Archive for March, 2006
The poor little house next door. All it wants is a nice relationship, someone to settle down with and celebrate the passing of the years. I’ve seen them come and I’ve seen them go, and she gives her heart to them all. And what is the first thing each and every one of them does to her?
They ask her to change.
The retired couple from Haverhill has been down these last couple of months on weekends, ever since they took down the For Sale sign and Mr and Mrs Crackhead finally vacated the premises along with Crackhead Junior. That family never had to worry about Halloween costumes, I tell you. Scary like Richard Scarry.
The new owners have been messing about in the yard most Saturdays, doing reassuring little bits of yardwork. When I met them they told me all about how they are going to replace the rotted out fence that bounds our two properties, to which I said “thank you.” The squirrels, who by now have a thriving, upscale coop in the rotted out boards of this fence, they may have a less favorable reaction.
Then they hired some nice young contracters to do some interior decorating, and they seem to be very dedicated workers, as their pick up trucks are often parked in front of the unoccupied house most of the night on weeknights. They also like to listen to music as they work. And be visited by lots of pretty girls. Those worker people are never around when the couple from Haverhill come down for the weekend, though. I wonder why not.
Now they seem to be getting serious, because they have called in the mini backhoe. Mini backhoes usually mean a new septic system is going in, but Les Crackheadistes did that two years ago, so it can’t be that. They’re doing something around the back of the house, which unfortunately means they have driven the backhoe back and forth along the side of the house more than once, right through all the nice little forsythias.
Well, what can you do.
But have I told you about my bulbs yet?
Last fall I planted about a hundred bulbs of various spring flowers: tulips, daffodils, grape hyacinth, crocus, and one more, I can’t remember. Well, get this, true story — this gardening stuff actually works!
I have large feet. Officially they are US size nines, UK size 40-ish. Add to that the high arches and unladylike width of my feet, and let’s just say I am solidly rooted. Well grounded. Earth-bound.
The other thing that needs to be established is that I grew up poor. My parents’ divorce when I was 8 came at a bad time for us financially: Mom was changing careers, so she was in school full-time with no income; Dad wasn’t so hip to paying alimony at first, and didn’t exactly have deep pockets to begin with; the house needed a new roof; I needed braces; and so on.
To make matters worse, it was 1979. Even if we had had the money for nice clothes, nice clothes had been pretty much outlawed some years before. So I was stuck wearing hand-me-downs from the snotty family across the street — that’s right, I actually had to show up at the bus stop we shared with those kids wearing their old ratty clothes. Nice. We are so totally not scarred by that experience, but thanks for asking anyway, that was sweet of you.
In sixth grade all I had for school clothes were three different pairs of plaid bell bottom jeans (this was 1982 now, try to keep up) and a bunch of old KISS t-shirts that I totally should have held on to. Everyone else in my grade had already moved well on to the preppy look; you were pretty much covered with some levis, a couple of pink and blue oxfords, some webby belts with anchors or whales on them, and topsiders. That’s right, the whole freaking school was dressed like Judge Smails.
Except for me, specializing in keepin’ the 70s alive.
So even though I am all grownzed up now and can buy snappy clothes for myself, I have some issues. One of them involves feeling extreme guilt over the price of shoes. There’s still a bitter little sixth grader inside me who knows that all she’s going to get this year is another pair of sensible hush puppy lace-ups in brown that are supposed to last the whole goddamn school year.
When we need to wear nice black flats to the middle school concert, we will run out to Fayva Discount Shoes an hour before curtain time and pray they have our size. Oh, and we will make an extra stop at CVS for some black opaque tights because Mom doesn’t think we are old enough for nylons yet and we don’t normally sport fashionable legwear under our plaid bell bottoms, do we?
I am also somewhat self-conscious of my large feet, because I always feel somewhat Amazonian to begin with, and my feet just kind of seal the deal. So even when I can justify the expense of nice shoes, I tend to believe — stubbornly, and without thorough investigation — that they only make pretty shoes for pretty pretty little girls, not big old farmhands like me.
So when adorable Nita drove out this morning to give — GIVE!!! — me about 30 pairs of her beautiful shoes to me — IN MY SIZE!!! — I was more than amazed and grateful. I was — am — blown away. I am honestly having a very hard time processing how many pretty pairs of shoes I now own.
Not only do some of them say tantalizing words on them like “Ferragamo” and “Nine West.” Not only are many of them recent fashions, and snappy, marvelous, kickass work shoes. Loads and loads of them are just for fun shoes.
You have no idea.
For what earthly reason could I possibly need a pair of Italian bowling shoes?
Who needs a pair of furry, zebra-striped mules?
Will I ever have an urgent need for a pair of polkadotted slides?
And those gold lame ballet slippers?
Honey, I am not taking those mutherfuckers off all night.
Tonight, this is what beauty, what friendship, what thirty or so delayed birthday, Christmas, and back-to-School presents looks like:
I have decided that it is time to buy my ass some motherfecking clothes. I am honest enough with myself to know that I am not embarking on some great odyssey to make my wardrobe anew — today’s little jaunt is more than likely to yield nothing but a few more pairs of black pants, a couple more black hoodies, and maybe a couple of v-neck t-shirts. Probably black.
I will, of course, be surrounded by racks and racks of clothes whose colors shout spring! dammit! but I do not like pastels! dammit! so I will continue to buy black no matter what the calendar says.
I was at a thing yesterday morning — a great enormous awards ceremony for local worthy folks, and what with half the room wearing red, to signify their undying allegiance to Team Red Cross, and the other half wearing green to signify their intention to get blistering drunk later in the day, I was just about the only person there who didn’t resemble a walking talking christmas decoration.
What is it with people wearing holiday-themed colors and costumes? The ladies who wear cardigans with embroidered turkeys in November, or pumpkin earrings in October? Or even occupation-themed clothing, like that lady I saw last week wearing a teacher-themed sweater, with some ABCs and an apple and a paint brush and shit on it. What the hell?
I’ve always theorized that most of the people who wear such themed garb are in fact teachers, who are mired in a work life of theme groupings, block scheduling, and yearly ritual that go beyond even my requirements for annual cyclic ritual.
I realize that we all wear uniforms of one sort or another, that we have a deep-seated need to advertise our social class, sexual availability, and political leanings in our dress. To a certain extent we are supposed to become more subtle about it as we grow older, but are the ladies who lunch in Coldwater-Creek-sanctioned ensembles really being any less subtle than the swarms of goth teens who still roam the countryside in their home dye jobs, over-wide trousers, and black eyeliner?
I tend toward the all black ensemble because first of all it is easy to match. Not all shades of black match, but many do. Also, I honestly feel like I lose a little dignity with each layer of a brighter shade I put on. A lovely deep crimson v-neck t-shirt under a black hoodie and over some flowy black pants is just about the right amount of color. Any more than that I feel like I am in An Outfit. I Hate Outfits.
The unremitting blackness of my wardrobe doesn’t so much announce my dedication to the downtrodden man as it does my abhorrence for doing laundry. I don’t have laundry machines in my house, sadly, and laundromats can blow me. And what they say about black shirts, they never get dirty, the longer you wear them, the blacker they get, is true. You just have to brush the cat hairs off once in a while.
Now that I have started my day off by likening myself unto Johnny Cash, though, I am going to have to fight extra hard not to buy those black cowboy boots I’ve got my eye on. I have to hold off on that particular purchase because my darling nita is about to send me a whole bunch of shoes and boots that will no doubt jolt my current wardrobe out of its funereal funk, as I gather she favors sparkly tiaras and gold lame flats. This is going to rule.
You know, sometimes I think that I just don’t show the internet just how retarded I am quite often enough. To take the tiniest of steps in rectifying that situation, allow me to show you what I just bought online:
Observant readers already know that one of my most singluar pleasures is to curl up with a few modest piles of thai food and watch me some Sherlock Holmes. It’s one of the only things I watch on TV that isn’t true. Most of the TV I watch is documentary, sports, or some sort of dopey travel show — no sitcoms, or series of any kind, unless it’s on PBS.
But I am a moron for all the Mystery! shows, including the Adam Dalgliesh series, the Inspector Lynley series, and pretty much anything they want to slap up there after the Gorey introduction animation. Geek.
So when I saw this pendant on Etsy I had to consume it immediately (narm, narm, narm). In a feeble effort to distract myself from my geekdom, I found and purchased two other pendants with somewhat more artistic value, less of the I-stalk-dead-British-actors vibe.
The first one I fell in love with was this:
Blurry, I know. But I just can’t be bothered right now.
Then I saw this beauty:
…and immediately felt compelled to unload some more cash…
…which apparently endeared me so much to the seller that she threw this one in for free:
So I guess I have my neck-related accessories pretty much covered for the time being. How very nice for me.
What else makes me retarded? Well, how about that time today that I was driving around during my lunch hour, rocking out as usual in my car, and happened to make eye contact with a cop alongside me JUST as I was completing a most excellent air drum flourish of metal proportions.
Drive on, I said to myself.
And so I did.