23 February 2006

You're It!

Embarrassing moment number four:

4) I have weak wrists. I went bowling. When I swung back I’m not sure what happened. Those weak wrists gave out. I dropped the ball, it hit the ground, rolled backward and landing on the toe of my bowling companion. Despite those armored bowling shoes they rent you, it broke his toe. (This was many, many years ago. I haven’t broken anyone’s toe in the last decade at least.)

The final and last embarrassing moment:

5) That same actor/comedian that I’d mentioned earlier had a father who was in a drunk driving accident during the tenure of our relationship. His father was drunk and took a left turn on red and hence forward was a quadriplegic. Again, I was a late something-teen and far from eloquent, articulate or even emotionally seasoned. We were going to visit him for the first time since the accident – I think it was literally within days. I was thrown emotionally akimbo because I’d heard him yelling as we approached. There had been a mouse on his head and there was nothing he could do about it. I don’t know why… the thought of that just threw me off balance further. So we enter the room and there is an awkward silence. I perhaps should have deliberated on what it was I would say to him – but I’ve never before rehearsed a casual greeting. When I entered the room the levity of the situation struck me, I was dumbstruck and wide eyed. He looked at me and I searched my databanks for something to say – anything – anything at all. “How are you?” seemed totally inappropriate. I knew I couldn’t say that.. .I opened my mouth and all that came out was, “so, how’s work?” The man had permanently lost use of everything from the neck down just days previously. Jeeesh.

Okay, so I did it. Those were five embarrassing moments and it’s time for tag:

1) Alison, 2) SandyZ (Fightn4life) and 3) Madrigal.

22 February 2006

Independence Day

I’m still working on those embarrassing moments. I’m on number three of five I suppose.

3) Before I had a good sense of how the internet and search engines worked, before I started this blog, I had another blog. I vented a rant called Independence Day in which I told the story of a failed first love with an aspiring comedian/actor. I mentioned his close friend, who has grown to be a rather successful comedian/actor. I mentioned these folks by their real names (thus it becomes important that I didn’t realize how search engines worked) and some of my remarks were visceral, blunt, personal and disparaging. In context, the piece was about betrayal and intimacy – deception and disease – and about removing the rosy glow of idealized first love to look at something in all it’s nakedness.

The piece was called Independence Day because it was about shuffling off the innocence and letting go the allusion. If you wrap your head around literary allusion it was about this:

we drove the car to the top of the parking ramp / on the 4th of july / we sat out on the hood with a couple of warm beers and watched the fireworks / explode in the sky / and there was an exodus of birds from the trees / but they didn’t know, we were only pretending / and the people all looked up and looked pleased / and the birds flew around like the whole world was ending

It was dramatic, yes.. what the fuck, I’m dramatic in my writing. Anyways… the subject was searching his own name and came across the piece. He was living in LA and tracked down my phone number and called to ream me out for putting such personal information on the internet and what if his future mother-in-law saw that!?! I have to say, I was mortified. I was embarrassed.

While there was nothing, technically, untrue, in what I wrote – in neither the actual events or in how I reflected on things –it also wasn’t the whole picture. But/and if you’d heard the Ani DiFranco song lyrics of the same name that inspired the essay you’d maybe get it.

so many sheep i quit counting / sleepless and embarrassed about the way that i feel / trying to make mole hills out of mountains / building base camp at the bottom of a really big deal / and did i tell you how i stopped eating? / when you stopped calling me / and i was cramped up shitting rivers for weeks / and pretending that i was finally free

Of course on the phone that day I couldn’t explain. All I could do was be embarrassed and mortified and apologize over and over. And within days I’d learned about meta tags that won’t allow for search engines to cache pages and I’d written personal pleas to search engines to remove this page. I was just mortified – I was so embarrassed.

Now, whenever I think of that relationship I don’t remember the good or the bad times, the deception or betrayal, the pain of lost love or innocence. All I remember is the entry in my blog and how sorry I was that he’d seen it. I have to admit that it feels better to just feel sorry than it did to carry around baggage filled with lost valuables.

and i don't think war is noble / and i don't like to think that love is like war / but i got a big hot cherry bomb, and i want to slip it through the mail slot / of your front door

Kaboom. Ouch.

Now the most interesting thing is that while that entry has long since been deleted from the internet, I still have it as a word.doc and to refresh my memory I just went back and read it. While I still regret that I used his real name and am embarrassed that he read it, etc. - man he so totally missed the mark. What an idiot.

21 February 2006


I’ve was tagged again.. this time five most embarrassing things. This task has stirred no small amount of distress. I’m low on the spectrum of someone who does foolish things and/or if I do them I’m simple enough not to be embarrassed by them. I’ve had fun inquiring after the most embarrassing moments of friends and acquaintances – but this has not jogged my mind to produce more of my own.

1) I went to the store and forgot to wear my pants. I was at the grocery store and it suddenly dawned on me that I was only wearing a t-shirt and underwear. (I wasn’t drunk and hadn’t been drinking. I have no excuse. No, I was not wearing a thong.)

I’m certain I’ve had many embarrassing moments – I really just can’t think of them. Denial is powerful. I can’t keep the love on that one going because it’s just too difficult.

Wiley showed up for a surprise visit this past weekend. Back space. On my way to DC on Thursday the tail wind was incredible. We broke the sound barrier over Ohio and arrived an hour early. Fighting nature all the way back, we were an hour late arriving home Friday night. I met Cassie for coffee Saturday morning. Surprise. She was wearing a beautiful hat and I took pictures of her with my new camera. The wall behind her was mustard color – I didn’t even notice until after I downloaded the images. Just a perfect color.

Anyways, M bought me a bitch’n cool lens for the camera – just as an out-of-the-blue gift. He said I can’t have such a cool new camera without having an awesome lens. I was never happier to receive it because his heart seems to be working – the angioplasty has relieved symptoms. Damn, it’s so nice to have something make a difference for a change. And for some reason this allows me to really appreciate and indulge in enjoying the gift and feel even more grateful and happy about it. I love it!

So Cassie and I arrive home after a nice lazy morning with coffee that reminded me of when we first met, in The City, when we’d just sit in cloudy cafes and drink coffee for hours and talk about nothing and everything – you know, back when I smoked cigarettes (sigh). So we arrive home and there, surprise, is Wiley – he’s come for a weekend visit. Surprise. With him he returned two books I’d leant him forever ago – Paula (Isabel Allende) and Shelter (Jane Anne Phillips.)

For the observant among you, you’ll note that Jane Anne Phillips is listed among my favorite authors. I loved her collection of short prose Black Tickets. This, her novel, Shelter is quite another story – I’d call it a delectable mountain in its own right. (Betraying, of course, that cummings truly was another of my favorite authors and this betrays my highbrow ways – I’m not a fly by night fan of cummings recounting memorized poems recited in dubious chick flicks, but the harder stuff – ami, the enormous room, the non-lectures, every last piece of him…) I remember when I read it, cozied up in a window seat of the Morgan House at Irish Beach on the Northern California coast. The Morgan House is on stilts on the bluff – in the window seat there is a view of nothing but ocean forever. I cried just because it was so beautiful – not the view, but Shelter. Though the view was something too.

There is a temple in Mendocino, when I sit on the front stoop I feel a vibration, an energy, a tone of bliss. It’s unmistakable. If you’ve ever been to Mendocino and stopped by this temple, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Irish Beach is about twenty miles south of Mendocino on the Coast. I have so many good memories that were born there. Like reading Shelter the day of the night that I saw Gary Oldham play Mozart in Beloved.

2) I was a late something-teen in Mexico and my sister and I went to a night club in Manzanillo with two Mexican boys we’d met at Las Hadas. I wanted to say that the swimming pool at the resort was beautiful. Instead I said that the goat was beautiful. When I went to say I was embarrassed, instead I told them I was pregnant.

Paula is a beautiful… a beautiful… what.. memoir? She wrote it for her daughter, Paula, who was in a coma. If she came out of the coma, she was sure to have no memories. So as she sat at her daughter’s bedside for months, she wrote her memories, so when she surfaced from that sleep she could relearn herself. This is who you are. This is who I am. This is where you’re from. I don’t remember where I was when I read that.

On Sunday Wiley and I walked the crest trail to Phoenix Lake and wandered slow back, the short loop to Woodlane, passed the stables home. But Saturday night Ed’s friends from work showed up and watched zombie movies until the small hours of the morning. I need more time alone and more time together, all at once. And I like having the books back. He even brought back one I’d never leant him.

05 February 2006

What Was Left Us

We have to begin someplace don’t we? Despite the fuzzy marsh-like edges of our lives we pick these numbers, the only ones we think we’re certain of, and use them to remember a life. They are embraced by born and died. You look at these rocks in endless rows and these are the consistent bits of information – little to nothing is said about all the bits in between.

I really don’t think it matters. You cannot kiss a memory.

The pot needs stirring. The heavy things that sunk to the bottom and lay closest to the flames, softening in the simmer - and the lighter things that float to the top, when we aren’t paying attention evaporate and disappear – they all need mixing up.

I began on the edges of a Midwestern City - Minneapolis. In a black-painted house with short brutal summers and difficult growing seasons. Remarkable efforts were made to grow roses, a vining clematis and delicate blossoming things. Anything to add cheer to the blackness. What winter couldn’t kill, despite heroic efforts – that was what was left us.

03 February 2006

A Little Sugar

I love Valentine’s Day. I don’t feel the pressure that accompanies other holidays. I sent a bouquet of sweetheart roses to mom. When we were kids she made it the best holiday – a special dinner in the dining room on good china. Cherry cheese pie for dessert.

I bought Ed a Treo, which for those less tech among us combines several features in a single hand held device. You can send and receive email from it (it has a tiny keyboard), synchronize it with your work or home calendar and keep your schedule and contacts handy. It’s a cell phone. It’s a digital camera. It’s got a little video recorder. It’s an MP3 (music) player. You can get full internet access – so you can browse the internet, instant message, anything you can do while you’re online. You can take a picture or a video, for example, and immediately email that to someone from the device, no matter where you are. It can act as a wireless port and enable internet connectivity for your lap top. You could be on a boat on the Bay, for example, with your lap top and the Treo would enable internet connectivity and you could ruin a perfectly beautiful leisure day by being able to work. (How lovely.) On some level it sounds dangerous. He loves it.

I, on the other hand, received a fabulous new digital camera. This was a combined present for several holidays and probably makes up for errant gift giving behaviors of the past. It’s a Canon EOS 20D. I am so stoked!!

So yes, of course, these material gestures don’t actually signify love. They don’t mean that we love each other, that our relationship is going well, that we hold one another in a state of mutual regard and respect or that we’re happy. I’m not suggesting that things are going poorly, rather, merely, that these gifts don’t necessarily signify anything to the contrary. But maybe, you know, things aren’t always going perfectly and I won’t notice so much because I’ll be distracted with my frill’n awesome new digital camera.

Happy Valentines Day to you and yours! May the gifts you give and receive be glorious distractions from the imperfections of your lives and loves. If you find yourself in a single state this most perfect of holidays, it makes you no less in need of distraction – just go buy one of your own (you know, if you’re not with the one you love then love with one you’re with – even if you’re alone.. maybe, especially if you’re alone.) We’re all imperfect and we all need a little sugar.

01 February 2006

A Sign...

The bewilder is shrinking. I won’t say to right sized because who knows what that is. I mean, maybe we’re supposed to carry dumbstruck around like a permanent satchel – the wonder of the universe and all that. Sometimes (maybe mostly?) we misapply it.

An exercise in something – how we imbue things with meaning that don’t. How swift the line is between something and nothing. How sadly silly this whole world can be sometimes.

There was a time last week, so lost in my moment, in that reaching to achieve, that I lost something. I reached out and touched the computer screen wondering if there was someone, somewhere, seeking contact too. I don’t mean through this virtual world. My grandmother would understand this, no doubt. She sat there long enough waiting too. Somehow I knew, deeply, the meaninglessness of what I was doing despite how impressed people can sometimes be with these kinds of efforts. This is because I know. This is because I’ve seen the face of hopelessness and there was truth in the murder of crows feet and knitted brow – that blank, abandoned stare on her face. Empty eyes. I wanted to take her face in both of my hands and kiss her passionately while she died.

But I didn’t (and neither did she.)