Jun 29, 2009

clear a space

I need to pay my bills.

I keep rearranging them into new, more attractive stacks.

But I can't open them.

There's something about parting with what's left of my money that I'm against.

Something about that doesn't sit well with me.

There are now two of me. One who pays the bills on time, and one who, no matter what, can't allow the bank account to sink below a certain point.

Even as it gets horrendously down to the wire, I notice I am talking myself into accepting this new state of "not paying bills".

It's ok, I think, I'm broke. There's nothing I can do. And, I don't have any problems, only the perception of problems.

There's even been a few, "in a couple of years we will all laugh about this" - interjected, here and there.

All desperate little platitudes that even I don't buy.

I've caught myself doing things to throw off worrying for a while. Like taking Excederin PM as early as 7pm - or establishing breaks from "all thinking".

But, it doesn't work.

Even while asleep, there is a strange new brand of bad dream to contend with = my subconscious is not ok with any of this.

And, I'll admit, even while I was working, doing my bills made me anxious.

I had to first clear a space.

This was an excuse. A time waster that made sense and was seemingly neither "bad" nor "crazy".

While I did this - I would add some super-sane domestic treat (wrapped up in a task) - like making coffee.

Yes. I needed to make some coffee, but first I needed to wash the pot.

I would do this by hand - because it's always much better that way.

This very naturally led to washing all of the dishes.

Which led to cleaning the entire kitchen. Sweeping, mopping - possibly, laundry.

By the time I finished, making coffee was out of the question.

It was now late afternoon. No. What I needed now was a salad.

This required washing and chopping vegetables.

But first, I needed to select some music. Which (in and of itself) required that I first put away all of my wayward discs.

And this had to be done with care.

And sometimes required windex - as discs, as well as their cases, can become dusty - even in just a few days.

So, I would put my discs away (in a semi-alphabetical order that made sense to me, but bothered me for not being purely alphabetical) and when I was done, I would find some music that might put a better spin on my bill paying.

But first - I would eat.

And whenever I was done eating, I would run out (just for a few minutes) as, by then, I certainly needed something from the store, like aspirin or vodka.

So that, once I had returned, I could clear a space (on the table) so as to do my bills.

This meant folding, possibly filing - and otherwise putting things away.

And then, and only then, in a quasi-calm state that was meant to suggest (to me - nobody else was there) that none of this was making me the least bit anxious, I could begin doing my bills.

At this point I always liked to imagine myself as this "woman doing her bills".

Routine. No flashing lights. No sirens.

It didn't matter that I really was a woman doing her bills - it felt otherwise.


I need to pay my bills.

Right now.


But first, I need to clear a space.

Jun 24, 2009

how does this work?

No one said, one day when you grow up you are going lose your dream job and all your money and your dignity and whatever certainty you had in yourself and, then, finally, when you're invited to live at your mom's house, it's going to be suddenly (for no good reason) upgraded to an invitation to live in the coach house, instead.

The couch house, instead.

That's a whole house.

With two floors. A staircase. My god. I was excited about the hallway when I moved into this apartment. I'm still excited about the hallway (it's a really long hallway with doorways, a light fixture, and it's own echo).

But this.

This means all kinds of happy things.

This means I don't have to put all of my furniture into storage.

This means privacy.

This means a basement.

A basement. Just think of it. A dark, damp place downstairs where I can do the laundry as slowly as I like.

Where I'll be able to think.

Where I'll be able to stow my mops and brooms and everything I hate.

It's so good.

So why do I feel bad?

Because I haven't earned this. Because I never wanted a house.

Because I can't enjoy anything until I find a job.

And, you know, I will. T
he second I've moved to a suburb that I never wanted to live in - and into a house that I don't deserve.

I will.

Jun 22, 2009

through a lens, reluctantly

At some point this morning I'm going to put something into a box, and, with that, the moving process will begin.

I've been looking at this box for close to two hours, now.

Though, I've been thinking about this box for months.

This box.

This box - both proverbial and real.

I wonder what was the last thing that I took out of this box when I moved here?

Or, what was the first thing that I put into it - when I moved away.

Though, let's be honest, some of those things never quite made it out of their boxes - that last time.

Could this blog have been more about things going in and out of boxes?

So, in a genius maneuver, meant to support avoiding putting anything in to that box - I started taking photos.

I know that the photos - those of whole rooms, with people in them (living life) have, already been taken.

That ship has sailed.

That is, the real photos of my home were taken well before any knowledge that we were moving ever crossed any one's minds.

I don't like staging things.

Whenever I've done that, in the past, I've noticed that all I was left with - was the memory of me staging something.

That, and whatever desperation that went behind bothering to "stage" something.

(not whatever beautiful or ugly thing I was attempting to re-capture)

This is why so many of my photos have been since excised.

I've instead documented only the odd, small, here-and-there domestic "accident" that somehow made this place home.

Up close and out of context.

No bullshit. No lies.

I photographed a small corner of a bookshelf with its few remaining books, naturally askew.

The one leaf of the one particular plant with its one patch of the neighboring building's brick in the background.

The millions and millions of rolled up floor plans.

That stack of various soaps that always hid on the edge of the bath tub.

All of them out of their wrappers; all of them slowly becoming one soap, once more.

(because all soap really does originate from one place, after all)

Just things that I looked at without realizing that I'd been looking.

It's ok.

It really is.

I'm just stalling.

Jun 18, 2009

sometimes it feels good to just wash your hands

I was a waitress.

I was sitting on the sink in the ladies room, smoking, crying, mascara running down my face - when another girl who worked there walked in.

She knew why I was crying.

She had witnessed it.

I had been treated in a sub-human way.

my god

She smiled, washed her hands and said to me, "..sometimes it feels good to just wash your hands, you know?"

It was a more touchy-feely time, the nineties (to be sure).

We all were a lot younger back then, too.

And glittery. We wore quite a lot of glitter (in those days).

We were mostly still learning about life (while making incredible amounts of money) all of us thinking it would still be even better, later (somehow).

Though, it still stands today.

What she said.

It does feel really good to just wash your hands, sometimes.

Then this girl dried her hands and told me to "buck up".

Buck up, princess.

That's what she said.

We all said it, at one time or another.


That is what we called each other. All of the time. It was code, though.

Don't be fooled.


Both an endearment and an insult. And meant wholly to keep each other in line.

That is, you never wanted to be called "princess", but if you were, it was probably with love.

Conversely, you never called any known enemies "princess", because then you were "dead".

Such was the anthropological inner workings of that particular nightclub.

buck up + count your money = remember why you are here (princess)


Yep. And for some reason this is all I remember about that girl.

sometimes it feels good to just wash your hands

And, you know, I really love to wash my hands.

Not in any crazy compulsive way.

Though, just a minute ago, I did wash my hands (just for the joy of it) and it seemed to change the whole course that my day was taking.

First the cool water (that I let become warm).

(that's how it starts)

Then the soap itself.

Today: a mild, lovely soap.

The lather: generous.

The scent: just so.

Neither astringent nor drying.

Just clean.

Perfectly clean.

And, as I rinse the soap off of my hands, there is (in the end) no residue left on my skin.

Nor anything "stripping" (nor ruining) of my ph balance.

That is, no regrets.

The drying (a whole process in and of itself) went very well: the towel had just been laundered and was still slightly warm from the dryer.

I then employed my hand cream.

This, too, went very well.

I give it an eight (the hand washing - the whole thing).

It wasn't bad.

I then walked back out of the bathroom and went on with my day.

And, isn't that the point?

Of course, I thought of her.

I always do.

While washing my hands.

The girl from twelve years ago.

(or was it fifteen?)

Don't you think of her, too, when you wash your hands?

If not, I promise you will after reading this post. For the rest of your life, you will.

It's my gift to you.

No. No problem; I mean, you're welcome.

And, here, I'm writing about it now (so ironic).

It's the circle of life, you might say. In real time. Right here. At frankenmonsterblog.

I think of her every time I wash my hands.

And now, so shall you.

This is no fault of her own.

It just turned out that way.

So, here we are.

Now I wonder just what thing I said that is now continually assigned to "me"?

I hope it's not, "get out of my face, jaggoff.."

(though it probably is)


(buck up, princess)

Jun 4, 2009

the sun on my cereal box also rises

There is something I can't understand.

Like a background noise that is always there but I never bother to identify.

Certain things.

Like this valley I always return to in my mind.

There is a memory in there, somewhere.

I've found myself actually searching my mind.

That valley. Yes.

Where again was that valley?

It would only slowly come to the surface. With me comparing actual vistas to this memory (still unidentified by me at the time) and honestly wondering and marveling about the very mysteries of life.

This was not only an authentic valley, but was ideal as a valley.

And not just for its lovely, rolling green terrain.

No. It was other things, too. Little things.

Like the light.

Was it just me, or wasn't it obvious that the sun had just come up in this valley?

The way the air feels at that time of day. The dew. The sound of birds only emphasizing the odd, early quiet.

The smell of yesterday's rain now washed out by sunlight.

The sun glinting on things in the distance - here and there.

Everything growing.

The sky - yellow and pale, maybe a bit redder at the horizon.

The horizon being quite hilly from where we stand.

It really draws a person into this "valley" (wherever this valley is).

I mean it - it makes me dizzy. The depth, the distance. That weightless feeling. The height versus the sheer expanse.

It's almost like I could fly right into this valley (though, that would be frightening and completely against my will).

Did I mention that the trees in the distance were in silhouette?

It's all right there.

All of it.

On a can of peas.

(if not box of frozen spinach)

Ok. If it's fake, if it has anything to do with advertising, if it's been around since before I was born then:

your commercial is definitely working on me

For example, her.

You know her. The lady on the can of tomato paste?

She with the black hair and the basket of tomatoes.

She never did say very much. She just smiles and laughs.

The landscape on this can is quite lovely, too.

The sky is incredibly blue and crystal clear.

There are no clouds in sight.

What time is it (on this can of tomato paste)?

Late afternoon.

About three-o-clock. Not quite time for a glass of wine.

The tomatoes still needed to be picked, though, and the sauce (o-mi-o-my) hadn't even been started!

but that's ok, everything is ok

Because she, mostly unrivaled by Mona Lisa, has this (mostly unrivaled) tomato paste.

Here, in either Italy or South America (the can doesn't really say).

To be clear, I'm three years old, sitting in a shopping cart in a grocery store in Chicago. And I'm holding a small can of tomato paste.

It is out of sheer boredom and a precocious ability to entertain myself (that will prove useful for the rest of my life) that I'm absolutely mesmerized by this image of a happy woman with dark hair and eyes (that looks just like my mom) to the point of "study".

I ascertain that her smile is genuine.


She likes her life.

Her work.


She likes her red dress.

And me. She likes me.

And, so, this will be the tomato paste that I use for the rest of my life.


It's decided.