First the high points:

I had to work on Saturday, but we were comparatively well-staffed so I only had to be on the desk for a few hours and I had some time to catch up on my behind-the scenes work.  Plus it wasn’t quite as warm in there as it’s been lately (it *only* reached 80.6 degrees).

Saturday evening my boyfriend picked me up at the library and we headed downtown to Caroline’s Comedy Club to see a live recording of the Adam Carolla Show.  We got down there early, checked in and got our seating ticket:

Carolines Show Ticket

[Man, they are REALLY serious about that two-drink minimum!]

Then we went out for some coal-oven pizza at Angelo’s, and then we came back to the club where we each had our two drinks and had a good time watching the show.

Adam Carolla Podcast

In other good news, I’ve been catching up with a bunch of episodes of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast and that has been a lot of fun.  If you enjoy stories about evil and horror (especially Lovecraftian evil and horror) and if you also have a sense of humor, then you’ll definitely get a kick out of this show.

Welcome to Night Vale

Oh, and I should point out that one of the reasons I like this show is that one of the creepiest parts of the town of Night Vale is the town’s library.  On a related note, I think it would be cool to make my library Unknowable, too.  And hey … let’s not dwell on our corpse-strewn past!  Let’s celebrate our corpse-strewn future!

Now on to the low points (actually there was only one, but it involved my mother so it was a doozy as usual):

This morning my boyfriend dropped me off at my mother’s place on his way to deal with his own family obligations (bringing his daughter some food and taking his mother shopping).  I was at my mother’s place for less than twenty minutes, but with her usual ability to pull off my emotional scabs she managed to ruin my mood for hours.

She did it by bringing up the subject of Leake & Watts, which is a subject that usually inspires a reaction in me that is not unlike one a deer might have if it heard a twig snap in the forest.  I get very quiet and still and then I wait for something terrible to happen.

You see, Leake & Watts was the equivalent of the boogeyman in my childhood.  I was told that it was a home for incorrigible children.  I was told that I should never go near there (it was apparently within walking distance of a playground we used to visit in Yonkers).  I was told to be careful of any kids who came from Leake & Watts, because they were dangerous.  AND my father repeatedly threatened to send me there whenever he thought I wasn’t being good enough.  FWIW, this was one of a series of threats that came up whenever I disobeyed him — over the course of several years he also threatened to send me to live with my grandparents, to live with my aunt and uncle, and (also high up on the weirdness scale) to live in a convent.

The last time he made the Leake & Watts threat he cranked the drama level up to the maximum, telling me that he was calling them and then sitting in the bedroom with the phone to his ear, describing me over the phone and talking about how horrible I was and asking when they could come by and pick me up.  I was a little older and savvier by that point (twelve years old?  thirteen?  fourteen?) so it did occur to me that he probably wasn’t actually on the phone with them, and it also occurred to me that this was one of his more insane examples of emotional abuse yet and that I should probably document it.  So I sat there hunched over one of my notebooks, writing down his insults as fast as I could.  Don’t ask me what I thought I was going to do with those notes and don’t ask me where that notebook is now, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.  Or at least, it seemed like the only way I could try to get any control over what was essentially an uncontrollable situation.

Anyway, Leake & Watts is not something I think about often.  I’ve gone for decades without thinking about it at all.  And then several years ago I was having a conversation with a librarian at another branch, and he mentioned in passing that he had worked there for a while before he became a librarian.  And then, to my great surprise and embarassment, I suddenly burst into tears.  I found myself having to explain to someone I only knew as a colleague but not as a friend that there was this big dark spot in the recesses of my memory that he had inadverdently brought to the surface of my mind where it had just … exploded.

Anyway, back to my mother.

So she starts talking about Leake & Watts in connection with her health care aide, and I get very still and quiet because I’ve learned the hard way that this subject can set off a knee-jerk reaction in me.  And then she says something about how when she thinks about it now, she thinks that it’s so weird about what happened back then.  Now, that statement was so strange and so vague that it took me a moment to understand that she was still talking about Leake & Watts … but she was talking about it in this distant way, like if she was remembering a news story about something that happened to someone else.

So then I said, “Well, my only memories of Leake & Watts were how Daddy kept threatening to send me there” and she replied, “Yes, that’s what I was talking about.”

And then there was ANOTHER awkward silence because a) I DON”T WANT TO TALK ABOUT THIS IN THE FIRST PLACE and b) I’m wondering why she’s talking about what happened in a way that seems to distance the events from herself.  Which starts pissing me off further because … well, while she wasn’t the one who made the direct threats, she was there and she enabled HIM to make those threats.  She chose to marry him, she chose to stay with him for seventeen years, she chose to back up his parenting decisions.  Then I also started getting this whole “revisionist history” vibe, like the time she’d spent a lot of time thinking about a pivotal conversation we’d had shortly before I moved out, except in the process of rethinking it she’d put a much different spin on the conversation than what had actually happened.

So then she started talking about how she couldn’t understand how someone could be so mean and so vindictive to make threats like that, and I started feeling vindicated and frustrated and angry all at once.  I abruptly ended the conversation by saying that I was long past the point of trying to understand my father’s psyche.

And then I left, and while I was standing outside my mother’s building I sent a text message to my boyfriend giving a condensed version of what had just happened, including my feeling that I was so frustrated that I wanted to put my fist through a wall.  NOTE: While being my romantic partner has many perks, it also means having your own afternoon of family-fueled agita interrupted by my text message about wanting to put my fist through a wall … and then trying to come up with a supportive response.  I’m just saying that while it’s not always easy being me, I acknowledge that it’s not always easy DATING me, either.

So then I needed to walk for a while, and I was also struck with the intense need to go to a playground and swing for a while, which was something I used to do when I was twelve, and thirteen, and fourteen, and I was feeling overwhelmed by what was happening at home.  The closer playground was the one in Yonkers, but since that was the one near Leake & Watts I wasn’t really in the mood to go there.  So I walked to the next closest playground in Riverdale, where I found that there were too many kids and too few swings.  So I had to find some theraputic alternatives.  I went to a local pizzeria to get pizza and soda, and then I took a bus back to my neighborhood where I bought an iced mocha and then came home and took a shower.  All of which ALMOST came close to matching the theraputic value of sitting on a swing for an hour.

Now I’m going to listen to a few more episodes of Welcome to Night Vale, and then maybe take a nap before dinner to let my mind finish stitching itself back together.

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