Horizontal Lives

True Tales of the Infamous Courtesan: Persephone N. Hades and her Horizontal Life underground. How she got there, her mis-adventures and her struggle to re-surface.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Epiphany on a Jet Plane

I am on a plane getting drunk on the vinegar Chardonnay
served in a one-tablespoon-at-a-time bottle in Coach Class.
I am heading Home.
Or Back.
To New York
After an absence that seems eons longer than the actual one month I’ve been away.

“Feel like a plant torn from the soil, dangling by twitching roots.” I say to the client I speak to before boarding.
“Can’t wait to see you.” He says.
“Me too.” I say.
“I live vicariously through you and your glamorous life.” He says.
And I laugh. Hard. A belly-full.
He doesn’t know.
Very few people know.

Take another sip.
Think about the new car I suddenly had to start driving in my new locale
(I haven’t driven a car in ten years.)
Makes me think about the Navigation system in the car that talks to me and tells me where to go, without which I’d be utterly and hopelessly still driving in circles.
(Although, oddly enough no matter what I program in, she always lands me back at Cosco.)
(I say ‘she’ because it’s a woman’s voice on the Nav Program)

I need a Navigation system in my head.
This much I know is true.

Another sip makes me wonder how I ever got by in L.A. with just the Thomas Guide on my lap for the first two years.
Which makes me think about how poor I was and astonished at how I ever got back on my feet again.
And this makes me think of my Dad
(who I always think of when I think of poverty)
And who came down to my new locale to help me out.
Thinking about my Dad makes me laugh causing the eyes of the passengers around me to stare my way.

In an attempt to share the wonders of the Navigation System with my father, I program in our destination.

“Make a U-Turn if possible.” The Car Lady says.
“Do you have a map?” my Dad says.

I say I do but remark he won’t need one using this system,
To which he replies, using the system is just a crutch and he has mighty fears that using this sort of thing could and would become an addiction.

In response, I roll my eyes around several times in 360-degree rotations and say,
“Dad, there’s nothing wrong with a few aids to get through when you don’t want to get lost.”
His answer to this, if you knew my father, is the quintessential boiled-down infusion that defines him:

“Listen daughter,” he say, “I’m not gonna take orders from that little lady there.”

That little lady there’?
It’s a Navigation System.

Now I know why I am the way I am.
Can you see how I got so lost along the way?

My head quiets.
The plane speeds toward New York
I need that ‘little lady’ right now.

Writing this on my lap on a yellow legal pad in handwriting only a Doctor could decipher,
desperately trying to find the words to explain the contradictory absurdity I’ve been living, knowing I should give some accounting for my long silence.

By my second twist-off three-tablespoon bottle of wine, epiphany!
This is the reason.
I am convinced.
Now that my computer in my new temporary home is up and working
(after 7—yes 7—house-calls from a computer tech service—and hundreds of dollars later)
(of course)
Why am I not writing?

I am forbidden to smoke in my temporary home and I like to--
To smoke when I write.
Actually, I don’t smoke but rather light a cigarette, take a drag, place it in the ashtray and repeat the process ten minutes later.
Like a security blanket, I just need it there.
Yeah. That’s it. That’s the ticket. That’s what I’ll say.

Relieved, I put the iPod in my ears and swig a few more spoonfuls.

I set out on a narrow way many years ago
hoping I would find true love
along the broken road

But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow
And kept passing through

I couldn’t see how every sign
Pointed straight to you.


Suddenly thinking about Angelina Jolie.
I am doing what she is doing.
I have done some of what she has done.
Wishing now I were Angelina Jolie.
Mad because I am Angelina Jolie.
Angelina Jolie,
of course,
without the great acting jobs, the gorgeous visage, the publicity and the endless money.

If I had her money and her publicity, oh, the things I could do!
Bemoaning my Fate in alcohol-induced oxygen-deprived self-pity.

I think about the years I spent
Just passing through
I’d like to have the time I lost
And give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand
You’ve been there
You understand it’s all part of a grander plan
That is coming true


I have a confession to make.
I am not who you think I am.
I am not The Happy Hooker.
I am Happy,
And I am a Courtesan.
But I am not just the Happy Hooker.
I am also, yes,
Erma Bombeck.
Not actually Erma Bombeck
But a very life-like simile.

I hardly know where to begin.

Sappy Rewind:
When I was a young soul,
I hoped to become an actress, a writer, an artist.
A being who, through the vehicle of my body and spirit could channel all the horrible wonderfulness of Life in communion with the others who shared the Planet at the same time as I.

That was the road I set out upon.
Somehow, after the usual series of broken hearts, broken dreams and desperate circumstances,
I found myself in my ‘Business’—
A ‘Business’ that initially felt so far far away from what I had intended.

But in essence, it is what I’d wished for:
I am expressing, feeling, and sharing all the horrible wonderfulness of Life.
And sometimes, it is truly received.

So I stayed.

And I made money.

And for many years, it was enough.

But once I felt safe financially—
Let me rephrase that—

I NEVER feel safe financially

Once I felt there was room to breathe,

I wanted to have something worth having.
Something more than Prada bags and Aubade Lingerie.

I wanted to leave this Business, (when I finally exited), with more than ‘stuff’.

I wanted to do something that meant something.

I wanted to be someone that did something.

A kind gentle selfishness ensued.

This is how it began:
Years ago, I traveled with my clients on their business trips.
We would arrive at a destination, usually in Latin America,
and the client would have to go off to meetings most of the day,
so he would hire a bodyguard/translator to accompany me until I was back in his company in the evenings.

Most often, the instructions to the Bodyguard would be to take me to the beach or shopping.
I love the beach.
But in a new strange place, I itch to investigate.
So after my client’s departure, I would re-instruct the Bodyguard to take me to the ‘real’ places.

On one such jaunt, in Brazil, the Bodyguard, (Juao), and I wander into an orphanage overrun with wilting children of all ages and only several caretakers to attend to all of them.
At dinner that night, I plague my Client with stories and pleas to help me help them.
He is tender-hearted but none to pleased with an Escort-turned-Missionary.

Back in the States, I reel from the researched news that Brazil
as well as Africa and India
have no adoption programs.

No adoption programs?
How can that be?

What happens to all these children?
I don’t even allow my mind to stray to thoughts of 'body part sales'.

What about all those commercials with sad-eyed children with flies crawling leisurely across their dusty foreheads?
Why can’t they be adopted?
I don’t understand.
I feel helpless.
I feel powerless.
I remove it from the forefront of my mind and go back to work.

But it breeds inside me.
Growing like moss, overtaking me.
Until one day,
I do it.
Like Nike says,
"I just 'do it'"

The paperwork and red-tape shuffle takes two and half years.
The cost is over forty six thousand dollars.
In preparation during those two and a half years,
I work 80-hour weeks to save enough to get by once it happens.
I purchase an apartment big enough for more than just me.

April Fool’s Day 2003 I get the call.
We are going on April 8th.

On April 8th, at 6am: Cab to airport.
8am: Board American Airlines to Central America.
6pm: Taxi to Hotel.
7pm: Hold arm of my Representative as she points to a sofa in the corner of the lobby.
Eyes light upon a family of five holding a baby.
Head swirls.
Representative says: “Are you ready to meet your daughter?”
Knees buckle.
Tears well and fall.
Throat clutches unable to produce sound.
Head nods.

I am no longer a single glamorous gal living a life of freedom and hedonism.
I am alone in a Hotel room with diapers, formula and an Orphan.
An Orphan who is no longer an Orphan.


And for all I did wrong in the eyes of the World (in reference to my sordid ‘Business’)
And for all the dreams crushed or abandoned
And for all the broken-hearted moments
There is closure.

I name her “Epiphanie” for she is my epiphany.
This much I know to be true.

and every long lost dream
led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart
They were like Northern Stars
Pointing me on my way
Into your loving arms.

This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you.

Ah, Poetry.
Back to Reality.

Reality is, New York is too difficult a place to raise a child alone.
Too expensive.
My au pairs alone were costing me $3500.00 a month.
And so, I made the move to the land of miraculous places such as Target and Cosco.

(Really. I never saw stores like these!)
After my first one-hour excursion to Cosco,
(one-hour because it takes that long just to get through the store even if you don’t buy anything)
(which I didn’t)
I had to go home and take a two-hour nap.

With the aid of a good friend and lover, Epiphanie and I, Estella and Ophelia-my dogs—(who are really people with fur and tails) made the long journey to a new home and tried with all our might to settle in as we admirably fought battles with Murphy and his Law.

Without an au pair.

I am tipsy.
The plane is in It’s descent.
And my story needs the Nav Lady to sort it out better than I have.
It’s my explanation.
I was away trying to get my adopted family settled into a Home
(still un-built by the #@&*%Builders—another story)

Epiphanie, Estella and Ophelia are with their Grandparents
Safely tucked away in my Vertical Life.
And I am on my way back Underground to earn much needed income.
Back to my Horizontal Self.

My hair is ragged and frayed.
From sleepless days and nights, under my eyes is baggage they could have charged me extra for.
A stress tick shocks my left eyelid, and I know
I have to look like ‘Geisha’.
At this moment,
I can’t imagine how that will be possible.

As the plane touches down
The only question running through my head is:

How did Angelina Jolie manage to adopt from Africa?
And in only three short months?
And why don’t they ever show her Nanny in any of the photos of her looking stunning in make-up and hair and good lighting and a clean white T-shirt, completely un-stressed holding Maddox on the dirty plains of Ethiopia?

To everyone who was concerned:
I thank you so so much.
I promise you future stories with lots of sex countered by stories of dog poop and baby wisdom.



At 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me be the first to say "WELCOME HOME" on the internet. It was joyous to read a new entry. Looking forward to sex, dog poop, baby wisdom or whatever you feel like writing about!
fan type person

At 3:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome back baby. You were well missed. Oh, and by the way, Erma Bombeck is long gone. You're very much alive!

--- Mellow Blue.

At 10:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 10:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 10:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...



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