I had just concluded that perhaps my place in this world was a very small place. A very small and insignificant yet cozy place, much smaller than I've ever envisioned or even currently occupy. Perhaps my place in this world is just my bed.
Two months ago, I felt that my life was on the cusp of making sense, or that I was at least on the cusp of making sense of it... of crafting a story around it, a setting, a bed of roses, to make it all smell nice.
And then I landed on last week. Monday, I had a pap smear. I actually signed myself up for it. It'd only been 7 years, but I was already excited for another! And it was just a fabulous as I remember it being. I'd go in to detail, but it's already been done.
Tuesday: This was our second week at a weak farmer's market near our house. Blue's hope was to sell bouquets. We planted flowers. We weeded. We watered. And then we picked and packed them up. And nobody came. This week, our friend who has the tent and the signs didn't even show up. So we sat, the kids and I, in the hot hot sun, in the barren parking lot, all by ourselves without even a sign to tell you what we were doing. The flowers were wilting. Coyote's robot was melting. HE was melting. One lady drives in, buys two patty pans for $.50 each (that's ONE WHOLE DOLLAR, for those of you too lazy to calculate). She then fingers a giant bouquet of at least 10 sunflowers and asks how much. $5. But that was just too much for her. I understand. It must be hard to feed the Escalade. And she doesn't owe us. But the way she asked and her sniff when I said the reasonable price... it brought back all those years at the Seattle Farmer's Markets: the burnout of too many haughty, stupid questions from the same idiots every week. ("What's in the bread?" Same Effing Thing As The Last Three Years and yet you ask EVERY DAMN week) What about selling something makes some people think they are better than you? And that's the thing with burnout, it comes back so Fast! We waited longer. We sweat in our chairs. And then we packed it in.
I FELT, "Good grief, why does nothing I do ever work out? Everything I touch wilts. Everything I try fails. There's really no place for me in this whole godforesaken world, is there? I have no talents, no abilities. I am probably just 68" of wasted resources."
But I know all about building resilience in kids, so I SAID, "Well, what a useful learning experience! We learned so much! What did we learn?" "That the Eagle Ridge Farmer's Market SUCKS and that we're never coming back!" Blue says. "Exactly! And we also learned that you always bring your own tent! And that flowers need ICE. And that some people are just too terrible to sell anything to!" And then I locked my door and flopped on my bed for a while. And then got up and went to a meeting.
(nota bene: this blogging has been interrupted about 100,765 times by urgent, violent children who are burnt out on summer vacation. Where's alien abduction when you need it?)
On Wednesday, I thought that I should probably be kicked while I'm down so I tried some thing else new. I went to a writers group. And it was just like every other writers group. It was a bunch of people I could relate to if I reallyreallyreally tried very hard. All the usual suspects were there. The non-strategic thinker, obsessing over possible translation glitches for a book he hasn't even written yet, much less published, much less sold a copy of... etc. etc. There was the girl complaining that people think she's whiny and unlikable... which she was... and no one disputed, but someone did say that lots of great writers were whiny and unlikable. There was the girl wondering more about personal problems than writing. At least two lecherous men, one of which was a classic blow hard who made a point to speak patronizingly to everyone. An ancient, confused old lady from New York. An MFA student with red hair and white eyebrows who knew A LOT about the necessity of sending everything to the Library of Congress to get a copyright stamp... cuz our stuff here is so HOT that people can't keep their plagiarizing mitts off it. Early on, this voice in my head, the clearest one I've got, said "LEAVE. NOW" But this other voice, sounds kinda like my mom, said, "Now now. Don't judge a book, or a shelf full of them, by its cover! You never know what you might learn!" And so I stayed and sank even further into my trough of despair. And then I went home and locked my door and flopped on my bed. My home. My place. My only place in this world.
And Thursday. Because I can't help myself (oh why oh why ever NOT?!) I tried something new. I went to a march today about the general state of the economy and the taxes certain multinational corporations aren't paying. This being Spokane, I girded myself for the worst: a measly turnout with a defeated attitude. The kids and I made a sign, "Those who benefit the most from a healthy, safe and educated workforce should help pay for it." And the almost amusing, almost sensical: "Tax cuts 4 multinational corporations don't work. People do." Seems hard to imagine how I could have used bigger words to convey that, huh? And off we went. What I found were a lot of people I know. The organizer, who I didn't know, handed me the bullhorn and said, "I can't lead the chants and do all this at the same time. Find someone who wants to use this thing." So I turned on the mike and said, "Well, folks, looks like this bad-ass proclaimator is all mine!" And off we went! (video here, possible if I did it right this time!) This would be the second time I sang an acappella solo in a week... me, who can't sing AT ALL (On Sunday I dressed up as Malvina Reynolds and gave a short speech to the congregation that involved solo-ing the first lines of several songs before I helped the kids make protest signs...Blue's said "less embarrassing parents" and I'm sure she wished she'd brought that sign along on Thursday!)
And then when we got to the U.S. Rep's office, they lent me a little soap box to stand on and give testimonial, as we all made a soup line along the street. I love me some good bullhorn, baby. And after I was done, someone asked me to speak at a feminist event this Friday. And then me and my family went up to our Reps office and complained bitterly about these fat cats not buying the cow cuz they've been getting the milk for free... and she's a chicken to not stand up to it (did I get the whole farm in there? I'm kidding. I used more sophisticated language.) Our Rep is confused and imagines that the Tea Baggers are the only ones who vote or have voices... so we just needed to remind her that other people in this world disagree and we have good reasons too.
We tried something new (protest, new? Sarajoy "Von Protest" - as I was dubbed in high school, where have you been all your life? HELLLLOOO!) ... new for our life in Spokane. And I came home and flopped on my bed and felt good for a few minutes before I got up and went back to work in the kitchen where I've been canning and cleaning for the last several days (except for the one I spent at the pool and the one I spent couponing). It looks like that's actually my place here, in this world Now... what will I say to the feminists?
P.S.: the camera is as broke as I am, so no photos until October, when my birthday provides the perfect opportunity to beg.