toxic cigarette smoke in dark room


Yael Naim’s version of the Britney hit.

Sometimes the world outside is so toxic. Sometimes literally. Last night the man who rents out the garage under my apartment’s living room and bedroom decided to once again rev up the engine of his motorcycle, filling my bedroom with fumes, and shaking my floors and walls at 11.30pm for at least 30 mins. I briefly considered going down to ask him to stop doing that, and rev it up in the street rather than inside the building, but thought better of it. If he is such an asshole that he thinks such behavior is ok, then I am not taking the risk that he is not a psycho that might shoot me dead for interrupting his macho noise and fume fest. Instead I waited until he had finished his playtime, and then opened the windows, lit some incense and contented myself with cursing internally. Interacting with men is a gamble, and one that I try not to take.

Britney got their first, but Yael Naim’s version of Toxic, with its tale of toxic love is brings a whole new dimension, with it’s lethargic ‘poison paradise’ and prettily beguiling keyboards. Love is toxic, at least romantic love can be. That Eros drive with its push towards risks and addiction to another’s presence has been the downfall of many a woman, killed children, ruined lives. “If I never loved, I never would have cried’ sang Paul Simon, if a woman sang that song it would have been, “If I never loved, I never would have died…” but still we fudge the toxic reality of the patriarchy and make excuses for men and their bullshit. I am not in the mood for excuses any longer.

These people who do not consider their neighbors or their effect on the world around them tend to be men. It is just the way it is. It is this masculine self assured entitlement to behave as they wish, knowing that in the end they hold the trump cards of strength, aggression and a sex-based propensity to hair trigger violence. Don’t bother to tell me about your lovely men. I have lovely men too. Most men are not lovely, and I do not care to sugar coat the pill. There are a lot of great men. Being great does not equal being a good person and someone who does not throw their weight around causing suffering. Do I hate men. Yeah. Most of them, but the ones I do like I adore. I actually prefer decent male company to that of some of my more fluffy sisters.

Not that there is going to be much more opportunity for company and friendship if humanity carries on the way it has been. The entire world is poisoned by our capitalistic consumerist urge to make more disposable shit, and consume it. My vice is pens. I own more pens than any one woman will ever need, but still I get the sinking feeling that I might run out of ink, and end up picking up more throw away ballpoints and hording them like a dragon with its treasure.

Toxicity is everywhere. It is all around us. I can’t even escape it when I go online…

It was around 1am, when I read an anger-inducing tweet saying that lesbians sometimes use dick shaped toys with each other, but then they reject flesh- and blood-dick and to this person, that is an infinitely unfair and inexplicable state of affairs, that I decided to log off, grab Joan Didion’s insightful and immensely enjoyable Play It As It Lays off the shelf, and try and forget about toxicity. That didn’t work: the entire novel is about toxic environments and the damage they cause to the unwitting and unprotected. Hollywood sucks and destroys, a huge machine that exists to chew up and spit out the young and pretty that are fed into it, apparently. I don’t ever care to find out for myself, I’ll take Didion’s word on it. There are certain benefits to being bereft of ambition, but sometimes life insists on a little more participation than I can safely withstand.

The air is toxic, the world is toxic, politics are toxic, men are toxic. Heck even food attacks me when things are meant to be gluten free and not set off my celiac disease, leave me hugging the porcelain. I feel poisoned, harassed, and furious. Let’s face it, anger is just more toxicity, poisons the soul even when it is righteous. I am an angry person, but try not to let it show. I get angry because I am sad. I get angry because I lost. I get furious when I see other people suffering and losing. A photo in the news a few days ago, of a bloodied heavily pregnant woman, bleeding after being shelled while she was in the maternity hospital, pale faced and faded, made me angry enough. Reading Russian gaslighting claims that they never shelled the hospital, and that these were ‘actors’ drove me to thinking some very dark thoughts. Reading today that she and her baby perished, died, were murdered by Russian soldiers and their melomaniac leader drove me to a strange keening. I didn’t know this woman, but I knew that look on her face. I didn’t know her, but at that moment I wanted to go pick up arms and offer myself as cannon fodder, because you know what, sisters, we never stand a fucking chance against men. Not a fucking hope in the hell they create for us and our children. Screwing up the anger engendered by this violence into a tight little ball and hurling it towards the heart of ‘this matter, or that’ is good fuel. Every writer has their fuel. Mine is injustice-rage. Pure unadulterated hatred of the patriarchy.

I don’t have booze to fuel me any longer. I don’t have drugs. Weed is barely a drug, it is medicine, but even that is anger inducing when the price rises so far because now my previously legal herbal remedy is taxed to shit in the state of California. I need my anger. I need my anger to stay alive. I need my anger in order to keep breathing. The second I accept any of it, is the moment I die. No one can keep on fighting without that nuclear core of fury and righteous rage at the unfairness of it all.

I am relatively forgiving, nowadays at least, towards those who irritate me. Somewhere around 1998 I lost the ability to forgive and forget, and nothing happened in the interim to persuade me that I was wrong. I make a good friend, and not necessarily a bad enemy. I merely retreat, protect myself and carry on with the main business of surviving.

It is not easy. I do not find biting down on injustice and remaining silent an easy task. It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. When phrases like ‘bodily autonomy’ become dirty words, when people form into gangs and enforce the prevailing fully authorized way of thinking, and to hell with reality, then I fear we are living in a strange new world. I do not operate within it comfortably.

I was a fool today, and finished off my morning doom-reading of various new outlets (steering cleared of the infernal Fox and its propaganda-driven drivel) by clicking on a terrifying article on a serial killer operating out of New York and Washington DC. This man (they got a nice clear photo of his face) has killed five homeless people, or so the clever people think who work with this kind of horror. He walks up to them while they are sleeping rough outside and shoots them. That is horrific enough, and obviously needs to be stopped.

However it was the Mayor that really put the shit cherry on top of the shit cake when he told homeless people to ‘get off the streets’, like anyone wants to be out there if they have any other option. That is the entire problem. These people have no where to go apart from the streets, otherwise they would not be out there. How crass can you get! There are not nearly enough shelter beds, the congregate shelters are inadequate, and from my experience and from what I have heard other people say, not safe at all, especially in a pandemic that is not over, despite the fact that it has slid from the top news spots. Get inside! I wish it was that easy!

It was then that I made the mistake of reading the ‘comments’ section, which contained people supporting the killer and calling him ‘Batman’. It was then that I promised myself that I would not wallow, not let that anger turn to poisonous hatred, and thus drag me down to their level.

Days have different flavors. I have barely opened the curtains and let the air and light in and already I am in a state of horror at the world. Today is going to be one of those days. Let’s hope the men with fingers on buttons of big nuclear weapons do not decide to end it for us all. I love life. I love people. I just wish it was not all so toxic.


  1. Alan Conrad

    I have to agree with you that the toxicity is growing – also, the men you define as assholes seem to be increasing in number, though I suspect that the % of them has always been the same. I think it’s just that in this time we live in ,when a asshole can get elected president of the USA, they are feeling liberated, and free to offend the rest of us.

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