The End

In which I detail all my ailments in great detail like the old person I now am.

Well, over the past week, my body just completely fell apart. It was bound to happen eventually, but I didn’t expect it to be so concentrated.

First, I got my bloodwork back mid-week, and my cholesterol is, per the nurse who called, “extremely high.” I have six months to get it down with lifestyle changes, after which we’ll move on to medication. Not a shock given my lack of exercise and terrible diet over the past year, but still irritating to experience a consequence.

Then, on Friday, I finally visited the orthopedist (a foot expert one) about said foot. I tend to delay care, but it’s not because I have any anxiety about the doctor. It’s because I have learned that unless you have a broken bone or a clearly diagnosable disease, doctors always give you sort of vague advice that you could have figured out from googling on your own and it’s a big, time-consuming hassle to get it from them. Particularly if they don’t really know what’s wrong, they’ll order a million tests and possibly send you to specialists and each of those things eat up essentially a whole work day, and none of it ever helps. I work in tech support, and I know when someone is just distracting me with questions and attempts, while all the time hoping that I will forget or give up because they don’t actually know how to solve the problem.

In this case, after eating up a whole day driving into Austin and back, I was told that there was nothing clearly on the x-rays so to try a metatarsal pad and if that doesn’t help, we’ll do an MRI and a follow-up. The particular metatarsal pad they told me to try cannot be obtained online and is only sold at a running store off Burnet Road (which is far).

So after delaying care because the initial appointment was going to be time-consuming, I got a recommendation for….three more days worth of appointments and errands. Only retired people have the time to pursue health care.

I know that if I were to actually do all this, at the end of it, they would say, “huh, nothing super clear here, but we’ll try rest and physical therapy” and that would involve more appointments, and wouldn’t work either. Eventually I would give up and/or it will just sort of heal on its own. So I am just going to skip to that part.

Then, Saturday night, I was watching The Rehearsal and eating some muesli with soy milk (because cholesterol) and the back half of my front tooth just sort of crumbled into my mouth. This is because after not having gone to the dentist for two years because of the pandemic, I finally went several months ago, and the hygienist somehow took a chip out of my front bottom tooth. I didn’t notice it had happened until I got home and it was small and not noticeable, and I sure as shit didn’t want to line up a bunch more appointments and have conversations, so I let it go. But now the rest of the tooth has kind of flaked off to be in line with the chip, so my tooth has a ledge out of the back like it’s got a false second story on it. So now I have to get this fixed and am faced with a dilemma — find a new dentist to fix it since these fools chipped it in the first place, or have the old dentist fix it and pay for it? By the way, I had no cavities and have never had a cavity in my life, so the only thing I got out of finally going to the dentist was this catastrophe I’m so fucking glad I went!

After my tooth broke itself on some soft oats, I went to sleep and for the first time in my life, had a horrible burning sensation in my chest that kept me up all night and I woke up several times having to swallow repeatedly to keep from vomiting. Is this what heartburn is?!?!? It sucks, I hate it! And THEN, the next morning when I lifted Edith off the changing table, I wrenched my back somehow and suddenly felt like I’d been stabbed with a thousand knives. I couldn’t move for a good twenty minutes; I sort of waddled around sucking air through my teeth. I couldn’t get Edith into her chair for breakfast so I threw some Cheerios on the floor for her. I thought I had experienced back pain before, but I had not! I finally understand what all you whiners have been crying about all this time!

I don’t know what’s going to happen next, am I just going to disintegrate into a pile of dust on the floor? I feel like I’ve angered the gods somehow. Anyway, usually the way I handle an injury is to just get really furious at it and demand twice as much of the injured area to really show it how stupid it’s being. So I intend to work out a lot this week and also chew on ice all day. We’ll see how it turns out.

Maron, Season 4

I don’t have anything to say today, so I looked back through my old text files and found this thing I wrote after watching season 4 of Maron.

I had entirely forgotten that I watched this show at all until I read this, and I wrote this in July of 2017, so it was before I started my journey of having a baby on my own, but I was already planning to (I’d been planning to since I turned 30). I still haven’t seen anyone else mention what a horrific nightmare it was; probably because nobody watched it, but also probably because our society is so misogynistic.

Anyway, here’s an outdated rant about a show only ten people have seen. I consider it a cautionary tale against using a known donor. Happy Monday!

I enjoy Mark Maron, even though no one would ever accuse him of being especially enlightened. WTF got me through the terrible three months I spent in Austin temping at UT in dull data-entry jobs, and for that, I will always have a great affection for Maron and his weird garbly lispy voice. Marc himself is pretty sexist, but it doesn’t often come up on the podcast unless he has a guest who brings it out in him, in which case, he will participate with the gleeful delight of a child hanging out with a family friend who lets him swear. In seasons 1-3 of the show, however, it’s harder to ignore. There’s not outright, ugly misogyny, but more a view of women that just reads as very sadly dated. It’s like watching a sitcom from the late 80s or early 90s. And Maron does present himself as a throwback who likes vinyl and face-to-face interaction but is reasonably progressive otherwise, but I don’t think he’s really aware he’s dated in a more profound way, which can be a bit depressing to catch glimpses of, although it’s a bit helped by Maron’s self-absorption and limitations with other people being a self-conscious part of his comedic persona. 

But then we come to Season Four. 

Season Four begins with Marc having fallen off the wagon. He is living in a storage locker having lost everything, and hooked on oxy. His friends put him into rehab and put him up and in general spend the first half of the season shoving him back onto his feet. Then, Marc decides to skip town in his father’s RV for a new start. 

So far, so harmlessly clichéd. But the problem begins with Marc’s intended destination. In Season Three, he agreed to be a sperm donor to the lesbian couple next door. Because it’s a sitcom, things went sideways, but the couple had their paperwork in order. Marc was never more to them than the witty educated neighbor with decent genes. He doesn’t know the last name of the biological mother, and they have not kept in touch even casually. 

But he knows the small town she moved to, and he obtains her address from her disgruntled ex. He heads up to this town and decides to insert himself into his “son’s” life. Multiple people (including an imaginary version of himself) tell Marc that this is a terrible idea, that he is not this child’s father, that he has no claim on these people and that he will frighten and disturb them by showing up. But Marc just really WANTS to do this anyway: he finds himself in his 50s, alone, adrift, unsuccessful, and with no meaningful lasting relationships having never done any work to foster and maintain any. 

But he feels entitled to have lasting familial contacts anyway now that he finally wants them, so he intends to steal them from someone else to who he once gave some of his sperm and absolutely nothing else. And the viewer is encouraged to sympathize with him in this. 

When Marc confronts his former neighbor, Shay, and her mother, it’s terrifying. He immediately goes about inserting himself into every area of their lives. They cannot escape him. He shows up at the park, he parks outside their house, and then he turns up at Shay’s work and starts a scene. She screams for help, and her boss, coming out to see what is happening, recognizes Maron as a celebrity and befriends him right in front of his terrified employee. Later when Marc continues to show up at work, she is fired for being impolite to him. 

This is where the problem really starts: because this shit is way, way too real, and Maron thinks it’s heightened. He thinks it’s funny. We’re meant to think it’s funny. But to women, it isn’t funny — I was watching a real life nightmare play out on screen. Shay’s boss takes Marc’s side, as do two old white men, military vets who reminisce fondly about the old days when authors were men because they shot their wives, and who convince Marc to be persistent and aggressive when he is about to throw in the towel and leave town — they tell him that this is “his child,” that no matter what the law or the child’s actual family says, Marc’s balls know the truth. 

And so Marc stays, Marc persists, Marc threatens and stalks, Marc gets Shay fired, and eventually she relents. She agrees to include him in her life. In the closing shot, she smiles at him, gooey-eyed, as he holds her child. I think Maron actually thinks this is touching. 

It gave me nightmares. 

Horror Movies

At some point, I lost the ability to be frightened by horror movies. I still enjoy them — in fact, they’re some of my favorite types of movies — but they don’t scare me at all. It is not unusual for me to watch a horror movie alone in my house in bed at midnight, turn it off, roll over and go right to sleep. Or it wasn’t, before I had a baby; now I would never be up at midnight.

I don’t really know when I stopped being afraid of horror movies, but I think it’s in part because fear-based entertainment feels political and antifeminist to me and it mostly makes me angry, which takes me out of being frightened. Let me explain.

I am a single woman. I have always been a single woman. I really enjoy being a single woman, I love living alone, I love traveling alone, I love running alone in the countryside, earbuds in. I very rarely feel afraid, because by all objective measures, I am one of the safest people on the planet, and in fact, one of the safest individuals who has ever lived in all of recorded human history. I do feel very, very afraid every time I get in a car, but that’s another post.

And yet, all of society is hell-bent on trying to make women like me feel deeply, constantly imperiled and afraid, and annoyingly, they very often succeed! Any number of privileged white women are constantly terrified of things that will never happen to them; they gather in small groups and bond by stoking each other’s fear, telling each other horror stories about how vulnerable they are, how vulnerable all women are, every minute, we’re all seconds away from being raped, murdered, dismembered in the streets.

Wealthy white women in upperclass American neighborhoods — the safest population of people who have ever existed — are genuinely afraid to spend a night in their own houses alone without their husbands.

Who does all this pointless dependency serve? Certainly not women. Certainly not populations who really are in physical danger all the time. Certainly not the 20 Americans on average who are being physically abused by their intimate partner at any given minute on any given day.

If we’re all busy being scared of stranger danger that doesn’t exist, we very helpfully continue to ignore the many everyday very socially well-integrated and swell guys who regularly beat the shit out of their own families, rape their girlfriends, molest the neighbor kid, murder their wives. We can continue to be surprised that this is what violence looks like despite the fact that this is and has always been what violence looks like, because we expect it to look like a creepy stranger slowly unlocking the window in the night. This works great for abusive people! No matter how often they show themselves, we still fail to see them!

If white women with resources are so concerned about their own possible peril, they’re not going to go out and start upending social systems that are working very well for abusive people. They aren’t going to use their secure position to effect change, because they don’t think they are secure; they think they are unstable.

And you’re going to be a lot more likely to fall prey to an abusive man if you think you are more vulnerable alone than you are with him. Ironically, it’s the opposite. I saw this happen with a friend of mine in college — she had a really scary experience where a stranger followed her in his truck when she was going home at 2:00am. Her abusive boyfriend then leveraged her fear from that experience to further control her at all times — if she failed to tell him where she was going or call him exactly when she got home, he’d rail at her that he was just trying to take care of her; if he didn’t hear from her, how did he know she wasn’t raped and murdered by someone like that guy in the truck? She was trapped in that relationship for over two years.

Anyway, when I’m watching a horror movie, I inevitably start thinking about all this, and it takes me right out of it. I don’t really understand how you can be afraid of ghosts when you live in a patriarchy.

I Don’t Want to Vote for a Rapist!

I am so tired of this! I 100% believe all these women — Biden did this. Trump did everything he was accused of, and Kavanaugh did, and Thomas did, and Bill Clinton did, and Hillary Clinton enabled who her husband was and benefited from her partnership with him and defended him and did not care what he did to other women. And none of these men even really think they did anything wrong, because they think rape is knocking a total stranger over the head in an alley and anything short of that is fair game when it comes to women. Bernie is the best of the bunch when it comes to how he’s treated women, and he’s a deadbeat dad. 

What the fuck! Why does this keep happening! Most people are not rapists, so why am I continually forced into voting for one for the highest office in the land? Is it on purpose? It sure starts to feel like it! Is it to coerce all women to just abdicate the vote because they’re so disgusted they can’t bear to participate in politics, thus letting men run everything by default? Maybe! It feels intentional! 

I don’t let women off the hook for this either! Stop marrying men who hate women! Stop excusing them and accommodating them and making their lives comfy for them and having children with them who then learn from them! Stop it! Just stay single, goddamn! 

The Eternal Battle Against Entropy, and My $60 Pillow

For most of my adult life, I lived in very expensive cities on about $30k, which means that I lived in small spaces with several other people, and my furniture was generally of the found or scrounged variety. I was always fairly comfortable in my surroundings (if you discounted the auditory and olfactory senses), but I very rarely spoiled myself with a new Nice Thing.Continue reading “The Eternal Battle Against Entropy, and My $60 Pillow”

Merry Christmas! And People Disgust Me

I hope everyone had nice holidays. My Christmas was fantastic, but I’d rather skip over that and bitch about the horrible time I had flying home. On the first leg, I was sitting next to a woman in her 50s who had a giant wad of bubble gum in her mouth and who blew big, cracking bubbles for the entire flight. I have already expressed my feelings about open-mouthed gum chewing. I could hear her even through my earplugs.  Continue reading “Merry Christmas! And People Disgust Me”