Day 93: Say Goodbye to a Good Boss, Feel Old, Remember My Appreciation of Punk

It’s been a while since I had a good boss and I was very sad and angry to say goodbye to the one I have currently.  The whole situation is a little messy, but I’m hopeful about the future…if for no other reason than out of contrariness.  We celebrated her new job by eating enormous amounts of collard greens, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese  and drinking a lot of bourbon at a Southern-themed restaurant.

Immediately afterwards, I went to an arts event associated with the Occupy movement.  It was a very surreal experience.  I wasn’t sure how I would feel–guilty?  Inspired?  Angry?  Snarky?  I ended up feeling all of those things, but not for the reasons I expected.  I kept finding myself thinking, “These are a lot of abstract statements I agree with–but what are you doing?”  I also kept noticing how very, very white and how very, very middle-class and how very, very self-centered most of the participants were.  I want to make clear, it’s not that I thought that the participants were bad people, or even wrong.  But so much of the art focused on the artist as a revolutionary–but not actual revolutions of thought or action.  The message I took from most of the pieces was, “I am revolutionary!”  but there wasn’t much discussion of what revolutionary meant.  I felt guilty for having these thoughts, I kept worrying that I was being needlessly snarky, unproductively cynical or just old. Which pissed me off, because I was the same age about a third of the folks, about 5 years older or younger than the other two thirds.  Am I just a prematurely grumpy old lady shaking my self-righteous cane at all the idealist young whippersnappers?

Then I had this thought–this must be what it was like to be at an anti-war movement event in the 70’s.  At a certain point, it became a popular thing to do and was equally about people working through youthful angst and rebellion and changing self-image as it was about protesting U.S. involvement in Vietnam.  But, it politicized a generation, and while some folks went off to never touch politics again after they worked through their adolescence anxieties, a lot of folks took the passion and habit of activism into the rest of their lives.  There are so many people I owe enormous debts of gratitude for my moral and spiritual education who were once (I’m sure) rather obnoxious Vietnam-era white hippie kids.  They grew up to be my youth group leader, my hilarious social studies teacher, my incredible school counselor, my sociology professor and my amazing father and mother in law.  All of those people continued to take a stand of what they believed was morally right when there was no cameras, no glory, and usually a strong chance of being punished for it.  I’m still trying to live up to that.

If nothing else comes out of the Occupy movement, I hope that it has politicized my generation so that when they are in positions of power, they will carry that sense of discernment and passion with them.  And when they hear the oppressed complain about militarization of the police, they will take that damn seriously because they remember what it was like when their friend was pepper-sprayed in the face.  In the grand scheme of things, that’s a pretty awesome accomplishment.

Flash back to me sitting awkwardly in the seat while I listen to super sincere white people talk and play theatre games about oppression.  It finally dawned on me, “They think this is the play, but it’s dress rehearsal.  But you can’t put on a show without the dress rehearsal.”

Speaking of a show, the punk band and the hair band were actually quite good.  They were kicking it old school,  the dudes were full on bad English school boy with the turned up collar and the women were rocking the funky tights under cut-off shorts and flowy florescent hair.  It reminded me how much I like the disheveled romantic punk look–I’m definitely pulling out the fishnets and green eyeshadow this weekend.  One of the advantages of getting old and cynical is that you stop taking it all quite so seriously.  As a teenager I was obsessed with exactly what kind of Goth and what kind of hippie chick I was because I was convinced that I would be locked into an identity FOREVER.  Now that I’ve gotten older and (read Judith Butler) I’ve realized that it is all drag and play–now it’s so much easy to put the fun in funky.

Day 91: Do Partner Exercises

I’ve been taking a class called “Killer B’s” that is perfect for people who are keeping a blog on new acts.  We do three different body parts or modalities that start with the letter “b” and each class is different.  Today we did backs, buddy exercises and bosu balls.  I actually like doing the partnered exercises–made me feel like I was in a training montage for a spy movie.

Day 90: Go To A (Kind) Dentist

I am one of those people with dental anxiety.  I had no problems with dentists until I got braces.  My orthodontist was one of those well-intentioned but traumatizing medical professionals that liked to use shame as a motivating factor.  This backfired terribly with me.  My headgear hurt horribly and I couldn’t sleep with it on, but instead of telling anyone I didn’t wear it and felt guiltier and guilter until I locked myself in the Shame-Doom Silo and ended up having a slight overbite and a hatred of touching my teeth.  After my braces came off I could barely bring myself to brush my teeth and the idea of going to a dentist made me spiral back into shame and anxiety. 

The Husbandit also has a lot of dental anxiety as the result of being having extensive dental work done without Novacaine after a bike accident because the dentist thought “Husbandit would prefer to have it done faster.”  I understand intellectually a lot of medical professionals are good people put in a bad situation but these kinds of experiences have made me angry and anxious in all medical situations, dental included.  A friend recommended a dentist as the “best dentist for the dental phobic” to the Husbandit and he went a few months ago.  He seemed reasonably pleased so after a few months more I finally scheduled an appointment.

I liked that the office was small and the receptionist greeted me by name and asked how the Husbandit was doing.  I still felt a lot of anger and anxiety throughout the cleaning but the dentist was very compassionate when he talked to me about how to prevent tartar from building up around my permanent retainer and how to get back in the habit of flossing and using dental pick brushes.  He even said specifically that he wasn’t trying to shame me and gave me some good news along with the bad.

That night I had trouble sleeping from my gums hurting and woke up at 2:00 am to cry a bit.  I think I just needed to release all that tension and anger and sadness I was carrying.  I felt so silly–here’s I was sobbing about an orthodontist that I had over 10 years ago–but I really felt like I had been given absolution for being a sad, perfectionist teenager who was convinced that I was “bad” because my teeth hurt.

Day 89: Go to A New Cafe for a Writing Date

Little D and I decided to start trying new cafes for writing dates.  We went to the Safari Cafe, which is an East African themed cafe that roasts its own coffee beans and has an excellent selectiono rooibos tea.  I worked on a short story that I have been picking at since this summer, still feeling a little stuck on it.

Day 88: Eat Brunch at New Cafe, Eat Dinner with New Friends

I’ve been enjoying getting to know some college friends in our post-collegiate life.  It’s an odd combination of feeling like I’m hanging out with an old friend and also making a new friend.  We went to brunch at a cafe I have never been to.  I have a bizarre allergy to raw eggs, so I’m always hesitant to go to new places for breakfast if the menu seems very egg-centric.  Some place will cook them hard for you, others will serve you the same soft liquid-y egg regardless.  I hate being the person with the strange allergy asking extensive questions about cooking practices.  But, the menu had crepes and amazing potatoes so I was fine and glad that I had nudged myself out of my comfort zone.

I found out that one of my friends had taken a course in museum collection/artifact preservation that I’m considering taking, so I had a lot of fun picking his brain about that.

The same evening the Husbandit and I went to a new friends’ house for dinner.  She and I met under strange circumstances, then life got really busy and we hadn’t had much time to hang out.  She’s been pretty persistent in reaching out and I wanted to get to know her better so we finally made a date.

It’s rather odd being courted as a friend.  I’m a little baffled.  And cautiously pleased.

Day 87: Finish My Difficult Piece

It’s done!  Well, I finished a shitty first draft anyway.  I read it to my writing buddy, which took a lot of bravery and she had some good feedback.

I rewarded myself with watching Blackadder Goes Forth in which Rowan Atkinson snarks through World War I.