Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I feel compelled to do certain things when I’m home in Knoxville so that I feel like I’ve really been home. My agenda always includes the followings things. First, I have to sit in my grandmother’s living room for at least two hours and gossip about family issues, past or present. Next, I must rent sappy chick movies with my mother and fall asleep watching them in the den.

Sometime in the first couple of days I have to go to lunch with my dad downtown and discuss the newest books we are reading. On the weekend, I must go to the movies with my father and see some weird artsy flick that no one else will go to see with us; this time I’m thinking Running with Scissors or Little Miss Sunshine. At some other point, we have to eat breakfast at Shoney’s, because let’s face it, if you’re in K-town you’ve got to go to Shoney’s breakfast bar.

Another must-do involves some sort of fun activity with my niece and nephew to further solidify their belief that I am the coolest aunt ever. And let’s not forget their father. I have to get my drink on with my brother, either at Toddy’s or the Olde College Inn. My mother has to have something to worry about, right? I won’t talk about the time we got thrown out of that cheesey west end night club. It wasn’t our fault, I swear!

Further, I must not forget my bestest friend. I have to spend at least one night in Loudon smoking too many cigarettes, drinking too many Jack and Cokes, bitching about our lives, and possibly dancing to the Violent Femmes. God love her husband for letting us. Ok, I know I quit smoking, but I think I’m going to have to relapse. Maybe Ash and I can take in a show somewheres in the Old City too, maybe maybe. Can you tell I’m getting excited? I don’t think I’ve seen any live music since we caught Southern Culture on the Skids at the Blue Monkey like a year ago.

Now, as for the food I cannot get up here in the frozen tundra. Krystals, yeah baby. Mom and I are definitely eating some Krystals. For those of you who don’t know, they’re tiny little square greaseburgers ala White Castle, but they’re way better. I gotta get me some Buddy’s Bar-B-Q as well, because you know they don’t have barbeque in the great white north. Oooh, and Pelancho’s. They don’t have Mexican food around here either.

Then, if I can find some time to myself, I’ve got to drive around town reminiscing about how it used to look. I’ll drive to Farragut the back way, down Bob Gray Road, across Lovell and then onto that street I can never remember the name of that stops at Campbell Station. On my way back, I’ll take a dip through Hardin Valley, come back up Pellissippi Parkway and get on Northshore so I can see the water. I’ll take it all the way down to Lyon’s View and up to Sequoyah Hills because I like to look at all the old mansions. I might even take a quick drive through campus if I can stand all the damn pedestrians.

That’ll just about do it. I might squeeze in a visit to Perkin’s if I’m feeling masochistic. Somewhere in the middle of all this I’ve got to help my mother do some “spring” cleaning and maybe paint her kitchen cabinets. Dude, I am so homesick.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Melody of You

I’m going home for a week and a half on November 1st. My husband decided I was homesick and just bought the ticket. Even though we have no money, even though he’ll miss me like crazy, he knows that I need to see my family. That’s just the kind of man he is.

Yesterday, I wondered what I would do without him. He said, “You would’ve graduated two years earlier, have a job in Atlanta, maybe New York, and own your own house.” I said, “Maybe, but I’d be so lonely.”

I met my husband when I was going through a depressive breakdown, which is probably not the ideal time to begin a relationship. However, he kept me afloat. When I didn’t have the power to reach out to my old friends, to my family, he reached out and caught me. I think I healed myself a lot faster because of his support.

He may not be what my father wanted for me (southern atheist PhD with six-figure salary), but that's not the person I needed. He knows how to love me exactly the way I need to be loved. He accepts me completely. He couldn’t think of his life without me even when we’re screaming at each other. He’s smart, completely hilarious, handsome, principled, and sweet as pie.

Our life together has been difficult, but we can power through because we have each other. Life is easier when you have a partner, which is something I haven’t always believed. I take care of him, but he takes care of me too, which is something I’ve never had before. He really sees me, and no one else ever has. I am lucky to have him, and I know it.

See, I made a choice. Maybe I could’ve had all that career stuff. But that’s not what makes me a complete person. I chose the life I have now. My life’s not perfect, but it’s the one I want. Life is a struggle, and you fight the whole way through. I’m thankful I’ve got a sidekick who’s got my back.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sole Sessions

I'm feeling frumpy, dumpy, and gross today. I keep thinking about those shoes in my profile picture. You know, I've had those since the 8th grade.

They were not my first pair of Chuck Taylors, nor my last. However, they are my most loved. I say "are" because I still have them. I can't really wear them any more. I mean, they still fit, but as you may or may not be able to see, they are wounded. In the sole. Heh. But seriously, there's a hole in the sole that I covered with some duck tape. There's a piece of green yarn tied to the laces from a high school friend's lesbian girlfriend. I wrote all over them. Mostly poetry, but some from books and other stuff.

For instance, the tip of the right one says, "Everything is Cool and Froody," which, if you're a Douglas Adams fan, you should know is from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The left outside sole screams, "Yippy-skippy super monkey!" which is something my high school buddies and I used to yell. I think we may have gotten that from one of those novelty posters of a chimp wearing a baseball cap. Maybe. The right outside sole warns, "Muppets don't smoke." I don't actually know if that's true or not. Let me know if you can think of one who does.

And yet, the catalogue continues. The inside left reminds us that "Blueberries are our friends." I've completely forgotten what that's about, but I still think blueberries are our friends since they're full of antioxidants. The instep of the right is a double whammy, an eerily prophetic P.J. Harvey lyric: "I was born in the desert, been down for years. Jesus come closer, I think my time is near," and the dubious assertion that "You are the devil's cupcake." Aren't we all?

I named my right shoe, "Harliss P. Pickleseimer," a name I heard once and immediately fell in love with. I christened my left shoe with the equally unique moniker, "Bob." But on the tip of the left is something I wrote on all of my Converse All-Stars, the first stanza of Lewis Carroll's poem, "Jabberwocky." I think I've quoted it here on this blog before, but let me remind you all: "Twas brillig in the slithy toves/ Did gyre and gimble in the wabe/ All mimsy were the borogroves/ And the mome raths outgrabe."

Whenever I feel I'm losing my joie de vive, I get them out, not forgetting to hold my nose, and think about how carefree I sometimes felt in my youth. I'm thinking of the brief manic episodes that blossom forth from the hell that was my adolescence. There's a lot of miles on these All-Stars, a lot of tear drops, a couple of blood stains, and a lot of dirt from all the places I love. I can't throw them away any more than I could throw away my childhood.