Tuesday, September 23, 2008


The lady who lives next door is bitter because she had to take out her own garbage. Three days a week that damned cleaning lady has off. Why does she need an extra day just because her grandchild has the chickenpox? My neighbor tosses her head in anger and tells me that her home (at least this week) is like living in a slum. The projects of Mariemont, she says. I want to bitch slap that stupid fucking scrooged up, purse-lipped, dry grey curl framed face. Bite me, Old Lady Next Door. You've never seen a housing project in your life. I have. I'll bet your cleaning lady has, too.

She's what I've always feared becoming. This is why event-inflamed anger is more of a tool for me than a way of life. If it isn't gone within a month of the actual anger-provoking event, I realize that something is terribly wrong. Not that I don't have oceans of anger. I'm pretty sure everyone does. But bitter...is an oil slick. It prevents the oceans from evaporating into clouds like they should. There is no homeostasis when your life is a patchwork quilt of haphazard oil slicks. Anger should be a catalyst. It makes storms. Bitterness keeps our poles shifty and our periods of calm more unusual than our hurricanes. Where's the fucking fun in that?!

My friend Jason and I used to joke that you slum it in Mariemont until you inherit your parent's house in Indian Hill. Now, here I am, listening to Coltrane's "Village Blues" on my fucking iPod, leaving crumbs of sketch paper on the too-shiny tabletops of the Starbucks across the street from my apartment. Howling in Mariemont. I can hardly stand that the only Afro-American faces I see are sprouting from the necklines of service-job uniforms. It is difficult to swallow how happy I am, despite that. Life sucked balls there for a while. Now, it's a day-long happygasm from the moment I wake up. Sometimes, I can't stop grinning long enough to sleep.

People like that fool next door always remind me that other people are the fucking least of my worries and the reason it's good to NOT be them. Perspective, in this case, is as glorious as the autumn sunset that shines in my face as I write this. It's the math degree I'm getting after a lifetime of my drunken mother spitting her own failure into my face. It's the abusive ex-boyfriend who'll be having sub-standard sex for the rest of his life after me. It is the irony of knowing that winning anything is an illusion but that those people will die thinking that they lost. That irony, my friends, is as bitter as a rancid birthday cake but exactly the kind of sweet exsanguination that keeps me smiling.

There is no such thing as failure. There's only dust that you either brush off or leave to turn into mud when it rains.