25 August 2008

irrational phobias for dummies - aaahh!! dummies!!!

This originally went up on my MySpace blog on July 4th but I think it fits the criteria for this blog, too, which means that it is neurotic, rambling, and vaguely amusing, and that I don't think it's particularly depressing or offensive.

Well now, aren't I just the gift that keeps on giving? Another blog! Just as inane and meandering as the last one - and that's a promise.

I've been watching a marathon of "The Twilight Zone" on the Sci-Fi Channel. I forgot until a few hours ago that they show a few dozen episodes on New Year's Eve and day and July 4th, give or take a few hours. I always manage to miss my favorite episodes (although at the moment I couldn't tell you which ones those are).
I do remember that last New Year's I ended up watching the one where Marsha couldn't leave the department store and it turns out she was a mannequin - you know, the episode that irrevocably scarred me for life and caused a deep-seated, unhealthy and completely irrational fear of mannequins, dummies, and by some odd extension, wigs. I knew I should have turned it off as soon as it came on but I couldn't do it - I couldn't stop watching. And I have to tell you, that's the scariest fecking thing I've ever seen. Forget any of the Saw movies; anything with zombies or mass murderers or contagious flesh-eating diseases or body-snatchers. Mannequins scare the hell out of me. I avoid them in department stores and I won't turn my back to them . . . Aw, hell. I can feel a panic attack coming on just thinking about it. Damned soul-sucking plastic minions of the devil...
Where was I?
Right. "The Twilight Zone."
Seems like I always end up watching the episodes I don't like. Or I should say, the ones I don't like as much. Burgess Meredith was in an awful lot of episodes, wasn't he? And something about him just grates on my nerves. I can't explain it - although I do like the episode where he's a librarian on trial for being obsolete. I don't know why.
It's funny I was thinking about those two episodes. Because they sum my life experience up pretty well. I like books. And I hate things with faces (things meaning inanimate objects, not people or animals or actually most stuffed animals but that's probably because I was never allowed any pets growing up).
I think part of my problem with mannequins also stems from the fact that when I was young and impressionable I watched a TV program called "Today's Special." I'll elaborate for the uninitiated here, which I sincerely hope is everyone, because, damn.
"Today's Special," like so many other crappy, crappy things, was produced in Canada, America's hat. As I recall, the basic premise was that this woman named Jodie worked in a department store at night (I'm not sure why). Jodie hat a magic hat she put on a mannequin named Jeff, who had spectacularly awful hair, and the hat brought him to life. There was also a large, rather creepy puppet named Sam who was something like a security guard. He had a huge mustache and the sleepy eyes and red nose of a career alcoholic. The character I liked was Muffy the mouse. She had the coolest little tiny apartment in a tiny building with a tiny elevator, and all of these little bitty clothes and accessories and even a little bitty motorcycle. I wanted all of her stuff very badly (for one of my favorite toys, a 5-inch tall stuffed cat named Crinklebine). Although in retrospect Muffy was a little creepy looking as well. I don't remember any specific plots but I do remember that even though I knew it was coming it creeped the hell out of me when Jeff came to life.
Aw, hell. Why am I blogging about this before bed? I'm going to have psychotic dreams about the evil plastic people. Plotting malicious deeds under cover of night, locked in their stores, their limbs unnaturally shiny - some missing appendages and bearing metal rods instead of hands, their harsh faces frozen, cold dead eyes fixed on a target in the distance, some with sloppily painted hair molded to their perfectly rounded skulls, others with hastily styled wigs hanging lifelessly from their heads, hard lips locked together, impossibly proportioned torsos straining forward, ready to lean in, to push, to crush, to strangle, to press in, smother, suffocate, violate, kill...
Crimeny. Nick was right - I am action-packed with issues. But you know what? When the mannequins rebel and unite and attempt a takeover, I'll be ready with a sawed-off shotgun and my daddy's Ruger, shooting their plastic noggins off.

Maybe I should see my therapist twice a week.

17 August 2008

(old) Lady sings the blues

I’m starting to feel old.

I know it’s a little ridiculous because I’m twenty-four. I’m certainly not in any rush to feel older. And it’s not that I feel middle-aged by any means. But lately I have noticed several things that I think are good signs that I am not a kid any more.

For instance, a few days ago I began a sentence with, “When I was your age…” Also, “Kids these days…” And only this morning I realized that I have shoes I bought ten years ago. There are other things. I’ve started to pay attention to ads for eye cream. I have actually accomplished several of my life goals. If I work a long day my back hurts, not just my feet. I can’t get quickly and easily up and off the couch and my knees crack when I bend them past a 90-degree angle.

Most of my favorite books, songs and movies came out at least five years ago but I tend to think they’re only a year or two old. I frequently forget how old I am. I save money with no particular goal in mind. I have no interest in any of the clothes located in the “juniors” department. I’m starting to look back fondly on some parts of my childhood. I remember the last time the Dodgers won the pennant (what was it, twenty years ago?). I no longer find Jim Carrey funny.

I know my blood type. I’ve had my gallbladder removed. I have to adjust the part in my hair to hide grays. I find myself reading more of the newspaper than just the comics. My car was purchased – used, mind you – during the Clinton administration. I know exactly what kind of gas mileage it gets. Facial moisturizer is no longer optional. Cashiers no longer call me “Miss,” it’s “Ma’am” now. And most importantly: in two months, I will get a discount on auto insurance because my prefrontal cortex will have finished growing.

And so it is for these reasons, and twenty million other little ones, that I’m starting to feel a little guilty for watching “SpongeBob SquarePants” when I get home from work, and why I was looking at apartments before my dad went into the hospital with another brain tumor. I may not have aged much since I turned 18, but I’m starting to feel my age. Which is … oh, don’t tell me. It’s, um … I used to know this one …

02 August 2008

Push It

I was wondering the other day about my therapist. I know that I give him migraines sometimes when I get to talking too fast and do my what-ifs and things like that. So even though I'm paying the man I started to wonder if he ever thinks to himself, "Aw, hell, it's Thursday, Jill's coming in."

Apparently not.

I got an extra half-hour on Thursday. I was about thirty-five minutes into my fifty-minute session and I'd been quite happy because I'd come to some important realizations and I was proud of myself. John commented that the way I was handling something was very mature and he was proud of the progress made. Then he told me something he thought related to me, about how he'd come to realize that seeking the approval of others is sort of expecting them to be a certain way, and it's better not to want people to change like that, yadda yadda yadda. I agreed because the way he was explaining it made sense. Then John had to go and tie it all to something that is a very sore subject with me. He said well wasn't it the same there, and wasn't I expecting this person to be a certain way?

Well, that got me going like nothing else and I sure as hell wasn't going to stop once the subject was broached, so I kept going, and he kept egging me on, pushing the subject, and I was shouting, and he seemed to enjoy my rage. At one point he started to tell me something, and I said, "hey, look, we've been at this for three years, and I know exactly what you're going to say. That I have stories I'm telling myself that aren't true, and that I need to let them go, and that I can't change anyone but myself and I shouldn't waste time seeking anyone else's approval." And I went on for another minute, telling him every little trite homily he's ever pushed on me.

He just laughed. "Pretty much," he said. And then he went back to pushing my buttons, trying to get me to see reason even though I'm much happier turning a blind eye to reason or better yet pretending reason isn't reason at all.

"It's not about you, Jill," he insisted.

"Hey, I'm paying you two bucks a minute," I said. "Work with me here."

He refused and said he wasn't going to let me pretend it was about me no matter how much I was paying him. So he tried a different angle with a different point. Finally, 25 minutes after I should have been out of there, I came to the conclusion John wanted me to come to.

"Yes! Hallelujah! Praise Jesus! That's what I've been trying to get you to see."

"Well next time maybe you could save me a little time and tell me what you want me to see from the get-go," I said.

"That wouldn't help you."

"At least point me in the right fecking direction next time."

As we were leaving his office he said to me, "I love these sessions. I have so much fun pushing your buttons."

"So is that what you do when you've had a boring day? Push my buttons for your own amusement?"

He laughed.

But he didn't say no.