It’s not like I’ve been hanging out in public. In fact, yesterday morning I went out for a few groceries and realized I hadn’t left my apartment since I went to the cemetery with MBCarryadyne on Saturday morning. That’s why it’s weird that independent of the encroaching anniversary of her death, I was already planning to write about Princess Diana today. First business was to wiki her for a couple of dates and then to do some ebay fact-checking and her face started popping up all over the internet. Am I subconsciously obsessed with her to the point that I remember her deathdate?
When Princess Di died, I got pretttty infatuated with her. “After she died?” J asked, “not before?” I assured her it was only after, “I hadn’t even heard of her before.” But I shared the immediate fallout of her death with an ominous shroud of depression and an urgent longing feeling. (Similar to the feelings that caused me to write very ardent letters to Lisa Lefteye Lopez and Andrew Keegan in the sixth grade.) Even then I had the same compulsion to organize a stranger’s life after news of their death. I did a whole series of subtractions to figure out how old she was when she died, divorced, got married, met HRH Ole Big Ears etc etc.
The three products of her death:
1. I read all my mother’s collected articles including one that gimmickly wrote the ABC’s of Princess Di and exposed me to some new and titillating vocabulary. I learned bulimia, post-partum depression, and philanthropy all in one sitting. The dictionary according to my mother– bulimia is when you are famous or a gymnast and you are really worried about your weight because of external pressures so you binge and purge. That definition fell flat since I had No Idea what binge and/or purge meant but was subsequently unable to watch the women’s Olympic gymnasts without asking my mother to gauge who was comparatively most bulimic. And post partum depression— when a mother has a baby and then she feels like her whole role on the earth is over and sometimes she kills herself. Now I’m wary of this and wonder if it doesn’t have more to do with the realization that her earth role will now never be over. Philanthropy is when a rich person gives a whole lot of money at once to something and usually abroad; sometimes they do it because they are touched my something like orphans in Africa or sometimes it’s because their manager is.
2. I took three or four blue plastic binders with my father’s company logo on them (a gift from the generous man himself) and printed out every single page of history section from the national British website and three-hole punched them and planned to study them later. This seemed like the very least I could do if I expected to understand England once I moved there. 3. Christmas yielded a Princess Di “collectible” Beanie Baby despite the fact that I neither told my mother about my Princess interest nor did I like Beanie Babies. “It’s going to be worth $500 soon,” she told me. My Ebay search revealed one for auction already at a whole $44 with two days and six hours left to go. It even comes in a protective case with a bold red mandate “YOU WILL LOVE THIS!!” below the glowing item description.
I’m a little touched by how sensitive I was even then to be broken up about someone I had never heard of before. I remember fervently wishing she hadn’t died and writing an empathetic note to her sons (I never heard back– but don’t bother now, boys, I’m a homosexual.) I still timeline upon news of death– most recently in Dolores Mission Cemetery where I calculated everyone’s age. And I still have no idea which gymnasts are the most bulimic.