Forty-Something Years in Ninaland

Manic Sunday

Aug
07

Photo by Blake Lisk on Unsplash

Ok, so it’s Sunday. My fun day. You may be reading this on Monday.

This day didn’t start out fun, I slept five hours in the last two days. My fitted sheet on my mattress keeps coming off because I have no mattress pad and I mean to get one but I mean to do a lot of things in my life. More important things like I’ve needed to change my toothbrush for three days now. Then I realized something as I was trying to physically fit my sheet back on the mattress. I am cat sitting for a friend who has three cats. I realized I may or may not have given the cats dog food. In my defense, there was no clear demarcation. I could not find even a picture of a cat or dog on the bag so I took a wild guess.

She apparently sent me a text prior to this clarifying which bag was appropriate for the cats, she took the dog with her on vacation. It’s kind of like if a dude takes Midol. What’s the worst that can happen? Actually, now that I think about it, what does happen? Hmmm. I know, I know, google it. It’s one of the stupid questions I will never get around to googling.

Photo by Damian Zaleski on Unsplash

Sometimes I feel like my keyboard is like a piano, I like to think I’m making music. It feels more poetic when I think of it that way.

I usually listen to music when my muse is really present. What is the muse, you ask? What inspires me? I don’t know, everything and nothing, all simultaneously.

Music is much harder to make than putting words together I think. I’m not musically inclined. I’m very bad at it in fact. I definitely don’t have that ear. I played trumpet in middle school, only because all the other girls picked the flute. I was so bad at the trumpet my parents sat me down and asked me to stop practicing in the basement. However, before this they had bought me the trumpet, I still have it. Do you want to buy it? Anyways, they were so pissed at this useless purchase than when it was my sisters turn they rented a flute for seven years as she became an expert. I didn’t get the song gene.

Anyways, I’m lonely today. I feel not really sad, but alone. But life goes on, doesn’t it? Long after the thrill of living is gone. You get lonely. You get upset and hurt. Then someone makes you laugh. Hilarity usually solves most problems I find. Now I would normally follow up that statement with a hilarious story, but I’m not sure I have one today.

There is something about today, it’s not a normal day. I don’t feel normal. I know that I’m not generally what you would call normal as it is, but today it’s especially off. I wonder if I have ever been happy. I have been, deeply happy. Many times, for long periods of time in fact.

In fact, I’m so out of whack today I realized, I do have a kind of funny story. So I don’t know if you remember but a while ago U2 released a free song on iTunes. Well along with the song, for some reason or another, every time I started my car, a picture from that song of two men standing almost naked in front of each other about to do something erotic shows up on my phone. Well we hooked up my mom’s phone to the car, and I’m driving and all of a sudden the picture for some reason pops up on her phone.

She’s like, “What is this Nina? What is this dirty…”

My face turned bright red, she was sitting in the back. I pretended to not know what she was talking about. “What are you talking about mom?”

“It is two nude men…”

“What??” I say as if I’m astounded and have no idea what she is talking about. “It’s probably spam mom, where did that come from?”

“It came from your car,” she spits out.

“What are you talking about? Somebody must have sent you that! It’s spam!.” She doesn’t really know how phones work. She’s a doctor but has yet to truly understand the iPhone.

“OH, Shani what is this?” she asks my dad.

“Rana, I think all these people get your email address and they can send you bad things,” he said. He understands phones better, but not completely.

“Has anyone ever sent you porn?” I asked and immediately regretted that I just said the word ‘porn’ in front of my parents. Luckily they are slightly hard of hearing and weren’t paying attention to me.

“What is going on in your car? I don’t like this!” she said and fiddled with her phone. She is smarter than I give her credit for. Although I didn’t put that picture up on her phone or mine, I knew exactly how weird it was and what she was talking about, but if I told her that, she would think I was into some kinky stuff.

So it totally makes all three of us uncomfortable so I start changing the subject to how the Internet is terrible. She has no idea, how terrible. It’s not a lie, in fact, I’m telling the truth. The interwebs just put a picture of two almost naked men on my mom’s phone! A seventy-year-old very religious modest woman. The next day I somehow managed to remove the picture from my phone with the help of a friend.

It wasn’t really the homoerotic nature of the photo that made this situation uncomfortable as much as the erotic element. My parents are in their seventies from India. It’s as if they were born in the early 1900’s of the US, they are not thinking the same way as regular Americans. Immigrants are not as comfortable with their sexuality as born citizens.

Tragedy in suburbia averted.

The real tragedy in suburbia is my flowers. I basically made a corpse of two hanging plants. I would take a picture and show you but I’m embarrassed I did that to a living thing. Trust and believe it’s sad. But you know I’ve done worse things than killing a plant or two, much worse.

On that note, I will end this day synopsis here.

p.s. I’ve decided to just be happy. So I’m happy now. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

nina

Zindagee (Life)

Aug
06

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Have you ever been sitting around a frozen yogurt shop trying to find the best pieces of Oreo bits you can to put on as a topping over your pistachio and wedding cake flavored yogurt, and had an existential crisis? Do you ever wonder about the meaning of life in these moments when you are doing the most mundane tasks and your life all of a sudden seems like it really is just about finding the perfect Reese’s Pieces bits to top the peanut butter sauce you put on your yogurt sundae?

You realize as you hog the chocolate toppings there is no purpose to your life and you should have just gone for the ice cream because you put enough toppings on there to fill Willy Wonka’s candy store.

Do you ever wonder what you are doing with your life as you monotonously chew on bits of fake chocolate chips they call Caribou Chips? I often think I’m writing in the wrong language like I should pick an Indian language. I often think I should eat real chocolate chips. I often think I’m in the wrong body, one that is much curvier than I would like.  But I’m here, not making the situation better by eating so much sugar. As you may have guessed. Maybe I’m lost at sea, but actually, I’m on land. I realize this is not Moby Dick, It’s just a blog, but I think you may get me.

Do you ever wonder what the point of life is as you try to sit on what they call ‘modern’ furniture that is basically really small plastic orange half ass chairs? NOT because you want to die, but seriously why are we alive?  And why is this furniture so low to the ground? We cannot just be alive to eat frozen fucking yogurt sitting on what ostensibly seems like kids toy furniture.  Is this a game, a dream, what is this? And by the way, who is running the show? It can’t be the lady behind the counter at the yogurt shop biting her light pink nails.

Do you think life can just be? Like maybe we just exist? Like sands through the hour glass, or like yogurt through the frozen yogurt dispenser?

I don’t know, that’s kind of stupid and pointless, I’m not a nihilist or an existentialist. If there is no meaning to life, I will make meaning. I should have had a kid. Who am I kidding? I’M A KID.

I was at this yogurt place which will remain unnamed, I kind of want to call it out, I’m such an idiot. I don’t have the guts to name this stupid useless chain of a yogurt shop. But what happened next was not really the establishment’s fault but more the employee’s.

So here’s the story: There was a heavy set black man wearing a nice leather jacket, khakis, and a gold chain. He was with a Hispanic woman buying yogurt in front of me, she was remotely pretty with rather full lips. He, by the way, didn’t resemble a thug. I’m not the most familiar with thugs, but I think I’d know one if I saw one.

The man bought both yogurts and the cashier distinctly and definitely asked to see his ID when he gave her his credit card. It was like eight dollars, total. I’ve bought 300 dollars worth of shit at Walmart and no one has ever asked to see my ID in this town. He did not seem visibly perturbed at all. He smiled at the cashier. Was I in a movie?

I went up to the counter next, this skinny girl with mousy hair took my credit card, mine was also eight dollars total. I have to watch those toppings, I can’t get enough of those cookie dough pieces. I wasn’t really paying attention until after I gave her my credit card. I noticed she never asked to see my ID. Me, I was eating double the amount of toppings of the both of them, I’m the suspect one.

I can’t be a good guy in this situation, card me. I’ve used my father’s credit card on more than one occasion in this town, and have never, ever, been caught. People are used to middle-class Indians in this town. I once used my friend’s member ship card to get into Lifetime Fitness, I clearly don’t look like my friend, but the man at the counter let me in because ‘you don’t look like you’re playing me.’ That guy behind the counter was Black.

What’s happening? What is going on if I can’t say something to the bitch at the yogurt store? She was like 17 or 20 or some immature age like that. I’m a proper woman, let’s be real, I’m middle aged.

I was supposed to do something at this moment. Please help me out here, what was I supposed to do? Cause a scene? Like the time they would not accept my blind father’s state ID because he didn’t have a driver’s license, at the grocery store. I caused a ruckus when I was sixteen, so much so the manager had to calm me down. Was I young then? Brave then?

Maybe I still had that fire under my ass. Where did it go? I stood there frozen as my yogurt melted.

Why was this different than the situation with my dad? Retrospectively I have no delusions that I’m Wonder Woman and I was going to swoop down to the mousy stupid kid at the yogurt counter and do a ‘Citizens Arrest.’ That I would put my fake handcuffs on her that I carry around to yogurt places in case there are spontaneous kinky sexual options on the menu.

I’m sorry, let’s be serious. I am not an actual kid. This little girl, this stupid, racist bitch was…wrong. I’m a teacher, a professor. Why could I not find the words? Why can I still not find the words to say something to her? I once told a Black professor of mine about a racist relative of mine who was White. My professor told me to try to understand the overall societal reason this relative was racist. My professor was not mad. I’m mad. I’m obviously not Rosa Parks mad. Would I have been more or less upset if I was Black?

The Black man and the Hispanic woman were long gone by the time I registered what was happening at the scene of the crime. A crime was committed, people. Someone’s decency and integrity were questioned because of the color of their skin.

They left, the Black guy never knew that I cared. Maybe he knew that everywhere he walks in this tid bit of a  suburban town, whether it be Somerset Mall, or fucking McDonald’s, people don’t trust him. Maybe he doesn’t even give a shit. He just wants to eat his yogurt with cookie dough pieces as a topping in peace.

I mean I say he doesn’t give a shit, but he does. He’s sick of this. What is this?

What’s the existential point of life? Fuck meaning. I know this is a delayed response. But I finally said something, to someone. Right here, this is how I say things. This is happening. My father said, “You should have called the police.” It’s not illegal to be racist I said. Wow repeat after me: It’s not illegal to be racist in this country. He wanted me to call the police?

The police….The police…

I didn’t know what to do, but as I learned in my Women’s Studies class at U of M, never trust a man with a gun.

What would you have done?

nina

Would He?

Aug
01

Photo by Artem Kovalev on Unsplash

We sat on the living room sofa

the cream colored leather wrinkled slightly as I moved my hands to reach for the red blanket.

I listened closely as my father told my sister on the telephone, a landline,

“We really did like your boyfriend. He seems good. He’s good.”

“But I have to ask you a question,” he continued.

“Would he die for you?” I stopped staring at CNN on the T.V.

Wolf Blitzer’s hair, well he doesn’t have much hair, his head was taking over the screen.

I put my finger in my mouth. I don’t know what she said on the other end of the line.

But I thought to myself, “Would he die for you?” over and over again.

“Your mom asked me that the other day and I said yes, absolutely yes,” my father continued.

“Would he die for you?” I asked myself again and again.

If you don’t know, does that mean no?

If you just are starting to get to know someone, can they die for you?

How dramatic are we being? Or are we being true?

Ask yourself, “Would he die for you?”

You don’t want him to die, and this isn’t a Bollywood film.

This isn’t even Hollywood, this emphatically and truly no movie.

This is us, the way we are when we dream about love.

We dream that people must die, in order for love to truly exist.

I asked myself this, “Would he live for me?”

nina

Empty Space

Jul
28

Photo by Daniele Levis Pelusi on Unsplash

 

I walk on air. In a room with no wind.

There is only one of me and a thousand things I could be.

I am precisely none of those things.

Forms, what form will I take when I am essentially made of nothing?

I am none of this. I’m the paper before you write on it.

The canvas before you paint. Simple, I am flat.

I rearrange myself so I can fit into your sentences.

Between your words.

I am the thing the moment before breath.

The other thing, the non-breath.

There are ceilings with my name on them.

Bare Ceilings and white walls in this room that say my story.

The ceiling in this room has some cracks in it.

That is where I live, in the cracks.

You drew a picture of me with your hands.

They slipped and my image faded.

Remember the hieroglyphics on pyramid walls.

You wanted me to be something.

But I told you, I am all that is not.

No, I’m not a goddess, I just don’t look like one.

nina

Narcissistic Interview—Repost

Jul
27

Journal-Photo

I  promise I’m not totally narcissistic. The following is an interview of me by me. I ask the questions, I answer the questions. I wrote this so my readers could get to know me a little better. This blog is my play, my puppets, my stories. I would like you to see the hand behind the curtain.

Interview With Myself

“Why do you write?”

For several reasons. First and foremost because there is something burning inside me. I have this passion that overwhelms me to write, to say something, to express myself. Sometimes I can’t stop, like today. I don’t even know why I’m writing in the middle of the night tonight. I’ve been writing all day. It’s a sickness, a beautiful illness. I don’t want to get better.

Some people say it is a calling. A talent. A gift. I don’t know. I know it’s hard work. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Why do I put myself through it? I have to. I must.

Secondly. I write because I can. If I could sing, I love music as much as words, I would be a singer. Unfortunately, even with the fabulous acoustics in my shower, I’m no Adele. I have the ability to do this, and I’m not even sure what I’m doing exactly. I’m putting a bunch of symbols together to create meaning. I don’t use big words. I don’t know, I just don’t. I love them, those words, all of them. I’m a logophile, a lover of words.

I’m sometimes insecure about my writing. Some of my best work I have feared is no good. Sometimes I have no way of judging how good or bad any given piece of writing is. Sometimes I know it’s great, and I’m so proud of it.  I’m experimenting right now and it’s going well, I don’t want anything to thwart my creative process. I know when I actually start to get published outside of my own blog, there will be editors and more editors. For now, I’m letting myself be me. They will try to change me.

Yes, I need approval. Maybe I write because I need attention. I like to be the life of the party, I do. This work is my party, and I’ll cry if I want to.

Honestly, I don’t like the sound of English that much. I want t,o learn Hindi. It is so beautiful sounding, the poetry, the music, the cadence of the phonetic words. There is a song in that language.

I’m getting bored with English, but it is all I know and it happens to be the universal language now of the world. Whether that’s good, bad or ugly is neither here nor there. English has power in this world, and if I want to say something. I should probably say it in English.

I also write because it’s like this food for my soul, I’m full when I write. Sometimes I feel empty when I don’t write. I don’t feel whole or real when I’m not writing.

It makes me happy.

I’m inspired.

And I almost forgot. I have something to say. About everything.

“Why do you stop writing so often?”

It is exhausting. It’s one-thirty in the morning, and I woke up at five this morning. I can’t sleep because I have this energy about me. It’s a high. I think I know why Michael Jackson could not sleep. I’m not suggesting I’m the Michael Jackson of writing.

It is heart-wrenching. It hurts, it feels good, it’s a rollercoaster ride. It’s literally crazy. You have to be crazy to really write. You cannot be normal. I love normal people, I envy them their consistency and security and sensibility. If I want to really write, sometimes that all goes out the window.

Sometimes when I don’t write I am not alive, really. I’m sleep walking or something. I’m a robot, I’m just doing, just existing, not understanding the meaning of why.

I stop in order to breathe. Then I get caught up in the world and forget and get on the treadmill of life, and keep running and getting nowhere. I forget who I am or why I’m alive.

I’m trying to get better at forcing myself to write no matter what.

“What is it like to be crazy or in other words have Bipolar Disorder?”

It is ecstatic and horrific, sometimes it is other worldly. Sometimes it is mean, maybe even evil if there is such a thing. What does ecstasy feel like? It feels like never ending bliss, like freedom, like happiness. When things are bad, it feels like you want to die. You might as well be dead but you are in so much pain. The pain, you can feel it mostly in your heart.

Sometimes you think you have entered another world. Maybe it’s heaven, maybe it’s hell, maybe it’s another dimension or realm. Trust me they exist, these places.

I’m a horrible human being when I’m truly manic. I’ve lost friends, insulted family members, made people cry, made people yell. I have never been violent. I’m not sure why not. There is something inherently non-nina about physical violence. I can’t stand it, I can’t do it.

Depressive states are more stable. I have been sad and slept a lot. But I never attempted suicide or really focused on that. I will thank god for that one.

“You wrote a post about how you thought god had spoken to you. Do you think that was a psychotic or manic episode? Why or why not?”

I can’t actually “prove” anything. I felt like an entity we call god was speaking to me, through me, with me, in me. The voice told me to love myself…usually psychotic voices are negative. Yes, I felt high, I felt a bliss, a love towards all. This is similar to mania. However, mania is interrupted by crying spells, anger, and agitation. I did not have any of those negative experiences.

God speaks to everyone by the way. Usually through feeling or experience. Words are the last resort. Here is my post about that if you missed it: Dear nina…it’s me god.

“How can you put your personal life and all of it’s grimy, shady, and dirty little details on the INTERNET! Don’t you have the need for privacy? Don’t you have any respect for yourself?”

The nature of my job is revealing myself. I don’t just write fiction, I write personal narratives. Stories, some are true, some are fiction. Sometimes I write poetry. Writers by nature expose themselves. The Internet is just another forum to get the words out there. You wouldn’t judge them so harshly if they were in a book or magazine. It’s time to respect that Internet for some of its contents.

Also, regarding my respect for myself: I have a deep respect for my inner world and outer experiences. As surprising as it may sound there is much I don’t reveal, it only seems as though I’m revealing my secrets. I have secrets just like anyone else that I won’t even write in a diary because I know people will read it when I die. It’s interesting because some of my best stories cannot be put on the page, they play in my heart.

“You have given details of other people in your life. Do you feel like you have violated their privacy?”

Maybe. It’s hard being around a writer or a comedian. You can very easily become material. That must be very difficult for my family and friends. I’m sorry. It is one of the casualties of my profession. I expose myself and others. I will try to protect you the best I can. Again I’m sorry that I have to do this. I would not be doing this if I didn’t have to. I am possessed to write. And many stories about people I love I do not write about because that would not be appropriate. However, if I write about you, I will hide your identity the best I can and please take in a flattering way. I love your stories as much as my own.

“How do you get ideas for what to write about?”

I think a lot. I think about past experiences. I peruse the Internet for stories that are happening right now. I read books. I listen to music. I meditate. I meditate. I meditate.

Meditation is my muse.

nina

Cinderella Called

Jul
26

Photo by Martino Pietropoli on Unsplash

Let me tell you a story. It’s kind of like a true fairy tale. Whether I will live happily ever after is yet to be determined.

So I’m out with a couple friends doing something or another, eating probably because I distinctly remember it was evening. My mom called me, and asked what I assumed to be a simple question,”I’m at Macy’s, should I buy you shoes?”

“NO!” I said quite emphatically!

“Are you sure?” she asked again. “They are on sale!” Just an FYI Macy’s has a sale three times a day, every day of the week. I wasn’t missing anything.

“NO!” I repeated again. “Please don’t buy me shoes, they have to fit for me to be able to wear them.” It seems like a simple request. Just an FYI to all mothers: Don’t buy your kids shoes. Don’t buy anyone shoes if they are not with you. Please.

The back story as to why she was insisting was because all summer long, like every single day, with every single outfit I wear what I consider to be very nice black flip flops. I don’t wear any other shoes at all. The reasons are many. I like my feet to be free. I have super sensitive skin and a lot of shoes irritate me, especially the skin on my feet. There are just all these foot issues I don’t want to deal with in the summer. Shoes are oppressive, much like bras but that’s another blog post.

Another part of this is that I’m not really fond of feet. A guy I met online once asked me to just send him a picture of my feet. He seemed really cool until he said that. Obviously, he had a foot fetish, which freaks me out. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

So my mom’s cure for this problem was to buy me more shoes, I, in fact, have shoes, a lot of shoes, that I don’t wear. It’s true that my summer shoes are all old because I’ve been wearing these black flip flops in the summertime for years now.

My mother does not find this cute, or amusing. Fashion is very important to this woman. Every time we leave the house, whether it’s to get gas or to go to a wedding, she asks me if I’m going to dress like a human or a heathen. I have been known to look homeless at times when I have to run to CVS. This absolutely appalls her.  My mother has so many shoes that, well let’s just say that is a different fairy tale, but she literally could build a house with those shoes and become the old woman who lived in a shoe.

Photo by Arnaud Mesureur on Unsplash

So here’s the situation. She calls me again. “I found some shoes for you, sandals. Three pairs, should I buy them?”

“NO!” What part of NO do people not understand? No means no people. No means no, even when it comes to seemingly frivolous items such as shoes.

Well, she continues on the phone, “Well, I think you need them.”

“Mom, I don’t always wear the same size in shoes, my feet are weird they are narrow at the top and wider in the back.”

“Well, you will never buy them yourself. I cannot stand your chappal.” Chappal is Hindi for flip flops.

“Mom, I don’t think this is a good idea,” I say again.

“That’s too bad!” she says and hangs up the phone. Oh no! I think to myself. This is going to be bad, ugly. I can feel it.

So I get to my friend’s house and mom calls me again. It was nine o’clock at night. “You must come home right now and try on these shoes I bought you.”

“But we just started a show…”

“No, but! Come home.” She hung up. There’s this new thing with my parents, they hang up on me when they are upset. Can you imagine how traumatic it feels to have your parents hang up the phone on you? My friend looks at me and says something about “She’s doing something nice for you, be nice to her.”

Photo by Hanna Morris on Unsplash

OK, OK, I think. I’ll be nice, I decide to go home immediately to try on shoes. That’s weird, right? They will still be there later that night or in the morning. Anyways, even my friend was kind of annoyed that I left her house.

So I come home and there is a red and white Macy’s bag with three boxes in it on the leather dining room chair. I sigh heavily. She actually has good taste in shoes and clothes and stuff, but I knew this would be a mess. I tried them on and none of them fit, some were not right here or there, or everywhere. All three were a bust. They were cute, black sandals, camel colored sandals, and some other shoe I can’t remember. I think I blocked some of this story out.

So this is the real kicker. I go upstairs and tell my mom, “I’m sorry they are all very beautiful shoes but none of them fit me.” I thought that was respectful and nice.

“What? You didn’t try them properly!”

“I-I don’t understand what you mean…” I stuttered. Words are coming out of your mouth and I’m not getting it. How does one try on shoes improperly?

“Bring them up here, you are never doing things the right way!” she yelled.

So I went downstairs like a dutiful daughter, confused, upset and just feeling weird. I bring the shoes up. And this is where it gets really good. “They don’t fit mom, I don’t know what else to tell you.”

“Show me how they don’t fit!”

“What exactly do you want me to show you?”

“Put your foot in the shoe,” she said and held up a black sandal. Is this really happening to me, I was thinking?

I tried to put my left foot in the shoe, and as nature would have it, the shoe don’t fit. “See what I mean?” I say to her. I want to ask her to watch the movie My Left Foot, about a guy who paints with his feet. I can’t even put on a shoe with my feet.

She takes my foot and tries to shove into the shoe, “You are not really trying!”

“It doesn’t fit! They don’t fit!” I got up and threw the shoes on the ground.

“It kind of fits,” she says and stares at the shoes. There is no middle ground in fitting. Either it fits or it doesn’t. There’s no kinda.

“You ungrateful child,” she sighs.

“I’m not a child! I’m not twelve mom. Don’t buy me shoes!!!!!!!” Ever. Again.

“You were much better when you were twelve…” and then she went on to yell in Hindi stuff I don’t remember. I probably blocked it out. Something along the lines of how unfit I am to be a human, a woman, don’t I want new shoes? I looked back at her, this was a pivotal point in the conversation. I could have sealed my death.

My parents taught me English. In fact, I lived in India for a hot minute as a child and came back not knowing English. My parents would only speak to me in English when that happened because they worried I would not adjust. My mother’s English is probably better than mine, she can spell words like pneumonia because she’s a doctor. But when I am really mad at my parents I sometimes ask, “Do you understand English?” Just to throw them off their game. To which their response is “O beri vaadi Engrazee Professor aeeyha!” Which roughly translates toOh the big English professor has arrived!”But I assessed this as not being a good moment for that question.

So we have a cordial talk in the morning, she tells me to return the shoes immediately. Today she says. This urgency annoys me. She tells me I only have 60 days. You shouldn’t tell someone like me that. I will in fact probably wait until the 60th day.

Anyways, I shove the boxes in the back seat of my car and totally and utterly try to forget about the whole thing. I call up my good friend, and as she put it, “Are you kidding me? Cinderella called, she wants her story back! Ha ha!” Ha Ha Ha

Very funny if this wasn’t my life. This does have a happy ending. It’s been like forty days since she bought those shoes, so today I decided to return them, why the hell not? I go into the store thinking I can use the store credit to buy some clothes. But it turns out they have some cute flip flops, fancy flip flops. And other rather comfortable and cute shoes. It turns out if I try out the proper shoes they actually feel good.

Let’s just say, I came into the store with three pairs of shoes, and came out with four. OK, perhaps I forgot in the midst of wearing flip flops all summer that I really do like shoes and sandals and all kinds of foot paraphernalia. I decided I need to get another pedicure. I don’t have the money for it, it will have to come out of my Starbucks fund.

I don’t know if I’m being too harsh in the way I depict my mother in this story. She was really trying to do a nice thing for me. She was showing her love in a weird way. Love is weird so I understand. I’m over it. And I have four new pairs of shoes.

I mean if the shoe fits…I know this story is really not about boots, but I just really like this song:

These boots are made for walking
And that’s just what they’ll do
One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you…

nina

 

 

Reflections at a Car Wash

Jul
25

 

I got a fast car. A new car, a black Camry with alloy wheels and fake leather mixed with real leather seats.

So I traded cars with my mom and I had to get the car washed. I was trading a Subaru for a Camry. When I got to the car wash with my grayish blue Subaru, I got the premium wash, because why not? Well, for one thing, it was a whopping 12 dollars! Is it just me or do you remember when car washes cost like $2.50? Right? I’m not sure when that was, but that kind of inflation scares me. I was yet to find out that car washes scare me, a little as well.

So I get in there, not noticing the sign that says you need to put the car into neutral. So it’s in drive mode until I realize something is not working right. I kind of felt like I was gonna hit the guy holding the hose, but thankfully he pointed to the sign and I put the car in neutral. He didn’t look amused.

I was not amused when these enormous brushes filled with some kind of soap started attacking my car. I wanted to put the car in reverse and sort of get out while the getting out was possible. Once, when I was a kid, I was sitting at a red light with my mom and suddenly decided to put the car in reverse. My mom gasped for air when she stepped on the accelerator and started going backwards. I was spanked that day. One of the very few times I was spanked. I contend to this day that I did not deserve that beating because no ever told me, ‘Don’t put the car in reverse.’ I was eight, I didn’t know what ‘reverse’ meant.

At the car wash, fortunately, I voted in my head against putting the car in reverse. Then this multicolored concoction of soap bubbles hit me, it was kind of pretty, like an abstract painting. I think about how my dad called me the other day and asked where he could get ‘Monkey Paintings’ ‘Monkey Paintings?’ I asked. ‘Do you mean abstract art?’ I asked him. ‘Yes, I think that is what I mean. Nobody does it like the monkeys do!’

Well apparently no one does abstract colors the way that car washes do, I thought of taking a picture but then realized how weird I am. I just experienced it and it was interesting to see the different colors flashing before my eyes, mixing together, creating new colors. I wanted to paint once upon a time. I painted something in grad school and put in on the wall in our living room. My roommate never mentioned anything about it until months later, she said it was ugly, where did I get that? Never mind, I said. Never fucking mind. That was the end of my art career.

So why didn’t I do the car wash myself? It’s kind of fun and really good exercise you say. I agree, let’s be honest. It was hot as hell outside and I’m kinda lazy, I’m not gonna lie. Me and my best friend when I was a kid would wash her dad’s car compulsively. We did it over and over until, well until we got tired. It was just fun.  We could spend a whole afternoon just washing the car. I don’t have any memory of what kind of car it was, but it was beige. I remember that.

Jeanette was my best friend’s name. She was a real piece of work. She’s the one who taught me how to crank call people, for real. Like, have long conversations with them. In fact, we created a crank call relationship with one of her ‘friends.’ Anyways, if we got really bored of dancing to Madonna tunes for hours and hours in her basement, we washed that car until the paint almost wore off. Years later Jeanette’s mother would die of alcoholism and many, many years later I would hear of Jeanette’s own death. I read about it on the Internet because I couldn’t find any trace of her on the Internet.

I don’t know how she died, I called her dad but didn’t leave a message. He called back and talked to my dad, they remembered each other. However, neither one of them mentioned Jeanette’s name. I never had the gall to call him back. I want to know so badly how she died. I don’t know what that will do for me, but maybe some kind of closure.I have all these imaginary ideas about how she died and why she died, but none of them really matter. She was a good childhood friend. The best.

As water started spraying violently at my car, so hard was that water that I wanted to roll my window down and express that perhaps the water pressure was too high. However, I did no such thing. I sat there, and eventually was rolling out of the car wash. My car was still in neutral but it was moving towards the road. I quickly put in drive and stomped on breaks. A kid came with a cloth and started to dry my car. He missed a spot, a big spot on my left-hand side window. Of course, I didn’t tell him that. I waved goodbye.

I felt like I just got a new car. I felt like as I drove, everyone was admiring how clean and new my car looked. No such thing was actually happening. People were going about their way, doing their thing, as I did mine.

I don’t drive extremely fast, but I got a fast car.

I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere
Anyplace is better
Starting from zero got nothing to lose
Maybe we’ll make something
Me, myself I got nothing to prove

nina

Fast Car by Tracy Chapman Studio Version – YouTube

Carpel Tunnel Syndrome

Jul
24

Photo by Juliette Leufke on Unsplash

I have this anxiety in me, I don’t know, something is going on. I went to my regular doctor today because I have Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. My hands hurt and get numb from using the keyboard too much.  An extern saw me first. He is wearing dark blue scrubs. What is the difference between an intern and an extern? He was a little aloof at first, but when we started chatting and he asked me what I did for a living he perked up. I teach English, I told him, and write. He seemed pleased, I have no idea why. He’s trying to be a doctor and I’m trying to make this numbness and pain in my hands go away.

We seemed to have somewhat bonded over my career and the fact that he could not get the blood pressure machine to work. I’m nervous, I think my blood may be all out of whack. I think it’s dancing a dance I don’t like. I never liked doing group dances, I could never follow the steps, I found it tedious that everyone wasn’t doing their own thing. My cells are dancing together, they are not coordinated I think. That is what is happening. Dischord.

Now I’m sitting here in front of an extern, we’ll call him Tom. Tom is very thin, he has a pretty face, but too thin for my taste. I want to say something to this man, kind of boy, he looks like he’s in his early twenties. I want to tell him that I came in for my hands, but really it’s the rest of me that’s hurting. I’m nervous, I have some kind of generalized anxiety. I’m not having a panic attack, I know those when I have them.

My hands are shaking slightly. I want to shake this man who is staring at me, not noticing the fact that I am ever so slightly shaking. I want to shake him. Do your job, I want to say. Diagnose me. Tell me everything is going to be alright. I realize he’s not my boyfriend and it’s not exactly his job to make me feel better. I think maybe it is the poetry that is making me sick. Writing poetry is very emotional, it takes so much out of you. Then people interpret it and assume things about you. They read your poetry and tell you what it is about because you barely understand it yourself.

I barely understand my own words, much less my own poetry. I want to ask this man who has forgotten to listen to my heart if poetry is bad for my heart. If I asked him that question, he would report it to his colleagues and ask them, in earnest, what I meant. Is there a cure for poetry I want to ask him.  Is there a cure for this pain in my chest?

But I came here because my hands are numb. So is my heart. Sometimes I feel everything and then nothing at all. The extern walks out of the room and tells me he will be back with a new blood pressure device. He never does take my blood pressure or listen to my heart. He knows, doesn’t he, he knows my heart breaks too easily, is too fragile, is too easy to tease. That my blood is too thin for a human.

I am led ten minutes later into the office of the actual doctor I came to see. The doctor doesn’t look up from his computer screen, with his back facing me, he shakes my hand. He stares at the screen typing something as I talk about my right hand. I look at his fingers typing away. I want to tell him he is likely to get Carpal Tunnel if he continues to type away at that speed on a daily basis. He doesn’t seem interested by my diagnoses though.

Hello? I want to say. Talk to me, will you? What ever happened to conversations between doctors and patients? Maybe I have this hand disorder because I am on the computer too much, writing the poetry that is messing with my blood flow to my head and my heart. Maybe I should stop writing, period. Beethoven went deaf, my hands went numb. End of story.

Is there a cure for Carpel Tunnel I want to scream! But I don’t scream, I dare not scream in front of a doctor. I know from my history that if you scream they send you to another type of doctor. I want to tell them that the words I write, don’t make any sense to me, but somehow I manage to hurt other people with these words. I play with words and end up playing with people’s hearts.

Don’t befriend a poet. Or any writer for that matter. You are most likely going to become their subject matter. I am scared, scared of the power my words have over people. I want to sit in this man’s lap, this doctor, and suck my thumb and cry. I want him to give me a green lollipop. Oh, why don’t they give adults lollipops? Where did all the candy go? He gives me a prescription for a stint and some pain killers.

I go back to the lobby, there are other people there. People with real ailments, sicknesses, no one looks particularly joyful. What if I were to just start dancing I think? What if I danced my way out of the building to my car. Then they would notice me. But no one would give me an award, I am no ballerina. I stand at the desk of the receptionist. She has straight brown hair and braces. I had braces as a kid for five years I want to tell her. No one could see them, you can’t really see my teeth when I talk.

She seems nice, she is not too busy to tell me that I can make an appointment now, or call them later. But she has no lollipop for me. I want to say thank you to her. Thank you for not knowing me. I can write about you safely. I can say you seem like a nice girl. She types something into her computer.

nina

Singing my Smile

Jul
23

Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

I try to smile in my photos because I know you like that, me happy. I try to sing the right songs. I know you can hear me, in the shower. In the middle of my dreams I am always standing next to you, even the nightmares. I am usually walking away, walking too slow, never catching up with myself. Where am I going? Where have I been? Which part of me remembers what exactly was the point of all this. Of all this was there a destination, even intellectually. Was there a spot, the sweet spot between pretending and knowing.

I’m not tall enough for my own good I think sometimes. Too wide for anyone’s good.

In my dream, I didn’t get picked to be part of the team. I don’t know what we were playing. If there was a ball involved or what color it was. It’s true that I never got picked in elementary school, I never got picked for prom. So I started doing the picking. I picked you.

Even though you found me, sitting by a tree, standing over a mausoleum of my own making. The Taj Mahal could not trump our dead dreams. These monuments we’ve built with our eyes are not as strong as we are. These places we roam in our dreams, the past, the evolution of love.

Will you look at my face, when I’m not smiling? Will you say the right thing, when I’m not singing?

When I put a pink scarf over my head and pray, will you understand me? This is who I am.

I’m on my knees, worshipping something I don’t know the name of. god didn’t pick me, I picked god.

Maybe it’s the end of the world, or maybe it’s our world ending.

I say the right words in the wrong order. I’m mostly walking backwards, until I run into myself in the mirror and fall. I cut myself the other day, by accident and it didn’t feel good, as the cutters claim it does. It felt sharp. And bad. Which one of us is bleeding?

When I see blood, I see your face in the red liquid. What is honor? I ask you this because we don’t have the same blood. I’m not smiling in this photo, where my hand is bleeding. I am feeling instead.

Photo by Calum MacAulay on Unsplash

Can you feel me through these words? Are you really standing there, somewhere in the universe, reading this?

At what point am I writing this and you are reading this and we are one person, knowing this.

Let’s not pretend anymore that the blood I bleed, is not for you.

nina

Dear Future Boyfriend,

Jul
22

Photo by Ryan Holloway on Unsplash

I guess I should tell you that I come with some baggage.

I have never had a good enough relationship that I could say that I wanted to be with that person forever.

Let’s not talk about forever though, let’s talk about right now.

How do you live? I will want to know.

I don’t care so much that you don’t squeeze the toothpaste from the back or put down the toilet seat.

What I care about is that you do the dishes when I look tired and worn, even if it’s my turn.

Sometimes you will be upset by me, to the point where you want to break up.

Give me a minute before you walk away. I may surprise you.

I will want to sing with you sometimes, sometimes I won’t. Sometimes I will sing to my own tune.

I don’t care so much that you snore, but I will ask you to hold me, even when you don’t want to.

Please do it anyways. It will ensure our success.

Don’t just buy me flowers when you mess up or on occasions.

Photo by Caleb Ekeroth on Unsplash

Buy me flowers for no reason at all, that’s how I will know this is real.

I will ask you questions about your past, don’t answer all of them.

If you know what not to answer, you may have the answer to me.

When I ask you about your past girlfriends or wives, don’t tell me how much you loved them.

Don’t tell me you still love them. Know what to keep to yourself.

Those are the kind of things I don’t need to know. I do however need to know how capable of love you are.

Show me who you are and I will return the favor. Don’t hide yourself, show me your scars and I will do the same.

I just need to know that you are kind, smart and can make me laugh. That is all I need in the end.

Let’s try to have long philosophical conversations about how to save the world with intermittent hilarity.

Let’s laugh at ourselves, a lot. Let’s not take this too seriously, but still seriously enough.

Don’t give up on me too easily, I’m not consciously trying to test you, but it might feel like that.

Maybe I am, I would like to see how devoted you are to me.

We will most likely have a lot of passion and infatuation. When this fades, don’t fade away on me.

Don’t mind me sometimes, I’m a little crazy.

If you make me feel alive, I will probably stay.

If you stop loving me, you must leave me.

I will do the same favor to you.

Hopefully, we have something real here, time will tell.

All we have is time.

nina