Monday, March 21, 2005

sappy weekend

I started the weekend off by dropping my son off with his dad, then heading back towards home but deciding that I can't read there because I'm always interrupted. So I get off the interstate to head for Barnes & Noble, only I'm hungry. Then I see PetSmart and remember I needed a cat brush yet walk out with said brush, 2 cat bowls with the rubber bottoms, a hanging cat scratcher, a container of catnip (upstairs cat goes bonkers for this stuff) and some Pup Corn for the dogs.

Of course I can't stop spending there. I walk next door to the shoe place that is having a 2nd pair 1/2 off sale. Peanut is always needing shoes it seems, so I pop in. 15 min later I am purchasing a pair of Sketchers for peanut and a pair of Fubu's for me (and for much less than what this website is offering them up for).

Thrilled, I walk the packages back to my car then head on to Panera Bread where they have a buy two special: get a 1/2 sandwhich and cup of soap for $6 (or something), which I do along with a bottle of root beer.

Once I get my food, I sit and read for an hour. The book is that good and the place is that warm and cozy that I can sit and just read for an hour and not get interrupted. It was nice and relaxing indeed.

I finish and then finally move on to Barnes and Noble. It's gotten chilly outside at this point since the temperature does drop in the evenings still (because in the summer, it stays 90 degrees even at night). I walk in, head straight for the cafe' where a sign proudly announces that it is open at 8am's now, but the book floor isn't. This doesn't concern me because in downtown Richmond, there are about 4 or 5 momnpop coffee shops to choose from.

Anyway, I order a chai hot (my favorite drink ever and the only time by body gets any type of caffeine outside of chocolate) and get the dark chocolate peanut butter pie. Later, I only eat about 4 bites of this pie because it is so rich, but it is so good, too, that I couldn't resist this one splurg.

I arrived at Barnes & Noble around 8pm and left at 11pm when they closed. I sat in one of their cozy oversized chairs and read for another 2 hours with only getting up to pee.

The book I was reading, btw, is Vertigo by Louise DeSalvo and I must recommend to anyone and everyone. Yes, it is a movie by Alfred Hitchcock, which thanks to this book, I must now see.

Reading that book got me thinking and it got me thinking a lot. I finished it yesterday morning while sitting in my silent kitchen for about 3 hours (with about as many interruptions) and could only think nice things about it (notice my lack of articulation). DeSalvo has a gift for articulate thought and seems to say exactly what she means. It's a story about her life, which she says in the beginning is ordinary and unexciting. Women tend to say this about themselves a lot.

Her story reminded me of my own story, which isn't anything like hers really. But DeSalvo believes that she has a lot in common with Virginia Woolf even though they aren't alike either. DeSalvo states that because they are both women is enough. Maybe that is what is going on with me and DeSalvo, or me and Woolf for that matter. DeSalvo comes from an Italian immigrant family in Hoboken, NJ, Woolf from a prominent British family and me, I come from nothing prominent at all unless you count my fathers 24 years in the Navy. Yet there is still something that links the three of us together.

DeSalvo tells all of her adolescent drive for sex and how it provided feeling and, in a sense, taught her to feel. She liked having sex with boys because they were easy to control and easy to please. All of her relationships with the various men in her life reminded me about all of mine - from the very first boyfriend I had (in 8th grade I think it was, who I was too afraid to touch because I didn't know what I was supposed to do) to the guy I fell deeply in love with around age 18 and dated for 3 years even though he took me away from my friends and family, got angry easier when he had been drinking (he never hit me, but he came close several times, he just fought with other guys instead), to of course, the failed marriage to my sons father. That was doomed from the beginning, I just didn't listen to myself very well. Then I got pregnant and needed health insurance and we both had talked about marriage already so we went ahead and did it. Dumbest thing I ever did. There were several other relationships between those, but the above were the biggest ones I guess you could say; the ones that had the most impact.

There was the guy I couldn't stop dating in my sophomore and junior year of high school named Joe who, because my hamster died, bought a beautiful teddy bear hamster. I creatively named him Teddy. Joe liked to come to school either drunk or high which pissed me off because I took school seriously even if my grades didn't necessarily reflect this thought.

In many ways, the people we meet and get involved with teach us something whether it be good or bad. There is almost always something to take away from every encounter we have with another human being.

Getting back to the book, DeSalvo writes of the depression that was ever present in Woolf's life and the illness being the main reason Woolf killed herself (by loading her pockets down with rocks from the river and then walking into it). She feared the voices were coming back again and didn't think she could survive another breakdown. DeSalvo believes her mother had the same illness and so did her sister. DeSalvo, upon reflection in her adult years, realized that her mother coped with it daily and fought to keep it down but began to lose after the death of her second daughter (DeSalvo's younger sister). Then, DeSalvo says that because she writes, she is able to feel better about herself, about her life and somehow it makes her world stand on two feet again. When she doesn't right, she becomes angry, bitter and biting.

When I read that part of the book, I began to realize I was the same way on almost the same terms, though I wouldn't consider myself a spectacular writer. In many ways, this blog is good for me because I can write ordinary stuff down and, even if no one reads this, it gets whatever angst is occuring inside my head out of my system and down onto "paper." I can make it real by saying out loud, which is something else Woolf points out in another essay of hers. To speak the truth gives it a realistic power, something you can't take back once it has been said.

I was also diagnosed with depression about 3 years ago. When I began to go to work without brushing my hair or really caring if I matched, I realized there was a problem (I was also staying up really late as a result of insomnia, another common symptom I found out). So I went to see a shrink, which was the best damned thing I could have ever done in my whole life. She got me in the habit of writing things down, even if it was just a sentence or two from that day. Then I started writing letters to my friend LJ who lives in Virginia Beach and she wrote to me. Quickly, we both realized how therapeutic it was and still continue to this day even during the time we suspected her husband was reading them (he was a controlling, self-centered, manipulative asshole who thought all the letters were about him).

Of course, feeling this way because of a most powerful, unsuspecting memoir, I did a stupid thing and watched The Notebook. The movie really isn't that bad, I have to honestly say. It's sappy sure and has a decent yet somehow predictable ending, not to mention that it's plot isn't anything new, but yet somehow, the way it was told was so....real. The feelings coming from the actors/actresses was much more believable than say, Maid in Manhattan or any other J-Lo movie for that matter. I can't categorize this one as a "chick flick" though, only because it's about a man loving a woman so much, he would do anything for her and be anything to please her. That's not a side that is shown too much as in reality, a guy would get ribbed for being "pussy whipped," "controlled," "wuss," etc. Personally, I love it when a guy can be himself no matter where he is, including with me and his friends simultaneously. I also happen to think that it's the only way anyone should ever be. But this might also explain my current lack of a love interest.

And of course it is only times when I watch movies like this that I miss having a partner in my life. So I feel extra sappy now and need to get it out of my system because it is also times like these when I feel lonely the most.