Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Do Existential Breakdowns Love Company Too?

It is a bleak, dreary, rainy, mud-sludge kind of morning. I have been sick for the past 4 days with a vague compendium of ailments—swollen glands, sore throat, night sweats, and an epic, consuming fatigue. I think it is known in layman’s terms as "Januaryitis." Because January is the cruelest month. Let’s get that straight once and for all.

The weather has been manic depressive, which is nice and also alarming. Nice in that it is 64 and sunny in January (that was yesterday), alarming as to what is causing it. Global warming, a pressure system off the Atlantic coast, or the apocalypse? You decide!

Wendy Wasserstein died and that was sad on many levels. She is responsible for the first words that I uttered on stage in college: “I just tasted my menstrual blood!” Yeah, I know. Gross. But what an entrance, eh? Actually, my favorite line in the play was, “The only people who have penis envy are other men.” Brilliant!

The play, "Uncommon Women and Others," was described as "funny, ironic and affectionate" by Edith Oliver in The New Yorker, who added, "Under the laughter there is ... a feeling of bewilderment and disappointment over the world outside college, which promised so much, and with their own dreams, which seem to have stalled."

She wrote about artificial insemination and the process of having her daughter at 48:

“While I was being injected with hormones that could make a tyrannosaurus give birth to a foldout couch..." Then she said that the beauty of having a child at an older age is "She doesn't have to live her life for me."
OK, that just broke my heart. I read the essay she wrote about her 8 year odyssey to have a baby in The New Yorker in 2000 and it was very painful indeed. I remember it so vividly and it is so cruel that after all that she had to say goodbye to her little girl.

Oh shit, I am getting all emotional and that won’t do. So let’s talk about what happens to your TV when you’re gone all day. Remember how you used to think your toys actually played in your room together while you were gone? You say you never thought that? And that it’s a sign of advanced delusional insanity? Oh…

Anyway, I was home sick yesterday and I turned on the TV and it was like another planet had invaded that austere chrome box in our family room. Ellen Degeneres was wearing an appalling pair of what appeared to be white golf shoes and running around the stage imitating dog show walkers.

The audience was gleaming and laughing and applauding, there were myriad inside jokes—it was as if the WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD WAS laughing and saying, “You see Lisa? This is what we do all day while you are carrying slop piles to the gutter and toting massive bales of hay! You see! While you are sweeping the cinders from the hearth into a tidy pile we are laughing and guffawing and playing and imitating dog walkers on TV!! You silly little bee! Do you see what you’re missing?”

There is a parallel universe.

Then at 3:00 I turned on Dr. Phil. OF COURSE I TURNED ON DR. PHIL. It is mandatory stay-at-home policy. And there were several enraged couples all going at each other in a really unseemly fashion. The one wife told her husband, “I want a divorce!” And the husband said, “Fine. Go find someone else to f%$# your fat ass.” Um, ouch?

Therein lies another parallel universe.

Then Oprah came on and it was AGONIZING. She was conducting this excruciating interview with a stand-up model dad who went seriously south and started robbing banks, shagging other women and doing drugs. He was caught on tape robbing a bank and so his three sons turned him in.

Dad was up there in his orange prison suit, via satellite, while his sons were white knuckling it on the couch and Oprah and this little teeny weenie black shrink were shaking their heads at the mastodon screen saying, “Bill, you haven’t found your heart. And until you find your heart, you won’t understand! He doesn’t get it, does he?”

I told MZA I wanted TiVo once and for all. And he said, “So you can tape OPRAH? No way!”


It’s raining. The only email in my inbox was an email from someone reminding me for the third time that I need to send in some paperwork. And. I almost cried. I just. Almost cried. And it was stupid and I struggled to put everything into

I worried about Bob Woodruff and his wife and four children; I felt so sad for Wendy Wasserstein’s daughter, and about the lights on Broadway dimming in her honor. I thought about triumph and victory and gratitude and empathy. Then I thought that I wanted to stop on the way in to work for a “reward bagel.” But I talked myself out of that and opted for the browning, virtuous slices of Fuji apple MZA prepared for me.

It’s raining, the sirens are blaring down the street, my kids are nestled in another’s care, and I am watching the water bead into a mosaic of drops that is steadily obscuring the parking garage across the street.


Cynicism is another word for reality

Email me, you derelict wastrel

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