The Merry Wives of Windsor

8 Jul

Aside from the Bad Vibes couple in my left, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s production of The Merry Wives of Windsor was beautiful. It was on the Elizabethan-style stage, based on that in Stratford-on-Avon.

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It was sort of like a 1980s musical, with music from that decade (including Blondie’s “I’m gonna get you”). The music added to the humor. The costumes were a mix of Elizabethan and 1980s. I’ve never been a fan of 1980s fashion, not even in the 1980s, but it worked.

Falstaff’s bombasted codpiece doubled as a fanny pack. He unzipped it to take out letters and a pouch of coins. In one scene, the codpiece fell off.

Falstaff was played by a woman, as were a couple of the other male characters. I think that’s perfectly justified, considering that in Shakespeare’s time women weren’t allowed to perform onstage. (At the New Globe in 2004, I saw an excellent all-female production of Much Ado About Nothing.)

Creepy Couple

7 Jul

Aside from the Creepy Vibes couple sitting to my left, The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival was beautiful. The costumes! The Elizabethan stage! (Yes, it was different from the New Globe, particularly the modern seating, but the stage itself was quite elaborate and half-timbered).

I’m finally reading up on empaths and have confirmed that I definitely am one and that it certainly explains a great deal about me (and about the toxic people drawn to me). I do wonder if it’s common for empaths to have a lot of relatives who have Cluster B personality disorders (sociopathy, narcissism, and borderline personality), or if that was just bad luck and/or terrible karma. If it was karma, then perhaps I was a serial killer in a previous life. The people I most need to have No Contact with are the ones who are most drawn to me and the ones who are extremely easy to find.

But I digress, perhaps because I don’t want to write about those people and would rather write about anything else. But the book on empathy I’m currently reading emphasizes journal writing and such.

The seats are assigned (no groundlings in that theater), and as soon as I got to my seat and sat down, the woman seated on my left gave off hostile and judgmental energy. I didn’t hear her exact words, or I don’t remember her exact words, but she asked her husband if they could sit in the two empty seats to their left, despite the little detail that this was about half an hour before curtain and she knew, or should have known, perfectly well the seats were assigned. I clearly sensed that she didn’t like my sitting next to her. I didn’t do anything to her, and I took a shower and shampoo and put on deodorant before driving downtown from the hotel that afternoon. I had a creepy sense that she was judging me because I’m fat, and that she’s a fatphobic misogynist. Just because this narcissist is shaped like a twig doesn’t mean that all women should be shaped like twigs. Her husband did tell her that they were assigned seats. But that wasn’t the end of it.

 

Who knows, it’s possible that because of how I was dressed, she assumed I was a dirty hippie, despite my lack of stench or cannabis aroma. And maybe, especially with all my exposure to sun lately, she was hostile toward me because she’s overtly racist and/or anti-Semitic. However, I sensed that she was just overtly fatphobic, and life has taught me that I should take my instincts and impressions seriously. If I had done so while I associated with The Worst Frenemy in the Galaxy, I would have dumped her years earlier than I did. (For that matter, one of these books on empaths says that empaths can almost seem to read minds. It’s not literal mind reading, and it doesn’t involve understanding the words going through someone’s head, but it’s more like a basic sense of what they’re thinking.)

 

As though the creepy narcissist beside me thought I was deaf, she said “her” a few times and made it openly clear that she disliked me for no valid reason whatsoever. She even switched seats with her husband at one point. Meanwhile, the last two people in our row were the ones whose assigned seats were to the left of the Bad Vibes couple; to make it easier for them to pass me, I sat up stiffly and pushed my Nepalese bag beneath my seat and generally made myself as small as possible. While her husband sat beside me, the cunt said something like, “She doesn’t seem to be in the way, after all,” (again, I didn’t catch the exact words), and so—to my dismay—they switched seats back.

 

The reason I call them the Bad Vibes couple rather than only describe her that way was because they both came off as negative, bitchy humanoids who complain about this and that, and they both struck me as misogynistic. Reading the program, he learned that, horrors, a woman would be playing the role of Falstaff, so he had a fit and ranted about it. She joined in. They both seemed to think that because it’s been a long time since women weren’t allowed to perform on the English stage, and this is the twenty-first century, that casting cisgender women in male roles is inappropriate. They clearly had an extreme belief in gender binary. They both kept going on and on about it, and she barked in her raspy, jarring voice, “We should file a complaint! We should file a complaint!” (Yeah, I’m sure the people who work at the theater wouldn’t think you’re close-minded assholes if you complained about such a thing.) If they had seen the all-female cast of Much Ado about Nothing that I saw at the New Globe in, they would have pissed their pants.

 

The narcissist wouldn’t leave me alone, either. While her husband was gone for a few minutes, she gave me a creepy look and didn’t say anything to me. She had no problem talking about me insultingly and in the third person right in front of me, as though she assumed I was deaf or hard of hearing, but she couldn’t talk to me while we were the only two people sitting in the row. I had my program open in front of me and found it difficult to focus on it, especially while the two of them were bitching. (Their harsh, hostile, negative voices drove me crazy.) While it was only the two of us, the tension made me very nervous, but I was not about to start a conversation with this toxic human. As long as her husband was there, she had no problem with talking to him about me and giving me nasty looks and giving off toxic vibes.

 

I sensed that she didn’t consider me a real human being, but something subhuman.

 

At the beginning of the performance, actors were on the stage and addressing the audience. They referred to audience members in certain parts of the audience. In response, I turned toward that part of the audience, as did many people, and I chuckled. The harpy next to me looked me up and down, from head to toe, in a very openly rude and creepy manner.

 

By then, the two of them had succeeded in putting me in a bad mood, since as an empath I am an emotional sponge. But that last bit creeped me out the most. I get nervous if someone just looks at me with a neutral facial expression rather than a smile. In contrast with this rude cunt, I never looked at her directly; though in hindsight, maybe it would have been satisfying if, while she was giving me this creepy and insolent look-over, I had suddenly turned and stared right back at her. I did see her well enough to know that in addition to being skin and bones, she had very plain features and obviously dyed too-bright titian hair, so I know for a fact that she’s no beauty queen herself.

She wouldn’t shut the hell up and frequently talked to her husband throughout the performance, as though to make absolutely sure she reminded me that her creepy and distasteful presence was right beside me. She even exclaimed aloud, as though she were a teenager, “This is so cool!” Indeed, she and her husband seemed like perpetual junior high brats.

 

If only I were in a position that I could, like Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria, arrange to be the only audience member watching plays! (The closest I’ve experienced is being in the sparse audience during dress rehearsals.)

 

Respect is a very important need, not a luxury. Just because a pile of excrement sits beside me doesn’t mean I don’t deserve respect. Maybe if the parasite had any empathy at all, she’d know that treating an empath in such a hateful and rude manner means that the empath knows that you’re hateful and rude toward him or her.

 

I tried not to let this ruin my enjoyment of the play. I paid as much for my ticket as that narcissist did. Probably more, if her husband paid for it. And yes, I intellectually know I shouldn’t take things personally and that it doesn’t matter what toxic, arrogant, and judgmental humanoids think. But intellect and emotions don’t always match up.

 

I have decided that I need to not be around many people tomorrow. I’ll just check out of the hotel and head home to my cats, who will be happy to see me. Well, okay, three of them will be happy to see me. This is about taking in the energy and moods of other people and having a hard time in crowds and in public. I guess the real reason I need so much solitude is less about being introverted and more about being an empath. I had meant to take advantage of the hotel pool one more time before checking out and afterwards going downtown and having lunch at a pub, but now that doesn’t sound as appealing as being alone and heading home to my cats. Cats and dogs give you unconditional love.

 

Especially after all those years with The Worst Frenemy in the Galaxy, I have had more than my share of soulless monsters projecting their soulless monsterhood onto me.  It may seem like the fate of empaths, but now that I’ve started reading up on empaths, I surmise that’s mostly if you don’t understand boundaries and know how to psychically protect yourself from toxic humans. I’d better keep studying up on empaths and learn quickly. That is more practical and wholesome than becoming a total hermit, with no contact with other humans, never mind how tempting that can be.

Full Day in Ashland, Oregon

7 Jul

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Yesterday I drove three hours to Ashland, Oregon, located in Southern Oregon. It somehow didn’t occur to me that the temperature would change drastically, so during the hours that I explored downtown (and shopped) before checking into the hotel, I thought I was sweating profusely simply because I’m middle-aged and the sun was burning hot. However, although it was eighty-four degrees when I left Eugene, in downtown Ashland it was about a hundred degrees.

Ashland has a lovely downtown, with Victorian houses behind the parking garage, a downtown park—Lithia Park, specifically—that proved considerably larger than at first it appeared, and with a lovely pond and creek.

Across the street from the park entrance is a visitor’s center and a fountain from the 1920s where you can drink spring water…and it tastes disgusting, like a mixture of salt and liquid metal. Yuck.

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Main Street seems to have a bookstore on every block, or pretty close to every block. I made a point of not setting foot in a bookstore that I think specialized in children’s books. However, an hour or so later I couldn’t resist stepping into a spirituality bookstore. After all, I was sweating and figured it would be air-conditioned, which it was. I left with a bag of books and statues. I also wandered into a fabric store and got myself an owl pincushion and a set of iron-on embroidery designs.

I saw the intense tragedy Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles; it shook me up, and it was a relief to walk around downtown after the sun had set. Window shopping, I realized that this is a progressive and hippie-friendly town; I also noticed that restaurants are more likely to be open late than they are in Portland. Main Street is still lively and hopping with pedestrians, whether they just saw a play or are smoking pot and playing music. The antique store’s window display featured vintage Asian clothing, including a sparkly Indian tunic and a cotton Afghani nomad dress. There was also Japanese and Chinese cloisonné to ogle. A Tibetan-owned shop sold new items, such as figurines of fierce deities and Tibetan thangkas. These shops were so colorful and sparkly, I suspected I might visit them the next day, while they were open.

I found my spare reading glasses!

2 Jul

I can read and write! Huzzah!

On Tuesday, I went to the public pool without a glasses case; after I slipped my glasses into my locker, I pulled out something else, and my glasses flew out and hit the floor. I hastily picked them up and put them back in the locker. It wasn’t until after I spent an hour and a half in the pool that I noticed I was missing a lens. I searched around where the glasses fell…and on my way out, I saw the broken lens lying in the lobby.

I rushed to LensCrafters and made an appointment for the next morning. Because I wear progressive lenses, they weren’t in stock, so I’ve been reading through one lens and holding my hand over my left eye (when not squinting).

Since my usual reading and writing haven’t been an option, I’ve been unpacking and organizing around the house. I took stuff to a thrift store, filled up the recycle bin, framed some family photos, and found lots of lovely things. But now I can get back to reading and writing and sewing! I’m certainly looking forward to those new glasses. Best to go to the eye doctor while you still have health insurance.

The Peeing Avenger

1 Jul

At about 7 this morning, I learned that if I’m up most of the night and ignore Virginia because I want to go to sleep, she will pee on my ankles and sheet.

Ignoring her is definitely not my usual behavior. She’s sweet and affectionate and needs as much attention as a dog. However, I was wrapped up in unpacking and organizing around the house and hadn’t felt like sleeping earlier.

One Hour later: I made a point of cuddling her all she wanted.

Two hours later: Still not sleeping, I jerked up in reaction to the sound of s shrieking bird. Sure enough, Virginia was dangling from her mouth a terrified, screaming little bird. I chased her around—and she growled at me!—but eventually I picked her up, and she dropped the bird. I carried her to the powder room, grabbed a towel, and closed her in the small room. I used the towel to catch the bird and took it outside. When I placed the towel on the patio and began to unwrap the bird, it was still scared and opened its mouth wide and shrieked again. I went inside and waited a few minutes to retrieve the vacant towel. Fly far, far away, little bird.

My mind on catio designs, I finally fell asleep sometime after 9 am.

Ashram Dream

27 Jun

I dreamed that I lived in, or was temporarily staying at, a house that apparently was turning into an ashram.

The dream didn’t start out as especially pleasant. I think there may have been relatives there, and it strangely was supposed to be Kansas. I ended up staying in a part of this big house that was separate from all relatives (thank goddess!) and in the back of the house and down a flight of blue-painted wooden stairs, so I think I was sleeping and staying mainly in the basement.

The stairs led up directly to a large kitchen. Eventually, a young man was in the kitchen preparing food. I had leftovers that someone left me from a fast food joint, and I came up to use the microwave and told the young guy that I only eat stuff like this in Kansas (in the Midwest might have been a more accurate statement).

Meanwhile, downstairs, some people were setting up a meditation room. I went back down after putting the food in the microwave, and some people were coming down the stairs to the meditation room.

As I went back up the stairs, a lot of people were coming down the staircase (which had a landing). I had previously noticed that the stairs were littered, particularly with a piece of patterned green fabric and a couple other, smaller things, perhaps newspaper scraps. This, with a crowd on the stairs, made things difficult. I was getting a little anxious as I slowly made it up the stairs, with many people behind me and more people coming down. I got to thinking I should hurry up and eat and finish so I can participate in this group meditation (though realistically, I should have decided to hold off eating). I thought it would be a pity if I didn’t participate, never mind that I had no idea this was going to happen.

As I was up on the second half of the stairs, I heard chanting. It got louder: the sound of many people singing a Hindu chant. I was nearly at the top of the stairs, when people who were old friends ran into each other and kicked up a happy conversation. The chanting continued to the end of the dream.

(Awake, I don’t find it hard to interpret this dream. Kansas was where I took up meditation in reaction to the extremely hostile, toxic, and creepy environment and in reaction to toxic relatives. I recently finally resumed editing a novel inspired by my experience in Kansas. The start of the dream was Kansas and toxic relatives…and the end was related to meditation and spirituality.)

The Menacing Staircase

27 Jun

I dreamed that I was in a city and had been meeting up with a realtor, I think–and he was charming and attractive. But some people I knew–maybe they were helping me house hunt–didn’t like him, as they showed while we were all just outside his glass-doored office, and he was inside with another customer. But I seemed detached from their group, about three people, as though I were invisible. They knew it would be at least fifteen minutes before we met up again, so I decided to take a quick shower. I went to the Art Deco hostel where I was staying.

In the enormous lobby, I passed a tall and skinny Middle Eastern young man, in his late teens or early twenties; he resembled Ms. Marvel’s brother. He was pausing in a doorway and overhearing his father yelling at someone.

I seemed to switch to his perspective. His father was yelling, “You have to be so devoted that you read the Quran while you are walking.” Something like that.

I had either his perspective or mine, when I kept walking and overheard what sounded like a dulcimer. It was wonderful music, and I looked around and saw a young guy in a corner, playing…playing…what at first I thought was a dulcimer, but it looked a lot like a silver radio, perhaps from the 1970s.

I returned to the young Middle Eastern guy’s perspective. He was holding a Quran open in front of him while walking, and he got to a delicate staircase that wasn’t along a wall but out in the middle of the room. It was like filigree and didn’t have a normal banister. As he was going up these stairs, it felt precarious, almost as though the stairs were swaying. As he got higher, about halfway up and at a landing or curve, he was resorting to putting the book down a few steps ahead of him and using both hands to grasp at the sides–well, there was a sort of banister or handrail on each side. It was quite frightening, and there seemed a likely chance that he would fall.