No Taming This Shrew


Pathetic Fallacy

I remember when I first heard this term in English class, I thought it was rather rude of someone to assert that making an analogy between one's feelings and nature was "pathetic." Who did these Victorians think they were? Weren't these the same fruitcakes who hid their piano legs under a drape for modesty's sake?

Since then I've read Ruskin and I understand pathos and I understand the term. It's used in science as well as literary criticism, I believe, to discuss fallaciously self-sustaining hypotheses. (This is a Megarita paraphrase, so god only knows how wrong it could be.)

But for all my book-learning, it's raining and cold today in early June and I'm sure it's all because of me. I have a strange weekend ahead of me, and it's absolutely made me bonkers this week, and will quite possibly wreck me for a week or two to come.

I'm going to visit my mother's grave for the first time. I saw her interred ("her," heck, it was a box of ashes, but still) way back in the early 1990s when she died, but there was no gravestone, no set-up. Since then, both her parents have died (they were like characters in a Noel Coward play -- easily the coolest and yet most misguided people I've ever known or loved) and they've all come together in a family plot up in Foo-Foo Connecticut. And I'm going to visit.

This is one of those scenarios that could go a lot of different ways. I have a sense that this might shatter me into many little pieces (I'm secretly bringing Theodore E. Bear [he of the sound-proofed rear end] with me in my luggage just in case I get into trouble. If any of you are on the Metroliner and see brown fur sticking out of some lady's bags, SAY NOTHING!), but that might help me move past this stalled place in my life. I think it might be cleansing, in a violent purgative sort of way.

I wonder, too, why there are no terms (that I know of) for the troubled relationship between mothers and daughters. I'd make some sort of crack about Freud right now, but I haven't got it in me (see pathetic fallacy above: drip drip drip). I also wonder what one wears to sit upon the ground and tell sad stories about the death of families. Honestly! Do I bring a cushion? An entire box of kleenex? Ok, several boxes?

Aside from Stealth Bear, to be deployed in case of full regression, I'm bringing a letter to mom and a bottle of bubbly (my answer to all life's major events: "Dead? What you need is a glass of champagne!"). Since the three of them were big drinking partners -- this killed my mother but somehow pickled her parents into a state of lockjawed fabulousness -- I think we'll split the bottle as we chat.

So I apologize for being so drab, and I am sorry to my fellow mid-Atlanticers as they gaze out the window on this perplexingly wet and cold June day. I don't often get blue, but when I do...

See you all next week, god willing and the creek don't rise.