Writing, Running, Being.

The finish line is a shifty Thing and what is life, but reckoning?
Ani DiFranco

Friday, December 29, 2006

goodbye summer grove

Someone left a note under my windshield wiper shortly after I moved in. LEARN HOW TO PARK! I got it. Since then my parking jobs have been nothing short of perfect.
That parking lot had the perfect speed bumps for practicing bunny hops. I once spent a whole Saturday practicing. I remember the feel of adrenaline pumping through my veins as I would approach my favorite series of speed bumps, the ones on the east side of the building by the dumpsters. "This is it. It's all or nothing. Go for the kill"And I would pop smoothly over the bump at record breaking speed. I was well on my way to hopping up a curb, but I would try that another day.
Then there was the day the police came banging on my door, disrupting a quiet evening of reading. "Pamela Greenfield?"
"Uh, no, you have the wrong apartment"
"Is Pamela Greenfield here?"
"No. You have the wrong apartment"
"Mind if we look around?"
"Go for it"
Apparently Pamela Greenfield was threatening suicide and my apartment was her last known address. Whatever.
When Teresa and Erin visited we drank wine and rum and went on a food hunt in the middle of the night. All we could find were Donettes at Walgreens. Which, according to Erin, aren't even real donuts. They're like donuts with vaginas.
I never did have the smoke alarm hooked up. Two days after I moved in the battery started dying which made a loud beep every eight minutes. I took the thing down and never bothered to buy a new battery. Oh well, the next renter can deal with it.
Goodbye grueling staircase, where it never mattered how good of shape you were in, you would always be panting and clutching your chest at the top...
Goodbye tiny bathroom where i locked myself for two days after learning I was pregnant...
Goodbye laundry machines that you had to have a laundry card to use, and you could only put money on it during office hours, which never happened to include times you suddenly remembered you desperately needed to do laundry...
Goodbye old lady with walker who has made me late to work on several occasions by clogging up the hallway with slowness...
Goodbye little gym where i got to watch VH1 while running on the treadmill, unless that one guy already had it on BET...
Goodbye cheerful ladies in the office who always remembered that my mom is the one who sends packages in shoe boxes covered in duct tape....
Goodbye family of eight with the mother of eighteen down the hall...
Goodbye mother of eighteen knocking on my door trying to sell me makeup in Spanish...
Goodbye going down the stairs to get to the main floor and then going up to get to my floor...
Goodbye couple who walks their cats on leashes outside...
Goodbye same couple who drive a motortricycle with a Minnesota Viking on one side and "Not Fragile" on the other...
Goodbye deceiving name of "Summer Grove" where it was rarely summer and hardly a grove...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

running on the treadmill at the Y

running on the treadmill at the Y

It is cold and snowless today. I ran on the treadmill at the Y to avoid nature's ornery climate. Like a hamster on its excercise wheel, I ran and ran until I finally got to where I was going. Nowhere. I finished in the same spot I started. And I, being the overanalytical philosophizer that I am; equated this concept to life. You're born. You die. You run around a lot inbetween. Ultimately you achieve the very status you claimed before you entered the world. Nonexistance. Christians might argue that you've always had a soul. Hindus might say you were something else, and something else you will become. But how do you know? You were not aware of yourself until roughly the age of four and you're probably even less self-aware by the time you hit seventy. That leaves adolescence, young adulthood and middle ages. Please tell me I am not the first image I noticed of myself. The wishy washy pimply fat girl with braces that saw the world so blurrily because she refused to wear glasses. Please tell me I am not who I am now, because I am someone that I should have figured out by now but am still utterly clueless about. Please tell me I am not who I think I will be in 20 years. Crazy mom in the returns line at Target wearing sweatpants and a fanny pack. Glowing with the leftover post-exercise high as I run my errands after another provocative workout on the treadmill at the Y.

ashes to ashes

dust to dust

Thursday, December 7, 2006

oops i got knocked up

it's true. yes. yes it is. Fat is inevitable. Sleeplessness is a given. Individuality is packing it's things. Youth is loading the van, Freedom is driving off into the sunset. I am barefoot on the porch, waving goodbye. Devastation pulls me inside. Dread lulls me to sleep. Hope persistently wakes me each morning.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

is that a burrito in your speedo or are you just happy to see me?

happy voting day. here's something that should have been on the ballots: old men in speedos. i was swimming at the Y last night, just minding my own business, swimming along when i stopped between sets for my 30 second break at the wall. as i removed my foggy goggles and reached for my waterbottle i saw something that made me do a double-take, ok a triple -take, ok so i couldn't stop staring!. this old man's speedo was completely worn and see through! he was walking across the deck to the hot tub, with his long veiny legs (partially tan with age spots), big bloated belly, and blue speedo thin as a fly's wing and loose with years and years of overuse. it was pulled up to his ribcage. i have to admit i let my gaze shamelessly follow his exposed crack and swinging ballsack all the way out of sight.

am i a pervert? no! it's not like it turned me on. it was more like a brutal car wreck that you just have to slow down for. the morbidly obese woman at the beach slathering sunscreen over waves of rippling flesh. the awkward gothic teenage boy with (is that a skirt?! or wide leg pants?) black lipstick and eyeliner and spikes and chains all over, glaring at you because he's insecure and you are blatantly staring at him but you know he must want to be seen or else he would wear what all the other kids are wearing... point being , I just couldn't tear my eyes off this speedo! i was shocked, i was appalled, i was fascinated, intrigued, disgusted! what should i have done? should i have told this old man that his speedo had seen it's last day thirty years ago and that it was time to let go for the sake of all YMCA patrons? i couldn't do it. i knew, judging by the obtrusive hearing aid protruding from his ear, i would ultimately end up repeating the already uncomfortable confrontation several times. no, there was nothing i could do.

as someone who swam competitively since the 6th grade, i am accustomed to many bodies in many speedos. i used to claim that i was immune to this obscene but functional garmet. at the Ft. Leavenworth pool, where we would frequently gather to tan and swoon as teenagers, my friends would giggle and point at the grape-smuggling foreign officers. but i would always roll my eyes as though i were the only mature one, and that seeing a speedo was no big deal and i saw them all the time at swim meets. but look at me now, image of an old man's buttcrack burned in my brain, unable to shake the swinging sack from my memory. i have grown younger. years younger.

Monday, November 6, 2006

killing time

yesterday was beautiful and i killed it. each passing minute i spent in my stuffy apartment shoved the guilt deeper and deeper down my throat until it was lodged in a most uncomfortable spot somewhere along my esophogus (i like that word). i couldn't smile. i couldn't cry. i couldn't go outside, though that is what i needed most. i settled on sleeping becuase it was easiest. it was an escape. a cop-out. i wussed out, i pussed out on Life.

i don't have an excuse or even an explanation. for some unkown reason i just felt that Life was too big for me yesterday. i coudn't face it. yes, i could have. i didn't want to. i slept, i sulked, i mourned the sun as it sunk lower and lower outside my window. Then suddenly lept up, unwilling to surrender completely. i had to get out and savor the last hour of a dying day. i felt as though i had done something horrible. something that would equate betraying a lover or wasting my life savings on a pool table. i had to get out there and redeem myself. i hiked in garden of the gods. i saw the moon shine full and bright between the kissing camels. pregnant with promise for new days.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

lovely things

i had a dream about spiders. i was in a shop, like the metal shop in college and there were jars of spiders on all the benches. someone spilled them all and i had to squash them as fast as i could because the longer it took to kill them, the bigger and more ferocious they grew. cut to classroom scene. i was late. everyone was looking at me. i sat down and opened my book. the teacher yelled at me when i admitted i hadn't read the entire third harry potter book before moving onto the fourth one. the class laughed. cut to confessional. the priest was wearing a black robe. i told him i might not like art as much as i claim to. then i woke up.
things i like:
colorado; old book smell; pink; black; nepalese food; running in the rain; boys with guitars; tori amos; text messages; exclamation points; forward motion
things i hate:
two or more girls at the same time (unless i am one of them- makes me nervous); overdraft fees; feeling obligated to maintain old friendships; feeling obligated to buy something when i go into a very small shop and the salesperson's attention is fixed on me alone; feeling obligated to close my underwear drawer when i am expecting someone; obligation; semicolons; roundabouts (what are you supposed to do at those things?); misplaced anger

Monday, October 16, 2006


my face is starting to resemble some type of italian entree...regurgitated at that. my eyes are bloodshot and half-closed. i cut my hair last night to eliminate split ends. i always wonder when i cut my hair...how long have i had that hair? years? since college? since high school? did i go to the prom with the same hair that now litters my bathroom tile and clogs my sink? or am i constantly shedding? if that's true, how does it stay so long? i cut bangs so that i could look more like someone i don't even like. identifying with the agressor? no. she just has cute hair. bangs. more for me to hide behind.
lately i feel as though my workouts are semi trucks driving too fast down a tumultuous fire road and i am being drug behind by a rope, which i am clutching relentlessly in raw hands. i never feel in control anymore. i am not running the mile repeats. they are running me. i swam last night after work. even in the pool, you can tell it's nighttime. the lifeguards are yawning and checking their watches. they toss half-assed glances toward the pool as they finish up cleaning and closing duties, wishing i would just leave so they could go home and eat or go out with their friends or answer that booty call or whatever... but i still have 2 more sets of 6 x 25, 5 x 100 and a cool down left. fuck 'em. it's their fucking job and if i want to wait til the last possible minute of the day to do this workout it's nobody's business but mine, as long as i get out of here before 9 pm. and i did.
each morning i get a choice. i can get out of bed and venture into the cold dark morning and get it over with. or i can sleep in, wake up after the sun rises and allow that pregnant cloud of impending workout to hover over my head all day. dread, i call it.
i wanted this. i want this. i want the prestige, the pain, the proof, the chafing, the exhaustion, the blisters, the sunburn, the high, the bonk, the finisher's medal. i'm the one who signed up for this. i never thought it would be easy. i never even thought it would be much fun. i guess i just figured each day of training would hold the same excitement, the same triumph and glory as race day. not so. it's still the same me chugging along, however awkward or ably up another beastly hill on another boorish run. and when i reach the top, the road still ribbons on the way it always does with miles to go. and when i reach the end of that particular run, ironman is still a distant illusion. and although i come closer every day, the end is still an abiding horizon, keeping itself [this far] from me and my dream.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

feeling winter

i am feeling winter today. i don't know if i'm quite ready to let go of autumn. my favorite season. also the most fleeting, quite like all the things i love. i have been cold since i awoke this morning. i was cold all day yesterday. i try to remember the last time i was warm and of course then i was too hot. i think i have learned to live with a lower body temperature than most people. you always feel the most nostalgic at the changing of seasons. but of course they have to change or else we would forget ourselves. we would lose ourselves in one comfortable temperature, one phase of photosynthesis, the same shade of sunrise at the same time every morning, the same tone of wind, smell of air, lure of mountain. you finally get accustomed to one season. you adapt to it, you accept it and the next morning you wake up inexplicably earlier or later or colder or happier or lonelier or warmer or itchier or stuffier or skinnier or fresher due to the changing of season. and you remember that you're alive. you're moving. you're constantly moving even when you think you're standing still and then you contemplate forever. you contemplate immortality as if you have a choice. and then you consider death but only because you do have a choice. and you like the feeling of control that it gives you. and then you flip it all around, new perspective and you realize you really don't have control afterall. and then your brain spins, pen spits, hands slip and you find yourself desperately trying to grasp distractions as you spin by because it's all just too much...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

leaving your bicycle in the front yard

if you leave your bicycle in the front yard overnight because you went inside to play video games and forgot all about it, it will probably be gone in the morning. you are lucky if it's still there.
i watched a man with a mustache and a mullet ogle my breasts as i pumped my car full of gas this morning. i cringed as a slow smirk spread across his face. "this is hate" i thought. or maybe "hate" is what i did to myself last night and i'm just taking it out on that slimy perv who is now looking me up and down, licking his lips and nodding his approval. was that a wink? now he is putting out his cigarette. "dirty" i thought. or maybe "dirty" is what i made myself last night and i'm just taking it out on the slimy perv who is now hawking a loogie in my path as i walk toward the door to pay. "vile" i thought. or maybe "vile" is how i acted last night when i dissected two healthy brains on clean sheets and then proceeded to mash them up like avacados, mixing in citric acid and sodium, ignobly attempting to make something old into something new or maybe something new into something familiar.
and now i remember my abandoned bicycle, rusty with morning dew, laying in the cold grass, drive-side down waiting to be stolen

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

some questions about cosmopolitan with a random leap into the"pickle jar theory"

Why is "Love & Lust", one of the regular sections of Cosmo it's own category? Why are love and lust lumped together as though they are one concept or even remotely related concepts? They don't categorize all unrelated ideas in magazines. Just Cosmo. You don't pick up Fisherman's Monthly and see the heading: "Bass &Cold Whether Gear". You don't pick up Woman's Day and flip open to "Coping With Menopause & Heplful Baking Tips". You don't find "John Mayer & Who Shot Biggie" jammed together in one article of Rolling Stone.
Love and Lust. Lust and Love. One is always disguised as the other. They are always working together to send people further into the hazy depths of confusion. Can't we separate them? Can you have one without the other? Can you have the other with out the one? (Sarah, I expect you to respond to this).
I am always putting things where they don't belong. I leave my keys in the sink or between the couch cushions. I sometimes put my YMCA card in the silverware drawer. I have a painting hanging over the light switch so I have to lift it up carefully everytime I come home at night and make sure it still hangs straight after turning the light on. I put the wrong things in the right places and the right things in the wrong places.
I let the wrong people in, learn "valuble lessons" from them, and then apply those lessons erroneously to the right people, who are veritably the wrong people to inflict my "valuble lessons" upon. Someday I will get it right. The pickle jar theory will take affect and I, already loosened by so many greasy hands will open easily for someone with clean ones.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

some happier thoughts

i can understand why everyone thinks i'm depressed. after reading some of the shit that i write, i can't blame people for thinking that. but don't be fooled! i love every dismal, bleak, joyless, self-depricating thought that seeps from my morbid head. and truly, i am happy. i guess i just express my happiness in other ways. i ride my bike, hang out with friends, who wants to be alone writing or painting when you're in a good mood? not me. anyway, here is an attempt at some happier thoughts:
i was just thinking about my mom when we lived in minnesota, how she stuffed her jeans inside her knee high snow boots, even when the snow wasn't particularly deep. this parental humiliation did a number on my already arduous adolescence.
and i was just thinking about my mom again, when she took in Nacho for me because i got caught with him in college (no dogs allowed in my apartment complex). i was home for xmas break and everytime she came home from a walk with him she would jubilantly announce the literal outcome of the walk "Nacho peed and pooped!"
i was just thinking about my dad, how i came home one night all late and stoned and found him in the living room watching planet of the apes. he was sitting on the floor indian style inches from the television rocking back and forth like a mentally retarded kid who could barely contain his excitement. the sight of him, so child-like in all his thick-spectacled, open-mouthed fascination with the apes made me want to laugh and cry all at the same time. instead i joined him for the remainder of the movie, in an effort to bond with my unassuming father. i don't think he ever noticed me come in.
i was just thinking about teresa and erin, my sisters, and getting drunk with them in all their underaged glory. making fun of my poems and my quote book that i've kept since 6th grade. it's full of lame cliches such as "where there's a will there's a way" and "love is a many splendored red red rose that won't make you cry or puke" blah blah blah. things that must have been inspiring at one point in my life. "no guts no glory" and erin's famous "these aren't even donuts, they're donettes, they're like donuts with vaginas!" was the most recently added quote.
i was just thinking about brian and his obsession with cats. he could talk about his cats for hours. he could write a book on their nature and personalities. he could write an electronic journal article about their unique characteristics. and you could find it on an online library archive if you were writing a report about cats and use it as a source. it would tell you what makes them purr, what makes them vomit, what gives them diahrreah and why they knead your rolls of fat when you're sitting down (reminds them of the mama cat's nipples). it's okay that brian's obsessed with cats. i used to be obsessed with paris hilton, who posesses a few feline qualities herself.
i was jsut thinking about the man who sometimes rings me out at safeway. with his long wild grey hair, complete, or incomplete with a bald spot in the middle. he always has something interesting to say about witches. he told me how to tell if a woman is really a witch. it's quite simple, all you have to do is drown her and if her body floats she is a witch. or maybe it's if her body sinks. hell, i can't remember. he always tells me to smile, even if i'm already smiling, so then i have to smile harder, sometimes to the point that i feel as though the corners of my lips will push my eyeballs right off my face.
i know i said i was empty the other day, but really, how can i be empty in a world where frank rides his tawdry wal-mart "Next" bike down the wrong side of Academy, stopping to light a cigarette, unpahsed as cars, trucks, semis and pt cruisers speed by honking violently with formidable impacience? how can i be empty when i belong to a family that discusses homosexuality, old lady smell and farting when we are out to dinner at fancy resturant? how can i really be empty when i have friends who will give me a ride home even when i have pee in my Croc because i missed. how can i be empty when i have friends who forgive me for wearing the very shoe i sold out to?
i know i said i was empty, but regardless of what i claimed in a fit of frustration, i fell asleep that night with the sloppy leftovers of a smile sliding off my face...

Monday, September 11, 2006

to drink, pray or run myself into oblivion

it's sunny and cloudy at the same time and i have many things i could do but nothing that i really need to do. my mail box is empty today. i was expecting a letter or a bill or both. my fridge is empty. the canvas stares back at me from my easel, empty. my bottle of contact solution, empty. my stomach, empty. the box that used to hold my grandmother's jewelery before i pawned it all away, empty. my soul might as well be empty. empty empty empty. if you say a word over and over that's what it becomes. empty. empty. empty. even empty's own name. what is that? onomonopia or something like that. nothing can fill me today. i had a swim. i had a shower. i had chamomile tea and scrambled egg whites. i had a ride. i had a pounding headache. i finished a book. i started a painting. i had a dream. i woke up. nothing can fill me today. nothing can fill me today. i want someone to tell me that it's jesus. it's jesus that i'm missing. because then i could just close my brain and open up wide to let him in. i could throw myself so easily one way or the other to cure this. i could convince myself of heaven and truth and salvation and a divine perpetual friendship. i don't know whether to drink, pray, or run myself into oblivion. which is where i feel i should be. i choose to run because it's the only thing i can feel right now. i want someone to tell me that it's jesus that i'm missing. that he was here all along and i just couldn't see. then we could all laugh because you always laugh when what you were looking for was right before you all along. can't it just be jesus? it'd be so easy. i could talk to him without feeling silly because believing means it's real. even if only to you. i could go crazy or i could go christian or perhaps i could conform and sink sink sink like the rest. it's cloudy and sunny at the same time today. the sky is dark but everything else is bright and now rambling on and on to tired keys is no different than plucking tired strings and draining tired pens and tired tubes of water- soluble oil paint. i told you nothing can fill me today.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

5430 half ironman

you run and hurt and resign yourself to the fact that you'll never be comfortable again. you will never be curled on your couch reading a book, you will never sit down to a wholesome dinner, you will never feel the cool, cleansing rush of water on your skin, you will never wrap yourself in fresh linen and lay your head on your soft down pillow to sink slowly out of reality. no. you accept that you will be running around this god-forsaken reservoir until the cruel gods of triathlon, cackling from above decide you have had enough and put you out of your misery. and who knows when that will be? it will never end. the stinging blisters on your feet (each step is excruciating) the tired muscles screaming from the incessant pounding on the dull earth, the brain, fatigued from the length of day and the inability to see the end is failing you. everything that was so important five hours ago is losing meaning. winning. who cares? losing. who cares? cutting time. who cares? adding time. who cares? bouncing checks. who cares? telling lies. who cares? goals. who cares? life. who cares? love. what? and you retreat to a place where you can agree to disagree with your own body. your own character. you are comfortable with a certain intensity of pain. you will never leave here. this trail. this reservoir. it is like hiding under your bed. a comforting misery. a miserable comfort. you win some. you lose some. you get blisters along the way. you hate this. you need this. you pass an old man who is worse off than you. you grunt understandingly to each other as you shuffle miserably, ridiculously, along. you will both sign up again next year.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

drugs kill, vanity cripples

It could be worse. It could always be worse. I could be 345 lbs riding a Lil' Rascal making everyone around me uncomfortable. I just noticed I said "be 345 lbs" rather than "weigh 345 lbs". Be as though a person's weight actually defines her. But doesn't it? If you are what you eat than as a result you are what you weigh. It could be worse. It could always be worse. I could have some wretched, incurable disease or condition like HIV or worse, yellow teeth. I could be autistic and hopelessy socially inept or I could be LD- learning disabled- mentally crippled if you will. The only thing I couldn't be is more vain. Vanity consumes me. It floods my veins until they are drowning highways leading me to the land of Nervous Breakdown with my old washed up exoskeletons from times when I didn't care what anyone though of me littering the shoulders. Dad always said I was the introspective one. He probably never knew how painfully and dysfunctionally introspective.
If only I were oblivious to myself like a dog. Running around wildly, immersed in the world around me, remembering myself only for brief interludes, scratching my ear, licking my genitals and whatnot. Or a mentally retarded person only vaguley aware of the statistics and details of my relationships. Having intense emotions without knowing, much less caring what their sources are. Never bothering with the pages of recorded interactions- actions and reactions- left for me to analyze. So exhausting.
My hadwriting has shrunken over the past few years. You wouldn't know because I'm typing. Tiny script indicates insecurity. Neurocity. Paranoia. Everyone tells me to stop being silly. Why are my feelings always categorized as "silly"? Silly. Unimportant. Pointless. Insignificant. Likely to be dismissed. "Don't waste my time". Silly.
My head is a dark, deep canyon that I dwell inside. I'm trying desperately to climb out. Scrambling determinedly up these steep, loose walls and falling back down, lower than ever with each attempt. Trying relentlessly, Failing inevitably. I long to stand at the edge of the canyon and peer down into it objectively, sensibly. I just want to be outside my brain. I want clarity. It's loud in here and all reason is muffled by a roaring river of doubt and insecurity that drowns all hope. Hope- the serenity only heard from the top.
Psychology Today told me I am hotter than I think and I took comfort in that fact. I developed a mantra to use whenever faced with the mirror. "25 percent" because I am 25 percent more attractive than I percieve myself (according to Psychology Today) That 25 percent is my saving grace- whether or not it's true. I cling to it like the "Oh shit" handle around a fast, tight bend. And then I ask myself why approaching my reflection holds the same intense anxiety as high speed cornering. I am vain beyond reason. Vain beyond function. Unhealthily vain. Disgustingly vain. Vain. Vain. Vain.
I want nothing more than to see people for who they are rather than how I compare to them. I want to see people as their own beautiful and unique entities rather than incremental versions of one another. Higher and lower levels of the same design. Like the Specialized Allez. Sport. Comp. Elite. Pro. S-Works- whatever. Same idea with varying levels of componentry. I want to see myself for who I might really be rather than the culmination of my flaws plus that consolation 25 percent.
It could be worse. It could always be worse.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

on skinny mirrors, hilarity and the overenthusiastic chicken man

There are two kinds of mirrors. Skinny and fat. The worst is when your friend thinks your fat mirror is a skinny mirror and the complacency that spreads across her face upon correction as it registers that she could be even skinnier than she thinks. Mirrors are powerful bitches. They are more capable of affecting moods than even getting a speeding ticket or getting laid before work. The type of mirror you catch yourself in can even subconsciously change your disposition. That wave of depression and lethargy that swept in like a thundercloud out of nowhere? Fat mirror. The sudden burst of radiance and energy that you attribute to your Red Bull kicking in? Skinny mirror. This is true even if you are remotely as vain as I am. Of course, there are some mirrors and reflective surfaces that should be avoided at all costs. I for one, know that I can't go around rating my attractiveness by the squashed, fat midget form reflected in the shiny door panel of some asshole's Ford Focus. I'd be on the brink of suicide each time I walked through a parking lot. So instead, when walking through these confidence-shattering zones, I keep my head up and focus on the destination ahead, muttering empowering words to myself along the way. "Fuck you, Focus" "What are you staring at, Camry?" "Look who's talking, Passat!" Mirrors, however are a bit trickier. You can't always determine their nature (skinny or fat) upon approaching them. It's just a risk you have to take. Life is full of risks. I long for the days when I didn't stress about mirrors and what pleasing or hideous image they would hold on a particular day.
In 5th grade Michelle and I made each other laugh so hard with our Down's Syndrome impressions at recess that we'd piss our pants. One day my leakage was more significant than the usual ignorable dribble. The next morning I ganked one of my mom's maxi pads from under the bathroom sink to use as reinforcement. The lofty thing bulged inside my tiny day-of the-week underwear. I was certain that my classsmates could hear the diapery swoosh over the quiet reverence of the spelling test as I squirmed uncomfortably at my desk. Ironically I didn't pee my pants that day.
Since Michelle, I can count the number of people on one hand, who have made me laugh that hard. High school held a few. Michael and Quinn in geometry. The laughin g was always at some unsuspecting quiet kid's expense. The ones who are all prettier, skinnier, and doubtlessly more successful than I am now. College went by with out much soulful laughing. It didn't count if it was drug or alcohol induced. There were witty comments here and there in the lecture hall or studio that made me snicker and think...always think. But nothing that overtook my bladder. Post college, the kids at BV cracked me up the most. Sarah and Bryan on occasion sent me running knock-kneed toward the bathroom begging them to stop. But now I make myself laugh more than anyone else does.
I was driving home from Patrick's shop yesterday, which by the way houses one of Colorado Springs' most devastating fat mirrors, when I got stuck at a red light right next to the Wild Wings chicken who was flapping his wings- arms- wingarms, eagerly at my window. I acknowleged him briefly and politely before assuming a somewhat exaggerated somber demeanor that said "I am not an asshole, but I am a serious person and am not in the mood to be flapped at." He had nice legs and cool shoes and for a brief moment I visualized myself meeting and falling in love with a beautiful, athletic and hilarious man in some neutral location such as Whole Foods or the gym, only to find out he was the man inside the ridiculous chicken costume flapping aggressively, relentlessly on the corner of Academy and N. Carefree as I hold my breath in desperate anticipation for the green light so that I could finally relax and aleiviate the awkward tension the "stare ahead" has caused my neck and head.
And when I find out that this hot guy is really the Wild Wings chicken man I'd have to let him down gently and with a new and unique excuse so as not to be like "all the other girls" who ran away. Or I could force myself to pretend the chicken gig was for a good cause. That he took on a 2nd job to help raise money for his friend who has rubella or Lou Gherig's Disease, or hell, just plain cancer for all I care, because he can't afford the treatment because the two friends had recently spent all their money on guitars and drumsets to start a band which would have had incredible potential but needed its dying bass player. I think I could respect and possibly even love a man in a chicken suit if it wall in the name of loyal friendships and rock and roll. I get so carried away sometimes...

Friday, June 9, 2006

Red Cloud

In 6th grade I made fun of Ben in art class because he colored his cloud red. Years later at his wake I knelt over his dead body. I stared half in anger and half in disbelief at the excessive amount of makeup someone had slathered over his face in order to conceal the grey tinge that death can leave on one's complexion . Ben never wore makeup. I thought to myself: If his soul gets wind of this there will be a haunting like this funeral home has never seen before. I wanted to rip through his crisp white buttondown shirt (Ben would have never worn that) and put my hands through that self-inflicted bullet wound that lay underneath. I wanted to make sure it was real and abate the voice in my head that kept reminding me of Huckelberry Finn. Ben was always so funny...
The next day I hung my head at his funeral as Father David assured us that Ben would probably make it to Purgatory (at least). That was the last time I recieved Communion. I spent the next few years searching (unsuccessfully) for a more lenient god. I have since discovered Colorado and found Peace that no sermon can provide. I have felt here, a sense of belonging that joining hands in prayer with fellow church goers cannot transcend. I have seen skies and clouds of all colors, including red. I am an artist now, and although I rarely paint clouds myself, I cringe when others use white.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

reading between the lines we failed to draw

I would like to know the psychogalvantics of kissing. It seems to occur only when there is nothing to say, or nothing left to say. What though, do you expect to find inside my mouth that is tangible and capable of being scooped up by your tongue? The biomechanics of a kiss are so strange... what is it that compels you to drive your tongue aggressively through my lips? What propels the eager ransacking of my mouth? What are you trying to take from me? What are you trying to give? Perhaps it is just a displaced human hunger...
You spoke of loss and the need to win and I noted the screaming correlation between the two. You spoke of the rejection you recieved from loved ones. The cold righteous hands steering you away from yourself were incentive to rebel and through kissing you renounce those hands and their efforts to change you. And now you are searching for the love you lost in places that you and I both know you didn't leave it. Of all the ways you've tried to reach people, only one will affirm that the message was heard. Felt. Understood. If I kiss back you have succeeded in forcing someone to acknowledge you.
And I sopke of trickery and fraud. I told you how I used to call it love when really it's need and how I mistakenly interpreted a need for love and how I heard that word over and over with strong hands wrapped around my throat. By recieving your tongue I am saying that I have learned nothing from those hands. That I am as easily and willingly manipulated as ever. Each time I kiss back I try to convince myself that this time it will mean nothing and I will leave here as nonchalant as I came, carrying with me that smug, cannibalistic satisfaction that comes from stealing something from someone. I tell myself that I will leave here glowing with complacency and the primitive "get yours" mentality. But this has not been the case thus far.
"Survival of the fittest" has recently evolved into "survival of the heartless" and I drive home with all the windows down in hopes that mine will fly away so I can finally stop losing. I am hoping mine will fly away so I may come back tomorrow night with no qualms about using you...and the rest of your body.

Saturday, May 6, 2006

i'm going home with a stone strapped onto my back

so about 800 miles, one speeding ticket and a mysterious new rattle later i sit here in the piano room trying to remember why i came "home". i got in at 3:30 am on friday, slept all day, went on a road ride, waited for my family to come home and then went back to sleep. this morning i awoke at 5:30 am to a foreign alarm clock and my mom's nagging knock at my door. for a horrifying second i thought i was still in high school. then i came to my senses and realized i am 23 and that is not my alarm clock and i never have to attend another pep rally or take another geometry final as long as i live. relief swept over my half-conscious mind. it was time to wake up and do a triathlon with my mom, who is 50. it was her first tri and she won an age group medal. it was cute. i won an age group medal too and took 2nd place overall. i lost by 2 minutes...but it was my best place and best time ever so mom and i both left satisfied with our performances. then we drove to lawrence to catch the tail end of erin's swim meet. i saw my old coaches. the swim meet reeked of chlorine and nostalgia and for another horrifying second i thought i was in high school again, trying to qualify for state in the 100 fly but being so distracted by pre-prom stress that i couldn't focus on my swim. then i remembered that i am 23 and i never have to chant "we are the pioneers, the mighty, mighty pioneers" in a team huddle or hold out my arm awkwardly as a nervous and pimply teenager slips a gawdy bouquet onto my wrist as long as i live. again, relief. then we went home and i spent 2 hours making erin look like audrey hepburn (i did a damn good job) before unleashing her into the enchanting and exhausting pandemonium that is prom night.me? dramatic? nah. anyway, erin's at prom, mom and dad are at a 50's theme party that i was not invited to, and teresa is waitressing in kansas city. so that leaves me alone in the piano room. i've given up on valse caprice and moonlight sonata after about 2 frustrating hours and kicked myself wherever flexibly possible for quitting piano. wow. i miss colorado. i miss my apartment and my one spoon. i miss the screaming children in the day care across the street. i miss my lack of television and my abundance of dirty laundry. now my parents are home from the party and suddenly i want to be alone again. what is it with me not knowing what i want? my dad is singing one tin soldier in the kitchen and my mom is talking to the dogs. apparantly she missed them immensly over the short duration of her 50's theme party. i just realized that my mom is waayy more affectionate with her dogs than she ever was with any of her children. i wonder: had my mother cooed repetitive affirmations such as "gooood girrrl" to me throughout my youth, would it have affected my self esteem? would i be more confident? more secure? less anti-social? happier??? aw hell, who cares. now my dad is telling me about a man he met at the party who sings in a barbershop quartet. mr. campsey and his barbershop quartet sound like some swell cats. hmmm. it's kind of weird writing about my dad as he's standing here talking to me. funny though. now he's telling me how old he feels because hanging out with people your own age makes you realize how old you are once you're old and hanging out...or something like that. it's hard to listen and type at the same time. i feel like a fucking stenographer. something about hot dogs and moustaches and beer guts and bald spots...lots of bald spots. and all i want is some applesauce but there are too many spoons here at my parents house. i hate it when i have too many choices. like the 5.5s at the climbing gym. too many choices is counterintuitive. i learned that word at the bike shop. i hope i used it correctly.

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

losing meaning

When you say a word over and over, even your own name, it loses its meaning. We have been talking about Life too much lately. We have been dissecting relationships and inspecting their veins under microscopes and then piecing them back together practically and sensibly. Life is losing its meaning.
Let's just stop talking about it for a second. I don't want to talk about it. Here we are so let's just live. And if what we believed turns out to be right we're okay and if not we're screwed. But no amount of sooth-seeking can deliver us at this point. There have been brilliant philosophers before us and we've heard what they had to say: know thyself. there is nothing stable in human affairs. necessity is the mother of invention. hope is a waking dream blah blah blah...but it doesn't affect the speed at which you ride your bike downhill or the vigor with which you embrace Love (whether you're right or wrong about it). And it doesn't affect the string of curses that fly from your mouth when you crash or the stream of tears that flow from your lachrymal glands when you discover you were wrong all along...
And maybe God isn't the answer to that ever-present void inside of you. Maybe the answer is a puppy or cheesecake or really good sex. And you can spend your whole life contemplating that void- why it's there, how it came to be so big, and what to fill it with, or you could opt for trial and error. You could keep sticking things in there and pulling them out until something fits and sticks and whether or not that will ever happen, no one knows but all you have is Life and Life is only Time so you might as well use it, however wisely....
I just don't want to talk about it anymore. I don't want to analyze it. I don't want to write songs about it that Sarah and Peter and Bob Dylan have already sung with so much more talent. I don't want to describe it with words that Petrarch and Virginia Woolf have already used. I don't want to paint it in Colors because colors rely too heavily on the eyes through which they're beheld and then they disappear altogether in the absence of light. I just want to laugh until no sound comes out and I am on the floor, crying and cramping and my belly aches. I want to run until there's nothing left in me and sing until I'm hoarse and weak and eat until I puke. Maybe I just want to puke and start all over. Is puking allowed? How about starting over?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

mediocre like that

Why are there so many ugly people in the library? Why are airports always infested with beautiful people? Is it because ugly people read and beautiful people travel? I do both. Where do I fit in? I guess I'm just mediocre like that...

Monday, April 10, 2006

I'm happy, thanks.

Brad called me last fall to let me know that I am living my life incorrectly. It's true, I am not making as much money as I could be, considering the framed college diploma that hangs in my living room bearing the signatures of two important people whom I have never met. After informing me that the severity of this life choice (to work retail in a bike shop) can be detrimental to my self-esteem, not to mention my reputation, he proceeded to laugh haughtily.
I must have perservered civily through the rest of this conversation, but I do not recall it. All I can remember is the rage that welled and swelled within me, overtaking my body as anger has never done to me before. I hung up the phone. I cursed. I yelled. I kicked things. I threw a book. I even cried a little. In a matter of minutes this emotional storm passed and a calm took its place. I was happy, and I didn't need an overweight, insecure, beer guzzling, coke snorting frat boy to tell me otherwise. I am happy and I love my life.
According to Brad, money must be the measure of how successful someone is. Nevermind that I am learning new things each day. Nevermind that I am being constantly challenged physically and mentally and growing evermore fearless in the mountains, whether rock or snow covered. Nevermind that I have found truer friends here that I did in college. Riding or running alone out on the trails I am still not as lonely as I've felt at crowded parties where someone is always touching me. I've never been so alone as when I had to link arms with two girlfriends to ensure that we make it from the front door to the keg out back without losing each other to the raging hormonal tides of tube tops and testosterone.
And college, according to Brad is the reason I am overqualified for the solace I have found in riding bicycles. It is my college degree that gives Brad the liberty to laugh at the otherwise respectable career I have chosen. But college?! The exhausting cycle: learning, testing, forgetting, learning, testing, forgetting...All for a piece of paper that tells me I am smarter than those who do not have it and no different from anyone who does. Is it there to tell me I am fulfilled? Complete? Or to remind me there are several higher levels of these papers I could potentially achieve and with each the font becomes more ornate and impossible to read. Is this what we strive for?
I have matted and mounted this thing on my wall as a recreational hunter does with a deer head. i have posed enthusiastically with it for pictures, holding it up like a trophy bass, hanging by his lip with droplets of his former home puddling beneath him. It is just a piece of paper! It is not a measure of intelligence or even perserverance. Despite the quality of glass that it glares at me from behind (I chose PerfectVue) it is still a piece of paper born of a copy machine who has born millions of other papers like mine designed to legitimize our social standings but conversley makes us insignificant.
What this diploma really says is not that I am educated and socialized and suited for the world, but that I know how to cheat. How to get by. How to lose myself in a Camelbak of Southern Comfort and promiscuous friendships. It says I know how to sand the edges of Love so that it interlocks neatly with Sex. I know how to identify Desperation when it's disguised as PDA emitted by last Saturday's MVP and its corresponding cheerleader. I know that 1 1=2 and -1 1=0 and that's how I feel about dating.
I know how to sit on a barstool in a tight halter and low-rise jeans in such a way that my butt crack doesn't show and my belly doesn't compress into an unsightly roll. I know how to act taken at a party when a drunk pervert keeps "accidentally" touching my breast and I know how to act available when a cute transfer student takes the seat behind me in American Lit.
This diploma says that I have mastered both arts of Avoiding and Casual Stalking. This diploma says that I have satisfactorily lost my identity in an earnest attempt to fit in. It says I have successfully memorized and recited the rules of "faking it". Smiles, orgasms, apathy and concern alike!. It says I have wallowed in self-pity, mistaking my ego for my heart and vice versa, ultimately discovering that both have been broken.
Brad called me agian last night at 2:25 am to say that he was hurt because I didn't include him in my list. he must have felt as though he had no impact on my life. What Brad doesn't know is that he had a great impact. He wasn't simply "not good enough" as he hypothesized in a brief, crude (possibly drunken?) voicemail message. But it was his profound negativity (Teresa calls them sunshine-suckers) that made me realize how happy I am, and that I have been happy all along. How disappointed Brad would be if he knew!