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Monday, September 12, 2016

A Brief & Incomplete List: #6

Things That Made Me Cry (or at least tear up a little) this Week:


Making oatmeal.

Watching Beyonce’s “Lemonade” for the 47th time.

Driving on the interstate with my window down, and my arm weaving its way through the morning air’s complicated machinery while Regina sings, and I wonder if we ever see our downfalls coming.

The thought of hugging a manatee.

The Ada Limon poem where she writes:
“But love is impossible and it goes on
despite the impossible. You’re the muscle
I cut from the bone and still the bone
remembers, still it wants (so much it wants)
the flesh back, the real thing,
if only to rail against it, if only
to argue and fight, if only to miss
a solve-able absence.”
Watching this video. And thinking about watching this video for the 2-3 hours that followed watching this video.

Standing in solidarity with Standing Rock, on a corner in downtown San Diego with my sister. Listening to traditional prayer songs, and Water is Life, and how glorious it feels to be alive and basking in the unity of its protectors. The strength of the human spirit, and the fact that there are still people who give a damn in this world.

Vodka. A hammock. The time/space continuum. The sound of a voice and the weight of missing.
The Ada Limon poem where she writes:
“...How good it is to love
live things, even when what they’ve done
is terrible, how much we each want to be
the pure exonerated creature, to be turned loose
into our own wide open without a single
harness of sin to stop us.”

A crippling hangover.

The finales of not one, or two, but three different seasons of television. How it felt like saying goodbye to the only friends I have out here. Watching Murphy sleep. Mission Beach at sunset, and how the light looks on the water, everything glowing rosy pink. The sun through the inversion layer. How it rattles on the horizon like a white pill the ocean swallows every night, but still never sleeps.

Feeling lonely the way that lonely must be.

-b

Friday, September 9, 2016

Well I Guess This is... Growing Up?

Hello friend-os. 

I want to start a new blog, and call it My Real Adult Life, and document all of the strange and wondrous contradictions inherent in adulthood. For example, this morning I was stumbling half-naked around my apartment, assembling a (very sexy) bed frame and eating a delicious lemon poppyseed muffin. But muffin greased fingers made Allen wrenching hard. I suppose one solution would have been to finish assembling the bed, and then enjoy my pastry. Or vice versa, since greasy fingers are washable. My solution was to leave the muffin on the counter and take hands-free, drive-by bites of it after tightening each screw. 

I’m an adult woman who stretches in the morning and takes vitamins. I’m also an adult woman who eats watermelon with a serving spoon while dressed as a koala. I don’t know, guys. I suspect I’ll be fully feral any day now. 

Displaying IMG_5747.JPG
Lurker cat is lurking
Speaking of feral, That Cat has been hard at work making us friends. The last few days a very large, very handsome, very unneutered black cat has come a’knocking at our door. Doors. All the doors. His hobbies appear to be peering in windows, napping outside windows, and turning Murphy into a rage-filled spitting hellbeast. For the last six years, tormenting Murphy has been my full time job. It’s really a relief to finally share the burden. Admittedly, 3am is not usually the time I choose to torment her, because I prefer to be asleep. Apparently our new friend is much more nocturnal. There’s nothing quite so comforting as waking up in the middle of the night in a dark room to the demonic shrieking of a would-be cat fight. 

Besides my rambling, one-sided conversations with That Cat, I’ve talked to probably three new people down here. One was the laundromat attendant, who commented on how hard it must be to focus on reading in a laundromat while I was trying to focus on reading in a laundromat. I also talked to one of my classmates when she needed to borrow a 3x5 note card from me, and chatted briefly with the guy at the Market down the hill who sells me $5.99 (+tax) bottles of wine.

I’ll have friends literally any day now. 

The problem, of course, is that I have friends, they’re just not here, and it’s hard to live in two places, and it’s hard to be apart from your Real Life. My Real Life now is sunshine, and 20 minutes to the ocean, and white walls whitewashed with natural light. 

During Wednesday’s advising meeting, wherein my Graduate Advisor used the words “bleak” and “job market” more times than I’m comfortable with, she encouraged us to consider looking for post-graduation jobs outside of San Diego. We, of course, stared at her in open-mouthed horror, because there was a collective moment of slow remembrance... there is a world outside of this place. 

I haven’t even been here for two weeks, but it feels like I’ve been here forever. I was born here. I’ve never left here. It’s a strange sensation, trying to keep everything in perspective. 

Unexpected side effects of starting a graduate program: 1) An inability to sleep past 6am, though the fact that I’m sleeping on a couch until my mattress arrives next week could also be a contributing factor. 2) The uncontrollable urge to tell everybody I talk to about my graduate program. I know it’s boring. I’m so sorry. Please still love me. 3) A quiet and persistent sense of impending doom. So there’s that. It’s real neat. 

Still, tonight instead of eating dinner on my “kitchen” floor, I ate dinner hunched over my kitchen counter while reading a memoir for my Queer Texts & Contexts class. I don’t know if that can be counted as progress, but it probably would have looked less pathetic if I took a picture. I’m doing fine, I promise. I'm showered, and fed, and making bone broth, and writing so many words, and feeling all the things, and I'm fine. I promise. 

I hope you’re all having mind-bogglingly awesome Friday nights. I’ll just be curled up here on this couch where I live with That Cat, and some tea, and Jeanne Cordova, lesbian activist extraordinaire. Goodnight, kittens.

Xoxo
-b

Friday, September 2, 2016

Time is an Arbitrary Construct We Devised to Organize the Chaos of our Energy Hurtling Through Non-Linear Space (and Other Thoughts I’ve had since Living Alone).

Hello sweet dreamweavers. I know you’ve all been waiting to hear whether or not I still exist. I wish I had a better answer for you, but this is what you get.

A week ago I woke up in the guest bedroom of my Aunt’s house in Hollister, California, which is a real place and not just a store in the mall. I’m still amazed by it, this ability to wake up in one place and fall asleep in another. Something close to magic. Though perhaps a little less profoundly magical when getting to that new place requires driving 12 hours in a silly little clown car with no air conditioner. 100 degree weather, and a finally-unconscious, albeit urine-soaked, cat.

Earlier, barefoot in the morning streets of Portland, compacting my life into manageable chaos. Black coffee, and I’m No Good At Goodbyes, and wait, notyetnotyetnotyet until there was no more time because if she didn’t go then I never would.

The first few hours of driving were a bit shaky, and by "shaky" I mean my actual personal hell. Mostly because I tried to kill the small animal that I’ve heretofore successfully kept alive.

For weeks, my primary concern, the thought that haunted every waking moment and kept me worrying through the night, was making sure Murphy didn’t die of heat stroke while we drove. Also wondering if she would be bitten and killed by a rattlesnake. Or eaten by coyotes. Or recruited to lead a gang of feral cats, which would rampage up and down the streets of our new city leaving disaster and dander in their wake. But that’s neither here nor there.

The solution we came up with was simple: a pressure-activated cooling pad inside her crate. Easy right? Too easy. I didn’t trust it. Unfortunately, I was also too lazy (overwhelmed? Let’s give ourselves the benefit of the doubt here) to come up with any backup plans.

That Cat was understandably upset when I lured her off the neighbor’s porch chair with promises of affection only to scoop her up, shove her into a plastic travel crate, and set off on the longest car ride of her life. She spent the first forty-five minutes bashing her head into the plastic sides of her carrier, and snaking her little paws through the wire door to grasp at the dashboard. When her yowling escalated beyond a bearable level, I pulled over to swap out the cooling pad for a litter box, because maybe it was her bladder making all of that noise. In the parking lot of that gas station: blessed silence. Back on the highway: holy god, the apocalypse is upon us.

An hour later, she was no longer screaming at me because she was too busy heavily panting. Have you ever seen a cat pant? It’s disturbing and unnatural. Unfortunately, we were now on a sweltering mountain pass with no opportunities to stop and replace the litter box with the cooling pad. Another thirty minutes and the chemical cocktail of stress, Gabapentin, and pure rage had left her semi-catatonic. Every time I glanced over she was slumped against the side of the crate, head thrown back, dramatically open-mouthed breathing. I'd tap on the side of the crate, and she'd swivel one eyeball my direction, trying to set my head on fire.


At the next available exit, we pulled into a gas station where an older gentleman told That Cat how beautiful she was while I poured ice into an empty litter box, snugged a plastic bag over it, threw the whole situation into one of my pillow cases, and wrestled it into the crate along with the cooling pad. Another dose of Gabapentin and we were on our way. Was she soaking wet at our next stop? Yes. There may have been holes in the plastic bag that was supposed to protect her from the rapidly melting ice. Did she survive anyways? Yes, and she only had the kitten sniffles for like, two nights max.


What I’m trying to say is eight days ago we woke up in our home, and a week ago we woke up in the geographic region where I was born, and this morning I woke up in this place I’ve lived for five days, which feels like forever and also no time at all. On the phone I say I live here now, I’ve lived here forever. There’s never been anywhere else. I ask her if she’s real, and she says Yes, at least to you. And that has to be enough in this place where I’m able to Be and Not Be so many things.


It’s hard to wrap a mind around. For example, I’m So Old walking through the main plazas of campus, where the Freshman are learning how to exist as human beings. They carefully arrange their bodies and faces, easing into the angles of themselves in new ways, and I have lived in this body so long now. Pushed it to and beyond so many limits. The face arranges itself these days, and I’m grateful that I never have to be 18 again. I’m also So Young in my cohort, where Mike worked construction 20 years, decided to get his MFA after retirement. Where Keenan survived retail hell, and Renee survived homelessness and worse, and I wonder what ages us faster, time or experience? That question is trite, but I’m leaving it here anyways.


I am also Sad but Not Sad. Waking up to the missing coiled tight and heavy in my chest. Waking up to the humming excitement of the unknown and discovery. Tuesday, walking to class and I’m stopped in my tracks by a tree that has grown upupup through the metal scaffolding to crown a Yield sign with a splay of twiggy branches. Somehow this is poetry. These new eyes in this new city, so hotwhite and dirty. The ability to Be or Not Be whatever I want; to grow up through the scaffolding and refuse to yield on the other side.


There’s more. Of course there’s always more. Like how my apartment is a real place, and the disconnect of seeing familiar faces in unfamiliar places, or the careful process of making coffee on a hot plate. But for now, there’s this. And that has to be enough.


I love you, little sweet peas.

-b

Thursday, August 11, 2016

I'm just a Cheeseburger in Paradise...

You guys.


I am currently a grown ass woman living her life out of a fanny pack. The livestream inventory of said fanny pack:
  • One travel toothbrush and one tiny tube of toothpaste, which is actually the only toothpaste in my whole life right now because I've forgotten what a grocery store looks like, and how to utilize it. But the 7-11 near work sells travel kits, and sometimes… Ya know?
  • Several pairs of daily disposal contact lenses just in case I get stranded somewhere for several days with a pair in my eyeballs, while my glasses loaf about uselessly on the other side of the city.
  • One vial of peppermint essential oil beadlets for stomach upset caused both by extravagant living and anxiety.
  • Several crumpled receipts from god knows what.
  • One very melted Old Spice Pure Sport deodorant stick, which is oozing viscously all over my wallet, keys, toothbrush, and peppermint beads. The scent fumes may also be giving everyone a headache while we stand here in line waiting to order our cheeseburgers.
  • Honestly, I don't even know what else. I was going to actually take inventory but I can't bear the thought of easing my fingers into that hot, sticky, fragrant hand trap. Like, have you ever seen the inside of a kangaroo’s pouch? I can guarantee the inside of this fanny pack feels exactly the way that looks. I'm not about that life.

“Why”, you might ask, “are you living out of a fanny pack when you have a perfectly reasonable bedroom situation going on?” “Well”, I might tell you, “because in less than two weeks I'll be unemployed, homeless, and in a brand new city with nothing more than the clothes on my back, Murphy the cat, and whatever else I can artfully cram into my very, very small Carrrl.” Nobody ever accused me of having healthy coping mechanisms. But how about instead of an insightful dialogue re: life, and how big/scary/frantic/amazing it can be… Let's just talk about Burger Week? For those of you existing in a sad, burgerless alternate reality: let me introduce you to Portland. Every year the maniacal geniuses that invented artisanal toast and excuses to overindulge come together to make heaven a place on earth (what up, Belinda Carlisle). This year 35 bars have concocted 35 unique and limited-time burgers to tickle Portland’s tastebuds. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to sample each one. To-date I've been woefully unsuccessful in my burger week endeavors. My previous record was a mere three burgers over the course of an entire week. I blamed this on my work schedule, or my budget, or a pretty strong desire to be able to look at myself in a mirror sans meat sweats. Now that I've let myself go in every imaginable way, there are no holds barred. Sitting at this bar by myself at 7:12 on a Thursday night, I just put away burger number four: the Dirty Bangkok. The venue (Home, A Bar) was kind enough to offer a burger, beer, and bourbon shot deal for a mere $10. Is that an entire hour of desk-jockeying (after taxes)? Yes. Do I GAF? Not right now. Probably I will just a little bit in the morning. But a cheeseburger with crispy bacon and tangy peanut sauce over a Thai-inspired slaw and pickled carrots, you guyssssss. Remember that whole impending unemployed/homeless/living on the government’s dollar situation? Right now I have home, and friends, and an Amazon Rewards Visa card that is so far from maxed it's practically laughable. Will I have to wake up from this dream soon? Absolutely. Please don't remind me. But for now? Pass the ginger aioli and keep the ciders flowing so maybe my fanny pack won’t be the only damp, smelly mess at this bar. I'm here front-loading calories like a smart Survivor contestant, knowing just how small poverty can make me feel. T-minus: less time than any reasonable human requires to prepare for the next phase of their life. All my love, you weirdos.
-b

P.S. This was the first post fully composed on my trusty iPhone, Zynegawf. Hats off to you, tippytapping fingertips.