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Every time I see one of those goofy Nelly Furtado videos I think of you. Something in the way she moves reminds me of the way you move. You wield your body in a similar way. You share that distant gaze. One searching for something more interesting, more compelling just over my shoulder. The full moon I watched driving home down A1A reminded me of you too. It's the same moon, over the same ocean, under which you fucked me like you meant it. But sitting a few feet apart now if feels like that's all we have left: used-to-be's.
My body is 217 pounds of fat and steel and hollow as Ziti. If I could rebuild it my eyes would be a Public Enemy ryhme, truthseeking and honest. My arms would be thick and strong, like I Hate Myself's horrowing cover of Spoke's "Care". My feet and legs crafted from an amalgam of Fugazi lyrics. The 11th minute of a 24 minute Godspeed You Black Emperor opus--the part right as the song breaks--would make up my brain: chaotic yet clear and wonderous. And for today, I'd choose a sad, beautiful Low song to beat as my heart.
It's amazing how a cup of coffee, some hard work and good music can grease the wheels of mental progress. Earlier today I was writing my 10x10 in my head, asking rhetorically: "Is it so wrong to want to be a face in the crowd, a cog in the machine?" Now, I'm on a roll -- excited again about this organizing campaign, forgetting and ignoring the pitfalls and focussing on advancing, learning, figuring it out. Engaging the problems WILL tease out solutions. I guess you just have to shake the tree awhile before an apple will drop on your head.
They started the broadcast with the same stern tones and horrified surprise they had that historic day back in Septemeber.
"Did you hear on the radio?" I asked my roomate.
On the news, they solemnly introduced so-and-so-reporter as part of "tonight's team coverage", as clear an indicator of a major news story as you're gonna get. We were still trying to coble a "why" from the hastily released statements, the oblique press conference and, of course, Fox 35's "team coverage".
What have we learned? What is this next great tragedy?
University of Florida's head football coach, Steve Spurrier, resigned today.
Man I wish I could bottle up this feeling: half unlimited possiblity, half intense focus and a twist of boundless enthusiasm. I would fill 2 liter bottles of it and keep them in the office so when I'm tangled in a web of pessimism, covered with a layer of self-doubt or consumed by fear and cynicism, I could twist the cap, take a long, hard swig of the stuff and get back to fighting, organizing. Let me tell you, we'd be a lot closer to winning universal health care in Florida if I had an ample supply of this stuff.
What started out as a lark turned into quite a lovely morning. With Leo Kottke and Clem Snide providing the soundtrack we had a breakfast potluck with 10 friends gathered around a table of pancakes with maple syrup, jam and honey, chunks of surprisingly tasty canteloupe, a baked hash browns dish with cheese and onions, bacon strips, hazelnut coffee (for which I was severely castigated), a egg scramble with ham, cheese and a delicious excess of garlic, strawberries with a touch of powdered sugar, cheese grits and the piece de resistance: The waffles made on Jessica's Hello Kitty waffle iron.
I'd whip out the map and drive. From Chicago to Brazil, Indiana; Bellville, Illinois; Rolla, Missouri; Manhattan, Kansas; Goodland, Kansas; Englewood, Colorodo; Provo, Utah; Some town in southern Idaho; Puget Sound, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Sacramento and San Diego, California; Yuma, Arizona; Albuquerque, New Mexico; El Paso, Del Rio and Brownsville, Texas; Norman, Oklahoma; Eureka Springs, Arkansas; Thibodaux, Louisiana; Tupelo, Mississippi; Chicksaw, Alabama; Murfreesboro, Tennessee; Paris, Kentucky; Akron, Ohio...actually, fuck Ohio; Flint and St. Ignace, Michigan; Horseheads, New York; Lowell, Massachussetts; Pawtucket, Rhode Island; Toms River, New Jersey; Fallston, Maryland; Richmond, Virginia; Matewan, West Virginia; Boone, North Carolina, then back home.
How everything on stereo on the way home from Orlando made me think of my ex-fiance.
Being unthrilled about going to bed alone. Again. For the third straight month.
A missive wondering what is so wrong about wanting to be a face in the crowd, but wanting to do it well; Wanting to be common but not average.
100 bumbling, stumbling, rambling words about being exhausted.
And a short fiction about a beautiful girl coming over to my house. Very short, very fiction.
These were the many stupid things I started and -- lucky for you -- stopped writing tonight.
I keep thinking about that 8-day stretch in a few weeks when both our birthdays peek their heads out. And how you'll write a letter saying how much you care about me, what a special person I am, how you miss me and all the other obligatory-ness. And i'll mull from here to there about if it is possible -- if we can be friends. But, you know, I really feel like I don't have a lot of reason to think it'll be different, that I won't have to prove to you i'm not unhappy. Because I'm not not unhappy.
Everytime I stumble across it on MTV I feel a surge of emotions. Jackass is a ying and yang of contradictions. On the one had some of the stuff is kinda amusing -- like tonight they had 2 of them standing there getting pelted by Jai Alai playes firing oranges at them. On the other hand I feel like "man it must be nice to not care about the rest of the world enough to piss your life and your time away artificially inseminating cows and gettting pushed in shoping carts into bushes". Other than that tonights punk show rocked.
Look, coming to work hung over, on six hours sleep, with your hat reeking of cigarette smoke sucks ass to begin with. But it sucks even more ass when you have to come to work hung over, on six hours sleep, with your hat reeking of cigarette smoke AND it's "annoying man's" day to pull an eight hour shift. My headache starts to take on gargantuan proportions when i consider how much more his verve and speaking volume will grate on my nerves today given last night's bottle of Miller, 3 High Life tall boys and Pabst Blue Ribbon can.
I watched with equal amounts of wonder and sympathy as I watched through my kitchen window, my three next door neighbors, carry the microwave up their stairs, stand on a couch on their porch, then fire said appliance down on the ground 1 floor below. And repeat. Again and again and again. Are their lives so meaningless that this is interesting? Are their drugs so good that this is interesting? Of course I was the idiot standing there watching them, but I had a good excuse -- it was much more entertaining than washing the dishes stacked in the sink.
What a scene tonight. A friend of ours is moving to New Mexico so we had a potluck going away party. There was the clash of bland vegan foods and my box of Publix fried chicken. There were the 3 different girls I've made out with in the past year. There was the 70 year old couple drinking wine amidst the gaggle of one-, two-, and three-year-olds running and giggling and screaming and looking out for each other. And then there was the girl talking to my friend Aaron. I really wish I had asked him what her name was.
In the end, my friend, we'll win. We beat those fucking bosses, run 'em out of town, out of our lives forever. We'll have time to enjoy this world. Along the way it might not always be easy, fun or even seem possible. We're going to miss out on a few parties, concerts, dinner dates and movies, lots of sleep and maybe even some one-night-stands. But in the end we'll have something greater. Solidarity, justice, maybe even the true love of a great man or woman (or both). And freedom! In the end, my friend, we'll win.
It got to a point where I seriously considered asking the cocky guy in the GHS shirt "Do you really think if you try all those moves -- the skip pass of someone's leg, the impossible 4-on-1 drive to the hoop -- (failing at them too, I might add), that the girl on our team who you're trying to impress is going to just throw you down on the court, rip your clothes off and fuck your brains out? Don't you think the fact that we're losing 10-5 because of your showing off might influence her thinking on the matter?"
There was the fiery graduate student; the tattooed punk rock midwife-in-training; the polyamorist cellist who broke my heart (and who I still have to see everyday); and the judgemental 21-year-old anarchist who was a really good kisser.
Given my pathetic track record of dating over the past 2 years, it is still weird to think that in addition to a handful of ex-lovers, I also have an ex-fiancee. A guy like me should be lucky to have a girl talk to him, let alone agree to marry him. (She did dump me so I guess the cosmic balance is restored.)
(Transcription attempt from last night's handwritten entry):
OK tonight i wll attemt to write 100 words completly in the dark. As an added bonus i am drunk as well. I think this is 21 words. I wish I hadn't drunk so much so i could have talke to some of the girls tere. Instead we argued about Star Wars and Nader politics. (Oh my the dog came in and attacked me). what i really want to do is get ups and get some food out of the fridge. the real question thoghas aan renthibinteh would smy is this? would nitenestg...
You stupid fucking liar. All last night you're all " drink up, I can handle it". So I let go, throw back 2 pints of Bass, 1 of Budweiser and 2 bottles of Pabst Blue Ribbon. You said you were felling good all night.
But this morning all your trickery is exposed. My brain feels like it was put in the toaster oven; my stomach like someone stuffed a half-dead pig into it. "I'm getting too old for this shit" you garmble annoyedly, spitefully. This is the last time I listen to the deceptive sack-o-shit, better known as my body.
6 steps to being alone in a crowded room:
1. Pay $3 at door.
2. Scurry over to corner, jam hands in sweatshirt pockets.
3. Blow on the too-hot coffee purchased for $1.19.
4. Look at the floor continuously lest you see (a) the girl who made a small crack in your heart; (b) a familiar face looking past you for someone else to talk to; (c) anyone else.
5. Feel stupid. Fear eye contact.
6. As soon as the show ends, leave. thereby avoiding actual confirmation that no one really would have talked to you had you stuck around.
I left the bathroom door cracked as I brushed my teeth tiredly. She flipped the record over to the first side of Son Volt's "Trace", took off her clothes and burrowed under the covers. In Florida its still possible to sleep with the window open in January and she sat against the wall reading, propped up by a pillow and covered with that softly worn blue blanket we sleep with. "Why is she so sexy in those old glasses" I wondered to myself and she serenaded me with a paragraph from the John Sayles novel she got for her birthday.
As I choked back the tears brought on by the semi-cheesy, but poignant MLK movie on the Disney Channel --embarassed to be crying openly in the middle of the packed gym--I realized I owed not only Dr. King an appology but the millions of Black folks, working people and women who have given so much in the struggle to be free. This is one of three holidays we have to celebrate this struggle. I owe it to those who have gone before me to do more than sleep late and put in a half-day of organizing. I'm sorry.
The first thing that I though was a little weird was that she called me at work. Yeah we had talked for an hour or so at the Discount show, but where did she get my work number? So we decided to go and have coffee; only problem I had was that I didn't drink coffee. Well at some point we decided to just start walking. Pretty soon we had trapsed all over the Student Ghetto, stopping by friends' houses, looking at her graffiti. Looking back, I think that was one of the few "real" dates I've ever been on.
As I walked home with the Mystic Peach drink in my hand, nodding feebly "hey" to some friends of the girl who put a hairline fracture in my heart (not as severe as a full broken heart, but it hurt enough to notice), I was thinking that my life has become like a crappy National League baseball game, maybe between the Houston Astros and the San Diego Padres. First of all, no one really cares about it. Second the offense is station-to-station: Get a single, move the runner along, steal a base. It feels like everything I do is forced.
I was torn as I sat in the sports bar watching my beloved Boston Celtics. Across from me in a booth was an older couple, probably in their 50s. They spoke very seldomly as they ate their sandwiches and chips. Unlike me they were there for something to eat, not a game. They didn't look happy or unhappy. So I thought, which of us is more pathetic? Them seemingly bored with each other, with life, but together, eating at a sports bar? Or me, there alone watching a basketball game on TV. Both struck me not just a little sad.
Here are the things we know about the girl I have a crush on:
1. she came to the show with that guy Ronnie.
2. she has a captivating smile, and surprisingly quirky voice.
3. If you can believe it, she is slightly more endearing in a gray hoodie than she is in her worn, black t-shirt. Strange but true.
4. She drinks her beer -- Pabst Blue Ribbon in this instance -- through a clear straw.
5. It would be safe to say that she has no conception of who I am, other than that fat guy who stares.
My picks for the NBA All-Star game (starters denoted by a *):
Jason Kidd (New Jersey)*
Paul Pierce (Boston)*
Tracy McGrady (Orlando)
Jerry Stackhouse (Detroit)
Ray Allen (Milwaukee)
Allen Iverson (Philadelphia)
Antoine Walker (Boston)*
Michael Jordan (Washington)*
Vince Carter (Toronto)
Cliff Robinson (Detroit)
Jermaine O'Neal (Indiana)*
Dikembe Mutombo (Philadelphia)
Steve Nash (Dallas)*
Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles)*
Gary Payton (Seattle)
Nick Van Exel (Denver)
Stephon Marbury (Pheonix)
Kevin Garnett (Minnesota)*
Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas)*
Peja Stojakovic (Sacramento)
Elton Brand (Los Angeles Clippers)
Shaquille O'Neal (Los Angeles)*
Tim Duncan (San Antonio)
Vlade Divac (Sacramento)
My greatest single fear these days is not that my "condition" won't change ("condition" being that of a all- alone guy); its not that I'll be able to come up with an infinite number of new ways to piss my life away (today's variety: watching "Speed" on the FX channel). No, it's that I am turning into my mother: Perpetually unhappy, and starkly unable/unwilling to try changing the things in my life that i hate. The scary thing is my nana, my mom's mom, was the same way and my mom always complained about it -- exactly like I do now.
As the Public Enemy blared over the joint's stereo, I watched her behind the counter. She was moving in real time but for her movements took on a slow motion quality. Son Volt's "Way Down Watson" would replace "Welcome to the Terrordome", slices would be gathered from the decades-old oven and rolls slathered with garlic butter. As the customers cleared, relieved she grabbed the Coke cup, smiled, aligned the straw and rather than sucking on it, covered the top of slightly, seductively with her top lip to drink. Her unwitting wooing continued to the tunes of At The Drive In.
My lumbering body glided through the warmed pool water. My right eye twitched after staring at Internet Explorer too long. My ire spiked when OS X's piss-ass substitute for SimpleText first opened my HTML code as a webpage, then fucked it up by appending some .txt or .dum extension on the end. My heart sank as I realized by looking at my beautiful, new Nikki McLure calendar that tomorrow, well today, is her birthday. My back aches as always when I slump and schlump over the laptop. My lungs chockled as I sat down in the steam room and inhaled.
I'm sorry i'm missing your birthday tonight. It would have been nice to cook you a lovely dinner, pop open a bottle of wine -- even though I don't think either of us especially drinks wine (but it would be appropriate for the occasion) and chew over the day with you, kibbitzing about our day, our future, our lives together. Maybe we'd instead go out and build a snow man, or get some coffee and cookies and i'd slide my meager present across the dimly-lit table. Oh, but none of that did happen, can happen, because remember? You dumped me.
Just another ordinary day in the life: Snoozed the alarm clock for 2 hours, mailed some letters, got coffee...hmm, what else? Oh yeah. GOT STUNG IN THE EYE BY A FUCKING ANT!!! As i parked my bike and walked in the door, I felt it land on then crawl up my check and eventually into my eye. Once there, the fucker bit me before i could dig it out with my fingernail. When the blitzkreig was over, I began squaking and flailing about, my eye now tearing non-stop, stinging, and as red and watery as an ice-cold can of Coke.
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