goddammit, amanda

I have the week off work.

I had plans.  Plans to clean, and write, and file things, and maybe get the three of us off of our shared Apple account and into Family Sharing because I’m tired of the 8 year old getting texts meant for the lovely husband on the phone he has just for games. [1]

That sound you hear is God laughing.  Or the Universe.  Someone is laughing, anyway.  Because the kid got strep and some other stuff happened, and I’m actually pretty pleased because while nothing else got done, I did write.

Anyway, the child is recovered and things have … settled, somewhat, and I realized that I was alone in the house and had some time to spare, so I might as well listen to all the new Amanda Palmer songs I’ve been meaning to listen to …

First, “A Mother’s Confession” and its 69 footnotes.  Which, halfway through, made me literally say “Oh, honey,” out loud to the empty living room.

Early parenthood is a nightmare of sleep-deprived what the fuck.

One night, the baby started crying.  This was not unusual.  What was unusual was that he’d slept long enough that Scott and I were pretty soundly asleep, too, so when we woke up we also did not wake up.  We didn’t co-sleep;[2] the child was in his crib in his room.  But.  I was frantically looking for the baby in the bed.  Scott was frantically looking for him in the nightstand.

We had an ongoing joke that we’d prospectively knocked all of his elementary school education from his brain because we both kept accidentally bonking his baby head on the ceiling of the car when we took him out of the car seat.

bonk– “Well, there went fifth grade!”[3]

So this is just to say that when I played the song for Scott, he laughed.  And winced.

Also, we’re pretty sure we’ve been to that Publix.

Anyway, I followed directions and read the footnotes after I listened to the song.

And then there was “Machete.”

I did not heed the warning to read first and listen second this time, because it was time to pick the boy up from school, so I just plugged the phone into the car stereo and hit play.

I should have listened.  It’s not good to cry while you’re behind the wheel of a car.  I mean, it wasn’t full-on-sobbing-can’t-see-the-road, but at the next light there was eye-wiping and a muttered, “Goddammit, Amanda!”

Music.  I dunno.  Amanda Palmer has gotten me through a lot of shit since around 2004.  The Dresden Dolls were a saving grace for me once upon a very dark time.  (I’m not the only person who says this, or thinks this, I know.)

I loved “Lost,” off Theatre is Evil, from the first moment I heard it.  I love the lyric

No one’s ever lost forever
When they die they go away
But they will visit you occasionally
Do not be afraid
No one’s ever lost forever
They are caught inside your heart
If you garden them and water them
They make you what you are

… because I love that idea, and I love the inverse of it, the idea that maybe if you don’t water the people (or voices) who are stuck in your heart, they won’t make you into anything–if you can figure out how to not cultivate the awful people (or voices), then they may visit you sometimes, but don’t be afraid, they’ll have no power. [4]

And then my grandmother died, and the song came on, and I hit that last verse and started crying.

When I was listening to “Machete,” because I did not heed the warnings, I didn’t realize this song was for Anthony, Amanda Palmer’s best friend who died recently of cancer.  Until

And you took
Your machete
And you said boo guess who
But seriously, beauty

… and I’ve read The Art of Asking, I recognized that nickname, and perhaps in a few years I will be able to sort out and explain why exactly that song, about a person I have never met, reduced me to tears in my goddamned car as I turned at a red light, but today?  Probably not so much.

I know I can’t imagine losing my best friends.  But right now in my life, I know that I can.  That I will; maybe not all of them, but yeah, we’re not all going to drop dead at the exact same moment.  And grief sucks and doesn’t end.  It … “bothers” is not a great word.  “Unnerves” might be closer to what I want?  I am deeply unhappy that anyone ever feels grief.  So some of those tears were sympathy, too.  And fear.  And probably the result of a week that really did not go how I wanted or expected it to, even if the end result is good and everything is fine.


1 [back]  This is mostly inconvenient rather than embarrassing, but it did result in “Dad, what’s an STD?” one day, so …

2 [back] I honestly have no horse in any parenting race.  If you co-slept/co-sleep, that’s awesome.  It wouldn’t have worked for us, so we didn’t do it (though we did a lot of co-napping).

3[back]Third grade gifted program.  Just to be clear. And I don’t remember him reacting with more than blinking at us, so the bonks must not have been very hard.  But we were both so guilt-ridden, oh my god.

4[back]Which is, of course, difficult and painful.

Published by Laura E. Price

I read (you can check out my Goodreads if you want; it's linked on my blog). I write (I’ve been published in Cicada, On Spec, Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Betwixt, Metaphorosis, Gallery of Curiosities, The Cassandra Project; the stuff that’s available online is linked on my blog). I plan for the inevitable zombie apocalypse and welcome the coming of the gorilla revolution. Or the anarchist rabbits. Whichever happens first. (I also blame my husband for basically everything.)

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