I'm spending a few days at the family compound in NC for Christmas. This wouldn't be so bad if it didn't involve my family, or their compound; I have nothing against the state of North Carolina. Actually that's not entirely true either. I'm kind of pissed that it isn't warmer, and the only things this part of the state really has going for it are vast stretches of highway and toothless folk who drive upon them in pick-ups looking for a new patch of woods in which to shoot some deer with their $39.99 WalMart rifles.
Maybe I'm derailing a bit here.
My point is, I am not at home, in Pittsburgh. I am in a house that is not mine, that does not have cable television or any decent DVDs, has a sub-par satellite internet connection, no boxes of pasta in the cupboards, and not nearly enough hot water.
-Being away from Pittsburgh sucks because I am missing out on shifts at the bar, holiday parties, my best friend's birthday, and am also possibly losing the one chance I had to fuck the everloving shit out of this guy who... actually, he's a story for another time.
-Being in a house that is not mine sucks because I am neurotic and obsessive-compulsive. This becomes important later.
-I would ordinarily be alright with the lack of decent programming; I don't have cable, and most of my movies suck too. But when there's nothing else to occupy your time, Law & Order marathons are always the perfect way to kill a few bored hours. I am denied this luxury.
-Shoddy internet anger needs no justification. You're here; you understand.
-The pasta thing is a big deal because I eat a lot (an unspeakable amount, actually), and pasta is quick and easy. I eat it twice a day, minimum. What household doesn't have any dried pasta in the cabinets? This, too, will soon be important.
-Saying that there isn't enough hot water in the house isn't very fair. The truth is, there isn't enough hot water in the house for me
. I take 35 minute showers, at the quickest, and I usually don't even turn the cold water nozzle on. If I do, it contributes only the tiniest drip the steaming waterfall. My dad and his wife have a really great house on the shores of Lake Jordan; I am not dissing their plumbing. Mostly I'm just cranky.
I was forced to help my stepmother find a book for my dad today, titled Finding God Through Sex
. Not only would I not consider my pops to be a religious man, I also would not enjoy imagining the two of them humping for their savior. After they went to bed, I went into the kitchen to work on whipping up a part of their Christmas gift, when I took a hefty chunk of flesh off the tip of my middle finger. Between the cold showers, the no macaronis, the pray-n-plow, and the near-fatal wound, I was more than ready for bed.
Then my crazy hit me.
This happens to me every once in awhile. I have my disorders - everyone does these days. You're fucked up if you don't
. I don't take medication and I don't see a shrink. I think psychology is a lot of bullshit (notice how I did not say "total"? Keep your lectures to yourself). Instead, I opt to just deal with my own neuroses like a self-sufficient human, and for the most part, I do an ok job of this.
Every now and then, my wacko tackles me. The resultant fumble isn't so bad; it could, without question, be much worse. This is what I do. I go paint crazy.
I have been an artsy little thing since I was a baby. I always preferred paints and markers and clay and glue to Barbies or Full House
or bo- whoa, almost typed "boys." Clearly having a rough night. Anyway, I was a goddamn little Raphael until I gave up painting in highschool when I realized my parents would never let me go to an art university. I said a reluctant goodbye to my passion and vengefully went on to major in Philosophy, teaching my parents a lesson in what actually
constitutes a useless degree.
Having suppressed all that desire, I guess it's no surprise that it bubbles up, uncontrollably, from time to time. I lose my shit and I need to paint. It happens. It's like PMS or the BackstreetBoys reunion tour. It's shitty, but there's nothing you can do about it; just sit back, let it take it's course, and eventually, it will all be over.
So that's what I do. A few times a year, I lock myself into total solitude when the need arises, put a paintbrush into my hand, and then relax. I paint for hours - days, nonstop - without effort. My answer to Western psychotherapy comes in the form of a 4-foot canvas and a 37 ml tube of Winsor & Newton Cadmium Green Pale. A day and fifteen giant canvases later, give or take, and I am not only spent but cured. I'm not nuts anymore, and I won't be for another few months. I sleep and then I go back to living life outside my tortured-artist apartment.
Maybe now you see my problem. Trying to go to bed tonight, I got hit with the all-too-familiar itch to throw canvas all over my walls and lash around with some paintbrushes for a few days. But I can't do that here. My dad and his wife have white carpets and nearly-white haired children and a white cat. I would get paint all over each of these things. Not to mention the fact that I'm not in my apartment, and I don't have my "For Your PsychoAss Emergencies" art supplies; at best, there's probably one of those old plastic watercolor trays buried in my stepsister's bedroom somewhere. That isn't therapy. That's further emotional torture; painting with that would be counterproductive.
So, there I was, two hours ago, sitting alone in their kitchen, feverishly nursing a cup of tea and quite literally on the brink of a breakdown. I turned to the only other physical comfort I know (besides the orgasm, and I'm saving that for the aforementioned guy who is a soon-to-be-told story): food.
Food and I go way back. Even further than paint and I. I realize that most of us can say that (unless you grew up in Nigeria or something), but I have a tight bond with the edibles. You know how people say, "Oh yeah, me and so&so go back years," and some of these folks have just been casual acquaintances for a long while, whereas others who say it have actually been best goddamn friends since they were nursing? I am of the latter group.
I ate so much as a toddler that my face ballooned out before the rest of my body. My parents had people stopping them in malls, asking what agency they used to adopt their daughter - strangers thought I was Asian, my eyes were so narrow from the chubby cheeks pushing up on my lower lids. Fortunately, my metabolism sped up and now rivals that of the gazelle.
My apetite, however, has remained the same. I eat five large meals a day, and I snack a lot in between. When I order Chinese food for Mike and I, I get two entrees for myself. Lunch for me often consists of an entire pizza. I think the slices of cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factor are too small. Food and I? We've met.
Teetering on the edge of sanity (or my semblance of it), I turned to my father's refrigerator. I should have been turning to his cupboards for a pot and some radiatorre, but he failed me in the pasta department. I knew I was going to have to make some serious culinary effort, because Dad and his wife eat some of the most boring shit in the world, but I was willing. I was already plotting out a recipe or five when, bent over surveying the contents of the white Whirlpool obelisk, I saw it, hidden in the back, as though they were ashamed to have bought such junk - an entire package of bologna.
My arm darted into the chilly depths before I could even check to be sure there was bread and mayo and stuff like that. My fingers wrapped themselves around the plastic packaging and my arm began to retract. NO! There was too much on the shelf with it. Two cartons of eggs, a few of my bottles of POM Wonderful, two whole Christmas turkeys, and the produce bag of spicy peppers, leftover from the jalapeno ice cream I made earlier, all blocked my Oscar Meyer from getting into my belly.
I wiggled this way and that, trying to free the trapped meat product, but it was no use. I could have put the bologna down, pulled some things off the shelf, and gone in after it again, but I literally could not convince my digits to loosen. The bologna was to be mine!
At this point, it also occured to me that I could put the bologna down, shut the refrigerator door, and try to stop being such a goddamn lunatic. This seemed like a better plan in the long run, but it didn't net me any bologna, so it was given the deep-six.
Then, I get the GENIUS fuckin' idea to just yank the package with all my might. Before I could contemplate the pros and cons of such an action, I found myself sitting on the creamy tiles, surrounded by broken eggs, little green chilies, and a semi-frozen Butterball, clutching the little yellow packet of lunchmeat, nearly in tears over the mess and the crazy and the bruise that was developing where the turkey landed on my ankle. I sat there in the mess and ate half the (jumbo) package of Meyer, as well as my entire batch of jalapeno ice cream, a carton of egg nog, a sack of those little baby carrots, and a piece of leftover pizza.
I cleaned up the kitchen, made myself another cup of tea, and parked myself here with my sucky internet, a pomegranate, and a few English muffins. I think I have calmed down enough to go to bed. I also think I have made some progress - I did not have a meltdown. Granted, I cried over processed pork product, but everyone does that on occasion.
And if somehow I wake up tomorrow with any shred of that crazy remaining, it's ok. I won't get into a panic over the lack of paintbrush. My dad has already promised me something to keep my hands busy - I get to play with the 9mm on his shooting range tomorrow.