Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Waxing Philosophical

It was well after 10 o'clock at night and AGAINST ALL CONVENTIONAL WISDOM I went out for a quick run, two miles or so. The prospect of sitting on my ass behind the wheel for ten hours tomorrow scares the hell outta me. I feel a claustrophobic panic rising up just thinking about it....and I have to run.

I just put the finishing touches on my first story due to be published later this month. True to form I got my submission in just past the eleventh hour, due, in part to more then a little kindness and supernatural patience from my Advisor who quipped that I seem to do my best work under pressure. Yes, well, truth be told that may be because the only time you will find me working at all is under pressure.

But it doesn't have to be that way, I mean, once you get me going I am hard to stop. Really, there are only two things that I do well. I run. I write. Of course there are other things - I scrub the tub, peel oranges, fold clothes, count change - but to specifically please myself I run, and I write.
Somewhere along the way I got it into my head that I would be dead by 34, or was it 36....that I would die in this horrific car accident. It may be so and so be it, but I also think if I can visualize myself at 40 buying groceries and clipping my nails that that might just be enough juju to get me there.
The palm of my hand says I will live a long life, but it also says I have a streak of the Devil in me so we know it aint all true right?
But whatever, I just want to do something well. I spent four years in a back-water estuary feeding hummingbirds and squishing slugs in a fog of amnesia and not doing a damn thing well. What the hell was I doing? I can stare at tea leaves all day and all that comes to me is this: You can take the Jews out of Egypt but you must also take Egypt out of the Jews. When the fog lifted I knew a few things with certainty: DO SOMETHING WELL. GIVE IT THE TIME IT DESERVES. YOU WILL DIE. All the axioms in the world did not prepare me for this kind of revelation. Nothing else matters does it? There are little things too, like... well...

I have gotten to this point recently where nothing seems to phase me. I mean, you could tell me all about tropical diseases and murder scenarios and impacted bowels while I am eating and its like, um, its like nothing at all...doesn't even phase me. So when I was out running the other day with a blister the size of Lake Michigan forming on my foot and my thoughts turned to what the hell was wrong with me to be five miles out from home in the hottest hour of the hottest day of the year so far...
...And it occurred to me that perhaps its best to sensitize yourself to the world around you. You know, let it bother you again like it did the first time. And if the whole world wants to run around making awful mistakes all the time, kick back and be the one learning something from it. I have all these calloused parts of my mind, made hard by habit, by use and overuse. I stop even hearing my favorite song after the ten thousandth time but I still play it over and over anyway.
I mean, its a great function of the brain and all. I don't know if I could handle the emotional overload of loving even a song that much ever time I heard it, much less the presence of the animated person the song reminds me of. On the other hand, there gets to be a point where the calloused cells start to metastasize and suddenly here I am eating a bowl of spaghetti and listening to a story about tapeworms and...nothing. I might even reach out for a second helping. See??
I thought all about this all the way home and when I got in my car that evening to go to class I kept 'coming to', like for a split second I didn't know where the hell I was, and I got disoriented and swerved my car cause the last I remembered these trees were bare and the last time I opened my eyes driving down this stretch of road it was dark out. HOW DID I GET HERE? More likely it was exhaustion then an actual epiphany, but I felt like I hadn't seen the world around me for a long time, like I hadnt been hearing the song I kept playing. Its true though, its so easy to learn your lessons the easy way...learn to empathize with the world around you, gag when someone talks about loosing a toenail, exfoliate. I wanna get the barnacles offa me.

I am rambling on and on when I have a thousand things to do to prepare for this trip. While I've sat here I set off the smoke alarm once boiling away all the water for my tea and almost did it a second time. It must be the running. Two miles with arm weights on after a long day. Feeling high is a bonus, running is its own reward.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Moxie

Cat: Its pretty simple really...food, water, a few tender strokes, litterbox sifting... I havent been flushing cause the plumbing seems to choke on pee-cakes. ... the occasional rescue of a catnip mouse from under the couch. Everything else is Aces!

Mute

I forget sometimes that I am the same person I always was, the same painfully shy child that hid in my mothers skirts. These cells have been dividing for a long time now. Some people who know me might scoff, but its true. In class tonight I failed miserably to gloss ASL syntax or use classifiers in any meaningful way. The idea of raising my hands in communication mortified me. I looked out the window towards the city where the heat of the day settled into the valley in pastel sunset hues through the pine boughs and just wanted to fly away...to have no use for language. Some nights the air is so heavy with the smell of blossoms that I want to cry. On those nights when I am running I draw breath so deep into me that I could exhale petals. I have burst out laughing while running and it results in awkward pain like a milk-out-your-nose physical mishap. I wonder if tears would be worse.

I cant think of any experience that makes me feel more anonymous and faceless. I rely so heavily on language. I may crave to not have a use for it, but to need it and not have the facility for it is another thing entirely. Language is my sixth sense, it is the only way I know I exist.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Heat Wave

What the hell? Its like 90 degrees outside today. The steering wheel is scalding to the touch. Its much too warm for April. Yesterday I made the grave mistake of running eight miles in the middle of the afternoon, unphased by the weather, or maybe too reliant on my pre-programmed expectations even when in blatant disharmony with the world around me... It occured to me that it was a rather silly endeavor about four and a half miles from home.

I haven't written one word for hardly a month it seems, I just kinda roam around waiting for it to occur to me what to do next. The continents drift. I read somewhere that the plates of the Earth move, grinding against each other at about as fast as your fingernails grow. I think I can feel it. In the meantime I got a cat, made pesto, and ran many miles. I only put soy milk in my coffee now and I quit drinking alcohol for my marathon training. I expect that someday all my features and fixtures are gonna shine like polished chrome but, all this and that fact that I take my vitamins daily seems to have little to no effect on my endorpho-chemicals.

Kitty dander and catnip mice, he leaves them both as little devotionals at the foot of my bed. He is all black and a little over a year old. He is sleek and lithe and beautiful. He hardly sheds. He is affectionate and springy and curious and slinky and holds his tail like an exclamation point. He butts his head into me. He gets goofy and falls off the bed. I think we are going to get along. He is potty trained and knows his scratching post. I named him Moxie.

I got a job too, serving Thai food. Kate supposed that I am plenty qualified because I eat Thai food. Unsuprisingly however, this is not the case. I BSed my way through the first two shifts and did fine.
diners: DIDN'T YOU USED TO HAVE FLAN ON THE DESERT MENU
me: NO, I DON'T BELIEVE SO...NOT AS LONG AS I HAVE BEEN HERE AT LEAST...
diners: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN HERE?
me: THIS IS MY FIRST NIGHT
(laughter)
me: NO REALLY
Between the restaurant and the pub I actually worked four days in a row! This is all new to me.

I cant seem to get enough... Saints, village massacres , contortionists, secret societies, bandit queens? How can I write an essay in the midst of this big strange world?

But I have learned that the Patron Saint of Oregon is Our Lady of the Woods (a name I rather like). St. David is hanging around tending to miracles for Poets. There is a Saint for just about everything, plenty of saints to go around. There is the saint for Hobos and Tramps, one for Hangovers and one for Happy Meetings. One for Bomb Technicians and one for Fugitives and Murderers and Running Water and Bartenders and Lost Articles and Unattractive People and even one for Fear of Wasps. Heck, even Playing Card Manufacturers have their own Patron Saint.

Friday, April 23, 2004

St. Teresa of Avila, I invoke thee...

"Saints are not supposed to rest in peace; they're expected to keep busy: to perform miracles, to intercede. Being in jail or dead is no excuse for non-performance of the supernatural."

You can be my patron saint any day!

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

i have figured it out, what I have. Its like a sickness, this whole arrogant/neurotic thing. Its like I am "I'm not good enough for this world that's not good enough for me".
The horn honks, my chariot waits.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Getting Stood Up

I am still having a really hard time shaking this, whatever it is, mood, no matter how many pep talks I give myslelf. I'm just sort of a nut-job right now. Dejected. Misused.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

I have to learn how to keep it in and how to keep it out. I cant seem to regulate the flow. I just want my body and I to get along. Ditto for me and the rest of the world but I will start with my own cellular infrastructure.

I have to keep my head in the stars. A few years ago there was a huge fad with these optical illusion pictures. To the focused eye they looked like a scrambled TV set. But if you took the time to unfocus your eyes and refocus on some mysterious 'inbetween' image then you could see the 3-D picture. For the most part they just drove people crazy with temporary explosive feeling of inadequacy and the fad passed rather quickly into obscurity. I somehow managed to pull one of the phantasms out of the shadows of squiggly lines...I remember I was about 15 and it was a full newspaper ad for UPN, a TV station at the time. Anyway...the point is, I think that I can stay happy alive and living if I can figure out how to do the same trick with my brain. I have to expose myself to the right influences and force focus. Otherwise I am doomed to explosive monsoons of maladroit and unadaptable emotions that disrupt life itself. If I have been dying since I turned 23 then it is a battle of entropy. Anything that does not actively buttress my rotting beams is a death force, a fatal wound.

Renewal

I have almost given up on the idea that I can interact with other people. For awhile I sorta shrugged and accepted that it was maybe just a short-term fallow period. Gestation and fruition would come again. But now I am not so sure. I have sunken into a self-absorbed pathology, a nasty weed with a 5' 10" taproot. This is going to take a lot more digging in then I had ever anticipated and I guess I can only roll up my sleeves. I am so disenchanted with this seasonal resurrection. I just want to open my doors to cool breezes and play dreamy music.

Visiting with Sam was crabby and difficult. We are like rusty knobs. We ate dinner, bought a big pickle and a Safeway cake and drove through the west hills telling stories. Feeling particularly sensitive about my inability to relate with humankind I embedded my stories with ill-concealed apologies and disclaimers, reaped unintended insults and gaffes and ended up feeling all the more annoyed with myself and the world at large. Deep down I don't think that mankind stands a chance anyway. Its too late to turn this ship around. THE FUCKING ICECAPS ARE MELTING, THE NORTH POLE IS A LAKE. I AM GONNA GET MY TUBES TIED AND QUIT RECYCLING I told her. She laughed. I don't know if she understands my resignation. The air was thick and finally I just waved my way through the conversational flotsam and jetsam for a clear path to bed.

In the morning she says she is in town through the elections, is here long enough to bend her skinny will to a Bush ejection. I hope we can learn to speak each others languages again in that time.

After dropping her off at a housing interview I went to campus to request a letter of recommendation from the Edit and Publishing advisor who I am convinced is the Nicest Person I have ever met. I blurted out that I was having rude thoughts directed to other members of the editorial staff, specifically that I wanted to yell SHUT THE FUCK UP at a bleach blond 'performance poet' named Fern who has Very Bad Taste. My advisor laughed and said she has the same thoughts. I excused myself for bad language and left feeling a lot lighter and more forgiving of myself for having poisonous blood.


The year i stopped making everything a joke.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Concussion

I smashed my head on the corner of the window sill above my bed last night and literally cried myself to sleep. I totally forgot this...how? I don't know, but I did. I forgot until I was in my ASL class this evening and went to put my hair up and found a fucking goose-egg knot at the base of my skull. I have had a headache all day long but I thought it was cause I had a few microbrews last night. My head hurts still and I feel like my eyeballs are going to fall out. I've got to go lay down.

Tried to go see Iron and Wine tonight but we misunderstood that the tickets were being sold in advance. They sold out two days ago.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Old Friends

Sam is back in town, back in the states after three years in Italy. Wow. This is cool.


Bowl Me Over

I went to see Damien Jurado tonight. Shit, he is so great. CocoRosie opened for him and I highly recommend that you check them out.

I try to not give myself away.

That *one* boy that I liked sent me an email tonight. I am wobbling so far out of orbit that I am not sure that I can accommodate another person. When am I going to learn this lesson??? I am so excited that he wrote me.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Get Used To It

I actually worked this weekend! I bartended at the same place that I was working under-the-table back in December. I made $250 on Friday night and $400 last night! Too bad its all going to bills. Even if it wasn't everything seems to be breaking all at once. My car has a cracked ball-bearing case (or whatever), my computer is wheezing along with error messages and loose wires, the right speaker is fading in and out, my right shoulder is experiencing shooting pain and tingling in my fingertips... aint life grand!

I forgot how shitty workplace politics can be. I have been bartending for five years in high-volume settings. I shouldn't have to come to work and deal with attitude from a twerpy little punk bitch who thinks she deserves my shift even though she has only worked pouring beer in a tavern for two months, and poured liquor for less then that during shifts that don't even ring out over $175 in sales. Ever. Mark, of drunken-dumbass-fame sat at the bar last night and told her that I made over $200 the night before, which prompted her to start asking me prying questions. I figured it out right away and he knew he fucked up. She kept trying to look into my tip jar and even claimed that she needed to come behind the bar to make change out of it. After that interception, and after being attacked by her fat fucking dog that was under the sink drooling I just about kicked her out for the night. Even if she did work that shift there is no way she could do it by herself.
Anyway, it was a one weekend deal. I just work fill-in shifts so I don't even care. I just don't care. Take the money and run.

Otherwise everything is the same. I kinda hate the world around me, or at least the people in it. I just want to smack Mark in the kisser, but I always feel that way after he has had more then four drinks, and exponentially more so with each subsequent drink after that. But then again, I am just kinda a bad person. I've been power struggling with Xavier and he is only four. We snipe at each other sometimes. I think today is one of those days to wisely sequester myself from the living.

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