Thursday, November 29, 2012

Starts and Stops

I've been working on a blog post for the last few days, and when I saved it (worrying that I wouldn't actually finish it because I have a unfinished-work phobia) I wondered if there were other posts that I'd started and never finished. It turns out there have been a few over the last few years, and I thought I'd string them together. They're interesting in that they shine a penlight on moments of my life in the last four years. Usually it's something heavy, and I was probably paranoid that what I was writing was too depressing to share. Like when I began transcribing a journal I kept in the Food Stamp line a couple of weeks after Hurrican Katrina....

8/29/08 -  A few weeks after Katrina hit, and me and the kids returned home, I went to a dingy little office by the local high school to apply for food stamps. Chris was working in Lafayette, three hours away, because his New Orleans office had flooded, and my sister, her friend, my sister-in-law and her two kids were living with us. The water hadn't been pumped out of the city yet, and nobody was allowed in. The bulk of the bodies hadn't been found. There were military guys everywhere, even pushing grocery carts through the frozen food section of Wal-Mart - armed. It was surreal.

Everybody has a Katrina story. This is mine.

September 13, 2005

I brought a book to the food stamp line. It's not a line, really. You take a number and wait. Right now I'm sitting on a wooden palette waiting to be called. I'm under a big blue tarp so it's not like I'm standing in the sun like I did when I was waiting in line at Wal-Mart.

I'm sitting between two women. The white lady to my right is wearing purple scrubs and tennis shoes. She's got her hand to her forehead and her eyes closed. She did not bring a book. The black lady to my left didn't bring anything to read either, but she's eating a bag of complimentary Cheetos and talking with an older gentleman in a folding chair.

Chris Rose was right in his article the other day. Everybody talks about the hurricane, but no one says the word Katrina.

The lady just called out....

My journal went on, but I stopped transcribing at that point. Another interesting one was three sentences from 1/12/12: I don't want to sell my things. I just want them to vanish. I' m tired of pushing, tired of purging.

As dreary as that sounds, things were worse on 6/23/09 when I began to write about my desperate job search, and then for some reason, stopped writing about that and copied the first lines from the song "Tomorrow Wendy" by Concrete Blonde, which is possibly the most random display of hopelessness I've ever blogged:

"This job search has officially reached a new low," I thought, pushing open the door into Applebees and forcing a grin at the hostess who forced a smile back. "This is who I'll be soon," I thought. "A burnt out woman with no natural smile."
"Hi!" she chirped.
"Hi!" I sang back, strained and pathetic.

It is complete now

Two hands of time are neatly tied

A one way street

She's walkin to the end of the line

And there she meets

The faces she keeps in her heart and mind

They say "Goodbye

Tomorrow Wendy you're going to die"

Some months before that, there was this:
2/8/09: I was standing outside of the AA/Al-anon building on Elysian Fields, and I had to bum a cigarette. I was so shaky that I couldn't keep my hands steady when I held the lighter up to whatever-nasty-brand I'd been given. But me being me, I forgot that cigarettes make me dizzy so I went from feeling rattled, to lost.

Then there's a post with just this:

My friend Ray took the picture of me by the payphone and he said, "Look mysterious." And so I made that face, which just looks pissed. Two things are apparent from this picture. One, judging by the ring, I was still married, and two, I hadn't washed my hair.
Below is another picture of a payphone that I liked for some reason. It looks good because it has washed its hair.
I'm going to go finish my post, but wanted to share these little tidbits, and just say that I'm glad my posts don't end with "Tomorrow Wendy" anymore. As beautiful as that song is - bleh! I might as well listen to it with a plastic bag over my head.
Instead I will leave you with the lyrics that I found to "The Ghost in You", which I found on another unplublished blog post. I don't know why I decided to write them down. They must have had something to do with how I was feeling at the time.
Inside you the times moves
and she don't fade
The ghost in you
She don't fade
Inside you the time moves
and she don't fade


A.J. said...

Ooooohhhh - I'm the first to comment...YAY!! I love the lyrics to "The Ghost in You." The Counting Crows version from the album August and Everything After (one of my favorites) is extremely passionate and heart-wrenching - but I think Adam Duritz needs to wash his hair, too (avec ou sans payphone). I wonder if he uses Pert? Maybe NOT washing your hair ever again is the way to go. Grunge is in, or so the trendy girly-girl part of me hears. Absolutely GUSHING over grunge. Thanks for the snippets, and here's to the second half of your life, Gen. May it be filled with love, laughter, and gushing over Adam Duritz.

Christy said...

I'm glad you're no longer posting the lyrics to the Concrete Blonde song. In any case, I love this post. Just sayin'.