Monday, September 27, 2010

Two Paths Diverge

Today I walked my dogs with my mother. The light was fading, just like summer, and I could see the tops of suburbia glazed with amber.

She says, "How's the job hunt?"

I say, "GREAT."

Then my steps pick up, and so do hers. Briefly, we look ridiculous. Two ladies with miniature poodles, race walking.

I wasn't really angry she asked me about job hunting. I live at home, she's supposed to do that. I even enjoy telling her about my interview nerves or worries about my qualifications. It usually quiets the angst.

But the real reason for the springin my step is more instrospective. Lately, I have been running scenes from my past over and over in my head. Scenes of domestic breakdown and youthful foolishness.

Once upon a time I was in a heart-crushing argument. The debate disintegrated to large pauses and reflections reaching that point where both parties have said all there is to say. You know, the moments of brief loss of hate, why there's all these breaks in speech. The fighters need enough time to squeeze out one more, trivial point.

During one of these late pauses, I took the opportunity to wipe the snot waterfalls from my nose. I am not sure what it is about wiping the snot away, or maybe I was just tired, but for a lovely, diaphanous moment I did not feel an all consuming urge to hurl insults and poorly thought out arguments. I felt... affectionate. Like I was sitting next to a dear old war buddy, not my evil nemesis.

"You know," I said, gazing up at him like Bambi. "I think maybe all this nutjob-ness of mine may make me famous one day." I cracked a silly grin in the dark.

"Maybe," said he said languidly, sounding bored to even be talking. "But you're not very resilient."

I think these are the brief moments that define us, as they present the paths we choose to stumble along and those we take one look at and then say "Hell No. I don't want to die."

I believe in that moment, a fork presented itself to me quite clearly. I quickly picked a side. I hope it is the right one.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Me and my Dad

Yesterday my father graciously opened up an account for me at a nice, fancy gym.

My membership, however, exists on the condition that once I become "established," I will take over payment.

I asked my father what he meant by established, just to be a shit. I know what it meant. It means not sleeping till noon, haphazardly job searching until your eyes get tired, then making yourself cocktails with the different fruit juices that your mom buys. Pretending, while you cocktail, that you are the star of your own highly successful snarky, hip cooking show. Or putting on the first act of Les Miserables on the house stereo system, printing out the lyrics, and performing for two sleepy, non-plussed poodles.

I don't think that constitutes "established."

On my gym member application form, there is a box where you list two friends for a referral and a free week trial membership. After a deliberation that was a bit too long, and a scan of my contacts, I grudgingly listed one acquaintance. Proud of myself, I announced my successful listing to my father.

"You need more friends."

Dad! I said.

"No, it's not a put-down!" he explained. "It's a fact."


"It's a fact! We all need friends, you and I. We need friends."

"Dad, that's worse. It's worse that it's a fact."

We had a brief word scuffle, me finally conceding that he was more of the opinion that I needed friends because it's a general need of the human race, as in we are not really solitary creatures, even if you live in Folsom.

So I don't need friends because I haven't brushed my hair in two days, or plan to perform Act 2 for Bear and Otto tomorrow. I need friends because I'm human.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stand By Me

My friend and I set goals for ourselves this summer: to go on a date.

Finals week starts tomorrow. No dice.

I came close a couple of times. I've had offers for chicken and waffles, been licked on the neck by an elderly, hammered gentleman, asked to watch a magic show. Got a gay man's number, gave mine to an ancient queen who danced like Richard Simmons with less flexibility, avoided subsequent phone calls.

The other day I heard "Stand by Me" on the oldies radio station and lost my shit. The song is literally the words stand by me repeated with different emphasises. But it is such a strong sentiment, more resounding than the other big three, I love you. Stand by me doesn't ask for a lifelong commitment, it doesn't clasp the chain around your ankle or slap a label onto your trembling back.

It just says, hey, just be here.

It seems pretty selfless to me, despite the fact that its technically command. I imagine that by him asking her, he is explaining the fullness of his devotion. That when the time came, he would be right there, standing.

Sometimes asking for help overpowers hot blooded declarations for love.

My date goal was stupid. It wasn't what I wanted.

I want somebody to hear that song and think of me. I want to Stand by Them.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Theory of Relativity, sort of

One of the tenets of Einstein's stupid theory of relativity is that your description of physical reality is the same regardless of the constant velocity at which you move.

As I avoid all attempts to study for my Astronomy final, I came across Chapter 22's intro to this special theory. I have just spent the weekend with my friends from college, freshly detached and come back to visit their old haunt. We all ate and drank way too much, laid on the couch for inordinate periods, talked about how full/drunk/tired/cranky we were in between those bouts of crotch hurting laughter and feelings of brief invincibility.

So for three days, we all had the reality of one another, no matter which direction we are moving in our lives, just like Einsten said. But now, sitting in my poorly lit room alone, I have realized that the way in which we are speeding through our young and directionless lives IS affecting our physical realities. I guess Einstein never had college rommates.

The differences are subtle. Nobody looks unlike themselves. But the stitches of our four year situation begin to unravel as everybody seeks a new life thread.

Remember in high school when you were dumped for the first time? And you listened to Bright Eyes laying on your bed and felt that nothing could ever feel worse than that moment?

Well this time it's not like that. I see my friend, ready to move across an ocean to pursue the lifestyle he dreams of, and its not all Bright Eyes and moping. It's complicated now. It's pride, and fear, sadness and joy, excitement and regret. I miss the purity of high school emotions. Now my cocktail of feelings are pushing me to accept things I don't want to. You know, to grow up.

I feel that I have spent my summer resisting adulthood. I have clung to my girlfriend's mantra of living in the moment, so hard that I missed it when the moment actually hit me: We are all moving on.

I am not saying I plan to welcome adulthood with open arms, in fact I plan to fight that bitch all the way to the grave. But I guess I am coming to terms with letting people go and live their physical realities in ways that are different than mine.

Wish I could channel all this maturity into a successful Astro grade, dammit.