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I belong on the highway, somewhere in between. Not where I came from, not where I am going, but those hours spent with the windows down, with the cats and the essentials beside me, self contained. My mother worries when I travel, what will happen, but when I am in between is when I fell the most secure, the most confident. The moon rises large and big, and the wind is the right temperature, as I stay in the right lane and drive, not hard, but quickly. I make the transition from metal to hip-hop, and ease into the destination.
The night before my twenty-ninth Birthday, and I am quietly happy for small favors and petty graciousness. I am off to hang out with old drinking friend, and sometime lover. The comfort of people that have not ever done me harm, if they have not, perhaps, ever done me good. So it goes. I will be another year older before I drag myself back out of Justice. And it is as it should be. I am off to go drinking, because that is the only way to celebrate this vortex of uncertainty and things left undone which is my life.
Another year older, and nothing can be done about it. So let us talk of the late night life of plastic bags on darkened Chicago side streets. Supposedly it is the wind that animates and sends them scuttling across the street. But I will tell you this, I will not run them over, because they are too lifelike, the way they scuttle, and scurry, pause and think. The puppies and kittens make me cry, but the bags just disturb me. So, I drive on, swerving too much for safety considering that I have always been drinking, in between the shuffling.
There were things I was going to do today, but then I got sidetracked on the web. I was sorted as a HufflePuff, and the damn badger made horrible noises at me while I tried to beat away animated bludgers. Bills unpaid, applications unwritten, house not cleaned, books not bought. But I am now well aware of all the controversies on changes from the novel to film in the Lord of the Ring Trilogy. There is always hope that I will wake up tomorrow, productive and glorious, as I intended at the very beginning of the summer. There is hope.
I should have left the house today. I am beginning to feel that shut in insanity, and I surely smell the part. Maybe I will drink sweet vodka drinks. Maybe I will just go back to bed. Maybe I will write the novel that floats around in my dreams. I will sleep and miss appointments, until I have lowered another batch of expectations to a more manageable level. I feel better as a failure, and wonder if I can get anyone to believe it anymore. I am the loser at losing, and end up succeeding despite all my own efforts.
These familiar wellings. Exhilaration. Terror. Inadequacy or insanity. Without sleep, I cannot find things that I moments ago had in my hands, and the tears creep up and around my eyes, and I have to sit and rock myself roughly back to stability. When I try to explain the fear to anyone, it all fades, becomes small, is no longer frightening. But when left alone it creeps back up, to hover and consume. I must learn to struggle through, overcome, be done with the fleeing. Must stand and possibly fall. Must be adamant, and determined. Must grow beyond all this.
I think I have broken my toe. It hurts like hell, and seems to be swollen. If only I had cleared passages in the clutter. Because it always best to have to hobble around the filth when you are supposed to be writing essays that will have a huge impact on your life. Keeps me all grounded, shall we say, into the here and now. Don’t want to get too lofty with my expectations or anything like that. Best to drink 16 oz cans of Bud, play on the internet, let the hours tick by until bad decisions become irrevocable.
It only takes a few weeks for me to flip my schedule into day sleeping, night pacing. I go to sleep at 8 am, wake at 5 pm. I find strangers to chat with, and let intrigues billow up and then slowly unwind. Time is still ticking, and I still have not done what I am supposed to have done. And it bores even me to still be writing about it. Stalled and shut in. can’t even access the spaces in my mind that would grant something. To stand outside of it. The ecstasy that for now will not come.
Okay, so maybe the girl is managing to pull it off in the end again. Maybe not. Still have a another ordeal to deal with before sleeping. I have realized that no one out there in cyber space has any idea what I am talking about. Life. Really. That is all I am talking about is life and fellowship applications. Those moments when you realize that you can’t just blow it all off, and you have to step up and be something or somebody, and you really want to do is curl up and listen to metal and drink beer.
My mood is not so much improved. Beer and Anthrax. And tears. I think the cats pissed on something, but the house is such a mess I cannot tell. Your trial presence should be neat and organized. I do not want to do well. I do not want to know I could be a good lawyer. I want to thrash around to loud music. I want to be intoxicated. I want to break all the bones in my hands hitting things. God do I want to break things. FUCK. I am abjectly miserable and pissed off. I am oozing negativity.
There is too much pressure to write words today. Too much significance to create some kind of memorable piece. The day of infamy. So on and so forth. The alarm, set to the radio, was on for the both the WTC hits, I woke completely for the pentagon hit. I watched TV for 10 hours. Now I am drinking beer out of cans. It would be beautiful if the fat stupid self comfort of American could come through and forget this. But I think that things have changed. I think that this will bring out the evil in us all.
Singular. I have put it all aside for the moment. For today. Brandon is working on 1400 minimum billables in Hawaii. Fuck him. I will find space, I will find life. I will find sustainability. People will not fire bomb Arab Americans. Harm will not break us into something ugly and unrecognizable. Green Apple, Strawberry, Katakana, Hiragana, Fuck. I will be me and the Lovery Lucky Set. Eating something that wasn’t meant to be whole. Mr. Ramirez, you didn’t choose to go home that evening, did you? Snow pea or not? Chaos-ridden, Jager-driven. Don’t climb a stonewall, exultation is mine.
Suddenly Fall. Bring out the flannel and corduroys. Figure out what is usual and try to return to it. And wondering about anger. And wondering about due process. And wondering about atrocities, and perceptions. Tired and worried. And the police are out in riot gear tonight. They put that on and become mean. At least here. And there will be trouble, out where I used to live. Out where I think about moving back to. Out were I was supposed to go tomorrow. Creeping evils. Words fail. Words have to fail. Because who would want a language that could describe?
And almost without confidence. Roller-coasted. I should stay home tonight with my kitties, put on sweat pants, close the windows and curl up and sleep. But I am not. I will leave them here for the night, to wander and careen and carouse from window to window, make nests in the clean laundry that I haven’t put away. I will wander off into the night to drink, too much, and sleep elsewhere. I will forget trial advocacy and job search, and the trash that needs to be taken out. I will go out. Because out is somewhere else than here.
Predilection. Words swarm out of reach. Cars with flags attached, cruising. Rumors and reports, and a marshalling. A search for attitude and configuration. At the bars, there is much drinking. We have returned to regular programming. Pour shots, play songs, and shoot a decent game of pool. Someone has to do the dishes, and that someone one is me, as there is no one else here. Fragmented, disconnected. What should there be in place of priorities? I can create nothing here of interest. Swum out, beyond mind, body. Swum out and left to soak in heavy waters, swell, be sated.
Who does want a lawyer that listens to Iron Maiden while doing her trial prep? I need to take my suits to the dry cleaner. Pulling the winter clothes out of the closet, sweater by sweater. Still so agitated. Feel like I should be somewhere other than here, doing something other than this. Rote habit. Spit out words, without inspiration, without desire, all in the hopes that soon things will recenter. Figure out how far one can diverge from the scope of the direct examination. Play word whomp for several hours. Realize it is late and things are still undone.
Today I am thinking of the seraphim and archangels. Warrior angels, more pure and powerful than digimon evolutions. To be a warrior, and advocate, to be shining full of some grace light blinding. To think about the term: rapid cycling. Breast mind swelling, fall into the space and feel throbbing. Suit up and restrain the hair. Speak. Vocation. Mark out small lines, and hold evil at an abeyance there and there alone. Pen, paper, narrative. Some ascension or descending. Something rotting the refrigerator. To drink enough just to keep it enclosed. Let sparks go internally, and face the world placidly.
Autumn rains. Almost daily. Making plants still left outside blossom. Easy on rainy days to slip away from things, to ignore that there are tasks outside the house. Soothing, calming. There are things that I have forgotten. Living off of stale corn chips chips, and a long lost granola bar. Missing nutrients, surely, probably. Missing sleep, surely, probably. But all instilled with the great, the absolute, conviction, that I really don’t give a fuck. I washed silverware today. I have nothing to use it on, but it is clean and put away. I feel I have gone days without speaking.
Rainy and cold again. Today, I have remember why I hate law school. It creeps into my like a chill, clouds my mind, my brain. I become the underachiever. Still. Now. After two years. One more year to go, and then I will be free. Sort of. My life seems to be doomed to be full of lawyers. With their egos and their words and their performances. Their suits and their abundances. Feigned humility, and the swagger of bravado. With leather bags and yellow legal pads. All too much, with our own importance, as we continue to make the system.
People have disturbances in the street at 1:20 in the morning. Not every night. But on a lot of nights. Citizenship obligations, affirmative duty. Care, listen, assess. So often though, wariness turns to annoyance, to the ability to ignore. Not gun shots. Not screams. Yelling. Prolonged. Nothing will be solved. No need for my involvement. Unless it sounds like it is somehow impacting my car. No sounds of that, ergo, no need for concern. Numbed over. This is not how I would imagine life and community. This is not who I would be. Yet no current intention to be better.
Pure want to vomit stress. This is advocacy. My ass isn’t on the line. My ass would get paid regardless. But it will be me up there, expected to perform. To find a well-spring of eloquence. To somehow compensate for the fact that is almost midnight and I haven’t yet written an opening argument. To make a jury decide for my client, I have to make them love me. To trust me. To listen to what I say. My case is a loser, I need to create a miracle. I want to vomit. And this is only a mock trial.
A choose your own adventure night of heavy drinking. 12 hours, 4 to 4. The Mexican drug dealer, the aging punk rocker, the man of my dreams, who gave me the kiss to die happily with and then walked away without even asking for my number, the illegal Irish carpenter. Warm fall night, and at some point we forgot were we parked the car. Ride the adventure wherever it will take you and have that misplaced, that beautiful sustaining faith, that you will end up safely on the other side of wherever and whatever it is that you find next.
So it doesn’t really feel like a school night. It can’t really feel like a school night when you wake up at 10:30 pm. You have to leave the house to find food, and since you are out already, you might as well stop into heavy metal night to have a beer or two. And then, of course, by the time you leave it’s 4 am. Over $100,000 in student loans. Might as well use it as free time. Might as well figure that it is the cost of freedom. When else will waking up in the morning be optional?
I want them to turn the heat on. I want to take a shower. But it will be so very cold when I am wet. It is actually warmer outside than it is inside. So does that mean I should leave the windows open? I feel filthy, and residually hung over. Playtime may or may not be over. I make the cats sit on me, like living throw rugs. I think they are chilled also, because they are cooperative. I have clean socks now, and clean flannel shirts. I will dig out blankets, curl up and learn about evil corporations.
It is the third year of this. We are disenchanted, resent being called back here. Something about smokers. We shiver outside, and tend towards the sunlight. Make conversations, invent connections. We know each other slightly, but memorize each others faces, demeanors, so we know who to go to when we didn’t have time to stop on the way in the morning. Huddle around the fair trade flavor of coffee, which steams heat out from the thin white cardboard. It always drips out from where the plastic lid fits imperfectly, staining shirts, and will be cold by the time class begins.
Fever. So much for the beginning of the quarter momentum. Slept for 18 hours, with my head under my blankets, cats sitting on top of me. Fighting the feeling of falling through the mattress. It is oddly, a fever without any other symptoms of sickness. Just the chills and then the sweating, the fuzziness, the aches, the sleeping. I would feel better if there was heat in my apartment. Trying to decide if a shower would make things better or worse. Maybe if I could find my hair dryer? Maybe if the hot water was guaranteed? Friends are bringing soup.
If you are pathetic enough, they will bring you soup. Much confused and still sickly. Watched my cat pee on the floor for no good reason. Had to rouse myself up and out to buy cat litter. Asymptomatic illness. Without definition or duration. Fever goes up, fever goes down. There is still no heat in my apartment. This, is in fact, not illegal. A child was shot today, but the President’s cheeseburger got more news time. I am cynical and not so pleased with flag waving. And I am not made to feel secure by the phrase “make no mistake”.
Still floating somewhere between health and illness. Overcome by a lack of good sense. One drink leads to many, leads to adventures, and pathos. Yet another night, which makes one shake their head in retrospect, results in nothing. I do not understand what is happening in our country, in our world. Questions of weight and significance. Between panic and cynicism there is the limbo, the weightlessness, the detachment. Assess, and think, but still, not to be different from what was known to be true beforehand. Where is the place for the radicals now? What stake do we have in patriotism?
Encounters or endurance? When looking for where and what to belong to, I find myself most satisfied with being self-contained. Life becomes nothing but a series of adventures, it lacks a depth, a significance. This could or could not have happened, nothing is changed, except perhaps myself. Dented, imbued. Fodder for my stories. Something yet else that I can now articulate with conviction. Sunlight on barb wire, and questions of safety and ethics. These places I end up when the late night bars close. When I trust my gut to tell me that things will not spin out of control.
These words, captured daily for months on end. These words, posted on the web along sides of other words, similar, but different. These words, which capture me more than anything else, in veiled language, an ode, an elegy to my self absorption. I would, and will write of others and their joys and sorrows, but for right now, my weak craft would splinter under the weight of duty and obligation, and so these words are all about me. Self harm or self praise, if I tell my own story badly, then I bear the consequences. And so here are words.
The Tip Jar