Thursday, April 17, 2008
They Let You Sleep
After I dropped off my groceries, I drove to Nolan's, a small neighborhood bar that had a reputation for serving semi-expensive, strong drinks, drinks that I could nurse for long periods of time. I thought about turning the car around and going home, but I couldn't cope with the thought of returning to my neat apartment without so much as a pain pill or sleeping pill, just half a bottle of Bailey’s and some herbal sleep supplements that "don't make you sleep, they let you sleep." No, the only drugs that actually did any good were the ones that my HMO doctor wouldn't prescribe as often as I needed them. I hoped that the psychiatrist might take a different line in light of the human suffering being inflicted.
I had been threatened with therapy, nearly twenty years before, at the tender age of ten. My Girl Scout leader demanded that my mother take me to "see someone" or I was out of the troop. In retrospect, the ultimatum was not a strange one given that I obsessed about death in those days. By the time I was ten, I had written suicide notes for all my stuffed animals, saying things like "Mr. Teddy has grown weary of things," and "Chatty Cathy has had enough." All of this is to say that I was not like all the other well-adjusted, happy little girls who participated in wholesome activities like the Cookie Rodeo, and sang songs about making new friends and keeping the old, one being silver and the other gold.
Before Girl Scouts, I spent most weekends playing "moving van" with my younger sister. We would get on the couch with our mouse dolls, Missy and Max, and drive them to exotic destinations. I would usually kick my sister's doll off the van and pretend to run him over, saying he was never ever coming back.
In short, I was ill-suited for camping trips with normal girls. The only pleasure I obtained from these trips was picking out my future burial site and asking the other little girls where they wanted to be buried when their times came.
I didn't last long.
As I drove the familiar road, I watched trick-or-treaters run from house to house. I passed a yard lit up with tiki torches, a dozen little fires so high up that no one could feel the heat. I wondered how the children decided what they wanted to be.
As for myself, I had spent some time rejecting looks, hoping that by changing my clothes, I could become a different person. After thirty minutes of sifting through possibilities that all looked better on the hanger, I decided on a tight black dress that zipped up the back and black tights. When I was deciding, I thought about the annual Halloween question my mother posed to me -- Do you want to be scary or pretty? It was years before I figured out that I could be both.
Michelle's Spell of Day
"There is no point in witnessing the destruction of a man who is thoroughly virtuous or who is thoroughly corrupt." Aristotle
Drinking television show suggestion: Sanford and Son
Benedictions and Maledictions