Thursday, March 30, 2006

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Seriously, Boston is kind of magical, and if I were even a little less in love with Seattle I'd crawl into an apartment in the North End and get a new biomedical research administration job out here. Heck, I might just anyway.

The buzz phrase at this conference is "post-genomic era." It's like, ok, we've mapped the genome, so now what? Scientific ADD.

Today I took myself on a seven-or-eight mile walking tour of Boston, from my hotel in the back bay out to Bunker Hill and back, with a little detour through the theatre district. (Look who's spent 24 hours of her life in Boston now!) I made a few friends along the way, including a French couple who wanted to know more about Paul Revere. As it turns out, it's difficult to talk about American history in French. I did manage to communicate that he had something like 16 kids, which seemed to impress them.

I was having dinner tonight when a man from the large group near me came over and apologized for disturbing my "quiet evening alone." I thanked him, but you guys, I was eating in the Omni Parker House. I wasn't alone. I was hanging out with Dickens, Emerson, and Longfellow, JFK, Ho Chi Minh, and Malcolm X. I was having a hot dog and real Boston Baked Beans and Boston Cream Pie in the restaurant that invented it. I was having a great time.

I know you'll all tell me to come back in February and see how much I like it then, but right now Boston's at the top of my list for places to go when I eventually leave Seattle.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Oh man, you guys, I'm kind of in love with Boston.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

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I leave for Boston in the morning, to catch up with my old buddy Jude and, incidentally, also hit another conference for work. I've been having terrible dreams for the last few days--my raver days ended because of an unfortunately well-aimed bullet to the forehead of a friend, and one of the guys that died on Saturday was an acquaintance of mine, and it's all just mashed up in my head. I'm jumping at every little noise, triple-checking that my door is locked. If we were still thirteen I'd be having a slumber party, and I might still anyway.

I've been unbearably excited about this trip for days, because hanging out with Jude will be a little bit like coming home. I miss the Flagler kids in dramatic, nonsensical ways. There will be much drinking and incessant nostalgia, so if you're in a bar in Boston over the next few days and you hear things like, "Hey, do you remember when Jesse set your face on fire?" you'll know it's us. Also, sightseeing, because I do love playing tourist.

Monday, March 27, 2006

None of you (aside from Captain Toby of the HMS Poor Judgment) know this, but I was a candy raver very briefly in the mid-90's. It was a scene that I was too young for, and things everywhere in my life went very badly very quickly not too long afterwards, but the people that I met raving really were some of the nicest, most accepting people I've ever known. So this has been really tough to take in, above and beyond the fact that it's just too horrible to be believed.

Friday, March 24, 2006

I'm still in a mood like a Magritte painting, so the weekend could involve anything from spontaneous tap dance numbers to hucking grenades at watermelons, all overlaid with a threat of random drunkenness. If any of y'all bitches need me, I will be out charming old men and alcoholics. Just look for me in bars. Or gutters.
Or, heck, right behind you.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

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The house of samantha has become a refuge of boringness in a world that is otherwise glamorous and exciting. And that's a great big lie, but the truth is that it's not-quite-spring-time and I am restless and insufferable, and the only thing keeping me from pulling up all my roots and setting off free is that I've done that before and it didn't work.

Tonight's actually the worst sort of night, because my chest aches from a cough I can't quite get rid of and I got drenched on the way home, so I really don't want to leave the house. But at the same time I don't want to be here alone because all that I'll do is pace around and talk to myself about how I really need to vacuum. This is why I ought to have roommates, and why you should all be glad that you aren't mine. Still, it's really too bad that my old roommate the magician isn't here to sit on me until I calm my shit down.

Instead, perhaps I'll turn up the heat and the radio and vacuum in my underpants, which would at least be a productive use of my currently endless time. Last night I was so tired of myself that I was in bed by 10:30, which is mighty early for this insomniacal waif. Once it's actually spring and the air isn't so damn full of waiting anymore I'll go back to normal. I always do. But in the meantime, it's going to be a pretty manic couple of months.

Just to warn you.

Monday, March 20, 2006

My French tutor just dumped me via email:

"I'm so sorry. I won't be able to make it tonigh... and actually, it was going to be our last class. I'm moving to Olympia this coming week-end, and I am going to commute to Seattle every day, but I won't have anyone to look after the kids while we have French, so I will have to head back to Olympia right after work..."

And I have to say, I've never been broken up with through the internet before. So...anyone know a good French teacher?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

She sat down across from me at the airport and started crying, and with her curly blonde hair and delicate features she so reminded me of another crying blonde that I wanted to go sit at her feet and worship.
She had her headphones in, and I couldn't begin to think of how to approach this beautiful girl to ask what she was leaving behind that would make her cry so. I didn't want to watch--that would be rude--but since I couldn't actually stop watching I made do with making glances past her, sweeping my eyes from left to right as though I was looking around the gate area. While I watched (or didn't) a little boy walked up from behind me and handed her a wad of tissues. She nodded and thanked him, thickly, but didn't stop crying.

I decided to walk home from Jeff's birthday brunch (which was yummy! Happy birthday, Jeffrey!) because it was a lovely day and I'm just so glad to be home. On the way I called Dave, because he's been having a hard time of it lately, down in Berkeley, and the last few days have been no picnic for me either. I needed someone to remind me that whoever it is I turn into around my father isn't really me, that it's just a pretend girl to hide the things I don't want him to tear down. I learned a lot about being patient last year, even if I am still working on letting go.

(PS: Chas? Is this better?)

Friday, March 17, 2006

At night my dog sleeps by my door, and when I wake up in the small hours I can hear her shifting against it. If I were the sort of girl who slept with the door open she'd be in here, but I'm not.

Tomorrow I get to go home. My Metroblogging compatriots have been especially entertaining this week, which makes me a little homesick. I'd intended to post once or twice while I've been gone, but finding a stable internet connection has been nearly impossible. In case you weren't already aware of this, I am not a big fan of the woods.

I don't know what's been up this past year with the boys that I used to have crushes on coming out of various woodworks and admitting having felt similar things, but I'm really enjoying it. If you boys keep this up, my head is going to get too big to fit through doors.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I've been exhausted lately, waking up feeling like I haven't gone to sleep at all.

So far the second leg of my trip hasn't been so bad, although tomorrow is the day that everyone will be spending together, and I'm not really looking forward to all of the bickering that's going to be involved. What I'd really like is to be in any room in Seattle with a warm thumb trailing back and forth across my knuckles, but what I want doesn't really figure into anything at all. I decided to take this trip and I'm going to live with it. As long as it doesn't kill me.

What really amazes me is the sense of entitlement that my brothers have, the fact that they've grown up in relative comfort and stability and don't so much realize it. I keep myself from going all, "Boy, when I was your age..." but I sure do think it. As a result neither one of them has the need to make everything right like I always did.

There is some concern that my brother will fail the eighth grade out of sheer laziness.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Continuing what seems to have been our Nashville theme, Mike and I went out drinking again last night. This time we hooked up with the lovely Ryan and visited a dive of a beer bar, a bar with a couple of really good country bands called Tootsies, and Coyote Ugly, respectively. In the middle one, a man stopped to tell me that he thought I looked like a singer. I decided that it was a compliment.
The bathroom in Coyote Ugly was easily the filthiest bathroom I've ever seen, and I say that in light of the pits-and-troughs I came across in China. Mike, my Asian hip-hop-listening-to compatriot surprised the heck out of me by knowing all the words to a few country songs. I love it when you guys pull shit like that, out of nowhere.
Additionally, it turns out that you might not want to take directions from a drunk guy, especially when you're in a town he's only been in for a couple days.

Tonight we went to a hockey game, because we don't have professional hockey in Seattle and Mike's never been to a game. These people take their hockey seriously, occasionally yelling inexplicable things like, "Get off the phone!" at the players. Beforehand we had dinner at some place where we met a fellow from Pittsburgh who wanted to talk to us about sports. I'd have been annoyed except I was involved in a brief but ardent love affair with the mushrooms on my hamburger.

Tomorrow I'm headed to North Carolina, armed with Arctic Monkeys for the older of the boys and Common Market for the little one. I'd prefer to just go home, but another couple of days out of the office will probably be good for me.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

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Y'all? I'm not kidding. Jungle.

I've had way too much to drink this evening to try and put something meaningful together, but after I got settled Mike and I headed downtown for fried catfish and ribs and beer. A few hours (and a whiskey) later, we found ourselves at an actual honkey tonk, which was pretty much a lot of fun. I want to open a honkey tonk in Seattle, all Rockabilly.
Then we came back and grabbed our drink tickets for the opening reception, and we kept drinking. I've got a southern accent that won't quit, which is terrible 'cause I spent so many years pretending I didn't have one.

Mike rented a PT cruiser, and we got lost in what may have been the projects. The ride home consisted of a lot of cursing at the under construction roads, as well as Mike occasionally crowing, "Bring it, bitches!" The rest of the week might actually contain such things as a hockey game.
You guys? My hotel has an indoor jungle.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

There is something to be said for evenings spent in a warm heap crowned by a purring kitty. On the other hand, there's not much at all to be said for very early in the morning when the kitty has stopped purring and has instead decided that toes are blanket monsters that need attacking.
This is why I don't have a cat.

My cold has made my ears all stuffed up, and since I spend my free time with a mumbler I'm spending a lot of it questioning what I've just heard.

My shuttle to the airport comes at 4 AM, and good thing too because I'm getting really restless. I am just no good at all of this being stationary. And I haven't been going out enough lately--not out out. There hasn't been a whole lot of carousing, of drinking and dancing and coming home way too late coated in sweat and needing to be completely disinfected. So I'll be off having adventures in Nashville, and when I come home you and me are going to do some serious something. And we'll enjoy it.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The earthworms are back out, which means that during my walks to and from work I have to split my attention between the usual staring at the sky and watching my feet. And you know what those earthworms mean, right? They mean that spring is coming.

On Sunday morning I'm leaving for a conference in Nashville, with a two-day stopover afterwards in North Carolina to visit my family. That part of the trip will involve a lot of people that aren't me arguing with each other, and not nearly enough drinking.

I feel a little better today, a little less like I've been hit by a truck full of sore throats and yuck. I want desperately for the weather to cooperate so that I can wear my swirly blue skirt, but it insists on being windy and sometimes made of hail. It will almost certainly snow next week, since I'll be gone.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

We all know that I've never seen a picture of my parents together, just the two of them, from the time that they actually liked each other. And no matter how many late nights I spend trying to fit two separate pictures together I just can't make things match up, which makes perfect sense since we never really know what transpires between two people in and out of love, but which drives me mad. I need to learn that I don't have to be able to see the past to move away from it.

Instead, I've been focusing on a specific picture of my mother, from when she was about seventeen. Her t-shirt says "100% crazy" and she's got her thumbs hooked through rainbow striped suspenders. A fedora rests smugly on top of her straight waist-length hair and she leans cockily against what might just be a Nova. It's this picture that reminds me that my mother and I are the same, that she also once wanted to drive and drive until she fell off the edge of the world, that she spun until she was dizzy and sang along to the radio at the top of her lungs just like me. It helps me understand that she took some wrong turns and by taking them taught me what not to do as best she could.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

In a tin-roofed trailer the sound of a rainstorm is deafening, loud past disbelief. Too loud for conversation, or for television, or for reading, such a storm forces contemplation. It's impossible to pretend that you're anywhere else.
That's how I spent summer evenings for many years--curled up in a corner, actively aware of just where I was.

Whatever sickness is going around my office seems to be making a stop here, which is completely not allowed because I don't have the free time for being sick this month. In the meantime I'm learning how to play chess and petting a kitty, occasionally at the same time. Today I'll be in Greenwood and then out for Alicia's birthday, which may or may not involve a stop at Neumos to see Band of Horses.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

While I wait I hold my hand up to the lightbulb, watching myself lit up from the other side. I'm not quite sure just how thick the connections are that hold what's me inside. Holding still, I trace with my eyes the edge of me.

"Were you in love with him?"
"I thought I was, then. Which means yes, doesn't it? I mean, if it's what I thought I was feeling then it must have been what I was feeling, right? So, sure. Yes."
"What happened?"
"He wasn't in love with me back, not so far as I could tell. One day I got tired of the maintenance and just sort of...stopped feeding it, and it wandered off. Like a stray cat."

Tonight I walked past a recently burned house, a blackened series of holes that still smell like a campfire. I have always been afraid of being caught in a housefire--it's something that wakes me up in the night, panicked, a fear that has hounded me for years. Somehow standing in front of the house, a block away from my own, I couldn't work up any fear. And as I walked farther I thought about it, and I realized that the whole time I stood in front of it most of my mind was occupied with what happens after I stop waiting, when I look away and feel other eyes tracing the edge of me.