Saturday, June 09, 2012

Redux: I'm About To Say Something Unthinkable

       Or, if not the entirely unthinkable, then certainly the ill-advised.  I am about to blog on no sleep.  None.  I got up at 8:30 am Monday morning, and haven't slept since.  But enough about me.  Let's talk about -- and mock, denegrate and otherwise deride -- others in my general vicinity. 
       This would include the lady who has let everyone, BUT EVERYONE, know she's pregnant by telling us how the smells of our coffee/cinnamon buns/banana nut muffins/chewing gum bother her.  Because she's pregnant.  In case you hadn't heard her the first four times she made the point.  So, could we please either discard our food or go sit somewhere else, so she doesn't feel sick.  Because she's pregnant.
        I'm becoming increasingly alarmed at the number of women in the world who actually think that being pregnant means something to the rest of us.  Let me clarify.  It doesn't.  Hey, I wish you well.  If you want advice, I'll gladly share my experience with you.  I'll even look at your ultrasound photo, at least for a bit.
        But if you think for one hot second I'm even remotely impressed by your pregnancy, you have landed on the wrong redhead.  To me, you're just another dame who got herself knocked up, so quit acting like it makes you somebody.  Women have been doing it since our Australopithecus mother, Lucy.  And she didn't have ovulation predictor kits and basal thermometers.  She did it the old-fashioned way.
      American women behave as if Betsy Ross stitched motherhood together from the scraps of the first flag.  Who does it better than we do?  Who wants it more than we do?  Who knows more, cares more, tries harder?  Why, we do, of course, because we're Americans, and we invented every fucking thing. 
     So it only seems reasonable that when some twenty-something sweet young thing decides she's going to take time out of her busy insider trading-and-pilates schedule long enough to reproduce, we should be more than willing to forsake our coffee and banana nut muffins for her convenience, even though we don't know her from Adam's housecat.
      You know what, sister?  The ladies' room is right over there.  Why don't you high-tail it in there so you don't get sick on the carpet?  Because if you try and use your microscopic little embryo to manipulate me again, I'm going to take this banana muffin and shove it some place with which your as-yet-to-be-hired doula will become intimately acquainted in about eight months. 
     See?  What'd I tell you?  Ill-advised.
     On the upside, the TSA and American Airlines staff has been stellar this morning, and I want to marry them and have their babies.
     Talk to you guys later.  We're boarding soon.

(Originally published on MySpace in 2008, on the day I was leaving for a vacation with my BFF, Kim, in North Carolina, I sadly had to fly coach while sleep deprived, thereby forcing me to tolerate... people... other people... I did not know... like... strangers. This was the resultant blog.  The one thing about sleep deprivation is this. It is my pentathol.  I cannot lie exhausted. So here's what I really, really think about certain types of women who manage to experience the solitary miracle of pregnancy.)


I finally broke out my copy of Brian Kiteley's The 3. AM Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises That Transform Your Fiction and decided to start doing some exercises to get the creative juices flowing. I kind of meditated on it, opened my mind a bit, gave up resistance, and this is what came of it. I wrote it at the sushi restaurant over some of the weirdest, yet most delicious sushi I've ever eaten---and now, I'm going to reward myself by finishing it. (The sushi, that is.)

The exercise, called Reluctance, challenges the writer to write a fragment of fiction from the first person POV, but limits the usage of personal and personal possessive pronouns to only two in the entire story---the point of which is to encourage the fictive voice to merely be a first-person observer without insinuating him/herself into the story except as an observer and reporter.
I’m sitting two tables away from them, close enough to overhear their conversation, but not so close as to be overly conspicuous as an eavesdropper. She knows they’re being watched, but he has no idea. She is utterly self-aware and conscious of the impression she gives. Every one of her moves is intentional and studied. He, on the other hand, has no thought for anything past their table.

As they talk, she tosses her hair once or twice in a grand gesture, in case some foolish person is too involved with their buffalo wing starter to notice she’s there. After the long, impossibly shiny hair settles back into place, her chin drops and her mouth slides into a wet-lipped seductive little bow. She seems to be quite focused on him, but she is also regarding the audience in her periphery.

She is quite beautiful. No doubt this is what drew him to her in the first place. Like most very beautiful women, though, much of her energy seems to be drawn from the outside in. This display between them tonight is not new to her. She is accustomed to luring, to drawing attention, both wanted and unwanted, to herself. She’s probably been at this since she was a young teen, and has had years to cultivate and hone her skills at commanding the room---any room. People must look. They will have no choice. It is expected, required. It is part of her seduction of the world at large.

However, at their little table, there is no seduction going on---at least no obvious one. In fact, they are quarreling, these two lovers. They speak mostly in low, tense whispers, hers a bit more stagey and audible than his. She has made him jealous, it seems, by flirting inappropriately with someone. Foolish boy. Does he not know this is just her way? Does he not comprehend the rare, fragile creature with whom he has become entangled? She can no more stop her wooing, her flirtatious luring, than she could the beating of her own heart. She might not sleep with them. But she must draw them to her; she must entice and seduce them, at least emotionally, just to reassure herself that she can. If he does not see this, he will lose her. Already, in the middle of this little café, at their tiny table, as the waiter sets down their meals and they momentarily hush their contretemps, she has taken time out to clandestinely seduce the entire room with another small toss of her glossy caramel mane, her flashing eyes, and her sotto voce self-defense.

“Look at me,” she says with every bewitching molecule of that flawless body. “See how he punishes me? See how he victimizes me for the very thing that brought him to me?" 

And, in this at least, she is right, of course. He has failed to see the essential truth of her. Beauty is not a thing about her. It is her. It is not skin-deep in this one. It is woven in the strands of her DNA, lodged in every corpuscle that bursts through her veins. That perfect skin, those finely chiseled features, the delicacy of her small, full-lipped mouth---all were brought together by some alchemic force during the prenatal division of her cells to create this vision of womanly perfection.

If he does not see this soon, if he does not accustom himself to her innate caprice and exhibitionism and learn to accept the essence of her, he will certainly have to lose her. She will tire of his efforts to turn her from goddess to ordinary woman, and she will move on to the next conquest, until she finds a man who can handle her by keeping her attention while allowing her to be what her nature dictates she be---the object of unattainable, unpossessable sexual desire.

They are through with their meal, neither of their plates having been touched by fork. He sullenly throws money on their table for the bill, and she dabs softly at the corner of her eye with the cloth napkin. Are her tears real? Even from this short distance, it is difficult to say.

As they leave, in his anger, he strides ahead of her, allowing her to fall a few paces behind. Another mistake on his part, for this gives her one last chance to work the room before she leaves, to leave one last taste on the tongue of all the desirous males who watch her with an idea that she might be theirs, and, should such a miracle occur, they would certainly know how to treat her better than this handsome, petulant boy. This last she does with a sensual expertise that says that she may soon be available, that she is willing, that for the price of some tenderness and understanding, she will gladly give of herself. Her smoothness and facility in accomplishing this last bit of intrigue would make even Aphrodite blush.

As the door closes behind her and she is on the street with her silly young lover, their fate as a couple seems all but sealed. She will leave him, of course, and soon. He will almost certainly be completely undone by their ending, unable to hold his goddess and incapable of returning to the world of merely mortal women.

Her fate, on the other hand, could take one of many paths, some exalted, and some tragic. I am left alone over this now-cold entree to wonder where the trajectory of her perfect beauty will finally transport her.