Wednesday, September 28, 2005
I had a troublesome dream last night. It's not as strange as the floating resort island, but it's still one that's been bothering me today. Perhaps just telling it to someone will lighten the load.
There was a party going on, and I left it. Seemed normal enough - nothing truly imprinted itself on my memory about that situation. I got in my car (the one I currently drive, not some "dream" mobile or anything) and started driving. I drove a road similar to the Pacific Coast Highway, winding, with a coastal view to the driver's side. I waved at a few people, don't know if I knew them or not, and took a right onto a paved road that disappeared into a stand of trees.
I didn't drive far before the road became gravel, then thatched with sticks. Trees thick with their late summer foliage that hadn't quite turned to brilliance yet blocked out the sun, so things were quite dark for the middle of the day. Just before the road changed again, I saw that two cars had pulled over onto a parking pad - a black Mercedes and a lighter colored sedan of some sort. I only know the Mercedes because I recognized it in my dream. The other car, I couldn't tell much about as I drove by them. I remember thinking "Oh, people are trusting - leave their cars here and go for a hike".
I crested a small hill and the road turned to mud, dipped slightly, and then advanced at such a steep pitch, I would have trouble getting my little car up the hill. I put the car in reverse, backed up until I got to that convenient little parking pad, and parked. I left the car there as I pulled out my backpack and a water bottle and kept going up the road.
The more I walked, the steeper the road became. At one point, the face was so steep, I was climbing it like a rock, face inches from its smelly, gooey surface. Not a soul in sight, I kept going. After all, this was so steep and so high, the view had to be amazing, right? I was about to give up when I finally crested one last rise, and was there. I was right - the view was amazing, but it wasn't what I expected.
The sun is nearly completely blocked out at this point, and it's quite dark, but just as I was about to turn around, my hand hits concrete. I pull myself up to a slab that's facing a rock wall. A small piece of that rock wall is gone, replaced by bars...So you can see see out. Or if that wasn't their initial purpose, that was what they ended up being for in my world. Rays of light reached through the bars, cutting their own pattern on the concrete.
I walked closer. It became apparent I was looking out from a mountain. On the other side of the bars were rolling green meadows, sun-drenched and stretching lazily to the tree-lined side of another mountain across the way. A few people were walking around aimlessly, but all I saw were their silhouettes. I sat down and watched for a while, sitting in my shadows, and slowly began to discern to whom these silhouettes belonged. One of them, my friend "Janet" was wearing a long flowing skirt like she'd never wear in real life...she sashayed up to another shadow whom I knew was her boyfriend that I haven't met yet. They kissed, and she walked off.
That's when I noticed the satellite cone (not a dish, but a cone!) jutting out from the right side of the bars. Did someone live here? That's when a co-worker with whom I rarely exchange words beyond the job sat down next to me. "This is stupid," she said. "Just because you get sunburnt doesn't mean you have to sit in the shade. Get sunscreen."
We made small talk for a few minutes, then, skinny thing that she is, she slipped through the bars and walked off, on her own. That's when I woke up.
Strange, eh? Like I said, I've had stranger, like the time I was on trial, or the fake wedding. But this just stuck with me. Go figure....
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Doctors say it can cause cancer.
Turns out that the yummy scent that to so many of us says "accomplishment" and "stability" and "new toy" is comprised of volatile organic compounds....toxic chemicals that seep out of glues and plastics.
But don't worry....I think those little air fresheners are still safe.
Friday, September 23, 2005
Basically, here's the deal: the outer bands of rain have already dropped enough on the city to overflow the levees, and even cause breaches in areas repaired after Katrina. Engineers said that might happen after the storm...but here they've already gotten that much rain, and Rita's not on land yet....
I'm getting older, but I don't feel old, yet at times I feel the age of my soul. Yesterday, for example. I walked out of the bathroom at the bookstore when around the corner came a woman with two young children, probably twins, crying in a double stroller. I turned around and went back, holding the door to the restroom for her. "Thanks, honey," she said. A diminutive term, but as I walked away, I thought, "She's probably younger than I am.."
Then last night, I left work planning to go out to see friends. No one was expecting me...and halfway there, I realized I wasn't feeling social. So I drove past the club, to a bar down the street, and had a beer in the company of my book. Then I drove home.
I don't know why I did that. I don't know why I had that thought about the young mother in the store - it was no judgement on her in any way. In fact, if anything, it was a judgement on myself, for refusing to live the traditional adult life. For doing stupid shit that keeps me both young and old without allowing myself to live the space between the two.
That's something that's been on my mind a lot of late as well. My failed attempts to navigate the waters between a youthful streak in a responsible person, and a modicum of maturity in a young one. Somewhere along the way, I never learned to let go, to have fun, to take life as it comes. Instead, I dread I worry, I read between the lines and deny myself happiness and joy. I feed off the joy of others, but it's been a long time since I've made a decision because it was the best for me. I need to figure out where to start.
I was the one who let you know...
I was your "sorry ever after"...
Give me some more and I'll defy..
Cause you're really only after...
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
But I cannot allow myself to think of Mattel Electronic Football, or the AM/FM stereo/cassette player Walkman, or the 64Kb computer as 25+ year-old relics, for to admit that they are relics, so must I admit am I.
And I just can’t do that.
Proof positive, friends, that we are living in accelerated times.
In my opinion, because after all, that’s all we have, rapid advances in technology are aging us faster than any previous generation. As the world around us, our society, and even the means by which we interact with other human beings all continue to change and evolve at the speed of Microsoft, we as humans flail after something that gives us status, that reaffirms our standing in this speeding continuum we call time on steroids.
We reach out to one another to validate our existence through cultural touchstones and mutual experiences, just as our parents did, and their parents before them. But these days, those milestones are merely feet apart. Whereas our parents can mark time by who was the first on their block to get a TV, and it was YEARS before it was traded in for a color set….our generation marks the passage of time in Atari, Nintendo, Playstation, and X Box.
As each division marks smaller passages of time, we become more exclusive and exclusionary as a society. These days, we reach backwards for those moments of validation, and when someone can not share that with us, we’re quick to draw a line between us. Again, to go back to 1981, I’ll never forget the first time I met someone who didn’t remember the assassination attempt on President Reagan. It made me feel old, yet at the time I was in my mid-20s, she was 19. The older we get, those years will make little difference, but in an attempt to establish ourselves as citizens in good standing, deserving of our opinions based upon our time on this earth, we begin to separate ourselves. Eventually we end up in rather homogenous company, wondering why we feel so old, never acknowledging that we did it to ourselves all as part of an attempt to stay young by keeping up with the rapid advances of technology and therefore of life.
So, 25 year old technology may be a relic – in tech terms only. In human terms, if you ask me, it’s a cherished piece of the RECENT past.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Among the best acceptances was a flustered S. EpathaMerkerson's, winning for best actress in a movie. She confessed that her prepared remarks had been lost in her decolletage, where she had placed them for safekeeping.
"It's down there!'' she insisted, peering into her cleavage.
As spoken tonight at the Emmys....and look at her now!
``Desperate Housewives'' Emmy winner Felicity Huffman.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
I know a couple who seem to have a wonderful connection with one another. However, there is one thing in the relationship he's just not happy with, to the point that they have discussed the possibility of an open relationship.
So what do you think - if she accepts this arrangement, is she being accomodating to his needs, or is it an act of desperation to try to make this man fit into her life?
I'm curious what you all think, if anyone even reads this, cause I didn't know what to tell her.
Friday, September 16, 2005
Why do you do this? Do you KNOW you're doing this? This one-two blow of assurance followed by what I can only describe as sabotage?
You wonder why I trust no one, and you turn around and execute the same actions you've said you wouldn't do. Case in point - you know I have trust issues, so you ask if I trust you. I turn over a small yet oh so important piece of my freedom and let you drive. We're not 2 miles from my house and what do you do? You trigger the flight reflex, starting a conversation that kills the joy of the evening before it's even begun. If you wouldn't have considered it "drama" I was about to give you the money for my drink and walk home to get my car.
And this wasn't the first time. Why does this happen? I find someone who says I can trust them, who says they won't act like everyone else has. You drove right by the "Last Exit to Rockville" sign, only to try to make your own a few miles later where there is no road. Not once, but twice. You know what this does to me, right? It makes me less likely to open up, more likely to resist your next attempts, to doubt you when you say you wouldn't do something.
This is why I tried to show you the door, and kept pushing. Now I believe you, but you want to leave? You have my trust. Do with it what you will.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
So to make up for my lack of words, I want to leave you with some words of wisdom. The first, from composer John Cage:
“I have nothing to say and I am saying it, and that is poetry”
(Then again, this is also the man who composed a piece called “4:33” – three movements without a single note played.)
The second…from Fiona Apple:
“You fondled my trigger then you blame my gun”
Yeah, my mind's all over the place these days....back to trying to sort it all out. As you were.
Friday, September 09, 2005
It's times like this that I'm glad I haven't identified myself on here at all. Because these are the times I want to be brutally honest, but can't to anyone I know for fear of offending.
Tonight, I went out with friends, only to discover one of our acquaintances had gotten engaged last week. Before I go on, I can't say emphatically enough how happy I am for her. I've only met her fiance once, but from his first impression and from hearing her talk I know they'll be a wonderful match! And it's thrilling to hear the proposal stories, and know that yes, there are still a few romantics out there!
However, as the night wore on, I couldn't help but feel that nagging at the back of my mind. The voice saying you blew your turn years ago...that it's just not going to happen for you. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I do have a knack for falling for the men who want me right now, but can't make a forever out of it. They aren't bad people, and they aren't bad to me, they just aren't what I'm looking for, but by the time we figure all that out (for one reason or another), I'm in love and they're saying goodbye.
I'm no spring chicken, but I'm too young to be this jaded and bitter at myself. Or am I? Is there an age where you just say, "Fuck it" and give in to the fact that you're more than old enough to be old and jaded and bitchy about everything this world offers at you? Or am I merely an old soul who has seen too much, trying to find her way to clutch to some form of naivete?
What it all boils down to is this - it's a hard year. 5 engagements (and counting - I know another one is coming soon), at least 5 weddings I can think of...and as I offer all these people my heartfelt best wishes and support, part of me dreads another happy face, another wedding to attend, another reception full of people wanting to know what your plans are.
Because have you noticed that people feel like they can say whatever they want at weddings? Complete strangers are expected to make polite small talk, but it evolves into intimate details and probing questions about your status and future and plans. People you DO know take the chance to make comments they've thought twice about saying in any other setting...when are YOU getting married? Don't you want kids? Well you better hurry up!
I love my friends, and I wish them all the happiness in the world and beyond. But I don't like this bitter person I feel myself becoming at the mention of someone's nuptials. The big day always goes well...it's the dread leading up to it that kills me these days. Hopefully it's something I can change before another person truly close to me has such happy news, because I don't want to feel anything but pride and joy for them should that big day be theirs.
Monday, September 05, 2005
Sitting here at work on this Labor Day (how fitting, eh?), I found a letter Anne Rice wrote to the New York Times in Katrina's aftermath. Here's the link to the whole editorial, written as only a life-long resident can: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/04/opinion/04rice.html
However, here's the point that drives it all home...
"But to my country I want to say this: During this crisis you failed us. You looked down on us; you dismissed our victims; you dismissed us. You want our Jazz Fest, you want our Mardi Gras, you want our cooking and our music. Then when you saw us in real trouble, when you saw a tiny minority preying on the weak among us, you called us "
Well, we are a lot more than all that. And though we may seem the most exotic, the most atmospheric and, at times, the most downtrodden part of this land, we are still part of it. We are Americans. We are you."
Friday, September 02, 2005
Our prayers are with ya, New Orleans...
Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans
And miss her each night and day
I know I'm not wrong because the feeling's
Getting stronger the longer I stay away
Miss the moss-covered vines, tall sugar pines
Where mockingbirds used to sing
I'd love to see that old lazy Mississippi
Running in the spring
Moonlight on the bayous
Creole tunes fill the air
I dream about magnolias in June
And I'm wishin I was there
Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans
When that's where you left your heart
And there's one thing more,
I miss the one I care for
More than I miss New Orleans
Thursday, September 01, 2005
In a city known for its voodoo Catholics, anything can happen, so is this really so far-fetched? True or not, we're all praying for some more divine intervention for the entire Gulf Coast.
In the garden behind St. Louis Cathedral on Royal Street lies an incredible tangle of zig-zagging broken tree trunks and branches, mixed with smashed wrought iron fences.But right in the middle, a statue of Jesus is still standing, unscathed by the storm, save for the left thumb and
index finger, which are missing.The missing digits immediately set off speculation of divine intervention.New Orleans has a long history praying to saints for guidance and protection in times of great peril. In fact it was Our Lady of Prompt Succor who was said to be responsible for saving the Ursulines Convent in the French Quarter from a raging fire that consumed the rest of the city
centuries ago.Since then, New Orleanians have prayed to the saint for protection
from natural disasters. On Saturday, Archbishop Alfred Hughes read a prayer over
the radio asking for Our Lady's intervention to spare the city a direct hit by
Hurricane Katrina.Many in the Quarter are now saying it was the hand of Jesus, the missing digits to be precise, that flicked the hurricane east just a little to keep the city from suffering a direct blow.
As more and more images come out of the area, it gets more and more unbelievable. This is the American tsunami. This is the Andrew of the aughts (or however you choose to refer to the '00 decade)
Yesterday, I was selfish. I watched the CNN and Fox News Channel coverage, looking for aerials of places I had been and neighborhoods I knew. Yes, I shed a wistful tear for the cityt I once knew and that will live on in so many people's memories. The good, the bad, and the ugly. The time a street punk ripped us off with a shoe shine. The time we got blasted at the Funky Pirate and listened to blues in clubs up and down Bourbon Street for the rest of Happy hour. My never ending quest to find a drink I liked and a place to drink it in. My orders of cafe and beignets, trolley rides on St. Charles and daily strolls through the Garden district, the warehouse district, the arts district, and the CBD.
Today, I spent the day watching local news coverage from WWL and WDSU. Both stations are streaming their coverage over the internet for people who were fortunate enough to get out and for the rest of us who, voyeurs that we are, must watch.
At one point this afternoon, a photographer was on set at WWL talking to the anchors about going out among the people who are left in town and how each one had a story to tell. So he turned his camera on and one at a time let them have their say. I can't tell you how many of them brought me to tears. Most gave their name, their neighborhood, and a vivid account of how they survived the flood, then where they were headed or a message for a specific friend or family member in case they saw the tape. It was the hope that they or a loved one could find this needle in a drenched haystack that kept them going.
I can't tell you how much those stories made me cry. Each one more heart wrenching than the one before, not necessarily by design but by sheer volume. People who sought refuge in the Superdome, now being moved to another state without so much as a chance to see if their homes are still standing. Helicopters plucking people off rooftops who survived on water and M&Ms.
I've survived my share of storms, for someone who has never lived in Florida, and their wrath has been devestating. Katrina, m'dear, you take the cake. Your name will be retired, to hang in the rafters with Ivan and Frances, Andrew, Hugo and Camille. The dubious distinction of setting a nation back on its collective heels and making us reconsider how lucky we are and what we can do to help those who were not. Now if only it didn't take a disaster, natural or otherwise, to draw us together like this.