Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Aunty Christ is nothing if not committed

Actually, that title up there? Is a big lie. Aunty Christ is anything but committed, usually. The very idea of commitment makes her break out in hives and backne and song. Not nice song, either. Angry song. Song like “Head Like a Hole” or “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Angry teen anthem, specifically.

But this week I appear to be taking a break from commitmentphobia, to a certain extent. Or, well, that’s untrue also, since the phobia remains—but we are working through it. Breathe, Aunty, breathe.

Yesterday was the first meeting of the new writers’ group, and lemme tell ya, it was every bit as scary and intimidating as it could have been. The lady who had told me that she had about the same amount of writing experience as me, it turns out, is also—by which I mean like me—a liar. But a much more experienced one—in that the experience is in the realm of writing and publishing and education, and not, probably, lying, I mean. Everyone, apparently, has been to grad school but me. While I was off farting away my life in the mountains, raising goats, everyone else was working diligently on their MFAs. Once, back when I was a newly minted graduate of a top English program, I thought about getting my MFA. But then I realized that all the modern writers I was reading—Lorrie Moore and David Foster Wallace and … oh, I don’t know who I’m trying to fool anymore. I don’t read fiction lately, and my mind is so swiss-cheesed from the drink, I can’t think of who I used to read back in the day. But anyway, I used to read, back in the day—that’s my point. And my further point is that everyone started to sound alike to me, and I chalked it up to MFA programs and creative writing groups, and I decided that anyone could write, and all MFA creative writing programs do is make everyone sound the same: The creative-writing-school school of creative writing, I called it.

But now, I wonder if that decision not to go into an MFA writing program was borne of another realization: that I am not a worthy candidate. I am not very smart, for one thing. And I am lazy. Today, for example, while I was worrying about not having anything to turn in for next week’s writers’ group, did I write anything? An email, even? A comment on What Would Tyler Durden Do? No. I played sudoku, and I rather sucked at it. And I looked for a new blog template. And I cleaned my stinky apartment a little bit. Whether this is evidence of my laziness or my stupidity … one guesses it’s a little from column A and a little from column B.

In my favor, it seems that tastes in writing are subjective. I dated a guy last year, who went by something to the effect of The Man Who Wore No Clothes in my former blog, and he was known among his circle of friends as the best writer ever. Was he? My personal feelings about him likely color my opinion. I may not be the best judge. But honestly, among my new writers’ group buds, he would not even be allowed to join the group. And no, he is not the best writer ever, or even a good writer. Ha!

I may be feeling especially down about my talents because of one of the women who was at yesterday’s meeting. She ultimately decided not to join our group—I suspect she found me, in particular, boorish—but during her time with us she (1) asked me what I was working on, (2) admonished me for telling the group what I was working on, and (3) corrected my use of the word treatment when I should have said synopsis. I needed several drinks after talking to her, and still find myself today slapping my forehead and saying “Synopsis!” repeatedly. Of course it was “synopsis” I meant, and not “treatment.” And then I spent several minutes today googling what the difference was between the two—it seems that they are sometimes, if not often, confused, probably mostly by dummies like me, who have no post-grad degree.

By way of introduction, I listed my few experiences with writers’ groups thus far, mentioning that last year I had joined a cross between a class and a critique group in Colorado, mentored by a former Wasted State University professor. “Who was it?” Synopsis Woman wanted to know. I had no idea, frankly, and explained that WSU is a small joke of a college attended primarily by those who enjoy skiing more than studying, and was thus unlikely to have recruited any creative writing professor that anyone outside of her own family would have heard of. “Oh, so no one from Saskatoon,” she said, betraying her short attention span. However, I noted (hoping that this might impress), in college I had studied under Richard Stern. As mentioned in the above-linked wikipedia article, Professor Stern is known largely (if he is known at all) for not being famous, but still, I reasoned, this pedigree-obsessed bitch might have heard of him, as he is known, if only for being the unfamous friend of certain very famous writers. But no, she had not, and I was made to feel stupid once again, just for, you know, trying.

The other women in the group are awesome—awesome writers, awesome thinkers. Awesome people maybe? Who knows. They seem like it. If I find out that they singe puppies with cigarette butts, they still have other ideas that I can get behind. I am certainly outfuckingclassed. I know it, though. If only I can convince my brain to befuckinghave like something that’s trying to leafuckingrn something, maybe I won’t come off as a total jackass. Again. Because I’m pretty sure I did, yesterday, come off as one.

Oh, this all—this post—is only to make myself feel better. I write much more miserable than I feel. And the other point of this, I think, is to convince myself that, whatever else I may be, I am not a quitter. I’m outclassed, sure, but I should—and will—make the best of it. Anyway, what better way to improve than to associate with my betters? If I have learned nothing else from countless 18th-century English novels, I have at least learned that—although I like to think that I have learned a thing or two about how to play the harpsichord in polite company and the proper way to address a Lady, as well.

Also, there's this: In an effort to save money, Rich Bachelor and I are sharing a cell phone line, which should make me break out in hives and flop sweat, but actually does not. It’s not moving too fast, is it? It’s not like we’re buying a timeshare together, or adopting a Chinese. (Though I certainly want my own Chinese! These restrictions just make them all the more attractive!) Oh gush. I dunno what to say. I hope we get to share stuff for a while to come, that’s all.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bike! Bike! Bike!

Just when you think that the only thing the Saskatoon police force is good for is beating people in the street like hogs (i.e., keeping You in Your Place, thank you), and the occasional accidental shooting death, you get a phone call from out of the blue, letting you know that some superstar genius renegade cop has found your bike, having been tipped off by the ultrasuspicious sight of a black man on a brand-new Cannondale.

Well, erm, anyway. One step back for racial parity, but in the meantime, my bike is back! This kind of makes me a bad person, doesn’t it? A bad person on a brand-new Cannondale, that is!

Mwah! I love you crazy, racist boys in blue!

Or fuck man. I dunno. Anyway: Bike!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Aunty Christ and the writers’ group, part dos

Ever since moving to Saskatoon, I’ve been trying to join a writers’ group. This should surprise some of you—those who have followed me here from TCOWT (my old blog), for example, and remember certain problems I had with my last writers’ group. Problems that included, in no particular order, vagina worship, celebration of the vajayjay, and unleashing the power of the hoohah through bad poetry. Also: Stories about having children, not having children, going through menopause, dealing with being a mother, dealing with childhood memories of your own awful mother, looking at Grandmother’s shoes, etc. Everything need be supersupportive of Who You Are these days, I suppose. Wouldn’t want menopause or childbirth to be, you know, just one of those things that lots of people have gone through when it could instead be Totally and Awesomely Empowering For Absolutely No Reason.

I think, though, that I found a pretty good group of women to join this time. For one thing, we’ve all read writing samples from and found ourselves to be okay with the writing skills of the two others in the group. For another, we’ve all exchanged emails, and none of us appears to be totally cheesy, or insane. Not yet, anyway. Maybe I am. I might be insane, based on emails I have sent the group. “Hello! I am a bad writer! Please help me feel as though my life is worthwhile and lie to me, or else I will cry!” This is not actually what I have written, and it is not at all what I intend to write, ever, to anyone, and yet it seems that it just slips in there, unbeknownst to me. “Hello! Monday afternoon at the Coffee Shop is fine! Let’s meet and discuss why I am not worthy to be in your presence! Ha ha ha ha ha!” See? I totally did not even mean to write that.

One of the women in the group is a performance artist who has already been published, and handled an appearance on The O’Reilly Factor with much more grace and maturity than I ever could (though she also missed a golden opportunity to beat him about the head with a shoe, but I assume she has a long-range plan for that). One has been published in a textbook and is working on her second novel. And then there’s me. Well, I blog! And I have that novel that I was working on for a few seconds, before Bread Loaf turned me down, mumble mumble.

The novel, incidentally, has occupied a large space in my mind lately, having been since last year shoved to the back, behind a pretty fuzzy street map of Saskatoon, my ever-changing to-do list, the rotating series of albums I’m interested in, Dear Abby’s advice for teens, the location and approximate sizes of tumors on Gallant’s lumpy torso, the latest 30 Rock catchphrases, the date Heroes returns to television, the name of that restaurant, what blog linked to that site, that good wine, the latest news, the issues, etc. The novel, if you can call it that—well, first of all, it’s not that long. I hesitate to say how short it is, since it just makes me look pathetic, and then there’s a one-page summary of where I see it all going, plotwise. The last thing I wrote of any length was a novella that pretty much mirrored my life as a college student, with the only exception being that, instead of being a college student who rarely went to class, wrote bad songs in her free time, and worked in a hair salon part-time, my main character (and the first-person narrator) was a recent college grad who worked in a hair salon full-time and wrote bad songs in her free time. So I mixed it up quite a bit, as you can see. My new novel, which I have written about three pages of, so you can totally not understand, I’m sure, why I would hesitate calling it a novel, is told in third-person limited POV, with three different main characters, two of them men. This was the direct result of being in a writers’ group with eight women who all wanted to write in the first person about menstrual blood and its similarities to moss and ocean water and amniotic fluid and love. I will say that, for a writer of my limited experience and capabilities, anyway, it’s hard writing a man character. Men! They’re like me except … more prone to male-pattern baldness? More baseball cap wearing? More testically? What? So the men in the few chapters I have so far are either fey (man #2) or stupid (man #1).

But the problem I really have with what I’m writing is that one of the characters is supposed to be smart (PhD candidate in philosophy), and if there’s one thing it’s impossible to do, it’s write a character who’s smarter than you. If there’s two things it’s impossible to do, frankly, it’s write a character who’s smarter than you and write into your work quotes from something that you’ve set up to be A Really Amazing Work of Art. I’m hardly the first person to say it, but please. Nicole Krauss’ The History of Love almost worked despite this flaw, and I’ve even heard that some people liked Stranger than Fiction. But really, a mid-grade, first-time writer cannot convincingly write even a paragraph of a supposed work of genius. I can’t buy it, anyway. It’s like casting Paris Hilton as the lead in your movie called The Most Beautiful Woman in the World.

But here’s the other thing: It’s also hard to convincingly write very stupid characters. I saw (or: listened to, I guess) George Saunders speak in the recent past, and one of the things he said, with respect to his writing, was that it’s a balancing act. Or, that’s how he saw it, anyway. A story would start with a fragment of a conversation, overheard at the mall, between two very stupid teens. And then it would occur to him that his take on these characters was less than sympathetic, so he would create a new character, a wholly sympathetic character, their saintly aunt. But that’s no fun, so he’d kill her off. But that destroys the balance too, so then he brings her back to life, and makes her as selfish in death as she was selfless in life. On and on. (This is “Sea Oak” I’m describing, from Pastoralia, if anyone cares.) Not that I’m saying I can write anything close to the level of Saunders’ work, but it’s something to live up to, and something to think about. I have one character who’s so stupid that I—even me, his creator, I—have no sympathy for him and firmly believe that anything good that comes to him over this course of events is a fluke, a universal mistake, and one character who’s smarter than I am, but can’t be, so maybe he’s just pretentious and willing to overlook his shortcomings while trying to earn a post-grad degree. That’s two unlikable characters, just in case you haven’t been paying attention, which seems like a really good idea at this point, frankly.

Either way, I’ve been obsessing over this for weeks now, and I’m afraid that I’ve created a problem that’s far too complicated for someone as dumb as me to solve. And, well, either way, I’m glad, in any case, I’ve hooked up with this new writing group. We’ll see what comes of it, but I imagine that playing with the pros can only raise the game of an amateur like me.

Aunty Christ and Californblogation, part II

Please see Rich Bachelor’s take on the trip, if you find yourself wanting more hot vacation-description action. Or even if not. He is wonderful.

Also, it occurs to me that I should have stuck this somewhere in my last post:

It’s been a long- and firmly held belief of mine that people everywhere, no matter how much you revile them or how much you wish to idealize them, are pretty much the same horrible (or wonderful, if you’re into that kind of thing) people. So, honestly, the people in California are not that much better—or worse—than the people in Saskatoon or Florida or Myanmar or ancient Greece or Dust Bowl-era Oklahoma or any other people anywhere, at any time. It is also true, however, that, throughout history and across the world, tourists are hateful, vile creatures to be avoided at all costs. That goes for Rich and me as well as anyone we encountered on our journeys, and probably accounts for 90% of the horror that accompanied dinnertime in California, and definitely gives pause as I consider other trips I might like to take in the near, or even not-so-near future.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Aunty Christ and the (only sometimes) bad trip, or All of California and Everyone Who Lives There Stinks

This past weekend found Rich Bachelor and I on a kind of aimless tour of all that is good and bad about mid-coast California. The good primarily consisted of what was too far away from our hotel to be of much use to us: The drive from Pacific Grove south along Highway 1 was gorgeous, and our day devoted to that endeavor turned out to be mostly clear over the ocean, the hills to the east of the highway misted over, the ocean far below the highway still grey from that morning’s storm. Would that we could do it over again, I would do the whole trip differently—staying somewhere between Pacific Grove and Big Sur, bringing more clothes for hiking and a trail map, if such a thing exists, to find a path to the beach from the cliffs. Maybe we will do it again, in fact. It was fun, or at least funnish, though the point of the trip, I think, for me, was to do One Last Something before re-entering the hateful, imprisoning world of the office. At least I sort of hope I re-enter that world one of these days, before I forget how to work. Rich was talking about other trips to take this summer—one to eastern Saskatchewan, to see parts of his family and show me where he grew up, and one to rural New York, to see a friend of his who may but who we hope does not move back there—and I added to that a trip I’d like to take, back to Rural Mountain Village, to see the not-yet-born baby of a friend of mine (who will, of course, be born by imagined trip date), and another one, to Chicago suburban hell, to see Granny Christ. And then, once you start thinking, there’s no end to the trips one could take, are there? I’ve been wanting to go to Tokyo for years now, to see a friend who lives there, and going back to Hawaii this year would be fun. And what of Guyana, Portugal, Malaysia, Kenya, Wales, the Czech Republic …? Oh, the job can wait, my heart says. Just give me six more months.

But, if nothing else, last weekend’s trip, though brief, was an instructive look at why staying at home is a good thing also.

1. The people

The surfeit of humanity in California, in a not very creative choice of words, sucks. I am sure not all of them/you do, really. For example, there was the stoned used-record store owner, who I liked quite a lot, and several bartenderesses who were very nice. So that brings the total to three or four, anyway, and when you extrapolate that to include the whole state, there could be literally hundreds of Californians who are not complete assholes, probably.

No, no, the people who offended, really—other than our fellow drivers, I mean—were our fellow diners. Like, check this: We’re having dinner at this really lovely restaurant with an ocean view. The restaurant is tucked away into some kind of apartment complex or another, away from the blatant tourism of Cannery Row or the Fisherman’s Wharf, and, you know, it’s not the most elegant place in all the world, but it’s pretty schmancy. For instance, I’m wearing jeans and I feel out of place. In California, the place where shoes-without-socks went to die but ended up not dying and instead have grown into a thriving, unsexy man-fungus. An older couple is seated behind us, the man bald and compact, his wife a staring, rigid, unfun caricature of emptynestedness. The man’s cell phone rings. He takes it out and stares at it. Stares. Stares. A good minute of this. Not fumbling because he had forgotten how to turn it off, not answering it because it was very important. Just staring. And everyone in the restaurant stares at him. He is being annoying!, we say. What gives him the right? At some point in the ringing and the staring at the phone and the staring at the man, Rich (correctly, I now realize, although I was skeptical at first) points out that, although at first the guy was the asshole for not turning off his phone in the first place, not immediately shutting the thing off as it started ringing, etc., now we are the assholes, for staring at him and expecting an outcome that is clearly not going to happen. (This entire conversation takes place after the phone has rung at least eight times and before the phone stops ringing.) I’ve thought about this a few times since, and I have to say that I have no idea what made this situation so incredibly annoying to me. Perhaps it’s that if everyone was to let their phones ring all through dinner, that truly would be an annoyance, and that, to prevent that from happening, everyone else was considerate enough to set their phones to vibrate, or else they left them in the car or turned them off. And maybe it was that breach of social contract that was truly annoying, and not the ring itself. Though, to be honest, the ring itself was annoying as fuck.

Now, we picked both that restaurant and the next night’s by looking in a menu guide provided by one of the local hotels and choosing the places that looked creative, tasty, and exorbitantly priced, my feelings on the subject being that people with squirming larvae to feed are obligated under social contract to bring said larvae to Bennigan’s or Olive Garden, and leave big-kid restaurants to us big kids. Not that I don’t love listening to the high-pitched screams of an innocent child. Really, no, I love that so much. And really, if you were planning on hating me because I would rather spend my time not surrounded by little squalling creatures, let me assure you that (1) there are many more important reasons to hate me, and (2) I have already been smited for my insolence. The restaurants we actually went to (other than the one we ended up in the first night, called the Tiki Hut or something similarly horrid, which squirmed with teenagers and their babies) were attended by something far worse than babies: Mid-level entertainment industry workers, up from L.A. for the weekend. Or, we can only surmise. But yes, yes, I think they were. The next night, we were seated next to a lady (whose glasses were smarter than her™—Rich Bachelor) and her mother/mentor/lover. The younger lady started off the evening regaling her dinner partner with a fine tale of how her friend had given her chocolates. They were salted chocolates! There were two of each kind! There were four different kinds! So there were eight chocolates! And her friend, Gavin (or whatever), he only ate one of these very special chocolates every once in a while! He wouldn’t eat them all at once! They were for special! And she had eight! From him!

Oh, and her voice was like nails on a chalkboard, like Kevin Covais from American Idol Season 5. I assume you’ve all read Shouts & Murmurs from the March 26, 2007 issue of The New Yorker, “The Wisdom of Children”? This lady probably did not actually say “Hey guess what? My voice is pretty loud!” but she probably has, and will again in the near future. “My voice is the loudest! My voice is the loudest! I have eight chocolates! I have a friend!”

2. The weirdness

I will make this short. The people provided so much fodder, and the landscape only so much.

I will note only that, while this is not in and of itself a reason not to travel, and may be actually a reason to travel—to see things like this, I mean—the sight of a hand-made sign in the second-story window of what one supposes to be an after-school acting classroom, which reads, “BEA MOVIE STAR! SUMMER MOVIE ACTING CAMP FOR KIDS AGES 7-14” will haunt your dreams, inspiring you to BEA child advocate for children who have not yet heard that child movie stardom is a sure path to lifelong unhappiness.

There was also a dance/comedy club, which, for those of you who have not seen me dance, might be the perfect setting for my skillz, but is really, when you think about it, a little weird.

3. The airports

No one likes airports. You’re not supposed to, I guess. It’s all part of The Plan. But really. Between leaving enough time for the taxi to be late, for the actual taxi ride, for standing in line at the check in, for standing in line to be X-rayed, for waiting two hours in the airport and trying to remain sober (“I won’t be fooled by your delicious airport margaritas! I’ve seen Airline!” Three vodka crans later … ), and then getting off the plane to find the baggage claim, wait for your bag, find the shuttle to the rental car office, ride the shuttle to the rental car office, wait in line for forever to get the rental car, battle with traffic out of the airport—well, it’s a wonder any of us can even get out of bed in the morning, ya’ know? And I have to tie my shoes!

But all of this, quite honestly, was as I expected, and—also quite honestly—I was half-expecting far worse. No long delays sitting on the tarmac—no delays of any kind. No lost luggage. No mechanical problems. The worst thing, in fact, was landing in Saskatoon and trying to get a taxi to take us home. In Saskatoon, the airport taxi line is sacred, not to be broken. I stepped up to the first taxi in line. “Are you available?” I said. No response. “Are you available?” Taxi Driver grunted. I walked up to the cherry-cheeked high school girl wearing an official-looking red jacket. “Is he, you know? He hasn’t opened his trunk or anything?” (That I was practically nonverbal by this point in the evening did not help any.) “Oh, no, he’ll take you,” she assured me. “Can I take a different cab?” I asked. “Are you available?” The next cab driver in line seemed shocked. “No, no, he take you. Him. No.” T.D. grumbled something as he got out of the cab and opened the trunk. “He wants to know which address?” says the teacher’s pet. I kind of start to give him the address, but his eyes are already glazing over, he has lost interest.

Oh, never mind, never mind, I think. This is sure to get better. I’m sure it will.

Five minutes later, Rich and I are humping our bags sweatily back to the taxi stand, where we find T.D. speaking Russian with a 19-year-old boy, his translator. He is mad—T.D. is, and the translator is. They both are, and Teacher’s Pet is kind of understanding maybe, but not very. “So, what happened?” says she. “Lookit—he can’t even communicate what his bitch is without a fucking translator!” we say—except we don’t, really. This is what I’m thinking, anyway, though what we say is actually something like, There’s a communication problem, He can’t take us where we’re going, We’re so sorry. We grab another cab, whose driver speaks better English, and gets us home in no time.

So. No more traveling for me, I think. Not for a while, anyway. And not without my car. And not to California.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Aunty Christ and the … Aw fuck it, this is bullshit, man

So, anyone who knows anything about how the world works will have already figured out that my bike has been stolen. My brand-new bike, which I loved so so much. I left it locked to a sign post on a busy street for about an hour while Rich and I had dinner, came out, and found his bike still locked, with a similarly colored but utterly worthless bike sitting (unlocked) next to it.

Which just goes to show that anything I love, anything that brings me the least amount of happiness, will surely be taken away from me. Or maybe that Saskatoon, or wherever the hell I live, is a sucky place to own a bike, despite its reputation as an excellent biking community. Or maybe that people suck, or that I never get what I deserve (in a conventionally karmic manner of speaking, I think I mean), or that I deserve something other than what I think I deserve. Or maybe it just means that I need a better lock, next time I buy a bike, although frankly, with the mood I’m in, I’d rather believe that the fact that some asshole who carries around a lock cutter and an extra bike stole my property means that something is fundamentally wrong with the universe, and that I am treated unfairly and always will be and waah.

Which is kinda what I was thinking as Rich and I were drowning our sorrows at this rather divey bar we found ourselves at, after driving for a few minutes up and down the street where the bike had been locked. I had said, during the drive, that I either needed to get a drink or go home and cry—though, honestly, crying is something that I usually need a lot of depressing bells and tearjerking whistles to achieve, and I do not have any cry-porn (e.g., United 93, Hotel Rwanda) at my apartment. And then there’s this: It’s a bike. It’s replaceable. It’s a kinda expensive inconvenience, yes, but no one’s hurt. Thus, crying seems a huge overreaction—but it’s my overreaction, goddammit, and anyway, like I said, I wasn’t at all sure that I could cry over this new sitch, and, even if I could, we decided to go to the bar instead of to home, which is where I wanted to do my crying. All of a sudden, though, two Newcastles into the evening, I found myself meditating on how everything sucked, how easy it is for things to go from awesome to stupid, and why don’t any of my pants fit anymore, and how lame am I not to have a job yet, and why is it harder to make friends here than it was in Remote Mountain Village, and now I won’t be able to trust anyone, and this is why I always want to lock the car door, even if I’m only leaving for a minute or if it looks like no one’s around, because you can’t trust people, and people steal your shit even if you’ve locked it up after all. So then I start crying, because it’s not even about the bike anymore; it’s about me, and my failures, and the universe’s failure to live up to my needs, and other people not even caring, not even stopping on a busy street to see what that guy with the lock cutter is doing with that brand-new bike. And then it becomes solely about me: Oh, poor me. Of course my bike gets stolen. Nothing ever works out for me. Meanwhile, Rich is doing the embarrassed guy thing, saying, “Maybe we should leave now,” and I don’t feel like leaving, because these people who are sharing the bar with me, these embodiments of Saskatoonian crime, need to see me crying. They must know the results of their actions!

Or whatever. We paid up and left, so as not to allow myself to further embarrass myself in physical form, in public (though admittedly I’m doing a fine job of picking up in blog form where I left off at the bar). I still have my old clunker, if I wanted to ride it, which I don’t. I’m considering leaving it on the street for someone to steal, though I assume that will only result in a fine for littering. I had previously entertained the idea of putting a post on craigslist saying that whoever wanted to come and take the bike could have it, but that seemed like an open invitation for veiny-cocked drifters to come to my home and kill me. These ideas came to me after an unsuccessful attempt to give the cursed thing to my sister, who got on it and immediately fell, slicing open her palms and bruising her knee. Oh, sorry, sis. I did not actually believe the bike was cursed. Lack of imagination, I suppose. A doom machine, it is. An instrument of torture and death. Anyone in the greater Saskatoon area want it? Besides you veiny-cocked drifters over there, I mean?

I probably will feel better in the morning. For now, since it can no longer, I think, be seen as stupid bragging about owning a mid-level consumer product, I leave you with a picture of my baby. Or, not really my baby, since we didn’t spend enough time together to even take a photo, but a very similar baby. And by baby, I mean bike. Oh god, hold me.

RIP, Chucky. I’ll always remember you. Never change. Love, Mom.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Aunty Christ and the simple pleasures

There’s nothing I hate more than—and a very specific subset of very stupid people have been saying it a lot this winter—hearing (or, let’s face it, reading) people say (type), “Global warming? Bring it on! It’s snowing here!” And then we’re all supposed to go, “Haw haw, that’s a good one, Charlie. If it’s all global warming out there, however could it snow?” Good old-fashioned, god-fearing doubters 1, science 0.

I mention this because it’s been spring here for months, and now it’s officially turned into summer (which isn’t evidence for global warming any more than snow disproves its existence, I know), and the sudden onset of summer makes me happy, at least until rising sea levels drown us all. For months now it’s been nice enough—at least on occasion—for walks along the esplanade, where Rich and I have noticed the phenomenon called Bike Face, in which a person is riding a bike and has this really dopey, happy look on his face.

Now, me? I am not a bike person—not really, though I usually like to own a bike. I sold my mountain bike when I moved out here and bought a kind of cheap, clunky cruiser to ride around town. I shouldn’t say this too loud, because I’m planning to give my sister the cruiser, but that thing sucks ass. Seriously. I mean, I’ve ridden it twice and already I’ve had to take it in to get fixed twice. One of those times was to replace a tire that I had left on the street, which, okay, I can see how that sounds like maybe I was at fault there and not the bike, but honestly, I do think the bike made me take off its tire and leave it in the road for someone to steal. I know that doesn’t really sound possible, but that’s my belief system, and this is America. Love it or leave it. Our boys are dying in Iraq. Etc.

So, bye bye, haunted cruiser. Hello, shiny new roadie! Yesterday I bought a road bike—my first—and although it’s taking some getting used to (the location and general squishiness of the brakes being the main difference), I am actually considering taking the bike out to get drunk and then impregnating it. I love it so much. I would try to spice up this post by adding a photo of my sexy new bike, but it occurs to me that whenever I see a blogger post a photo of something she bought or wants to buy, this suggests that the desired response is something like, “Oh my gawd, you are so freaking cool! I could never in a million years afford a pair of shoes like that! What are you, some kind of genius? A billionaire? Better than all of us? What!?!” and really, I do not care for that kind of a response. Well yes, I am pretty cool, but that doesn’t even matter. That is kind of beside the point of all this, and what exactly is the same as the point of all this is me telling you that I need to cut this short so I can go take my baby on a little ride so we can practice my Bike Face. And shifting. That’s hard.