May 22, 2016
Sometimes he used to long for his home, and his eyes would be as flat as nickels and as far as a moon all at once. To bring him back to my plane of existence I would ask him questions about it, and he would tell me all sorts of strange and unbelievable things. Often we disagreed violently about what was possible, and would argue for hours about sound waves and electrical impulses and the properties of gravity and ground minerals. We would draw huge diagrams in the sand and stalk about them yelling and waving our arms. Always there would come a moment when we’d look into each other’s eyes, and the jagged edges of our limbal rings would line up and click into place and we’d both fall all over the place laughing.
This was when we believed each other the most. I believed in cell phones and the prevalence of beverage containers that click open with what looks like the most unbelievably complicated leveraging sort of system ever. He believed in the power of the flora and the sanctity of the fauna, and the logic of the stars.
Sometimes though I could not understand his memory of his home and this would make him sad. His eyes would flatten and drift again, and he would go curl up in his bunk and be dismal. I hated this, and the elders were always displeased.
Most things were simple. We wore similar clothing, with the obvious exception, of course. After his arrival people began to have suits made in the style of his clothes, and it became a great trend. He enjoyed seeing all the new versions of his uniform, and we enjoyed new life in a fashion line that had been given to repeating itself tirelessly as time passed. Our currency followed similar lines of thought, if not similar detailing. He loved to roll ours around in his hands, clicking them together. I loved to toss his into the air and see which side it would land on, which is apparently the way a lot of disagreements are settled where he is from. On many matters our homes and our habits agreed, and we were gladdened by our shared beliefs and experiences. On some matters however we could reach no common ground.
The cell phone was the biggest problem. It simply is not possible that a chunk of ground minerals can conduct one’s voice, one’s tone, one’s words, one’s meaning, across time and space to another chunk of ground minerals. He must have taken some toy and the tricks of an elder too much to heart as a child. I tried to show him this but he only flung himself away and spent three days sulking until I took him a baby micaw to play with. He is always a sucker for a baby animal.
Also there was the soda can. Also sometimes known as a pop can. It makes no sense to me as a container. If it is at all as he describes no one would ever have massed produced it. It is lacking all beauty and convenience. Furthermore it is apparently also some sort of currency for an underground contingency, which is hard to believe given the aforementioned improbability of mass production, and the simple fact that everyone only wants what is in containers. He has explained it many times but by now it is one of those things that makes my eyes go flat, and my mind fly out the window to play in the sparkling shallows on the shore.
One day when he was sulking about something and had been for almost a week and everyone was beginning to be worried, especially me, I decided that perhaps the wrong approach had been taken. Everyone needs some of their silly needs met. It is the silliness that keeps life tolerable.
So I gathered some chunks of ground mineral, and with tools and patience fashioned them into replicas of our diagrammed cell phones. I made eight in total and of those only two were decent. There are many little buttons on cell phones.
I endeavored mightily to create a soda can, but the ground minerals would not yield a satisfying likeness. Eventually I found that villam would work beautifully, and produced several rather bad and two rather good soda can replicas. On the best of these I painted with bright colors the pictures for Coke, Pepsi, and 7up, which he had drawn in the sand next to a particularly troubling representation of the lever opening.
Filled with the energy of excitement, I visited him in his bunk. He was morose, and smelled. I showed him the cell phones and the soda can, and his face split in half with his large smile. He suddenly lept at me and enveloped me in a huge smelly hug. We have talked about hugs and I understand them but I cannot say that I enjoy them.
He sat and examined the cell phones and the soda can. Why are there two? he asked. For two voices, I replied, suddenly feeling uneasy. Had I not understood? Was there some underlying concept that he had failed to communicate or that I had failed to grasp?
His face cracked again. That is perfect, he said. One for me, and one for you. Hello? he said into his cell phone. Hello? I said into mine. He began to laugh, and I began to laugh, and we laughed and helloed until our bellies hurt. Then we got up and went to see the baby micaws in the zellarium. I really do think he is adapting nicely.
May 20, 2016
I’m playing Fable again and I’m watching TNG again and I’m considering reading Jane Austen again. I’m thinking about how I have this (at this point) quite cyclic predictable need to return to the same media over and over throughout my life. Part of me is always ashamed of spending so much of my leisure time doing the same things over and over, but my craving for them is strong. I’ve had the same 30 books for like 10 years, some of them much longer. I reread all of them at least once a year. Each page is like a mile marker for me, reading it again and having all of my old thoughts and then my new thoughts on top of them is like measuring myself against old marks on the wall. I spend a fraction of my time worrying that I should be reading more new books, watching more new films, oh and also getting up off the couch and doing more new things in general. Which is good, because I spend a much larger fraction of my time basking in the glow of old flames, and without the guilt and a little natural enterprise, I would miss out on a lot of the things I have to go out and get. But in between these things, in the margins of my life, I revisit old media.
I’ve been thinking about my relationship with home, lately. We are, not mad unique little snowflakes at all, us, attempting to buy a house. In Portland. In 2016. It is a ridiculous proceeding and like every other adult undertaking so far has challenged me to the whites of my fingertips and made me search into profound deeps of self; because of course buying a home is a massive deal, both in dollars and sense, and I am naturally making the requisite deal of it. The only thing good about trying to buy a house right now is having Jason to do it with. Everything we do together puts another stack on the lego wall of my more excellent self. Sometimes that shit comes down but he is always right there when it’s time to put it back up, finding me those stupid elusive 3 hole bricks and helping me yank old clusters apart. Now I want legos. Those old neon accessoried space sets.
Anyhow I’ve been thinking about my relationship with home, because we are trying to buy one, and it is really hard to do that right now so we are fortunately really not being rushed into the matter. No impulsive decisions here. We are grizzled and hardened from the harsh realities of the damn climate. Which I am honestly if I admit it a little grateful for. I have always been a sort of let’s do it now and figure it out as we go sort of person when it comes to concepts that are too complex for my mind to hold all at once but the time apparently seems to be now… I completely hope we get to buy a house because our rent keeps going up like the glass elevator at the end of the book, but I am cosmically bone deep grateful that we are getting the chance to learn all about the process and are literally walking the beat in every neighborhood in the city trying to find places for our next chapter to fit.
And I’ve been thinking about my relationship with home, because I don’t really think I have much of a relationship with it. We’ve gone all over this part of the world. We’ve seen multiple places I lived as a child. We’ve been by multiple places I lived as an adult. I’ve freaked out about living in any of them. Then I think about where I would actually want to live instead given all the cash up front in the world (I hate rich people) (but just while I am trying to get a reasonable set of shingles over my head I swear) (or also when they are standing miles deep in line for a goddamn ice cream cone there are children dying in other countries while you stand there I know, I am not doing anything for them either, ok I’m done) and trying to choose a place I would live if I could choose anywhere freaks me out as well.
I don’t think I’m very used to having much choice about where I live. When I do, I don’t think much about it because it likely isn’t going to last long. Mostly it just happens because someone else makes it happen, and then I sponge it up and deal with it and adapt pretty well overall; or left to my own devices I find the cheapest thing that is closest to my job and friends, and camp out until someone else comes along and tells me where to live next. After about 32 years of this, I don’t have any concept of where I would like to live. Just somewhere cute, please, with trees, and a bus.
When I think about home, I think about people, and books, and clothes, and coffee mugs, and movies, and boxes stuffed with old letters. I think about the things I carry, to hold me down, so I will not be lost in the great wide abyss. I don’t know if anything at all happens to you when you die, but if anything does I hope I come back as a book.
And in the meantime y’all, buying a house is hard. And stupid. But I think it will be one of the best joys I’ve ever had to be tied so securely to a place that I begin to think of it as a home. Fingers XING!
May 16, 2016
Every day I get an email with a new Spanish vocabulary word.
I speak Spanish to no one but my cat and myself, so my progress is likely dubious, but I do have an ever expanding vocabulary if not much to speak of in terms of sentence structure and any sort of accuracy with tenses.
Because I can’t remember new words any better than I can names for new people, I pop whatever sentence comes into my head into google translate, and then I go around repeating that for awhile until it sticks.
Today I am having a hard time with conjugation, and have decided to just go with:
May 2, 2016
April 28, 2016
Last night, as far as I can tell apropos of nothing, I dreamed that a friend of my ancient childhood showed up out of the blue and proposed a road trip to North Carolina. The reasons were simple: we had friends there, and both of us really like eating beef jerky in the car.
In light of our mutual utter humanism, which in neither of us is disinclined to roar pure feminist rage when fiercely beleaguered and truly vexed, also well known current cultural climate in NC, I was skeptical. In spite of road jerky.
Nonsense, old friend said, we’ll just walk over their hateful little faces with our lovely lady shoes. And we were off.
I sadly have no blissful memories of dream road jerky, or splendid stories about our misdeeds in the South, where I am sure they have the most amazing old cars and hand mixers and melamine. My brain apparently just decided at that point that it would be better to think about rebranding Sweet Hearts in a retro 90s style running heavily to jewel tones. I’M SORRY.
Thank you to all of the people, lovely lady shoe wearing and otherwise, who never fail to make me feel, when the issue comes up, that to boldly go is the way to go.
Sometimes the goings-on of the world are just deafening and the content so sincerely gruesome that my heart shatters and my skeleton sort of wizens and I conclude that it is a world of fear and madness. Then I think it would be better probably to go lay on a train track and look at the stars, because we are all of us humans gravely terrible and we make the world suck. Then one or another of you will come along, even in a dream, and remind me, no way man. There’s us. We paint murals and dance congas and make cakes and pet cats and tilt at windmills. We can wear that if we want to. We can try that if we want to. We can go to North Carolina if we want to. And train tracks are for putting pennies on.
April 26, 2016
This morning as I was scuttling around the house getting ready for work I noticed my cat sitting on top of the back fence. This is not unusual but it is always noteworthy, because (like all perfect cats of her age and breed) she is remarkably graceful for someone with such a competitive girth. I was considering taking a picture of her to share so you could all appreciate her incredible personal blend of poise, balance, and bulk, but then I noticed that there was an actual legitimate standoff going on.
Lucky stood at one end of the fence, intensity radiating from every emphatic line, glaring narrowly.
Several yards down the fence, two squirrels crouched together, aggressive, with icky little yellow teeth out.
Between the antagonists, sporting brand new itty bitty fat red bulbs, sat my strawberry plant. Territory had been established, and was being challenged. My mind exploded.
All logic left me and forgetting to take an amazing picture of this experience to show you, I ran yelling out into the yard and the squirrels each took a flying leap into the pine tree. Lucky shrugged and returned to her breakfast. I took the strawberry planter off the fence, noted sundry empty stalk and receptacles, and lost my temper with myself a bit. I moved the planter to the roof overhang where no squirrel, lithe he or limber he ever so well, will be able to reach it. And I thought to myself, but did not say to anyone else, that apparently Jason is right again. Feeding squirrels in winter will only lead to sorrow in the spring. Survival is a brutal affair.
PS. I may not have the presence of mind to provide you with a visual representation of this story, however, when the dust had cleared and the plant had been moved and my rage was fragmenting slowly into self reproach, I happened to notice a witness to the entire performance, and I took a picture of him. You can tell by his expression that the whole thing was pretty epic.
April 26, 2016
Every time I watch Jeopardy I get this stuck in my head, a’la OingoBoingo,
it’s a jee-oh party, who could ask for more…
I report this fact with a dual intent. Firstly confession is good for the soul and nobody knew about this before now since I never actually sing when I get it stuck in my head; the reason for this, and secondly, is that I cannot think of any good lyrics to substitute for leaving your body at the door. Nothing real sweet and satisfactory like an mlt when the mutton is nice and juicy.