Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Bout Of Uffishness


 "...He took his vorpal sword in hand:
  Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
  And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
  The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
  And burbled as it came!..."

In general, I try to avoid describing feelings. Not reaction kinds of feelings-- I'm cool with those. I mean those kinds of feelings you wake up with and have all day, maybe because of strange dreams or maybe because of something in the air or maybe just because there's too much of something, like coffee or booze or love. Or too much of nothing, like the kind of nothing space above and below where your heart is that makes your heart feel like it could suddenly drop or fly. It could be that, too.

I've heard varying things about Jabberwocky, how it's a lot of made-up words, and how it's not a lot of made up words, and how a lot of words in it used to not be words, but now they are. I don't know which is right. I'm not going to bother researching it because the Internet, as much as I love it, is full of a lot of bullshit and made-up shit and shit that sounds right, but isn't.

I don't know when the word "uffish" started growing in my head as a word to describe this feeling I've had all day. In high school, probably. But it's a feeling I have often enough that it's worth having a word for.

The feeling happens most often on these sudden warm days that herald spring, where the smell of warm is in the air on every breath and the saps are rising, both the real and metaphorical saps, I mean.

Uffishness is weird because it's not quite anxiety and it's not quite anticipation. When the hero of the poem was standing and thinking and waiting for the Jabberwock, which he'd been questing after for quite some time, did he have a feeling of dread, or was he excited about the sort of hero he would become? Or was maybe he stricken with a momentary something-like-ennui because exactly nothing, heartspace empty above and below, was happening at the moment before the Jabberwock appeared? Somewhere between your heart beating too fast in your throat and beating too slow in your stomach.

LE was a bit off today, too. He cried a lot this morning because whatever he was feeling was too big to stomach in his little body, and only tears and screaming could help sort it out. It started because he was mad I wouldn't use real money to buy his avatar a helmet in this online soldier game he's into, but shortly into the tears it became apparent the real problem was that he always does what I want, but I don't always do what he wants.

He's right. It sucks to be a kid. When he finally acquiesced to cuddling, I told him that it sucks to be a kid. And, figuring he was susceptible and not stubborn and maybe ready to learn stuff at that moment, I told him life wasn't fair and nothing is fair and maybe because he was a kid, things were not going to be fair in his favor very often. Probably it was mean to tell him that, and I used to hate it when my dad told me that, but it's true and there you go. I promised him there are a whole lot of things that aren't fair in my favor that he doesn't even know about because he's little.

Better in French, non?
He was okay for most of the day, even though he was still mad at me about the helmet, but we agreed not to talk about it. He didn't bring it up anymore, probably because he was afraid I'd tell him more terrible truths about life. I don't blame him.

Tonight he got mad at me again, over something less trivial than the virtual helmet. Okay, I won't keep it a secret. It was because I told him to eat his dinner. I'm a shit mom that way. 

Instead of screaming, "I hate you!" he screamed, "Hate me! Don't love me anymore!"

If only I could have said it so succinctly like that between the ages of 9 and 17, my adolescence probably would have gone more smoothly.

So I showed him some videos on You Tube of kids throwing tantrums. One of them was even throwing her Christmas presents as she pulled them from the stocking. LE was appalled. He was glad he wasn't as shitty as those kids. So was I. 

He totally had this tantrum one time.

Then he curled his wet, snotty face into my armpit and fell into a sweaty sleep. His head smelled like shampoo and dog. Shampoo because last night he washed his hair all by himself, and dog because he was out in the pre-spring sun running in the street all day. He didn't get into a fight with the kid he always fights with, not even once. He has long legs and he kickjumps in circles and skips while the other kids are arguing about whether it was a goal or not.

As for me, the saps are settling a bit. In my mind, unlike Grendl and Goliath and a bunch of other big things that needed killing by guys who needed to be their killers, the Jabberwock never really gets killed. You're just always waiting for it and you never really find out what it looks like.

Callooh, callay.

Even about to get fucked is better in French.

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