Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Today on the bus

A middle-aged woman in a blonde wig, mini skirt, and corset told me the story of her friend's ex-husband who used to beat her friend, and then how she (the woman in a blonde wig, mini skirt, and corset) then also married her best friend's abusive x-husband, and was also abused by that man.

"I'm interested in psychology," she said, "but I'm still figuring things out."

"Me too," I said. Though I didn't mean I was figuring out the same things or in the same way.

"Do you like my wig?" she asked.

"Yes," I said. Then I got off the bus.


Jessica Smith said...

that's strange.
and more proof that... one sees it everywhere... i find myself in similar positions--the aboslutely casual relationship, when one strikes up a conversation with a strange-- and so often these issues bubble to the surface immediately. like some sort of information gap-- people are talking, people are listening, but people are still getting hurt. i'm interested recently in zines-- you know, the kind that are mostly tiny memoirs written by young women, often with sketches and anecdotes--like a secret network of information, leading nowhere.

i don't know what i'm saying, but i think that you'll know what i'm saying.

Ian Keenan said...

wonderful post.. could be in a long poem or series of vignettes (as u know) but works best as a post on a blog..

tmorange said...

oh man, that's brilliant. i'm interested in psychology, but i'm still figuring things out. because on a fundamental level there's clearly and obviously nothing to figure out: the situation's about as unambiguous as could be.

the woman either has unending faith in the perfectibillity of the human spirit (he's not a bad guy, he can change) or else part of the psychology she's interested in is her own obvious aptitude for denial mechanisms and possibly enabling.

for some reason this is tying in with jessica's discussions of alcohol prohibition in ways that i can't fully articulate (and couldn't much over there in her comments box either). i guess the conservative would in some sense write these people off as essentially stuck in the plights that innate human hierarchies have placed them. and the liberal would try to change the socioeconomic conditions that give rise to such plights.

what are the other political options?


Ray said...

Lorraine... this is lovely... POST MORE to See It Everywhere!!! I *love* your poems.

Tom -- isn't saying 'the conservative would write off these people as stuck' in a sense *writing* *off* a whole entire subset of our society (those who define themselves as 'the conservative') as inhumane?

It's just. Not. True. For the *life* of me, I do not understand the bashing of one group or another. Attacking (in the sense of arguing or fighting) the plans of individuals -- fine. But the idea that we can divide our country into Liberal! vs. Conservative! or Republican! vs. Democrat! and call one side humanists and the other side misguided or evil?

There are plenty of hate-able individuals but I *don't* *understand* why it is so popular to synonimise (is that a verb? sp???) 'Conservative' with Heartless. I work with non-profits and there *aren't* political divides despite the fact that there are many different political views. Everyone *discusses* and the discussions get heated but everyone *respects* each other. Everyone just wants to *help*.

Ray said...

Also, why is the woman "stuck in a plight" to begin with? She seems nice. She seems to have left the man. She has her own, um, strong sense of style. We're *all* still figuring things out.

K. Lorraine Graham said...

The woman was insane, and she reminded me of the many women in DC who lived near Mark and I. I talked to her, though, because she wasn't blatantly hostile. She seemed physically healthy, but she was not well--I conveyed only a little of what she told me, because it was the only part that even made the vaguest amount of sense.

Clearly something terrible had happened to her, but I have no way of knowing how that connects to what she told me.

Jessica Smith said...

Something terrible has happened to lots of people, especially women, but men too; everyone who was once a child. It's impossible to figure it all out, and yet it seems to me the most important thing to try to figure out--why one does what one does, how one is hurt and hurts others, how to enable one's heart.

anyway, lorraine, i had a crazy dream about you last night. we were taking a math test with a lot of kids from my high school, in a room that was both my 4th grade classroom and my 12th grade U.S. Government AP classroom. Although it was a math test, all the questions were historical or conceptual. I came into the test later than you did, and got yelled at. Then I looked at the test and had that horrible feeling that I was totally unprepared. I looked at you like, "this is one fucked-up test" and you looked at me like "yeah, well, you should have studied" (yeah, thanks Lorraine). after the test i was talking to a young man in a long coat, and he was telling me that for "define parataxis" he had drawn a picture of two men hugging each other.

mike said...

I think when she said "wig" she was actually refering to her thought process.

tmorange said...


true conservatives believe in an innate hierarchical order among human beings: some folks are better than others, and we're born that way. if one does not believe this then one is not a true conservative. a true conservative who denies this is simply deceiving himself or others.

my characterizations of the liberal and conservative responses are just that -- characterizations, intended on some level to work through simple oppositional thinking. they are characterizations that almost border on being self-parodies. what would a conservative view look like that, for example, that did not hold the poor primarily if not solely responsible for their own impoverishment? likewise, what would a liberal view look like that did not want to scrap the whole existing socioeconomic order
to save one poor person from her plight? i don't know what these things would look like, but i'm interested to find out.

also, i dunno about you but i would consider being beaten by my spouse a plight.