Commuting on snowy sidewalks and slogging through work while sick for the sake of my anemic bank account do not inspire a rosy view of the world. In fact, negative thoughts slid into my demoralized mind just like the city’s snow-slush pools into a treacherous mini-glacier where the sidewalk dips to the street. When the barely-plowed streets are piled with gritty, blackened snow and I’m getting through the day on Advil and Halls, I realize that there are a lot of things to hate in this world. Dwelling on them is the best part of the day, and also the best way to realize that, hard as it might be to believe, some women have it worse than I do.
For example, instead of having a stylish young husband and five goldfish in a quiet apartment, I could be the mother on a kid-factory reality show, single-handedly birthing an Arkansas army for God with a man named Jim Bob. Despite their egregious license in matters of reproduction, I had vaguely felt the Duggars of “19 Kids and Counting” relatively benign, despite their apparent belief that the Bible says a woman shalt not have a moment of the day (or marital night) to herself. But recently I read an item about a little girl who almost choked to death at the Duggars’ car dealership. Apparently, one Duggar called 911 and helped the EMTs, and another grabbed his cell phone camera so the tragic incident could be properly filmed. I’m also looking at you, Jon and Kate. Instead of getting married, conceiving a reasonable portion of the next generation, and striving to be decent parents, you engineered yourselves a human litter and then exploited that litter so that every theme-park meltdown and proud little poo is broadcast to the world. Has anyone in the history of the whole human race ever suffered a loss of privacy as profound as the Gosselin kids have, who were TV fodder before they left the NICU? And then Jon and Kate proceeded to blow up their marriage in a tabloid bonanza, all the while claiming that the exclusive magazine cover stories on their own exquisite pain were done for the sake of the children. And as for Octomom Nadya Suleman, it’s a classic “chicken or the egg”: did she birth 14 tots with no means of support so she could land a human litter reality show, or did excessive viewing of human litter reality shows lead her to birth 14 tots?
Speaking of the dangers inherent in packs of half-grown children – teenaged skateboarders should be consigned to ranches in Montana. They flout posted laws wherever they feel like hanging out, and they usually feel like hanging out around a center city bus stop at rush hour. There, harking to nothing but the haphazard, rumbling zoom of their wheels, they show not the slightest awareness of how close they come to running down the grown-ups trying to board and exit the bus. And for what? None of their attempted jumps ever, ever works, and the sidewalk rings with the sharp wooden clatter of skateboards landing between oversized sneakers, puffy as mushrooms on the ends of skin-tight jeans. Why do they have to bring their mayhem to center city? Isn’t there a skateboarding app for the iPhone they could play in their dad’s kitchen?
Skateboarders are not the only thing which should be kept out of the public sphere – there is something I hate even more. America is a wonderful land where you are entitled to believe what you want. If you want your children to grow up in execrable ignorance, if you want them to deny vibrant, fascinating truth as godless nihilism, and if you think God can only be found in the rapidly shrinking gaps of our human knowledge, then by all means, be a creationist. Rot your kids’ minds with “Of Pandas and People” and pray for the hell-bound Darwinists. But don’t push your fundamentalist religious agenda onto other citizens in the realm of public schools. Every faith has a creation myth which holds a human and spiritual allegory. But tell me why some Americans believe the Christian creation story should be taught as an “alternative” to science in public schools. Why are creationists, including some people who are purportedly fit for public office, willfully blind to some of the world’s most interesting, well-founded facts, and why do they want to force their faith on other Americans’ children as scientific truth? There should be a law. Oh, right. Thank God. There is.
If I made the laws things would be different, particularly during intermission, and by different, I mean much, much better. At intermission, men breeze in and out, blithe as frogs popping in and out of their own personal pond. But the ladies’ room is a crammed, paper towel-ripping tumult of flushes as the lucky ones who beat the line try to squeeze out the same doorway which is packed by the queue. Most theatre companies in Philadelphia compound the problem with rickety, warren-like passages to the bathroom, horrible slatted saloon-style doors that lock with a single rusted hook-and-eye latch, and water-stained print-outs advising all concerned that the simmering toilets are very temperamental and shouldn’t be flushed in quick succession. The fact that men and women are offered restrooms of equal size is one of the blatant inequities still facing western females, and if Obama cared about me at all he’d leave off that tired equal pay crap and send some stimulus dollars to double the number of ladies’ rooms in America.
I could go on – actually, I already have: see the archives for my feelings on centipedes, cilantro, and New Jersey gas stations. I’m beginning to wonder if this blog site is anything other than a conduit for my most grievous exasperations. But I do feel lighter for having shared my woes with you, on all counts, so thanks. I realize that you may not hate the same things that I do. You might even hate blog entries that lack a discernable narrative or theme. But don’t hate me for trying to pull something together when I’m grumpy, sick, and tired of the snow.
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