Monday, August 15, 2011


As my first week of the year without the boys drew to a close, I chose to leave my quiet cocoon and venture out into the world. What I found out there was brutal. Thursday, Paragon Theatre Ensemble for their critically acclaimed production of “A Lie of the Mind”. Centered in the eye of the storm following an episode of domestic violence, it is anything but calm in this eyeball. Sam Shepard’s turbulent 1985 family drama is an unblinking stare into our perceptions of love and the realities we choose to face…or not. Severely beaten by her husband, “Beth” suffers from traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and a shattered heart. It’s a difficult piece to watch as each of the characters plays according to his/her own set of rules, yet engaging as they are unwittingly committed to their convictions, even as they begin to unravel. Images from the Shepard landscape, a shotgun wrapped in the American flag, hauntingly howl at our modern culture as like the whisper of a locomotive on the prairie. The only one in the wolf pack with a stammering glimmer of hope is Beth, who understands the difference between being dead and being not dead is only the sense of the love that lives inside of her.
Friday night I got a text, “will b @ R&J @ 7 dress down” were the instructions. The place was packed as I made my way through the crowd to the ringside. None of the men stood up when I arrived at the table; a lack of manners? More likely it was the two men fighting behind me in a cage that held their rapt attention. The waitress slinked by to get my drink order and I thought better asking for a chilled Sauv Blanc. “Grey Goose and—“ “Cranberry?” she asked. “Yes please, with a splash of grapefruit.” I said. I rarely drink vodka so anything short of an umbrella is a good disguise. “We don’t have grapefruit.” She sniffed, looking past me to another table. “Orange--?” Catching her glare, “Cranberry’s fine”. I really had no idea what world I had walked into, the closest I’d been to the MMA cage fight was a glance at the TV during an evening of UFC pay-per-view, but as a go-anywhere kind of girl I was soon enthralled. Men, women and children watching as the opponents battled it out gladiator style; round-house kicks and left hooks flying, wrapping their well-oiled guns around each other’s necks with the ultimate goal of blacking out. Wow. What would make someone want to do that? Near the top of the ticket were the two women. It was a fast and furious cat fight, the crowd going wild as one gal pulled a manic maneuver on the other. “She just threw a triangle on her” my host leaned in to tell me. “I threw a rhomboid on some bitch back in high school” I replied. The accountant at the table found that funny.
After a month of political slice ‘n dice in the Senate and the bloodbath looming in the election, the London riots and the horrors of Syria, I’m a bit over-saturated by blatant aggression, aren’t you? It’s not that it has to all be pirouettes and Kumbaya campfires in Tracyland, but a bit of civility would be a refreshing break about now.
When Saturday morning rose up to meet me, I logged on to the Huffington Post to comment and reply to comments on my blog. With my newly minted awareness to our hostile environs, I cringed as I clicked to see what was posted. What fresh hell will be laid at my cyber doorstep? What caustic retort to justify the certainty of one side or the other? I remained calm as I responded, careful to speak my truth without inflammation, and gladly turned off the computer. Preparing for a night out, I slipped an old Enya CD in the player and drew a cool bath to wash away the sins of our global anger. Next stop was the Riverfront Park Fashion show, an annual event that draws out Denver’s glitterati. As the rail thin 20-somethings strut their stuff on the catwalk, I recalled my own decade of starvation. After all that I’d experienced over the past 48 hours, the thought of pouring my hungry ass into a skin-tight pair of William Rast jeans, now that would be... brutal.