Saturday, September 30, 2006

It's that time of the year again!

35th Annual Portland Marathon


8 hours, 53 minutes, 24 seconds to go.

I am so excited...

The miracle in question is whether or not I can sleep. This is a trick I never mastered.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Skills assessment

I have crackhead nerves, they sort of scream and jangle and twitch and I stop breathing when I need the oxygen most. I am not a fearful person in many respects. I am not particularly afraid of dark alleys or masked intruders. But I am terrified of people point blank, like when they make direct eye contact.



Today I went back to campus for yet another Qualifying Exam. Having passed the QE once before, having narrowly survived the ordeal, I find it particularly grueling (and unusually cruel) to endure this scrutiny again. During the first half of the assessment I interpreted from spoken English to ASL and nearly vomited on my shoes. It was very similar to the experience I had last March. I thought maybe I should just walk out the door because perhaps my real path is to become a Buddhist monk.

How can life be this bad?



THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO COME IN. IF WE DON'T THINK YOU ARE READY YOU'LL NEED TO TAKE THE QE AGAIN IN NOVEMBER AND YOU CAN JOIN THE INTERNSHIP STUDENTS WHO ARE IN THEIR FIRST PLACEMENT IN THE WINTER TERM. WE'LL BE IN TOUCH BY MONDAY EITHER WAY.

By the time I got back to my car I could barely recall the details... awkward syntax, inappropriate sign choice, skewed meanings... the memory already wadded up and illegible.

An hour later I had a message in my INBOX.

... we just finish reviewing your interpreting, both parts, and we have agreed that you are ready to begin an internship.

I suppose this calls for a celebration.

Ring Ring... Hello?

HI, SORRY I HAVE BEEN OUT OF TOUCH FOR SO LONG. HOW HAVE YOU BEEN?

The only thing that will save her life is her capacity for insight. She is transparent and fixedly honest, has faith that the truth is unavoidable, but still, I can not estimate her with accuracy.

She is not going back to school this year she says, because she's had a drug relapse. Near fatal I gather. She secretly wondered that she couldn't have a couple drinks once and awhile, and, waking up every day after hungover, eased back into shooting heroin and shooting speed. Now she is homeless and 13 days sober in withdrawal. PERHAPS she says, I HAVE PERMANENT NERVE DAMAGE. I CAN'T TELL YET.

When she asks again how I have been I can't really bring myself to complain that I don't know how we are going to come up with the money for a wedding photographer, that the shower needs to be recaulked because the molding is curling and molding, that the trunk of my car leaks.

There is a little ache of fear, dark and dreary. She terrifies me.

One day maybe someone will say I NO LONGER LOVE YOU. Maybe even 20 years of sobriety isn't enough? Who is to say every thing won't change in one dreadful moment? It can all be taken away from me and there are unhappy endings.

I am no less insecure in myself, and the choices I make, not one virtuous thing I do is assurance I wont suffer a fall from grace. Who's to say I didn't smoke a cigarette while pinned and casted, dreadful with anxiety as my future spun out of reach? Who is to say sometimes I didn't take the pain medication just to not suffer the loss of control? The existential crisis is never more then napping.


I feel ripped open by her failure, for every thing she has lost and all the potential for loss that she represents.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Fall

Outside the window dried leaves are half suspended in the breeze. It feels hot and cold at the same time. There is something sere, something mature and finite about today... a new, summerless quality.



Today, what matters the most, matters the least. Today I found out that my 14 year old dog has Cushings Disease. Today my net worth is thousands of dollars in the negative, compounding daily. If every cent I earned for the next few years went directly into paying down my debt I might be worth a fat fat goose egg. Today I realized that we wont be moving soon. Today I condemn myself to another year in this cabin, falling in and falling down, an entropic race between mold and gravity. Tonight, here I reckoned with all of it. I took to the tea cabinet, with honey, and valerian root. Pet the dog, rub my temples. Sometimes I will never climb out of this hole, it is mine forever.



But, as they say, I have my health. Except when I don't, like when I am busy looking at the blue sky and, oops my bones are bashed on the side of a mountain. Or like when I plummet into hypoglycemic organ hyperexcitablility, specifically of the brain, a state in which I sulk and pick fights, and from which I can be sheepishly cajoled with a slice of apple and a sharp word. While this is miserable to say the least, thankfully I have yet to slip into a coma.



But I have my health nevertheless. My legs and my lungs are strong and I will finish the marathon, and in fact will stun and amaze onlookers when I drop and give 20 after 26.2. Like it was just a warm up. I will finish with a keg stand.

THEY SAY THE MARATHON HAS BEEN DEVALUED, THAT SO MANY PEOPLE RUN MARATHONS THESE DAYS THAT ITS NO LONGER CONSIDERED A GREAT ACHIEVEMENT. He shakes the newspaper trying to fold it neatly and shrugs. THAT'S JUST WHAT I READ.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The latest

We're kind of like ships passing in the night, occasionally we overlap when we dock into port. I am back on the bartenders schedule, home at 4am in a cloud of smoke. This is my reward for being kickingass, weeks of late nights where, so they say, the money is to be made. During the daytime I sleep and layabout feeling useless and unsure about how to proceed with my own self. Run and nap. That is what I do.



Clark, whose ship sails bright and early spends his evenings playing with liquid rubber and lost wax, to figure how to cast molds into which might we pour molten metal. Maybe you remember the Ken head aspirations from last year to start a foundry?


Redhot Ingots

In the meantime, I am done with my marathon training. Now I taper down to the start line. Clark rode along on my big 24, pedaling his bike telling funny stories for the last push home. This last Sunday was Race For The Cure (results not yet posted) and then yesterdays 15 miles concludes the bulk of training. Light running and rest. The mind reels.

Otherwise I am waiting for word on my internship. I feel sick just thinking about it, about having to survive the scrutiny of another QE, my entire year hangs in the balance and every day the phone doesn't ring. MY GOD THE SUSPENSE! HAVEN'T I SUFFERED ENOUGH??*

*yes

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Thanks



22 miles. Through SE Portland, Sellwood, up Clinton to 39th, to Stark, to 20th, to Hawthorne, to 11th, to Clay, to Water, to the East Bank Esplanade, across the Steel Bridge, down Waterfront Park, up Salmon street, to 1st Ave, all the way up Corbett, to Iowa, to Virginia, to Taylors Ferry, to Macadam, across the Sellwood Bridge, to 11th, to Linn, to 17th and the rest of the way...

For the entire run my dad rode along side me and carried water, Cytomax, and a little respect. I am so devious, and in my Evil plan to pull every single person I love closer and closer and closer so I can live in a courtyard, raise my glass and make eye contact with any one of all my loved ones, I hoped doubly that our tour of Portland would infatuate him with the city and he would finally agree to move here so that I may finally move on to recruiting the next persons on my list.



Back home we ate pasta and popsicles, took the canoe out to Sauvie Island. They flung hooks around like fishing and ate Cheetos. We stayed till the sun went down.



I am not a bootstrap girl. I disdain the bootstrap philosophy. I am, by contrast, more of a bee in a bee hive. I would never dare to take credit for the things I have done. It would be the height of arrogance to assume I am all the grit I am made of.

There is nothing, not one thing, I can take wholesale credit for. Even the things I have done in solitude, they are mere surface activity on a life built by the sweat and pain of those who love and tolerate me.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Perpetual Motion.

The ultimate reward for hard work is sleep. The ultimate reward is not coasting on Red Bull, a high that will not go away and restless dreams about all the hard work you have recently done.



It is with the great enthusiasm of ICE, and its vigilant use I am able to do hard work at all. For ICE alone I have not been brought to my knees. Last week, Sunday to Saturday I ran 55.4 miles, a personal record in my running career. This is my secret.
ICE.

Fill and freeze a three ounce Dixie cup, fill and freeze as many as you can fit in your freezer. Maybe throw away the ice cream. Peel back the paper and use the ice to massage your injured muscles with unwimpy non-ICEfearing vigor. Use whenever you are hurt, sore, tired, bothered or even just grumpy.



Long work shift included, yesterday alone I burned calories equal to about 15.36 ounces of gasoline (regular unleaded) or, if you prefer, equal to about 512 hummingbirds. Still, for all that it baffles me to be abandoned again by sleep. Red Bull may be stronger then all the work ICE can get me to do after all.

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