February 21, 2009

Back in the real world, sort of

Home again, home again, earlier than planned. Call me Spanish school dropout. (No graduation day for me.) Just say it in English, because my vocab in espanol is rather limited. So is my knowledge of verbs.

In Argentina, I lived in the present tense. I had no past and no future. It is an interesting way to perceive and the world.

Actually, it is quite apropos, given our brave new world and goings-on in Wonderland and places beyond. The past is history and the future a huge question mark. Will Alice need to find another gig to keep her in the style to which she is accustomed? Or are those days gone, regardless of what gig she comes up with?

Teaching English as a second language seems a possibility. It is a gig with instant credibility, something Alice believes has been lost in her current so-called profession. She thinks Madoff made everyone in her line of work appear as credible as car salesmen are usually wont to be. This does not inspire trust, a necessary element in Alice's work.

In Wonderland Alice is grateful for her health and mobility: TBF (aka Clover's Companion) had a second back surgery in Alice's absence. She will spend months recuperating. Alice would still feel better if TBF would hire a pro for her caretaking, but it's not her choice.

Husband-the-doctor (HTmD), to Alice, appears on the verge of a breakdown. Alice kindly brought him Cuban cigars that she had rolled in a T-shirt in her suitcase. She tells him to take care of himself, but he seems to fall short in that arena.

Today he shopped and brought home the wrong toilet paper, to TBF's dismay. Alice held her tongue. To her, as we know, toilet paper is not created equal. HTmD is a boy; he doesn't make the distinctions Alice and TBF make. He is also bewildered by all things domestic, and Alice wonders how he survived his lengthy bachelorhood.

HTmD is running himself ragged while TBF is incapacitated, calling herself a cripple with a scoliosis-like brace to wear as part of the recovery plan. He is stunningly clueless about their everyday life -- all things remotely domestic.

Alice has never lived in the world of couples, where one brings in the money and the other manages it, much less one in which food supply falls to the female and the male seems unable to manage for himself. Perhaps it is simply all the stress: Alice will buy that. Under stress, brushing teeth can be problematic.

Doctor-husband cannot ascertain by himself where to put the tuna fish cans. He cannot apply heat to food (nor can TBF). That in itself is not a problem, but his failure to find nutrition that is not on the Chinese food or pizza menu puzzles Alice. Shouldn't an M.D. know what they call a balanced meal? Perhaps order one to be delivered? Cash is not the problem, but common sense is in short supply, or perhaps stress has taken its place.

This is why Alice ran away, and why Alice, once she excavates her dining room table, will be just as happy to get on the plane to Mexico next week. She cannot, it seems, bear witness to that which drives her insane. Apparently Alice is a control freak: who knew? Or is Alice the last to get that memo?

In BA Alice had fleeting maternal tendencies: one day she almost decided to wake up the Twit for school, and another night, while they smoked on the balcony, Alice wanted to lecture her about protein and safe sex. (The women of Buenos Aires have emergency kits for sale in their ladies' rooms: two pesos for a toothbrush, one for a condom. That will see them through the night.) However, Alice refrained.

Twit is massively devoted to Boyfriend, with whom she "chats" for hours via instant messaging, although that doesn't stop her from going out and finding a boy to fuck. One morning she came home and announced that she had gotten laid. Alice hoped that having sex would have calmed her down a bit, but no such luck.

When Alice was 19, she probably acted very much like Twit, except that she kept a bit more of her personal life to herself, and she didn't feel the need to tell anyone how intelligent she was. She was probably more about the hair, makeup, and clothes than she remembers. In retrospect, she was definitely more about the conquests than the intimacy.

Thirty years later, Alice has a different take on the world. She is again dating: tonight is her second date with the Artist, a woman Alice met on line and with whom she giggles madly on the telephone. They courted via email during Alice's hiatus. The Artist's Valentine's Day/Friday the 13th email cheered Alice immensely.

So, brave new world aside, Alice is up for more adventures. Keep your fingers (or other parts of your anatomy, as you choose) crossed for her. She wants something to work out with the Artist. Alice, perhaps, has found something to hope for, something/someone to add to her life.

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