Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Crazy Glue and Graciousness

I was awake in the night thinking about bitterness. And love. I have never been a bitter person OR a jealous person, which is practically impossible, but it’s true. Ask anyone. I mean I joke around about being bitter and all, and I am cynical, but mostly I let things go because I know that if you harbor them, they will cause you more harm than the person who is making you feel bitter.

About two years ago, there was this Series of Unfortunate Events, you know how that goes—a train wreck of discovering certain people’s true colors, a King Lear play of division and greed and selfishness and avarice—and I found…I found I could not get over it. It has kept me awake at night, it has gnawed at me, it has disillusioned me to the core of my being, and it has filled me with this sort of low-grade, invincible, secret, enduring malevolence.

Oh, I am going to write about it one day. In BIG splashy Technicolor. I feel like Truman trying to decide if he should detonate the atom bomb. Because that is the effect it will have—that sort of comforting obliteration of an entire obstacle. Maybe I’ll call the novel Enola. Did you know Enola spelled backwards is “alone”? Ha! That's what I'll be if I ever let those nasty cats out of the bitterness bag. But at least I'll feel better.

Anyway, as with most things, having this weird unshakable bitterness has made it easier for me to empathize with people who are continually bitter. And they’re out there! It’s the Stanislavski method of living—take an emotion and magnify it so you can use to realize how a character feels. I do that a lot. Because I’d rather be an informed bitch rather than just an armchair bitch. Being a bitch takes research!

Now, let’s move onto love. My little girl…cue Bryan Ferry…is one of the sweetest little confections ever to grace my life. Last year my sister T gave me this beautiful folk art blue angel for Christmas and she is on the mantle of our living room. My daughter, whose real name is Clare and not “Daisy,” looked up and said that she wanted the “Barbie.” I gave it to her and I said, “It’s an angel. Do you know what her name is?” And she said no. I said, “Her name is Angel Clare.” Because I have always loved that name and I loved that Art Garfunkle album and everything and it’s one of the reasons I named her Clare. And she said, “That’s right! Angel Me.”

I handed her the angel, because she wanted it so much, and told her to be careful, but of course she dropped it and the wings came off. And I thought about Tennessee Williams’ Glass Menagerie when the gentleman caller breaks the horn off of Laura’s unicorn and she reassures him that now he’ll be just like all the other horses. It’s one of the most heartbreaking comebacks in American theatre...that and, “Years from now, when you talk about this...and you kind.” That’s from Tea and Sympathy. Those lines are all about preserving a secret shared moment, kindly.

I think there is rather a casual inclination—a bravado Americans have—of speaking of the past as something that needs to be discarded. I was listening to this radio moron talk about how she donated her old boyfriend’s clothes to charity, “just to get them out of the house.”

I don’t have bitter feelings about past loves. Which, I think, makes me the MOST FABULUS PERSON IN THE UNIVERSE! But seriously, I guess that I believe if you have this closet full of people you are sorry you spent time with and revealed yourself to, then you ultimately don’t have much respect for yourself, you know? I love my friends--and all the old loves, and they know it too. Hey, I am still hanging out with my best friends from second grade—in person and in email (hi y’all!). I just got invited to a reunion of the American International School of Calcutta where I went for two years—kindergarten and 1st grade. And I’m going.

Which is all to say, I have never, ever respected Madonna because I think people who have a need to recreate themselves and morph and nip and tuck and shed skins like a molting bird or snake, don’t like who they are.

So don’t get mad if someone breaks your unicorn or if your little girl, Angel Me, drops the angel and breaks her wings.

Because that’s the reason they invented Crazy Glue. And graciousness.


Cynicism is another word for reality

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