Shithouse rat

I'm a bipolar writer in the Naked City. I'm not playing with a full deck. I don't have all my dots on the dice. My cheese is sliding off my cracker. I don't have both oars in the water. I'm a bubble off plum. In other words, I'm crazier than a shithouse rat. These are my stories. Comments--short or long, nasty or nice--always welcome!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Weirded out!

The Dark Side of the Spoon
Originally uploaded by viiny.
For some odd reason, Suzie of Assorted Babble fame has tagged me for a meme where you list five weird things about yourself. I have no idea why Suzie would think there is anything the least bit bizarre, peculiar, or off-kilter about me, but I'll give it a whirl.

Let me preface this by saying that if you REALLY want weird, check out Suzie's list, ok?

In addition to my bipolar disorder, I like to mix it up with a touch of the old obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)--just for a goof. This means that I waste a lot of precious time before leaving the house in a vain and pointless search for nonexistent smouldering cigarette butts. I also like to check the stove a dozen times in case I have somehow inadvertently turned the burners back on in some sort of spastic fugue state. And then there's the sinks, the sinks....check 'em for drips, and check 'em good, because when I'm at BG's he'd be pretty darn pissed if he came home to see the apartment floating away, post-tsunami style .

I don't think this has made it into the DSM yet, but I am developmentally challenged when it comes to cars. We didn't have one growing up, but when I went to college I fell in love with a creepy nogoodnik druggie whose parents had bought him a Datsun 280Z. Not that he ever took me for a ride in it (he just took me for a ride), but I had an idiotic fantasy of tooling around in a cool sports car to make him jealous.

On my summer break, I started taking lessons through the Automobile Club of America. I took a ton of them; spent lots of bucks; and got to know all about my driving instructor's thorny issues with his girlfriend. But city driving is probably not the best way to learn, and in any case, I just couldn't get the hang of it. Behind the wheel, I was simply dyslexic.

Ironically, the one thing I did well was that tricky parallel parking maneuver. But I was so nervous and lame during my road test that I totally missed a stop sign, which was an automatic failure--and so was I.

To this day, I'm so car-phobic that I can't even put on a seatbelt correctly. I wind up holding the loose buckle over my lap since I can't figure out how to sling the thing over my shoulder to get it closed. Good thing I'm a New Yorker--we get to tell ourselves that cars are more of a nuisance than they're worth anyway.

No blank piece of paper is safe with me around. I will defile it with my insane cryptic scrawl, which usually covers every square inch of white space. I have been filling up notebooks with the flotsam of my deranged mind since I was in college.

The contents of these notebooks are a combination of messy to do lists (see below), writing ideas, and inane musings on life. Even the CIA couldn't decipher them. Sometimes I can't make them out myself. But it makes me feel better to get the shit out of my head and down on paper.

Closely related to my general scribbling dysfunction is my list mania. In my office, I was one of those post-it addicts who somehow thought it would be efficient to attach sticky notes to every surface so I'd be able to tell what items on my mile-long to-do list were the most urgent. As a result, I had to peel off several layers of yellow notes from my computer screen every morning. This was in addition to the post-its stuck all over my desk, my calendar, my chair, and so on. It was mortifying to unwittingly walk into a meeting with reminders like "pork chops for dinner" or "prepare notes for meeting" stuck to my arms--or, occasionally, my ass.

This was a pathetic and futile attempt to counteract the fact that my regular to-do lists were out of control. It didn't matter what kind of datebook, day timer, or calendar I tried. If it was a one-page-per day planner, it would be crammed full of illegible scrawls. On my monthly calendar I tried to fit my daily list into a one inch square box and then prioritize the entries with highlighter. To this day, my most treasured possession is my pocket sized week at a glance book that looks like it belongs to Charles Manson. As if this isn't insane enough, I insert all sorts of dog-eared loose lists inside it, so it's bulging and falling apart. But writing lists lulls me into a false sense of accomplishment, even though two-thirds of the stuff never gets done.

I believe in astrology, and I think I really personify the sign of Cancer to a "t." Once Cancers grab hold of something in their little pincers, they just don't let go. For example, ahough I never bothered to get married and never had children, my first long term relationship lasted for twenty years. I worked at the same company for over two decades. I hate moving, and I don't understand people who constantly flee from apartment to apartment and city to city, causing me to sully my address book with big black X's every time they change their locale.

I have favorite shirts and shoes that I hang onto forever. When I wear them, I look like a Bowery bum, but the more worn-in they are, the more I love them. BG had an old flannel blanket that I nicknamed Quigley. It was worn thin and full of holes, but I loved to snuggle up on the couch with it. When he threw it away, I almost had to be taken to the rubber room.

OK--now I'm passing on the mantle of weirdness to five other blogpals. If you've already been there and done that, or just don't want to reveal your weirdness, or you're not weird enough for this exercise, let me know and I'll pick some other victims.

Here's my five tags:
Dan--Scenes from a Wasted Life
Martyn Clayton--The Shrine of Blind-Winger Jones/North Country Dispatches
Leslie--The Raw World
Jane--Jane Loves Tarzan

Technorati tags:


At 5:54 AM, Blogger dan said...

Ok, I'm a stick in the mud too. Which means I shouldn't fall prey to your salacious attempts to tag me.

But I'm weak. I'll do it tomorrow master.

At 8:16 AM, Blogger Marie et Vincent said...

Thank's for choosing my image to post on your blog! I think it fit really well in fact!!!

At 6:24 PM, Blogger Walker said...

Those were interesting asnswers. I knew much........sorry I went to see in the stove was off.
Where was I, yes I knew much of what you said but I didnt know about your vehicular phobia.
Learning in the country would have been easier but you have to leaqrn in the city to get the swearing and the hand gestures properly.
Flipping the bird at a cow doesn't get you the same results lol

Great Meme

At 7:41 PM, Blogger Justine said...

Elvira how am I ever going to narrow it down to 5??

At 7:45 PM, Blogger SafeTinspector said...

Your issue with handwritten notes is similar to mine, except my handwriting has a half-life of about 3 hours. After that, my chances of interpreting what I've written drops to less than 50%.
I fill the rest of the space with insane doodles.

I have none of your other failings, so I'm obviously a superior form of humanity*.

* except for migraines, flat feet, ADHD, weight issues, compulsive eating, and bad case of man-boy-ism

At 9:23 PM, Blogger NewYorkMoments said...

I'm a Cancer too!!! Not only do I have that "holding on" thing, but I'm a sidestepper...especially when it comes to problems.

At 7:21 AM, Blogger BiPolar Guy said...

List mania? I can TOTALLY relate. I've got so many damn lists I've got Lists of Lists. And I've got this fancy plug-in for ms Outlook which allows me to rank my tasks from 1 to 100, so I spend about 3 hours a day ranking and reranking my tasks, convincing myself that I'm being real productive.

Oh, and BTW, I'm Cancerian too.

At 8:03 AM, Anonymous Neil said...

I didn't know how to drive until I moved to CA, and I had a phobia about it, too. But you should try it again, because it feels like a real achievement when you finally park that car. But you're right... don't learn in Manhattan.

At 11:32 AM, Blogger jessie said...

yes i noticed suzie tagged me too! i'll be posting today.
love the wierdness!

At 12:12 PM, Blogger Assorted Babble by Suzie said...

Elvira, I selected you because you are uniquely intriguing. (smiling) I also check the stove and walk through the house several times before leaving. My pups will change channels on the remote, get in the garbage and there are too many things to double check. So I drive myself crazy checking things and then the “list for myself” - when I can finally get out the door. You made me remember my old 280z…wow, it was fast and red. Failed on my driving test - parallel parking, but where I lived never needed to use it anyway. That is remarkable you did so well on that especially not driving as a teen, I started driving at 12. (smiling) Can relate about the reminders, I write a note about almost everything I have to do – no memory left due to the 70’s and 80’s.(too many drugs I guess) I do not like moving either and hold on to things from my childhood. Can’t help but laugh out loud at the victim thing….somewhat felt that way too. (LOL) Thanks for being a sport!! Great post! Oh yeah...Aquarius here!

At 3:44 PM, Blogger Timothy said...

So, where is your weird stuff? Sounds like 'normal' stuff to me.

At 1:25 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


I'm very demanding, I know. Now obey. Don't make me get out the whips. Yes, you read right--that's plural.

At 1:26 PM, Blogger elvira black said...

Marie et Vincent:

Thank you--it's a great image. So glad you posted it on flickr.

At 1:29 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


Yeah, I cheated a little on the OCD part by borrowing from an ancient post.

There's a transit strike going on in NYC, and they're only letting people into Manhattan if they have at least four people in their car. So they have to pick up total strangers (New York strangers, I might add) and be locked up in traffic jams.

Whew, so glad I don't drive in the city (lol). Do they have to stop for herds of cattle in the country?

At 1:30 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


It's a tough meme, I know. Just strive for the weirdest, and don't hold back!

At 1:33 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


After many years of struggling with the scribble fetish, I realized that once I write the stuff down some of it actually sticks in my mind. So if it's indecipherable it's not such a tragedy after all.

Yes, your doodles--that's one of the first things I saw on your blog. I knew then and there you were my kind of blogger.

At 1:35 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


The side stepper thing--oh yeah. I've always found it harder to grasp this concept except in retrospect, because it's a little more subtle in my case. Sometimes I don't realize I'm doing it until years later. But it can be very effective, can't it?

At 1:40 PM, Blogger elvira black said...

Bipolar guy:

Lists of lists--oh yeah. It is amazing how time consuming it can be to manage them all. You'd think that with our new technologies, things would get better. But instead, you just have more opportunities to do all sorts of permutations, computations, algorythms, etc. with them--like your ranking system. Freaking ingenious!

I think the Cancer saving thing has some connection to the listing thing. It's like we're trying to squirrel away all those ideas and tasks so they won't escape our grasp.

At 1:42 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


Trouble is, now that I've started blogging, I find it hard enough to leave the house, let alone the city. But I guess you have to learn in California--unless maybe you live in San Francisco, right? I get the impression that taking the bus is just not where it's at there.

At 1:43 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


Yeah, you gotta embrace the weirdness. I'll be coming over there to see what you've got!

At 1:51 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


I imagine most people probably check the stove, etc. at least once (or twice, or...) before leaving. My ex-b/f was the opposite, which meant a lot of lost keys and wallets. Better to spend a few minutes checking now than calling all the credit card companies or changing the locks later. I always wound up getting cat hair all over my clothes by checking under the bed for the cats before I left for work. Those rascals just love to hide on you!

I've often thought that the drug era messed up my short-term memory--but I can't remember for sure--lol.

I was just kidding about the victim thing--I'm honored you chose me, and I had a lot of fun doing it! Thanks!

At 1:52 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


LOL! For someone who's supposed to be so crazy, I guess I am a little on the mundane side.

At 8:02 PM, Blogger cell13 said...

Any comment................Sure..,,.........Fuckin.........Mmmmmmmm.....Taste the spoon.......Black out on the radio..////////Wild ......wild.....

Hey ...........You all want me ..........nooooo....take it....................fFfFUCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK;......................

At 8:36 PM, Blogger elvira black said...

Cell 13:

As advertised, I welcome all comments--naughty, nice, short, long--and yes, weird!

At 9:42 PM, Blogger elvira black said...

Cell 13:

You trickster, you! You posted that wacky comment to nudge me to check out your great new template! Awesome! I'll be back to peruse the new stuff--was that a pic of you? Nice.

At 1:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


BG's bros (and him) are all just plain weird! As you know, Stubba and I are both Cancers too. We like to also check the sinks before we leave our abodes to make sure there isn't dripping water to cause a flood! OCD, right?

At least BG has really sought true professional help for all of his many afflictions. The rest of the BB's just keep going about with all of our beautiful hangups undiagnosed by experts. Too bad for us, I'm sure there are loads of clinics just waiting to get their hands on one of us to figure out what type of "weird" we have.

In the meantime, I'll maintain my normal weird self when providing added scoop to your pile. Better for one to find a sharp and funny
"talking screw" when one is just
"boring" a "conversation wall". There again, what do I know about defining funny, boring, or weird?

Your posts are never anything even close to just being boring little old conversations. Although, they do define wierd quite nicely, don't you think? Please, keep up your wierd ways so the rest of us weird-norms can be entertained!


At 12:33 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


I think it was Flaubert who said "All happy families are alike." Meaning, I guess, that families that were like the Brady Bunch were the same as the Patridge Family or the Seventh Heaven crew.

On the other hand, weird families are fun! I love all your family members because they are all so genuinely nice, but also a bit...quirky! It makes for a delightful combo, especially for a weirdo like me who likes to let her freak flag fly. So here's to the madcap BG clan!


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