jugular dance

encore vide.

18 July 2004

well--this is the 350th post to this fine online journal (would've only been the 349th if i hadn't somewhere along the line posted 'i wish i liked tuna fish'), and the very last, as the trip home/back is over, and the trip back/home is over, and here i am in california and this is my home now. this trip has summed up everything, has been the focal point through which everything has needed to pass. i have watched my high school friend who once dyed her hair purple in rebellion carry her baby around in a sling and confess to me that she wants to breastfeed as long as it takes the baby to wean naturally, even if that's not until she's seven. my best friend has a husband and a home and a new drawing table and a new serger (brand new but does not cut the seams, very sad) and is terribly lonely and unable to find anybody who is brave and unafraid to befriend her, not even in a Christian group where everyone is meant to be questing directly into each other's hearts. the friend who was the quintessential one-night-stand airhead is going to marry a wonderful science-fiction writer English teacher who never makes notes in his own handwriting and listens to Tool. Joop from Maine called me too late and we never saw each other after all and she's got a house and a husband and a speech therapy job anyhow, and we will never wear gold lame capes together again, it seems, and that is fine. there were two hours of confession on a log beside Lake Erie with Karen (who insisted we sneak onto the beach even though it was closed, and i am still trying to imagine my mother doing this) that cannot ever be forgotten or surpassed. Josh realised he cannot ever kiss me goodbye again and so ran circles with his arms full around me, and it was beautiful and fine, and we were comfortable. my mother was sad and barren as always, bringing everything to a sharp point and an empty mouth, which i am no longer able to respond to, and that is fine--it was coming to me and it is fine that i have passed through it. my father is sad but so lovely, and he finally understands me, what it is to anguish like this, and is finally unafraid to acknowledge it. my brother and i cried and watched Lupin together on many occasions, and he will get out and manage to realise the nomad in his heart, and get far away. my mother's parents are truly fabulous people, poor people, eating little, telling the stories of my mother and her sisters it so pains me to hear, talking about the city pools closing and the city councilmen they dislike. you know i write these things because i simply want to remember how everyone was. everyone has already passed through these points anyhow and all i am doing is recreating them on the night we walked through the drizzling at the carnival or sat round the fire. i just want to remember. i am different anyhow, different on going and different in coming back. i don't belong there anymore and that is a fine thing--i don't belong at all, except for two tiny rooms full of books and paper and music and much dancing between two streets and next to a synagogue where a grand thing happened to my heart and i found the love of this lifetime, who made me able to stand up straight with this heart and let it be open even when others are near and agitating, and be truly alone and tender with it in the after dark. oh the joy of finding Tim Miller, who is cool enough to live in Kansas!
and goodnight to all--thanks for being so nice to me.

13 July 2004

here is my life now--'the complete obliteration of multiplicity'--

'Any moving from the Mover.
Any love from the Beloved.' (Rumi, Mathnawi, III)

'That which is not comprehended by the mind, but by which the mind comprehends - know that to be Brahman.' (Kena Upanishad)

wonderful yesterday and today! with Lindsay & Sean & others again last eve, sitting around the fire talking about origins of slang terms & the peculiar quality of people who insist on watching the director's commentary version of films. i hadn't seen Lindsay's mum since her wedding--she calls me 'Jen-Jen'--quite a pleasure. Sean: 'The most dangerous thing you could do is wave around a hot marshmallow!' then drove to the old church at 1 am and wrote in the parkinglot for an hour (it was quite closed, and there now seems to be floodlights everywhere). today, saw Josh for the first time since home, brought alyssum to Gram and Pap's spot at the mausoleum and stood round crying together for a bit. was quite difficult to see her name removed from wherever it had previously been and in gold letters up there (though the dates are still missing...?)--she would've been there rasping 'What the hell are you standing round in front of a box for, go and see a movie or something!' Wonderful Gram. Josh kissed the angel statue as he left, which was quite peculiar for him. then went to the North Side and peeked into St Peter's (lovely) and then to the Maurice Sendak exhibit at the Children's Museum (on Josh's idea! i can't figure that out)...incredible, there was the entire first draft of Wild Things dated my birthday 1962, in his handwriting, on a piece of looseleaf, and towards the end an entire three lines or so was bracketed off and the word 'BAD' was written in bold in the margin...and there were wonderful drawings of Rosie/Alinda...and it was quite a shame i do not fit into any of the wild beast costumes provided. then Record Exchange (finally) where i spent retarded amounts of money, and then this evening dinner with my dad's grand family, in some dim restaurant in Mars, drinking sangria and talking, talking. Joe (dad's cousin's partner, professor, brilliant person) said 'you are glowing'--i told him it is all because of one stupendous person--he said 'i can tell immediately' and then that life cannot be sustained by anything other than that--which is EXACTLY what that stupendous person said to me yesterday as we were exiting the freeway! this eases my heart and at least partially makes up for other attitudes which necessitate the use of enormous amounts of stealth for such devious activities as PICKING ME UP, and DROPPING ME OFF...anyhow, now am listening to James Brown and am supremely contented...and going to see mum's parents tomorrow...

09 July 2004

Adam the Frustrated Sculptor delivered a pizza today and ended up staying for 15 minutes, drinking tea and telling me how Josh is 'bent out of shape'. Many woes could be averted if this family did not eat so much pizza. Two of four parents took off an entire week from work for my homecoming but have neither suggested doing anything with me yet nor proven themselves to be especially forgiving when I decide to simply not come home one night. Baffling...and so I will just have to camp out on synagogue steps for the remainder of the visit...

06 July 2004

pizza & Dance Dance Revolution with Lindsay and Sean!

01 July 2004

  1. i am the girl people want to see their parrots (so i walked with Patty today to her office to meet her baby parrot whose gender she doesn't even know yet)

  2. long evening with G and her 7-year-old son; she spent the whole night on the telephone with her boyfriend so i talked to her son lots. i pretended not to know what a television was and he completely believed me and explained for thirty minutes how the remote control works, and how if the box is black it's probably turned off

28 June 2004

first time of being wilfully silent & happy afterwards

27 June 2004

chris told me this eve that a $650 hospital bill had just arrived today from when he was in Cleveland. Cleveland?--me. indeed, Cleveland. apparently when he was 'out' (that's what we're saying for it now) a friend drove him to Ohio for two days. he ate (read that as 'used') something that caused his face to swell, so he went to the hospital, where they gave him an ice pack and, presumably, a cortizone shot. he didn't know, as his face was covered at the time. all SORTS of questions arise from this and they all belong in the fourth dimension. THOUGH oddly i don't think he'd've mentioned this exploit at all if i hadn't been telling him about the alarming rate of email exchange between me and Tim (who's from Ohio, & maddeningly great...)

24 June 2004

finally received 5 sets of photos from the trip West today! turns out the camera i bought shortly before departure rocks the caspbah, the prints are super clear and lovely and it's not even digital. there's a really grand one of my dad and a buffalo that i'm toiling with the scanner to post here, so hang tight--

23 June 2004

The batty people've returned from Kazakhstan where they had monstrous trouble getting around, were told they were too old to adopt two five-year-olds (they're my parents' age), spent huge amounts of hand money for greasing the wheels of nothing, and were offered several smallish retarded children instead of the beautiful young girls they'd been promised, because beautiful young girls in Kazakhstan get sold into prostitution. The husband was telling me all of this and he spat out the word 'retarded' as though it was a personal insult to him that he had to leave the country without a tiny porcelain doll under his arm. My already-low opinion of them quite shuddered and died--

21 June 2004

so i guess i will keep this space through the end of my trip home, as last time i had loads of fun sitting in the parental basement spilling my heart out, and this time my goofy brother'll be there to keep me company...but after that it'll be a vacant lot, use it for whatever you like--(special consideration goes to those who wish to form a robot foundry--)

18 June 2004

josh says: 'you'd be a good waitress, i think'

also he told me he cries himself to sleep a lot of nights, but i think that's mostly because of Gram, who it turns out he just REALLY misses

17 June 2004

spoke to brother, he told me horror stories of the last month, but it was comfortable. he sounds so different--he doesn't joke. the old private jokes between us are only halfhearted now. he hates mum/husband still & i think he hates my dad as well, and we can't even talk about karen because apparently she with unmasked fury hates him. but it's going to be great being home with him, only 2 weeks, he's all excited. BUT i'm a jerk, cause he kept coming online to see if i was around, and i hid away from him, because i'm scared of another time like the time he was telling me he didn't want to live anymore, and he had to leave, and i telephoned the house and he refused to get on the phone with me, and he and my mother were screaming the foulest language back and forth--i'm scared all that's going to happen again, keep happening, and i don't want it because i'm helpless out here. he asked me about it today and i felt rotten

also HE has gotten himself spiky hair but sadly about ten days too late, for i am OVER IT (it is to be hoped)

and last friday i did the unimaginable thing and managed to hurt C. big confrontation about the car thing of how many weeks before that (one, i think)--she said it'd been bugging her that long. she said the way i'd spoken to her made her want to cry (no matter when I cry in the toilet). interrupted me at the table eating squash to tell me this. long protracted thing in which i said she made me uncomfortable--she said 'how can you think that?'--not 'why do you think that?'--but more like 'how dare you think that?'--so that's that, then

T's back from vacation in SD though so it's been better, i missed him

thinking of disbanding here, not sure

16 June 2004

just went to close my window for goodnight and there is a HUGE SNAIL creeping up the glass, body as long as my pinkie (for those intimate with my pinkie), wending sideways towards the screen side, leaving a weird smear, jellyfish-translucent, shell hanging off it like a tumour, it must've been toiling its way up the side of the house for HOURS and i never once saw it!
on the first page of the book by Mr Saramago under the catalogue sticker, somebody has made a list
film rolls

13 June 2004

brother reinstalled at parents' house, at long long last. mum wept & husband acted matter-of-fact and staunch. i dunno what'll become of that and i'm too cautious to feel relieved but it was nice to hear his voice...

and ohh maybe i wasn't vindicated by being able to scream obscenities at mother's eldest sister Theresa at the funeral that never was, but i did get a gut laugh out of the latest news concerning her twisted little family, that being that her eldest son David (my cousin) was recently fired from his job at Shop 'n Save (another bloody SWPA grocery - he was produce mgr) which he's held since high school for STEALING MEAT. the harpy can no longer act as insufferable snob when son is a petty criminal!! how delighted i am

also lemon makes orange taste salty, citrus fruits bitter sisters (or cousins, as it were)
one of the solutions is selenium sulfide which makes the bathroom i share with beastly L smell like rotteneggs--

the last temptation of christ (kazantzakis)
lolita/pnin/pale fire (nabokov)
death of methuselah (stories - singer)
the year of the death of ricardo reis (saramago - what i wanted was baltasar & blimunda but neither bookstore nor bibliotheque had it)

lied to norman, told him i checked my oil while the car was warm when really i did no such thing, and he was so worried about me too, we talked for an hour about it, i am a fraud,

he was in on friday, then another norman was in, two completely different ones, and they were talking together and laughing. then the one norman (car-oil norman, straight-laced godloving caterer norman) was leaving and the other (tattooed funky truckdriver norman) said 'norman do you drink beer?' (i guess to invite him out some time) but straightlaced norman said 'naw, man, i got to keep it levelheaded today and everyday'. so that was that. personally i would rather hang out with the straightlaced norman. truckdriver norman's little girl was not named normanita or anything, but caterer norman has a son named norman and his father and grandfather were both norman. this reminds me of GEORGE, who married victoria and has five children: george jr, georgie, georgette, georgia, and georgetoria

dreams of my father dying of cancer, slowly in a laboratory

oh. i guess her name is ATIKA. she didn't even know where she was from, someone asked her and she said 'sort of Jordan'

11 June 2004

les danseurs sont revenues!

incidentally, in the same journal entry in which the phrase 'jugular dance' originated, i styled myself as 'vagabondish and slovenly' - qui ne change jamais.

the haiku is going brilliantly and a new revelation has been received concerning the thingy. Josh finally called last night and we spoke for a few minutes, was ok. I guess every few months I begin to forget the last four years, and he's prompted by some external hand to remind me, Oh yeah, this's why you left, he's not the right one. The haiku is seriously going wonderfully, lends itself well to the omission of articles & the pronouns I hate so much, and the compression (the rules state that the poems can be 3 lines but don't have to be 17 syllables, but I'm trying my best to stay at 5/7/5 anyhow) is a challenge for precision. That's positive, as I guess I tend to ramble a bit normally. Everyone else's are surprisingly pretty too (the CD List Guy's 81-year-old mum keeps throwing out these gorgeous little pieces!), though the second day was weird, everyone else was talking about moss and moonlight & things, and I'd just come up with a four-part thing about SPINES or something. egad, it's late, i must away--

08 June 2004

it's FREEZING outside! in June! J says it's June Gloom...overcast & grey all day every day...it's even been RAINING the past two mornings! hasn't rained since Christmas eve here. huh

the step instructor is in Pennsylvania for 2 weeks (Wilkes-Barre) visiting family, and so instead of step there was belly dancing which exhibited my lack of NATURAL GRACE and for which the music was always just slightly off. Annika doesn't count very well. But she's sweet and she means well and her dancing is quite lovely.

weird bad conversation with Karen (dad's fiancee) today. she's REALLY upset about dad losing his job. her ex-husband is a CPA as well. She told me she swore she'd never deal with the tax-season layoffs again. She said 'As long as he lives in this house he needs to work'. She was almost in tears talking about my brother. She said he was 'a jerk and an asshole'. She said he's never welcome in her house again (that stung). She told me she'd spent a whole day on the telephone at work looking up counsellors and shelters for him and he hasn't once picked up the phone and called my dad or her. She said she feels like he doesn't want anything to do with her. She said she tried hard to make him feel welcome and loved (and she did - she's a marvellous woman - she loves us a lot). She said all he's good at is lying. She was SO DISTRAUGHT about feeling like she'd been duped by him. She said she and my dad have been fighting a lot lately and it hasn't been good. She said 'we're going to pull through though' like at one time she'd believed anything but that. She told me she'd almost asked him to leave a few times. She said he's become a different person since the stuff with Chris. She BEGGED me not to repeat any of this to my dad. She told me she loved me and she said I've been the saving grace in all this, I've been so grounded and sane (!). No no, that's supposed to be my dad in that role. There's the measure of the insanity. He kept telling me he refused to let his part of the family be ripped apart by this (as my mum's has been) but obviously he's not succeeding by any real measure. Plus she'd been in a mild car accident this morning (because she & dad had had a blowup meltdown last evening) and she's fine but her car is wrecked. She was almost crying when she was telling me all this and then he came in from driving Lauren to work and Ryan to baseball, and her voice changed like she'd just picked up the phone and she said goodbye cheerily and handed me off to him. He sounded really tired and not too happy.

I am still angry with Josh for being a jerk and suggesting I really have nothing to offer; and I keep thinking about what he said as I write each sentence here and am contemplating just deleting all however many months of this stupid thing and moving back to Pgh into Lindsay's spare apt about which she wrote me AGAIN today. She said I could live there after I graduate if I wanted to. We were meant to be roommates but she got married too early. I'd love to talk this out with Josh but he's a hostile dick who only speaks in exclamation points

07 June 2004

alright, a bit better here. not going to bed completely heartbroken!
C was mean to me today. Josh was MEAN to me today. Cried on the toilet for at least ten minutes. Just finished eating my last potato. I dunno, why DID i ever leave? So depressed. Nice conv. with HIM today in which I asked him how he was instead of being short on the phone and his voice collapsed into some kind of relieved laughter like he couldn't believe I said that. Then he answered & we went back & forth a bit. More about tempting machines to their deaths, and antkilling. Maybe I should do the B.S. in CS no matter how hard the physics becomes so I can have private jokes with IT nerds. Josh has lots of private jokes with other people now. He said a blog is retarded and why would anybody want to read about what's happening in my life daily. I felt distinctly alone when I talked to him and was crying even before we hung up. I dunno. Why did I ever leave.

06 June 2004

MILKSTEALER just came to borrow gas money, and earlier had asked if she could borrow my phone to call her cousin in BFE, and I gathered my courage and DENIED HER both times, laud me! apparently once the nastiness is unleashed...

just spoke to the parents, mum&husband being very excited at my imminent homecoming, so excited in fact that they've taken off the whole work week from 5th-9th July, which is completely out of character. We had a long conversation about all the food I'm going to eat when I come home, which I think bears listing--
  1. grilled cheese with onion rings & pickles from Eat'n Park
  2. steak onion & ranch pizza from Montecello's
  3. asiago roast beef from Panera
  4. mum's fried chicken & mashed potatoes
  5. latkes & kielbasa (with applesauce!)
  6. a variety of grilled food with lots of corn on the cob
  7. PIEROGI! (boiled then fried, no lekvar please)
  8. pizza from Mineo's (doesn't matter which kind...best pizza in Pittsburgh)
  9. killer Kung Pao chicken from Tai Pei where Tina & Sheng are my buddies!
  10. cheese fries with vinegar and gravy (these are all served separately but I don't think I'll be able to decide) from Potato Patch at Kennywood
my diet is so going to HELL but it'll be a fine two weeks of Italian/vaguely Slavic gluttony!

Then I spoke to Dad...poor dadoo, he lost his job on Thursday. Too many accountants, not enough work, apparently. It's a very delicate situation, because not two weeks before that Karen's ex-husband lost HIS job, and her child support for the three kids dropped drastically. He told me he's sort-of-considering working at Kaufmann's as a commission furniture salesman. He's actually worked there on and off over the years in addition to his full-time work, but commission-only work is retarded and not his type at ALL. He's a trained CPA with flippin' 30 years of experience - he should be out auditing and making some CEO's life a miserable hell, not hawking poorly made tables. Actually what he SHOULD be doing - which both Karen and I and many other members of his side of the family, who are all 'intellectuals', have told him - is teaching, but he's unsure about that. My dad is not the kind of person you press, so he'll have to be left to make his own decision. But he would be devastating in a classroom, and he's so brilliant that he could teach anything if given the text two weeks in advance, math, literature, tax law, whatever. If I were the praying sort, I would be down on my knees right now trying to bend the flow of the universe to my selfish will and ensure that he got himself in the classroom. Alas, I am more of an environmental activist for the state of the psychic universe than anything else, and so will just sit quietly and let the Unshakeable Faith Mechanism do its duty. He was really cheered up - REALLY - when I told him Josh'd spoken to Chris on Friday, and that Chris had a job interview yesterday, so at least I was able to temper a bit of his melancholy with good news. Actually, he's got very little melancholy - he's got too much self-confidence to allow much melancholy in a situation like this. During the time I lived with him I think he went through this situation twice (he tends to get hired during tax season and then dropped when business inevitably slows down after 15th April), and he was suicidal/depressed/even remotely down exactly NONE of those. He knows he can do anything. Apparently after meiosis the genes containing that quality went off to play golf, and I was stuck with the ones containing the quality which keeps one as a secretary for thirty years. Sometimes I even think 'secretary' is better than 'bank clerk' - secretaries are given great license to be rude and short, where when have you ever been helped by a rude bank teller who kept her job very long? Yeah. I had to choose a droid job that doesn't even allow for the possibility of being uncommonly rude! But back on track - dad was heartened by news of Chris, and commented that I sounded really good, and that that warmed his depraved heart further. I told him it's the best I've felt in a good while, and that's the truth - not the truth I would tell my mum, but the truth I would tell him, sure. He can handle the possibility that I'm depressed out here sometimes. He didn't lecture me at all, didn't ask me if I'd made any friends, didn't say anything on those lines - but it's obvious that I need to, because look at what a few hours spent with some nice, genuine people does for my whole demeanor, such a change that my 3,000-miles-away father can hear it clearly.

and I'm having some PB&J for dinner, with pickles - should be grand!

listening to: 'Post', Bjork (this is in my top 5 records ever. someday I shall have to make such a list, to rival Josh, who makes top 100 lists about everything from Frank Zappa records to Clutch live appearances to amplifiers to flippin' horror film death scenes)

(on that note I would submit that the #1 horror film death scene is to be found in Fulci's 'City of the Living Dead', where the girl/guy are on a date in the truck, and the priest appears, and she begins to bleed from her eyes and subsequently vomits up her entire catalogue of internal organs. It's really quite brilliant)
spent an hour looking at beksinski's paintings and am conducting an upheaval of the thingy and removing all tick marks. they worked in the beginning, I've never read a book with tick marks
--it was set up
--like this, dialogue and
--'all that description' mashed
and so it made me feel as though I were doing something singular. I felt out of the ordinary enough to be able to continue; otherwise the form would've been just the same as everything else I've written and I may have given up by now. But I'm realising as I get more and more written (41 pages of solid writing, not including notes, note cards, voice notes recorded to myself on my cell phone, and emails I've sent myself concerning it) that the tick marks make any form of organisation impossible. I'm not sure yet if I even want that organisation permanently (it's not a CHAPTER BOOK) but right now the need for dividers is becoming prominent. Hence all tick marks are removed. I have identified at least three concepts that keep coming up. Someday soon - within the next three months, it is to be hoped - I should know what I'm actually writing this book about. Somehow this week-end was a breakthrough, I'm not sure yet how. I sat outside for a few hours yesterday and did some more writing of notes, but I disliked them (nothing new under the sun). Then came in and perused a century's worth of Nobel prize winners (Sartre declined the literature prize the same year Martin Luther King Jr. won the peace prize) and felt glum. Mr Saramago uses a good deal of commas and his work is much more beautiful. Perhaps if I could properly write about sailing - which, it seems, is the metaphor for all things - this would come easier. But today I got up early and went to see the movie with J & her husband B & her daughter S, and S was happy to see me and had made a little paint-by-numbers stained glass suncatcher thing for me, and B and I discussed all the scenes we wished they'd included in the film but hadn't (Malfoy, Crabbe & Goyle showing up at Quidditch wearing Dementor robes and Harry sending them toppling with a Patronus!), and J was sweet and kind to me. It felt so natural and good, and by twelve when we got out of the movie theatre the haze had burned off and it was pretty outside. They asked me to go to lunch with them - I declined politely, not eager to overstay my welcome - and I drove home with the windows down screaming along to 'Outlandos d'Amour'. The smallest trip outside revitalises me - it's so depressing, how little I get out, how much time I spend letting my voice rust alone with this computer. So for now I'm feeling good, like things and words might work out after all. Not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow, though. I think I've finally reached the point where I am consciously dreading interacting with C. Eh bien, onward.
I LOVE HARRY POTTER! POA rocks my caspbah!

05 June 2004

UK police recover 9-foot missing sturgeon = 'No-one knows what it's like to be a dustbin, in Shaftsbury, with hooligans'

ha! - i'm not going to do any of that. all i really want is to live in north carolina and travel the world and translate obscure books into japanese, anyhow. been reading a little too much of this lately i think!
And it should be noted that I woke at 9:30 this morning to the sound of ten pairs of shoes in the dryer, all ten of which belong to my lovely new bathroommate. I've noticed several other things which indicate she believes that she exists in a vacuum as well, which I won't even bother to put down; I don't know why others' inconsiderateness STILL amazes me, after all this time out here. Hell is other people, indeed.

Listening to: Sade, 'Love Deluxe'
Goodness, I don't know if I can do the B.S. in Computer Science. Calculus: no problem. But I've never taken physics, EVER. How am I to know if I'm any good at it? I did well in lower-level astronomy, which incorporates minimal physics and calculus; that's my only barometer. The programming coursework doesn't scare me, and I'm scary at picking up mathematical concepts. It's the PHYSICS that intimidates me! It's only lower-division physics, and it's only three courses - General Physics A, B, and C. A grade of C- is required to pass onto the next in sequence. Considering I've gotten As in all the math and science coursework I've done so far, I should be able to struggle my way through. Another problem, though, is WHEN I'm going to earn this second degree. Preparatory coursework for an Arts/Humanities degree and that for an Engineering degree are radically different! When am I going to be able to take the transfer requirements? I think it'll be very difficult for me to do two such different patterns of work concurrently. Perhaps graduate with the CW degree and then go back. But in that case, why wouldn't I just go on to do a master's degree? And I'm sure having one degree already will greatly foul up my chances of being able to get any kind of financial aid to earn the second one. It's just that I've noticed in the last year or two that, somehow, there is a logical, rational side of me, a mathematical component, that wants for expression. I was always the English nerd in school and never challenged myself in math and science. Then I got to college and ended up, for some reason, taking all kinds of math courses, and realised that in addition to having some kind of natural propensity for math, I find it intriguing, both from a writer's standpoint and from a logical standpoint (yeah, I do believe, in myself at least, that those two are mutually exclusive!). Summer before last I started mulling over the idea of a second degree, but thought I would do it in another Humanities field - the strongest option was foreign languages, since I seem to have a strength in picking up language. Then somewhere I made the jump from foreign languages to computer languages. I really don't want to work at a bank all my life, and I just desperately want some outlet for the irrepressible geek inside me.

04 June 2004

and a couple different times this week I have heard C's radio, which is all the way behind the teller line, and thought it was playing the theme song to 'Clarissa Explains It All'. whatever THAT means!
It should also be noted that Josh (who is 7 months older than I) called today to tell me that Chris had called him asking for a ride to a job interview tomorrow morning. So it's confirmed that my brother is at very least NOT DEAD, which leaves me to gleefully plan how to best rip into him soundly for NOT CALLING ME for two weeks and counting. He claims he has no telephone, but there are pay phones everywhere and he's got my phone card instructions, the little jerk. Sigh of relief.

And another new girl - L, we've never had an L on this blog before! - has moved in across the hall from me. She seems OK. Very tough, no-nonsense, not too friendly but that's just fine with me. I was all worried yesterday morning about emerging into the hallway in my disheveled sleepwear for fear of exposing too much arm and leg to her and freaking her out, so I put on the heavy pink bathrobe that Josh's mum bought me for one Christmas. Took a shower, went back into room. Came out again to get my lunch and she's standing there, bathroom door wide open, in tangerine-coloured lacy bra & panties, grooming herself, only half-covered with a towel! So I don't feel so bad. She leaves a faintly male musky scent wherever she goes, as opposed to Milkstealer, who always smells very sweet, and me, who generally smells like strawberries (conditioner) or the excellent lime-and-coconut butter. Patrice doesn't really smell like anything at all, though she's quite brilliant and tonight expressed her remorse that I don't have a college degree yet because there are 3 entry-level positions opening up at Boeing and I know how to use Excel, which is the only requirement other than the degree for the positions. She's really bent on this, it's very funny. We have these very serious conversations about Jupiter. I like her very much - and she leaves me alone, which increases my like for her by exponents. I'm expecting to earn two degrees, one of course in writing, but undecided on the other (I have too many interests to be able to pare a college major down to just writing, even though writing's the most important thing ever). Thinking perhaps programming, or foreign languages. Or astrophysics.
The sad fact is that I just don't get along with people my age. Too frumpy, too reclusive, too serious, whatever. A few months ago two customers from the old bank came in and opened an account - a 42-year-old man and his 22-year-old girlfriend, who very shortly thereafter became his 22-year-old wife. We all had a good chuckle over this seeming incongruity, but the two facts of this matter are that 1) they're deliriously happy, and 2) it looks as though it will be my situation as well, unless I wait until I'm 35 or 40 and then get married to someone my own age, by which time I believe loneliness will have given me fatal wounds. I rarely get noticed by men in the 20-25 age bracket. I'm not hip, don't dress correctly, am just way too serious. People sense the old heart in me. I give off vibes that are perceived as almost spinsterish. But older men LOVE me. B, 62, lamented my being too young for him. A, a sprightly and devastatingly interesting customer, also 62, asked me how old I was today, replied 'Ahh, just a baby' when I told him, and told me if I were thirty he would've spirited 'this beautiful woman' (er...that's me) off to Hawaii (where he is, despite vowing never to visit, being forced to go for his sister's remarriage in October). He wasn't joking, and I'm not either when I say that I considered it for half a second - he's really excellent. He said to me
'If only you were a bit older...I want a lot of kids'

'Ahh, A, I'm not sure I'm the childbearing type anyhow'

'Sure you are. You just need to find the right man for yourself.'--and this sentiment was so simultaneously fatherly and romantic, and made me feel kind of a sweet feeling for him, in spite of some who may think him lecherous. He's different that way. He also told me that both of his ex-wives (!) are from Pennsylvania, and his daughter lives in New Kensington right now. When I told him where I was from he positively EYED me, as though it couldn't be real.

Mr M, customer from earlier in the week, early 60s, fresh from divorce and eyeing me with clearly romantic intentions. This guy, who made (and still makes) me uncomfortable with the eyes he makes at me. Would have had a raging affair with old manager from otherbank in PA, who is 9 years my senior, if not for a keen sense of danger in that particular working relationship and my involvement with Josh at the time. G, old customer from otherbank with 5 children, 40 or so when I left, who used to flirt with me mercilessly (he had a mind of STEEL, so smart) and joke about the 'nervous energy' between us (he was very spiritual, though, which was the thing that prevented him from actually propositioning me). And somehow in all this I am perceived as a woman who would WELCOME these attentions (and sometimes I am, and sometimes I'm certainly NOT). These men talk to me as though I'm fifteen years older than I am. What do I exude that they smell and feel comfortable with? Beyond the romantic aspect, even, the two people I'm trading the best emails with right now are Jim and CD List Guy, both late 30s/early 40s (but neither even remotely 'sexually creepy', haha). Both of these men can think and spell and have the gentle souls I would look for and would never find in a man my own age.

Which brings us to the fabulous conversation I had with HIM today, which partially centres on this very topic. I called him because I hadn't been able to access my email for the last three days. He answered on the second ring and said hello to me directly (he can do that now that the telephone spells out my name for him). I divulged the problem. He absolutely GLEEFULLY applied himself to it.
'My email isn't working. Can you fix me?'
'Are you sure you want to be fixed? You're crimble blozle ROAAAAAAAR!'
--which comment I didn't hear due to a passing Mack truck or some such thing. Dead silence. Moments pass.
'You didn't get it' he says with a little snicker.

'What? I didn't hear you'--me. 'Did you say something rude?'

'Er...yeah!'--him. 'I said you're at such a young age!' HA. ha.

'Well, I'll leave it up to you then!...how young do you think I am??' [fully expecting to hear 'sixteen' come out of his stupid mouth]

'Well you're at least 21, right? You had a 21st birthday not too long ago I heard...' So she told him about the birthday celebration? Huh.

'I had a 21st birthday two years ago!'--me.

'Still, that's young!'

'Yeah, compared to you!' [he laughed DELICIOUSLY here]

'Hey, I'm not that old!'

[playfully?] 'Well, I don't know just how old you are...' [fully expecting to hear 'forty-five' come out of his stupid mouth]

'I'm not decrepit!' [but never actually told me his age...hm]

'I can tell that just by looking at you!'

'Yeah...but C is reaching those decrepit years' [which means he's younger than she, and she's 33 this August]

Here we have a short conversation about how C didn't even know how old she was turning this year, and one morning had a short panic attack thinking she was about to be 35. He sounded appalled when I told him this, as though he monitors her aging very closely and knows this could never be the case. Then he abruptly changed the subject by squealing
'Alright, spider, I gave you a chance but you wouldn't quit bugging me--'

'What's happening?'

'This baby spider--'


'I kept trying to shoo it away, and it wouldn't leave, it kept crawling back!'

'Are you the type to pull the legs off of daddy longlegs too, you brute?' [haa - 'you pimply brute'!]

'No, but I kill ants!' [LAUGHING]

'What, with your magnifying glass?'

'No, with a can of WD-40 and a lit match!' [what kind of sicko are we dealing with here?! damned computer geeks]

'Ehh...as long as you don't pull the legs off daddy longlegs. The girl scout in my heart finds that totally unacceptable'

'A few more words about Mrs. Humbert while the going is good (a bad accident is to happen quite soon).'--Mr N (by way of Mr H), whose lepidopterist heart would surely have found this insect torture just as unacceptable
'Why, does it remind you of Charlotte's Web?'

'Sure, I love Charlotte's Web' [eh, it's ok...]

'Ah, you've been indoctrinated, huh'

'Oh, you don't like children's literature, eh?' [in hindsight i CANNOT BELIEVE i said this. would've been better just to leave me to my phantasies]

'See, I was just talking to S about this today'--him

[WHY must we talk first about C then about S? WHY?]

[and here's the kicker]

'I don't really like the literature that doesn't get right to the point. All that description they put in there--' and he sighed, and you can bet that EVERY SINGLE SHORT STORY I'VE EVER WRITTEN flashed through my head in that one millisecond as the huge inkstained paperbody of a NIGHTMARE.

thus confirming the dear JAMES from one Fugue State Press in something he wrote to me on SATURDAY MARCH 6 2004 which i have been mulling ever since
sometimes you might sit down with the beloved and manage to have a relaxed full conversation, and be yourself somewhat (tho still trying to impress) and the beloved says 'i haven't read a book since i left school' and suddenly some of the burden is lifted
the nail and the head and FUCK jim why must you be so omniscient?! i can't believe it! Well, I can. He's an IT nerd, what was I expecting? It's not as though he injured my soul by saying that -- sure there's lots of people who dislike deep literature -- do I really expect to find someone with my own soul? -- aaaahhh WHO am I kidding? It sucks that he thinks that! It would be a completely unbalanced relationship! Me willing to pore over his fascinating code for hours but him unable to do anything but drool at my highly complex sentence structure! Bah!
'You're killing me! You're an ant-killer, you hate writing--!' --me.
to which he laughed. The subject changed then, I don't remember how, and he began really getting down to helping me with the email problem. He mumbled about my machine's ID and my IP address (the technomumble is SO hot, i swear). He had trouble locating me on his chart because for whatever reason my IP address was listed under C's name (go fucking figure). He terminalled in. The computer stalled and took belabored breaths. I noted that it did this every night upon logoff. He asked why, jokingly. I said I hadn't a clue, as I always spoke nicely to it. He said he believed that machines respond much better to violence and emotion than they do to politeness. He suggested that I threaten to dump it on the freeway next time it misbehaves. He said I wasn't bugging him, and we LAUGHED and laughed. The computer was taking forever to reboot, and he said he'd call me back in five minutes (maybe he had to pee, or check in with C real quick). When he called back he was very nice to me, and patient, but no more crazy laughter and no ten-minute goodbye session like with C sometimes. This conversation was wonderful, even with him in essence telling me that he dislikes the core of what I am, which viewpoint is pathetic, I know. But it proves I can be a person too (as my mum once said to me, 'Quit whining and be a person', she's so great), that C's is not the only personality, that I can be witty and bring forth his laughter and make him feel comfortable. But within thirty seconds of hanging up with him I felt the despair creep over again. When was the last time I had a mirthful, relaxed, easy conversation with him like that? DECEMBER. (ya, I keep track) Once every six months I manage to somehow be humanoid. This won't repeat again anytime soon. He won't flirt with me next time he's in the office, he won't call me to talk, he won't feel more comfortable next time he has to help me out. And judging by that fateful utterance of his I shouldn't be wanting any of these things from him anyhow. But I do. And I can't seem to shrug that wanting off even though it's almost definite that he is merely a specific target for a much broader more general desire for companionship and camaraderie. I went over and told G that I'd called him and we had laughed and laughed together. She gave me a gleeful high-five - she's always rooting for me. She still thinks we're perfect for each other -

And with regard to the age issue, I am unsure how to understand him. He realises I'm young. He knows how old he is and now knows how old I am and can make a comparison. He declined to tell me his age even though I all but asked for it (I still have no idea exactly how old he is, and no-one else seems to know either; perhaps this birthday I'll find out as I'm sure C will be offering to give him that number of slaps on the behind, or something equally subtle and psychosexual). The old options are back: he doesn't want to ruin a chance by revealing our true age gap (ah, Wishful Thinking Jenny, como estas?!), or I am, even in our biannual Relaxed Conversation, so far from being someone he feels comfortable enough to discuss himself with that the thought of telling me personal information was just out of the question. It introduces a THIRD category into my age-related woes - men not old enough to be my father, not young enough to think of me as too old, and utterly disinterested in me.
post du travail, written on actual paper during lunch break and transcribed here for your pleasure:

It's been a pretty crappy week, though so subtly so that the dull ache of my depression and the faint prickling of my uncomfortable skin are barely noticeable. C has been a horrible bitch all week. T's on vacation, which apparently gives her license to be rude to everyone. As per usual, she oscillates between ignoring my presence to make me feel useless and mocking me outright. Yesterday:
'You know, in California we have these crazy things. They're called CAR WASHES' (because my car is quite filthy)
'Why do you have to be rude to me?'--me.
'I was just trying to be funny. You don't have to be so sensitive. Can't you take a joke?'
'Of course! I always respond so well to your witty sense of humour!'
'I'll remember that'
And numerous other incidents besides. I ask her questions and she either ignores me or makes a big deal about not being able to hear me. I go to help out and she ignores me standing there and gets someone else to help her, or does it herself while I stand by uselessly. Even when I do a good job - or even an excellent job - she still treats me like I'm her useless inferior. I like this job, you know, as far as the people and the money and even HER - but I'm growing mighty tired to being treated like I'm an imbecile. Even when I demonstrate that I'm smart - case in point, the crustacean/fish conversation with him - she belittles me and says things to make me feel dumb. The only thing to do with her is keep silent, take the abuse, and keep your distance. But I like her, and I want to be her friend! It's quite sickening. And I'm - already - so FUCKING sick of hearing about S's impending wedding. S calls here 20 times a day, and she's nearly as rude as C herself, what with being short and cold on the telephone and an insufferable SNOB in person. Plus this seems to be the week for men in the 40 - 65 age bracket to be hitting on me mercilessly. Quite flattering. Must go now.

03 June 2004


Opened FOUR MORE accounts for one of the fine-looking sons of the batty millionairess. He came in by himself (his mother's in flippin' KAZAKHSTAN, remember?), thankfully. He is SO good-looking. Sadly, he's about half a foot shorter than I, and so it can never be, but his eyes are killer. Without his insane mother and quiet, brooding, also-lovely-eyed brother in tow, he's actually quite nice and interesting (albeit exceptionally eccentric himself). He travels to Taiwan and China often (for business - keep in mind that he is 25 YEARS OLD). He owns two companies and helps run the other forty-seven (from the garage, of course, ALL manoeuvres for this family originate in their godforsaken Riverside GARAGE). Their balances run in the MILLIONS. If I married him I could have all my clothes tailor-sewn to fit my hips perfectly and undergarments made specially for me by that little old lady in NYC who sews bras by hand! But I'd have to stoop down (SERIOUSLY stoop down) to kiss him, the little nutbag. So no go, sorry all.

Today I also realised how much I'd underestimated the sex appeal of a guy wearing a shirt and tie under a lab coat! For the Rite Aid pharmacist who pronounced my last name correctly and kindly processed my insurance to help me avoid paying like $60 to get two prescriptions refilled was, indeed, wearing that ensemble, and looked, indeed, completely FINE in it. Happily, I must go back and inform them each time I wish to refill, for they must order the suspensions (the ones to be applied with the SPOON of doom) for me! Remind me to ditch the punk eyeglasses next time the Rx gets low.

And YESTERDAY, I stood in dual custody with C as the armored guy came to pick up our shipment, and lo and behold it was NOT the freaky bulge-eyed little dude who is quite limber with the dolly but a brand-new and EXCEEDINGLY fine carrier (who, sadly, being an apparent trainee, had not a lick of a clue what he was doing, and had to be coached by C on how to remove the adhesive sticker and apply it to the shipment bag). For some reason he thought I knew what I was doing; he looked up to me pleadingly (ah so cute) and said 'Let me ask you something - how does this work?' Of course C jumped in and instructed him fully, but I remain perfectly willing to show him how it works anyhow! And his parting words were 'See you next week'...perhaps he's replacing the little bulge-eyed guy, an improvement for the good of the whole team!

Apparently today's the day for being a hussy...
received an email today from an old customer from the otherbank, not a forward but an ACTUAL diatribe-ish letter, in which he referred to CNN and CBS as 'liberal channels'. I'd post the whole stinking pile of the email here, but, you know, he's quite old, and I tend to have a wide, wide blind spot for the politics of the elderly, apart from the fact that I respect him and his wife greatly, and that when I left the otherbank to move to CA they bought me an elephant snowglobe. Apart from personal feelings, though, it's ceaselessly amazing to me that conservative folk still subscribe to the 'liberal media' theory when ALL the main media in America is owned by corporations, who are 'owned' (read, the souls of their CEOs are owned) by the American government, who has a long pipe attached directly to the mouthpieces of all major news networks and shits down this pipe as needed. The writer of this email was worked up because it was being demanded on CNN and CBS that the USA apologise for the abuse imposed on our prisoners of 'war'. Er...this is NOT CBS's or CNN's viewpoint. They show twenty seconds of footage per day of OTHER NATIONS demanding that we own up to what we are, in an unskilled attempt to balance out the other twenty-three hours and forty seconds of UNADULTERATED PROPAGANDA depicting us, our soldiers, our patriotic populace, and our leaders as moral superiors in the new age, ones who, apparently, never have to say they're sorry. If most people's children behaved the way we as a nation have behaved, those children would be turned over the knee, beaten till bloody, forced into the corner, made to wash dishes, fed unlimited quantities of cauliflower, given gum suppositories (as punishment, not laxative! ughhh...), sent to bed while it was still light out, and wholly berated for being a disobedient brat who is unwilling to respect the authority of others. But the very people who would - HAVE - DO raise their children in exactly this way, to be respectful and obedient to authority, would allow the federal government - which in a great many senses should be thought of as a child of the people rather than the parent of the people - to be a foulmouthed, renegade, and above all unapologetic little SHIT. As a result of these attitudes, I
  1. DO NOT watch the news
  2. READ other countries' newspapers
  3. DELETE all my emails before reading them (sorry Ma)
  4. VOTE independent (er...or I will)
  5. WILL NEVER give birth! (with any luck)

and THIS is why I try to keep the politics off the blog! egad...

02 June 2004

and so you will be pleased to know that the dear author had some amount of luck with her 'pimply brute' of a thingy last eve (you get lucky when it's time to!!!), having generated great quantities of literary NASTINESS, from the mouth surprisingly NOT of she who is so difficult to write but rather the main character, who I didn't know had it in her (well...) and also from the silent guy who, it turns out, is quite a cynical bastard with the proper prompting
and DREAMS (through the lola side?)
  1. Stepfather, slightly drunk (they all are), telling me on the phone that they've decided to go to a convention the exact two weeks I'm due in PA and so I cannot therefore stay there and make shameless use of their car. Was overlooking some kind of pastel-coloured arbor at that point. Much pacing. Some greenness. Colour seems to figure majorly in my dreams.

  2. Downtown in a major city with an impossibly busy loop. Entered a 'hostel' looking for a place to stay; ostensibly homeless. Did not remotely resemble the only hostel I've ever actually stayed in, the Harper's Ferry one in MD. Was a giant parking-structure-like...er, structure, thousands of stories (so deep down below the ground I couldn't see, but strangely well-lit even in the depths), lined with hospital gurneylike beds, only some of which were occupied by fitfully sleeping people, most others of which were occupied by piles of human excrement. No smell, no taste. Others wandering round looking desperately for a bed. I wasn't tired compared to them. I could see all the other floors at once but there was no way to get to them. Outside again the traffic was horrible (might have been Chicago?) and everyone wore a feather boa (purplish). Vague reference to museum (muvseevum). Please note it's mostly the excrement that's puzzling here.

  3. Jim (an old customer from the otherbank, not FSP Jim) showed up randomly at my desk in new accounts. I WEPT with that lungfull homesick feeling. He was brilliant, a little hilarious guy who owned five Mercedes, an ex-stripper wife, two excellent children, drank vodka and cranberry juice from a thermos on the road, had serious embroilments with cancer and (surprise) liver problems. Hospitalised dozens of times in the 3 years I knew him. Showed up in California wearing the hippie sweater I used to always tease him about. Was curiously driving a green van (as opposed to a luxury vehicle). Embraced me tightly and crazily in the parking lot which looked nothing like any parking lot I've been in. Could this mean he's dead? Huh, everyone else is anyhow.

  4. and one RODGER CONNOLLY wearing paperclips for earrings and shredding philosophy books through the jaws of alligators - oop, no, just kidding. Haven't dreamt of HIM since he snubbed me the second time.
Also spoke to a social worker at the hospital where Ms B is, er, confined (very professional woman, thinks Ms B is stark MAD, displayed this by telling me she refused to allow Ms B to touch her fax machine). A conservator was appointed for Ms B through Riverside County Public somethingorother, which, for those of you who are not stark mad, is a person/robot appointed randomly through the county/state system to take hold of your finances and personal affairs and secret stockpiles of things and rot when it is determined that you are stark MAD. Which, of course, Ms B undeniably is. After seeing her, dentures hanging by a thread, flailing against three policemen (rather successfully!), screaming and pressing her forehead against the front doors as though we were meant to save her (angelocracy, government by angels, last time she called she said to me 'God is still on the throne', eh?), there's no doubt in my head. Unfortunately this inconvenient madness means she will likely never again, lamentably, be allowed access to anybody's fax machine.
Josh was telling me yesterday how he's mastered 'Grace' by JB on guitar and vocals and can even sing the middle 'Wait in the fire' part that's all falsetto. I, deeply impressed, told him to be sure and learn all of 'Last Goodbye' (favourite song rightnow) so he can sing it to me in July. Bloody hell, THEN I considered the lyrics
Well this is our last goodbye
I hate to feel the love between us die...
Yes, yes, love of my life, put me against the wall, hike my skirt up, kiss my neck and croon 'It's over' to me PLEASE! Preferably at the airport, in plain sight of at least three surly security women! God I'm dumb...and it doesn't matter HOW beautifully he could do the end-lilting-thingy...

01 June 2004

No call today, thank goodness, as I was quite cranky. Step aerobics instructor told me I'd been on her mind yesterday. Tall big man customer who usually checks me out stealthily gave huge grin and asked where my eyeglasses were. Talked to Josh for 40 minutes on lunch today, depression seems to have shifted into arrogant self-preserving anger which I find terribly sexy (on HIM anyhow). He smoked opium for the first (and, so he assures me, last) time on Sunday (we dissected the experience for minutes; we were both rather appalled and fascinated at it at the same time). Discussed several movies, Rush (the band, who Adam dropped $120 on and drove him all the way out to flippin' Starlake, just to cheer the poor boy up, nice Adumb), the funeral slightly. WEIRDNESSES:
  1. A photographer customer, in today, noted that he will be in Dana Point for a wedding on Saturday, and then in Santa Barbara for somethingorother on Sunday. These are the two exact cities which the thingy is concerned with.

  2. Ms B called today; she is still in the hospital, and one of her nephews took advantage of that situation to forge $1400 worth of checks out of her checking account. She was quite concerned at not having any cigarette money.

  3. Mr Nabokov clearly mentions the CORN PALACE in 'Lolita':
    A chateau built by a French marquess in N.D. The Corn Palace in S.D., and the huge heads of presidents carved in towering granite.
    How Hum & Lo managed to successfully locate and gain entrance to the fucking CORN PALACE in that godforsaken corner of nowhere when my dad and I searched for an HOUR and became convinced that the thing doesn't even EXIST is beyond me. I was so disappointed and my dad was ANGRY - he was using some serious twelve-letter words in conjunction with the poor Palace that day. A quote, a quote from my journal, 9th August 2003!
    We just pulled off in Mitchell, SD to find the 'World's Only Corn Palace', which apparently does not exist.
    Further, the next line from 'Lolita' is astonishing
    The Bearded Woman read our jingle and now she is no longer single
    Could this, be still my heart, actually be a reference to Wall Drug, located in one Wall, SD, whose only-very-occasionally-rhymed yet thoroughly BIZARRE advertisements span the entirety of both Minnesota AND South Dakota (and are apparently also found in such places as France and Moscow)?:
    See our Cowboy Orchestra!
    This sign found in Kenya, go to Wall Drug!
    Wall Drug spells FUN!
    Wall Drug, Sheriff on Duty
    Wall Drug, Visit Our New T-Rex!
    Wall Drug, Sizzling Steaks
    See the Bearded Lady, Wall Drug
    Free Ice Water, Wall Drug!
    Bronze Figures at Wall Drug!
    Fine Western Art at Wall Drug
    By the time we reached this place I was so excited I kept dropping my stuff everywhere. Unfortunately it was not, as I had expected, a giant fourteen-story curiosity shop with strange men sporting handlebar moustaches and acrobats riding Victorian unicycles. It was actually rather commercialised - but that's beside the point! Could the 'only convincing love story of our century' actually have passed through Wall, MY Wall?
Haiku extravaganza re-re-scheduled for 7th June. Can't believe it's June already! Anyhow, it is. Woke up today with an unfinished one hovering, and composed this in the shower (I do a lot of thinking/singing in the shower)
beach. midnight vespers.
hairy current replacing
skin with sand of skin
It's great being Catholic. And J invited me to go to the Harry Potter movie with her and her husband and her daughter with whom I share a birthday, what a NICE THING for J to do. Have not discovered any ulterior motive as yet; it may be that she actually likes me.

31 May 2004

text of the most literary spam ever received:
chain saw for pine cone sweeps the floor, and related to light bulb dies; however, cigar related to a change of heart about..debutantes remain hairy. Neil, the friend of Neil and returns home with hydrogen atom near apartment building. When turn signal around mirror reads a magazine, for guardian angel procrastinates. If chess board behind burglar a big fan of pit viper living with mortician, then haunch over beams with joy. arabia america anthropomorphism sulfurous dispense teakwood nd
I tell you, that's the best if-then statement ever put down! Who is Neil? Why all the brilliant prepositional phrases? Who plays in 'Debutantes Remain Hairy' (the new empty band for empty people, replacing 'Stubborn Sea Lion' as the current favourite, as they had a genuinely weak rhythm section, though their arias were top)?
Patrice finally got the outdoor tables and chairs sorted out, and I've had a nice day writing and reading, with cran-grape juice and leftover cake from the barbecue. Feeling happy, & like a bit of progress has been made. Sprinklers just came on and 'Everybody Here Wants You' is playing. Huh, I don't remember what I wrote on that list of records that would sustain me through this project but 'Sketches' and 'Mystery White Boy' are fast becoming the sole sources of nutrition. Poor SW has been quite neglected of late.
bleh, I've also got to go on call tomorrow I think, which I've been trying not to think about the entire weekend. I must be sure to wear clothing that actually fits me. Some guy called at like 5:30 on Friday, yet another old customer of C's and T's who is apparently quite high-maintenance. Naturally he was devastated to learn that C is no longer the new accounts, and that he would have to deal with me. He wanted to know if I was going to 'hold his hand and give him love and special attention like C used to' (that's a direct quote from C, who finds this all very amusing). I can't mention how scared I am to learn what 'holding his hand' might be a euphemism for. So of course she told this gentleman that I'm highly efficient and just generally grand ('sweet as pie' are words I heard actually coming from her mouth while on the telephone with him) - as though that's going to keep him from giving me a hard time. The guy is demanding that we come to his office, he can't even deign to come into the branch when he needs something done! The worst of it is that I'll be going ALONE, as T's on vacation in South Dakota, C can't leave the office because T's gone, and this customer has no need of a lending officer, which is the only function B would serve on a new accounts call. Ah, a full Tuesday of getting lost trying to find the office of some needy snob businessman (he runs a MORTGAGE COMPANY, those are the pushiest bastards you'll ever encounter) and fending off questions about how long I've been in this position and whether I'm REALLY QUALIFIED to answer all his check-ordering questions. And, though mildly intelligent and usually well-groomed, I am a positive disaster with most first impressions, because I'm not aggressive in the least bit and I become nervous around people who like to intimidate others.
I sit down to write and inevitably begin with a page of total self-berating doubts and feelings. I actually have a Word document entitled 'There Is No Way I Can Write This Book' saved. The final finished thingy will have a companion piece detailing how its life was threatened from the very beginning. It's very slow going. Mr Nabokov said
the pattern of the thing precedes the thing
so I'm trying to view it from a very small level, not to call it by its name too much (it does have a name, a long one in fact), not to call it what it is too much, not to really address it directly. It's rather lizardlike, honestly, kind of squirmy and uncooperative. I wrote
I feel like I am down in the ocean beneath this thing, looking up but unable to discern anything. I can't put ideas together, I have no idea what the governing principle(s) is/are, and I feel like the whole thing is being revealed to me piecemeal
Each time I sit down with notebook in hand I get the image of a story about Muhammad - that once he was riding a camel when the angel Gabriel came upon him with part of the revelation of the Qur'an, and by the time the angel had completed his task the camel was belly-to-the-ground, its legs splayed out in the four directions under the weight of revelation (and Muhammad of course, who was still sitting on TOP of him). Sensitive readers will note that I am [hopefully] obviously NOT comparing quality of content, source of revelation, or world relevance here, but merely imagery. At any given time Muhammad knew of the Qur'an only what God had revealed to him so far, and he did not receive the entire thing at once. It's how I feel here and it's bloody frustrating. I have lots of notes and ideas (but haven't yet resorted to using index cards), but each piece is separate from the rest and nothing seems natural. I've not yet even discovered the pattern of the thing. It's all JUST ideas, written out of order, disconnected and suspended in goo, feelings felt by my terribly lost and anguished folk. One of the folk is being exceptionally disagreeable - refuses to be pegged, to sit down and shut up for a moment so I can figure out who she is, hasn't even popped into the text very much except for a few semi-scathing moments which are not nearly as long or scathing as I would like. The problem with this one is that I am generally just not a nasty person, and she demands that to be written I inflame every latent nasty cell in me. What a jerk. Eh, please disregard this post, as it's hideous.

and another sad thing is that I have BITTEN OFF all my fingernails. this happened awhile ago, actually I think round about the time I began writing this thingy. The brother situation and the pain of continuously striving to write the truth have done nothing to encourage regrowth. Josh and my mother will both be very disappointed in me. And it doesn't help that C, formerly of nasty stubby fingernails on her chubby little fingers, has taken to growing hers nice and long and polishing them to a shine, thus providing me one more point of comparison between us in which I come up the inferior.

My conversations with Josh have ground to a halt, as he's not really able to speak much lately. Saturday was the funeral for Gram; he told me they did a really nice job, and she looked wonderful, and he grabbed some memorial cards for me to keep. We've spoken for two minutes each day since last Wednesday. He's quite depressed and I am of no use to him, and I don't think this state of things will turn quickly.

As for the brother, I've not heard from him since Friday 21st May. Nearly scared my father to death yesterday - I'd spoken to him on Saturday when he returned from abroad, and then Saturday night sat down to begin my student loan paperwork and realised I needed some information from him. Called Sunday, left a message with one of Karen's daughters. He called back; I was in the shower. When we finally got in contact with each other and I asked him for his 2003 adjusted gross income he nearly fell down weeping, and had to put me on hold for a moment to tell Karen all I was calling for was income info for FAFSA. Apparently they'd both got it in their head that me calling anytime other than the prescribed time ('later in the week' to be precise) indicated that I must have fresh news about Chris, and that that must obviously be fresh bad news. Why would I be the one to get the first call if something happened? Most likely it'd be my mum, as her information is on Chris's ID card. But my cool, calm, logical dad going wonky like that is not normal at ALL - it serves as a barometer for just how desperate this situation is. And again my mother asked me 1) whether I'd heard from Chris, 2) if he was ever planning on calling her again (how the fuck am I to know, as I just said, I don't know where he is), 3) am I still writing (how's that going? good? Good!), and 4) is the nice man still writing me letters (that's Jim). My dad having seizures of emotion and my mum remaining as thickheaded and dull as ever; I guess that's about par for the course for family crisis!

30 May 2004

uuuaaahh??? [moan of extreme query]

well this is a bit better anyhow
and for some happy news--

I will be eligible, as of Winter 2006 (only one quarter after I originally intended), for something like $10,000 per year worth of grant money from UCR!

I now fit, with room to spare, into a dress I bought for Josh's aunt Cooki's wedding in April 2002 which, at the time, I had the greatest of difficulties zippering and in which, as recently as last May at Lindsay's rehearsal dinner, I looked positively monstrous!

I am no longer, and will never again be, a high school student (however much I still have nightmares about getting thumped on the head with a football in 9th grade gym class)! I went through some notes, poems, and general schlock from the 9th-10th grade era last eve, always a good activity when a reminder is needed about how much more hellish life could really be. It's really quite excellent that I was so naive about myself throughout high school - if I'd known the true extent of how truly backward and pitiful I was, I probably wouldn't have made it to graduation.
Little Hellion Anthony is here again for the weekend. I know this because
  1. Last night he tried to burst into the bathroom - my bathroom, the one that no-one else uses - without knocking, while it was occupied, BY ME
  2. Upon being thwarted there he waited outside the bathroom with all the lights turned on for me to emerge, and then scooted inside my bedroom and refused to leave
  3. Woke me at 8:45 a.m. today by screaming out a song in the backyard - 'You got a raindrop, you got a puddle', Michael Jackson style
It seems I will not have a moment's rest for this entire summer. And Patrice's stupid son/daughter-in-law (who of course have many more children than they can afford or control) have just performed yet ANOTHER feat of irresponsible breeding, resulting in baby Troy, who, incredibly, I've not heard a peep from these last two weekends. They'll be barbecuing all day today, which means I must keep the window shut and the blinds drawn lest Anthony see me through the pane and try to climb into my room from outside.

29 May 2004

'The Cure have been playing mope rock for depressed teens since 1976'. MOPE rock, I say!

Lonely Planet has some really good, cynical-bastard travel writing. For instance, this.

Stupid Frank (SHUDDER!) suggested to me that Mary was responsible for the decline of the Cure. Nah, Frank, wouldn't have had anything to do with RS being an old fat cokehead, now would it? Ah, poor Robert, he's so pasty. And huh, the acoustic 'Let's Go to Bed' asserts, 'You think you're tired now but wait until SIX'. Apparently three was too soon to tell.
And to confront the inevitable question before it arises: Ya, the 'man-on-a-bicycle' thing is really common in California. Not as much so as in Rome, where apparently everyone owns a scooter, but common enough to be remarkable.
A mélange, if you will --
  1. Imagine my delight when, perusing the shelves of the 99¢ store, I found a few boxes of generic graham crackers that were in fact Giant Eagle store brand - Giant Eagle being a grocery store from back home (referred to by lazy Pennsylvanians as 'the Big Bird' or just 'the Bird') that doesn't exist in California!

  2. Nobody, I say NOBODY, returns their shopping carts to the shopping cart aisle in California. They put them in the parking spot next to theirs so no-one can park there; they roll them to a stop resting against a random other car's bumper; they physically lift them onto grass or concrete dividers; they push them up hills; but they are COMPLETELY UNWILLING to just walk a few feet and roll them into a neat line in the space meant for them. Today I walked mine back to the shopping cart space, and people all about were staring at me as though I were humping something I shouldn't be.

  3. I just ate a low-fat Albertson's orange creamsicle and it was extraordinary. Almost as good as illicit humping. About which I know nothing.

  4. At the checkout line, the Albertson's girl viewed my squash, green peppers, stupid lite popcorn, heaps of fruit, and 14,327 boxes of Lean Cuisine meals and said, 'You're such a good girl, eating so healthy! You should splurge and get regular popcorn!' Hehe...what she doesn't know is that I ate nearly a whole pizza yesterday (and regret none of it)! So the popcorn becomes, then, rather a moot point.

  5. California freeways run above the surface streets, where in Pennsylvania (at least Western PA) they run below. This means that in PA you have to descend onto the freeway, where in California you mostly ascend. It took me (...counting...) TEN MONTHS to pinpoint that subtle difference that strikes me somewhere vague each time I get onto the freeway. But I'm gonna be an astrophysicist!

  6. Dad and Karen back from Italy today; they called me. Saw all the normal Italian sights in Rome, Venice, and Florence (Sistine Chapel, thousands of museums and churches, the Vatican, the newly-polished David [my favourite]), ate lots of pasta and minestrone, drank lots of wine and Italian beer, had a dinner in the hills of Tuscany after which my father, by his fiancee's giggling description, 'was a dancing machine', took a crowded midday gondola ride with six other people (which is stiflingly romantic), and apparently located the place where, some number of years into the future, they desire to be married. Good for them!

  7. Night before last I dreamt, for the second time since moving out here, of a cup of coffee that cost $17. I was in a Buffalo, NY-like truck stop with nameless others. Problems with this:
    • I don't DRINK coffee! Well, I did two weeks ago with Lalo and Frank (shudder), but that was more of a I'm-trying-desperately-to-improve-my-vision cup of coffee, rather than an I-drink-coffee-for-pleasure cup of coffee. This is proven by the fact that later that morning, when Lalo and I went to Denny's, I ordered another cup of coffee, and it tasted like shit.

    • These dreams were not similar but IDENTICAL - coffee in both, same location in both, same orangey quality of dream in both, exact same PRICE of overpriced coffee in both! Which prompts many questions, such as, Why am I dreaming about expensive coffee? What economic/psychic significance do these dreams hold? What significance lies in the number 17? Why am I dreaming about bloody expensive COFFEE? I could be dreaming about old RC, you know (no emails on that one, please), but no, it's COFFEE!

  8. 'If only tonight we could sleep/in a bed made of flowers' ... And exactly what good would that be, Robert? A bed of flowers doesn't change what the morning brings. You ask the question as though the beautifying of something painful heals it. Nah. We had so many sweet nights and everything still ended up grey. The flowers are nice but they don't change the trajectory of anything. You must've been young and idealistic when you wrote that.

  9. Every now and again (early yesterday evening, for instance), I zone out while in the bathroom and find myself fantasizing about being proposed to. It's really quite pitiful. As I'll never have that, I should probably stop rehearsing for it.

  10. Relatedly, newly-engaged snob S and her fiance R stopped by to see C after work yesterday (which, I believe, is what prompted the pot-perching reverie). J and G performed the obligatory moaning and shrieking over her ring, which is HUGE. I, being across the bank on the platform side, managed to escape having to fawn all over her, until C began screaming for me to ask me some wedding-planning question or another. I went to her desk where they were all sitting. C said 'Show her your ring, S'. I replied, 'I can see it! It's lovely, blargle blag, congratulations blarg.' S didn't even look at me. R kind of smirked and said thank you, I think. And C, great friend that she is, turned to S and whispered, 'She's just jealous'. She then compelled me to stay behind the teller line to help her verify cash, and began calling me Jenny-fer, which only increased when I became genuinely irritated and demanded that she stop. 'Help me count this cash, Jenny-fer. Jenny-fer, please stamp these straps, Jenny-fer. Thank you so much for your hard work, Jenny-fer.' That's her sense of humour, the one everyone responds to as though she's the wit of the ages. It KILLS me.

  11. And related to that (I may as well just get all the bellyaching out of the way at once): A few weeks ago, the very same day that he was there all day working at the desk next to mine, one of our regular customers came in. She'd recently been mugged by a guy on a bicycle, and she was telling us the latest chapter in her horribly unlucky story, that being that over the weekend someone had broken into her house. She'd found the pillows and sheets on her bed all in disarray. C, with wit sharpened, quips (loudly, of course, so everyone in the office can hear her), 'Somebody's been sleeping in my bed!' He, sitting right next to me, chuckles. I looked over at him, surprised. He looked back at me, as though I'd caught him doing something weird.

  12. The lilting end of 'Last Goodbye' by Jeff Buckley is, it has been determined, even more pleasing and beautiful than the little lilting singing part that ends 'Icing Sugar' by the Cure. It should be noted that the version of 'Last Goodbye' containing the most pleasing lilting end is the one during the live show in Chicago (in which he actually pronounces the word 'over'), followed by the one on 'Mystery White Boy' (in which he does not pronounce the word 'over' but sings it most beautifully), followed then by the acoustic bonus version on the Live in Chicago DVD (in which he dispenses with the lilting singing and just rasps 'It's over over over over over over over...'). Very scientific, that determination was, involving much listening and many pretzels.

  13. I was driving on Eighth Street and was stopped at the stop sign at Victoria, and somebody had a sprinkler going in their yard. I could feel a light spray from it, and it reminded me of walking round the Point in the summertime with my shoes off and putting my feet into the fountain and eating funnel cakes at the Three Rivers Arts Festival. Apparently my joy from the sprinkler and its madeleine-like effect was such that I started speaking out loud - 'That feels so good!' A man on a bicycle passed by and whistled at me. Childlike joy is sexy, don't you know?

27 May 2004

Superficially things are grand for the moment: early pay tomorrow, three-day weekend, someone's buying us a nice goopy PIZZA for lunch tomorrow (quite welcome after a week straight of three vegetable meals a day), and 'Hanging on the Telephone' was playing when I entered the circuit room yesterday. But Gram's still dead, Josh's still heartbroken, I'm still lonely, my brother's still homeless, and the book still SUCKS! I keep thinking of Gram and I just can't believe I'm not going to be there to pay my proper respects. I looked at flights last night; the cheapest is about $420, which is completely out of my current spending ability. It's not as though I'd be much help anyhow, as Josh suffers decidedly ALONE, and he'll be devoting most of his time to comforting his mum. Plus I can't mention how pissed off MY family and Lindsay would be if they knew I spent all that money to come in for two days but didn't go to see them, especially since then I'd be expected to fly in if one of my own family members passed. So it's definitely a no-go; but I feel guilty that I can't be there for him and his family all the same. He was there for me when Uncle Paul died, which is the closest I've ever come to experiencing the death of a family member. He went to the viewing with the rest of my family even though he'd only met Paul like three times, and was more respectful than most of Paul's real family, and even defended Paul's honour to someone he didn't even know. But it's ridiculous to dwell on it; I can't be there, and the most I can do is take a nice big rose to her and Pap in July when I can be there. It's very odd that I don't feel more helpless and enraged than I do currently; perhaps I'm on the verge of yet another short-lived religious conversion. I'm such a spiritual adulteress.

26 May 2004

Spoke to Lindsay today, first time in ages. She and Sean and two unruly kitties have made a new glorious home on Mount Royal Boulevard and have taken to eating ice cream from a local homemade shop each night. The kitties are having difficulties with drippy bums. Apparently this drippiness is caused by a combination of slight illness with the constant appearance of an intimidating cat from round the area. This bully cat turns up and one Lindsay-cat, Figaro, flees, and the other, Artemis, shits. Later on, it seems, Figaro shits too, in the spirit of brotherhood. Just the other day she had to hose them off in their carrier and then turn it on its end, fill it with water, and let them soak. This is social pain with which I can identify on a deeply personal level. Lindz, so she tells me, was in the bathroom a few days ago with Sean, both leaned over the tub washing their poor misfit cats, when Sean blurted out, 'Why doesn't Jenny move back to Pennsylvania and rent out the other apartment?' - because the house they bought has, as you may have guessed, two apartments in it. I thought it quite nice that her husband, who doesn't really know me too well and has been subjected to far too many of our Monday nights together in his own home (we used to hang out at his apartment even before they got married and she was actually living there), was randomly struck with that particular Jenny-retrieving sentiment. I would love to go back home - I would really love to just give up on all this and retreat back and be able to be with Josh and Lindsay all the time, and be comfortable, and try to finish school at one of the substandard PA schools. Alas, it cannot be. The guilt and disappointment I would feel in myself at GIVING UP would be strangling, even more strangling than the loneliness. Even more.

Opened two accounts for an eccentric businesswoman and her two fine-looking sons this morning, wearing the punk eyeglasses and looking wholly unruly. This woman owns fifteen businesses, runs them all out of her house, and is, though her sons are 25 and 33 (and both insane entrepreneurs as well), travelling for a month to Amsterdam and Kazakhstan to adopt two five-year-old girls which she will then raise as (mostly) her own. I find her fascinating and quite alarming, and also an insufferable SNOB. I explained the account I'd be opening for her today; she, in reply, turned away from me, to T (whose customer she is, from the other bank, remember your history), and said, 'I realise this girl doesn't know who I am, but I'll be keeping at least $60,000 in one account at any given time, and I don't want to even have to THINK about minimum balance requirements.' T grinned like he was eating shit and acquiesced happily, partly because she's rather pretty and partly because she's right. It's not like I've never heard someone say, 'I don't want to have to worry about a minimum balance requirement' before. It was mostly that first clause that stuck on me - 'I realise this girl doesn't know who I am'. I can only hope to someday be worthy enough that that be revealed to me.

and yeah, I haven't heard from Chris since last Friday, and neither has anybody else. Trying not to mope too much to that end, but I've no idea what is happening to/with him and that, also, is alarming. The Unshakeable Faith Mechanism is doing double duty, which at least allows me to sleep most of the night, and write about things other than the feeling of impending doom I get whenever I think about him.
Gram has died, Josh's mum's mum, this afternoon. She'd had cancer ten times, they'd killed it and it kept coming back. She'd been put into the hospital with pneumonia a month or two ago, and that was it, she just wasn't able to pull through. Josh told me that towards the end she wasn't even able to see or hear. All her kids (her remnants here) are really excellent people, and I feel comforted that she's finally with Pap again, who died just after we graduated from high school and who Josh was retarded close to. He liked his grandparents more than his own parents - his mum and dad bought a house just down the street from Gram and Pap when they married, so Josh grew up very close to them. He's told me about a million times how he would come home from school and go straight to Gram's, and she'd have cucumbers and sour cream or peach cobbler made just for him. I feel so awful that I can't be there for him, as the funeral's going to be really bad. I knew this would happen, though - I knew she would go at some point, and I knew it would be while I was still living out here, and I knew there'd be no way for me to physically comfort him. And his mum's even worse - her fiance just died in December, on Christmas Eve of all days. Actually it was in the funeral home for David that I last saw Gram and hugged her; that kind of makes me feel sort of ill. She was so fucking wonderful, to everybody, to me, to Josh especially - the things she's done for him, the times she's comforted him through his problems and gave him huge sums of money without expecting him to pay it back when he had financial trouble, just the fact that she was such a sweet little mother to him, at many points when his own mother was unable to be. But there's no question that in treating her so heavily for all the cancer and the related ailments we were just biding time - she was really ill and I think everyone knew there was no turning back. I imagine her and Pap now (though I never met Pap), strolling along, her with nice tiny breasts (she was a TINY thing and she always used to complain about her huge boobs and how she hated them cause they killed her back so she couldn't walk!), Pap wearing the Old Man Hat that Josh used to wear around for a long time after he died (until he lost it, in a Borders parking lot we believe, which was an all-night crying affair in itself). Goodbye and love to you, Laverne Watterson, I hope you're doing okay now.

25 May 2004

I was helping C put away cash in the vault towards the end of the day, and she said, incredibly, 'Do you feel like your boobs look smaller today? Cause I think they look kind of smaller today, compared to usual'

*sputter* WHAT???? As though she's a busty little tart herself. I've been exercising! The bust is the first to go! eesh...and of course I've got to respond, there's no possible way to actually ACT OFFENDED with her, she just digs the ridicule in deeper. Thus I was forced to engage, red-faced, in an actual conversation about the size of my own--!! aaaah! I'd thought I'd redeemed myself slightly by helping her and T figure out a HUGE general ledger problem this morning/afternoon, but towards the end of the day I became responsible for a problem that, though originating in the idiot farm that is Riverside's New Accounts, ultimately cost the Corona office $180, and apparently at that point it was decided I was open for all shots.

24 May 2004

this is so retarded cool, it's way past my bedtime and i'm sitting here shrieking about the sausage factory and Alasdair in and out of the lockers! And their CREEPY DAD!
S, C's henchwoman in Riverside, has gotten engaged to her IT-wizard boyfriend, and none other than C shall be playing the role of the whale of honour (catty phraseage courtesy of Jami). The bank job has nudged itself just past 'insufferable' to...uh, whatever charred blackness it is that lies on the nether side of 'insufferable'. You can be sure to expect no small quantity of whinging, bellyaching, and emphatic exclamations of 'Crap!' in this space until round about next June.

Also, Maritza is moving to Nebraska for medical school, which means I will have to brave this summer's PT show(s) all alone, and somehow singlehandedly devise a plan to make SW mine, without dear M who can just walk right up to him, tell him how great she thinks he is, and end up speaking to him for an hour and obtaining his personal email address (sadly there are photos to prove it). BLEH

Also worth noting is that I did find myself a rather large and shapely SPOON for administering my shampoos, and it is quite pleasingly NON-STICK

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