Last night, my friend’s uncle told me a story about how, in 1973, he got fired from a job because the owner, his boss, didn’t like his birth chart or astrological makeup. It made them incompatible. That’s how he lost his employment.
I was, of course, envious that I didn’t have such a story. I wished that I could have lived in a time when the world (America at least) didn’t have its balls stapled to the wall by insurance companies and the fear of general liability and I could hear stories like that in real-time, not old-time. All the fun, weirdness and frank, looseness of speech have been swallowed up by the fear of being sued. Worse yet, people actually worry that others might think they are weird…for what they say! I sometimes feel I live in a homogenized, banal middle America; land of the blow-your-brains-out boring.
My Ob-Gyn is a classic case of an endangered species, someone who doesn’t know how NOT to have a personality. This guy has more personality than twelve people put together AND he is an excellent doctor. Once, when I was at his office for a visit in my eighth month of my first pregnancy, he opened the door, slammed it shut, rested his back against it, rolled his eyes and said “If I see one more fucking vagina today I am going to throw up!” “But I’m next!” I replied, laughing my head off. How many doctors would have the nerve to say such a thing? How many patients would laugh?
When I was pregnant with my second child, I asked my Ob-Gyn if he and I could consider a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). I respected him as a doctor, which I’m not and neither are the ladies with birth-plans. In return, he responded with a mixture of gratitude and respect for me, which he demonstrated in his own colorful way. He pointed his finger at me like the Uncle Sam “I want you” poster and said, “I’ll let you do it. You know why? Because you’re fucking cool. You don’t come in here with birth-plans, and I know you won’t sue me!” Of course, I was excited that, the first and only time anybody said I was cool, it was an Ob-Gyn; my own Ob-Gyn! I also felt his sentiment added to my dislike of my yoga-pant-wearing-self-absorbed peers, with their dumb birth-plans, who literally fuck everything up for the rest of us.
He went on to tell me that it’s not risk of complications that prevents VBACs, but liability. It looks like everyone, especially insurance companies, is afraid of the birth-plan-yoga-pant-wearing-dumb-ass-boring bitches who sue people who get in the way of their plans. It’s the case of the chicken and the egg; maybe we shouldn’t blame the rich insurance companies for putting us in this foggy fear of liability. Maybe we should, in fact, blame the jerks who sue anybody who gets in their way.
Now, I’m guessing my doc doesn’t get quite as chummy with every patient. I think what is important to recognize is that we formed a relationship, a foreign idea in this modern world. I’m sure he has a professional face he puts on for the birth-plan ladies and doesn’t drop the f-bomb around them either. (Incidentally, do you really think you can “plan” how your birth is going to happen? When exactly did you realize you had god-like qualities?) So what is it that made people so wounded, so uptight that they can no longer have nor admire big-ass personalities? When did this happen?
Even speaking voices used to be loud and filled with character. Pick any old movie, any one at all, and it has actors who speak in loud, explicit voices. People wanted to be heard. (Jeez, think of MLK, talk about a voice of power.) People competed, chests puffed, voices loud, to show who they were, what they had to say. This is the most amazing gift we have as humans, to be able to express how we feel with language, in words, words in combination. I don’t see or hear a lot of expression in my daily travels. I mostly hear inside voices.
Inside of me I hear Orson Welles. I think my soul has chosen to imitate him, or at least his bravado, sound and texture. He’s always yelling at me to take risks, not be a pussy; to tell people how I feel about them, not pretend I’m ok with how things are when I’m not; to not sell myself out, to love, LOVE, damn it!! To never say “Yes Dear” or expect someone to say “Yes Dear” to me. And Orson, my soul, hollers at me in that big voice all day long.
You think that’s weird? Get a load of this. . .
I even have this image that, inside me, Orson is sitting drunk in a gondola with six sirens, each standing forlorn, sexy as all hell, wearing a very long, sheer, white, muslin toga robe with a braided flax rope belt, barely concealing her dark bush and nipples. They control all my thoughts and sing dewy songs of longing, making Orson ever more drunk with sadness. The gondola never moves. It just rocks gently, back and forth, somewhere near my womb, while they sing, surrounded by my flesh.
I am in constant battle with the six sirens and Mr. Welles. I try to explain to them that I am not a coward and they can long all they want but, in the human world, the one that exists outside of my flesh, I have no control over what happens. None! Even if I say how I truly feel, express myself as plain as day. Then I tell them to knock it off so I can concentrate and not crash my truck into a telephone pole.
OMG! Do you think I’m weird because a gondola full of gorgeous sirens and a drunk heartbroken Orson Welles lives inside the lady-part part of my body?!?!?!
Guess what. It’s just like I told the fat girl at Best Buy, when she asked if I wanted this iPad in white or black; I couldn’t care fucking less!
I wish somebody would tell me about the voice inside of their head, the devil/angel on their shoulder, and say it in an outside voice.
If I ever had the kind of money that allows me to hire a pretty good realist painter, I’d commission a huge oil painting of my soul and the sirens. The whole thing would be a fleshy, pinkish-reddish-toned sepia color. I’d also get a painting done of my Ob-Gyn (something like Eakins’ Gross Clinic) of him rolling his eyes as he delivers a baby that actually comes out a lap dog (since all people really want is a pet not a human kid); next to him, the bloody birth-plan and soiled yoga pants folded over a hospital chair.
And one more, a painting of a left-over hippie, head down in shame, sulking out an office door, banished for having the wrong kind of astrological chart . . . and a crazy guy pointing towards the door, holding the damned birth-chart. . .
I could stare at these paintings, as consolation for having the lousy luck to live in a time when nobody gets fired for having the wrong astrological birth chart and doctors fear my peers with their birth-plans.
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