Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Five Things I will Never Do Again

I thought for my last day, since the trade winds have soothed me into a contemplative mood, I’d explore my own list of Five Things I Will Never Do Again. Things that no matter how busy I get, or bored I am, or anxious, or cranky, or dispirited I am, you will never, ever see me do. These aren’t like resolutions or anything, they’re simply things I’ve done that I’ve outgrown, one way or another.

Okay, probably these should go in ascending order.


Number 5:

Attempt murder

I will probably never again pull the plug from a desk lamp halfway out of its socket, turn the light switch to the ‘on’ position, and put a hanger on it to “collect” electricity with which to electrocute my older sister. Yes I was probably five years old at the time, but five years had been more than enough to teach me that living with my sister was not going to be a piece of cake. Electricity. It goes through wires. If I could just get enough of it on that hanger… The concept was daring. Noble even. The execution? Was very nearly mine.

All right. It wasn’t a good thing. But it’s pretty funny in retrospect because no one got hurt. I went through the air and made a dent in one wall of our smallish bedroom, and set fire to the other at the same time. Good times.


Number 4:

Smoke cigarettes


A lot of the characters in my books smoke, most famously Yamane from Drawn Together. Most of my readers attribute this to the fact that I’m a mom and I have everyone’s health in mind, so I’m making a stand for a tobacco-free lifestyle from a position of love. Not so. Rory was a character in the book, and the truest words about my attitude toward smoking came from a different character altogether, the cardiologist Edward, who say’s “I quit about five years ago, but when I’m under pressure I still feel like I’d kill just to lick someone who smokes. I tell my patients that nobody ever really quits.”


I don’t smoke. I did it briefly and quit because I really thought I had better things to do. But that doesn’t mean if the American Cancer Society came out and said Psych! tomorrow, We were wrong, cigarettes don’t kill you or those around you and we just found out they’re terrific for you, that I wouldn’t start again. There would be tire tracks smoking from my healthy little house to the 7 Eleven.

Number Three:

Drink Alcohol


I know this makes me boring and for years I gave that hard drinking, tortured artist thing a whirl. I’m just no good at it. It makes me cranky sure, and I can work up a good head of righteous indignation and angst all over the place, weather permitting. But it also gives me a foreign accent and a tendency to order drinks for handsome men who are not my husband. Once or twice I’ve surely been possessed by the late great Tallulah Bankhead and done some really unforgettable things I wish I could remember, but have heard about only second hand.


The one thing I’ve discovered, though, about being almost the only person at a gathering who doesn’t drink is that everyone wants to know why. The truth is so boring that I can’t even tell it with a straight face. So I prefer to maintain a mystery. With women I make jokes. “Sure, why don’t I just install landing lights up my thighs and make things even easier.” But with men? First I tell them that I lose complete control of my libido, and then I hint that they’d very likely never survive the outcome of that. That’s usually good for a great deal of attention, and really. Who doesn’t like that?


Number 2:

Relocate


I will never move again. Not from this house, not for a mouse, not with a box, not with a fox. Not on a train, not while I’m sane. I will not move again. Just burn it down around me Gilbert Grape, there is nothing to see here.


Number One:

Take Anything For Granted


That’s right, you knew I had to end it on one of my patented folksy, feel good, preachy bits. It’s true. I don’t think I take anything for granted. Now, sure as shit, I’m thinking there’s something I’ve forgotten and it’s going to disappear like that, snap, because I forgot to be grateful. Which isn’t really how it happens or why you do gratitude in the first place is it?


My stars. I’m the luckiest person on earth and I know it. I love who I live with, I love what I do. My family is good, even my obnoxious sister who really (mostly) doesn’t still cause those scary dreams that necessitated the comic book deathrays that inhabited my childhood fantasies about her. Work is just more fun than I deserve. And I got to spend three days boring the pants off normal people while I’ve been here on the island.


Thanks so much for the lovely mini vacation! I know I’ll be looking on fondly while others inhabit this great big dent I’ve left in the sand. ;-)


Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

29 comments:

jessewave said...

ZAM
I really love this post especially the "not attempting murder" which is frowned on and could get you into trouble with the boys in blue. *g*

I really enjoyed having you on the DIK blog and hope you'll come back real soon, in your bikini.)

Amanda said...

ZAM Great post!! Its been great having you here on the island!..... If you come back again will you bring will?

LMAO I liek the funny post especially the relocating one, mainly because I am about to do it again and while I can't wait to move into our new apartment I really don't want teh hassle...... does anyone think the fairies could do it for me?

MsMoonlight said...

Great post!
I quit smoking over a decade ago and I am SO happy I did!
:o)

MsM

Tam said...

You are so funny. I laughed out loud at #5. Hopefully if you do break your promise to yourself you've become more competent since you were five.

My Grandfather quit smoking in his 50's and even until he died at 80 he always said sometimes he just wanted a cigarette so badly even years later. For some reason I grew up the anti-smoking nazi in a family where everyone except my Grandma smoked. Not sure how that happened.

I can't WAIT to move. It will force me to clean out my crap. I don't "like" it but I appreciate the after-effects.

Number one is great advice. Thanks for the chuckles this morning.

Carolyn Crane (aka CJ) said...

Oh, fun! I love the excuse you give to men for not drinking !! That is really hilarious.

Tracy said...

What a fab post.

Seriously - I thought I was the only who tried to kill their siblings and got hurt in the doing. huh. Guess not. lol Glad there were no lasting injuries. :)

Smoke - I smoked for 13 years and if my boyfriend at the time, now my husband, hadn't said that he would leave me if I didn't quit I'd still look like a chimney. Whatever. :) We probably look younger for NOT smoking so it's all good.

I HATE moving...but I love relocating. I love being in a new town and a new house and all that goes with it. But I hate the actual moving part. If it could all magically be done I'd do it! :)

I love your number 1 thing. It's something I try on a regular basis.

Thank you agian for being with us - it's been great.

Jenre said...

Heee! I just love the plotting of your 5 year old brain as you constructed an elaborate way to kill your sister. I'd better not let my kids read this, they might get ideas.

It's been fun having you on the island. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy life to relax, have a few cocktails and a complimentary foot rub. :)

Kati said...

ZAM - Thanks for visiting! I'm sorry I've been on the DL this week.

This is a terrific post. I love the attempting murder thing. And I had to laugh because really the only time I smoke is when I drink. Whoops!

JenB said...

I don't drink either! And for no real good reason other than I just don't really care for it (well, I do have some deeper reasons, but they're secondary to the fact that alcohol tastes icky). I don't mind being the only one at the party sipping seltzer w/lime. Except when I become the designated driver by default. <_>

Z.A. Maxfield said...

Hi Wave. Yeah, my bikini. I can't decide whether that would be science fiction or fantasy...

Thank you so much for the time I've been able to spend here!
~ZAM~

Z.A. Maxfield said...

Hi Amanda, I will ask Will, who is very busy preening because he's realized he's quite stolen the show.

I don't know if any fairies help with moving. I usually just pay people who do it professionally and then feed them pizza and beer afterwards so the have reason to do it carefully.

Last time I moved, it was exactly .5 miles from my old house to my new, and I gave myself a month in both places to do it. ;-)

Even so, never again.

Z.A. Maxfield said...

Hi Ms. Moonlight!

The only reason I'm glad I quite smoking is that I don't have to do it again. ;-)

Okay. I can run a ways now and I can taste my food and my kids are healthy and my toes stay warm...

Z.A. Maxfield said...

Hi Tam!

You are probably the anti smoking nazi because everyone around you did it. I grew up in a family where smoking wasn't tolerated AT ALL. My mom died never knowing I did it even briefly.

I just like fire though, if I could play with my lighter and all my beautiful cigarette cases and just blow smoke without them, I'd be fine.

I've decided to pre-empt moving by actually throwing my crap out before I have to. I'm not done. I will never be done, but I'm giving it my best shot. I'm in the midst of spring cleaning (I procrastinate too) right now. Yeesh.

Z.A. Maxfield said...

Hi CJ, I promise if you want to be the center of attention at a party just inform everyone that if you take even one drink the erotic consequences will be so shocking you can't be held responsible.

;-)

Lots of free drink offers that way, too.

Z.A. Maxfield said...

Hi Tracy. We sibling-ciders ought to form a club. I laugh now, but seriously, my parents didn't trust me with so much as a transistor radio for years.

Thanks for having me here!

Z.A. Maxfield said...

Hi Jenre! Wait... There was a foot rub??

What was in that Thai Iced Tea...

Z.A. Maxfield said...

Hi Kati, no whoopsing necessary. You can get in a few for me. ;-)

Whatever works for anyone else in the world is fine, except that whole sibling murder thing. I suppose I'd have to come down squarely against that.

Z.A. Maxfield said...

Hi JenB, I'm a great designated driver and I have no problem with that. I just like to concoct a really good story.

Hmmm.... story------> writer? Who knew?

I just got tired of saying I didn't like it, and change up what I tell people now. I'm going to have to think of something new sooner or later though, and I'm open to suggestions.

Lea said...

Great contemplative post ZAM and I'm right there with you on all 5, especially the "murder" one! yikes lol

The thought of moving also terrifies the hell out of me, especially because I live in mounds of clutter and have no clue how I would sort through it all. Yes, blowing it up would be the only solution.

Happy you joined us here on the island. I thoroughly enjoyed your visit!

Best
L

M Jules Aedin said...

Oh honey. *laugh*

That's it. Just... oh, honey.

Have you heard of the e-cigarettes? What do you think about those? I've tried a couple different brands but haven't bought any because they're expensive. But you can even have cartridges that have vitamins in them! Talk about healthy smoking.

Luisa Prieto said...

*laugh*

Great post! I was especially moved by the not drinking one. I had to give it up too, after I was at a conference, and an agent asked me what I was working on. I was just a little buzzed but I freaked and just babbled. Now, I can't even drink when I'm at home ('cause, you never know, that agent might be right outside the door ;)

LesleyW said...

ZAM - a lot of this rings true for me. Great post.

Z.A. Maxfield said...

Hi Lea, Yes. Well that murder one only makes sense if you meet my sister. ;-) I hope she doesn't read this. It would probably end years of detente. It's like they say; life made us sisters but Prozac made us friends.

Thanks I had a blast!

Z.A. Maxfield said...

Jules! I have seen those! One of my mother's caregivers had one and I tried to get one without the nicotine cartridge just for giggles. Apparently she got it from some guy in a trench coat at a fair and I haven't seen them around here. ;-)

I don't know if I'd actually go there though. It's kind of a bad role model thing. We don't do candy cigarettes either.

Z.A. Maxfield said...

Nice to see you Luisa. Yes. I can relate to the agent thing. Writers have a terrible tendency to tell their stories, don't they? Therefore they should all be locked up where they can only tell it on paper or there's every danger that it will never get there.

Z.A. Maxfield said...

Thanks LesleyW, Yeah. I was surprised how true they were for me even though I was mostly going for the laughs. That electricity thing is really true, though, and to this day when our house lights dim unexpectedly I always check that the kids haven't inherited my homicidal nature.

LesleyW said...

Hmm my own personal experience with electricity involves painting all the electrical plugs thickly with nail varnish and then plugging them in. I was very young at the time, probably a good thing that I couldn't understand all the names my mom was calling me.

Though it remains one of her favourite stories to tell at family gatherings. :)

Sarah said...

What a delightful read and I nearly laughed my ass off at the drinking. My downfall is that drinking turns me into a dancer. I I have a rather unfortunate dancing style. heh.

JennyMac said...

Great post! The electrocuting sister story made me crack up.

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