March 16, 2012
Makes vampire blood disappear like magic!
I AM SCANNING THE LABEL
of my Gonzo stain remover, featuring a turbaned bearded fellow bearing a magic lamp, smoke curling out of its spout. Will the genie get my vampire blood out?
Possibly. Gonzo is tough on baby formula, ballpoint ink, beverages, blood!, coffee, grass, grease, milk, perspiration, pet stains, tea, urine, vomit and more. (Isn’t that a cocktail at the Jim Rose circus?) Rubie’s Vampire Blood (or Sang de Vampire) does not list its ingredients, but does include a caution that it may stain some fabrics. I push the blood through the wool fibers as best I can with a scrub sponge and dish soap, blotting it onto paper towels, but it keeps on coming. Ultimately I throw it in the washer, come what may. For your info, “some fabrics” includes your (my) ethno-hipster Pottery Barn area rug. There is a vaguely pink reminder of my folly, as well there should be.
YOU MAY ASK,
why is there a tube of vampire blood on my living room floor? It’s hardly Halloween, and no more a holiday than the onset of Daylight Savings Time slouching towards St. Patrick’s Day. In San Fransassy, I could be going to any number of costume events, so makeup reserves are certainly in order, but as to why this tube of red paint is, specifically today, on my floor–that I cannot tell you. It simply is.
DARIN STRAUS IS AN ACCOMPLISHED WRITER
who pulled off the impressive feat of a first novel chronicling the lives of the original Siamese twins Chang and Eng (who between them fathered 21 children leading to 1500+ descendants).
(Another novel of his, More Than It Hurts You, was the only book I had with me on the Trans-Siberian Express in July of 2010. It was a more “regular” sort of story than his dazzling debut, a study in Münchausen-by-Proxy Syndrome, but made a bizarre companion on a cross-continental train trip. Inside the head of some psycho mom who hurts her kids to glorify herself is not where I want to be while taking a slow-mo tour of the Gobi Desert. I left it behind in my hotel room in Moscow.)
Straus paints a vivid picture of the infant twins mushing around barefoot, stepping on worms and “raspberry-red snail-egg pods” in their native Siam, and in asking myself, what is this squishy marshmallowy thing I’m stepping on, I thought of little Chang-Eng and the mud oozing between their toes. When I raised my foot I found a wet red circle on it from the plastic tube I’d drawn blood from, and the same brilliant circle on my earth-toned rug.
IT’S NOT UNUSUAL
for miscellaneous items from the whole timeline of my life to mysteriously turn up in my contemporary context. I am always moving, sorting, thinning things out, picking them up and leaving them elsewhere, forgetting and misplacing them, putting them in piles and tripping over them, trying to piece my life together into some kind of coherent whole.
I INVENTORY THE CONTENTS
of a single drawer, into which random stuff has been randomly stuffed to clean up for a friend’s visit. A deck of Italian playing cards missing the Queen of Hearts, which I gave to the person who is the Queen of my Heart. A copy of The Glass Menagerie, which I haven’t looked at since college I am sure. The set of four wheels which came with my bulk cat food container. A framed greeting card with one of my favorite quotes, from Pascal, “Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait pas” (the heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of) but with the glass and card and frame and backing in a pile instead of actually framed. (I pause to put it together while in the neighborhood.) A box of wooden alphabet tiles. An Eagle Creek travel pack. A scratchboard kit. The video Beau leant me, “How to Draw a Bunny,” about “art-world prankster” Ray Johnson, and a 56-year-old baby picture of me. A jumble of miscellany, like my brain.
acknowledging you have a problem is the first step towards solving it. (They have probably followed a 12-step program at some point in their lives.) I admit I’m an addict, and my drug of choice is chaos. Avoidance is something that builds on itself. The more you avoid, the more there is to avoid. It’s easier overall to be overwhelmed in general, conveniently absolving myself from dealing with specific issues. While writhing in anxiety I am temporarily exonerated from figuring out the rest of my life. I can just collapse in exhaustion and “lose myself in the comforting slopes of my bed” and leave it for mañana (whatever it might be, it hardly matters), because as H. Caldwell Turner put it, “The fastest way to tomorrow is by giving up on today!”
I own the Darin Strauss book. But I took it out of the library to find that quote to spare myself finding it in my own apartment. It’s probably in a box under the bed. Yet I am taking baby–yea, prenatal–steps towards getting my life in order, even enlisting help when I need it (most unlike me). Maybe someday it’ll all make sense! Or not.
I stepped on it again!
I bleed for you
I made that last bit up. But by the time all was said and done I did manage to get vampire blood on the couch.
copyright Alexandra Jones 2012