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BY staring

03/01 Direct Link
Spent half the evening at Riteaid with Stu, laughing in the greeting card aisle. I was having trouble finding a card for my friends in Australia until I came across something lime-green with a swath of olives across the front. Inside it said, 'So many olives, so few martinis.' Even though my Australian friends are also on my Facebook, they don't know how different our relationship would be if we hung out again. There would be no more copious glasses of wine, beer or martinis shared between us. For the first time, I'd be forced to see things clearly.
03/02 Direct Link
My spirits have been low lately due to a few personal reasons. I spotted a pen on the end table this morning. Taking it as a sign, I picked up the pen and retrieved my journal from the other room, but got caught up with doing laundry and paying bills. The next thing I knew I was playing Scrabble, sitting around with a dazed look on my face while I waited for a ride to work. So far, if the month of March could be compared to a musical attribute, it'd still be on the dark end of a crescendo.
03/03 Direct Link
My mom called twice this evening: once while I was at work and again when I got home. "Do you have any pot?" she asked. "My legs are killing me tonight." I pictured her sitting down somewhere with a straight face, enduring the muscle spasms in her legs. I apologized and said there was nothing I could do--I don't even like pot. When we both lived in Florida, I remember cruising down the Courtney Campbell in search of it. I lost myself in the process, but I'm still not sure if this was a good thing or bad thing.
03/04 Direct Link
I heard that finding a penny on the ground somewhere means god is watching you. If that's true, god has been watching me for most of last month. I finally had to pick up the penny that was lying under my calender before I vacuumed. Now I am reminded it is time to turn the page to March, finalizing my commitment to the present. But once I will be allowed to clean that sink plastered in pennies at one of my janitorial assignments, but once I will come to know a particular person or live within a particular situation. Once.
03/05 Direct Link
I finally made it to the post office today with three watercolors in tow, ready to send them to my friends in Australia. The night before I laid them out on my bed. There were 22 of them looking back at me in various colors, depicting different time periods. Which ones should I send? How many of them will I send? After a long time spent debating, I selected a few of my most recent ones. I hoped my requested artwork would communicate to them what's been going on lately, without having to use words that get in the way.
03/06 Direct Link
The front door was open today so some fresh air could replace the tired, smoky atmosphere in the house. I sat in the leather chair by the fireplace and read determinedly, thinking every so often about the association I made earlier with the word prowling and men. I thought about this trait later as I admired an attractive man with a knuckled, Italian-style nose at checkout. He looked at me before I had the chance to raise my shields. I looked away, wishing I could transcend all of this prowling with meaningful conversation. Have a good night.
03/07 Direct Link
I was reading other batches for some insight into the experiences of others. After sampling a batch written by A Mystical Leaf of Afro Zen, I was left with the taste of sauteed tomatoes, onions and spirituality in my mouth. Curiously I was reminded of the Meditation for Dummies book I read back in the summer of 1998 or 1999, and how I used to sit in the guest room of my mom's condo and patiently meditate semi-regularly. I felt nothing but increasing weight as I placed the room, the condo, the city and the unknown upon my shoulders.
03/08 Direct Link
Terry purchased a hot dog from the vendor. She was reading a Patricia Cornwell novel. He had the money ready before she told him the amount and watched as she slid her fingers under the dollar bill and placed her thumb on top of the quarter. She put the money in the register and tilted the tip bucket toward him and said no tips today yet. The vendor looked tired and a little moody so they chatted briefly about books and careers. Outside it smelled like faint lemon and cool pavement. Streaks of water lied everywhere by the shopping carts.
03/09 Direct Link
A cup of milk crackled upon the hot noodles, abated by two scoops of butter and a packet of cheese powder. Outside the sun shone through the bare limbs of the trees as the gritty sound of car engines rolled forth. The neighbor's light blue garage door was closed but there was a car in the driveway. Once the macaroni was of the desired consistency, I poured in a packet of tuna, watching the juice come out first followed by large pink chunks I had to grind up with the wooden spoon. I ate standing up, basking in the sunlight.
03/10 Direct Link
Dream: My co-worker from Florida, Tanya, was talking to my dad and I could tell that he liked her. She suggested they swap cars for a month, so I was told to go fetch some coupons. I walked a labrador molded into a light green blanket down the hall and told anyone who ased that he was simply a "green labrador." I found the coupons in a childhood friend's dresser and helped reposition her elaborate fiber-optic display. Later, I began constructing bleachers, and was reunited with more successful childhood friends before escaping into a frog-like, futuristic automobile.
03/11 Direct Link
Commercial on multiple news channels today for WEN hair care. Their poison? Sweet Almond Mint. Their experts? A gay hair stylist, Laura Ingalls Wilder and an asian marketing specialist. Their target audience consisted of 99% women with at least shoulder-length hair. Everyone had a before shot, featuring a sullen individual with hair that resembled that of the Bride of Frankenstein. Keep that critical eye, I remembered one of my english professors telling me in the margins of an essay. Nevertheless, in the shower, I took additional care lathering with my own shampoo, sketching voluptuous models on the shower door.
03/12 Direct Link
I put a poptart into the toaster and noticed a few police cars traveling West, flashing their sirens. There were a few more, and soon it became at least a twenty-five minute procession of police vehicles from the state capitol and other cities. I turned on the TV and Channel 7 was talking about some woman's disease. I opened the laptop and typed in detnews.com and learned it was actually traffic from a funeral. I watched more vehicles drive by through the trees as a squirrel pranced about the yard, unoblivious. Black keaves sat like chocolate chips everywhere.
03/13 Direct Link
Today it was beautifully overcast. The first rains of the year washed away the last of the snow and something in the air tingled my senses. On my way to work, comments about the weather were used with the reservations of a sweet tooth who knows better. You know we'll get one more snowstorm before it's over. I watched the raindrops on the window randomly plot courses down the glass, assimilating other drops in its path as they rushed into the unknown. I wanted to be on the move myself again, I would be just one more drop.
03/14 Direct Link
The Ann Arbor Borders bookstore had always been its own beast. Creaky floors, exposed pipes in the ceiling, near floor-to-ceiling windows depicting a city known for its academia and freedom to be whoever you wanted to be. I knew Stu was at what I like to call the rack, skirting around gay and lesbian magazines and stealing glances at the men around him. I heard what sounded like a large fountain, until I realized it was only a patron flushing the toilet upstairs. Looking for my own entertainment, I perused a manual on sketching different trees--animals, too.
03/15 Direct Link
Dream: It was snowy, and my driver tried to park up the street at the coffee beanery but the car spun and almost ended up back in the road. We got out in our barefeet and treaded the snow, ready to call a cab. In the back of a van, a pregnant co-worker tripped over me and her large belly turned blue. Later, I worked a double at a different store and a co-worker kept staring at me and saying 'louder' when I was ordering something from Wendy's, causing me to break into a short fit of rage.
03/16 Direct Link
I touched an air freshener attached to an air vent, and commented on the fact that the fluid inside was at the same level. Rachel put her car in reverse and we pulled away from the restaurant that I bussed tables at sometime in the last decade. Had to have been before you met me, she said earlier. We were ordering chicken and fish at a high-top and sipping our waters. My new spring jacket kept sliding around on the polished teak whenever I shifted my posture. Perhaps, I would have to pull out my W-2's and check.
03/17 Direct Link
Life is a straw, or lack thereof. When's the last time you opened a can of soda and put a straw into it? Most people don't use straws for everything, nor do they slice their sandwiches down the diagonal. To them, straws are temporary, disposable tools, wrapped in the red and white double helix of youth. Yet as colas and other substances permeate our beings, we feel content to remove the straw. We begin to lose sight of the journey. We forget to take into consideration the effort we expended on holding the child's hand within ourselves, losing our identity.
03/18 Direct Link
I just read a story about what has been going on lately with Jeremy, formerly a brother of DLP. As much as I respected Jeremy's eccentricities, I was always able to identify moreso with his drag persona, Gemini Dream. Maybe it was the allure of seeing him transform and perform songs like, I Touch Myself by the DiVinyls. I could just watch him do high kicks in his red sequins without worrying about making good conversation. It's good to know he's still in the business of selling dreams. It reminds me that it's never too late for me.
03/19 Direct Link
I scribbled a sidewalk elm enclosed in black wrought iron. My friend talked about a confrontation with a difficult customer at work and I wondered why it's so stressful working with the public. More than anything, I think it's because people want to be understood, but many of us don't know how to give and take. Sometimes it's easier to be the artist, to merely listen to the idiosyncrasies of others. Three Arnold Palmers later, I wasn't ready to go home yet. It was the warmest day of the year, and people were rushing in through the stained glass doors.
03/20 Direct Link
I lied in bed listening to the sound of Mike's overworked voice lull me out of bed. I had looked at the wrong Saturday the night before and he was asking me where I was, if I was already in the store. I should have been there a half hour ago. In the kitchen, I dialed him, willing myself to use only clear and concise language so he understood. "I'll be there at a quarter after," I said, instinctively using a time within the hour. He hesitated. He knew about my driving situation. "No, uh, be here when you can."
03/21 Direct Link
There was a guy who looked familiar on my list of Facebook friend suggestions; however, we had no mutual friends and I didn't know any of his friends either. He lived in Riverview, FL...a comparatively underdeveloped city around the Tampa area. While considering whether or not to add him, I remembered the map I hung behind my bedroom door at my grandma's house, and how I'd purposely drive around so I could get lost and find my way back again. I added him with a note that explained my curiosity, but he simply approved my request with no response.
03/22 Direct Link
Argument. I hear it almost everyday when some of my co-workers react to new policies and procedures set forth by those "people in upper management". Their lack of understanding of who these people are and what they do only precipitates further dissent. Conversely, some of management's erroneous pursuits further alienate these employees, creating an environment that's inconducive to the implementation of ANY new policy and procedure. It becomes a battle against the big bad wolf and the disgruntled employee. If we all put more energy into understanding one another, we would see that issues get resolved a lot faster.
03/23 Direct Link
I sat a McDonald's and examined the packaging. Beefy and cheesy was the chain's current buzz words for the double cheeseburger. Melted american cheese formed on the roof of my mouth as I watched a woman leading her daughter into the restrooms. Is this for girls? The daughter asked. Yes Sweetums. The door of reality closed on their exchange and I envisioned the daughter on a road trip to Florida years later, with no memory of ever having to be lead into public restrooms. At Kinkos, I photocopied my ID, recollecting my stint in the mailroom at Kraft foods, Tampa.
03/24 Direct Link
I walked down Harvey to a shop that reminded me of Natalie, complete with specialty rocks, incense and candles. New age music chimed overhead as I recalled the evening walks down quiet bicycle paths and the way the moon shimmered across the pond. Goose droppings littered our path; lights from the surrounding condominiums looked like spaceships. Natalie described a mountain surrounded by unsurpassable walls after we meditated to our past-life cassette tape. I slid my finger across a selenite and read its health benefits before leaving the store. The music followed me a ways, but then it was gone.
03/25 Direct Link
There are no mistakes now baby. We did the best we could... I told my friend to stop so I could make sense of those phrases and google the artist later. The evening was approaching fast; the town center was already closed. I glanced at the restaurant the music was coming from and noticed that no one was sitting outside in the alcoves that looked like built in garage doors. We continued walking a little ways, through the coffee house that was swarming with high school kids. They made me feel uncomfortable, so we continued and stopped for ice cream.
03/26 Direct Link
A cart packed with Easter Lillies and a few tulips was on display today. I stood, admiring the blooms and the generous layer of pollen sprinkled within them. When Barb checked to see if the coast was clear, I took a picture of the cart with my phone with the intention of drawing it later. Will I only draw the cart and the surrounding store? Didn't my last watercolor of this place, depicting outside garden as a prison cell, sum up enough of my feelings here? I continually have to remind myself it's not my employer's fault I'm stuck here.
03/27 Direct Link
Subway was empty except for myself and two other customers. I walked in at about the same time as someone else, but I used the side door and he used the front. I could tell he didn't come to the store often because he began ordering at the register. The men behind the counter were young and receptive. Would you like to make this a combo? No thanks. Outside it was dark and the pink letters that spelled "Salon MJ" were lit up next door. Archie used to call Monica MJ, she was quite the ingenious cutthroat. Sigh.
03/28 Direct Link
It was as wet and overcast today as it had been during the plane ride ride from WaWa to Portage Lake, ON. I had arrived with my dad, brother and some family friends for a weekend of fishing that felt like a lifetime. It was the beginning of the 00's and I had Billie Myers and KD Lang in my bulky mp3 player. "That's some pretty relaxing music," Josh, who always played the 'king' in our imaginary games from childhood, voiced impartially. He grew so naturally into the jock he was then followed by the successful businessman he is today.
03/29 Direct Link
My friend has made repeated references to programs on Hulu worth watching, including Hell's Kitchen Nightmares, Cold Comfort Farm and Igby Goes Down. Tonight, after visiting Hulu once again and watching La Femme Nikita, I stumbled upon the entire collection of Lost episodes to date. Why is it that sometimes certain TV shows invoke so much more memory than books? Probably because it rarely takes someone 5 years to read a book, I argued in defense of the bookworm, glancing at the stars above. I couldn't figure out what season I left off on, somewhat hesitant to go back there.
03/30 Direct Link
I succeeded in breaking up my day into segments. I left the initial part of my day by leaving Under the Dome by Stephen King on a brown leather chair along with an empty cup of coffee and my wallet. The second half began with a shower, some debate over whether I'd wear a red or a brown shirt, and filling up my empty coffee cup with orange juice. I envisioned myself in a terminal, and walked with haste into my old room. Having officially left Chester's Mill, I arrived on schedule to the hazy, urgent town of Future World.
03/31 Direct Link
The world was a very warm place on my way home from work. I rolled the window down and gripped the roof of the car, recalling the drawbridge in St. Pete Beach. The bridge seemed as ornately decorated as a pharoah's tomb. Beyond, the pink mass of Don Cesar was just the beginning of a rainbow of colors that I initially thought were only reserved for those who died and went to heaven. I squinted my eyes against the sun and tried not to see the bare-limbed trees on the horizon. I know it will be a good summer.