jacktellslies: (sebastian)
I'd thought that I was the only one left at my level at my fencing class. Beginners are allowed to sign up during a two week period. Another ten weeks go by in between before the next opening. Among my fellow beginners there are the more experienced boys, who are cocky, not particularly good, and easily made utterly confused when made to fence anyone on any level other than their own. Three weeks ago I attended a class with five or six new beginners. As far as I can tell, one of them is left, and he's been joined by a gentleman who started a week late. The one I'd met before is attractive, quite tall, and has been handling his plastic weapon with a delightful flourish since the moment it was handed to him. I hope he stays. My class began with fifteen people or a bit more, and I'd believed that I was the only one remaining. But today Pierre came to visit me at work, admonishing me for going to Thursday's classes rather than Monday. (He prefers our instructor Nick, who runs Monday's classes, for something having to do with teaching style. For the most part I'm simply at the mercy of my work schedule, but I prefer Patty's classes on Thursday. This is because when, in the course of a game that requires that one player only lunge, and the other move in any way they wish while attempting to get as close to the lunging opponent as possible without getting hit, she demands, "Right. Now you tease me," my lizard brain flops out of my ear and begins rubbing up against her leg.)

Pierre is French, and in his sixties. He is, I swear to Christ, a former mime, and also a retired architect. We took the same train together one night after class, and while talking in the station we discussed our lives and our travels. His family hosted exchange students when he was a young man, and he seems to have seduced all of them. The first was a British woman who was, I believe, studying archaeology at University. He insists that good French spoken with a British accent is simply sublime. The next was an American whom he married and followed to New York in the sixties. To be French and in New York in the sixties! He admitted that he prefers America to France. Then he amended the statement to note, "Well. I do miss the land. And the food." And he continued, reciting a list that was fairly long, and ended in a shrug that indicated that it could have been longer, giving the distinct impression that America itself he could probably do without were he not exceptionally fond of American tail. Being as I am sympathetic to geographically inconvenient preferences, I've adored him ever since.

He came to my store accompanied by his American wife, not the first one, and possibly not the one after that, either. She told me that he missed me, mentioning my absence after every class at which he didn't see me. How sweet! He insisted that I join him on Monday, sure that we'll learn more if evenly matched. I apologised and told him that my employers are cruel and and my schedule demanding. Dropping to en garde he demanded, his accent beautiful as ever, "Where is your boss? I'll fence him with your filleting knife for your freedom!" I sighed, "I try it all the time! It hasn't worked yet!"
jacktellslies: (Default)
I have two friends who have been dancers. One made herself stupid with drugs every night to force herself on stage to be watched by men that she believed were nothing short of evil. She was drunk and sobbing on the sidewalk when she admitted it. It broke her, and years later her wounds are still raw. But in the middle of it she spit, suddenly angry rather than broken, "but the money was good, and I needed it, so I did it." It sickened me, that capitalism can so easily demand our rape, that so often we acquiesce. And yet it was incongruous, almost disappointing. Something in the way that she said it, far more than the words themselves, implied an untruth.

The other was a burlesque dancer in New York in the seventies. Her close friends dated Iggy Pop, started doing heroin with Sid and Nancy when the Sex Pistols fell into town. She kept dancing and ingested many a fascinating poison, but abstained from the needle. Eventually her friends died, or she had no choice but to leave them as empty shells, only learning upon the release of Please Kill Me that some of them actually survived. But she kept dancing; she liked it. Then she got pregnant, so she stopped. She said she wasn't going to be one of those mothers who blamed their children for forcing them to dance. She wasn't going to wait for it to stop being fun, and she wasn't going to blame anyone else for a choice that was entirely her own. She took a long series of simply appalling jobs, but she never thought of going back. She knew the traps of her profession well. She knew her own boundaries better than that.

At my fencing lesson today, I listened as the more experienced women discussed another fencer who had gone into labour today. She'd prepared for a natural birth, but two hours in requested an epidural. Last I heard she was still at the hospital, and they expect she won't birth until morning. One of the younger women was disappointed for her, and perhaps actually disappointed in her as well. One of the older women, who, unlike the first, seemed as if she may have actually experienced childbirth herself, almost slapped her. Thus far I've not heard many stories in which women give birth without the assistance of drugs in hospitals, whatever their original intention. I never want to get pregnant, and I certainly never intend to stay pregnant. But in the event that a massive failure of birth control, a complete lapse of judgement, and my occasional heterosexual experiments should all converge, please note that I'll require the following: a large jacuzzi, an extremely attractive and capable midwife, the presence of at least three of my lovers, and a strong waterproof vibrator. Barring any serious complications, it will not happen in a hospital. And if I ask for drugs, I get the fucking drugs. Because, as I understand it, the point of a natural birth is respecting a person's choices about their body.

Earlier today my partner sat in a cafe, politely sipping hot drinks with a friend who was three centimetres dilated and quite calm.
jacktellslies: (this machine)
I work long hours, and that does not trouble me much. I dislike it, however, when I must rush from work to some other thing, or leave when my shift is done but there is yet more to do because I have another appointment. I run home from work or fencing in order to catch something barely approximating enough sleep before I dash off to work, or yoga and then work again. I hate the feeling that when I rest there is some other thing I ought to be accomplishing.

I suppose this means I'm doing too much. I've weighed my options, and scaling back seems preferable to developing an unsavoury addiction. I may change my mind later.

However, for now, for my own reference, my priorities would seem to be the following, in no particular order:

Work.
Fencing.
Yoga.
Cook and learn about food. Brew closet booze.
Spend time with friends.
Breathe. Take baths. Sleep.

I'd been rather excited about gardening, but for various reasons, not least of which being lack of sufficient sunlight, I'll have to abandon my grand hopes and content myself with my houseplants. I like sewing, and I'd like to improve, but I think for now it shall have to be an occasional experiment rather than a course of study. Knitting, playing the accordion, I'll long for you a little, but I can wait. I'll have you eventually. I'd hoped to write here more often, too. Ah, well.
jacktellslies: (Default)
I've been sent a booklet in the mail regarding the fencing school I'll be attending. Requirements for the advanced classes include the following:

Must have full uniform (knickers and long socks) and at least some electric scoring equipment.


This describes nearly every party I've attended in the past year.
jacktellslies: (jeanne mammen)
I'm beginning fencing lessons in early January. I was a bit daunted at first by one of the only requirements for attending the classes: I would have to wear sneakers. The horror! I've not worn such things since I was a child. Thankfully, I think I found a reasonable solution. Boxing shoes! For those of you with better eyes than even mine, yes, that is a tiny Union Jack on the tag. Figures.

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August 2009

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