Thursday, June 05, 2008

the consolations of nature and literature

When last we heard from our Drunken Housewife, she was cranky and distraught, worn down by money woes, the annual forsaking of the hopes of a true vacation, the illnesses of her foster kittens (they keep getting eye infections just as they are ready to be put up for adoption, meaning a longer stay in foster care while they aren't getting any smaller and cuter and will be in competition for homes with smaller, fluffier, more colorful kittens), commitments to work at the children's various schools, etc.. But hark, she is perkier. How can this be?

It has been a crazy week, with tons of commitments and errors and obligations. But during this stressful week, your cranky correspondent found joy. First, in the midst of chaperoning a class of pre-k children on an epic field trip to the beach (during which your poor Drunken Housewife got separated and lost and forced to confess her hatred for seeking directions to the elderly and mocking substitute teacher), your poor old narrator saw a pod of dolphins. There is nothing like observing dolphins going about their business to alleviate angst. These particularly obliging animals spent two hours diving up and down perilously near the beach, ignoring the shrieking children pointing and screaming.

Next, there was the always reliable joy of literature. I would defy anyone to maintain a foul mood when reading Malcolm Bradbury's 1959 classic, "Eating People Is Wrong." Who could pout when scanning lines such as "There are parties where everyone comes to like all the others present, and parties where hate burgeons and what is left at the end of the evening is a deep estrangement from the human race. This was the latter kind of party. All about, people were reflecting how alone they were and how little their friends mattered to them."

This has been a rich week for literature indeed, with some deathless pieces being discovered right upon the very premises of your humble author. Five year-old Lucy created a little picturebook called "The Little Princess" under the pen name "Blah Blah." "Why did you have 'Made by Blah Blah' written on your book?" I inquired. ""To be funny," said Lucy in that world-weary way adapted by those who must incessantly explain their actions to the less intelligent hangers-on.

Thankfully the plot was easier to grasp than the choice of nomme de plume. The text stated straightforwardly, "Once upon a time there was a little princess. She get [sic] married." However, even so the more feeble-minded of our household got confused. For awhile I was under the impression that the final illustration showed a glowing princess beaming from behind a large snail, causing me to wonder whether she had wed the snail or rode it down the aisle in an atypical processional, but further examination led me to understand that the princess wore an unusual wedding dress which was not only dark in color but also snail-shaped.

Eight year-old Iris Uber Alles's work was more comprehensible and also uniquely satisfying to her lazy mother, who had earlier in the week engaged in an online dispute on the World of Warcraft trade channel as to whether children should play "Warcraft" (your humble narrator maintaining that Warcraft sparks the imagination and can be enjoyed by a bright child in company with a parent, whilst other players maintained that Warcraft "sends a bad message", albeit they consider it a fit entertainment for themselves). A piece of paper was surreptitiously read once the youthful author's vigilance had flagged, and its contents revealed that Iris had been imagining herself to be living in the ersatz medieval "World of Warcraft":
A note to self, Gelinna (incidentally this was the name of one of Patty Heast's captors) says that we're moving to Goldshire! what luck! I might as well say that we're moving to the Norshire Abby! though I asked father, and we are! Kimberisa (this is the name of one of Iris's WoW characters), there's a man whos selling his inn over there, and all of his men are staying with the business, good men too. you'd have your own bedroom, everything made of silk! you'll get a proper education as a warlock, cook, leatherworker, and miner! Eventually you'll get a good husband, a quite learned one too. you'll have a companion good food, and we'll be so much closer to church! Maybe I could even get a second (illegible)!! If all of this is true (hopefully) then we'll live like (illegible)."
Again the children show their preoccupation with marriage as the end of all things. I would feel a failure as a feminist and person, where it not again for the illustrative example of "Eating People Is Wrong." If Malcolm Bradbury, an Angry Young Man himself, isn't above ruminating upon marriage and having his characters long for it, why should Iris and Lucy be?

Wishing you all pods of dolphins and "good spouses, quite learned ones too", yer old Drunken Housewife.


hughman said...

so much closer to church?? really?

i guess the SH is a "good husband" and a "learned one too".

so much to ask for and look forward to.

M said...

when I'm old, I'm going to be one of those old ladies with six black cats... but for now I can't take any more. :-(

BUT! Ninji is EATING ON HER OWN again, after a month of awful force-feeding (4x/day! plus sub-Q) thank heaven! I am so relieved.

M said...

oh and I meant to say also, that I think that having a good relationship is one of the most important things in life (at least for many people) and wanting one does not make one anti-feminist. that's like thinking that you can't be a feminist and wear lipstick - it's all in HOW you do it!!! ;-)

being kids, they translate this to marriage. which is also not necessarily anti-feminist - but I just read it as "I want to be LOVED" and frankly, who doesn't want that? even folks who prefer cats to humans want the LUVZ.


Epiphany said...

Your WoW debate reminds me mightily of the whole "Burning Man (or Diox campouts, for that matter) isn't an appropriate place for children. It comes down to whether the parents want to watch children, or spend all their time being carefree and having no responsibilities (kind of like children). Apparently you have chosen the first course of action in WoW.

Can't wait to read your adventures at Camp Mathers. Are Joyce and Phil and Violet going again?

the Drunken Housewife said...

I actually pick both, 'Piph. Sometimes I play with Iris, and then I gear my play towards her, and sometimes I play by myself, which is very different. I'm in a guild now where we sometimes have raunchy talk and sometimes debate issues (there was a strong debate about hunting the other night), and sometimes everyone's just focussed on what they are doing and not chatting.

Joyce, Phil & Vi are going to have a solid week of my unrelenting presence!! Wish them luck. Poor Phil looked stressed today.
M, I am SOOO glad to hear about Ninji! I keep worrying about her. I'm too much of a fuck-up to actually call you, but you and Ninji have been in my thoughts. More luvz all around (and kudos to you for adopting a black feral kitten and giving her such wonderful care!!).

JKG said...

From what I can see, marriage is the end of all things. At least, all things spontaneous, footloose, carefree, self-centered and satisfyingly unplanned.