Friday, December 19, 2008

The Quest for Crunch to Alleviate Ennui


Now that my husband is a chauffeur instead of a developmental aid (the difference between wiping the backsides of folks with developmental disabilities and kissing the backsides of those with ethical disabilities), I am home again with my children.

Not that I ever ventured far. In the past, my husband and children dropped me off at class then picked me up when I was finished. This semester, I carpooled to the college with my parents and taught four classes (women's history, African American history, United States, and Western Civ.) on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Thursdays were my long days. I went in to work at 7:00 a.m. and arrived back home at 10:00 p.m. On all the other days of the week, I was home full time. It was the first time I've ever worked quite so much away from home but conveniently my husband was diagnosed with PTSD and put on a prolonged stress leave from his violent workplace. We always said we would never use daycare. Isn't it wonderful how the universe will provide? In this case, just when we needed a break from our old routine, the universe provided a deranged lunatic who tried to kill my husband. How we are blessed!

But now he's gone back to work and so I have returned to the role of homemaker in a more full-time way. I'll still be teaching three classes this next semester but only on Sundays and online. This means that already there have been some changes in the way the household functions. The floors are cleaner, there is less dust, dinners are more regimented and include more vegetables, and I'm a moody bitch.

I find that there may be some conflicts in my ability to adjust to this role of Hausfrau. For instance, I sometimes question whether or not it makes sense for a person with a PhD to be concerned with cleaning cat vomit off the floor. I also find that laundry is not as glamorous as I remember it. I find that even my Lehmann's catalog natural pine cleaner (not synthetic!) and my Dr. Bronner's are unable to alleviate my feeling that somehow, life could be more exciting.

I've told myself I would begin working on my own writing when I wasn't mired down with my students' lame-ass attempts at writing papers. That hasn't happened yet. In fact, so far, this blog is pretty much it. This, and a couple of angry posts I have erased because they were just so mean-spirited and ornery that even I couldn't stand myself after reading them. On top of feeling generally worthless and unattractive- a complete failure of a human being, I also have lost my faith in "God" (go ahead and read sarcastic dismissal in the quotation marks. It's in there.) and am in a state of unrelenting morbid anxiety punctuated only by groggy depression and hypersomnia.

This is always what happens when I graduate from college. Every frickin' time. I've been a lost soul since I handed in my dissertation. I'd start another degree program to help me shake off this funk but since I'm already a couple hundred thousand dollars in debt, I don't think my husband would approve. (God, I wish that last line was a joke.)

What will save me? I think I need to fashion meaning out of my situation. I maintain that what differentiates us from other creatures is our ability to make meaning out of meaninglessness. (At least that's what I told one of my classes one day and since they wrote it down, it must be true.) To that end, I will joyfully re-embrace my crunchiness which I now merely maintain without enthusiasm and basically as a hedge against the avalanche of guilt and self-loathing I feel whenever I so much as flush a toilet unnecessarily. I will now shift focus to more consciously and conscientiously embrace the Crunchy Earth Mama manifestation of myself. Let us see what comes of it.

(It is unfortunate that I have already had more than my share of offspring. Being pregnant is the most convenient way to move toward smug crunchiness. I could give birth in my living room while suckling my preschooler. Oh well. I guess that's out. I'll have to find some other way to be better than everyone else I know.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Underpants

My grandmother is trying to figure out what I want for Christmas. I guess I haven't been too helpful. "Nothing really. I'm fine." The thing is that I pretty much have all that I need and want. In fact, I'm perpetually purging as I attempt to simplify, simplify, simplify. When pressed, I told her that I could use paper, folders, pens and pencils since I am trying to get back into writing and such things are also quite handy when one is teaching college classes and homeschooling children.

My mother called me up this week and said that my grandmother wants to buy me jewelry. "Oh no! Tell her not to do that!" I almost never wear jewelry except for an occasional paganish pendant (and then mostly just to aggravate conservatives). I don't even wear my wedding band or engagement ring. Jewelry feels just too much. Too heavy. Too enslaving. Ever put a leash on a cat? If you have, you know of what I speak.

Then my mother tells me that my grandmother wants to buy me pretty underpants. What?!!! No! My god in heaven! I urged my mother to make it clear to Grandma that this is not the best choice for me.

Since my teen years I have been militant about this point. There is no reason I can discern (or respect) for wearing frilly underdoddies. Underpants serve a practical function which we needn't elaborate upon in this post. The "other purpose" of underthings I entirely reject. I have always believed that one wears underpants under one's clothes for a reason. When the underwear is visible to others, it should still decently cover one's person. If one's underpants are visible to a loved one with whom one wishes to be uncovered, typically that last remaining garment is on its way off the body and then it hardly matters anymore whether they were cotton briefs or lace whore pants. (Yes. whore pants. Some of you are into this kind of thing and probably think I'm a miserable prude. Well, I am a miserable prude. Don't get your knickers in a twist). I certainly will not spend my day picking a lacy thong out of my nether region so my partner can have a few seconds of thrill (although what is so thrilling about a few scraps of fabric is beyond me). If I can't make him happy with the equipment God gave me, tough shit for him.

In any case, I am just horrified by Grandma's notion that I would want such a garment and that I would want it from her! Ack!

Beyond that, this has taught me something about myself. I dislike the idea of frilliness for its own sake. It makes me physically and psychically uncomfortable to think of spending money on items that are meant only for frivolity or um...enhancement.

The world and its peoples are sliding headlong into a nightmare of poverty, ecological disaster and war. That's all I can think about all the time. I'm all twisted with anxiety for my children's future. Wearing satin on my arse sure as hell isn't going to make those feelings go away. At least with a notebook and a pen, I could write all about it.