Friday, August 6, 2010

"How old ARE you?"

I'm so sorry to have gone missing. I have been going Since When mad. Now that Chip recognized the email problem (which went on for a month and a half, not just one as we originally surmised), I've had so much catching up to do, because Rich was sending me chunks of book for review all along. Well, I'm up to date for the minute, because Rich has promised me more. Daunting, but a good thing.

Naturally, as I re-look at sections, I feel the need to rewrite them. What sucks is I know I'm making them better, so I can't just tell myself to, "Quit it, you dumb fuck!" So I plow on. Hey, I'm making generational connections that I never saw the first time through. But they're there, and they fascinate me. The latest lightbulb to go off in my head (or rather, the very same zap from the fly zapper as Beavis (of Beavis and Butthead fame), gets above his head to let us know he has an idea.) is about us boomers. We are so keyed up about the past (with genealogy about to become a trial sport at the Summer Olympic games in London and all) that we can't look to the future. We've been deprived of nothing; we can't accept loss.

Like me. I'm furious that medical science has nothing for me. I can't even be gracious like Dorothy when she told the wizard that she was afraid there was nothing in his bag for her. (She didn't know Glinda was on her way.) As a buddy of mine would whine after dealing with someone very unlike Dorothy Gayle, "What about my needs?" He was very funny, but I never realized how universally true it is for us middle class kids of all stripes. We don't know deprivation. Our parents had The Great Depression and World War II for starters. My brother and I have remarked many time how our parents generation, post war, settled in and became grown-ups. Careers began, families started, houses bought. And they took this all very seriously, for they were living a life that their own parents could never have imagined.

I have a call into my mother to talk to her about whether she and my father ever talked about the demise of Yiddish and its transformation into a charming relic used in New York slang. My mother's family spoke Hungarian. But Dad grew up in a Yiddish-speaking household. I can't believe he was happy seeing Yiddish disappear. I think, though, with all the crap his generation had been through, he looked forward not back. (Yes he loved World of Our Fathers and The Joys of Yiddish.) I know as I write and rewrite Since When, I'm finally looking at loss for the first time straight on, and I don't like it. Not one bit. "What about my needs?"

I rail that medical science can't fix me. Why do I feel such a sense of entitlement? Our parents and their parents were as heartbroken as we are when we lose the ones we love. But they accepted this as part of the deal. They looked forward. What a concept. Why my mother was so taken by the 1939-40 World's Fair even with the Nazi's invading Poland on September 1, 1939? Yes, yes. She completely got the horror of Adolf Hitler. But she still had that hope for the future. That fair still beckoned even with the Poles, Czechs (for starters) unable to go home after the fair closed.

With my newfound wisdom, I can't now say, "Yes, I accept my lot as the buddha on the couch who can't speak today because mucus has settled on my vocal chords." No circle of life shit for me. I'm still and will remain pissed as hell. One of my favorite FB quotes that I have put on my info page and will live on as long as I do. "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore."

And no, I'm not going to chuck Since When into the trash. Writing it is a good thing.

1 comment:

  1. Brava, Fran! Stay mad, it's invigorating! Great post.