I kind of stopped doing these "Year in Review" posts, because the next logical year would be 1996 and it was really bad for me. It was the year that I finally decided to get out of my abusive marriage. I couldn't actually move until May of 1997, because I didn't have the money, but it was the year I stopped trying and started biding my time. The big problem with writing about it, is that I don't know how to do it and not make it sound like a bad Lifetime movie or Oprah's book club selection, and worst of all, it's not really, very funny. On the other hand, I write about every other kind of bullshit on here, and a lot of it isn't all that funny either. So, I'm giving it a shot. If it helps, you can imagine Meredith Baxter playing me. Yeah, I realize we look nothing alike, but it seems to be the law that she plays the victim in all those Lifetime movies, so stretch your imagination.
Age: I was 30 when the year started and turned 31 in July.
Music: As usual, I listened to a lot of everything back then. I went to see as many local bands as possible. I also worked at a coffee shop with a bunch of college kids, so I heard much Pavement, Yo La Tengo, and Son Volt depending on who was working. I saw Stereolab play at Gabes and when my friend's band was opening for the Mountain Goats, he put me on the guest list. I had to back-out at the last minute, because I gave my marriage one last try and went to see my ex-husband act in a play at the Old Creamery Theater instead. No one can ever say I didn't try hard enough. Secretly, I adopted Aimee Mann's I'm With Stupid as my theme album that year.
TV: I worked almost every night and ran around with the girls during the day. I think we watched Sesame Street in the mornings, and then the obligatory Seinfeld and The Simpsons here and there too.
Books: Back then, I read a lot of short fiction. I just didn't have time for novels. I remember reading Thom Jones, Joy Williams, Tobias Wolfe and some Don Delillo.
What I Wanted to be When I Grew-up: By the end of the year, all I knew I wanted, was out.
Winter: It was really cold that year. I remember being cooped up with my girls. The woman who lived downstairs was crazy as a loon. I know I've already written about her in my other blog, but she used to call us and hang-up every time she heard the girls move and then when I talked to her about it she denied it - even after I star 69'ed her and she answered the phone. The other scary thing was that she played Natalie Merchant's Tiger Lily really loudly about a hundred times a day. Yeah, she came close to making me crazy too.
Spring: My ex started getting more controlling in the Spring, after a little Winter hiatus. I was never sure what actually caused his moods, but he was big and scary and when I would perform such heinous crimes, as buying my daughters mittens he didn't like, or getting him the wrong kind of beer, or, in his mind, when I started acting like I thought I was smarter than him, he would get mean. Mostly it was yelling, swearing and throwing things at me. A few times, he raised his hand to me, and each time I calmly assured him I would call the cops if he ever actually hit me. Amazingly, he could control himself enough not to end up in jail.
Summer: My birthday sucked. Our car broke down and it was a hundred bazillion degrees outside and I didn't have enough money on my credit card so that my ex-husband could rent a car to get to his rehearsal in The Amanas. He got angry and threatening and then thankfully, he found a way to work and left. Later that month, we went out to talk about how fucked-up things were between us. I thought it would be safer if we were in a restaurant, because he was always good at acting like he was a nice guy in public. Like most abusive men, he got even more angry if he thought I was telling my friends about his behavior. That night, he told me that he thought Coadster would always calm him down if he got too violent. It took me a while to process the fact that he expected his four year old daughter to keep him in line. When I did, that was it for me. I realized that I was the only idiot working so hard at this, and maybe if I put all that energy into figuring out how to safely extricate myself and my girls from the situation, I would keep Coadster from a lifetime of feeling responsible for her dad's hideous behavior.
Fall: After I gave up trying to save my marriage, I stayed away from my ex as much as possible. He worked days and I worked evenings, so I made sure I never got home before he went to sleep. That's when I started going out with friends to see shows after work. When we were home at the same time, we spoke only enough to fill the other one in on what was going on with the girls. It was a suffocating environment, but it was actually better than when I cared and thought it was my job to fix shit.