Thursday, August 29, 2013

Living on the Bedge.

This was me, a year ago. It's time to post it. I'm so grateful that I don't have to live there today.
 
At this moment, I am blogging on the bed. Next to me are two used cups; four cereal bowls with spoons, all licked clean by the dog; two empty yogurt containers, also licked clean; an almost-empty bottle of club soda from a couple days ago; my purse; a couple of used paper towels; and crumbs. Quite a lot of crumbs, in fact, both in and on the bed.

I’ve been living on my bed for the past three months. Eating on the bed. Playing cellphone games on the bed. Listening to NPR on the bed. Watching movies on the bed. This, even though I have a perfectly good living room and dining room and office. My day is spent traversing well-worn paths, and every damned one of them leads to my bed. Which, by the way, is on the floor because I've never put the frame together -- because I won't let anyone in my house to help me.

Depression. I've had it since I was about twelve, although back then I didn't know it had a name. You can see when it happened in the family photos: the light went out of my eyes. There was no there there. Alcohol brought the light back, until it didn't anymore. Later, sobriety brought relief. But even now depression is a frequent visitor. Thank goodness for meds that take the edge off.

Like addiction, depression is cunning, baffling, and powerful. It's just as patient, too, and as subtle.  It intrigues me, seduces me into unlit, unsafe places. Sometimes it breaks the door down with some big calamity like a death in the family. More often, though, it wafts in through the cracks by way of a small mistake, or a brief lapse in integrity, or a familiar sound that reminds me of failure. Sometimes I summon it myself by listening to really dark songs again, and again, and again. The buzz I crave.

Once depression gets a toehold, it takes on a life of its own. It convinces me that I'm just fine, while it reprograms my mind and my heart like malware running silently in the background. Before I know it, I'm in its caress, warm and thick and downy, sequestered from the world like a baby in the womb – but also cut off from anyone who would help me find my way out. And honestly, at that point, I don’t always care if I find my way out or not.

Despair, with an isolation chaser.

I may not even know depression has taken hold until someone asks the right questions. Ask me how I am, and I'll tell you, "I'm fine. Now let's talk about you."
 
But ask me about my actions: Did you get the mail today? Did you open it? When’s the last time you changed your sheets?  Are there dishes in your bedroom? Have you been listening to sad music? When's the last time you showered? Have you been ignoring phone calls? How many meetings have you made in the last seven days?

By writing this post, I know I’m making the decision to stop. Frankly, I’m not thrilled. But if I waited until I felt like doing the right stuff, I’d rarely accomplish anything of value.
 
That's as far as I got with this post. Writing about it was all the action I could muster. It was just enough.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Lazy- Ass Librarian Friday: Babies!

Two of my favorite animal babies. Oh, and by the way, each of these organizations needs donations.




Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What Ever Happened to Dennis Fimple?

It was just ten minutes ago, yet I can't for the life of me figure out how I got there.

I started out on eBay, window-shopping for vintage starburst clocks. Something distracted me, and somehow I wound up at some movie site or other. Among the many actors' names on the monitor, my eyes caught the name "Dennis Fimple."

Dennis Fimple? Geez, what a name! And an actor? Really? Uh, maybe he played a hotel desk clerk in some shitty soft porn movie. Or maybe in the third grade he played the lead in "George Washingon's Gold Button."  Whatever this guy did, though, I was pretty sure he could have done a lot better if he'd had the good sense to change his name. Maybe at least I would have heard of him.

Yes, I mused. There ought to be some good blog fodder here. Something touching and sweet, about how everyone is uniquely important and special, even this poor nobody. Maybe I could even make people cry. Yeah, Dennis Fimple was mine. I alone was kind and wise enough to see his value.

So I googled him, and then I felt like an idiot.

This is Dennis Fimple: a talented character actor whom I recognized immediately. Thoroughly successful, thank you very much. He was in a shitload of TV shows and movies. 

What is it the Big Book says about contempt prior to investigation?

I'm considered to be a "nice person." It's a trait I value highly in others, and one I'm willing to work for in myself. Most people smile when they see me coming, and I really like that. Besides, doing nice things for people feels, well, nice.

But this time, when I thought I was being nice, it was really just bloated patronization.

Dennis Fimple is three-dimensional. He worked in a Cheetos factory. He taught school, and he delivered newspapers. He had lots of stories about his experiences, he liked to read, and he was very much into antiques and collectibles. Oh -- and best of all, he was in Truck Stop Women, and I have the movie poster!

Dennis Fimple. A regular guy who seemed to fly under the radar.

I do believe I would have smiled when I saw him coming.

 
 

Monday, August 19, 2013

I'm so sorry...

I promised you an utterly self-indulgent and narcissistic post, and I aim to please. This started out as a blog post. Then it was a letter. Now, it comes full circle.

 “I’m sorry.” People tell me I say it a lot. My mother said you should never say you’re sorry unless you really are. Well, I really, really am.

 I'm sorry. I'm sorry I didn't know it's supposed to be high T-cells and low viral load. I'm sorry I didn't listen to you better this evening. I'm sorry I'm not prettier, thinner, taller, funnier, smarter, or more graceful. Sorry I walk too slowly. Sorry my socks don't always match and occasionally my underwear is inside out. Sorry I haven't been a better mother. Or daughter, sister, wife, or friend. Sorry for opportunities squandered. I'm sorry I said [insert anything here]. I'm sorry I didn't say [ditto]. Sorry I ran over that rabbit in 1986. And 1999. And 2005, it was never on purpose. Sorry I wasn't a better caretaker for my cat/dog/horse/turtle/fish/guinea pig/hamster/gerbil. I'm sorry I didn't pick up that rubber band on the sidewalk yesterday, because now some poor cat will get tangled in it and die. I'm sorry I brushed my mother's teeth during her last days instead of just holding her hand. I'm sorry I latched onto you like a barnacle on a ship. Or a lamprey on a shark, and I'm sorry I don't know the difference between a metaphor and a simile. I’m sorry I said “I’m sorry” in 115 emails in 2012. I’m sorry I never delete emails. I'm sorry I'm dull and shy and inept, and I sometimes wonder when you'll grow impatient and move on to more interesting and challenging companions.  

When it comes right down to it, I'm sorry for taking up space. It seems a waste. Yet I'm aware that this reveals my huge ego. So I'm sorry. And I'm sorry I'm sorry.

But we seek progress, not perfection, and there is progress. There are even a few things that I'm not sorry for. I'm not sorry I blocked traffic one day to help a turtle cross the road. I'm not sorry I had a daughter, or went to Harvard, or gave up my car, or that I broke my foot. I’m not sorry I fell in love. I'm not sorry that when they made me play an Oompa Loompa at the GLBT chorus concert, I held up signs during the final show as I moved crossed the stage: "Will trade" "sex for" "speaking role."  It brought the house down.

And I'm not really all that sorry I latched on to you.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

In which the Subversive Librarian Returns to the Blogosphere

So Chicken Licken came up to Henny Penny and said, “Hey, Henny Penny! When the hell are you gonna blog again? I mean, it’s been more than a year, for Christ’s sake! What’s the problem? Too lazy? ”

Henny Penny looked sadly at Chicken Licken and replied, “I have nothing new to say. Everybody else has already said it better.”
“Aww, you’re off your nut, Henny Penny!” said Chicken Licken. You have plenty to say!”

“It would be nice to start blogging again,” Henny Penny said with just a little bit of hope. “What do you suggest I write about?”
“Ummm… Oh, I know! You’re in love. You haven’t blogged since you met her. Talk about that!

“Well, yes, I’m very much in love. She’s wonderful! Passionate, talented, sexy, and she has a job!”
“Oh, that is new! Congratulations!” smiled Chicken Licken.

“Yeah, but that’s kind of personal.”
Just then, Ducky Lucky came up. “Quack! Whatcha doin’?”

Chicken Licken replied, “I’m trying to get Henny Penny to start blogging again. She says she’d do it but she can’t think of anything to write about.”
“Oh!” said Ducky Lucky. “Why don’t you write about your dear friend Mark King? He’s one of the Grand Marshals at Atlanta Pride this year, you know. And you do love riding on his coattails!”

“Hmmm. That’s a thought.” Henny Penny pursed her lips for a moment. “Naah. He gets enough publicity already without my help. Besides, he never did autograph my copy of his book, APlace Like This.
“I see your point,” quipped Ducky Lucky. “He’s already famous.”

“You know what?” Henny Penny said. “I’m going to post TODAY.  I’m not going to put it off any longer!”
“Quack! That’s the spirit!” Ducky Lucky shouted, and Chicken Licken cheered. Then the three friends sat down on the curb, in silence, thinking as hard as they could for a topic.

Owlie Jowlie wandered up the road to join them . “Sports!” is all he said.
Henny Penny looked directly into Owlie Jowlie’s big round eyes. “Who the hell are you?” she snapped. And with that, Owlie Jowlie shuffled away, looking slightly hurt.

“What the fuck!” said Chicken Licken.
Henny Penny, Chicken Licken, and Ducky Lucky all returned to deep thought, their chins resting in their hands. After a little while, Foxy Loxy came strutting over the hill, merrily whistling the theme from The David Susskind Show.

“What’s up, my fowl little friends?” Foxy Loxy sang.
“Oh, Henny Penny is trying to decide what to blog about today,” said Chicken Licken.

“And about fucking time, too,” quacked Ducky Lucky.
Foxy Loxy narrowed his eyes. “Why,that’s easy, Henny Penny. You’ve already got a draft post that’s chock full of angst and inner turmoil. Post that one.”

“That piece of bullshit?” clucked Henny Penny. “It’s self-indulgent and utterly narcissistic.” She paused for a moment and smiled. “I’ll post it tomorrow.”
And so she will.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Call me Madam...Librarian

A funny thing happened on the way to my librarian degree.

 But first, a confession. My master's degree in Information Science has been in limbo for a long, long, long time. I mean, I worked as a librarian for many years, and I took all the classes and everything, but when I finished my master's-degree coursework at Florida State in 2002 (or was it 2003?), I kinda sorta owed the school money. And they wouldn't give me my degree until it was 100% paid off.

This meant that I did not have that coveted credential that is the sine qua non of library-job riches:   "You must have an MLS degree from an ALA-accredited school." (in job listings, this is sometimes written with a sneer).

I made the last payment in 2006. Or did I?  According to my recollection, I never actually sent in the last payment. No payment, no diploma. But in 2006 I was too busy screwing up my life to take care of such details. I was a depressive in survival mode, and I figured this was one more thing that was never going to get fixed.  Who needed their silly old degree anyway?

Recently, though, I've been in the process of cleaning up my credit and trying to clear past financial wreckage. So I summoned up my nerve and I called FSU to see if my degree was still on hold. The nice man on the phone told me he had good news and bad news: Yes, my degree was on hold. And I owed ... wait for it ... a single penny. Which FSU generously wrote off.

That didn't end the matter, quite. It took a little time for the plucky, intrepid FSU staff to track down my transcript (most of my school records had been destroyed years ago). But track it down they did, and they conferred my degree retroactively as of 2006. At long last, my diploma arrived, and it's a beaut!
.
So now I am a bona fide, real-live, I'm-better-than-you-are-because-I-have-a-piece-of-paper librarian. Oh, pardon me. "Librarian" is so passe, so card-catalogue. What I am is an information scientist.

With a big-ass librarian diploma.