Monday, March 16, 2015

Lana Turner

When I was in college, many years ago, my friends and I, as many did when the drinking age was 18, took off on a Saturday night and hit one of the three bars in Middlebury, Vermont. Our social life off campus was compact, but hopping.

Of course, we all drank far too much because we were young and idiotic and we didn't have to drive home. We walked up the shoveled sidewalks of the town and then up the hill that led back to the college. There had been a lot of snow over those last weeks, and the banks were almost couch-like. My friend D., who had grown up in Maine, announced rather suddenly as we were half-way up the hill, that we should just let her die here, right here. She was going to sleep, she said. And she flopped down across a snow bank.

No, no! we said, of course, knowing she was mostly joking. I don't remember what had been going on in our love lives then and whether the appearance of one semi-gentleman college classmate of ours in conjunction with the Long Island Ice Teas we drank then (cheaper than beer per proof--all liquor and just a squirt of soda). As D feigned a 19th century damsel overcome by, well, some strong emotion, we all tugged at her and managed to get her to her feet. And back up the hill we went.

Actually, it was very much like this Frank O'Hara poem:
Lana Turner has collapsed!
I was trotting along and suddenly
it started raining and snowing
and you said it was hailing
but hailing hits you on the head
hard so it was really snowing and
raining and I was in such a hurry
to meet you but the traffic
was acting exactly like the sky
and suddenly I see a headline
there is no snow in Hollywood
there is no rain in California
I have been to lots of parties
and acted perfectly disgraceful
but I never actually collapsed
oh Lana Turner we love you get up
A few weeks ago, I just sat down where I was--figuratively, of course--and decided I wasn't going to move anymore. This bank of ongoing unresolved problems, or maybe that one, looked somehow comfortable enough to flop across and take a nap that might last several years. Anyway, I was too tired to care if the paperclips and sharp paper edges poked into my ribs. I am no longer an ingenue.

My husband said, maybe you should get some exercise. Several other people did as well. Frankly, I resented this when the problem was I was just too tired of all this: tired of arguing with the school (who after many apologies about not doing things right would just go back to doing things wrong again in a few weeks), arguing with Medicaid (with whom I can't even properly argue as they won't let me call them directly on the phone), not arguing with the DDA (but feeling resentful of them all the same, even though we had nothing new to argue about), and putting any more mental energy into pushing back thoughts of my husband's strange, hard-hearted family whose personal dictionary lacks the word "empathy" (at the same time that I really wanted them present because at one point in time, they had actually been supportive of Robert). And I had made my good friend Elizabeth cry because of the things I was writing in this blog, and probably my mother and who knows who else.

So I said all of this to my husband and he agreed to do some of the things I didn't want to do anymore because it's really all the same after a while and the arguments, even the vital ones, get really boring and repetitive--as I told him, how can I exercise if I have to stare at all this crap all the time and ponder doing something about it? And he ran off to find advocates to do our yelling for us (in that much gentler, yet oh-so-firm way advocates do because you pay for that quality).

And I went running. And then I decided I would do some yoga because I wanted to revisit those deep stretches. After two days of yoga, I felt the wonderful release that also comes with a massage, of deep toxins and tensions I'd been storing in one muscle or another. And I found myself crying uncontrollably this morning, having forgotten how to cry in the last few years (or cry properly, anyway), and what do you know--it released all sorts of emotional toxins. Really, people should cry more often. Privately, for the most part.


Elizabeth said...

Really, it's incredible sometimes to truly note who we've become. On the one hand, these amazing and strong women who have fought relentlessly for the integrity of our children and their lives. And on the other, these hardened souls who don't cry very often because -- well -- there's only so much that one can cry about, right? I love that you had this emotional release, and I love how you describe the stopping, the resting on a metaphorical snowbank. Tonight, on the way out of the airport and back to "my life," I saw a driver with a sign indicating that his charge was named ELIZABETH, and for a moment I imagined faking it, claiming him as my driver and just leaving into some other life.

You know what I did instead.

And don't worry about my tears -- I am so grateful that you write what you write, that you move me to tears, that we can feel some solidarity.

lily cedar said...

I often feel the same way, beyond tired. My doctor also told me to exercise. She was right but it did annoy me as well. As for the crying, I am a bit of a champion crier, weeping at the drop of a hat lately. I also have a disabled child/young woman. She'll be 23 this year. And I'm tired of fighting for her as well. I wouldn't dream of not fighting for her but I am tired of having to fight for her.