Friday, March 31, 2006

the people we saw

Day two of Bec's visit, and everywhere we went, we ran into people I know.

1.) She called at 9am and I drove over to take her out to breakfast. Thought it was only right to take her to the Paradox, which was the first restaurant I was taken to in this town, the day after I first arrived in May of 2001. The Paradox is a great, mostly-vegan spot on Belmont in the hippie-hipster part of Southeast Portland. They have *great* food. We split an order of almond gravy biscuits and I had tofu and fried potatoes. Yum. Bec had the special, which just looked like a huge pile of junk with a glob of guacamole on top. Looked questionable, but she thought it was great.

And who did I see? CB's middle son, Seraph. As Bec and I were walking down the sidewalk towards the Paradox, a car honked and someone called my name, and there he was, in his green scrubs, on his way to his job in the vet clinic. He stopped in the middle of the street and jumped out an hugged me and gave me his new number and we made quick plans to try and meet up soon because he and his wife are probably moving to Berkley at the end of the month.

He's great. A month before I left CB, I ran into Seraph and his wife at Dingo's on Hawthorne. They knew something was up with CB, but they didn't know what. They assumed it we were just having some relationship troubles. And we were, but probably not how they imagined. Seraph asked if I was going to leave CB and, at that time, I wasn't even considering it. I felt sad and tired when he asked, but I laughed a weak sort of laugh and said "No. I'm not leaving." And he said, "Listen, if you leave my mom, it will be the best thing you'll ever do for yourself." And he really meant it. It must suck to have a drunk for a mom.

2.) After the Paradox, Bec wanted to go look for jeans at a thrift store, so we went over to the Buffalo Exchange on Hawthorne. Seraph's wife KT works there, so I assumed we would see her, and we did. And that was great. She's gained about twenty pounds since the last time I saw her, an incredibly dramatic change, but I guess that's just life. I wondered if she was pregnant. She gave me a huge hug and told me bits and pieces of their personal saga w/ CB since I left. She kept saying "I don't want to burden you with details" -- but then she'd let a few slip out. Like that CB was drunk yesterday. And that CB and Seraph got into a big fight on Friday. Typical. I told KT I was really sorry I left them all to deal with CB and she laughed. She said "I'm just glad *you* don't have to deal with her anymore. She's impossible." And I felt so sad then. So sad for CB, who is really a sweet, awesome person who is also completely, belligerently, obnoxiously impossible. God it all sucks.

The craziest thing of all, though, was running into my friend Kris from Columbus, Ohio. I moved to Columbus in 1998 and lived with Bec there for a year and a half. While we were there, we became friend with Kris. Kris moved out here to Portland about a year before I came out here and though we've lived in the same town now for five years, we *never* see each other. Once every six months or so one of us will drop the other an email, we'll try to make some kind of plan, it will fall through, etc. In all my five years out here, I have *never* just bumped into Kris. Until today. At the Buff. With Bec. Again, I heard my name and turned around and there she was. Surprising for both of us, but quadruply shocking when I called Bec over. They haven't seen each other in 7 years now. Unbelievably random. What are the odds? Hmm.

3.) After all that craziness, we decided to walk up and down Hawthorne, just for the heck of it, and I saw CB's youngest son, little T. But that wasn't any kind of surprise, really. He was working at his job and I pretty much knew where to find him. It was good, though, b/c I haven't seen him in awhile and I didn't want him to think I was ignoring him.

That's all the people we saw. Then we went to my favorite coffeeshop and chatted awhile, then we came to my house and chatted awhile, then we went to Billy Ray's on MLK and sat in the backyard drinking beer and chatting awhile, soaking up the surprisingly warm March sun before the giant dark clouds took over. After allllllll that, I drove Bec back over to her friend's and then came back across town to meet Dreadlock for Pho. Only neither of us ate Pho. I ate brazed gluten and vegetables and it was awesome. The end.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

what dreams

I live in a basement, underneath a young couple who own the house. They are sweet. When I moved in, I learned that the she-half of the couple was pregnant, due at the end of this month. As the end of this month came closer, I thought more and more about her, wondered how she was, when the baby was coming, etc.

I should note, this couple, my landlords, are nothing to me but footsteps and voices coming from above -- I never actually see them. I've exchanged emails with the he-half of them a few times. Arranged for them to share my wireless. Arranged for them to come in and make repairs while I am out of the house, etc. But otherwise, they are strangely invisible to me, though always present, just above me, walking and talking and cooking -- the smell of their food comes to me through the vents. I am often greeted when I come home by the warm smell of basmati rice, or something that smells spicy, like chili, or maybe curry.

They are mysterious and invisible, but they are so sweetly mundane. I have been thinking about the she-half and her baby, coming soon, coming when? Not sure. Wondering. Then, a few nights ago, I dreamed about them all. I dreamed that they were about to go to the hospital so the baby could be born, but they were all very sad, dejected, despondent, because the she-half of the couple had a brain tumor and they knew that she would die as soon as the baby was born. In the dream, I saw the he-half of the couple, he was so distraught. Seeing him, I became distraught. I woke feeling terrible. Sad.

Then, two days later, an email came from the he-half. Subject line: "Oh Baby!" Complete with pictures of the fresh, gorgeous, healthy baby and his fresh, gorgeous, healthy and fully alive mom. Wonderful. I scanned over the pictures with a warm relief, then burst into sudden, unexpected tears when I saw they've named the baby Isaac. The name of my dead brother. Death. Life. Death. Always just spinning, in some kind of dual orbit, a binary galaxy. Life. Death. Life. And we're left to puzzle over the meanings, if any.

what's in the world

I don't know how to post links to good blogs, or I'd have a sidebar running full of them. Right now, I want to tell everybody to read this particular blog called Baghdad Burning -- I may have mentioned it on this site before, can't remember, but it's a great blog. The first year or so of it is being turned into a book. Written by a young woman in Baghdad who talks about her own family's day to day life there, what's going on, what's *really* going on. Fascinating, heartsickening, sad and amazing. Read it. It's at

all the places we went

My friend Bec is in town and it is my job to make her love Portland so she will move here. I've known Bec since 1994 and she's one of my favoritest, oldest friends. She's been living for 6 years in Brooklyn and she just bought a condo, but she *also* just ended a 5 year relationship and she's feeling like moving on soon... so... my fingers are crossed. Her *real* best friend (sadly, it's not me) just moved to town w/ husband and baby, and I think that will be the real draw. After all, she followed that chick to Brooklyn 6 years ago, so maybe she'll follow her to Portland too. We'll see.

So she took a bus downtown and met me at my work at one. I only had 4 hours to make a first, Portland impression on her. So what did we do?

1.) We walked down to my absolute favorite Thai restaurant in town, E-San, on Second in Old Town. E-San is gorgeous on the inside and the food is *perfect* -- Bec loved it.

2.) We walked over to Stumptown on Third and drank really good, Belgian beer. I know, I know, I'm supposed to be introducing her to *Portland* and Portland has *great* local beer, but she said she was in the mood for a Chimay, and it just so happens that Stumptown has Chimay. It was yummy and, of course, that Stumptown location is great, w/ the one wall of exposed brick and the hip barristas w/ those sexy, floor length black aprons... those are hot. It was good.

3.) Then we walked to Powell's City of Books. The most important thing to do in Portland -- Powell's is as big as a city block and several stories tall -- the hugest bookstore I can imagine, though I'm not sure if it's *actually* the biggest one in the country. I imagine it has to be. She bought two Nadine Gordimer books and I bought two Adrienne Rich books... which figures. I love Adrienne Rich. And I have about 80 bucks of store credit b/c I sold a bunch of books to them when I moved in February... so... it's like I'm not even spending money!

4.) Then we walked down to Reading Frenzy. The front of the shop is full of graphic novels and adult dolls (not "adult" dolls, just dolls and toys associated w/ comics and stuff like that). The back of the shop is full of really good porn. We flipped through On Our Backs (lesbian nudie magazine), which had Kate Clinton on the cover, looking bronze, wrinkled, grey-crew-cutted and *hot*. Then we looked at a book called something like "Lesbian Sex Tips From Straight Chicks." Hilarious and surprisingly educational. At this point in my life as a sexual being, I like to think I could *write* a book like that, however, Bec and I both ran across things we've never even considered. Simple things. Good things. We both seriously considered buying the book, but in the end, just couldn't put the money down for it. Oh well. Maybe I'll go back to Powell's and see if they've got it... I can use my store credit. :-)

5.) Then we walked over to Rich's Tobacco Shop -- why? Because it smells really good and they have an *incredible* magazine selection. I guess the fact that I took Bec to three different book/magazine stores says a lot about me and not that much about Portland. Oh well. I found about fifteen journals I wanted to buy (eg: The Paris Review, Glimmer Train, The American Scholar, Granta, on and on) but didn't buy anything. Again, I thought about running back to Powell's w/ my store credit. I surfaced from looking at journals and found Bec flipping through an Us magazine. She tells me Brangelina aren't doing well. Hmm.

6.) Then we finally made it to Pioneer Courthouse Square. I love Pioneer Square. When I first came to town, I hung out at Pioneer Square a *lot* -- like the other street kids. Only I wasn't a street kid. I used to hang out, eat cheap food from the carts, people watch, kill time, etc. I didn't have a lot to do when I first came to town, and I was broke. I showed Bec the spot where the Dalai Lama stood when he was here in 2001, and how close I was to him, which was pretty close. I showed her the weird little spot in the Square where the bricks go round in three-quarters of a circle and if you stand in the middle it throws your voice back to you magically. That's always pretty cool to check out. Then we sat on the steps and just talked for a long time. It was nice. We talked about the best sex we've ever had. It was a hilarious conversation. Bec, having just ended a long (and long ending) relationship, hasn't gotten laid in a really long time and it's pretty heavy on her mind. I wish I knew somebody cute and free to hook her up w/ while she's here. We'll see. I mull it over.

7.) Then we rode the Max (light rail train) back to the place where she needed to catch her bus. And that's that.

Tonight she's cooking dinner for her friends where she's staying and I'm home feeling suddenly, unhappilly alone. Hmm. So good to see her after so long, so fun to spend the afternoon running around my favorite town, showing her some of my favorite things, and talking so much. And now... I'm like Wiley Coyote when he runs and runs and runs after the roadrunner, then accidentally runs off the edge of a cliff... but then just hangs there a moment before realizing he's stopped.... and then finally falling. That's me.

I wonder what we're going to do tomorrow...

thinking of emmigrating

The latest news from my country on gay marriage: the Massachusetts Supreme Court has ruled that gay couples from other states cannot come to Massachusetts (which allows same-sex marriage) to get married if they do not intend to stay in Massachusetts and if their home states explicitly prohibit same-sex marriage. This decision is based on a 1913 law still on the books which prohibits marriages of non-Massachusets-residents whose home-states would not recognize those marriages. I'm guessing this law was made in the context of interracial marriage. Just a guess. However, the Court said that couples from states that are silent on the issue of gay marriage (ie: that haven't explicitly articulated opposition to it) can still get married.

What does this mean? This means that the handful of states left in this country which have not yet passed anti-gay marriage legislation will be scrambling to do so. At least that's what opponents of gay marriage hope. Fuck opponents of gay marriage.

Meanwhile, SK is in Australia which is currently debating the issue of gay marriage -- polls of the public show support in the high 60s. Nice. And according to SK, they already recognize same-sex relationships in ways other than marriage, and that I could go over with her (b/c she's got Australian citizenship) and I could stay legally. Amazing. Miraculous. I'm packing my bags.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

drinks with dutch

Fun, as always. I don't think I've ever spent time with Dutch that wasn't perfectly proportioned, full, rich and fun. Dutch (so nicknamed in this blog because she actually *is* Dutch) has this dutch effeciency about her. She never lingers longer than necessary, we get separate checks, she has only one glass of wine, we talk about all the things we need to talk about, and then we're done and we part ways. There was a time when I *longed* for more from Dutch, and the absence of that "something more" drove me to distraction. That was, fortunately, a long time ago. Now I rely on her clean efficiency, trusting that we'll have a nice time, she'll never stay longer than she wants, and I'll always know where she's at and where I stand.

Not to mention, we have great conversations. Dutch is about five minutes away from a PhD in Organizational Psychology and just got back from two weeks in New Orleans doing disaster mental health work. Amazing work. Lots to talk about. Also, Dutch is good friends with SK and Dutch used to study process work (Google it, I can't explain it) and when we get together it's a good thing. I can barely even remember what we talked about, just that it sparkled and waved and flowed and jumped and it was great and then it was time to come home. Zaytoon was great -- not too loud, but loud enough to swallow up our animated conversations before they reached other tables. Not smoky at all, which was good. Dim enough to be cool with enough light to be glittery and sparkling.

I had the most intense experience of missing SK while I was talking with Dutch. It was early in the conversation. I was telling Dutch a little about some of the complicated things SK and I have been sort of grappling with during her absence -- things that have come up in our emails and phone calls, etc -- explaining to Dutch how we've addressed these things, how we've worked on them, worked on ourselves around them, etc. And I realized, as I talked, that I was just beaming, ear-to-ear grinning, coming out of my skin w/ happiness. And, of course, Dutch picked it up right away. Told me how obvious our love was, how good we were together, how we compliment each other in our ability to hold a difficult space, go into it, delve, delve, delve, feel it out, come to understand it, move through it, etc. And as she said all that, and I felt all that, etc, etc, and all that... I really *felt* SK, like she was right there with me, like she was sitting in my lap, she was that close. Wonderful. Especially wonderful, b/c I was recently lamenting that SK was fading a little, that I was having to work harder to conjure a real feeling of her, a real, vivid memory of what her physical presence is like. And just tonight, unexpected and unbidden, there was, suddenly, this huge feeling of SK, like she'd never left, like I felt her in Yachats when we realized we were actually girlfriends. I felt her like she was right there with me and not on the other side of the earth.

And I will hold *that* for awhile. Because it feels pretty good.

peculiar technological interruptions

A whole post, written and ready to go, when I hit the spell check and created some kind of error which crashed my browser. So. My whole post, sucked into the electronic vortex of nothing. Something in it wanted to be abandoned, I guess. Wanted to vanish.

Lately I've been feeling mush-headed and bleary and not very smart or interested in anything. This is the exact opposite of how I'd imagined I would spend my spring break. But I can't force my brain into a space it's not. I am not in a "read the New York Times" kind of space right now. I'm in a "dodder around my house and slowly organize paperwork and piles of clothes and recycling" kind of space. I'm in a "stare at the wall and wonder what I'm doing with my life" kind of space. I'm in a "mild, low-level headache, seasonal allergies" kind of space.

And now I'll get up and get into a "dressing for drinks with my friend Dutch" kind of space. I'm meeting her at Zaytoon, a middle-eastern tapas bar owned and operated by an Iraqi lesbian. It's pricey, but near my house and swanky in an appealing sort of way. Lots of professional, power-dykes in there, sipping girly cocktails and talking about god knows what, but probably really happy not to be across town in the crappy dyke bar, the E-room, rubbing elbows with the cocaine-in-the-bathroom, video-poker, mullet-and-ball-cap crowd. People are so weird.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

the true sign of spring

Ok. It's official. I just heard the first ice-cream truck drive by with that music tinkling out into the barely warm air. That music will make me crazy by the end of the season, but for now, it is sweet in my ears. Yay! Spring!

Monday, March 27, 2006

traumatic brain injury

All day, a headache, eyes all squinted up and bleary, brain a few steps behind, in a fog, in mush. I think that paper yesterday gave me a brain injury -- a TBI as they're called, and maybe now, in addition to pain and latency, I'll develop those other weird symptoms associated with TBIs, like disinhibition and concreteness. People with TBIs often take their clothes off in public and aren't able to modulate their voices. So they yell a lot. Naked.

My friend Waspy is trying to convince me to spend a few days in April with her in Coos Bay (on the coast) while she does some big trial she's been working on for months and months. Coos Bay is ugly and far away, but I think she's going to convince me to go. Her best argument: "what else are you going to do?" And while I can think of a million other things I could do, I can't help but remember a Vonnegut quote that I had written in sharpie across my backpack in highschool ('cause I was *that* kind of kid) -- it said "Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from god."

So... how can I decline?

P.S. -- Here's how I can decline: I can realize that I have to work and go to school all the days of her trial. That's the "what else" that I'm going to do. Oh well. Sorry Waspy. And sorry Kurt Vonnegut. Maybe next time.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

giddy with relief

Holy shit, I am finally done with my paper and I am totally fucking delirious with relief. I have been working on this thing, practically non-stop since 9:30 this morning and it is now 11:30 at night. That's a lot of hours. I took a few breaks, probably three whole hours worth throughout the day, including a long walk through the neighborhood. That helped, but I still feel like a desk-zombie. So what, I'm a desk-zombie who gets the job done. All 23 pages of it (supposed to be longer, but fuck it, it's a first draft -- the final product will be longer) -- I just emailed it to the prof (Sunday night, as promised) and now it's OUT OF MY HANDS!

Yay! I'm done!! Yay!! Tomorrow I get to go to work and get a hair-cut and do laundry and all the normal shit I've been dying to do for weeks but couldn't b/c of this paper and my internship and everything else. Yay!! It's really spring break and I actually get to have some of the "break" part too!! Yay!! Yay!!

Now I'm going to go collapse in my bed, exhausted and spent! But still happy!! Because I'm done!! Yay!!

life spontaneously arising

I picked up my stuff from CB's. I was nervous about it, and as I drove the million blocks to her place out in SE Portland, (a so-familiar route, route well traveled by me for two years, daily) I noticed a comfortable familiarity that felt almost terrifying. I felt, for just a moment, like my leaving had been a dream and that I was really on my way home to my house with CB, to my normal life. I felt like I could just drive up and find everything as it had been -- like I could just walk back into that life. And I was terrified that I would get to CB's and realize that I *wanted* to walk back into that life. Fuck.

But when I got there, thank god, the spell was broken. I walked in the house and it smelled like stale cigarettes because she's been smoking in the house ever since I left. I hate it. I hate it so much and when I walked in and smelled it, the spell was broken and I remembered why I'd left and I felt just hollow and sad. She wasn't home, which was a relief, so I grabbed my stuff and left.

She called, though, soon after I got back home and we ended up talking for almost an hour. This time it was good, though we both cried through most of it, we actually just talked about mundane things. Life, work, school. It felt so good and I realized how much I've missed her and how much I care about her. It was a good conversation and, having had it, I feel the seeds for a future friendship are sowed. I also know we're probably going to go down before we go up anymore, and that's ok too. I just have hope now for our future friendship. And that feels good.

I had to leave as soon as we got off the phone (quickly blowing nose and washing face, hoping to stamp out the remnants of my long crying) -- because I'd gotten sort of bamboozled into having dinner with a couple of people. I was set up, actually, by a coworker. Set up to be on a date with *her* under the guise of having me meet a friend of hers who is a mediator and who could give me some career advice. I've had my suspicions about this woman's intentions toward me and when she fanagled this dinner for the three of us, I definitely thought it was fishy. I mean, all she needed to do was give me the guy's contact information so I could do some networking. Instead she arranged a dinner for all three of us?

So I met up with them at Bush Garden, a very lovely sushi place downtown (though, where I come from, Bush Gardens is an amusement park...) -- we had our own private room, sitting on tatami mats with our feet under a sunken table -- odd and utterly Japanese. I should say "utterly something out of a movie" b/c I have no idea what is utterly Japanese, only what it might look like in a movie. It was a completely surreal night -- out with a man who had plenty of money to spend and who wanted to treat. He ordered us sake to share -- then more sake -- then appetizers -- then the food -- then mochi -- then tea -- the ease and whimsy of his ordering more and more of whatever he wanted added to the dreamy quality of the night. So nice to sit back and let someone sweet and awkward and "flush," as SK would say, just take care of the whole night in a sort of magic way. Yeah.

But it was clear that I was on a date with my coworker, who sat between us and claimed to be there as the facilitator for our meeting. I felt from the beginning that it was somewhat staged and that is what I still believe. We all had a lovely time, the conversation was sparkling and fun and completely unrelated to any of the heavy things causing stress in my life... yet... as the night wore on, I started realizing that every interesting exchange, every laugh, every light and engaging moment was sending some kind of signal to my coworker (who I'll call Grey). And the guy was clearly encouraging the sweet little thing between us that he thought he saw forming -- saying things like "oh, you two have a real ease in the way you relate. It's sweet." Later, as we were walking from the restaurant, looking for an open coffeeshop, he kept falling back, moving away, as though giving Grey and I some space to be alone. I kept, then, pulling him back in, wedging him between us.

Finally, first chance I got alone with her, I called it out. Said I felt like we were on a date and told her I needed to be clear that, while I was having a really good time, I did not want to be on a date, that I was involved with someone else and that I didn't want my good time to be misread. She seemed to take it in stride, and the night went on from there.

Coolest thing -- there was a guy playing accordian and singing Italian opera at the coffeeshop. He looked angry and unappreciated, but his music was lovely, if a little loud. We yelled out our last conversations over the staccato blasts of accordian music, then, all of us sleepy, we headed out. SK called while I was on my way to the car and I ended my night driving home talking to sweet little SK, all the way over in Tasmania. What a long, unplanned, strange, wonderful day I've had. Jesus I'm exhausted.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

restless and surly

Last night i went out with Dreadlock to the Alberta St. Pub. It was boring. Then we walked fifteen blocks down to The Know and that was more than just boring, it was also loud and smoky and I started realizing that my days in that shitty-bar scene are numbered. Ending. Over, maybe. I left early, while Dreadlock was flirting with a coworker. I walked home, checked my email, went bed.

I woke up this morning hungover. Three pints of Pabst. That's all. I can't drink like I used to. That's probably for the best. I came to work. No emails from SK today. I notice that I'm spoiled to her messages and when I don't get any, I feel bratty. It's early there, she's probably still sleeping. Whatever.

I'm feeling restless and surly. I want a cigarette. I'm not a smoker, but I bought a pack of Camel lights the other day for complicated reasons and I've been smoking since then. Not a lot. Just enough. I have to write this paper, this really long, really important paper, and I use the cigarettes as a mind trick. I tell myself that smoking a cigarette is a treat I can have if I get some of my paper done. I tell myself that I'm laboring away over this paper and it will be easier if I adopt a pensive, bitter, smoker persona. I stand out on my front steps, which lead up from my basement to the street. I lean against the cold concrete and look across the flower bed (full of blooming bulb plants, pushing up through a layer of dead, decaying leaves), the ground is eye-level. I blow smoke towards the clouds, purse my lips, squint, feeling hard and tired. Then I go back in, dizzy, sit down, try to write, can't write, get up and wash the smell off my hands, etc.

It's kind of ridiculous.

I'm interested in my paper topic, yet I can't seem to muster any enthusiasm for the writing. I'm writing about early gender normalizing surgeries performed on children born with disorders of sex development (DSDs -- such individuals are also called "intersexed" and they used to be called "hermaphrodites" -- but that's outdated.) I'm writing about how fucked up it is to perform these surgeries on infants and theorizing about the possible avenues for litigation. So far, only in Columbia (the country, not the district of) has a court found doctors liable for medical malpractice for performing these surgeries. Not that anything a Columbian court did will make any difference here b/c we're such separatist xenophobes, but it helps to consider the basis for the decision when crafting arguments to US courts -- the same things might be persuasive.

Anyway, I have strong feelings about the topic, but feel bratty about doing the work and writing a forty page paper. My first draft is due tomorrow night. I've done 10 pages. I guess I'm twenty five percent done. That doesn't feel very moving.

Meanwhile, I have to go to CB's tonight to pick up a box of my stuff. After that awful conversation, she called back and apologized for hanging up on me. Then she called and apologized again -- all on my voicemail, I wasn't picking up. She sounds so sad. It's heartbreaking, really. I have no idea if she'll be home when I get there, I just know she left the box inside and I have to go in and get it. It will be sad to see her. My heart still hurts but there's nothing I can do.

I can't even smoke on the way over there -- I accidentally left my cigarettes at home. Oh well.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

humor me (major change of subject)

Please forgive me while I geek out on college basketball for a minute. I am from North Carolina where college basketball is huge. There are tons of good teams in my state and if you grow up in North Carolina, you grow up taking sides. It's just part of life. My team is Duke. College basketball is the only sport I care about at all. Now here comes the geeking out part:

I just checked the brackets and DUKE LOST!! They didn't even make it past the Sweet 16!! What's worse, NO North Carolina team made it to the Elite 8, and the Elite 8 is chump change! At least ONE North Carolina team is supposed to make it into the Final Four every year, it's just the way things work, it's just natural! I absolutely can't believe it. What's happening back home??? Those tall, skinny boys are losing their gumption.

What a bummer.

coming back to bite me

Today at work I was reading over my March horoscope (from, which is pretty good) -- and I saw that Mercury in retrograde in my fifth house until the 25th means I'll probably get back in touch with an "old flame" and perhaps "rekindle things" -- or else get closure of some kind. Interesting.

So, of course, as I was riding the bus home this afternoon, my cell phone rang and it was CB. Fuck. I was scrambling to get the phone out of my pocket in case it was SK calling from Tasmania, and I almost threw the phone down when I saw CB's name on the screen instead of "Private Number." Fuck fuck fuck. (Sorry Rufus.) I silenced the ring and shoved it back in my pocket. Fuck.

I went home, made food, walked up to my favorite coffeeshop, worked on my paper for a few hours, had a nice conversation with SK who eventually *did* call, etc, etc, etc, came home, washed my dishes, started cooking some food then -- BAM -- before I knew it and w/o even really thinking about it, I called CB back. I hadn't been *thinking* about it, per se, but it had been weighing on me, somewhere in the back of my little mind. Somewhere on the top of my heart. Weighing like a dead body or wet blanket.

So I called and she answered. And we had the most heartbreaking, fucked up, painful, sad, infuriating, *long* conversation, which, not surprisingly, ended when she hung up on me. I thought we were finally having "the" conversation, the one where I really tell her, really explain everything about why I left, why I stayed gone, why I'm, ultimately, done. The one where I'm compassionate, yet completely truthful, and she really hears me, finally hears me, and we break through the weird crust of expectation and bitterness and really talk. Actually talk. And maybe heal something? Maybe take a step closer, to maybe make a friendship someday? Yeah... I'm nuts.

I had that conversation, I said all those things, I sobbed and told her everything about my leaving that I could think to tell. I countered her assertions that I hadn't been honest, I challenged her assumptions that I left her for Mog or that I'd been planning to leave all along, that I tricked her into "believing in forever," that leaving is my fucking, so-called "pattern," (only, tonight, she called it my "M.O.") I explained (again) that, contrary to her belief that my leaving was "easy" and "so sudden" -- my leaving was extremely difficult, painful, frustrating, lonely, heartbreaking, and STILL IS, and that it was *not* "so sudden," and if she'd only been paying attention for the last five months of our relationship she would've realized how *not* sudden it was. I told her that I love her and I miss her and that I'm heartbroken to have lost our relationship, our marriage, our home, our life -- that I'm still grieving all of it -- and that, despite all that, I'm still done. I explained all my reasons, all the hard stuff, the really personal stuff, the truest of the true stuff. I said it all, I said it through tears, I said it with heart and with truth. And when I was done, what did she say?

She said "I don't believe you."

I should've gotten off the phone right then, b/c the rest of the conversation was just spinning wheels and a lot more crying. Bottom line, she still has hope, she still wants to be with me, she's still waiting for me to come home. Bottom line, as long as I say I'm "done" she doesn't want to hear anything I have to say. I told her in a million different ways that I'm done. We went over and over and over it like riding a roller coaster with only one loop that you take a million times. It would die down and she'd bring it up again. So frustrating!!! We'd cry and cry, the subject would change, we'd keep talking (arguing, arguing, so frustrating, the most frustrating conversations ever) and then she'd come back in with something like this: "I can just tell by your voice that you're done, I just know it." And I'd say "CB, you don't have to 'tell by my voice' that I'm done. I'm telling you out loud in English that I'm done. You don't have to figure it out, it's not a secret." Then more crying, then more arguing, then all over again.

In the end, after more crying, more arguing, she finally had the fucking audacity to say this "This may seem strange... I know this is strange... but..." and a pause so long I swear I couldn't even imagine what she was going to say and I really, honestly wouldn't have guessed she would be so *daft* as to say this, but she finally said, "Do you think... you might want... to... you know... get together... and just see... about... working something out... with me... a relationship...?" NO NO A THOUSAND TIMES NO!!!

I said, w/o hesitation, "no." And she hung up on me.

I reread that, and I see how heartbreaking it is. She is heartbreaking. She's on the phone crying, saying she loves me, misses me so much, misses her best friend, misses her wife, thinks about me all day every day, wakes up in a daze, can't believe I really left, that I'm really gone -- and that gets me, it really gets me, it breaks my heart because I miss her too! And I do love her and I know exactly where she's at and I understand that pain and from her perspective I guess I seem like the cruelest torturer on the planet. But christ!! It's all about her! Her love for me is all about her! She didn't take care of me like I wanted and needed to be taken care of. She didn't take care of our relationship. She only took care of herself, and by "take care" I don't mean to imply that she was really caring for herself, she was only behaving selfishly and very self-destructively.

Fuck it's so frustrating.

Then, an hour after hanging up on me, she called back. A perfect illustration of why I can't be with her: when I saw her name on the phone I actually felt *scared* -- I got a pit in my stomach, lost my appetite and worried that if I didn't pick up, she might just drive over here -- show up on my doorstep (echoing all those nights, fighting instead of sleeping, when I'd retreat to the spare bedroom and she'd follow me, or she'd wake up in the middle of the night after a fight and realize I was gone and she'd come looking for me, demanding my attention, demanding I get back in bed, wake up, engage with her. Demanding, in short, that she have it her way, only her way, all the time.) Asshole.

In the middle of the phone call, in the hardest part, hurting and crying and shrinking and twisting inside, I sat at my desk and looked at all the pictures of SK everywhere. SK's big, golden eyes looking at me from five different angles, beaming out this incredible, abundant sweetness, this love that holds everything, that doesn't diminish, demand, take, destroy, disrespect, deny, etc, etc, etc. SK who is so new yet so kind and warm and who holds me in it all, who holds me. And I took comfort there. And that is exactly where I want to be.

SK. Come home from Australia. I need to bury my head in your neck and recouperate.

precision vs letting things slide

For the past week and half, I've caught the bus at the corner of 15th and Failing every morning around 7:30. I've fed my one-zone ticket into the little ticket eater, the bus driver has handed me a transfer, and I've been taken within one block of my workplace. This morning, however, I fed my ticket into the ticket eater and the bus driver (a new one for me, having caught an earlier bus than usual) looked uncomfortable, frowned at me, and asked if I had 30 cents. I laughed at him. Why did he want 30 cents? He wanted me to upgrade my ticket. I didn't understand. None of the other bus drivers had ever asked me to upgrade. This information did not sway him. I said "A one zone ticket won't get me downtown?" And he said "Not from this stop." So I handed him 30 cents, feeling puzzled, and took a seat.

Later, at work, I looked my route up on TriMet and, sure enough, I'd been catching the bus exactly one stop outside the inner zone. None of the other drivers had mentioned it. Did they think I knew and that I was just trying to make a point or pull one over on them? Or did they see how ridiculous it was to ask for 30 cents more because I was getting on the bus just two blocks outside the inner zone? Did they just not care?

And this guy? Would it have killed him to explain? When I asked about my one zone ticket, why didn't he say "the zone ends at Alberta." Then I would've understood. Instead, it was like some mystery, some secret. Why are people so awkward with each other?

So now I know. And I can either walk an extra two blocks to Alberta every morning, or I can pony up the extra 30 cents. Or I can keep catching the later bus and continue my unspoken yet known cheating of TriMet. How odd.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

along that theme

Just ran across something I wrote at some point during the *real* dissolution of my relationship w/ CB. It was in my old journal. Here it is:

Who will adore me? Not
you. Who will count
each hair, map each
freckle, track
each new line, each
year? The way I rock my
body slightly when I
read a poem -- the way
I cry over minutia.
Only me.
Only me.

I only love you now
in fragments. Your
strong hands, wide
forhead. The picture of you,
hanging in the hall, you were
19, 7 months pregnant, your
hair in braids, in an apron,
baking bread. All the rest
memories: souring.

I want to love god but get
lost. Can god be found
in the spark between human bodies
struck against each other like
stones? Can we -- striking --
make a fire between us? And
will that fire
light a path
Or simply consume us
in a flash
leaving darkness falling
on ash.


That's what you call it, legally -- dissolution. When your marriage ends. Yesterday, in my Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Law class we discussed gay marriage and I felt bitter. My professor showed a video documenting the ceremony of one couple, March 3rd, 2004, the day Multnomah County started letting the homos marry. The day *I* got married. I watched the video and felt burnt and hollow like a charred tree stump. Flashes of that day, standing in the line, all the couples, so sweet, so excited.

The rush to marry was so moving -- as though the gate was finally opened that had separated a thousand dehydrated people from a clean water source. We all rushed in and drank, drank, drank -- so thirsty! So thankful. So thankful to finally be "given" this basic right, this basic, simple right which straight people completely take for granted, as a matter of course: marriage, the acceptance, sanction and subsidizing of relationships by the government and the culture at large.

I watched the video of that ceremony, remembered my own hasty ceremony on the sidewalk outside the Multnomah Building by some unknown officiant, completely unplanned, unprepared for. Not only were we thirsty, not only were we gulping the water, but we were doing it as fast as we could b/c we did not have the luxury or leisure to look for the good glasses, ask for crushed ice, get some lemon or sprigs of mint. We were kneeling at the edge of the creek, scooping it up fast by the handfuls. We feared (knew) it would not last. We feared (knew) it would be taken away. We just didn't know when.

It wasn't even dissolved, it was found to be void from the start. Void from the start means our marriage never really existed. It never existed at all. It was nothing, nonexistent. All along, nonexistent.

I am weary of being invisible. I am weary. My marriage was taken away before I ever decided to end it myself. I didn't get to have a divorce. I didn't get to go through the bullshit paperwork. I didn't get the kind of closure that system creates. I don't think there's magic in that beaureaucracy, but it serves a cultural function and I wanted my share of it. I wanted my day. I wanted to be able to go to school and tell my peers, my professors, "sorry, I'm pretty frazzled, I'm in the middle of a divorce." That's like a talisman, a magic word, it carries power and meaning in this culture. People would understand, sympathize. People could relate. Instead, I come and say "I left my partner over the break" and they don't get it. They say "Oh, I'm sorry" and I can see in their eyes they're just thinking "Bummer, oh well." Because there is no cultural framework for my relationship, it exists in some fuzzy space for them. And by "them", of course, I'm referring to straight people. Though, queer people are immersed in exactly the same culture and have been so trained not to expect more from the world, queer people are just as likely to think "oh bummer' b/c they already aren't coming from the frame of reference of "divorce."

There's a cross I don't get to bear here. There's something culturally that I'm missing out on and I'm trying to make sense of it. I feel doubly alone in this. Four months after leaving, I'm still mourning the loss of my marriage. I am alone in it. And the fact is, my "marriage" ended a year before I left. My marriage ended by voter initiative, by ballot measure, by unfavorable state supreme court decision.

I'm frustrated. To take a line from an old Ani Difranco song: fuck this time and place.

I want to move to England. At least they allow gay marriage. And, presumably, gay divorce. I just want to go somewhere where I'm not fucking invisible.

lent is for losers

Not really. Just being inflammatory. Sad to report my lent experiment has been an all-around bust. It was a nice idea when I first had it, but life circumstances got in the way and I just couldn't stick with it. Some of my goals, however, have been easy to meet: I have been driving my car much less, taking the bus to work every day. I've also been walking a lot, which has been great. At least one sweet little walk through my neighborhood every day. Helping my mental health a lot. And, now that SK's gone, the no-sex thing is pretty easy. And the vegan thing...? Well, I hardly eat meat anyway, so that's been easy. I haven't gone completely off dairy, but I'm not buying any *new* dairy, just finishing up the things that were left over in my fridge.

My biggest lent failures? Alcohol and daily meditation. Seems I've had them mixed up. Daily alcohol and no meditation. Well... not entirely true, but may as well be. I haven't really meditated (not the way I planned to when I made my lent list) and I have had a few drinks here and there, but mostly in moderation... mostly.

My newest goal is to stop spending money. Now that my student loan cushion has basically gone flat, I've got to get a lot tighter. Oh well. At least I'm working more now, that helps. Maybe I should put one of those cyber tip-jars on my site. That way, all five of the people who are reading this could subsidize my lifestyle. Ha. Or roll their eyes and decide to quit reading.

Monday, March 20, 2006


Tonight I saw Adrienne Rich. She, with gnarled, arthritic hands -- tiny and bent -- pushing a wheeled walker across the stage, sitting in an ornate chair, announcing "this is the first poetry reading I have ever done not standing up" and I wanted to cry just then for her fragile human body housing fire and passion and power and knowledge and skill and art and love and beauty. She read poems and I sat on the edge of my seat and didn't stir until it was over. I bought two books and stood in the line to see her. I gave her a card I'd brought for her (tiny little her, sitting at the booksigning table, a person in miniature, how I towered!) and she took my card and slowly slipped it into a little canvas bag that lay on the table next to her water glass (water glass which she had to lift, like a child, with both hands, hands bent and knobbed, no longer supple enough to grasp) -- then, those knobbed, bent hands took up the pen delicately and wrote out her name in one book and then the other, pausing in between to look up at me, to look deeply into my eyes. And when she was done, and slowly pushed the books toward me, she looked at me again, into my eyes, holding my eyes, holding my eyes for an infinite moment, her dark little eyes, kind little eyes, holding mine, holding mine until I almost wondered if something was wrong. I said "thank you so much" trembling by this point, trembling, my eyes springing with water. And she, still holding my eyes, still holding, said "you are very welcome" -- and I wanted in that moment to throw my arms around her, or to pick her up like the hero in a movie and take her away, swing from a billowing curtain out a window and land in the seat of a horse drawn carriage that would whisk us off to the train station and we'd ride all night in a sleeper car and I'd either magically restore her youth or tenderly care for her in her physical decline, whatever, I didn't care, I just felt this pull, this deeply painful pull to stay there in her gaze forever.

But instead I broke the connection. I turned and walked away, swooning just a bit, and the tears which had been hovering finally came free and slid down and more came and more and more and I walked to my car in a blind daze, mouth open, panting, tears streaming and then, in my car, inexplicable sobbing, sobbing, sobbing all the way home as I drove, thinking "I should not be driving like this" but driving on anyway. Why? What feeling was wringing these sobs out of me? What had she done to me? What was shaken loose, set free, opened to the world, unfolded? All in her eyes, transmission of lineage. I sob under the weight of it.

a little more detail

So. The demonstration yesterday. First of all, the day was unbelievably gorgeous. Blue sky, sun shining, good temperature. We all met up in front of Border's Books on the Max tracks at 3rd and Morrison and walked over to waterfront park where a sea of people had already amassed. Then we stood in the sun (which got hotter and hotter as we stood there, baking me in my black long sleeved t-shirt) for what seemed like *hours* listening to lifeless antiwar music and similarly uninspiring speeches. Ok, two of the speeches were pretty ok and one was downright uplifting, but that one was by a preacher and preachers are, by nature, talented speakers. Right?

Finally we were let loose. It was me and my old Portland friends along with a snowball of other acquaintances and people I'd only heard about (like Hoot's friend Smack. And D-Jay's annoying friend with the bad sunglasses). We walked along and chatted and listened to the various chanting ("Hey-hey-ho-ho-president-bush-has-got-to-go!" and "Feed the hungry not the war!" and, of course, "Not my president! Not my war!") I'm not a chanter. I'm a quiet walker. So I just walked along through Portland's streets watching people and enjoying the weather and hoping just the sheer size of the demonstration would mean something to someone, and wondering if there would be any civil disobedience. I remembered three years ago, at the first march after the war started, a splinter group sat down in the intersection on Burnside and blocked it (effectively blocking access to the Burnside bridge) for hours until the cops slowly picked them off one by one. I wasn't in that group. By the time they "took Burnside," I was on the other side of the river with all my little friends drinking 22oz. "pints" of PBR at Billy Ray's and watching it all on TV.

True to form, I started suggesting early on that we might just pop into a pub along the way for a nice, afternoon beer. Thank god Hoot was stalwart and he insisted we at least march through the business district before we bailed and went to the bar. We marched for a really long time, then all pulled over and stood on the sidewalk, watching the rest of the march go by. We'd been very near the front the whole time and we had no concept of how many people were behind us. It was awesome. In addition, we accidentally chose to stop right in front of some performing arts center and within a few minutes of our standing there, a gorgeous man in a dashiki, with his bald head glowing in the sun, had set up some drums on a balcony above us and was beating out an awesome rhythm for the marchers. That was pretty sweet.

As the march slid past us we had a chance to see all the creative ways people chose to protest -- homemade shirts and signs were popular, of course. There were a couple of people on stilts and a guy on a unicycle -- and I thought what a pain in the ass it would be to do that whole, long march on *stilts*! Jesus. There was also this really moving and a little creepy bit of performance art near the end -- a line of people in big paper mache masks to look like forlorn women's faces -- simple and painted white, draped with white hoods and white robes, carried in their outstretched arms limp, stuffed figures in the shape of people, colored black-ish gray, so they almost looked burnt. Looked like a line of grotesquely huge mothers, forlornly carrying their dead children. Behind them, a group was singing an eery, ethereal melody to underscore the image. And then, behind *them*, was another row of people in paper mache masks -- these were men, wearing black suits and paper mache fedora hats on their huge paper mache heads -- they walked with their hands up, palms out -- and their palms were dripping red. We have blood on our hands. On every block, the row of these men would stop and slowly turn from one side to the other, showing everyone their hands, seeming to look at everyone, to hammer home the message of our complicity in this war. That was sobering.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

springtime is for antiwar demonstrations

Today I met up with a bunch of my oldest Portland friends for the antiwar demonstration downtown. Many of us marched together this time three years ago right after the bombing in Iraq first began. We got t-shirts and painted "Social Workers Against Bombs" on them. S.W.A.B. -- nice. So, today we had a SWAB reunion. We all regreted that we didn't have our SWAB shirts anymore -- the sad reality, of course, is that we never anticipated we'd need them three years later. What the fuck?

Three years later?

Three years.

Anyone interested in hearing what it's like to actually be an Iraqi living in Baghdad should check out this blog, it's called Baghdad Burning and here's the URL: -- it's awesome. Written by a young, educated woman who lives with her family in Baghdad. She basically just writes about her life, what's happening, basic blog-like things. But she's in Baghdad and her basic, blog-like things include describing how her family sat up, huddled together in the living room for hours, late into the night, as their neighborhood was raided -- the raiders (they didn't know who, maybe Iraqi police? Americans? Insurgents?) were working their way through, from house to house... so they just sat up waiting, prepared for the banging on the door and the armed men who would storm in, demanding, ordering, rifling, pilfering. Read this blog. It makes me almost ashamed to blog about the trivialities of my life.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

little blue fish

A couple days before SK left (which feels like a century ago, but which was, in fact, only six days ago), she bought me a little hot-water bottle from Food Front in the shape of a fish. SK has this thing for hot-water bottles -- I think it's a British thing. At any rate, it's pretty endearing. At SK's house it seems there's an empty hot-water bottle somewhere in every room, like easter eggs, strangely pastel and lying in unlikely places. I think she has 100 of them, but she only admits to having something like four. Seems underestimated.

I was skeptical when she first started talking about hwb's -- seemed like a pain in the ass and a recipe for disaster (boiling water exploding from a rubber bladder at the foot of your bed? no thanks...) But now that I have my very own I've had a change of heart. First of all -- it's shaped like a fish! It's adorable! Also, it's sort of small and perfect for sliding between my low back and my chair -- great for my fucked up back and also a nice way to raise core body temperature when I've been sitting still and studying so long that all my body systems have started shutting down. And, of course, it came from SK, so I love it.

But really, even if you've never met SK or if you can't get one in the ultra-adorable shape of a fish, you should still get one. They make the foot of the bed all cozy (and they really don't explode, unless maybe if you over-fill them or... you know... put them on the ground and stomp on them) -- and there's something really sweet and quaint about them. Simple. It's a rubber bottle full of hot-water and it helps keep you warm. Ingenious. If you live in Portland, you should totally go to Food Front for the fish-shaped variety. Otherwise, I have no fucking clue where you might get one. E-bay?

lonesome like lightening

Cooking dinner in my apartment, spaghetti and asparagus. Listening to country music, doing research for a paper. It's an all-around lovely night and suddenly the fact of my lonliness strikes me like lightening. I'm alone.

And for the first time in all my 31 years, I know I'm ok here alone. And that feels pretty phenomenal.

putting out fires

Today, there was a big, fat fire in a giant plastic garbage can where I work. It was awesome. I hate that expression "putting out fires" -- people use that expression to imply a day full of relatively fruitless work, jumping from one emerging issue to another, wasting time basically when they should be concentrating on things they think are more important. Today we had a real fire and one of us, my pretend boyfriend Fat Tony, *actually* (not figuratively) put it out. With a fire-extinguisher, which left the whole drop-in-center coated in white powder. Did I mention it was awesome?

We evacuated the building while the alarms blasted all over and then, once the dust had literally settled and the fire truck was gone, we figured out that one of our clients, a funny, trollish little woman, had dumped an ash-tray from the smoking room into one of the big, plastic garbage cans in the drop-in-center. Turns out, for some reason, someone had just stuffed that can full of newspaper. Next thing you know... BLAM. Fire. It was really cool.

And that's exactly what five years working there will do to you -- it will make you into a person who feels gleeful in the face of fiery distruction and absurdity. Yee-haw! I love my job.

Friday, March 17, 2006

a walk in other kinds of weather

I got home from work today at 2 and immediately ditched my plan to hide out in a hot bath. The afternoon was just too gorgeous to hole up in my dark little basement (which I love, despite it's dungeony quality) -- so, to take advantage of the sun and decent temperature, I decided to take a walk up to the Alberta Street Co-op for a few supplies. I put on my hoodie, sans raingear, and headed out. Fucking incredible walk! Blossoms on so many trees, so lovely -- and so many buds, tiny ones and fat ones, green ones and red ones. I love taking walks, especially in spring, when things are changing so much. Every day the scenery changes subtly.

Most striking on my walk was the sky -- gorgeous blue behind me, with the sun full on my back -- but ahead, a massive dark cloud hovered low. Felt like I could reach up and poke it. Gorgeous. The sky seemed split in half between blue and black, and as I walked, I wondered which side was winning. I could've guessed. By the time I was done in the co-op, a nice steady rain was falling and I kicked myself for leaving my raingear behind. I pulled on my hoodie's little hood and thrust my hands in my pockets and started walking. I didn't get far before it all turned to hail that bounced off the streets and sidewalks and me. It was awesome.

poem of the day

God bless TriMet (Portland's public transportation system) -- they have put poems up along the insides of the buses. So, while you're riding along in a stupor, if you happen to glance up, you might find yourself reading something lovely like this:


Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

-- W.S. Merwin

I was thinking about SK when I saw this. But then, when I googled the poem, I ended up on a memorial website for a little kid who, the site explained, died at 6 years old, at home with his family and his puppy. Changed the atmosphere a little, and tears sprung to my eyes. Made me think of my brother, who also died at home with family around. Made me think of my family, my dad, stepmother and the other brother, the twin who survived -- these people who haven't seemed to talk about Isaac since the day he died, as though his death wiped every trace of him off the earth. I wonder if they each, in solitary silence, *privately* feel their lives stitched with his color. I can only imagine that they do.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

frenzied word of the day


Main Entry: mad·ding
Pronunciation: 'ma-di[ng]
Function: adjective
: acting in a frenzied manner

eat that, atkins fanatics

I just ran across this interesting and, in my not-so-humble-opinion, completely obvious bit of reporting on the yahoo news. Check it out:

In a nutshell: Eating animals doesn't make you lose weight, duh! In fact, eating animals (and their fatty, proteiny products) makes you *gain* weight. Specifically, researchers studied meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians and vegans over a five year period and found that they all gained at least some weight, but that the meat eaters gained the most weight and the vegans gained the least. They noted that, contrary to the atkins myth, low-carb/high protein diets were NOT associated w/ weight loss. Quite the opposite. Low-carb/high protein diets were associated with the most weight gain of all the groups studied.

Thank god the obvious has finally been proved scientifically. Now stop deluding yourselves, atkins people! Put down those hunks of cheese and handfuls of bacon and eat some freaking fruits and vegetables for a change! Or at least stop pretending you're on a "diet." We're all onto you now.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

good things come

Oh my god, you guys, Adrienne Rich is coming to Portland next Monday! I'm as excited about this as I was about my first concert (Def Leppard -- '88... wow...) -- Adrienne Rich, you guys! Come on! That's fucking awesome!

You know... Adrienne Rich -- my favorite poet?! The name of this blog comes from my favorite of her poems! Adrienne Rich is like the mother of this blog! And she's fucking awesome! And I just bought a 12 dollar student ticket to see her at some church downtown and I'm as excited about this as... well... like I said... Def Leppard at 13.

Funny, too, b/c I never would've known it was happening except for this annoying woman on the bus this afternoon who was talking soooo loud! She was all the way at the back of the bus, but she was talking so loud it was like she was on a stage, performing a monologue for us, a captive audience. She was so obnoxiously loud, people kept turning around to look at her. Talking about politics and local shit and criticizing everything and saying things like "but I guess I'm just a socialist! Although, you can't say anything like that anymore, they'll put you in jail." On and on.

But then she said "Oh, and Adrienne Rich is coming to town, yadda yadda yadda," and my heart actually stopped beating for a few seconds after that. So I grabbed my notebook and made a quick note: "Adrienne Rich is coming? Look it up." And I did. Thank god for the obnoxious woman on the bus. I'm so excited.

Only sad (and very sad) that SK isn't here to come with me. She'd love it.

Yay!! Adrienne Rich!!

there is no ground to stand on

And what a joy.

I was riding along in the car tonight feeling pretty miserable, heading home from school at 9:30pm after a long fucking day that started at 6:30am and kept on, full-blast, for fifteen hours. Fuck. Driving along feeling sorry for myself, so frustrated with school and work edging out all my free time, all my personal time, all my me-time. Edging me out, it almost feels, of my autonomy. My personality. Certainly of my self-confidence and sense of well-being. I decided on campus today that I'm depressed again. Haven't been depressed in awhile. Just realizing it made me even more depressed. And that's the thing about depression. It's self-perpetuating. Like a lot of bad things.

So I was driving along having a pretend conversation in my head with someone I hoped would be able to somehow restore my sense of balance and confidence. I notice I've been looking to a lot of people for that lately, and I have pretend conversations with them in my head while I'm driving because I can't have real conversations. Or sometimes I realize that the real conversations haven't worked, were unsatisfying, so I have pretend conversations, like do-overs, where I can say better things and make my case more convincingly. Tonight I was having a pretend conversation with my internship supervisor, Meg, who is a really sweet woman with a horrible feedback loop. All conversations with her are unsatisfactory, especially the ones about birdlady. She can't just agree that birdlady is a complete fucking nut-job, she's always giving her the benefit of the doubt. I don't want to give birdlady the benefit of the doubt right now, I want somebody to help restore my confidence by being on my side completely!

So, as I was saying, I was driving along tonight having a pretend conversation with Meg, a good conversation where I tried to make the kinds of convincing arguments for myself that would leave Meg no other choice than to agree with me completely and then to somehow, magically restore my confidence. Then it just occurred to me, out of the blue, that there is no ground to stand on. I realized I was looking frantically for some ground to stand on. I've been looking for some ground to stand on for months. Ground. In a home, in school, in the internship, in work, in a relationship. And I keep getting edged out, edged out, edged out. Like getting edged further and further off the edge of the bed until finally you just fall right the fuck out of the bed onto the floor. Only, in this scenerio, there's no floor even. You just keep falling.

And that brings me back to that dream, my dream, my big life myth -- falling out of the boat. But not just any boat, a boat flying in the sky, high above the water. I don't just fall out of the boat and splash, I fall out of the boat -- and fall and fall and fall. And that's what I have to be able to do. Keep falling. There is no ground to stand on. I can't expect birdlady, or Meg, or SK, or my counselor, or my coworkers, or my house, or my projects, or my writing, or anything, ANYTHING, to give me the ground I think I need. I have to fall out of the boat and learn to relax in the falling. Relax in the absence of the things that have always felt comfortable. Relax in the absence of ground.

I have to learn how to fall, no ground to stand on, no place to land. Just fall.

But more than that -- what's more important -- it's not about "I have to do this, I have to do that" -- when I realized in the car tonight that there is no ground to stand on, I felt this huge wave of relief. "Aaahhhhhh -- no ground! Nothing to worry about! Nowhere else I should be, nothing else I should be doing! Perfect! No ground!" It felt great.

slang of the day


from "spare change" -- verb -- to spange, to ask for spare change. Usually kids. Usually just pretending to be homeless. For example "We got ten bucks spanging downtown today so we went down to Chinatown and got some fucking Chinese BBQ chicken."

That's actually something I heard someone say one day.

This definition has been provided by my own mind. No thanks to Merriam Webster today.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

what i know now

Tonight I skipped my 6-8 class and went grocery shopping instead. The overwhelm of my daily obligations got the better of me and I had to take a time-out. I bought a bunch of shit I needed but hadn't planned on getting (two good knives, an extension cord) and a pair of bright orange cotton socks that I never would've guessed would end up in my basket, but alas...

I was standing in produce, eventually, deciding between green and red leaf lettuce, when an old guy in a wheelchair waved me down. He was way over on the other side of produce and for some reason I looked up and when I looked up, he waved at me. I kept looking at him and he kept waving. So I walked over to him. I didn't know why he was waving at me, but I had guesses: maybe he needed help reaching the oranges? Maybe he took me for an employee? Maybe he was just senile and wanted some company.

I went up to him and asked if he needed help w/ anything. He smiled and said "Oh, what I need is my wife. A good woman like my wife... but she passed away." I swear to god, I almost started crying on the spot. He wasn't senile and he didn't need help with anything. He was just lonely. So I chatted with him a minute. I figured out that he'd been parked in produce by some guy who took him shopping, though I still can't guess why he waved at me of all the people in the store. I was so far away from him and I don't think I look particularly inviting -- w/ my beat-up old Carhartt's and my steel-toed, oxblood Doc Martens, I look like I ought to be spanging in Pioneer Square, not glad-handing old people at the supermarket. But there I was. Sweet old man. He said, wistfully, "... so... if you ever lose your wife..." and he looked at me and smiled a sad smile and I wanted to know what came, for him, at the end of that ellipses... But I didn't ask. In fact, I cut it short sooner than I should have and I've been feeling kind of sad about it ever since. He waved me down for a reason. I hope he got what he was after.

Made me think about the impact of time on relationships. Thinking about SK, so far away, so new in my life. Despite the fact that I've known her for a couple of years and had a huge crush on her for most of that time -- that's practically meaningless in this sense of time. Real contact, meaningful, regular contact over time -- you just grow together. Like the trunks of two trees will sort of meld into each other over the years, becoming one. No amount of initial chemistry or attraction or commonalities or shared interests or fantastic dates or stellar conversations can create that same level of intimacy. Only time.

Looking forward to time with SK. Looking forward to an intentional, conscious, awake, alert and sober trip down that path. I want to know every inch of it, every bump and glitch, every breathtaking view, every pebble and twig. I want all of it.


Today, on the bus, among all these zombies (myself included) moving on other people's timelines, going places (like work and school) we didn't want to go, trudging through drudgery, obviously unhappy, bleary and glazed -- there was this one woman who stood in the middle of the bus, waiting to get off, with her arms slung casually through the handholds like she was about to pull herself up and do a somersault, or swing back and forth like a kid. There was something so free in her posture -- so free and full and simple -- it made me realize how burdened and bound I feel in my life right now.

Burdened and bound. I thought about it on my way to birdlady's yesterday. I knew, no matter how she pummelled me, no matter how pissed off or hurt or bored or annoyed I was in her office, no matter how offensive or dehumanizing her behavior, I *knew* I would not leave. I knew I would stay through it all. Why? Because I have to maintain a good relationship with her, because I have to get credit for this class, because I have to finish my internship, because I have to preserve my potential career in the field where she is a major player (with auxiliaries like: because I might depend on her for a job, I might work for her this summer after all, I might need her as a reference in the future.)

I *hate* this. I hate feeling so bound in such a fucked up, sell-out, disgusting sort of way. It's nauseating.

I'm just too busy lately. I just wish I could relax. Walk to the park. Cook myself a good meal. Surf the news online. Read a book. Journal. Sit in a cafe. Simple things. Do some grocery shopping, go to Powell's and buy myself a wall calendar, take a bath with candles, daydream. Being busy sucks.

Monday, March 13, 2006

minor urban soap opera

Drinks with Dreadlock tonight. Her ex-boyfriend (broke up just two days ago) ended up coming into the bar we were hanging out in. He hates me b/c he thinks I'm trying to steal Dreadlock away. I don't want Dreadlock, I want SK to come home from Australia. Dreadlock's ex-boyfriend, hating me, sat at our table and never made eye-contact. I asked myself what I was doing with such a bunch of children and I left as soon as I could.

Now I'm home. Sitting at my cluttered desk w/ four pictures of SK staring at me and all I want to do is curl up in the bed with her, but she is thousands of miles and seven weeks away. Pining away. I am pining away.

I miss her. That's all.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

a pot of bloody daffodils

SK is gone. SK is on a plane. Or maybe in the San Francisco airport between planes. Or maybe on the flight to (what did she say? Aukland? I can't remember...), the 18 hour flight over the Pacific Ocean. Maybe she is wearing her earplugs and eye cover, sleeping, studiously avoiding conversation with the her neighbors. SK. Staring out the window at the dying sun, sinking into the ocean. SK. Chasing a gorgeous sunset around the globe. SK. Speeding halfway across the world, into the future, losing a day on the way, traveling for 27 hours. SK. Gone for 7 weeks. SK. Gone.

I'm a shitty girlfriend. SK is gone and I have been reflecting all day on my shortcomings. Selfishness ranks high. Narcissim. Self-involvment. All that. I predicted this yesterday, when I talked about the breakfast I knew I should be making and that I knew I would not make. I did not make that breakfast. I dreaded that breakfast. I panicked when it was suggested that I start the breakfast. I was paralyzed. I thought: "Of course I should start the breakfast, I should start the breakfast, I should make the whole breakfast, and while I'm at it, I should make her avacado sandwiches for her flight. I know she wants these things, I know I should make these things." And I didn't. Paralyzed. I'm a sack of shit.

It takes confidence to do things for someone. It takes a kind of confidence that I don't have. SK has this confidence. SK makes toast for me with peanut butter and jelly, hands it to me with a cup of tea in the morning, never asks "Hon, do you want toast? Do you like peanut butter and jelly on your toast? How 'bout a tea?" None of that. I come into the room and she's got it ready, she hands it to me. She's just as comfortable in my house as she is in hers, in my fridge, at my stove. She's nor paralyzed, worrying that if she hands me the toast I'll say "Babe, I hate peanut butter and jelly, why didn't you ask?" She's not concerned that I don't want tea. She's confident that the way she does things is ok, perfectly good, and that I will accept whatever she gives me and be glad.

I'm not like SK. I have no confidence that the way I do things is ok. Why? I stood in her kitchen tending the potatoes she put on to fry and I thought "Do the rest, do the rest, put on the mushrooms, do the eggs, whatever." And I became, again, the little kid encroaching on the space of my stepmother who I hate. I have to say, I'm constantly shocked to learn how deeply that woman impacted the evolution of my personality. I stood in SK's kitchen and I heard every single criticism I've ever had tossed my way. I sunk into myself in the same way I sink into myself in my stepmother's kitchen. My stepmother, the good cook, who cooks for me begrudgingly when I come to visit and who has treated me like shit since I was four. As I write this I just want to yell at myself "Get over yourself! Jesus!" I was yelling that to myself this morning, standing at the stove, choosing not to put on the mushrooms or make the sandwiches.

Things happen. I start imagining how I'd do these things. All the variables arise: which pan should I use? Which pan would SK use? What kind of bread does she want her sandwich on? Mayo with the avocado? Cheese? Timing of the eggs? In the oven or on the stovetop? Too many variables! I'm paralyzed! I feel again like an idiot, a failure, a person who will inevitably fuck it all up. It makes me want to crawl in a hole. The longer I stand there, stirring the potatoes and doing nothing else, the shittier and shittier I feel. I think "This will never work. SK wants to be scooped up, she wants to be cared for, she deserves a girlfriend who doesn't get paralyzed in the kitchen, afraid to fucking cook some eggs! Jesus!"

We sat at the airport together for over an hour today, drinking coffee and chatting before she boarded the plane. I was still brooding over my morning's breakfast failure, though she didn't seem to notice. At least she didn't notice *why* I was brooding. Our time in the airport was sweet, fun, interesting. She thanked me for bringing her, hanging out with her there for hours. Technically it wasn't hours. She was so sweet, so supportive. And I kept thinking, "I couldn't even make you breakfast this morning!" Still felt like a piece of shit. She said "Look at you! You're sitting at the airport with me for two hours! All I did was put a pot of bloody daffodils on your doorstep!" A pot of bloody daffodils. That's Sk.

I want to be more like SK.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


In my apartment. News on the radio. The kettle on, water to heat my stale coffee. SK is across the river, packing. In half an hour I will drive over there, pick her up, take her to dinner, then back to her place. Our last night before she's gone. Fucked up limbo, these past two weeks. I hate school. I'm broke. I'm taking presents to SK that aren't wrapped or even nestled in a cute gift bag. Have I done enough? What kind of send-off would I expect if I was the one leaving for 7 months? I would be freaking out, I think, and whatever send-off I got, I'm sure it would feel all wrong. I feel all wrong right now and I'm not even the one leaving. I just bought crimini mushrooms and a huge tomato (but imagine SK's british "to-mah-to") for the breakfast she'll make us in the morning -- and I think, "Why is *she* making breakfast? She's the one leaving. Shouldn't *I* be making breakfast?" There's always room in relationships for fucking up and failing and flailing and hurting and falling short and missing the mark and jesus christ! What do you do? Keep trying, I guess. Nose down, keep trying.

I got home an hour ago and found a pot of daffodils and croci sitting on my front steps. From SK? Probably. Unbelievable. She's leaving and she's the one bringing me presents. I can't shake the feeling that I suck.

quickly from work

Feeling so absent from this medium lately. Writing from work, in a stolen moment in a hidden office on the only computer I can access that hasn't been punitively slowed by our IT department to punish us for frivolous internet use. *Sigh* The wonders of technology.

I work across the street from the Chinese Gardens in Portland. We have an annual pass and we can go over with two guests at a time if we want. I just went over with a guy who used to live here. It was cold. The fish are in hiding and the water is murky. The Chinese Gardens was hemmoraging water at some ungodly rate for awhile, like a million gallons a day. It was leaking. They spent tons of money to fix it, but it still isn't fixed.

I listed to my companion who is "batshit crazy" in a really subdued sort of way talk about the various conspiracies aligning in his life right now. He's a sweet guy, always barely hanging on, though seeming to do well. I care. And then I stop caring. There's a cut-off for my empathy. Then I just start thinking how cold I am and how fruitless our conversation... except that it makes him feel a tiny bit better to think he can trust me, talk to me, etc. Maybe in an hour he'll decide I'm "in on it" and he won't talk to me again for months. Who knows.

Corn dogs and chili for lunch today. Not vegan. But free-gan. SK leaves tomorrow. I'm sad.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

words i'm happy to eat

Just yesterday, didn't I say "I'm not worried about another freeze this year" -- something like that? Didn't I say that yesterday? And what's happening today? It's snowing!! These huge, gorgeous, fat flakes that almost look *fake* they're so huge!! Do you know how thrilled I am about this?? I'm *thrilled* about this.

Uh-oh, what if I can't go to campus and work on my brief today. Boo-hoo. Wouldn't that suck...? (she writes, barely containing her glee...)

Ahhhh, weather.

beating two dead horses

It is ten minutes to eight, Thursday morning. I'm in my apartment, which is a complete wreck because I haven't been here for more than a couple hours at a time since before my five day trip to the coast two weeks ago. I've been spending all my time at SK's. She leaves for Australia, 2pm, this Sunday. She will be gone two months. It will be a different season when she returns. The days will be longer. The trees will all have leaves.

In the past two weeks, SK has sent me approximately six pieces of mail -- postcards mostly and a picture she drew w/ oil pastels on stiff, square paperboard. Just this morning, checking my mail for the first time in a few days, I found two new post cards. One came yesterday, one the day before. With her addresses in Australia, all the places she'll be so I can write her. She's not even gone yet and already she's sending me mail. Wow. Two months is a long time.

The other horse up for flogging? I'm mentally preparing myself to go to campus in an hour or so and work on my shitty brief for birdlady. I dread it. I dread it so much. I mean, before my second run through birdlady's ringer, I felt that healthy sense of work-to-be-done when I went to edit the brief and rewrite the arguments. I felt like I understood better what I should do and I wanted to give it a shot. Now I feel less like I understand the law, less like I understand what I'm supposed to write, and more like what it must be like to be kinda dumb and not understand the stuff that's going on in school. Actually, I'm getting an idea what it must feel like for the client whose brief I'm writing -- she had been very sharp and spent her adult life working at a very mentally demanding job... then she had a burst aneurysm... then, two brain surgeries and several clipped aneurysms later, she's feeling the difference. The old grey matter, it ain't what it used to be.

Feeling dumb sucks. It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't care about what I was doing. If I was one of the rowdy, surly kids in high-school who hated it and didn't do their homework and didn't give a shit that they didn't understand what we were talking about in algebra or geometry or whatever. If that was me, it wouldn't matter. I'd do a shitty job, I'd shrug while birdlady berated me, then I'd go home and smoke a bowl or something. Maybe I should do that anyway. Stupid birdlady.

Instead, I thought this is what I wanted to do for a living and now I don't know what the fuck I want to do for a living, but I'm starting to understand that I don't want to do any kind of Law. Which is a shame, kind of, because I've just spent three years slaving away in law school, amassing tons of debt with the foolish notion that I'd be making phat cash in a few years as a LAWYER, no problem paying those student loans back. Yeah. Right.

What the fuck am I gonna do with myself???

You know what I've been looking into? More school. When in doubt, right, stay in school. Masters programs in conflict resolution. Keep me in the safe arms of the classroom, don't turn me out into the harsh, harsh world! Save me, higher education! Save me, serial graduate programs! Save me, federal student aid! You're my only hope!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

itty bitty leaves and flowers

They're everywhere. Isn't it a little early? The purple crocuses (ok, croci) that were coming up outside my door two weeks ago ended up frozen solid, like little grape popsicles. Now they're limp and rotting out there. They were *way* too early. But now tons of neighboring bulbs have come up in the bed out there, all planted by the homeowners (who are nothing to me but footsteps and muffled voices coming from above). Flowers I don't even recognize and wish I could name off. And I'm not worried about another freeze at this point, but still. March 8th, it's still winter, isn't it early? What's that old rhyme "April showers bring May flowers" all about? Was that made up before global warming? I reckon it was.

I don't want the flowers and leaves to wait, I just get nervous that if they come too soon, some disaster will befall them, like the grape popsicles. Though it does warm my heart to drive up this one stretch of Fremont and see the tiny green leaves on the short trees (bigger leaves each time I drive by) blurring by in a little light green glow. The color of new leaves is really wonderful. Wish I still had my digital camera.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


I saw my counselor today. And my auxiliary counselor, Waspy. And, of course, I've been talking to SK, who is *not* my counselor, but who *is* a therapist. And all these people have given me some very helpful feedback about birdlady. Mostly, that she's crazy. And being mean to me. And SK even hates her. So I feel a little better. Stupid birdlady.

secular lent: an update

I'm sucking at lent. I'm sucking at a lot of things in my life right now, but I've decided not to give up on lent. I think I just need to adjust the dates a little. Now, my lent will run from the day SK leaves until the day she returns. I simply can't give my observation of lent any attention right now while torn between SK on one side and birdlady on the other. I hate birdlady. That is not a very christlike thought. That is evidence of how I'm sucking at lent.

Shall I confess my lenten sins? Yesterday alone: I ate a hamburger, I drank two beers, I drove my car too much and I didn't meditate or pray or even think about Jesus at all. Instead, I was near tears in Birdlady's office, actually literally, blinking them back, shuffling papers, my voice cracking just a little as I tried to speak and get hold of myself. Fuck birdlady.

So. Secular lent starts next Sunday at 3pm with SK on a plane and me at home. Alone.

Monday, March 06, 2006


My mental health is at an unusual low. Just had another run-in with birdlady and I'm not feeling quite so optimistic about it this time. First of all, over the past five days, I've spent 32 hours working on an appellate brief that, in every incarnation, sucks completely. Last week, when my brief sucked, I felt invigorated by birdlady's brutal criticism. This week, the magnitude of suckiness displayed in my brief wasn't invigorating to anybody. We were both, I think, surprised and disappointed. Birdlady didn't say it, exactly. But it was all over her toady little face. And then, over a terrible happy-hour meal down at the bar underneath her new office, she more than halved the amount she was offering to pay me this summer. Ouch. I'm not feeling like the luckiest girl in school anymore. I'm feeling like the biggest, miserable-ist chump. I hate this work and I never want to see it again. What the fuck am I doing with my life?

This malaise is exacerbated by SK's impending departure for Australia. Less than a week away, now. Fuck. I feel the joy draining out of my life. I know. Dramatic. But that's how I'm feeling.

Friday, March 03, 2006

peeking out from behind the medium

Listen up, regulars. (You know who you are.... though you probably don't know that you're all my favorite people on earth for reading my blog.)

SK's leaving next Sunday. Not this Sunday, but next Sunday. And that's really, unbelievably soon. It's completely fucking unreal! And it means that I'll be frantically spending every extra moment with her. So... I won't be writing quite as much as usual.

But rest assured, while she's in Australia I will be writing like a woman possessed, such will be my lonliness and so vast will be my free time. So, if you care, you'll get at least two months worth of ample, ample attention. So, be patient.

down to business

I used to have this job at a publishing company. It was right after I graduated college w/ my otherwise useless English B.A. and I managed (with my one meager "connection" -- a writing professor who loved me) to land what they called a "springboard" position in the mailroom of a relatively presitigious literary publishing house in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. A small house, but they put out some good stuff, even a few Oprah books and "Big Fish," the novel on which the movie was based.

Anyway, I was thrilled to have this job, having imagined myself w/o prospects and forced into grad school early -- living a life tucked away, rotting in the dank halls of academe. But no, I was rescued by the real and vital world of publishing and now I had visions of glamour and glory and something along the lines of very-important-work. The day I discovered Alice Walker's number in the rolodex on my desk, I thought I had arrived...

However, I hated that job. I hated the job and very quickly I started hating the entire world of publishing, which is a story for another time. I hated that job because it was, at times, overwhelming and I maintained a high level of anxiety that never abated through the entire 10 months I spent there. I was terrified by the Editorial Director, the wonderful and larger-than-life matriarch who had co-founded the company many years before. The only real Southern Aristocrat I'd ever met, she was so far out of my league she may as well have been from some exotic planet in an as yet undiscovered universe.

I was terrified of her and terrified of fucking up. Terrified of forgetting something. My job in the mailroom wasn't as simple as it sounds. I was the office gopher. I was the one everyone, in every department, turned to for help, extra-hands, grunt-work, etc, etc. My duties were many, varied and ever changing. I was constantly juggling a million tasks w/ different deadlines and I fucked up at this job more than I have ever fucked up before or after.

Underneath all that, I'd just come out of a job I loved and was really, really good at. I'd been working in a group home with mentally retarded adults for almost three years while I was in undergrad. I loved that job. I was really good at that job. I didn't realize it until I was at the publishing company, but I'd really come to identify with that job -- with being good at it. And suddenly I found myself basically floudering and miserable in my so-called chosen career. It was awful!

I woke up stressed out every morning, I went to bed stressed out every night, I was stressed out all the way to work (a long commute w/ plenty of time to perseverate) wondering if I'd find another little post-it from the scary lady upstairs stuck to my desk telling me of another fuck up, I was stressed out all the way back home again, running over all my tasks, all my deadlines, trying to figure out if I'd done everything, trying to anticipate how I'd cover my tracks if I hadn't. It sucked!!

I notice something of that feeling in my relationship with bird-lady. I feel overwhelmed by some of the work she's asking me to do. I feel nervous that I might be doing it all wrong, fucking it all up. I feel a few steps behind and ashamed to be unprepared when I meet with her. I feel so much smaller than the experience. Sometimes. It's not as bad as the publishing company. But the seed of that old feeling is there. What to do? Pull that seed out of the ground and roast it and eat it so it can't grow? Or maybe water it and let it grow and prune it into a shape of my choosing?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

to bob like the birds on the sea

This week is a tumult. Just got out of a two and a half hour meeting with bird-lady who has chewed me up, digested me completely, and pooped me out the other end. Jesus! What a dagger through my heart (pulling Dolly in) when bird-lady says "I'm being really hard on you because I want you to be a good writer." But I *am* a good writer, bird-lady!! I am soothed, however, when she follows up by saying "I wouldn't give you such a hard time if I didn't think you were worth it. You're doing remarkably well so far (remarkably well!!) and I want you to work for me this summer and I want you to be really, really good." (And did I mention she's smiling while she's saying this? Looking at me with a twinkle in her little wizened eye that says something like "ahh, a worthy protege!" Or maybe I'm reading too much in...)

To ride the waves of her criticism like the birds I noticed this weekend, sitting in the sea, riding the enormous waves up and down again, sometimes swept under, only to reappear immediately, unscathed. I am not the brief I turned in, which was critiqued out of all recognition. I am not the "annoying" mistakes she pointed out. I am not the passive-voice, the fucked-up formatting, the misspelled words (misspelled words!! what's wrong with me??). I am not those things. I am me. Learning how to work for bird-lady.

I am luckier than 99% of my peers because I have a job waiting for me in the field making *great* money (considering I won't even have graduated yet when bird-lady employs me this summer). I'm not scrambling and floudering and going to dehumanizing cattle-call group interviews for big firms, trying to prostitute myself to people who don't give a tiny shit about me, who will only look at my suit, my accessories and my class rank. Fuck that. I'm the luckiest kid in school right now, bird-lady's completely unbridled criticism aside.

Not to mention, I just spent five days on the coast on what I'm beginning to consider my "spring break" -- enjoying a seminar in no way related to school or law and having a wonderful and relaxing time with a woman I now consider my girlfriend. How can I complain?