Not so much “boxing” as “gesturing weakly”


So, we got back from Phoenix on Monday afternoon. I went to the community gardens and bought a cornucopia of heirloom tomato and eggplant seedlings, as well as three types of chard (am retarded, clearly), took H grocery shopping, went home and cooked … something … for dinner, can’t remember. The next 24 hours are a blur — proctored, voted, took H to the doctor about his recent complaints of back pain (do not EVER under ANY circumstance Google “toddler back pain” or “preschooler back pain” — it will take you to the Bad Place). Diagnosis: constipation. Gotta get that kid on the poop train.

Come 6pm, bad things happened. I became violently ill, something I’d figured would happen as my stomach felt fuller and fuller and grosser and grosser as the day progressed. I put myself to bed at 8pm and didn’t rouse myself (except to drink water or ginger ale and to barf) until 5pm Wednesday. It wasn’t until this afternoon that I didn’t feel like Death was sitting on my face.

Went to Whole Foods after acupuncture (wherein my puncturist worked a weird point on the underside of my wrist — OUCH) and picked up some Recharge and miso soup, which I’ll be living on until dinnertime tomorrow, I reckon, when I will push for dinner at Amaya’s, as I’m dreaming of chalupas with extra beans and guac (hold the meat and cheese!). We shall see, as Matt has been sick, too, with a horrific cold. But he’s always up for Amaya’s, so I’m keeping those fingers crossed.

I broke my “Lenten” sacrifice today and got a vegan chocolate chip cookie at WF. I’d been in bed for a day and a half with no food, dammit, and I wanted a cookie. What the hells, I’m not Catholic, and I’d gone a month without any form of dessert. That’s damn near saintlike in my estimation.

***

So, we had a horrible experience at a restaurant in Tucson during our AZ trip.  We’d gotten together with a friend of Matt’s and his 2-year-old daughter, who took an immediate shine to Harry. The restaurant was kind of formal (cloth napkins, $9 kids’ meals), but it was after normal lunch hours and we sat on the patio. The kids made a bit of a ruckus, but not too bad — going outside the boundaries of inside voices, throwing toys on the floor, banging the wire tables. We did our best to keep them in hand, but they were too worked up. We should have left, but we didn’t think it would get as bad as it did. Add to that, the service was really slow, so we couldn’t just bolt our food and leave. Well, we noticed that an older “gentleman” at a nearby table kept glaring at us and shaking his head, but we figured that would be the extent of his disgruntlement.

Well, we were wrong. (By this time, John’s wife had shown up and John had left for a meeting.) As we were wrapping up, slowly, the man approached our table (came closest to me), and said, “This is by far the worst lunch I have EVER had. Why can’t you change your children? Why won’t you train your children?” He walked off muttering, while I just plowed through my salad (which had promised blood oranges but delivered none, only huge chunks of underripe mango), face-down. Shortly after that, I removed Harry to the car, which I should have done after 10 minutes of misbehavior. I was upset and ashamed and pissed that we hadn’t agreed to John’s earlier suggestion that we go someplace less formal. Now we know — next time we will. Not that the guy wasn’t out of line by being so mean, but he did have a point. We shouldn’t let our loud, boisterous toddlers disrupt others’ attempts at a peaceful meal. It’s all about respecting the rhetorical situation.

***

In closing, this article pretty much sums up why I loathed Juno. Now, the only person whose birth mother I am is Harrison, but I just have a real problem with a film that says, essentially, “I got knocked up in high school and all I got out of it was a fantastic boyfriend who sings Moldy Peaches songs with me.”

Additionally, I hated the fakey-fake dialogue and I hated the casual dismissal of abortion (which was far less funny than “shmashmorshon” in Knocked Up), the completely unrealistic portrayal of both the abortion clinic staffer (“my boyfriend likes the blackberry flavored condoms”) and the teenage protestor outside the clinic (“your baby wants to get bornded!”). It was all so offensively and unfairly phony I nearly sprained my eyeballs from rolling them so much.

Also problematic: motherhood is portrayed as so wholeheartedly suburban, and you can tell by the shabby minivan’s movement into J. Garner’s ultra-tidy neighborhood that Cody means to critique that upper-middle-class “little boxes” way of life. Motherhood is messy, no matter how you slice it, but you’re left feeling at the end of the movie that J. Garner’s single-mother character is going to be able to have her cake and work it off on her Pilates machine, too. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.

And with that, I bid you goodnight.

In the can


While I enjoy my acupuncture afterglow (I can’t decide if I always feel energized after acupuncture because it’s working or because I get a 15-minute power nap while there), let me just say that the dirty chai is one of God’s gifts to womankind.

Also, if you know who I am and where I live, you can read my cover story on a famous director in my local alt-weekly. Please do enjoy and let me know what you think!

3:10 to Yuma and career crisis #48,534,853


This afternoon, Matt and I played hooky from all our responsibilities and caught a matinee of 3:10 to Yuma (funnily enough, it was 3:10 when we left the movie theatre). I thought, going into it, that it would be a movie about embattled masculinity, since in my dissertation co-chair’s film class we’ve been talking about … embattled masculinty in the Western (i.e., Brokeback Mountain). But it’s really not. Sure, all those tropes are there (first shot we see of Russell Crowe’s character has his saddlehorn in a tight closeup; the emasculated man who is struggling financially; the bad guy, stripped of his back hat, reveals his humanity), but this is really a bleak movie about the futility of doing the right thing. I don’t want to give too much away here, but the equation seems to be “do the right thing and hang tight to your morals and you end up just as screwed as the really crappy guy who has done unspeakable things to innocent people.” It’s pretty nihilistic, which isn’t surprising, considering it’s based on an Elmore Leonard short story, but it’s deeply enjoyable. I’ve been thinking about it all day.

And watch out for that amazing homoerotic climax between Russell Crowe and Ben Foster. It doesn’t get much more transgressive than that!

This is an overly simplified analysis of the film, one that really doesn’t do it justice, but I’m really tired and emotionally drained, so I’ll leave it at that.

After the movie, I bolted off to a meeting for the book I’m contributing to. My essay was being peer-reviewed, so I couldn’t really skip out on it. I knew that my essay was not great (and it wasn’t even finished because one of the people I’m interviewing specifically for this essay keeps rescheduling on me), but it’s hard to get your work peer reviewed and hear very little positive feedback. Like, next to none. (Someone did send me electronic feedback that was very positive, so that cheered me up a bit.) Whatever, I came out of the meeting with some good ideas for revision, ideas that will help me shape my essay into a more cohesive interrogation of the subject. But that’s not what was really eating at me by the time we all said goodbye.

What’s got me so freaked out (and a little depressed) is that I’m apparently supposed to transcribe an interview for this project, something I was told 2-3 weeks ago I didn’t have to do because we had an intern. We’re talking about an extra 4-5 hours worth of work sometime between now and mid-October. Now, that may not sound that awful on “paper,” but when you think about the fact that I’m either sitting in or teaching class for 12 hours a week, holding office hours for three, proctoring in the CWRL labs for 6, doing class prep, laboriously translating my Spanish reading, reading for my rhetorical theory class and Dr. P’s film class (admittedly, this is low-priority, as I’m just sitting in on this one, so the stakes are low, but it’s relevant to my dissertation project and therefore important), NOT TO MENTION parenting a toddler, exercising, schlepping, grocery shopping, cooking dinner, and trying to be a fully present member of my family — oh, and meet OTHER deadlines for OTHER projects — I’m not seeing where I’m going to be able to fit in another fucking thing. Notice I haven’t accounted for doing things like sleeping and oh, I don’t know, maybe having a life. I’m thinking I’m going to have to lay off of therapy and acupuncture for a while because those both take about four hours a month and I just don’t have the luxury of that kind of time.

(I realize that that last sentence makes me sound like a privileged, spoiled little brat, but acupuncture and therapy kept me out of the puzzle factory this summer — it’s been a while since I’ve been to either — maybe that’s why I’m feeling so unhinged right now.)

This camel’s back, it is pretty much at capacity. I call uncle. Something’s got to give, but I can find no quarter. Maybe I’ll start robbing stagecoaches and torturing Pinkertons.