Friday, September 24, 2004


I was driving a few cars behind J, intending to meet up with him at the video store parking lot, when the memory vividly popped into my mind's eye. Hands curled menacingly into two claws, face distorted with madness and rage, her mouth making a horrifying hissing noise that reminded me of cats about to tear into each others' flesh, eyes no longer showing any reason. It was feral cat mixed with mania and unpredictability, and the memory felt just as fresh as the day Mom first frightened me with that gesture.

Suddenly I was back there, a pre-teen, standing our apartment's dining room, while my mother menaced me with her claws and her gutteral hissing. The reason for her sudden turn is lost to history, but I suspect that she was feeling threatened by something I asked her to do, or by the voices of the neighbors talking about her through the wall, or perhaps it was the sound of an airplane flying overhead at the wrong time of day, which of course was a signal to those who watched her every move. Whatever it was, it was the first time I remember being truly terrified of her.

She could be very strong when those fits of mania would come upon her, when the fight-or-flight reaction sent adreneline coursing through her crazed veins. I wasn't aware at the time of the science behind her sudden strength, but I knew enough to be worried that I might not be able to defend myself against an attack.

My first instinct was to shout her down. One of the few genetic blessings bestowed upon me was a powerful voice, and my gut reaction was to bellow at her threateningly, because despite the manic strength and the apparent complete loss of all reasoning, I knew that basically, my mother was a coward. Any threat of physical harm would probably take her crazed bravado down a notch, and that was all that was needed.

Lucky for me, the shock of my big mouth letting her know in no uncertain terms that if she tried to hurt me, that I would kick her ass but good, and she'd be very sorry later, had exactly the desired affect. She retracted the claws, moved backwards away from me, and for the first time since the episode began, I saw a tiny trace of fear in her eye. Not that I took any satisfaction in having to threaten my mother and make her afraid of me at that moment, but I wasn't dealing with my mother in the conventional sense. I was a jungle beast, beating at my breast, showing another jungle beast which of us was more dominant. It made me sick to my stomach in a way that I'd never felt before, but which I was destined to feel many times over the next twenty odd years.

I found myself still driving at least a half mile past my turn, not quite sure where I was going for a moment. The vision was only momentary, but it felt like it took several minutes to shake off the weight of all those years ago. I made a u-turn and finally made it to my destination, where J waited for me in his car.

He'd pulled out of the chinese take-out place's parking lot right before me, and saw out of his rear window that a bus came roaring up the road behind him, just missing rear-ending him as he made his left turn. The traffic was bad that night, so he assumed that I'd been stuck trying to make that same turn, and that was what had held me up. I didn't explain right away what happened, because I was still feeling that dull, washed-out cloak of memory hangover, the way I often feel when a ghost of the past pops up unexpectedly with another nasty reverie.

We watched our movie and ate our chinese food, and I snuggled up closely to him all evening, salving my old wounds of fear and insecurity with the warmth of his nearness.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

No EZPASS, But I'm Going Anyway

I'm running around today trying to accomplish 20 things in a 10 thing timeframe, because tomorrow I leave for vacation with my friends. J is the most understanding and reasonable man I know, because I leave him home twice a year for my long weekend vacations with my group of girlfriends, and it doesn't bug him one bit. He's terrific. Of course, I spoil him rotten with pampering and attention the rest of the year, so he doesn't have much to complain about. I don't pat myself on the back very often, but I do have to say that I'm a pretty decent girlfriend.

But enough about how great I am [insert GUFFAW here], on to my laundry list of complaints! Speaking of laundry, my clothes dryer is dead, time of death, 12:30 p.m. EST, and of course there is a load of wet laundry sitting in there in a lump, crying for attention. GREAT. That'll just add to the usual trying to pack without overpacking funtime. The engine light is on in the car again, despite several diagnostic checks at the garage, but the oil, gas and air pressure are all good to go, so dammit, I'm driving on a wing and a prayer. I have a Triple A card and American Express, so I'm feeling brave.

See, none of these petty things are going to stop me, because...We need this vacation. NEED it.

My friends and I have all been through the mill this past year, with family problems that would curl your spine, cancer, other health issues galore, the death of one parent, the usual work problems, etc., etc., and we have had it up to here [indicating spot well above my head, because my friends are all taller than me, and I'm compensating]. Even though the weather forecast for the end of the week bites, I could care less. Lounging around with my girls is the best treatment for this kind of malaise.

So, I won't be around for about a week, but I'll be back with the same general complaints and nonsense soon. Be good to each other.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

It's Not Easy Being Green

It was completely innocent. His mother was just asking for help, trying to remember who had been present during a certain event in his life. But as soon as I heard that name mentioned, I felt myself bristle. "Oh, [name of ex-wife] was there", he answered her. Long pause. "And Rosemary."

Damn it all, I really shouldn't care about her, not even a tiny bit. I shouldn't be upset that she was in his life for a while, between ex-wife and me. It's ridiculous and stupid. She was his transitional woman, ferchristsakes. And yet, my green-eyed monster reared her ugly head again.

It would make a lot more sense if I was upset about his ex-wife. She was the woman who was in his life for the many years they were married, and who is still in his life as a good friend. They talk at least once a week, compare notes about the important issues in their lives, and we socialize with her, with or without her boyfriend, fairly frequently. I know from the comments of several of my girlfriends that the average woman might find this uncomfortable, especially since there are no children forcing the issue of contact. But she and I get along well, and it's been friendly between us since our very first meeting.

That's what is so very puzzling to me. Why should I be completely reasonable and accepting about this woman who has been such an influence on his life, and continues to be such, when the mere mention of this other person makes my jaw tense up and only enhances my TMJ?

Maybe it has to do with the fact that Rosemary and I met while working on a project together, and I found her to be irritating and smug. I'm sure that she has her redeeming qualities, but I was not introduced to them. Instead, she was constantly complaining about being put upon, while in reality she was dropping the ball constantly on tasks that were her responsibility, or making snide remarks about how others were performing their duties. She was unprofessional and inappropriate in several instances, and she was beyond catty about an "office romance" that had sprung up between two other people working on this project, venturing into being mean-spirited and acting jealous. To sum it up, she left a really bad taste in my mouth.

It was while working on this project that I met J. He was brought in at the eleventh hour to help us out with a gaping hole in our plan, and I didn't realize at first that Rosemary and J had once been "an item". He was introduced as a friend of hers, which at the time was technically the truth, since they had broken up the romance but remained friends.

It wasn't until J and I began talking and getting to know one another that the green-eyed monster within Rosemary showed herself. J and I would be having a friendly conversation, when all of a sudden Rosemary would launch into the room, step into the space between J and myself, and start talking to him with her back to me, loudly and very obviously pretending to ignore my presence. As I said to a friend later, why didn't she just claw a piece of bark off of him and pee in the corners? I've never seen such a hostile display of territory marking outside of the feline or canine world. It actually became terribly funny, because she would just maul him pathetically, and he would stand stock still, with a bewildered look on his face. It was bewildering, especially since she had a boyfriend come and visit her at work, and he had been introduced around. What was with all the territory marking?

J and I were at the shy beginning stages of courting, where we would walk out to our cars together and talk for ages, and I finally got up the nerve to ask him what was going on between them, and was I stepping on someone's toes? He explained that it was long over, and that her behavior was puzzling to him, too, so I took that as a clear green light, at least as far as he was concerned. But that didn't mean that I trusted her as far as I could throw her.

And the thing is, these several years down the line, I still don't. I trust J completely, and he has given me no reason to feel this way. And yet, since I don't want to sound like a jealous harpy, I don't ask him if he is still in contact with her. And since I suspect that his ex-wife passed along our conversation about her, wherein we both confessed dislike of Rosemary (she was rude to ex-wife, too), he is probably loathe to bring her up in conversation, even for the most innocent of reasons.

So here we are, me bristling at her mere mention, and him tensing up, probably feeling the tension from me, until the vague odor of her name leaves the room. It's dumb, it's a time-waster, and it's such a non-issue. I truly wonder why it bothers me. But it does.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Weasles Are Tearing At Other Bloggers' Flesh

I am completely disgusted by the rash of people stealing other bloggers' posts and passing them off as their own. If you haven't been caught up in the latest plagiarism scandals as I have, here's a list of places to visit for some interesting reading about it all, in no particular order:

  • Tequila Mockingbird, who was one unfortunate writer whose blog postings were being ripped off first by Bryan Lamb, and then more recently, Caroline Dwyer. (Google them for some more reading on the topic.)

  • Sourbob, writer's champion, crusher of plagiarists planetwide, including the two just mentioned. He's good at it. Don't piss him off.

  • This Fish Needs a Bicycle, another excellent writer getting ripped off. See her post about the three marvels at who can't wrap their tiny minds around the idea that plagiarists are the leeches of the literary world. Bottom feeders. Scum puppies. Okay, that about does it.

Did I mention that these are all exceptional writers that these asshats are stealing from? At least they have great taste. Even if they are little scab lickers. The plagiarists, not the bloggers who wrote the stuff. (Stumble, bumble, grovel, stumble, excuse me while I go to great lengths to be understood in my native language.)

It just makes one stutter and grasp for words, it's so incomprehensible. How pathetic does someone's life have to be that they have to steal other people's life experiences to fill up their blogs?? Amazing, simply jaw-droppingly amazing.

Anyway, this latest rash of word-burglaring has prompted me to add the somewhat hostile note at the bottom of the far right column of blog's main page. It's not meant to be nasty to those who have the kindness to come here and read the dime-store pearls of wisdom dropping from my, er, fingers. But it is meant to put on notice anyone who is trolling for content for their own blog.

Not that I'm trying to say that I'm in the same league as the writers listed above - I wish. But on the off-chance that some little plagiarist is trolling for B material that he/she doesn't think anyone will miss, think again, little troll. Hell hath no fury like a writer scorned. Except, of course, the fury of her lawyer.

Now, has anyone stolen anything of mine? No. But that doesn't mean that this issue doesn't hit home like a sledgehammer. If bloggers sit by and yawn while the work of others is shamelessly taken by these pieces of garbage, well, who exactly will come to your rescue when they steal YOUR work? If we don't stand up for each other, we all fall down alone.

Please go visit This Fish Needs a Bicycle, and support her fight. And I wish the best of luck to all of the bloggers who have found their work poached by others. Those puss oozing weasles. (Sorry, that was a bit over the top. Um, maybe not.)

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