customer service, and they’re like, You have to enter the address that goes with the card. I’m like, But I need to enter my address, where I want it shipped. And they’re like, Aren’t they the same? So I explain that no, it’s my cousin’s card, which she lent to me, and they’re like, Put her on the phone, and I’m like, I can’t she’s not here, she’s in Hawaii, and this is her emergency credit card that she keeps in her dresser drawer. When she gets back, I’ll tell her that she’s lending it to me. They refused to help me! I’m like, Fine, I know when I’m being gaslighted. I’ll buy my bulk majool dates from another Turkish goods wholesaler.

July 22

I swear, gaslighting is an epidemic! Today I popped in on the Whitney Museum’s director to see if they had realized yet that the world needs to see my series of watercolors of Pelham Bay, and she’s like, I’m sorry, ma’am, in reviewing your submissions we noticed what appears to be some of Turner’s landscape paintings visible beneath your work. I said, I told you in the cover letter not to view them in direct light. Totally gaslit! Some people are just obsessed with gaslighting! Can you believe it? The security guard came around and broke up the epic gaslight carnival.

July 28

Just chilling with my journal today. I can’t deal. So much gaslighting everywhere. Speaking of that, I was talking to Debbie, and she’s like, Did you know that back in olden times lights actually ran on gas. She’s like, That’s where the word comes from. On the streets of places like Bratislava, people would smell the gas emanating from the lamps when they were not lit during the daytime. It would make them dizzy, nauseated. I had a hard time believing this, so I Wiki’d it, but would you believe the page is fricken gaslit all over by a bunch of gaslighting gaslighters?

July 29

After dinner, my husband Ron says, “Marcia, we have to talk.” He pulls out my notebook and is like, “I read your journal. “

“Ron, how could you!” I cried.

“Debbie told me you unfriended her on Facebook and texted her, Don’t talk to me ever again, you gaslighter. I’m concerned about you,” Ron said. “I don’t think gaslighting means what you think it means. I think you might be suffering from some kind of condition.”

Was he gaslighting me? I think so. I think it was the bonfire of the gaslighting-ies.

“And by the way,” Ron said, “I’m having an affair with Debbie.”

I quickly reverse-gaslit him. “So am I?” I said in a quizzical way that would surely instill maddening levels uncertainty into his very soul.

July 30

Should have known. I fork over thousand of hard-earned dollars to retain a divorce lawyer, and no sooner does the check clear than he gaslights the bejezus out of me. I was leaning provocatively across his desk. “Wayne,” I said, “I find your knowledge of the state’s legal statutes so… tantalizing.” I wore a low-cut dress and flicked my eyelashes at him. I thought some bonus action might convince him to lower his hourly. But Wayne escaped my seductive gaze and went gaslighting around the room, lecturing me in a professional tone about inappropriateness and other legalese. Lately it’s like Disney is releasing a new prequel in the Gas Light Wars series every week!

Aug 1

I don’t have to tell you what the judge did in the courtroom today. Basically had me bend over and inserted a big gaslight up my wazoo in the form of required psychological evaluation. Mother gaslighter!

Aug 4

Well, I guess Officer Gary Rowland, Detective of Online Fraud, was feeling left out of the gaslighting game, because today he got on his gaslighting horse and galloped onto the witness stand and proceeded to iterate all this nonsense trying to convince the jury that I was some kind of criminal mastermind. And my cousin, who has always been a big-time joiner, followed Officer Rowland right off that lemming cliff of gaslighting by raising her right hand and swearing to tell the gaslight, the whole gaslight and nothing but the gaslight.

Sept 3

Life in this correctional facility isn’t nearly as dismal I thought it’d be. In fact, I credit the penal system at large. I think it’s working on me. Ample time to reflect. Time to be still, sheltered from the pressures of society, with its perniciously gaslit ways.

One of the true joys of my incarceration is reading. The library cart comes around Tuesdays and Saturdays. I’ve had access to the world’s great minds, the enduring philosophers, and literature’s master works. I was tremendously moved by the novel “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,” written by a Scotswoman who must have known gaslighting on a scale previously unimaginable, even though it’s so rainy there. Her heroine is an inspirational figure, a classroom teacher at a private school in Edinburgh. The year is 1933. Brodie is devoted to her girls, her students, impressionable as they are and in need of guidance. To them she imparts an appreciation of Giotto, who Brodie ranks #1 among Italian painters, because, frankly, he’s the guy she prefers. Right on, sister! Own it! To her students she reveals that Mussolini really gets a bad rap, when in fact he’s eradicated litter from the streets of Rome. This guy Louder is gaga for her, and she keeps him at bay because—wait for it—he’s a gaslighter extraordinaire. I really identified with Brodie. She was in her prime, and she got the short end of the stick every which way she turned. She totally helped her student Jenny get some extra work sitting for a painter, and a love connection was made to boot. But do they thank Brodie? Hells to the no. This stuffy-ass school administrator gives her the gaslighting of a lifetime, by firing her from the thing she loves the most. It wasn’t her fault that Mary McGregor’s train got bombed when she ran away to Spain for fight for Franco. Gimme a G. G! You know the rest.

The Gaslight Chronicles

July 19

It all started when I was buying some things online, and check-out was failing. I call

The Gaslight Chronicles

⊷ More kooky narrative fun than social commentary, thank goodness.

Benjamin Obler

7/5/20214 min read