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I don’t even know if I had classes today or not. The flu won’t dissipate. I should quit smoking, but I fear that if I quit, the loneliness would be too much. So even though it hurts to swallow, hurts to breath, I will inhale and exhale, fill up the spaces in house, mind, heart, with smoke and dust and ashes. Some Psychosis: the apartment looks bigger when it is clean, and I like it, but I always let the clutter accumulate, I think, because I fear the open spaces. Things to trip over as I wander the house coughing.
They tell me that I do not have strep throat. They sent me away with a little packet of pills and a bottle of cough medicine. I should be wary of itching, hives, and difficulty breathing. I finally came to my senses, and sent pathetic e-mails to professors. They would like me to come back to class even if I haven’t done the reading. Really what I would like to do is somehow amputate my throat. I am tired of it hurting. I am tired of feeling crappy. I am horribly behind. It will be a long and nasty quarter.
While I had a small break down, took a vacation, did my summer internship, went out drinking, while I did all these things, the clients have sat in jail. Not surprising, really. With the backup in the court system, these things take time. Not surprising at all to find clients still sitting in jail, after you have let others worry about them for five months. Gut-wrenchingly depressing, but not surprising. Nothing to do but take the daily dose of cynicism quick, with a head jerk, like a shot that you recall all too clearly because it haunted you for days.
Raining and cold. Trying to make it home quickly, as rush hour drags on past seven in the evening. Expressway going nowhere, jumping in front of cars speeding along the shoulder, fighting for the exit, before the slow traffic flow blocks you in for another half a mile and another 20 minutes. Accelerate and push up the ramp to surface streets. Clouded windshields, fog, rain, slippery, shining streets. Children, dogs, drunks, all darting out into traffic. Beware the road construction, beware the potholes that will render you immobile, just here, on the street where the streetlights are all broken out.
Fascinatingly disturbing, this thing called legal ethics. Ethical rules, evidentiary standards, disciplinary sanctions. Don’t rat our your client, do rat out your client. Do your duty, to the client, to the court, to the bar. Vigorous and effective advocacy. I sit in the very last row of the classroom, can see who is playing solitaire, who is playing Snood, who is typing letters, resumes, papers. Is still scrawl into a spiral bound notebook, page after pages of notes that I won’t be able to read later. It is a good day, when I have time to buy coffee before class.
Going on three weeks. The flu is never going away. I went to the video store today and rented video games and movies. I don’t have class again until Friday. I think I will just live in front of the TV. Everyone else has the flu now, too, so there is no more soup or sympathy. Everyone barricaded up in their own sick comfort fortress. No one is even e-mailing me anymore. I would write of different, more interesting things, but my world has been reduced to this apartment, the yearnings for juice, whiny cats, and ratty piles of tissue.
Sorrow. Entrenched and drenched in history, unable to rise above. So it goes, and continues. Propaganda is part of war, and everyone psyches themselves up one way or another to so what, given our blind spots, our faulty heuristics, our need to decide now, needs to be done. Killing is a nasty business, and there is no absolute high ground to stand on. This, today’s military strike, is not just. Retribution may be expected, but it is never proper. We as beneficiaries, we as citizens, mistakenly think of war, like we think of the meat we eat. Sanitized, prewrapped, regulated.
Stillness. Without destination, finger trippings. Squalor, squander, zealous into zealot. Hours tick away. Just one more level before I turn the game off. When there was the blizzard a couple of years ago, I played video games all night, looked out into the sunlight to discover three feet of snow, pressed up against the window. When I didn’t drink, I played games more. Obsessions, liquor or coding. Escape. That deep body twitching frustration, the bleary eyes focus, when you try to sleep and your dreams are all still the pieces, big and shifting. Over-primed, this neural burn, is there damage?
Green neon franchised familiarity. I had too much coffee at the Denny’s. I can’t help but have too much coffee at Denny’s. The sleeping adolescent within reemerges, nostalgia overwhelms, and I slam back cup after cup after cup. The menu has changed substantially. Now there is salsa as an extra. But the waitress got in an argument with a customer, there was a decent looking teen with rasta hair smoking camels. Not my Denny’s, but close enough. It’s the place where I can build dreams, and do nothing. Where I can plan nothing, and create word mazes, labyrinths of infatuation.
Dark and rainy. But warmer than it has been. The cats have become clingy because of all my sick days at home. Articulate. Inarticulate. I go through periods of overattachment. The red squiggly lines indicate that I am creating words again. Word form, word playings. Use to write long and inaccessible prose poems, where sound took over sense, and at least I was transported. Writing games, with others, mind journeys. Never could boil it down to profferable art. It always comes to questions of intent and craft. I should have a lover to write my words about, like everyone else.
I played Pokemon today for the first time. I confiscated a Gameboy during tutoring, and played it while the kids did homework. It is my own approach to tutoring. It doesn’t seem to be overly effective. I found out that my tutee had to summer school for reading. Which is ridiculous. He can read, if he wants to read. If he takes his time. If he wants to realize that it matters. Fractions are the easy part, the why, the motivation, the things that make up life are much more difficult. I pretend that my showing up makes a difference.
Closing times. 2 o’clock bars, 4 o’clock bars, 6 o’clock bars. Guzzle and get out. Move on into the next place. As night fades out into cloudy dawn, and there are still places to go. Thumping techno, and everyone else has got to be on some combination of drugs, to maintain the buzz, and fight off the depressants. Pastel neon, and hanging shiny plant tree decorations. Tacky has taken form, and it is serving beer at 5:30 am. Getting tired, and so far from home. Another drink, another song, endure, outlast, outdrink, survive. This is why bars shouldn’t have windows.
It is too late to be up right now. I was actually going to get stuff done today. As is, early morning, oops I got to write words, drinking silliness. But OLD friends, excuse, yes? If, if, if. Sleeping now would be better if curled up with someone, not just anyone, but certain someone, maybe. On the hinges of ambiguity, trying to decide how petty to be with ex-employer, trying to sort out feelings one way or another about so many things. I would go across the counter, I would go across the gap, if there were sense and indication.
That feeling of having forgotten something. What is it that had to be done before now? Besides the work product and the dishes and the cleaning. Phone calls. Chance. How tight can I pull it to take care of things that need to be taken care of it. Liquidate, escape, redo. Absences of things that never were, some cold wet leaf falling melancholy. A haunted day, steeped in this and that and not quite enough of anything. Brush my teeth curl up in bed, and try to convince myself to read about jurisdiction. Forget about going out on school nights.
Tonight on the national news, Tom Brokaw ended by waving his bottle of antibiotics and saying, “In Cipro we trust.” Things are not right, but at the same, there is a lack of personal affect. It touches, inadvertently, terror creeping, but we soldier on in cynicism. It had been a year of confusion and unrest. How much does this matter? What to feel, think, do? Chunks of life made suspect, planes, buildings, mail. Sheltered on the South Side, still in one of the cities that remain on highest alert. Waiting, wondering, until the moments it crystallizes—we fall through sense.
I have a cold. And possibly pink eye. Mail got delivered today, so that was exciting. Have hundreds of pages of reading to do, and am avoiding it. Did a couple of dishes. Ate dinner though, so no net gain. Bought groceries yesterday, and find it very nice indeed to have food available in the apartment. Bread and cheese are amazing things. Now I want to eat all the time, to somehow balance out the few weeks of scarce eating. The grace of functional adulthood is still elusive. I keep waiting for the grown-ups to explain the news to me.
Sometimes I fear. When there are obviously deranged people shuffling back and forth down my block, at 2 am and I have to park 2 blocks away. Not to let fear be it all, not to let it curb my activities. Like after the guy who tried to car-jack me. This is the society I benefit from, if it chooses me to bear consequences so be it. This is the mantra for the walk from the car to the building, this is the manta in response to terrorism. We are all human, no matter the heinous nature of our acts.
I am weary. That Thursday, have a full day Friday, wish it were Saturday kind of weary. I think my throat is starting to hurt again, and that thought fills me with a near psychotic wave of frustration. I am ignoring it. Went to tutoring and children sneezed on me, so I can expect a cold soon I am sure. But, the sun was nice day, and the falling leaves, Chicago gusts of wind, that I could barely walk against. Blown clean. Things seem so much more manageable this year. I hope that it I can maintain this decent feeling.
Class, class, tutoring pitch, crime scene viewing, client in jail visit, court computer check, horrible drive home because of broken street lights, get gas, cigarettes, come home, make phone calls, make date for next weekend, meet friends for dinner in Chinatown, eat spicy Thai Chicken, make pointless trip up to North Side, drive back to Pilsen, drink beer, get tour, play Duke Nuke Em, lose horribly, play 80s arcade games, lose miserably, watch scar face, get in car, drive home, find beautiful parking space in front of building, eat toast and cream cheese, feed cats, e-mail, and write 100 words.
Nothing like really realizing, when you have been drinking, too much, that you are almost thirty, that you are chubby, that you have no game when it comes to the city bars, and the guy which you knew was your fuck buddy, but you have been working to mean more, has been straight faced lying to you. Mother Fucker. “I have to work all weekend,” but I in my naiveté, think, well I am up late, should call and hook up an early morning tryst, but no, find out the mother fucker didn’t even work tonight, bold-faced lied to me.
Hrm. Seems that I have gotten nothing done this weekend. Besides getting drunk and pissed off. Wondering if I should start to study now, or just deal with it tomorrow morning. MMMM, procrastination. I am dehydrated, but can’t fill up the water pitcher because there are too many dirty dishes in the way. 15 year olds from Connecticut IM me now, to discuss religion and literature. I find it confusing. And somewhat amusing. I advise them to read the Brothers K. I am not sure if that is appropriate or not. I think I am going to pet my cats.
Petitioner requests. Craft word. Who thought up the numbered paragraph method of communication. Somehow it can make sense, if we lay out enough points, gather them up at the end. Foundational, requirements. I can see, hazily, why some people love law, the trap and the puzzle, the ensnaring. At one point, I was the kind of person who had patience with all this. Eventually, I will have to be that person again. Perhaps my practicality will save me in the end. I a litigator. FURTHER AFFIANT SAYETH NOT. Or is AFFIANT FURTHER SAYETH NOT? Magic word, all of it: incantations.
This is what I do not want to hear: Just some additional tests. Probably nothing to worry about. Just want to be sure. So make an appointment here, make an appointment there. Be sure to schedule it soon. But really, nothing to worry about. Don’t panic. Probably nothing at all. Of course, they forgot to give me all the instructions about eating or not eating, time of day, food consumption, so on and so forth. So how many appointments with cranky technicians will I manage to go to before we decide if there is any reason to worry or not?
Woke up with some kind of painful back spasms thing. Was five minutes late for class because there was no place to park. Had to go to the health center in the middle of a monsoon. Discovered that a pelvic ultrasound is not done from the outside. Tried to order a pizza and pop because I haven’t had anything to eat or drink since 11 am. After two hours, they said someone had cancelled the order. Can’t get my fucking e-mail to work. I am at the peak of PMS. And all I can do is sit here and cry.
The Chicago bluster started today. Winds up to 50 miles per hour, making leaf tornados, cut through clothes, chilling. Windows rattle, branches break, there is a constant almost rumble in the air. I never really get used to it. Fall into winter, the cold and the snow and the ice are now inevitable, when I start to question what people thought when they decided this swamp was somehow habitable. I can’t imagine this weather without leather and coffee and cigarettes. Somehow this is what the Midwest is and will endure as. Seeking shelter as wind makes hair whip our faces.
I am trying to type around the cat’s nose. Stayed up all night last night playing some silly internet game. At 4 am some 13 year old mocked me because I am 29. Without marriage, without children, without a relationship, it is difficult to decide what my adulthood should look like. Maybe just as it is. I feel ill because I forgot to call the clerk about a court record. I think that might actually be a prima facie case of legal malpractice. Not irreversible damage yet. I will call first thing on Monday morning, and hopefully rectify the mistake.
Jell-O shots. Towers of plastic shot glasses with the remnants of watermelon, cherry, lime, grape, lemon Jell-O clinging to the creases. Thought maybe this would be the year I wouldn’t make a drunken ass out of myself, but of course, the Jello-O shots did me in again. The liquor has to have infatuations, will create them out of whatever is available. The softness of someone’s shoulder when I can’t hold my head up anymore, that not quite yielding firmness, so easy to sink into that feel. Don’t put your feet on the sofa, and don’t think about the morning after.
Stuffed in the back of the car, riding as cargo, spectator to a friend’s adventure, picked up and dropped off. Halfway in between, the stomach rebelling, from the hangover or from the chicken sandwich, or maybe too much caffeine and too many cigarettes, I am staring out the window, watching as darkness and interchanges pass by. Circle ramp, with that too much, brighter than the sun overhead lighting, and two young deer stand in the middle, grazing. They had to cross highway to get there, they will have to cross to get away, and I feel a pang of helplessness.
Hrm. Up all night, sleep all day. Waste time, abuse the irritable bowel. Wish there were clean dishes. Wonder if I should make coffee in the middle of the night. Best not to sleep at all? Should have done laundry. Should have done dishes. Sighs of discontent, and on-line gaming with the teenagers who type far too fast in a language of their own creation. Worry about how I bruised my arm, and if I was having any fun at all when I did it. All about what’s-his-name. Sometimes I even manage to repulse myself. Another day another big disappointment.
Thought I had received a suspicious piece of mail, but it was only my Thrill Kill Kult tickets. Glad I decided to open the letter. Paranoia creeps in around the edges. Like last night when I stayed all up watching World News Now in the hopes that some piece of substantial news would suddenly appear, put things back into focus. Waiting. Not personally affected, really, or perhaps to the contrary, am affected. It is the confusion, the feeling of being in between attitude, without certainty. This is normalcy. Go to class, do research, pretending it is as it should be.
Reindeer games and Halloween. Made it another month, here in the 100 words marathon. These words. Which words. Won at scrabble tonight, hit lazy and quiet on triples. Got my fiction group up and running again, will force some discipline onto me make me produce something, anything. Might try to be more artistic with these words next month, new beginnings, new promises. Only cysts on my ovaries, half way to the good news. Cats are pissed because I am never home anymore and it is too hot in the apartment. Ten more words and I have made it! IS DONE!
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