Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Extremely Lucky, Prone To Vanity

I once dated a man with a raging eating disorder which I thought was unfair, given that's usually the girl's role in the relationship, and I felt something crucial had been usurped, taken away, gone bye-bye. I'd watch him pick at his dinner, usually something at the Chinese Garden of Beautiful Earthly and Heavenly Delights (perhaps the longest name of any restaurant) and retire to the bathroom for an uncomfortably long time while I sat looking at my placemat, the usual ones with the Chinese horoscope on them. I don't know how many times I read that I was a pig with beautiful loyal friends (true!) and a tendency toward marital strife. (umm, also probably true!) This never served to cheer me up -- in the western horoscope, I'm a bull -- another stubborn chunky animal without much luck in love. Nobody wants to be a pig in the Chinese horoscope; most people want to be dragons, which my then-boyfriend was. I read all about him while he fought his demons in the bathroom -- extremely lucky, prone to vanity. I'd pick at my egg foo young and wait for his return, eyes red-rimmed, and a little white around the gills. Under normal circumstances, he looked like a Rodin sculpture come to life; I was way out of my league, and I knew it. But during the sad time after dinner and before the bill, he looked like what fresh hell is this? come to life. He'd buck up in time for the mandatory chat with the owner who loved him and gave him an odd assortment of gifts from time to time -- xerox coupons, a jade bracelet charm, a hat with a leperchaun on it with the inscription, The Fightin Irish! I was just thankful that he could eat in public -- many of my female friends with eating disorders had strict rules about this (no eating on dates, no eating in public, no eating after six, you get the picture), much to the irritation of the men they dated. Any garden of earthly or heavenly delights was out for them.

The relationship did not last all that long, but my memory of those dinners did. I thought back to his room with a scale front and center flanked by pieces of notebook paper listing his morning weight and evening weight, day to day progress. I'd had my moments of diet misery just like every other woman my age, but this was something beyond me. He could sketch, my then-boyfriend, lovely figures of lushness and life. These drawings covered the room, pinned to the walls and dripping from the desk onto the floor. I'd try to look at them instead of the sheet listing all the weights, but well, I'm no artist. I kept going back to the most disturbing thing in the room, thinking about the way the dying light looked through the paper-thin curtains, the list of weight fluctuations fluttering, blown this way and that by the one fan in the room that never stopped.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"You go back to the old things, make them new." John Coltrane

Cocktail Hour
Drinking music suggestion: Bitch's Brew Miles Davis

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday!


eric313 said...

This was powerful. The scene you set of the room with the drawings, or the descriptions of all the little gifts the owner of the restaurant gave him. It was some really good writing.

Are all dragons screwy like this?


So there is a price to pay for the rather vague but intiguing "power to change the world"...

and it's far worse than than just "being often misunderstood".

glad that's cleared up.

take care

Charles Gramlich said...

Interesting juxtaposition of the man's art with his eating disorder. My only eating disorder is that I can't stop.

the walking man said...

Chinese horse and astrological lion, and have gained almost forty pounds since 2004 and eight of that just in the last couple of months, what good is a fat lion or horse?

Goddamn you have dated a lot of different people have only their idiosyncrasies in memory.

Michelle (and I am not referring to anyone)complimenting your writing is just blowing smoke up your ass and I am not going to do that anymore because everything of yours I have read makes me and quite a few others story tellers look like second rate hacks.

You are able to look back at the evil the good and the wonderful things that you have been through and steal my favorite line about myself "She has a life and is living it, and when she dies the only true thing anyone will ever be able to say about you is that "she had a life and she lived the fuck out of it" (living the fuck out of something is a Detroit compliment)

I don't care what anyone else wants from you, all I want is to hear/read your tales, it is a daily dose of fantasia.

"You go back to the old things, make them new."

Yeah man I did that, emptied out all of my saved and sent mail and my contact list, and everything else I have that belongs to someone else in my documents. Everything is new again.

the walking man said...


Much Peace in Your heart of Hearts


paul said...

thatMan neededaGoodSteak

Cheri said...

Paul, a steak, potato and a kick in the ass!

Joseph Heller said...

Tell me about eating disorders.

Crashdummie said...

Wow... dunno wuite what to say, there was a lot to digest (no pun intended.. ok maybe a lil) Dragon? Poor thing had high expectations huh?

Michiko Kakutani said...

The world of Harry Potter is a place where the mundane and the marvelous, the ordinary and the surreal coexist. It's a place where cars can fly and owls can deliver the mail, a place where paintings talk and a mirror reflects people's innermost desires. It's also a place utterly recognizable to readers, a place where death and the catastrophes of daily life are inevitable, and people's lives are defined by love and loss and hope--the same way they are in our own mortal world.

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