Letter to Anonymous, #006

Dear Friend,

You forget that I knew you as a girl; I didn’t forget. So today I am sad to see your spark dampened, the girl I knew who threw her head back and laughed and was beautiful and cruel like a dark sun of her own. The girl I rode with who was free and unfettered and knew – at least while with me she did – that she didn’t have to apologize for her nature nor improve upon it. She was (is) good enough for me to run out into the night and share meals with our fingers in the day and say crass things over the phone and pen poor poetry together and take time to talk talk talk about our relationships and occasionally throw the rest of the world out the window for just us and a cigarette.

Now age, moral constriction, gossip, husbands, children, in-laws, jobs pile up and squeeze you into some other shape and you take them all on your shoulders and work for them. You are still strong; you are still wild. But you don’t run any more. When did the assumed esteem of these people* start to matter so much to you? Do you know those who love you prize you not for the work you do but for the reasons I loved you as a girl – and those that don’t love you can go to hell for all I care?

It’s a strange thing that, at least in our peer group, it borders on the offensive if I comment in any way that’s not flattering or shallow or easy-come-easy-go. So, say, I can’t really mention if your kids are acting up too much lately and you seem tired or you seem to have gained weight on the ass and around the eyes, or wonder aloud how it is that in the years stacking up you haven’t succeeded in getting the job or the non-job that you always said you wanted. I better not say Hey, I know what it’s like to not like one’s husband because of course our story must coda with the requisite: Oh, our marriage has it’s ups and downs but [ insert euphamism for ‘everything’s perfect, I’m fine’! ] rather than, Holy shit I am so sick of this man right now! Pass the reefer.** If I said any of these things aloud you might very well think I’m picking on you or that we’re having a dangerous (and real) conversation. I think we’d move past it and you’d realize that I’m not, that I love you, that I want to see you cared for, that you’re safe with me. But it makes me wonder why women can’t speak more frankly to one another; or at least, women of our age.

I’m told that as we grow older, that when our children start taking themselves to soccer practice or when they move to college or out of the house or when menopause hits, that we will achieve some kind of wildness and freedom, some candid repertoire and no longer need to be Good Girls (or Wives, or Mothers) but just be ourselves. Somehow the competition for money, a sexy body, a do-right man, well-behaved children will fall away and we’ll laugh it off while we seek what we want for ourselves and serve the world as we should.

But I’d like to get started on this today. How do you feel about it?

* With their building blocks and their tiny plastic phones /
Counting on their fingers, with crumbs down their fronts

** I don’t smoke reefer with my friends, just so you know. Figure of speech.

Letter to Anonymous, #005

At first I felt kind of sorry for you. Here you are in a quiet family restaurant and you’ve already talked loudly into the cell phone during one lengthy conversation, ignoring your lunch companion (I think she’s your daughter) for a good deal of time. This at least confuses me because a significant part of the population doesn’t believe it’s rude to talk at normal voice on a cell phone in a restaurant while others (like myself) find it tacky and off-putting. Fine, though. I barely notice you at first as I enjoy my lunch with my family – just note you have that entitled loud-talking way about you and probably don’t realize that people who don’t even know you think you’re a bit of a jerk.

But then as my family finishes their meal and my husband gets up to pay you make yet another phone call and I sense a more keyed-up conversation. I hear you say, ‘It’s not only against my personal philosophy…” and a few seconds later, louder still, “and I don’t see how we should put reconditioned parts on my brand new van. I’ve had it ten days when this happened. It just doesn’t make sense to me.” Ah. OK, I get it. I know who you are and recognize the aggressive Man-In-Charge assholishness that has probably served you well to get what you want – nay, deserve, out of life.

Then you start to lecture the mechanic on the other end: “I ran the van pool for such-and-such for twelve years so I’m very familiar with how these things are done,” (wonder how many mechanics hear that?). At this point I’m thinking, A. it makes perfect sense that a man who owns a brand new van also would put this display up in a restaurant where others are trying to enjoy their repast, and B. I’m getting the heck out of here before the elderly diner who has just turned in his seat and is sending daggers of hate out of his eyes confronts you – as I’m sure he will. I should have at least looked at your dining companion to see if she supports this behavior as normal or OK or, as I would be, is sitting in quiet mortification whilst thinking, “What a douche!”

In any case, we don’t stop to investigate further – we pay our bill and leave. Good luck with the repairs on your twenty-something thousand dollar minivan. But being you is your own reward.

Letter to Anonymous, #004

Dear Stalking Subject,

Today, uptown, was the first time I’ve seen you in weeks. You were striding down the street in your typical boot-sparkin’ style. Now that I ran across you I feel like you have officially christened the summer for me. I was wondering why I haven’t seen you; part of it is you seem to be frequenting your haunts less often (uptown, downtown near Swain’s parking lot); part of it is that I myself don’t get there much, preferring to hang out in parks, at friends’, and in Newtown.

Anyway, what I’m here to tell you is I feel our stalking relationship is at and end. I am just not getting the thrill I used to. Part of it is that I don’t see or hear of any new exploits; part of it is a stalking relationship is just really not all that satisfying (I’m even considering abandoning stalking altogether). I hope you understand. I will always hold a fond place in your heart; but as of today I relinquish our special, if one-sided, relationship.

Oh, and by the way – happy birthday! I missed it this year.



Letter To Anonymous, #003

Dear Uptown Dog Owner,

You have been a thorn in my side for a few years now, but until this morning I have given you the benefit of the doubt and suspended my wrath, feeling higher-minded than to hate on someone for something so minor. However, today I am ready to make a teensy request on behalf of myself, my family, and my friends:

Quit leaving your dog’s shit in public areas.

It boggles my mind that you don’t pick up your dog’s shit – which to many animal-loving groups is just common sense. Are you telling yourself you don’t need to monitor or dispose of your dog’s shit because we are in the Pacific Northwest and the rain simply whisks it away in seconds? First of all, here in PT we get about 19″ a year, hardly enough to wash your dogs’ leavings out of our courtyards and public trails in a speedy manner. Secondly, it seems only common courtesy that in an area for public recreation – like, oh, say the toddler park where this morning my unsuspecting daughter feel prey to a mountainous pile of steaming foulness – you would assume that perhaps some foot traffic might hit that park on the same day or shortly thereafter the dog squatted. Clean it up. Duh.

I have long accepted the duty of motherhood in watching where my children walk and my stroller rolls. My eyes watch like a hawk for cracks in the sidewalk, piles of shit and trash, and dirty heroin kits (so far, rarely seen in this town). But I’d appreciate you doing your part for public hygiene and enjoyment (I’m skipping directly over the disease potential, landscaping issues, water pollution factor, and bad reputation you are providing more responsible dog owners with).

You’re on notice. If I see your dog in the act and see you unaware (or feigning lack of awareness) I will march up to you with one of my plastic bags (kept at all times for my child’s cloth diaper), and perhaps a little educational pamphlet if you are too dumb or inexperienced to have figured this out for yourself.

Thanks, and on behalf of those who don’t like stepping in your dog’s shit, or cleaning it off their children,


Letter to Anonymous, #002

Dear Ex-Fellow Collegiate,

We’ve known one another for ten years now and been friends – to use the term loosely – for eight of those years and it is time to end it. A conversation we had Thursday – four months since we last spoke – put the nail in the coffin for me.

Let me explain: part of the reason we hadn’t spoke in four months is that some time ago I removed you from my IM “Buddy list” since it had become entirely too annoying: the temptation to click on your alias and try to initiate a real conversation. I would inevitably be disappointed by your superficiality, get conflicting messages on what exactly my friendship means to you (this, at least, has been consistent for eight years), or be subjected to confusing details of your dysfunctional relationship of the last five years and asked to weigh in on the meanings therein. In fact, this latter aspect was the entire breadth of our conversation a couple days ago, without so much of a “How’s your husband and kids / What have you been up to lately?” throw-away line (you did dispense with a quick “what’s new?” before you launched into your own melodrama). I don’t want to disparage your struggles right now – I meant it when I said I had compassion for what you were going through. It’s just that the one-sidedness of our conversations has been there for years now, whether you were going through a personal crisis or not.

The fact is, I have cared for you over the years and gotten zero evidence that it goes the other way. Maybe the biggest irritation of all is not only do you not ever, ever ask how I’m doing and really listen – and you haven’t visited me and my family once since I’ve lived here – and the one time we were supposed to get together in Portland you ditched me – No, the biggest irritation is that in the four years I’ve been a parent you have not once spoken or typed either of my children’s names. Now, I don’t expect anyone who’s not myself, my husband, or my mother to give a goddamn about when my kids have a birthday party or potty train or any of that. I don’t force my snot-nosed brats on anyone except those who willingly visit this site – but in the last four years I would have liked some acknowledgment that they are important to me and they are what I do these days. Especially since I’ve shown nothing but polite – and genuine, as often as possible – interest in your acquisition of new four-or-two-wheeled toys, “high-school girl parties”, and creepy phone pictures of unwitting co-eds on the USC campus (the most recent communique before Thursday).

Since this is a send-off of sorts, I just want to say that the affection I held you in lasted a long time, considering the lame-duck friendship we have had. I had a lot of great times with you back in school (times that make me sweetly sad to think of, now) and we share the same sense of humor – if have virtually nothing else in common. In the first years after school I wrote you regularly and really cared (and prayed) about your major work-related injury and your relationships with women, if I didn’t always understand them. I have also always had the tiniest crush on you – one that was never consummated in any way, and wouldn’t have worked out in any capacity – a small amount of sexual attraction that can and did go a long way in my enjoyment of you. I guess I stuck around all this time because I have only picked up a small handful of friends in the ten years since high school, and I tend to care about them as much as they let me. But there is a point to cut someone loose, whether they know it or not, and even if it doesn’t change my life – lived, for so long now, with no real intimacy shared between us – for better or worse.

Obviously, you aren’t meant to see this letter; I would be surprised if you were keeping up with me at all. If you do read this I want to apologize for any hurt, surprise, or anger you may feel. If you feel I am being unfair (as you surely would feel, if you saw this), please re-read Paragraph #2 and #3. Otherwise, let’s not make a scene over this and move on with our lives.

Sincerely, K.

Letter To Anonymous, #001

Dear “Career Woman”,

I can’t believe you actually cut me off as we’re heading to the church parking lot to drop our children off. Out of all the irritating behaviors my fellow drivers can exhibit, a soccer mom in an SUV who refuses to make eye contact as she darts out in front of me from my left is relatively infuriating. I stare disbelieving, looking to you for the reconciliatory duck of the head and limp wave: “Sorry, I fucked up!” But no. No remorse.

I park about thirty feet away from you and watch as you briskly order your children out of the vehicle. I am not even going to take the time to mock your “wash & wear” 1988 long skirt suit complete with shoulder pads, your ash-blonde highlights in a pre-Friends mullet-y shag, and mid-90’s Roxy-esque ho heels, because that would be a low blow and – more to the point – I’m dressed in men’s 501s with a dyke-y ponytail and toddler snot on my shirt. You do, despite your fashion handicaps, look sharp, well-groomed, and in charge as you stride purposefully up the steps, your American-fat children scurrying five feet behind you. You stay about thirty seconds and rush off to whatever “important” job you have waiting for you – my guess is either a teller window in a bank or a receptionist’s desk in a medical building.

For four days while we pick up and drop off our children, you circle the room avoiding contact with me. The first two days I am seething. Part of me thinks if I have balls I will confront you with, “Excuse me, that really bothered me that you cut me off Tuesday”, or more bitchily, “Do you know how right-of-way works?” But I don’t. Mostly because I can’t figure out why I let your alpha-mom behavior piss me off so much. I keep my silence and, when no recourse is offered by you, vow to blog about your lame ass later.

However, I am probably doing you a disservice. It would probably be best for you to learn one day soon that just because you can drive criminally to get the crucial edge and get your little darlings to day camp fifteen seconds earlier than I did, doesn’t mean you should. Maybe if I’d said something you would consider other drivers once in a while. Or at least have the chance to say “I’m sorry” – which is all I’m looking for.

My God, to think people move to this town to escape this kind of suburban aggression and assholian disregard for others.