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At least I have my hands

July 8, 2010

I ought to stop reading books to my cats. It seems to only give them ideas.

The truth is, I’ve been a bit of a mess lately.

OK, “a bit of a mess” is a bit of a lie. I’ve been one of those mammoth messes that my cat Isabel makes when, instead of vomiting all tidycat-like in one easy-to-clean spot, she leaves little puddles in her wake of varying consistency and color throughout my apartment, as if she suspects she and her sister, Teva, might lose their way and need to retrace a path later on.

Like Hansel and Gretel, basically. Without a killer house made of candy. And barf instead of breadcrumbs. And maybe a child-chowing witch, depending on my mood.

I’ve been stewing in one of those messes.

And for the past several days, it’s been roughly one trillion degrees in Boston, with no end in sight, and I have no air conditioning.

Now I’m a hot mess. Way to kick a girl when she’s down, Earth.

It is so fucking hot outside that it might turn me straight. But that might be my recent bitterness talking. And if anyone could find a way to be bitter during this skin-scalding heat wave, it’s probably me. It’s a gift.

Taking a break from swimming solo in my own sweat, sorrow and suckage, I met up with my friend Alexandria, who also recently was rendered “heart-bruised,” as she calls it. We traded tales of woe over frozen drinks at Legal Seafoods in Harvard Square, and then had the good sense to each pay $11.25, which bought us two hours worth of access to air conditioning at a movie theater.

I can’t tell you what we saw, because I’m going to reveal a significant plot twist, and I don’t want to be that girl who ruins the ending. But there’s a universal message to share, and I can’t convey that unless I blab about the twist. And it’s not so much a twist as it is a double amputation performed in part by an impoverished daughter of her dead father’s hands.

There. I said it. Did I pique your interest? Yeah. The writing is superb, the acting raw, the story bleak. You really *must* see this movie. Even though I’m not telling you what the movie is. And now I’ve somewhat spoiled it for you. And the only reason I saw it was for the theater’s thermostat. I think I have a future as a film critic.

In the movie whose name I won’t divulge even though it’s totally awesome and you should rush right out to view it if you’re able to guess correctly what it is with no help from me, this daughter has to literally sever ties to her father’s corpse by holding his arms in a lake while a lurid lady takes a chainsaw and hacks off his hands.

Alexandria and I were rendered momentarily speechless as we exited the theater. Then it was as if we both reached the same life-affirming epiphany at the same time. “At least we have our hands,” we said in unison with a knowing nod, followed by an impassioned fist bump.

And guess what you need in order to effectively execute a fist bump? Exactly.

Hands really come in … handy.

The sweltering heat and our tender hearts suddenly seemed rather insignificant in comparison to a lack of limbs. If having hands is our newfound benchmark of happiness and health, we are both winning. Handily.

Now I’ve become hyper-aware of my hands. When I put a ring on my finger this morning, I thought, Couldn’t do that without a hand. And when I slapped on my watch whose battery died months ago, I thought, Without my hand, this useless accessory would just fall right off a stump and then I’d really have no hope of ever knowing what time it is if I ever decide to replace the battery and set the clock and glance at my left wrist, which I probably won’t. Thanks, hand. And I’m presently using my fingers – which are attached to my hands – as I type this post. I know. Wow.

While the current sauna-like weather may be out of my hands, my mess is completely my own making. When Isabel spreads her sick all around, I buckle down with paper towels in one hand and anti-bacterial soap in the other and commence the cleanup.

Washing away my own messes sometimes takes two hands, too. Or at least an awareness that, all appendages considered and accounted for, I have a pretty damn good life. And many more readers than I deserve, who may even stick around after I’ve wrecked the chilling climax of a feature film and who speak to me from inside my computer and say the sweetest things that melt my heart. And not in a bad way, like the sweltering Earth is attempting to do now. The Earth could learn a lot from you guys.

And I am finding my way back. No breadcrumbs nor barf necessary.

51 Comments leave one →
  1. July 8, 2010 9:52 AM

    You COMPLETELY forgot the other thing that hands are useful for when you are not in a relationship. This activity is ALSO useful for helping you get to sleep when it’s 100 degrees out.

    Take care of your hands and they’ll take care of you.

  2. July 8, 2010 10:16 AM

    Devil’s Advocate: fisting would be a lot easier without hands. Except it would be called “stumping.”

    And I think I know the movie you’re talking about because it sounds fucked up enough to be true and if that’s the case, I might even have to really really see it instead of just saying i want to see it and then never seeing it. I have a thing about movie theatres. I need to do stuff. I bring knitting. And then fuck it up cos it’s dark and shit.

    • July 8, 2010 3:59 PM

      I knew it was only a matter of time before someone mentioned fisting on my blog. But I always figured it would be me.

  3. July 8, 2010 11:20 AM

    I’m sorry you’ve been a hot mess. I know what that kind of heat feels like and it’s not fun at all. Heartbruises and bitterness should happen in the winter, when you can cozy up under mounds of blankets and eat too much food. In the heat? There is no way to revel in your pain.

    Is the movie in question based on a book? If not, I have no clue.

  4. July 8, 2010 11:29 AM

    That’s a good blessing to count too – I can make my way back without breadcrumbs or barf.

    ‘Cause you know, not everyone can say that.

    Some people even need both.

  5. July 8, 2010 11:44 AM

    We’ll be here waiting…
    Good thing I didn’t build a candy house, it would be one hell of a mess with this heat and humidity.

  6. July 8, 2010 12:04 PM

    Dude, one of the main reasons I moved to Seattle was New England’s damnable weather. And hands are ok, too.

    But if you do not email me the name of this movie immediately, I may have to stab you.

  7. July 8, 2010 12:05 PM

    I am wiping sweat off of my brow right now just thinking of you with no air conditioning…I’m sorry I can’t get past that. Don’t care about the movie plot, I just can’t get past no air. You poor baby (I can say that cause I am old enough to be your Mom, I am probably OLDER than your Mom!) Come to Michigan (bring the cats!) and you can visit with my husband and I and I will make you dinner. That is if you could tolerate our cat vomit/dog pee stained carpet (appetizing huh?) at least you would be cool and you would have use of your hands to eat! 🙂

    Damned Earth! I couldn’t agree more!

  8. July 8, 2010 12:15 PM

    I kind of really want to turn to friend Google right now to figure out what movie you’re talking about (because I just can DEAL with being left here not knowing what it is. Or should I say, I can’t HANDle it? Eh? Eh?? Aww) but I’m afraid of what kind of results might pop up with search words like “movie where daughter cuts of her dad’s hands”

    In other news, I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds comfort in awkward/unfortunate scenarios. It’s all about feeling “zen with the (sucky) universe”. You said it yourself. Well done.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to go ponder my hands.

  9. July 8, 2010 12:33 PM

    Take some time to lick your wounds…and as you slowly come up for air we will still be here waiting for you..just like a Richard Marx song.

  10. July 8, 2010 1:19 PM

    Hands are underrated. Poor hands. Anxious people are all “I just don’t know what to do with my hands!” and the answer is? Nothing. Because hands do so much without you even realising. Sometimes, hands need a rest and appreciation. That’s all.

    As for bruised hearts? I’m all out. It’s taken me this long to figure out hands, and to be fair, you did most of the work for me.

    Jo x x

  11. July 8, 2010 1:45 PM

    I always knew you were a handsome lass.

  12. dru permalink
    July 8, 2010 2:12 PM

    Ah, my dear.

    I like that this is all about hands because I sort of have a hand fetish.


    I also like that I’m not the only one who occasionally notices random things and has life-altering epiphanies from them.

    I also like you.

    Feel good my dear x

  13. July 8, 2010 2:15 PM

    Now you have me intrigued about this movie. You should seriously consider being a critic. The mysterious kind who makes people guess which movie you’re reviewing.

    I am sweating along with you here in CT. I think it’s supposed to rain today and Saturday here. Hope you guys get some relief too.

  14. July 8, 2010 2:38 PM

    I’m glad things are looking up and that you still have your hands. It’s the first thing you check when you have a baby: does it have hands? Then feet. Then head. Then, if you’re me, you look down at that little face and ask it what the pythagorean theorem is, because really, if the kid can’t do your taxes, what the hell did you have it for?
    On another note: I can’t believe you don’t have AC! Oh god, that’s my worse nightmare…aside from being eaten by rats, dying in a plane crash, or dining with Dick Cheney.
    We do love you here on the interwebs!!

  15. July 8, 2010 4:21 PM

    great. i know what the movie is, and now i know that the guy gets his hands cut off. which would pretty much be my worst nightmare, because i could never be one of those people who types and plays piano with her feet.
    so i’ll be thinking about that when i’m sweating myself to sleep again, because i, too, live in an apartment without air conditioning.
    but with my hands.

  16. July 8, 2010 5:01 PM

    “At least I have my hands!”

    Chopped off hands is definitely a nine on the Sliding Scale of Suck ™

  17. July 8, 2010 6:48 PM

    your tags didn’t quite give away the ending of your post. but i kinda knew it was going to be a steaming stream of consciousness ride… i clean up my own really big messes, too. you get efficient after a time…

  18. July 8, 2010 7:36 PM

    I never watch movies anyway. ❤

  19. July 8, 2010 8:13 PM

    I just wish I could send you some of my weather in a jar – we’re at about 10 degrees c (50 fahrenheit). Swapsies?

  20. July 8, 2010 10:42 PM

    This heat is sucktacular. You do realize that now I will always be thinking when I’m lost…follow the barf. Hands are good unless you are a dumbass like Lindsay Lohan. I hope your heart heals soon.

    • July 8, 2010 11:13 PM

      Jenn loved your comment!!! (the hands and Lindsay lmao)

  21. redg_rl permalink
    July 9, 2010 12:33 AM

    I have some guesses bout this film so I will need to bug you for confirmation. I’m guessing it isn’t ‘micmacs’ which looks fantastic too. The heat is making the trees look like fall except they skipped the colourful part. Birds are also dying, likely also a dehydration issue. Fortunately though we have hands.. to open the fridge & guzzle more brita or blend more piña coladas for our survival. The heatwave is breaking though or Saba wouldn’t be anywhere near me let alone hogging the bed. hooray for hands to pet the not-so-melted kitties!

  22. July 9, 2010 1:27 AM

    Ok, how I found you was rather round about and wierd. I clicked on a SITS link and you commented on that blog and your blog title “shit my mother says” cracked me up, so I clicked on the link and then I read it, and then I laughed my ass off, and then i clicked on your homepage, and then i read this post and I laughed the rest of my ass off. Phew! See, I told you….complicated! Anyway, you are FUNNY. No, you are WITTY! And THAT is my favorite thing ever! So, thank you for making me laugh. I shall return, again and again. Now please try not to hate me for my eternal runon sentence and random wierdness. I’m cool, I promise.

  23. July 9, 2010 4:45 AM

    I’m pretty fond of and grateful for my hands too. But I would seriously like a kick arse artificial bionic hand if one of mine (preferably the left) was ever chopped off in an accident or a movie

  24. danna bunma permalink
    July 9, 2010 8:09 AM

    So I thought this was going to be a post about masturbation. I’m disappointed. But I still love you.

  25. July 9, 2010 9:27 AM

    I’ve got one hand in my pocket.

  26. July 9, 2010 10:20 AM

    Just discovered your blog. You are a wonderful writer. I’m sorry to read of your recent heartbreak, but very happy that you have your two sweet cats to take care of you and mend you when you hurt. I have two cats as well and I just don’t know what I would do without them!

  27. July 9, 2010 2:56 PM

    C’mon! The movie title, please?! Sounds like Saturday night viewing fare here!

  28. July 9, 2010 4:16 PM

    I would make a handy movie comment, but instead I sadly must focus on something else – you wear a dead watch every day?

    That says something. I’m not quite sure what yet – but something.

  29. July 9, 2010 4:53 PM

    I never thought of it that way. I’m so out of it I have NO IDEA WHAT MOVIE YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. I only watch movie on LifeTime television. Naturally I am fascinated by this plot description. Holy mother of plot twists!

    Hang in there. . .

  30. July 10, 2010 12:42 AM

    let’s see… last time: sangria. this time: slushy, fruity, ought-to-have-come-with-tiny-umbrellas drinks.

    you do realize that tequila shots are next in the vacation alcohol continuum, right?

  31. July 10, 2010 1:30 AM

    There’s a room here in Ohio if you need it.
    The up side – we have a/c and cats are always welcome
    The down side – It’s Ohio

  32. July 10, 2010 9:17 AM

    I don’t know anyone in the Commonwealth who isn’t a hot mess of some variety this week. My husband had part of his retina cryo-frozen, and examined with what he called a “watermelon scoop” yesterday.

    It’s a pain that keeps sharing. We are all feeling it.

    That said, I’m sorry your heart is bruised. I second the commenter who referenced Richard Marx! (because how can you not love some awesome Richard Marx?)

  33. July 10, 2010 10:02 AM

    No AC? Too horrific to handle.

    I sometimes think about how much better off I am than people who, say, have no hands or were stuck in political prisons or are trying to eke out an existence in a war torn state.

    But then I become insanely selfish and think, FUCK, I’m STILL UNHAPPY. Because I am so self-involved.

    And then I realize that may be part of my problem.

    Nah. Not at all.

  34. Moriko permalink
    July 10, 2010 1:20 PM

    I’ve found it. The f’n movie. Your teasing bothered me so much. You took away 10 minutes of my normal Googling for…the real kind of Googling. Thanks a lot.

  35. July 11, 2010 7:27 AM

    Imagine if you could put one of Nurse Myra’s bionic hands on vibrate? There are silver linings all over the place.

    And yeah, that path is pretty strewn. But at least it’s a path. A bit.

  36. July 11, 2010 6:54 PM

    Jazz Hands!!! Glad you’re back. “Cause I don’t want have to miss you. And yes, grammar is my forte. And cleaning cat vomit. I’m versatile.

  37. July 11, 2010 11:27 PM

    Your cat does that too? The barfing in a trail?! My cat is quite fond of that activity; I’ve always kind of worried about that, but it’s always been “normal” for him… good to know another cat terrorizes its mother by doing this too!! The other day, he barfed a hairball that looked like a hot dog; i’m not even kidding you; it was almost that size… and yes, I brush him and feed him hairball-help treats… talk about a mess!

    I have nothing else to report; when all else fails, i just tell a gross-out story 🙂

  38. July 12, 2010 4:36 PM

    Sometimes, I come back and re-read your posts, because I love them that much.

    Also, I’m not stalking you, though it may now sound like it.


    Okay, well, just a little.

  39. August 13, 2010 12:40 PM

    Well you are really something…Thank’s wordpress for pointing this blog to me with a big red arrow.

    I think I’m in love with your writting…love the irony and the sarcasm…
    It’s been a while since my last read in english but now I think I should pay more attention tho english bloggers!!

    Greatings from a spanish blogger who also enjoys the company of her overfeed cat ^^

    oh btw: you are definitely going on my blogroll!!!

  40. August 13, 2010 3:22 PM

    greatings¿? hahahaha I meant Greetings

    and to not tho 😦

  41. blackwatertown permalink
    August 13, 2010 8:08 PM

    “…so fucking hot outside it might turn me straight…”
    Excellent. That sounds far too hot.

  42. emmylu28 permalink
    August 13, 2010 9:04 PM

    Absolutely brilliant

  43. Cle permalink
    August 14, 2010 9:50 AM

    I’m supposed to be shutting down my computer but I clicked your link cos it was on WP frontpage and my legs are hairy cos it’s winter and now I can’t stop reading your blog ‘cos you are so funny and I’m not sure I want to watch that movie but I’d like to know what it’s called so I can avoid it…..I will be back!

  44. August 14, 2010 10:06 AM

    I totally want to know what this movie is so I can fandango it and read feedback on what people think of it. But, I won’t use google because someone already tried google and it didn’t work, and I don’t think my magic touch will make the name of it appear. Damn. Anyways, keep cool, I know it’s been a hot mess over here too!

  45. khickey11 permalink
    August 19, 2010 9:54 AM

    You had me at “hot mess.” LOL!!

  46. February 8, 2011 9:23 PM

    I agree, Hands really come in … handy, even if my left one seems to have stopped working for a while. So I’ll re-phrase that. Hand really comes in handy.

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