Although the word “zeitgeist” generally refers to the tastes and preferences of a given period in history, I am, in this post, using it in reference to my own bad self. I have lots of time to think about things like, for example, my Own Personal Zeitgeist (covered well by Depeche Mode, I might add) because I am still sciatic. If that is, indeed, an adjective. I am better, more mobile, less drugged, and able to work a few hours a day, but I still have long periods of lying on my back. These are the times when I am still not reading great novels, or watching PBS specials about the Detroit riots; I am feeling sorry for myself, reading magazines and watching television. I would classify the magazine reading and the television watching as “addictions” which seem to have taken a much firmer hold on my psyche than the Vicodin, which is pretty much gathering dust at this point.
Here’s the problem: I have read every current issue of every magazine even remotely related to fashion, beauty and other superficial pursuits, including Vogue, Bazaar, InStyle, Marie Claire, Allure, Elle, Oprah, Real Simple, Vanity Fair, and even Nylon. I have considered and rejected the “Mommy” magazines because I do not want recipes for pot roast or ways to clean grout, I am not interested in the whole Time and Newsweek genre because, Geez Louise, I had trouble reading the “serious” articles in Vanity Fair. I am left, at this point, to choose among Soldier of Fortune, Sports Illustrated, Popular Mechanics and Field & Stream.
As is often the case with addictions, my strong desire at this point is to turn from magazines to television, the other available drug. (I do, by the way, have a pile of approximately 200 books next to my bed, some of which have even won prizes, but I am just not interested in that kind of commitment quite yet). Television, tragically, has also lost its potency. The Rachel Zoe Project is over for the year. Fashion Week on HSN and QVC has been replaced by panderers of Christmas Crap, which is not actually interesting, but is also not so over-the-top cheesy that I find it hilarious and diverting. It’s mostly just stupid. I’m okay during Primetime, but in the dark of night I flip, and flip, and flip, and…last night I ended up watching a movie on “Lifetime” called “Fat Like Me” which involved a thin, pretty girl wearing a fat suit. You see my problem.
[By the way: if you have come to this blog trailing breadcrumbs and looking for recipes, only to find yourself lost in the very dark woods of my current mental state, I apologize. I will tell you, by way of apology, that I made a decent pot roast with gravy, Qinoa and green beans for dinner last night. Now run back to your horrid parents’ house and don’t eat any of the gingerbread or I’ll throw you in the fire with Balloon Hoax Dad and Spencer Pratt].
In the absence of (acceptably vapid) reading material, and with “Mom at Sixteen” on for background noise, I started thinking about this whole fashion thing. I was thinking that all of last summer I was letting my hair go grey, and air-drying it so that it curled, and experimenting with tofu and reading “Dharma Bums.” When I started doing some catering, I went to the grocery store mid-prep, hair pulled back, slightly dirty white apron on – if I could have gotten away with a chef’s jacket and toque, I would have worn them. Now I am all about the home blowout, disinterested in food, and trying to figure out how to get a vintage Chanel jacket. These are only the most recent of the zeitgeists. I have, over the years, been Uber Mommy, Super Lawyer, Musician, Politico, Shakespeare Scholar, Fag Hag, Church Lady and Community Activist. There is really no way for me simply to add an interest; I am kind of an all-or-nothing person. I get obsessed.
I have always been like this. As a child, I was someone different on a weekly basis; I distinctly recall telling a girl on the blacktop in the first grade that I was Heidi (as in “of the Alps”). She called me a liar, and I was deeply wounded, although my credibility was perhaps undermined by the fact that I had a pocket full of earthworms, which I collected on rainy days with the intention of saving them. (Needless to say, my mother was delighted to discover the great clump of dried worms when passing on the coat to a friend with a younger daughter). I was General Custer, I was Laura Ingalls Wilder (never Mary, who I found somewhat drippy), I was ever female character ever invented by Frances Hodgson Burnett, I was a Little Witch, I was Jo March (a lot), I was…Sybil? I was always perfectly clear on my actual identity, “grounded in reality” as we like to say at the Clinic, but I did burn with the passion to be seen as I saw myself at any given time – as a brave pioneer girl, as an apprentice witch, and most often as some orphan or other (sorry mom & dad).