Miz Shoes

Blinded by the Light

Y'know, I had an essay written in my head. It was all about the second coming of my feminism, and it was deep and thoughtful and intended as a public apology to Hillary Clinton for arriving so late to her party. But then, just as I was closing the logical loop, my neighbor trotted over to talk to me. He's very shy, my neighbor. I know this because he never looks me in the eye. Two guesses where he lets the vacant stare linger, as long as one of those choices is NOT my shoes. He told me how cute I looked in my overalls. I should mention that this was the day after Hurricane Mathew swept past, so I was hot, sweaty, without power or hot water, and getting bitten by mosquitoes. I was not in the mood. For G-d's sake Max, I'm 62 years old, I am not cute. Just stop it now. He teased me again. Oh, no My Familial Nickname Used Without My Permission, you stop it right now. Max, I repeated, Just. No. And I slammed the conversational door in his face and continued to pick up fallen limbs.

And then two days later, while I was quietly pulling weeds and rewriting my essay, the young workmen came to take the shutters off my studio. One of them attempted, despite verbal warning from both my husband and his co-worker, to apologize for the anti-Semitic sub-contractor who was their painter. Just the son, he said, right? The father is one of the good ones, isn't he? No, I said, he is not. He was rude and insulting and told me flat out that they did not bid prep work into this job. And then he attempted to mansplain (pause in conversation while I had to define mansplaining: y'know, when a man tries to tell a woman how to do something that she knows damn good an well how to do all on her own?) paint prep to me, an artist who has painted plenty of walls, and my husband the portrait painter? As far I am concerned he is an anti-Semite of the first order and if he ever sets foot on my property again I will call the police and have him charged with trespassing. And you can tell him I said so.

And then I watched the second debate and the fever dream of our national pre-apocalyptic behavior that unfolded in the aftermath. And it hit me.

What the fuck is wrong with you people? Have none of you read the fucking Handmaid's Tale? Or even rented the damned movie? No, really. How did we get from being the nation that sent a man to the fucking moon (with the help of women and minorities in critical positions) to being the nation that allowed Donald Trump to breathe air for free on the same stage as Hillary Rodham Clinton?

I have been a feminist all my damned life, and I have been an active combatant in the war against my sex. We have fought, as women, to control our own educational and vocational options, our own credit cards and bank accounts, to control our own names if we marry, to own and control our own bodies, fer fucksake. I cannot fathom how, after all these years of struggle, we have not made any fucking in-roads that haven't been shut down or detoured by rich, old, white, "Christian" men. Enough is enough. Fuck them. Or don't fuck them. But don't let them fuck you over in this election and for generations to come.

I'm begging you. This is our moment. If all of us who are not cis-normative white males vote for Hillary, we can maybe, just maybe, overthrow the rule of old white men. And wouldn't that be a good thing?

Miz Shoes

Back From the Shadows

Yesterday I received a letter in the mail addressed to my ex-husband. We have been divorced for 24 years. I never used his name while we were married. When I married the Renowned Local Artist, I changed my name to his. He (the RLA) and I bought this house together in 1993. The ex never had anything to do with this location.

I cannot tell you how hard it was to see the Antichrist’s on a piece of mail addressed to my home. I cannot tell you how violated I felt to have his presence thrust on me like that. Violated. I was crying and shaking. I woke up at 4 this morning with a migraine and spent the next two hours throwing up.

I sorted out the confusion with the owners of the data base that supplied the sender of the letter, but I am still shaken. He is listed on that site (People Finders, FYI) as a “known alias” for me. I find that so hard to understand, seeing as how I never changed my name. It has made me concerned about my credit…the man never paid a bill on time in his life (or his fair share of a dinner tab, or anything else, as far I was concerned) and to have him listed as an alias for MOI???

I may have to go throw up again.

Miz Shoes

To All the Girls

(This is a response to one of the RLA’s young female students, who recently posted on her Facebook page that she is a proud Republican.)

You say you are sporting a Romney bumper sticker and are a proud Republican. OK. You say you could never be a Democrat. OK. My question for you is this: you are a young, strong, hard-working woman. You have been independent since your early teens. You are tattooed and pierced. You smoke cigarettes and ride a motorcycle. You are not the sort of woman I would expect to be willing to give up any personal freedoms. How, then, can you be willing, no, eager, to vote for two men who would work to legislate changes to this country that would deny all women the most basic freedom of all: ownership of their own bodies.

That is what this election is about. Oh, it has been hidden behind a smokescreen of class warfare, thinly veiled racism and the manipulations of the robber barons over the working man, but it is really an attempt to put women back in their proper place as chattel.

The media calls it choice, but it is more properly a question of ownership. If an individual is not free to determine what happens to their own corpus, what is that state but slavery? Slavery to whom? To the man, institution or government that denies that freedom. If one is not free to own their own body, the next question should be why? Under what conceivable set of circumstances should a human be denied the right of self-determination? Incapacity? If a person is of sound mind and body, there can be no law of nature, only of the law of men.

And you are willing to agree that the condition of being a woman makes you unfit for self-determination? And if you are unfit to own yourself, perhaps you are unfit to own property, unfit to hold certain jobs, to earn an equal wage, incapable of determining if you were raped, incapable of being trusted with the vote, incapable of deciding whom you wish to marry or when. Not only are you willing to agree to that for yourself but you are condemning your sisters, daughters and granddaughters to that fate. Cupcake, you need to remember that it was quite literally the blood of our own grandmothers, mothers and sisters that ended that state of affairs. Forty years ago I had a teacher tell me that as a girl, I was incapable of doing research science. Two fucking generations, and you are ready to go back to being, at best, a second-class citizen, at worst, simply chattel?

The fact that you are proud to be voting against your own best interests makes me afraid that the Republicans might be right not to trust you with the vote.

The other morning, as Miz Shoes attempted to park in the station garage, she was forced to wait while the driver in front of her maneuvered a full-sized van into a space clearly marked “compact only”. A space, incidentally, which Miz Shoes considers to be her own spot, as it is bordered on the driver’s side by a wall, and the people who park on the passenger side spot always go over the line, making this a parking spot almost too narrow for even her Smart Car.

But there was the van, and the driver was adjusting his angle of approach by microns as he backed in and out wedging his behemoth into this tiny slice of asphalt. How he got out of his vehicle is a mystery, since there would not have been room to even crack the door open, much less allow for the passage of an adult human body.

Which brought us to the point of quantum physics, as Miz Shoes pondered the question: in which universe would a full-sized passenger van be considered a compact car? And how does that universe end up intersecting our own at the point of this particular tiny parking spot?

And while we are on the topic of parking spaces, why do motorcyclists insist on parking in car spots, while leaving those designated for motorcycles empty, and why are THEY not ticketed when leaving the Smart in a motorcycle space (into which it fits admirably) WILL generate a parking violation?

Miz Shoes

Pushing the Needle Too Far

Miz Shoes was obliged to go for some blood tests this week, and advised the snarly young woman who was doing the blood draw that the best bet for getting blood from this particular stone would be a butterfly. The sullen tart didn’t argue and proceeded to stab Miz Shoes in her inner elbow. Repeatedly. Poking around trying to get a vein that didn’t roll. After a minute or two of this, Miz Shoes suggested that the vein in her wrist, although she knew it would hurt like a motherfucker, might be a better option, as having been tied off for several minutes now, it was standing out like a rope.

The nurse-like blood taker was happy to abandon the useless elbow, and WIPED OFF THE NEEDLE WITH AN ALCOHOL PAD AND JAMMED IT INTO MIZ SHOES WRIST! The same fucking needle. The next day I called my doctor’s office to suggest a review of policies and procedures, not to mention universal precautions. Sometimes, it is hard to remember that I do not live in a third-world country, where needles are a precious commodity. I did point out to the office manager when she apologized for any inconvenience Miz Shoes may have suffered, that we weren’t talking about inconveniences, we were talking about health-care regulations. Blood-draw needles are not, Miz Shoes pointed out, made of gold-plated latinum. The reference went way over the office manager’s head, but the veiled threats about regulations and laws didn’t.

Miz Shoes

You’re an Idiot, Babe

Look, Miami/Dade government, this isn’t rocket fucking science. It isn’t like the MetroMover has never failed before and you have’t had to put buses on the street to take riders along the routes. And it is hurricane season, which increases the possibility that this service failure might actually take place. And you (and the high cost of gasoline) have done a great job of increasing ridership. So.

So why the ever loving fuck are you incapable of updating the public (hey! I have a radical idea! Use your freaking website!) on where the shuttle stations are and which routes they are servicing. I’m sorry. Is that so much to ask of my local government? Yeah, stupid question for a body that just voted to raise my property taxes by twelve fucking percent next year so that they can mow the street medians less often, repair the streets less often and cut hours of park and library services.

Yesterday, as readers of my Twitter feed are well aware, it took me forty minutes to go six blocks across town, because there was only one bus and it was servicing the Omni route. This meant I was treated to a tour of various halfway houses and homeless shelters (and in intimate proximity to their residents who were on the same bus, and frequently leaning into the same seat) during my 20 block detour north and then back south.

This morning, despite promises by the Miami Herald and the update on the MiamiDade.gov website, the MetroMover was NOT back in service, and there was just the one Omni bus again. Since we were going in the opposite direction, it only took me 15 minutes to get cross town. Tonight, as I left work, the government website informed me that the MetroMover will be out of service until further notice and to allow for longer travel times. Fair enough.

I crossed the street and took my place under the “emergency bus service for when the MetroMover is out of service” sign. And waited. And waited. I got on the first Omni loop bus, resigned to the ride from Hell, but was told, rudely I may add, that there were now two buses and that this wasn’t the one I wanted if I wanted to get to Government Center. I got off and waited some more. Another Omni bus. Two Aventura Mall buses.

Finally a random Transit Authority Person pulled up in a car. Huh, am I getting private car service, I wondered? No, he’s just there to tell me that I was standing in the wrong place for the Inner Loop bus. That bus stops on the other side of the street. In front of my office. Where there is neither a regular bus stop nor any indication that it is an emergency stop.

I am sweaty, pissed off and now at the end of my travel, waiting for the RLA to pick me up for a hot date with the Urgent Care Center to get my stitches out.

Miz Shoes

Fat Bottomed Girls

Somehow, I don’t think this is what Freddie Mercury had in mind. And I wish I could have gotten a shot of the 10 gold hoops running down the side of each ear, the black nail polish and the fact that the red jacket is a NASCAR jacket. Or that the woman is not a young thing. That may even be her daughter over there on the left.

This is the “crime against fashion” post to tide you all over until I can post my Project Runway recap.

pass the eye bleach, please

Miz Shoes

Havana Daydreaming

Yesterday the RLA, the Number Two Surrogate Daughter and her squeeze and I all went to see the new Harry Potter movie. It was great. But that’s not what I’m writing about. In the interminable run-up to the interminable previews, there were any number of locally-produced commercials. They were for nutrition supplement vendors, cosmetic dentistry, cosmetic surgeons and a fundie church (the #2 and I debated who goes to this theater, if these ads are targeted to a demographic). The last one was for… a car dealership maybe? It featured a blue-eyed blonde little boy who was supposed to be a super secret agent, taking super important documents to the POTUS. And that, my friends, is when my brain imploded. Because there was a very believable Barack Obama impersonator in the ad. Believable, that is, until he opened his mouth, and then he spoke with a ludicrously perfect and stereotypical Cuban accent. And nobody in the theater seemed to notice this disconnect except the four of us. And then it was just jaw-droppingly horrendous.

Ah, Miami. My tropical home. But the movie was fun. Sad, and almost a Cliff-notes version of the book, but splendidly done. I can’t wait for the last two. The RLA and I want to re-read the whole series…again.

Miz Shoes

Down Bound Train

I have two train stories today.

On the morning commute, there was a college writing professor sitting across from me, reading papers. About two stops in, a burly young man wearing ID badges from the local VA, and those hung on a lanyard that said MARINES, sat down next to her. All of a sudden, through my earbuds, I hear her yelling at him that he’s touching her. I look up and she is pointing to where his jacket hem is in the crack between the two seats. I hear him say, quite calmly, “ma’am, you are touching me. He scoots forward on the seat, and folds his hands over the top of his cane. For the rest of the ride, that woman rode him, elbowed him and complained at him.

It’s only because I have been less than on my best game that I didn’t think to say to her “Don’t make me separate you two. I’ll turn this train around if you don’t stop.”

What I did do was this: when the train stopped downtown, and all three of us got up to leave, the woman made eye contact with me. I pulled my earbud out and said, conversationally, “You know, even with the headphones on, I could hear you bitching at that man.” This made her think I agreed, apparently, because she immediately launched into the “he was sitting too close to me” rant, but I interrupted her. “No,” I said. “You were rude. It would have been rude to talk that way to anyone, but the man is a veteran, fer Christ sake. Show a little respect and appreciation.” She started to squawk, and I interrupted her again. “No. You were wrong. You were rude. Period.” And stuffed the earbuds back in and stalked off the train.

The ride home could not have been more different. I was sitting near a young black couple and their adorable son (corn rows and a Miami Hurricane jacket). I was working on one of my nellyphants, and she asked me what I was knitting. I pulled a finished-but-for-his-ears nellyphant out of my bag, and she grinned. “It’s an elephant, but he doesn’t have ears yet. Still, if you wouldn’t mind…” Oh, no, she said, she wouldn’t mind at all. So I gave the ear-less nellyphant to her son. He dug it and started playing with it immediately. The father kept telling the little boy to say thank you, but he was too busy playing. “It’s OK,” I said, “he’s too shy.” They told me that he had just turned three on Valentine’s Day. What a great present he was, I said and the mother smiled. Then the father said “he may not say thank you, but he can say the President’s name.” We asked the little boy who the president is, and he piped up, loud and clear “OBAMA”. I just about cried.

Miz Shoes

Watching the Defectives

You know how much I love, love, love watching women on the train perform their morning rituals… moisturizing, plucking stray eyebrow hairs, applying foundation. Hell, applying their entire make-up routine in the middle of a public space… a crowded, un-hygienic space. But today I saw a woman, a young woman do something truly horrific: she shaved her mustache. To be more accurate, she didn’t shave. Nor did she pluck. She used a pair of scissors to cut the hair on her upper lip down to skin level. I suppose that would be considered trimming her mustache. Either way. It was a WOMAN. TRIMMING HER MUSTACHE IN PUBLIC!

There. I hope she’s happy. Not only did she scar me for life with this performance, but she also caused me to post in all caps. And bold. Gah. The humanity.

Miz Shoes

Jive Talkin’

I tried to watch the Veep debate, I really did. I played Palin Bingo, and was a single “Working Mom” away from winning when she delivered the punchy soundbite she’d set up the minute she walked on the stage and asked Senator Biden if she could call him Joe. That zinger, that you know McSame pundits just pissed themselves over was this: “Say it ain’t so, Joe”.

“Say it ain’t so” is a line from baseball legend, the apocryphal tale of a small fan asking Shoeless Joe Jackson if he had, in fact, been involved in the plot for the Chicago White Sox to throw the 1919 World Series. Yeah. 1919. Except for baseball junkies, and movie goers who saw the film “Eight Men Out” (which was the movie we went to see the night the Anti Christ and I split, and he moved out, and which, in my head will forever be “Nine Men Out”), who knows what that phrase referenced? In terms of archaic humor, this little guy is a whiz-banger. Twenty-three skidoo!

Next, instead of saying “yer darn tootin’” or one of her other patented down-homey colloquialisms, Ms. Palin will be exclaiming that her running mate is the bee’s knees. I can’t wait to see them cut a rug, maybe doing the Turkey Trot or the Charleston. Good lord, how pathetic is this? And they’re claiming that Obama and Biden are out of touch? Let’s practice speaking McSame, shall we?

“That Sarah Palin is a bearcat in cheaters.”
“She tried to sound like she knew her onions, but it was all a load of chewing gum.”
“John McCain is a flyboy who keeps saying things are jake, but he can tell that to Sweeney.”

Your turn. To help, a list of Jazz Age slang can be found here.

I recently stumbled across the concept of Otherkins. Wikipedia has a very thoughtful and respectful explanation of what they are, or purport to be. But that’s not me. Excuse me here, but a much more convivial (to me) description is found on Encyclopedia Dramatica, which is itself a much more flippant version of Wikipedia. Allow me to offer you two quotes:

From Wikipedia:

Otherkin are a subculture of people, primarily Internet-based, who identify in some way as other than human. Otherkin often believe themselves to be mythological or legendary creatures, explaining their beliefs through reincarnation, having a nonhuman soul, ancestry, or symbolic metaphor.

Common creatures otherkin identify as include angels, demons, dragons, elves, fairies, vampires, lycanthropes, and extra-terrestrials, among others.

Outside of their own subculture, otherkin beliefs are often met with disbelief.

(You think?)

And from Encyclopedia Dramatica:

Otherkin are pseudointellectuals who believe they are reincarnations of non-humans. Similar to how all furries have their fursona as either foxes, wolves, or blobs of giant penises, most otherkin all believe they are either dragons or elves.

Otherkin differ from furries in that furries like to dress up and pretend, while otherkin believe they really are non-human and don’t usually dress up. Also furries generally pick real (usually furry) animals, while otherkin go for mythological creatures, almost always with wings.

Despite how there’s thousands of creatures from folklore and cryptozoology in cultures around the world, like the humanoid Ebu Gogo of Indonesia (proven real), every single otherkin only gets their creatures from the European mythology, and only the most popular, and only from some modern retelling of a myth that has lost all semblance to the original mythology.

At some point, otherkin lost track of what’s from mythology and what’s made up and there became otherkins based on anime characters (Otakukin) and Hubbard science fiction.

You got that? These are allegedly normal human beings, allegedly educated, and allegedly sane, who fervently believe, with their whole hearts and souls that they are really fairies, elves, centaurs, werewolves and vampires (oh, pardon me—vampyres) trapped in human form. Uh-huh. Right. And all of their past lives involve being Cleopatra or Napoleon.

Now, I’m into the arcane and the cosmic whoozitz as much, if not more, than the next fellow, but I do not believe I am an elf. Nor a fairy. Which is not to say that I don’t believe in fairies. But a five-foot six, 200 pound fairy? Who works in Hot Topics and dresses in mall-goth wear? Not so much. What’s wrong with just being different? Why do we need a second life? I have never fit in, I will never fit in. But I have never had a need to explain my otherness by being an otherkin. It’s just brain chemistry and personality and, if you need a deeper word for it, soul. OK? Just because I see things that others don’t, that doesn’t make me a fairy or possessed of anything other than very fine powers of observation. Or maybe a touch of ADD.

In any event, having heard about them, I cannot stop thinking about them. Are otherkin an American phenomenon? Because that would just reinforce my belief that we are living during the fall of Rome, when decadence rotted the empire from the inside out. Of course, I’ve been thinking that since bars started offering shots from the bartenders cleavage, or funnel shots.

Whatever.

And people, if you are going to vote that none of my suggested names for the little Screaming Yellow Smartie is any good, suggest something better in the comments. Really. I’m begging you, because I got nothing.

Finally, because it seems appropriate to this entry, and because I have no freaking idea why I got started with this: dragon eggs.

 

Miz Shoes

Mirror, Mirror

Yesterday I won a skirmish in the battle for public civility: there was a young man on the MetroMover, examining his face in the mirror back of his i-pod. He checked his immaculate goatee, and then (quel horror!) began picking at his zits. Or something. So I whipped out my camera and started to take a picture. He noticed, shot me a look of loathing, and stopped. He put his i-pod in his pocket. After about 30 seconds (some people have shorter attention spans than others) he pulled it out again, and again started to pick at his face, using the pod as a mirror. I refocused. He moved out of my line of vision. I moved to put him back in. Again with the stink eye and again he pocketed his i-pod. And then, the doors opened and he got off the tram, prevented by me and my camera from picking his face in public. I feel very virtuous, even if I would have liked to have posted an equal opportunity bad public behavior picture.

Miz Shoes

Cretin Hop

This morning we reached an new low in public grooming: the woman on the seat across from me on the train applied her deodorant as I watched. ON THE TRAIN people. Reached her Secret under her shirt and into her pits and scrubbed it on. Then gave me a challenging look, like what the fuck are YOU lookin’ at, bitch?

To which I can only say…well, nothing, really. Just bang my head on my desk repeatedly.

I’m trying not to obsess about my brother, Biggus Dickus’ latest actions, but I am obsessing. Answer me this: why did he send a letter to the owner of the home in which we have our mother complaining that she never sends him reports about Mummy? And why did he tell me that he was sending such a letter, but neglect to mention part B, which is that there is a “very dear friend of the family” (of whom I have never, ever heard) who often has business in Miami and will be coming to see Mummy from time to time, to give Biggus Dickus reports on her, and that he wants this person to be granted every courtesy the owner would grant a family member. And why, if he is concerned about Mummy or her confines, does he not A) ask me, who sees Mummy almost every week, or B) get his ass down here and see her for himself? Why would he hide this visitor from me; why wouldn’t he ask me to meet with her and take her to see Mummy.

Who is this third person? What business is it of hers? Why didn’t he tell me? Why isn’t she contacting me? Why doesn’t he call me to find out about Mummy? And really, and come on, what is there to say about a 90 year old woman with end-stage Alzheimer’s? She gets 3 home-cooked meals a day, which she eats with assistance. She gets a bath every day, and her hair shampooed. She has regular bowel movements and her diapers changed promptly. She naps. She talks. She still has hallucinations, we think. Her blind eye is still blind. She still can’t walk without assistance. She still doesn’t remember anything nor is she aware of much. She’s otherwise healthy as an ox.

Does Biggus Dickus think I’m lying about this? Does he not want to talk to me because I sound a tad judgemental about his inability to see his mother in this condition? Dude. Not only are you a professional mental health specialist, you are a 60-year old man. Sack up, ho. Buy yourself some powder milk biscuits and get the strength to do the things which need to be done: i.e.: see your mother. Does he think I’m stealing money? That I’m not taking good care of her? That I don’t actually visit her regularly?

What the fuck is wrong with him? What band of wolves dropped him at my parents door because he was too antisocial and irredeemable to be part of the pack? At what point did he forfeit his humanity? His soul? What am I supposed to do?

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