What We Talk About When We Talk About Money and Rubber Gloves

Nothing like a good screaming match about the economy at the dinner table to make your food go down. Last night we had company, and, like all good liberals, we ranted about the economy and the bail-out plan over our organic greens. This, of course, after CLH and I had a competition to see who could best imitate the sound of an iPhone being docked (I won, hands down.) Being white and nerdy never felt so… well, white and nerdy.

Afterwards, it was off to the Internet (for more white and nerdy entertainment) where we huddled up around my laptop and watched the following:
Suzanne Somers, then and now pictures
Oprah, then and now pictures
Sally Struthers (just to verify it WAS really her, and NOT Suzanne Somers, asking us to Save the Children)
Olan Mills pictures (yikes, yikes, and double yikes)

And then, somehow, I stumbled back onto a good friend’s blog. Man, she’s good. I think I was digging around in my email looking for other ridiculous links to be taken to as a way to show the guests a good time, and I remembered that I hadn’t checked her blog in a while. And even stranger still, I don’t know how I landed on this particular passage, but I did. Here it is:

“i have dreams of being mugged and raped. rape is not a new dream. i remember having dreams of being assaulted since middle school. to my knowledge, i have never been molested, but i almost feel that i have a kinesthetic memory–do all women have this? why, when my great-grandmother first told me about when she was raped at the age of 13 (something she never told anyone until her late 60’s), did i feel it? are women so smothered by the ubiquitous threat of sexual violence that we have developed extreme empathy to the point where we literally feel the violation of others or the threat of violation, independent of whether we actually lived a sexual assault? “

This is put so eloquently, so damn well, that I just had to reproduce it here. It captures something that, yes, I think ALL women identify with. No, I’ve never actually physically been assaulted, but, yes, my body retains some sort of cellular memory of the violence all around me. When I see it on the big screen and in real life, my body first seizes in fear, and then I am filled with adrenaline. I AM that woman, and I am ready to fight. I am unsure of why I carry this memory; why not any other types? Maybe because this kind of violence, the violence that then becomes intertwined with an intimate act that bonds us bodily with a loved one, corrupts something fundamental about us. It takes away one of the last things about us that we can control as women. I’ve never heard anyone express it as beautifully as Lacy has above, so I just had to share. It’s a heavy topic, but, strangely, reading it last night didn’t actually make me feel heavy. It made me feel like I wasn’t the only crazy one for feeling this deep, deep, bond with my fellow females. It made me understand that if I can absorb this from my atmosphere, then the membrane works both ways. If I can take in, I can put out. And I can monitor what I put out there. I can put out energy that is affirming and gentle and non-violent to my fellow women.

My eyes can hardly stand to look at this computer screen. My brain is sloshing back and forth very slowly in its cerebral fluid, still imitating the motion of being on the boat this afternoon. CLH and I both skipped work a little early to hang out on the new boat. I have surprised myself thus far with my ability to not lose my lunch while onboard. Of course, the marina has zero wave action, so I shouldn’t pat myself on the back too hard. It’s when I get back to land that the wooziness starts. I was warned about this by fellow sailors. The way they told me about it, though, was in this cute, anecdotal sort of way. Sort of like the way one might tell you how “funny” it was to get caught in a rainstorm and have to walk home soaking wet. Except when they got home, they took off their wet clothes, took a hot shower, and the ordeal was over with. This ordeal goes on for hours. Sitting still is torture. Brushing your teeth while looking into a mirror is torture. I can feel the whole damn house swaying to……… and fro…………. and to………… and fro. And it’s making me want to hurl. On the lighter side of things, CLH and I hoisted the sails by ourselves this afternoon while moored. Just a test run. And we did it! I have made a list of things I will have to get used to:

-dirt
-my lack of upper body strength

I didn’t understand just how out of shape I was until I nearly threw my shoulder out trying to start the engine (that will be a posting for another day). I also didn’t ever think I could even look at seawater without wearing gloves. I’m not exactly a germiphobe, but I do get the heebee jeebies touching anything dirty, slimy, dusty, rusty, gritty or greasy. In short, I like things neat and orderly and I DO NOT like getting my hands wet when cleaning stuff. I can feel all that changing. Whereas once I would have had to burn my jeans after sitting on a moist surface, I now find myself able to sit on a deck that I’ve just knocked a full beer onto. Whereas I once would have physically recoiled at all things floaty, furry, and slimy underwater, I now find myself peering for long spells of time at the stuff growing on the undersides of the dock. Just last week, I couldn’t have even fathomed the contents of seagull poop, let alone touch it, and this weekend, I was kneeling down in it, scrubbing a 10 foot deck on my hands and knees, and loving it. My, how I have grown.