I have issues. I know that.
I have learned to deal with my various dysfunctions, and have long since accepted that my everyday decisions are often rooted in unresolved childhood shit. Acceptance and awareness, I have plenty. Willingness to address these issues in any sort of meaningful result-oriented fashion? Not so much.
But they have made moving to a new town tricky.
For example, I have serious issues with physical contact with strangers. Not germ issues, but personal space issues. Plus, I have issues with being girly in any sort of serious way. Draw what conclusions you will. A neighbor this morning asked if I wanted to go get a manicure with her. I would sooner have my nails ripped from my fingers than get a manicure. I am 43 years old and the closest I have ever come to a manicure is when Kallan painted my nails a sloppy fuchsia after I lost a bet about the lyrics to a Miley Cyrus song. Manicures are creepy.
As are facials.
All things I try to avoid. I actually have an easier time going to the doctor than getting my hair cut. Which means that I am generally a pretty unkempt sort of person. I try to make up for that shortcoming with my sparkling personality. That sometimes works.
But now I need a haircut. Badly. I have taken to wearing my sunglasses on top of my head during all waking hours as a way of keeping my hair out of my face. They are on my head as I type this. When I reach this phase, I know it means that my hair is officially too long and out of control. I could buy a headband, but that would mean that I have committed to keeping this long hair, which I have not. So I have been the strange woman who wears her sunglasses on her head despite the fact that it is very rarely sunny in Oregon (and certainly not inside of her own house).
If there was just some way to get some gas (like at the dentist), and then wake up renewed and newly coiffed.
Oh my god — Have you ever seen a comedian named Robert Schimmel? So funny. He does this bit about going to the dentist and after having the nitrous oxide gas administered, he hears the dentist say, “Ok, Robert, you’re going to feel a little prick in your mouth.”
Robert responds, “Yeah. . . I am not that fucked up yet.”
Long pause as he waits for the laughter to die down, and then, conversationally . . .
“So I’m blowing him. It’s not that bad on the gas.”
Kris again — Sooooooo . . . . barring the possibility of trading nitrous oxide blow-jobs for a haircut (and wouldn’t that be an intriguing Craigslist posting?), I guess I will just be growing the messy hair out for a while.
Or do they still sell Flowbies?
I told you I have issues.
Here’s another one. An explanation of why I do not keep things in my front pockets. And I promise you I am not making this up.
When I was about 11, my mother took me aside and told me that I needed to tuck my pants pockets in. No biggie, right? Sometimes when you reach into your pocket to retrieve something, the fabric of your pocket pulls out with your clenched hand. Not a big deal, and I’m sure mothers all over the world have told their children to fix their pants pockets.
But then my mother told me (and I have no idea whatsoever why she or any other mother would do this) that having one’s pockets pulled out of one’s pants was a secret signal. A signal of what? According to my mother, my inside-out pockets announced to the world that I was no longer a virgin. She said this in all seriousness and as though she was filling me in on one of the “secrets” that was going to smooth my path through adolescence. And I totally believed her.
For weeks and weeks, I went around completely stressed about keeping my pockets in their proper place. I was totally freaked out about all the people to whom I had inadvertently sent the wrong message, and I worried every time a boy passed me in the hallway at school, thinking that he thought he knew something about me. But there was no way to start that conversation . . . how to explain that I hadn’t known about the secret pocket signal?
I know, I know, I was an idiot.
That story still makes my mom laugh.
I hate the drop-in visit. I like to be prepared for visitors, and I like to prepare the house for visitors. Even if the person ringing the doorbell is someone I know and like, and even if they can see me in the house ignoring them, I have been known to pretend that the doorbell is not ringing. This gets harder as the girls get older, because they run screaming through the house that “Somebody is at the door!”
This obviously makes it more difficult to pretend not to be home.
Before we moved up here, I had actually just started to tell people that they needed to call first, and that I don’t like surprises. But sometimes, caught off guard by the doorbell, I would still lie and spin ridiculous tales about the chain of events that had all come to a head and required my immediate attention just as the doorbell rang. “Which is such a bummer, because I would have loved to invite you in for a cup of coffee.”
The problem is that the neighborhood we are living in now is not a call-ahead make-plans-to-visit kind of place. The doorbell rings a lot! And I have been answering the door, because I have decided that I should make an effort to be normal here in Oregon, and that’s what normal people do. Even if there is unfolded laundry strewn over the couch and a pile of dirty dishes on the counter, I unclench my fists and turn the doorknob. I can be normal.
Kids ring the doorbell and ask if the girls can come out to play all the time. The neighbors stop by to ask if the girls are coming home on the bus, or if I want to go for a walk, or if the dogs smelled the skunk that wandered through our neighborhood last night. Plus, since we are renting a house with some issues of its own, I need to open the door to various workmen and handy-people. Nice stuff, all, but every time the doorbell rings, I feel a moment of panic.
Why? CPS. That’s Child Protective Services, to those of you not in the know. When I was a kid, our family lived (looking back, I see there was good reason) in fear of a visit from Child Protective Services. A surprise knock on the door or an unexpected ring of the doorbell meant a social worker was coming to check on us. I was never sure what evil the social worker could do, but it was clear that a threat of some sort had been made. And all of us kids were trained in such a moment to throw ourselves to the floor and hide silently below the level of the window frames. And so, over the course of my childhood, we hid from salesmen and neighbors and landlords, and quite possibly, a social worker or two. Inside world? Good. Outside world? Bad.
And so now, when the doorbell rings, I instantly feel the urge to hide beneath the windows until the intruder drives away.
It’s hard to make new friends when you are hiding from them, so I am working on it.
Among other issues.
More dysfunctional onion peelings to follow. This is just that dry crackly outside stuff that can’t possibly make you cry.
Or maybe I will just gossip about Mark’s foibles next time. He would love that.