Sunday, May 17, 2015

Ice Cream, Solitaire and other coping mechanisms

Lately, I've been spending most of my discretionary time playing various solitaire games on a little internet game site.  I've played these games for years and years, and before I started with the Pogo website, I played The Sims.  Actually, I'm pretty sure that I relied on The Sims to get through my divorce.  I enjoyed making characters that resembled people in my life, like my former mother-in-law, putting them into a swimming pool or small room and removing the exits so that the little Sims person starved and died.  I also created characters with no cooking skills, sent them to an industrial strength barbecue pit and watched them go up in flames. These little solitaire games are nowhere near as complex, but miniature, animated cards are sort of hypnotizing when I win and they float into neatly stacked piles.

The other day, I noticed that I devote especially long periods of time to solitaire after reading the news.   The world leaves me agitated and depressed in a way that feels similar to my former marriage because we're pretty much trapped on a trajectory that looks worse and worse. over the next 25 years or so.  There's little chance we'll escape unpleasant eventualities over the next 25 years or so, as the Empire declines, what with climate change, economic collapse, the paramilitary police force - the casual brutality of poverty and all that stuff.

It's particularly unpleasant to witness so many dumb, suburban whites moaning about the destruction of property and rationalizing the destruction of life like they were right after shit hit the fan in Baltimore.  It's only a matter of time before shit hits the fan again.  Given that law enforcement kills a brown person every 28 hours or so, you'd think there would be demonstrations every day across the land (Operation Ghetto Storm).  Maybe there are demonstrations every day, but it seems like the only time demonstrations make the national news is when somebody sets something on fire.

While I certainly hope nobody in my own neighborhood sets anything on fire on account of killer cops, I get it that rioting is the language of the unheard.

The Paddle in Seattle, where kayactivists protested imminent drilling in the Arctic by Shell Oil, got some coverage, but it was mostly a bunch of picturesque white folks.

Most US media outlets left this story about 10 year-old Taye Montgomery alone too:

To be fair to the cops, they didn't point pepper spray directly at this little kid.  They just blanketed the crowd, and the little kid happened to be in it with his mother.  Naturally, people instantly started blaming the mom for taking her kid to a demonstration instead of looking at the reason for the demonstration which was that the cop who killed Tony Robbinson, an unarmed teenager, would not be charged.

Any time I go to my computer and am confronted by all the injustice and inequity in our country, I wind up eating unnecessary carbohydrates and turning to Juggle Gin a card game on not a cocktail.

This trend has got to stop because through overeating and inactivity, I've gained back all the weight I lost back when I was dieting in solidarity with Pinko, who was under doctor's orders to lose weight.  The good news is that all I have to do is quit stress eating handfuls of pretzels and get up off my ass.  That can be a tall order, though, when you consider that the US government treats people with such brutality that the UN wrote up a report.  I know the UN is largely ignored (especially by the US government), but still, it's pretty fucked up (UN holds US Accountable for Human Rights Violations at Home and Abroad).  Fortunately, things in my own happy little world are such that I can quiet my mind with goofy video games.  

In truth, the prevalence of ice cream in my personal diet is also a result of being exhausted by work.  Around spring break, one of the teachers broke his ankle so severely that he's out for the rest of the school year.  I've been filling in as lead teacher for that group of three year-olds and have been having all kinds of fun - but those kids are wearing me out.  It's been really challenging in a number of ways, but it's very stimulating professionally especially since I had forgotten just how good I am in a classroom, especially a classroom filled with three year-olds with a giant block area and a view of the river.

I hesitate to talk about work here on the blog, however, since one of the main reasons I got fired from Fire Starter Academy was on account of discussing my crazy assistant, who let a pot of melting candle wax ignite on the hot plate.  That's why I call it Fire Starter Academy.  That incident was years ago, and I deleted all the posts where I referenced my assistant, an older woman who habitually chewed fennel seeds.  The whole episode was a drag on every level, but as a result, my own ability to communicate both personally and professionally improved dramatically.  Fire Starter also provided me with an environment that was perfect for resolving all the messy issues around my divorce, as well as the messy emotional state I experienced while I went off psychotropic medications after more than a decade.  I'm very grateful that I went through all that, as well as the spectacular break up with the Narcissist, at Fire Starter Academy.  Then I got my old job back and have been happy as a pig in slop pretty much ever since.

In any case, I need to drop this 8 pounds again before the Burn because I hate to feel pudgy at Burning Man.  I especially hate seeing my menopausal pot belly, or MenoPot, in candid photos. I can suck it in with the best of them when I know a photo is being taken, but I don't like finding me and the menopot in a campmate's vacation photos on Facebook.  Facebook is bad enough these days because my newsfeed is filled with the personal posts from activist friends as well as articles and essays from my preferred sources, like Jacobin Magazine.  In fact, I've noticed a direct correlation between looking at the news on Facebook, then plunging directly into a binge of mindless internet card games with ice cream or pita chips following rapidly.

Something has got to change, and it's not going to be endless war and ecocide at the end of empire.  At least, not in time for me to lose 8 pounds before Burning Man.  You never know - like Frances says in Under the Tuscan Sun, "Unthinkably good things can happen, even late in the game."


Anonymous Kathleen said...

Hang in there, sweetie. We must get together soon and show each other our war wounds.

May 17, 2015 at 9:58 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

Oh I relate on so many levels my dear. I have purposefully wasted time on mind-numbing games in the past year or more. It's an avoiding technique, I know that. Not thinking about - well there's SO MUCH TO THINK ABOUT IN THIS TIME AND PLACE.It's overwhelming.

Eating well and moving is something I've been focusing on in the past two months too and it is remarkable how it re-frames the mind. Roll on sister. I'm sure you look like a million dollars whether you're sucking it in or not.

May 18, 2015 at 10:59 AM  
Blogger VV said...

I'd been wondering where you went. I pop in on occasion. I too play solitaire for its mindless release from the stresses of the world, and don't get me started on FB, the political, social and ecological feeds I get, get me so worked up! I come back to my blog to stay away from FB. Good luck on the weight, yes, get up and move and stop the stress eating. Right now I'm back to gluten and dairy free per doctor's orders, because I fell off the wagon and developed chronic hives. Gluten free sucks!

May 18, 2015 at 11:08 AM  
Blogger morrynyc said...

Love this piece. I've been in all these emotional places, if not the physical situations. And the first paragraph really hit home. There's a certain person I want to send to the barbecue with inadequate grilling skills too.

May 19, 2015 at 2:04 AM  

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