Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Diary of a Mad Teenager

Today I was rummaging through my disorganized filing cabinet, looking for my passport. I didn't find the passport, but I did find my ancient diary, which I kept from age 12 to 16. I come across it once every decade or so. Sometimes I read a few entries and sometimes I just toss it back into the past. Today I read it from start to finish. Talk about depressing! My parents were divorced and my sisters and I lived with our smart, but unwise, mother. She was always looking for "something better," whether it was a man, a job, or a place to live. So we moved every year, she had a different job every year, and a different man every year. The year I was 14, all three of those categories were something worse. The man, Freddie, was an alcoholic who couldn't hold a job. We moved to a god-forsaken tiny town far from L.A. Then Mom's idiot, alcoholic brother Bob moved in with us. He couldn't hold a job, either. Mom couldn't get a job, because she couldn't drive and we lived too far from town to walk or catch a bus. In L.A., she was always able to get a job, because she was smart and could convince any prospective employer that she could do the job, whatever it was. And, within two weeks on the job, she could do it and do it well. And back then, you could take a bus to anywhere you wanted to go.
But out in the boonies of Yucaipa, with no transportation, she was S.O.L. My sisters and I were also S.O.L. We lived in this crappy little house with no heat (no money for propane), a discontented, regretful mother, and at least three (idiot, alcoholic Uncle Bob brought his idiot alcoholic friend George in to live with us) idiot, alcoholic men. They would host parties for their drunken bum friends on Saturday nights. I remember one night when Freddie was so drunk and sick that he threw up on the kitchen table. It was sooooo nasty! Mom was trying to wipe it up and asked me to help, but I refused, pointing out that it was she who chose to live with the idiot, not me.
After almost a year of that S.O.L.ness, my dad managed to rescue Mom and us girls and set us up in a nice, warm, clean little apartment, back in L.A. Mom got a good job and we had about six months of relative bliss, before yet another adventure reared its head.
I swear - I'm going to BURN THAT FUCKING DIARY!


Bill Stankus said...

All I can say is, "wow". I agree, destroy the diary.

breezmister said...

Nooooo Don't burn it !!! You know the first rule about writing, write about what you know. Well, write about your life growing up. Then send a script to Life cable for a move.
Who would you want to play you in a movie, your Mom, your sister ?

Anonymous said...

I agree with breez... don't burn that. Use it as a reminder of how life can be so much better than it was back them. Seriously... put it away if you must and go find your passport, but don't let that diary hit the trash heap... ever!

Lisa said...

Even if you destroy the diary, you can't destroy the memories. Your life was tough - each time I read these kinds of posts from you, I'm reminded that you had a hard way to go to get where you are now. And that has shaped you into an incredibly interesting, strong person with many wonderful stories to tell.

Bill Stankus said...

The Vikings had the right idea - some things need to be burned!

And some things are millstones and a good purge often begins to set the spirit free.

Bah to the touchstone baggage stuff.

You know your story - get rid of the thing that festers memory's trip. With time your memory will morph and the stories will mellow, trust me, I know that from experience.

Harry said...

Madam Z,

Maybe it's time to just write the book. Get the whole thing out including the happy ending where Johnny Depp is making margaritas and you're signing copies for your adoring fans.