Saturday, August 14, 2010

Structure, Football, and Three Amazing Girls

The first week of a new school year has come and gone, and I'm relearning how to keep myself on a schedule. The artist in me chafes at rigid structure. I've always been a go-with-the-flow kind of gal, and because of that, flying by the seat of my pants comes easily to me. That modus operandi works just fine if your life is uncomplicated by multiple plot threads.

Mine is not. In fact, I've got more unresolved issues than an episode of Lost. Hence, the need for some structure. I'm experimenting with where to schedule my writing. I have time late in the evening, but my brain has usually turned to mush by then. Early in the morning, I'm firing on all cylinders, but I'm limited in time. Nothing is worse than having the muse sitting on your shoulder, whispering sweet nothings in your ear, and having to close the computer and take care of another responsibility.

We make time for the things that are important to us, so I'll figure it out.

Time is even more critical now because football season is upon us. I LOVE football season. For real. It's my favorite thing about the fall. You can read my post from the start of last year's football season here. While I still have a few weeks before the college season starts and my Saturdays are booked, my Friday nights are already accounted for until sometime in November.

Last night, my young son, now a sophomore, played in his first varsity game. It was just a scrimmage, but the excitement of the first snap, the adrenaline rush at the sound of pads meeting in the first hits of the season, the euphoria of the first touchdown were all there.

The scrimmage was in Louisville, and much to my son's dismay, Bruce couldn't be there because of his own three-a-days, so I was the family representative. Not wanting to go alone, I dragged Pam along with me...although, not having been to a football game in two years (there's no football in Iraq), there wasn't much dragging involved. Even better, all three of Pam's girls went with us. Her daughters are 22, 19, and 17.

You haven't lived until you've gone on a road trip with three smart, opinionated, loud, sometimes ditsy young women. Remember, I have boys, and though I've done the road trip with a car load of testosterone, it's a whole different ballgame with girls.

Boys will go for miles without saying a word. They pop in their ear buds and disappear into their own thoughts. Not so with girls. We all listened to the same thing on the radio, and the talking never stopped. The conversation was entirely stream of consciousness. We moved from one subject to another with no apparent transition. Case in point...

Girl 1: Vitamin D is good for your colon.

Girl 2: Ewww.

Girl 1: Hey, I'm all about taking care of my butt. I'm not doing colostomy bags or having my butt hole sewn up.

She said something else, but I was choking at this point and missed it. When I regained control of myself, they were talking about tanning.

Girl 2: You get vitamin D from the sun. I wonder if you tanned your butt hole if it would help your colon?

Girl 3: How would you tan your butt hole? Tape your cheeks open?

Pam interjected at this point, like she couldn't take it anymore: Oh my god! When you get sun anywhere, the vitamin D is absorbed and your whole body gets the benefit.

Girl 2: Okay, I'm not a doctor.

I was laughing so hard, my stomach hurt. I can say with absolute authority that you would never hear this conversation in a car full of boys. I may actually lift this entire conversation and use it in a story somewhere. can't make this stuff up.

Lest you think these girls completely silly, there was another memorable conversation on the way home. We had the radio on loud, and we were all singing. This also never happens with boys. When I sing loud with the radio, my boys politely (sarcasm, sarcasm) ask me to stop. Not so with the girls.

Eminem's "Love the Way You Lie" came on. Pam's oldest daughter asked us to change the station. She hates the song, believing it glorifies and glamorizes domestic violence. Her other two girls disagreed completely. They believe the song graphically depicts domestic violence to show how both men and women fall into that ugly cycle...the idea that art sometimes shines an uncomfortable light on the grotesque. The conversation was intense and heated and came from a place of passion and belief in all three girls.

I was proud of them. They are strong, intelligent young women who know how to express themselves. Pam has raised self-confident daughters who, regardless of how they interpreted that song, would never stay with a man who abused them. The three of them are as different as they could possibly be, but I see Pam in all of them.

It was a great first night of football. My son played well, and I got to hang with my best friend and her three amazing daughters. I thought I'd end by posting Eminem's video, and letting you guys decide. Art shining a light on the ugly? Or glorification of domestic violence? (Warning: This is the unedited version.)


  1. Oddly enough, I was sitting in on a Family Law class years ago and the attorney was talking about "Battered Spouse Syndrome", noting that in many cases both partners are caught up in the 'cycle' of abuse--neither could escape from their patterns. For example (in very simple terms) the wife would more or less do something to make the hubby mad; they would fight like cats and dogs but then 'make up' just as passionately as their fight. So in many cases subconsciously she (or he) would do something wrong to start an argument which would in turn lead to the cycle beginning again. The case he outlined was amazing (e.g. as to how they were both complicit) as it related to the violence involved and in how long they remained together. Quite sad! All I can note is another thing I remembered from Torts in law school--that Dogs have a 'one bite' rule (i.e. once your dog bites someone, you are on notice that it can be violent; if it does it again you may/will be liable). Relationships are most likely not much different--one hit and that should be it. No one needs to be in a relationship where there is violence. 1 hit is all you may get... Sadly, read the news any day of the week and you'll hear about people who didn't leave after that one hit.

  2. That's really interesting, Bo. Your case sounds like the woman is using the man's abuse as a messed-up form of control over him. Definitely a malfunctioning relationship.