The Lisa Diaries

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The Lisa Diaries by Lisa Carver  

Hotheaded Baby

March 13, 2000

I’m on the bus to the airport. Because I had to make a work stopover in New York, Dave and I are on separate buses and planes, headed for Mexico. I’ve been staring out the bus window, wishing we were going to the untrammeled parts of Mexico rather than Cancun and Cozumel. Just hop in the car and go, throw my body in the way of chance. That’s what I would be doing, except that my

husband, unlike me, has a fine ability to avoid stupidity. We’re going snorkeling and dancing with all the other rich Americans instead, and we’ll visit Mayan ruins.


I’ve been reading about the Mayans in my AAA guidebook. They were a scientific and brutal people. They invented the mathematical concept of zero, and were always “securing victims” for their sacrificial activities. They cut their own flesh to have conversations with the gods. They believed death becomes life and life turns into death again. Me too.


People into mysticism always work out their own weird signifiers for what happens above and below normal life. My current system is 2- and 4-D. Things that bring on the loss of our regular (3-D) way of seeing and knowing reality are: grief, exhaustion, brutality and — less drastically — sex. Even regular nightly married sex requires the suspension of belief in the boundaries of our bodies and our perceptions and our personality. Turning two-dimensional means seeing a blueprint of yourself, of your actions. A cross-section diagram of the event is superimposed on you, whether you’re in the emergency waiting room or in the bedroom having “relations.” You’re dissected and gone

over with a pencil. You feel your body flattening. You turn into a fact. If this happens in the waiting room, you stop waiting; you feel peace. If it happens in bed, you come.


In the Re/Search edition of J.G. Ballard’s Crash, there is a picture of a woman driving by a road accident. You see the muscles in her throat mid-pulse, you see the future cancer as it will creep across her forehead. Present and future coexist. Cancer-woman has a fingernail-sized fetus in her belly, curled up like a spiny alien. This is 4-D, this mixing up of life and death — of

chance (the crash) and deliberation (the watching, the driving by).


I guess 4-D would be suspending perceptions of time, letting it all exist at once, while 2-D dissects and stretches out a single micro-moment.


My husband mistakes my powers of transcendence for paranoia and my efforts to re-find transcendence for plain old stupid behavior. But I guess it’s good, because with him at my side, I’m sure to live

longer; he made me quit cocaine, made me quit taking chances. I find his approach to life both intensely irritating and endearing. He has been protected, and that looks exotic to me. He thinks certain things, like fury, are dangerous, and better forbidden. I like constantly tugging at these parts. I never get bored of it. I can’t burn him out like I do other people, because he’s

always partially hidden — always partially impossible.


Sometimes I, too, see my powers of transcendence as paranoia and my behavior as merely stupid. In a way, everything I said about dimension is true, and in another way, it’s complete baloney. Reckless people dive into adventure and adversity because they are always leaping away from something — something they can’t remember. They leap because they have to, and then they make up the philosophy for it later. They try to explain the mess they got themselves into as a ritual, a necessary course of action. They describe it as the only way. This is where misogyny comes from, and promiscuity, as well as romanticism, Satanism and metaphysics. It’s where half of morality and three-quarters of all philosophy come from.


As you can see, I don’t have my system all worked out yet, but I wanted to tell you now in case a troupe of jellyfish surrounds me while I’m snorkeling with a bunch of bored Americans and I get stung to


March 14

I’m on the plane now. It’s after midnight. In patting myself on the back for my more highly evolved psychic abilities, I forgot about the trump card Dave holds: the natural penis. I don’t just mean he has a penis. No. I mean that man is penis, he is the essence of penis. His very soul is erect yet supple, bendy, pulsing. He calls me baby, says I’m hotheaded. He makes me feel like a dangerous señorita in a ’70s song. Suddenly all my shamanistic travels come to a stop

and I come home to him. To Penis Essence. It’s a relief to be nothing more than a hotheaded baby. My purpose is clear: to move rhythmically and to be entered.


I think women know more than men. It’s a heavy responsibility. Women are able to hold several contradictory understandings at once, and sometimes we get tired. Sometimes we want to be reduced — boiled down like soup, to something hard and thick and small.


Dave is hotheaded. He has such a temper, and he’s arrogant and lives by double standards. It’s hard to reconcile all that with his fear of animals, of heights, of things he doesn’t understand and of people (especially women). No matter how many times I tell him to stand up straight, his shoulders still slump. His skin is soft and he has werewolf ears. Oh, and his

thighs . . . It’s been a long time since I spent a night away from my husband. What point did I want to make about his thighs? No point — that they’re the springboard for thrusts is enough! His face looks like a turtle’s at certain angles: big sharp nose and smooth girly curves at his cheeks and jaw. He insists his cheeks are in fact “sunken” and “hollow,” just like he so cutely denies his homosexual tendencies. What an enigma. I have to investigate more. Hurry, boy, get on your plane.

March 15

Mexico! Truckloads of dancers leap out and dance in the street. When a dancer messes up, she screams, defiant and sexy. Even though she just failed, her wail is one of victory. She makes the same cry when she executes a difficult move perfectly. Traffic stops, cops blow whistles to the beat . . . the cops! Such lusty, handsome uncontrolled fifteen-year-olds with rifles

and tight green-gray uniforms. What is the government thinking, giving rifles to packs of testosterone-crazed teens?


The people are short and the houses are short. I am a towering beast. The women’s eyebrows meet in the middle, their lips are large and round and brown and lined in a darker cocoa. The whispering sea feels and smells like coconut milk; it wraps itself around you, twines up your calf, more foam than actual water. I’m affected. I buy a shark tooth necklace, not at all in keeping with my usual glittery style. Dave doesn’t like it. “The tooth of something fierce, deep and old, Dave,” I tell him. “Fierce, deep and old.” I take the tooth and scratch his naked shoulder with it. In the morning, we’ll swim with real sharks. Well, in the same ocean, at least.


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