Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Walking in a winter wonderland

So, New Zealand has been hit with a so-called once in a lifetime "blizzard" this week. I had to gently point out, being a former Baltimorean after all, that that term has a specific and meteorological meaning and so probably does not mean what they think it means.

Still, it's cute. Everyone's freaked out and theatres have been closing early and the mail has, literally, not run for three days.

I'm not unsympathetic. I get that it's novel and exciting and more than a little bit scary. But still, in Wellington it was, at most, a dusting. A couple of inches in higher elevations.

That being said, it's not easy being snowed in in Wellington. I remember remarking during the (actual) blizzard in Atlanta in 1993 that the problem was that the town was unequipped to deal with it. You get a foot of snow in Buffalo, the plows come out and the people go about their business. In Atlanta, they don't have plows, they have sand trucks. And try as you might, you cannot sand away a foot of snow.

The same applies here, only they don't even have sand trucks. There is literally no procedure in place to deal with snow, except to close the roads, cancel essential services, and hope.

And all for a population that, on the whole, has no central heating.

So yeah, I get it. Storm of a lifetime, apparently. Or, at least, storm of a generation. Most people I meet in Wellington have never seen snow. The last time it snowed down to sea level here was over twenty years ago. Even my own boyfriend, ever the staunch Australian, has been gobsmacked by it all, since it's the first time it's ever snowed where he lived. It's quite adorable actually.

Everyone has been quite transfixed by it, stopping to take it all in. Which is good in my world, which tends to be high pressure, everything happening fast and loose. Even the strongest and most jaded MPs (namely the one I work for) have taken a moment to stop, enjoy it and marvel at it.

The first day it hit, we were overcome in Thorndon by giant, majestic and foreign snowflakes, falling fast. I was hanging out of my window to try and capture it on film (note: it is not easy to photograph snowflakes falling) and then spotted some tween boys that live on my block running down the street, wearing shorts. One of them didn't even have shoes on.

I couldn't help myself. Before I even thought about it, I called out the window, "hey, put some pants on! You'll catch your death!"

"There's no time! I don't want to miss it!"

That's the moment that I knew, number one, that I am old. I'm that woman now, apparently, that yells at you from her window. And number two, I realised that the abject joy brought about by an unexpected snowstorm has been taken from me and handed, rightly, to the next generation.

I like to think that the next time it snows in Wellington, some twenty or more years from now, one of those boys will be bundling up his own boy to go out into the thick of it. And he'll be having a laugh as he relays the story of that old lady who yelled at him the last time it snowed.

And then he'll say, "and she was right. That's why I only have nine toes. Now lets get another pair of socks on you."

Monday, August 08, 2011

But we're never gonna survive unless we get a little.... crazy

Okay, lookit. I am more than a little bit crazy. Way more than a little bit. At times in my life, this has been treated pharmaceutically. But most often not. These days, I choose to manage my own crazy behaviorally for a lot of reasons.

The primary reason is that managing my bad crazy with drugs ends up managing my good crazy along with it, which I am not cool with. It makes me flatlined. Lacking of personality. And the reality is that I am a woman of great personality, made up of extremes. This is central to my identity.

I am wildly funny and wildly passionate and wildly happy and, then, wildly sad and wildly irrational.

I've never found a drug that could only treat those last two bits, so I have chosen just to be a little bit crazy, and sometimes sad, in order to preserve my wicked sense of humour and striking bouts of glee. It's a trade off, yes, but one I'm happy with.

I don't judge anyone else's personal decision about medication because that's exactly what it is: personal. Just as I'd ask them not to judge mine.

And btw, I'm allowed to say crazy because I am crazy. Weirdly, it's like black people and the n-word. You're not allowed to call me crazy, but I am. And it's because I know from crazy. I live it every day.

Anyway, so being crazy, as is per the norm, I had a full scale meltdown this weekend about the new place. Who the hell knows why. Maybe it's stress. Maybe it's change. Maybe it's because my toenail polish is chipped and I'm projecting.

What I do know is that the full scale meltdown, once set in play, cannot be stopped. The problem with having been a litigator is that I can work myself into a lather and marshal, literally, every bad fact about a situation into a thrilling, breathless monologue that will leave you questioning your own very existence.

Oh, yes, I'm that good.

Normally, I just hole up in my cocoon when the bad crazy happens and ride it out. But I don't have that option these days because there's this boy there sniffing around me and wondering about my well being all the time.

And so, unable to hide, I had no option but to show my crazy in full force to this poor boy. And I found myself surprised, yet again, by his stoicism and resilience and acceptance.

I was trying to explain it to someone today as I relayed my weekend meltdown. And I started by saying he puts up with my crazy, or that he endures my crazy, but that's not it, precisely.

No, he accepts my crazy. Takes it as a given and just rolls with the punches until it passes.

Last night, I was struggling to justify myself to him, once the tide had gone back out to sea. I tried to say how this bad crazy is okay because it comes with all of those other traits.

And he was all, "I know that. I know you. And believe me, I know you're crazy. I've known that from day one. And I love all of your brands of crazy. Don't ever change."

You know, I'm sure that this relationship is my karmic reward for the ghosts of relationships past, and all of the bad people who have peppered my past. And that I deserve him because of that.

But there are times where I still can't believe it's true.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

You've got to give a little, take a little...

I am currently living out a scene from When Harry Met Sally in my own life right now - the one where the couple moving in have a fight about the wagon wheel table.

Only I'm not living that fight at all because there would be no fight. That table was awesome and that lady was crazy. In fact, I have spent most of my adult life looking for a wagon wheel table for my own house. And a discarded, old-fashioned card catalogue to use as a coffee table. Kind of like a poor man's apothecary table. If you see either of these things in a thrift shop, TEXT ME.

Anyway, my fight is about leather couches. Boy-style leather couches. No wait - boy-style blue leather couches. (Which are super comfortable, btw. But that's beside the point.)

So, naturally I found myself last night at the dinner meant to celebrate the decision to move in together weeping silently about blue leather couches while I tried to explain why. Of course, it's not about the couches. It's never about the couches. It's about what the couches represent, obviously. Whatever the hell that means. I can't be held accountable for my actions. There were several hours of ruminating about couches that spiraled severely out of control until the couches represented every single decision that has ever been made in my life. Welcome to womanhood.

Not that it takes much to make me cry, either. I cry at everything. I cry when I'm sad. I cry when I'm happy. I cry when I'm stressed. I cry when I'm laughing. I cry when I hear Rocket Man, when I watch Baby Boom and when I even try to relay that scene in Dumbo where his mom is in jail and they touch trunks and one lonely tear runs down her trunk onto his.

OMG, I'm tearing up right now just thinking about that scene.

It never used to be this way. Used to be - when I was in the throes of anorexia - you could not make me cry. You could spit in my face, call my mother names and kick a kitten right in front of me and I would not cry. Wouldn't dare cry. Those days are long gone, as are the heart palpitations that came with them. I think the trade was worth it.

Anyway, so I'm sitting there. Weeping silently. Trying to hide it from the waitress and not being that successful and I look up and this idiot is looking at me with this dopey, lovestruck grin.

And I'm all, "what are you looking at?"

And he's all, "my beautiful girlfriend."

"I'm not beautiful. I'm red-faced and teary and behaving like a crazy person right here in the middle of this fancy Italian restaurant."

"You are beautiful. You're just as beautiful right now as you are when you're all made up and perfect. Personally, you're more beautiful now. Thank you for showing it to me."

Nope, it's not about the couches.

And even if it is, well, they just don't matter in the grand scheme of things.