We recently moved and our not-unhappy lives have become 100 times better. Which is good.
I’m not working on any books right now. Which is… good. I think.
The launch party for my newest book is going to be September 19 at the Julia Ideson building near the downtown Houston library. You are invited.
Something that Happened
This morning, while driving to work in gray almost-rain, I saw a man walk into the middle of the street and pick up what looked like a child’s floppy bunny doll. But then I blinked and saw it was a kitten. A dead kitten, apparently. He picked it up by the scruff of the neck, walked it to the opposite corner, and semi-gently laid it in the grass. Then he jogged to the car from which he’d apparently emerged, driven by a women who I guess was his wife. Really, she looked like a nurse to me and I can’t tell you why. He was a citizen, not a city worker, as far as I could ascertain from the clues present.
I was concerned about this man touching the dead kitten. I wanted to take the tiny bottle of hand sanitizer from my glove compartment and throw it out my car window to him. I told myself that he was wearing a glove, maybe, that I hadn’t seen. Given to him by his wife, who looked like a nurse.
After I decided he’d been wearing a glove or had used his own glove compartment sanitizer (as I had to in order to move on with my life), I wondered why he had moved the kitten. Simply to keep it from getting squished by passing cars? Because it was a kitten he knew—maybe his kid’s—and he didn’t want his kid to see it in the street later? Was it maybe, purely, an act of respect?
I don’t know. It was the most interesting thing I’ve seen in a while. I wish I could interview that man and his wife.
I’m going to tell y’all these recurring fantasies I cherish, embarrassing and not, because it’s raining today.
1. I’d like to make documentaries, but about really specific things that would probably only interest me. For instance, I fantasize about producing and hosting a weekly local show about people’s jobs. The more boring the job, the better. I want to meet people with everyday jobs and find out every single detail. What do they do and how do they do it? How would they explain their jobs’ places in our economy and their roles at their companies? How do they get through each day? What’s fun about their jobs, if anything, and what sucks the worst? Are they good at their jobs? Do they think they’re good at them? If it was a weekly show, I’d do two people per episode. The documentaries are actually a separate fantasy, I guess. The first of those would probably be about grackles at various Houston restaurants.
2. I’m really bad at fantasizing, because I get all caught up in nitpicky details. For instance, I can’t just have a fantasy about magically healing people, like a normal narcissist would. My healing-superpower fantasies have to be way, way more specific than that. There are two of them:
a) I have the clairvoyant power to diagnose medical issues. I can do so by touching the affected person, but I like to let them tell me their symptoms, first, because that’s nice bedside manner. For this service, I charge $100 per person. Some people take my diagnoses to their doctors and demand treatment or at least testing. Eventually, some doctors and scientists realize/believe that I have this supernatural diagnosis power, and they work with me. But they still have to order tests to confirm my diagnoses, because of insurance company requirements. I wouldn’t want insurance companies to know about my super power, because they’d want to use it to deny coverage or raise premiums.
b) I have the magical ability to prescribe customized diets for people. This is less intense than diagnosing diseases, but still important. I’m able to touch a person and figure out what nutrients they’re in need of, and what eating habits are messing them up. Normal doctors can already do that, I know. But I can also figure out issues that maybe science hasn’t yet. Like “You are craving starches all the time because one of the bacteria in your stomach has a hormonal imbalance.” Or whatever. You know – things normal people can’t see. Mystery issues that bother us every day and yet aren’t important enough for medical science to solve. Issues that quacks take advantage of. So I’d listen to people’s complaints for two minutes, touch their arms, and then type up a detailed, varied diet plan for them to follow. The diet plan would right them. Then they’d probably have to come back for periodic adjustments, as their bodies changed. I’d charge on a sliding fee scale for this service. If I sold a person a custom diet plan and he/she didn’t try to follow it… oh, well. Not my problem. You can’t help someone who doesn’t want to help himself.
c) Yes, it would be more effective to simply heal people in my fantasies. But I wouldn’t want that power, because it sounds exhausting. And I’m not sure I believe that everyone should be un-sick at will. Plus, it seems like it’d be immoral to charge for healing. (But if I had to magically heal people, I wouldn’t be averse to bartering for my services.)
3. I always fantasy-plan parties that can only take place if I win the lottery. If I ever won the lottery, I’d have to move my birthday celebrations to summers (instead of December 27) and start throwing fundraising events in order to burn through all my stockpiled party ideas. Sometimes I shift to more realistic fantasies about becoming a professional party planner, but then I get turned off by that idea because I don’t want to use my party ideas on strangers who may turn out to be bad partygoers. Right now, my favorite party fantasy is renting out the entire Galveston Schlitterbahn waterpark for my birthday and hiring bands to play in the center of it. Second favorite is hosting a Shark Week party at the Capt. Benny’s boat-shaped restaurant on 290 and Mangum. With a band, of course, and themed decorations and shark gift bags for everyone to take home. I don’t think about the fun—I think about the details. I have long imaginary lists about guest lists, security, open bars, staffing, and food. It’s a horrible hobby, fantasizing about parties. It’s a lot of work. One of our friends recently started doing party-like events in real life. (He is a “promoter,” I think it’s called.) And we’re very proud of him. Sometimes we help out, but usually we don’t. “We” is me and my husband, who is also a fantasy party planner. He’s actually worked as a consultant on my Schlitterbahn and Shark Week affairs, meaning we talk about it sometimes in the car. Because we’re crazy.
I think I’m going to start my next book in the fall. It’s going to get in the way of my imaginary party planning, but it might be more soothing.
Talk to y’all soon. Don’t forget to look at the News & Events tab above and attend whatever events I have coming up, and don’t forget to buy my books, and [the requisite self-promoting etc.].