Archive for the ‘Ramblings’ Category

You heard me, Good Girl!  We, the good girls of the nation, must band together with greenish locks of striking tresses!

Green, blue, pink, whatever, so long as it does not come “natural”.  And I will tell you why.  I was raised to be extremely judgmental.  I was raised to see only a very narrow path of “Okay”.  In fact, I almost never invited my friends home because then I would have not been allowed to enjoy their raucous funness; I would have been forced to frown upon their giggles.

My second boyfriend, I actually gave him a list of topics that were okay to talk about, and had to explain to him in no uncertain terms that, really, it would be better if he didn’t say anything at all.  Because anything he did or said or breathed or smiled would reflect (poorly) on me.

I almost always went over to my friends’ houses to play, even when I was very young.  There was  different vibe there.

Not to say that my folks are tyrants.  But narrow?  Yeah.  Last year my papa actually said, “Gee, I don’t know what I would have done if you girls had turned out like your cousin; I know I couldn’t have handled it if you hadn’t been good.”  My cousin, by the way, is a misguided fool and only had a couple of kids out of wedlock.  And, if the Fool reads this, all I have to say is, Dude, if you ever brag about drinking and driving around me again, I will be forced to kill you myself to save the rest of the world.

My hair currently has emerald streaks.  My favorite was moat monster green.  I don’t use permanent dye, mostly because I tried it, and it didn’t work.  My hair hates things like perms and dye.  But I can, and do, stain it with Kool-Aid.

And you would think that after three years, my mother wouldn’t freak every time she sees a change in tinting.

I even offered to let her choose a color.

When I was younger, I freaked out about this sort of thing myself.  I was well-trained for most of my life.  A friend got a tattoo?  Gasp!  Dyed their hair blonde?  Horrors!  Wore something other than jeans and a t-shirt?  You’re just asking for awful things to happen to you!

Right before I graduated college, I bought a poodle skirt.  I don’t know why.  And I wore it.  Not on Halloween.  I was HORRIFIED.  I was terrified.  I really was.  And you know what?  That was the first day I actually felt like myself.

In elementary school, I loved dresses.  I always wore shorts under them because I was obsessed with hanging upside down on the monkey bars, but I loved dresses.  I played football in dresses.  And I was constantly lectured by my mother that, “No one wears dresses; you need to wear jeans!”  Once I finally outgrew those dresses, she wouldn’t buy me more.  She bought me jeans.  And by junior high, I found the joy (??) of blending into the background.  It was a new school with really bitchy cliques of army brats, so honestly, this was the safest thing to do.  I came up with reasons why a good girl would always wear jeans, never wasting money on “in” clothes, never trying to look “pretty” (’cause in junior high that was the equivalent of being a slut).  I helped them brainwash me into this until by high school, I was Grunge, with the army boots and the oversized t-shirts and the flannel shirts.  I was rebelling against Donna Reed and Marilyn Monroe forty years too late.

So why would wearing a poodle skirt snap me back out of this self-brainwashing?  It was a costume.  And apparently, that’s how I dress myself best.  I wear costumes that make me feel like me.  And honestly, isn’t that what clothing is?  It is the outward trapping of your tribe.  My mother spent her entire adult life wearing business suits with shoulder pads, in order to get respect in a business run by men.  That was her costume.

I built up my “costume” wardrobe.  It’s gotten to the point where, if I wear jeans because it’s freezing out, it becomes a sign of the apocalypse to my co-workers.  Or, if the owner of our company writes a note demanding everyone “dress appropriately to work at the warehouse for Black Friday”, you know that I’m the only one she’s really writing that email to because everyone else dresses in jeans and t-shirts every day, which is Modern Man’s Costume.

But it’s when you dye your hair green that you really find out who people are.  I worked for a university when I started, and oddly, no one had any problem with the color of my hair.  Academic types are apparently rather open-minded.  My boss was the first one to suggest I dye it.  He wanted it blue.  Which may or may not have been creepy (the jury is very wishy-washy on this).  My hair doesn’t do blue; there’s too much blonde and cherry blonde that turns blue into green.  The people who did have problems were all at least somewhat obsessed with conformity, and each of them goes out of their way daily to present a certain Face to the world, they spend a lot on hairstylists, they “do” their nails.  All of these alterations of appearance, including face painting, are okay.  They are culturally sanctioned.

It’s this sort of revelation that I want everyone to experience.  Dye your hair green, people!  Dye it, and free yourself!  Are you Really the invisible person hiding in jeans and a baggy t-shirt?  Or is there someone else inside of you who has just been too scared not to try desperately to fit in?

I know that a big part of this is Where I live.  The Heartland is the Heart of Conformity.  People aren’t celebrated for being different or thinking up new ideas here.

In fact, a couple weeks ago, I read a parenting article in an actual newspaper by a supposedly respected expert that ordered parents to never, ever let their children/teens dress down.  Choosing how they dress, to this expert, is a sign of disrespect if it does not conform to the standards of the suburban society around the family.  In fact, if parents are lax in dress code, that is the first slippery slope to degeneracy, in-fighting, and disrespect.  How dare a teenager dress like their peers?  Teens should dress as their parents want them to.

The writer’s proof is that, supposedly, there are no delinquents in third world countries, and that, until a century ago, there was no such thing a malcontent among teens.  (Forgetting, of course, that in many of those third world countries–in South America, Africa, Asia, etc–gangs are groups of militia with child soldiers.  Additionally, it’s only been in the last hundred years that child labor laws and laws about mandatory schooling have prolonged “childhood” itself and pushed far back the age when children/teens are allowed to become contributing members of society.  There really is nothing to compare.)

And me with my freshly emerald hair, me, a fully respectable grown-up who looks back on all the hiding and shame of my younger years when I was forced to never express my own self, I just stared at the newsprint, flabbergasted.  Because when I look back at my childhood/teenage friends, especially the ones who did something with their lives, they were the ones who chose their own clothes, and maybe it was Ska style with a wallet chain and a newsboys cap before that was stereotyped, but these were the kids who grew up to be the most successful.  And yes, each of them probably has one tattoo, or more.  And the friends who most upheld the Facade of Decency, who paid lip service to the grown-ups, who played the part, well, they were the ones who chickened out on following their dreams or who got arrested for embezzlement at age 18.

I grew up with only two distinctions.  Things were either Good or Bad.  Every book I read, my mother would stop me and demand to know if it was Bad.  Not because she wanted to have a conversation and find out if the book was any good, no, her question was always, “Is that BAD?”  Because she knew I was honest enough to tell her, and then she could confiscate it.  At which point, was the book actually BAD, or was I just worried that it wouldn’t meet her high standards?  People fell into these same categories.  I was expected to judge them with high standards, and avoid being friends with BAD children.

But now that my hair is emerald green… and I myself am BAD… it’s very freeing.



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One of my pets is to find obscure old books, like travelogues from the colonial age, when bored rich men who had no idea about anything larger than a British garden snail (and I’m not putting down these men, as British garden snails are freakishly huge and exceedingly frightening) would go out to the New World in search of adventure.  It’s 1890 and everyone I know is cultured and daft, so toodloo and cheerio, I’m going to… you know… a place with… large rabid bears.  Places filled with “savages” and indescribable flaura!  And I’m going to take my little leather notebook and a lead pencil I need to lick to make it write, and I’m going to call that little cabbagey thing Oscar and I’m going to make up its medicinal purposes, and then I’m going to fall in a stream and get eaten by carp.

Anyway, as such, I decided to try my hand at an homage, or perhaps a parody, in “Excerpts from the 4000 Most Painful Ways to Live, as Compiled by the Rt. Hon. Crimson Tynes, O.B.E.”, which has been published by New Dead Families (dot com) and is available here: http://newdeadfamilies.com/links/current/current-2/excerpts-from-the-4000-most-painful-ways-to-live-as-compiled-by-the-rt-hon-crimson-tynes-o-b-e-by-dawn-wilson/.

It’s men like Crimson Tynes who paved the way for the U.S. government to decide they needed to put fences up on every tall cliff to keep them from leaning over too far, saying, “Corrr, looky there!” and fall off a hundred feet onto their heads.

In Ireland, instead of fences, a good Samaritan group has gone to the top of these types of cliffs and posted little wooden signs saying things like: It’s not too late to call (this number) for help with your problems.

In the U.S., after you take the effort to climb over the giant fence, there’s usually a net meant to catch you twenty feet down, and then you get hauled off in the paddy wagon and charged with Attempted Self-Murder.  So if you don’t die successfully, you’ll get to learn what the inside of a prison is like.  And that is what makes life so much more liveable.  Being in prison.



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Parodies are written by the moralists.  So at least I now know what I am not.  Henceforth, I shall not write parodies, unless I deem myself to be writing against some moral travesty. 

Unless I deem Life itself to be a moral travesty.

John Hicks and Irenaeus decided that God created everything.  The original Hebrew, which has been re-translated into so many different meanings, original stated that God created good and evil.  Henceforth, He knew there was evil in the world, and the point of living is to be born into the animal world, and to then strive to become better, to then make oneself in the image of God.  (This does explain why some children are prone to such evil.)  This separates people into those who want to become better from those who want to use their humanity as an excuse to do as they please: Eh, I’m only human, so I can’t help it.  You can’t, or you won’t? 

Yeah, that’s about as moral as I get.  Reading the Thinker’s Guide to Evil right now.  It’s nice to have the history of everything just sort of laid out on nicely glossy colored pages.  Instead of one worldview, you finally get to see things from different povs. 



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“I felt I was becoming scientifically interesting.” –Marlow

from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, p.29


Sometimes I think I know how he feels.  What am I here for, except a massive scientific experiment?  I discover more about my inner self every day, and who I want to become, by living here.  Perhaps it’s a good thing, but I also know that this will not continue.  I need my space.  I need to let loose and scream at the top of my lungs–just once more.  I never quite realized how easy it was for me to let loose in my own home, in my car, how much I depended on that time to relax myself.  In a state of nervous pique, all I had to do was go turn on my radio in my car, and let it wash over me.  My bubble. 

I don’t let my guard down here anymore.  Too much trust has been broken.  Repeatedly.  Not a terribly bad thing.  But worrisome.  The idea of a private persona–what is allowable amongst friends, and when are you allowed to be called “friend”?  I say it takes five years. 

Wow.  I realized that back during my theatre group–not to say that after five years people can’t still drift off or do something unforgivable and disappear.  But until you’ve invested five years, people disappear a lot easier, without wrenching the heart.  Back then I thought it was because I was shy and standoffish.  Now I know, maybe it’s just me… or maybe it’s just a good round number. Before, I thought it pitiful, but now I think it’s just a-okay.  Safety boundary.

The Wall returns?


“He inspired uneasiness[…] You have no idea how effective such a… a… faculty can be.  He had no genius for organizing, for initiative, or for order even. […] His position had come to him — why?  Perhaps because he was never ill… […] Because triumphant health in the general rout of constitutions is a kind of power in itself.” — Conrad, p.31




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Day three.  My ears bleed.  Can one call the police in their own house?  Or is that uncouth?  Can one call anonymously and give the address, and then pretend to be shocked–but not appalled.  And then kindly say, patting her shoulder, Well, you were a little bit waking the dead and making them die again, and they weren’t too happy to be shuddered out of their graves and then speared like last night’s tuna. 



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At last!  After beginning to believe that I was truly turning over to the dark side, being the only one pointed out as cruel and outrageous, along with being an ignorant specimen of a “foreign land”, I have finally been relieved of my suffering.  The woman who is named after my tree, the Old Woman in Go-Go Boots, hereafter known as GG, has freaked on her entire class.  Ha ha!  ‘Tis not just me.  No secret e-mails to one person singling them out.  No silent simmering.  She blew up, stormed out, and then e-mailed everyone to say that she would no longer be accepting comments on her writing.  Swoon. 

Next weekend is the literary festival in Wales.  Can’t wait.  Hay-on-Wye, which Meg the Nurse told me about, is a town made up of 30 bookshops, one in a castle.  The entire town is basically a bookshop.  Swoon.

Pear cider is light and fluffy.



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Well, hmph!

My mother refuses to mail me mashed potatoes. 



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I should write a letter to my congressman!  I should write to the president!  I should fall off a pony and drown in the mud!

They kept asking us, when we applied for a student visa, how could we prove that if they let us in the UK that we would leave again?  They’re obsessed with getting rid of people.  They don’t want you here, no matter who you are.  They’d be happiest with a mass exodus. 

I can now prove that I will indeed leave the country at the end of my schooling.  (glances furtively from side to side, leans forward, and types more quietly) You see, they have Kentucky Fried Chicken over here.  They have KFC.  I luuuurrrve KFC.  It’s one of my comfort foods.  Their mashed potatoes with gravy are one of the delectables of this earth.  Give me a vat of mashed potates and stand back.  It’s probably the only food I would allow to come in a vat, without putting up protest.  That way there’s always MORE.  There’s enough to share. 

My family makes fun of me.  On occasion, when we’re getting together and don’t want to cook, we’ll get KFC, and they know I’m the potato freak.  Most families do pizza.  Most kids fight over the chicken legs, if there is no pizza.  (But then, most kids weren’t chased by chicken legs as children, so I have an excuse to not drool when I see them.  They’re objects of fear…)  “They’re gone, you can stop scraping the bottom of the container.”  “You want dessert?”  “Nope, I’ll just finish off the potatoes.”  “Look at her.”  “We ate all the mashed potatoes, haha haha!” 

Now for the horror of horrors.  After scouring the entirety of Bath for the KFC, I found out… they don’t have potatoes!!!!!  Waaaahhhhhh!!!  Ack!  Egads!  Scream! 

Get this: they have gravy.  They sell the freaking gravy.  But they don’t have the mashed potatoes.  What is wrong with these people???? 

One year from now, when my course of study is over and the UK government says, Hey, girl, get out of our country! then the next time anyone sees me, do not be surprised if I am swimming inside a vat of mashed potatoes. 



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Me is so proud of myself.  I don’t know why.  I’m not that much of a bitch… usually.  But.  Mwuhaha. 

They have door-to-door salesmen here.  What’s up with that?  We’ve pretty much erradicated them in the US.  Girl Scouts aren’t even allowed to go door-to-door anymore.  Ooh, spooky, evil.  Halloween is quickly going the way of the May Day Parade.  If you’re going to take your kids trick-or-treating now, you don’t just turn them loose in the neighborhood.  You either drive them to a rich neighborhood where they give out full-sized candy bars, and then rob your children of their spoils, or you take them to a shopping mall.  A safe, self-contained container, giving out pre-inspected, carefully sealed goodies (which you also steal from your children later).

We got our wireless by a door-to-door dude.  That turned out well and good.  I guess.  I mean, it was like trying to get your student visa… you pretty much had to give them a blood sample and a first born child. 

Apparently the power companies, since there are many different billing groups, like 27 of them, go door to door and try to strongarm loyal customers to leave their favored company.  Some of them are like used car salesmen, and the big scheme nowadays seems to be, “Please, just sign this for my boss, so he’ll know I’m doing my job, ‘kay?”  And then after you sign a seemingly harmless thing, they might forge your signature to a contract, and bam!  You’ve just changed power companies. 

Not that I totally suspect this dude of having such foul motives.  He was well-dressed, but in a strange manner.  He looked like a used car salesman.  Hair nearly to his shoulders, wavy, pushed back, a sleazy manner, a pocket watch on a chain, and 1940s gangster suit, tailored to be smaller than Al Capone’s, not to make his shoulders appear large.  Despite the fact that I should totally give everyone the benefit of the doubt, this guy wouldn’t give me a business card, nor show me any hard copy of paperwork proving that his “flat rate” was legit.  All I wanted was a written estimate.  A guarantee of his verbal statement.  Proof that he existed and worked for the company he said he did.  Is that too much to ask?  Yeah, he had an ID card strung around his neck, but everyone gets an ID card to wear around their neck nowadays.  His name could have easily been Chuck U. Farley. 

My apologies, Kari!  But really, I wasn’t the one to open the door, so I didn’t break my promise!  The door was already opened.  It just so happened that I was still in my pajamas… everyone’s seen me in my pajamas by now, even that annoying little boy from down at the pub; it just happens.  (And I will probably soon break down… being a pajama addict… and not being able to bring even half of my lovely jammies… I just know I won’t be able to resist the call of Marks and Spencer’s PJ dept much longer.  I drool just walking past the building.)  So Skeavy Dude, yes, he saw me in my pjs and he gave me that condescending, Ah, here’s an easy sale, look.  So I stopped eavesdropping because his roving eyes had found me peeking out from the hall next to the kitchen, and I marched right up to the door, and he gave me his, Ah, this is such a good deal, you’ll never ever be able to get a better deal, one day only, can I come in? 

I sent him packing.  Of course, he promised to come back later.

Which he did.  And this time I was fully clothed, and even more of a hardass.  I want your business card and a written estimate.  But, but, it’s a flat rate!  You’ll never get better!  I want it in writing, and then we’ll talk, but if you can’t do that, then I’m not talking, and no, you can’t come in. 

He actually ran.  Hardy-har!  He turned around and ran down the path from the door, waving, saying something about Yeah, ‘kay, we’ll do that. 

I never expect to see him again.

Simple salesmanship shouldn’t be so shoddy a notion, eh?  Be polite, don’t strong-arm the customer, don’t dress like a used car salesman, don’t smirk, and always carry credentials, a business card, and a hard copy of your contract.  Not so hard. 



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A day in the day

I just got a prospective invitation to a hypothetical future wedding.

Have too many random notes of funny terms from postmodernism class.  No one else took notes, but how could we not?  Perhaps because I’m not British, so the turns of phrase become brill.  For them, commonplace?

The house becomes loud.  Will one day I think “lively” instead?

If I do not work on my novel tomorrow, I will be forced to jump off the roof into the large pile of mutated slugs known affectionately in the UK as our “back garden.”  The landlord has informed us that they will put down weedkiller so that we can string up a clothes line.  Weedkiller does nothing to slugs.  A vat of beer, yes.  Ammonia, yes.  Salt, wowsers. 

I am the spider wrangler for the house, and so the girls have protected me from the inordinately large slugs.  They didn’t want them clinging to the door, and then open the door, and whoops–got a visitor in the kitchen.  So they spread a line of salt along each of the doors.  One came for me, a slug could sense I was in the house, and it said, Ouch, ouch, I must get to Dawn and frighten her, ouch, ouch, why is my body burning like the fires of damnation?  (Perhaps because the dawn damned him?  ((Hannah used to write her W’s upside down, so then I became Aunt Damn, so it works.))) 

People are like that a bit, aren’t they?  Even if something might be killing them, if it hurts, we’re in the No Pain No Gain society, and have no foresight.  And thus… like a slug to the salt, we keep going, with faith, and hope, stupidly. 

Will I recognize when I’m an idiot? 

Apparently my writing is easier read aloud, listened to, than read on the page.  Hmph.  I’ve been almost wondering about that, especially sometimes when people read bits aloud during workshops at home, and it just doesn’t sound right.  Is my voice so distinct when I write, that it actually can’t be read and understood?  Well, crap.  I really do need to work more on the writing.  My piece today was no all-inclusive, self-contained… and I guess it should have been.  Whoops.  It was more of an excerpt that needed previous knowledge to be understood.  More work, less socialization.  Much less.  I may not be an efficient worker.

And I need a lamp.



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