Betty Duffy

Friday, March 23, 2012

Quick Takes: A Day in the life of a Madwoman

Nine a.m., and I was walking around the dew-shot yard in my pajamas, with bed-head, a cup of coffee in one hand and an assault rifle in the other.

Not a real assault rifle--a bee bee gun that belongs to my oldest son who wanted to hunt squirrels before Mass, but it sort of looks how I imagine an assault rifle would look, and holding it for him as he put away his bike, the first sentence of this paragraph came to mind.

It sounded like the start of something, but really, where can a mom with a gun actually go?

Look at me, holding a gun. I'm just one of them country people who takes their coffee with a gun (though coffee is a much more useful weapon in my arsenal, and I've only actually shot a real gun once or twice).

I felt like I should be on guard. A woman with a gun should have an enemy in sight, and rather than taking aim at the children, I became suspicious of the flowers.

The peach tree blooming, the hyacinths, and forsythia--even roses starting to leaf out--made me feel like someone was lying to me. Too many flowers, too soon--this is a false Spring. It's going to end badly.

"It just don't seem right," said the check-out lady at Wal-mart when I asked how she liked this gorgeous weather. Everyone in Indiana takes in the good March weather with a not-so-hidden sense of apocalyptic dread.

I had just spent forty-five minutes walking through the aisles looking for note cards, to be used in a report on the state of Illinois, a report that one little boy has known about for three weeks, but only mentioned the night before it was due.

I passed a thousand miniature televisions on the end of every aisle that run commercials on repeat twenty-four hours a day, but I could not find the note cards.

The commercial woman is always brown-haired and friendly looking, approximately my own age, with a familiar voice. She wants me to buy toothpaste and fill prescriptions, I think, though I rarely look at her. I wonder if anyone has ever done a study on the co-relation and frequency of suicidal thoughts while shopping at Wal-mart.

"It just don't seem right" that the sun is out? That there are flowers, and warm breezes, and the air is scented with lilac? THAT don't seem right to you? And yet, this dumb store, where it takes forty-five minutes to find the note-cards, is just AOK?

Hearing that someone else had suspicion of the weather made me think the weather is the under-dog. Someone had to stick up for it. "It will be fine! The weather will be fine!"

Lord, why am I so fickle? Why so critical? Why the same dumb sins over and over again.

Even my discouragement is tiresome.

Driving home from Wal-mart, two older ladies shuffled alongside each other on the walking trail, their two big bottoms accommodated by slacks with a high elastic waistband. Those bottoms weren't going anywhere fast, and I thought, "Damn--that's my soul--a big, stubborn, unchangeable butt."

I've got to do something crazy to shake out of it. A forty day juice fast!

When I got home to unload all the bags of not-juice I threw in the cart on my quest for note cards, the note cards I had finally located were nowhere to be found. I sat down to cut fifty notecards out of paper. Sort of wanted to shoot something.

"I'm just doing what the Church prescribes," said Pedge when I asked how HER Lent was going. "No meat on Fridays. Making a sacrifice and sticking to it. Being grateful. It doesn't have to be crazy. Just do what the Church prescribes and trust God."

No juice-fast, then?

Trust God it is, then. Let the weather be what it will be. Let people feel how they will feel. Let my crazy wear off, as it always does eventually. Chip away at the big unchangeable butt with the slow, steady diet that the Church prescribes.

I think there really is something about Lent that's more difficult in my old age.

More quick takes here.


Diapeepees said...

That weather you speak of -- I think we live in the same place.

Kimberlie said...

No meat Fridays have become a stumbling block for me this year. Not a stumbling block but rather it's made me grumpy. I think because I am trying to eat fewer carbs, I just crave meat but then I find myself on Fridays being grumpy that I have to eat more carbs. The truth is, beans, peanut butter, eggs, etc are perfectly acceptable meat substitutes but I have a big 'ole grumpy butt soul...

BettyDuffy said...

MIdwesterners have good reason to be suspicious of the weather this time of year. It's been behaving badly tonight. More tornados. And on my way home tonight, I passed about a mile wide area where the temperature dropped way low, and there was six inches of hail/snow on the ground--interstate down to one lane. The most surreal thing. When I finally got to the other side of it, the temps went back up to the sixties. I have to tell someone about this. I've never seen anything like it.

MrsDarwin said...

If I don't stop cheating on my no-seconds Lenten penance, I will have a big stubborn unchangeable butt, let alone the soul part.

I've hit the part of Lent where I've found so many work-arounds for my sacrifice that I want to throw the whole thing out and start again.

Peter and Nancy said...

That may be the best opening line for a blog post that I've ever read!

I gave up eating/snacking after dinner, and I am dismayed to admit how hard its been. Blah. Then I forgot to take my medication with dinner on about 6 different nights, and had to eat something so I could take it.

We've had the same freakishly warm weather in my state too. It's very weird to have my littles eating popsicles outside in March . . .

Dwija {House Unseen} said...

Gosh I do so love your big old unchangeable butt of a soul. It writes really good blog posts, yes it does.

Anonymous said...

Why do all of the churches in my neck of the woods have seafood feasts on Fridays during lent? $20/person shrimp and lobster? That is so what lent is all about. Instead of eating 93% hamburger with added pink slime, I'll sacrifice and eat shrimp and lobster! After all it's lent.

Anonymous said...

good lord, I just googled "lent seafood feast". good times.

Matthew Lickona said...

You know, there are places in Wisconsin where people look askance if a gal doesn't have a firearm tucked against her hip...

BettyDuffy said...

Anon, I've noticed that seafood feast thing. Never overlook an opportunity to economize on a religious practice...

ML--I better hie me to Wisconsin!

TS said...

You had me at dew-shot.

BettyDuffy said...

Well, that was easy.