Friday, July 22, 2011

Heat waves, brown outs, dead cats & other crude accompaniments to life

It’s hot as hell.

I mean, damn near. Which causes me to question, how folks in “other” countries do this. I mean, we don’t have flies in the eye crevices kind of thing (not to poke fun, but seriously, we don’t) and so why am I nearly dragging myself from air conditioned point A to B, particularly during my un-air-conditioned moments (which last approximately 3 minutes at most) so painfully.

When it gets hot like this, and its been in the upper 90s with a ridic amount of humidity for days (save me), I get worried about black outs/brown outs and just not having any damn access to the AC. And less for me than my parents.

This fear is a lot less superficial than it sounds. I’m not (necessarily) worried about getting hot, or my daughter or boo sweating it out, but my parents. My father is a macho man. I’m sure even if he woke up one day on the tippiest top of the sun he’d not say a damn thing about it being hot. He’d probably just say, Boston drawl drawling: Whaddya-gonnnnna-do. Ehhhh? And he’d be right. Nothing.

But I remember when my mom was, for the first time in my life hospitalized. It was the summer before 5th grade. We’d received her “summons” letter that essentially said, hi, you’ve been abusing your kid. We have concluded you’re mental. It be best for you to come in, stay here, and said kid will live elsewhere. It was hot that day too. Or I was. Whichever.

So we walked the 1.3 miles south-west to what was then Mass Mental. I was sweating. We left our two cats Kitten (Pepper as her gov’t name) and Lady (she was my fav). Mummi was admitted and I became a temporary ward of the state. Hot.

Fast forward two weeks. I stop bed-wetting. My grandmother’s AC hits me perfectly from my new spot on the couch. A light bulb goes off when the dust in my 9 year old mind starts to settle: My cats!

Anxiety is reintroduced.

I quake, nearly sieze. I need to get my cats out of the apartment, get them fed, watered. It will ruin my mother. They were my only friends, hers. Our only “things”. Forces rally slowly. We return to Huntington Avenue. We walk up the two steep flights. My father enters first, solemnly as if he’s (again) failed me. Motions authoritatively, the way a man who is 6’5 can, that I should remain outside. I push past him. Hell, I’m 9 and I love my cats. I expect them to be dead, both from lack of love as much as air, lack of food, lack of human everything for more than 2 weeks.

I find two skinny love starved cats. Alive. One with a dry tongue and a pronounced ribcage. The other looking bright and strangely ok. Kitten (Pepper) was industrious.

I don’t know what to extract from this memory. But I have lived with a life-time of fear of things dying when I no longer see them. Fear of letting my mother down. Fear of things/family/pets feeling unloved when I can’t be present to say, hey: I love you/ need you/ want you to thrive.

I also hate when it gets too hot, but I am, after all, a New Englander.

Which leads me to today, and an impromptu prayer to the AC God.

Dear (AC) God,

Do not let there be a brown-out in Boston proper, (Back Bay). I don’t want Mummi or Lyman to get hot. I love them. Please send it to Concord instead. Uberbia can handle it.



Fingers crossed it works.

Monday, July 18, 2011

New growth; nappy edges and when friendships (need to) fade.

So: analogy time...if you're up for it.

When I was a kid (ok, even now) the collective we had names for overgrowth, for the sparse and kinky sections of hair that would grow up and against the relaxed, chemical treated sections. The portions we went over attempting to smooth, smother, slick against humidity, against inevitability, against, well, poetic nappiness. It would work until it rained. Until the growth overtook it's six week pledge to be well behaved. Then it would erupt, realness, frizziness, in a fit of kink and candor.

Over time, well, you just cut off the treated and "good" shit. Commit yourself to Sundays at the Dominican salon. Adopt other riturals to let your hair be who it could and should be, in any weather. Or you continued that strange and startlingly un/complicated relationship with perm until further notice. #shrug

Neither approach was/is wrong. Neither made you (or me) a higher powered person, more moraly stable or lovable (I think), but a choice you made on your head and in your mind about what your mane would look like.

And lately I'm realizing there is some carryover. Friends aren't buckshots, but they can be just as hard to work with... Case in point, I have a close friend. We formerly referred to each other as sisters. Fighting-@$$ sisters, I'll tell you that. But what sisters aren't?

It was one of those relationships where she hurts your feelings, and I came off as a know-it-all. And it's deeper than frenemies cause y'all do care for each other and the goal isn't to bring each other down. Y'all think: I can get this joint smooth. I can deal for another six weeks. You can't. At least we couldn't.

And like clockwork, our typical exchange went its necessary route, starting playfully, then superfically, moseying into someething markedly less official. We talked about hair, to hoes, to family. Perhaps health. Mental health even. We later fell over the deep end. It became very #teamWTF

The expectation on one side was that I'd provide unwavering support, perhaps a yes or two. Perhaps I was supposed to remain quiet. However, in order to do so I'd have to sacrifice something I strongly believe in, uphold myself to. I'd have to be the lady version of a yesman...But I couldn't/can't/won't. Love is one thing, right is another.

I semi-realize now my homegirl wasn't wrong, our rights just didn't see eye to eye. Not for years I think now. And perhaps not for years to come.

So, like a fade, like a good barber, the lines have started to taper, not abruptly, not cuttingly sharp or fierce, but subtlely into the skin of silence that is very necessary and for the time being. And I've not ever been one to speak to forever. So I can't/won't go there.

That, and I'll admit, sometimes I miss her. And sometimes I want to pull over and scream (I'm damn near always in my car) and say how selfish of you not to let me be the friend I can be/must be/have been...

But I'm realizing, I didn't let her be who she was either. And I perhaps, can't.

And what is this life if we have to be who another makes us be? Or crafts us into?

Nothing very zen about that.

I said goodbye to my mom once (ok, five times). Our goodbyes lasted years. they were angry and coarse throated. People say it's different with family, that you can't ever truly let go or truly move on. You know what, it actually isn't. I just decided that I didn't want to do let go or move on. I very much just wanted to see her age. I decided I would attempt growth, indifference, but still me-ness with the time each of us has left.

And this committment has worked, if bumpingly, if nappily so.
But you make a decision, as an adult, as a grown-@$$ whatever you are, and sometimes your sources of support aren't necesarily supportive, or relective, or reflexive. And sometimes you need some of those -ives more than the others.

And so for now, and for my own mental stability, I won't be continuing with that strange and startlingly complicated relationship until further notice.

Goodbye friend.