On writing blocks and killing mice

writing

I am having a hard time writing and by that I mean I am not doing it at all. I don’t want to join the ranks of those miserably irritating writer/blogger types who wine incessantly about their writing blocks, but ugghh if it’s not a block it’s a definite jam and it is sorely felt. The issue is that I really don’t want to write about nothing, so I am looking for something to sink my teeth into. Prattling on about the daily minutia of life is just not doing the trick right now . I am still mostly entertaining thoughts about nothing, i.e. Kim K’s butt, Kim K’s front, fat people eating Mcdonalds, Iphone vs. Droid, a virtual celebrity death camp app that I would like to develop, how I want to name all my future children “Todd” etc. etc…..Yesterday I did spend the better part of an hour thinking about the holidays and what they mean to people, especially those people who are without people; a short but meaningful inner monologue took place in the adult corner of my mind about relationships and how sad it is that so many seem to fall apart over just sex. That last one I might be able to develop into a sufficiently scandalous and substantive write up, but I am not holding my breath. In the end nothing cohesive materialized, brain chatter subsided and settled all dew like at the floor of my cranium. Can’t drink dew.

I am trying now to start writing again with a mind to stumbling onto something that is more than nothing and perhaps actually worthy of a few semi thought out sentences and their readers.

So, the other day I somewhat accidentally killed a mouse, my subsequent efforts to revive it proved in the end to be utterly futile and perhaps more harmful than not. I think I may have inadvertently prolonged its suffering and exasperated my own distress. Mice are the scourge of barns and tack rooms everywhere, and despite my best efforts to recognize all animals as innocent and deserving of life, I am prejudiced against them in the context of stables. As a barn person, I find it hard to see mice as anything more than galling, scurrying, pooping, manducating machines, undeterred by doors, walls or threats of violence and imminent death. My favorite sweater for example, that I still wear but only at home, had suffered complete disfigurement for their indiscriminate chewing, after I haphazardly left it on top of my tack trunk for a single night. Much of my tack, including pricy leathers and bridles had fallen prey to the insatiable appetites of mice invaders any time it was not properly stored or hung up. And actual feed? Forget about it, forget you know its name. Purina? Bran? Gold Standard? They will chew through every bag, every box and tunnel past most other containments, which wouldn’t really be that big of a deal, were they able to control their bowel movements. In case you didn’t know, they are not. They defecate it seems while eating, walking, sleeping and, I imagine, plotting. Mice are in this way just like babies… but don’t start me on babies. There is always mouse poo to be found ON my saddle, but this is only just gross and it merely vexes my delicate sensibilities. The poop they leave in the feed is a whole other issue, it renders the feed contaminated and often beyond use, it’s a real problem. Anyways, you can imagine how my relationship with barn mice is at best strained and certainly fraught with enmity, still my commitment to nonviolence means that I would never intentionally harm them or seek to displace them.

Long story made shorter, I found two mice in a bucket of feed, one jumped out and ran away the other ran in frantic circles around the inside rim of the bin, I deduced that he would jump out later, and if not, well I figured it wasn’t my problem and left him. When I returned 3 days later I found him still in there, he was apparently unable to find his way out like his buddy, maybe he was younger or white and unable to jump. For lack of water and excess of food he was in a terrible state, barely able to open his eyes or move. My heart sank, I did this and there he was such a pitiful thing, clinging to life. “God” only knows what he had gone through over the past few days. I imagined his dehydrated suffering, perhaps his fear, the dwindling of his hopes, and, honestly, became deeply sad. I don’t mean to dramatize. I realize that he was only a mouse, who was more likely to fall prey to a mouse trap or a barn cat than to live out his days into old age and retirement, but this seemed like the worst kind end for any living thing.I scrambled to get him out, scooping him up into a bowl, put a little water over his body then sat him down on a damp towel with his face resting on a little dish of water I fashioned out of an orange juice cap. I then put a tiny mountain of very wet feed right next to his face and covered him partially with a piece of cloth, hoping that he might feel more secure for it. When I came back in a few hours he had moved a little and was sitting a few feet away from where I left him. I was hopeful as his eyes were now half way open. I put him back into the safe zone with the water and the food and left for the day. The next day he wasn’t there. I thought, in my foolish optimism, that he had recovered and found the strength to rejoin his brethren, but a barn hand informed me that he had found him dead under a chair earlier that morning. My futile efforts to revive him probably only caused him more suffering and fear. There is something oppressive to any pointless loss of life. It’s like when you catch a glance of road kill or those skulls and bones in old paintings-the memento mori’, small but jarring reminders of how fine the threshold is between being and not being, how all things that are living must get dead. Life is always just a visitor who brings a gift, a gift which turns to dust when she takes her leave. I was there when he was so alive with a future ahead of him; there were many a bridles he could have laid tooth to, much feed to waste, maybe even baby mice to produce with Missis Mouse. I could have helped him out of that bin and spared him the suffering and the dying, but, for no particular reason, I just didn’t. 😦 I think the fact that I didn’t intend to kill him, but kind of did, is what’s actually upsetting here. I had never killed anything before via inaction, and I can tell you that it’s the worst and with an after taste of evil. Baring responsibility for that outcome without the preceding conviction or intent makes for an unexpected burden, miserable and surprisingly abject. Poor mouse.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Advertisements

Revolt, escape, FREEDOM!..or..Reclamation of SANITY!

writing

Today I decisively reclaimed my sanity. I showed up at my stable at 7:30 am. Tacked up my horse. Jumped on her back and rode out of that hellhole, without a word to anyone. Sayonara bitches! I do not have a trailer, and did not have the time or want the hassle of arranging for one, so I grabbed a map and devised a route. We rode 4 miles through the city to my new barn destination, would have been 3.5 had we not gotten turned around. Some would say radical, but it was mostly just liberating. I’m sure it was a weird sight, a giant horse toting around a girl through streets and suburbs. But for me it was perfect, until, despite all of my planning, we got lost. At first it seemed a lot like a set-back, until we came upon a ravine I had never seen before, concealed as it were in a wash, below and between streets. Green at its floor and wide open ahead, it beckoned we lay foot to its soil and reconnoiter. It wasn’t a setback, it was a gift…and we accepted. There was gallop. Hooves bouncing rhythmically from grass, warm waves of air brushing against skin, blood rose to head and freedom to mind, sanity was once again firmly within our grasp.

 In my recent blog entry titled “Proximity over sanity” I had described the unfortunate circumstances of my horse’s lodgings. To sum it up, due to considerations of proximity I had subjected myself to continual indecency from the two “women” who own/run the stable. These two have over time proven themselves to be completely deranged, mostly rude, never helpful, seldom civil.

 For months I had walked on eggshells, tolerated being the subject of untrue gossip, endured castigating outbursts and unfounded suspicion. Boohoo, poor me. I know. Stay with me though. Riding had taken a backseat to escalating anxiety, to keeping a low profile, to worrying about the welfare of my equine child. I don’t mean to come of as a victim, but there is a frailty to my composition, which stems from being raised by good, decent, intelligent people. That’s the thing about a stable upbringing, it can be a hindrance in an unstable world. It precludes people like myself from developing the coping mechanisms necessary for fending off those people unlike myself. I should have thicker skin by this point, as my world-the horse world, is full of folks who would greatly benefit from a spell in a mental health sanitarium or, at least, a lithium prescription. But I don’t. I think in this way I’ll always be a bit of a delicate flower :P.

Being treated like dirt, it just doesn’t become me, and, on the few occasions in the past, I tried to fight fire with fire, mean with mean, insult with insult, but I felt so much unlike myself that it was not even worth it. The trouble is, somehow the ratio of crazy to sane is sorely disproportionate in the horse world. The greatest, most unifying flaws in horse people character are, in my opinion, lack of humility, perspective and restraint, in the worst-case scenario they are vicious too. In general, I’ve found also, that those, who lay claim to being paragons of kindness and compassion, tend to be the worst kind of snakes, most proficient at inflicting hurt. I am no saint, but I simply can’t attack people, not even in retaliation. I don’t want to wound them, to hurt them using their shortcomings or insecurities. I just don’t, I can’t. CAN ANYONE RELATE? This leaves me feeling defenseless and without any recourse, short of avoidance. But being a horse gal, I don’t have the luxury of avoiding horse folks. Sigh. Anyways, I digressed. I’ll have to expatiate on all the reasons for which I dislike human kind in a separate blog entry, eponymously titled Misanthropy Misunderstood. 😀

Thanks for reading.

On Sanity & Proximity

humor, writing

Proximity over Sanity? or The day I got yelled at and cried like a baby.

It became apparent to me today that I have traded my sanity for proximity. I want to warn you, in terms of entertainment value, this post is about as effective as a flat tire.  I don’t really want to burden you, reader, peruser or scanner, with the minutia of my daily life, but in this instance, it can’t be helped, as it is I who needs to unburden. And just as a disclaimer, I’d like to add that I too hate blogs where people discuss inconsequential occurrences in their day, like they are some universally relevant and relatable events. Be warned this thing falls under that peevish category.

To preface, I am a dedicated equestrian. I board at a facility with the unique advantage of extreme proximity. It is located no further than 4 miles from my home, which really means it’s magical. If you are not keeping your horses on your own property, and don’t live in the country, then you know what I mean, a centrally located barn is like the Chupacabra of the equestrian world. Furthermore, mine is reasonably priced, which is a miracle! So it’s both, magical and miraculous.

This barn’s inhabitants are an eclectic band of people and horses. It is overseen by two women, who live on the property, or quite literally in the barn, as they lodge in a structure attached to it. If one of them wasn’t big and the other one small, and if they didn’t have a gap of a few decades between them, they could quite literally be the same person. One owns it, the other one runs it. Both are about as hospitable as a flu, and entirely devoid of restraint, with a habit of raising their voices on a dime. I have learned from a few experiences here, that they are like hot skillets, as long as you don’t touch them, you’ll be ok….unless somehow one lunges itself at you of course (as it did at me today), then you are, quite frankly, fucked . The other trick to surviving here, in this viper’s nest of estrogen, conceit, gossip and bad manners, is to stay away from mostly everyone. Which is fine by me, since I am, by my own admittance, a bit of a misanthrope.

I try my best to be invisible, which is not hard, except that I am quite tall ;P. I don’t socialize, don’t partake in the chatter; and, since I am a night owl, I ride late and mostly alone.

Now to the meat of the matter. My horse’s stall is barely getting cleaned. In all the time me and her had been together, she had never been in a stall so disgusting or so menacing to the health of her feet. I don’t complain, this is not a barn where complains do anything other than come back at you in the form of tongue lashings. I try to do what I can when I can, and ward off abscesses with positive thinking.  Last night, I came to her around 8pm and noticed that the entirety of her feet was sunk into a swamp of waste. I got her out, worked her and, come 9, it became evident to me that I had to try and remedy the state of that stall. I got in there with one of those huge buckets, ruined my shoes and my clothes trying to muck out the mess and drain the soupier areas. I did the best I could in the dark. Having filled the bucket I realized that moving it was way beyond my physical capabilities. I did my best pulling it out of the way, reasoning that the stable hand, the guy who is supposed to do the mucking, will deal with it in the morning, using his god given male muscles. Now, it wasn’t something I readily expect of him, but he was my only option. I give him extra money rather frequently, we have a very friendly relationship. I intended to give him my profuse gratitude next time I saw him. Then I went to the giant pile of shavings and filled one poultry wheelbarrow, the cost of this action had been quoted to me at 20$ per wheelbarrow just 2 weeks ago when I used the shavings trying to yet again wrangle the sludge. Anyways blah blah blah, I did my best and left.

Today, first thing I did upon arrival at the barn, was I find one of the two governing bodies mentioned previously, shared with her my experience of muck in the dark, told her that I will, of course, add the cost of shaving from last night to my board check and asked if she had any ideas for a permanent solution. I assured her that I am willing to pay extra, if she feels that my stall is an extra bother, as long as it gets the attention it needs. With these people, I’ve realized, if you want something, you have to let them think it’s their idea. But moving on, yes, although it is already their job and responsibility to keep the stall clean, I offered extra money, in order not to let them think that I feel they are not doing their job. This story is getting too long even for me.

Following the conversation with the larger lady overlord, the other, small one, came up to me some half an hour later. The hot skilled was flung. Her exact words were:

“If you EVER leave a bucket full like that….

Me: “I am sorry I couldn’t move it and there was no one around to help me, I hoped M**** would move it in the morning, I dragged it away as far as I could..”

Her: “Well of course you couldn’t move it, and you shouldn’t expect anything of M*****”

Me: “I am pretty sure I already don’t, given the condition of my stall..and also I didn’t expect anything, I found myself in a unique situation, I misjudged my strength, there was no help. I knew M would do me the solid of taking care of it in the morning, I intended to thank him profusely, it was a singular occurrence, I didn’t mean any disrespect”

“ALL you do is disrespect me…!!!!!!!.”

“Huh? all I do?  disrespect you? What in the world are you talking about?! I am quiet as a mouse here, I have nothing to do with you and you never even see me”

“You try to come here and do these things when no one is looking at night…..”

“That’s ridiculous! Are you joking? Who says things like that to another person? I ride at night, I happened to see her in distress last night when i came just for a visit….”

“In distress? this is how it is for her every night..”

“Well then there is the problem!….”

She was beyond condescending and insulting. This senior, but quite sprightly, quite scary, lady was yelling at me, yes yelling, accusing me of what can only be described as underhanded behavior, like I am some thief, skulking around in the night, doing unseemly things when no one is looking. It’s asinine. My only, and singular concern, is always the well being of my horse. Tears started pouring down my face. It’s a real inconvenience, it makes me feel weak, plus I can’t see that well :P. I was emotional to a fault here, partly because the injustice was so great that I did not know how to address it. It was a full fledged assault on all that is my dignity. How do I respond? …. what do I say to accusations which are over nothing and based on nothing? It’s like adult bullying, I imagine if adults came at other adults with the intent of bullying them, this is how they would do it. Accuse someone of a scummy, intentional transgression, when the accused is, oh I don’t know, partaking in some innocent pastime, like feeding a hungry squirrel in the tree..or breathing.

The other reason for the tears was that I really could only respond with half of my conviction. And that’s incredibly hard for me, being as I am quite equipped verbally speaking. I had to swallow my words, whole sentences even, because despite everything, I am not ready to part with that god damn precious proximity

 If you read to this point, let me know in a comment, because congratulations, you are a paragon of patience. I would like a chance to properly applaud your steadfastness. Even I got bored with myself. Like I said earlier, writing this kind of thing is a bit of a crime. But it’s mighty cathartic! Maybe the fact that I Illustrated it with a scenic photograph will mitigate your disappointment, when I tell you, that there is no pay off. This is it. My horse lives in poo, I tried to fix it, ruined my shoes, got yelled at by a paranoid curmudgeonly old lady, cried like a baby, protested the injustice, went home and wrote a monster of a blog about it. Shoot me…with a marshmallow gun, I bruise like a peach.

Update: If you want to know what happened just a few short days later, please read: Revolt, escape, freedom..or..Reclamation of Sanity! I promise it’s riveting, life changing even. Dang, I’m such a liar. 😛