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Diaria - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
Diaria
My parents are now flying back to Maryland. It was great having them here for the birthday festivities, but the stress of the past month made it harder to have visitors.

It's difficult for my father and me -- we call it the "Bertsch" syndrome around here -- to deal with the anarchy of everyday life. My father is incredibly organized. I'm not, but largely because I get so obsessive about organizing that it becomes something else entirely and I have to abandon the effort in order to move forward.

One thing we share, however, is an inability to deal with chance unless we have planned to deal with chance beforehand.

We like to know when things are going to happen and make our plans accordingly.

My peripatetic sister Miriam, just back from an extended visit in Costa Rica in which she was purportedly engaged in "wedding planning," was slated to join my parents here during their visit.

Since Kim, Skylar, and I had seen her only once, July of 2002, since she visited us here with her now ex-husband Roland in April of 2001, we were especially glad that she was coming.

It turned out she wouldn't be staying with us, but in Phoenix with the mother of her current "partner" and business partner, Jay.

When my parents arrived Wednesday, they said Miriam had been delayed and wouldn't be flying out until Friday. I had my doubts, on hearing this news, whether she would be able to come at all.

She did make it to Phoenix, though, as I learned when I called her cell phone Saturday morning. She said she was just leaving. There was no plural, but I knew, from my parents, that her partner Jay might be coming along. She mentioned that she would probably want to take a nap at her Tucson hotel when she got into Tucson. I told her I wouldn't tell my parents precisely when she was coming, so they wouldn't get anxious.

It takes 90 minutes to get from central Phoenix to Tucson.

After 3pm, I started trying Miriam's cell phone, but to no avail. We needed to know whether she would be coming for dinner and, if so, whether she would be alone or with Jay.

Finally, I just went to the store and bought enough chicken for two extra people.

Meanwhile, I had to take Kim's mom over to Urgent Care to treat a puncture wound.

When I got back, I cleaned up the mess in Kim's parents driveway from the pruning her mom had been doing and then tried Miriam again. She had just called our house and was coming right over.

As it turned out, Kim had already made the executive decision to freeze one of the chicken breasts. Miriam arrived just in time for dinner, alone. There was enough food for all. And we had a good time.

Skylar was happy to spend time with Miriam, though it took her a little while to realize that it was Miriam, since my sister's appearance had changed quite a bit and Kim and I didn't overemphasize Skylar's godparents over the past two years, not wanting to get into the whole divorce conversation.

Miriam told us that she had come down with both Jay and his mother, Denise. And she made no effort to perpetuate the needing-a-nap story, saying that she had been in the pool when I called her in the afternoon.

None of this would be a big deal, but for the fact that my father worries terribly and I worry that he is worrying.

The next morning was Skylar's birthday celebration over at her Kim's parents house next door. We told Miriam that it would be at 11am.

When it became apparent that Miriam was not going to make it before we left for Kim's parents house, I started trying her on her cell phone, again to no avail.

After Skylar opened her presents and played with them for a bit, we proceeded to the cake. At 11:45am, just as Kim was about to light the candles, Miriam showed up, this time with Jay and Denise in tow.

As it turned out, Jay -- whom Kim and I hadn't met -- and his mother -- whom my parents also hadn't met -- were really nice and did a great job of integrating themselves into the flow of the celebration, overcoming what could have been an awkward situation.

Miriam spent time playing with Skylar and Skylar noted afterwards that she'd like to spend more time with her aunt.

Had Miriam not shown up or called, of course, the stress would have been unbearable.

So I'm glad that everything worked out in the end.

I just wish that my father's "Bertschness" and mine had not been called forth with such vigor.

When Skylar and my parents had gone to bed Sunday, I drove down to Sean's and we saw Kill Bill after relaxing at his house for a while. It was my second time in a little over a week. I liked the film just as much, though not more, than before. But the visceral moments carried an extra dose of satisfaction, after the weekend's family stress.

Oh, and did I mention that Saturday evening, after Miriam had finally shown up, the Yankees lost the final game of the World Series? The Yankees lost all three games when my father was here, a fact that surely contributed to a darkening of my father's mood.

Mode: regrouping
Muse: Hold Your Breath - Denali - The Instinct

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Comments
masoo From: masoo Date: October 28th, 2003 11:39 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
"One thing we share, however, is an inability to deal with chance unless we have planned to deal with chance beforehand."

Believe me, you aren't the only ones with this problem!

Meanwhile, sometimes when I read the Nicolini-Bertsch Online Chronicles, I wonder if anyone in your families knows how to use a search engine. Y'all are about a hundred times more honest than I ever am on my blog!

Now playing: 50 Cent, "In da Club"
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 28th, 2003 11:58 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Honesty

I'm all about honesty, man!

Seriously, my sister has the link. She knows how my dad is. It will probably make her laugh.

Kim did delete something from a recent entry, though, because it might gross her "friends" out.
masoo From: masoo Date: October 28th, 2003 12:06 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
As I wrote in BS
I know people are out there when I write for my blog, and so, before my words ever hit the web, I've self-censored all the "good stuff." I'm not about to say what I really think if someone else is listening. I might write "Dear Diary, I love Robin, do you think she likes me, too?," but the blog version would be a semi-fictionalized construct around which I hint at some person named Robin without ever truly declaring myself. A blog is less confessional than a diary; I don't mind telling my diary/myself who I am, but I'm wary of exposing that true self to the Public. So my blog is, I would argue, not just censored for public consumption, but ultimately better for that censorship. Knowing that you are reading over my shoulder, I get creative with my life. The unfiltered self-indulgence of a diary gives way to the more considered, craftlike blog. Certainly, the constraints of craft result in a certain loss of immediacy in my writing compared to a diary. But I am also forced to acknowledge the existence of others, and that's a good thing, a crucial step on the road from solipsism to community. A good thing, that is, unless you yearn for the glory days when James Taylor could top the charts navel-gazing his way through fire and rain.
Perhaps more to the point, one time I wrote a few things about an old friend; Robin added some comments of her own. The people of whom we were speaking found out through a v.unfortunate series of events: a stalker of one of our old friends found my comments via Google and used them to reacquaint himself with the friend. That was bad enough, but since our comments, intended in a "how we used to be" spirit, weren't taken as positive remembrances, the friendship has likely ended for eternity.

And that was the last time I ever told the literal and obvious truth on my blog.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 28th, 2003 12:27 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

The Literal and Obvious Truth

That's a cautionary tale indeed.

Obviously, there's always some censoring going on. My natural inclination is always to say nice things about people whenever there's the slightest hint of a "public" forum.

Had the two days with my sister turned out worse, I probably wouldn't have written about them.

At the same time, I'm fond of revelatory blogs. Yours is on the not-personally-revealing side of the spectrum. That's cool, but for my own part I'm more interested in exploring the genre for purposes of rethinking autobiography.

The tricky area for me is my use of "archival" material. I obviously think hard about whether to make something public or not. But I will err on the side of glasnost in most cases. I don't think that will have an adverse effect on any friendships I have now, but you never know.

I think the fact that I've been with Kim for so long, who has revealed the most painful experiences in public, at poetry readings and, to a lesser extent, through Bad Subjects has changed the way I feel about the dangers of being open.

I could also put a Machiavellian spin on it and repeat what I said in a recent entry, only more sinisterly, noting that every revelation is an act of concealment.

To say that isn't to imply a "wag the dog" scenario, but to underscore the extent to which acts of confession serve to enhance the privacy that matters.
masoo From: masoo Date: October 28th, 2003 12:43 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: The Literal and Obvious Truth

"At the same time, I'm fond of revelatory blogs. Yours is on the not-personally-revealing side of the spectrum. That's cool, but for my own part I'm more interested in exploring the genre for purposes of rethinking autobiography."

Of course, I always assume my blog is completely, personally revealing ... I'm astonished that anyone who reads my blog with any regularity can't figure out exactly what I'm thinking or who I am. I figure it's enough self-revelation to tell you what tunes I'm listening to, how many times I saw Bruce in Octobers, while tossing in a blurb from Bob Black's "Abolition of Work."

"I think the fact that I've been with Kim for so long, who has revealed the most painful experiences in public, at poetry readings and, to a lesser extent, through Bad Subjects has changed the way I feel about the dangers of being open."

Kim is truly one of the most honest writers I know. I admire this in her, not only because I couldn't do it myself, but also because she's such a good writer to begin with.

"every revelation is an act of concealment."

And every so-called concealment is an act of revelation. It's like the Pauline Kael quote I've stuck at the top of my blog:
I'm frequently asked why I don't write my memoirs. I think I have.
Meanwhile, my two favorite blog posts of recent times are Kim's confession of how much she loves to hug you, and your own playfully ironic-not-ironic protestations of painfully intense love, ya know.
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