shower, knife
Sunday June 24th 2018, 9:22 pm
Filed under: Berkeley,Boozy Tags:

I took the knife out of the wall (there was jewelry hanging on it, maybe a dream catcher) and walked down the hall. “Put the knife down,” they shouted. I walked into the bathroom halfway down the hall (shared, mixed gender, of course) and walked into a shower. I turned on the water. It must’ve been cold, though I don’t remember. And then she and I went for a walk. I don’t quite remember how that part worked – did I walk to her? I have shadowy memories of concrete and gardens closer to mine than to hers. I know there was a walk. That’s what we did. So brave, that first walk, down telegraph to ?Ashby or beyond. For HelLA me, it was beyond scary. But that night, damp, without the knife, with the simple news that they were moving out to a house without me, I walked, I talked, I grieved, I wondered (aloud) what was wrong with me and what would happen to me, and _everything_ seemed to matter.

 

(I’m enjoying this movie, even if I keep pausing it.)



Blues Run the Coming of Age Game
Sunday June 24th 2018, 7:49 pm
Filed under: inner-polish-teenage-girl,Old,reminiscence,self-indulgent,summer Tags:

What is it about coming-of-age movies and me? It’s not like I’m fucking cookie dough any more. I fear this is fully fucking baked, even if the recipe needs tinkering with. Two nights, two movies of angsty young men in a tangle of desire and books and struggling how and who to be in the world. I’m only 19 minutes into this evening’s fare, and quite enjoying it, but wanted to pause and wonder. (Also, owwwwwww. I went to the fancy gym, and now I fancy hurt.)

 

Hours and hours today wasted on blood relatives; another bunch waiting for a call back, alas. Drinks with a sort-of-old-friend (we’re 50-50 over two visits over 5 years) who is leaving LA, finally off the market. (Amusingly, for a place I applied to in the dark years. I think, no, I’m dead fucking certain they’re the ones that sent me a rejection in AUGUST of the FOLLOWING YEAR, 10 months after I applied for a position, and weeks before I started submitting apps again. Who fucking does that? {Side note: I had to work with fucking lawyers, but it was updates-a-go-go with the search I helmed}).

 

Fuck it. Returning to my regularly scheduled visit of fantasies of different but all too recognizable versions of 20-something me, who was miserable, except when he wasn’t. I was something in those formative years, as she sang and I could never not feel they’d already passed me by.



Alfonsina y el mar
Saturday June 23rd 2018, 9:05 pm
Filed under: Boozy,inner-polish-teenage-girl,poetry Tags:

A song I didn’t know existed a month ago. And now could listen to forever. Avishai Cohen’s version for now. I hadn’t realized she was a real person – a modernist poet.   I’ve ordered a facing page edition of her last book, but for now, this, this evening’s version of a quick pickle and a balsamic port reduction.

“Sweet Torture”

My melancholy was gold dust in your hands;
On your long hands I scattered my life;
My sweetnesses remained clutched in your hands;
Now I am a vial of perfume, emptied

How much sweet torture quietly suffered,
When, my soul wrested with shadowy sadness,
She who knows the tricks, I passed the days
kissing the two hands that stifled my life

Alfonsina Storni


Both hands. Please use both hands. No, don’t close your eyes.
Thursday June 21st 2018, 9:44 pm
Filed under: Boozy,can't make that shit up,friends,holidays,seasonal,summer Tags:

Both hands – neither carrying a child. The enormous amount of energy worrying about someone else’s bladder for the last month is lifted, for a week. And so here I am, lady and gentleman (actually, I think that’s an accurate summary of my audience), deep into the red wine after a dinner of ridiculous home-made pizza. Gotta work on the transfer to the newly arrived pizza stone, and the dough was too thick, but the cream/onion reduction sauce was pretty killer.

A tenure track job for an old ?friend?. Acquaintance? I don’t know what the fuck he is. He’s been in LA for years and years, and we’ve had drinks twice; once sucked, once was delightful. And now he’s off to a TT job in an East Coast College Town. This is the man who, over drinks in Chicago, as we drank for the second time in a decade, told me that his then-girlfriend-now-wife had only ever known him on the market. I lack words to imagine that as a sustained existence. I don’t think I realized, quite, the person I was to the people who knew me 2003/4-2006. Nor those who know me for the next 7 years. I’ve always gotten it done, and though I’ve studiously (ha) avoided facing the price, I know it’s been substantial.

Drinks with one of my oldest friends before YCT and Small left. Mid-afternoon beers after a morning co-oping at the small’s preschool. As I try to get better at this tenure shit (though, 90 minutes of cooking for one this evening was probably overkill). He described it as something he described to others as the Robin Hood trick of shooting a bullseye and then splitting the first arrow with a second. Someone I underestimate occasionally, and who occasionally reminds me not to underestimate.

Since my last, San Francisco, sushi, City Lights, Berkeley. Un-processable experiences, almost, mid-May, a lifetime/month ago. Joy with a friend. Uncomplicated pleasure in places where the pleasure of youth was mixed with a lot of the suffering of youth. Long walks and long talks and a _friend_. Not my strong suit.

A mixed day of work and errands and different errands and different work. And cooking. And music. As you would, if you could. And I can. So I did.



Good Old Chad Harrison
Wednesday May 16th 2018, 5:47 pm
Filed under: holidays,nextish Tags:

I believe he was Shotwell?  It shall be interesting to return to a city I never really managed to make mine, though I deeply wanted to. I never managed to be anchored there, though I lived there for a decent while. I never created a friendspace there, rather than being firmly East Bay. So it goes. This shall be a good time. Shameful, even, with an old old friend in an old place that has very little connection with what it now is.



Got a light?
Monday April 16th 2018, 7:37 pm
Filed under: birthday,narrative,reminiscence Tags:

 

A windy day, restoring some of the lost sense of possibility that the move has created. A Hal Hartley film and a nice Spanish red, some quiet time alone with an aesthetic that has aged along with me. Birthday greetings from the woman who tried to make me appreciate films. Thank you. I’m sorry NY last time didn’t work.

 

The books mostly unpacked and on shelves, a few boxes of stuff there wasn’t space for, a box of books to pitch – too awful to donate, even, and the magic neighborhood curbside disappearance program is 12 miles  east of here. We hiked the mustard flowers, but it confused himself. Which should have been obvious

Back to my red.



What was a ba?
Friday April 13th 2018, 9:59 pm
Filed under: Boozy,HelLA,himself Tags:

Three weeks into the move. Much progress – a mirror on a wall, a picture hung, dozens of boxes unpacked into built bookcases. Much to do. Bedtime, always a hoot, as I restrain him to pull on pajamas, ask him if he’s a tiny baby who misses his pacifier. Yes. Do you miss your dummy, I ask? Yes. Your ba? What was a ba, he replied, betraying the total ignorance of his life from, what, a year ago? I don’t recall, frankly.

Apparently there’s a thing that happens at 6/7, where you forget what you knew of your early years. “childhood amnesia,” it’s called, where you forget most of what happened before 3 and a half. To quote (from an iffy source, possibly), “In a 2005 experiment by Bauer and her colleagues, five-and-a-half-year-olds remembered more than 80 percent of experiences they had at age 3, whereas seven-and-a-half-year-olds remembered less than 40 percent.” And though we’re not there yet, we’re there.

“All babies are born singing God’s name.” Thus saith Sinead. Not exactly my point.

What was a ba? What was African-American literature? The pastness of the verb is devastating.

It definitely feels different. The streets are wrong, the blocks too big, the cars too many, the people mostly too plastic. But the boxes will be unpacked. And the hours, hours, hours of more hours, are hours, hours, and hours.



unbounded or burdened
Monday April 02nd 2018, 9:59 pm
Filed under: calendars,change,HelLA,himself,transitions Tags:

The car, sold. A one car family. My sixteen year old self is horrified. My 23 year old self elated. My 40 something self undecided. She did well, 11 years, 85000 miles of driving there and back again, the ultimate question of vector versus scalar, which bugged me no end in high school. How is it possible to have driven so far and gotten nowhere? A question that returns, as it were, a million miles later, minus the 15 or so I’ve actually managed to travel (vector, that is).

A day without a car, tomorrow. Bicycle and perhaps a park by the beach with a boy. The boy. A new quarter, new classes, busted deadlines. But 8 or 9 hours each week I’m determined to do something with, to not allow to disappear into the daily texture of surviving. Anything. Or a few things. A hobby, perhaps, or even an interest….



Addresses

I used to know them. Possibly all of them. Sometime after moving to HelLA, when Google Earth was still a new product, I made a flythrough of all the places I’d lived. A few were approximate, and I’m sure I started only notionally in HelLA before the litany of addresses in the Bay and UK – Unit 1, women’s co-op, Dwight, funny summer sublet that the dead guy from Sublime had rented, Piedmont/Oakland, MLK couch, the Mission, Ward, Warehouse, Fyfield, Iffley, North Oxford, (redacted), Goldhawk Rd, West Ken, LES, UWS, West Village, East Village, Brooklyn, aaaand back to WeHo. And then the list continued – midcity, Silverlake, Echo Park. And now, my ultimate fear, back to the suburbs. As if all the in between places didn’t happen. (Apparently, I do in fact know them all still. But that’s not my point.)

Which of course isn’t true. This isn’t the leaving of Ox, or even the leaving London despair of present and future purpose (though return still looks slim). This is a move cross-town to save time, lots and lots of time, for people large and (more importantly) small.

The tangible scars of my past can live again. Not the burns or pierces or tattoos – the BOOKS. No longer in boxes in the basement, the selves that rose and fall, lived and died, and folded tens of thousands of pages over to varying depths. Who failed to read, and failed to fold, chastened, even humbled, by the staggering expanse of unread pages. On bookshelves, freshly ordered for delivery in 10 days.

A walk up in the wet from a bar I’m fond of, but never lived at. A last hike tomorrow, I think, more meaningful, a thousand loops later. Likely without the 35 pounds, though. Toddlers don’t experience nostalgia, I don’t think, in the ways I do.

Though, I think we’ll come back to look at the mustard flowers.



Overwhelmed
Friday March 09th 2018, 12:34 pm
Filed under: exit,family,HelLA,himself,leaving,nextish Tags:

A new bed, assembled. Small, really, but large. A blue crib disassembled. The days spent sanding and priming and lovingly painting two coats of that saturated blue, not really knowing the person it would be for. A long weekend spent doing the room, while YCT and the dogs were in Santa Monica. Music loud, paint stained jeans, the familiar rhythms of blue tape and cutting in and rolling out. Labor of lifetimes ago, foundational and fundamental competencies in self-righteous opposition to paternal incompetence, to a self that inhabited the life of the mind easily, the world less so. Years of painting walls and caulking bathrooms, of repairing things and building things.

And now, building a small bed, with small hands helping. He’ll never stay in it, of course, so new exhaustions await. And I doubt a week is enough to help him settle in to it before the Big Move happens. A move to the suburbs, really, something too close to the places you will be from. And he won’t remember, not really, the lake and the ducks and the hike. Hundreds of hikes. We’ll shape a different life, of course, and anything that involves 8 more hours a week of living, not driving, can only be a good choice. Inhabit the space differently. Push the angles and round the curves differently. Discover the small sites of possibility. Ignore the dread.

Dread, though, leavened with the small voice of himself, “thaaaaank you, daddy,” tucked up in his new spot, blankets and animals overflowing, blue eyes bright and improbable hair flopped to one side. Anything.

 

[Update: the last real comments to this ridiculously indulgent nonsense-filled endeavor of mine, were to the post “20 weeks” in August 2014, the weekend I painted the room and the crib. And Helen, saying “congratulations.” Just yesterday I packed the Chagall book you gave me when I left Oxford, following a farewell party at that funny flat. It was your father’s, you said. I had forgotten the inscription, saying I would be missed. Now you are missed, rainbow friend.]