Friday, October 29, 2010

Twice Two Makes Five Is Sometimes a Very Charming Thing

"...nor is it necessary to furnish any detailed account of our author's political, religious, and philosophic axioms and systems, his paradoxes and his errors in logic: these have been so long and so exhaustively disputed over by contending factions that little is left for even the most assiduous gleaner in the field."

(Uncredited introduction from Rousseau's Confessions)

Why is it such a hobby of men (and the women who erroneously aspire to be like them) to categorize and argue over such things as paradoxes and "errors" in logic? To do so at such length to be described as "exhaustive?" To pick apart a work of art according to the "axioms and systems" of the author herself?

The most annoying thing about this hobby is that argue you may, but you will never resolve any of the disputes. Mainly because they are pointless, angels-on-pinheads types of questions asked only to have something to say. The "assiduous gleaner[s]" run along like rats in a dead tunnel, searching for more points of contention to please, appease, and mimic the just-as-contentious Super Rats (thanks, Holly) who taught them. I had to do it, to some extent, as a student of literature. I resented it almost as much as I resented my Maths professor encouraging me to read schmaltzy fiction about metaphysical girls and mathematical boys, thinking it would somehow convince me to change my major and be his little protege/sex slave.

I was good at it, just as I was good at Maths, though I hated both. Neither is fulfilling; neither is creative enough to be fascinating. The most common comment I received from my professors was praise for eschewing the obvious. (Ironic to have grown up into such a cliche, given my starry-eyed individualist beginnings.) But what I wrote about was obvious to me, probably because I didn't worry about paradoxes, logic, axioms, or systems. I worried about the writing, the images, the sensations erupting in my brain and body as I read. I relied on intuition. Back then I never second-guessed myself. I was so sure of what I knew and what I didn't.

These days I am weak. My brain and body, I often fear, have no more capacity for intuition or feeling. It's all been browbeaten out of me by the world's terrible addiction to precedent and dismissive criticism. As my newest old love, Fyodor, writes:
Notice the Logical brain is blue; the Creative brain is pink

"You, for instance, want to cure men of their old habits and reform their will in accordance with science and good sense. But how do you know, not only that it is possible, but also that it is desirable to reform man in that way? And what leads you to the conclusion that man's inclinations need reforming? In short, how do you know that such a reformation will be a benefit to man? And to go to the root of the matter, why are you so positively convinced that not to act against his real normal interests guaranteed by the conclusions of reason and arithmetic is certainly always advantageous for man and must always be a law for mankind? So far, you know, this is only your supposition. It may be the law of logic, but not the law of humanity."

I am often in arguments with men about the existence of a spirit or a soul or something in us which makes us alive, other than that which science and rampant LSD consumption have exposed to us. Darling Fyodor calls it consciousness, I think; in that he equates consciousness with something non-mathematical, something illogical, something which humans will not give up although it is the root cause of suffering. Whereas science and LSD are opposite sides of the same two-dimensional reality, consciousness is many-sided and encompasses things which will never fit into that narrow dichotomy.

"Consciousness, for instance, is infinitely superior to twice two makes four. Once you have mathematical certainty there is nothing left to do or to understand. There will be nothing left but to bottle up your five senses and plunge into contemplation."

This reminds me of Freud, who thought eventually science would pin down the actions and motivations of all people, rendering the world totally manageable, fixable, and of course, predictable. He wanted to boil humans down to their essences and find some logarithm that answers all the questions of existence. He failed to comprehend women because women more than men resisted this diminishment of self, or found it as worthless a pursuit as Dostevsky did. 

I have no wish to bottle up my five senses, to live underground, to retreat so far into theory that I can no longer create or destroy anything but am resigned merely to translating, ratlike gleaning. I hope it is not too late. If it is...I guess I'll take up cutting hair; still preferable to splitting hairs.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Yay! Glitter Sparklehorse Love

I think Lady Gaga may have appropriated a few things from Ms. Goldfrapp.

As Told By An Adams Ave Drunk

Him: "What's the difference between a Harley Davidson and a freezer full of dismembered hookers?"

Me: "I don't know, what?"

Him: "You'll never find a Harley Davidson in my garage."

Yet another reason I love Adams Ave.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Luxurious Inertia

"Possibly, I even regret, myself, that I have given so few slaps in the face during my life."

"[I]t is as clear as day you are not to blame in the least, and therefore grinding your teeth in silent impotence to sink into luxurious inertia, brooding on the fact that there is no one even for you to feel vindictive against, that you have not, and perhaps never will have, an object for your spite, that it is a sleight of hand, a bit of juggling, a card-sharper's trick, that it is simply a mess, no knowing what and no knowing who, but in spite of all these uncertainties and jugglings, still there is an ache in you, and the more you do not know, the worse the ache."

I have a lifelong case of spiteache. Ever since my father died and took with him the last true object of my spite, I have suffered from a futile overload of anxious anger. I have no outlet for it except the occasional bad break-up, which relieves my suffering greatly. Unless I find myself, as now, in working conditions that give me something to rail against. That, too, relieves my suffering.

It is this spiteache which forces me sometimes to consider the law as an occupation. Being paid to be adversarial, being respected for my utter contrariness, arguing over teacups and mercury. Ah, the sweet relief of a truly good fight. And yet, when it's over, there is still that ache and that descent into boredom.

"Can a man of perception respect himself at all?"

Highly unlikely, mon cher babbler. In fact, quite impossible.

Monday, October 25, 2010

As Much As I Can

I've said this, and meant it, because of perceived limitations on my capacity.

Being the one hearing it is pretty awful, though.

Because it's actually not true. There are no limits. You just don't love him.

Welcome to Monday

Notes from my two-hour meeting this morning. I spent most of the time mentally counting the number of Xanax I have stashed at home, wondering if it is enough to kill me.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Polyamorous Affair - Bright One (HIGH QUALITY)

Great song. Love the name of the band. Maybe I'll get into polyamory after all.

Identity Crisis 104: What Next?

What happens when an identity crisis is over? What's the aftermath? What's the plan?

You've come to the right place if you're looking for those answers. I've had an identity crisis every couple of years for my entire post-adolescent life. I've had several quarter-life crises, crises of conscience, crises of career, creative crises, relationship crises... the truth is, each of those is a type of identity crisis.

I was recently discussing the difference between "meaning" and "being" with someone who believed one could play with meaning and not with being. To someone like me, who does not believe in meaning per se, to play with meaning is a sort of masturbatory exercise. All meaning is fiction, so why pretend it is going to affect you? (I'm reminded of my college Shakespeare professor, who believed in objective Shakespeare of all things! The things people tell themselves. Shameful.) If you want to play with meaning, do so as a creator, not as a psychologist or spiritualist. Explore the nooks and crannies of your mind, your beliefs, your biases, and make them into art or writing. But don't treat them as some kind of sacred truth.

Playing with being, however, is another matter. I suppose it doesn't come naturally to the native SoCalian, who (and I speak in generalities) has never suffered any literal or figurative winter, who has lived a life of ease and plenty, who has never considered his life and property anything but a gods-given right. To those of us who, for whatever reason, are closer to the source of being--usually because we have experienced what my stalker referred to as The Vicissitudes--understand that things like sunshine, ease, plenty, property, and even life are all doled out by pure chance, by random events; that imagining we control anything other than our own reactions is not just idiotic but dangerous.

So to play with being is a much more extreme sport. Meaning is just something to make up as you go along; anyone can do it--just look at the Teabagger movement. Being is a state, and to recognize it as a state of flux can be terrifying. It can also be exhilarating. To play with who you are, what you are, is to risk losing your sense of self completely. Once that happens, meaning becomes impossible to assign, to defend, to argue.

*Sigh.* I'm not explaining it well. There are languages out there whose jargon would serve much more efficiently. But I don't know those languages and have to rely on my crude tongue and my base, biased observations.

Many people have such realizations when they are six feet under an acid trip or six hundred years into a life of silent meditation. Others, like me, start young, through a combination of fucked-up experiences and a modicum of undeveloped intelligence. The only drawback to starting so young is feeling so old so fast; so tired. I suppose the mistake in my expectation is that these crises will one day subside for good, leaving me with a sense of security, that bland thing which has seemingly never existed in my world.

And is a sense of security a sense of self? Should I use this present identity crisis to attempt to cement myself into some rigid construction of Me-ness? Gods, no. I couldn't bear it. I admit, when there is so much as the threat of security in my life, I start to get bored. I seek change for change's sake. Or could I bear it? Is it the very thing I need most? Or is it the worst possible option? Or am I just beating another dead cliche?

Hm. No. I lied to you earlier. I'm not the person to come to for answers about being. I am probably not even the person to come to with questions. But if you need your meaning edited, or rewritten entirely, I'm great at that. As long as you don't take it seriously.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Identity Crisis 103: Becoming Charlotte

"Who wants to live forever?"

Knowing my literary bent as you do, you are no doubt wondering, "Which Charlotte?" Charlotte Bronte? Charlotte the spider from Charlotte's Web? Charlotte from Sex and the City?" Yes, yes, yes. All of the above.

Since I change my name every ten years, whether I need it or not, there are only six years remaining for me to grow into my next name. I'm running way behind. I should have started becoming Charlotte as soon as I moved to SoCal. How shall I start?

I'll start with what's most immediate. Charlotte York, the upper West Side brunette from Sex and the City. Time and again, men tell me she's the only character on the show they like. You'd think it would be Samantha, queen of the NSA hookup. Or Miranda, the law partner with whom no one would wonder if he'd have to pay her way. I understand perfectly why Carrie, the writer, has no appeal. Besides, as every man alive has vehemently informed me, she's ugly.

But Charlotte, the prim and proper, cotton sundress, cashmere-for-fall, baby-mad, living by The Rules, Smith College girl? Now she's the stuff of men's dreams. Playing into those age-old stereotypes, she's the brunette, and brunettes are for marrying.

The first step to becoming Charlotte? Hm. Where do I begin this psychic self-surgery? I've got to start small. If I ran out and dyed my hair, restricted my writing to diary entries about my dream home in Encinitas, and took to obsessing about my thighs all in one week, I'd be liable to crack up.

I'll do what any Smith girl would do. Start at the library. I'll check out every book by Martha Stewart, Julia Child, and the editors of Modern Bride magazine.

The baby-madness is going to be tough. First I'll have to save up for Essure, but once that's finished, I'll have to pretend to be devastated to the point of insanity when my hubbikins and I can't conceive. Luckily, my innate love of dogs will provide me with a Baby Beard.

Yeah, yeah, that's the ticket.

I'll be so torn up at not being able to breed that my darling man will forgive my running right out and adopting every dog at the Encinitas Humane Society. And buying myself a pair of rust-colored Irish Wolfhounds on top of that. It is the saddest thing IN THE WORLD when a woman fails to achieve motherhood, after all. Oh. So. Sad. In addition to all those dogs I may just require a multi-year jaunt around the globe. You know, to recover my sense of joy and purpose.

Hold it! I'm getting away from zee Essence de Charlotte. She is all sweetness and light, optimism and ladylike elegance.

Fuck. I've got my work cut out for me. That lobotomy's looking better every day.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Identity Crisis 102: Cliche

I first realized I was nothing but a cliched hack when I was 8. It was a dark and stormy night. My mother had just bought the farm and I was in the middle of yet another silent midnight screaming match with God. In a flash, it came to me: "You, my darling little red-haired girl, are such a cliche. Look at you, sitting here in your rural bed, wordlessly expressing an utterly typical, trite, overwrought, contrived, bullshit response to death. Hell, even Freud could do better than this schmaltz. You'll probably soon have a wicked stepmother, be beaten like a red-headed stepchild, endure clumsy molestations by your step-brother, take up secret drinking at school, join a group of misfit stoners, and end up in art school, unable to differentiate between rape and true love."

And so it came to pass. I lived each cliched moment to the fullest in a bold attempt at pure conformity which continues to this very day. My poems are at best pathetic explorations of banality. My novel is a disaster of commercialism. My blogs are Sex and the City reruns. My love life is an echo of a long-dead feeling. My career is the shadow of a whisper of a joke about women in the workplace. My play is such a self-indulgent piece of suicidal shit that even a narcissist would notice it is nothing but a cry for attention.

Essentially and importantly, "I" do not even exist. I never have and I never will. This thing called me is just a recycled bit of electric chemistry programmed to react to its surroundings in specific ways. I am a walking, talking, fucking cliche constructed of all the cliches that have gone before. I will no longer bother to feel or to think or to do. Why waste energy? Why not just float along the stream of time until my battery dies and my chemical components are once more returned to the stockpile of molecules from which all future things--which will also be cliches--are made?

That I was born is a cliche.
That I once had parents is a cliche.
That I write is a cliche.
All I write are cliches.
That I need food, shelter, love is a cliche.
That I love what I love is a cliche.

Nothing originates within me or through me.
Nothing exists but this massive cliche;
the world, life, cliche, cliche.

Identity Crisis 101: Lipo

There are a lot of things I'd like to have removed. My ovaries, for one. The memory of my entire life between the ages of 8 and 28 for another. But here in SoCal, what's inside me--or not inside me--doesn't matter. What matters is my outsides.

A friend calls to say her cousin's husband's friend's doctor in Arizona will give free medspa treatments the third Sunday of November. Do I want to go get Botox or lipo or anything? Sure. Why not. When in Rome...

I may as well start looking and acting like a SoCal girl since I really don't want to move again. No sane, employed, heterosexual man will ever have me here unless I'm sporting a bulimia bib and a travel-sized botulism syringe.

Not so long ago, I picked up a bona fide SoCal hippy. We mocked polyamory together, ate cheap crappy tacos; he smoked pot and talked about loving MDMA while I drank my whiskies and talked about loving my Wheaten Terrier. It was a helluva lot of fun. I thought I'd found the one SoCal breed who wouldn't judge me. After all, he was quite vocal about being "totally not into judgment."

Alas. I was--again--mistaken. He was disgusted by the fact that I possess Dan Brown novels, seeing in them not that I am sentimental (my ex's wonderful father had given them to me), but that I have shamefully "mainstream" tastes.

He asked me to dress better when we went out--not that his awful Hawaiian shirt collection (often paired with corduroys, no less) was going to impress the local fashion police much. It's just that here in SoCal, men can be hideous and still expect to have perfect trophy girls on their arms. Just like on TV. After all, as my own SoCal uncle pointed out to me not long ago, "Here there are thousands of gorgeous, nearly naked women who'll fuck or blow anything that moves. That's a hard act to follow."

The hippy even mentioned--exactly as the rich Republican La Jolla lawyer had when I was roughly 4 sizes smaller--that all I'd have to do is work on my stomach flab and I'd be in great shape. Meanwhile, his massive gut, overflowing with the meat of a thousand sativa-engorged street tortas, was apparently a statement rather than an embarrassment.

Soon enough, the man who had brutally and without mercy mocked the polyamorous and "swinger" lifestyles started telling me he was going to need to have sex with other women. Turns out, in SoCal Hippy English, polyamory is referred to (and completely differentiated from) "Free Love." What of love there is in it can't be much. It's just another excuse for a grown man to act like an immature pig and justify it to his own conscience.

We split up. I asked him if we could please not stay friends.

And so, my purple darlings, it has come to this. I don't know or even care who I am or what I want anymore. I don't care what I have and what I lack of heart, of thought, of peace. I am, after all, nothing more than a mammal born to live in packs, possessed as we all are of an overdeveloped cortex. And the pack here in SoCal wants me to be maimed and twisted and bent into some creature from a Terry Gilliam movie. (Wait--is Terry Gilliam too "mainstream?" Am I merely exposing yet another facet of my indiscriminate lameness by referring to him?) So yes. Sign me up. I want Botox. I want lipo. Bleach my asshole. Put me under and hack off my hips, my thighs, my uterine bump. Saw off my labia, shrink my areolae. Take a couple of inches off my feet while you're at it. Remove every hair follicle from my eyebrows to my ankles. Give me the works.

Just don't forget the lobotomy and larynx removal so I never fuck up the perfection of my new being by thinking or speaking.

Postscript: I am now going to make myself barf up the red curry noodles I just ate, pop in a breath mint, and head to Rancho Santa Fe to score a sugar daddy who will at least buy me dinner in return for "free love," because free love is all a woman in SoCal can afford.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Retro Link II

Another retro link for newbies: click on The Single Malt Diary to read the blog documenting a few months in Chicago immediately following the end of my 7 year relationship.

It could also be called "Rebound with a Vengeance."

Monday, October 11, 2010

Retro Blogging

Click on Living on Sponge Cake to see the blog I wrote while writing my novel in Mexico.

Damn, I'd give anything for a week alone at Isla Blanca right now.

Circles of Hell

For new readers who may have missed out, click on The Lingerie Department to read my blog detailing my short-lived foray into retail in between "real" jobs earlier this year.

To tell the truth, I think I prefer that hell to the one in which I currently find myself.

Stoner Noir

Straight from the horse's mouth: A fabulous piece on SoCal "Stoner Noir" from a native with a brain.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tick-Tock: The Male Bio-Clock

For years now, men have rested on the assumption that they will be able to pump the women of their choosing full of babyjuice at any point in their lives. Take a look at famous examples of (way) past-their-prime dads like Tony Randall and David Letterman.

Why, then, are single women in their thirties bombarded with their male counterparts' instant marriage-and-baby proposals? Why can't a girl wishing to remain child-free go on a first date without having to vet dating candidates by making sure they are unsuccessful (successful men feel more ready to impregnate), sterile (or, in a pinch, impotent, though that's not as much fun), or not yet past the age of 25?

News flash: Research over the last couple of years has revealed that the quality of a man's sperm is inversely proportional to his age. The higher his age, the lower his sperm quality. Meaning the older he gets, the more likely he is to spawn offspring with birth defects, genetic weaknesses, and gene mutations. These findings support what single girls in their thirties have known for as long as there have been single girls in their thirties--single guys in their thirties are downright mad for babies.

We've all heard the urban legends, the cautionary tales, the cruel jokes about women in their thirties. There's the woman who wanted it ALL (gods forbid she should want everything men take for granted) until one day it's too late and she wakes up a childless monster in her late 40s, collecting cats and sobbing into her wine glass (albeit a wine glass in First Class as she's on her way to Europe, where she goes twice a month). There's the woman who traps a man by getting pregnant because she is desperate for a child (and any loser with a cock will do, apparently). There's the woman who sets up dates like interviews looking for candidates for Babydaddy ("I'm sorry. Based on your IQ, I can't let you have access to my sacred ova"). There's the woman who has a mental breakdown and threatens her man with abandonment if he doesn't relent and give her a child. (You might remember this term from misogynist psychology: Hysteria!) And most of all, there is the single girl out hitting the bars in groups of other single girls, pouncing on any available man and immediately bringing up the baby names she has picked out for both boys and girls.

Men and women are both more or less comfortable with these stereotypes, because, after all, women have a fairly marked and visible outer limit to their ability to reproduce. Menopause is menopause, and by the gods, these girls have to hurry. Science tells us so. Bring up the male biological clock, however, or men who behave very much like the female stereotypes above, and there is blowback. Denial, laughter, patronizing pats on the obviously histrionic head.

Yet I've had thirtysomething men propose to me on the first date, tell me after our first kiss that he thinks I'll be an amazing mother to his children, talk about how imagining that he is knocking a girl up makes him come harder than anything else, insist that the reason I "think" I don't want kids is because I had not yet considered that HE (who is obviously perfect and superior to all other men) might want to be their daddy... It's pretty clear men in their thirties have at least as high-pressure a "biological clock" as the much-dreaded one supposedly possessed by women in their thirties. Somewhere deep in their reptilian brains men know their one-celled amphibious terrorists have expiration dates.

I'm here to tell you, from firsthand experience in SoCal and elsewhere, bros aren't just looking for hos. They are looking for hos they can knock up. What's truly beautiful about the whole thing is that the most Dudebro-iest, the most surf-catching-est, the Darwin award winners clogging up the sewers of SoCal with their worthless jizz are the men most looking to spawn.

If, like salmon, men had to actually work to get a woman preggers by swimming upstream or by even making the barest modicum of effort, SoCal natives would be a dying breed instead of growing like fungus under every dark rock. And I wouldn't have to worry so much about whether my man of the hour has made pinholes in my condom supply.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ich Bin Ein Donut.

A few months ago, given my horrid work environment and the sorry state of my bank account, not to mention the completely hopeless state of dating in SoCal, I received an offer of marriage from the Berliner cousin of my ex. It was to be a marriage of convenience, exchanging citizenships and halving living expenses. We'd met in 2005 in Spain, my ex's native country, and had absolutely adored each other. (I love a gay man with an IQ as high as mine; what can I say?) I was in the mood for adventure--when am I not?--and immediately began plotting ways to get to Europe. I announced my grand plan and every single person I know told me I would die of cold in Berlin. I was ready to risk death at that point, since it seemed a kinder, gentler alternative to my job and to the prospect of dating nothing but cheap, shallow 40 year old adolescents the rest of my life. To help convince myself that my move was the most interesting (if not the wisest) choice for me, I wrote the following piece. While it is not about SoCal per se, it could only have come out of my SoCal experience.

I loved the man in Chicago who wanted kids, and that was never going to work out. After I moved to San Diego, I dated around, and that was never going to work out. I gave up on love, and that was never going to work out. I fell in love by accident, and that was the worst of all. So I tried to think of a place I could hide from love, from even the possibility of love, a place love as I knew it could never exist, nor could even its absence.

Germany! Of course. Land where '"Order Is Right."

Love has no order, therefore it must not live at all in Germany. The chaos of brokenheartedness, the neurotic dullness of denying love's existence, the emotions all must somehow come to peace in Germany.

Clearly the language has a lot to do with it. "Ich liebe dich" sounds more like the command for an execution than a term of endearment. Which, if I allow some poetic license, is exactly what it is. I wanted not to shoot love, kneeling, through the back of its skull, but to wipe my mind clean of the very concept of it. What better way than by speaking of it in a language I had always detested? What better way than by giving the very word itself the sound of a Luger, a Schnauzer, a weinerschnitzel? What better way than by replacing intimacy with images of fetish-crazed latex-clad hausfraus? What better way than by uttering the word as it was uttered by SS officers, gypsy-fag-Jew killers?

By scouring the word from my tongue, I hoped the feeling would be scoured from me, too. I made myself only one rule when leaving for Berlin: I must never again read Goethe or Rilke. From then on, it would have to be either Nietzsche, Mein Kampf, or guides to anal-fist-friendly German discos. The project to erase love from my world would take a new level of dedication.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Where Have All the (Boomer) Hippies Gone?

Where have all the Boomers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the Boomers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the Boomers gone?
Corporate lackeys every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all their values gone?
Long time passing
Where have all their values gone?
Long time ago
Where have all their values gone?
Sold their souls out every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all their reforms gone?
Long time passing
Where have all their reforms gone?
Long time ago
Where have all their reforms gone?
Lobbied for profits every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all their children gone?
Long time passing
Where have all their children gone?
Long time ago
Where have all their children gone?
Fat and spoiled every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the protests gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the protests gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the protests gone?
Blood-funded shout-downs every one
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?