Saturday, May 14, 2011

Anonymous in Menasha


Quick entry, because I need to get under way for Wautoma.

It's good to be back here.  I have been sleeping.

Mom is well, but very small and thin.  She manages not to drop below 80 pounds, she says.  She eats, though:  I've been watching.  She is not upset with me about divorcing Si - just concerned.  Yesterday morning at breakfast, she appeared with a list of questions:  have I considered health insurance?  What about life insurance?  What do I plan to do about the kids and how upset they are?  How much savings do I have?  How will I feel if Simon starts dating again?  Of course, she was a single mom at my age, so I listen carefully to what she is telling me.  She understands my turmoil.   "Look," she said yesterday.  "You might find these useful."  She lined up three mini-bottles of cognac on the kitchen counter.

I should have left for the cottage yesterday; but with my family, stuff is always happening and plans change.  We went out to lunch with my brother and sister-in-law yesterday.  My SIL had just taken her last exam of the semester and wanted to celebrate, which is how I found myself in a dive bar in Menasha, singing Karaoke with her and her three best girlfriends. 

Not only have I never sung Karaoke, I have never really watched anyone else do it.  "We're not very good, " her friends told me.  "That's why we go to Menasha - no one knows us."  I watched for a while.  Some people were really good singers.  Some were not.  One guy liked to hold onto a prop guitar, which was actually a wooden wall-clock (you know the shellacked kind?) from which he had removed the hands.

SIL's friends are fun.  I hadn't met any of them before and was a little embarrassed that all I had to wear were grubbies.  Remember Thoreau's famous words:  "I went to the woods because I wanted to be alone, wear my oldest pants and get covered in tree sap."  I hadn't exactly planned to go clubbing while I was here.  The best I could manage was my yellow striped shirt over top of my Mickey Mouse t-shirt, and my black and white skaters.  They were not concerned.  We laughed our asses off and shouted requests and danced and drank too much.  They protected me from the predations of some of the regulars, all of whom they referred to with nick-names ("That's Hard-On Rick.  You don't want to dance with him." "I don't?").

So, when it was my turn, I picked Linda Ronstadt and decided that what I may lack in skill or artistry, I would make up for in ballsiness.  My friends were hooting encouragement from the front table. "WHOO, KATE!  GO!   GO!  GO!"  Well, alrighty, then.

I been cheated! (I belted)
Been mistreated!
When will I be loved?!  [Excellent fucking question, really...]

So far, so good.  Watch the words on the screen.

I been put down!
I been pushed 'round!
When will I be loved?!

Uh...  How does the next part go?  There are the words on the screen, but I am not too sure of the tune.  SIL shouts a few measures for me and I take it from there.  I cover any confusion by dancing.  The ending is familiar, so I finish big, with lots of drama.

When will I be looooooooved?! 

Lots of hooting and hollering.  High-fives and congratulations.  "Wow!  That took balls!  First time we tried it, we all got up there and did it together!"  NOW you tell me!  I had a celebratory Jack Daniels and danced like a total doofus to:

I believe in miracles/
Where you from/
you sexy thing?

I strip teased out of my top shirt all sexy and roll-shouldered, which amused the other women a bunch.  I spent a lot of time yelling and laughing at stupid stuff, the way women do when they go out without any men.

This morning I have a headache, but I'm glad I stayed in Oshkosh an extra night.  I needed to let off some steam.  I am feeling a bit morose when I think about my problems back in Salt Lake.  Increasingly, I struggle to maintain hope of a positive outcome with C.  I try hard to pretend that I am confident.  I think I'll go up to the cottage and build a fire.  Read my book and pump my hope and optimism reverves.  Enough to sustain me for a few more weeks.

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