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Where   i   stand

So there are a lot of issues in the world today, and frankly if you're ignorant about them the question must be raised are you a contributing member of society? But then again, do you want to contribute to society? I mean society is what screwed us up in the first place . . . right?

no more blood for oil

 

The Best time of your life

The Gym Bill

domination, frustration, reconciliation?

your response

The Best Time of your life

I hate how when I was in high school everyone maintained that this was the best time of your life.

Fuck you, it wasn’t.

I think high school was miserable.  It was good if you were one of those processed, shake-n-bake bleached blonde waifs with make up caked on like modge-podge or a beefy, star football player with a great car.  If you wore those name brand clothes, listened to THE music – if you cultivated an image for yourself.  And even if you tried to resist, didn’t actively create an image, shunned all that was MTV and Abercrombie – still you were labeled, still you were an image.  High school had to have you pinned or there was not an existence – there were bullies.

Oh and the school politics – let’s not even discuss it.  I hate being expected to be and adult but still being led around like a child.  Having to ask to go the bathroom, to beg even sometimes.

I’m on my period motherfucker!

I actually told a teacher I needed to go my car for tampons. I was very insistent.

 I went to my car. 

Oh, and I wasn’t on my period.

            Middle school sucked too.  There was an iron fist, dictatorship organizing our lives while we were getting zits, pubic hair and braces -- while we were realizing “Oh, I’m not yet a woman, not just a girl.”  And wanting to be creative and thought provoking but still being 14 . . . Elementary school, I was such a loser.  I was the fat, weird girl.  I think deep down inside I still feel like the fat, weird girl – and even though I’m not as fat nor as weird as I used to be, having the poc marks of that existence keeps me humble.

            All happens for a reason, or at least for a writing prompt.

            Anyway, what I really made this essay for was that these days in the North Carolina educational system they are no longer teaching classes.

            They are teaching tests, tests that (since I last I was there) count for 1/3 of a student’s grade if it is a state tested class. 

            Can I just say as a taker of almost every state test in North Carolina since the age of 8 that these tests are not only retarded but there is so little substance in them that having them represent 1/3 of a student’s grade is, well, preposterous.

            Teachers get bonus pay if a student does well on these tests, by the way. The school gets recognized as well, if students do really well.  What kind of pressure this must lay on the shoulders of teachers who, these days are being put in the role of babysitter -- (They see almost as much, sometimes more of our children than parents do.)  and now they have to make students perform and reach them all quickly and in the same way (and of course we all learn the same way, that hasn't been psychologically disproven or anything)  and if all this doesn't happen --

            Dread of all doomed matter in the public school system – reputation will suffer! Hark!  This isn’t educating our youths, this is a popularity contest with a little monetary incentive thrown in.

            Once before the end of the semester, right before Christmas break we had a snow storm.  So school was cancelled, of course.  And cancelled.  Soon it was three days before Christmas – and classes would be resumed, finals taken when we returned from holiday.  So we had two weeks of freedom, or fear of the looming finals – the  swing of  the 1/3 pendulum -- its  affect on our GPA a vast, indistinct hypothesis.  We returned, had one day of review and then the tests.

            I thought the suffering of our scores would be obvious.  Teachers, who teach the test out of these courses – I mean, the course could be a play by play of each page of the test almost, everything is for that bubble sheet – that 1/3.  The 2/3 sacrificed for the 1/3, seems almost counterproductive . . . anyway.  My newspaper advisor wanted to know what was with these students, why two weeks of Christmas ham and eggnog could cause these scores to plummet. 

            Well Ms. Gorsuch, this is for you:  We were not taught substance, or the subject for that matter.  We crammed for the tests, we didn’t cram for life.  You remember life better than any state-mandated 1/3 bubble sheet.

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The Gym Bill

All right, so, when there was more to me than there is now I joined a gym.  One of my good friends in high school had been a member for a while and she didn’t have a second head, suddenly break into satanic chants or have this grotesque love for lawyers drinking protein shakes – so I was okay with it.  I went for a trial whatever at the gym. It was fine. I was ready to make the commitment to exercise –

Ready to sign my life and all it’s clauses and subclauses away to the people behind the counter that probably did have second heads stashed under their tight lycra/spandex shirts, and could very well have whispered satanic chants as I put my keys in the key basket, meandering to the locker room (it had a distinct Clorox and sweat smell). Come to think of it, they did have an inordinate amount of protein shakes for sale at the front desk – most of the cars in the parking lot had a shiny, dentless, metallic flavor that shouted “Lawyers!” to anyone that could hear . . . So, before we go any deeper into this story let’s all just take a minute to realize that my integrity, and depth of character is all a farce and you should never trust me with your children. I’ll probably agree with them that they should have a cookie but dammit I won’t give them one because I’m just that twisted!

Anyway.  So, I exercise. I must admit it was good for me.  Even though getting up at 5am was tough, then going after school to jazzercise, that was kind of surreal – but I always felt good, so good that I didn’t quabble (a lot) with the 34.95 a month I forked over (always in cash because no matter how good I felt, all those protein shakes convinced me not,  by any means, to trust them with my checking account).  However, high school ended, then summer too.  I was going off to college.  College, that far and distant planet where if your container is closed who the hell cares if you’re under 21.  I asked if I could cancel my subscription/membership/cult-affiliations –

NO.

I had signed a contract that didn’t expire until January 11, 2003. I was roped in.  I was the family mule to them, it didn’t matter that I would be off at college and I couldn’t magically orb onto the treadmill when the need arose – Tough shit, I signed and I initialed those clauses and sub-clauses.

 My ass was theirs.

After I was told this I distinctly heard little satanic chants whispered from under the counter.  The guy at the front desk didn’t even flinch.  Man, he was good.

To brighten my spirits he told me I could freeze my account (I would still have to pay) but I could use the months later – like the summer when I wasn’t in college . . .

But my contract expires in January . . . will they not have a problem with me making up my months in the summer ?

No, of course not! There was a shadow of a smile.  Oh yes, he would be rewarded by the Dark Underlord of Stationary Cycling for this deviousness.

Okay, I dealt with it, somehow managed to still make the cash payments in person once a month even though I was in college.  My mother helped me out with the last 3 months because school became intense and money became the issue of the dorm and I waited patiently for January 11, 2003 to roll around – the day when I would be free.

Free.

Nothing in life is free. Except maybe water, but only if you get it like at a restaurant.  At the grocery store it’s a different story.  Yeah, so with this in mind let me continue without the integrity, or depth of character that we all thought Tina possessed.  If  that were so, I don’t think I would be as screwed as I am now.

Christmas break. I got a letter saying that my gym had joined another gym – so the cult had grown exponentially. That’s okay, I thought to myself, January 11th is so close, they won’t have my soul for much longer! Hah! Their dark plot is all for naught when it comes to Tina’s, because Tina’s have integrity and a measureless depth of character, Muahahahahah . . . okay that was a  bit much. I just read it and set aside.

Beginning of January, 2003.  My release was at hand!  I got a bill for December (keep in mind I haven’t been at the gym in about 4 months) and then strangely a bill for January.

This can’t be right. My contract expires January 11th, 2003. No, I don’t have to pay for January.  I called them and explained, carefully, nicely, patiently.  It was probably a computer glitch, I mean when two cults join together like that – dark powers and what have you, there can be mistakes.  The girl on the phone was polite too, I didn’t even sense any dark, devious otherworldly plot – her breath didn’t even smell of protein shakes.  She said she didn’t understand either and that the Financial Administrator would call me and would get it all straightened out.

Well four days passed and the F.A. never called.

January 10th I went and paid for December.  I brought my contract with me from last year as well, the blood I signed it in was still strangely fresh, as if it had been only yesterday when I had peddled my soul out for the Lat Roller . . .

 I was going to straighten this whole mess out and then go out for sushi.

I should have sensed trouble from the start.  All the cult members in the waiting room had expensive sneakers on, tennis rackets and had towels draped around their shoulders as if . . . as if they were concealing second heads.  I saw their keys dangling from their wrists – they had shiny, metallic, dentless cars and their eyes were dark and rimmed with the sweat of workers for the Dark One.

The girl behind the desk – she could have been married to a lawyer.  I told her my situation.  I had been a member of the other cult, but I had gone to college, yadda yadda, my contract expires but I was billed for January –

The contract automatically renews itself.

I felt my soul being sucked down a vast pit of other worldly darkness.  I grew angry, and whispered (not satanic incantations) “This is bullshit.”

Whether or not they kept cows for sacrifices I didn’t know but their business practices sure were like sacrificial excrements.

I was confused.  So how does the cycle end?  I was told I couldn’t cancel.

You can cancel and then in 30 days it’s cancelled.

Oh. So let’s cancel.

You still have to pay for January –

What?

And February, 30 days won’t be enough time for you to avoid payment for that month.

I felt my savings account being raped. The Man, not just the Dark One of Stationary Cycling, was out to get me. Or just screw me, at the very least.

So it will be cancelled by March?

Yes.

So I have to pay two more months for a fitness club I have never been to (since they joined forces they are at a new building) and never will because I attend college and won’t drive 45 minutes out here to use your Lat Roller -- even though my contract  expired and I was told I couldn’t cancel, it somehow renewed itself and suddenly I am granted the power of cancelling but not before I pay you all this money.

Yes.

How do you sleep at night?

I don’t really sleep, I go into a trance and let the Dark One use me as his puppet.

You do drink protein shakes, you vile scum.

I’m glad to know in the wake of September 11th we  Americans have learned nothing – We haven’t let it get us down, and change us from our greedy, money grubbing, capitalist ways.  No, us Americans are still out to get each other (or our money at the very least) and despite this one example of it being a gym bill,  64% of our population is overweight or obese.  God bless America.

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Domination, Frustration, reconciliation?

            So, recently a friend of mine and I were bitching about men. This isn’t unusual, by any means, for two women who are on the phone and bored.  But we weren’t just bored, and we weren’t just bitching – we both really had it out for some reason.  My friend, she was more angry I think, and confused and perhaps even hurt.  I myself was confused, and not so much hurt as eagerly bitter.

            My friend made an observation: she maintains men are incapable of love.  The phone went strangely silent. My eyes roamed the corner of the room where dust hung in pitiable strands, casting odd, dim shadows on the white wall.

            My first, horrible instinct was: "Yes! Oh my gosh! That’s it!"

            What an epiphany if that were so.

            But after some (albeit difficult) deliberating, trying to be unbiased, objective I have concluded somewhat a different take on the opposite sex.  We just don’t understand each other. At all. And all our strife is probably out of struggling in the dark, trying to see what there is and never will be light enough to see (Well, unless you’re a hermaphrodite or asexual or an omnipotent being who pities us lowly mortals enough to give us insight – which I don’t think has happened, yet.)

            What first really made me want to latch onto the “men are incapable of love” idea was that for the most part I feel that men dominate in their relationships – this has been a consistent idea from the dawn of time: men are the master, women are subservient.  It can be seen in the body language of a man: the way a man will wrap his arm around a woman’s neck in public, wrap his hands around her pregnant belly for pictures, make her carry the gift box that makes it difficult for him to get coffee when she has a baby scooter, a 3 year old, and 2 shopping bags already in tow ( I actually saw this in the mall once, it was a small gift box too -- ridiculous man). Men have the checking account in their name, get more pay for the same work a woman can do – in animals they urinate on territory to call it their own, giving it their “mark”.  This domination in itself makes it incapable for them to feel the kind of feverish, self-sacrificing love that exists in . . . well, wherever. They seem to be wrapped up in dominating, claiming superiority, and reiterating “this is mine” behavior.

Men have pride in an owned object, affection like that towards a car, the swell of affection in superiority. Not love. Gratification, and appreciation of all that you have, that you “got it good”, not true love.  But then again there may be the passionate, feverish feelings – couldn’t it be lust? Couldn’t it be lust and domination, and superiority rolled into one?  In young men I can see this as being very true.

I’ve seen some good fathers who are in love with their children.  This spark of life that they have helped create – a look in their eyes and you can see their love.  I could be really bitter and say that children are just another facet of themselves so of course they love it – but there are enough dead beat dads to prove that this isn’t always the case.  Children change people. I think children create love in a sex that perhaps were incapable of it when they were young and naive.

Woman are not guiltless. We’ve all heard of the girl going out with the guy for his car, going out on a date for the free meal – we can be just as vicious.  We can use just as easily.  Is this in our nature or the reaction of men’s treatment?  A survival of the fittest, get the best guy -- you may not find the love you dreamed of as a little girl but, you are at least comfortable.  Like hyenas on a carcass, they go for the choicest cuts for survival.  But I do think that woman love differently than men.  Generations of sacrifice, caretaking, and giving of your whole being for the partner and family – love is different, when present in a woman.

I think some of these are over-generalizations of both sexes.  I am a simple romantic  and want to believe that most of this philosophical, psychological drama may not being going on – at least not consciously, in us as we search out for the one.

All I know is that I have lost the innocence of a little girl dreaming of "prince charming". He can take himself, his cock, and his pretty white horse and just ride on back to his ridiculously decked out castle with a stereo system that would cause grief in a deaf person.  I am without desire to date, to meet other men for the purposes of being a couple – becoming that odd being that is almost two souls and one person.  I don’t want to be claimed, I don’t want to be dominated, I don’t want to be someone’s girlfriend.  I want to be me.

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