Archive for September, 2010

Life needs vents

September 2, 2010

I lie on the bed, hands spread across the straining, venous pod kept so neatly flat, or just a whisper round, a mere eight months ago. The boy inside squirms and kicks, erecting thick spines of skin beneath my inquisitive fingers. I always imagined myself a maker of girls, of women, but I think at him that I love him just the same. There is no crime in contradicting my fantasies. Everyone else has managed it at some point.
There are things I cannot fantasize. My boy and my girl as adults, or on the cusp, taking possession of the world as death begins to give my generation a lusty eye. I cannot imagine them big and strong and completing thoughts about philosophies and enemies while our bodies wither and strain and fall apart in a million, petty, petulant ways.
My grandmother used to tell me never to get old. That there was nothing good about it. She missed that her being old was certainly good for me. Or maybe she didn’t, she wasn’t being so serious.
Right now the weather in Rome is beautiful. The city began to tremble and purr again September first. The hot coma of August forgotten in a day. A brisk air blew the Romans back from their beaches, the old brown ones, the young loud ones, the rarer ones with pale, inscrutable grimaces–deviants within the Italian way.
But in spite of my favorite season taking its perch, it has to be said that I am down. Struggling. I have a husband. He claims to love me, but we don’t talk much. He is a facilitator, a busy bee. Maybe that we don’t talk makes the loving come easier. Maybe talk is unrelated to love. Maybe we do talk and I’m just depressed. And he’s just busy buzzing about, as he sees it. I feel guilt even questioning how much company he should provide. Ingratitude, shadowed by loneliness, followed by resentment at the ingratitude. Must I always run to my friends for company? I am being unfair. Probably I am being unfair.
It is one of those: ‘I gave up everything’ days. And even as I submit my claim by snubbing him, I know it is nonsense. Dear Edda, marriage is not easy. Especially when you become pregnant and are genetically punished with gestational diabetes even though you are exceedingly fit and reasonably thin. I pull chubby pearls of blood from my fingertips all day long and wait through the anxious countdown on the glucose to machine to see if the time for insulin has arrived. So far it has not, but the placenta is ever growing, ever sending stronger hormonal signals that interfere with my ability to produce insulin. It is a siege. My men are holding out on a diet of lean proteins, vegetables, toast, olive oil, nuts, unflavored yogurt, some fruit, soy milk without sugar, and absolutely nothing else. Being melodramatic, I call it the: “eat nothing that tastes good frequently” diet. Actually, it’s fairly close to my regular consumption pattern, but I want my occasional Twix bar, my ample bowls of cereal softened in soy milk, sugar-added. I want my wine. Was that out loud?
All of this restraint enhances the self-pitying sense that I have moved halfway across the world and am being punished with a culture I never had any particular interest in, but in which the people are too kind to broker any legitimate complaint. Why can’t they just be a little more Finnish, so I can complain about all the cold salmon AND how much fish they eat?
The truth may be that if I were not forbidden red wine and chocolate and long runs and a good night’s sleep and a body that was easy to steer, none of these grievances would make a peep. The truth is more likely that we always generate grievances. Schopenhauer believed that everything we do is meant to stave off the curse of boredom, inertia. Maybe generating grievances falls under that rubric. I for one think it’s right and good to have these days. Benjamin Franklin believed that good people should always have at least one bad vice; this is what makes you relatable, human, other than cloyingly perfect. I think the same is true of venting, from time to time, our trifling tribulations. Your mamma is a peasant no less preoccupied with the picayune than the rest.