My Fresh Hell
Life in Scribbletown.

The Moviegoer


I’ve been hearing the strangest things in the most unexpected places lately. Today, while in the Sh33tz buying some fancy Belgian wheat beer, I heard “Your New Cuckoo” by the Cardigans. I like the band. I’ve listened to “First Band on the Moon” until I could sing it in my sleep but it’s depressing. There’s something creepy underneath so I have to be in the right mood for it. I do absolutely love their rendition of “Iron Man.” It was jolting to hear it in the middle of NASCAR Central surrounded by blue-collar working class folks buying gas, beer and cigarettes. I was probably the only one in the place who recognized the song. Let alone sing it.

On Saturday, when Dusty and I paid a visit to the Goodwill, I heard “Changes” by Sir Bowie. But, as weird as that was, it was not completely out of the range of possibility. Not much is anymore.

Everything in my mind is so up and down these days. Right now, I feel normal. Tomorrow, who knows? Let’s see if I can reconstruct the last few days in as few words as possible.

Last Wednesday, in a sanity-saving move, I left work early and went to see “The Devil Wears Prada” all by myself. That was better therapy than the birthday massage. I could shut my thoughts down for a few hours and just sit back and be entertained. I’m not a Meryl Streep fan – she’s a bit “too too” for me – but she was perfect in the role of Miranda, the editor of Runway magazine. It was very entertaining. The only small downside was that I was surrounded by old ladies and their clouds of stinky perfume. And, despite the rows of empty seats, they all chose to sit right next to me. One woman was so cloaked in the smell of something meant to conceal the odor of impending death that I moved to the uppermost row once they were all settled. After the movie, I was calm and in a good mood when I picked up the children, took them home, fed them, kept Red from hitting Dusty with her dinner, kept Dusty from antagonizing Red, bathed them, administered vitamins, medicines, etc. until bedtime. Sometimes it feels like a race to the finish.

On Friday, Dusty stayed home for a Daddy Day. They ate “sammiches” and watched “The Point”. My husband found our own copy of the movie with Ringo as the narrator and the original Harry Nilsson songs. So they were able to enjoy it without interference from Red and her noise-making self.

Saturday started out promising. I asked Dusty if she would please try not to be shy (by this point she’s begun to hide behind her supposed shyness to get out of doing things she’s perfectly capable of doing) and actually read to Sprite rather than the travesty we had last weekend where I ended up doing all the reading to the dog. In a weak moment, I bribed her. I wasn’t particularly proud of myself but I knew a) she could do it if properly motivated and b) it would work. It did. She read four entire books, cover to cover, to Sprite and we celebrated with a Snickers bar – a very rare treat for Dusty because, my god, no child on earth needs that much sugar or calories. She’s still working on the candy bar. It’ll probably take her all week to finish it.

After that, we had an hour to kill before the Birthday Party of Doom so we stopped off at the Goodwill (where I heard Bowie). She found the Holy Grail: a boy Barbie! He was dressed for a wedding (of course) but had no shoes. He looked like a frat boy who decides to become a homeless beach bum in Hawaii because his trust fund will allow the proper lifestyle. Dusty undressed him and laughed at his huge muscles. She judged he was too huge to be a proper husband to her female Barbies. I wish I’d written down that conversation because it was hilarious.

Then. We went to Pump 1t Up. And I lost my mind. It was really quite shocking the effect that place had on me. I was really thisclose to bursting into tears and used all my reserves to keep a normal appearance. I don’t know exactly what it was that caused such a visceral reaction. Maybe it was the darkness of the room which felt like a dungeon. Maybe it was the bad lighting with the four bare bulbs glaring down from way, way far up on the ceiling. Maybe it was the absolute lack of natural lighting – no windows, no escape, no hope. There were four inflated play things – a castle, a jumping thing with a mushroom-like pod in the center, a slide, and a fun-house building. Dusty finally let go of my leg and played on the slide with her friends for about 20 minutes and then she was done. It was 12:30pm. I overheard someone say that at 1:30pm they would all move into the party room for cake and presents. 1:30? Are you fucking kidding me? I was trapped in that room for a very very very long hour. Dusty ended up playing with the kiddy car, so bored (and thirsty) had she become.

I’m not sure which of us hated it more. She at least got some decent parting gifts and my cupcake had a plastic dinosaur on it (score!) but we both decided in the car ride back that we would not make plans to return. I actually would prefer to go back to The Cheese than to PIU. Seriously.

I fell so far into the black void it was scary. I haven’t had that kind of reaction, at such a gut level, in….maybe ever. I was almost unable to have a conversation. My secret was almost revealed, so catatonic had I become on the inside.

Sunday, though, was better. Despite the fact that one of Richmond’s Punk Icon’s died. [Edit: shit, the link's not working. I'll try to fix that in the morning.] Dika was one of the people that made Richmond more than just another Southern city. She was a protégé of Schoenberg and a one-of-a-kind composer. But, clearly her time was up. I never knew her personally but had seen her famous cat-yowling performances back in my bar-hopping youth.

My youngest sister came over to babysit while my husband and I escaped to see “Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest”. It was excellent. Just what I needed: action, pirates and Johnny Depp (mmmm, Depp!). Really, I think if I could just become The Moviegoer I might be okay.


8:50 p.m. ::
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