Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Dear everyone,

I realized this morning that sometime in the last few weeks my walk to work has started to smell like dried blackberries. I love the scent and wish it were a perfume, but it was really very recently that the morning smelled like ripe blackberries. And that makes things different somehow. Charged.
I strolled home alone from happy hour in the gloaming tonight, the specific half an hour of every day that makes me positive that I am missing something important. Down by the lake it smelled salty and reminded me, suddenly, of evenings fishing off the pier when I was a kid.
I'm keeping all of this. I'm storing it up and waiting until I figure out how to spool it through my usual minor chords to make it into something worthwhile. But I'm not sure just how quite yet. Or even if, in fact, something worthwhile is possible.
August was a big month full of learning for me, full of processing and coming back down a few pegs. Life works at teaching us humility and if we refuse to learn then it forces us to be humble against our selfish plans. That's why it's in charge.
Are you ready for the fall? Because it is nearly here, and soon enough we'll be looking for big piles of leaves to jump in. There are holidays and shows coming up, reasons for giving presents and making cookies and wearing silly hats.
As it turns out, there are only so many strangers that I can make eye contact with before I start to feel silly, before I want to turn and run back into my head. I'm not sure that I ever want to leave my apartment again.
And hey, I'll be at Bumbershoot this weekend by myself. Let's hang out! It's my very first one. But I'm warning you right now that Saturday is my birthday and that is my excuse to spend the whole day telling people my favorite gross, politically incorrect joke. So brace yourselves.
I'm easy to find--I'll be that girl who smells of dried blackberries.


Monday, August 29, 2005

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On my way out the door tonight, headed to my French lesson, I threw on a light tan jacket. It's one of my favorites but it isn't very warm, so I don't get to wear it too often out here. Today it was just enough to protect my thin bones from the returned chill in the air. As I walked down my hill I stuck my hands in my pockets, and rediscovered the little red bouncy ball that lives in this coat. It's a ball that was handed to me several years ago by my buddy Jonas, who informed me only a little bit kidding that it contained his soul. I had lost my own yellow superball soul a few minutes before when it had bounced off into the bushes.
Every spring I put the coat away and forget about the ball, and every fall I remember it again. It never fails to make me smile.

Walking, the heels of my red shoes clomped thickly on the pavement. My fingers fiddled with the soul in my pocket while the sun shone and the sky rained at the same time--my favorite thing for each of them to be doing.
It's so good to be home.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Today is apparently the day when, in 1565, Spanish explorers first landed in St. Augustine, the town I went to college in. It was this wrong turn, four hundred and something years ago, that led directly to my current residence in Seattle.
No, really. If they had never accidentally stumbled upon St. Augustine, Ponce de Leon would never have decided that the fountain of youth was there. And then Henry Flagler would have had no reason to eventually build his grand hotel there, so there would have been no place in town to house a Flagler College. If there had been no Flagler College I would not have been home from there for a summer to meet Pete, and then I wouldn't have had a reason to move out here.

Yes, this is how I pass my long, slow Sundays: in hand-me-down Italian jeans, working on the perfect spaghetti sauce and concocting elaborate historical conspiracies.

Friday night, TMS and I sat at a bar and talked about China, about how restless we both get every spring, summer, and fall. He's thinking about moving away this winter, which really means that he's gotten himself involved with another waitress/novelist that he doesn't really like any more. I speak the code, but I don't really care. Eventually, one of us has to stop running, and it might as well be him. Besides, it's more likely that when I see him again in another five months he'll have just cut his hair or changed his job, and he won't have stopped dating waitresses.
My friends are often so, so funny.

Last night Cat and I sat at the same bar, and I decided that many thing would be much easier if we had never left the third grade. It would be great if I could just have her pass boys notes that say, "Do you like my friend samantha? Check yes or no."
The answer was always no back then, too, but at least it was filtered through someone else first.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

In China, the middle finger gestural equivalent is the same move we use here for, "I've got your nose!" I can't tell you how difficult it was, once I found that out, to not run around the countryside stealing people's noses. I didn't, because that would not be in the interest of fostering intercultural harmony (or at least, in the interest of not getting run out of town by crowds with sticks). But it was a near thing.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

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Late night at an empty bar in Jinan, I'm sitting with Scott flailing my arms about the need for a sense of place in a Southern novel. He's from Louisiana and is trying to write one such, but is finding it hard to do so far away. I'm trying to help by pressing the point that being gone might be exactly the thing.
Behind me, there has been a man singing while tennis plays in the background. It's not exactly karaoke, but it is close, and he's been singing in Chinese so I haven't been paying attention. I sit up straight and turn around, though, when I realize that his last song is "Love Me Tender," and that moreover he is doing a perfect Elvis voice.

The next day I'm alone in a cab with the driver, which makes for a pretty silent ride. He has turned up the radio, and standard Chinese pop is playing on it. But then a UB40 song comes on, in English, and I realize that somehow I know all the words. The driver looks at me sideways and starts to sing along--he doesn't speak English, but he has memorized the song regardless. I sing along too, and there I am, riding down the road in a crazy swerving cab, singing with the radio and the cabdriver on my last day in China.

Ok, kids, so here's the thing: my birthday is next weekend. I haven't had an actual birthday gathering in almost two handfuls of years (aside from the year Sarah and maybe Pete conspired against me and forced a lovely birthday party on me), because generally they tend to go wrongly.
I don't know. I put a little too much emphasis on birthdays as important markers. I've written and deleted this at least fifteen times but I'm going to post it because I have to be honest even when it makes me feel silly.
My birthday is next weekend, and I was thinking about having some sort of gathering the week after. Probably not at my house, to avoid all the cleaning and cooking involved, but maybe over at my bar or something. And so I want to know what folks think, when you might be free the week after next to come hang out. I generally try and avoid my birthday but I feel that this year needs to be marked, somehow. It's been a big one for me.
So...what do you think?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

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Every trip has a low point or, I suppose, we might miss the fun of all the high points. My low point came (as they usually do) in the middle of the night.
The train trip from Suzhou back to Jinan had promised to be excruciating. We were only able to procure ourselves hard seats on a moderately fast train that would land us in Jinan at about 1 am. But the train was late and the day got longer, and I was just plain worn out from the heat and the exercise and the constant bickering of my friends.
And so it came to pass that I found myself sitting in a hot compartment full of people who didn't speak the same language as me, and who further didn't share anything but the basic physical components with me. I realized then that I had never felt so disposable, so completely trivial--that I had never felt less human in my life. I couldn't shake the idea that these points are just not adding up to a worthwhile story, that I am telling all the wrong things and forgetting the right ones. I knew, then, that some day very soon the promise of future hugs is just not going to be enough to fill in the holes.
All I wanted was out of that stifling close country, out of its crowds and its noise and its unfamiliar traditions. I wanted to come home.

Fortunately, of course, trips also have their high point, a moment that cancels out those dark nights whimpering on trains.
The Lion Grove in Suzhou is a garden that was built in the 1300's by a monk who created it in memory of his mentor. It's made up of a labyrinth of limestone, a little maze and a miniature mountain right there in the middle of the city. Climbing through the labyrinth the rocks are often hard to hold on to, hard to stand on--they're shiny and smooth.
While I was in the process of tripping through the rocks I realized that the reason the rocks were all worn smooth is because people have been touching them in the same spots for almost 600 years. Emperors have hung onto them, poets have looked around those corners, beautiful women have cooled themselves by those pools. Millions and millions of everyone else have stood there and understood the same things I knew only then.
It's hard to realize in China just how much history has passed, to know that for 5,000 years people have been being people there. But it was standing there in the Lion Grove, sliding my palms over silky stones, that I felt myself connected to all of those other people. History has always felt like such a heavy weight to me, like it is pressing on the back of my eyeballs. Only it turns out that it's not history that I carry, it's the past--and looking actual history in the face, the past just isn't that important.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

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I cut a large part of my hair off again today. I've always taken it out my hair when things aren't going according to plan. I imagine that my hair wishes that I'd find a new way of dealing with things.

After a friendly kidnapping by a cabdriver and a trip to an Indian restaurant in Hangzhou (these are both stories that must be told in person--I don't write funny enough to do them justice) we took a slow boat to Suzhou.
I just love saying that I took a slow boat in China.
We shared our teeny tiny cabin with a man who spoke surprisingly good English, but who wasn't interested in talking to me because I don't speak any Chinese. That was just fine with me. The best part of my trip was easily the fact that I was always excused from talking to anyone. I am an overcommunicator by nature, so it was incredibly refreshing to have a chance to remove myself from my normal behaviors.

Very early the next morning, we were woken up by loud music. Val and Rich asked our roommate what was going on, and he told us that what we were hearing were the words of Mao set to music. China isn't really very Communist anymore; they're all too concerned with making money, and most Chinese kids couldn't tell you what Communism means. But Mao is still sort of everywhere. He's a bit like a crazy old grandfather that the family still fears but doesn't talk about much. Every now and again, you'll come across Mao. And no one really knows how to react when they realize a foreigner is looking at the Chairman. They freeze, and then try and divert your attention. It's a very Chinese way of handling things.
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I have to tell you that I have never appreciated bathrooms as much as I do now. Chinese toilets are foul, foul, foul. Pictures are largely done, except for my last day in Suzhou at Tiger Hill.

As far as the food in China goes, well, there was a whole lot of pointing at the menu and hoping for the best. My friends' reading comprehension extended far enough that we had a general idea of what sort of meat we'd be getting, but not a whole lot farther. I can say that it is unlikely that I ate any dog, as that is generally consumed during the winter and thus was considered 'out of season.' I learned that the Chinese food that we get here is largely from further south than I visited, and I learned that if a Chinese person knows enough English to point to something and say that it's, "Very delicious," I probably don't want to eat it.
Largely, my trouble was the garlic, which I am allergic to and which they believe helps keep away bad spirits. I spent a lot of the trip feeling vaguely ill, which is pretty much part of the business of travel.

But I can tell you that the most amazing food I had on the trip was in Hangzhou. The area is the place to find Longjin tea, and one of the local specials is a sort of fried tiny shrimp cooked with the tea. It's splendid, but even better was what they call Dongpo Pork, named after the man who wrote a poem in praise of pork. I don't know how it's made, but I do know that it would have been a lot easier to eat if it hadn't been served as a huge hunk of pork to be eaten with chopsticks.
Chinese table manners being what they are, I was probably just supposed to pick it up and gnaw on it. Instead, I chose to fight with it, to break it into manageable bits with my chopsticks. I won in the end, and it was delicious, but I probably should have gone the Chinese way.

Monday, August 22, 2005

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No bugling in Jinan. None.

(I am uploading pictures at the little restaurant down the street, and I can understand the words of everyone around me. We will be at the Zoo Tavern on Eastlake around 8:30 or 9 tonight. To drink beer. Not in a bottle! And not Tsingtao!)

Driving in China is interpretive. In the cities there are, in fact, lines on the road, but all of the drivers seem to treat them as suggestions. The only traffic rule seems to be not to run anyone over, and even that appears to be open to interpretation. As a result everyone uses their horns constantly as a means of alerting the other drivers to the fact that they will be swerving around with complete disregard to the laws of physics. I am usually a nervous passenger, but with this sort of reckless abandon in evidence I can do nothing but hope for the best. It doesn't even seem worth it to worry.

Jinan, where my friends live, is also under construction. It's a pit of an industrial town, but since it's only a couple of hours by train from Beijing, they are in the process of trying to clean things up. I don't have a chance to really look around, though, because the day after I arrive we head off by train to Hangzhou.

In the grocery store one woman tells another (in Chinese), "Americans have nice color." I decide to be flattered. Potato chips come in about a million flavors, things like "Italian Red Meat" and "Mexican Barbecue Flavor."

Now and again, through the window of the train, I see farmers who have their wives pulling the plow.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Thanks to the twin miracles of international datelines and sympathetic airline staff, I'm home a day early. I'm going to sleep for about fifty three hours and then, I swear, I'll start to get to the pictures. And boy, are there pictures. In the meantime I'll start with the stories:

The Beijing airport is hot and dirty and full of people. I'll find out later that that's the state of the city as a whole--of the country as a whole--but for the moment my first impression of China is of heat and noise. The entire place is under construction in final, desperate attempts to clean things up for the 2008 Olympics. I am, all of a sudden, overwhelmed by the newness of this situation and the complete absence of anything familiar. I am the only pale skinned redhead in sight, and I feel like a sore thumb.
But I can't check in for my connection to Jinan for another hour, so I retreat into music. With my headphones in, I can pretend that I'm not quite so scared. A small crowd forms around me, gesturing and jabbering and, occasionally, pointing.

Earlier, going through immigration, I had befriended an astronomer in town for a conference. We passed the time trying to determine just what the active verb for being an astronomer is. The best that either of us could come up with was 'stargaze,' which is a really passive active verb. I told him that I had concentrated hard crossing the dateline, but that I hadn't managed to feel fifteen hours different. He said that you come to recognize the feeling after a few trips, and then all you want to do is forget it.

There is only a certain amount of pointing that you can ignore, and so after a while I start staring back. My small audience (maybe ten people) notices that I'm paying attention to them, and start nudging each other. The boldest of them, carrying what I will come to recognize as the sort of bag the migrant workers tend to carry, steps forward a bit. He points to his ears and then at me, and back to his ears again. I get his point, but I'm not sure--I'm listening to Tullycraft, and I'm not positive that twee Northwest indie pop will translate in Chinese. But he seems to think that it's a good idea and so I wave him over and pass him the headphones. He listens for a moment and then grins hugely, his brownish teeth gleaming in the fluorescent lights. Slowly, and not in any sort of beat, he starts to bob his knees. Halfway through the song, the knobby old Chinese man is dancing in the airport. His friends are all grinning, and so am I.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Greetings from China, which is hot and noisy and full of Chinese people!

Actually, due to the required crappy train ride yesterday/last night/this morning, I'm a bit grumpy at China at the moment. I'm tired of sweating and, unsurprisingly, homesick. If anyone has decided that they just can't live without me, now would be the time to confess--I'm in just the sort of mood to be up for that.

But boy, do I have stories to tell you. I've been to Hangzhou and Suzhou, taken a few train rides and one slow boat in China. I have discovered just how much fun it is to tell awful dead baby and brothel jokes at normal volume in a crowded compartment full of people who don't have a clue what you're saying. And lordy, do I have pictures.

I've met two people from Seattle, one of which worked for the same nonprofit I work for.

I'll be back Monday afternoon, and I imagine I'll be holding court at the Zoo Tavern Monday or Tuesday night. Let's all drink beer!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

My mother called today with a very quiet, "I have news. Dan died."

I have written a little here about my ex stepfather, but I try and step lightly around the fact that I lived in terror of the man from the time I was eight years old. It was because of him that I had to leave the house on the run so many nights, fleeing from the threats of his angry drug dealing friends or of his angry drug abusing self.
I spent years and years hiding out from looks and touches that were just off to the side of appropriate, spent years pretending to be a stuffed animal and practicing getting into certain hiding spots. I taught myself, at one point, how to climb into my bottom dresser drawer and close it with myself in it. Just in case I couldn't make it out of the window in time.
I spent years protecting all of the grownups around me from learning just what was happening that they didn't know about. I lied and pretended and stopped eating and cut myself to ribbons in an attempt to not make things worse for everyone else. And that has to be some sort of joke, right? I was just a kid.
Of course, because of this man, I stopped being a little girl for good one October night when I was seventeen. Even still today, whenever I hear bumps in the night, my first instinct is to cover my face, to hide.

News like this you expect to come from the sky in a flash of lightning. You expect to be able to see the striped stockings roll up under the shattered porch, expect someone to take you by the hand and introduce you to the wizard. But there is no light, no wizard, no explanation for anything. There is just a very quiet phone call from my mother. And on the one hand it feels like a great big weight is gone, like a heavy package I'd been carrying has just been taken away. But on the other hand, well, it feels a little silly to hate someone so much that isn't even alive anymore--and I feel cheated by that. Like I've just lost a shade of green that I didn't even realize I had been looking at.
I have been searching for a couple of hours now for some sort of sorrow, for some sort of compassion that this creature that was human--that my mother loved--is no longer alive. And the fact that I can't find even a ghost of sadness worries me a little. I do not want to be a girl who is so consumed by the things she can't change that she doesn't feel for people anymore.
This isn't to say that I won't accept any hugs brought my way. I'm a little stricken, feeling a bit like a rug has been yanked out from under me.

In a very few number of hours I will be headed off across the world. And suddenly, remembering where I've come from, that really doesn't seem so far.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

For some reason, I remember the nights better than the days.

Maybe it's because the days were full of hiding out, of turning my watch back and going home by the broken streetlight. They were days and days of wedging in corners and hiding behind doors, curled up over books and concealing the fragility of my bones.

Daisies are my favorite because they grow wild, because they look so frail but last and last. Daisies are friendly and quiet and pleased that you've noticed them. They are sweet.

The nights, on the other hand, were for me. They were for slipping out once the yelling started and walking the quiet sidewalks, noticing the exact sensation of my pulse. They were for being barefoot in prickly crabgrass, for hunting small frogs, for pressing on my bruises.

Even still I bruise so easily, usually not even sure where the blue flowers under my skin have come from. I trip and bump and move ungracefully and, as a result, find myself covered in tender spots. I have stopped feeling self conscious about them.

My days were spent at the park, swinging in the swings and kicking the clouds. They were spent cheering the boys on the basketball court, for watching my best friend mince and prance and hunch her shoulders suggestively. All of my photographs were of the days.

It was in the nights that I knew myself, knew beyond the frizzy hair and awkward ways.

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Mysterious Stranger and I sat side by sat in a bar last night and realized that our approach towards travel is the same as our approach to the rest of life. We both tend to overplan for the things we can't control and neglect what we can, like how he went to Australia in December with sweaters and heavy jackets or how I always manage to leave the house without bell, book, and candle.
This tendency is the exact reason that TMS never sticks in one place more than six months, and the reason that he only reappears on my voice mail about four times a year. Life always happens opposite from how he'd planned.

I have started packing, determined not to forget a thing this time. I am scared out of my (admittedly loosely held together) wits, but I'm always scared of something. I need to find something to read that will balance out my Proust--love him though I do, I cannot read him for a whole twelve hour flight. Anyone have a suggestion?
And hey, anyone have some free time in the early afternoon of the 22nd? Want to come fetch a poor, travel-weary girl from the airport? I'll be your best friend.

At this point I'm feeling that the best part of this trip will be the fact that everyone will have to quit it with the, "Maybe you'll meet a nice Chinese guy and come back married!" Honestly. Is this a common problem? Is marriage contagious in China? Is it an exit requirement that no one has told me about? I do not understand why people hustle me to get married in the same breath that they applaud me for being a single girl. People freak me out. At least over there I don't speak the language.

It is nine million degrees in my apartment again, not at all helped by the fact that I am baking blueberry coffee cake muffins for my team. Earlier, jubilant that I could finally do my laundry, I may have sprained my toe. And then, just a bit ago, I took a great big swallow of sour milk. It's like a constant Laurel and Hardy episode, hereabouts.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

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I can't tell you how long I've been sitting here, trying to figure out an appropriate birthday post for my Sarah. But the trouble is that trying to explain this girl is tough, like trying to describe the exact taste of a smile.
Because the thing is that Sarah is amazing. She is strong and beautiful and smart, and even beyond that she is kind. She is the sort of girl who will on an hour's notice drop everything to go pick up a friend with a broken down car three states away. (Yep, Val told me all about that.) Sarah considers people, really tries to see them for who they are, and to accept them for all of that. She recognizes her own faults and tries to fix them, because she will not give up the struggle to decide who it is that she really wants to be. And if we are in fact each others demons and angels then I am confident that Sarah is my angel. She is the sort of girl that I want to be, and England is a very lucky country to currently have possession of her.

I am a lucky fool, very rich in amazing friends. And of all the people I know, Sarah is my star. I can't wait to see what she does next, what she learns and who she becomes. I am her biggest fan.

It's your birthday now in England, darling, so happy birthday. I love you.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

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Today was Julie and Keivan's SECRET WEDDING. (I'm sorry, I've been thinking of it in all capital letters for a week.) Julie is one of my very favorite coworkers, and she was a member of the Hoosier expedition--NIH Regionals edition crew. She is sweet and wonderful and splendid and one of the nicest people I have ever met.
Last Friday Julie let us in on a great big secret--she was getting married in a week to her special guy Keivan. No, she really does call Keivan her special guy, because she really is that adorable. She asked us to keep it a secret if we could because she didn't want people to make a big fuss about it. She had mentioned before that her whole family was going to be in town this week, but never once let on to the real reason for their visit.

So this afternoon Carolyn and I mounted up and headed for Bellevue. The day was perfect and sunny and her son was napping in the backseat. And I have to tell you all that this little wedding party was just. Perfect. Keivan's family came in from Iran and Julie's came over from New York, and other than both great big families there were just a few friends milling about in the yard. The families cooked some delicious food and everyone was friendly and so happy.
While discussing just how Julie the whole event was, her mother told Carolyn and I that 10 minutes before it was time to head to the church she was in the hotel room with Julie, who had her dress on and her feet up against the wall, helping her remove her old nailpolish.

We all know how much I love a wedding, but the reason for that is because I love love. And today there is a backyard in the suburbs nearly bursting with it.

Friday, August 05, 2005

So what I've realized lately, during this last round of notsleeping, is that what I am is fortune cookie fortunes. Some people, you know, are sweeping epic novels and some people are books with pink martini glass covers, and some people are graffiti tags. But I? Might just be fortune cookie fortunes. And maybe I'm ok with that.
This is possibly why I've been hoarding the things all of these years. Perhaps I've been gathering my own kind, creating a portable little family.
In the end this is all speculation, anyway.

There is a reason that I have been so worried about my grandma. The thing is that my birthday is in a month, and although you may roll your eyes at me, it is an undeniable fact that last year at birthday time my other grandmother tried to kill herself. I am not superstitious about many things, but I feel that the unlucky nature of my birthday has proven itself over the years. And so I am fretting.

I have found that whenever I'm telling a story that happened while Jesse and I were roommates, the story is made infinitely better by adding the phrase, "I was living with a magician at the time."

I emailed my exboyfriend this afternoon to ask him if he would like me to bring him back a mail order bride from China. I'm thinking of getting into the trade, or anyway that's what I'm now telling people when they ask me why I'm going to China--to become a mail order bride. "I'm a bit less submissive and considerably more foul-mouthed than the average, but I'd like to give it a shot anyway."
He hasn't answered yet, but I'm betting on a yes.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Today's shiny blue skirt kept me sliding off of my new desk chair all day long. This was at its most entertaining whenever I'd try to swivel quickly to answer a question from behind me and barely catch myself with my toes to avoid falling off entirely. It happened more than I'd like to admit; I'm not always very quick on the uptake.

The drummer doesn't have a telephone, and I find that this works for me. It completely eliminates all phone call returning anxiety and turns the whole thing into a very casual, 'I'll see ya when we run into each other again' type thing. Very breezy.

Because it is roughly a million and fifteen degrees in my apartment, I headed downtown to do a little almost-last-minute shopping. (Nothing says 'ready to go to China' like buying a purse big enough to carry mosquito repellent and my enormous rockstar sunglasses in.) On the bus, the woman sitting next to me leaned in close like she was going to tell me a secret. "You'd be much prettier," she stated, "if you got a nose job."
She's probably right. But I've lived with this crooked honker my whole life and am far too concerned about the idea of not being able to recognize myself anymore to even consider plastic surgery. Besides, ew.
The man sitting in front of us whipped around and stared at her, shocked out of the typical bus rider's no eye contact comfort zone. I blushed and slid lower in the seat, my shiny blue skirt helping me slither down, at which point she nodded as though she had just performed her civic duty and returned to her newspaper. The man and I avoided looking at each other entirely.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

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Have I told you guys that my newest goal in life is to play the tambourine in a band? No, seriously. So if you happen to have a spare tambourine and no one to play it, you can just give me a call.

All y'all bitches missed a fantastic show last night. I think that my favorite part about seeing Aleksandra play is that she rocks and screams and kicks ass while the music is going, and then in between songs she's sweet as pie. It's just adorable.

I don't know about you, but all of my roads lead to maybe lately.

After the show I was back at my bar, spouting frantic samantha babble about literary deconstructionism and Derrida and Bahktin.

I wish that you had something new and different to tell me, or that I had something new and different to tell you--something about the proper way to wish on a handful of fish scales or the exact makeup of green cheese from the moon. I am working on the homesick playlist for my trip, picking out the songs I should hear in those moments when what I want most is my own little apartment. I'll be the samantha none of you know, out there; the girl who wears boy's swim trunks and no makeup and pigtails, who crosses the street without looking both ways.