It’s been over a month since I’ve posted anything on my blog and it’s finally time for me to get back into the habit. Six months of almost daily writing while I was working on my Violence Girl stories really took a toll on me and I was very much looking forward to a nice long break upon finishing, so I guess you could say I treated myself to some time off for good behavior. In the meantime, I’ve kept myself busy with lots of baking and cooking, sewing an Elizabethan outfit for my daughter to wear to a school presentation and plenty of daily walks in the increasingly hot mornings and evenings.
It’s the time of year when Phoenix starts to heat up and the reptiles come out of hiding. So far I’ve seen rattlesnakes, a huge white lizard that scared the hell out of me and either a king snake or a coral snake; I was too busy screaming and hopping around to be able to tell the difference. It did have lots of yellow along with the red and black and I vaguely remember something about "Red and yellow, kill a fellow..." but all in all, I would say that I’ve adjusted well to desert life.
I’ve learned that a lot of the plants and animals living in the Sonoran Desert are naturally more dangerous than anything I grew up with in the city; they have to be tough just to survive in this arid environment. A couple of friends from LA, Colin and Jessee came out to scan some of my punk collection for the UCLA archives over the past few days. As we were walking through my neighborhood I told them about the jumping cholla, a type of cactus that is rumored to literally jump onto animals that get too close. They didn't believe me and insisted on seeing it so I walked them over to one, whereupon my friend Jessee went right up to it and called out to the cholla "Put up your dukes!" He bounced around a little like a prize cactus boxer but while he was looking the other way, the cholla bit him in the butt, attaching itself to his denim pants. The plant seemed to have launched two or three little cactus grenades at Jessee who made the mistake of trying to brush them away with his hand. He was visibly in pain.
"See, I told you," I grinned at him. Colin came over from where he'd been inspecting the other side of the cholla.
"Aww...I missed it, do it again!" he told Jessee.
"Fuck you, you try it, you wuss! Go on, you do it now, see if it bites you!" But Colin declined, pronouncing that he was now a firm believer in the legendary jumping cholla. The poor guy walked home with a bloody hand and liitle barbed spines sticking out of the tops of his fingers, pants and shoes. We all walked back to my house with Jessee holding his porcupine hand up like a spiny Edward Scissorhands. The patient required two shots of vodka before allowing us to removed the fish hook-like barbed spines from his fingers and from under his fingernails with a pair of pliers, "Count to three, OK? Just hold it... don't pull it yet!" he pleaded with me and Colin through red, watery eyes. We eventually got the nasty little pricks but we practically had to sit on him to get him to hold still.
Round One went to the cactus but Jessee cursed and promised he'd take revenge by peeing on it the next day. We advised him against it and the thought of a second attack from the Cholla on an even more sensitive part of his body was no doubt a strong deterrent.
The next day my city friends accompanied me on my dog walk again and as we walked on the opposite side of the street from the Jumping Cholla, Colin and I swore we could hear the cactus laughing and calling out to Jessee, "Why you walking on that side today?" So believe me when I say you should never, ever pick a fight with a jumping cholla cactus.
We are still in the process of editing and rewriting my autobiographical series, The True Life Adventures of Violence Girl. Several exciting developments have come out of my writing of Violence Girl but the most exciting and rewarding has been one that was completely unexpected. After almost thirty years of not speaking with my old friend Patricia, we are once again in regular email contact with each other. It took the process of writing about the breakup of the Bags to force me to examine my own motives and actions and to admit my own fault in the messy breakup. That led to our reconciliation, for which I am so very grateful. As difficult as I found the process of writing this book, every second of it was worth it because I have my old friend back.
Realizing that one can still change at age 50, that there is still time to learn from one’s mistakes - that’s the real reward of writing for me and so I’ll continue to blog on my Diary of a Bad Housewife.