Less Muck Than Molten Ore, But…

30 Nov

My generation will be proscribed by the muck of ambition. Always juggling sixty-two chainsaws and spinning rare porcelains atop spindly graphite rods… Still, I’ll post from time to time on topics near and relatively dear.

TS (aka ommyth)

Passive Aggressive Friendly Guy

30 Oct

It was a crisp mountain morning, but there was a hint of moisture in the air that promised another hot and sticky summer day.  I was sitting on a park bench in a very touristy section of Asheville, awaiting the opening of a breakfast place.

A couple about in their sixties, each working a butt, sat down on a bench opposite me.

“Good morning,” I said.

A faint glimmer of annoyance crossed the man’s face.  The woman averted her eyes.

“There’s a hint of moisture in the air – it looks to be another hot and sticky summer day,” I said to them, a little louder, baring stained teeth in a natural, unforced grin.

This prompted a matching look of annoyance from the woman.  She didn’t try to hide it though.  She stubbed her cig into the park bench.

I decided to get in their face a little.  I was enjoying the afterburn of my third cup of coffee.

I crossed over to their bench and offered a polite, smiling “Excuse me; I would like to ask you a personal question.”  My eyes bore into them, indicating that it wasn’t an option.  I leaned into them and whispered “Were you two raised by fucking monkeys?”

A look of fear from the woman, a hint of fight boiling up from the man: “Don’t you speak to people when spoken to?” I asked.  I nodded my head to the Marlboro butt between the man’s fingers.  “I hope both your deaths will be drawn out and excruciatingly painful.”

I got up quickly, moving toward the entrance of the breakfast place.  “Good morning,” I said to the folks at the end of the line.  I was looking forward to the Belgian waffle that I had seen on the menu earlier.

An Introduction Where We Learn Jerry Springer isn’t Cool at Baby Showers

17 Sep

Most expectant mothers watch films about childbirth to prepare themselves for labor.  I didn’t.  The thought of something the size of a football with attached limbs squirreling through my lady parts was too disturbing.  During my seventh month of pregnancy an acquaintance asked me to babysit.  I refused on the grounds that I wasn’t going to deal with children until it was absolutely necessary.  My husband and I did take a class on how to diaper and swaddle infants.  The practice doll was horribly floppy.  One of the legs fell off during a particularly energetic diapering session and it was so embarrassing that we stayed at home and watched “Raising Arizona” for childcare tips instead of going back to class.

My first experience of meeting other moms took place at a baby shower for a friend of a friend.  The average human body has 14 to 18 square feet of skin.  It seemed to me that pregnancy had added at least an extra foot of skin, if not more and I was morbidly concerned about just what was going to happen with the extra footage.  Would I spend the rest of my life washing myself with a rag on a stick?  I was extremely happy when a group of moms who seemed frank and approachable asked if I had any questions.  Looking back, I know now that referencing Jerry Springer in a question about postpartum bodies was not a good idea.

Where I’m From

24 Aug

My family moved from the USSR to the Boston area when I was seven years old. At that time the large Russian Jewish immigrant community present today wasn’t there yet. This meant rapid integration into the larger culture. Besides a crash course in English (which isn’t too difficult for the malleable seven-year-old mind), finding one’s place in an unwelcoming unfamiliar land proved a challenge. Anyone who’s spent any time in New England knows that it  doesn’t exactly welcome newcomers with open arms. As for my parents and their few fellow émigré acquaintances, I did all I could to spurn them in the mad rush to fit in in America. Most kids probably feel embarrassed by their family at some point or other but for foreigners this shame takes on extra layers of complexity– not only is one trying to define one’s identity apart from them but also trying to prove an allegiance to one’s new home. This often drives more wedges between parent and child.

Being uprooted halfway through 1st Grade has certainly been one of the central events of my life. I wasn’t old enough to set down roots in the old country yet trace memories continue to linger. I have no Russian accent, don’t do much in my everyday life that’s particularly Russian, am never pegged as anything but American and yet have never felt a true sense of belonging. This may of course be some flaw of character; others adjust better, adapt to their surroundings, accept the circumstances they find themselves in. I’ve spent my thirty-plus here looking for home. To this day the prospect of travel fills me with dread and feels like punishment. It would be good to find somewhere to stay and never leave.

Where am I from? Neither there nor here but in between. Some spot in the Atlantic Ocean no doubt…


4 Jul

On this Fourth of July, before I go out in the yard to mutter around as so many Americans will do today, I thought quickly about how inextricably intertwined I am with Duke Power just to write these words. And how connected earlier I was to Kellogg’s global supply chain as I enjoyed a bowl of Frosted Flakes.

But, then again, what if reading between the lines leaves one with only empty spaces?