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This is the second half of a terrible year, and I need everything to get better, even if that means everything must change. Tonight my father and I had to park what seemed like three miles away from the Wheaton Band's annual patriotic concert. During Sousa's "Semper Fidelis," I decided that my goal is to play English horn in one of America's major symphony orchestras. There is nothing else I can do, and luckily nothing else I really want to do. I am excited about fall quarter, and I think that's bad, because I'm too easily disappointed. That is all.
Holidays and weekends are meaningless when I am not in school and not working. Today I received a letter, sent a letter, tied five oboe reeds, practiced D major, sat in front of the television, avoided phone calls, read the newspaper, and only thought about doing other things (reading books, taking a walk, seeing a play). A summer of lethargy is going to drive me crazy probably. My parents are talking about the combination smell of skunk and fire that is currently annoying our neighborhood. I'm supposed to go to Indianapolis for a visit soon, but I don't know when.
I want to step into the world that exists only in old photographs, and all my colors fade. I would fit perfectly there, with plaid shirts that don't match striped ties and a company called Metro-Flash that takes pictures of strangers on sidewalks in the city before it looked like a city and had trees and rooms rented out to strangers and closely-cut green lawns that sprawled like promises, fulfilled. Wasn't that America? My great-grandfather stood on his feet all day and operated a machine that punched holes in something my mom can't remember. His hope is mine to live.
Every country in the world has a Fourth of July, as well as a Fifth, a Sixth, and a Seventh, and so on. Thus, to celebrate Independence Day, this afternoon I marched in a parade in Wheaton. I carried a banner, as I so often do in that sort of thing. Why isn't there more anti-British sentiment on this holiday? Tonight, while my father struggled to insert a drawer back into a cabinet, I played with a flickering flashlight, and my mother searched for the remote control that goes with the television we inherited from my grandfather. That says something.
For a second as we drove south past it on Lake Shore Drive, Lincoln Park looked beautiful with two women walking on a path near a stream or lagoon or whatever it is. The trees framed them in the sunshine with grey sky behind and all around the background, and there was the threat of rain all day but all we got was drizzle. This lasted only for a second, remember. It turned ugly quickly with metal nightmare buildings rising violently upward and filthy streets and monster cars everywhere again. I love school when I don't have to be there.
My mother had been crying on her pillow, but I didn't ask why because I wasn't prepared to deal with anything real or meaningful. I had been watching reality television for two hours, and THE AMAZING RACE is fantastic! It was an awful sort of boring day--I can't even remember what happened during it. My reeds were better yesterday, and they'll be worse tomorrow. That's right: I woke up near noon feeling queasy and unmotivated. That feeling lasted all day and now, having done nothing, I'm not tired. We have just one dog again and my family bothers me.
I have been awake for barely twelve hours because there was no reason to get up. My mother was at my sister's house where Mexican men were installing a fence. I tied several reeds in the afternoon and went to Wheaton Band rehearsal in the evening. My parents are upset that I have been crabby all day, but until someone does something to make me happier, I will stay this way: meaningless, depressed, and lonely. I have a silly English horn solo in the concert tomorrow night, which also includes "Slava!" That made me miss school for maybe two minutes.
In Hinsdale, a collection of colorful buttons reminded me that "DEEP SEAS REQUIRE WHALES." The buttons were in the shape of a yellow-haired girl riding one of the large sea creatures and two goldfish riding a wave. The sun, a curious half circle, was outlined in the corner above where the yellow words were stitched thinly and haphazardly. This is amazing, honest folk art, and it costs $350. The frame is beautifully aged wood painted sorrowful blue to match the friendly whale and the swirling wave. Those four words are my new everything—I can't forget again. I am necessary.
Devin and I agreed that Matthew is our most irrational friend. Tonight he wanted to explore a grove of trees he discovered on his train ride home, but I was completely reluctant to go along with him on so vaguely misguided a journey. Instead, Devin saved me in his car that smells like gasoline. We drove around Lemont and discussed everything that is wrong with the type of "progress" we have witnessed in this hilly, shaded place: anonymous housing developments, crass commercialized everything, and the abandonment or annihilation of wonderful things (the type Matthew wishes were still around to explore).
I spent the evening at home with my dog. This is the summer of possibilities that I absolutely refuse to pursue. People call me—I don't pick up the phone. I had thought about going to Ravinia tonight, but I didn't want to call anyone to ask them to join me. Instead, I watched two travel shows and two British sitcoms on WTTW. I practiced sporadically throughout the day, accomplishing little besides some work on f# minor. The opening of "Knoxville, Summer of 1915" taught me some things about how I should darken my tone and make my legato smoother.
My head is filled with stupidly amazing ideas that will never fucking happen because my life is worthless and I'm absolutely insane. Why can't I just live by myself in the cage, be happy in the cage, and never dream about leaving the cage? I can think only when it's dark outside and when the sun is shining, I'm miserable. The cage means Cook County and DuPage County and sometimes Will County. I NEVER LEAVE THIS GODDAMN SUBURBAN WASTELAND. I want to travel in Europe. I want to learn Italian. I want to see Slovakia, my homeland. FUCK THIS SHIT.
I accidentally and foolishly reduced my beard to stubble today. It looks uneven, uncharacteristic, and untidy. I hope it grows back extremely quickly—my hairline is disrupted and my face feels wrong this way! I saw "The Saddest Music in the World" again tonight, and it was easier the second time through. Devin ran through sprinklers after the show and he thought the blood was gratuitous. Katie is writing a novel and has a beaded seat cushion in her charming old man car. They were unusual company, but I feel strange around everyone anymore. (This is the worst vacation ever.)
The only interesting part of my day was watching THE AMAZING RACE from 9:00-10:00 after another dead-end-less argument with my parents about what makes me so miserable. The answer, I have determined, exists in my feeling of inferiority (especially economically) and my sense of confinement (immobility) when everyone else in the world seems freer than I am allowed to be. If anyone needs to know what regret looks like, they should take a look at me, because I haven't done anything right for the past two and a half years. My parents take everything personally, and I can't escape anymore.
This morning I decided accidentally to sleep instead of going with my mom to meet my sister at the mall. I took my morning shower at 12:15 PM and felt ashamed and guilty. Unfortunately I hate the mall, and the company there would not have been great (especially with the baby around as a burden) but, more unfortunately, I did absolutely nothing alone at home all afternoon. I watched a show about dry-brush painting, pretended to work on some reeds, checked my e-mail obsessively, petted Maggie. I started the Catcher in the Rye last night. Looking for goodbyes sounds familiar.
On Thursday I suffered annoying chest pains from a muscle I pulled during my frantic work-out on Tuesday night, shopped for produce and office supplies with my mother, and played in a park concert meant to celebrate our director's 25 years with the band. Unfortunately, the concert was uninspiring because they make every week seem like it's extraordinarily special. When the beagle was crying on the podium tonight, it really didn't feel like a big deal because they pretend that every week is meaningful and important. That's not true, and the musical selections tonight were awful. It was completely frustrating.
This week in Wheaton, Mr. Redford was playing trombone with the band. He was unusually reserved and polite when I talked to him, unlike the gruff and despotic demeanor he attempted to convey when he was my high school band director. Interesting, Klich was lucky not to be there this week, since she would have freaked out about seeing him. Instead, she was in Boston being completely tired and learning already to hate her university (she called me and said, "the buildings aren't tall enough, the people aren't nice enough, and they talk funny"). Sometimes we can't stop making mistakes.
I have absolutely no interest in continuing this 100words project, as I have realized that no portion of my life is worth documenting right now. Also, I hate the people who use this site as some sort of awful experiment in ridiculous, vague poetry. I WILL TRY TO SUSTAIN THIS "BUNCH" UNTIL THE END OF THE MONTH BUT THERE ARE NO PROMISES. The caps lock was intentional but it just felt right. I was at school for a lesson today, I'm lonely, I'm in love with the butcher at Jewel, no one is worth saving; no one will save me.
Most of today was spent going to see "A Man of No Importance" at the Apple Tree Theatre in Highland Park with my parents. We felt obligated to go because Mrs. Marx was acting in it. It was a good production of a lousy musical. The worst part was that the audience consisted entirely of elderly people who made me regret the way I'm wasting my youth (That's so unfair. I want to live now while I'm young, but it's not happening. Instead I suffer an intolerably dull summer with my parents who don't understand anything.) The drive took forever.
Happiness is always about fooling oneself. The past has been trying to find me since the middle of last night when I was having trouble sleeping. A breath from another time escaped from my lungs—it was warm and deep like autumn can be, but most of all, it was clear. I cried the same way I feel nostalgia: uncontrollably. I finished The Catcher in the Rye today, and it felt like a memory. And Respighi's "Botticelli Triptych" found me on WFMT. My Friday lesson in Indianapolis has me worried. My reeds are better than usual, but that won't last.
I'm in touch with the news when I'm at home because I'm in front of the internet or television constantly. It's a way I'd rather not be, but it's better than feeling like I'm trapped inside the metallic dome that covers Northwestern in permanent darkness and cold. My mother saved our typewriter from the crawlspace, and I'm going to type a letter to Shirley. I'm dying to travel, and I'm tired of wanting the past to reach out its forgiving hand to pull me back toward it. I want to be guided toward something new, but something wholly familiar again.
This was the best week of Wheaton Band in a while. At 7:20 I knocked on the door and a shirtless Dr. Moss told me to come in. After seven weeks of scheduling conflicts, the Beagle (with his Ego) and I sat down and had a conversation about nothing at all. He asked me boring questions about Northwestern and my aspirations in general and I felt completely inarticulate because nothing felt worth saying. There was weird eye contact and the poor man had a giant hole in his undershirt and how do you point something like that out to someone?
On Friday I will visit a scene from my past. I have some vague hope that my journey to Indianapolis will make me understand that it would not have been the right place for me. However, I worry, because I'm having a lesson with Malcolm W. Smith, who might seem again to be the most wonderful person in the world. He's been sick and I worry about him with no understanding of how mutually friendly my feelings have become. It's going to be strange, for sure. I hope I'm in the right mood and I hope my reeds play well.
My lesson with Malcolm at 1:30 on Friday was wonderful. I feel some kind of closure, but not exactly the right kind. He proved to me that he is a great teacher, and I know I'm glad to have him in my life at all. But now I like him in a more informed, more real way than I did before. Now I know him and he knows me, and I still like him. I like his goofy socks and beard and the way he "talks in circles," but I also like and respect everything else about him. Now what?
He stumbles over his excited words sometimes when they don't happen fast enough. He gets flustered, stops himself visibly, and says, "OK, new sentence." He told me that I give him "hope for the future." I responded by saying that he does the same for me(, but clearly for different reasons). He says that life has been fun, though not easy, and that I must go absolutely in the direction of "doing what he does for a living" if that's what I want. That is what I want. When can I get there? How can I keep him in it?
The saddest music in the world, at least for today, is by a band called Carissa's Wierd. Their sparse violin and piano arrangements are heartbreaking with their autumnal whispers and lonesome poetry. "I hope that nothing ever reminds you of me." Separation, leaving, moving on, progress—aren't they just lies? We always stay the same, the same snow accumulating on the sphere that is myself wherever I roll. Isn't that the way it works? My introspection is a circle, not a line, just as I told Robert. The train keeps going around the track, more beautiful every time. Never easy.
Nothing feels real anymore! I am going to play with the CSO in two days, I cannot comprehend the importance of that, and I don't feel prepared at all because it's impossible to learn the entirety of a Mahler symphony. I've been making reeds more than ever, but they all feel awful. This is a surreal week, and for the next two days I'm working with my high school's MARCHING BAND. I haven't held a mallet in almost three years! I want to finish school very soon, go to Butler for grad school, and play in an orchestra. Nothing else.
I am sure that our autumn is returning, hers and mine! The past is appearing in new ways, such as the cool detachment I felt from my LHS band experience from 9:00-5:00 today. I felt like a good teacher or a bad celebrity as I led the pit's rehearsals. I received four pieces of mail today: from Stephanie, Katie, the IDRS, and the Terra Museum. M-dogg and I had lunch at Lemon Tree, where "if debin says moo one more time, I'm gonna bop him" made me laugh so hard, but Mr. Redford saying "ring ring!" made me laugh harder.
It is extremely daunting to write about the experience of playing in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. I was truly terrified before the first rehearsal, but I quickly realized that it wouldn't be much different from playing outdoors in Wheaton Band. It was more like NUSO than I ever could have imagined, with similar problems, similar unmagical comments from the conductor, and similar attitudes resembling lethargy. But all around me were amazing musicians and I loved feeling like the worst one there. The foundation was so solid, my own playing improved and I didn't have to worry about everyone around me.
This day of CSO rehearsals was strange because it was so long and the breaks made me feel awkward and lonesome. Andrew drove me to lunch in one of the fancy Ravinia cars. I had to ask the violists in front of me to move several times because they were blocking my view of nothing at all important coming from the podium (the orchestra members dislike Eschenbach for his poor physical vocabulary but Dale Clevenger doesn't seem like the jerk everyone says he is. He even said hi to me in a somewhat familiar way.) My main feeling was comfort.
The concert was amazing and it transported me to a new place called the future. This week has been important; I've moved out of the past. The problem is trying to decide, know, and control what is coming next. Playing in the CSO was probably the best thing I've ever done. "Let's hear it for the fourth oboe player!" said Grover during the applause. If I could have a job with an orchestra like that, I think I'd finally be happy. But when? How? Not soon enough. Not easy enough. I hope so badly that this dream can become real.
I'm pathetic. I want to run into the future, but it's like expressway traffic and I'm not going to look either way before I go. I want to be that reckless, that fearless, that unencumbered. I want my parents to stop fucking yelling at me for getting home too late or being lazy or being mean. I want someone to be proud and joyful and I want happiness to LAST. Everything always ends too soon and everyone tends to be a burden. I want to live for myself, and I wish that I could be by myself. But I'm afraid!
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