The Drive Back
Monday November 05th 2018, 5:25 pm
Filed under: can't make that shit up,himself,inner-polish-teenage-girl,memory Tags:

I don’t remember it. Not really. Which is peculiar, as the drive _there_ remains among the dumber things I’ve done. Not top of the list, certainly, but up there. I suppose it’s not peculiar, really, as 15 years of self-medicating by way of red wine has done wonders for depression, and for taking the edge off. For taking all of the edges off, including what used to be my fairly sharp recall. Himself has it, or possibly even something closer to my father’s photographic memory – it’s fairly astonishing. Any variation from the text of a story prompts correction, even if the story hasn’t been read in weeks, even months. “What’s the word, for the thing on top of a diesel train,” I asked aloud. We hadn’t read the pop-up train book for a couple of weeks, and it was lost to me. Conversation moved on, and suddenly himself chirped up with “pantograph.” Bloody ‘ell.

Anyway, I think I still have the instructions for the drive to Brighton tucked into my London A-Z. Graciously narrated by a friend, as I borrowed a flatmate’s Alfa to drive down for what I thought, what I always thought, was capital-L love. Why I didn’t just take the fucking train escapes me. Money, I assume, though that was the end of the relationship. I remember spending 18 of my last 32 quid with a week left in the month to get down there as the end-of-days (of both the relationship and my life in the UK) dwindled. So, pre-GPS and somehow pre-Mapquest, which doesn’t make a lot of sense, but whatever. So instead a long hand-written list of directions of the “stay left for Epsom” variety got me there. White-knuckling the whole way, as I wasn’t even vaguely comfortable with right-hand drive, and had no clear sense of the traffic laws. Didn’t matter. Took longer than I’d thought, and traffic in Brighton itself was terrible. And I don’t think the weekend was that great, either. But it was a Gesture. A big, motherfucking Gesture.

Apparently, however, not the drive back. Did I get lost? Was the A3 a nightmare?  Was it Sunday night? Monday morning? No idea. I don’t remember.

[UPDATE: Check _this_ totally vague shit out. Looks like I was back the next evening, Sunday, and back to work the next day:  ]



Stars
Tuesday August 07th 2018, 9:21 pm
Filed under: can't make that shit up,change,holidays Tags:

Big trees, dark night. Not much to say, tons to say, a general and specific sense that I should do this more often.



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.



Stalker
Monday November 20th 2017, 11:44 am
Filed under: can't make that shit up,HelLA,holidays,nextish Tags:

Well, I missed a month again. I suppose, in my defense, I’m busier than I ever imagined busy being. But there have been a few times I’ve wondered about coming here. Just back from a final spin class – they’re closing. Moderate sadness over corporate failure – there was, in fact, a community, and even rarer for HelLA, an unprecious atmosphere of real people doing real exercise, the lumpy alongside the glossy, and, for the most part, a sense of collective encouragement.

Thæs ofereode, thisses swa mæg.

Speaking of which, the disturbed young woman who has been stalking me off and on since accusing me (falsely) of all kinds of shit re-appeared, first by email a few weeks ago, and then in my office on Thursday. Fun for the whole family. Oh wait. Even my cop-loathing self got the cops involved (who, true to form, managed to insult by asking, meaningfully, “does your wife know”?).

Time flying; deadlines blown; things passing around again; holidays and 90 degree heat projected for Thanksgiving. Just the season to leave the oven on all day. Sigh.



Stress, and grief

She said, to answer my question what points she was working on. Also, where your spine meets your ribs, so, a major parenting spot. Not really an empty center. And her “hot hands” (shared, apparently, by her 11 year old daughter but not her 11 year old son) healing. And also disturbing, working through old and newer ambitions and desires, aspirations and intentions. A Greek meander left to right, hyper rational and logical, and all I am, a Celtic knot, mystical and magical and all I’m not very good at being and have, frankly, neglected. And a not very empty center.



Two girls, in a van
Thursday June 29th 2017, 10:54 pm
Filed under: Boozy,can't make that shit up Tags:

One girl, in a van. Retrieving plastic but stemmed wineglasses from the back. Me, two poodles, going for a night time walk. A second girl, in the van, stretched out on a thin mattress in the body of the van, head on elbow, dressed for bed, inasmuch as bed is the back of a van parked on Echo Park. Me, two poodles, going for a night time walk. Enough eye contact that one tiny part of me wants to hang out with these girls, the way I hung out with two girls in a van from Michigan. The other part of me wanted to make sure they were OK, but resisted.

My van girls were from Ypsalanti, I believe. They came to Berkeley and one of them wanted to hang out with me. The other got arrested in San Francisco for possesdion of pot, which posed all kinds of challenges. They simply found me at Wall Berlin, as you did and as you do in a world without mobile phones and the internet. I recall being taken aback at how easy it was for two random girls to find me in Berkeley – meet someone once at a gathering for Waldorf youth at a biodynamic farm in East Troy, Wisconsin, and apparently they can just show up a month or two later and find you at your local cafe in a college town. Who fucking knew? She lived with me in a summer sublet for a few months. Jen. I don’t remember her last name. She took one of my favorite photographs of me, ever, sprawled asleep after the nightshift, face down, tattoo across jutting shoulder blades. She had a ying-yang tattoo on her neck, high, just below the hairline. It was remarkable at the time. She had a flat midwestern accent. She was kind, and didn’t eat people. (Oh, wait. That’s not my story). She lived in a van, then she lived with me, then she went away, then I visited her once in Seattle, then I never saw her again.

[30 seconds pass while I dig through old emails. This jen predates email. But _this_ fucking turns up: “Big events happen for me in even years; happiness is more likely during odd years.” Seriously? This was me in December 04? Calling the job in 06, tenure in 12, child in 14? (I’m looking at you, 08 and 10). Things, apparently, that you write to the person you went on a trip to Seattle with after you’d basically broken up to visit her gay uncle, and took a side-trip to visit van girl while you were up there, everything ends even worse than usual, silence and 7 odd years ensue, and then you hook up in New York. I fucking love that town.]



Pathetic
Wednesday May 03rd 2017, 1:23 pm
Filed under: can't make that shit up,HelLA,himself,myjobfuckingrocks,nostalgia,whatsnext Tags:

I’m headed up to Santa Barbara to give a paper this weekend. The thing I’m most excited about for my most-expenses-paid, two nights in a beautiful beach town with good food and wine, plus a chance to chat with clever colleagues about work I love? Two nights of uninterrupted sleep. How times change.



This Great Big Hill
Sunday April 09th 2017, 9:31 pm
Filed under: birthday,can't make that shit up,nextish,Work Tags:

(Nearly) [42] years of my life and still / trying to get up this great big hill / of hope / for a destination.

Or something. I’m suddenly in the absurd situation of having 8 months to spend a grant that can only be spent as research money. Which is lovely, but I had wanted to _not_ do research this summer, and instead get some fucking writing done. Instead now scoping trips to improbable locations in September. My life is weird.

Which I suppose was the point.

Not that I give that many fucks any more. The glory of the forties, really. The fucks not given.



London bound
Tuesday December 06th 2016, 11:28 pm
Filed under: Boozy,can't make that shit up,holidays,nextish,politrix Tags:

In a bit. Not quite. One TA mired in depression, bits and bobs of work to juggle, a little boy who won’t stay asleep too many nights. An inability to read the news or make any sense of a world I thought I had, broadly, sussed.

Narrative. Good red wine. Better music. The occasional non-occasional poem. Himself. YCT. Sorted.



Eleventh Fall
Monday September 19th 2016, 9:24 pm
Filed under: calendars,can't make that shit up,nextish,seasonal,tired Tags:

Having been shopping for child seats for a bike, not a great title, perhaps. But so it goes. 10 fucking years. 11 fall quarters. Thousands of students. And today, the 8th volunteer day, sorting canned goods at a food bank. The kids are alright (though, I know I wasn’t a kid at 18. Nope. Not at all.). Amusing that one of them was a junior-year-abroad from London, via TCD, who when I was describing my current book to a crowd tilted his head and said “Ashburnham House”?

Playing with the finally-upgraded new version of Logic, messing with vocals from North Oxford two? three? life-times ago.Double-tracking, re-pitching for harmonies and counter-lines, fiddling with pitch and timing for realism. Oh, the things you can do. Technology. Kids today. Etc.

Mostly, tired. But I try to begin fall with something more than the baseline of requisite enthusiasm. A few days in DC getting actual work done were a nice push to slough off the summertime sadness of another 6 weeks sold for money in a compromise I will always resent. Gonna be a busy year. It always is, but this one looks like more work and less ohmygodchildicanthelpfuckitivegotanexcusesorrybye.