planning a removal. Plus, I have to negotiate land now occupied by adorable self-sunning garter snakes. Hostile takeover, 'cept I won't use mean chemicals. But still expansion into unknown, temporary territory. And then, I don't know where I will go. Maybe just into Bville (I will have to not have a studio in order to afford an actual place of living). Maybe to Olympia, a place I really like. Or Seattle, which has the worst transportation system on the face of America.

I don't have a compelling reason to move, other than I feel stuck. Everything feels stuck. It's okay to feel stuck, if what you're stuck in is something that fills at least two of the categories one needs to survive.

I've got only one category: family. Man, have I been lucky there. I adore my mom and I adore her partner. I love their dogs and their cat, and I've never found anybody, ever, who I adore on a day-to-day basis like this. I've had love interests, and I've had roommates I've thought were sweet (Lee-lee and CC), but I really truly, day after day, get along with my mom and Chuck. It's hard to leave that. It's truthfully been impossible, because, I think, I haven't had anything to fill any of the other categories I might alternately want: success, romance, career, calling.

What I've got is family. The best family ever.

But I guess it's time to force myself away from the security I've found in one area, to find something in another. I'm scared shitless though that I'll find myself lacking--in family, success, romance, career, and calling--if I give up in one category to search for another. Maybe it makes me a coward, but I don't know how to take risks anymore. I'm tired. I want either love or writing to be easy. Not both, but at least one.


So. Spring break is only three weeks away. I am going to A) plan, B) visit my (sister's) friends in Olympia and go on hikes, and C) go to a wedding (NM's Big Friend Wedding) hopefully dressed studishlilike attired. I am amazed at how fast this world goes.

MARCH!!! I've got my eye on you. I do.

P.S. I'm still working to finish my above (top o'the entry) book for childs.
I may be in the minority with this opinion, but I do believe in the magic of relocating to shake things up-- it makes it easier to reinvent when you feel yourself in need of reinvention without feeling like you have to adhere to the standards of others expectations, consistency, etc. It forces you to try to define yourself to folks who are not already invested in some pre-existing version of you, and in kind, you redefine yourself to yourself. You are also temporarily above the established drama/pecking order/emotional "noise" of a place. The drawbacks? You are an outsider, with all of the romance and rejection that that entails-- some will be drawn to you for that reason, and others (who are wrapped up in their status quo, albeit comfortably so)may be indifferent or threatened. It takes a lot of fight to be the new person. And perhaps my child-hood all in one place has fed this perpetual migration fantasy of mine. But for me it has worked to sharpen the focus when I've felt blurred and stuck.
You are right, as often you have been (unfortunately) right about certain other painful things.

I can't help claiming the desire for roots though. Moving 7 times and attending 10 different schools before graduating high school... has perhaps made me weird? I simultaneously agree with what you're saying, at the same time as wanting -- desperately sometimes -- to believe there is more to depend on. Part of me thinks that if you sink yourself into a place, the place rises up to greet you with its everythingness. And that history can be cultural rather than nomadic and scattered.

Part of me also thinks that if you always look to escape home, there with be nothing to hold you home. And if I keep reinventing myself, maybe someday the place will fit my refreshing, reinvented self.

No matter where I've been that's been so amazing... Chicago, for instance... I still haven't felt at home. Maybe I've felt precariously in love (Chicago, for instance), but not... capable of sustaining my in-loveishness.

It's strange to think that as I've tried so hard to sink roots in Bville (garden, big fat dog), I still can't quite find myself in it.

So, you're right. But while moving solves the romance and new invention side of things, it still doesn't solve the longing for something strong enough to anchor me down.
Oh, and sorry if that was all melodramatic. I am highly premenstrual and I bitched out my students today after waking up at 6:30 a.m. with irate rants scrolling the brainpan.

I obviously need to take my dog on a log walk.
Or a long walk. One of the two.
Haha! No worries-- your lengthy comment made me feel way less self-conscious about MY lengthy comment (always thinking of yourself, Anne-girl?).

I do get what you're saying about the roots thing-- and I did move back to PDX eventually for that very reason, but even though I desperately missed family friends and the place I needed to be away and push myself to grow in ways that I just couldn't by simply staying put. I do think that moving got harder as I got older.

Now go take some Midol and walk that handsome beast! (just kidding about the Midol, obv...) xoxo
Both the Midol and the walk helped marvelously. Nothing quite for it! xoxo back
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