Friday, May 23, 2008

I've Been Drinking Ants for Days

Drinking water must be around me at all times or I get weird. So I have a Brita pitcher in my bedroom in case I’m suddenly struck thirsty.

This morning, I brought the pitcher to the kitchen to refill it. When I opened the lid, there were about 100 ants crawling around. Some dead, some mating, some staring off into the distance, drunk off my water.

 I’ve been drinking ants for days and hadn’t a clue. It made me wonder how many other gross things are happening to me on a daily basis without my knowledge.

One can only ponder how disgusting life really is if looked at closely enough. Seriously, we have mites eating the waxy oil from our eyelashes, thousands of dead skin cells falling off our bodies every minute and don’t even get me started on the belly button, home to about 2,000 species of bacteria.

Researchers can’t even identify the different types of weirdness found in your navel. One person had bacteria previously found only in Japan even though he’s never been…weird, right? And gross. Just plain gross.

I remember as a child finding bugs in my oatmeal. When I informed my overworked mother, she was unconcerned to say the least.

 “Well, eat around them. They’re not going to kill you!”

No, they wouldn’t kill me. Nor would the ant parts I’ve been drinking or the mites eating my eyelash oil or the bizarro shit in my belly button. I rinsed and refilled the pitcher and continued on with my day, nonplussed.

Now let’s say my mother freaked out about those oatmeal crawlers, I probably would have issues eating them. But she didn’t. Thanks to my mother’s brass-tacks guidance, I drink bugs in stride now. What’s the big deal, right?

Parenting is cool like that. If we’re instilled with certain belief, no matter how small or trivial, it sticks to our gray matter and we take it with us to life.

“It adds character,” my mother said when I told her how I hated how one of my canine tooth sticks out slightly. Little did I know that it really meant, “We can’t afford braces so deal.” 
But I ran with the whole character thing and have embraced it ever since. Now I brush that tooth with a little extra special love.

The takeaway? There are gross things out there and we’re all terribly imperfect. If we can embrace our inner grossness and imperfections, self-love will follow. Or at least you won’t throw up in your mouth when you realize how disgusting you truly are.

You go tooth!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Sexual Harassment or Cheap Thrill?

The same two seagulls wake me every morning. It’s a mother/son team. I could set my watch to them, if I owned one. They know the second I open my eyes. Then they let off a series of ear-splitting calls, basically saying, “She’s up. She has food. I want it. Stay away!” It never bothers me. Especially not today.

I went for my echocardiogram yesterday, the first in a series of tests I will have this week on my “beat of a different drummer” heart. I was a bit worried since it's been acting strangely as of late. I rarely go to the doctor, don’t take antibiotics or other medication and self-treat almost every ailment I’ve ever had, which hasn't been many. But I do go to a heart doctor to check my irregular heart every so often.

Anyway, back to the sexual harassment. So the guy performing the echo has the same birthday as me! Same day, same year. Wild. A fellow Scorpio. Always cautiously intrigued by male Scorps. They are very sexual beings and exude it like crazy but overall, kinda snaky.

So I have this pink paper top thingie, open in the middle so he can access my chest easily. He tells me to lie down on my left side and face the wall. He reaches from behind me, with this magic marker-type thing with a metal, rolling head and cold gel on top. He places it right under my left breast and I let out a little squeal and start giggling. I totally forgot that my heart resides behind a breast!

He puts his hand on my right shoulder and says, “Relax.” Sure Scorpio Heart guy. Whatever you say. Echocardiograms – something new to add to my “Strange Things that Turn Me On” list.

He probes his thing under my breast repeatedly, all the while bracing my shoulder with his hand so I don’t move. He tells me to be prepared because I’m about to hear the sound of my beating heart. Ah, poetry.

Well, not really. It sounds gross and sloppy and big and throbbing and…I ask him if he can turn down the stereo. I don’t want to hear this tune but he can’t.

Listening to all the crazy bubbling and gurgling, I assume the worst and share it with my fellow Scorpion.

“It sounds like mitral valve regurgitation. Clearly.”

“What?!” Looks like someone has been playing on the Internet. Roll over on your back.”

Now I have two choices. Hold the little pink thingie just so, that way my breasts aren’t totally exposed. Or just let it all go, man. Go for it. Show off those cute boobs of yours. Do it!

I roll over on my back and let the pink thingie fall away. He looks in my eyes for a second and I look back as if to say, “Yep. You got a live one today. She hasn’t had sex for a while and she’s going to grab her cheap, little thrills where she can get ‘em. Probe away!”

He continues poking and prodding underneath and around my breast. The gurgling big sounds continue to play. I get used to hearing the sound of my heart. I fold my hands behind my head and relax into the whole experience. No, I wasn’t attracted to this guy. But yes, I sure like men touching my breasts. Hence why my gynecologists have been men as well. It’s a two for one deal in my opinion.

When he’s done, we smoke a cigarette…no, we don’t.

He says to me, “My dear, you have a lovely, athletic heart.”

And I almost want to cry.

“I thought so.”

“It’s just a little quirky. You still have to talk to the heart doctor but…you sound fine.”

Hmmm…you’re not a heart doctor? I start comically fantasizing that he’s some man from the psych ward on the 7th floor who put on a white coat and sauntered on in.

“I have really cute breasts, too.” I say.

No, I didn’t. But I wanted to! I was this close, I tell you. This close!

“Pleasure meeting you. Happy birthday.”

“Happy birthday to you.”

Monday, May 05, 2008

Death, Flight and Spalding Gray

I hear a voice, a strange, disembodied voice that says to me:

“I need to be alone with you now.”

This is a dream I had last week. Everything was fine up until I heard that voice. My friend Ruby was dream visiting and we were hanging out in my backyard, talking about any old thing.

Then I heard the voice and I had to move toward it. I told Ruby that I had to go now, that I had no choice. The voice sounded to me like Satan at first - very powerful, very dark, almost enchanting.

Strangely, it didn’t matter what entity spoke these words; I knew that I had absolutely no choice but to go. He was simply too powerful. I wasn’t scared per se. Everything felt very matter of fact about it. It was that “Oh, it’s Thursday. I have to take out the trash” feeling.

As I walked to the front of my house to be with him, I started to dematerialize. I knew that at that moment, I no longer…was. My first thought was not “Farewell, dear life.” My first thought was - flying. I bet I can fly now. Fun with death! So I simply focused my mind and instructed myself to rise.

And I did. I begin to rise, to fly. I’ve done this several times in my dreams and of course, it’s the most thrilling thing ever. Mainly because it feels so disturbingly real. In my waking life, for years, I’ve tried to take flight or move objects with my mind. I figure if I can do either, I will believe fully in magic, in an afterlife, in a god.

Last week, heart doctor said my arrhythmia has changed considerably, that’s he’s a bit concerned. My heart never did the whole “bump, bump” thing. It does it’s own thing. But lately, it makes me cough sometimes and worse; it causes some pain in my chest. Heart doctor asks me if I’ve ever passed out and woke up and didn’t know where I was or how I got there. Desperately wanting to answer him with several pithy responses (“Bitch, please.” “Well, no…not this week.” “Oh, what…you haven’t?” etc.), I opted for a simple “no” because heart doctors aren’t the funniest lot.

I am flying. But you have to maintain it. You have to keep your focus. I keep rising, rising – hundreds of feet, maybe thousands, over my backyard. I look down and see the garden, the swinging chair, the clothesline...

“I need to be alone with you now.”

I begin falling. Quickly. It doesn’t matter, I tell myself. You can’t hit the ground. You don’t exist anymore.

I wake up startled. My heart is racing in its own weird way. I can’t escape the implications of the dream. I try to think of other things it could mean but it’s tough. This dream seems like your average, garden-variety death portendy dream.

I pick up the book next to my bed to ground myself. Spalding Grey. Dead man. Whatever. His book mostly contains little suburban rich white people anecdotes. It’ll be fine.

This is what I turn to:

Then just the other day I had a hopeful fantasy. What if, when we are dying, instead of our breath stopping, it instead shifts from us into the breath of the universe. Yes, I suddenly had a peaceful sense that the whole universe was actually breathing and that at our last breath we can, if we choose, breathe into it and become one with the great swelling and retracting breath of the universe. I felt almost hopeful. I thought that maybe that’s a positive image I can give Forrest [his son] to work with, my fantasy of what is beyond the apparent death of breath.

Then in no time I thought, who really wants to become a part of an eternal egoless universal energy field? It feels too much like spiritual communism. I couldn’t lay that on my son. No, I think, now tired of thinking about it all, all I can do is hold him and say, “We don’t know. It’s a mystery. I love you and everything is going to be alright.”

It’s odd but that voice that says, “Everything is going to be all right,” that’s the one I choke on. I have no problem telling Forrest that I love him, and then when I try to say, “Everything is going to be all right,” I feel so distant from myself, so faraway and down the hall.

Now the late-afternoon stupor is taking me over and I begin to fall into my nodding nap. In my nodding nap the disembodied voice of death enters. This voice is as fearful to me as Chucky the doll is to Forrest, only I can save Forrest from the fear of Chucky, and no one can save me from the fear that this disembodied voice of death engenders in me.

The disembodied voice whispers, “Hello, Spalding, here I am again, just as you are relaxing, to remind you that all that you know and feel and remember will one day disappear forever. Gone, gone forever gone. And all the substance that surrounds you now will cave in like so much sand and sea to fill the place where once were. It will all be as though you never existed."

I toss the book across the room.

“Go to sleep, Beth.”

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Dear Diary

(I saw my friend Amanda this week and she wanted me to post one of her favorite old Thrush TV blogs of mine, so here goes:)

Dear Diary:

I logged onto to some “dating” site a few days ago and promptly found an offer from "two very hot guys willing to satisfy one woman's darkest and wildest fantasies."

So I wrote:

"Yeah, I'll take you up on your offer. When can we satisfy my darkest and wildest fantasies?"

A bit later, I received an email:

"Whoa, not so fast! Let's talk a little first. Get to know one
another. How about all this snow?"

I responded:

"Oh yeah, snow…crazy. When do you think you two can fulfill my darkest and wild fantasies?"

(Now, I realize this all sounds a bit forward but I was actually being pragmatic. The winter was bearing down and I felt the need to store up on sex, much like a squirrel stores nuts. And this way, I’d get twice as many nuts.)

They responded:

"Wow, you're a real take charge gal! LOL. Okay, well, how would you like to do this? Your place or ours?"

"How about your place. Or better yet a hotel. Let's embrace the anonymity of it all. How about this Friday night?"

A few minutes passed by...maybe longer:

"I can do Friday night but not until after 9. I have a business party. Tom can't do Friday night at all because he's getting a root canal that day and doesn't want to be uncomfortable for our "meeting."

This was becoming what is referred to in the industry as a real "buzz kill." Root canal? Uncomfortable? What were we going to talk about next? Fabric softener? Flossing habits? Lactose intolerance?

"Okay, fine. What about Sunday night then? (Saturday night I was planning on...nothing. I just didn't want to look too desperate.)

They responded:

"Well Tom can do Sunday night but there's an Oscar party that night I don't want to miss. Do you like the Oscars? I do."

I took a deep breath before answering:

"Actually, I don't give a rat's ass about the Oscars or Tom’s dumb old root canal. I do care about my darkest and wildest fantasies being fulfilled. And pronto. But its obvious you do not have the showmanship to live up to your promise. I wish no further contact. You're a mad disappointment."

They had the nerve to respond:

"Oh well...your loss."

I answered:

"I think I'll live."

They responded:

"You're a retard."

I responded:

"It takes one to know two."

And that's how it ended. In a blaze of juvenile insults that included the word "retard."

I poured myself a glass of barely respectable wine and sat down on the living room couch and contemplated my situation.

I knew the next time I pursued a sordid sexual experience, it would be with two guys who would never tell me about their dental work. Or their love of the Oscars.

The men who I would meet one imaginary night in a blank and bare hotel room would have missed their mother's funeral for our "meeting."

They would be two strapping, bold and serious men who take their ménage a troises seriously. Is that so much for a girl to ask? For people to take their ménage a troiseses seriously?

It was to be a cold winter after all.