Monday, February 18, 2013

A Brown Notebook, A Waterbed

My mother hated my dad.  I saw him on Sundays for eight hours.  He came at 11 a.m.  He was supposed to drop me off at 7 p.m. but as I got older I learned that I could beg to stay longer.  Whatever time he dropped me off, my mother was always waiting.

She kept a notebook in the pantry.  The pantry was actually an old set of steps which originally had led upstairs.  The upstairs door had been blocked off.  And so this set of stairs became the pantry.  My mother kept canned foodstuff there and her brown notebook.  Sometimes, the red telephone wound up in there.  Sometimes, I would sit on the steps while talking on the phone seeking privacy in a house where privacy was non-existent.

The brown notebook was not a three ring binder.  It had a slider.  You slid the two metal rectangular fasteners-- one up and one down-- so the two metal points would stand up and then you could add paper.  My mother had stolen this thing from work.  She stole all of our office supplies from work-- three ring binders, notebooks of various descriptions [but all with plain solid colored covers], pens and pencils imprinted with the name of her company, rulers, pencil sharpeners, staplers.  I never got to go to a store at the beginning of the school year to pick any school supplies out like other kids.  To this day, I love going to office supply stores.  I love the smell of them.  I love picking stuff out there.  I didn't get to do that as a kid.  I knew that stealing was wrong, but there was nothing I could do about it.  So I went off to school with the stolen pens and pencils, notebooks of various descriptions, paper, graph paper, and so on.

As I came through the kitchen door on Sunday evenings, my mother would get out her brown notebook and a blue pen.  She would ask me, "What did you do today?" and then she would write a paragraph in her notebook.  I hated it.  She said it was so she could prove in court that she never kept me from my father.  On the day that I turned twelve, she said, we were going to go to court.  If my father could prove otherwise, I would be forced to go live with him.  I waited anxiously for that birthday to come along.  That morning was a school day.  I asked about court but I was made to go to school.  And even after the day when nothing happened, my mother continued to record my Sunday visits in her notebook.

After wife number two left Dad, Dad and I spent a winter of Sundays watching football in his apartment.  He was too depressed to do anything else.  He managed to rouse himself for Christmas visiting with my aunt and her family.  But otherwise, we would go to the supermarket and pick out two snacks.  Then we would go to his apartment and watch football.  During that winter, when my mother came at me with her hated brown notebook, I made stuff up.  I knew that the truth was dangerous.  So I lied out of a sense of self-preservation and in order to protect my dad from my mother's wrath.  In the spring, Dad was able to rouse himself from his depression and we went back to visiting woods and beaches and historical sites and relatives.

I don't think dad knew about my mother's brown notebook.  I don't remember ever telling him about it.  I don't know what happened to my mother's brown notebook.  If she leaves it to me when she dies, I will throw it out.  Those memories-- of her interrogating me about what my dad and I did on Sundays-- are not ones I want to be reminded of by the possession of an object of my hatred.

After school was finished, I went to live in Baton Rouge.  I had a job there.  My first apartment there I shared with a young woman named Neomosha.  She told me that her name meant "new moon."  It was a very pretty name.  We had a two bedroom apartment.  I had snuck in my cat Dylan.  We weren't allowed pets or "parties."  After moving out, our landlady did not refund any of our deposit because "you had pets and parties in your apartment."  There was a neighborhood cat that Neomosha had nicknamed Fleabag.  We figured that Dylan must have invited Fleabag in through the open kitchen window at times when neither one of us were home, and a few times when we were.

A guy who called himself Bozo lived behind us in a basement apartment of another building.  A Cajun named Villere lived on our right in a back second floor apartment.  One time, Dylan ran up the stairs, into his apartment and to his open air balcony.  She jumped off his balcony and landed on four feet on the ground.

Bozo and Villere were both partyheads.  They were free with their booze and drugs.  They were serious users and were interested in getting high but not in sex.  I could always go visit either one of them and get wasted with them and whoever happened to be around.  One night at Villere's, I got really really drunk and went to lay down on his waterbed.  His waterbed was on the floor with boards around it.  Huge mistake.  I could not extricate myself from it.  Plus, I had the distinct sensation of seasickness.  The thing kept bobbing up and down.  After awhile, I did manage to roll off the thing without puking. 

Bozo hung out with a local band called "The Shit Dogs."  I became a shit puppy, one of their groupies.  The shit puppies would show up during practices and get trashed as the band played in their garage and also got trashed.  The Shit Dogs shared a really cool rambling house.  It was in that house during a block party in a first floor bathroom high on mushrooms-- boiled in grape sugar water-- and marijuana and beer that my fingernails "told me" their names.  They had old-fashioned names like Nathaniel, Benjamin, and Emmy.  Each fingernail had its' own distinct voice.  The mushrooms grew in the cow shit of the Brahman cows that hung out in rented plots along the Mississippi.  We would go there to pick our own right out of the cow shit.  We never had to buy shrooms in Baton Rouge.

Villere was a Cajun born and raised in the swamps.  Through Villere, I got my first introduction to shrimp burgers.  One time, a bunch of us went to a small bayou south of Baton Rouge where someone had an old boat turned into a diner.  Shrimp burgers were a dollar and ten cents, cheaper than hamburgers.  It was really cool sitting on that old boat eating shrimp burgers, surrounded by the Cypress trees and murky swamp water.

To this day, I don't know why people allowed me to visit.  I used all of the drugs in whatever place I was in until the drugs were gone.  I didn't care what drugs.  If you had it, I took it.  When I left, you were cleaned out of drugs.  I rarely brought my own stash to share.  I wasn't into sex when high or drunk.  And I didn't have a winning personality.  'Tis a great mystery.

sapphoq on life says: Oh by the way, all you guys who think you are some kind of Don Juans when you are high or drunk-- you aren't.  The genital and the urinary systems are connected in men to form the genital-urinary system.  That system does not work well when you are wasted.  I never had sex with Bozo or with Villere-- we were all far more interested in listening to "We Are Devo" or other albums and getting blasted-- but the few men I did choose to have sex with while partying, well as I said, your genital-urinary systems failed to live up to anyone's expectations.  Just saying.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Calling All Popes

While governments from around the world are issuing attractive sound bytes regarding papal retirement, my dad is pissed off.  "It's almost an insult," he declared.  Dad didn't care that the Pope might be aging, unhealthy, or dead.  Benedict XVI was proving to be a Benedict Arnold and that was quite the way of it.  "I want the job," Dad said.  "I want to be the next pope."

The betting pools are gathering storm.  Will the next Vatican King be that Canadian guy, someone from Italy or Africa or where?  I know enough to know that none of the contenders are going to be a real treat.  I also know who I don't want.  Dolan.  He'd be the worst.  But I say none of this to Dad.  His interest is really politics.  The Pope to him is someone who lives in a big palace and pontificates from a baloney on Holy Days.  The one before Benedict XVI won points because he visited the United States and people liked him.  "He got off the plane and kissed the ground," Dad told me.  The image of a man in a dress planting his lips on the tarmac has a certain appeal, I must admit.  

There are things I don't say to Dad these days.  I don't tell him about Benedict XVI hiding the pedophilic priests by transfer.  I don't tell him that the bastard equated gay marriage with the raping of the rainforests.  I don't tell him that Benedict XVI had managed to piss off all kinds of people almost every time he opened his mouth to pontificate on absurd Catholic doctrine.  I keep these things to myself.

There is massive speculation among certain Rapture fans about the next Pope being the second beast.  Obama is the anti-Christ.  Mental masturbation-- what a pastime!  Don't these folks have anything better to talk about?  The odd thing about predicting the end of the world as we know it is this: After the date of the final showdown comes and goes, there is a resurgence of belief in the fable of the month.  Go figure.  My dog is more rational than most humans.

The other day, I downloaded the book with the secretive papal diaries.  [The dude that had smuggled them out was pardoned around Christmas time].  In Spanish.  Because the English translation in the e-book format that I need due to my brain damage inflicted perception problems does not exist.  This surprised me.  I had generalized and supposed that those Catholic Hispanics would not want to read this stuff.  I was wrong about that.  

All of these things made me recall the promise inherent in the Discordian religion.  Popes are a dime a dozen naked hot dogs being eaten in parks on a Friday.  Any Discordian can be and is a Pope.  23.  And there is the oh so sexy Eris to book.  I am the Pulp of Nermolia.  As I consider the real world events of the past day, I think I got the better bargain.

sapphoq on life  

Friday, February 08, 2013

Dear Maria

Dear Maria,

I've thought about you very little throughout the years.  You gave off the air of being pristine.  You played basketball.  You knew how to be social.  You were an A student.  Your family was perfect.

My family wasn't.  And I was none of those things that you were.

Remember that trip we took to the ocean in Advanced Biology class?  We all slept in small beds in one large dorm.  We cooked out, fed the sea gulls on the beach, did something or other for biology class although I've forgotten what now.  I swam across the bay.  "Like a fish," is what the teacher said.  I can still swim like that.  Long distances with deliberate strokes.  Built for distance but not speed.

I remember your nightgown.  It was white and lacy.  We were all talking before bed one night.  I said I was glad to be away from my mother that weekend.  I was.  "I miss my mother," you said firmly and loudly.  "Well, I don't," I said.  "It's nice to be away."  We were only gone for three and a half days.  I'd already been traveling on my own.  I took buses to visit relatives for a week or two at a time.  I took trains to places that to this day I've never told my mother about.  I was and still am a traveler.  I was forced to be independent, to entertain myself, at times to provide for myself.

You hadn't been forced to do any of those things.  My mother drank rather well.  She married her drinking buddy the second time around.  You had a perfect family.  You had a mother that you were able to miss.  I didn't.  

Did it occur to you to ask why I didn't miss my mother?  Did it occur to you that by your upbringing you were privileged?  You were.  You stank with privilege.

It's years later now.  I am envious.  Yes.  My imagination tells me that yours was the easier softer life.  I don't want to be you.  Don't misunderstand me.  I think I could have gotten used to a life that wasn't so full of abuse.  I could have gotten used to your life.

We were young then.  I was a long distance swimmer.  You were the future.  You were somebody even then.  You could not fail.  You did not fail.  You excelled.  You succeeded.  You memorized the script and you delivered.  I was only a long distance swimmer with a mother that I was not able to miss.

If you ever read this, please don't bother trying to find me.  I am not interested.  What kind of conversation could we have now anyway? I would want to talk about class-ism.  You would want to talk about your wonderful mother aging.

This is not a pity party.  This is reality.  Anger is my truest friend.  The isms keep society sick.  I am rising above and beyond.  I am a long distance swimmer.  I am sister and brother to the flotsam in the bay.

See ya,

sapphoq on life

Monday, February 04, 2013


*Dring*  *Dring*

sapphoq: [picks up the phone]: Hullo?

automated voice:  If this is so-and-so, press one.  If you need time to bring so-and-so to the phone, press two.  If this is a wrong number, press three.

sapphoq: [presses three].

some customer un-service rep:  Is this so-and-so?

sapphoq: Nope.

some customer un-service rep:  Is so-and-so there?

sapphoq: Nope.

some customer un-service rep:  Our information says that you handle the accounts payment for so-and-so.

sapphoq:  Nope.  You--

some customer un-service rep: [voice speeding up]: Just tell so-and-so we called thank you. [Click].

sapphoq on life says:  I've known for a long time that customer service is dead.  It must be a call-quota thing with these people.  I had no time to tell the un-service rep that I am not responsible for so-and-so's account payment, I don't know so-and-so, there is no so-and-so here, and that I cannot tell so-and-so about this call because I do not know so-and-so.  Sooooo irritating.