Tuesday, September 25, 2012

when you find your self in the face of bonnie (redux)......


sorry to do a repost - terri's post about "girl crushes" made me think about this.....

i have always been someone who has wondered who i'm supposed to be. i watch others in awe as they effortlessly waltz to a song that i have never heard. for the most part, people really have everything figured out. they don't have to think about creating an identity - apparently they came with one. i feel compelled to try on other people's personalities like sweaters, attempting to feel what its like to know who you are and where you're going. i just have never quite accomplished this without people wondering what the hell was wrong with me.

my first attempt to build a better me came shortly after my 5th birthday. on my first day of school i encountered bonnie and the die was cast. she was everything i was not. i was, at this point in my life described as awkward. my hands and feet were too big for me and i was forever covered in iodine and bandaids from stumbling over myself. mum would say "god, can't you see where you're going"?
(side note - in the 3rd grade my eyes were tested and i was found to be quite near-sighted. so apparently mum, i couldn't see where i was going.)

right before school started, my mum made the decision to have my hair taken back. she had had enough of my long curly hair.  mom had this idea that my curls would not come back if my hair was cut close to my scalp and against the curl.  her friend joyce carried out her big plan. i must tell you that against the curl  and close to the scalp was not my best look. my near military cut was accented with cow licks. not quite enough to form a pattern, just a enough to make people think i was unkempt.  but enough about me - bonnie on the other hand was petite and perfect. her limbs matched the rest of her body. she had long pale yellow hair that was rod straight . she had sweater sets and cotton skirts and was shod in penny loafers. i dressed almost exclusively in a blue, slightly too small, snoopy sweatshirt and a tartan kilt held together with a giant safety pin - my massive feet crammed in sneakers. bonnie was quiet and sweet and she never spoke out of turn.  but without question her most enviable quality was her delicate nature. she seemed to be constantly in peril and she quickly became the focal point of my little world. it wasn't just me, everybody  fretted over bonnie. does bonnie have her mittens? don't show bonnie your cut because she'll faint. the dear little thing also needed a rest after lunch. we all hushed as bonnie lay quietly on the cot at the back of the classroom. how i loved that cot - it was metal and had a grey blanket with red stripes. i longed to stretch out upon it. i tried inventing and carrying out various scenarios that would end with me reposing there and being the object of everyones' pity and concern. sadly, a strong constitution and a lack of acting ability stood in my way. mrs teacher would step over my twitching body as i feigned a nervous spell. she'd be heading to her desk to get the strap. i guess she figured a few quick smacks would bring me around a lot quicker than any old cot.

i tried to be bonnie countless times, i could not be deterred by a strap or the frank bewilderment of my classmates. dammit, i would will myself delicate. my performances reached a fever pitch when bonnie returned to school after having her tonsils out. she practically lived on that cot - with teacher running back and forth with sips of cold water and cool cloths. we all sat on pins and needles wondering if she would live. at recess we would gather to express our concerns and stand crying at the thought of losing our bonnie. i was as worked up as anybody else but at the same time i thought - what an opportunity. imagine all that love and attention. i begged my mother to have my tonsils removed. i tried to fake cough them out. i would repeat, loudly, over and over all day how bad my throat hurt. i would collapse, often and unexpectedly into a careful heap of woe. i made a fool of myself on a daily basis for over a month. bonnie did it so effortlessly and gracefully, during cot visiting hours she could lift up her tiny hand for you to hold and she would tear up when you discussed her impending death.

eventually, the school year ended and bonnie was forgotten but.... as luck would have it on the very first day of school the following year i met janice, a foul mouth, tomboy whose father was in the airforce. new grade, new me.

 apparently, these were just the beginning of my near infinite number of lessons on how to find yourself. i can't tell you how many times over the years i have made a fool of myself, suffered public humiliation and made my people wonder "what the hell". bonnie began my quest to evolve through mimicry. i really owe her a lot - although i never achieved my initial objective i did end up with the spotlight shinning brightly on me.... and really, that's all that mattered.


ps i have left bonnie name uncapitalized to preserve her anonymity

Monday, September 10, 2012

keeping you abreast.........


our family just returned from another little trip to the canadian rockies. yes, i know it seems excessive, two trips in one summer is more than we are used to. we are not the high rollers my perfect grammer and sentence construction may have led you to believe we were. we are only slightly north of quite poor but we always pick entertainment over land taxes. plus, my sister and her husband had visitors from nova scotia and offered our little family the extra bedroom at the rented chalet.

we are not bogner dressed, high-end mountain park visitors. we do not quietly stare in awe at the majesty and beauty of the towering peaks.  instead we say things like "that's some high up there" "that's some god damn water pounding down that mountain'" for christ sakes, it's not a big bear, get out of the car." yes, we are those kind of tourists. in our defense we do not drink or litter or ski out of bounds (well if we did ski, it would be in bounds). i think the highlight of the drive through banff and jasper national parks are the fantastic, random animal pull-overs. you're roaring along, when suddenly you come upon cars lining each side of the road. you screech to a halt, grab your camera and jump out of the car. this past weekend  it was mountain sheep. poor, dear, mangy sheep, being photographed by tourist paparazzi. i have seen probably 500 mountain sheep in my lifetime but, well you know. ..... the sheep stand there, disinterested, hot and panting, licking salt and mineral from the white mountain stone. i take a picture, thinking you poor little bastards, i start to baa. baaaaaaa, baaaaa. not just some amateur story-time" baa" but  quality animal impersonation's sound. i scared the shit out of some poor german fellow standing next to me but i keep going. what i was actually saying to the sheep was "i have bottled water and salted soda crackers in the car, coooommmme, coooommmeee here." the sheep looked up and i didn't have the heart to take their picture. people did not start to baa along with me. i thought they might, but apparently i'm not that cool.

fast forward to this morning....i'm back home  i get up and start checking my favorite blogs. june - new,  rhonda - new, chris - new, katie - new and  terri - new. and the best bit, my sweet terri is talking about her floating boobies. well, i thought, i have a boob story. a current event boob story, a live from alberta piece of reporting.  terri has made it possible for me to talk about my boozies.

so rewind 2 days........

after a day of sight seeing, a lovely supper and laughter filled evening we all settled down for the night in our little mountain home  now i'm not the type of person who can worry about something for more than five minutes without sharing it with those around me.  so at about 11pm i went into my sister's room and said "what the hell do you thing this is". she peered at me, unfocused and startled. what was i doing with my pj top pulled up, inserting my ample chest into her face.

"i'm sleeping," she hisses
"your light was on," i retort
sister: what do you want?
me: i want you to look at my boobs
sister: yes, of course that's what you want
me: ha ha, now, smarten up and take a look
sister: they're massive
me: jesus christ, underneath, look underneath, at the rash.
sister: oh, that's a yeast infection.
me: a yeast infection, my breasts don't actually come in contact with my lady bits you know
sister: that doesn't matter, it's because your boobs are so heavy . you know all that sweat, heat and darkness.
me: those are the conditions for growing mushrooms, jesus, isn't yeast a fungus?  shoot me now. i've turned 50 and suddenly i'm the living garden.
sister: go away
me: are you sure of your diagnosis?
sister: yeah, someone at work had it
me: did you see it.
sister: no,. but she described it and we googled it.
me: that's comforting. what do i do?
sister: you have to get some monistat or fungus cream
me: how is sticking monistat up my front passage going to bring relief to my bosom
sister: you put the cream under your boobs, idiot.
me: i knew that

enter my sister's friend.

friend:  i can't sleep. the management has told the people in the next cabin to turn their music down and get out of the pool. why are there so many kids staying her?
me: it's the name. you can't very well name your resort after a native american disney character and expect the senior crowd.
friend:  i suppose, what kind of name attracts the old people?
me: " whispering winds", "the dew drop inn", that sort of thing
sister:  will you two shut the hell up, i would like to go to sleep.
friend:  yes, why are you still awake? are we talking about someone?
sister: yes, we are talking about beverly's boobs
friend: they are massive
me:  i have a rash
friend:  let me see.
me:  jesus, why not
friend: what do you think it is, pat
sister: yeast
friend:  i concur.
me:  have you seen it before?
friend:  no, but your sister should know
me:  maybe i should go outside and get the opinions of the revelers.
friend:  you should put some cornstarch and gauze on it.
me:  two items not readily available here in a national park at midnight
sister: i told her to use monistat.
friend: yes, half an applicator a boob, that should do the trick
me: well, i'm glad we go that sorted.

so on the way home i stopped at a drug store to find my sister's prescribed cream . my daughter said "please don't show the pharmacist your boobs."
me: you could always wait in the car
her: mommy please, we have all looked at your rash, that's enough.
me: what does it matter. we will never see the people in that drug store again
her: you maybe not, you're old but i might have to come her one day.
me: are you coming in me me?
her: are you showing?
me: i'll decide when i get in there. if there's a bunch of people, yes.
her: i'm coming
me: see, baby you like a big show


Monday, September 3, 2012

in lieu of angels.......


today is my birthday..

"all my life i have wanted to be older and now i am"  i thought this was a  margaret atwood quote but i have searched and searched and can find no credit for it. it is possible that i dreamed she said it. margaret and i sometimes inhabit the same dreams. maybe i said it to her. so i guess for now i'll own it. my little mantra for this big birthday. the year that dips the bow of my boat into the waves and i begin to take on water.

so, here's a tale about my yearn to normal

 i have a friend who loves to host parties. as a result we have get togethers for nearly every occasion.  when i say get togethers i mean lady get togethers. these are not swanky urban parties but instead low key and very rural.  we have egg decorating parties, christmas parties, halloween luncheons and of course home shopping parties, where we can purchase anything from scented candles to ladies' power tools. and when i say ladies' power tools i mean actual power tools not vibrators or giant rubber wankers that suction cup to the wall.

so on one of these occasions a fortune teller was hired.  and during the party we were to go off one by one and have our future looked over. i was eating deviled eggs and listening to those who had already gone tell their tales. one lady was weepy because she had received a message from her deceased mother, another was warned of a problem with her kidney but the most frequent talk was of angels. everyone had a varying number of guardian angels watching over them. benevolent celestial companions providing a supernatural buffer between you and god knows what.

when my name was called i jumped right up. my only thought being "i hope i have decent amount of angels." because you see, besides being needy i'm also competitive. so up the stairs i went to the hostess' back bedroom, now a mystic lady den.  the psychic was nice and normal looking - in a sweater set and a-line skirt sort of way.

the first thing she's says is "oh my, you have a very strong presence". i said something like "yes, that's me, what i lack in beauty i make up for in strength. so i sit down and she takes my hand and closes her eyes and i stare at her preparing to hear my final angel count.

she says:  you have many, many spirits around you.
i say: "excellent"

she says: you have one man that seems to be the leader and he's leaning over your right shoulder.
(i think: "oh that must be my dear father")
i say nothing.

she says: i think his name begins with an e. eddie maybe.
(i think: for christ's sakes whose eddie.)
i say: it may be my father, he's passed on.

she says: no, he is a stranger to you
i say: a stranger named eddie is looking over my shoulder. what is he doing

she says: he's watching you
i say: right. like an angel

she says: no, he's not an angel he's just a spirit. there are a whole group of spirits behind him
(i think: jesus, here we go)
i say: are any in that group angels

she says:  no, just restless spirits. there are men and women and one lady has sheep with her."
(i think: well, for god's sakes, i'm jesus).
i say: what are they all doing behind me

she says: they're just watching you and talking. i can't hear what they are saying, there's so many of them talking at once. eddie seems to be telling them what you are doing.
(i think: well i'm certainly getting my money's worth out of this.)
i say:  do you see anyone who could possibly be an angel?

she says: no, you just have this group of restless souls observing you
(i think: my god, my life is a side show even for the departed. could this be anymore like beetlejuice).
i say. excellent.

then she opened her eyes and peered at me through the dim. i was extraordinarily uncomfortable at this point as i was being watched from both sides.. so to speak  she says "i really would like to try and understand this more.  would you be willing to meet with me again. i wouldn't charge you." in my head i'm thinking" i'll talk it over with the group and let you know." out loud i said "i don't know." she handed me her card and i got up and went down stairs. 

like a spoiled child i kept thinking - i wanted an angel but no, i have to have eddie and some sheep. for one god damn time i just wanted to be special like everyone else.  after rejoining my friends one of them asked me how my reading went. "completely normal  i said," i had 5 angels."