the twenty-ninth question

February 24, 2012

this post is one of many for a project i began several years ago, the griffin inquisition. i asked my friends and family to pose questions to me, things they would like to know that would require an essay-type answer.

the most recent essay topic was offered by a fellow blogger.

honestly rank which of these is most important to you: family, love, money, having children, looking good -- cristina.

family. i doubt i would've lived half as long as i have if it weren't for them. in fact, i'm quite confident i would not have bothered to get past seventh grade. that was hell, and i'm amazed, even now, even when i've blocked so much of it--i can't remember most of that year, but i can remember, quite well, how i felt--i'm amazed that i got through it.

money. and, more importantly, the ability to be reasonable and responsible with it. because at the moment, i am relying on my family too much for too many things. i can't support myself, partly because of the jobs i hold and partly because i am lousy at managing my accounts.

looking good. i know. it sounds shallow. it is. but my face and i, we've never been on good terms. even as i'm typing this, i'm feeling the wrongness of it. the whole right side is feeling odd at the moment. in most moments, actually. and there's nothing, nothing at all that i can do about it.

love. i'm so over this stuff right now. last saturday, some guy bought me a drink and then paid for my lunch, which was really sweet. he was nice and passably attractive, and i think pretty intelligent. but my gut told me he liked to drink. too much. and he was sort of stocky, with dirty blonde hair and blue eyes.

the men in my family and most of the boys i knew in school were long and lean (even my father was at some point, though you wouldn't know this to look at him), so this is what i'm used to, what i prefer. and one of the shuckers was giving me shit about my standards being too high.

so what? i've done that whole lowering-them-so-they-appear-to-be-more realistic thing. you know what happened? i felt guilty for not being true to myself. and for not being fair to the guys for whom i'd lowered the bar.

i've a preference for dark-haired, dark-eyed men who are noticeably taller than i and built more like swimmers and less like offensive linemen. and i'm rambling because some part of me feels like i have to justify this. i'm not sure why that is. maybe because i've heard too many times that i'm too picky. like i don't have a right to be. also? the boy at the bar? he'd prefer to be in places like montana and alaska, and that, for me, ain't ever gonna happen. i am not a cold-climate kind of gal.

and, most irritatingly, there's this small part of me that feels like i should've given the guy more credit. probably because i've been told so many times that i'm too picky.

anyway ... it's too much work, takes too much out of me, messes with my head WAY too much.

having children. yeah. that's a no. i'm not built for that.

the last two? i wish i could put them higher. i really do.

cristina is an aggie, living in arkansas, raising one little girl with her doctor husband and expecting a second baby girl soon! her blog, is there a doctor in the house?, is here.

random quarter: my kabuki

February 1, 2012

one. kabuki is my older brother's nickname. he got it in high school. i don't remember how.

two. he was born on october twelfth in the year nineteen sixty-eight, four and a half years before me.

three. he died on march twelfth in the year two thousand three.

four. he was older than me for thirty-four years. now i am older than he. forever.

five. in high school, on the nights he would go out with his friends, before he left, he would stand in front of the mirror in the foyer, marvel at his reflection, grin his cockeyed grin and exclaim, "i am a goddamned good-looking man." this habit of grand self-reflection continued on through college and adulthood. while at a&m, his corps unit commander found this habit incredibly amusing. as did i, even though i'd roll my eyes and bitch about his stupidity.

six. the reason two of my friends became involved with each other is because my brother had dared the boy to go over to the girl and smack her on the ass. the boy, who is actually quite shy when it comes to stuff like this, was just drunk enough that he could do it. and when the girl turned, her hand raised to slap his face, she stopped short because it'd registered that he was pretty cute and she'd better not slap him. and they dated for what seemed like a decade. and then they got married. and now they have two of the cutest kids i've ever seen. not the cutest, of course. those would be my other brother's children. but close enough.

seven. i used to hate when he would come and stay at the house when my parents were out of town, because all he did while there was get drunk and trash the place, and i'd be the one doing the cleaning up. it never occurred to me that he was there because he was trying to be the good big brother, knowing his baby sister didn't like being home alone. i'd always thought he'd just wanted a house of his own rather than an apartment and that he wanted to take advantage of my folks and their place while they were away. i'm well aware it could still be the latter there. but i like thinking that he was trying to do the right thing.

eight. the reason i can't be sure if it's that right thing bit is because he had this incredibly uncanny knack for showing up within an hour after their departure and vacating the premises within an hour of their arrival.

nine. he could befriend anyone in a matter of seconds. literally. anyone. he could be standing in line at mcdonald's talking to the guy in line behind him, and they'd be acting like they'd known each other for years by the time they'd placed their orders.

ten. he used to wish i was more like his friend's younger sister and less like me.

eleven. the best memory i have of him isn't a good one at all, really. he'd been in houston, on a binge. my mother'd become quite certain that he wouldn't be home for christmas. my father was in his office, working. my mother was in the kitchen, getting breakfast ready. i was taking turns keeping them company. and my brother shows up on the doorstep at around eight a.m. i'd never seen him look so fragile, as though it hurt him to breathe. and all the years of my being angry with him, all the hatred i'd felt for him got shoved out of the way, because all i could think was my bubby's hurt. it didn't matter that he'd done it to himself. he hurt. he looked broken. and for the first time in a very long time, i'd wanted to make it better.

twelve. the worst? the night he passed out in the upstairs bathroom my brothers and i shared, in the bathtub with the water still running. he'd flooded the house. i yelled at him. he laughed at me. it was like looking at the devil.

thirteen. he was almost always the last person to get the christmas shopping done. when we'd spend christmas in colorado, on christmas eve, he'd come back to the cabin from skiing at two or three that afternoon to shower and change, then he'd go back to aspen to shop. we were never allowed to go with him. he would always, always have the best presents for us.

fourteen. he had the best laugh. it's hard for me to recall it now in perfect clarity, but it was like his whole body, every feature on his face laughed with him.

fifteen. he also had a very short supply of patience. he could not tolerate stupidity in others.

sixteen. he was bigoted. sometimes i had a bit of trouble stomaching how opinionated he could be.

seventeen. he gave me a bottle of ralph lauren's romance for women for christmas. i can't remember if it was the winter before he died or the year before that. once in a while, i'll think i should change that fragrance, and i do. but i always come back to it.

eighteen. he hated how crass i can be. i embarrassed him often because my mouth is so vulgar.

nineteen. he helped my mother wash my mouth out one day. she'd threatened to do it when she got off the phone. he didn't see a point in waiting, so he dragged me over to the sink, yanked my head back and downed what seemed to be half a bottled of dawn in my mouth. i could not stop foaming. so gross. and it didn't do a damned bit of good. obviously.

twenty. he was the easiest person to shop for.

twenty-one. he had AMAZINGLY BAD tastes in music. some of it so pathetic that no record station around in a thousand mile radius would take it back. so i'm stuck with bon jovi, two live crew, eazy-e, taylor dane and whitesnake.

twenty-two. he could not sing. could not carry a note. the man was tone deaf. oh, but he'd try. and he knew he sucked, so he'd just grin at you, come stand right next to you and serenade you right there. and if it was me who was receiving the serenade, there were a lot of kidney shots being snuck in there. my shots. his kidneys.

twenty-three. he was spoiled and lazy and stuck on things having to be just so.

twenty-four. he'd owned a motorycle for all of three days. my parents found out and made him sell it immediately.

twenty-five. in one of those blissful moments where mama's three children aren't tearing into each other, we decided we were going to create a castle made of cups, one that spanned the breadth of the den and reached to the height of its ceiling. kabuki was in college. i was in high school. my other brother was in an intermediate grade. we gathered around in my mother's living room, full of so many things from her mother's. so many things we needed to be mindful of. so many cups. that's what we were mindful of. how many would it take to get to the top and how wide could we get it.and then when we'd finished, the best part, the thing that made it all worthwhile, flicking on the fan and watching the blades send the cups flying.

and there. there's my brother. marvelous, seemingly formiddable. engaging and inspiring and eager to fly.

this (rq post) was a (two-timing) matlock project. learn about that here.