Archive for July, 2009

Change

Friday, July 31st, 2009

To say that I am very excited about this weekend is a massive understatement.

Also, Rona left for Greece today.  I was supposed to go with her, but that changed when I quit my job.  I think it was she and I who were talking recently about people we went to high school with, now on Facebook and married with children.  A less than desirable situation for me, but those people seem comfortable.   “Maybe we’re not ready to be comfortable,” she said.

I agree with that statement on the grounds that it is impossible for me to be comfortable as long as the mechanics in my head remain a complete fucking mess (for lack of better words).  However, and although my feelings on the matter could change, I don’t think being married with children will ever be my idea of contentment.

In any case, those who know me well know that I have little patience with children.  (I also have a hard time tolerating pets.)  Months ago RLD and I went to the Mütter Museum in Philly.  They have an amazing collection of deformed fetuses.  Additionally, the museum boasts a large collection of skulls, cataloged drawers containing 2,000 objects extracted from people’s throats, and a set of sliced sections of the human head.  I was most impressed with the fetuses.  Afterward, we went out to eat.  There was a child at the table behind us making various irritating noises that children often make.  “I like them better when they’re in jars,” I commented.  RLD shushed me.  And he laughed.

Aside from that, I saw another dead bird last night at Prospect Park.  Change.  The other day I was talking with one of my favorite people to converse with, Ian (a.k.a. Ferdinand Bardamu).  He is also the character “Boy” in December 3rd, 2008 at 1:49 p.m.. I asked him what he thinks the most normal thing that people do is.  He said change.

My priorities are changing.  Maybe that’s what this bird died for.

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Prospect Park bird (above)

The Half-bed

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

There’s that other half of the bed.

For a period of time, more often than not, someone slept in it.  Now it serves as storage.  It’s a place to stack the extra pillows.  There is mail from two weeks ago hiding under a pile of clothes on top of linens that are perfectly in place.  And beneath it all the sheets are cold and sterile, devoid of his frame.

Maybe that’s what’s troubling me – the other half of the bed.  It mocks me and the half  I sleep on.  It’s relentless, that half-bed.

I thought I’d mention that Jayme and I canceled our cable.  NatGeo, you will be sorely missed.  Also, my exit interview at work has been scheduled for 10 a.m. on Friday, August 21st.

Uh oh.

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Today I found out that my mom didn’t tell my dad that I resigned from my job.  Seeing as how my father and I rarely speak, I have not told him either.  From what I gathered, their conversation on the matter went something like this:

“Ashleigh wants to quit her job and go back to school full-time,” says Mom.

Dad ponders for a moment while attempting to come up with the worst idea in the world.  Success!  “If she wants to do that, she should move to Virginia, live with us, and finish school here.”

Mom, driven by concern for her daughter and personal desire to avoid conflict with Dad, responds with “I agree.”

After discussing it, my mother and I have decided that he doesn’t need to know… not yet, anyway.

Incidentally, Sean asked me the other day what my relationship with my father was like growing up.  (It stemmed from a conversation we were having about our attraction to men who are emotionally unavailable.)

Growing up, my father was never around much.  He worked twelve hour days, six days a week.  He provided for our family.  We had a huge house, a swimming pool, an allowance, and televisions in every bedroom, along with other luxuries.  As a teenage girl, I didn’t value these things.  As I got older, I began to understand how hard my father worked to allow my family these comforts.

One recent Thanksgiving when my father was particularly intoxicated off of Crown Royal (on ice with just a splash of water), he looked at me and said, “I was a bad father.”

“Are you kidding?” I asked him.  “Why would you say that?”

“Because I was never there,” he answered.

I told him that he was wrong and that he was an amazing father.  I assured him that even though I was your typical ungrateful, rebellious teenage girl, I understand that I led a privileged life growing up.  I also said that I know it is because of how hard he worked, and I never take it for granted.

My father is an amazing man, and any of my friends who have met him will attest to that.  The lack of communication between he and I is not a product of hostility or resentment.  It is just how we have built our relationship.

Sometimes I fear life passing by without us knowing each other as well as we could.

What’s another thing my father told me that Thanksgiving?  “Don’t talk to boys.  All they want is sex.”

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Father (above)

Father & Daughter, 2008 (below)

as dad smaller

I can write letters, too.

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

One of my biggest fears is commitment.

Besides recently, the last time I thought I might be able to tolerate someone enough to be in a relationship with them was the summer of 2007.

I met him at the bar by my house. I liked him and he liked me. It was easy.

One time when I was at his apartment, I noticed a shoebox by his bed full of letters. I didn’t read them, but I did notice that the return address was from a girl in his hometown. This was a bit curious to me. With all of the technology we have today, someone is still handwriting letters to him? And I assumed that he responded in the same manner. There was a young girl I had seen on his MySpace page while posting a comment. I thought maybe that was his pen-pal, a little cousin or something.

So the days went by and we existed quite happily. Then the time came for his band to go on tour. They were going to be gone for a week and a half, and they were going to pass through their hometown. The time apart could be good, I considered.

The band played a show to kick off the tour a few nights before they left. I met a lot of his friends. He came up to me at one point and said, “My friend asked me if you were my girlfriend.”

“Aw. We don’t have to talk about that now, right before you go on tour,” I told him. And so we didn’t, which was fine. Everything remained as it was – wonderful.

The plan was for him to get back from tour, and the next day leave with me to go visit my family. While he was gone, I received scattered text messages and phone calls assuring me that the shows were successful and that I was missed.

On the evening of their return, I was at the bar when he called and said that he was too tired to come and see me, and he was too exhausted to go visit my family the next day. The disappointment was consuming, but I told him that I understood and that I would see him when I returned three days later.

The day I got back, we decided to reunite at the party of a mutual friend. When I got there, he seemed strange. I figured that it was all in my head, that it was because we hadn’t seen each other in two weeks, and that once we were alone together everything would fall back into place.

We drank. He drank a lot. We went to a rooftop. He put his arms around me. He fell down the stairs. We went back to my apartment and he got sick. He sat on my sofa and I gave him the gift I got for him when I was away. We got into bed and turned out the lights.

That’s when he said, “I have to tell you something.”

Now? I thought. “Okay,” I said.

“When I was home,” he started, “one of my friends and I realized we were in love with each other.”

I remember going numb. I remember telling him that I was happy for him, happy he found someone to love. I remember him saying he was sorry. I remember telling him he should leave.

The girl ended up being the girl who wrote the letters. She was also the girl from his MySpace page. She was 19-years old. She came to visit him a few weeks later, and he took her on the same double date with his brother and his brother’s girlfriend that he had taken me on.

He moved back home to be with her by the end of 2007.

When I told him how I felt, my honesty was answered by him saying he didn’t know what he wanted. And silence. He assured me that he cared.

We don’t talk anymore.

litebrite

Supporting Your Friends

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Mitchell is going to eat one million peanuts in 24 hours.

We decided to research the logistics of this operation.

To eat one million peanuts in 24 hours, Mitchell will have to consume approximately 41,667 peanuts an hour. That’s about 695 nuts per minute, or 12 nuts per second. After discussing this, we concluded that the best method would be to take in more than 12 at a time, not necessarily 12 per second.

For $4.98, we can purchase a 2 lb. 3 oz. container of Planters peanuts. (Mitchell is partial to Planters.) With a serving size of 35 nuts, the container holds approximately 35 servings. That means there is something in the ballpark of 1,225 peanuts in this vessel. By dividing the one million peanuts needed by the 1,225 peanuts that are available for purchase at the cost of $4.98, it was determined that $4,063.68 would be needed to reach this goal.

Even collectively, Mitchell and I do not have $4,063.68 to invest into this amazing feat.

We discussed the possibility of grants, or of Planters maybe funding the effort. In the event that Planters would donate one million peanuts (whole pieces, not the halves), Mitchell would agree to consume them publicly. If we qualified for grants, the event would take place at his home.

Obviously, none of this is going to happen. Mitchell is not going to be able to eat one million peanuts in 24 hours, and he will probably never even make the attempt.

In any case, I support him. I try and support all of my friends in everything they do as long as it is not harmful to themselves or others. (If you think that eating one million peanuts in 24 hours is harmful to the person devouring them, then you haven’t seen Mitchell eat like I have. I have witnessed him consume pounds and pounds of BBQ, and immediately go out dancing afterwards. I have seen him eat sugar cookies as though they were potato chips before Thanksgiving dinner. In a fight against food, Mitchell will always prevail… except for Pierre Maspero’s Fried Seafood Platter in New Orleans. That is a dish that no man can conquer alone, not even Mitchell.)

There are a lot of things we say we are going to do – bands we are going to start, places we are going to go, artistic endeavors we are going to undertake. A lot of these plans end up on the shelf, which is fine as long as everyone is happy.

Considering my resignation from work and my perpetual post-non-relationship relationship confusion, I have decided to take some of these things off of the shelf. One is obviously my writing, for which I have started this ridiculously cathartic blog. And because I am taking a harmony class, I am confident that my keyboard will be seeing more attention in the months ahead. Also, I bought an easel, some paints, paintbrushes, and a canvas.

“I’m going to be an artist,” I told Mitchell.

“I know. And I’m going to eat a million peanuts,” he said.

It’s nice when you have the support of your friends.

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Mitchell and Pierre Maspero’s Fried Seafood Platter in New Orleans (above)

Mitchell and the 2 lb. 3 oz. container of Planters Peanuts (below)

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For Kyle

Friday, July 24th, 2009

I was at the bar by my house the other night, and I met a boy named Matt.  We were having a lovely conversation, and then…

“I have to leave.  I’m going to my friend Mike’s house for dinner,” I said.

“Why don’t you ditch your friend Mike and come to my apartment and make out with me?” Matt suggested.

“Does that really work on girls?  I just met you an hour ago.  I don’t make out with boys that I just met an hour ago,” I replied.

He looked shocked.  “Really?  You’re a prude.  I’ve given head to people I just met an hour ago.”

“Oh, well that’s really nice of you.  I don’t consider myself a prude.  But I’m still not going home with you,” I told him.

“You’re so cute,” he said.

“Thanks.”

Possibilities

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

My job was posted on the interoffice job board today.  It says “college degree required.”  Amazing.  I can’t even apply for my own job.

Also, I had a talk with Des this morning:

“Doesn’t he read that blog?” Des asked.

“I don’t care,” I replied.  (I’m casting my care away, remember?)

“Just wondering,” Des said.

I didn’t mean to sound so indifferent. I continued.  “I’m trying not to hesitate writing whatever the hell I feel like writing.  He read it once.  I doubt that he keeps up with it.  But I suppose it’s a possibility.”

Des laughed.

I couldn’t help but wonder why she asked the question in the first place.  “Do you think it is bad that I am saying these things with the possibility that he might see them?  I refuse to censor myself.  Are you getting at something?”

“No, I don’t think you should be censoring.  I guess I was just wondering how you felt about the possibility that he might be reading,” Des answered.

I hesitated.  It would be a lie to say that the possibility hadn’t crossed my mind.  Then again, my mind is a junk drawer full of possibilities.  “The possibility – and I would be shocked and flattered in a weird way – that he reads it makes me want to not see him more,” I said.  “That may not make sense.  But.  Maybe because I am… because I write about him.  And that’s gay.  So he knows I’m gay.  And not all calm and cool and whatevs about it.  So it’s good.  Because I should run away.”

“You are so emotionally retarded that it hurts me,” Des said with a smile.

“I love you.”

“I love you too, you silly betch.”

A Science Project

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

I have been trying to figure out if that feeling in my chest is me missing him, or just me needing a cigarette. I have decided, as any logical person would, to use the scientific method in hopes of reaching a conclusion.

Step 1: Ask a Question

This step is easy. Is that feeling in my chest caused by me missing him or me needing a cigarette?

Step 2: Do Background Research

I read on ScienceBuddies.org that this step is necessary in order to “find the best way to do things and insure that you don’t repeat mistakes from the past.” Through my (brief) research, I found that when a person craves a cigarette, he/she experiences a tight feeling in his/her chest. I also read that when a person misses someone, that person feels it in his/her chest. Needless to say, this experiment is very significant for all of the heartbroken smokers of the world. Please note that I am not even going to touch the “insure that you don’t repeat mistakes from the past” portion of this step for a variety of reasons. These reasons include, but are not limited to: repeating mistakes from the past is a special skill of mine, sometimes mistakes from the past provide a momentary bit of pleasure, and I am fairly confident that no one has attempted this experiment, therefore no mistakes exist. They are all mine to make, shiny and new.

Step 3: Construct a Hypothesis

ScienceBuddies.org also tells me that a hypothesis should be an educated guess about how things work. For example: If I do this, then this will happen. After some careful consideration, I have decided that this experiment will need to have two hypotheses: (1) If I smoke a cigarette, this feeling in my chest will stop. (2) If I am with him, this feeling in my chest will stop. The independent variable in experiment (1) is the cigarette, and in experiment (2) it’s the presence of him. The dependent variable in both is the feeling in my chest. I suppose the controlled variable would be… me.

Step 4: Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment

It is clearly stated on ScienceBuddies.org that you should repeat your experiments several times to make sure that the first results weren’t just an accident. Excuse me while I smoke.

Now, I am ready to test the second hypothesis. For reasons beyond my control, like my lack of power over another human being, I cannot make him be here. I did remove him from my life. (Or did I run away? In any case, the end result was the same.) When he was in my life, I do not recall having this constant feeling in my chest. I have seen him twice since I decided to not see him. I am hesitant to consider these encounters parts of the experiment since (a) I was highly intoxicated both times, and (b) although I saw him (in chronological order: one time resulted in a brief hug and one time resulted in me literally running away), these moments cannot be studied as if they are spending time with someone, which would be needed to cease the feeling of missing someone. More so, these moments are like looking at photographs of someone you miss. In hindsight, I know that they just intensified the feeling in my chest during and immediately following the periods of time that they occurred.

Furthermore, I must recognize the possibility that what I am identifying as “missing someone” may be better defined as me experiencing the lack of something, like an emotion or feeling, not a specific person. It’s as if I got used to the presence of something in my mind, and now my mind is realizing that it’s not there. So I suppose the lack of the feeling of being with him, not exactly him as a physical entity (a body by my side and a mind to commune with), could also be the source of the feeling in my chest. If this is the case, then I am at a loss on how to conduct an experiment in which my feelings are the independent variable. I would like to claim complete control over my feelings, but if that were the case I would simply choose to stop the sadness that I feel. This entire “lack of something” idea also bothers me because I feel that it belittles the connection I had with him and demeans how wonderful I think he is.

Step 5: Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion

This is where I declare my hypotheses as true or false.

In the first experiment, smoking a cigarette, although delicious and momentarily comforting, did not make the feeling in my chest go away. However it did seem to change the feeling and slightly lessen it for a while. It may be important to mention that since I have stopped seeing him, my cigarette habit has increased dramatically. The recent surge in the number of cigarettes I smoke a day may have some influence over this feeling in my chest. But because I am nearing the end of this science project, I will choose to ignore said detail and deem hypothesis (1) inconclusive.

Until I obtain the ability to travel through time, hypothesis (2) remains untestable.

Step 6: Report Your Results

See above.

December 3rd, 2008 at 1:49 p.m.

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

“Good morning,” said Boy.

“Is it?  I suppose it is… ish,” Girl replied.

“Not really.  But I just woke up ten minutes ago and I thought it was morning, and the hangover confirms it.  So how’s existence?” Boy asked.

Girl hesitated.  “Eh, it’s okay-ish for now.  You ever have bad feelings about things?  And if so, are they usually right?”

“Are you kidding?” he said.  “I have bad feelings about nearly everything, so it’s hard to tell.  I’ve got a strange mix of both good and bad most of the time.  Normally they cancel each other out and things are just grey and neutral.  But not always.”

“So it doesn’t really matter much, the bad feelings.  Maybe it just means that we’re pessimistic,” Girl observed.

“Yeah,” boy responded, “for the most part it passes.  Well, not the pessimism.”

“Well, it passes when you are proven right or wrong.  Probably.  Right?” Girl asked.

“Depends on how much you repress your feelings about certain things,” he said.  “It should pass.  Life moves on.  But mentally, it does not always pass so easily.”

Girl was frustrated with herself.  “I just want to be a happy, trusting, tra-la-la person.  Why can’t I be one?  I want to be one.”

“Me too.”

“So I should just be one.”

“Yup.”

“But I can’t.”

“Nope.”

“It’s like a brain malfunction,” she said, “making me into a crazy person.”

“Yeah, it’s troublesome,” Boy replied.  “I’m really not sure how I make it through the day.”

“Holding it inside and not letting people see it, I guess,” suggested Girl.

“Makes it worse.  But yes, I do,” said Boy.  “That’s the problem with general craziness and insanity in this society.  You have to repress certain emotions and feelings, or else you probably won’t remain where you are standing for too terribly long, and you’ll end up in a bin somewhere.  Even minor things.  Comments amongst co-workers, friends, and family that seem radical, dangerous, or immoral.”

“We should be allowed to be crazy,” decided Girl.

“Yes.”

“Because most people probably are, but you can’t see it.”

“Indeed.”

“I’m just so average,” Girl said as if it were the worst thing one could ever be.  “I should start being insane.”

“Of course.”

“People are douchebags for the most part,” she asserted.

“I agree,” said Boy.

She went on.  “But then friends try and be nice and say ‘No everything is okay, people are not douchebags.’  But you find out they are.”

“Yup.”

“And then friends say ‘Oh I’m so sorry.’”

“Oops, my mistake!” Boy responded, thick with sarcasm.  “Fuck that.  People are generally worthless unless they prove otherwise, which rarely happens.  Remember, humans are alive to consume and propagate, that’s it.  They aren’t so good at anything else, except for rare examples.  Some aren’t even good at that.”

“Why don’t people just say ‘Yeah, that person’s probably going to stomp on your heart and soul if they get the chance, if it benefits them, if they generally feel like it’?  And I could say ‘Yes, I agree,’” she proposed.

“Maybe you just aren’t asking the right people,” he suggested,  “or listening to the right people.  Me, for example.”  He laughed.

“So true, instead of lady friends who think things are one day going to be happily ever after.”  She sighed.  “I’m not in a goddamn romantic comedy.”

“Ask me more often about those romantic decisions.  Things don’t end in a pile of roses in my mind.  It ends in the sheer nothingness of death… and it’ll be a goddamn circus,” Boy said.

“Does history often repeat itself?  And are there self-fulfilling prophecies?” she wondered aloud.

“History does have a tendency to repeat itself, as far as most are concerned.  And prophecies are silly,” he alleged.

“Agreed and agreed.  Unfortunately for the first part.  I’m tired of being disappointed by people.  But maybe setting myself up for this disappointment is a form of protecting myself,” said Girl.

“Yeah,” he replied.  “Defense mechanism.  I always do it, which leads me to spending a lot of time alone.”

“How can we enjoy things if we have this wall up?” Girl asked Boy.

“Well, you can’t really.  You aren’t experiencing because you are shielding yourself from a true experience.  But, sometimes it is keeping you from what isn’t worth experiencing.  You just have to know when to let it down.  And fuck, I definitely have no idea when that is,” he admitted.

She felt like she couldn’t change.  “I haven’t figured it out yet either.  It’s like the more I enjoy someone, the more defense I put up because I know it will hurt more.”

“Indeed.  I think I was created to be alone forever,” he declared.  “I mean, I suppose I’m okay with that, but it is difficult to come to terms with.  I was born alone and shall die the same way.”

“I feel like I am better at being alone,” Girl related.  “Sometimes I want to run away from relationships because I am convinced that I am supposed to be alone and it’ll just end anyway.  All things end.”

“Everything does,” he agreed.  “So is there a point to it all?  Maybe, but it requires you to make that point.  It isn’t just there somewhere waiting for you.  Existence is meaningless until you instill it with meaning that matters, but finding that meat of life that is worth holding onto is an arduous adventure.”

“And not everyone finds it, right?  So…”  She trailed off.  “It’s not dependent on anything except the individual,” she continued.  “No one can help you.  You just need to figure it out.  Or not.  Either way, the end result is the same.”

“Pretty much,” Boy said apathetically.  “People can give advice in a general objective sense, but it mostly comes down to you as an individual.  We are all unique creatures that cannot be satisfied in exactly the same way.  And we all end at some point.  What each of us has most in common is what we can hardly share – that we begun existing, and that we end at some point along the way.”

“What is existence anyway?” Girl asked.  “Let’s look it up.”

“According to Webster,” answered Boy, “existence is the state of existing or being; continuance in being; as, the existence of body and of soul in union; the separate existence of the soul; immortal existence.”

“‘As, the existence of body and of soul in union; the separate existence of the soul; immortal existence,’” Girl repeated.

“Cute, huh?” Boy remarked.

“Well, good thing they said the separate existence of a soul.” Girl produced a halfhearted laugh.  “They were trying to comfort us.”

Boy looked off into the distance.  “There is no such thing as a soul,” he said, “You have you, and that is that.  There’s a body, and it happens to be conscious in many ways because it has a brain that is capable of observing and remembering what it observes.”

“But darling, I thought the soul was a magical cloud that floated around us,” Girl cynically said.  “And after we die, it keeps floating.”

“Yeah, it’s pink with purple polka dots.”  He looked back at her.  “You got any plans later?”

“Well, at some point tonight I think I have plans to be disappointed.  But I wouldn’t be surprised if those plans got canceled, therefore disappointing my disappointment.  But those plans are ‘later tonight,’” she said.

“Why would you be disappointed?” he asked.

“It’s a story,” she replied.  “A lame I-am-an-idiot-human story.”

“Then let’s get a drink early, right after work.  You can tell me the story,” he suggested.

“Great,” she agreed.  “God oh god, fast forward time.”

“I’m pressing the button, but I think the VCR is broken,” Boy said.

“Use the remote.”

“Batteries are dead.”

“Ah, typical.”

“Honey, we are fucked.”

“Then nothing has changed.”

Child Porn Theory

Monday, July 20th, 2009

I’m kind of obsessed with the show Snapped.

My favorite episode is about a woman named Larissa Schuster.  Larissa worked in a lab as a Bio-chemist.  She was going through a divorce from her husband Tim Schuster.  With the help of her lab assistant, James Fagone, she kidnapped her husband.  She used chloroform and a stun gun to paralyze him.  While he was still breathing, she put his body into a 55-gallon barrel, filled it with hydrochloric acid, and sealed it shut.  She put the barrel containing her husband’s body into a storage unit, and then she went on vacation and waited for him to dissolve.

While she was on vacation, investigators discovered the storage unit.  Upon entering, the officer sent to search it said he smelled a strong odor.  The drum was taken by the police and opened.  Inside they found the half dissolved remains of Tim Schuster, intact only from the waist down.  There were no teeth to use in identifying the body, and no fingers for taking prints.  Of the 103 pounds that remained of Tim Schuster’s body, the only organs were his liver and kidneys.  The body was identified using DNA.

After a five year trial, Larissa Schuster was sentenced to life in prison.  Her own daughter said she felt safer with her mother behind bars.

I would imagine that Tim Schuster never thought that Larissa would do something so horrific.  He married her, knew her for years and years, had children with her, shared a life with her.  And then she not only murdered him in the most gruesome of ways, but went on vacation while she waited for his body to dissolve.

It all goes back to my Child Porn Theory.  You think you know somebody.  You trust them, you rely on them.  You know them for years and years.  And then you find a box of child porn in their basement.

Or maybe I just have trust issues.