Monday, March 29, 2004

this will surprise exactly no-one

Remember back before the Internet, when you had to buy cheesy women's magazines to take personality tests? One of my troupemates sent an email instructing us all to try this.

free enneagram test

The thing is, I took the short free version of the full test, the one that the site says is not "scientifically validated." It's 36 forced-choice questions, and you're not supposed to think about the answers much, just go with what feels right. And I have a really hard time with that (probably because I'm a four, natch) because on some (many) of the questions, neither answer is accurate, or both are. And are we talking about the way things are right now, or the way they are when one is not doing her best to stay upright when the ground is shifting beneath her feet?

I am struggling with how to express that last to people, because it's a real issue in my life right now. There was an unfortunate incident this weekend involving a friend, several margaritas, and a sexy flight attendant who had clearly spent too much of the day cooped up indoors. Did I mention the porn on the living room telly? Or the fluffer-nutter sandwiches? Or the knitting? Leave it to Snufkina to take me to the only Stitch-and-Bitch in the city that had Interview With The Vibrator playing in the background; apparently there isn't any porn yet of women crocheting those doll-bodied kleenex-box cover thingies. Anyway. Snufkina and I ended up on the phone last night (can I just mention that it's sort of entertaining to stand at the corner of Geary and Hyde at 10 pm in tight jeans, talking on a cell phone? Everyone thinks you're a pro, but they leave you alone) processing; while I had been distressed about how things had gone down, I knew that nothing meaningful had changed between us. But I couldn't get that across.

The challenge lies in the fact that I know I'm really emotional right now. My skin is providing an excellent literal manifestation of the fact that everything is close to the surface for me. I've been having various sorts of rashes and itches (I will spare you the details) and zits, above and beyond my usual panopoly of such things; literally and figuratively the barrier between the outside world and my inner resources is very thin. And yet.

I am coping. Yes, I cry so freely that I've thought about installing a salt lick to make sure I don't run low. I feel like the world's most lugubrious conversationalist. I am staying the hell away from catering for as long as I can because I don't want to run the risk of losing my shit on a party and creating a situation for either my manager or my staff. Yes, yes, and yes. But these are not the worst possible reactions, are they?

What I'm trying to get at, clumsily, is that everyone who knows what's going on is being really good to me, and I feel like I'm asking a lot of these people, and I am so not accustomed to asking for help. And I want to reassure people, hey, I know I look like a slow-motion train wreck, but it really isn't that bad. Hippo wrote that I hadn't heard from him in weeks because he felt awkward saying, "Hey, I'm sorry to hear about your dad, wanna catch a movie sometime?" and I understand that. But it's a question of balance. Maybe those of us with a loved one slipping away could have cards printed up. Like this:

Go ahead and talk to me about the usual things, in the usual way. But please no jokes about (fill in the blank) unless I do it first. And for heaven's sake, don't make a fuss if you look over and I'm oozing; just get me out of there if we're in public.

Just please don't disappear on me.