I bought a big fake gawdy diamond ring for 59 dollars yesterday. I am visiting Sarasota, Florida and every woman in the Sarasota YMCA classes are sporting real ones, and my God, they’re huge. They’re so huge, they look fake. They look just like mine except mine, being fake, looks real. I wore it to a class this morning. You see girls? …Somebody rich loves me, too! I wear torn clothes and old sneakers and have unruly hair and wrinkles because I am SO loved that I don’t have to worry about it! I didn’t want this ring, it isn’t really me. As you can see, I don’t like ostentatious— but he gave it to me, so what can I do?! Do we think a rich man’s love is worth more than a poor man’s love? Think about it. Let’s say they both love you equally. Let’s say you love them equally. Is it possible that a rich man’s love is worth more because he probably has more options than a poor man? DOES he have more options or less? Does he fear Gold Diggers and is therefore unable to really trust a woman so in truth has less options? Why am I wearing this fake ring?? What am I communicating to myself? That I would feel more worthy if a rich man loved me? Why might that be? I resent wealthy people. They embarrass me. Well, this ring looks good and it feels good, fake or not.
Walking the dog, came upon a corpse. “That ass is black!” said a woman standing by the chain link fence, gazing over at the body. “I say, that ass is black!” The NBC “Turn to 10” news van was parked nearby and the “news woman” in her red satin dress and black spike high heels, ( a size too large) pulled her own shiny white ass out of the van and set up her camera. “Was she naked?” the “newswoman” asked. ” I only know, she got a black ass” replied the bystander. The “newswoman” got on her cell phone. “Well, we’re at the corner of” – she yelled over at me “Where are we?” …”Oh, this is Roosevelt..and what? …well, there’s a church up the street and the body is in the woods…” .. “That’s a parking lot” I told her… “Oh, that’s a parking lot..and there’s a church, and I don’t know the name of the church, let me check on that..” She aimed her camera toward the bushes. She was puffy. A dull blonde with close set eyes. The police were about to pull the body out and take it away, so she aimed straight at the area of interest. The police, as per protocol, held up white sheets to protect the innocence of the newly dead, and the newswoman tried to shift the camera angle to outsmart them. “That ass was black, I tell you..” repeated the bystander… “and I would tell you more but I got a husband who wants his din-din.” I leaned against a chain link fence and watched the sad show. A church parking lot… “They dumped her- I hear she was there for more than four days and that church will be pissed off. The police asked the church if they could cut the fence to get at the body. I saw her ass…she was black as I am.” The whore-like channel 10 newswoman was frustrated by the police barrier. Toddling on her platform spikes, she lumbered in lobster fashion toward a police officer for a potential interview. Cellphone to her ear, she was communicating with The Desk. “I’m trying to find out the specifics, but..” The policeman put up his hand and motioned her away. “but i couldn’t see the body…it was blocked…but… I have first hand information that…it was black.”
The cigarette smoke made its way across the living room and hallway. It somehow managed to float underneath my tightly shut bedroom door. It hit me like mustard gas. My sinus’s started to flow, my head ached, my face ached. Simply a bit of cigarette smoke? Do people still smoke? I went out to ask my friend what was going on. The health conscious pal was sitting at her desk, lit cigarette in an ashtray at her elbow. “Is that a cigarette?” I asked. “Well, yes, I don’t really smoke it, I just keep it here in the tray when I get anxious. I mean, I kind of smoke it but I don’t really inhale it.” Her room was a chemical fog. “Oh” I answered. “Well, I wonder if you could open a window.” “I would, but the windows were painted shut years ago, never been opened since, can’t be opened, no.” “Are you insane?” I asked, politely. “Are you fucking crazy?” I tried to be pleasant. It was her house. “I’ll stop.” she said. “I really can stop. I”m not addicted to the nicotine, just the habit of lighting the cigarette and putting it to my lips.” She sat behind the computer screen in the dark, her face pale as the smoke drifting around the room. This woman, so healthy and bubbly and active during the day, now sunk down low in a chair, in the dark, the glowing raw computer light throbbing across her white skin, the smoke wafting across the screen, like streaks of a gray crayon making twirlies up into her face..a saturation of fumes on furniture and curtains, her clothes, and my clothes, the dogs fur, the rugs, and in such a pretty room with such a pretty woman, dull air burning with benzene, acetone, and various other chemicals.
Trapped behind inoperable windows, I knew that I had suddenly become a zero tolerance cigarette Nazi, and I looked at this fine woman and saw a suicidal, stinking, poison belching addict. With her advancing age, medical propensities and family history she was a good candidate for premature corpse-dom. And then I watched myself take a Valium, pour a glass of wine, and pop an Ambien. It was late. I felt no sleep coming on… not even an open-eyed stare of worry about how I’d feel if she smoked at her desk every day, all day. The dirt dust smell was in my bed sheets and my clothes, my socks, the towels in the bathroom. I had been away from smoke for so long, enough people had quit that you hardly ran into that wall of stink anymore- even in parking lots… then, to suddenly get a full load of it coming through the walls, seeking me out, a dose at every turn…. a frenzy of sneezes…. the tender tingling nasal passages, a metallic nausea creeping up the throat. Dull head, dull brain, burning eyes, from what… a little bit of second hand smoke??? A Virginia Slims Menthol Filter Extra Long?
Is there anything in my life so harmful and yet so addictive that I would willingly exude a continual, poisonous stink and then, when confronted, shrudge and make an excuse? There must be, I just can’t think of anything at the moment, except a fart because there is something about air. Booze doesn’t drift. Pills don’t float toward the ceiling or invade the body of a passer-by. The porous nature of the poison smoke, the dance of the smoke, the way it seems to know its way around, conscious, intelligent. Free to move about the cabin…invisible, smoke enters.
I wanted to post a photo of a grey head, mine particularly, but the site is rejecting photo posts, says they’re not the right something, so I contacted my site administrator and he told me in no uncertain terms that he doesn’t have time for my site anymore, being that I had rejected him as a potential life partner. It’s either partner or payment, right folks? That’s why I would be so happy as a rich woman. I Ideas and career demand a cash cow behind the curtain. For example, Lady Gaga- a random choice, just curious, how did she do it? Googled that she attended one of the most prestigious private high schools in New York City. I rest my case. You connect the dots. Sure you can sleep on a street corner and eat out of a garbage can, or worse, waitress and go to auditions, but I tell you…you’ve got to have dough to go, go, go. It all happens with money, if you have some talent behind it, or even if you don’t. Just like the myth of the self-made man, the self-made successful artist, one step further from the truth. Virginia Woolf tried to say this as politely as she could, “A Room of One’s Own” —- Cash. Rent. Protection. Oh, another one I googled, the woman on Seinfeld. Dreyfus somebody. Okay, she’s cute and talented, but come on. YOU google her. You figure it out for yourself while I figure out how to get a shitload of cash together to propel myself past these subtalents and into the sphere of greatness where I belong. But now I see that greatness, as in commercial success, means compromise and endless cash poured into a questionable return. It’s got to be bottomless. But I’m off topic. Yes, my Grey Enlightment consists of the recognition that money trumps talent, hard work, luck. Money CREATES talent, hard work, luck. location, location, location. But not necessarily. With money I would create my own satillite network, either radio or TV- and blast my blasphemy from here to San Antonio. I wouldn’t need a 3,200 dollar New York Apartment. I remember them. Let’s go over to Suzy’s and see how her cabaret show is going. It seems Suzy lives in a penthouse on fifth Avenue with her 98 year old husband. I don’t meet him. where IS he? SHE, Suzy, has a desk designed in Marie Antoinette style in a room the size of Yankee Stadium. Susy is rehearsing her cabaret show. The finest musicians in New York are at her table attempting to find the right key for her off key voice, who gives a shit, she’s paying them. They are drooling over her boa. Musicians are whores, I love them. Give them some money, they will carry your sorry ass in your saggy tent dress anywhere. You WILL believe that you are a genius. Suzy has no talent. Suzy has a penthouse. Do I want to BE Suzy. Well, maybe. It seems talent and no money leads a person to despair. I am in despair. Despair leads to radical choices. A desperate attempt to catapult past the money angle and try for a publicity stunt on a budget. There it is. Live from Bridport, Vermont. But back to the Grey Enlightenment. Lots of gray hair in Vermont. Dying hair is not acceptable behavior in these parts. Organic naturalistic aging is all the rage. And I must admit that the women look fine in these parts. Beautiful, actually, even in their sensible shoes. I watch us all, the gray brigade- inching towards a complete late life enlightenment, an explosion of self discovery, an acknowledgement that we are not going to take any more shit- POW, the 60’s in reverse. I project that we’ll have love-ins and Ashrams, drugs collected from the Hemlock Society, readying ourselves for the final escape from the mundane funny money Merry go Round- our faces in your face- wrinkled and soured- our bodies, limping and aching, inspired by the pain, – last gaspers – not going down easy- but grey, and finally free to be completely ourselves. What a force! The baby boomers fake everybody out. Slow learners, spoiled goods, snap to attention with one last narcissitic chest beating, bra burning, sex lubed, anti-government, SDS death rattle. Going down in flames. The fires are about to ignite…. cheers!
Hey, now wait a minute. This is fun, although I really wish I had some idea of what I’m doing, but how often do we get to fully do something in life without having to worry about repercussions or lack of finesse? I just like the smell of oil paint and turpentine in my bedroom. I like paint on my clothes and under my fingernails. I can paint my own little world and not worry about the big world. I can paint a picture over and over and over again and make it worse and worse, then take a piece of sandpaper and scrub it all off and start over. Eventually something appeals to me and I leave it alone. I put it on my bureau and look at the painting and it comforts me. It feels like a message from myself to myself. A present. A whimsical side-show. An alternative reality. A photograph of the inside of my brain. The less it looks like something the better. The more awkward, quirked, wrong it is the better. I stand tall next to my lousy paintings. They signify a part of me inside me that I lost track of at age 3. The paintings take me directly back to that me in me and it’s great to have visitation rights, finally.
The cop looked in the dumpster and noticed a picture of his wife. He had just received a complaint from the Olympic Sports store that someone had dumped bags of garbage in their dumpster. That someone was me. I’d cleaned out a few drawers of hometown memories that morning, – high school notebooks, graduation pictures, diplomas, clippings and headed into what I thought was a free-for-all dumpster tucked behind a strip mall. After I threw the bags into the dumpster I took a walk with the dog and when I returned to my car I was met by the policeman and the assistant manager of the Olympic Sports store. Continue reading