Wednesday, July 27, 2011

100 Words: The Mall

They walk around with excitement—in a place they have been to more than once. It continues to feel new with every visit: bright lights, glass doors, display of fabrics, aromas and accessories; every aspect, every corner, captivating their senses.

Mindless machines conforming and contributing to the capitalistic condition of our system. The cologne attracts them. The bright colors bring them through the door. The concept of something “new” causes a capitulation of souls and wallets.

We walk, we stare, we eat from the Chinese buffet, and we walk quickly past the kiosks. We will not become the next victims.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Tour



I scratch behind her ears, and she knows exactly what to do: her eyes tightly shut and one leg precariously in the air. I love that dog. I walk out of the bedroom door and I find the hallway smells of milk bones and laundry detergent. An odd smell, but one to which I am accustom. All three dogs find our hallway familiar; I press on.

The house is built a bit oddly, but not for this southern suburban area--everything looks the same, no surprises and nothing fun--a split-level separated by floors whose stairs are divided by an entryway wide enough for two people to stand comfortably together, if the comfort was a goodnight kiss before the break and good-bye. Otherwise, company would have to be escorted straight up the stairs before it becomes too awkward. The stairs, fortunately, are the perfect space and width--not too deep, enough space for a large foot to be planted firmly to lift one up onto the next floor against gravity's wishes.

The living room has to be constantly cleaned, due to the amount of dust, dirt and Georgia red clay left ingrained in the carpet. The walls are painted a warm blue--or so says the paint bucket--we covered the traditional off-white a few years back when our non-traditional new wife entered our home. (She also managed to take the turkey out of my Thanksgiving and monthly wish for meatloaf, but we like the same books and can get along well enough.) The room is dark during the day. And while I prefer a more open space with light and life, we have our reasons. Our house gets little coverage from the sun; if we had not blocked off our rooms like a mausoleum, we would all be baked. And as Climate Change would prefer it, it probably is a bit more green not using as much electricity anyway. We do not recycle, but we do not like spending money if we can help it here.

The room is full of odds and ends--a couch and a chair for sitting or dropping off the towels from the laundry, an entertainment center full of discs of all tastes, video games growing dusty and a large television for enjoyment and pleasure not found in our day-to-day life. It is a window to a world we would like to visit, but probably not live. It often shows programs of models, cakes, the Upper East Side, and cartoons of a more adult humor, but not necessarily mature.

The fireplace goes untouched 10 months out of the year. One dog always rests quietly in her bed there, unless begging for food or attention. She is stubborn and strong. When the fire is lit, she investigates, her skin welcoming the warmth during the cold months when her short hair is not enough. Across the room, against my parents' bedroom door, the larger dog lays snoring louder than my father. When the door is open, he is sleeping inside their shower--an odd habit he began doing when he was just a puppy and ten times smaller than his current size. Right now, there is a fan that never goes off, plugged into the wall, and I am resting in the armchair enjoying having the house to myself, for once. Usually the amount of footwork our floors experience is daunting.

The kitchen lay just behind me. There are two columns that sit on either side of the front of the room, with which my mother fell in love. It was one of the main reasons she convinced my father this had to be the house we move into during the next stage of our lives as a whole family. Now that it is broken--and our new state of being something more akin to fractionally healed--it sometimes does not feel right being here. I am quite wrapped up in the idea of "chapters" in a life. Summer makes me realize, I have my finger on the next page, but I keep hesitating to continue with the story; I am still unsure why. The area is taken up mostly by the dark wooden table that seats us all comfortably and sits up high enough to keep the food from the begging pests we house. The hutch full of china I do not recognize takes up even more. Deeper into the kitchen is where one can find me--by the pantry, the stove and the refrigerator. If I am not cooking, I am hunting for leftovers and processed foods to destroy my system. I am hungry almost every hour or so. I am the usual reason for needing to go grocery shopping by the end of the week. The walls in the kitchen are also painted a bright green that I love. If someone were to ask me what we were covering up in there, I would not be able to tell. I rarely remember a lot from our past life. Back before the green, I barely spent any time in the kitchen--I was mostly locked up in my room pushing aside all feelings and everyone.

Our third dog is the same one of whom had the scratch-able ear. She spends most of her time following me around the house. If I am in the armchair, or in the kitchen, she will sleep on the flooring between both rooms. If I am in my room or on the couch, she will cuddle up against the nearest wall to our hallway. She is attached, and I do not mind it.

The house has been through many aesthetic changes whether it be the walls or the way the couch faces the room. I suppose that is my family's way of turning to the next chapter. For me, I am ready for something more. Even if it is just across town. I suppose this is part of growing up and wanting to experience life. I have to remind myself, though, nothing will ever compare to the comfort of home and the supply of food provided here. We may not always get along, and I may beg for a reprieve and a place to runaway, but I will never complain about having somewhere to be comfortable--even if I desire more. I am more than just lucky, I am blessed.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Potty-Mouthed Club



I walked down the usual stairs to find all three girls chatting about the usual and just as inconsequentially ecstatic as one can possibly be on an exhausting Sunday afternoon. The agenda was to celebrate a birthday, but, even more important than that, spend time together being girls. They are a bit older now, as am I (though I rank as the oldest by 3-7 years), but relating to one another, on some level, has never been a challenge. No matter the age of the woman, they will still complain about the same generalities and unfairness, they just might be more eloquent in their ability to express exactly what it is they hate and how much they hate it. Of course, with us, no matter how eloquent we might be in academic-face, it soon becomes lost and anything but eloquent in the way we squawk.

The ideas are all there, organized for proper communication; instead we giggle and speak at the same time, incoherently jabbering about men--big or small--school and our families. If the women of The View were a bit more relaxed, and possibly drunk, our display and their show might be frighteningly similar. But I will never understand why anyone would want to spend time watching The View whether the panel are sloshed or the viewer--it is terrible no matter the climate.

I had always wanted to be open and uncensored with these girls, but now that I could, it felt misplaced and almost too crude for comfort. I now understand why my educators would shake their heads at the language we used in the halls during my days in high school. None of it was ever fitting--we abused language as though it were a rite of passage, and one no one could take away from any of us. We had stopped believing in fairy tales, we knew our parents were paying us for every tooth we yanked out of our mouths (a disgusting form of selling our bodies for financial support, if anyone were to ask me--though no one does), and we wanted the high of being naughty without the consequences of anything severe.

It is the sensation one experiences upon their first taste of a curse--sweet like the forbidden fruit, but one that only felt forbidden because of what Mommy and Daddy said. It was something adults did, and when one reaches the incredibly awkward stage of teenager-hood, all one has are their insecurities and futile ways to prove themselves as adults to the older men and women who will never understand them.

With a mother who cringes at informalities, whether genuinely friendly or brazenly hostile, it is no wonder my younger friend would rather throw religious-caution to the wind and say, "To Hell with censorship!" She took quite kindly to the idea of "bitch" being a term of endearment, and the word "fuck" just another way to bare rebellion against her mother in the most repulsive of manners. These loaded terms are weapons against their imprisonment--one of which they will blame on their parents and that thing they are made to call a "home," but will later discover what they really hated, was the cruel joke life had been holding against them: their shameful hormones. No matter how hard parents may try, everything they are taught, a child will firmly oppose until life lends them too much disappointment and not enough love and self-taught wisdom. Experience does little for treating a yearning mind when the experience itself is just as small as the child living it.

And while my idea of a "fucking good time" and theirs are highly different, we are in the golden years of our lives, and they are living their lives with hands cradling the edge and peering over curiously, but with the fear of actually toppling down. I am just here to monitor their abuse of pizza, Cola and make sure they only like the idea behind using the word "fuck" and not the action that actually lies behind the term--I have to be a mindful friend and one willing to give advice.
"[I] am the oldest, after all." I have the most life experience out of all of them.

And like a drunk Joy Behar, the idea that I am their eyes and ears for what is outside of this town, is a frightening thought--maybe someone who refuses to encourage their intake altogether would be more suitable. And before all hope is lost, I will say, hopefully their earthly-savior will arrive before they come to the daunting realization that Kesha is not the perfect role-model for how to live a disease-free, Puritanical life like Mommy wants.