On One Hand

June 27, 2007

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June 25, 2007

The Language of the Body

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 11:46 am
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Baby, oh, it’s not like that; we fight because we love so bad. Bruises and burns are signs of devotion, visible prints of explosive emotion.

Moments after I start laughing at him there’s a fist pummeling my chest, leaving knuckle-blue bruises that will gradually turn yellow and ooze outward as they fade over the next week. Damn, for a 135-pound skinny boy, my boyfriend’s got one hell of an arm.

I kneed you because I need you (he says),
I pummel you because I pine for you (I say)
I lobbed you because I love you (we say),

and finally I’m in a relationship that resolves conflicts in a way I can understand. I tackle him in the grass affectionately and it hurts his neck, so he punches me in the arm hard enough to knock it dead for 20 minutes, gives me a death-glare in the mean time, then when it’s over he kisses me and apologizes. I make fun of his indecision over picking a body soap in the grocery store and he hits me in the chest and knocks me back. I accidentally ash my cigarette onto his foot and he knees me in the thigh as he howls.

For the first time in my life, a boyfriend lets me know exactly what he’s mad at me for, and gets his anger out in a straightforward, physical way. There’s no extended lecture on my thoughtlessness, no prolonged brooding that lasts for the rest of the night, no exile from his bedroom, no passive-aggressive failure to return calls the next day or unprovoked “I don’t know if I like you anymore” crisis three days later intended to torture me into hating myself as punishment for being clumsy or sarcastic.

This is the kind of conflict we grew up with as boys who were earthy and tactless and crude, coming home from the field with buckets of crawdads and dirt on our faces. It’s a return of a time when knocking someone a “dead-leg” was sufficient retribution for any cruel joke, and by the time the sharp pain in your thigh eased into that familiar warm, numb, tingly feeling, you knew the whole fight was already in the past.

Garrett fights the way dogs fight, asserting himself dramatically, and when the guilty person apologizes and the anger subsides he becomes submissive and sweet and loving again.

Then when I do something right, I am caught in the spiderweb of his limbs. He’ll rub his chest against my side and kiss me on the cheek while he tells me I am perfect and thoughtful. He is openly excited when I come home, openly excited when I cook him dinner, openly excited when I write him a note, and openly excited when I let him know I am thinking of him when I’m away. His face and eyes light up, his mouth opens wide, and he bubbles across the room.

There is something innately satisfying in this language of the body. It communicates in ways that do not require dissection or analysis, do not require skepticism or doubt, and do not require me to think back over the last 5 days to see how many things I could be in trouble for now. When we talk, it is deep and animalistic and full of life. It gets the message across.

I am bigger and heavier than Garrett, but I’ve never thrown a full punch in my life, always pulling back to weaken the blow at the last moment, and my body’s natural aversion to acting in violence would keep me from being able to take advantage of my size. It’s a reflex to be gentile, worked into muscle-memory through years of growing up fighting my little sister who is weaker and smaller than me. I am not as good at being straightforward, so my body language is more complicated; when I am mad at my boyfriend for drinking too much or thinking he can drive, I walk away and hope he understands my refusal to condone it. When I don’t like the way he is acting but don’t think I have the right to criticize him for it, I simply disassociate myself, letting him be him and me be me. I am more cat-like, and operate through autonomy and jealousy. But when it’s over, it’s over, and I forgive him the moment he reaches for my hand.

It is not as simple a message as being punched in the arm.

“You deserved it,” he says.

“I know,” I say.

“Does it still hurt?”

Ha, “no,” I lie. Hours later, my left shoulder is actually still half-paralyzed.

I lift my arm part way to show it still works, trying not to wince.

He smiles. I feel stoic and he feels satisfied.

This is so perfect.

June 23, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 2:01 pm
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Many Democrats are nervous about Hillary Clinton’s chance at winning a general election. But recent polls seem to show that Clinton is the most competitive Democrat in the race.

The most likely GOP candidate for 2008 is Mitt Romney, whose popularity is growing steadily among Republicans while other Republican candidates see their popularity lurch up and down. SurveyUSA’s polls show Hillary Clinton beating Mitt Romney in GOP strongholds like Alabama and Texas in hypothetical match-ups that have former New York governor Michael Bloomberg entering the race as an Independent. Obama also scored well against Romney, but didn’t have the high margins Clinton did and even lost to Giulianni in the Democratic ground-zero states of Massachusetts, California and New York.

This means that the Red State, Blue State, Swing State phoenomenon could be obliterated in 2008. We might see the Republican candidate (Giulianni) winning socially liberal voters in the Northeast and West, while the Democratic candidate takes the South, even Texas. What this really represents is a nationwide distaste for Conservatism as we know it, leading to an apparent Democratic landslide – but Rudy Giulianni is liberal enough that socially-liberal, traditional Democratic states swing towards him.

June 21, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 9:42 pm

I love how idealistic women get right after they have babies. I don’t mean that in a depricating way, it’s just that the crazy paradigm shift of suddenly having a new child who consumes your full attention nearly every moment of every day, combined with drastic hormonal changes, ends up throwing you into a bizzare dreamworld of emotion and shock. You say things that come out of left-field and don’t realize they’re unusual. Two year ago, one of my friends, then 17 years old, had a baby girl and told me she would be willing to surrogate for me when I want to have a baby. At the time she was sitting on the edge of her bed in her parents’ basement, showing us videos of her traumatic cesarean section while a small electric pump sucked milk out of her exposed breast through a transluscent rubber suction cup.

“I really love the feeling of carrying a child,” she said, “and I’d love to do it again, for you to have a baby. Just let me know. I’m really willing to do it.”

I thanked her and tried not to laugh, just 18 years old and nowhere near thinking about where I’ll get my children from. But my friend continued, “just don’t tell James,” (her husband), “because he wouldn’t want me to. He’d be weird about it. But let me know if you want me to do that for you.”

So the gist of it is, my friend is going to carry and give birth to a child without her husband knowing, passing it on to me unnoticed. She’s saying this after having a baby fully two weeks overdue through a surgical procedure that left her with a 6-inch scar on her belly and gave her family a world of worry during the numerous complications leading up to the unusual birth.

“I’ll see what I get worked out,” I said, “I still have to meet someone, and, you know, it’s not just dependent on me.”

“Yeah,” she said. “Well, let me know.”

Four years later, around the same time of year, I’m sitting on a futon with my boyfriend, Garrett, whose brother just became a father. Garrett’s mother-in-law, holding her first child, sits cross-legged on the floor of Garrett’s apartment as the baby nurses. Her husband is just behind her in a chair. Joanna tells us that having a baby is an incredible experience.

“It really changes everything,” she says, bouncing her baby with its face buried in her chest. “You guys should have children. I mean, adopt them, but you really should have children.”

I look at my boyfriend of just under one month. I smile. He smiles back. The baby sighs and nestles its head deeper into her mother’s chest.

“Yeah,” I say. It’s cute. I nod. “I’d like to have children. Someday.”

June 20, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 11:13 am

I was barefootted watering the lawn yesterday when I stepped on what I thought was a rock or a stump of a very small tree in the grass near the southern side of my house. I felt it grind against my skin and heard what sounded like grass fibers tearing beneath it.

Minutes later, I noticed there was a trail of blood in the grass where I had walked. I looked at my foot and noticed a gash on the bottom of the left side of my left foot, about an inch and a half long and a quarter inch deep.

I wandered back to see what I had stepped on, expecting to find a nail or piece of glass poking out of the ground.

It turns out, I stepped on the severed head of a half-rotted, dead squirrel. The exposed skull was cracked in the back, and bore a sharp, jagged edge, which is what cut me. The face was partially intact, with teeth, fur, and whiskers, but the eyes were shriveled and dark. The skull was hollowed out. I couldn’t find the rest of the body.

I know the squirrel died sometime last fall because I remember finding it then, bloated face-down near the rain gutter. I had left it there for the raccoons to eat, hoping that when the flesh was rotted away it would leave a cool skeleton.

I checked the cut again. Shiny white fatty tissue was visible beneath the gouged skin, but there was no pain and by now there was almost no blood. I washed the cut out and went for a jog, hoping the impact of running would cause the wound to bleed out more and flush out any remaining bits of dead squirrel. I ran a few miles, but there was no more blood.

I can’t get rabies because the squirrel had been dead so long, and I don’t think I can get the plague, either, since there were no starving fleas to jump off of the skull after it had been outside all winter. I doubt I’ll get a bacterial infection because the types of bacteria that eat dried, 6-month-dead things are different from the bacteria that eat freshly-dead or living things. But it’s been 12 years since my last teatanus shot, so that’s the only risk I can think of.

June 18, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 11:43 am

One of the tasks the many interns at the Daily Camera must do is the paper’s busywork; by that I mean typing up the mundane information every paper has, such as upcoming events, concerts and benefits, marriage announcements, obituaries, and the like. It’s an important skill set for Journalism interns to have, because when they someday work for newspapers full-time, they must be able to tell the new group of interns how to do the busywork.

Features section interns are assigned to do the “Births” announcement section, and when I come in to work on Mondays, I type up the births for the following Sunday’s paper. The births arrive in the newsroom on little forms that the parents fill in at the hospital, and I enter them into the computer system with the proper formatting. The format is LAST NAME – mother’s name, father’s name, town, baby’s gender (“a son” or “a daughter”), born MONTH, DAY. That’s the listings will appear in the paper, arranged in alphabetical order and broken into groups based on the hospital the baby was born in.

It’s a nice arrangement, putting the mother’s name first, which I was initially confused about because names come in on the forms differently depending on how they were filled out (almost always by the father). I do prefer to put the mother first, and I don’t think it’s making a political statement, because, after all, it’s the mother who gives birth to the child, not the father, and sometimes a father isn’t even in the picture by the time the baby is born. That’s true for any culture or political affiliation, be you a feminist or not, and it’s the policy of the newspaper to arrange the names that way.

My boyfriend’s sister-in-law just had her first child on May 14, and on Monday I was the one who happened to find the bith announcement in my stack of papers to enter into the computer system. Garrett had been talking about the birth of his neice constantly so I immediately recognized the baby’s name. The signature and handwriting was my boyfriend’s Brother’s.

After typing the names into the computer we’re supposed to throw the form away to avoid allowing it to be typed in twice by another careless intern, but I tucked the slip of paper into my pocket to it to give to the baby’s family. Garrett gasped when he saw it. “That’s my brother!” he said, pointing to the signature at the bottom of the page that gives the newspaper permission to print the names. It was cute.

I love typing in the Hispanic birth announcements, just because they have so many names. Babys keep the mother’s name and the father’s name along with a baptismal name and first name, so everyone in the family is known by four words per person. For example, if Jose Manuel Darien-Lopez and Valeria Maria Favila-Garcia have a daughter, she will be FIRST NAME, BAPTISMAL NAME Favila Darien.

The resulting birth announcement in the Camera will read FAVILA-DARIEN – Valeria Maria Favila-Garcia and Jose Manuel Darien-Lopez, of Louisville, a daughter, Alexis Esmeralda Favila Darien, born June 15. It takes up about 2.5 times as many column inches to print a Hispanic baby’s birth announcement as it does to print a birth with a traditional American name.

My favorite birth was of William Henry Deaver V, apparently coming from a long line of proud Deavers, born on June 11. I’ve also gotten a couple sets of twins, which come in on separate birth announcements so you have to be astute enough to catch them because they should run in the paper under just one entry listing both baby names. Families might be annoyed if their twin sons or daughters were listed born on the same day but printed a week apart on separate Sundays.

I got my first same-sex couple in the birth announcements today, but didn’t know which mother is the birthing mother which would determine whose name should come first. Gender roles may be annoying and oppressive, but they do come in handy for identification. I’m assuming, though, that the partner who filled out the form is not the partner who gave birth, since that’s usually how it goes. But for all I know they both adopted a child from a third person, and the whole assumption goes to crap. Someday my own name will be listed as a father in a birth announcement, and we’ll have no clue as to whose name should come first.

Today I also got the birth info for a much more mysterious family. I will change the name to protect the family’s identity, but basically, the hospital form looked like this:


NAME OF PARENTS: Mr. and Mrs. John H. Henderson.
CITY: Longmont
BABY’s NAME: Jane Grace Henderson
SEX: Boy XGirl
AUTHORIZATION: Signed, John Henderson

And by “Mr. and Mrs. John H. Henderson,” I do not mean it said John Henderson and Judy Henderson. It literally said “Mr. and Mrs. John H. Henderson,” refering to both parents by the father’s name only.

Holy fucking shit. What year is this, 1827? I put the form back in the stack for next week’s intern to figure out, and wrote “Mother’s Name????” on it in red pen. For fuck’s sake, John, someday you pop out a living 8-pound turd you carried around for 9 months and see if you’re happy when your partner is the only name that shows up in the damn paper.

June 11, 2007

Boulder Daily Camera

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 11:30 am

I’ve been working as an intern for the Camera for about a week now, and let me mention that it is infinitely better than the Campus Press. I get to work at a desk (which is the desk of whoever the schedule says isn’t showing up that day) and I am not constantly expected to memorize and re-memorize the basics of Journalism. The editor talks to me before making changes to my story. My editors aren’t my own age and, upon the circumstance that I don’t know something, don’t tell me that I “don’t belong in Journalism” if I “can’t take the pressure.” My editors also don’t constantly talk about how hard they work compared to everyone else.

Look for my articles in the Features section, first one coming out on June 15!

June 5, 2007

Protected: Need a room?

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