all just a part of my childhood

At last night’s writer’s meeting we ended up talking about what frightened you when you were a kid. I had quite the imagination as a child, and created things for me to be frightened of. (“Really, pamie? I never would have guessed!”)

My earliest scary memory was a dream that I had when I was about four. I was in a sewing shop (my mother sewed a lot back then) and I was in the button section, when this clown jumped out from behind the button racks and he was trying to kill me with a pair of scissors. I was running around and around and he kept chasing me, and then I saw my family in the car outside this drive-thru window kind of thing and I had to climb the zipper rack to get to the window to try and jump out the window into the car.

I hate clowns. They still scare me.

Then I had some sort of hallucination about ants or aliens or something chasing me around my bed when I was a kid. I outran them and got all the way home.

I still don’t like ants.

We talked about how our parents used to scare us… my father would watch me quietly at play and then shout “HEY!” and when I returned to the ground he’d say, “Dinner’s ready.” My friend Summer’s father used to make a cassette tape that he’d hide in her room with a slight delay, so once she was deep into playing she’d hear: “Summmmmerrrrr! Suuuuummmmerrrrr!” Dads. They love to scare the crap out of ya.

Then last night, I can only assume from us discussing what scared us, I had a nightmare. I was involved in the Helter Skelter recreation, and everything had to be just so, and while I was an actor in the piece, I was also directing. Well, I was getting upset because everything wasn’t being done by the book, and I start telling them where I’m supposed to be. I just remember shouting, “I’m supposed to be kneeling in front of the wall, like this!” And then I realize that I’ve just put myself in the position I’m going to die in, and I said, “Well, if you want to do it your way, that’s fine. No really, I’ll stand over here.” And I start running away from the house so I don’t get shot in the back of the head (which at this point seems to have absolutely nothing to do with Manson and Sharon Tate and all, but it was my dream and this was the reality), and as I’m running I realize that what I’m doing is actually recreating the murder by running (which, you know, is only possible because I’m dreaming this reality) and I’ve just sealed my own doom, and I turn a corner and there’s Manson with a knife–

and I wake up kicking the sheets and yelling.

So, what did I learn from this? I’m afraid of directing Charles Manson. I’m afraid that no matter what I do, I will just be directing my own doom.

We hear about Aspen in a week. Hopefully I won’t sleepwalk myself off of a cliff in that time.

I can’t believe it’s only Wednesday. It really feels like a Thursday.

Quick little sidenotes to others:

Oh, happy birthday, Martinique.

lemon: I can’t return a message to you in the address that you sent to me… just letting you know.

okay, that’s done.

Now, on to other parts of pamie’s fabulous life. Did I ever tell you that I am the perfect dinner companion? I just light up every pre-dinner, appetizer type part of the meal. Last night, over the Sampler at Bennigans:

[scripty]
PAMIE
Oh, man, guys, thanks for buying me dinner. My stomach thanks you, and my uterus thanks you.

CATHY
What do you mean?

CHUY
Oh, man, shutup.

PAMIE
I’ve just been crabby-cranky girl all day.

CHUY
I’m trying to eat.

PAMIE
More marinara sauce?

ERIC
That’s pretty gross, baby.

PAMIE
No, here’s gross:

CHUY
Great.

PAMIE
I came home tonight and the cats were trying to tell me something. “Mew! Mah! Mah-Mah-Mahhh-Mah-Mah”

ERIC
Right.

PAMIE
“Mew! Mew! Ma! Ma! Ma! Mahmamama!”

ERIC
Got it.

PAMIE
And I followed them to their food bowl, “mew! ma! ma!”

CHUY
The meowing, right.

PAMIE
But it has food, right?

ERIC
Wow.

PAMIE
I know! So I follow them to their litter box… “Mah! Mei! Mee! Mao! Mao!”

ERIC
And the litter?

PAMIE
Only mildy stinky.

CHUY
Riviting.

PAMIE
So I just stare at them in the hallway and ask them what they want.

ERIC
“Mew! Mah! Maahh!”

PAMIE
Exactly. But that’s when I looked up.

CATHY
Uh-huh.

PAMIE
And I found the puke in the hall.

CHUY
(spitting out a potato skin)
Man!

PAMIE
Well, some of the puke, because you know how as soon as Lillith pukes (and she’s the one who does all the puking), Taylor will just eat it right up?

ERIC
Yes, Pam.

PAMIE
So, I guess what happened was Lillith was telling me that she puked, and Taylor was asking me to pick it up before he ate anymore because he didn’t like the taste, but just couldn’t help himself.

CATHY
That’s gross.

PAMIE
I know! Whenever I’m asleep and I hear Lillith throwing up I know I have to get up and clean it before Taylor eats it. It’s like “Hih! Hih! Hiiih! Uuh ughh bleeeeh!…. sniff! sniff! mmmm…lick, lick, munch, munch.

CHUY
Okay! Stop! Jesus!

PAMIE
I’m just saying, it ruins my nights.

CATHY
Who was that comedian who said that the alarm clock would actually get her out of bed in the mornings if it just sounded like her cat throwing up?

CHUY
No shit, right? Man, as soon as you hear the cat start churning, Cathy’s up right out of bed holding newspaper under that cat!

PAMIE
Oh, I do that too! You always try to get it under their mouths, but they don’t want you bothering them while they are trying to throw up, so they start to walk away, and you follow them, and they are hacking and wheezing and gagging, and you are just pleading with them, “Please! Not on the carpet! We just got it cleaned!”

CATHY
And they always miss whatever you put down in front of them.

PAMIE
If only they could just puke in the toliet like everyone else.

ERIC
But Lillith likes to drink from there, she wouldn’t puke in there.

PAMIE
But she likes to sit in my lap, but she still pukes on my pants.
[/scripty]

It was at some time while I was just transcribing this conversation to you that I realized that I may indeed be turning into my grandmother. I will spill the grandmother stories at a later date, but all you need to know right now is the story when I realized that indeed, my grandmother is just a bit crazy…. why pepper it with niceness… she’s crazy, okay? Wacko.

I’m eleven years old and we go to visit my grandmother. I haven’t seen her in about three years or so. My mother is inside cooking and my little sister is with her. I’m alone on a lawn chair in her front yard looking into the pen of Chihuahuas and she points one out. “See that one there?” she asks me.

“Yeah.”

“That one speaks English.” She took another sip from her Budweiser can.

“Really?”

“Oh, yeah,” she said. “Just the other day, he came running in because I usually feed them in the mornings and such, and I was sleeping in this morning because I was really tired from the night before and I had taken some pills and the whoosits had made me tired and anyway, the doggie come running in and he says, “Roo-roo-roo-roo-roo-roo-roo” and I say, “I’m not feeding you until you say ‘I love you’.” And he says, “Roo-roo-roo-roo-roo-roo-roo!” And I say, “Not until you say ‘I love you’!” And he says, “Ri rove rou!” And I say, “Do it again!” And he says, “Ri rove rou, ri rove rou, ri rove rou!” And he talked! And he spoke English, and I fed him and he’s a good dog.”

And I began to cry.

Now when I think about that story, I realize that my grandmother was probably trying to help me out with the childhood fantasy world of bunnies who hide eggs and fairies that fit under your pillow and Chihuahuas that talk. Unfortunately in this Taco Bell world, now they do. I guess my grandmother was right. But at the time I was a little older than that, and the mixture of the “pills” and “talking dogs” made me wonder a few things… why was grandma in a bikini in September? why was she drinking from a glass that said “bitch bitch bitch?” Why did she have seven dogs? And how much of her genes am I destined to become?

And now, as I look at my “Bitch Bitch Bitch” mousepad, I think– I’m just kidding, I don’t have one, but man, what if I did? Are we destined to repeat our past generations no matter what it is that we do? Does it start with my cats trying to tell me that they don’t want to eat their own vomit anymore so it’s up to me to clean it up so they can go on with their lives and just snowballs until I’m sitting in a bathtub in my front lawn bathing myself? And is it cute that I can talk about cat puke now at the table, but when I’m fifty-seven and it’s Thanksgiving and I start talking about my cat’s hairballs are my kids going to say, “Oh, dear, someone take gramma for a walk, okay? She’s being gross again.”

What can I get away with now that I won’t be able to later? Because I better do it all now while I still can. Where’s that bathtub?

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