Wednesday, January 04, 2006

chicago

is grey, wet, chilly, congested with cars and trains. I am here to work!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

It's so snowy, melty, drippy, and cold here. The other night I slid all the way home on my bald tires. My fingers are so cold they're stiff and I'm feeling trapped and isolated, wishing the motherfucking phone would just ring. Yessir, life is peachy keen! At least I have the use of my arms and legs. At least I have Spanish class this evening, where I will see human faces and talk to people, and then there's a party later tonight. Lauren knows the woman who's throwing it. It's an Interesting Person Party. I guess it's necessary to make the distinction.

it was hard to get out of bed, so yesterday i went to a tanning salon for the first time ever to try and shake this wintry feeling. I liked laying naked in the big white humming plastic box, getting warm. The big-haired receptionist could not emphasize enough the need for eye protection, she was really dedicated. The I went home, worked a few hours, did some capoeira drills and cooldowns, and spent the night cleaning and repairing the scratches in my cds. Time is strange lately, i feel like there's not enough of it to be creative but too much of it for brooding miserably. Maybe because I'm working so much for money on projects that aren't very engaging so part of the brain is working on getting a nice smooth coat of paint up and the rest of the brain is freaking out over not having any friends to call because i am freaking the fuck out and need somebody to talk to, anybody, just to feel connected to the world. It just feels like everyone's too busy for me and then i start wondering what's wrong with me, why can't I keep myself busy enough to be too busy for them and it's just a slippery slope from there, hoo boy.

i'm going to try out some uncontrollable sobbing here.

When I drive out west again I'm looking forward to resting in the sun when i get too tired and maybe swimming if I end up anywhere with water. And visiting the hot springs in Truth or Consequences, and walking around Albuquerque during breaks in the training, and seeing all the capoeiristas again in Las Cruces, and maybe even dancing at the OP. I am really going to live it up. And when I get to Tempe there's a job waiting for me, a cozy place to live, new people to know, art to make, and of course hot hot sun. So it's going to be all right even if today is not a perfect day.

Friday, December 02, 2005

I've been working so hard lately that my hands and arms feel weak and the skin is kind of raw, with lots of little cuts all over my fingers from sanding and scraping. Today I was officially selected and officially accepted the AZ position, so I had a difficult time concentrating afterwards. So exhausted.

Monday, November 28, 2005

It's been an eventful and purposeful few days. I accepted the Arizona VISTA job; my old boss from Chicago came through like a champ with the reference; the man who's going to be my new boss, Steve Martin (not the famous actor and writer but a very funny guy nonetheless)told me that not only would I get a moving allowance, they would pay me 48 cents per mile driven AND I could ship my things at Americorps' expense (Thanks, federal programs! What else can I get for free? Oh, health insurance? For little me? Why goodness gracious!).

Also, the woman from the Philadelphia program, for whom my respect grows and grows, called and was genuinely nice about my change of heart. For some reason I was worried. And then I got an email from a friend of a friend who lives in Tempe and that was very encouraging.

Mom and I looked at a big map of Arizona today and fantasized about how great it's going to be. Maybe I'll finally get to see the Grand Canyon. It's not that far. She was reminiscing about the trip she took with Dad through that part of the country and told me about the time they got stranded in a snowstorm in Colorado Springs when their Mercedes convertible broke down.

On Friday I was dragging myself around and finally decided to go out. I ended up in a storefront in York where they teach swing dance lessons for an hour then dance until midnight. So I learned some basic steps but there were many more women than men so I learned the leading parts, which made it tricky during the dancing later when I had to stop using arm muscles or trying to control things. It's more fun to be the woman, though, because of all the spins and turns. Lucky me, the most fun partner I had, a perky middle-aged guy who scats to the music while he dances, introduced me to his friend. I'm going to call the friend Barney, short for Barnacle, because he is one.

Barney and I got along so well with the witty repartee and insightful conversation that we were unable to dance together effectively. So we sat and conversed, then went to dinner and conversed, and at the end of dinner there was kissing and pants were on fire, but with nowhere really to go and his friend waiting, the one night stand I was hoping for was impossible. So we parted and I went to meet Lauren at a smoky bar where a famous dj was playing rave music from 1995 and I had a great night.

The next day I got very little sleep, worked in the cafe a little, and held a very small meeting about New Year's, then called Barney, then drove an hour to meet Barney, then went with Barney and friend to another swing dance. This one was in a high school gym, which didn't bug me much except for the school smell and the crappy audio. By this time Barney had decided that we were enough of an item that he was allowed to keep his hand in my back pocket sometimes, as well as stick his hand out behind him while walking ahead of me like he wanted me to hold it, kind of the gesture you make to a small child who is lagging. Okay, I thought, I'll go along with this, because my pants are on fire. And we had a good time, learning to dance, throwing little deflated kickballs into the basketball hoops, spinning and spinning, making out sloppily in the hallway until we got caught by Barney's buddy, who is a decent Christian man. I don't know exactly when the tide turned for me. It could have been when Barney invited me to his church and acted like he had just assumed we would be spending EVERY FREE DAY together. Or maybe it was when he agonized over whether or not it was moral to have sex at this point, since Aristotle wrote that the basest, most low-down dirty short-lived unfulfilling relationships are based on pleasure, and the true friend cares about his friend, and only has sex when absolutely necessary, and he read me the relevant passage with the sincerest look on his face, and I just wanted to look away from that little head-tilt and the penetrating stare that said: Are you the one? Are you good enough to be...my wife?

So I may be a sex pig but at least I'm not going to go changing into a perfect angel for somebody else.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

I nearly forgot about this situation that happened in the video store the other day. I was standing there looking at a dvd when a large man bumped into me on purpose. It was like somebody had just pushed a warm cushy blanket into my back. Getting touched from behind triggers negative childhood memories about an over-friendly greasy old substitute teacher, so I gave the guy, who was trailing a small boy, a dirty look and kept reading the back of my dvd. I guess his preliminary investigation was satisfactory, so he gave himself a mental go sign and tried a frontal approach. "Hey, don't I know you from somewhere? Did you go to [some high school]? Do you go to The Hop?" Later, I find out from my mom that The Hop is a club specializing in singles dances, particularly for the over-55 crowd, and that my grandma used to go there with her caretaker Vicki.

I suddenly lost interest in telling this story. It was just sad and ridiculous and annoying. The joker kept looking me up and down like maybe if he got lucky a breast would pop out. He insisted on giving me his number even though I told him I wasn't going to call him, not now, not ever, and that I was leaving and wasn't even interested in making new friends, much less starting a romantic entanglement with a divorced 36-year-old. I'd feel sorry for the guy if he wasn't so obviously a jerk. What a fucked up sad little life it is.

Lately in conversations the topic of gender difference has been coming up, a lot. I can think of three very intense and pertinent instances and then there's this subtext running underneath everything, like books I'm reading and articles and NPR stories too. So I'm thinking again about the difference between boys and girls. These days I feel like I might enjoy being a man for a while because it seems like they get a little more slack, emotionally, than women do, and I'm tired of ripping myself apart every day. Men's emotional lives look empty but peaceful from here, like a nice landscape with pretty pastures and cows grazing even though there's probably an earthquake about to happen that going to spew dirt and rocks up out of the ground and the cows will all die mooing brokenly and falling forever and ever into giant cracks, right into the center of the world.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Wow what a time of rage and wrath it is for me. Impressive outpourings of violent lashings-out are wanting to happen, with nobody around to lash out at. I am so glad not to be inclined towards self-injury. Anybody who fucks with me today is going to get their eyes scratched out of their heads and shoved down their stupid throats, though. Not that anybody is going to bother me, since I'm wrapped in this invisible red armor.

I got good news, great news. Yesterday I was out of sorts, just pissed off and bored, slapping paint on the walls of Steve's unattractive condo in Maryland, and every time I said anything to him he'd go off on a riff, for pete's sake, about whatever I'd said, in the most annoying way. Like I'd talk about the dry heat in the Southwest and he'd talk about how you just HAVE to carry water wherever you go, it's dry but you'll dry OUT, and I'd say I like not sweating and he'd say, OHHH HO you sure ARE sweating, it's just EVAPORATING because of the DRYNESS, and he knows because he grew up in Florida the difference between humid heat and dry heat and he can take both but the thing is, THE THING IS, when it's dry you have to carry water and you feel THIRSTY, so it's more difficult. Well, that's the gist. Anyway after I finished painting and started to drive away I got a call from the Americorps program in Tempe and they want me to work there and they didn't even take a week to think about it, they were obviously so excited about the interview and they knew I was the one right away. It took all my self control to not hoot into the phone in excitement and jubilation. So now I have a choice that I'm actually happy about getting to make. Obviously I am inclined to move where it's warm all the time and the people aren't so uptight. I already told the Philly program I'd work there, though, so I may feel a little bad extricating myself from that commitment. You know what, though, other people ditch their commitments all the time, even important commitments to people they love, without appearing to feel a touch of guilt. Other people fucking betray their closest confidantes without giving a thought to the ruination they bring on their own shriveled little ungrateful selfish souls by completely ignoring the strong and valid emotions of others that are totally based in reality and not in some fantasy world of unreasonable expectations. Other people lie to themselves and the people around them because they don't want to look unattractive or deal with feeling bad. That's life in the universe, right? So it's OK if I tell these nice Christian community center people I sort of know and definitely like, Thanks, but no thanks, I'm moving to sunny Arizona. The traffic is much better out there and I need to work on my year-round tan and I'm tired of having cold hands all the time.

I only got a couple of hours of sleep last night. I was anxious over the logistics of accepting one job and rejecting another, worried that neither would work out and I'd be back where I started with the resumes and cover letters and phone calls and dead-end stupid house painting jobs and living in a tiny, thin-walled room near the blaring TV in my parents' house. Loserville. Heartbreak Hotel. Prozactown. Out of Control Sobbing and Screaming Villas. So I had all these dreams about how Estela was going to somehow fuck up my acceptance process in Tempe or how I'd accidentally signed a binding contract and couldn't escape. For some reason a cute, muscular mulatto-loooking guy named Colorado kept showing up too, wanting to kiss. You just take the good with the bad, I guess, my gosh.
Oh things are moving along. I think I've committed myself to throwing a New Year's fundraiser party here. At least to the preliminary stages. How fun is it to make flyers and organize meetings?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Today I have this unconquerable pain deep in both sides of my buttocks and all down both legs. I think it's from doing capoeira drills day before yesterday and then yoga yesterday and then working ten hours in the cafe without getting to sit down more than once. I made so many sandwiches! Anyway I keep sort of reflexively massaging the problem area.

I had a really great phone interview with an Americorps program in Tempe, AZ. There was a lot of good-natured laughter over the inherent chaos and disorganization of non-profit organizations. I'm trying not to attach too much to the idea of living there, but it's hard when my heart literally skips a beat at the thought of escaping the east coast in the middle of winter. The Philadelphia program has already selected me, so at least I definitely have a job come January that will get me out of York County. Kass at the cafe persists in his hopeful delusion that I will suddenly change my mind and decide to work for him forever at six dollars an hour mixing smoothies and tossing salad. And there is plenty of house painting to do, so i don't lack for work. And I have Spanish homework to do, which I enjoy, and Trish to talk with every now and then, and a few acquaintances to have drinks with, and some kind of art event to organize, and a performance to throw together. So I am going to try to be content with this unchosen, patched-together life for now.