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The People's Exhibit "A"

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4th February 2016

4:52pm: Eugene, p3
They were walking down a narrow hallway lined with what were pretty definitely the doors to conference rooms, for all that they were inlaid with sapphires and emeralds and had title placards written in Angelic Script. Or, at least, Eugene was walking. The angel was moving by some form of locomotion that was as intricate and complex as the undulations of a fractal set, and didn't seem to have much to do with what its various wings were doing at any given moment.

"I was never even really sure about all this when I was alive," Eugene said, wondering if making conversation was the right thing to do with a being that resembled a small, sentient star.

For a moment the angel seemed not to have heard him, but then several of its eyes oriented on him and the slightly feminine voice said "that doesn't really matter. You embodied the will and love of your Creator in a way that was an inspiration to the faithful, and performed the miracles allotted to you."

"Miracles? This is definitely a mistake." He thought longingly of the violet. It would still be there, he supposed. And he hadn't even really gotten into the subtleties of

The angel materialized a single immaculately-manicured hand holding a folder formed of card stock so rich and perfectly laid, it would have made the entire board of directors of the Georgia-Pacific company weep. Eugene accepted it and opened it to find a slim stack of similarly-fine leaves of copy paper. The first page was a rather thorough description of Eugene himself. The second had three numbered paragraphs. Eugene read the first one.
ONE: Located the car keys of Samantha Greenlief of Norfolk, Virginia, USA, Earth, Sol, Milky Way [and then several mathematical descriptors that meant nothing to Eugene.] The item in question had been stolen by an acquaintance's four year old child the day before, and dropped out the window of a moving vehicle along an interstate highway, but after searching tirelessly while filled with compassion for the plight of a friend despite her tendency to wake the candidate at 3:00am Eastern Time with phonecalls detailing her fears that she was gaining weight, would only ever be an understudy at the local theater, was perhaps attracted to women and should therefore ask out the waitress at the cafe down the road who was probably a lesbian, maybe, and who did not ever ask if the candidate had been asleep or apologize for waking him et al., the candidate located the keys via Divine Grace between the cushions of the extra couch in the guest bedroom, where Ms. Greenlief was certain she had never sat down and anyway had already looked twice.
"Oh no," Eugene said, softly.

21st July 2015

6:48pm: Dream
My dreams really raked me over the coals, last night. There were two concurrent threads...one was a movie that was playing in the background of a number of places I was in the dream. The movie was about some sort of dystopian future where there were artificial people. The artificial people weren't biologically human, they were like organic machines of some sort, but they looked human, and they were made out of living tissue. They could feel and think. But they were engineered so that they had to do anything real humans asked.

Some sort of war had happened and there were a bunch of rich people in a bunker or spaceship or something with their artificial staff. What followed was a sort of 120 Days of Sodom of every time they got really bored or ran out of wine or something, they'd make one of the artificial people do something awful to themselves for their amusement. The one that woke me up was when they made one of them grab live electrical wires. The materials he was made of flexed and distended and swelled from the heat. His face began to char, and then he vomited cooked, unfamiliar organs out of his mouth and just sat there, charring, and looking hurt and confused and still unable to let go of the wires. What woke me up was knowing, on some sickening level, how durable they were and how long it was going to take him to die.

So, interspersed with the times I was paying attention to this charming narrative was "reality" in the dream, in which I was breaking into various ex-girlfriends' homes and rifling through their stuff to see how they were doing without me in their lives. (It's always great to know you've got stuff like this kicking around somewhere in your head.) I remember Janice had an entertainment system, and it was hooked up wrong, and I felt really torn because on one hand it was hard for me to leave it un-fixed, but on the other hand I obviously didn't want her to know I'd been there.

I was sneaking out of her place into the courtyard of the apartment complex where she lived in the dream when Nash, Karry's dog, came bounding up to me. I sat down and petted him and hugged him and told him how much I'd missed him. Then I looked up and Karry was looking down from a balcony. She smiled, and waved, and looked really happy to see me, and I felt terrible. Like, the kind of guilt that makes you want to be sick, to cough up organs like the artificial person in the movie that kept turning up on people's TV's and in store windows and things everywhere I went. I knew I couldn't go up to her, and acting friendly would be wrong, because it would be like saying I was available, but I felt heartbroken at the thought that we just couldn't talk, anymore, and missed her terribly. Not the Karry that used to tell me it made her feel like she had to be the man in the relationship when I was passive or depressed vulnerable, or the Karry who used to snap at me about how I was dressed or my table manners, or the Karry who wanted to date other people but couldn't deal with the idea of me doing the same. It made me remember how she smiled, how she looked on those rare and delicate occasions when she was really, truly happy, sleepy in the sunshine on the couch with me out back, sipping tea I'd made for her first thing in the morning, watching me play with the dog. How she would all but shoot off fireworks every time I succeeded at a life task, rhapsodize about my potential and where the future could take me, like she really truly believed I was capable of anything. And the times she was vulnerable, almost prostrate, telling me how important I was to her life and how much she needed me.

You don't get to avoid remembering this stuff, I guess. I just wonder how many times you have to remember it before it stops ripping your guts out through your mouth.

15th July 2015

3:30pm: Anger
During a very uncomfortable conversation about the contents of my LiveJournal, last night, Melissa told me that I have a temper and deny that I have a temper, "which isn't good." I find myself wanting to become defensive about that, but it's purely reflex--where else can I put the truth, dear reader, if not here?

The truth is, I deny that I have a temper for purely social reasons - because if you say you're angry, people become afraid. I'm not going to hurt anyone or scream in anyone's face (not unless it's a circumstance where absolutely anyone would do the same, like they're beating up someone I know or something) but yes, it is possible to piss me off. You can do it with inconsideration, with willful obliviousness, or by trying to hurt me or someone I know. Pretty much everything that makes me really mad at other people comes down to one of those things. Things that make me mad at myself are another story, but there's no real need to elaborate them here, not least because to other people there's seldom a discernible difference: you still look/sound angry.

And here's a fact: if you are a six-foot-tall cis straight man, your anger is frightening to people. I guess that's a perk if you're a pushy asshole, but I don't WANT to be frightening. I don't want to upset other people or even make them uncomfortable, and I CERTAINLY don't want them to be afraid of me, unless they've done something really terrible. So through a remarkable patented alchemical process, mostly I convert that anger into anxiety, depression, and a tendency to isolate until the feeling has passed.

The problem comes when the feeling doesn't pass, when it grows and grows underneath everything until it feels like I'm riding a rock across an ocean of lava, building up beneath the scenery like nuclear waste with nowhere left to bury it. But there's no socially acceptable place I can embrace or express my anger, nowhere to ventilate or drain it to.

Karry used to tell me she loved how in touch with my emotions I was, that it was one of the most attractive things about me. But she wanted to pick and choose those emotions. Often it seemed like she used my anger to check her own...if she was making me mad enough to get me to actually respond in anger, she would stop and re-evaluate. It was a dysfunctional dynamic, but at least I felt like it was okay for me to be mad, that something other than fear and the blank, traumatized look that Liana used to give me was going to come of it. Even Karry, though, would go somewhere else sometimes, if we argued too vehemently. She would get this confused look and call me "Chris." She'd always immediately apologize, but WOW did that ever make me feel like shit...me being angry gives you flashbacks of your abusive ex? WONDERFUL. But when I felt sad or vulnerable or uncertain, she was enormously unkind, talked about how she was tired of feeling like she was the man in the relationship, that she wanted a partner who could assert himself and not crumple in the face of her disapproval. I guess I was supposed to be a stoic rock, a Clint Eastwood gunslinger who never got upset or raised their voice and just let her rail, and then turn instantly back into this overflowing well of intimate kindness and sensitivity when she was in the mood.

My instinctual solution is that art and creative pursuits are what one should do with these feelings. But you guys: I dunno if have time to do that much art. I'd be doing pissed-off graffiti and sleeping under an underpass. Sometimes I wish I could go get into a bar-fight or something, without danger of being stabbed or shot or arrested, and I wouldn't even care about those things so much except that, again, I just don't want to upset other people. Sometimes it feels like my head is drowning in considerations of others' feelings, in trying to understand other people's points of view, in worrying about the welfare of others whether I can help or not, and with all that going on, it feels like I don't have permission or even the energy to have my own feelings.

So they just sit in the dark, in storage, waiting for me to figure out what to do with them.
3:13pm: Crankiness
You know, I just realized what it is that bothers me about Burning Man.

Since moving to the Bay Area, every time I've ever met a group of people who seemed cool and interesting but I couldn't quite break through some subtle social skin to get CLOSE to any of them and really be friends or feel like part of the group, it turns out they all know each other from Burning Man. This has seriously happened at least three times. It's like if I didn't go on your weird art/sex desert vacation, I'm automatically peripheral, as though Burning Man were a job-fair for how interesting a person you are and if you weren't handing out your resume there then they can't be bothered to try to find out on their own, EVEN IF YOU'RE SITTING THERE TALKING TO THEM.

This is not an inevitable component of groups with unusual shared interests: I spent a very strange Thanksgiving in the company of San Francisco kink/poly scene people, and I've seldom met a more welcoming group of weirdos. One of the hostesses was wearing a corset and had ligature marks on her neck and I think may have actually been someone else at the party's sub, but she mainly just wanted to talk about my stuffing recipe and was happy to have help setting the table.

I have nothing against BM, in theory, and would probably go if circumstances convened to make it practical. And I certainly don't want to deny anyone their good times. But that kind of insularity is hard for me to tolerate or feel okay with, and especially difficult to keep butting my head against trying to break through, so I find myself unconsciously avoiding the company of people who identify as burners without mentally ever articulating the reason why.

13th July 2015

6:59pm: Going Places
A word about public transportation in the Bay.

Getting around this place sans automobile requires you to be familiar with a number of transit systems, each of which have what might kindly be called their own particular quirks.

  • Bay Area Rapid Transit (affectionately referred to as BART, which is always grammatically said as if it is actually someone's name, ie not "I took the BART," but rather "I took BART.") is a light-rail train/subway system that goes at least sort-of-near most places you'd commonly go. For what it is, it's pretty great...the only real complaint I can make is that it'd be nice to have more stops and more range. As you can see, the map does not exactly require a degree in civil engineering to sort out:

    You typically don't interact with the train driver much, except to hear their garbled, muffled voice calling out stops as they get close. In keeping with the California state policy regarding street-signs, it is difficult to tell what station you're at if you don't already know exactly what height and angle (and which side of the train!) to look outside the window at. There are maps posted in each of the cars, but if the train is crowded, it can be quite goddamn difficult to get near one, and of course it's not going to help if you don't know which station you were just at before this.

  • San Francisco Municipal Transit more commonly shortened to "Muni" (which is again generally treated as a proper noun) is a labyrinthine system of light-rail (aka Muni Metro), electric cable-buses, free-traveling buses, and novelty cable-cars. You can get almost anywhere in SF via Muni, though it may take you seven transfers to different routes to get there. By contrast to BART, The Muni map looks like spiders fucked and forgot they were trailing web behind them:

    This is a big deal when your phone dies.

    The good news is, passes are $2.25 and include unlimited transfers within the time they're issued for (except to those novelty cable cars, but whatevs.) If you just wanted to keep going in circles for five hours, you could do that...and indeed some of the city's less-fortunate make a habit of doing so, especially when it's raining. Muni drivers are typically gruff but knowledgeable/helpful. Newer Muni vehicles have marquees that show upcoming stops and say them out loud in weirdly serene pre-recorded voices. Older ones do not, but if you ask the driver for help, they will usually yell at you when your stop is coming up.

  • Alameda County Transit, aka "AC Transit" services Oakland, Alameda, and most places East and South of San Francisco. A single ride is $2.10. Until recently, a single transfer was an additional $.25, which was thoroughly reasonable, since any two routes will typically get you where you're going. Now, however, transfers are no longer available unless you spring $5.00 for a day-pass, which lets you ride all you want until 3:00am. This is advertised as theoretically saving someone somewhere money, though it's hard to say who...two buses out and two buses back is all it has *ever taken* for me to get anywhere and get home (if you're going further than that, you've probably changed transit systems), and under the old scheme this was $4.50. Now it is $5.00. Quite a savings.

    The AC Transit Map is kind of eye-crossing, and I have totally seen versions of it posted in bus shelters that contained typos (!!!) about which buses go where, but it is largely redeemed by the fact that, again, I've never needed more than two buses to get anywhere I was ever going:

    Of course, I've never tried to go some of these places.

    An interesting recent development in AC Transit is that some of the buses are now hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. I am always strangely happy about riding the Bus of the Future. Like Muni, some vehicles have helpful stop-announcements and others leave you craning your neck trying to see past everyone in order to catch a glimpse of street signs that would not be intuitively placed if you were the actual driver of the bus. AC Transit drivers are a widely-varied lot, in my experience, and delays are not at all uncommon. Then again, they put up with a lot of bullshit. Here is my favorite personal story about AC Transit, which is also the Most Oakland Story I Have:

    One night, I was leaving a lady of my acquaintance's house quite late and waiting for the 851. Buses that start with "8" are routes that continue all night, but only come every hour (as opposed to daytime buses which, at least supposedly, come every 20 minutes.) So the 851 is the after-hours equivalent of the 51A, which is the bus route I generally take from Alameda to Oakland and vise-versa. This particular hour of night, the bus stopped for about 15 minutes to allow people getting off late shifts a chance to board. Another bus going in the opposite direction was also stopped across the street from us. I distinctly heard gunfire coming from somewhere a few blocks away, which made me jump exactly as much as you might expect. A few minutes later, a speeding car came careening around the corner and without braking slammed full-speed into the rear of the bus across the street and burst into flames. The driver of the car opened his door and bailed out, staggering, and ran off into the night. People in and around the bus I was going to board began to panic, saying things like "it's going to explode!" I had seen the Mythbusters episode where they proved pretty definitively that it is impossible to get a car's gas-tank to explode, so I wasn't about to miss my bus (obviously I had lived in Oakland awhile, myself.) BUT: the other bus's driver climbed nonchalantly down from his seat, walked over to the burning car, extinguished the flames with the bus's fire-extinguisher, took out his cell phone, dialed 911, and then lit a cigarette and stood there next to the smoking vehicle, waiting for the cops to come. The Shaft theme still plays in my head every time I think about this.

  • Golden Gate Transit runs from the middle of San Francisco into Marin County, north of the city. I have been entirely unsuccessful in my attempts to locate a complete map of places covered by GGT, which is emblematic of the system as a whole. Freaking NO ONE seems to really know how Golden Gate Transit works or where it goes. I generally find out I'm going to be boarding it because Google Maps tells me it's necessary to get where I'm going. The buses cost $4-$6, depending on how far you're going, and if any sort of transfer is available I've never heard tell of it. Stops for GGT are often poorly marked (a stop for another bus system will just have a small "GGT" logo on it somewhere) if they're marked at all...at least once I have taken it on faith based on the fact that Maps said a particular bus was coming to a particular place despite the fact that there was no evidence of this whatsoever at the actual stop. Drivers sometimes don't even stop if you don't know to wave the bus down, and when you board they will typically ask you where you're going. I have previously theorized that this is to make sure you understand what you're getting into, and that you're about to pay $5.00, since, as I mentioned, no one much seems to know how it all works. Aggravatingly, parts of northern San Francisco (including the Palace of Fine Arts, where I go to work when I'm interning for Maker Media) are inaccessible via BART and reachable only by making four or five confusing and time-consuming Muni transfers, which leaves me taking the train to Civic Center and then finding a GGT bus. Oh, and--don't get any ideas that getting BACK to the middle of the city will be as simple as finding the SAME GGT bus going in the other direction. Haha, no. That is not the case at all, apparently. The interesting thing is that, probably because they are designed to go long distances, the actual buses are quite roomy and comfortable, have wifi and air-conditioning, and are all-around rather pleasant. I once took a series of GGT buses to see my friend Brindl play a show in Novato, and apart from the nerve-wracking process of trying to figure out which bus I was supposed to be on and whether my stop was coming up, it was one of the more pleasant trips I've ever made. Beat Greyhound hands-down.
...Of course, there's an alternate possibility as to why the drivers ask where you're going, as I discovered yesterday morning. I boarded the 70 North trying to make my way to Make, and was surprised and happy to see my coworker Marina already on the bus. This is literally one of two times I have ever coincidentally run into someone I knew on any form of public transportation. In this case, Marina's bright green hair probably tipped the odds--she's easy to spot. I sat down next to her, and she said this was her first time on GGT, and we commiserated and complained for a little while before settling down to stare at our respective phones. And then we were abruptly at the Golden Gate Bridge. Now, the bridge is lovely, and seeing it from a distance is one of the things that I like about trekking all the way out to the marina (which is what that part of San Francisco is called, not to be confused with Marina the person, who just laughed when I asked her if this caused confusion in her life) but seeing it from this close was not at all okay with me or for that matter with Marina, who whipped out her phone and said "What the fuck? He didn't even follow the route!" I had noticed the driver did not perform the usual inquest when I boarded. I guess I should have proactively volunteered where I was going, but again, it's not as if there's an explanation posted somewhere of how this all works. As near as I can tell, he just decided to trim that part off his route and proceed directly to smoke-break. A tunnel closure meant that there was at least an hour delay on all transit options back in the other direction.

And you know what? I can't complain. We walked two and a half miles through all the touristy historical stuff I never seem to find a reason to go to, joined the throng of visitors with their enormous Japanese cameras, sweated up and down the San Francisco hills in the California sun, a skinny long-haired guy and his green-haired friend, neither of us the type with time or money to go to these places on purpose, forced into an hour and a half of vacation by the inefficiencies of a hopelessly grand human undertaking that, despite it all, I dearly love.

11th July 2015

10:02am: There is a freedom in being forgotten.
From Telegram with Melissa:

In a radical change of tactics I decided to react to my deep physical and existential exhaustion by turning off all my lights and devices and going to bed. I had wonderful dreams in which my brother and sister and I were wandering through an underground world, along a path that was sometimes in caves and sometimes in catacombs, buried buildings, or forgotten parts of places that were still standing. Once or twice, we emerged into the daylight along narrow paths deep in dense woods, with no way to tell where we were. One of the paths ended in a creek where we had to ride a small boat down into the mouth of a cave in order to continue. At one point we sailed past two cottages on opposite sides of the river. Each of them had an old woman inside who invited us to come inside and eat. They were the only people we had seen for a long time, so we conversed with them, but we were in too much of a hurry to get back to exploring.

3:36:57 AM

Sometimes we would find that people had left amazing things behind, with notices saying to take them if you needed them, or to pay what you could. I got a lute, for which I left a check for $12.00 in a dusty mailbox. It turned out to have the magical ability that if you lost it, it would always be in the next place you looked for it.

3:38:22 AM

I liked it so much and was having so much fun learning to play it that when we returned to the world above, I decided to open a store selling electric lutes.

I've had a hundred versions of the exploring dream in my life. Sometimes it's that I find out the crawlspace in a house connects to a whole maze if strange, dusty, forgotten rooms with old statues and paintings or other things abandoned in them. The one constant in all the dreams is that it goes on and on, for as long as I care to keep exploring, and that I'm either alone or with a very small group I've chosen to show it to.

3:47:31 AM

That's my happy place: endless exploration.

Despite having three jobs, my bank account balance is currently slightly over a dollar. At 4:30 this morning, I was awake and listened to Sonic Youth's cover of "Superstar," feeling a strange resonance with being awake with the radio on when I was a teenager and hearing it play on WABN, strange and spooky and sad. It occurred to me I had never actually heard the Carpenters version, so I looked that up and listened to it, too. I thought that I should go back to sleep, but suddenly I badly wanted to watch the sun come up over the mud flats.

So I made oatmeal and hard-boiled eggs and black tea. I found my old sneakers that are horrible and worn-out but still the most comfortable shoes I own and unlike all the shoes I've acquired since do not yet have holes in the soles. At 5:30 I was walking toward the ocean. Alameda in the early morning is a strange place...all the traffic lights are blinking and there are random senior citizens standing in parking lots or yards or alone on the beach doing yoga or calisthenics. The effect is like being in a theme-park that hasn't quite started up for the day, isolated animatronic exhibits running holding-patterns. The buses were dropping off early-morning workers; I smiled and nodded, and everyone gave me looks like they weren't quite sure what I was about. Which is fair enough: I'm not, either.

I reached the strip of beach at the south shore and headed down the path through the mud flats, thinking again that this used to be just a shallow place in the ocean, a spot where birds landed when the tide was low. The birds are protected here, it's a sanctuary, but I almost feel like it doesn't matter. You look at them and they know: this is their place. We can pile all the mud and sand and strip malls and houses on top of it we want. One day it will all wash away and it will still belong to the birds. They're dinosaurs who grew wings to wait us out and someday they'll land again.

There is a crescent lagoon out at the far end of the island, a dam of sorts made of rocks and broken pieces of old naval structure from when this was a military town connecting to existing islets. Most of them have been eroded to the point where if you don't scrape aside the mud and seaweed to see that they're cinder block and rebar, you'd never know. Depending on where the tide is at, it's either an easy loop to walk around or a few points of land sticking up above the ocean. Most of the time it's in the middle: the islands are dry, but you have to jump from rock to rock to get to them. That's where things stood, this morning, and it suited me just fine. I needed a goal, one that didn't require money or phonecalls or social skills.

I stopped to take pictures of a plant, bare and bony and the only tall thing on the island, 30 feet tall in a place where nothing else was more than two. I lay down on the ground to shoot it the way I saw it with my bad cellphone camera, and once I was down there I thought I might as well stay awhile. It was the first time I had touched dirt and just let myself be on the ground in so long that I felt again the eerie sense of continuity...this was a thing I used to do all the time, find a place alone and lie in the grass or against a tree. I looked up and watched the clouds moving in the wind, slowing stirring together in some central meeting of temperature fronts, realized with a sense of ridiculousness that I was impatient, I could see which way they were blowing, wanted them to hurry up and get there, kept looking away because they were moving so slow, and because I couldn't do anything about it. It was like I had to re-learn how to just watch something happen without exerting any control over it.

I had a sudden memory of Gwen, wished I had brought her here when she and I were seeing each other. It was her kind of place, I think, inasmuch as I ever knew what her kind of thing was. It's weird that although the two of us were involved very briefly and partially and weirdly, and she has made no attempt to stay in touch (and was kind of short with me when I reached out to her awhile ago) she persists in my thoughts so much. I guess it's that way with anything that went to such extremes, that had so much of the best and worst of life in it. I remember lifting her up in my arms and kissing her in the dark beside Lake Merritt, feeling like all the crisis had been worth it for that moment. I remember the mountains in Bend, Oregon, the two of us having long since declared the relationship over but what the hell, it was so beautiful there and none of this was officially happening anyway, so we made out like teenagers every time we stopped the car that her mother had rented so I could move her to Portland. Jesus, she almost WAS a teenager, she turned 23 while we were seeing each other, I think, precocious and arrogant and traumatized and fragile, a beautiful girl constantly trying to fake androgyny, compulsively shaving her head and wearing unflattering clothes, but helplessly, hopelessly female underneath it all, soft, full lips and huge, watchful eyes and warm body curled up against mine. We never had sex; she was too traumatized by whatever had happened to her on her way to California (and quite possibly since she had arrived, as well.) The one time we came close, hands searching each other out, she thanked me for being so gentle and told me it felt very good, but that she was afraid and could we please stop now? And I said, of course. And we lay there in the dark and listened to the classical music that she played constantly on her battered old laptop. There's so much more to the story of Gwen, all of it compacted into the space of a few months, one of the times in my life when it felt like the universe was running in fast-forward, but the bottom line is: I don't miss our affair. It was what it was, and then it wasn't. But I do miss her, the person, and I wonder who she is now. I hope she's not still having to play at being a manic-pixie-dream-girl for hire, that she's getting by on intelligence and competence and stubbornness the way I know she wanted to (the way we all want to, and God knows I've done my share of being charming in order to not be abandoned.)

So I turned on the sound-recorder on my phone, lying among the weed and ice plants on the islet, and dictated a letter to her. Maybe someday I'll even send it.

The other day, waiting in line to get into Tourettes Without Regrets, an anarchic underground variety show in Oakland that is somewhere in my top five reasons for continuing to live in the Bay Area, I ended up in conversation with an older gentleman and his wife. He gave sailing lessons and practiced law. I talked to him about audio repair and working events for maker spaces. We exchanged business cards. Later, he emailed me to tell me how much he enjoyed our conversation and my observations about life and society, and told me to get in touch if I ever felt like going sailing, which really just made me feel kind of embarrassed, but as I was lying there on my islet, I thought that sailing sounded pretty nice, actually. Being nowhere, unable to quickly return even if it is demanded of you. So I dictated him a letter, too, talked about my life in a way that I probably wouldn't to the real person himself, but he was as good an imaginary audience as any.

Completing the loop and walking home, the sun was fully up and I passed an extraordinary number of Japanese people jogging in the opposite direction from me. They all had numbers on their shirts, and they were ALL Japanese. I have no idea what this was about. I stopped in at a bagel place I had never eaten at before and spent 10 of the last 11 of my dollars on a delicious lox bagel, a very good iced coffee, and $2 tip. I had to pay part in cash and part on my card, and in order to make the payment from my card I had to move the $6.00 in my savings account into checking via the mobile banking app which was surprisingly cumbersome. I apologized to the man at the counter for how long it was taking, and he said not to worry, just go ahead and eat and pay when I was done, so I did, and I can't think of anything I'd rather have spent the last of my money on than good food from a patient stranger.

I want this to last, this feeling of grace and connectedness and presence in my own life. I want it to stay, even when the money is back and I can't get up at 4:00am. I don't know why this is what it takes to make me find my way back here, but I don't want to wander away again.

I miss myself.


P.S., this is Bend, if you want to make out with someone, it is a pretty good place to go.

5th June 2014

4:45pm: Hmmm, in case you were wondering where I left THIS off...
To my surprise, when I reopened this journal for the first time in years, LJ asked me if I wanted to restore previous text from draft. Out of curiosity, I said yes.

This is what I got:

This isn't the part where everything is fine forever after. This isn't the part where I turn up at the party unexpectedly and look so changed, so transformed, that you just have to know what I've been doing. This isn't even the cadence where everything comes to a rest and then inhales to do it all again. This is the part where you discover that the mountain goes higher and the ledge gets thinner than you ever believed possible.

6th September 2011

2:06am: I have no sense of humor, no larger perspective, no higher purpose to put this in context of and make it okay.

In fact, I've just realized I don't even feel like writing about it.

15th July 2011

11:21pm: My favorite question anyone has asked me in the last several months (which was a while ago; I'm just documenting it here so I don't forget):

"Hey, want to see what 1.4 grams of C-3 will do?"

(Answer: rattle windows, terrify cats, shake the front porch, and start every dog within a mile radius barking.)

12th July 2011

6:07pm: And the tide begins to turn
Mom and Dad came to get the storage unit key from me, the other day. Dad was very impressed by the fact that I was mowing the lawn, unassisted and unsupervised...and while that makes me tired inside, we were all actually perfectly nice to one another. It was relieving. ...aaaaaand, I can get into the storage unit, again! I stated this in my terms for surrendering the key, and it actually happened. It's a small thing, but I really can't explain how much better it feels to NOT have my parents quailing at the possibility of even the smallest degree of trust in my judgment and responsibility.

8th July 2011

11:40pm: In meta-news...
...I'm tired of having my journal be privacy-protected. While I will be discreet about topics that are personal to me or others and mark them friends-only, my general entries are going back out in the open, where they belong (otherwise, what's the point of posting them HERE?) and where I've always wanted them. Many months ago, I set the default to friends-only because my mother asked me to. There had been several instances of my father randomly looking up my journal and sulking over things that I had said. I agreed that this was not beneficial to anyone, and acted accordingly.

At this point, however, I very much doubt that either of them are still logging on to check whether I've posted a public entry, since the last one was on March 24th of last year. And if they are, I don't think anything I have to say could make them any unhappier with me than they already are. Moreover, there's a part of me that likes the possibility, however far and faint, that I might make a new friend.

And that's that.

24th March 2010

6:24pm: Dream
In my dream, I was in Fredericksburg. I think it might be some confused version of my grandfather's funeral, because I was wearing my suit, and everyone was formally dressed, but my grandfather was there, too. At some point, I got into a fight with my family, and I got so angry at my father that I just left, on foot, the two of us screaming at each other as I walked down the road and out into the city.

I was worried, because I had almost no money, and no idea how to find my way home, and it was, of course, an extraordinarily long walk, but I was too angry to go back, and had decided that I was walking.

Somewhere along the way, I picked up this girl's notebook, from the side of the road. In it were portions of lyrics of songs that she liked, lists of her friends, random doodlings, and then dozens and dozens of pages in the middle that all had photographs of women's faces glued to them. They all looked calm and peaceful and beautiful, and I found them comforting.

But then I recognized one of them as being an actress who had died, and I realized that all the pictures were of women who had died, and were in fact pictures taken right after they had died.

I wandered along the side of the interstate in my suit, flipping through the pictures, trying to decide if they were still beautiful, now that I knew. I couldn't tell. Part of me thought it didn't change anything, but part of me was repulsed.

Just before I woke up, I had turned past the pictures and found part of a song, and as I was reading it, I could hear the girl singing it, and I was trying to sing along, crouched down in the median, between the trash and passing traffic.
Current Mood: Peaceful

10th March 2010

3:15pm: Work
So, after some initial butterflies about working with THE PUBLIC face-to-face for the first time in many years, I've discovered that I actually quite like my new job at the mall record-store. It is therefore somewhat vexatious to me that my girlfriend's every word or thought seems to be regarding how soon I can find a different, better job.

Here's the thing: I've HAD the office jobs with the health benefits and the paid vacations and the respectable skill-set and the cubicles with my name on them. Know what? The health benefits didn't keep me healthy. They didn't stop me from going quite literally insane, right over the edge into the kind of darkness that leaves a basically good-humored, easygoing guy like me rolled up into a ball on the bathroom floor, screaming. The paid vacation didn't make up for what my actual days were like. And the respect of others didn't make me respect myself for putting up with the gradually mounting weight of degrading minutia.

I don't expect anyone else to sympathize. In fact, virtually everyone I know is headed in the opposite direction, and God bless 'em. Hope it works out for you. As for me, though, I'll take a job where I don't have to log anything in a computer or sign any forms before going to the bathroom, where no one wants to have meetings with me about my "anger issues." (Seriously...anger issues? If you've managed to piss me off, it's because you put in some strenuous effort.)

I just want days I can stand to wake up to, nights I can sleep through. Air I can breathe, food I can eat. The occasional CD, a small bag of parts from RadioShack. I can walk to my job, from here, and the weather is getting warmer. For once in my life, I feel like I can handle things, and I don't want to throw that feeling away for another goddamn suffocating office job that I'll hate myself for ever taking, that will make me resent the people I love because "I'm doing it for them" and of course they aren't going to appreciate it. I'm not saying that to be petty or dramatic...it's not reasonable to expect people to venerate you for sacrifices that are invisible and incomprehensible to them.

I don't want to wreck anyone else's dreams, I just want to live a bearable life. Surely, there is some compromise that we can come to, here.
Current Mood: Bewildered
2:23pm: Registered Sex Offenders
I've said before that Facebook is kind of like a social event...a cocktail party attended by basically everyone you've ever known, and occasionally crashed by people you don't. LiveJournal, on the other hand, is more like being with close friends. Close friends are people to whom you can occasionally admit the TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE things that sometimes cross your mind.


This is the logo for the Facebook group "Don't Allow Registered Sex Offenders on Facebook."



Now, I think I know all of my LJ friends well enough that it should go without saying, but just to be clear: I don't mean to diminish the importance of anyone's pain who has survived sexual abuse. I am, in fact, always astonished by the strength and resilience of people who have been through something like that and recovered, since I suspect it would probably break me for good.

That said: this is amazingly misguided. I mean, uncomfortable (!) signage aside, I think we all know by now that Facebook groups have about as much real-world efficacy as letters written to Santa Claus. And while they might be MARGINALLY more effective at influencing actual FB site policy, I don't think these well-intentioned citizens have really thought things through. For example: how, exactly, would they like sex-offenders to be excluded from Facebook? What possible scheme for identifying Facebook users could be implemented that wouldn't either be horrendously complex and prohibitively pricey (forcing FB to transition to a pay-site), or else so easily-defeated as to be laughable?

The posts from members don't give me much hope, either. Most of them are either blanket denouncements of child-molestation (a cause that hardly seems like it needs a Facebook group to get people to rally behind it) or incoherent, belligerent tirades that sometimes cross the line into rants so murderous that I found myself wondering who was really worse: the predators, or the bloodthirsty, lynch-mob-ready ordinary citizens. In fact, it made me wonder if there might not be some truth to the idea that people most vehemently denounce the crimes they secretly suspect themselves capable of.

Bottom line: NO ONE LIKES CHILD-MOLESTERS. But this kind of knee-jerking, whether it's well-meaning, or not, isn't going to accomplish anything. This is, once again, parents demanding that a commercial or public institution do something that they themselves should be doing. It isn't the ranger's job to stop sex-offenders from entering the park, nor my local Food City's job to make sure no child-molesters shop there. And it isn't Facebook's job to babysit your children...or you. If you don't have the balls to make your kid give you parental access to their account, or at least to talk frankly with them about the dangers of giving personal or locational information to strangers, then it is YOUR fault if something bad happens to your child. That's right, all-American Mom and Dad: YOUR FAULT.

And for God's sake, get a better logo.
Current Mood: irritated

4th December 2009

7:56pm: TAKE 2
Just to prove that I DON'T EVEN CARE, I'm taking it AGAIN.

Click here.
Take the quiz.
Post your results.
1) What would you do if you found out eyeofmazikeen has a crush on you? See my previous answer concerning Liese and Eric.
2) What rank would liesekins have in a giant robot army? Tactical Commander!
3) Would hogofheaven go out with carneiros? ...by an eerie coincidence, yes, I think so.
4) What would you do if theholytree died? Regret that we haven't spoken, more often.
5) If theholytree and eyeofmazikeen were spliced together, what would be its name? ...Katherine, I suspect. Unless Kate is just Kate, in which case, Katherikate?
6) What do you agree with scarletdulcinea about? The Dresden Dolls, the importance of art to create a livable space/world, the joys of good vegan cuisine
7) Where was liesekins born? Erie, PA, I think.
8) If liesegregory had a superpower, what would it be? The ability to turn her enemies into tasty, healthy entrees.
9) Would you make out with eyeofmazikeen? No, that would make the already awkward love triangle (I've been hooking up with Brian for quite a while, now) even more uncomfortable.
10) What is belgarath42's favorite color? I don't really know, but I'd be inclined to say some deep and regal shade of blue.
11) Is intoafrica friends with skewer324? Why yes, I believe so.
12) Would you set up intoafrica and breathe_out? I think this is a BAD IDEA.
13) What color should hollowrose dye their hair? I think she should dye their hair any color she wants, though she should keep in mind that they outnumber her.
14) Is letincelle related to intransphonemia? Only by the adjoining bridge that is me.
15) Which president would ladiesfromhell be likely to idolize? Teddy Roosevelt.
16) Does breathe_out travel a lot? I seem to remember that she used to go on a fair number of excursions.
17) What is skewer324's favorite band/artist? I don't know that I can speak to a FAVORITE, but he seems pretty fond of some Opeth.
18) breathe_out's eye color? I dug through her journal for pictures, and they appear to be blue.
19) Has abulia been to your house/dorm? Many times!
20) Would belgarath42 be a better ninja or pirate? IT'S FUNNY YOU SHOULD ASK. Pirate. Definitely pirate.
21) Would you wrestle hollowrose in jello? Yes, but we'd fix the match and one of us would throw, so we could cash in.
22) If intoafrica took over the world, who would be happy? Everyone except the people who are eager for Armageddon to prove them right.
23) Thoughts on scarletdulcinea? I wish I had mental telepathy, so we could communicate without possibility for misunderstanding.
24) If abulia were hanging off a cliff, what would breathe_out do? She'd definitely rescue her. Later, when I read both their journals, and realized that my sister had been rescued by my Canadian friend who used to play flag football, I would sigh, and wonder why everyone does everything fun without me.
25) What planet should zaarwin_devolve be from? I don't think of Doug as being from another planet so much as from a neighboring dimension. An alternate-earth sort of deal, if you will. We're just lucky he slipped through the wormhole, or whatever, and ended up here.
26) Where did you first meet liesegregory? Either in a restaurant, or at Eric's house.
27) What comic book character would farstrider79 be? I feel like there's an obvioius answer, here, hinging upon his dogged, stoic, deliberate ability to overcome, but I can't think of it.
28) What languages does skewer324 speak? English, as far as I know.
29) Which of your friends should scarletdulcinea go out with? I can practically HEAR Katherine hyperventilating over the triteness and inapplicability of this question.
30) Do you have eyeofmazikeen's screenname? I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT FROM ME.
31) What would carneiros do differently in your shoes? probably eat better, and get more accomplished.
32) Does letincelle smoke? Not with any frequency.
33) What animal should skewer324 be combined with? POLAR BEAR.
34) Does mukor go to your school? Not anymore!
35) Has liesegregory dyed their hair? I think so, at some point.
36) What animal does liesegregory remind you of? a pheasant. I mean, a pretty one.
37) Are pans_syrinx and ericgregory going out? ...we already covered this! That scenario is deranged beyond my ability to even assess it.
38) How tall is letincelle? Not very!
39) Is intoafrica a nerd? Already answered!
40) Do you think theholytree is hot? I've met few women capable of such grace and presence.
41) What is farstrider79's shoe size? Slightly bigger than mine?
42) Would you ever date letincelle? NO. No, dammit, just because I live in Tennessee...
43) Do eyeofmazikeen and hollowrose go to the same school? Not even close!
44) How long would ericgregory dating belgarath42 last? long enough for me to die laughing!
45) One quality you find attractive in ladiesfromhell? Her ability to observe, enjoy, and not feel the need to comment on what is already obvious.
46) What flavor of jello would mukor be? I think of Brian as being more like the mysterious pink fluff on salad bars.
47) Is carneiros popular? Well, she is with me. I can't speak for the rest of the world.
48) Is ladiesfromhell your best friend? She certainly understands certain things that others do not.
49) Is bililoquy in a relationship? Definitely so!
50) What is belgarath42's favorite game? Being better at games than me.
Current Mood: CRAZY
2:11am: By the end of this quiz...
...I had been forced to contemplate more excruciatingly uncomfortable permutations of my social circle than anyone should ever have to endure. I think we would have all been better off if I had walked away...

Click here.
Take the quiz.
Post your results.
1) Do you think hollowrose is hot? Damn betcha! EmilySarah is the bomb.
2) Is zaarwin_devolve popular? He's known and feared worldwide, at this point.
3) Does ericgregory smoke? Nope! One of many endearing things about him.
4) When did you last call breathe_out? Never did. She hasn't posted in, what, like a year, now? It'd be awkward, I think.
5) If liesekins took over the world, who would suffer? Small-minded people, and picky eaters.
6) Does carneiros drink? Yes, but never to excess, that I've observed.
7) What is ericgregory's favorite food? He's one of those "cyclical fixation" type of people. I've known past answers, but I don't know the current one.
8) What would you do if you found out liesegregory has a crush on you? Have a mature sit-down with everyone involved. Explain that I am going on a lengthy sojourn to Antarctica, and I expect everyone to do some serious soul-searching and have this mess taken care of, by the time I get back.
9) What would ladiesfromhell do differently in your shoes? ...probably a lot! This question kind of jams my brain, in fact. I feel like it would mainly be a lot of meditation, introspection, and possibly experimental drug use, while she tried to figure out how the hell she had ended up in this situation, in the first place.
10) Is intoafrica a nerd? to a degree that is endearing, rather than embarrassing.
11) Has hollowrose been to your house/dorm? Not the one I currently live in, but historically, yes.
13) Would you set up mukor and ladiesfromhell? ...well, putting aside the fact that I suspect no one involved would be okay with this (especially Kate!), I'm going with "No." I think they could be fast friends, but are unlikely to form a romantic attachment.
14) Is breathe_out friends with ladiesfromhell? So far as I am aware, they have never met, and this is unlikely to change, since Shelly lives in Canada.
15) Does liesegregory travel a lot? A fair bit, yeah. She's back 'n' forth to PA, pretty often, and has visited more exotic locales.
16) Is farstrider79 introverted or extroverted? He won the senior superlative for "quietest," back in the day, if that tells you anything.
17) Are pans_syrinx and ericgregory going steady? ILLEGAL FUNCTION CALL.
18) What exotic animal would carneiros like as a pet? I dunno. Are sheep exotic? I mean, they're not, but are they considered exotic PETS?
19) How tall is ladiesfromhell? shorter than me, but since I've had a chronic bout of trouble tracking her down for quite a while now, I'm not certain.
20) Are abulia and theholytree married? ...this explodes my head. Katherine, meet Mary. Mary, meet Katherine. I can't even hazard a GUESS what the two of you will think of each other.
21) Have you flirted with abulia? No, I just fuck her mom.
22) liesegregory's hair color? Blond! ...I know this one!
23) What word best describes intransphonemia? "Quixotic."
24) What video game does pans_syrinx remind you of? Pac Man. She's killer at that game.
25) Does intransphonemia have a dog? Pretty sure not.
26) Is farstrider79 in a relationship? Not last I checked, but he's a smooth operator, so who knows?
27) Does eyeofmazikeen have a big secret? Probably quite a few.
28) Do you have carneiros's screenname? ...what? Isn't "carneiros" her screenname?
29) Could you see hollowrose and eyeofmazikeen together? Assuming they were both up for a little girl-on-girl, sure! I think they'd get along famously.
30) Did letincelle break up with you? No, but her mom copped an attitude with me, the other night, so I had to bust her in the mouth with a roll of quarters.
31) Are intoafrica and letincelle going out? Not unless they're keeping it WAAAAAY on the downlow.
32) What do you agree with hollowrose about? 1) That my sister is a pretty excellent person, 2) that creativity is fun, 3) various musicky, movieish stuff.
33) Where was hogofheaven born? ...good question. How do you know a guy this long, and not know the answer to a thing like that?
34) Is breathe_out a college student? Nope.
35) Is eyeofmazikeen an emo? She seems pretty anti-emo, from what I've observed. Maybe she gets all mopey when I'm not around...
36) What would you do if zaarwin_devolve died? Cry. Attend the funeral. Burn something down, in his honor. Live life harder, so I can tell him about it, when we meet again.
37) What is abulia's favorite movie? I seriously doubt she could pick just one.
38) Where would eyeofmazikeen most like to visit? Dunno. Kate? Over to you.
39) Does liesekins have a crush on carneiros? Well, no, I don't think so, and isn't that just lucky for all of us? AWKWARD.
40) If carneiros was a superhero, who would be his/her archnemesis? THE DISINFORMER, spreading lies and misleading data in support of the status quo.
41) If hogofheaven commanded an army, who would be his/her followers? Well, ME, among others. I wouldn't miss that for the world...!
42) What would farstrider79 give hogofheaven for his/her birthday? Probably either a good book, or a servicable bladed weapon.
43) Have you ever dated hollowrose? Despite the best efforts of this quiz, no.
44) Is mukor 1337? He's considerably younger than that.
45) Which of your friends should liesekins go out with? Eric!
46) Is hogofheaven single? Nosirree.
47) Is liesegregory athletic? Moderately so. At least as much as I am!
48) Would you make out with liesekins? ...okay, this shit has to STOP, now.
49) What mental disorder does liesekins remind you of? I suspect that neither of us finds this funny.
50) What is mukor allergic to? poorly-supported arguments.
Current Mood: Googly-eyed

2nd December 2009

3:19am: Samsara, cont'd
My mother mentioned, last time I was over, that they were considering selling the house in favor of one that has, or could have added, a downstairs living space with full bath for my grandmother, now that she lives with them. According to my sister's recent journal post, they are apparently going ahead with this plan, since the county will not approve an addition.

I have to be honest: I feel very weird about the possibility of my mother and father selling the house. Maybe it's because we moved so constantly in my early childhood (sometimes it seemed like I would barely learn the names of the kids at school, or even in the neighborhood, before it was time to pack, again), but I have a very strong emotional attachment to that place. To me, it's a symbol that the days of forlornly leaving behind yet another attempt at a stable life/world are over. Forever. It was supposed to be my family's house. I was DONE. (I think this has at least something to do with my ultimate inability to romanticize moving away to the big city, the west coast, Europe, etc. As a child, I grew utterly weary and sick of leaving things behind, and I don't think the feeling has ever entirely left me.)

I know every corner of every room, down to the nail that always works itself up out of the stairs, no matter how many times you hammer it back in, to the fact that the bathroom closet is just big enough to read a book in (and, conveniently, has a light for the purpose) to the attic crawlspace access, that I used to have dreams about climbing up into and finding strange extra rooms, or endless mazes of hallways.

...I know it's not really that big a deal, in terms of its effect on my life, and it's not my decision, anyway. BUT. BUT. BUT.

Sometimes I think I am going to split down the middle into two entirely separate people. One of them wants to shed his skin constantly, reinvent himself with with an eye to joy and pragmatism, with little or no heed to the past. He wants to take big chances, cross new horizons, meet fascinating people, do astonishing deeds, etc. etc.

But the other one wants, passionately, to keep everything the way it is, to hold onto every mote of dust that falls in the light coming through the window, keep every memento, telephone number, dried up flower, piece of wrapping paper, mix CD, childhood toy, birthday card, Christmas ornament, blanket, chair, bed and table, to make the damn world stop slipping away and falling apart by whatever means necessary, to sit in the place he lives and never move, never even go out, on the off chance that this will make other people stop leaving, and the world stop changing.
Current Mood: Lost

1st December 2009

5:06pm: Medicated to the one I love, p4
Thanksgiving went quite well, as did my annual bake-off with Mary and Daniel (and the bottle makes four!) In exchange for overflowing my bounty of yeast rolls, I was fed not once but twice...CRAZY amounts of food, and all of it was great. It was nice having my grandmother here, this year.

But...the day or two after Thanksgiving were kind of dark and desolate. Black Friday is a plague that I make it an annual habit to avoid contracting (in fact, I never set foot out of the house), but this meant I couldn't go pick up my prescription refill, which I had been out of since the previous Wednesday. I had managed to hold up just fine through the holiday because nice things were constantly happening, but as soon as it was over, I crashed pretty hard. I got into a nasty fight with Janice. Later in the evening, I ended up melting down in the car on the way to a party we were supposed to go to, and making her take me home...which sucked, but it was at the time of this incident that my girlfriend suddenly realized that I wasn't just being a whiny jackass.

"I'm sorry. I think sometimes I expect too much out of you. I...you know. Forget."

(I know. I just hate to be a broken record.)

The next day, she went to pick up my medicine. Didn't ask, or make me call it in, or anything. I know it sounds ridiculous, but when I'm in a low slump, even picking up the phone to tell someone that I need my prescription number refilled, which is well within my rights and will necessitate absolutely no further questions, is just...beyond me. I could more easily pick myself up by my own shoelaces. Usually, this necessitates a roaring row between milady and I, as she desperately tries to get me to do this simple thing, and I curl up into a ball of refusal and self-loathing. But not this time. And that...means a lot.

A few days and a few pills later, this entire episode seems incomprehensible to me. If I ever needed any clearer proof that DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY ARE NOT PERSONALITY CHARACTERISTICS, THEY ARE A FUCKING DISEASE, this is it. Sure, I am sad, sometimes. Melancholy, even. But I am not chronically, destructively, uncontrollably so, for no goddamn reason. When I'm taking my medicine and that behavior has STOPPED, it becomes difficult to romanticize.

Depression is a distortion in the lens through which you view reality. It is a defect in your filter. It means that instead of seeing the good and bad things in your life, you start to lose track of the good ones and zoom in with false clarity on the bad. And fuck that.

I don't want to live, I want to LIVE.
Current Mood: Determined

5th November 2009

1:02am: Fizzizzityuck this.
Okay, so...

I was supposed to take the guinea pigs to the vet, today. I was also supposed to pick Cristin up from school, early, and take her to get her learner's permit. I failed to notice that these two things were inevitably going to overlap, so just keep in mind, through the rest of this story, that the guinea pigs are in a shoebox in the car, the whole time.

Our story starts at 1:30pm, when I go to Tennessee High. After the office finds Cristin, out on the practice field, and we negotiate the ridiculous trap of one-way gates necessary for her to navigate to put her guard stuff away and then re-emerge from the band room (now on the opposite side of the building from where I parked), we get lost on the way to the Department of Safety, because the Sullivan County station is out in the fucking boondocks, halfway to Kingsport, and I got 11E mixed up with 11W. Look, I've been there once, ever, and I wasn't in the best frame of mind.

Lengthily correcting our mistake, we arrived at about 3:25. The DoS stops accepting new applicants for the permit test at 4:30. We were promptly (albeit politely and apologetically) told that Cristin must have a parent or guardian present. I carefully contained the explosive pressure that built up in my head, at that moment, because I had initially assumed that this would be the case, had made my concerns known, and had taken the fact that Janice and Cristin asked me to even make this trip as evidence that they had looked it up and found out otherwise. Guess not.

I explained that Janice was basically not ever going to be able to leave work to do this (she's out of vacation time for the rest of the year), and they gave me an affidavit that she could sign and have notarized in her absence. Cristin was royally pissed, because she has no days off from Color Guard-related activities for about a month, after this, and her attendance at school has been a little on the spotty side, what with her recent bout of the flu, and miscellaneous minor ailments.

So I decided, since this was kinda the only day we had, that we'd give it the Hail Mary shot. I called Janice, all the way back at exit 7, and told her we needed a copy of her driver's license, her signature on the forms, and she should start emailing people to find out if anyone at OfficeMax had their notary certification, because we were on our friggin' way (side note: it's always extra-fun for me to visit my former job, which kinda ruined my life and then fired me.)

We arrived, and were told by Janice that a couple of people had their Virginia certification, but no one had Tennessee credentials. We gave her the forms, anyway, and I made plans to take a decidedly sullen Cristin out to eat, since it was now 4:05, and neither of us had eaten since breakfast, and there was no way we were going to make any further progress on her learner's permit.

...which was when Janice called, and said that a) she'd gotten in trouble for coming to talk to us, for some bullshit reason, and b) she'd found a TN notary, and Lori had gotten the form taken care of, and would meet us at the side door. We raced back, and left the parking lot with all the necessary info at 4:13. Right before getting on the interstate, we realized that Janice had given us the affidavit, but had kept the folder that had Cristin's birth certificate, social security card, and confirmation of attendance from the school. Cristin called Lori, Lori rushed to Janice's desk, and then the side door again, and we left for the final time at 4:17. The office was closing at 4:30. It was all the way back in Tennessee on 11W. It was hopeless.

So I made an executive decision to the effect that we were either going to a) get her test, or b) burn the place down (this attitude has often gotten me startling results, when dealing with the government, such as when I had my ticket reduced in Asheville by simply refusing to leave the building until someone helped me), warned Cristin that she might have to see me get into a fight with someone at the information desk, and set the cruise control to 75mph. I'd never taken this route before, but it seemed like it might be faster, so we burned down the interstate to exit 69, followed 394 to 11W, and arrived at the office at 4:38.

Somewhere along the way, Amanda called Cristin, and asked us where the hell we were, because her grandmother wanted to drop her off, now, and she didn't have her key with her. I suggested that they either meet us at the DoS, or that Amanda wait at her grandmother's house, and we would pick her up, later. Cristin relayed these options. Amanda refused both of them. Cristin exploded. The phone conversation that followed was not pretty, and Amanda apparently hung up on her sister without resolving anything.

Upon reaching the DoS, the same woman was at the desk, and she was duly impressed that Cristin and I had managed to get something signed and sealed by a notary in the intervening time. She waived the cutoff time, and thus unknowingly saved herself a great deal of unpleasantness. Cristin filled out her forms, and, a few minutes later, took and passed her test. We rejoiced. The day was finally back on track. We were the champions. I even requested a comment card, so I could say nice things about the staff on duty (who really had been quite friendly.)

Then the woman at the checkout counter, as I was paying the fees, pointed out that Janice had forgotten to sign a final blank, on the back, which rendered the entire document moot, and meant that it would have to be signed and then notarized a second time because the original notary hadn't witnessed this additional signature.

To our credit, Cristin and I did not lose our tempers, though Cristin came close while calling her mother, in the car, on the way BACK to exit 7, so that I could pick Janice up and rush her to school at Northeast State by 6:00pm...which was, again, back in totally the other direction, from whence we had just come (only even further.)

Along the drive to get Janice, it occurred to me to wonder whatever had happened to Amanda. Misplacing a daughter seemed like a bad move. When we got there, it turned out that she had apparently been dropped off at OfficeMax, which seemed, and still seems, like the most peculiar of the available options, but it at least meant that I didn't have to make an additional trip to Bluff City to get her, so I wasn't complaining.

The kids and I stopped home to drop off the poor, beleaguered guinea pigs, who had now been in a shoebox in the car for five hours. Then we went out for Chinese food at the Shanghai. I have no regrets, where this is concerned. When we got back, I had a Xanax, a Celexa, two ibuprofen, and a cup of black tea, and decided against scarifying myself with the soldering iron.

Then I drove BACK to fucking exit 63 to pick Janice up from college.

The rest of the evening was hanging out with Travis and working on Strat Mos material. Our current hope is to finish the EP, which we had planned to hand out for the holidays LAST year, in time for the holidays THIS year.

Upon such dreams are my days built.
Current Mood: Bureaucratically Skull-Raped

26th October 2009

2:08am: Lethargy and Anarchy
I keep trying to find a well of venomous guilt and self-loathing that I can apply against myself for being so awesomely lazy during this past Family Flu Week, but it's just not working. Damn antidepressants!

Actually, yesterday was absolutely manic, making cakes and driving kids places and doing crazy things to ensure that Cristin had a happy birthday party. But pictures of all that will be forthcoming on Facebook. (Do I know anyone here that I'm not friends with on Facebook? It's just way, way easier to post them there than upload them to my webspace and link to them, here.)

Didn't make it to Jeff and Jessica's pre-wedding shower, but did get to see each of them, Friday, which was good stuff. My friends sustain me, in good times and bad.
Current Mood: Tired/Good

22nd October 2009

11:47pm: More later, but for now...
Due to an ongoing war between us and the cable company, we are

a) Not going to have the home phone, anymore. No more 423-217-0708. Make a note of it.

b) Not going to have extended cable. You know who has two thumbs and isn't going to miss having the Disney channel on, all day? (Yeah. This guy.) On the other hand, the loss of random movies and music videos free on demand does sting, a bit.

Well, whatever. Something of substance once my borderline flu-like symptoms abate, a bit.
Current Mood: semi-ill

14th October 2009

2:07am: Cue the Dead Milkmen
...so I was doing a little visual art, and I had a mug of diluted bleach on the counter, for reasons that I don't especially feel like going into, at the moment.

I want to make clear that, an hour or so ago, I even had the thought "Gee, wouldn't it be awful if I mistook this for my water and took a big sip of it?"

So I guess you can figure out where this is going.

Fortunately, I didn't swallow much of it, but my tongue burns and my throat feels slightly raw.
Current Mood: poisoned

12th October 2009

2:55pm: Dream
In my dream, my sister was unexpectedly pregnant by her (imaginary) boyfriend. She was adamant about keeping the baby, but she was so upset and so stressed out trying to figure out how she was going to plan around the birth and keep doing all the things she wanted to do with her life that I was furiously angry, and ready to kill her boyfriend. Unfortunately, in classic Mary style, she had never brought him around for anyone in the family to meet, so we didn't know who he was, and she was doubly determined to keep it that way, now. I wanted to be respectful of my sister, who can certainly make her own decisions and doesn't need me to stick up for her, but I also couldn't help but feel like the world would be improved by putting the fear of God into him. When I woke up, I was in process of doing some hard thinking about whether I was going to be over my anger by the time the father and I inevitably met at the hospital, in nine months.

I stirred, got a drink of water, and went back to sleep. In my next dream, I was at Wal Mart, and realized that I forgotten to wear pants, which was awkward. I was trying to stay inconspicuous by keeping my shirt pulled down low (making everyone think I had hot-pants on??? I don't know, I guess it was better than being naked) when I abruptly ran into Travis. Travis didn't notice my state of partial dress, thankfully, but he was uncomfortably inquiring after Mary, who he'd heard was pregnant, and wondering how I felt about it, because he'd heard I was pretty angry. At this point, I became monumentally confused, because I knew for a fact that situation had been a dream, so there didn't seem to be any reasonably possible way Travis or anyone else could know about it. But he was so certain, and so concerned, that I started to doubt it, and wonder if Mary really was pregnant.

My uncertainty lasted well into the next time I woke up, as I was eating the day's first bowl of Golden Grahams, and didn't dissipate entirely until I'd downed a cup of tea.
Current Mood: Somewhat Dazed

8th October 2009

1:51am: ...
The worst is when there's nothing technically wrong with the day you just had, and you still feel so miserable you could hold your own head under the toilet until you stop kicking.

For Sale: My Brain.
Current Mood: Guh.

30th September 2009

3:51am: Fuck, I can't sleep.
LJ informed me that I had not filled out the interests section of my profile. So I put the four most unlikely, off-the-wall interests I could come up with (view my profile and see for yourself.)

Three of the four are apparently shared by someone else.

Even when I try, I can't be weirder than the world.




So anyway, in the interest of accuracy, I opened two Benedryl capsules, mixed them with a little water, and chased it with a swig of whiskey. Let's see consciousness hold out against THAT.
Current Mood: All-too-aware
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