I’ve been feeling a little scattered this last week and a half. I haven’t been able to concentrate. My libido has been zero. All I’ve really wanted to do was turn on my music and curl up with some of the books I’ve been reading, away from people, isolated. This urge to insulate myself from the world happens late in every March, and I pretend that I don’t understand it.
Then April first rolls around, and I have to confront what’s been getting me down. It’s the anniversary of my mom’s death, you see. It’s been eighteen years—Jesus. But it still creeps up on me. Every year I manage to fool myself into thinking I won’t be affected. Every year I find out that I am just kidding myself.
So if my entries haven’t been particularly sexy this last week, I’m explaining why.
My mother was a woman with a deep and perverse sense of humor, and April Fool’s day was one of her favorite holidays. Every year she used to plan her one good trick, weeks in advance; she’d conspire with me on one really good trick to play on my friends. I’m kind of convinced that during her last long illness, she held off on expiring until April first because in a very, very twisted way, she knew it’d be her last and best joke ever.
One of the things my mother used to do, particularly during my teen years, was to make what she called Fuck-You Lists. Now, I’ve known people, particularly those in recovery programs, to make lists of things for which they’re grateful, at the end of every day. These vaguely inspirational lists are always filled with things like I’m grateful for the touch of warm sunshines on my shoulders this afternoon, telling me that spring is on the way, and I’m so grateful for the love of my husband because he keeps me on my path, and other similar sentimental Hallmark sentiments.
I kid. It’s good to be grateful, and to be aware of what’s good in one’s own life. My mother’s Fuck-You Lists, though, were kind of the opposite of these; if she was having a particularly frustrating day, she’d grab a sheet paper, a pencil from one of her crossword puzzle books, and sit down at the kitchen table with a cup of black coffee and a cigarette. She’d scrawl FUCK YOU at the top of the page, and then jot down the four or five frustrations uppermost at her mind. Then she’d tuck the paper in the napkin holder, or behind the telephone, or beneath a paperweight, and go about her business.
I think the reasoning behind the exercise was that her troubles and irritations didn’t seem so ponderous when they’d been reduced to writing on a coffee-stained slip of paper. She could get them out of her system, then leave them behind and head off to work or to one of her hundred political activities. I think it astonished relatives, neighbors, and my friends when they’d come over, wander into the kitchen, and see hundreds of slips of paper in my mom’s exquisite handwriting labeled FUCK YOU! at the top, but hey. It’s what made our home the popular place to be.
All this preamble is simply in order to say that in honor of my mom and her passing, I’ve decided to come up with a Fuck-You List of my own today, so I can get a few things off my chest and hopefully move on to better things in the coming week. So. Without further ado:
1. Dear Manhunt Guy who hit me up last night begging me to drop everything and drive thirty-nine miles to fuck him: I’ve got about ten public photos on Manhunt, all unlocked. Your only visible photo was a shot roughly the size of a postage stamp of your chest, in which you’ve used some kind of graphic program to scribble out your face with black pen. Given that imbalance, it’s perfectly reasonable for me to ask you if I may see your locked photo before I commit to a drive, and frankly, I was pissed off by your response of lol you haven’t earned that honor yet. I don’t have to ‘earn’ anything from you, kiddo, especially when it was you hitting on me. And thus I say, fuck you.
2. Dear BBRT Guy who unlocked his photos for me very late last night, and who then mocked my grammar when I commented on how good his photos were: Dude, really? On a sex site? I wrote in complete sentences. How often are you getting that on BBRT? And you know what? When it’s two-thirty a.m. and I’ve got insomnia, I really don’t care if I’ve used the subjunctive correctly or not. What’re you getting out of coming at me so aggressively, anyway? I think I’m heartily justified at giving you a hearty fuck you.
3. Dear woman who runs a local artist’s league where I was investigating a teaching opportunity: I should’ve known something weird was up when I mentioned my involvement with three of the biggest professional organizations for our particular craft, and you looked at me blankly and made me explain what the acronyms were. I’ve got more teaching experience than anyone else leading workshops in your podunk little guild. I’ve had more national exposure, and have a longer track record than you or your other instructors. Why you’ve ignored my several polite emails and phone calls suggesting you let me take you out to coffee so we can discuss me perhaps teaching a couple of courses for you is beyond me, but I’m not chasing you any longer. Fuck you, babe.
4. Dear reader who collected our handful of times together like some kind of prize he could brandish before his buddies: I was astonished at by how very hard you chased me, and I am astonished at how very hard you dropped me once you had what you wanted. You know, I’m not even angry about that, in particular. I’m upset because you never bothered to read the lovely entry I wrote about you—not because you were apprehensive about what I might’ve said, but because you were ‘too busy.’ I’d tell you fuck you, but I’ve already fucked you. So I’ll just say this, though I know you’re ‘too busy’ to read it: you let me down.
5. Dear other reader who devoured my blog from start to finish and initiated a real-life friendship with me on the basis of how well you thought you knew me, afterward: Your infatuation with my life was fueled mainly by the fact you read so much of my journal so quickly, in such a short period of time. I knew that when you were attempting to convince me that you could be my new best friend. I knew that your fascination would cool a little when you reached the point that you’d have to read my entries one at a time, when I wrote them. What I didn’t expect was that the start of that friendship would freeze altogether, and that you’d simply stop speaking to me altogether when you were forced to slow down to my everyday mundanity. You don’t read me any longer because of it, so you too won’t see this, but I was hurt by the way you broke stuff off by trying to make it seem like I was the one who was after something unreasonable, just because I’d say hello and ask how you were doing. It’s with regret that I never got to fuck you, but hey, that was never on the agenda anyway.
6. Dear everybody local who feels it necessary to comment about my haircut: I'd totally forgotten how much I absolutely dreaded going to school the day after I got a haircut when I was a kid, because everyone comments on it. Everyone. To the handful of people who say something like, Hey, you got your hair cut—I like it!, I am grateful. However, to everyone who phrases their surprise in a form similar to You cut your hair! It looks SO MUCH BETTER!—and that's a lot of people who simply shouldn't be opening their mouths—I offer a hearty fuck you. You don't see me walking up to you and saying "Ohmygod you look SO MUCH BETTER now that you've lost that extra five pounds you put on eating all those Girl Scout Tagalongs a few weeks back, lard-ass!", do you? No, you don't, because it's fucking rude to tell someone they used to be ugly. Back-handed compliments aren't compliments. Learn it! I liked my hair long. I like my hair short. One way is not better than the other. They're just different. No matter how long my hair is, I still look extra-super-foxy. No matter how long your hair is, you're still an asshole.
Whew! I think that’s all the things that have been bugging me lately. Now they’re off my chest, I hope I can walk away and leave them behind for a little while, to see if it works.
Anyone else have any other Fuck You messages to add to the list? As long as they’re not to me, add ‘em in the comments below, and then we’ll tuck them behind my mom’s avocado-green Princess phone and let someone else stumble on them, down the line.