Friday, September 26, 2014

The Sun Going South

In late sunshine I wander troubled.
Restless I walk in autumn sunlight.

To many changes, partings, and deaths.
Doors have closed that were always open.
Trees that held they sky up are cut down.
So much that I alone remember.

This creek runs dry among its stones
Souls of the dead, come drink this water!

Come into this side valley with me,
A restless old woman, unseemly,
Troubled, walking on dry grass, dry stones.".

 - Ursula K. LeGuin, Always Coming Home

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My Great Leap Sideways

"The time I’ve lost in wooing,
In watching and pursuing
The light that lies
In woman’s eyes,
Has been my heart’s undoing.
Though Wisdom oft has sought me,
I scorned the lore she brought me,
My only books
Were woman’s looks,
And folly’s all they’ve taught me."

 - Thomas Moore  (1779–1852), The time I’ve lost in wooing

You know how people keep saying we have to have The Conversation? Mostly about race, but sometimes about beating women down or posting their naked pictures on the internets if they speak up. So bring it, boys. Oh, wait. You already have: every two minutes in America.

Assuming I had naked pictures, and that I was dumb enough to upload them to the cloud, posting my naked pictures would bring that trend to the kind of halt a schoolbus full of orphans would make being rammed into a bridge abutment at 90 miles per hour by an 18-wheeler with “Grim Reaper” spray-painted on the side.

My own story of sexual assault is actually three, including one about which I cannot speak and therefore about which I shall remain silent.

There was the time a neighbor fixed me up with her brother, a cop from Riverside, who took me to a cheap dinner and then called me a cunt because I wouldn’t fuck him in the front seat of his muscle car. He dropped me off at his sister’s house before peeling out to accurately demonstrate the actual size of his penis. She was babysitting for my toddler, who I then had to carry two blocks home in her sleep.

One out of five women are likely to be raped, gentlemen. Some would say the rape epidemic is a fiction. I couldn’t agree more that it would be nice if fewer women were being assaulted today than yesterday.

As to Mr. Number Two, I’m quite sure he is limping around right now trying to remember where he got that scar next to his penis. Or maybe he’s dead because some other woman managed to actually hit his femoral artery with her metal nail file – what I was going for when he hit me so hard on the side of the head that I saw stars. At least I drew more blood than he did: a victory of sorts. And I didn’t get raped that night either, although I had to pay a cab because it was too far to walk home.

In both cases, I was a full grown woman, and I was wearing lipstick. In retrospect, I was probably was asking for it because I had, you know, a pulse.

But here’s where I want to depart from the hegemonic discourse about how great things are going, and leap sideways. I submit that… wait for it….  it would be even better if women didn’t get assaulted at all. No kidding. Even better: how about if women didn’t always have to worry about being disrespected, raped, assaulted, paid less, and knocked out in elevators?

More importantly: it’s not women’s looks that are the problem here. It’s the aggressor who is at fault. If women’s looks are your only books, you’re fools. Time to wise up.

So because men no longer find me rapable – because I’m old enough to join AARP and because my dress size is two digits – I feel safe going on record and saying if good men don’t stand up on the side of good women, we’re headed down that slippery slope that leads to covering our heads and FGM and honor killings here in this land of the free and home of the brave dickheads who call ladies cunts.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

My Personal Opinion of Farmers Insurance

“The mere narcotizing effect of which cosmic forces have on a shallow and brittle personality is attested in the relation of such a person to one of the highest and most genial manifestations of these forces: the weather. Nothing is more characteristic than that precisely this most intimate and mysterious affair, the working of the weather on humans, should have become the theme of their emptiest chatter. Nothing bores the ordinary man more than the cosmos. Hence, for him, the deepest connection between weather and boredom.
 - Walter Benjamin, The Arcade Project

It’s been hot lately. I talked about the weather for 15 minutes the other night with a complete stranger. Did you know it’s been hot lately? Enough narcotizing.

I recently filed the second homeowners insurance claim I have ever filed with Farmer’s Insurance in >25 years.  They more recently denied it, just like they did when I found mold from a slow leak  under my kitchen dishwasher that hadn’t been used in 20 years, and refused to even give me a copy of the hazmat report that it was black mold I should have noticed sooner. Because, apparently we should all be checking beneath un-used and un-movable kitchen appliances regularly, rather than discovering the mold when it spreads to the adjacent cabinet beneath the sink. Due diligence.

Tiffany, my good neighbor claims adjustor from Kansas, at first said the fallen tree branch must have fallen (and badly damaged a guest’s vehicle) because I must have been negligent in not removing a dead branch that was clearly threatening to fall in my driveway.

When I produced a 3-page detailed invoice and cancelled check for $5,000 worth of tree work less than 90 days ago, it gave Tiffany pause. But only briefly. Tiffany then said it must have been an act of god.

Well then, I said. Since I had the burden of proof that I wasn’t negligent, she’d have to prove it was an act of god, beginning with proving that there is a god. Tiffany said that act-of-god is a legal term of art. I said I’d been a lawyer longer than she’d been inhaling air, and term of art or not, she had the burden of proof. 

Unless, I suggested in my best good neighbor voice, there was a policy exception for “shit happens”. Tiffany reminded me that the call was being recorded. I reminded Tiffany that shit happens is a legal term of art, and was in no way directed at her or intended to impugn the reputation of Farmers so-called Insurance.

As the claim was denied – to my great lack of surprise – as an act of nature, I felt it not worth my trouble to file another claim for removal of the branches that were knocked down by the hurricane remnant that blasted through my backyard even more recently. Tiffany can't afford to waste any more air denying any more claims from now until I replace this worthless company with someone who won't at least disrespect my atheism. 

Tiffany did mention that Farmers insurance has a good neighbor clause that will pay up to the amount of my deductible but that if I invoked it, she couldn’t guarantee that my rates wouldn’t increase. I told Tiffany that is my exact definition of bad neighbor, but then again being a good neighbor wasn’t my job, so what do I know.

I do know that good neighbor is a meaningless term of art used by Farmers Insurance. And now, so do you.