Monday, January 17, 2011

Rambling, Rambling, New Year's to Now



On New Year's Eve I worked all day and wore a gold crown. I like that paper party crowns have not changed in style since the early 1900's, it's a good look and it makes you feel like you live in the Emerald City, which is a way I like to feel and don't get to often enough. After working that long, long, 15 hour day, I came home and wrote an equally long post detailing the entire thing with side bars and footnotes and hoohaws and then deleted it and went to bed for about 12 hours. The post was just as, if not more exhausting than the shift itself and no one who is not getting paid should have to go through that. Work, work, work, champagne blah-blah. That sums it up.
The highlight of my New Year's was after the restaurant was clean and the lights in the dining room were turned low (although the bar was hopping till three in the morning), I took off my crown, took down my hair, and sat on our empty patio with two of my coworkers (who are also two of my favorite people) and we talked and laughed so hard in PTSD hilarity that Lovely and I had to clutch our faces to keep them from falling off our heads.
Lovely has a new boyfriend (who had also worked a double at his restaurant) who was there and I got to hang out with him for the first time. I was watching him closely, because Lovely is my work-wife, my beloved girl, and her last man did not treat her right, but I came to believe that this is a good one and I am so glad. I may be at my best, socially, after I have worked for 15 hours because it's a bit like being drunk. All bets are off! My-give-a-fuck meter is at zero! I am not attached to the results! Being at my best socially is not saying much, I am, as I have said, an Awkward Girl, and I tend to sit on the very edge of my seat and leap up to empty the ashtrays. That night on the patio I was so tired that not only was my hair down, my shoes were off, and I was tucked up curled in the patio chair and I did not get up once to empty an ashtray or refill a drink. I saw their drinks getting low and I said nothing.
At one point, Lovely's date went back to the bar to re-up and she tipsy whispered to me that he was funny, wasn't he? And that he felt like a socially awkward person. Sometimes you get two socially awkward people in a room and conversation just goes to shit and all the air gets sucked out of a party and then it is time to leave. Sometimes the magic happens and the two people (or three, or four, because we're none of us exactly smooth) find that these people are their people and the night opens up and you find yourself making dirty jokes in Irish accents and saying, "Oh Danny Boy, THIS pipe is calling..." and it is exactly right and an old man in a bow tie wanders out with a cocktail in his hand and tells you that you are a beautiful girl. It's amazing what hair down does. It makes men silly. And the gold hoops, Mama, the hoops. Well, anyway, that is what happened.
A week later I was sick. I think the holidays caught up with me and all the long hours at work and doing really the bare minimum of taking care of myself. My heat, for example: It's an old furnace and tricky to turn on. I tried to light the pilot myself and could not. I asked my friend Sanchez to come help me and he tried, really he did, but mostly he tried to play romp with me on my bed, slap me on the ass, and ask for a sandwich. Then he sat and looked beautiful in front of my window as the sun set and we smoked my cigarettes and talked about dirty nuns. After he left I went to Target and bought a space heater and some tampons and thought, "I am really taking care of myself now." A space heater does not an entire apartment heat. Since then on the really cold days I have camped out in the living room while the cat sails her pirate ship around, and bracing myself every time I needed to go to the bathroom or get a change of clothes. I am sure by now that all of my neighbors have seen me naked. It's like it's included in the rent.
I knew that either one of my fathers could probably get the furnace working. I knew that. I also knew that my brother-in-law could do it because he did it last year and the year before, but that was why I was especially not going to call him. I don't want to be a bother. I really really don't. I am loathe to ask for help. I would so much rather make my brain figure it out and make my body somehow do whatever it is I need it to do, and if that means it takes a long time to get the thing done, well, so be it. If that means I have to experience slight discomfort, so be it. I don't mind, generally, I really don't. I am very good at distracting myself from discomfort and so it's not like it's really all that bad, and I get such a charge from doing things myself that it's worth it in the end. Usually. It's amazing what you can do by yourself.
Or if you are sick and cold, you may find yourself passing out in your living room and really trying not to because you have a cup of tea in your hands and you don't want to have to clean up the mess later. Not in your weakened state. Which is of course what happened.
I hadn't been feeling right for a while, but I kept thinking that if I hadn't gotten sick yet I wasn't going to. Then I started coughing, and my temperature rose, and I had to admit defeat and call in sick to work. It was a little like the heater situation. I felt worse and worse, but never actually horrible, not like I was dying, and there was no one around to look at me and tell me I looked awful because when family called to see if I needed anything I said no, no, I have everything that I need. I wasn't bleeding out my eyes or anything. Then came the morning of the dizziness and the world going black like an old TV set switched off and I sat on the floor with my head between my knees and thought, "Well shit. How am I going to drive myself to the damn doctor?" Which is when I sucked it up and called my brother.
There have been a few times in my life when I really have felt like I needed a hero and those are the times I have called my brother and he has always come, and he has always done exactly what was needed to be done.
He left work and came and scooped me up. We went to the doc in the box (who ended up being very nice and told me I wasn't getting enough air because I had Bronchitis, hence the dizziness and I was like Oh Good, Bronchitis! I was afraid I was maybe dying. I thought it was the end of times) and we went to get my prescriptions filled, and we called Mama and she said "Come Here So I Can Take Care Of You." and I said, "Yes, ma'am." So he drove me all the way out to Lloyd where Mama was already making soup and all I had to do was curl up on the couch and pillows and blankets and tea would be brought to me, like I was a little princess, watched over by Mama and deer heads and giant fish.
[An aside: Not only did my brother leave work to come get me and do all this but the whole time we're going through the fun process of doctor and pharmacy and what-all, he's making me laugh and I'm laughing and coughing and laughing and coughing and I'm sure scaring everyone at the doctor's office and the store into thinking that yes, the plague has arrived. But that's Hank. He is funny as shit.]
It was so nice and so cozy at Mama's house. My nephew Owen, Our Boy, came over and brought me flowers and brushed my hair and called me May-May for the first time that I have heard in his perfect little bell-like tiny boy voice. Mama made the best soup I have ever had and that is all I ate for about three days. I felt coddled. I felt loved. I felt safe.
Their drugs were quick and by the next day I was ready to come back home, except... Oh it was so nice to sleep in a warm house and walk freely from warm room to warm room and not shiver and cringe when I had to use the toilet. I had asked my brother for help. I had asked my Mama for help. And so that day I called my Daddy Glen, my tall-man dad and asked him Please, could he come and get my furnace to working? Which he did, and was happy to do so. I told Mama that when I walked in the house the next day and it was so warm it was like Dad's arms were wrapped around my entire apartment, just holding me safe, keeping the warm inside.
I don't know why it is so hard to ask for help. I think I have a fear that once you ask for help people will think you are helpless or weak, and then treat you as such, or not trust you, or not respect you as well. Now as I write this I see that so much of my own identity is tied up in being able to take care of everything alone, being strong and independent, and so perhaps I am afraid that I will think of myself as weak or helpless, that I will lose respect for myself and it really has nothing to do with how others perceive me. I honestly don't know how others perceive me, which is probably a good thing. So if one thing I rely on for self esteem is not really helping me out in the long run, perhaps I need to reevaluate what might be my better qualities.

I have quite nice hair.

My legs are very strong.

I can make jokes in many accents.

This may require more self reflection than I am up to right now. I am on very aggressive steroids and antibiotics. I am not supposed to be doing anything that requires coordination. They may cause dizziness and light-headedness and I am encouraged to avoid operating heavy machinery or driving a car. (I just read that on the label yesterday after having worked brunch and feeling all day like I was serving in a fun house with trick floors and wondering, wondering why I felt like I might fall down at any minute.) Serious self reflection may have to wait until I am well enough to walk to work again, which is the best time for thinking.
Today is my normal day off and it is rainy and gray. I have heat, I have food, I have drugs to make me well. I have sunflowers by my bed. I have everything I need. I believe I may do a lot of sleeping, so the getting better goes by faster, like a car trip in the night when you are a child. So safe, so safe, and when you open your eyes you are there. The world goes by very fast outside those windows, but you don't always have to watch it. Sometimes other people can watch it for you.

24 comments:

Petit fleur said...

May!!!

I'm glad you are feeling better and are all warm and "tuck up" as they say here in Lloyd.

I love the bit about the "give a fuck meter"! I can so relate to that. Mine malfunctions all the time.

And last but now least, we are all interdependent. Anybody that tells you different is selling something. But there is a difference from being overly dependent/ high maintenance and interdependent. You are so far from high maintenance it's not funny. In fact, I think the Universe may be sort of forcing you to ask for help a little here and there, just to kind of show you that it's not only ok, but even normal and necessary... at least sometimes!
xo PS Yes, your bro is a funny guy!! I miss you both.

Ms. Moon said...

Hello my honey-dear May.
I just read this out loud to Kathleen and Mr. Moon and we all got a little bit of a tear and Kathleen said, "She is writing right out of my head," because you know, she hates to ask for help too and for all the same reasons.
Like we talked about, sometimes you are not only being a stronger person, asking for help, you are giving the person you are asking a gift.
Taking care of you (and your siblings) is always a gift for me because it is so rare an opportunity and it makes me remember how completely I loved taking care of you when you were little.
I am sorry. I am rambling. You know what I mean.
I love you so much.

honeyluna said...

I am so glad you are feeling better, my beautiful sister love.

I can't tell you how much I love your writing and your mind. I can totally imagine and feel each thing you are talking about, because it is so perfectly you, and our family. I love it. And I love how you can always make me laugh too, just like Hanky.

About your sickness- I am sorry I never called up on you to check to see how you were doing. You know, just like any other person in your life, I would love to get a call from you if you ever need anything. You have a popcorn kernel stuck in your gum? I'll come get it out for you. You need one tampon? I will bring it to you. You need to slap someone's ass? I will let you slap mine... You get the point.

I love you. Hope you are still getting better and better.

Steph(anie) said...

Oh, how I can relate. Asking for help can be painful for me.

As to how others see you, I think you are smart and stubborn, and generally wonderful.

downtown guy said...

I was glad to help. I always am.

dbs said...

"So safe, so safe, and when you open your eyes you are there." Beautiful words.
Feel better.

Elizabeth said...

Well, that was about the most perfect wrap-up of a piece of writing that I've ever read.

Mel said...

I can't explain exactly why this post made me cry, but it did. Maybe I'm just worn out from watching my little girl be as sick as you, and making soup and nurturing my ass off, but she's not better yet, 2 weeks later.
Maybe it's just the thought of all that love wrapping around you keeping you safe. Maybe it's knowing how needing help totally fucks up self esteem and the slightest chink in the armour lets weakness seep in.
Maybe it was remembering that feeling of sleeping in the car on all those long ago family road trips, waking up there.
Maybe it's just because you are such a damn good writer, and such an awesome person.
I'm hoping you are feeling better, and feeling stronger for being able to open your arms and your heart and let all the love and help in. Take care.

May said...

Petit Fleur- Yes, warm and safe and feeling better. It's true about us all being a little co and interdependent. I think that's a good thing, otherwise we'd all be hermits in the woods, gnashing our teeth at knocks on the door. Go away! I don't have any sugar!
I hope you are all well, and making it through the cold and flu season unscathed. Kisses to you and yours!

Mama- That's so sweet that you read it out loud to Kathleen and Daddy. Kathleen is so strong, someone I would never associate with weakness of any kind, it helps knowing that she feels the same way. It's funny how it takes so much strength to admit that we are weak, but we are all just these fragile human creatures. We don't even have claws, or armour. There's such a difference between strength of character and strength of body. It all gets confused.
You are such a good care taker. When we were kids we didn't fake sick just to get out of school. We wanted your cool hand on our foreheads and your duck around our bodies and your egg in a bowl. It was heaven to be just a little sick and have you take care of us. All that Mama love, all to ourselves. Thank you for taking care of me so well. I love you so.

HoneyLuna- Baby-Love! I know that you would do anything for any of us! Remember that time I called you to drive me home in the rain? I knew that if you could, you would, and you wouldn't feel resentful or anything. You are the sweetest sister anyone could have. I need to call you. I hear there are plans and doings going on. So exciting!

Stephanie- I think you are wonderful. I need to come by and see how things are. Are you well? Is your family okay?

DTG- I know. I love you too.

dbs- Thank you! I am feeling better everyday. Thank you for coming by and reading, I really appreciate it.

Elizabeth- Thank you for saying that! It's funny because I just wound down and stopped, and thought to change it, but now I'm glad I didn't.

downtown guy said...

For the record, I faked sick to get out of school.

May said...

DTG- Um, yes, of course, but the home part was really great, too.

Mel- Oh Mel! I hope your daughter gets better so fast from here on out! It sounds like you are taking such good care of her. You must be exhausted with worry and care taking. It's probably harder on you than it is on her. I am sending healing thoughts your way.

Bethany said...

oh my gosh, I know I just keep saying the same thing to you, but your writing is so brilliant and unique and wonderful. I get so lost in it. Like nothing else really that I read. I sigh as so many of your phrases and descriptions and links. Your heart and wit just spill out and over. I sort of read it like I used to read letters from my Australian pen pal who I was a bit crushed out on. I got to the part about Daddy Glen coming over and I found myself leaking tears. Sheesh.
I loved the image of you on the porch at work and how you usually empty all the ashtrays and refill drinks. You know how to make people come alive by showing not telling and that is what a real writer needs to be able to do.
You astound me.
Car ride ending was perfect.
Glad you're feeling better and have sunflowers beside you and heat like a Daddy hug.

Leslie said...

Just came over here from your mama's blog and I'm reading parts of this to MY daughter and saying things like, "Wow! she's a really good writer." You have your mama's gift and then some.

Hope you feel better really soon. It's a balancing act, isn't it? This knowing when to be the helper and when to ask for help? And a blessing to have people who love you to help when you get around to asking...

P.S. My brother has come to my rescue many a time, too. And he always makes me laugh...

Danielle said...

well..heile heile entschen...

beautifully written as always...i hope you feel better already and:

I have quite nice hair.

My legs are very strong.

I can make jokes in many accents.

are great qualities in a woman..i only can speak in fake russian, polish and berlin-ian accents...but..wait..for oyu americans my voice sounds funny anyway..:-)

Mwa said...

You are such a WRITER.

SJ said...

I love you, soul-sister mine. So, so happy to read your words.

Do NOT be cold again. I don't want that for you. Come here, and we can lay on the couch and talk for hours and days.

May said...

Bethany- Goodness! Thank you for reading! I'm jealous of your Australian pen pal. Do you still write to each other? It's so easy to fall in love with someone through words. Thank you again, I'm really glad you like my writing, and that you come by even though it is so sporadic over here.

Leslie- Thank you for coming by! I always get the sweetest people coming over here when Mama links me. She's the reason I have a blog, her and my brother both. They were having so much fun in bloglandia and I wanted in.
I'm glad you have that kind of brother too, it's a precious thing.

May said...

Danielle- I never said my accents were very good... they are terrible, actually. Probably offensive. I have a British friend and we do each other's accents and laugh and laugh... Can you do an American accent? I bet you can. I bet it is fabulous.
I'm sure we would find your voice sexy, and not funny at all. Thank you my friend. I am healing.

Mwa- No, YOU ARE! That's what I was thinking today when I was lurking over at your blog. You are so smart, and so funny.

SJ- That sounds wonderful. I would really really love that.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Also visiting from Ms. Moon. There is powerful writing mojo in your DNA. I am glad to read you are feeling better, know the value of a brother who is THERE, even though mine is 10,000 miles away (give or take). Happy to have been sent here, happy to bask in your words.

Lovely said...

This was such a beautiful entry, as all the rest are. Sitting on the porch with you was my favorite part of new years too. I'm so glad I had you all day to "myself" (I see it like that when we work together). I will see you tomorrow work-wife, I love you very much. SO glad you are feeling better.

May said...

Marylinn Kelly- Thank you so much for coming over here! And for your sweet words.

Lovely- Darling! You don't know how happy it makes me that you're here! Knowing that I will see you tomorrow actually makes me excited to come to work. I love you.

Django said...

My favorite car rides when I was a kid were in the dark. And the rain. Wrapped in a blanket on the floor or backseat of the Chevy, swaying with the motion of the trailer behind. I'd doze and wake up when we stopped or slowed in a town. Deserted and quiet towns usually. I saw them through rain-flecked windows and blurry eyes.

Now, I don't like the disorienting feeling of waking up 100 miles later, and I prefer to be behind the wheel on trips. Is that just life, or did something else change me? Maybe it's a 'must be this tall or shorter to sleep snugly in a car' thing.

I like helping people when I can. I think you do too. I think most people do. It's nice to feel needed. Flattering that someone thought of you as the one who can help. Satisfying to see you smile when they help. My favorite uncle is the most generous man I know. He told me once that you get what you give, and I've tried to live somewhat by those words.

You give so much, May. You shouldn't feel weak for letting other people give too.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

I am so glad Daddy Glen fixed your heat. It is so awful to be cold. I would have read this sooner, but I have missed about a week of work, due to flu. My laptop stays at work. I still feel like hell, and I may go home early from work today and go to bed.

I love you, May May.

SB

Ellen said...

When I read this I thought of my daughter. She is close in age to you...just know us mommies always will help take care of our grown kids...I am glad I found your blog to read via Ms. Moon your mama.