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TOday has been the Mother of All Dull Days. I mean, really, breathtakingly, mindnumbingly boring.
I have, today: finished a book
eaten a cup of yogurt with granola on top
eaten a salad (greens, chicken ,almonds, Asian ginger dressing)
eaten 3 caramels and drunk a cup of coffee
taken a picture of my dog being cute
pondered what to fix for supper
mashed 7 flies (where DO they come from??)
watched TV (Judging Amy, because I like Tyne Daly even if SD doesn’t)
picked up fluff from an eviscerated stuffed dog toy
What I would like to be able to say I did:
painted a fabulous picture that was considered and instant classic
talked a person out of eating a can of Drano
finally figured out where I stand in my faith
Start an exercise plan guarenteed to make me look like Lucy Lawless
got out all my sculpting stuff and started on a new project
Ok…so the last 3 things on that second list are things I can actually do. I think Lucy Lawless has the best body on the planet, and while I lack her stature and commanding presence, I do have the ability to own really great arms. I had them when I was waitressing. Buff even, muscular-ish. I could do that. I’m not too old. I could even figure out my faith while I work on my arms. And carrying all that sculpting stuff upstairs would require a bit of exertion, that’s like exercise, right?
Now, looking at the first list. I think I’m eating pretty well. The caramels were really small ones, and I don’t like alot of dressing on the salad, and the yogurt was 1% and the cereal on it was GoLean, very low fat and high protein. I guess there is plenty of room on the list for a workout. By ‘finishing’ a book, I mean I read the second half of a 300 page silly romance about a British underachiever and a handsome American Executive. It took all morning and I am completely unashamed. After all, I’m not getting paid to not do any of this work, anyway.
I figured out what to fix for supper: chuletas, thin pork chops marinated in lime juice, oregano, chili powder, and garlic, then grilled. I think I’ll make polenta to go with, and some version of a Mexican/Central American cabbage thing. I don’t even know if they do cabbage down there. It doesn’t really get cold enough to grow cabbage, so it might be a stretch, but that’s what I do best, faking and stretching.
In other news, all of my children seem to be doing great, even #1 who has moved out and lives in town, is managing and enjoying his new job at the newspaper. He’s in the pressroom, doing complicated things with dangerous machinery and has even gotten his certificate to drive a forklift. Go figure! Mr. Cerebral Urban Cynic In A Black Turtleneck is all excited about getting a shirt with his name embroidered over the pocket and driving forklifts. I am happy that his horizons are broadening.
#2 is doing marvelous in school, and the air conditioner in his car blew in a most dramatic fashion. His grandmother is selling him her car, for a mere pittance, especially since it’s a top-of-the-line Acura sedan with leather inside and such. SD’s family is like that, helping each other out whenever. Mine is more like “it’s a character building situation, to let them starve a bit and drive a crap car”.
#3 continues to date the twins, has announced he’s going to marry one of them (and I think ok, and keep the other on the side?). People in town have noticed the 3 of them, and one of #1′s friends called #3 a ‘pimp’. Apparently it was a compliment.
I had a conference with #4′s teacher yesterday. He’s doing very well academically, testing at 5th grade on his reading and 3rd on math (he’s in 2nd), but he has a short attention span, is easily distracted, and has trouble staying in his seat. Well duh, I thought, he’s bored.
Sweet Daddio met with the company owners, and they treated him like he was important and his opinion on policy was important. Well, he is, and it is. I’m happy for him because he’s worked very hard to get here.
As for me, I continue to feel like a piece of furniture: only noticed when I’m not there, only good for what I can give. It’s not them, it’s in me, and I have got to figure out what to do about it.
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I think I’m going to become a Mennonite. We have them around here and they’re all so clean and carefully dressed. They smile and say “hey” as well, even though they don’t know me. It would take me forever to grow my hair long enough for a bun, though. And I’m not a devoted pacifist.
I could be a Quaker, except for the pacifism thing. I already dress like one, and I make a mean pot of oatmeal.
I can’t be Assemblies of God. The Jericho Walk scares me, and I don’t just praise Jesus for every single thing.
Church of Christ is out, I like organ music and shape-note singers scare me almost as much as the Jericho Walk.
I was raised Presbyterian, and that’s where my heart is, really, but Pres. preachers sermonize through the Bible, verse by verse. The last one I talked to proudly told me he’d spent 92 sermons on the book of Mark. Almost 2 years. On one book. Gadzooks.
We’ve been Methodist these past 20 years, because Sweet Daddio was raised Baptist and I wasn’t going there and he wasn’t going Presbyterian with all our predestination and incredibly boring sermons. Methodism seemed like a happy medium. The problem is that Methodists don’t take a stand. If someone says “abortion!” or “homosexuals!” or some other hot topic, a good Methodist waffles a bit and changes the subject to food banks. It’s like having spiritual cream of wheat for breakfast every day, only without the sugar.
I like Catholicism. Catholics stand firmly where they stand and the rest of the world be damned. I like the idea of priests and nuns, people who have given over their entire lives to God and the Church. Pedophiles notwithstanding. There’s evil everywhere. I like confession, communion, absolution, all those concrete things that let you know exactly where you stand. I have trouble with the whole intermediary concept, tho. I don’t want a MAN (albeit one with a stellar reputation) telling me I can’t talk straight to God, and I don’t like the deitisation of Mary. She was just a woman. A good woman, chosen for a very special purpose, but still just a woman.
Some of my favorite authors are defrocked priests, or ones who’s status as a priest was altered somehow. I like their grasp of God. God, to them, is a muscular, brawny sort of entity, Who loves His children with unparalleled ferocity. This is comforting.
I guess I am a Presbetholidist…Methosbysholic (that sounds like a pharmaceutical addiction)um…Cathopresbythodism. Lord, I don’t know. It’ll all get straightened out in the end.
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I have a son. He is, by all accounts, an intelligent and sensible person. He is also 15, which causes him to occasionally demonstrate acts of utter and complete stupidity. Not destructive acts, mind you, only behaviors that cause one to wonder what planet he came from and when he’ll return.
Background information: I have a small garden in which I grow 2 varieties of peppers: cayennes, for cooking, because their heat is subtle and they have marvelous flavor; and habaneros, grown for the sole purpose of giving the household males a reason to thump their chests. They are unreasonably, scorchingly hot. So hot you can’t taste them.
Anyway, the first of the habaneros ripened this week. It was a lovely orange, dangling like a pendant from the lustrous green plant. I pointed it out to #3, the Village Idiot, and he politely requested permission to eat it.
Sure, I replied, thinking he’d take a nibble and whine a minute.
So is the life of #3. From climbing on the roof at the tender age of 18 months, to bungee jumping out of the maple tree at 7, to chomping entire habanero peppers at 15, this is his life. This is my intelligent (according to all the standardized tests) and sensible (he knows how to handle guns, and gut a fish, and drive a tractor, and picks girlfriends based on their personalities and not their looks)child. For all his innate practicality, he is a Guy, and must thump his chest and prove his manhood in harmelss yet painful ways. I guess…well, he can say he did it.
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Yesterday, Sweet Daddio walked up behind me and administered a hug. “How about I take you to Savannah and buy you some clothes?”
“OK!” I reply,”give me a minute to make meself presentable.”
He consults briefly with #’s 2 and 3, asking their indulgence and would they watch #4. Once renumeration was promised, their cooperation was insured and we left in Little Martha and taking the back roads the entire way.
We saw many Southern things: tobacco barns, 30 yr old housetrailers with $40,000 bass boats parked behind, grown men with mullets. We saw beautiful old farmhouses and falling-down shacks resplendent with Christmas lights. Horses, mules, goats, and a raggedy hound dog trotting with great purpose down a dirt road.
SD commented on the preponderance of road signs. “Every road wider than 6 feet has a sign announcing it!” Indeed this is true. Not just the major roads, you know, the ones with pavement, but also the dirt roads, even one that was only 50 yards long to someone’s doublewide had a great orange sign announcing it’s impending presence.
Once we got to Savannah, I was full of optimism and enthusiasm. New Clothes! I’d taken an inventory, and determined that I needed another pair of jeans and some long sleeve shirts. I favor classic styles, crisp cotton button up shirts in colors that do not call attention to themselves. I don’t wear prints (unless it’s Liberty of London), or stripes, or lace, or frou-frou. DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO FIND A NAVY BLUE BUTTON UP SHIRT WITHOUT STRIPES OR SPOTS?? Apparently Navy blue is not the color of choise this season, UNLESS, of course, you get a Ralph Lauren shirt. Very nice, and $115 a piece. Sweet Daddio loves me, and would buy an entire Ralph Lauren wardrobe if it were in his power, but alas…our budget leans more toward JC Penney and Target. And those venues carry teal blue, and not navy. So I went into Lane Bryant. Great clothes, if you are a Victorian Fantasy of the Renaissance Memory of the Middle Ages. Man…Everything was either black velvet corset lace up with chiffon sleeves and rhinestone buttons or cream chiffon and lace with velvet lace up corset and satin ties. I’d look like a 1985 wedding cake in those clothes. Can you see me flea dipping the dogs in cream chiffon? Or counting pork chops?
I found one shirt I liked. A nice, white cotton button up thing with a bit of colorful Bohemian embroidery, crisp and unassuming, and on sale. I have a inborn reluctance to paying full price for anything, especially clothes.
It wasn’t a wasted venture, we got to spend the day together, had some lunch (gyros, yum), and got the dogs new collars. I whined briefly that SD spent more on the dogs than he did on me. He replied that it wasn’t his fault.
I got online when we got home, and found the shirts I was looking for. I like shopping. I like handling the clothes and making sure the fiber content is acceptable. I like holding them up and getting an opinion. But, it seems, the only time I can find what I want is when I get on the internet. I want to know WHAT’S WRONG WITH NAVY??? It’s all that depressing dark teal and muddy browns and golds that make my Scottish complexion look like I have liver disease. I do not look good in earth tones. I need clear, uncomplicated colors like crimson red and royal blue.
EXCUSE ME DESIGNERS! We are not all African Americans around here. In fact, only about 15% of this country is of that persuasion. I would hazard a guess that maybe another 15% actually look good in earth tones. I will spend money on your clothes but only if I like them and I never EVER allow you, the designers, to tell me what to wear.
I guess I need to go find a high paying job so I can buy Ralph Lauren, because he’s the only designer I’ve come across who’s styles suit…except that, like EVERY OTHER DESIGNER, RL only wants people size 10 wearing his stuff. Unless, of course, you look at Lane Bryant, who thinks a Rubenesque physique naturally wishes to wear a Rubenesque style, full or laces and ties and floaty chiffon so the Plus Sized Woman looks like a crown rib roast with those frilly things and wearing whipped cream and sprinkles. Ridiculous.
So, I found what I wanted online. A navy blue shirt for Game Days, and oxford cloth for the grocery store and StuffMart. Jeans just like the ones I have now, and a couple of longish a-line skirts. I am a conservative dresser, for sure.
The good news about today is that, because SD’s parents came for the weekend, the house is clean and I can just do laundry and ponder the possibilities for the rest of the week.
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It was a sunny day in July, hot like all the rest of July, and ripe with the anticipation of frivolity and mayhem. 3 young men, just past puberty and feeling all the power of youth and ignorance, ride down Pulaski Street in a burgundy red ’94 Acura. They turn left onto Mockingbird Lane, the entrance to one of the finer housing developments in this South Georgia town.
On the right side of the road, about 3 blocks into the neighborhood, stands a hapless Mexican of indeterminate age, wearing grubby dungarees and a bill cap advertising FRM Feed. He has his back turned to the road, and is fiddling with a leaf blower. He had been hired to clean the yard of a resident, and was almost done with his task. He anticipated his $50, and was formulating a plan to use it. $10 for beer, $20 for groceries, and $20 he wouldn’t tell his wife about. He leans over the leaf blower, singing softly to himself. He is completely unaware of the car approaching.
One of the young men sees the Mexican, and instructs the driver of the car to pull to the right just a hair. He rolls down the window, and leans out to his waist. Someone holds onto his belt to keep a tragedy from happening. “Speed up!” he shouts. “More to the right, just a little!” he intructs.
The Mexican ass approacheth.
“Madre de Dios!” the Mexican shouts and falls over.
“ow…my hand…” says the young man.
The third young man falls over in the back seat, paralysed by laughter and gasping for breath.
“You spanked a Mexican! That is SO WRONG!”
This event was recounted to me by the third young man, my #2 son. I chastised him for disrespecting a hardworking man, as I fought helpless tears and spasms of laughter.
It really happened, and it was So Wrong!
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The inlaws are coming for a visit this weekend. Grandaddio recently purchased a new wood lathe and is gifting Sweet Daddio with his old one.I don’t know where he’s going to put it, but since it’s not my department I’m not going to worry about it.
As with any inlaw visit (mine or his), it is required of me to do much cleaning and putting away of stuff. I stripped all the beds and washed the sheets. With a sharpie marker that was tangled in someones pillowcase. Now my nice, crisp WHITE cotton sheets (300 count)have black and grey blotches all over. And one does NOT get Sharpie ink out.
And another thing! Answer me this: Why do ink pens only bleed on the expensive sheets? In the same load was a few cheapo 180 count poly/cotton sheets (from the kid’s beds. They do not deserve Egyptian cotton) and those sheets got NOT A SINGLE SPOT of ink! My beautiful, beautiful cutwork flat cheet and lovely soft Egyptian cotton sateen pillowcases look like an 5 yr old’s attempt at tie-dye. SD calls it “the perversity of inanimate objects”.
I am immensely thankful the Irish linen set was not being used. It has handmade lace and if it had gotten ruined I think I would have thrown up.
That’s the crisis du jour. I guess with that out of the way the rest of the day will go smoothly. I have cooking to do, what with in-laws coming and all. A pot of fresh vegetable soup for tonight, a breakfast casserole for tomorrow, and I have to figure out what to do for lunch. Maybe roast a chicken and make chicken salad from it. I swear. When people come to visit, whether it’s my inlaws or his, I feel like all I do is cook and clean up. In MIL’s defense, when we go visit there she cooks the whole time as well.
Today is cooler, like 78 degrees. Amazing! In August! Who knew! I’ve turned off the a/c and opened all the windows in an attempt to eradicate the odor I can never smell. You know how every house has it’s own particular funk? Mine is no exception and with 4 dogs the funk can be particularly funky. Only I never smell it, because I’m in it all the time. So, in an effort to make my house sweet smelling and to minimize any fodder for criticism, I’m airing it out. MIL is, in her defense, not the least bit critical, but I am convinced I am I failing somehow, because that’s just how I am, so I work really hard to get the house all nice as if we actually live this way all the time.
I went puttering around StuffMart yesterday, because I was bored and lonely and if I tried to clean the house yesterday dogs and children would only undo it. In my perambulatings, I smelled candles. I love candles, they make the house smell nice only the scents I like are offensive to everyone else. I live vanilla, and spice, and I sniffed one candle called Oatmeal Raisin Cookie that smelled good enough to eat. I also looked at curtains, desirious of chocolate brown velvet and steel blue dupioni silk panels for our bedroom. Lo! They had them! for $18 a panel versus $130 a panel from Pottery barn and PB doesn’t have the right shade of blue! I am wanting to redecorate…well…”redecorate” implies that it was decorated in the first place…anyway, I’m really liking this combination of steel blue and dark brown. If I get the cheapo panels from StuffMart I won’t feel squirrely about changing them in a couple of years.
I wish we had a Target in this town. A week before we moved, a Target opened up in the Old Town. NOT FAIR! Now I hear they’re getting a World Market and an Olive Garden. (Be quiet Superbee…you live in a town with culinary Options).
Can you tell I’m stalling? I need to put together the breakfast casserole and get all the veggies cut up for soup and make a pitcher of tea plus some extra tea because with all these people it’s simply not possible to make enough tea. SD called and said his mother made 2 poundcakes (not the loaf kind, either, the tube pan kind)to bring. I tell you what. She and I haven’t always seen eye to eye on things, but she makes a pound cake worth singing about. I need to get the beds made, too. (pardon while I mourn my cutwork sheet).
Ok. I’m going to work now. Yes.
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I’m a Methodist, which means several things. First, I worship according to a prescribed method (hence the name). Second, I’ll speak to you in the liquor store. Third, if there’s a crisis, I’ll bring food.
I have a friend who is in the midst of a crisis. Her husband works with mine, and I like her tremendously. She’s interesting, quirky, and Ethiopean. Her husband is Asian and their children are breathtakingly beautiful. And right now, she’s suffering. So I sent her food. I have a particular dish I fix for crises, because it is universally liked, the recipe makes enough for 2 9×13 pans, so there’s enough for now, tomorrow, and sometime next month when the crisis has abated some but one might still be having a bad day now and again. I am going to give you the recipe for this dish. It is not only good for a crisis, but for a family reunion, or any gathering of 12 or 20 people. It has no exotic ingredients and some of it can even be faked a bit. Here it is:
Roasted Chicken Pot Pie
1 whole chicken (3 pounds or so)
8 medium sized potatoes, cut in chunks
1-1pound bag of baby carrots
2 onions, cut into chunks
6-8 cloves of garlic, chopped roughly
Toss the vegetables together and put them in a big roasting pan. Put the chicken on top. Season everything with salt and pepper. Roast it all at 450 degrees for 1 hour. (It’s ok if the chicken isn’t quite done, it will finish cooking later)
Let the chicken cool, then pull all the meat off of it and tear it into bite-sized pieces. Put it in a BIG bowl and add the cooked vegetables. Set aside.
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup flour
1 carton good chicken broth (1 quart)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
salt to taste
Heat the oil up on medium heat in a deep skillet and stir in the flour. Stir continuously until the oil and flour are blended well and turn a toasty brown. It is important to stir in constantly so you don’t scorch the flour. If the flour scorches (dark brown), dump it all out and start over. Stir in the chicken broth and seasonings. Stir constantly with a whisk until it makes a nice medium weight gravy.
Mix the gravy in with the chicken and vegetables and pour into 2 lightly oiled 9×13 casserole dishes. Smaller pans are fine, just divvy it up so each one is the right size for your needs.
4 cups Bisquick
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons parsley and oregano (if desired, not necessary, tho)
Mix everything together and spoon onto the top of the filling, spreading to cover all the way to the edges. You can sprinkle some cheese on top, or maybe some garlic powder. You can also mix cheese into the batter- about 2 cups of shredded cheddar is yummy.
Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, until the top is nice and brown and you can see the filling bubbling up the sides a bit.
I fix these up in foil pans, so the person getting it doesn’t have to fool with trying to get the pan back to me.
This is the kind of dish that sort of takes all day to make. You can cook the meat and vegs the day before, and then put it together when it’s convenient.
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Have you ever noticed how nasty habits inevitably involve bodily functions? The subject of this post was inspired by
Think about it. The guy at the office who always stinks up the bathroom, bodily function. The girl in the back seat who blows her nose without the benefit of a tissue? Yep. How about the people who think their car is completely opaque, and feel safe and comfortable reaming their nose and looking at the results? I’ve been guilty of that, tho not agregiously. I prefer picking on the fly, so if someone sees me it’s just a flash and probably doesn’t register with them. At least, no one has approached me at church and said “Say! Wasn’t that you I saw with her finger up her nose to the third joint, digging for gold?”
I can forgive a stench, it is indeed something we have precious little control over.
Sweet Daddio tells me that stench production is a source of some pride amongst males of our species. If someone in the mens room creates a righteous odor, he is congratulated by the other inhabitants of the room. If the odor is accompanied by homemade music, the event is followed by a satisfied groan and congratulations from the other men in the room. Not so with women. If a woman created air pollution, she remains in the closed stall until all the current inhabitants of the room have left (muttering imprecations as they go), and if the smell is accompanied by bi-gluteal fricative, then she remains in the stall until the store closes, or midnight, if she’s in StuffMart. I’ve read that noise and odor are particularly offensive to the Japanese sensibility, and that they are having issues with water usage, because a Japanese woman will flush the toilet many times when she farts, to cover the sounds. I totally understand. I am fond of the comfort generated by a release of intestinal pressure, but mortally embarrased by the external evidence.
I come from a family of flatulence-minimalists. Dad only farts when he’s picking up something heavy, and Mom just doesn’t. Ever. At least, not when anyone is around, even Dad. She admitted to me recently that living in the country has caused her Presbyterian Sensibilities to fray somewhat, and she will let one blow when she’s in the garden. Go Mom! My brother, The Presbyterian Engineer (if you can imagine such) has taught his son to Fart Proudly. Several years ago, when Nephew was 3 or so, Brother said Nephew was sitting in the back seat as they rode somewhere, and began singing a song “I…Like…bloooowinggg gaaaasssssssss.” Brother was proud of Nephew, and thought this song was evidence of a free thinker. As for me, I don’t pass gas often, but when I do it’s at the worst possible time, such as when sitting on the vinyl seat in a restaurant, or during sex, or whilst talking to someone I am desperate to impress. I guess I’m going for quality over quantity. I’ve learned that a cough or a sneeze can cover the sound. When the boys were little, it was easier, because I could just blame one of them.
Other nasty habits include leaving hair in the sink (growing hair is a bodily function), putting an empty container back in the fridge. I suddenly call to mind that Sharpie commercial where the Guy writes “bad” on the milk carton and returns it to the fridge. There are people in this very household who have been known to do just such a thing. People who leave toenail clippings in a pile on the coffee table make me want to take said clippings and mix them in their box of Honey Bunches of Oats. There’s the kid in the doctor’s office, you know the one, he’s 16 and calling all kinds of attention to the zits on his face by methodically popping them.
THe thing I love the most about nasty habits, it’s the way they allow me to feel morally superior to someone. After all, *I* don’t leave hair in the sink, or put a carton of sour milk back in the fridge, or stink up a public restroom in any way (I don’t even poop in a public place, let alone pollute the air.). If I am witness to someone’s show of egregiously bad taste, I can congratulate myself on having civil superiority, and be smug.
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Have you ever noticed that nasty habits inevitably involve bodily functions? THe subject of this post was inspired by
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People who aren’t manic-depressive (or a trendier label,”bipolar”) seem to think they know what it means. They say things like “boy, he was so cheerful yesterday, and today he’s a grump…I bet he’s bipolar.” Or if someone is having a really productive day and making everyone else look bad by comparison, then she’s manic.
The depression end of manic-depression is something most people have a pretty good grasp of. Who hasn’t been depressed at some point? Granted, not everyone’s depression lasts 18 months or results in several suicide attempts, but depression is comprehensible. “Just give her some prozac” they say, or “He just needs a vacation from himself.”
Mania, however, is a whole ‘nother bird entirely. There’s 2 ends of the manic spectrum. On the mild end is what’s offically called “hypomania” and is, essentially, a delicious feeling of hyperactivity, irritating as hell to all around, but WAY fun for the person living it. This I know for a natural fact. I get to play in my hypomanic bubblebath 2 or 3 days every month, and for a solid 4 week spell once a year or so.
It’s GREAT! You feel all carbonated inside, and ideas flow and who the hell wants to bother with sleep when you can be sculpting and painting and cooking up new stuff and drawing and planting flowers and cleaning the hubcaps with a toothbrush to get rid of all that IRRITATING ROAD GRIME HOW DARE IT SULLY THE WHEELS OF LITTLE MARTHA!
Yeah, and you’re doing it all at the same time. You get so busy you don’t even notice that your beloved husband(whom you need RIGHT NOW BECAUSE THERE ARE NEEDS TO BE MET THAT ONLY HE CAN MEET!)has removed himself and the children with a gentle and diplomatic “we’re outa here, see you in a couple of days”.
That’s hypomania. Fun for you, not so much for everyone else.
Then there is the slide into genuine, bona-fide mania. Hoo.
Real Mania is beautifully illustrated by that song so popular a few years back “Macarena”. You know how the words are spinning in a relentless circle, faster than normal people can comprehend, and there was that silly dance that was repetitious over and over, all to the driving rhythm, that’s kind of what mania feels like. Except that you’re doing it on rollerskates, blindfolded whilst juggling flaming cantalopes, and everyone you know is staring at you and wringing their hands and keeping their children out of reach. That’s the mild end of real mania.
While you are spinning on your skates, faster and faster, you Grow. Your mind expands to encompass the knowledge of all the universe and the wisdom of the entire University of Georgia School of Philosophy. You Know More. And, with this knowledge comes the amusing ability to convince everyone else that you really do know more. You can convince people the sky is green and that you need their money. You are taller than you once were. You can stare down a trio of Hells Angels. You can pick a fight with a truckful of frat boys in the parking lot of La Fiesta. And win! You are
10 feet tall, and bulletproof. It’s a great feeling! Except for the person who has to drag you off the bloodied corpses of frat boys and get you home before your kids start to ask questions.
I drove the 5-1/2 hours from here to Montgomery, where my esteemed psychiatrist, the Good Dr. H., has his practice. He never fails me, always providing a story, a brief vignette from his experiences at the State Mental Hospital. This most recent visit was no exception, indeed I think it’s the best recount he’s given me in the 13 years of our relationship. It was a description of an encounter he had with one of his patients, just involuntarily committed for extreme mania, and deemed a danger to himself and others. His patient is a professional football player, who played defense. Dr. H., because he is a good and ethical doctor, did not tell me who this paitent is, who he played ball for, or anything else, except that he was a pro ball player.
Anyway, Dr. H. was indeed looking somewhat frazzled this Monday morning, and he admitted to a case of the nerves due to his recent encounter with this football player. Apparently, FBP was at the far OTHER end of mania, involving hallucinations and an inexplicable resistance to any form of sedation. Dr. H. said FBP was raging around the room, throwing the furniture and pounding holes into the cinderblock walls. Dr. H. and Nurse J were able to lock themselves into a safe room (a small room just off the main room, with a lock on the inside and steel walls all around), and watched through the window as 5 nurses (male all, and burly ones at that) medicated this raging bull over and over and over, trying to calm him down, and failing. Finally security was called and FBP was backed into a corner, where he attempted to rip the arm off a guard. So they tazered him. Normal human beings with a normally functioning nervous system would fall over paralyzed from a tazer, right? Dr. H’s voice shook as he told me what happened. FBP, after the first tazer shock, Stood up to his full 6’6″ 350 pound self and shouted “OWWWWWWGODDAMMIT!THAT HURT!” 6 jolts later, he finally sat down and asked them to stop.
This is the face of mania. You’re different. You go from being a sweet natured, mild mannered housewife to being a god. And you really believe that you are omnipotent. You Just Know More. If someone tries to stop you, reason leaves and you do things no sane person would. You bite, you run, you lose all sense of civility and composure.
I can tell when I’m going to be manic. It’s a feeling, sort of like the precursure some folks get when a migraine is coming on. I have in my medicine cabinet a bottle of very powerful antispychotic medication that I can take as mania is impending, and sort of nip it in the bud. The hard part is deciding when to do it, because there are certain aspects of impending mania that are fun as all get out, and I have to decide if I want to risk missing the window of medical opportunity just to have some fun. Usually I take the conservative route, but occasionally I’ll ride the wave a little longer, risk wiping out, because I miss the internal carbonation and that feeling that I’ve got the sex appeal of Mae West with the wit of Theda Bara.
Remember that next time you accuse someone of being bipolar, or having a bipolar moment (no such thing, bipolar disorder is far from momentary), or being manic because they’re talking a little fast. Manic Depression isn’t some trendy disorder, it’s not the mental illness of choice right now, because no one in their right mind would choose it.