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Posts Tagged ‘anecdote’

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!
 –  Edna St. Vincent Millay

I think I’ve said before, somewhere in this massive edifice of words, that I really hate it when other women respond to the realization that I have the figure I have without special dieting or exercising every day with “I wish I had your metabolism”.  I used to simply reply with “thank you” or a Southern belle “I guess I’m just blessed that way”, but I’ve grown so weary of the hidden bile in such statements that I now reply with a cutting glance and a darkly-intoned, “You wouldn’t want what goes with it.”

Engineers, scientists and medical professionals understand what most people don’t: that every dynamic system (such as a human body) exists in a state of homeostasis, and that a gain in one part of the system can only be achieved by shorting another part of the system.  Squeeze the balloon in the middle and the ends will enlarge at the expense of that middle, not to mention putting considerable pressure on the structural cohesion of the plastic if one squeezes hard enough.  Burn the candle at both ends?  Twice the light, but half the life.  Yes, I have a great metabolism…and it’s so finely-balanced that I become completely non-functional if anything knocks it out of that balance.  You know how most people can push themselves to go without sleep if necessary?  If I try that, when I get to about the 20-hour mark I get dizzy, start shivering and vomiting (sometimes accompanied by diarrhea and/or hives) and then literally pass out.  Some of my friends can walk around in public while high; I have to crawl to make it to the bathroom.  And on the rare occasions when I succumb to some illness, it generally manifests as 24 to 48 hours of dizziness, vomiting, chills, weakness so profound I can barely move, and fever so high that those attending me (if they can handle all the screaming at them to shut up, go away and turn off every light in the house) get frightened.  And that uncannily-high pain threshold some people envy?  It’s because sensations below the “imminent threat of maiming” level just don’t register on my hyperactive nervous system.  Consider what that does to my ability to sense pleasure, then tell me you still wish you had my physiology.

And while we’re on the subject, let’s talk about that hyperactive nervous system.  On the good side: extremely high intelligence, quick wit, lightning-fast reflexes, and hyper-awareness.  On the bad side: debilitating vertigo, OCD, ADD, insomnia and anxiety (the latter three all aggravated by long summer days).  That prolificity and vocabulary envied by other writers?  Paid for by a nigh-complete inability to shut up (ask my long-suffering friends how literal this is) unless I’m deeply drugged or unconscious.  And that superhuman memory of mine, the one everybody thinks is so bloody wonderful because I can pull up facts faster than Google and order them in a way no machine yet built can manage?  While the joy of good things fades with the neurochemical changes generated by those experiences, the emotional damage done by the bad ones remains and never completely heals, if it heals at all.  It has been said that no woman would ever have more than one baby if she could actually remember how it felt to have the first one; if that’s true it’s probably best I couldn’t have children, because I remember pain – whether physical or emotional – every bit as vividly as I remember facts.  Every laceration and every rejection; every broken bone, and every broken heart.

I’m not saying I would have it any other way; I am who I am and what I am, and it’s all I know.  What I’m saying is, when you look at someone else’s life and human condition, please apply at least as much thought as you apply when shopping for a new piece of technology, and consider the actual cost of what’s in front of you.

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Diary #364

Some of you know that I’ve got practical reasons for distrusting the government as well as philosophical ones.  I hear phrases like “I’ve never seen this before” and “That’s not supposed to happen” with depressing regularity; that’s bad when the person saying it works for a corporation and the problem involves money, but it’s absolutely horrible when the person saying it works for an unaccountable, monopolistic bureaucracy whose mistakes can destroy one’s whole life (or at least make it incredibly difficult for many years).  For example, an error made by H&R Block on Matt’s 2001 income tax return (this was before we got married & I had my CPA do his taxes) triggered an ordeal which ended only last year, having outlasted the marriage by a year.  And a computer error made in Louisiana at some point during my marriage to Jack (1992-95) cascaded through the government records system, creating problems that were finally resolved when a DMV supervisor in Seattle actually made it his mission to track it down in April 2015 (partly because he’s a decent human being & partly because I cried in front of him.  A lot.)  But even though he told me there should be no problem getting a new passport now, I was still very gun-shy about applying for one; frankly, I was traumatized by the whole thing and felt as though I should just leave well enough alone.  However, a couple of weeks ago a very generous gentleman who wants to take me to Europe insisted that I apply; he offered to pay for expedited service and even enlisted Lorelei to his cause, and she cleverly researched every step I needed to take, giving me the exact locations and procedures so I’d have no excuse not to comply.  In the face of such loving pressure I could hardly resist, and two weeks ago today I steeled myself and walked into the office.  It wasn’t easy for me emotionally; I was literally texting four different people to calm my nerves during the process (Lorelei, my gentleman, Matt and my little sister), but I got it done and all that was left was to wait.  Well, on Friday I got an envelope from the State Department; what I expected to find within was a form letter and a bunch of documents telling me additional rigmarole I would need to go through, but what I found was my actual passport, the first one I’ve had in 25 years.  So all the stress paid off, and it’s good to know my 20+ year paperwork nightmare is over.  And most importantly, gents:  Europe is back on the table again, if any of you care to hire me for a long appointment.

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Live fast ’cause it won’t last.  –  Chris Stein & Debbie Harry

In Monday’s column “Crystal-Gazing” I wrote, “I don’t think it’s likely I’ll be around to see [the mid 2030s], but many of you will be.”  Several readers asked me why I believed I wouldn’t make it to that point; after all, I’d only have to live to 70, and the average white American woman born in the 1960s lives to about 75.  Now, I could point out that statistically, my chance of dying before 70 is roughly equal to my chance of living past 80, but that wouldn’t quite be true; a lot of the reason the life expectancy keeps increasing is that infant mortality keeps decreasing, so anyone who survives childhood isn’t statistically likely to live as much longer than her ancestors as it might appear just from looking at those life expectancy figures.  Also, most of the female members of my family live into their ’80s, even if the male ones have an odd tendency to die under strange and often newsworthy circumstances (ask me about that if we ever get drunk together).  That having been said, a fair number of relatives of both sexes have contracted cancer or more-exotic terminal diseases, some of them at early ages (like the maternal uncle who died of leukemia in his late teens), and I’ve had several close brushes with sudden death (two of them of the “hushed-nurse-saying-I-shouldn’t-be-alive” variety), so I don’t think my familial or personal life expectancy is quite as high as that of the general population.

And thereby hangs the tale.  As I’ve stated before, I have absolutely no intention of ever enduring chemotherapy; if I develop cancer I’m going to seek out palliative care, put my affairs in order and let the disease take its course.  I’ve seen more than my share of people I love spending their last days hooked to machines in sterile institutions, dying in infernal contraptions surrounded by shouting doctors and nurses pounding on their chests and shooting chemicals into their veins, or electrically shocking their soon-to-be-corpses, instead of expiring quietly in their own beds surrounded by loved ones.  So I have a DNR order; if it’s respected I will die when I die rather than being dragged violently back across the threshold because mere humans have decided I’m not allowed to leave this plane yet.  Furthermore, though the more strictly-rational among my readers may scoff, I’ve never claimed to be strictly rational; my several close brushes with death (and a frank assessment of the chances I have taken in the past and those I continue to take on a regular basis) have led me to feel that I’m living on borrowed time, and Death knows that “when he at last come to collect me it will be a rendezvous rather than a capture“.  Death and I are old friends; he was gracious enough not to interrupt my work before it was done, and it’s the least I can do to return that favor when the time comes.  He’s passed me by on several occasions when he probably should have taken me, and I’m not such a fool that I think he’s going to keep doing that indefinitely.

Nor would I want him to.  I’ve clearly stated my philosophy on this subject many times, including in my fiction; it’s mortality which gives life meaning, and I think it’s a bit rude for those whose dance is done to keep hogging the floor rather than making “room for the new dancers who are always waiting for their turn.”  And besides all of that, I’m far too independent to be able to enjoy a life of decrepitude and dependence, and far too vain to desire a life in which I’m no longer the object of desire.  The song below has always been among the larger group of my favorites, and I don’t feel any differently about it at 50 than I did at 15; when I go, I want people to still be able to honestly talk about how beautiful I was.  Shallow?  Probably.  Silly?  Maybe.  But my friends will tell you I rarely ask for anything, so I don’t think it’s greedy of me to ask that no one begrudge my wish to not have to endure years or decades of life after the things I like best about it are gone.

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I have some good news for those of you who’ve been waiting patiently for me to come to your city, at least if you live on the West Coast:  I will be driving down the coast in advance of my giving the keynote address for the Freedom Rising 2017 Convention for Outright, a libertarian group for gender & sexual minorities (including sex workers).  That’s on January 21st in Phoenix, Arizona, so my tentative travel schedule is this:

Date City
January 10-11 Portland, OR
January 12-13 San Francisco, CA
January 14 Sacramento, CA
January 15-16 Los Angeles, CA
January 17-18 Las Vegas, NV
January 19 Tucson, AZ
January 20-21 Phoenix, AZ
January 22-23 Albuquerque, NM
January 24 Denver, CO
January 25 Twin Falls, ID
January 26 Return to Seattle

Those dates are not set in stone; for example, if I get a lot of bookings for Los Angeles but few for Las Vegas, I could stay an extra day in LA.  The sooner I know, the better, so here’s your chance to get a great deal on time with me: until Saturday January 7th, I will give DOUBLE your time if you book and pay in advance.  Two hours for the price of one, three for the price of 90 minutes or four for the price of two; it’s a steal!  The reason I do this (it’s my traditional pre-tour deal) is that I like to know my schedule in advance and I like to have my expenses covered, so the discount is my way of thanking gentlemen (or ladies, or couples) who help me with that.  Please note:  on the first day in a city I’ll be driving there from the previous city, and I’m not an early riser.  So evening appointments only that day!  I can take afternoon appointments on the second day in a given city.  I’m going to be very busy in Phoenix, so I may not be able to take more than one or two appointments there; if you’re interested, you should probably contact me ASAP.  Finally, I may (though I can’t promise) have some copies of my new book for sale; we’ll know once we get closer!classic nude

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Diary #332

selfiecamera_2016-11-05-12-53-43-464On Friday I flew out to Oklahoma to speak at the #OKAnarchy2016 conference at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, and if you’d like to see what was going on there you can look at that hashtag on Twitter.  My talk on “The War on Whores is the New War on Drugs” seemed well-received, and my friend Angela Keaton kicked ass with her concluding talk on the problems with many “-isms”, especially “feminism” that serves the carceral state.  I got to meet some new allies in a group fighting for the rights of sexual minorities, and though the drinks in Oklahoma are far too watered-down to be effective I certainly gave it the old college try.  On Sunday Grace picked me up, and I spent a night at my ranch before she took me to Dallas yesterday afternoon so I could fly home.  Unfortunately, my new drug regimen failed me for the first time; the ride proved too rough for the meds to control, and I got very ill.  But fortunately, the diazepam kept from from having a panic attack when the sickness set in, and the ondansetron at least helped me from the attack much more quickly than I usually would.  I was also invited to speak at an event n Phoenix in January, and I’ve decided to drive down so I can tour along the way; watch this space for details!

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Diary #329

selfie-10-13-16Though last week was full of the little chores which are necessary to real life, it was also full of the kind of weather which tends to raise my spirits.  Plus I had a multi-hour outcall with a very nice gentleman whom I hope will become a regular, and I restarted one of my old ads and started up a new one.  But I suppose the most interesting event of the week from your point of view (besides the taking of this selfie) was that on Saturday night, Christina Slater and I went to dinner with Desmond Ravenstone, a lifelong advocate for the rights of sexual minorities who has joined the fight for decriminalization and recently helped found Clients of Sex Workers Allied for Change (COSWAC).  I’m impressed by both his energy and the knowledge and experience he brings to the table; if we can keep attracting individual allies of his caliber and pulling groups like Lambda Legal and the ACLU into our coalition, I think decriminalization in the US can be achieved a lot sooner than many people imagine.  And it’s about goddamned time, considering that there’s never been a valid legal rationale for criminalizing it in the first place.

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You’ve mentioned several times that you’ve never really “amateur dated”, but you’ve also said you were promiscuous before becoming a pro.  Those seem to contradict each other; could you explain?

By the standards of the 1970s, my mother was quite overprotective; her level of caution would be considered fairly low in these days of bubble-wrapping and helicopter parenting, but 40 years ago she was definitely on the strict side.  Like modern parents, she “seemed bound and determined to control my natural free-spiritedness and to delay my sexual maturation for as long as possible“, and part of that was “she did not allow me to date until I was 16, and even then only in groups to chaperoned events.”  Of course, that backfired (as authoritarian prohibitions generally do); all it did was to stop me from dating, but not to stop me from having sex (especially since nobody bothered to chaperon me when I was alone with other girls).  It did, however, mean that I never developed the weird habit of going places with guys I barely knew and then letting them grope me.  By the time I was out from under my mother’s roof I had already had my heart broken once and wasn’t exactly eager to experience it again; I had a few long-term arrangements with women, including my second heartbreak and my first sugar mama, but until Jack started pursuing me my relationships with guys were largely pragmatic rather than based on mutual attraction.  After he left me I didn’t want to be with anybody for a long time, and by the time that feeling faded I was already a pro and had no interest in giving away that which I could sell.  So even though I had sex with a lot of strange men in my teens, they were all guys I met via my social group and my motive was profit or some other practical thing rather than auditioning partners; the majority of girls who hit on me were already partnered with men and were only interested in experimentation (except for that second heartbreak, about which the less said, the better).  Therefore, even though it wouldn’t be accurate to say I’ve never been on an uncompensated date, the idea of making a regular practice of going out with strangers of either gender and giving them sex for free, and of wanting to do that badly enough that I actually take the time & trouble to create an ad on a website and somehow work out how to decide which messages are even worth answering (again, without profit in mind), is so alien to me that it’s like an outlandish custom practiced by some exotic culture I read about in National Geographic.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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