Friday, January 30, 2004

Things that I will eat cold that were originally hot:

Fried Chicken
Hamburger Patties
French Fries, if they were very salty first
Most soups
Baked goods

Things I will not eat cold:

Anything that keeps the shape of its container when you dump it in a bowl
Anything that congeals or gets jiggly.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

I am no good with telephones.
And I don't mean this in the normal, every day, I'm no good with personal interaction sort of way, but instead in the way that means I dislike the distance that telephones create. I claim to call people just to say hello, to check up on how they're doing, but really I'm waiting for them to spontaneously tell me that they'll be over in a few minutes so that we can sit quietly in the same room together.
Let's not get me wrong; I do so love living alone. I do not miss having roommates in the roommates sense. All of this space is just for me, and that's how it should be.

It used to be that on the rare occasion that I was alone and I wanted people around, I could dial any number of friends and they would come over and be in the same space as me. I never felt guilty for doing such a thing; they were my friends and that's what they were there for. I'd do the same for anyone else. But there isn't that anymore, and I'm at a loss for what to do in the moments where I'd like to be able to stop moving about the house doing whatever I'm doing for a moment and look at someone who will smile at me. The problem with roommates is that, clichely, you can't live with them but you can't live without them, but the problem with everyone else is that they're not roommates.

And so instead I telephone, insisting on stunted, go nowhere conversation with people who would probably be much happier going about things without me on the other end. This is a completely worthless endeavor because I don't want to talk about the weather, I want to make them come sit on my couch and read a book so that I can look at them. Maybe this is why I really need a dog: so that I can get off the phone with my friends.
I have no hand-eye coordination. I know that people say that and don't mean it but in my case, it's true.
This was never as evident as it was when I would try and play those games at bowling alleys and arcades where you're supposed to win stuff.

Generally, I was able to avoid situations where I would have to be coordinated. I didn't play video games, after all, and I certainly didn't play sports. But when there are quarters involved, well, I'm a sucker.

But I never did win anything.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

I was that girl that swung past you in the woods, brown-headed and in sneakers.
This morning, at 3:31 exactly, I woke up. Except there weren't any transitions; there was no sense of waking up. One moment I was asleep and the next I was more awake than anyone has a right to be at 3:31 am. I tossed and turned and then tried it again in the other direction. I sighed, I squirmed, I got up and went to the bathroom, I woke up my boyfriend. Finally, after an hour and a half of this nonsense, I put my feet where my head was and my head where my feet were and went to sleep. I've never understood why this change in scenery helps me sleep better, but it always has.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

I wear the same fragrance every day: Spiced Green Tea by Elizabeth Arden. Oh, I have others too; I wear Juice by Ocean Pacific on hot summer days, Mania by Armani for job interviews, and Exciting by Versace on hot dates, but the Arden is my mainstay.
I worked in perfume long enough to understand that scent really is a language. Often, a man I found profoundly unappealing would suddenly become almost unbearably attractive at just a whiff of Desire, Mania, or Pi. I lived with one that wore Cool Water and no matter how hard I tried, he always creeped me out whenever he wore it. It's a common problem: "Oh, I guess he's cute, but he smells like -Tommy-."
I suppose I'm a bit of a snob. Time was, I could find the perfect fragrance for almost anyone within three tries. But now I've been out of the business almost a year, and I'm unable to muster more than a minimum interest in the dozens of new scents out every season. And I guess this makes me a classicist; not to the days of Toujours Moi or 4711 or even, god forbid, Hai Karate, but to the soft, sweet days of Esencia Duende and Reserve.
But in a strange, sad way, I miss being a real snob.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

The peculiar thing about visiting my hometown is that my most recent (and thus most vivid) memories circle around the time between my sixteenth and nineteenth years. The peculiar thing about that is that those years revolved around sex. I hesitate, now, to bring a man back to Florida because I'm afraid that the tour would, unknowingly, consist almost entirely of "I almost had sex over there"-type sightseeing. This way of looking at things is especially astounding because I had only ever slept with three boys in Pinellas County, and only two of them more than once.
This was brought to my attention while driving around with Sarah. "Hey, I lost my virginity over there."
"Over -there-? In the -Icot- center? By the ice skating rink?"
"Well, no...a couple parking lots away from the ice skating rink."
By the end of the afternoon, she was vowing never to enter a park or stick around too long in a parking lot with me, which I suppose is only fair. But I do have to puzzle over why it is that I remember things this way.

Actually, had I realized at the time that I would think back on those years in terms of who I wanted to sleep with, who I should have slept with, and where I slept with the ones that I -did- do it with, I'd have gotten around a lot more. It feels today like I wasted a lot of time being picky, time that would have been better spent giving myself a youth worth remembering, a reputation I had earned, or at least some good tricks to be recycled now.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Sean once set his leg on fire twice in five minutes.
I suppose that when you're an 18 year old boy and you're waiting for laundry to be done, there's really not much else to do -but- set shit on fire. ("These dryers, dude...I could run around the west lawn waving my clothes over my head and they'd be dry faster than they are in these machines. And I could totally keep the quarters!") For a while the boys were all into stupid fire tricks, filling their hands and mouths with butane and trying not to blow up. Sean's brilliant idea was to fill a coke can up with butane and light it; the opening of the can is small enough that this trick will produce a good sized flame for a relatively long time. His only mistake (alright, his -first- mistake) was to start this experiment in broad daylight on a weekend in the middle of Flagler's relatively conservative campus.
He had just barely got his coke can lit when the security guard strolled around the corner. Being a bright young lad, Sean knew that stomping on fire will put it out and he leapt up, jumping on the can. Sadly, since the can was full of a flammable gas, all that the stomping did was force a large lick of fire to leap out of the can and halfway up his leg, effectively setting his jeans on fire. Sean did the magical "oh shit my leg's on fire" dance in an attempt to put himself out and the security guard, recognizing that he was in the presence of a half-wit, nicely pretended not to see.
He put his leg out and started to sit back down when he noticed that the mostly-crumpled can was still flaming. Angry that it had got the best of him, he stepped on it again, squeezing the last of the butane out of the can and setting himself aflame one more time.
Sean wore those jeans often; he decided he was proud of himself for setting himself on fire. Jesse was really the only one of the boys that ever got the fire thing right:

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Here's some ficciones and some wishful thinkings from an experiment that never really went anywhere:

2nd November 2003
3:19pm: Day 9
We're carving pumpkins for Halloween, pumpkins that will sit on my front porch and alert children dressed as some hidden facet of themselves that there is candy to be had at this house. It's a free-for-all in the most pagan sense of the words. We've spread newspapers across my kitchen floor and have taken my slightly dull steak knives to the pumpkins' bright orange skin. My hands are covered with pumpkin slime, with the guts of the gourd, and I menace him with them. I shape my fingers like claws and hunch over like a troll, snarling "graar, I will touch you with my pumpkin hands" but he doesn't seem to notice. He's totally focused on his own pumpkin, engrossed with whatever he is ever so carefully carving on the side facing away from me.
"Whatcha carving?"
"A secret. You'll see. What are you carving?"
"A pumpkin." I'm a little annoyed that he won't tell me what he's making, that he's not into sharing with me. Returning my attention to my own pumpkin I give it two eyes, a nose, and a mouth. It's now stopped being a pumpkin and started being a jack-o-lantern.
"Ok, I'm done. Close your eyes, I'm going to turn out the lights and put a candle in it so you can get the full effect.'
I sigh and close my eyes, slightly irritated at his childlike flair for the dramatic. I feel the lights go out and hear a match strike, my nose hairs curling up at the smell. "Ok, open them."
I do, and my annoyance melts in an instant. Carved into the side of his pumpkin in even, precise letters is 'I love you.' I've been wanting for weeks to hear this, to know that I'm not the only one having this feeling. My toes start to tingle and all I can manage is to weakly squeak out "you do?"

28th September 2003
5:06pm: Day 384
I have never been so aware of my arm before.
We're sitting side by side in the dark, and my whole attention is focused on my arm and how close it is to his arm. I wonder if I should move it over far enough that it touches his, and I wonder if I should apologize and pretend it was an accident or if I should pretend to not notice and leave it there.
I wonder if he's just as aware of his own arm and how close it is to mine. I hope, desperately, that he does. I do not want to be the only one in this situation that is entirely unsure.
This awkward feeling is new and different, and I think that I would revel in it if only I was sure that it would end. If I was certain that eventually it would end, that I would be able to put my hands on him without apologizing, then I would be delighted by this feeling.
Instead, I'm merely overly aware of my own arm in the dark.

22nd September 2003
4:43pm: Interludes
I sit cross-legged on the counter trying desperately to maintain my nonchalance as a wave of pink rides across the miniature windows. I almost have myself convinced, except for the fact that I'm sweating bullets.
I don't want this to be happening.
It's been in my head constantly for the last week, wiping me out. I try and imagine, if it's going to happen, what it would look like. But there aren't any pictures there, and I'm so far out of my element that my brain is still scrambling to catch up.
I watch the wave of pink and inside my head is a tilt-a-whirl, a roulette wheel, and I just want it to stop either way, yes or no, for it to stop so that I can tell what to do.
I break my cool and look down. The single pink line says, quietly, no, and I'm so relieved that I almost cry.

19th September 2003
12:45am: Day 7
He leans across the table into the pool of candle light. "We're going to get married, you know."
I'm confused. "We who?"
"You and me."
"We are?" I giggle slightly, waiting for the punchline.
"No, I mean it. You don't know it yet, but it's true."
This is our first date and I'm definitely being fed a new line this time. "When are we going to get married?"
"In three years."

15th September 2003
7:29pm: Day 6
We pass on the street and each hesitate and stop, half turning to face the other. Neither one of us is sure that we should be conversing. I speak first.
"Um, hi, how are you?" I've run through this scenario a million different times in my head and my brain is so overwhelmed with the possibilities that it has shut down.
"Um, not too bad. How are you?"
"Not too bad." This is not the way this should be going. In my head, it works differently. In my head I'm much cooler.

17th September 2003
6:37pm: Day 4
His eyes are never narrowed, and I wonder why change is strangest when it doesn't happen.
There is sometimes in the eyes of men that I meet a flicker which tells me that somewhere in their brain a movie is playing, and that I am the star of this movie and I am naked. I can see that the movie has started from the slight narrowing of the eyelids, the slitting of the pupils, and this glance starts a fire in places unmentionable in polite conversation. There is a thrill of power there, a slightly sick shiver in the reptile cortex of my brain. It makes me feel the other side of feminine, the side that favors leather over lace.
I never catch that look on his face. I wonder what is there behind his eyes, why it is that he never seems to want to ravish me against the refrigerator at 3:00 in the afternoon. This brings with it an insecurity that also carries femininity, but it is the feeling of girlhood, of uncertainty. I have been too long a woman to feel sure in the land of those younger and so I must move warily and with extreme caution.
I see that I cannot fight indifference with lust.

5th September 2003
8:23pm: Day 3
"This chin," she taps her finger directly in that cleft that I always want to bite, "is nineteen years old."
I nod smiling, knowing where this is going.
"The windowsill, on the other hand, is sixty. I like to think of them kissing, of the transferring of young skin cells and old paint flakes."
I look around the room and see, as expected, the tattered old copy of "Flappers and Philosophers" that I gave her years ago on the floor by the chaise. "Been reading 'The Ice Palace' again, I gather."
"Yes, dear. Romance isn't really dead."
I find this to be strangely touching. When I presented her with the book years ago I had no idea that it would become such a friend.

2nd September 2003
10:33pm: Day 2
Her hair is long and golden-red and I like to hide behind it, a shining curtain through which I can see the world. She humors me, leaning foreward over my face and shaking her head so that this silken hair shimmers and ripples like something not of this world. She is young and beautiful and laughing, and I wish that she could always be this way.
But she can't. Someday she will cut this hair and with the snipping of its strands her laughter too will shut off. After that, whenever she leans over my face there will be something guarded in her eyes. I wonder if that curtain from which I viewed the world was really a barrier between her and the outside.
I wonder which went first: youth, beauty, or laughter.

Friday, January 16, 2004

The couch in my aunt's living room holds, one to a cushion, my grandmother, me, and my stepbrother. Riley is under the coffee table in front of me, being a two year old, and I lean over for my camera.
"Samantha!" My aunt's screech has just, I'm almost positive, killed a dog three counties over. "Sit down! We don't want to see that?"
"What are you on about?"
"Your jeans, they have holes in them!" Without giving me a chance to answer she turns to my mother. "Her jeans have holes in the seat! Buy her a whole pair of jeans!"
My mother's face has already started to turn purple from not laughing. "She lives in Seattle. Last I saw, her jeans were fine." She tries to scowl at me because she suspects, rightfully, that I've worn these jeans on purpose to irritate my aunt. I dyed my hair blue a few years ago for much the same reason.

Later, my jeans come up again. As we're leaving, my aunt orders my mom to buy me some jeans. "Or at least some underwear."
"But I have underwear."
"Then you should wear it."
"I -am-."
"Well I can't see it."
It's at this point that I decide that explaining the whole concept of a thong to my aunt is too much for me. I figure the best option is to cut my losses and get the heck out, which is exactly what ends up happening.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

He walked into the pool hall, wearing cufflinks & loafers & looking so good my teeth ached, and I knew that my world was about to change.
Change is a peculiar thing because it always blindsides you. You always think that you'll do this this and this and things will change and then all of a sudden it sneaks up behind you and shows just how little you know. Except, of course, that by you I mean me.
Bethany took one look at him and announced that she thought he was gay, but I knew better. I knew that he was created solely to rock my world, to push things over the edge with those long, sensitive fingers. And that's just what happened, which proves that things really are usually best when we don't get what we want. I often dance around the subject but he shook me to the core, awoke all of my silly little girl insecurities and pulled them out of me one by one like handkerchiefs tied together and manipulated by a magician.
"I hate that."
"Whenever we're out, people just stop and stare at you. They watch you walk, and I feel like your poodle."
"Baby, they can look at me all they want. It's you that I'm walking with."
It's fortunate for me that the smoothness, the beauty and sharp dressing, was all that there was. If there had been anything besides the soul of a dilettante and a playboy under that perfect exterior, I doubt that I would have ever been able to pull myself away. I would have remained a groupie of the worst kind, instead of using the whole humiliating situation as the catalyst to become the independent creature I am today.
Now, the only one who's going to change my world is me.

My mental image of airplanes taking off owes much to afternoons spent watching Monty Python. Strapped in, always by the window, I watch the ground rushing by and imagine a giant finger and thumb with a rubber band stretched between, launching my comparitively tiny airplane into space.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

The dress is red and at least six sizes too big, bunched together in the back and held with two big white clothespins. Looking at it in the mirror I can see the top of my tan bra and it clashes with the already questionable color of the fabric, and I'm altogether interested in this dress.
"Your measurements," says the seamstress, "are 31 1/2, 25, and 35."
"Uhh, what's that mean?" I'm pretty distracted by the dress, and by the thought that it's a bridesmaid's dress and that the bride standing behind me is the same person that was my friend ten years ago.
"It means you're curvy is what it means."

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Riley is two and he's got a pro golf swing. He hands me a golf club and pushes me toward the ball. "Hey lady, it's your turn." The club is blue plastic and about two feet tall; I'm holding it with one hand because I feel silly bending all the way down. "No, like this." He pushes me out of the way so that he can demonstrate. He positions both of his hands in a way that I vaguely remember seeing at a miniature golf course many years ago, then lines up with the ball and swings, knocking it across the yard. His follow through is flawless; he holds the club behind his back in exactly the way it looks on tv. I can't help but be impressed, immediately convinced that the kid's a prodigy, although I still have trouble believing in golf prodegies. I have trouble believing in golf. Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure he could teach me a thing or two about a lot more than golf.
But there's no time to really think it through because it's really my turn. I hold the club just like he showed me and line up my shot but I'm not bending over far enough and I miss the ball. Riley pats me on the back. "It's ok, lady, you do ok."
The first thing I do when I start to wake up is lean over and slide my arm across him. This is sort of my compromise with myself because I tend to dislike being touched in my sleep. But first thing, I want reassurance that he's still there, where he was when I fell asleep.