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When I was little, I didn't want to eat anything : Meat, canned vegetables, Manwich or overcooked spaghetti; I would sit alone at the dining room table with my inch of milk warming in the glass and my casserole congealing, and I wasn't allowed to get up and watch TV until I finished. Now I pretty much eat anything with interest and curiosity. I don't love everything, but I try everything. And if you cooked it, hats off to you-- the effort you employed. People who criticize others’ choices can kiss my well-fed ankle. Boring non-experimenters can hit the road.
They say don’t look back, look forward. The rearview mirror is in front of me but behind me. Peripheral vision is there, but it’s a choice. A matter of will. What if my rearview mirror displayed not just the cars behind me, but the months behind me, chasing me, wake up, wake up? You can ignore the views that surround you. It’s ok. For a while. Then you might find yourself in a pileup. A 16 car pileup. All behind you. Were you paying attention? When adrenaline pumps, we ignore the signs, the signals, the warnings. Slow down, pay up.
It was late winter, near Easter. Me and that girl no one liked were really mean to you. I don’t know why, and I’m sorry. We made you fall down because we knew it was slippery. Don’t know why I acted so trashy, so low. But it’s part of my past, and I can’t escape it. I carry it. You forgave me, I think, and time passed. Lots . We grew up, and I was semi connected. Thought we had time. But you died 15 months ago. And I lost my shot, lost you. I miss you so much. Love.
We live in a weird disposable world. We travel to faraway places where buildings are made of stone, marble then we come home to disposable coffee cups, paper napkins and junk mail. When I see empty buildings, my heart sinks. The towns where I grew up house buildings that aren’t loved, they’re left . And then they go away. Our history is fleeting, and it’s a choice we’ve made. Abandoned, lost, broken, forgotten, Howland’s, Reed’s, Twin Cinemas, October House, Victorian homes that held families now, sadness, and many occupants. We say Melting Pot but we have holes in the recipe.
I didn't understand sharing shoes, and no one in my family bowled, so used shoes on wheels were foreign, mysterious. The first time I rollerskated was at a birthday party. It was exotic and scary; perfect. The lights dimmed, I waited at the gate for the perfect time to spill out onto the floor. Literally. We skated in a counterclockwise motion, listening to “Let's hear it for the boy” and “I can dream about you.” I managed one move, one safe act. I always went home with sore muscle on one leg. I wondered how some girls did it backwards.
Each summer at the Cape I held onto memories in the making with a death grip. 1987. I was skinny, matching hot pink tank tops to patterned shorts. My cousins: hilarious and cooler than people on TV. I was lucky. Despite glasses and plastic headbands. I feared it all ending, change. In the autumns and winters following, alone with my parents on weekends, I missed what had just happened. Cape Cod's real quiet without that insulation of safety, the rush of chaos. 21 years later I'm wondering if memory can become sharper with time. Music and stories solidify the past.
North Street, next to Mr. Amazing. Crown Cinema Twin. It was intriguing and intimidating passing through the heavy metal-rimmed doors. Seeing a movie in the theater was a treat; going at night was
. I saw Annie at the Palace on Main Street; thought I'd died and gone to Heaven. But Twin was closer and smelled like buttered popcorn and carpets. The lobby scared me the way castaway mannequins did...often. Doors led to other places, stairs up where we were not allowed. It never seemed busy, but where did others go? I braved this place; memorized its sadness.
My grama lived in the same city as most of my cousins. We saw her once or twice a year, and she died two days before my 10th birthday. When I was lucky enough to be there, she let me help in the kitchen, drying dishes mostly. At the end of the night, before bed, we would sit at the round kitchen table, and play this hand-sandwich game...her hand down, mine on top, hers on top of mine, mine on top, slappidy slappidy until we giggled at its absurdity. He hands were warm and smooth. Like my mom's.
They told me I was an Old Soul. I assumed, as a kid, that it meant I was philosophically advanced while dispensing sporadic doses of immaturity and sarcasm. You know, balance. I understand now, it's helped me through a lot of tough situations. It's all in our heads; I see Old People and they're still older than my parents could ever seem. I've been told my age is “not too old.” Um. But I find the longer a person is around, the better chance they have of figuring out why we're meant to keep picking up and dusting ourselves off.
My favorite English professor told me, just before graduation, that I was destined to have a nervous breakdown, and I should go for it, full force. He was strange, brilliant, poet and teacher, and saw something in me that he felt needed to snap. His office contained a dictionary stand, elaborately carved, deliciously old. It alone could have inspired me to write. My dictionary stand was a gift. Most thoughtful gesture. My dictionary was stolen from a place where no one loved it but me. They are beautiful together. I become something else when I stand to search and learn.
I don't know about this one. I fear drowning, burning in fire, losing my engagement ring, the concept that I'm actually crazy and no one understands me, losing our dog, climbing down off of something steep, not succeeding, not being remembered, but mostly forgetting The Point, my family going away, no one remembering but me, being alone being alone being alone, not being able to convince the others. Shit. Things did not take impact until lately. There's a reason we keep ourselves so occupied. So we don't have to face these fears. Smiling and shaking my head, just a bit.
I write maps for people. Landmarks, roadside attractions, take a left a the big ugly old tree. Sketching out our world on paper to unravel mysteries; go four—no—five traffic lights until you see the oddly shaped ice cream shop, then get in the right lane and follow the lane as it swings left. Turning left, stay in the right lane. Finding your place from here to there is tough, I know that I have a part in the solution. Left turn, right, left at the big blue ox, we're all heading in strange directions, could use a hand.
Procrastination sucks and I make it happen all the time. Mostly it's the prolonging of one comforting situation in order to put off the next hugely awful one. A series of unfortunate events leads me to the explanation, but it's no excuse. The best advice or idea I've gotten lately is that there' s no time to get ready for any change, it's just about doing it, actually now, and you'll never be ready. That's good, 'cause I could go through my whole life not being ready, but I'm finally realizing I could be afraid and still make it. Now.
When I was little, the power used to go out in our neighborhood a lot. 1987, Hurricane Gloria. I put all my stuffed animals in the basement with my most sacred things. We were ok. TV went out all the time. Mysterious was the house in dark, candles, camp lamps, and it was silent. Safe. No one was going anywhere. There was nothing to do but talk, and the dead silence behind our words was magical. Like our house, turned inside out, all the noise gone, just us. Why not every night? The rawness and rightness of who we were.
Riding bikes, playing badminton, going to the lake. But there was the not-so-obvious: summer mornings were special, waking without an alarm, two bowls of cereal, then downstairs to the doll house, to rearrange, create accessories out of paper, set up scenarios, make it thunder, make it Christmas, make it Time for School. Little House, then Family Feud, then Price is Right. Afternoons led to evenings where it was always lighter outside than inside. Convincing Mom. Spy games and manhunt, climbing trees, losing a shoe in the creek. Ghosts in the Graveyard. Freedom: no schedule. Life before play dates.
A funny thought: what I
I collected. I collect: antique typewriters, radios, cameras, Depression Glass, Baleek, Lusterware, old lunchboxes...God help me. I wish I collected time and perspective, clarity and room; Anti-Clutter. Funny thing, recent life sit-u-a-tions have caused me to downsize. Big. Time. So, I'm sort of going to live in a hotel of sorts. Sort of Ikea meets original European Thought regarding space. Spring is coming and I look forward to sprouting bulbs, clearing away spaces, trimming back the old, loving our yard, watching growth. I will collect new ideas, begin again.
The perfect walk: at the ocean, the sun is setting, and it's somewhere between low and high tide. Red sky at night, sailor's delight...see the canal in the distance, and we have no where to go but here. It's that whole insulation thing; knowing tomorrow will be the same, if we wish. Skipping stones, breathing in the salt air, feet tough enough for the sand and rocks, but softer afterwards. Reaching the first set of breakers, then the second. Climbing over and remembering childhood photos. Subjects come up on the beach that are sacred, secret. This beach is ours.
We could benefit from many things: Cigarettes, pornography, trans fats, drugs, Velveeta, greed, dry skin, gossip, laziness, skinned knees, faulty calculators, and mean animals. But, we can't avoid all bad stuff all the time. I guess. I would say: Don't NOT reach out. Each time you think you should call him, call her, see how she's doing, see if they're ok... If you think about it too long, you're probably too late. There's a thing in this world, it's way over my head but involves comfort and procrastination...that's not all. But save yourself from regret, and don't hold back.
Recently having had the bottom dropped out from under me, the only thing I can think to do is focus on helping others while I piece me together. Distractions are underrated. Teaching, in a sense, comes easy to me: patience, following, gentle solid nudges, new information, following, reassurance---inconsistency? That's the way to leave no stone unturned. It's not so much doubt, but a different path. Not every time. I will chose one. Moving forward from the corner of hope and unknown. Might return, but I know I can, and will show it to those waiting by my side. Solid.
I'm not a competitive person; I love my job, so I don't feel the daily grind that many carry in the pit of their stomachs Sunday nights. But, I can get caught in the Noise. Bills, traffic, grumpy bosses, lost keys, broken appliances. Big decisions, long discussions, adapting, evolving, updating, reinforcing. Bars full of people making it all go away. It gets too loud, too heavy on the chest-- I feel a warm weight rest itself on my lap. I look down to big brown eyes, searching nose, tail wagging in the periphery. Stillness, peace: the other part of reality.
I just need reassurance. Other than the dog. I know that no one can predict the future, no one can completely explain the past and we're really stuck; we're really screwed. The rocketship behind me? Hope. I need to know that no matter what's happened in the past, it can be repaired. But, others that I've seen and interacted with have brought me closer to divinity that I could wish for. Stimulus can be brought on by fellow humans,but it's tricky. It is confusing, uncertain, and ever changing. Day by day, all the stiff upper lips; it'll be fine.
I've wanted to be a car mechanic since I was little. Everyone thought that was cute. I felt like my math-edge was pre-disposed, so I ever pursued it. Thought it was fiction like Little Half-Pint or Anne. Look, it's always been a limbo scenario: girly vs. man. Sitting in the back room, the name of the game is taking care of everything and no questions. After lots of time and lots of date, I am listening to Him on the phone and everything is blind, everything is late and I am sort of .. ready for peace. Love.
The last time I was sick, my eyeballs were sweating and I thought I was going to die. Not sure how, and it wouldn't have been my doing, but I couldn't see feeling better again. I wish I could say this was five years ago. But it wasn't. It was recently. We all go through bad stuff, and I wouldn't wish this on anyone. Point being, it's public when you make it so, so make it right. Being sick feels like the world is ending, nothing makes sense: news the neighbors, the dog wants water, I used to like tulips...
If I could eat only one food for the rest of my life, it would be a pillow, a nap, reassurance, a warm rub on the back of my coat when I least expected it. I've had fondue, fancy French cheese, Italian cheese melted over boar, fresh cheese right from the factory and you're thinking: I need a witness here...but yeah. It's cheese. It inspires more insight than I'm ready to offer. Try something new. Sorry to revert to back the family joke about me, or my 2003 cheese wheel. Dammit I think cheese is interesting and fun. =] Try.
I'd like to say I was perfect. Perfect in the Human sense, as in, none of us are, but I'm really on top of things. Which of the seven deadly sins? It would have to be, by process of elimination, gluttony. Sad! And I'm writing this for people to...read? It has more to do with isolation and paralysis than anything else. We all know when to stop. Stop eating stop talking stop drinking you're not going to make the yellow light you need to let the conversational cards fall where they may; but... for many reasons I tripped. Recover.
We used to have rules, your fortune from the cookie wouldn't be true unless you ate the whole thing; fears of Chinese sanitation rules aside. Immune system: strong. But most of the “fortunes” were more...observations. “You are a happy man.” “Your good deeds are never forgotten.” “Your winsome smile will be your sure protection” (I have received this more than once). But. There was one a couple of years ago that just made me smile. And there was no superstition, no fear, just a smile. “You will have a party.” Perfect. Don't overextend. Just look forward to...who knows?
Um. I wouldn't consider changing my sexual identity for any celebrity. I think I am missing something here. I like celebrities, and I also like being straight. Oh, how I approach this question? Hmm that bought me some words. Uhh sorry this might be the worst entry out of all 28 days. I think we should maybe have a “if emergency break glass” backup category. Eeek! On a stupid and simple level: Anne Hawthaway is an alien. Ellen DeGenereus looks like someone I know. Tom Selleck is kind. I think Vincent D'Onofrio is creepily appealing. But Drew Barrymore is great.
I was the kid who got scared of horoscopes before seeing their potential entertainment or guiding value. Somewhere between reading a book I shouldn't have, and getting my palm read, I realized I had something all wrong. (Don't look for the answer to follow.) Born on December 19th, I am both a Sagittarian leaning towards the “cusp”. I haven't really looked into this, but I still like the date. I read recently that for people born on December 19th, "The more difficult the odds against them, the more likely it is that they will succeed." I can live with that.
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