Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Paint

Things have picked up this past week, and I feel great about it.

I secured a contract job at U of M and feel SO MUCH happier than I have been since I moved home. I’ve regretted moving home since Day 1, but now that I’ve had a little bit of activity, I don’t feel near as much of a Debbie Downer. I still get choked up when I hear “Hotel California” or watch those stupid Kardashian whores, but at least now, I’m not bored and feeling stagnant and empty.

I love working- and I love having meetings and sending 30 billion emails a day and having to drive to work. I actually got to teach a graduate class last night, too, which was awesome, and made me feel sort of school-marmish and empowered at the same time. I want to start a movement in Memphis, though- one where we can wear jeans or jorts and Chuck Taylors and bikini tops and t-shirts to work. This town needs to fast forward about 60 years and become more progressive and less uptight about stupid crap. Maybe the number one appealing factor I think of when I consider working for myself is the ability to wear WHATEVER THE CRAP I WANT. This whole pantyhose crock is for the birds.

I’m sending two of my three doctorate aps out next week, which will be a relief and will give me a sense of accomplishment. I don’t think my chances of getting into either of the schools is that great, but whatever, it’ll be done and done.

Ugh, stupid Blanket!

We have this cat named Peaches or Pumpkin or something, but I call her Blanket in honor of the late MJ’s son, and she looks just like our former major, Jim Rout, in the face.

Anyway, Blanket is super codependent and needy, and she’s always sitting at my feet, starting at me like a pervert, or she jumps up on my desk and starts piously stomping around on my keyboard, and she always knocks over glasses of water so she can lick ‘em up like she was raised in a barn.

Right now I’m eating a bag of popcorn because we have no groceries. I sure hate that. I hate it when (Fightclub) we have a house full of condiments and no food. You open the refrigerator door to see gallons of mayo and relish, but there isn’t one dang thing to eat. These are the things I miss a lot about being poor as crap and having my own budget and household. I always had a system. I’d go to the grocery store once a week and always have SOMETHING to eat, even if it was mediocre and stupid, so I wouldn’t wind up like Karen Carpenter. I miss Trader Joe’s. They always had really good meal ideas. I miss the silence, too. My place was always silent. Right now we have propaganda news programs at MAXIMUM volume blaring through the house, with crazed, sensational messages delivered in Y2K style about canning your own vegetables or something.

I’m going to paint my bathroom soon. I went to Home Depot today and picked out a good color. I’ve always loved painting. It’s a fresh start. There’s something cleansing about starting over.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Crazies at Rum Boogie

The GRE handed my butt to me, but at least it's over, and now I can sell of those stupid study materials on Craigslist to a lady named Channelle. True. I really am doing that. Two N's, two L's.

Blake, the TOMS shoes guy, came to Memphis yesterday and gave a talk at U of M. I was sort of surprised at my own reaction. He went to my church in L.A., and he lived in a nearby neighborhood, so I'd see him around from time to time, but I never met him. Anyway, seeing him in Memphis was sort of a comforting thing, because it made L.A. feel a little closer. On the flip side, every time he'd mention Venice or the L.A. Times, I wanted to cry my face off. I often mislabel myself as someone who is not overly emotional; but like I just said, that's a mislabel. I'm not that emotionally RESPONSIVE, typically, but I'm emotional as all get out, and I hate it. Someone could yell and scream at me for an hour and I could blank stare them with no reaction or just walk out the door and never say one word, but I'd internalize that crap for months.

I had an eye opening conversation with a dear friend yesterday who suggested that I have ADHD. I have been accused of this disorder for many years, but testing has proved otherwise. Then my friend started telling me about this book that he read about how people with ADHD (note that I am saying ADHD instead of ADD because ADD is a phased out diagnosis, even though nobody knows that---please refer to the most current DSM-IV) are often instigators and like to be engaged because they constantly need some sort of stimuli. And then I started connecting all of the dots about how the happiest time of my life was when I was working 40 hours a week, taking 9 hours of grad classes, serial dating, and having a raging social life. That's when I was really, really, really happy. And I wonder if it's all attributed to me just needing a ton of stimuli to feel satisfied. Things to ponder.

I think I'd like to start going to more philanthropic or entrepreneurial events, though they are few and far between in this town. Another reason I miss L.A. so much. There were always people available to teach you things. It's hard to seek those things out here because the resources just aren't available. But I'm finding them slowly.

I'm finishing up my Ph.D. applications and feeling pretty solid about them, despite my sub par GRE scores. It's been sort of nostalgic to go back to my old essays for my master's applications and see how far I've come since I started out. It's also helped remind me why I was passionate about the helping professions in the first place.

I attended a fundraiser the other night that made me feel like a ghost. I stole that line from my best guy friend who said he went home recently and felt like a ghost the whole time that he was there. I liked that illustration. I feel like a ghost a lot, and I felt REALLY ghosty the other night, like I wasn't really there the whole time, or maybe I was, and people didn't see me, or maybe they saw me but I didn't see them because I was trapped in another dimension. BTW, I don't believe in ghosts. But they make good illustrations. So I was at this function, feeling like a ghost, and then once I got into the car afterward, I had a meltdown and cried, and I think it was because my body had internalized the GRE so much that I needed several days to purge the stress, and one of those purging activities was crying. So we ventured downtown and listened to some blues music. And you know what? It helped a lot.

Despite my abhorrence for most of what Memphis has to offer, there are one or two things here that are sort of sacred. I remember I used to go to church with this lady who was such a hippie. I mean, she was like, a real, legit, pie-in-the-sky hippie from the South Bay. And she and I met, and she asked where I was from, and I said Memphis, sort of grimacing at the thought, because I had visited recently and was so happy to not be living there (here) anymore. And she said to me, "You don't like Memphis? I went to Memphis once. I walked down Beale Street, and I could feel its soul. Soul was oozing out of the bricks and mortar and streets, and I could feel it all around me." And even though I was pretty sure she was blazed out on grass, I also thought that was a really cool way to think of this town, despite its overt suburban conventionalism. So when we were downtown listening to blues music, it took me to this sort of surreal place where I could think about things outside of myself, and I could just be quiet and listen, and I liked it a lot.

And now I will tell you about the crazy people. The nicest crazy people ever, but crazy nontheless.

My bf and I were looking for a place to sit, because Rum Boogie Cafe was pretty crowded, and this crazy man and his wife said that we could sit at their table.

The crazy man had wild gray hair and a big gap in his front teeth. He was wearing a Harley jacket and had a gold chain necklace on with a big freaking gold eagle hanging from it. He was wearing gold rings on most of his fingers. His wife was dressed like a mom, and her ears were pierced twice (I hate that. No offense to anyone who has the double holes. I have lots of holes in my ears, but not consecutively. Wait. I do have some consecutive holes, but they're at the top, so they don't have the Jessie from Saved by the Bell look to them.) and she had gold rings on every finger except for her thumbs. She had a Brighton purse. It was fugly.

They were probably in their mid-50's, and they started telling us all about how they drove their camper down to Florida and it was in the 30's the whole time and they froze to death, but they parked down by the beach and the sunset was beautiful. Then the crazy man told us about how he was washing his truck and he was standing on the running board and his trailer was hitched onto the truck, and he was trying to wash the roof, but he called it the RUFF, and then he slipped and fell and busted his head open. Then he told us that his brother grew so fast in high school that his joints couldn't support his weight, so he had to walk around on crutches for a couple of years until his hips could keep him from killing himself. Then he told us he was a mechanic at Ford Motor Company. Not just Ford. But Ford Motor Company. Then he told us that he and his wife go to a dive bar in Kansas City, MO, every Wednesday night, to hear a band called "TUF," or Trample Under Foot, and all three of the musicians are siblings, and they are all left handed. And their waitress is the best waitress in the world, and she is smart, attentive, likes people, and is very pleasant, and she was just BORN to be a waitress, I tell you. And then the mom told us that she never went to college, but if she had gone, she would have become a psychologist. She was an antique dealer. Her grandsons are very tall and will both be pro athletes.

I loved the crazy people. I LOVED them.

Then we shook hands, and they left, and I realized we never even got their names, just like when you're on an airplane with someone and you know their life story, but then they leave, and you never see them again. Or you exchange numbers and the guy wears a suit and drives up in a BMW from 40 miles away to take you to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch. It could go either way.

So that was nice.

That's all I've got. Suddenly I feel like sleeping.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Barbie Burning

I had a great day last week where I got to visit LeBonheur hospital downtown and browse the halls with a lady who worked there. Now, I constantly boast about my inability to exude any type of maternal ANYTHING, so what happened last week was surprising. We were in this play room with a little boy who had tubes hanging out of his nose and he was all banged up in the face, with stitches and wraps and bandages all over his eyes and cheeks. He had a big black eye and looked like he'd been in a bad wreck or something. Now, some people can't handle blood and gore that well, but I'm the first in line for the "Saw" movies or a real gory haunted house, so the blood didn't bother me.. But seeing a little kid all beat up looking bothered me. It sort of hurt me.

I guess he looked worse than he felt, because he was flying ALL OVER THE ROOM in a Spiderman outfit, bossing me around and telling me to eat a big stack of fake plastic donuts. So here I am, fake eating donuts and making pig chomping noises, and then I had to leave with the lady who was walking me around (sorry for ending a sentence with a preposition). So I'm walking out the door, putting my "donuts" on a little yellow kid-sized table, focused on completing the rest of the tour, and the kid flies up to me out of nowhere and hugged me, with his little hands around my butt. And it made me sort of want to cry. Even though I don't have that weird, maternal, "let's all sit around and tell breastfeeding stories" thing going on, I felt sort of complete or something when that little sick Spiderman kid hugged me. I wasn't thinking about the tubes in his nose or getting his spooky body fluids on me and I wasn't thinking about not having a job and wishing I'd never left LA and feeling like my life is a wreck. I didn't think about one single thing. I just received a hug from a sick kid, and I hope I hugged him back.

Other good things: I went to New Orleans with my bee eff over the weekend, and it felt like a flu shot for my quarter life crisis. It was so good to be away. It's weird that I'm not from there and have never lived there, but I always feel like I'm home there. It always feels right. I got to spend a lot of time with my family and I got to sleep in and be a big lazy pig. I also got to party with some politicians, but as to not put in myself in a position to be sued by anyone in office down there, I'll leave it at that. But I'll say that certain elected officials love to smoke cigars and do the "Thriller" dance.

What else. I wanted to write a bunch of stuff about our trip to NOLA and how my cousin scored free tickets to the Saints/Steelers game (my first NFL game!), but my brain feels sort of gray. I've been studying for this dang test so much that when people talk, I can only imagine things like, "y=mx+b" in my mind. I haven't been a very good listener recently.

Today I was so burned out from studying all of this crap that I took a couple hours out of the day to make a big pot of chicken and sausage gumbo. Nothing is better than a really homey gumbo when the weather sucks and its raining its face off.

My insomnia is back. I think it's because test day is near, and when I have pressure or stress of any kind lingering around, I usually can't sleep. So. Let me tell you about the creepy non-sleeping event of last night.

It was about 2:00 a.m. and I decided that I was sick of trying to sleep organically and thought I'd pop me a melatonin (those things work like a champ, BTW.). So. I take one, and decide I'm freezing to death, so I turn on the heat, and in about 3 minutes, I'm passed out, drooling like a beauty queen. I can smell that carcinogenic heater smell in my REM cycle. So then I start having this dream that I'm holding a Barbie doll over a fire, and I can smell her polyurethane hair curling up, and her face melting off, and it was like something from a horror movie, and I woke up, sweaty and scared. It was weird. When I was awake again, though, I was thinking about how smart humans are, in a way. What made my brain think of a melting Barbie when I smelled that heater smell? Pretty amazing associations, if you ax me.

In a fruitless attempt to avoid burnout, I've been watching classics on Netflix in small increments in between studying. I watched "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" for about three days. There was this part where Richard Burton tells this young punk kid, "There's quicksand here and you'll be dragged down before you know it." and when the kid gets all punky with him and tries to tell him to shut up, Burton says, "...but I'm trying to give you a survival kit. Do you hear me?" I thought that was so cool. The analogy of a place feeling like quicksand and then defending the analogy with calling it a survival kit. I loved it. Boy, can I relate. What a great line. The rest of the movie, though, upset me a lot. The drunken insanity and screaming fits of rage. Made me think of my old boss. I wonder if people who are crazy rage-aholics get some sort of rush out of yelling and screaming?

I feel like I'm writing a lot of half-thoughts, because I'm tired and burned out.
I'm going to make another attempt at sleeping. Hopefully no burning Barbies this time.