Saturday, January 04, 2003

Why does everyone love me so much?

OK. Not everyone loves me. There is this woman who doesn't want me to use the computers.

So the ivy-league NPR-listening-tweed-skirt- wearing type of woman does not love me. But most everyone else does.

For some inexplicable reason, I am adorable. When I was hunting for jobs I remember I used to get this look from the middle aged plump white men in the interview. I called it the ‘koala bear’ look. They would look at me as if I was soooo cute. “Ooooh. It’s so cute! And it talks, too!” I was never sure if they heard what I said because their eyes would mist over with so much adoration.

I usually didn’t get the job although they always tried to hug me.

The thing is, I really don’t look all that cute: I’m not short, I don’t have a snub nose, freckles, blue eyes, or any of those markers of cuteness. And I’m not cute inside. I’m conflicted, self-hating, cranky, self-absorbed and bitter. So there has to be some other explanation.

The free stuff. I’m reluctant to write about the free stuff. I think deep down inside, I truly like getting free stuff. I secretly gloat about it. Yet, I also feel conflicted and guilty about it. I never knew that it was all that unusual until my friend Su pointed it out once in New York that the street vendors would give me discounts that they wouldn’t give her. She would buy a hat for $4 and then they would sell it to me for $2. Someone sitting next to us at the counter in the diner bought us a piece of pie and she said no one has ever bought her pie. For me, it is an almost daily occurrence to be given something without paying for it. Of course, sometimes (like with the street vendors where I was obviously broke) it simply occurs from pity. I got a free ice cream cone when I was counting my pennies on the counter. A woman behind me just handed some money to the cashier and left. If I say ‘how much is the large orange juice?’ and they say ‘it is $3.25’ I order the small. Then they come up with a smile and give me the large. It’s gotten so I’m afraid to ask how much something costs or spend the usual 20 minutes counting out my change. But sometimes I’m standing in line at the convenience store with a Pepsi and a person ahead of me in line buys my Pepsi. How can they tell I am broke? I didn’t even start digging in my backpack for change yet. Do I really dress that slovenly?

The reason I’m thinking of this is that the other day at Target the cashier shoplifted for me. I asked him how much something was and it was too much. I gave it to him to put behind the counter—saying I didn’t want it. He put it in my bag somehow and I got it for free. I would think it was a mistake, but that sort of thing happens to me all the time.

Even in school. One girl would shave part of her hair off and she would be thrown out of school. I would shave part of my hair off and the nuns would just shake their heads and chuckle. My beautiful sister was run out of that school on a rail by those nuns. But they loved me.

I forgot! I know the answer! I forgot Eric’s theory! We were sitting on his couch watching Twin Peaks. I’m pretty sure we weren’t high although we may have been drunk. He said “Everyone loves you. Why does everyone love you?” I had that mixture of emotion I get of pride and shame but then he provided this explanation: “It’s because you have a big head. Like a baby. Babies have big heads. That’s why everyone loves you. Mikhail Gorbachev for example—he had a big head.”

This theory comforts me greatly because it makes it so I am not responsible for the love of others. It’s purely a biological reaction to the size of my head. The fact I don’t deserve this love thereby becomes a moot point. Do babies deserve the love they get? Do babies have to do anything when you love them? No. So I don't have to do anything to deserve that is all biological in nature.

The problem is getting accustomed to everyone loving you and then depending on that love. For some reason (I have an explanation but don’t want to offend anyone who lives in the Midwest) people just did not love me quite the same when I lived in Ohio. Or rather, a few people did but in general I found many more who were quite suspicious of me. It was disconcerting. I couldn’t handle it, actually.

And of course when everyone does love me I just start hoping they’ll all go away and leave me alone.

Thursday, January 02, 2003


A lot of times I just hate things for what they stand for in my mind. NPR stands for something in my mind. I don’t know—upper middle class white people? Smug self-satisfied upper middle class white people? Smug ivy-league educated upper middle class white women who grill me about why I am using the computers? Do I know that the computers are there only for the very special people who are allowed to use them?

Incident 1:
NPR listener: These computers are not for public use.
Former NPR listener: I know. I work here.
NPR listener: Oh, really? What do you do?
FNL: Bla bla bla
NL: Oh really, do you know so and so…bla bla…Subtly trying to find out if I am lying by asking me questions that ‘only someone who worked there would know.’

Incident 2
NL: Looks at me suspiciously—do I know you? (She apparently has a bad memory.)
NL: What do you do here?
FNL: I work here.
NL: Oh really, what work do you do?
FNL: Bla bla bla. (I hate myself for not saying: Lady! What the hell is wrong with you! Why WOULDN’T I work here?)
All the while she is looking deep into my eyes to see if I’m telling the truth.

Incident 3
(Office is closed—only theory she can possibly have at this point: I work for the cleaning staff…Yeah, she’s a ‘liberal’ who listens to NPR and obsessively writes letters to her congressman opposing the war in Iraq. But if you are a janitor—DON’T USE THOSE DAMN COMPUTERS)

NL: (Vaguely seems to remember me this time. Looks uncomfortable.) I’m sorry—I don’t remember you. Do you work here?
FNL: Yes, I work here.
NL: (Eyeing me suspiciously. Noticing my slovenly clothes) What…How…has your work been going lately? I mean, what have you been working on lately?
FNL: (Again…I hate myself for pretending like I don’t know what she is up to. She’s insane but I treat her as if she is just making conversation. Her tweed skirt intimidates me. Also, she is older than me and I can’t be impolite to older people): Bla bla bla.
NL: Abruptly ends conversation. She doesn’t want to talk to me.

I also hate Noam Chomsky. It’s not fair, I know. But the people who are way into Noam Chomsky bug the hell out of me. He is their God and they are the most annoying people in the world. They are the people who support the FARC in Colombia. Because they are Marxists. The FARC are just misunderstood, they say. Hence, I cannot help myself and must hate Noam Chomsky. Well, his books anyway. Not the man.

Actually, when Noam Chomsky went to Turkey—even if it might have been a bit ill-advised—I admit I started to love him a bit. But I will never worship him.

I think those kind of people should all be forced to move to Colombia and to live there for the rest of their lives.

Don’t get me started on the people that love Fidel Castro.

Can’t help myself…must bla bla about this.

I think this is the logic they use:

I am a communist.
Therefore, I love communism.
Castro is a communist.
Therefore, I love Castro.

Sheesh. And then they complain that Christians are irrational and stuff. Why does Christianity always get the rap? The crusades? The current pope? All the pope does is tell people not to use birth control and puts moral pressure on people. And they listen to him, OK. Maybe that’s not always good for them. Some things the pope says are true and even Noam Chomsky might agree with them. Besides, the pope can’t really make anyone do anything they don’t want to do…unlike Castro (who sure isn’t the worst by a longshot…but he’s not good). I think it’s just hipper to hate Christianity.

It is perfectly socially acceptable, it seems, to despise people for their most deeply held beliefs. As long as they aren’t Jews or Buddhists (oh, actually—you can despise them if they are orthodox Jews, apparently).

The people who love Castro should also be forced to move to Colombia. I would make them move to Cuba but they could continue to live on the dollar there and they wouldn’t learn the deep life lesson I wish to impose upon them.

I want to be a communist still…I really do! I don’t care about the collapse of the Soviet Union and still think Marx is sorta kinda right. But as should be obvious by now, communists don’t invite me to their parties anymore.

I don’t hate people—I try to keep my hate abstract. I don’t want to hurt them. In fact, I wish them all the best. I just want them to wise up.

When my former housemate and I used to have a basement we had dreams of setting up a re-education camp in the basement for all our annoying classmates. We only planned to keep them in there a little while. We thought maybe we could get them to do our laundry and watch educational videos. About? Hard to remember. I think we planned to make them watch the PBS series ‘Eyes On The Prize.’ Perhaps we’d throw in a little Cheech and Chong for good measure. So they’d realize the darker peoples of the world are not only oppressed but maintain their sense of humor.

Some of the people I love voted for Nader. And when I get upset about things that are happening now (like the recent election) they look at me with this blank stare. Like: Wait! But nothing that is happening matters…It will all be the same no matter what the politicians do. Everything is the same…we must remain detached from the evil workings of the actual world.

They still think it makes no difference who is in office—ever—no matter who it is—if they happen to belong to the two major parties. They still believe this. They are on another planet—a planet where facts do not intrude. You should see the strange look in their eyes. It is as if they have been brainwashed or something. I remember trying to prove to them before the election: Bush will get us into a war. They are now convinced that this war was like…causally determined or something. They are mad, mad I tell you.

But I love them anyway.

And then there are the people I love who don’t believe in the theory of evolution. And some other stuff I just don’t have the heart to put into words.

I love them and try not to think about it.

Sunday, December 29, 2002

Evil more time

I wonder if this 'future' posting thing will work. I guess I won't know 'til I get to Amsterdam (I assume they have gobs of internet cafes in Amsterdam for the backpackers, etc.)

Eventually, I will get into the whole issue of 'Whither Reproduce One's Genetic Set?'

Or half of it.

I have my doubts about whether such a choice is wise but I will probably procreate. It is the very foolishness of it that attracts me. Talk about self-destruction! For women, motherhood is probably as self-destructive as riding a Harley at 100 m.p.h. through the Dunkin' Donuts parking lot while shooting up heroin at the same time.

Oh, wait. I forgot that nothing can tear a cop from his donut. Scratch that metaphor...Motherhood is like huffing paint daily while one's adolescent brain is still growing--motivation, deeper levels of consciousness, sociability--all destroyed. For years. Never again the wild heights of reflection and imagination.

I'm gonna do it! Yeah! I'm gonna!

Anyway...I blather on and on...but really have a very deep question that I am getting to in this roundabout way. Perhaps it is psychological in nature, perhaps not.

Why is there nothing that appears more evil than an infant or small child? What is it about infants and small children that scare us so? They are small...they are sometimes totally helpless (floppy even). Think about it: Omen, Exorcist, Children of the Corn, The Ring, Rosemary's Baby, It's Alive, The Bad Seed, Village of the Damned...

Why are they so darn creepy. Oh man, get one of them talking in a deep and scratchy Satanic voice and you need do nothing more to scare your audience.

I know...I know--It's the whole 'uncanny' thing. Phones that ring when the cord has been pulled from the wall, objects that move on their own, etc., etc. When the natural world gets subverted--we just get scared. We need things to work and act a certain way...Babies...little children. We need them to be cute and innocent. When they start levitating and speaking in deep, slow voices (or backwards)...well--that's just not how little humans are supposed to act.

The uncanny doesn't explain all scary things--clowns, for example. That is due to the hidden face under the paint.

Or perhaps deep inside we suspect there is no true innocence. The little ones--they have just arrived, are unsocialized, do not submit to the usual unspoken pressures. We know their anarchic and destructive potential.

Funnily enough, it is really what is in the hearts of humankind that is the scariest of all. I remember having this revelation as child. I used to be afraid to take out the garbage at dusk because I suspected there might be a monster in the alley. I don't know how old I was but I realized it was people I needed to truly fear. This depressed me. Somehow I preferred monsters as an object of apprehension.

Edgar Allen Poe ('The Divine Edgar' as he is called by Humbert Humbert) knew that a person is always a bit of a danger to his/her fellow man. Yet, I guess we've grown a bit hardened to the ordinary evils and need more complicated tricks to frighten us.