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The first nap of spring.
Most properly evolved animals tend to awaken upon the fall of winter, but the lingering evening sun and the crisp breeze through the open window begged me for just a nip; just a quick sip of dreamland. In the corner of my living room (where most properly evolved humans have couches), I’ve amassed a pile of blankets, thin to Egyptian-grade to down. I curl up, leaving the tips of my toes exposed. I’m warm everywhere.
Stolen snark from elsewhere on the internets:
On my deathbed, I want to remember all the great naps I took.
In my creative fervor, or intoxicated state, I’ve mostly likely committed the following egregious crimes on 100words.com:
1. The omission of pronouns, definite articles, or prepositions, thus skewing the appropriate word count.
2. Use of pretty words with definitions of which I am familiar but have regrettably mispronounced in real life.
3. Typos. Not to be confused with misspellings.
a. Corollary: You’re versus Your; Weather versus Whether.
4. General mangling of acceptable sentence structure.
May it be known that my formative years cultivating English were spent in a Catholic School, hence the inherent need to atone for my grammatical sins.
The Self-Absorption-to-Word-Count ratio in the previous incarnations of this entry was alarmingly high. I have attempted this 100 words multiple times, with details about what I ate, who I hadn’t called back, why Pandora won’t stop playing “Fade Into You”. Commentary on my immediate sphere, commentary on all things random and impertinent.
This isn’t working. This isn’t working. This isn’t working. This isn’t working. This isn’t working. This isn’t working. This isn’t working. This isn’t working. This isn’t working. This isn’t working. This isn’t working. This isn’t working. This isn’t working. This isn’t working. This isn’t working.
There’s something more.
Do you believe in infinity?
Do you believe that there is something beyond the microscopic, beyond the cell nuclei, the chromosomes, the double helix, the nucleic acids, the carbon rings, the electrons, the quarks, the sub-atomics?
Do you believe that there is something beyond the macroscopic, beyond the continents and oceans, beyond the atmosphere, beyond our sun, beyond the galaxy, beyond gaseous particulates and the fabric of space and time?
Do you believe, that in either direction, that there is no end, and that we simply cannot or do not have the prowess to look for things we cannot comprehend?
There’s a new holiday.
Oh, you didn’t hear? It’s approved by The Government (I get tomorrow off, by the way.) It’s non-denominational, although it does have its roots in Pagan traditions. (Little known fact: the color puce was actually a sign of nobility in Select Ancient Societies, hence the spectral mascot.)
The celebratory themes are universal: lust and abstinence, virtue and vice, sloth and vigor. Public intoxication and quiet meditation are sanctioned. The Holiday is all–inclusive, and spans all ages and genders.
You should probably get to the mall to buy some generic crap before it all sells out.
When the sun would peak, brilliant colorless light would filter through the skylight, illuminating all objects that happened upon the neat square of light on the floor. Sunday mornings I would lay there, dancing my fingers across my body, creating patterns with the shadows. They would wave lazily, the images blurring the further I moved my hand from my stomach. I would like to say that I thought, mostly; that infinitesimal insight was gained in the few hours spent with gifts of Ra, but I didn’t. When the square shifted and the patterns no longer made sense, I would sleep.
Most mornings I’d find him, legs crossed, sitting on the tattered couch in the front room by the window. He would strum his guitar, brushing over the stings so as to create an almost inaudible chord, his left hand searching the frets, cigarette perched on his lower lip. The smoke would billow across the room, with each particle illuminated by the rising sun. I would watch for a while; he, unaware that I was awake, strumming, unknowingly sending vibrations through me. I’d watch enviably as his fingers’ shadows created an inverse of themselves in the depths of the sound hole.
On the right is the bookshelf I’ve always wanted. It is stocked with what I’ve read, books I love but cannot remember. The entire wall behind and to the left is glass, a window to the outside world: a judicious amount of sunlight, and thick pine trees that afford me a faint but pleasant asceptic scent. In front, a blank monitor, a surprisingly uncluttered desk. I sit chin-to-knees-to-chest and swivel around several times in the chair. Beyond the desk, him, sitting on the oversized couch, creating elaborate shadow puppets with the setting sun, beckoning me away from my world.
The frost heaves have left the high- and byways cavernous, tectonic asphalt plates rising and meeting each other in inopportune spots. Once the snow melts, the peaks and valleys become apparent, and the snow, now water, pools into large, polluted geographic lakes in the road. Drivers abuse their struts and assault passers-by with back-splash from their tires. Everything’s grimy, and the newfound humidity only serves to highlight the winter stank we’ve all been carrying around.
Good thing I’ve purchased this handy notebook and a bar of Dove so that I may document this inconsequential observation and also feel silky smooth.
Lisa would take a glass of wine with her into the bathroom when she had to shit. She would smoke a cigarette and read the financial section of the paper, things that I suspect old men do at the American Legion. The door would sometimes be left ajar, and I would see her ash into the toilet between her legs. I’d pass her on my way to the laundry room, and she’d lean over, balancing one thigh on the edge of the rim. “Your mutual fund’s screwed,” she’d inform me, and then ask for a new roll of toilet paper.
in the shower, three AM. water hitting my skin like a hot tattoo. drunk, and soggy. undergarments left on, either in haste or obliviousness. shampoo… somewhere? there, by the drain. it smells like cigarettes. smells like teen spirit. step onto bathmat. no towel, just bathmat. it covers the wet and important parts. mirrored reflection for damage assessment. mascara in all nooks and crannies. fine lines not present earlier in the night. stale. swallow a quick flush of water (toothbrush…somewhere?) tongue run over incisors, greasy film persists. Grandmother’s voice… somewhere? “Don’t forget to floss. Men don’t respect women who don’t floss.”
I am not a careful reader. My impatience grows (grew?), as I struggle (struggled?) through
Reading Like a Writer
: A 300-something page love letter to books and words. I like books, I like words: a natural fit. The first few pages beg for undivided attention, to read each. word. with painstaking vigilance, to determine what the writer is really trying to say when she chooses the word “conundrum” over “problem”. She quotes Faulkner, Woolf, and of course, Hemingway. I try to see the notes of the symphony but can’t help thinking, why don’t I just skip to the good part?
I’m going to become a cheater. I am going to take what I need—no, want—with impunity. I am going to come home late at night, smelling like cologne and with my underwear inside out. I will answer your probing questions with frustrating vagueness, and I will erase all my text messages, voicemails, e-mails. I will encourage friends to lie for me, to cop to Friday night knitting circles instead of Soho loft parties. I will hug your mother and go shopping with your sister. They will love me. And you, you will convince yourself that you do, too.
Three point one four one five nine two six five three five eight nine seven nine three two three eight four six two six four three three eight three two seven nine zero two eight eight fout one nine seven one six nine three nine nine three seven five one zero.
(3.14 1 5 9 2 6 5 3 5 8 9 7 9 3 2 3 8 4 6 2 6 4 3 3 8 3 2 7 9 5 0 2 8 8 4 1 9 7 1 6 9 3 9 9 3 7 5 1 0)
“You’re going to write a book, aren’t you?”
“I wouldn’t know where to begin.”
“Perhaps at the beginning?”
“Seems like a logical starting point.”
“No, but really, you should write a book. And put me in it.”
”You should write a book. About me.”
“If I do that, you’re going to have to sign a clause, you know, saying that you know that these characters are fiction and that any likeness is purely coincidental.”
”Hell, I’ll do that.”
“You can’t really be made up, anyway.”
“Good, then it’s settled.”
Are you sure?
Because I know how this will end.
One of the nights in London wasn’t spent at the dive Pub around the corner, or on the outskirts of Chiswick, but rather laying in bed, in my woolies, watching an unfettered BBC documentary about Salman Rushdie, and the extreme controversy over
The Satanic Verses
. I had been too young at the time to grasp or even care about the cultural and political snarl, and to see those events condensed and retrospectively analysed, was fascinating.
At one point, Rushdie was promised amnesty from the fatwa calling for his death, if only he renounced his work.
But would you?
This is where I try to relate a quirky experience, or sobering tale, or mischievous parable. This is where I create some fictionalized person or place or thing, and appropriately arrange them to induce something resembling a plot. This is where I make a list, because lists are practical. This is where I repeat repeat repeat repeat the same same same word over and over and over to fill the quota. This is where I sit, posturing, putting up walls, throwing down superfluous, unnecessary verbiage to amuse, to prevent myself from writing about what’s true, and what I’ve learned isn’t.
Saturday night you stayed up all night after you tried Adderall for the first time. I laughed at the little blue rim of pill dust around your nose, and tried to distract you from your Neil Gaiman comics. I danced to Pash--
Kill the Rich Boys
--stomping my feet with the beat, in some bastardized rain dance, calling for the rain or something with equally potent cleansing powers.
I came down, eventually, from the natural mania, resorting to the floor to pick the fibers out of the rug, as you kept reading and I kept conversing with the Dream Kings.
With so much going on, you've swallowed it whole, and you're creating an undiagnosed bezoar of hate that is slowly eroding your gastric lining. Your nutrients no longer reach their final destination, instead sluicing through your GI tract, food more or less ingested in vain.
Your contents will end up in some future 21st centruy museum, next to Darwin's ivory, skull-capped cane, next to rustic surgical implements, next to leech bowls and bleeding cruicibles.
The tour guide: "Ancient medicine actually believed that blood-letting would rid the human body and psyche of damaging the humours that lead to disease and maladjustment."
The group will have a hearty guffaw at medicine's and your ancestors’ expense, and the tour guide would lead everyone on to the next equally perplexing cure or curiosity. The cycle continues, you know; you, in the present, unaware of how your daughters and sons and granddaughters and grandsons will perceive your titanium hip replacement, how your Chicken Soup for the Soul would be debunked, how all that hate unpurged leaves you sick and miserable but when expunged is a veritable pathogen for everyone around you. You are unaware that cure you have for it today is tomorrow’s medical idosyncrasy.
Sitting on the front porch. It’s dead heat. Nothing’s moving, least of all Travis. He’s sprawled on the steps, a
sitting minutes from his fingertips. He stares at it without blinking, willing it near him.
I’m looking at the paunch that’s morphed into two equal rolls above and below my boxer shorts--Travis’s boxers. The white tee cut off at the shoulders is moulded to my crannies with sweat.
“Damn it’s hot,” I say.
Travis grunts. “ATLgurl, ATL.”
From somewhere in the house Big Boi spits from the speakers, and I hear Travis’s little brother trying to keep up.
An First-Draft Fairy Tale:
: Oh Gretel, it is a most beautiful day in the forest.
: Indeed, dear brother Hansel. Only an Edible House would make today's journey a success.
: Look! Over yonder! A Cottage Cuisine!
: It seems to be made of candies of all sorts!
: Peppermint, gingerbread, and gumdrops!
: And taffy and peanut brittle!
: It would be most unfortunate if an old woman were inhabiting it, and if that old woman had a penchant for young flesh.
: That would be quite unfortunate.
: Perhaps we should go play quietly elsewhere.
We used to take walks around the block to break up the monotony. Nothing in particularly was illuminated on these walks. Sometimes, a quiet silence and slow breathing to calm our nerves. Other times, a frenetic pace and equally pressured speech: Will we be ok? What was the mechanism of action for benzodiazepines, again?
Will we be ok?
It became a ritual, then a superstition: we only have five mintues, we had better take a walk
We'd come to the Scantron a little less anxious, a milisecond of clarity for those on the mountaintop:
this test is our bitch.
Whose position is it better to be in? We'd play these games, the
, to kill time: "Size two and miserable, or size 22 and blissful?"; “Two fingers and normal feet, or two toes and normal hands?”
From the superficial to the arcane, the situations became more obtuse and unlikely, but held our attention longer, and prompted fervid debates: "Job as the Lady ShamWow representative in Sheboygan, or two-star Vegas hotel maid?"
We'd reduce someone's life real-life experiences down to a punchline, but feel strangely validated knowing that someone, somewhere, was chosing "truck driver" over "third-year medical student."
Little red foxes were dancing around the back room, pawing at the koi fish through the glass, distracted just as easily by the bits of pomelo I dropped on the floor. They would sniff the pieces curiously, and then turn their nose up, and Ming Na would laugh and toss chunks of salmon in their direction. The littlest ones would nip at each other, nip at my heels, and play hide and seek amongst the customers, knocking over sticks of incense.
Ming Na passed me the nub of her clove, sending spirals of thick and sweet smoke in my direction.
at home meant trying to remember if I was supposed to clean before or after Chinese New Year. It was listening to Notorious B.I.G. clandestinely on my Walkman, begrudgingly placing oranges on the table, my parents greeting their guests with a hearty
gong hei fat choi
. It meant slinking to my bedroom when the adults were sufficiently occupied, and then slipping out to meet Tammy for a night at the A&W.
And now… it was something different. It was the blur of blue and green and light, red hot and white hot. It was a million miles from home.
Miss Lady J was freelance. She was in a gallery show Upstate (“Seen-Unseen”, stuntkid), a community-college art class in Binghamton (Charcoal, mixed media), and a Kellogg’s commercial (Special K).
She was pure American Style ("American Style",
2006): state-trooper glasses, labret, and a genetic love of all things Amusement Park. Red hair, floral sundresses procured either at the Goodwill or BCBG (we’ll never know for sure). She would fit in as seamlessly at a NIN concert as she would Sufjan Stevens, but not because she always had weed. She wasn’t real; she was a conglomeration of all things pop culture.
little neurons firing (misfiring) at night tell me that the raspberries Metallica's drummer is blowing on my knees is real, but i awaken somewhere in the early morning to find that they're instead, asleep, and that the tingling arose from the slow restoration of blood flow to my lower extremities (how was i contorted last night?)
i vaguely recall, in dreamland, being ashamed of this action, as if i were in some sort of fetish subset of groupies that whores out their knees to the most famous or richest bidder. maybe i should be ashamed that it was Lars Ulrich.
Nightmares are relative. Boogeyman in closets, or under beds are feared by small children. Chainsaw-wielding zombie pirates for the teen that just saw the midnight showing of
Chainsaw-Wielding Zombie Pirates.
Spiders for the arachnophobic, the 13th floor for the triskaidekaphobic, Disneyland for the agoraphobic. Merely unpleasant for some, whilst wholly fearsome to others. The end result in every situation is the same: sweating, paralysis. The next day, a general feeling of ill-will throughout the morning, and sometimes persisting well into your next dream. Last night, I dreamt I was entered into an arranged marriage against my will. Nightmares are relative.
They had nothing to say to each other, which is to say, they weren’t conversing at the present: having spent the past six hours on a transatlantic flight, there’s only so many pleasantries that can be shared before it’s appropriate to awkwardly unfold the complementary day-old newspaper business section.
He didn’t know quite what to say next, wanting to say everything. He offered her a hastily unrolled coil of Chinese candies, but she declined. She immediately wished she hadn’t, but instead turned her attention to the wing of the plane, and wondered why she had no control over her life.
it's been a weird month. things have been lost.
i'm a Darwinian, and yet i refuse to yield to my own evolution, instead choosing to invoking arcane gods and goddesses, carrying around Talismen for protection. i'm a scientist, and yet i refuse to measure correctly, throwing pinches of this, spots of that into the brew, whispering incantations under my breath. i'm a cynic, pastimes spent taking an eerie delight in the disproven, now taking a second pass at the unbelievable.
this seems crazy, and out of character. the words of madness.
no, i haven't found religion. i found something better.
The Tip Jar