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Back in Orange County

Salmon and Beige

I used to make fun of people

who lived in Salmon and Beige stucco houses.

Now I live in one of them.

Inside is great and I am making it our own space. It has that want to be Spanish style the 60s loved.

I can transport and form our personalities into the house, on its very walls which are–

Decidedly neither salmon nor beige.

It’s not a particularly walkable city

Since it was purposefully built

In the era of the car and not the era of horse or foot.

Signs for businesses can be seen from

the street but not on foot right in front of the door.

Everything looks like a cheap storefront

With no personality.

Except that it’s expensive.

It gives my husband a quick commute to work.

There are no bookstores here.

No intellectualism.

No alms for the poor.

No sense of responsibility to fellow humans.

It gives me the opportunity to revisit my youth

And my expectations and my outlier deficits.

I wonder at the neighbors.

If there are any others that feel the way I do or is this air and dirt just someone’s investment. Is it the place their tax bracket is supposed to live.

I don’t know.

I don’t feel like I have arrived, because this isn’t my doing. And if I could have chosen any place to live money no object in southern California I don’t know that this would have been it.

I don’t belong with people who like to go shopping or who don’t have to budget out dental work for their kids. I feel guilty living in a neighborhood that has no liter on the ground—even though I despise liter and trash.

I just know I dream of painting the outside of the house something unacceptable and colorful.

Something outrageous.

Something alive.

The color of a soul.

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Nothing.

I was humming this song earlier today without remembering what it actually was and what the lyrics were and then I remembered and laughed to myself and thought oh dear am I really that out there that I process emotions or non emotions through showtunes.

Yes. The answer is yes.

Sometime this last weekend my biological maternal grandmother died. I hadn’t seen her since my grandfather (her husband) died in 2011 or maybe I saw her in early 2012 when I came by to get a mandolin that belonged to my grandfather. For years I tolerated her so I could see my grandfather who was far too patient and forgiving of her but he was the kindest man I’d ever met and I loved him dearly.

She was a woman who was emotionally stunted early on–she was abusive by even 1950s standards to her two eldest children but mellowed out by the time the third one was born nearly a decade later. It is not my story to tell, so I don’t tell much of it. But anyone who has physical and emotional abuse in their bloodline knows that it doesn’t die out of the line quietly. We’ve all been marked by , as my mother refers to her, The Witch.

It’s times like this I have to stay off facebook. When I don’t want to see what my primos de la negacion are posting–attempting to make an ordinary tyrant out as if she was extraordinary, amazing and, yes, loving.

She never did anything to me, of course. But I couldn’t relate to her and her world view: myopic and self-centered and utterly stupid, really. I mean, she read The National Inquirer without irony. She had nothing to say of importance and made no difference in the world unless you count hurting children. I couldn’t forgive her for what she’d done to my mother either. I don’t talk to my aunt either for what she did to my cousin. I’m totally okay with cutting out people–almost too okay with it. But once I feel nothing. I can’t walk that back.

She’s dead and I feel nothing. I don’t even feel relief. And I have no patience for the fakery that comes with distant deaths and am grateful I live too far to even be asked if I can go to a funeral or memorial. I’m not good at fake emotion. And for a sometimes actress I suck at pretend in real life.

The nothingness strikes so strongly perhaps because I’ve had such great friendships with other women. My real (paternal) grandmother chief among them. In fact as I heard the other grandmother died all I could think of was my own grandmother Gloria and how she totally owned that role and I wake up every morning feeling that hole of sorrow now that she’s gone. She taught me you give something back. You help. You do something with your life. You try and make it better or else what’s the point in being here?

I’m too much of a depressive not to need a purpose. All I mourn of the other grandmother is a waste of life that never got lived. That never helped. That never owned her abuse of her children. That didn’t know how to do the basics of kind.

She was simple and stupid with a streak of evil that knew no bounds. And now my day continues watching a country where simple stupid men with a streak of evil know no bounds. And I am tasked by Grandma Gloria to try and make it better.

But for tonight I will just feel nothing.