Friday, May 6, 2011

In Olympia

I am driving back from the store where I shopped quickly and moodily by myself. Ever was not with me. Neither Dakota Ian or Lola. Just myself. I ran my hands over food and breathed deeply and looked around to make sure no one was even acknowledging my existence and was thrilled to find they were not.

I had almost forgotten how not fit I am for here, suburbia of Poway. I love Poway. I have lived here a long time. There are memories in shopping center parking lots, in Starbucks, in many grey or pink houses, in apartments, in long stretches of road, in tucked away parks, in back alleys, in the creek, in the Alano Club.  I am Powegian. But I'm not one of them. It's easier to forget when my children are older. The things that make me strange aren't likely to come up, then, in casual conversation. I'm good at keeping things acceptable. I'm good, like anyone is who was bullied as a kid, at blending in.  I don't have to. No one's making me. I make me. Because I like to feel cozy, even if it is a big lie. Like anyone who had a bad childhood. This hurts, but it's familiar. Fine. Fine. Same. Same.  Are you still nursing her?  Is she ever leaving your bed? How can you guys go that long without a babysitter? I'd DIE. ( Please. Go right ahead. ) The looks. Sideways. The body shifting until the back meets my face.  The glances, the totally awkward conversations about mundane things that it takes real effort and dedication to be awkward about.  How can you be shocked at ME when you live in the adult world? My writing? My language? My thoughts? My children? The same world that contains stripping, dead images of Osama Bin Laden, Hooters, lung cancer from pollution, child molesters, Stephen King, drunk nights: and I shock you?  Have you ever read a novel in your life? Seen an R rated movie? Had a night out with adults? Had a real talk with friends about their lives?  The ladies of suburbia. The gentleman, not so much. They are mostly horny/overworked/totally subdued and looking forward to their after my wife goes to bed porn. They don't respond to stimuli much.  I like a good generalization as much as the next person.  

Suburbia. Holding so many who are excellent at managing their children's social calendars and discussing work related stress and housing disasters and that dang economy and yet somehow, in some way, have not swung their spirits into their adult lives, naked on the rope that goes out over the deepest part of the lake?  Where are the toys on the lawns? Perfectly manicured lawns. Today I pulled into our driveway and saw Dakota's ripstick, Ever's ball and Lola's bike on the lawn and it occured to me that ours is the only house I've seen on our very large block with toys on the lawn. Our lawn is fifty percent brown. We step on our lawn. We JUMP UP AND DOWN ON OUR LAWN.

When I went to school
in Olympia and everyone's the same
And what do you do with a revolution?
When I went to school
in Olympia and everyone's the same
We look the same, we talk the same
Baby, baby, baby, baby
Won't you please make me real oh no
Make me real oh no
Make me real oh no
Hurt me
I went to school in Olympia
everyones the same, and so are you! in Olympia
we look the same, we talk the same, we even fuck the same
Hey, hey, hey, hey
And what do you do with a revolution
I went to school in Olympia
Baby, baby, baby, baby
And everyone's the same

Mr Curry sang this to me late night. He was in the bathtub, reading, and I interrupted him, like I often do, to pour out my guts. I cried. He listened, book on his chest, getting wet around the edges. He sang this to me. Honey, he said, you don't fit in here. You live in the worst possible place to be you. It's not YOU. It's here. And you are awesome the way you are.  I looked at him and thought, for the millionth time, that I have never wanted anyone as much as I want him.

There is a dumbness, a dullness about me with certain things. My brain can be incredibly dull. Experience the same thing over and over and every time think, but how can that be?  I see it, hear it,
feel it, but cannot shake the feeling that it is too stupid to be true.  Too pointless or fucked up. When really all human life on this planet tells me exactly the opposite: that nothing is too fucked up to be true. Nothing is too wonderful either. People walk when they were told they never would. Babies are born when they were doomed to die. Lives are saved on the brink of death. Bacteria reginerates in a petri dish and we discover how to cure a disease. For example:

I'd like to do the stupidest smallest fucking things different without being treated like a total wackass. 

I drove home from the store and a tiny baby bunny was in the middle of the road, just sitting there, looking at me sideways. He could have fit in the palm of my hand, my God. So tiny. I stopped the car right in front of him. He looked my way, turned and hopped back into the big cluster of bushes and Spring blooming flowers in front of a two story house.  I just cried, I couldn't help it. The poor fucking BUNNIES of this world. What do they know? What do they know about cars and concrete and suburbia?  The mommy bunny can do nothing to keep her babies from running out into the big black river of concrete and getting ran over by a steel machine larger than life.  The baby bunnies can do nothing about not knowing about it all.  All I can do is slow down. Stop.

My husband says Stay close to home. Keep your eyes on  your family. We are where your life is. Our family is our world.  And it's true. And here- in this blog space time continueum, there is a world of you- a world of yous out there who are weird too, in the best possible way.  Weird because you are writers, painters, mother warriors, artist dads, subversives who drive what you want to drive and use the word fuck and have the biggest hearts of hearts, people who dance drunk and sing sober and sit in the bathtub naked and read while imagining how you will do the hard things good and do the good things so hard. 

I love you for that.
Anonymous said...

A breath of fresh fucking air. I love your life in Poway with your beautiful children and your husband you love and your half brown lawn with toys scattered upon it where they should be.

Annie said...

Hugs, hugs, and more hugs, Maggie. But just remember, just like you, people are not always the facade they project. Everyone has their secrets and their pain, even smug people. I've decided there are some people I just don't like, and never will; but it just means they are different from me. I try to treat everyone kindly. I love the artists, and the dreamers, and the writers; and all of those good things in me. This is not trite advice: be comfortable with who you are, and as much as possible, do not care what the other people think. Be yourself. You know you are good, creative, and loving. That is what matters.

Tania said...

Thank goodness for you.

Ramona Quimby said...

Oh Maggie, yes. I live in the suburbs (though not the ultra posh Chicago suburbs of my youth, whence I shall never return, ugh) and it's fucking weird here. I shop at the small, expensive grocery store because it's quiet and triggers less anxiety than the more affordable superstore, but I keep my eyes down, pretend I see no one, watch the frayed edges of my clothes, keep their cashmere and diamond rings and don't-you-ever-fucking-eat-woman? reed-thin bodies in my periphery. I'm the only single parent in the neighborhood, the only person with tattoos, who eschews pesticides and thus has the only yellow and splotchy lawn. But all these folks are fucked too--money only shellacks it all, sews shut their mouths: and so we keep on, as they say, keeping on. Unsettling the order of the 'burbs, lifting up the edges to remind the rest of the world of what's beneath.

I cry too about this. So glad you stopped for that bunny. Of course you would, will, do.

Marion said...

You have one of THE most awesome, amazing husbands on earth. He is so wise, so wise...

Love & Blessings,

Loredana said...

ok I don't want to be a pain in the ass but I can't read parts of the 1st and 2nd paragraph of your blog because there is a 'Petition for Henry' box that covers parts of it up. Would love to read the post!!

Ms. Moon said...

Yeah. This is why I stay at home, only go places where mostly I know I can use the word "fuck" around people without someone falling over from shock.
It isn't you, baby. Mr. Curry is right.
We're safe here. We are safe here.

Melinda Owens said...

I can so relate to this. I've spent most of my life thinking that I don't fit in, an oddball, not the status quo. And maybe I don't but that's a good thing. Status quo isn't me. Besides, you never know what goes on behind people's curtains or in their minds. They may be wishing they had the courage to be different and think you're amazing. I'm betting they do and as for the rest of them, let them stay in Olympia. :)

Maggie May said...

ah battle cry: let them stay in Olympia!

i wish i could hug each of you.

Loredana I'm not sure why it's showing that way for you. When I see it it fits into the sidebar without disturbing the post. Anyone else having this problem? Thanks for speaking up Loredana!!!! LMS what to do...

Tricky said...

That was perfect.I've always liked the sore thumbs best.

Petit fleur said...

This post reminds me of Edward Sissorhands.

You are not weird to me at all. I think the uni-minded plastic suburbanites are the strange life form here.

It is sad about the bunnies and all manner of wild critter. I literally pray in a native sort of way whenever I see road kill. Thanking them for their part in the dance wishing them safe passage.

How fucking weird am I?? :-) I think you're marvelous. don't let the stepfords get you down.

Anonymous said...

COME TO BRATTLEBORO VT! Where almost everyone is different and the different is normal and everyone stops for bunnies and there is an usher the salamanders across the road day. 85 % are artists and therapists. Breastfeeding forever is routine and organic, slow, local food is revered like a God.Lawns are brown to conserve water.
But really- I know what you mean. Even in Brattleboro I do not feel like one of them - I am always other (but incognito) and I go thru times of pride and I go thru times of grief about it.
Happy Mom's Day Maggie may!

mosey (kim) said...

I have this half-articulated dream that everyone I know or admire from afar will come and live on my street. We can borrow cups of agave or trade bizarre observations of the world or holler at each other affectionately over our fences. Would you come?

Darcy said...

i really relate to this. i feel like we all have these kind of inside lives don't we? sometimes i feel so safe in the blogger world cuz i find people like me, where out in the world i feel so alone. like i have to hide that i do the smallest thing different and 'get treated like a wackass' :-)
fave line.

Mwa said...

And I love you for all that.

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