lisa marie corley | greenville, sc


August 2007

Just wondering

Yesterday I saw something abominable as I left the office after a busy workday. The automatic doors swung open, and it felt like I was walking into a stifling, steamy sauna. For a second, it was hard to breath. The air conditioning at my back was efficiently snuffed out, and, as I began walking toward my car, the sweltering Southern summer humidity clung to my skin almost wetly, sucking more energy from my body with every step I took. Mind you, this has not been an unusual feeling lately. All sorts of weather records have been broken this month — we’ve had triple-digit temps like no one has seen in decades. Uggghh!

About 20 feet from my car, I innocently glanced to the left. You know, just your typical looking-around-as-you-stroll type of glance. I’d looked to the right mere seconds before, and survived the experience extraordinarily well. There was no way I could have been prepared for what I saw next.

Right there in our parking lot — in front of God and everybody — a man walked to his car, talking on his cell phone, wearing an argyle sweater over a long-sleeved dress shirt.

What in the expansive, blue heavens would possess someone to wear that in THIS heat?? Is his office located in a refrigerator? Does he have a personality disorder which compels him to wear only outfits found in the 1982 LL Bean fall/winter catalog? Does his always-cold, elderly mother dress him? Is he in a sexually explosive, masochistic relationship with someone named Mistress Olga, who gets off knowing that her partner sits in a human stew of a sweatball all day? Is he wearing saran wrap as underwear?

Sometimes you just have to wonder about a person’s backstory.


A reunion, absent angst, and ADD

I thought I knew what to expect earlier this month when I attended my high school reunion.

It had been planned as a series of day-long events — meet at the alumni house for a pre-lunch drop-in, swing over to our old fast-food hangout for lunch, piddle the afternoon in whatever pursuits your mood dictates, and then meet at a nice restaurant for dinner that evening. I was looking forward to catching up with old friends, sharing a few of my own what-are-you-up-to-now stories, and laughing nostalgically about the good ol’ days. Maybe even squeeze in a bit of tender reminiscing.

Knowing my philosophical tendencies, I’d prepared myself for what I thought would be inevitable — an involuntary brain-vacation in the midst of it all, a sort of pensive out-of-body experience in which I’d examine my past, my present, my future. I’d question the choices I’ve made….mull the big-picture life directions to which I’m now committed, like it or not….compare my moderately irregular life to that of my childhood friends….reassess the outcomes which my future seems to hold. Angst would surely be involved, but, I reasoned, perhaps I’d earn some sort of enlightened insight. Yay!

But it didn’t happen. I even waited for weeks to finish this blog entry, on the chance I’d have some sort of delayed reaction. But still, nothing.

Was I expecting introspection because books and movies so often make reunions a catalyst for internal strife? Probably. But do books and movies make reunions a catalyst for internal strife because it so frequently happens in real life? Probably. So why not me?

Maybe I’m simply satisfied with my life. End of story. That’d be pretty freakin’ awesome, wouldn’t it? BUT what if I’m repressing my dissatisfaction so deeply that I can no longer find it? That’d be sad. But…..maybe not — I mean, really, what would be the difference between deep, effective repression and having nothing to repress? Wouldn’t the end result be the same? My brain is bouncing with the yin and yang of it.

Oh well. When my psyche needs some introspection, I’ll trust the universe to whack me with a sign. You can’t force that sort of thing.

You know what did happen, though? I had an attack of ADD in the middle of the evening’s dinner. All of a sudden, I was done — and I mean DONE — with chitchat. I was drawn toward the intricacy of the restaurant’s high ceilings….toward the pretty candle flames….toward the softly lit bue-and-yellow-balloons….toward the miscellaneous table decorations….anything and everything that was non-human. Geesh, why does that happen to me? Maybe I should go into training for social events like runners train for a marathon. I need to develop an ability to push through the edgy intolerance and continue to focus, to enjoy the fun around me.

Before that, though, I did have a GREAT time! We shared a ton of old memories and laughed a lot. I really enjoyed hearing how everyone’s lives have turned out. And I was elated that there seemed to be so much joy and success among us all. There were a few people with whom I would’ve loved to talk more, but for some reason it seemed appropriate to keep the conversation light and superficial, and to spread my time equally among everyone. The last time we got together as a group, it was in 1988 during our 8th-year reunion. This time it was our 27th. I hope we do it more frequently from now on.


Remember the bit “Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey” during the good ol’ days of Saturday Night Live? Well, I found an iGoogle module which feeds me one of these per day, and I’ve been saving the funnier ones…..

It’s easy to sit and scoff at an old man’s folly, but also, check out his Adam’s apple.

I guess of all my uncles, I liked Uncle Caveman the best. We called him Uncle Caveman because he lived in a cave, and because sometimes he’d eat one of us. Later on, we found out he was a bear.

I think a good novel would be where a bunch of men on a ship are looking for a whale. They look and look, but you know what? They never find him. And you know why they never find him? It doesn’t say. The book leaves it up to you, the reader, to decide. Then at the very end, there’s a page you can lick, and it tastes like Kool-Aid.

In weightlifting, I don’t think sudden, uncontrolled urination should automatically disqualify you.

When you go in for a job interview, I think a good thing to ask is if they ever press charges.

I think a good gift for the president would be a chocolate revolver, and since he’s so busy, you’d probably have to run up real quick and hand it to him.

When I found the skull in the woods, the first thing I did was call the police, but then I got curious about it. I picked it up, and started wondering who this person was, and why he had deer horns.

You can’t tell me that cowboys, when they’re branding cattle, don’t sort of “accidentally” brand each other every once in awhile. It’s their way of letting off stress.

Barbie tortures revisited

By semi-popular demand, I am now addressing the….umm… Barbie confession. In case you didn’t catch the 16th item in “Lisa 101,” my very first blog entry ever, here it is again:

My Barbies lived through precarious times. I used to strip off all their clothes, tie their hands and feet, and then stash them somewhere dark and scary, often leaving them there for months. I never did that with Skipper, though. Only the grown-up Barbies.

That item caught a friend’s attention, who asked, “Was this your way to say that only a consenting adult would be allowed in such play?”

You know, I wasn’t old enough to know what a consenting adult was, so….no, I don’t think that was it at all. I stripped Skipper’s clothes off too, but never tied her up or hid her in dark places. And the clothes thing wasn’t sexual — I just didn’t like clothes or shoes, so I figured Skipper wouldn’t, either.

(Freaky flashback sidebar: When I was about 6 or 7, playing in my backyard with only distant farm animals as witnesses, I stripped off all my clothes to see if my dog Bingo would look at me funny. He did.)

As a child, I hated — I mean HATED with a pure, clean, blue-hot heat — being told what to do. And it seemed like anyone bigger or older than me considered it an inalienable right to boss me around. They were able to do this to their black, unbelievably self-centered hearts’ content without fear of punishment or retribution of any kind. I seethed. Well, I’m exaggerating a teeny bit — I actually led a somewhat idyllic life back then, compared to some — but at times I did become brooding and rebellious. When I fought authority, authority always won. Dammit.

Perhaps my passive-aggressive way to get back at them was to take my adult Barbies and make them as vulnerable as I felt, disabling their ability to move, speak, see….

I dunno. That’s my best guess.

That explanation doesn’t involve sex, though, so it is no fun at all. This is much better:

In a previous life I was a beautiful impoverished maiden who was forced into the sex trade by a dastardly, depraved sovereign. I had to perform well in order to ensure that my little sister, Skipperophelia, would be allowed to live comfortably as a lady-in-waiting to the king’s second wife. I performed so well that I became the most renowned dominatrix in the land…..and, of course, I learned to love my work. I loved it so much that it made a permanant imprint upon my soul which MUST be manifested somehow within each of my lives.

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