From Rants

What to do when you can’t do

Rando typewriter flow

 

You write about not being able to do.

I just spent the last hour trying to find a medium for this rabid, though undeveloped and unsettling outrage. First, I got out a pencil and paper. Then, I opened a Word doc and began a new poem. Frustrated and unable to write that way, I decided to look at one I’d written the other day. No dice. I moved to another folder entitled “Non-fiction,” and opened a few documents to edit.

The state of things (things that I haven’t gotten a chance to dive into all the way yet)—but when should I? Now at 3 A.M.?

These days, I haven’t figured out yet how to balance day-to-day living, productivity and sanity with the research and discussion needed to know to stay on top of politics.

This is why when there are moments of goodness, I grab onto them. Even if it’s just the crisp colors of sunset over the Mon. Even if it’s just my cat waking me up with his purr and whisker-tickle technique. I don’t know. I’m hanging on. Because, like it has felt all along since the beginning of this presidency, it isn’t about me. It’s bigger. How does one exist and not exist at the same time?

My Toyota Scion XD dead at 76,000 miles (a review)

Toyota Scion XD - 2009

Yes, my first car died. At 76,000 miles.

So I’m bitching. I’m angry. I’m upset. Moreover, I’m disappointed. As a full-time grad student and full-time employee, I was working my butt off. Nobody was there to help me financially. I did it all on my own, everything, ever since I was about 17. My mom was never in the position and my dad (though ironically he was a mechanic) passed away when I was 17. I chose a Scion XD after two months searching for the perfect car—one that was affordable and reliable.

Before turning to Toyota, I had a hand-me-down Ford. I thought buying American was the way to go, but everyone told me foreign cars were made to last. And that’s what I needed. And why new? Because I didn’t want to take any chances. I couldn’t have anymore breakdowns, going into the city three time a week (an hour commute from Greensburg, PA).

“Lifetime Warranty” was what sold me. It felt safe. And because no one is around the corner looking after me or ever has been, I am a sucker for a warranty. I even opted for the extended warranty (a 75,000-mile/6 year add-on). The only thing I was told was to keep record of all maintenance. Right on. I’m kind of neurotic about such things, so it wasn’t too hard. I kept every receipt, as there were times I did not go to the Toyota dealership for an oil change.

And then BOOM. It all goes to hell. A broken transmission at 76,500 miles? Are you kidding me?

Her name is Meredith Baxter, by the way. She has a name. I took care of her. Did all the things I had to do. Or so I thought. Even the mechanic said: “The car looks good under the hood. You can tell you took care of it.”

But then the bad news:

“Well, it seems you don’t have record of tire rotations every 5k miles here,” the Toyota employee informed me.

This comes after a few back-and-forths with missing receipts that I dug up, called about, etc. Finally, all of my information gets sent to Wascor, a third-party company that apparently is responsible for this supposed “Lifetime Warranty.” And they deny me. Because even though tire rotations admittedly have nothing to do with a transmission, it was part of the maintenance plan (which I can’t find anywhere). So basically they weaseled their way out of paying for it.

Wascor is a THIRD-PARTY COMPANY. Meaning: They could give two shits about your car or your happiness with the product. And they will try to find a way out of it. Anyway they can. When I produced information that they were missing, they kept coming back with more things I didn’t have. Finally, the found something I didn’t. TIRE ROTATIONS.

I get it. It’s not Toyota. But do you know what is Toyota? They plaster this “Lifetime Warranty” everywhere. People feel secure knowing they have this. But they probably don’t—not unless they’ve kept completely spotless records of their maintenance. Even the Toyota guy on the phone tells me, “It’s kind of a scam. I yelled at them.”

A scam? You think? And somehow this does fall back on you, Toyota. Maybe do a better job of impressing upon people how important it is that they do this. They rotate their tires, even.

So that’s that, I guess. A dud of a car. The good news? Toyota in all of their shiny gleaming kindness has decided to pay for the part, since it’s pretty whack that 1500 miles after their extended warranty is up, the heart of the car itself fails. So thank you. But now still I’m forced to pay $1400 for labor, which has to be done at the Toyota dealership, of course. Because yes, Toyota realizes something very wrong happened are still going to bank off of it. They won’t cover the whole thing.

Thanks, Toyota. Thanks, Scion. This is my review of your car. I’m so happy that I spent $17,000 (plus taxes and an extra warranty) for a piece of junk car that lasted me 76k miles. If I wanted that, I would’ve bought a Ford or a Chrysler.

The only thing good I have to say is that the guys at Toyota of Greensburg did go to bat for me. They were kind. They hooked me up with a loaner car, which would’ve cost me around $35/day. They made me feel taken care of, heard. And I’m not ungrateful for that. But does good service make up for quality? Because now, if something else goes wrong, I know the warranty is garbage (all because of tire rotations, you know). I no longer have the security of the warranty or the brand. It seems like a new car is in my future when I just wanted to ride out Meredith until the end.

I’m not just someone trying to get something for nothing. I’m being loud about it, because it isn’t fair. It isn’t right. It’s your reputation, Toyota. And if you still feel the need to bank off of a faulty car, that’s on you.

So bummed… I guess the joke’s on me.

mt

 


 

UPDATES:

I tried reaching out to Toyota/Scion to no avail. After reviewing my case, they still ask that I pay the $1400 for labor. I think they believe I should just be grateful that they did anything at all.

After a barrage of posts online, the General Manager of Toyota of Greensburg called me. He said he was “confused” by my online outrage and that I didn’t note that Toyota gave me a loaner, which would’ve equated to $900 for all the days I’ve needed it. So as he is signing off on all this money (over $3,000), he is wondering why I’m still discontent. He feels I’m not telling the whole story. So I have amended it some to reflect what he felt I didn’t represent (which was not purposeful).

In all my nightmares, I’m wearing the wrong underwear

My mouth hurts. I keep imagining the look of gums, the redness, the swollen horizon around my teeth, that pink vulnerable skin scratching against everything. Yesterday, I had one of the worst dental experiences of all my 28, nearly 29 years: it was just a cleaning and exam.

Due to my god-awful dental insurance (one of few reasons why self-employment blows), I am only able to visit a handful of dentists in the area. I had to part with my former dental gang, which—trust me—wasn’t easy. I love them. I really do. I know about their cats, their hobbies, their schooling… I’ve introduced them to things like My MilkToof, which just might be the coolest blog about clay-made teeth I’ve ever seen. Plus, they kindly humor my anxiety and kindly hook me up with dentist-goer perks like a free toothbrush and coupons for mouthwash.

I’m serious when I say that I leave Dr. D’s office with a huge smile on my face and a reminder card for my next appointment, which I’ve already scheduled. Listen. Teeth might just be everything to me.

“For a smoker, you’re really obsessive about your teeth,” said the curt hygenist that nearly scraped my gums out of my mouth yesterday.

“You have to be when you’re a smoker,” I replied.

“Or you could just quit,” was her retort. No shit.

Perhaps I didn’t think of that. Maybe she thought she was telling me some grand secret, like the time it never dawned on me just to roll up the bottoms of my pants, instead of holding them at the knees as I walked in the rain… DUH! But chances are she was just being an asshole. Sit tight. This shit gets better.

My appointment was at 12:30 in the afternoon. Now that I work from home, I can do those sorts of things. Make doctor appointments. So I was told to come in early to fill out the paperwork. When I stepped up to the counter and conversed with the woman on the other side, she smiled big into her computer screen then looked up: “You’re K’s friend it says.”

I was referred by a friend and someone had put it in the notes—hilarious. So from here, I expected special treatment. Maybe they would let me cut the line or put me in a special room—or better yet they were going to give me two toothbrushes. I was set for another six months with two toothbrushes!

“Hey guys, if you could let me know what this is going to cost me, I’d appreciate it. I have a new insurance and it’s kind of crappy…”

My bubble quickly dissipated when the other woman behind the counter, a middle-aged blonde with a romantic croak of a voice, raised her head: “OH! IS THIS THAT OBAMACARE?” (Loudly.)

I felt like someone just pulled my pants down in a crowd—only to reveal I was wearing the wrong day-of-the-week underwear. But it’s Thursday… I imagined the crowd murmuring, staring down at my two-day-old, “Tuesday,” day-of-the-week underwear.

Ok. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to take offense to the “Obamacare” remarks; however, she’s not the only one with which I’ve employeed my defenses. It makes me feel uncomfortable, like I’m getting something for nothing, or I’m cheating the government. I feel as dirty as the word “Obama” in this conservative, a-little-too-close-to-West-Virginia town.

“Umm… you mean healthcare.gov? Yeah. I pay for my own insurance. Myself.”

About two years ago, I had no real concern about the healthcare industry. Sure, make everyone healthy and happy. Why not? Give those people without insurance some damned coverage already… the important word being them. Now suddenly, I am them.

I didn’t get called back for my cleaning until 1:15, nearly an hour later, which is when I encountered the “Tasmanian Devil of dental hygienistry,” or so I’ve dubbed her to everyone else. I’m sure there is a more fitting title, something funnier: The Edward Scissorhands of Teeth Cleaning, Freddie Whiter Smile (or Else) Kruger… Anyway, she RAVAGED my mouth—probably for the sake of hurrying. I was flinching, pinching my legs, groaning with my mouth agape. Was this happening?

photo cred: skymovies.sky.com

“Stay still,” she said coldly, continuing with her icepick, plaque bits hitting me in the cheeks.

Five minutes later: “You have to quit jerking. Stay still.”

After that, it felt like she was going at it harder, sadistically, and once more I was six years old being scolded with the same line over and over: Meghan. Meghan, don’t jump down the stairs. What did I say? Meghan. Don’t. Meghan Patrice… don’t jump down the stairs. Walk down those stairs. Meghan Patrice, if I have to… I swear I’m going to… (I didn’t listen as a kid—or now either, I suppose.) I actually broke my leg this way when I was five, jumping down stairs.

“It just hurts really bad,” I tried to explain to Buffy the Gum Slayer, as she vandalized my face.

“Well, I can’t do my job if your teeth are traveling all around the room.” She pulled back with a frown.

That’s when I noticed all of the blood on her blue latex gloves, my blood. I wiped the tarter sprinkles from my eyebrows, from out of my nostrils, and opened my eyes to see a bruiser of a kid, highschool aged, looking at me from a room from across the hall, half-grinning in his cut-off t-shirt. Had he witnessed the whole thing? Was he taping me with his iPhone and shooting all over the interwebs?! Why in the bloody hell didn’t she close the door?

I walked out of that room to—I supposed—another room for an x-ray or an exam with the dentist, whatever thing came next. But I followed her… to the waiting room? Again? I waited for another 20 minutes among the unaware, pre-pain-stricken souls in the large lobby, my mouth sore and tasting of blood. I never left the dentist’s feeling like that… cleanings were refreshing, pleasurable even. I left with a fresh coat of mint and silky smooth teeth that I rubbed over with my tongue for days. Really, folks, I’ve only had one cavity in my life, ONE, (humble brag) because I’m that cautious and thorough with my oral hygiene. I am so sure she didn’t need to go all Kill Bill on my gums.

Best part… ready? Finally, I get called back for the exam, where I wait for another fifteen minutes for the dentist WHO COMES IN WITH HIS CELLPHONE IN HIS HAND going, “My wife called at 12:41 and left a message… Let’s see what she has to say.” Then, he leaves the room with his phone in his ear. WHAT?!

In total, the visit took a little over two hours for a cleaning! I just want to know what kind of treatment I would have been given had I not mentioned my friend’s name. And you know what? I didn’t even get a fucking toothbrush!

mt

Doctor’s office blues

Ah. Is there anything more obnoxious than waiting in the lobby of the doc, only to be taken into a room by a nurse, cuffed up, poked at, questioned… and then left for like 20 minutes in the small, sterile, plasticky-smelling room waiting for the doctor (i.e. your fate)?

Listen. I’m not expert on home decor or medical solace, but these posters haven’t changed since I was 18. There’s nothing glaring at me but the see-through jar of oversized Popsicle sticks, a “Cover Your Cough” poster printed out on an 8.5 x 11 and the ugly, scribbled on “What Is Your BMI?” chart reminding me, disappointingly, that I am “overweight.

So. With all of this in mind, by the time doc gets here, I’m ready to jump ship. Fuck.

To add to the glamour of this visit, coming here to switch anti-depression meds, I get asked if I want my “living will.” Hahaha. Talk about being faced with my own mortality. I say. Do not recessitate!

Christmas Rant | Retail Woes, Ugly Blow-Ups & My Grinch-Sized Heart

I want to hurt people.

No…let me rephrase that. I’m not a violent person. Really. It’s probably hard to believe I could hurt anyone. Just look at me. I’m a four-eyed, sweater-clad twenty-something with a graduate degree in poetry. So let me put it this way: I want to hurl shopping carts at people—but not really hit them, just come close enough to send them running in the other direction, preferably out of the shopping mall all together and back to their cozy suburban dwellings.

It’s the time of year that gets me. I become loudly disgusted in humanity: prone to fits of Tourette’s-like cursing, erratic driving, and sometimes when no one is listening, I revise the words of popular Christmas tunes to sing about murder, prostitution and all-around mayhem. It’s cool. I would never do anything about it. It’s just a thought.

I know. I realize it’s a hell of a time to be ornery, especially for someone like me—noted to have an almost tragic “hippie optimism” and a deeply rooted humanitarian-style set of personal politics. But let me explain.

It isn’t the grinning array of elves and Santa knick-knacks, nor the multi-colored strands of lights outlining every house. In fact, I enjoy the décor. Well, all but those obnoxious ballooning blow-ups strangling the lawns of Greensburg. Talk about overdoing it. I thought lawn balls were lame. But now we’ve got puffy Snoopys and snowmen, carousels and over-fed Santas… Look, people, chances are if you’re a suburbanite like me, your green space is already limited to a patch of scraggly yellowing grass, maybe a shrub or two, but most certainly not enough room for a life-size team of googly-eyed reindeer. Just sayin’.

Thanks to the NYTimes.com for this pic.

I’m still trying to figure out the whys of this. What happened to me? What happened to my Christmas?

Retail is the most obvious scapegoat. I like to blame the years spent holed up in a 12 by 12 room, on-camera, counting money in a grocery store’s cash office. For years, it was nothing but me and seven endless hours of looped Christmas music (a day) counting someone else’s dirty money. I only ever emerged when called upon to handle extra-bitchy customers. More than likely, our system was declining their gift cards, or they wanted to return their holiday turkeys and hams before they had a chance to enjoy them. Hey, customers can be smart. They found them for two-cents-per-pound cheaper at Shop ‘N Save or Community Market. And I’m supposed to give a shit. Because now, I have to throw these things away. Yes, for public safety reasons, Giant Eagle automatically assumes all perishable returns—no matter how well they are sealed—were injected with cyanide or simply left to grow bacteria in your backseat for days.

“But wait,” a customer might point out, as I’m disposing of their 20-pound mistake. “Are you sure you have to pitch it? I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it. I just found it cheaper somewhere else.”

And yeah, this sounds heroic like maybe they even care that people are starving right next door, but even after I tell them “no-can-do,” they’d pocket their refund like the Scrooges they are and prance out of the door proudly, mentally patting themselves on the back for their two-dollar savings.

Replacements for “My kid made the Honor Roll!” bumper stickers (geekologie.com)

So I’m bitter, maybe. But anyone who has ever worked retail knows that people only grow nastier during
this joyous season. Good will toward men—my ass. It’s probably the stress of shopping, organizing, sending out horrifically worded Christmas letters bragging about their children making honor roll. Thank god my mom never sent out those letters. The most she’d have to brag about would be my growing pile of melodramatic poetry scribbled on notebook paper or how this school year, I wore something other than boy’s JNCO jeans and skater shoes.

But the closer it comes to Christmas, I do lighten up. I swear. It’s just the initial onslaught of a premature-Christmas that gets me: the over-eager shoppers barreling through aisles without regard to the human race, the limited parking spaces, the garbled holiday tunes playing over every store radio.

This year, it was November 7th when I got my first taste of it. NOVEMBER SEVENTH, people. C’mon. I hadn’t even finished my Trick-or-Treater-candy overage and already I’m bumping elbows with crowds of puffy-coated holiday shoppers fighting over gaudy, discounted tree ornaments, and all to Dolly Parton’s rendition of “Jingle Bells.”

I was just trying to buy some damn acrylic paint at Michael’s.

Christmas threw up… (Thanks alleewillis.com)

But it’s got to be more than my seven-plus years working at a grocery store. I think it’s the hypocrisy of it all. We’re supposed to be celebrating a holiday that imposes good values: kindness, generosity, and an appreciation of what we have, the simple things. Yet, there’s nowhere I can turn without catching a stark glimpse of Christmas—the twiggy wreaths hung on doors shiny with metallic paint and stuck Styrofoam birds; the phony LED icicle lights hung from eaves, glowing an aura so fake I can describe it no other way but “death”; and let’s not forget the screaming children everywhere, pointing and crying for the latest video game or Lego’s set.

Maybe more than all this, I’m pissy with myself. Because at some point, we all realize the sham. It’s not hard to sit there and point out the materialism, the chaos, the wide-eyed consumers scurrying for more coupons and sales flyers, but I do it too. Sure, I make many of my gifts, put more thought into them than I should, really. I refuse to buy gift cards and spend too much time trying to find the perfect gift. My idea of a Christmas horror story would be getting a gift from someone I didn’t anticipate and leaving them empty handed. How sad is that?

I don’t know what happened to Christmas for me or anybody
 else. It doesn’t really matter, I guess. Whether I want it to or not, it’ll come every year. And like the Grinch, I’ll stand at the edge of my mountaintop, or more aptly—my soapbox, swearing to myself, a little black heart beating inside my chest. I’ll watch the world frantically preparing for the season and think of hurling those shopping carts.


But truly, I’d like to believe that, like that same Dr. Seuss tale, if all the decorations and presents and roast beast were to disappear, the world would still be singing. But I’m not going to jail for grand larceny to find out.

*Christmas Rant from my reading at Awesome Books on December 8th, 2012.

This all said… Merry Christmas, everyone! [:
mt

What’s in a name?

Whether you jot it haphazardly in your day planner or use it to sign-off on important life-or-death-style documents, your name has a way of following you. Many of us dislike it. And why not? What a large part of our world, I feel, to be handed over some descriptor without choice. Imagine if it were a practical adjective or title that followed us our whole lives:

Oh, you know Rambunctious, she is always causing a riot!

or

Hey, Awkwardly Poetic, can you start speaking in a language I can understand?

I’m just saying.

If you are happy with your name, carry on. Read this in some sort of forced sympathy. I’ll take it. Still, I wonder—if you do enjoy your name, are content at the very least, do you feel as though it may have shaped your persona at all? Stereotypes are heavy; as much as we all try to refute them, equate them to ignorance or some sort of class issue, they exist. Everywhere. And who doesn’t hear the name of his or her ex and cringe. If you don’t believe that names carry their own social stereotype, type your tag into Urban Dictionary and see what happens. For instance:

1. Meghan 238 up96 down
Meghan is a talented and outgoing individual and is very charismatic. But be careful; she’s smarter than she seems! She’s great at listening and even better at giving advise. Plus, a Meghan’s always good for when you just need her to call someone a bitch. She’s a beautiful person inside and out & is NOT afraid to call someone out if they’re on her bad side.
Meghans are generally brunet with cute freckles
(Thanks to www.urbandictionary.com.)

Without editing this for spelling errors, I’d have to say this is pretty damn accurate. Down to the freckles. HA!

While the second definition reads:

2. Meghan 2235 up1696 down
Meghan is the name for a skanky slutty ho born to backwoods retard parents who cannot spell correctly.
You know that girl Meghan that lives in the trailer park? She’s a total skank.

OMG, did you hear?! Meghan once got eiffel towered at a party! hahaha.

i wish i were as great a whore as Meghan. it’d help if i had her tits.

(Thanks to www.urbandictionary.com.)

Well, I rest my case. And let me also take this moment to assure you that I do not condone any of the hateful, politically incorrect vomit above, but am using it to make my point. Perhaps the author of Definition #2 should channel her explosive passive-aggressive Internet Rage into more thoughtful facets of life—like her own damned writing issues.

Anyhow, back to my bigger point. Some of us refuse our names socially, keeping it tucked in-secret between the tight folds of our wallets, while some go a step further and have it changed altogether. But then there is that middle ground—the one I’m toeing, for instance. I do not consider it awful enough to change; in fact, I don’t even know to what I would change it! But I do know that it’s hard for me to identify with it. And the older I get, the less it means something to me. (Unless, of course, you pair it with my middle name and loudly yell it at an unbearable octave. You’ll certainly get my attention.)

Meghan is too girly, as it has always been for what I feel to be a pretty androgynous being. But now, it is young. Too young. More like that snap I have (somewhere) of a little girl in an Easter dress with white tights and a ribbon on her hat. Or the only snap I could find in a jiff (below.)

I was such an ugly shit. And probably cooking up some horrific plan for world domination. [;

So I’m asking—how many of you feel defined by your name? How many of you don’t associate with it completely? Tell me your name stories! Now! Comment!

Advices

I’m in a bit of writing rut.

If you have known me in the last month or so, you’d say I’m crazy. I’ve been spending incredible amounts of time lost in my poems with a new manuscript in the works (perhaps!) and even the times when I’m not writing, I am thinking of it… but I guess that’s just it—lost.

During my time at both Pitt Greensburg and Chatham, I was faced with a lot of ideas about writing. Each professor had her (mostly her) own MO when it came to writing—everything from muses and inspiration to navigation within the poem via line breaks and internal rhyming… well, you get the idea. Strange, but sometimes their words stick in me even when I’m not reaching for guidance. I’ve got a little committee happening. The worst part is that much is conflicting and, at some level, I need to find my own methodology, you know?

Professor V said: “There is no such thing as Writer’s Block.”
J still makes good at setting aside a time, like a schedule, for writing.
Dr. M. told me it was okay to keep writing about the same thing, that sometimes you had to just write it out of you. Also: when you’re feeling it, like you need to write and you’re on a roll, the rest of the world comes second.
B always told me to “write the fucking poem.”

Just a brief snippet of what’s on my mind. These are all in encouraging in their own way, but never before have I felt so stifled by my subject.

No matter. I’m sure it will pass. Going to re-focus my energies in acrylic.

Getting a porch show tonight, like last. This night, though, it isn’t lightening, but UFO’s, which we have (for solace?) dubbed as paper lanterns. They seems to be on fire—something like a dying firework, but they float strangely then disappear. It’s a somber lullaby out here tonight, sung by the incessant, high-pitched snarls of neighborhood cats hunting each other.

I want another three-day weekend. Rightthissecond. I’m turning liquid again…
mpt

Something like Bieber Fever

While I have been toiling away at life matters—mostly teaching at this point, I have been immersing myself in Atwood. Her poetry is like magic to me. One night, being so inspired and honestly consoled by her words, I tweeted her, even. This is what crazy Bieber fans probably do, too, so I’m not shedding any positive light on myself here. I’m thisclose to screaming and waving my underwear around. But probably not.

Me: @MargaretAtwood Revisiting your poem today. Think your my word soulmate. (Picture of poem from book).


Atwood: Thank you…

C’mon, everyone. Clearly, I have an “infamous” reputation for mishaps—for those of you who do not know about my mistakenly using the word “infamous” on all things work-related/published, that was a treat. Yeah… I did that. But don’t be judgmental; many people I questioned didn’t know that “infamous” wasn’t, in fact, another way to describe something as “famous.” Unfortunately, the definition states: “Well known for some bad quality or deed.” Shit. I doubt my company minds too much that I described our products as such.


Imaginary Person #1: How about that infamous Italian pasta? 
Imaginary Person #2: Oh yeah! I heard about that a few years back—kidnapped a stick of pepperoni and was never seen again.

But even with my super obvious spelling issue, Atwood responded! Don’t you dare for one second think that I didn’t tweet her again to right my wrong, because I did. I had to. Margaret Atwood, don’t think I’m an idiot! (This is not exactly what I said.) It was late and I was gushing and obviously too concerned with how many times it took me to snap that photo without it being blurry or cut off. Truth.

For those of you who have no idea who Miss Atwood is, well shame on you! Haha. But even if you are avidly against poetry, do yourself a favor and read “Variation on the Word Sleep.” If that last stanza doesn’t gut you, you’re probably not awake.

I realize this entry is about to become all about poetry, but I’ve been on a roll here—grabbing inspiration where I find it. Recently, I read an interview from 1978. The interviewer being the infamous (kidding), the famous Joyce Carol Oates. So in this Q & A article found in The New York Times, “On Being a Poet: A Conversation With Margaret Atwood,” Atwood totally digs at the guts of being a poet. I wanted to highlight this one part, because it doesn’t just answer the “who” but the “why.” And I totally agree, though, I have never been able to say it so articulately.

Q. Who influenced you as a poet?


A. Poe was my earliest “influence” back in high school, when I was beginning to write poetry and before I’d heard of anyone after, say, 1910. I don’t think of poetry as a “rational” activity but as an aural one. My poems usually begin with words or phrases which appeal more because of their sound than their meaning, and the movement and phrasing of a poem are very important to me. But like many modern poets I tend to conceal rhymes by placing them in the middle of lines, and to avoid immediate alliteration and assonance in favor of echoes placed later in the poems. For me, every poem has a texture of sound which is at least as important to me as the “argument.” This is not to minimize “statement.” But it does annoy me when students, prompted by the approach of their teacher, ask, “What is the poet trying to say?” It implies that the poet is some sort of verbal cripple who can’t quite “say” what he “means” and has to resort to a lot of round-the-mulberry-bush, thereby putting the student to a great deal of trouble extracting his “meaning,” like a prize out of a box of Cracker Jacks.


You tell ’em, Atwood.

Finally over! That deserves a royal high-five!

Ah, so I sit here on my hand-me-down couch in silence, going over the day and thinking about how it’s nearly midnight and I could sleep… quite possibly for the next 12 years. I know I’m only 25, but this getting old thing is… well, getting old. I blame it on the weather, the the lack of consistency, the sloppy thick mucus that has taken my lungs hostage. One minute a nude, bathing gentleman in a tub is flying by our windows (a horrible Oz reference) and we’re ducking swirly tornados, the next I’m stripping down to my undershirt in the sun during my hour lunch break. In one day I saw snow, hail, rain and very warm sunny skies. Tonight, the temp is dropping back down to 35˚F. Tomorrow? 70˚F. Anyhow, enough whining about weather. I should be grateful to live in a place with four seasons, right? It makes the anticipation of each rather exciting. Except winter. Winter feels like death.

Oh wait. I have more whining. This royal wedding business. It’s over, right? Does this mean I can go back to my empty, soulless life–living without heart-shaped, jelly-filled donuts from Dunkin, flamboyant grocery-store cakes with the faces of the the royal couple, and the sparse (but still too many) British flags flying about in the neighborhood? I just don’t get it. It’s America, people. Don’t we have something better to do at 4 in the morning? Sleep, maybe?

Wow. I’m a total crankpot this evening. To be fair, all I request is a Snickers and a Midol. (Maybs one of those Reester Bunnies!)

Please, tell me you’ve heard of the Reester Bunny. Happy weekend!
xx

PCLD: Let’s Talk Post-College Blues

All right. This will be my first semi-serious post, and for this reason, I will attempt to step up my game on the little doodles. There’s nothing a pregnant cat in a penguin t-shirt cuddling a 10-day-old puppy can’t soften. Right? Or this…

Anyway, to keep this rolling in the right direction, and away from cracker-nibbling rodents, let’s move on to my late night, earth-shattering epiphany. (Please note: my epiphanies are more frequent than the time it takes for new episodes of House to show up on hulu.com. Still.)
I’ve recently come to the conclusion that pretty much every young person I’ve come in contact with these days–in particular, my crew–has been negatively affected by college. It’s not college at all. It’s the after college that seems to destroy people. And if an undergrad happened to go to grad school, this mental disorder was only prolonged until after that degree. I thought it might be more helpful to set this disorder up in a way that might be accessed as easily as any other WebMD definition. 
PCLD: Post-Traumatic Life Disorder
Much like a premature version of a “Midlife Crisis,” PCLD can be classified as a mood disorder that interferes with everyday life and occurs following the anticipated graduation from any post-secondary education. PCLD is characterized by one or any of the following categories:
Avoidance
This category is normally defined by those “fresh” out of college or post-secondary schooling. After a number of years confined to a rigorous routine of responsibility, one might find a false sense of solace in abstaining from anything academic or related to his or her field of study.
“I’m just going to take a break”
  • Feelings of detachment
  • Emotional “numbness”
  • Little to no concern for future
  • Lethargy
  • Weight gain
  • Lack of interest in field of study, or former interests
  • Minimum wage job(s)
  • Heavy drinking, followed by a need to “just dance
  • Sense of stagnancy without the will to change
  • Caffeine dependence
  • Facebook
Negative Self-Realization
The definition of this category relies heavily on the lingering insecurities of adolescence. It is largely found in those who pursue degrees in the arts or similar creative studies. As creators, it is common for those with PCLD to experience symptoms directly and/or indirectly related to their creations, such as feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness, and a need to change goals in light of negative self-discoveries; PCLD commonly takes the shape of feelings and actions associated with early adolescence. This category is also referred to as Regressive Post-Traumatic Life Disorder.
“I don’t know what I want.”
  • Hopelessness and self-blame
  • Search for an undefined dream or goal
  • Lack of confidence
  • Sense of making the “wrong choices
  • Indecisive
  • Nostalgic
  • Interfering, and often unwarranted, fear of failure
  • Depression
  • Nick at Nite
Defensive Frustration
The last category of PCLD is the most actualized. Hardly a resolution, these symptoms often surface in the latter stages of PCLD, typically in response to previous categories’ symptoms. If the pendulum were, for instance, swinging downward in the other categories, this is the most erratic, upward swing of PCLD, characterized by a hyperactive ego, which follows a low, often depressive, state.
“The world is my goddamn oyster.”
  • Sense of freedom from rules and life limitations
  • Exaggerated responses and reactions
  • A tendency to be overly defensive
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Inflated sense of self
  • Irritability or outbursts of anger
  • Hyperawareness, or paranoia
  • Impulsive and often masochistic life decisions
  • Heavy drinking
  • Insomnia
  • Sports

Without being funny, I’d like to explain myself. I’m pretty sure the time frame for the once-typical “coming of age” has been prolonged. Unfortunately for most, the decision is already made. You’re going to college right after high school. Your other option is to go against your parents, society, your peers… If you don’t go, you are looked down upon. C’mon. We’ve all eyed up the “Votech” kids as if they were of below-average intelligence. I have since changed my opinion.
Once you find a school, you must then choose what you want to do for the rest of your life. Key words here: rest of your life. It’s like a death sentence. From the moment you were hatched, the hopes were instilled: you can be anything you want, even president! Big dreams create high hopes, which are then introduced to the “real world” of low odds and let down. Next step: PCLD. Am I right?
I’m not here to knock education or academics. I’m not even sure what I’m knocking. I just know that the majority of my peers are struggling to find jobs, struggling to know what it is they really want, and feel as though they are the only ones out there experiencing it. NO, please know that you are not. There are a gazillion kids with degrees and no hope for a future.
I guess my questions are simply (ha!):
  1. Will the majority of us ever know what we want OR be happy with what we have?
  2. Is the previous question linked to the infinite realm of possibilities?
  3. Are we just a bunch of spoiled babies?
  4. Are we “spoiled babies” because of the false hopes that were instilled in us? Who is to blame?
  5. Is there a job that is completely fulfilling, while remaining so for the longevity of working life?
  6. When will the education system STOP making studies about money and more about skills/intelligence?
  7. When does PCLD end? Is there a cure?
  8. Will Dr. House and Cuddy ever get back together?
Well?