Is it any better to yell at your kids at home or in the city?
Today I suffocated under 4 consecutive hours of a crying 20 month old, and the usual domestic duties. I told my husband, who came home at 6 p.m. intellectually on fire after participating as a mentor in numerous trying and yet exhilarating grad critiques, that I was jealous. It had been so long since I had discussed David Byrnes Big Suit, or the tricky route from symbol to meaning in creative endeavors. So I cracked open yet another bottle of cheap red wine (now 0 for 6, the other 6 in the past two months having been relegated to cooking use after a first sip), surprised at the irony of finally getting a drinkable glass on this of all days. Perhaps not irony then, but grace.
Ever seen the movie Network?
Of course you have. If I have not completely alienated all readers of every stereotypical stripe, whats left will understand.
It is a true life partner, it is true love, when one melts down and says I just want to get up at 5 a.m. tomorrow, throw the kids in the car and go to the city for the weekend and feed my head, and partner says simply Ok, lets do it. After a moment adding with wry humor, heck- is it any better to yell at your kids at home or in the city?
I grew up working class- yes the word class. The taboo word of not only the academy, but also public life. Sniff at the socialist whiff, turn to the GOP fantasy and tell me I am obsolete. My colleagues in academia have already beaten you to it, Race being the good, and strangely exclusive, concept of the moment (if 40 years is a moment). I worked in pizza restaurants at 15, and a string of cheese factories (where I was not asked to sit with women my age at break, on the midnight to 7 shift because I was going to college- I was informed by the matrons on shift- and was perceived as having a way out), temp jobs, restaurant jobs, and other good working class girl wage endeavors while trying to rise beyond, explicitly so, the factory and receptionist life my parents were relegated to and hated. It was not the honest work; it was the gradual decay of respect and evidence of respect (lost health benefits, wage stagnation, retirement raiding, lay offs and eliminations, dismissals of concerns, rudeness, invisibility) that wore them down.
What is this hybridized identity- so post modern, yet so not cool- that finds me university PhD educated, middle aged and female, discarded and invisible to most. Bitter? Angry? Hell yes. To a mutual friend of ours who writes graphic novels (not to over simplify, but a fancy name for comic books), I said my hero is the middle-aged woman who becomes a vigilante. Say, have you seen the new series on TV about that? Yea sure, those glamour pusses are my ideal. As my niece would say, NOT.
Perhaps you could call upon women writers of 40 years ago, who had rage and understanding in spades. Say I am uninformed, derivative. I say, No. I know them. I have read them. And that they are still relevant does not negate this space, this life. After the first blog, I was told I was angry. I laughed. Oh yeah, you got it. Acerbic? Sarcastic? Yet still sincere? Oh my. Fold another napkin on the fire, and let me apologize for my lack of tact. NOT.
Think of this as the anti-Ann Coulter. That scion of current journalism who has never worked an honest day in her life. And yet, I say you go girl, savor it while you can, because when it all goes away all youll be left with is your nasty coke habit and wrinkly neck skin. Those GOP puppet masters who romanced your rise to fame will run and hide, bounce your emails and treat you as the pariah you are. You may want to have a feminist moment when this point comes, you may even think you earned it, but youll probably find yourself alienated. Whisper to yourself that you are still good, you are still important, while the world shuns you. Welcome to the real world baby- if you have not saved, you have not earned- as that female money guru Suze Orman would say.
You want placebo? You want sexy, palatable, mildly amusing mother? Read the syndicated folks. Those who get paid to entertain. Enter here, and enter another realm. My hero Molly Ivins died this past year, and a little bit of my hope went with her. When Studs (Terkel) goes, I dont know what Ill do. . . Scream, Im mad as hell and not going to take it any more. Not that many will notice me without an AK-47, or other armaments- the standard attention getting (and economy riding) devices for all from Dub to the local sad teenager. I guess middle-aged women are just not threatening or sexy. Pass the Provigil and the written ammunition.
Halleluiah. . .get your hands off the scissors! Get in bed! Where is that damned cooler?
See you tomorrow at the Smithsonian.