Yes, I Like Pink

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

More on things that are too big

Why is it that you think something will take, like, five minutes, and then it takes more like four hours? I have spent the whole morning trying to figure out how to get color copies of the newsletter I write. I did the Kinkos thing last time, which was disaster. I was going to retry the Kinkos thing in a more organized manner, but found out that to upload my file to their site would take an hour. An Hour.

So, problem one. MS Publisher files are ginormous.

Okay. Kinkos is expensive anyway. I'll try another place. Different varients of problem one play out.
  • I cannot upload my huge file to their site.
  • I cannot save my file on the CD I've reserved for this purpose, because apparently it is now "read only."
  • I cannot find a disc on which to save the file.
  • Once I find a disc, I realize it will take approximately seven of them for said ginormous file.

And then -- a miracle occurs. I can convert my file to PDF, probably due to some combination of software that I have accidently installed on my computer this morning. Yes, I said accidently. I have no idea what I'm doing.

But. Guy at new place could not open his email when I called to see if he received this miracle. I don't think he knows it's a miracle.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Large and Fluffy Things - The S Project

Of course, it itches.

Which is my own fault, because I should have been wearing something else underneath it, something besides eyelet lace and elastic. But it is so damn hot inside, and the freezer-pack pouches, slipped in various pockets inside the gorilla suit, only stay cool for a little while, twenty, maybe thirty minutes, at best. And the truth is,underneath all this blue fur and rubber, a black VS Angels set makes me feel a little sexy. Which is weird, what with all the sweat, and the itching.

Through my netted eyeholes: a pinata, sixteen four years olds, a handful of mothers and a father. Lucky dads, always getting to leave this crap to the mothers. An enormous blue cake. Sixteen gift bags, rummaged through and broken, little monkey toys strewn all about. And right now, some little punk trying to swing from my arm.

"Grrr!" I say, beating my chest. Little bastard.

I have been the Easter bunny. I have been Madeline, Winnie the Pooh, Corduroy. I have been a giant lamb, a giant chicken. Everything giant, giant giant.

When I was a kid, I was at a fair and saw a huge My Little Pony. Beautiful yarn hair and blue-painted eyes. I loved her, so big and fluffy; and then later, the two men inside her in their respective halves of the costume, smoking, her head bent over at the waist and detached tail-end dragging. Even now, this is what love feels like.

It is so hot I have sweat through the damn lace on my underwear. As soon as I realize that the next loser who wears this thing will be rubbing against my dried, old sweat, I also realize that I am rubbing against someone else's dried, old sweat. Motherfucker. The itching gets worse.

The lone father walks up to me. "Listen," he says, all tough guy on me, but think about this -- a grown man talking to a big blue gorilla. "Listen, we're not paying you to scare the kids. If you keep this up, well, we . . . we won't pay you." Satisfied that he's said his piece, he walks away.

Point taken. I sort of lope my way over to the kids. They're swinging bats at the pinata. I take a turn, pretending to miss the first couple of times, spinning around dizzily, falling once, and then getting up to crack it a good wallup. Candy pours out. The mothers look dismayed; aparently this game was supposed to have gone on a little longer. Kids rush in, stuff their pockets with Snickers and tiny boxes of Dots.

I am scarring some kid for life right now. One of these candy-groping things is going to go home and be afraid that there is an eight-foot tall blue gorilla in his closet until he is fifteen. Is this my fault? I wear what they give me. "The kid likes monkeys, and blue," my boss says, clarifying that this is the "perfect" costume. The reality: the fur is crusty from the boogers of hundreds of little tykes who would have been better playing on the swings, or the teeter-totter. Unless I am mistaken, there is a little bit of vomit on my left foot/paw.

I let the kids pull at my hands, grab great handfulls of my blue-fur coating. We play a game of duck-duck-goose, during which my struggle to get up causes both giggles and one kick in the knee. I do things like run the wrong direction, pat too many heads, making too many running gooses. Some kids find this thrilling and some find it terrifying, the thought of all those broken rules. I wish I was drunk. I am usually a little bit drunk.

And then the kids are done with duck-duck-goose. I lie in the glass and let them crawl all over me, their little feet scratching the suit against my itching skin so that it almost feels good. And then the same little punk as before runs up, smashes the pinata bat against my shoulder. Strong little fucker. It smarts. She is laughing as I hobble up. I get in her face. "GRAUGHWWWW," I shout, standing as I roar.

And then I just run. Slow, lumbering, as fast as I can move in fifty pounds of gorilla suit. The eye-holes bounce and sometimes I can't see, but I run. I half expect one of the parents to tackle me, Solitary Dad, maybe, although most of the mothers were in better shape. But they don't, and sweat pours and pours down my face, and ,when I fall, nobody is there to yell at me. And so I just stare and stare at the blue sky, puffy white clouds, which look as sweet and fluffy as a gigantic lamb.

For more about the S Project, click here:

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Now Trista and I Have Something Else in Common

Besides our totally hot spouses.

Because I didn't get my diploma either. I think, for you to receive it correctly, you have to physically find someone from the graduation division of the U, gently stoke her hair, and whisper your address in her ear. And then sign your name in block letters across her forehead and tatoo your phone number on her wrist.

So, someone in SLC has my diploma. I hope she crossed out my calligraphied name, wrote her own above it in bubble letters, and hung it on her wall.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The S Project: Stealing

She is walking along the beach. In the waves she can hear the sound of shells and below her feet the rocks are smooth, but she knows what if would feel like if they were jagged. They would feel small, each edge a piece unto itself, so that instead of one rock, two rocks, three rocks below her feet, there would be seventy, one hundred, a thousand, and all of those tiny pieces would be stonger than her flesh.

But they are smooth, and she feels nothing, picks one up and rinses it in the salty water and places it, wet, into her pocket. She used to know a boy who collected rocks, when she was a teeneager. He was seven and was in love with her in the way that seven-year-olds fall in love: quickly and passionately and without the knowledge of sex. Once, he said, while she baby-sat him and his sister, "Dance with me." And they waltzed -- did his mother teach him? -- among the chalk drawings his little sister had made in the driveway. Flowers, rainbows, enormous ants, under their feet in pale pink and yellow and blue.

She would like to give that little boy this rock. But he would be grown-up now, twenty-five, maybe with a small boy of his own. Maybe his son, maybe his daughter, would like the smooth, edgeless rock, would carry on his collection.

A cough from farther upshore. For a while, she has almost forgotten her escort. Ellen is there to make sure she doesn't drown herself, or bury her face in the sand until until all she can smell is the roundness of each grain. Would she be strong enough for that? To smother herself and not pull out at the last second, that almost-last breath so close to dying anyway, so that later she would tell the other women she lived with that she'd seen a light, she'd almost . . . .

"Why don't you put that back," Ellen says, nodding at the pocket.

"I used to have a son," she says, thinking of the boy she baby-sat, the one that loved her. Ellen nods. "His name was Adam."

"You could skip it, make a wish."

"He had brown eyes, just like his daddy." If she said it out loud, to someone who didn't know any better, did that make it true? Would they exist, so that she could find them later, when she left this place?

"Sweetheart, it's time to go back. Throw your rock down so we'll make it home for dinner." Ellen is not allowed to talk about anything personal. They both know that. In a way, she likes talking to someone who can't question or correct her. Her doctor, looking at her so hard she feels pinned to the inside of a pizza box like some kid's bug collection, says things like, "When did you live in San Diego?" and "I thought you miscarried," and, "But yesterday, you said you were married when it happend." Her doctor doesn't understand that she's not trying to tell the truth, that she doesn't even always remember the truth, although she does remember that her child had tiny fingers and was so, so small.

"You don't need that rock," Ellen says, more perturbed now, probably thinking about liability, broken windows and mirrors. But, if she holds it in her hand, if it fits, if it fills an absence, then doesn't she need it? She drops it on the ground, but when Ellen turns to leave, she snatches it back up again, curls her fingers around it.

That little boy, though. She doesn't even remember his name. The last time she baby-sat, she said, "I won't be back anymore," and he said, "But I love you," and it mattered, she cared, but not enough to stay, and she knows that the love she couldn't return then was probably the best love she'd ever receive, the purest thing to ever bounce off of her body.

At dinner, she sits next to a woman named Marlene. Marlene has beautiful skin that looks so soft that she wants to touch it, run her fingers along that smooth jawline. Marlene wouldn't say anything -- she never said anything, ever, to anybody, although she stared, and stared, and stared with melty brown eyes, pupils not too big, like some women here. Marlene's two daughters come to visit on Saturdays, and sometime she imagines what it would feel like to take one of Marlene's daughters, to grab her hand and run away from this place. She knows that it would be wrong, she understands that; but it doens't feel wrong, because Marlene has two and can't even talk to them. She knows it would be wrong, but it seems so easy and more fair.

Ellen walks by, hands pills out to the residents. They all get some sort of pills. Pills that make you sleep or calm down or get happier. It is not Ellen's job, passing out the pills, but sometimes she helps anyway. Ellen places a cup in front of her, and also in front of Marlene. The pills are red and green and yellow and taste like nothing. When Ellen turns away, she grabs Marlene's pills. Marlene won't say a word.

They fit in her hand, fill an absence.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Tit for Tat

At the post office yesterday. Buying stamps.


Me: [Eyeing the new Disney romance set, which my husband later informs me contains five animals and 3 humans in the pictures: Belle and Beast, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Lady and the Tramp] "Can I get 8 Beauty and the Beast stamps?"

Postal Clerk: "No."


It's worth a try.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Some Real Dialogue

I work at a bookstore. This is a customer interaction that happened today.

Customer walks up to me.

Customer:"I need to return this book."

Me: "Okay. Is there anything wrong with it?"

Customer: [Opens book. Flips through pages. Hands book to me. Looks at me irritably.] "It's printed upside down."

Me: [Takes off dust jacket. Turns it around. Puts it on right-side up. Hands it back.] "There you go."

Customer: "Oh."


This is not the first time this has happened.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Why Not Jump from Gardens to Alheimer's?

I have been thinking about this since I saw Calliope's blog about her grandmother ( ), and also because it happened almost exacly a year ago.

Memorial Day weekend of last year, I went the the 80th birthday party of my mother's Aunt L. She had Alzheimer's, a disease that runs in the family. I'm not sure how far back it goes, but my great-grandmother had it as well. At L's party, she sat quietly, looked around, was dressed in a pretty blue dress and had her hair neatly done. All around her, people --family -- talking, laughing, celebrating, happy to see each other.

I did not remember Great-aunt L very well. I had seen her last at my great-grandmother's funeral fifteen years prior. But she kept looking at me, sending me a little smile, something that looked like recognition. I do not think that she remembered me, but maybe she saw my mother, or someone else, in my returning smile. I smiled and smiled at her, but I didn't speak a word to her that day. At the time, I thought there was some sort of comfort to be had in presence and silence.

I will always regret that. I have learned a lot in the past year about these things, and I wish now that I would have held her hand, said hello. Maybe, she would not have been responsive. She was overwhelmed, confused,not recognizing most of the people at her party. But maybe, she would have called me by someone else's name and been reasured that she knew someone at the party she didn't really understand was for her.

How I imagine she felt: a room full of strangers surround her while people hand her cards and wish her well for no reason. They smile nervously and call her names like "Sister," "Mother," "L," "Grandmother." She would like to take a nap, but she eats the cake that the brown-haired woman sits in front of her. People laugh (oh, isn't she darling?) when she says something, responds to questions, so she sits and eats her cake while people walk around her. She feels lonely. The people she recognizes look old, and she doesn't remember them as old, but who else could it be?

Later, driving home, my mother turns around and says, "I wonder what it will be like when my mother doesn't know who I am. I wonder what it will be like when I don't know who you are," and my memory of this moment will be of her blue eyes, which look so much like mine.