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2003-09-28 | 1:13 a.m.

Ugh--there was this horrible buzzing coming from my keyboard. Some kind of fly got stuck in there. So I'm sitting here, trying to ignore it, but GOD DAMN I hate the sound of a fly buzzing so close to me. And I did feel bad for it, you know, because it got stuck. I try to co-exist peacefully with other creatures, you know, like the monks were going on about in Karate Kid III. So I tried to help the fly by turning the keyboard over and shaking it. Well, that didn't work, so like five minutes later--BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ--I pick it up and shake it again, and I'm simultaneously looking at posters on, which are ranked by popularity and geared toward college students, and after viewing their stale top choices (mostly homages to beer, marijuana, and half-naked women), I'm forced to conclude that the United States of America will cease to exist within the next fifty years.

Anyway, I look down and realize, uh oh, I'm shaking the keyboard pretty damn hard. I might have actually killed the fly. Well, GOOD, says my dissenting inner voice. I hate flies. But I have also done a sort of bad thing. I've taken a life, a small one, and I ought to feel bad about it. After all, that fly might be insignificant to me, but he could have been, I don't know, the Tommy Smothers of the fly world. He could have been a she. To the tsunami, I am insignificant.

Not just to the tsunami.

Yes, you guessed it, been having a bit of a pity party around here. About not being wanted. I always wanted to be wanted but it didn't quite work out that way. You know how you have your "good" shoes, your "good" bra, your "good" whatever? And the others, no matter how long-lived, are just the everyday versions. Loved? Sure. But never adored. Well that is how I am. I am just an everyday woman. Useful enough, but deserving no special treatment. Not for show.

He did try, about six months ago or more. It was so weird. I was already falling asleep. He was giddy, grinning, looked at me for more than a minute without saying anything. "Stop it," I said. "Knock it off."

Then he started. "I've been thinking about this for a long time..." All I could think of was Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice delivering his mini-sermon on "My Reasons for Marrying" to the horrified Lizzie in the parlor.

"I wanted to do this the right way, but..."

"No, no, no, no. Don't say that. You don't mean it. Stop."

"No! Listen! I do mean it!"

"No, you're acting weird. You're not like yourself. I don't like it." I turned toward the wall and pulled the covers up to my chin.

He kept talking. "I know it's important to you," he said. No, it's not important to me. Not anymore. There was a time when it mattered to me and that time has past. I don't even know how I managed it, because that jones ran deep.

"I'm too old," I said. "It seems pathetic to me. We've been together ten years. Ick. Pathetic."

He mentioned the money. It's about three hundred dollars a month he'd save on my health insurance if we were married. I knew that already. I remember sitting in the car one night, standing in the shower another time, crying my eyes out because he had paid something like $21,000 over the years for the privilege of not being married to me. It hurt. It still hurts.

"I'll get a job," I said. "Part-time job. I can make three hundred a month."

He seemed a little deflated, but not too sad. He had made his speech and it hadn't gone the way he'd expected, but he didn't seem too put out.

Then about a month and a half ago, there was an argument. The money came up again (it's come up many times over the years, actually, but never with the offer attached).

"Fine," I said. "Bring me the papers. I'll sign 'em."

That brought him up short. The fight was over, though he tried a few closing jabs. "I said I would do it," I reminded him. "We can do it before your next pay period." I didn't want to show any enthusiasm for the project, but in good faith I looked up the procedure at the San Francisco City Hall web site. I wrote it down on an oversize index card and showed it to him, then left it next to the computer. That was a good month ago. He hasn't mentioned it since. But I am off the hook about the money, because I said yes. That is the good part.

Super, super tired. I must be pre-monsteral. My legs ache. Or else it is going to rain. Good night.

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