When Will It Ever End
My cat sleeps on a bundle of coats. My fantasies evade my superego and rollick by the radiator where my antecedents, fresh from the underworld, pull together to bandy fisticuffs and defend their right to exist outside my REM sleep. Meanwhile, in the women’s quarters, I defrost a tin of spanakopita. My nerve-damaged foot is recently sprained and stiffens sporadically to shoot needles of pain up my leg. Meow, says my cat as she sidles past my aggregate of imaginary guests. Meow, I respond as I bend to pet her flossy locks. Welcome to my kitchen. It’s the weekend in April, 2009! Just another sunny early eve on Ocean Parkway starring scintillating house beast Lamington Jelinek as the sometime sleeping feline; a slinky and luxurious cat, yawning and stretching on my very cheap, bedbug-free muddle of Winterwear, curling and scratching as she looks into my eyes as if to say Cast it off. It is my lady! O, it is my love! Your life is my creation and my pleasure is your cat food. Feed me, feed me. It goes without saying that my cat’s and my relationship is connubial and beleaguered by animal activists who think I’m gonna go all Zoo on her ass. But they don’t know me like I know myself. For I am her owner, the quaint and untapped bundle of nerve endings of the sixth and final floor of my building. I am the neverending threnody sung by the goddamned Arab nationalist bastards outside my window every day, every hour, wafting in from every mosque that ever was. I am the only native English speaker this side of somewhere, the willingly orphaned oracle of the American meadowlands. I lounge on the davenport; I wear the afghan; I measure a quarter cup of Friskies and I have some issues with building up my person so powerful and masculine and self-obsessed that my mom gets mad that I’m doing what she worriedly calls my ‘Stephen Colbert thing.’ Thank Allah: The horrible religious music has ceased. The evening is quiet. I have something to say. Listen, kitty, listen. Whenever I write anything, I always aim to relay the same message which I either end up shrouding in so much verbiage I think I possibly purposefully trip myself up or pontificate so preeningly I both act in the vein of the enemy and alienate my long-awaiting audience, which boos, guffaws, throws popcorn at the screen and sobs into their handkerchiefs that I have failed to satisfy them, and am egotistical enough to have created them. So I’m going to try a new attack on the same old topic I’ve tackled so often; have tackled, will tackle: One thing I always find beneficial in this world is questioning my motivations, is examining my prior history, is not rotting away in a one-sided fantasy land of psychotic weepy blobs of self-pity and self-righteousness disguised as normalcy needing filial allegiance. For example, here’s some stuff I like to ask myself: Why does a certain kind of writing fill me with hatred? What inspires my ill-fated chumminess with straight-and-narrow gatekeepers to fancy, lifeless vocational avenues requiring pedantic idiots as receptionists? Wherefore art thou Romeo? Is my cat happy? Am I idealistically trying to change crazy people, and if so, what the fuck is your problem, self? Guess what? Yesterday I watched Dumbo, which didn’t strike me as gut-wrenchingly as did The Fox and The Hound. All those mid-to-quarter-to-‘round-my-birthing-time Disney movies do me good. As emotions afforded expression do one good generally. But now I’d like to steer this entry to a different port. Heave, ho! Row, you bastards. As my kitty mews in the corridor, I am reading the Waking Up to New York Feature in New York Magazine, which, though it will not hire me, still fills my desiccated heart to brim (which, in accordance with my two-second entry foray into sad Disney movies, speaks to another general theme of my being which is: hearts overflowing, tears breaking loose, Catharsis! Catharsis! As much as I can get! I’ll abreact till I die!). I’d like to share with you the piquant confession of one man’s discovery of the pratfalls of idolizing wittiness, or at least placing hoity toity wordsmanship over hoi polloi connectedness!:
“I remember going to a party with a bunch of Broadway and film gays, and the one-liner one-upmanship felt like a scene from Will & Grace, which at the time was my lame yardstick for what passed for New York salon conversation. My HTML skills had improved in San Francisco, but I’d lost my edge. I thought I was being really witty, but at one point on a ski trip to Tahoe, it became clear that everyone thought I was just an asshole.”
That said, clearly I have some conflict. For I wouldn’t aim to decry the uses of language, as I love them as I do my unborn child. But, I think I hate life because I hate how strongly people rally around vital ideas at the expense of other vital ideas. In my dream world (which lately includes a lot of people from high school), all necessary and natural facets of existence are integrated! Splitting, if I understand the concept correctly, is the term used to describe the unconscious response, the coping and defense mechanism that springs up when one can’t handle contradiction. As we developmentally age, the gradual ‘depolarization’ of love and hate results ideally in the integration of good and bad feelings, the acceptance of disparate negative and positive elements in the people with whom we fraternize. So, let me try to work this out: In the beginning, one cannot differentiate between oneself and one’s prime caregiver. Subsequently, one views examples of and hence learns to separate good and bad. However! The boundaries between self and other are not yet solidified, so ‘thinking about another person as bad implies that the self is bad as well; so it’s better to think about the caregiver as a good person, so the self is viewed as good too.’ So if someone (a grown someone) is afraid that any angry feelings expressed towards another counteracts the good feelings, they’re afraid that in denoting the other as imperfect, not only are they calling the other BAD but calling themselves bad too! This hypothetical grown person must not have reached the final stage, which involves the appropriately-timed separation of self and integration of the ideas of good and bad. I am myself; caregiver is separate; neither of us is all good or all bad. I went to a free meeting with attendant free refreshments a few weeks ago and this is what the speaker, quoting her philosophic predecessor Kohut said: “I have no hesitation in claiming that there is no mature love in which the love object is not also a self-object… There is no love relationship without mutual (self-esteem enhancing) mirroring and idealization.” Meaning, I gander, that idealization of the other (the prime caregiver or the idea of stylized speech and “one-liner one-upmanship”) is necessary for it provides a goal! Sets the stage! Provides a foundation for future (less idealistic and rigid) development! Ideally, the caregiver or ‘love object’ makes the subject feel protected, respected and proud of oneself, for the subject’s perception of reality is created from what he/she perceives of the world based on experiences with one’s immediate caregiver. A pattern or template is thus set for future behavior as one grows and learns to differentiate oneself from one’s caregiver or original ideas of valuable pursuits! But it acts only as a template, not a blueprint or step-by-step how-to guide, because perfection can never be met (nor would it be desirable). And anyway, it’s always a question of intensity and context, never hard-and-fast moral valorization, because nothing is fundamentally bad in and of itself in every given situation, know what I’m saying?