Thursday, January 31, 2008

Love Hurts

I pulled into my parking garage this afternoon to find an elderly couple literally doing the jitterbug. They would dance a few steps, embrace, make out, then pop back into their dance routine.

"Wow," I thought, watching the performance in my rearview mirror. "Even though public displays of affection are kind of unsettling, it's reassuring to see two people who still have so much passion for each other that late in their lives."

And then I drove into a pole.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


There’s this little herb/book/curio shop tucked away in one of those Houston neighborhoods that used to be residential and now isn’t. I try to drop in at least once a month, inevitably spending money I don’t really have, because I have an irrational fear that if I don't buy anything, the store will immediately go out of business and it will be All My Fault.

A number of independent Houston-area retailers have gone under in the past few years, and having been a patron of most of them, it's hard not to feel personally responsible. ("If only I'd purchased one more scented candle/poetry chapbook/Tom of Finland T-shirt/coffin-shaped ashtray, then Crossroads/Inklings/Lobo/Karmic Fortune would still be around today!")

Anyway, back to the present. The overriding theme of this particular shop is the Divine Feminine, with special emphasis on female-empowered Christianity. Mary Magdalene, la Virgen de Guadalupe and the Black Madonna reign supreme among the merchandise, with a fair share of shelf space given over to other popular female deities like Kwan Yin and Yemaya. If you've ever read Bell, Book and Murder by Rosemary Edghill, you'll understand when I say it's like a real-time version of Chanter's Revel.

On this particular day, browsing through their Fiction section, I happened upon a copy of Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees. I remembered hearing that the book was supposed to be very good, and I hadn't read an actual novel in months, so I figured what the hey and ferried it up to the front counter.

"Have you read this before?" the sales clerk asked as I dug out my debit card. I admitted that no, I hadn't, and she gushed, "Oh, it's a wonderful book!"

"Great!" I said, happy about the glowing recommendation.

"It's such a Southern story," she continued. "You need to go home, put on some Jazz and drink a mint julep before you start reading it."

I told her that sounded like a good idea, and she launched into a comprehensive but thankfully non-spoiling plot synopsis. "This book made me cry," she sighed, reminiscing on the matricidal themes of the first chapter. "It'll make you cry, too. Especially if you have Mom issues. I have bad Mom issues. Really bad. So this book really got to me. Do you have Mom issues?"

"Um... no, I don't," I said, startled by the Freudian ambush. "My mother's actually pretty cool."

"Oh... I see." She replied, visibly disappointed. "That's great. Really great."

Was she jealous of my issue-free maternal relationship? Resentful? Embarrassed that she'd casually tossed out her own issues, which promptly bounced off me and back at her? No clue. But leaving the shop, I couldn't shake the vague feeling that I'd been kicked out of the Sisterhood.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

An open memo to the Internet

The word you're looking for is LOSE.



Seriously. Please. I cannot take it anymore.