Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"What is Victory for a Cat on a Hot Tin Roof?"

Among the myriad advantages to living at home (e.g. a free place to live; utilities, cell phone, etc. paid for; the new flat panel TV ...), there are other odd perks. Speaking as one who is fond of both antiques and pretty things, the fact that my mother was an avid shopper and my father cheated on her for 30 or so years provides its own unique advantage. We come from the old Southern tradition - the one where wives looked the other way when husbands stepped out, and accepted - for their ambivalence - a fur coat and the occasional new Cadillac. My mother had a mink, a new Cutlass every two years, and there are seven sets of silver in four different antique cabinets - in the near vicinity of the eight sets of China.

That said, I am drowning my sorrows with vodka in a cut crystal high-ball glass, filled with 2" x 2" cubes from a vintage '50s steel ice tray. The glass weighs more than the bottle of vodka from which I'm filling it.

the Czarina, her husband and I crawled into bed again last night - it was "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," and Maggie the Cat was my spirit animal. I had the urge for whiskey and the desire to enjoy a rainstorm on a Southern night in a deep, dark, Bible Belt evening ...

(lynching notwithstanding, of course ...)

I experienced a little Blanche DuBois-esque breakdown of my very own just the other day. It was a dark and stormy night - actually, just cold and oddly clear; I was wearing virgin wool and thinking unimaginably dirty things about the tall, thin, bespectacled guy who occasionally wanders into Web House ... and sitting with my darling lazy-eyed friend, the one with the Joan Crawford car who can suck his own dick and is celebrating turning 30 by shooting a porno (while claiming to be 29 still), when shit went down.

It was not only bad enough that the guy I'm seeing walked into the bar without saying hi or otherwise acknowledging my presence; I am not so easily undone. No, I was actually undone by a coat. It was a cheap coat, something simple of an indeterminate fabric, black and white - checked - a coat my mother wore every cool day and winter evening throughout my childhood. At first, I just thought it was familiar ... and then I saw the stain on the left pocket, and the torn lining - something my mother always intended to fix, but never did. There was a hipster where a 5'7" black woman should be - a slight woman, very pale, with that odd, bi-level cut / color thing ... with bleached blond hair on top and chocolate brown hair on the bottom, layered, blended and falling to mid-back.

I thought she seemed out-of-place, in the coat and the world at-large. I suppose I would think that of anyone in my mother's clothes. I never caught her name, nor did it matter. As an avid vintage and thrift store shopper, I cannot fault her for the coat - although I shudder at the thought that she was wearing it ironically, as hipsters tend to do.

My father came into my room earlier, as he is want to do; he made mention of several things - large and small, tedious and mind-numbing, and then he reminded me of March 13th. Not far from the Ides of March, March 13th was my mother's birthday. She'd be 92 this year, and I neither forgot nor remembered the day. It seems odd to run into such an obvious reminder of her so close to her birthday; it was just two days ago now that I saw the hipster in the black checked coat, two days after Mom's birthday.

I find myself saying / thinking, once again, how odd it is that - although in many ways I still feel like a child, or at least a petulant teen - I can say that something happened 20 years ago and know that I was alive and aware and living in it all that many years ago. 20 years ago I wrote my mother's obituary; I planned a funeral and couldn't cry because it had yet sunk in that my whole world was in that coffin. I saw only another decade of ennui before me - living with my father's cooking and my unending loneliness.

Did I mention that my probation officer is a little person? She is less than three feet tall, and rather stacked for a short woman. She rides about on a Rascal (motorized cart), her badge affixed to the basket in the front. I must say I was a bit taken aback, but I am a good Southern belle and find that one should always put a brave face (and a fifth of whiskey) to whatever challenges life might offer up. In truth, the little person I met the other day is not my probation officer; rather, she was covering for my probation officer - who, on a side note, resembles Kathleen Turner's "V. I. Warshawski" - a terrible film, but a really impressive woman.

I do have the sense that my P.O. could kick in my teeth and not muss her bangs. She has a curling iron and a can of hair spray sitting on her window ledge, a detail I find odd given how butch she appears to be ... but then the midget I met with the other day had a back-up battery, a can of soup, and a picture of the Pope (Jon Paul II) on her desk; what we do with our individual offices is not necessarily in keeping with one's level of butch ... or ability to walk.

Is it wrong that when I encountered the midget P.O. I thought not of "Little People, Big World" but rather the porn star, "Bridget the Midget"? If you have neither seen nor heard of her, you must go immediately to Wikkipedia (she does have a page, of course). It bears saying that for a little girl, she can do quite a lot - and yes, as a black man, I observe that we are indeed all that big. In any case, I somehow doubt that the Midget P.O. - papal decorations and all - is a gang-bang slut who does anal like I watch TV - without thought or much interest.

Speaking of anal cum sluts, I think I managed to oust the Frenemy (again). I have very little interest in his company, and even less in his opinions, and it seems that that point finally came through. The other day, when the Auto-Fellater and I were gassing up at a nearby station, Steven stopped by to chat at us. I was neither in the mood for or tolerant of his company, and it was short work dismissing him. I ordered him away, and his unwillingness to be embarrassed in front of someone he might try to seduce drove him away. He has not called or emailed since then, and I find it refreshing.

Given the name, the Frenemy, it should come as no surprise that Steven often endeavors to undercut or otherwise insult me, but some of his recent actions / statements proved too much. It is not enough that he stole from me the first guy I ever dated - carried on with him behind my back, and moved in after only seeing each other for 2 weeks; it is not enough that he threw me out of his house because he wanted to be alone with the diseased hooker on whom he heaped his affections; not enough that he speaks down to me and brags about his frequent and constant sexual exploits; he is also attempting to undermine my relationship(s) with several people, including Erik (an old friend and minor love interest), Tom, and the Czarina.

When I mentioned, that fateful night with the coat and the meltdown, that I had a date, the Frenemy's bemused incredulity was at-once patronizing and pissing me off. Of course, the problem with patronizing statements is that they bear a burden of truth. I say that I hate to hear, "Oh don't worry, your time will come ..." whether regarding a job or my love life, it is just the height of crap to hear that wretched bone thrown out yet again.

For better or worse (and it surely seems to be bad), Steven is dating. In addition to his sexual meandering, the Frenemy has taken to trying to find true love - by way of a 26" waist, a short, thin, mildly girly 20-something, and a lot of hickeys. While I am still struggling to find a regular friend with benefits, and the holy grail of a boyfriend who acknowledges my presence in the room (or, for that matter, existence in general), Steven had 4 dates last weekend. Insult to injury, he called me to plan the dates - endeavoring, obviously, both to rub in that I was date-less while simultaneously taking advantage of my creativity.

I am thankfully immune to his particular brand of clumsy unpleasantness, disinterested in picking up the lonely threads of his negative discourse; I am, however, lonely and in need of a hand down my pants. Something about the nature of the guy I'm seeing and myself - our relationship - leaves me cold.

What a difference a day makes ... 24 little hours ...

If I were in my own home, alone in my old apartment - my much-loved and very missed apartment - I would have that song on, playing low and quiet in the background while I type away these missives and think about how best to approach this new (old) job - scoring tests at Pearson (formerly Harcourt).

It is nearly 3AM. My father's parked his car on the front lawn again, and I am nowhere near sleepy. It is a good night for an open window and some comfortably crawling jazz ... too bad I have neither at my disposal just now.

I find myself in need of repose. I am - to put it simply - overwhelmed and undone these days, barely hanging on to what is clearly a life not-quite-ordinary. That brings me to the movie, and to the line from which I draw the title of this submission. "What is victory for a cat on a hot tin roof?

In Southern: "Just stayin' on, I guess ... for as long as I can." I - my darlin' - am just tryin' to stay on, I guess.


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