me.

I woke up and I texted M. and told her I was taking a half day off. She wrote back:

“Take the whole day off!! Go blueberry picking!!!”

The blueberries are ripe, up in the high bushes in the mountains.

My friend E. emailed me with directions to her secret spot. “Any night you want to go, I’ll go with you.” She said.

“I’m busy every night but Wednesday nights, and the next two Wednesday nights I have meetings.” I wrote back. So I guess no blueberry picking for me.

(This is your first clue that this is a feeling-sorry-for-myself post. If you’re not into it, get out now.)

I had to take the chicken blogs down, guys. 90 comments later, it was just so exhausting. I’ll put it back up later. After some bike rides. Time off from the internet for all of us, I figured. Most particularly: dudes. Call off the dude squad, someone, OK?

I’ve already gotten an email about it:

“Are you that afraid of our arguments, that you can’t even stand to see them public? Are you that much of a coward that you can’t even hold onto your own beliefs without erasing all others? Weak.”

I didn’t tell him: I erased my beliefs too, dude.

I didn’t tell him: No ethical vegan has to be afraid of arguments from people who believe animals can be treated like pieces of property.

I told him:

“I’m just so exhausted by the whole thing. We just disagree. That’s all there is to it. There is no need to keep rehashing it. We’ve discussed it a million times, we don’t need more discussion. My blog isn’t the comments section of a newspaper, or a public square. It’s not a democracy. It’s just mine, and I need to focus on my work now.”

He said:

“OK. It’s done, and obviously it’s your choice. But it’s one more fight you were willing to start but not to finish.”

I wondered what the others were, since this dude and I have never interacted before.

I wondered about that mentality—that unless you dropped your ethics and came around to the side of someone you disagreed with you didn’t “finish” the fight. I said what I believe roughly 50 times, but because I didn’t agree with him, it wasn’t over. It’s one way to think about it?

I wondered when this moved from a discussion into a “fight.”

I guess that’s about when I dropped out.

The local paper quotes me a bunch this week. So does the paper that’s local but not as local. (Actually, maybe it doesn’t quote me. I don’t know. I declined to be interviewed for the article, but I feel like they pulled quotes from me from somewhere. I don’t need to check.)

Friends are telling me that their friends are chickening it up over on Facebook, talking about me in ways I can’t see because I keep my Facebook circle tight (but not tight enough—a friend I’d never ever interacted with was feeding my Facebook words directly into the mouths of those who were fighting with me. A real life friend said to me, “But, why would you think people you’re Facebook friends with are your real friends, anyway? Just because they pressed a button that said ‘Add friend’?”). Some tragic shit went down on Twitter. Phone calls are flying. Friends come into the shop and want to mention the whole thing.

The whole town hating me this week has really been harshing my mellow, my friends.

I wish I was made of stronger stuff. But at my core, I’m just a big big heart and not much else. That sounds so fucking sweet. But, as you know, I’m not sweet. I just hurt a lot. I’ve got all my nerve endings on the outside of my body. All too often I lack that membrane between me and the harshnesses of the world that lets us survive as a species.

I have a few famous friends. Things people say about them on the internet don’t bother them, or if they do I’ve never seen them talk about it. They’re artists. They’re tormented and all that, but not about comments on blogs. I’ve been thinking about them lately. They just go forward. The people who respect them respect them, and the people who don’t they just move past. Forward motion. That’s the thing.

I get my flashes of rage, but once they’re over I don’t have the taste for the kill. So, they want to keep chickens, they want to email me around the clock and scream at me about it? About their rights? (Every time someone mentions their right to keep chickens I hear that Bikini Kill song but I change the lyrics to “Rights, rights? Chickens DO have rights” which really really doesn’t fit the meter of the song.)

I said what my beliefs are, they said theirs.

We disagree.

Not sure what can be done about that.

I’m done, that’s for sure.

So.

I woke up and I texted M. and I brushed my teeth and got the sleepies out of my eyes and ate a few gooseberries and I started making ravioli by feel.

It was very quiet in my house, because my computer was at work.

I don’t have a TV or a radio or even a working sound system, and I mostly leave my computer (which I use as a TV, etc) at work.

Things that exist in my house:

  • A gold record that is (well, partially, at least) a testament to how expertly my lover sound engineers music.

Things that do not exist in my house:

  • A sound system that does not electrocute you when you attempt to play the old Le Petit Prince record your mother gave you for your birthday.

So I made ravioli in silence.

I wanted comfort food, and ravioli does it. I put some flour in a bowl. I added some water and I made some eggs from chickpea flour and water and olive oil. I kneaded it by feel. I let the dough rest. It’s a step called autolyse, and it’s really useful. Let those gluten strands you just activated stretch their legs a little. Make everything easier down the line.

My good camera’s auto focus feature stopped working, so it’s pretty much terrible blurry photos from here on out. Welcome to this sad new world.

While the dough was resting, I got on my bike. I thought I was riding to pick up my CSA. But my legs kept going, past the farm.

I rode past my friend N.’s house.

Her laundry was hanging in her back yard.

I rode past what I thought was far too many people just walking around, enjoying the day. Don’t these people work?

I hate it when I think thoughts like that.

Distancing myself from humanity.

It only makes it easier to dismiss people.

N. has like 3 jobs, plus a kid. And her house looks impeccable, all the time.

I have just one job, no kids, and I’ve had laundry sitting in my washing machine for four days. (Remember when I used to cycle my laundry? My god that was a living hell.)

Anyway. Comparing yourself to others: also not the most winning strategy.

We’re all doing what we can.

Have a little compassion for yourself, and maybe you can have some for others.

Hey, someone just told me that the article in the local-but-not-hyper-local paper is on my side! Woo. I’m sure the comments section of that page is a fun place.

Once, my friend B. was our local Village Clerk, which meant she was on public access TV a lot. This local right winger wrote a blog post about how she was a typical liberal idiot, but at least she knew how to dress like a lady, or something like that.

So.

The street was on fire with daylilies. I rode past the beautiful clean whitewashy house of other friends of mine, and of the guy who is famous for keeping bees, and the weird cult, and past that house with the beautiful garden where they have the same chair I do. It’s made from reclaimed wine barrels, it’s modern and designy and is a fucking torture chamber for your ass. I’m sure they got theirs where I got mine: the local modern, designy housewares store.

It was on sale. Over the years, I’ve watched the progression of their chair mirror my own: from proudly open on the porch, to proudly folded on the porch, to shoved in a pile on the far end of the porch, to banished, undoubtedly, to the basement, where mine lives.

That guy DL, who’s been writing most of the comments on the chicken post? Someone told me he lives on this road. I don’t know for sure, and I don’t care to.

I rode past all the houses I’ve been riding past for about nine years, wondering why my views bothered him so much. (He’ll write a comment here—he can’t stop himself from jumping in. I know the type rather well, having inhabited it my entire life. His comment will mention his rights. And my wrongs. And I’ll hear the Bikini Kill song all over again.)

I rode past the house of other friends of mine. We worked together on a project once, until our differing sensibilities caused us to have it out. They called me poor and reaching for things my poverty wouldn’t let me attain. They called me too demanding and unyielding. (That’s called: The Lagusta Story.) I called them unprofessional, unable to meet deadlines, probably more awfulness I’ve forgotten. I guess we’re no longer friends. They have a really, really nice house though. I miss being casual friends with them. I’m sorry we got too close and our differences tore us apart. Their house is fucking amazing.

Sometimes when I think I need to work on being more accepting of the world, I lie in bed and do this yoga pose a yoga friend of mine once told me is believed to produce openness: I put my heels up by my “groins” as this page puts it, heels together, and try to get my knees to touch the bed (I always do it in bed). I read like this, stretching my own gluten strands just a bit.

Pasta dough yoga.

Then the next day when my inner thighs ache I remember that I was trying to be a good person the day before.

Anyway, by then I was down the hill, pumping hard around the bend by the park named for the suffragette, and before I knew it I was on the rail trail. I passed the little café where I used to hang out before I had a building I hung out in instead. I saw people hanging out. Were they talking chickens? Why wasn’t I born with a thick skin, like my famous friends?

I guess I knew where I was going by now. My legs did, anyway. I pulled up to the shop, walked in on shaky legs (that two-mile ride really did it to me), got my computer and started writing in my journal, this Word document, which, knowing me, I will post online like it’s Livejournal and I’m 15. I even wrote it knowing I would, while telling myself, and M. (who just gave me the best hug and best pep talk ever) that I just needed a little time at work to write in my journal since I didn’t bring my computer home last night.

Anyway.

Did you read The New Yorker science fiction issue? I loved it so much. So weird. I thought I hated science fiction, except for Margaret Atwood. That Egan story! It will never not be with me.

Did I tell you I’ve been painting my nails with clear nail polish every morning? For the first time in my life I have nice nails.

Did I show you these two nice pieces of press the shop got recently?

Did I tell you I’m trying to make this chocolate with sweetpeas and matcha tea? I think it’s going to be amazing. Sweetpea green tea!

I know sweet pea should be two words. But I like it as one.

Did I tell you I’m planning on filling my ravioli with cashew cheese and sautéed summer squash? If I get summer squash in my CSA. And making a tomato and garlic and oil sauce for it. If I get garlic in my CSA. With sage from the weedy garden and this herbed salt Jacob got for me in Spain this one time.

Did I ever tell you about this one time I disagreed with my entire town?

Some other day, I’ll tell you the story.

13 Responses to “me.”

  1. Nicole

    Rise above the ones who try to bring you down due to thier beliefs not meshing with yours. I too am thin skinned but this will make you stronger. Some people love to argue….fuck em!

    Reply
    • lagusta

      I was thinking about you because I actually did a little work on my bike all by myself! I took off my clunky back baskets–they were doing slightly annoying things like popping off and getting stuck in the spokes when riding. Just mildly concerning. Then after that I lubed everything up so it’s no longer squeaky, washed her well, and put air in my tires. That’s like 5 years’ worth of bike maintenance for me, all in one day.

      Reply
      • Randal Putnam

        Well done! Sometimes removing things from a bicycle is the best improvement you can make. Glad you are having fun with it.

  2. Raina

    you’re a good person (i can tell) and a good writer and whenever i go to new paltz again i will come check out your wares – which i am sure are divine! i hope you are feeling better.

    Reply
  3. adriennefriend

    I started reading “Kafka on the Shore” today and paused at a part that reminded me of this post, which I read nearly as soon as you published it (hooray for e-mail alerts!):

    “‘I’ve experienced all kinds of discrimination,’ Oshima says. ‘Only people who’ve been discriminated against can really know how much it hurts. Each person feels the pain in his own way, each has his own scars. So I think I’m as concerned about fairness and justice as anybody. But what disgusts me even more are people who have no imagination. The kind T.S. Eliot calls *hollow men*. People who fill up that lack of imagination with heartless bits of straw, not even aware of what they’re doing. Callous people who throw a lot of empty words at you, trying to force you to do what you don’t want to. Like that lovely pair we just met.’ He sighs and twirls the long slender pencil in his hand. ‘Gays, lesbians, straights, feminists, fascist pigs, communists, Hare Krishnas–none of them bother me. I don’t care what banner they raise. But what I *can’t* stand are *hollow* people. When I’m with them I just can’t bear it, and wind up saying things I shouldn’t. With those women–I should’ve just let it slide, or else called Miss Saeki and let her handle it. She would have given them a smile and smoothed things over. But I just can’t do that. I say things I shouldn’t, do things I shouldn’t do. I can’t control myself. That’s one of my weak points. Do you know why that’s a weak point of mine?’

    ‘Cause if you take every single person who lacks much imagination seriously, there’s no end to it,’ I say.

    ‘That’s it,’ Oshima says. He taps his temple lightly with the eraser end of the pencil. ‘But there’s one thing I want you to remember, Kafka. Those are exactly the kind of people who murdered Miss Saeki’s childhood sweetheart. Narrow minds devoid of imagination. Intolerance, theories cut off from reality, empty terminology, usurped ideals, inflexible systems. *Those* are the things that really frighten me. What I absolutely fear and loathe. Of course it’s important to know what’s right and what’s wrong. Individual errors in judgment can usually be corrected. As long as you have the courage to admit mistakes, things can be turned around. But intolerant, narrow minds with no imagination are like parasites that transform the host, change form, and continue to thrive. They’re a lost cause, and I don’t want anyone like that coming in *here*.’

    Oshima points at the stacks with the tip of his pencil. What he means, of course, is the entire library.

    ‘I wish I could just laugh off people like that, but I can’t.'” (pages 181-182, Vintage ed.)

    I’m an outsider on this issue, a Georgia girl who grew up around a handful of chickens on 14 acres of field & subsistence farm in deeply-set woods. Since moving away ten years ago, I’ve yet to feel tempted by urban homesteading as others have. (Maybe I shovelled too much chicken poop?! :)) I want to believe that others are doing their best with this issue, but there’s a stubbornness – a lack of imagination – that just chafes so hard. This attitude can be said for too many non-human animal-related issues. But without judging others’ processes too harshly, I will say this: what continues to be revealed to me throughout all of this is how expansive ***your*** heart is, and how truly boundless your imagination & compassion are. You inspire me every day!

    And PS: you should definitely check out this passage in context. It’s surprising and good. :)

    Reply
  4. daveliepmann

    Hey, I dig bikini kill too.

    The issue we’re having is the difference between “(re)stating one’s view” and “supporting one’s view”. I have continually asked you to explain why my backyard chickens are somehow being exploited in an ethically inferior way compared to how they live in the wild, without resorting to the basic naturalist fallacy. Your response, to my knowledge, has remained a simple restatement of your belief, sometimes with a rephrasing, or an appeal to the fact that it comes from other beliefs of yours. This is not convincing, and though you might not think it possible to convince me, it shouldn’t convince *you* either. (Plus, I’ve been convinced on other, similar issues before.)

    Reply
    • lagusta

      I’m not much interested in teaching you to be an ethical person. That’s all.
      Wow, you’re sometimes swayed by logic! Bully for you.

      Reply
  5. Bettina

    Oh Lagusta,

    have you ever heard about keeping your eyes on your own paper? Who cares what others are doing or saying?
    And the only real currency we have is who we are when we’re being uncool?

    I got those two gems from Brene Brown, who spoke (in Portland! of all places) about vulnerability and speaking our truths. I love reading you for your honesty and your conviction; it’s you.

    Anyways, I just wanted to tell you that bound angle doesn’t have to hurt the next day. Try it lying down, and it doesn’t matter how close your heels are to your groins; it’s effective in different ways.

    Your heart is wayyyy open. Why don’t you try a sitting a forward bend to focus inside?

    Your yoga friend,
    Bettina

    Reply

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