Feline Confessions (Usher Not Included)

This whole thing started the same way a lot of my stories start: I have a shitty work day, call my friend to talk me down and end up going over to her house to drink wine.

The problem on that particular day began with trouble with a certain piece of software, which snowballed into “I can’t do this, and I can’t do this career for the rest of my life.” Hyperbole? I have no idea what you’re talking about.

To make a long story short and to avoid telling a story that’s not mine to tell, that night ended in the morning after we’d spent hours at the emergency vet’s office. We’d come back home one cat short.

All of this makes me feel sort of guilty.

I’ve been really busy the last few months, what with teaching classes, taking classes, hanging out with a dude and trying to keep my head above water career-wise. A lot of that has been stressful or frustrating. It has been a lot of change, most of it good…all of it stressful.

In all the madness, my relationship with my cat has suffered. He’s there yelling at me while I’m trying to work and I’m responding with “shut up!” because I’m just sick of hearing it. He spends the whole day looking out the front window and the whole night doing God knows what while I run all over town. On the nights I’m home, I’m usually busy with a human. The two of us call him Douche Cat.

The yelling.
The endless yelling of a Siamese cat will drive you crazy.

“What do you want? You have food. You have water. Your box is clean. WHAT do you want?”

“I want YOU. I want you to explain why, after 11 years, you are acting as though you have no use for me. I want you to snuggle with me like you used to. I want you to stop telling me to shut up. I want you to pet me and, if it’s not too much trouble, maybe you could bother to notice that I’ve lost weight. WHO was there through bad times, bad dates, long nights and lazy Sundays? ME, you asshole. That was me. Douche Human.”

As I sat in an emergency vet office, watching my friend say goodbye to her cat, I felt like a Douche Human. The time we get with them is so short, and I’ve spent the last 6 months treating mine like he’s a roommate I don’t like very much. No wonder he’d taken to peeing on my dirty laundry. As with children, if your pets are being horrible, it’s probably ultimately your fault.

One day, I will be the one with a cat on a towel in my lap. One day, my cat will purr while I watch milky white fluid be pushed through a syringe. One day, those big blue eyes will stare blankly back at me, and I will know that I caused it because it was the kindest thing I could do.

This morning when he heard me stir and jumped onto the bed, I didn’t move him aside and get up and make coffee. We had thirty minutes of snuggle time and then I kissed him on the head and said, “I gotta get up, babe.”

There was no endless Siamese yelling today.

Hot Santas In The Summertime

“Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner. I was kind of indisposed yesterday. Goth funerals are kind of an all-day thing.”

I know goth folk have a rep for being, how do you say, a bit catty and high-drama. We also have a rep for being shallow, allegedly basing entire relationships on clothes and hair. Thus, I suspect I am being a bit naive in this post, but you’ll have to bear with me. All cynical pessimists are just disappointed naive optimists in disguise.

The thesis statement of the day was that Bristow always enjoyed getting seemingly bizarre groups of people together, so I’m guessing that he was really enjoying the hell out of yesterday. There were an array of goth folk, dressed in their “real-life funeral” clothes (understated, as opposed to over-the-top), but there were also pirates, Santas, clowns, gypsies and someone (one of TWO people in attendance named Elf**) dressed in full battle regalia, complete with full-size sword. Standing in and among these people were traditional-looking grandmas, wearing those polyester blouses that tie at the neck.

There was some bizarre Jesusy stuff that never fails to make me feel weird. It only made sense at my grandpa’s funeral, because he was a deacon. Oh, also at Obadiah’s funeral, cause he was totally Jesusy. With everybody else, it’s like “dude, what does this Bible passage have to do with anything?” I hate the “hire a stranger to talk about your friend” thing. Oh well. Grandmas like that sort of thing. For the rest of us, one of Kris’s buddies got up and spoke to wash out the icky feeling that I had from the first guy.

I didn’t see much during the service because somebody sprang an open casket on us. Again, some people need an open casket for closure. That’s fine for them and none of my business, but I chose to remove my glasses. From the third row, said open casket was just a blurry white thing, and I won’t have to live the rest of my life with that picture in my head. I prefer the picture where Kris is dancing, or wielding two plastic guns and wearing elf ears. Isn’t this way more kick-ass?

Like my mom, I don’t much get down with traditional funerals. The CD playing Amazing Grace, the pink light bulbs, flowers attempting to cover the smell of a funeral home…we understand it, but we don’t “get” it. Again, we’ll have to let this go, as grandma wants what she wants. It’s fine for people who want that, but if you do it to me, I will personally track you down and haunt you until the fun wears off. If Kris had had time to plan an Irish band and fire breathers, he might have. As it was, you accept what’s there and don’t over-think it. Over-thinking and being pissed doesn’t change anything. (Holy crap, did I just say that? WHO AM I?)

The post-funeral gathering at Mulligan’s was nice, as everybody finally got to just get trashed and have a release for a while. I suck at funerals; nobody wants to know what I think about heaven or funeral directors, but I do know how to drink vodka and get giggly. My friends have apparently taken a vote and decided that I’m much more fun when tipsy. (“She’s not complaining about ANYTHING!”)

I naively hope that the goth hatchets that were buried this last week can stay buried. I’m glad that everybody was able to get over their feelings about who slept with who or who did some stupid crap to who or we think is kind of a skank and just get together and be nice for a while. It was nice to see some faces that I haven’t seen in years. Hopefully, we can keep it up. I’m fairly certain this is what Kris would have wanted to see.

I remember Sundays playing “gothic volleyball” (badly). I remember sewing things with Jen while Kevin and Kris watched Red Dwarf. I remember dancing, Guitar Hero, and Cinco de Mayo. I remember someone who always treated me like a kid sister, even though he only had three years on me. (I know, it’s hard to take someone seriously when they’re two heads shorter than you and have a taste for pigtails.) I remember climbing that 9-foot chain link fence because it seemed like a good idea at the time. I remember Kris worrying that I might pass out for the rest of the walk because of the profusely bleeding cut from said chain link fence. I remember Hollie photographing us for her school project, taking the “we are a bad goth band” picture. You can tell the picture’s old because my accessories are tiny. My jewelry gets bigger and bigger, like I develop a tolerance over time. Bracelets are my heroin.

**I secretly wish that the two people named Elf would get together and date, just cause it would be awesome.

My Funeral/Job Interview Outfit is Getting Tired.

I never know what to say when people die. I suck at anything that requires some other response than sarcasm. Luckily, Younger Amy (when she was Amy and not “evil,”) bailed me out on this one. She never said much of anything to anybody, but she has a tendency to sit in a coffee shop and write poetry with a Pilot V5. We all kind of took ourselves too seriously then. We ALL wrote poetry.

Anyway, I wrote this (completely friend-wise, might I add), for Kris Bristow. I’m guessing I’m about to witness the world’s best-dressed memorial service. There will be goth folk and roller girls. The place is going to be packed.


Gun metal grey, his eyes reached into me
Looking for understanding
His curled smile spoke truth
Of my walls
Which, til now, have served me well.
After months of braind ead comfort
His words have shaken me awake
To look up at the angel before me
To hear this song
Of words
Which lodge in my rib cage
Inches from my skittish heart
Two inches more…
And the bullet would have claimed me
He would hold my reluctant heart
Thus adding another to his collection.
What is one heart to him, but a drop in the ocean?
Yet, still, he has reached me
Though my heart is still my own,
A chip has fallen from its wall
Shaken loose by the force
Of ammunition words
From a curled smile
And gun metal grey eyes.

** Note to $_Deity: While you seem to be amused by killing my friends and family members lately, I appreciate letting my aunt and her friend survive that badass car wreck. Don’t think this gets you completely off the hook, though.

You’re Soaking In It

“The only reason you are alive
Is that someone has decided to let you live.”

Whenever death hits the American public, the American public responds as the American public expects itself to respond. The American public was shocked and horrified by September 11. The American public was stunned by the loss of Princess Diana. Though I didn’t witness them, the American public was probably shocked and stunned by the deaths of Martin Luther King, John F Kennedy, and Elvis. Today, the death of Michael Jackson has taken over, making the deaths of Farrah Fawcett and Ed McMahon sad footnotes. It’s a bit like Heathers. In life, MJ was Crazy Uncle Jacko who sat in the corner at family reunions and mumbled about Vietnam. In death, he is 20-something and moonwalking at the celebration for the 25th anniversary of Motown. We’ll be stunned for a minute, buy a commemorative copy of the New York Times, and then go back to thinking about what we’re doing this weekend.

I don’t know why the American public is so easy to stun and shock.

Terrorists had been trying to bomb the World Trade Center for years. Princess Diana was hounded constantly. MLK and JFK had no small portion of enemies, and Elvis was taking all of the pills in Memphis. The only times TMZ ever got a shot of Michael Jackson were when he was scuttling out of a doctor’s office. Nothing screams “death’s door” quite like having medical dust masks to match every outfit.

Humans are so easy to kill; all you have to do is cut off the air, get the heart to stop, or damage the brain badly enough to do one of the two. Anurisms, stray bullets, car wrecks, heart attacks and blood clots are everywhere. If you eat three times a day, you have roughly 600-800 opportunities to choke each day.

Today, toddlers all over the world are going to notice their parents’ behavior and want to know why people have to die. People die because we’d have a hell of a population problem if they didn’t. People die so that those who are left alive won’t squander their time. Somewhere, Little Timmy is realizing that he can be snuffed out at every turn. Somewhere Timmy knows death is always two steps behind him. Somewhere, Little Timmy is deciding to stop wasting time.

Are You There, God? It’s Me, (evil).

I got a Facebook message from my sister yesterday, checking in and making sure I was OK. It occurred to me that perhaps I haven’t been mourning enough. Mostly, I have thrown myself back into work because that’s what I know how to do. In my experience, if you give yourself the option of losing your shit, you probably will.

I didn’t understand most of 2008. I generally don’t believe in an interventionist God. OK, I just don’t believe that there’s some guy with a big white beard sitting up in the clouds watching me. If said guy did exist, he’d probably have much more productive things to be doing. Thus, it would take a level of narcissism that not even I can muster to think that The Supreme Being was up in Heaven saying, “let’s throw her Hell and see if she survives it. Just for LOLs.” If he’s up there, even if he’s not, I think I understand now. 2008 was a dress rehearsal.

I think that’s part of why I’m not losing my shit more. I talked someone through death, voluntary death, looked it in the face and realized that my love was not enough to change his mind. I sent all my horses and all my men, and Humpty Dumpty sent them back, egg on faces. With a Bible. Irony.

We’d all had plenty of time to accept the whole cancer thing. Years. Knowing something is going to happen and having it actually happen aren’t the same thing, but I do appreciate the advance warning. In his typical way, dad planned everything out so mom would have less crap to deal with. I don’t feel that badly for myself because I mostly feel badly for mom. I have been getting used to the idea of my parents dying since I grasped the concept of death. Ah, portrait of the goth at age five.

I will be OK without him there to walk me down the aisle (if I ever lose my mind and get married), because he did his job. He and mom raised us to be independent, strong, and to be able to do for ourselves. The point of being a good parent is to make yourself obsolete. That’s not to say that he’ll be unneeded or replaced. That’s just to say that my dad raised me to keep my shit together, even if he wouldn’t have used the word “shit.”

Still, one of his paintings looks at me as I leave the house. He hung my closet shelves. I can still feel him standing behind me while I play. It’s like there’s one more hand on my back, pushing me forward to be the legacy for one more person. Now I have to be fabulous for Diah and play Jim Croce songs for dad. (Note to self: steal the other half of his chord charts.)

Yeah, 2008 sucked. There were several times when I kind of wanted to jump off an overpass. Dad knew 2008 had sucked, as I’d lost so many things that were so important. He sat on the couch at Christmas, doped up but still in pain, and he just wanted to make sure I was OK. I’m OK. Strangely, I cashed in my old life for a new, better, one. If they didn’t kill me last year, they never will. I’m not being bizarrely cavalier. It just takes a lot more to throw me from the horse.

One day, I will play you a song that always made me cry when dad played it. Because that song is my job now, too.

Death is Contagious

Somebody somewhere once wrote something about how they thought aging may be a contagious disease. Like, if someone never met any other people, that person would stay young forever. Then again, you probably shouldn’t take scientific advice from poets.

Death, however…I think that IS contagious. Someone near you dies and it puts this little seed of unhappiness in you that slowly grows and gets fertilized by the deaths of even more people. Eventually, the seed grows into a tree that feeds on you, leeching nutrients out of your body and eventually killing you. That’s what it feels like, anyway.

You’d think that babies would serve some purpose in all this, keeping us young and counteracting the death. Sorry, but no. Babies may make us act and feel younger, but they’re just spiritual Tylenol. They make your headache feel better, but that brain tumor is still going to get you.

I have not been dropping acid.
There’s also a new post at Kill The Radio Star.