Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Life Sucks Like A Freshly Unclogged Toilet

Couldn't really think of a different title to this post. My apologies. But it is accurately descriptive of my state of being at the moment, unfortunately.

Lemme go ahead and get the whinefest out of the way then I'll try to weave some sort of gnostic wisdom into this somehow.

Gripe #1: My stepsons have been driving me batshit crazy and I'm tired of fighting with my husband about their behavior; thank the All that they are at their birthmother's the next two weeks. She is trying to virtual-school them for one of those weeks so that she can keep them a week after Spring Break and quite honestly I have to say that as a substitute Learning Coach she sucks! Ugh. I'm watching the boys grades go down the drain.

Granted, it's been funny from our perspective(mine and my husband's) watching this all happen in their gradebook online. We can accurately tell when she's trying to be firm with them and when they're tap dancing all over her head like she's an idiot. I even wrote her a five page Guidebook for heaven's sake, describing in great detail all the stunts they'll try to pull and how to deal with it! Does she call and ask for help? Nope. I offered. And it was sincere. If she called I would honestly put the crackdown on those boys if she asked me to; however then of course Daddy would have some serious questions for them when they came home about why they act like such jerks. .. oh wait. That was last week. And that discussion didn't really lead anywhere. I feel like I'm caught in the Groundhog Day movie.

Gripe #2: discovered my cat is bulimic. Our carpet cleaner has been getting quite a workout lately. Only made the logical diagnosis when I spotted him wolfing down his food then sauntering his fat ass over to the Siamese's bowl, shoving her out of the way, gulping down half her portion, and then walked over to the carpet to hurl it all back up. I swear this cat is just about too damn stupid to live. (And no he doesn't have an allergy to the food.)

So now I have to feed the Siamese in our bedroom and el stupido gordo in the kitchen, effectively locking the two apart from one another until the bowls are empty or they lose interest. Then pick the bowls up. Otherwise, the male speeds his butt on over to her bowl and digs in. Then I have to shoo him away and that's just a sad dramatic story all in itself because he's really a very stubborn cat and this argument of ours tends to get a bit loud. He's not very good at taking no for an answer. My foot on his face and shoving him in the opposite direction is usually how we settle the disagreement. Even then sometimes he has to be the masochist and come running back for some more yelling and foot action on my part. He is seriously demented. Sweet and cuddly. But demented.

The few times my mother has watched him for a couple of days she always drops him off early saying, "that cat is a jackass!" and who am I to disagree? I have literally woken up to his bad cat breath in my face, wondering what the hell he was doing in the house, and then found a Post It note on the inside of my front door saying, "Honey, your cat is a jackass." No joke. She really does this.

And he is a pushy little jackass. I'm sure our neighbors think our cats are starved and beaten. Au contraire. They just have their humans wound around their little kitty paws and oh boy do they know it. I open a can of tuna in this house and the Siamese sounds like a baby who hasn't been fed in a week. I swear, I'd wire her jaws shut if I didn't love that little brat so much. Her name isn't Little Big Mouth for nothing. A pedigreed brat. At least she isn't bulimic. She does have that going in her favor. And she is the absolute best movie critic. The more blood and gore she sees in a movie the harder she switches her tail across my face and chatters at the TV. She loves scary movies.

I'm just really sick of cleaning up orange colored puke stains in the carpet. Why do they have to put so much food dye in animal kibble anyway? Then again, why do we have white carpets in this apartment??

Gripe #3: My fish died yesterday. I really miss him. Beta. Off white with red fins. He was gorgeous. I think he had an albino somewhere in his lineage because at first glance you'd swear he was a female. I bought him because I thought he was a cool looking little cross dresser and anyone else would just plain make fun of him. I wouldn't. I like the misfits and the outcasts. He was a real sweety.

The boys are coming back next Thursday and I honestly don't know how to reconcile myself with that fact. I feel like locking myself in my own closet and reading a book all day just to get away from their attitudes. And anyone who wants to comment, please be aware of this first: yes, the kids know me. I've been in their lives for more than a few years now. No, they don't need 'divorce therapy,' they're just regular kids who will take ten miles if you give them an inch. With ADHD. And lungs. And the ability to turn my hair gray with their reckless shenanigans. Hubby says that if they both keeps this crap up he's going to have to switch to the night shift. (I'm not quite convinced that he doesn't fear I have homicidal tendencies.) Nah. Xanax + iPod. Problem solved. But that doesn't mean my roots don't need constant touch ups from the stress. I'm giving Clairol a lot of my money lately.

If it was legal I'd put them both in a box, turn on a camera, sell tickets to the fight, and let them duke it out like a pair of pissed off chinchillas. I think that sometimes that's just what siblings need- to kick the crap out of eachother and be done with it. That'd be stress relieving for all of us, don't you think? The masses are entertained, money flows in the bank, and the kids end up so tired that they actually don't have the energy to run their mouths and piss anyone off.

About that gnostic wisdom bit I mentioned in the beginning? I just ain't feeling it. The closest I've come to any kind of rational thought the past few days is today when I finished reading Anne Rice's "Vittorio, The Vampire" book. (First edition, ya'll! My first edition collection of Anne Rice's books are my only materialistic vice.)

Page nine of the book contained such a piece of eloquent drama I feel compelled to recount it for you here. Simply magnificent!!

Vittorio is talking about how he may be a blood sucking revenant of a monster but that makes him no less a human being with human feelings with an equally important life story to tell. Then he began reciting a passage from Sheridan Le Fanu's story called "the Familiar."
"Whatever may be my uncertainty as to the authenticity of what we are taught to call revelation, of one fact I am deeply and horribly convinced, that there does exist beyond this a spiritual world-- a system whose workings are generally in mercy hidden from us-- a system which may be, and which is sometimes, partially and terribly revealed. I am sure-- I know... that there is a god-- a dreadful God-- and that retribution follows guilt, in ways most mysterious and stupendous-- by agencies the most inexplicable and terrific; -- that there is a spiritual system-- great God, how I have been convinced!- a system malignant, and inexplicable, and omnipotent, under whose persecutions I am, and have been, suffering the torments of the damned!
Vittorio then begins speaking to his Readers again saying,
"What do you think of that?

I am myself rather mortally struck by it. I don't think I am prepared to speak of our God as "dreadful" or our system as "malignant," but there seems to be an eerie inescapable ring of truth to these words, written in fiction but obviously with much emotion.

It matters to me because I suffer under a terrible curse, quite unique to me, I think, as a vampire. That is, the others don't share it. But I think we all-- human, vampire, all of us who are sentient and can weep-- we all suffer under a curse, the curse that we know more than we can endure, and there is nothing, absolutely nothing, we can do about the force and the lure of this knowledge."

This curse Vittorio bears is indeed unique among vampires: he can see the divine glow of the human Spark in every person on the planet. Vampire, human, doesn't matter. Anyone with a human soul has this gold aura to his eyes.

So as he's killing to feed he has to acknowledge that his actions are slowly snuffing out a spark from the Divine. He literally sees the light dim and then die altogether. That is the unique suffering he must bear. And why? Because he broke a deal with three angels.

The angels agreed to help him physically enter the vampire coven's(this is when he was human still) castle if he himself will do the actual slaying in order to avenge his slaughtered village. The angels cannot kill without divine command so Vittorio has to do the actual killing. The angels fulfill their part of the bargain but Vittorio grows a conscience and backs out when it comes to the last coven member, Ursula, with whom he is unfortunately infatuated.

He argues with the angels saying that if Ursula repents of all her past sins then he will kill her-- IF they swear that her soul will go to Heaven. But the angels cannot say whether or not her soul will go to heaven and because they see his conflict they back away and let Vittorio do what he wants. In the end, Ursula tricks Vittorio into becoming like her and he's so pissed about it that they go on a killing spree but that's not really the point.

The real kick in the pants is that two of the angels Vittorio first sees are the very guardian angels of a painter he adores. And because he happens to glimpse behind the veil of reality and spy on the guardian angel's activities he changes(or does he??) the painter's future. When your guardian angels aren't around and are helping other people what kind of mischief can a person get into?!!

Fra Filippo Lippi ends up kidnapping a nun from a convent, her sister, and then setting up a house with all three of them! His vice was women and without his guardian angels to steer him clear of temptations he apparently said to hell with it and royally screwed the pooch. The town wanted to lynch him.

A whispering came to Vittorio's ear, "One might wonder where were his guardian angels on the day that Fra Filippo did such a mad thing?"

Vittorio whirls around and sees no one.

Finally, after much running about he is allowed to see all the angels he brokered a deal with. As a vampire he could not understand why he could still see them. They explained his newly(and uniquely) damned status: he would forevermore see angels when he viewed Fra Lippi's paintings and he would always see the bright divine spark of God within humans to remind him of his bad decision to linger on earth longer than a human should have a right.

Technically, he was tricked, right? But he wouldn't kill Ursula unless she was repentant and she wasn't so..... he's just plain out of luck.

A few points of interest I found particularly intriguing was that Vittorio mentions it's not just Fra Lippi's paintings which take on a lifelike quality when he views them; his son, Filipino's paintings of angels are quickened in his presence as well.

The two angels who first attract Vittorio's attention are portrayed in Fra Lippi's "Annunciation" series of paintings. I managed to find one of the angels. He talks about the one with 'peacock feathers in his wings.' I have not been so lucky to see the second angel.

Vittorio's parting words to his Readers :

"Gold. that is what I see when I look at you.

That is what I see when I look at any man, woman, and child.

I see the flaming celestial gold that Mastema revealed to me. I see it surrounding you, and holding you, encasing you and dancing with you, though you yourself may not behold it, or even care.

From this tower tonight in Tuscany, I look out over the land, and far away, deep in the valleys, I see the gold of human beings, I see the glowing vitality of beating souls."

..... "I am not saying I am a great painter. I am not such a fool. But I say that out of my pain, out of my folly, out of my passion there comes a vision-- a vision which I carry with me eternally and which I offer to you.

It is a vision of every human being, bursting with fire and mystery, a vision I cannot deny, nor blot out, nor ever turn away from, nor ever belittle nor ever escape.

Others write of doubt and darkness.

Others write of meaninglessness and quiet.

I write of indefinable and celestial gold that will forever burn bright.

I write of blood thirst that is never satisfied. I write of knowledge and its price.

Behold, I tell you, the light is there in you. I see it. I see it in each and every one of us, and will always. I see it when I hunger, when I struggle, when I slaughter. I see it sputter and die in my arms when I drink.

Can you imagine what it would be like for me to kill you?

Pray it never takes a slaughter or a rape for you to see this light in those around you. God forbid that it should demand such a price. Let me pay the price for you instead."

Vittorio may be a fictional vampiric martyr but I think there is a lesson to be learned in this poetic bit of prose: Anne Rice is a closet gnostic. And she, like all of us, is perpetually 'under construction.'