12 Noon: Now I've found the archive:
These days it appears that everything I do is either monetized or criminalized with a strong trend towards overcomplexification. Sometimes I’m frozen in my traps (er, tracks — thanks, computer). That woman who calls asking for money times her calls so they’re when I’m in the shower or cooking. I wonder if she’s even female. She has a little come-on that makes her sound like a friend: “Oh, there you are, Mary! The last person was so cranky I knew it wasn’t you!” (It was me. I was screaming.) It’s because I still have a landline.
Yesterday I called ten different phone numbers searching for someone with a local issue I want to support. The numbers were not on any list — they were all portable pocket phones which are not listed anywhere and aren’t supported in on a lot of long stretches around here. I could go up to Browning and see if his pickup is around, but that’s fifty miles away.
The criminal part starts soon. It’s about long grass. When I moved in here, the previous resident — who had been gone three years — had built a lovely yard and I looked forward to maintaining it. Then I discovered that the many poplar trees had roots at or above the surface which made mowing difficult. Then the state pressured the town into installing water meters which I couldn’t afford. So I use a “string cutter” which is fine but time-consuming. Then I grew uncomfortable being in my yard at all. My get up and go got up and went. Fines are high.
I was content with a little old house that had no dishwasher or clothes washer, scruffy old kitchen floor, doors that don’t quite fit the holes, and so on. If you are poor and in an old house there are things you have to do certain ways to make them work — some doors need to be slammed and others must be closed gently and a few have to be propped. The only person who was at ease in this house was a biologist who studied earthworms in remote places. He said my old toilet was fine compared to a six-inch feces hole in the Philippines.
Trying to civilize cats went easy when they were two little sibs from an Air Force family in Great Falls who had already given them basic training. They grew up, got fat, died. Now these weedy inbred throwbacks are endlessly resourceful at breaking every rule. Finnegan taught them some very bad things about excretion. Luckily, he took off.
I’m trying to reduce my books and papers, but find that everyone else is doing the same thing — except for those who are dead and whose descendants called for a giant dumpster to solve the problem. I was asked if I’d like to archive my materials, but that sweet man was thinking in terms of a few feet of “nice” and “useful” things. When I described what I have, he said that he tried to avoid lawsuits.
The trouble — in part — is that I’m “Class X”, which means that my educational level is out of whack with my economic status, which is low. In fact, my education is so high that only people like me can follow. But they can afford others to do maintenance of their personal environment. I do as little as possible and the cats undo it even faster. I’m talking about saving boxes to put discarded books in and the constant problem of washing dishes. But then there are things like managing coffee-making, which I do as simply as possible, a cone filter. Once I put beans in the filter without remembering to grind it, but I hadn’t remembered to buy ground coffee, so . . . I can never remember which kind I like, so I just buy whatever is cheap.
At least I don’t smoke. Or drink. But I’m beginning to think that if it didn’t cost so much, it would nice to sip Scotch in the evening.
It’s not anxiety that is a problem, though that afflicts a lot of people around here. I’m fatalistic enough to escape that, but frustration building into rage is a problem. Sometimes it’s useful for powering writing, but I don’t always want to write power stuff. One of these days I’m going to force myself to write something as lyrical as what the “ladies” write for Twitter, all about silver moons and the bliss of love.
Politics has exceeded fear, frustration, diagnosis, and even the expectation of survival. I think I’ll settle on amusement with the occasional guffaw.
The two little kittens are pre-adolescent now. Thread has learned to use the stepladder I put by their bed, but Thimble, the gray one, still prefers to swarm up my leg, leaving red dots. It is an elvish kitten, frail with huge eyes, and it pants double-time when it sleeps. If I hold it in my hand, belly to palm, it still fits, but I feel its fast heartbeat. Thread’s crusty eyes cleared up the day before the expensive feline eye med arrived. Cats make a good humanizing touch, an excuse, a reason, a diversion, a preoccupation.
This town runs on food, a strategy left over from farm and ranch days. Women of a certain age are bulky but have clever fingers that crimp the edges of pie shells into pretty patterns. They’re all diabetic, of course, but they figure if they sneak bits in the kitchen, that doesn’t don’t count. The kids live on junk food, which is the only stuff they can taste. I use my slow cooker but am hooked on toaster waffles. I’m careful not to read the package.
Daily the computer becomes less of a help and more of a hurdle. Every update means a struggle to get around the changes, which are not intended to make things easier. Things get more complex, harder to see (use thin pale print) , require more steps, make me come up with a hundred passwords, accidentally (tiny triggers) do something crazy — go upside down, open a new page, erase everything. They want a photo of me for my “friends” as though I were in high school. If I just junked the computer, I’d have more time for the yard and the cats.
See? I was better off with this deleted.