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12:56 p.m. - 2012-11-11
Someone To Live For

The last 17 days have been quite eventful.

Let's see...there was Hurricane Sandy, Halloween, the presidential election, Wolf finished the first quarter of his sophomore year, Anna the kitten has doubled in size, we had our first snow, and I have pneumonia.

Just a wee bit busy, eh?

And to keep things interesting there was another court hearing about the house, we were without power for a day after the hurricane, I went and did too much too early and relapsed big time. Plus happy crappy like taking the kid to counseling, doing the food shopping, trying (and failing!) again to upgrade to a smart phone (fuck you, Verizon), leaving my sickbed to go vote, various x-rays and medical treatments like nebulizers and the taking of a Big Scary Drug- the nuclear bomb of antibiotics which made me feel like shit but does seem to be knocking down the pneumonia.

(Plus...I quit smoking. Can't talk about it yet. Been almost 3 weeks though, go me.)

Thanks to an amazing 40% off sale at Macy's I finally fulfilled a desire I'd carried in my chef's heart for the last 25 years...I got a KitchenAid stand mixer. The 5qt one in red. Ditto the same sale and almost as long of a desire I picked up a Cuisinart food processor too. This year's Thanksgiving feast will be fabulous and feature things like bread made with my own two hands (and the stand mixer) and any number of chopped/grated/pureed fixings and side dishes. Can't tell you how annoying it's been watching all my food shows and hearing glib shit like, "So toss the ingredients into the food processor and give it a few pulses." And, "Let the dough work with the bread hook while you prepare the filling." That smug assumption that just everyone had food machines really honked me off. Especially because they never gave alternative prep instructions for lowly cooks like me who had to do everything by hand. Excuse the heck out of me for not knowing how to make pesto without a Cuisinart. I use my mortar and pestle for my other homely craft and it's no longer safe for food prep. Anyway, nar, nar, nar, Tyler, Alton, Ina, Nadia G and the rest of you talk and stir people, LA has her own food machines now and ain't nothing you can make that I can't make too.

Says the big shot who still gets wobbly if I'm on my feet for more than 15 minutes.

Locally we fired that Tea Party twat, Nan Hayworth. The one who swooped in two years ago and took John Hall's congressional seat. Replacing that bruja Hayworth is some fresh-faced kid named Sean Patrick Maloney. And yes, he does look like a choir boy. Seems competent enough, at least all of his campaign literature was spelled and punctuated correctly. Unlike most of the local GOP/Tea Party types who seemed prone to the amok apostrophe and pronoun confusion. 'Had enough of Liberal's and there tax and spend agenda?' I kid you not.

Of course I'm delighted Obama gets another four years, though I do clutch my hair in frustrated anticipation over what kind of bullshit witch-hunt the GOP will waste everyone's time with this session. Don't think they'll find some intern with a cum-stained dress no matter how hard they try. But try they will. Anything, everything, but actually doing their goddamn jobs. I mean these are the guys who spent all of that money and time whomping up 33 go-nowhere votes to repeal the Healthcare Initiative while our economy floundered, while the banks got away with their crimes scot-free, while our soldiers still fight and die far, far from home, while our nation's infrastructure crumbles to dangerous new lows. But boy howdy they had lots and lots of time for pouting, breath-holding and nursery school antics. And that it hadn't worked in making Obama a one-term president will just make them crazier and even less inclined to do any real work toward governing during this term. Guarantee that by February there will be some lunacy in the House about Obama's Cub Scout merit badges being fraudulent and a costly full-blown 'investigation' which will take precedence over, oh I don't know, passing the federal budget. And I am already dreading the horrific confirmation slug fest the new Supreme Court nominees will go through. If it hadn't been a moral imperative to end slavery I'd be quite happy to go back in time and let those seditious, inbred ignoranties secede when they wanted to in the first place. Imagine how peaceful it would be here in the north!

This is not to say every southerner is a jerk nor every Yankee a paragon of virtue. Not even close. I'm just saying that the ideological divide between Red and Blue becomes wider and less possible to bridge with every election. Be easier on everybody if like went with like and we stopped trying to make such a flawed amalgam work. And this is from someone who's had more step-parents and step/half/borrowed siblings than Campbell's has soups. I know A LOT about trying to blend family and sometimes you simply have to throw in the towel and call it imposs.

Now we come to what finally lit the fire under my behind and got me back here despite my fear of backsliding and picking up a stogie and a lighter. (Trying to write without cigarettes? Even blog writing? No can do. Not until now anyhow.)

During my illness I became aware of something I am still trying to wrap my mind around. I am trying to figure out how to say this without sounding like a Lifetime movie or some teary hack on Oprah's couch, so please bear with me.

See, now that I am finally on the mend after being so, so, so sick I've watched Mick go runny around the edges. He's been so scared. Petrified, actually. That I was hurting was crushing his soul, but what really pushed him was the fear I might die. People do, you know. Even in this brave new 21st century world people still die from pneumonia. And the barely admitted thought that I might die and leave him alone was monstrous. Impossible. The Very Worst Thing and the end of it all. Mick could NOT deal. More to the point, he'd have no reason to live if I was dead. I matter that much to him.

This is what I am trying to wrap my mind around.

It sounds so sad sack and maudlin to say I never really mattered to anyone before. But it's the stone truth. Not that I haven't had loving friends who'd mind and miss me if I died. Of course I do. I am not such a dork as to not know that! However, as great and important and loving as friends are, their lives would go on without me. Go on relatively unchanged. They'd miss me and think of me on my birthday and my yahrzeit and sometimes when they saw a movie or a pashmina or a badass haircut, or heard a joke that reminded them of me. I am not so arrogant as to claim I have NO place in others' lives. I've birthed children and I know I have a place in their lives as well. Alex might claim he'd have been far better off if I'd died in childbirth and he'd have had this amazing, fantastic, wonderful life without it being stunk up by his wretched mother for the first 19 years, whatever. Even my sweet Wolf would manage. Not as well as he might have and the path he'd follow would veer radically from the one in front of him now, but he'd be okay without me. And he, too, would miss me on my birthday, yahrzeit, etc. But he'd live. Wolf is 15. Life is strong at 15. And Life will out. If you've ever seen grass pushing up from a crack in the asphalt or a sapling growing out of a vertical shale hillside you understand the Life imperative and get how it is with my younger kid.

Mick? Seeing him go watery-eyed, relieved and runny-nosed when I smiled and said I was feeling better? Feeling his relief. Watching his eyes light back up and how he could breathe again. This is when I truly understood what it is to matter to someone.

Up until then I went about my life pretty unencumbered. Until recently I never truly understood the responsibility of being here for someone else. Until recently I was free to blink out of existence and it wouldn't count. Not really. Who cared if I was here? No one. Nobody's life would be that different if I died. Before Mick I was the olive in others' martinis. A nice thing to have, but essential? Nope. You can still get drunk just fine without an olive. I was just the fillip, the decor, the goodie you include if it's handy. But necessary? Nah. Nobody needed LA.

Mick needs me. I am as essential to him as air. And it's this knowledge that has me shrugging my shoulders trying to find a comfortable way to carry it. If it's been lonely and sad not to matter to anyone it's also been free. I didn't owe anyone anything. I could be my own self and could do as I pleased. Eat crap food and/or starve. I could drink, bake hash brownies, get by on too little sleep. I could ignore Lyme disease. Get fat again. Fart around with my writing career. I could smoke. Jam those killer tobacco sticks in my mouth and light up 20 times a day even. Who cared? Nobody.

If I didn't matter to anyone else I certainly didn't need to matter to myself. This flobby collection of clogged arteries, abused lungs and starved flesh was my own to neglect and torture, so what? Who was I hurting? Me? Yeah, and? My life was a zero sum game.

However watching Mick go to pieces while I was sick and seeing how he's come back to life now that I'm on the mend? Well, let's just say I finally understand this song. And finally want to get it right.

Much love, ~LA

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