If You Know What’s Good for You

I find myself anxious about my trip tomorrow. I’m always a bit nervous about any traveling – I usually have difficulty sleeping the night before, etc. 

The last time I attempted international travel, I ended up spending nine hours in UKBA custody and then a night in the detention center.

Ergo: apprehension. 

 

Fuck. To me, the anxiety isn’t even the worst part – it’s the fact that I’m feeling anxiety at all. That adventure struck fear into my heart. And I hate that. I absolutely bloody hate that. I’ve flown somewhere every single year of my life. I’ve flown to Germany and to Mexico and to London (twice before all of that) and now… I have the opportunity to visit a country that I’ve wanted to visit as long as I can remember – even longer than wanting to visit the UK, I reckon. And here I am, about to finally do it… and I’m terrified. 

As if fucking with the UKBA after eight hours on a plane wasn’t annoying enough, I’ll be traveling for over 24 hours total this time. I don’t think my nerves would be able to handle denial. 

I mean, there’s no actual reason I should be turned away: I have never traveled there before and have therefore never had the opportunity to ‘violate any visitor’s agreement,’ I got approved for this electronic thing that gets attached to my passport and it approved me for a three month stay if I so desired, I have a bunch of documents with me (bank statements, my lease, my car title, the hotel reservation in Sydney, my itinerary, Jen’s address, etc) so that I should be prepared for anything… 

And yet…

I’ll be so. far. away. from home. if something were to happen. So far. 

I know the fear is pointless. I do. I have a feeling I’ll get over there and they’ll be like, ‘g’day, lit-le Sheila – have a good trip!’ and that’ll be it. And all this worrying and preparation will have been for naught. But after being, apparently, “ill-prepared” once, I’m sure as hell not doing that again.

Oh yeah, the worst part. It is. It’s the worst part. That I feel like this at all. That I was made to feel like this. That I should be so nervous about doing something I’ve done since the womb. Just like my car accident has made me overly cautious and paranoid about people noticing that I’ve signaled a turn or slowed down to a stop, that fucking trip has made me trepidatious about stepping foot outside of the US. 

I wish I could drive there. I’d rather drive there and have control of my transportation and surroundings and way out. That’s why I drove to Nashville. Stupid, I know, it’s within the continental US. I just- I needed control. I needed control of the situation, of my situation, and of my arrival and departure.

 

This will be good for me. This trip. In more than one way. Mostly, it will be the first step in getting over this idiotic, frustrating fear. I’ll be so proud of myself for going. Even when it would be so much easier to stay home. 

But it wouldn’t; not really. 

I’d hate myself for missing out on seeing my friends again and, for the love of God, I’m going to get a photo with Benedict fucking Cumberbatch. I’m going to see the Sydney Opera House. I’m going to box kangaroos. 

I have to refer back to Jen’s infinite wisdom – saying this trip will cheer me up in more ways than I know. Even when I didn’t know I needed cheering up. I need something. And this trip is that something.

7 Feb – 16 Feb

I’m seriously resisting February. It was such a shitty, annoying month. These prompts are no different.

February 7th – Right to health:
Is access to medical care something that governments should provide, or is it better left to the private sector? Are there drawbacks to your choice?
I am honestly ignorant in this topic, like most, and as a result, I can’t really answer. People should have medical care when they need it. I think that sums it up. Are there drawbacks to people getting the healthcare they need? Mmm. Now I’m being purposefully mocking. Of course there are drawbacks, as there are to anything. I’m moving on because it’s 530am and I can’t focus on this.

February 8th – Karma chameleon:
Reincarnation: Do you believe in it?
No.

February 9th – Childhood revisited:
Sure, you turned out pretty good, but is there anything you wish had been different about your childhood? If you have kids, is there anything you wish were different for them?
I’m so distracted by the awkward grammar, I … Okay. Yes, I did turn out pretty well. I hate to sound like a spoiled brat, because I’m not – there are plenty of shitty things that I’d not enjoy going through again – however, every single thing that happened in my childhood has helped shape me into the person I am today. The good things, the bad things, the frustrating things, the lovely things. Everything came together like puzzle pieces and although the picture isn’t finished, all the straight edges and corners are in place. 
Oh I see now, the second part of the question wants to know if I have kids now. Well, I don’t, but I could say there are things I will try my hardest to do differently for them because of things I went through or didn’t go through. There are things I want my kids to experience that I wasn’t able to experience and there are things I’ll try to keep them from going through. One thing I always give my parents shit for is letting up on Conor’s phone curfew when they let up on mine, although he’s four years younger. Ya know, stuff like that 😉

February 10th – Teachable moment:
You have to learn a new skill. Do you prefer to read about it, watch someone else do it, hear someone describe it, or try it yourself?
Any time I’ve had to learn something new for work, and probably in general and I’ve just never noticed, I’ve always wanted to have a mix of learning techniques going on. For example, when I started my receptionist job a hundred years ago, I sat with my trainer as she told me about everything she has to do in the course of a shift, she’d point out the different buttons and what they did, in what order she had to push the buttons to page someone or transfer a call, etc; I’d write everything down so that I wouldn’t have to ask again; then I’d sit and watch her do everything for a few hours. After all of that, I’d feel comfortable jumping in. I did the same thing when I started as an escrow officer. At least as a receptionist, I’d seen a telephone before. But ask me where to put the HOA on the HUD and how much to charge for the DOT and I’ll be able to answer you correctly.
If it’s like, putting together a desk or table and chairs from Nebraska Furniture Mart, just give me the directions and walk away.

February 11th – Whoa!:
What’s the most surreal experience you’ve ever had?
Oh, yes. Finally, I have an answer on the tip of my tongue for one of these. Sigh. Most surreal experience – may or may not be the most surreal experience I’ve ever had, but it’s sure as hell dreamlike – was meeting Martin Freeman. Well, not so much ‘meeting,’ since it’s not like we shook hands and introduced ourselves, but meeting nonetheless. 
In London, on North Gower, watching Sherlock being filmed. Already surreal, seeing a couple of my heroes in person and watching them create bits of a television show that has taken over my life. They took a break in filming and were setting up a different camera angle, so they had to have some of us fans shift around. My friends went off to the left and I went off to the right. I went across the side street to a smaller fan area and I think at that moment, I saw Mr Cumberbatch going over to the other side of the street. ‘Fuck,’ I thought. There was no way I was getting back over there. I looked up then and saw Mr Freeman coming over to my side of the street. I was behind a multitude of people, probably about four or five back from the barrier so I thought, again, ‘fuck,’ I’ll never get through. (And I’m not the pushing through the crowd type unless I’m at a concert). As I was giving up, I noticed him going further down my side of the street. The people were thinning out toward that end. Fuck it. It’s now or never. I hope to God I didn’t trot, but I made it quickly to where he was and he was talking to some woman in front of me. She was telling him what a huge fan her daughter was and how hard it can be to be a parent sometimes, or something like that, and Martin listened so intently and held her hand the whole way through her story. As soon as it was wrapping up, I stepped forward with my phone ready on camera-mode and shakily asked, “Martin, could I have a photo please?” (In retrospect, I wish I wouldn’t have been such a clot and called him Mr Freeman instead, ffs). But anyway, he just looked up and smiled and said, “sure, sure!” I kind of scooted next to the barrier that separated us, and held my phone out so that I could line up the shot. I’m fucking shocked that it wasn’t a blurry mess because when I said ‘shakily,’ I meant like, beginning stages of Parkinson’s. So yeah. I said thank you, or at least I hope I did, I don’t know, I was stunned, and he went back to filming. 
Even now, I can’t believe it. I think I texted about ten people and told them what happened. At that point, I’d already met Benedict and I think I’d met Andrew Scott? Either way, Conor was like, “how the fuck does this keep happening?” Oh, um, yeah, those were two other surreal experiences. 

February 12th – All about you:
Explain why you chose your blog’s title and what it means to you.
Aw yiss. So my blog’s title is ‘Consumed with that which it is nourish’d by’ and it’s from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73. Easy, really: I’m consumed with writing/journaling and I’m nourished by it. I always say that it keeps me sane and I’m not exaggerating in the least. Even earlier tonight, I felt like writing, so I picked up my journal and wrote about four pages of bosh. But it doesn’t matter that it was bosh, because I instantly had clear vision. Sometimes shit gets a bit cloudy, like all of a sudden life is shot through a diffuser. It’s not always a romantic look that the diffuser provides. Usually I’m fairly good at recognizing when that film slips in place and I can wipe it all away with the stroke of a pen. Hot damn.
Got off track. Maybe not really. But yes, that’s what journaling means to me, that’s what my blog title means to me. 

February 13th – Shoulda, woulda, coulda:
Tell us about something you know you should do… but don’t.
You mean besides working out?

February 14th – Cupid’s arrow:
It’s Valentine’s Day, so write an ode to someone or something you love. Bonus points for poetry!
Oh Christ.
I think if the answer doesn’t automatically come to me…

February 15th – Proud:
When was the last time someone told you they were proud of you?
Probably super recently. My parents are always proud of me for some reason or another lol That’s not to say that it has lost its meaning – I am very blessed to have parents that take pride in me and I’m equally as proud to call them my parents. 

February 16th – The clock:
Write about anything you’d like. Somewhere in your post, include the sentence, “I heard the car door slam, and immediately looked at the clock.”
This is just screaming for fanfiction. Or maybe I’m screaming for fanfiction. I scream, you scream.
-> She was in her hometown tonight. She’d gone downtown for a drink at her favorite bar. She went alone because she didn’t mind being alone, really. In fact, she usually preferred it.
Unfortunately, tonight there were a few men who kept coming over to talk to her. Theirs was attention she didn’t want. “Look, guys, I’m flattered, but no thanks,” she said, trying to get them away from her as politely as possible.
One of the men didn’t very much like being denied and as he leant in to put his arm around her, her stool tipped to the side. She found herself shoulder to shoulder with the man next to her. She hadn’t paid any attention to anyone all night because she just wanted a goddamn drink in peace.
The man startled and looked down at her. Instantly, they recognized each other. In his lovely English accent, he said, “hello, darling.”
“Thomas, hi,” she answered, strained at the effort of holding herself up against him.
“What, you know this fucking guy?” One of the drunk men asked.
“In fact, she does, gentlemen; so why don’t you bugger off and leave us, eh?” Thomas said to the man.
She cringed. These didn’t look like the type of men to simply ‘bugger off’ when asked. In fact, they weren’t at all.
“What the fuck did you say?”
And that’s when the fight broke out. One of the drunk men raised his fist and wound up to hit Tom. Tom dodged the first one easily enough, but hadn’t seen the second drunk man’s fist coming from the right. His fist collided with Tom’s left cheekbone and he was thrown against the bar. She picked up her beer bottle and performed the biggest cliché she could think of: she broke it against the bartop.
She pointed it at the drunk man who’d swung first and then waved it at the man who’d actually made contact with James.
“When a lady says no, she fucking means no; so unless you guys want to spend the night in the ICU, why don’t you fuck off already?” she shouted.
The man closest to her started to laugh, so she stopped forward and brought the jagged bottle closer to his face. “By the way, I know the nurse on-call, so I can make sure you get the best care.”
The man put his hands up in surrender, seeing how serious she was. “Alright, alright, fuck.” They stumbled away.
She put the bottle on the bar and put up her hand to the bartender who was about to tell her to hit the road. “I know, I know.”
She looked at Thomas, who had been staring at her with his wide eyes, made even wider by her actions. “Blimey! Remind me not to fuck with you.”
“Goddamn right.” She grabbed his hand and pulled him toward the exit. At the end of the bar, she spied a glass of ice, so she checked for the bartender and then took the glass.
Outside the bar, she held the glass of ice to Thomas’s cheekbone. “Here,” she said, “hold this.”
He exclaimed as the glass touched his face. “Jesus!”
“We should probably get moving in case those assholes decide to leave, or more likely, get themselves thrown out,” she offered.
“Right.” He answered as they started down the sidewalk.
“My car’s in the parking garage just a block over,” she said, digging in her purse for her keys. He answered again, “right.”
Once they found her car, he set the glass of melted ice on the barrier. “No,” she said, “take that. I’ll wash it.” He gave her a look as she got in the driver’s seat. “What? It’s a free glass,” she said with a wink.
Fortunately, it was still early in the evening, so maneuvering out of the parking garage was a breeze. Once she’d gotten them out and away from downtown, she asked him what hotel he was staying at.
“Um, the Marriott,” he answered quietly.
Not responding to his answer, she asked another question. “What are you doing here, anyway?” She cringed at her approach and immediately felt bad. He had taken a punch for her after all.
“I, um, well, I was here for an assignment. A project.” So he hadn’t scaled down after all. She wondered if that meant- “So yeah, as I’m sure you’re thinking, I’m divorced.” He looked down at the lighter line of skin on his left ring finger.
She let out a breath. Yikes. “I’m so sorry, Thomas. I didn’t- She didn’t-“
“No,” he said, “after you left me that night, I stood there staring out at nothing for ages. I felt like as soon as I moved from that spot, I’d have to make a decision. And I didn’t want to. I wanted to go after you, to be honest.”
She sucked in a breath at that. She remembered thinking she wished he would have. She kept preparing herself to be grabbed by the arm and spun around by him. It never happened and she never looked back.
“But I knew I couldn’t do that. I could have made things so much worse for myself by doing that, um, no offense- I mean, I hope you understand what I-“
“Of course,” she cut him off. “No, the last thing you should have done was come after me,” she admitted. Sealing her lips, she focused on the drive.
“I finally decided to just call her right there, so I didn’t have to move.” He made a sad sounding chuckle. “I tried to tell her that I could cut back on what I was doing and still be there for her and the boys, but she was so tired of it all by then… She had already made up her mind.” He sighed and rubbed at his eyes, flinching a bit, forgetting about his sore cheek.
She didn’t know what to say. It was just as well, as she pulled up to the entrance of the hotel.
“Well,” she started. As she was taking a breath to start again, he interrupted her.
“Stay with me.” It wasn’t a question. Not really a command.
Without a word, she put her car back in drive and pulled away toward the hotel’s parking lot.
She knew it would be only once. Just as it would have been before. This would never work as anything. But it would kill her to leave in the morning all the same.
She found a spot relatively close to the front door and grabbed her purse out of the back seat.
He met her behind her car and took her hand. She appreciated the gesture and smiled at him. She hoped he wouldn’t be able to read in her face what was really going on in her mind.
They made their way through the lobby to the bank of elevators. She was hoping his room was on a high floor so that she could look out over her city. It might help ground her.
He was. He motioned for her to exit the elevator first and then followed, grabbing her hand again in pursuit of his room. She was sick to her stomach when they reached his door. She almost hoped his key wouldn’t work so she could run.
It worked. She couldn’t deny that she wanted this, and he was divorced now, but it still felt entirely stupid. She’d do it anyway.
His room was fairly large. A nice room. A king-sized bed. The bed where, she couldn’t help but anticipate, a huge mistake was about to be made.
“I think I’ll, um,” she began, “I’m going to use the restroom.” With that, she stepped in and locked the door behind her.
Fuck. She thought. What the fuck am I doing? I always think I know what I’m doing and then I end up in these goddamn situations. She let out a breath. Her eyes caught her reflection in the mirror. She looked good, but she looked how she felt: conflicted. She listened for clues in the room. She didn’t hear anything. Surprised she didn’t hear a belt buckle or a boot dropping to the floor.
I mean, I don’t have to do this, she thought. It’s not like I’m obligated, and I’m sure he’s not the kind to force me into something. She squeezed her eyes shut and took another deep breath.
I’ll just tell him I can’t. I’m so glad I drove us here and not to my apartment.
She took one last deep breath and gripped the door handle. I can do this. I can tell him I can’t do this.
She opened the door slowly and listened again. She couldn’t hear anything. She practically tiptoed out of the restroom and around the corner. Then she saw him.
Passed out on top of the comforter, Thomas was fully clothed.
She had to stifle a laugh now. All of that for nothing. He must have been a bit more intoxicated than she noticed. Either that or he hid it well.
She went over to him and sat down beside him. She brushed his bangs off of his forehead. He stirred a little.
“Hey,” she whispered. He moaned a sleepy response.
She made to take off his boots. He tried to help by pushing his toes against the other foot’s heel, but his toes kept slipping off of the leathery boot.
“Stop it,” she giggled, “just let me fuckin’ do it.” He moaned another sleepy response.
Once she’d gotten his boots off, she put them at the end of the bed and decided against wrestling the comforter from underneath him. Luckily, there was a spare blanket in the closet. She covered him up to his chin and tucked the end of the blanket under his feet.
She stood and looked at him for a minute or two, secretly thankful for the decision she didn’t have to make. Again, he’d taken a blow for her. She bent over and brushed her lips against his forehead. He was completely out now.
Noticing the standard notepad and pen on the nightstand, she picked both up and went to the little desk by the television.
What do I even say? “Thomas,” she started. She froze for a moment before putting the pen down and quietly ripping the sheet from the pad. She tore it up and put it in the bin. She sighed.
She turned around to look at him. He had grabbed the blanket and pulled it tightly against him. He looked like such a child.
She stared at the notepad. She should thank him for defending her against that asshole at the bar. She should tell him again how sorry she is for his marriage falling apart. She should apologize for not being there in the morning.
“Talk soon,” she wrote.
She signed her name and put the pen down. She got up and went to the window overlooking downtown. She heard a car door slam and immediately looked at the clock. Jesus, she’d been standing there for twenty minutes. It was time to go.
“Goodnight,” she whispered. 

1 Feb – 6 Feb

Ugh. I’ve been putting off these daily blogs because the beginning of February prompts are obnoxious. I’m going to power through them now, rather than ignore them altogether, even though that would be best.

February 1st – Flangiprop!
Invent a definition for the word ‘flangiprop,’ then use the word in a post.
Sigh. Flangiprop sounds like a noun, but I’m going to make it a verb. It means to balance your hand on the fingertips of your first and middle finger and holding the other two fingers back with your thumb (ie: an upsidedown peace sign) and then do some sort of movement as if your fingers were someone’s legs. 
“Did you see Joann flangipropping the can-can throughout the entire meeting?”
“She’s such a bitch.”

February 2nd – Think global, act local:
‘Think global, act local.’ Write a post connecting a global issue to a personal one.
How about grammar and literacy? ‘Think globally, act locally’ maybe? And uh, no.

 February 3rd – Writing room:
A genie has granted your wish to build your perfect space for reading and writing. What’s it like?
In trying to come up with something spectacular, I realized all I’d want for reading is somewhere comfortable and well-lit. With a sturdy surface on which to put my tea or coffee or wine. Yeah, my wine. In fact, I should probably have a wine fridge, a tea kettle, and a Starbucks on site. I probably need the same time of set-up for writing. Definitely wine in that case. I’m super original.

February 4th – Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes:
You need to make a major change in your life. Do you make it all at once, cold turkey style, or incrementally?
Depends on the major change – am I chopping off all my hair? All at once. Am I trying to lose thirty pounds? Incrementally. Moving to a new place? All at once. 

February 5th – Call me, maybe:
Describe your relationship with your phone. Is it your life-line, a buzzing nuisance, or something in between?
As long as I’ve had a phone, so, for twelve years, it’s always been about staying connected. When I was younger, it was about being able to stay in touch with my parents when I was driving somewhere by myself; which quickly evolved into being able to text my friends all day and all of the night; today, it’s still about both of those things. But it’s also about being able to IMDb that goddamn actress whose name you can’t remember for the life of you; it’s about being able to sigh longingly whenever Richard Hammond tweets; it’s about being able to reblog the four-thousandth photo of Benedict Cumberbatch because there sure as hell ain’t enough of that on your Tumblr feed. So yeah, it’s a life-line. It is a line to life. It allows you to travel eightysevenhundred miles in one second.

February 6th – Choose your adventure:
Write a story or post with an open ending, and let your readers invent the conclusion.
You mean every post I’ve ever made? Also, I implore my readers to actually participate. I mean, I’d die for some responses. Please, do this, for me.
->“My God, I could do with another. How about you?” She stood with her empty glass.
“Um, sure!” He finished the rest of his and handed her his glass. “H-here, let me,” he started, as he fumbled for his wallet.
“Ah, ah, ah,” she scolded, “on me, remember?” He opened his mouth, prepared with another protest. She cut him off, “nope! Now, do you want another dark?”
She didn’t wait long for his answer, so he had to yell a “yes” as she was halfway to the bar already.
After a few more, the pub was closing. He was so much more relaxed (and fluid in speaking) with a few pints in him. She’d have to remember that.
He surprised her by putting his arm around her shoulders as they made their way to the steps leading to the street. She snaked her arm around his waist. This seemed to jar him into consciousness because he quickly removed his arm. “I- oh God, I’m so-“ His jerky movements caused his brain to miscommunicate with his feet and he ended up on his ass.
She should have bent to help him, but she was too busy being doubled over with laughter. Soon, she was on the ground beside him, trying to regain composure. He joined in and then pushed himself onto shaky legs. Once steady, he reached out a hand to help her up.
She took his hand and stood with his help. They each took a moment to let their laughter dissipate and had to look everywhere but at each other to keep from falling into fits again. Once they’d resumed normal breathing patterns, she took a step toward him and put her arm back around his waist. He froze for a second, and then raised his arm to put it back around her shoulders.
They made it up the stairs without incident, and hailed a cab.
The cabbie asked, “where to?” as they’d climbed into the back.
They looked at each other, they hadn’t decided what they’d do from this point on.

I’m a Bear

I just realized, with great glee, that I’ve essentially been hibernating for the past six months. If only I’d been feeding off of my body’s fat stores instead of continuously (and overly) replenishing them.

It’s getting to be about that time where I regret being a slug, but then, there’s really no point in that. It’s all I’ve wanted to do since getting my first job ten years ago.

I do have quite the motivation to lose about eight pounds this month, however: ComiCon in Sydney, Australia. I’ll be cosplaying a Midwesterner.

What I’m really excited about, though, is seeing my Aussie twins. It’s funny – I think it was even before this con came up, I was thinking about saying goodbye to the both of them at Paddington Station and just wishing the tube train was empty so I could cry afterward with minimal-to-no stares. Interesting how quickly and naturally we became friends – both in a country that was not our own, both there for different reasons, but both there for essentially the same duration. No coincidence that we met on my first night at the same ‘event.’

Actually, that’s what I’d like to tell Mr Cumberbatch, if ever the opportunity arises: Thank you for allowing complete strangers and mostly complete amateurs to be involved in a project that meant so much to you. If you hadn’t, I never would have met Jen, which means I never would have met Janine, which means I never would have met Geny or Shannon or any of the other gals. My London trip as a whole would have been a totally different experience and not one I’d care to think about, to be honest.

*shudder* Ugh. Yeah. Wow, I never even dared to go there until just now. What would it have been like had I not done Little Favour that first night. Or maybe I did, but wasn’t in the wrong right area, causing Jen to ask me, “are you here for Little Favour?” There’s just so much I never would have done or wouldn’t have gotten to do. I didn’t plan on knowing anyone over there, but as per, my plan is not the one in play.

So, I am ready to begin the waking process. Something Jen said, while we were discussing my potential trip across the Pacific, really stuck with me: something like, ‘I think it’ll cheer you up more than you know.’ Until she said that, I didn’t think I needed cheering up. I didn’t really think I was down. I knew I was apprehensive about air travel, I was discouraged about not finding a job, I found a great house and couldn’t buy it because I don’t have a job, I’m sick of my neighbors, blah blah blah blah. But, when she said that to me, it all seemed to click.

Traveling to Oz will help me get over my fear of being turned away at the border, unless I’m turned away at the border, it’ll get me out of Nebraska for a bit, which means it’ll get my mind out of Nebraska for a bit, I’ll get to see Jen and Janine, we’ll get to do some Sherlock stuff, I’ll see the beach, and hello, I’ll see a country I’ve never seen but one I’ve always wanted to visit.

She’s right. It will cheer me up more than I know. It’ll cheer me up even though I didn’t know I needed cheering up. I’ve been in my cozy, little cave for six months and it’s time for some fresh air.

Well, Now I Know How Anderson Felt

Went out about 10pm looking for the Entertainment Weekly issue featuring BBC’s Sherlock.

Sherlock scarf

Walgreens on 200th and Maple was closed.

Sherlock sheet

Went to Wal-Mart on 170-something and Maple.

Sherlock shezza

Went to Baker’s on 156th and Dodge.

Sherlock sad

Thought for sure HyVee on 156th and Maple would be my saving grace.

Sherlock angry

CVS on 144th and Maple, surely.
Hey, do you guys carry Entertainment Weekly?

Sherlock nope

“Sorry about that, have a nice night.”

Sherlock smile to not

Okay… Walgreens on 132nd and Maple.
IS THAT IT ON THE RACK??

Sherlock gasp

No. It’s January’s issue.

Sherlock cry

You know… if I could just find this issue…

Sherlock lovely

What I feel like doing now:

Sherlock fall

What I would have done had I found it:

Sherlock kiss

What I need now (besides the issue):

Sherlock hug

Is it okay?

John no it's not

Lestrade not really

What everyone reading this is probably doing:

Sherlock stare

A Bit Close to Home

I’ve just seen August: Osage County – and if you haven’t, I highly recommend it. And if you haven’t, I highly warn you against spoilers in this post. 

-> I repeat, there are spoilers in this post <-

For someone who likes to avoid spoilers and be surprised upon first viewing, I like to make it quite clear.

Anyway. I went to the 1015pm showing tonight, as in Sunday night, although it’s technically Monday now, and because it was 1015pm on a Sunday, I was the only one in the theatre. Thankfully.

Last time I was the only one in the theatre, I’d just seen About Time – again, thankfully, as I think I cried through the entire film. Bloody good film.

But this is about August: Osage County: Screenplay written by Tracy Letts, directed by John Wells; starring the banging cast of Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Margo Martindale, Sam Shepard, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, and so on. 

Meryl plays the matriarch, Violet, of course, who else would she play, Sam [Beverly] being her husband. Julia, the oldest daughter, Barbara; Julianne, the middle daughter, Ivy; Juliette, the youngest daughter, Karen. (Interesting how all the daughters are played by a variation of Juli-). Margo plays Violet’s sister, Mattie Fae; Chris Cooper plays her husband, Charlie. Ewan plays Barbara’s separated husband; and Abigail, their child, Jean. Dermot plays Karen’s fiancé. Benedict plays Little Charles, Mattie Fae’s and Charlie’s son, for all intents and purposes

Got it?

So. I knew it would be a good film going in, just because of the cast and all the praise it was winning for itself. What I didn’t know was that it was going to be incredible and hit devastatingly, eerily close to home. And not just because they filmed part of it in Nebraska. (Out in the plains where the buffalo roam, but Nebraska nonetheless).

And when I say ‘close to home’ – and here’s where major spoilers come in – I mean, really fucking close to home.

I think I’ve given ample warning now.

Phew. Okay. Violet has cancer, we learn that in the beginning. Bev has just hired someone to take care of things around the house. The next thing we know, he’s gone. Barbara gets called home because her father is missing, or at least went away without warning. It’s very clear that there are some family issues going on that seem to weave their way into every branch of the family. Soon the sheriff shows up to the house and delivers the news that they’d found Bev’s body and it appears as though he fell out of his boat and drowned. It is also ruled a suicide.

It hadn’t hit me yet, even with the dysfunction and the dead of the patriarch.

Before, during, and after the funeral, when all of the family begin to arrive, it’s tense and argumentative. Violet is popping pills left and right, and serving up judgements just as thoroughly. Any time the daughters try to bring up how difficult their lives have become, Violet explodes into a tirade about how bad her life was, and no one’s life is anywhere near as difficult as hers has been. There’s no need to even talk about it because it doesn’t compare to mine, essentially.

Barbara, naturally, as the big sister, tries to take the role of, not so much caretaker, but the one attempting to take care of everything and everyone. She certainly isn’t happy about doing it, either. Ivy has dreams of running off to greener pastures, and Karen has already done so.

But everything is about Violet, especially now that Bev is gone.

And I’ve digressed. 

So before I get bogged down by plot, because I truly don’t want to spoil everything.

I kept thinking that I couldn’t believe how tragic and dramatic everything was in this family. How could someone’s family be that dysfunctional. I mean, I know my family is dysfunction as, well, as fuck, but it couldn’t be this…

And then it hit me. I can’t even recall a portion of the film because I was kind of stunned, to be honest.

My mom has two sisters; she’s the oldest. Their mother, while she doesn’t have cancer, has a flair for the dramatics and things have usually ended up being about her. (I love my grandmother, so I’ll be as delicate as possible).

Growing up, from what my mom’s told me, it wasn’t the easiest time. In good old Iowa. Her dad was an alcoholic. He beat her and her sister with a belt if they misbehaved, and likely even when they didn’t. Mom hates basements because of it, because that’s where it would happen. She used to have to protect her little sister from it, too. I have a feeling my grandmother couldn’t do anything about it. Plus, with it being “that time” – as in, the sixties, what could be done.

When my mom was twelve years old, her dad either went out in a boat, or went out into the water somehow, and drowned. They never found his body. I don’t think mom has ever said specifically, but it likely could have been suicide. He couldn’t swim. 

A year later, my grandmother remarried and had a baby girl, mom’s youngest sister. They moved to another town in Iowa, so my mom and her sister had to start over at a new school, as well as become mother to their new baby sister. Gotta grow up fast in a situation like that.

Which meant that when mom turned 18, she found the one boy who wasn’t staying in Iowa to be a farmer, got married, and moved to Omaha. Her youngest sister had aspirations to be a model and got to move far away from Iowa for school, but eventually moved back. Her middle sister moved away and stayed away.

When I came around, it was after mom divorced the non-farmer and married my dad. Any time mom was on the phone in our house, she was fighting with her mom. Or her middle sister. Or her younger sister. Or her mom again because her younger sister called her after she fought with mom. Or her middle sister again because her mom called her after her fight with the youngest. It always ended the same way, mom being the one everyone came to and mom being the one who had to solve everything.

Now, they didn’t show any of that in August: Osage County, but they might as well have done. 

Barbara/mom, having to be the one with the heaviest load on her shoulders – sometimes asking for it, usually it being given to her. Losing their father. Violet/grandma losing her husband. And in such a way. 

I couldn’t imagine a family so dysfunctional until I thought of my own.

In the end, Violet is left alone. All of her daughters and family leave her in the house with the woman hired to cook for her.

Fortunately, that’s where the main similarities stop.

It doesn’t end like AOC. Even with all the shit, it won’t be that bad. It might have been close once, but I’m the daughter of the oldest daughter and I won’t let it happen. 

And as daughter of the oldest daughter, I’m not sure I want her to see this film. If it hurt me to watch, I’m not sure what it would do to her. It might be something she could watch in private, in the comfort of her own home, but the thought of her potentially having to suppress sobs in a populated theatre kills me. I’ll have to warn her of the triggers so she doesn’t walk into it blindly. 

Sure, mom’s divorced (and recently engaged), the middle sister is divorced, the youngest one might soon be; grandma’s got her long-term boyfriend; I never really see my cousins, and let’s face it – we’re all over the goddamn place. However, I can’t help but think that this might be the best my family’s ever been. 

 

Raise the Surveillance Status to ‘Active’

I wrote about Sherlock last night and how much I love everything about the show. Last night, I also talked my dad into watching an episode with me.

He came over today to watch Sherlock. I couldn’t decide where exactly to start. I told him that as much as I’d love to start with Season Three, just because it really has been exceptional so far, I should probably start with A Study In Pink. He went on a diatribe about how he wasn’t going to get into a television show, he doesn’t watch television, it doesn’t matter where we start. I knew he would act this way, which is why I was torn over which episode to show him.

After some internal debate, and after asking a friend, I decided on ASiP – to introduce him to the Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman version of the characters. Plus, it really is a brilliant episode. 

Upon first seeing Martin, he exclaimed, “Hey! That’s the hobbit!” He was already laughing during the press conference when Sherlock was texting everyone, “Wrong.” Just a few minutes later and he’s already saying, sheepishly, “Okay, I think I could get into this.” 

After Sherlock invited John to live with him, dad said, “That’s how they met?! This is too good for TV.” When Sherlock ran off, leaving John at the crime scene with the Pink Lady, dad admitted his man crush on Martin Freeman: “He can say more by not saying anything.” Yes, dad; the fandom is very much aware of Martin’s expertise.

He laughed, he asked questions, he was rather enthralled. 

When Mycroft said, “Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson” and they walked off in slow motion to the theme, dad and I looked at each other, and he reached over to shake my hand. I couldn’t contain my smugness.

“This show… is awesome. You bitch. You’re like a drug pusher. How do you expect me to walk away from this show without needing to watch more?”

And, much like at the end of a successful drug deal, we shook hands again.

As he got up to leave (I have an errand to run), he said, “God. Pretty soon I’m going to have Sherlock shit all over my house! My chickens will be wearing little black coats!”

I told him I didn’t have anything going on tonight after my errand, so we made plans for him to come back over and watch The Blind Banker. I told him not to Google any spoilers.

 

Growing up, watching movies with my dad was essentially one of my favorite past-times. It’s because of him that I have such a passion for film and television. It’s because of him that I know what Airplane! is, and Spaceballs, unlike so many of my friends. It’s because of him pointing out different things or wondering out loud why the director shot the scene a certain way or how the score is in a certain scene that I do those things. 

So, being able to introduce him to Sherlock, a show that manages to be the brightest light shining in a world full of torches, is an immense pleasure. The fact that he loved it, well. 

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