Saturday, August 30, 2008

Random: city living, levi's, and anna finally comes up with a use for princesses

We live close to a main road in a small city. Since we are fairly close to downtown, we get and expect the usual: people who walk down the street and shout at everyone, or scream about the Pope, or assault their girlfriends in plain sight. We have our share of kids with nothing to do, who congregate in the parking lot of the building across the road, or who ride weird contraptions such as shopping carts and old rusty wagons down the hill next to our house. We have a neighbour who is evangelical and mentally unstable. That's a lot of fun. It's noisy, during the day and sometimes at night because we live a few blocks away from the hospital.

Last night, at about 10:30, I was dozing off in E's room (she has a lovely rocking chair that puts me to sleep) when I heard a loud noise - not the squeal and impact noise of a car crash - more like somebody sent a very large item tumbling down the hill beside our house. I heard N go outside, and then I heard a lot of shouting. I looked out my front door and discovered that something had tumbled down the hill - an SUV. It was upside down on the street, across the road from our house.

A teenager who lives in the neighbourhood told us that there had been a big fight in the parking lot of a local grocery store - the people who had started the fight had piled into the SUV, tore out of the parking lot near our house, failed to properly negotiate the corner and flipped the car. When they saw what they had done, they didn't hang around. Four or five of them crawled out of the crushed vehicle and took off down the street, with N and another neighbour chasing them, shouting after them to stop. The EMS and police arrived seconds later, too late to stop them.

There was no one left in the car. Any injuries they had would seem to be minor, which is a good thing. According to N, the SUV reeked of alcohol. There were fortunately no pedestrians nearby at the time - and our sidewalks are well travelled day and night - because the car crossed the sidewalk and took out a no parking sign on its way to its final destination.

I think what gets me is the absolute lack of concern for any rules, any lives, including their own. They didn't stick around long enough to see if anyone was hurt - they left their (or likely their parents') car in the middle of the road and went racing down the street as fast as their teenage legs could carry them.

Some of the other teens at the accident scene knew who they were, and did give their names to the police. One had a lot of explaining to do when his mother turned up as one of the many spectators who passed by.

In almost four years of living here, this is the first serious accident we've seen. People get stuck in the snow in front of our house all the time, thanks to the aforementioned hill. I worry that someone will be hurt, because cars come around the corner and tear down the street like they are late for their own wedding, or the second coming. Luckily, nobody was hurt (that we know of), but it easily could have happened this time. I wish people would just think....

I haven't owned a pair of levi's since I was 12 years old. I wore those pants out, and when I finally consented to getting rid of them, they were way too short for me, and full of holes. I loved those pants, loved the way I looked in them, loved the fact that they were Levi's just like everyone else wore. I have longed for Levi's since then, for no real reason other than I would feel like I'd accomplished something if I could walk in and buy Levi's off the rack, take them home and look at my shrinking self in those beautiful pants. I know, there are probably tons of pants that would look just as good, but my inner child still wants Levi's.

I finally have some, courtesy of Value Village (I seldom buy anything new for myself - why bother when there is a shopping mecca full of lovely clothes in my size a few minutes drive away?). And they look every bit as good as the imaginary Levi's I have conjured for myself ever since I was a kid.

I look good. I mean, I look really good. I keep thinking that I still weight three hundred pounds, and I surprise myself when I look in the mirror. I don't look like an obese person anymore. There are a few extra pounds, but nothing like before.

So, why do I still think I'm ugly? Why, in my lowest moments, do I worry that no one would want to be with me? It's like the stories I told myself for years are still alive inside my body, still insisting on spreading their dark energy around, keeping me from really loving and accepting who I am. I must work on that. The stories I tell myself keep me from a lot of things - they keep me at arms length from people I would like to be close to, they keep me from revealing my true nature to most of the world. Why would I keep telling those stories? The only purpose they serve is to keep me here, keep me safe, except that being alone and isolated doesn't feel safe any more. it's time to start telling myself some new stories, to start believing in myself again. Or for the first time ever, depending on how you look at it.

I've been struggling to find a way to explain our family changes to E. Since M is eighteen, telling her was a different story - with more explanations, but at least she understood, and could respond. How do you tell a five year old that her mom is gay? And that mom and dad care about each other, but they are not together as a couple anymore (we aren't married, bu we've lived together for more than eight years).

I used princesses. And I hate princesses, specifically the Disneyfied feminine ride off into the sunset with the prince and live happily ever after kind. Oh, they bug me.

Yesterday, E said "Let's pretend there is a princess and she wants to marry a prince and hug and kiss him."

And I said, "Well, what if the princess wanted to marry another princess?"

She looked at me for a second and then said "That would be okay, but we would need to have two crowns."

Two crowns? Fine by me.

So today, we took our regular excursion to the local market. We walk down, she complains all the way there, and then we get a snack and listen to whichever local musician is entertaining the customers. Quality can vary, but I must say, today's folk-style guitarist was quite good. She drinks chocolate milk and eats home made apple fritters with ice cream. I drink my coffee, and occasionally indulge in an fritter, sans creme glace.

She was sitting and wiggling, and being silly as usual, and I told her what she needs to know. I asked her if she remembered how yesterday, the princesses in our game got married. She nodded her head. And then I told her that if I was a princess, I wouldn't want to marry a prince, that I would rather marry a princess. That I would have a girlfriend instead of a boyfriend. And then I told her that her dad and I were going to change things around in the house, so that I could look for a "princess."

I am talking to a five year old, after all.

She looked at me with her beautiful brown eyes and said,"Will we have to move?"

No, no, I reassured her, we would all live together in the house, and mommy and daddy would still be her mommy and daddy. But I will sleep in another room, in the room I use as an office. Is that okay, I ask her.

"Yes." she says, "See my straw? It can dance up and down to the music."

So I guess it's okay. As long as we don't have to move. Which is not part of the plan for at least a year, and possibly more.



Maria said...

You gave her what she needed. Most children really just reach out for that security, need to know that they are mightily loved and will be cared for properly. They are amazingly resilient about the rest.

Earth Muffin said...

You handled that parental moment beautifully.

We live in a town that is good neighborhood/scary neighborhood on a block-by-block basis. Things similar to what you explained happen down the street from us all the time. We've been here for over 11 years and fortunately the worst thing we've had to deal with is homeless people wanting handouts. (fingers crossed)

I'm sure you look great in your Levis! I'm a Levis girl myself. There is nothing like a good pair of Levis. My MIL always gets me a pair for Christmas and it's almost always my favorite gift. You can wear them while you hunt for your princess!