I’ve been revisiting the reasons I stopped writing this blog, or any blog, or anything longer or more serious than an email. Occasionally, as when I can’t stand to see the most promising pup alone all day, day after day, I make a bleat, but it’s a bleat not a blog. Save Hiro!
What it boils down to are two things: somebody told me that happiness was a choice. This struck me as so simplistic, so airy, so la-la-voo-doo, so and I have to say it left coast, that I folded like a salt-covered slug, withered with rage and the desire to say “but wait a second, lover, it’s not actually that simple.” I have a friend who chooses to be happy, and the way she does it is she listens to what you have to say (about anything) and then looks into your eyes with a slight smile on her face for a very long time as if she’s trying to penetrate your pituitary gland until finally you can’t stand it any more and so you say “WHAT”? If she weren’t over 70 I’d think she was on a perpetual shroom trip and actually maybe she is. Or she spent too long on top of that mountain alone, listening to the coyotes howl.
Okay, so there’s that. And then there was the time I spun out my thought that the message board was like a sixth-grade classroom and like every sixth-grade classroom there was a gaggle of good girls who always had their hands up, sometimes for so long that they had to prop their elbows up with their other arm. I know, I know, they all keened in unison. The gestation time for a shiba inu is, the proper tail curve is, Papa said, (eeks, that’s another thing, that Papa idea), on and on. And that because there was what was perceived to be a cute, or at least desirable in a cultish way, teacher, the rules-following, the pandering, the wagging hands, the smarmy smug “I know”s got to be kind of silly. That was the blog that made the big guy come out from behind the curtain long enough to say he loved his wife. Huh, big guy? Who said anything about your wife?
In any case, I never got it. I never understood any of it. The call-me-Papa trope got under my skin and caused all kinds of emotional rashes. The I’m-here but it’s-not-really-me thing made me question my existence in the world. I did it my way but don’t utter my name or like observant Jews who say the name of God, you will be – well, I don’t know what but it will be horrible. More horrible than horrible; they will ban you. Shun you, as Dwight in The Office was always threatening.
Things still make me mad but they’re not usually on the other coast, and they don’t usually involve shiba inus or tile floors or who’s on which message board. What makes me mad tends to be inequality, cruelty to animals (even ones I’m going to eat), gaslighting, hatred of poor people, lawn chemicals, and the idea that being kind to those less fortunate is socialism. I don’t like businesses that really don’t want to sell the things I want to buy. I deplore – really really loathe – the beating into submission of young teenagers by school systems that insist they need to declare their career path at age 13 and stick to it.
Things that don’t make me mad: corruption in the District of Columbia (I grew up in Chicago), illegal immigration, weeds, the hydrangea-thief in my neighborhood, property lines, parking, the hoarder at the end of the block. My kids rarely make me mad, my grandchildren never. I downright love the little old ladies who sit in my living room every Wednesday to knit and talk and gradually reveal themselves as flaming radical feminists who have lived harder and more interesting lives than their polite clothes might indicate.
It was fun to write about the puppycam and the appealing big guy with his exquisitely mixed signals, fascinating to trace the gyrations in his mood from scolding boy scout to aging Goth to 80’s jokester to defiant Frank Sinatra to Disney freak to loving daddy of puppies but not of children. Say nothing of the video-game career and the time he needed to point out that he didn’t sweep the floors at LucasArts. I would love to write a whole book about the phenomenon. I think it’s worth a book. But I don’t have the nerve, or the energy, or the hard head. I am a odd woman, as one of the flying monkeys once said. I can’t remember the other adjective, which must mean it’s time to move way way far on. They had me there for a while with their happiness and their rules, but they don’t have me any more. At least I don’t think so.