Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hi, kids. So far I have been thoroughly sunburned and thoroughly kissed, been windblown and squished sand between my toes, bought a lot of things, and gone to a barbecue on a stranger's back patio. There has also been some Kevin Spacey, a mentionable amount of pizza and sushi, and a muskrat skull named Chester. Today I'm off to see some dinosaurs and have a nap in Central Park. Trying to remember why I moved to Seattle instead of New York.

I'll be home on Friday night, which seems much too soon.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The pattern on this dress that I'm wearing is made up of orange, brown, and white panda bears, which should give you some idea of just how excellent being on vacation has been so far. I'm keeping track of things to tell you when I have the chance. In the meantime, there was a wedding, and I only cried a little.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Hotel television makes bad background noise for wrapping potted flowers in tulle. We switched to the Discovery channel when whatever we had settled on originally started yelling about rape, but stories about people getting lost on a mountain are not much better.

I admit to being a little thrilled when I realized that my hotel bed came with a remote control, but it turns out that it's only to change the firmness of the mattress. There are no quarters involved at all.

Hey, you guys? Let's go fishing sometime this summer.

The wedding is in a few hours, and I can guarantee that I will cry, because I am a sucker and weddings always make me cry. Other things that are guaranteed to make me cry include:
Any movie where a kid loses a best friend
Any movie where someone is running after someone else, and they almost don't catch them, but then the person turns back and sees them and everything is ok. Especially if there's rain.
The part of Little Women where Beth dies
The book Love is a Mixtape. It's a book-length love letter to music and his dead wife? Good christ. We should all be loved so eloquently
Most first things, in retrospect.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

She watches him watching the foot traffic on the sidewalk, considering his profile, the stubborn set of his chin. As she taps a finger against her water glass something catches his attention outside, and he smiles softly and exhales with a satisfied puff. It is at that moment that the feeling clicks into place just under her ribcage.

What she would like to do is reach across the table and take him by his slender wrist. She would like to bring his attention back to her, to the spot on her left cheek that he always looks at rather than look her in the eye, and tell him, "When I heard you sigh right now, I knew that I could love you. If that was what we were doing. If it was even possible." And then she would like to stand up, fold her napkin neatly, and leave. Because knowing that she could hurts more than knowing that she's not allowed, and until just a moment ago she wasn't sure that was possible.

Instead, she echoes his sigh and grasps herself by either elbow. She is rubbed raw by all of the things that she wants and cannot have, weighted down with knowing that faith and deservedness count for little in anything. She closes her eyes and watches the warm red of the sunlight through her eyelids, and after a second the feeling passes. When he turns from the window to look at her, she hardly hurts at all.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Hey there, New York. I'm coming to your house on Sunday, and we are going to trade mixtapes and drink too much and tell secrets. If we've already made plans to make plans when I get there, I'm so excited to see you that I just might burst. If we don't have plans, yet, why not? You should email me so that we can have coffee/cocktails/look at the dinosaur bones/make out in the planetarium/nap in the park together.

Pennsylvania, I'll be seeing you on Friday, but I have a feeling I'll be real busy watching Steph and Ryan get hitched, attempting to convince their friends to move to Seattle, and wearing my pretty new dress.

I'm so impatient to be gone, mostly because I haven't gone on a trip that didn't involve a conference or my family since China, and I'm thrilled to not have to watch any powerpoint presentations or justify my decisions after spending all of that time on an airplane. I need an actual vacation.
Plus, it will be nice to leave the excellent mess I've made of things around here. I'm still having a good time, but I don't think things can get much more complicated around here without something really soap opera-y. Which could happen at any moment, honestly.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I have been pleased lately with Shouldn't, But Will Anyway. It can be seen in spines curled like ferns and knees nestled, in not thinking and only reacting. In borrowing what I ought not even be looking at.

I stumbled home at dawn after another night of adventures, voice roughened from cigarettes and too much drink, satisfied with Could Have, But Didn't. Fell asleep in my clothes to dream of secret knocks and dresses with fringe.

Yesterday, walking, I was trapped in a sudden rainshower. I stood watching an empty tennis court become slick and deep green, and suddenly I knew that any object placed on that damply dimpled surface would become an object of irony. Would become completely beside the point. For a moment, that tennis court may as well have been on the moon.

But then a runner jogged behind me and broke the moment. The world thumped back into its usual grooves and the tennis court drifted away from the profound and turned back into just another empty public space. A trickle of rain gathered at the end of my hair and ran down my back and I was, I realized, cold.

For just an instant there, though, everything was exactly as it should have been.

Friday, May 18, 2007

I read the other day that it takes about a decade for the molecules in each breath to disperse around the world, and that most of them don't disappear. They just keep moving.

I don't remember feeling like this as a kid. Feeling like pretending to be a monster or running as fast as I can or declaring that everything is an adventure. Mostly, I remember feeling scared and nervous about letting people down, about breaking things without even realizing I was touching them. But now, even with mean reds and delicately blues having a picnic and playing pinochle in the corner of my head, I'm sometimes sure I might explode with the feeling of it all. Which is silly, and frequently makes me also feel a little foolish, but is a lot more fun than the alternative.

I've been thinking a lot about molecules lately, and I think you've got some of mine over there. I think I've got some of mine too, from ten years ago, and maybe my molecules are having a lot better time now than they were back then. I think I've got a little bit of yours, too, and a little bit of Fay Wray's. Maybe some of Homer's or the magical jazz man's.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

When the sun starts to come out my freckles darken and my heart aches in the places where it was formerly broken. It's not No Reason Sads but instead All Reason Sads, and I can't seem to get these fists out of my hands. I'm hearing helicopters even when I can't see them.

I think that there's an angry little robot that lives just below the hollow of my throat, and while it tends to nap during the winter, it feels the sun and realizes that it has shed all of its subcutaneous layers of battery power and needs a recharge. This afternoon I felt it stirring, with a "Click!" and a soft "whirrrrr" that vibrated all down my bones, and though I sat very still in the hope that it would go back to sleep, it seems that it is awake and extra grumpy after all of the hibernating. The winter is long if you're an angry throat-living robot.

It's always hard to say what's going to be the reset button, what will shut it off, and so until then I apologize if I go to hug you and accidentally punch you in the throat. The angry robot is stretching its arms. I'm sorry if I accidentally say something mean sitting in a bar drinking pitcher after pitcher of beer. The angry robot is thirsty and speaking with my tongue. The angry robot knows that my heart hurts and it wants to hurt everything in return. Once it has warmed itself up it will go back to sleep, though, at least for a little while.

(PS, Please come to this on Thursday. We are very sexy and very fond of the nicest Lashes. Plus, if you come and remind me, I'll tell you the joke that the faux cowboy told me in Utah, which is one of the few jokes I know all the way through because I wrote it down. (Because I am a joke-telling lameass.) It is not a very good joke, and I will tell it poorly, but I promise to try not to punch you in the throat.)

Monday, May 14, 2007


Next steps: getting an anchor tattoo on one cheek, an eagle on the other, a full back piece of a ship in a storm, a big grey beard, a deep seafarers voice, and a dusty chuckle. And then I will be an old sailor, just like I've always wanted.

Samantha's tips for making a ship in a bottle:
1. Don't. Get your own gimmick, Fonz.
2. Understand that "For Ages 12 and Up" means that you will be worse at it the farther from 12 you are. Your hands are too big.
3. Tunes. Tunes, tunes, tunes. Songs to Build a Ship To are essential. Dance breaks will be required, especially if you're dumb like me and building it on the floor rather than, say, a table.
4. No interruptions. Devote your attention to your boat. It deserves it.
5. Bandaids. Lots of bandaids.

The full photoset is here. what do I do with myself?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Steph and Ryan are getting married in a couple of weeks, and in honor of that we bachelorette partied it up last night. My friends have been getting married like crazy the last couple of years, which I think is excellent because I am all about my friends being happy and in love. (I think they are less all about me being happy and in love, because I have an alarming tendency to be happy and in love with, like, a bright red toaster or a story about a glowing fish that lives only on good intentions, and apparently that's not quite the same thing. Which, whatever. Boys are trouble.)

But almost everyone that's gotten married has been people that live outside of Seattle, so this is the first bachelorette party that I've gone to since I moved out here. And in honor of that, the story of my first kiss:

His name was Otis, and he was visiting a relative that was staying in our trailer park for a couple of weeks. I was in seventh grade and painfully awkward, with gigantic glasses and much too much dyed blonde hair. Otis was from Barbados, around the same age as I was, with glasses and an accent and gorgeous deep brown skin. I was fairly certain that he was the greatest boy who had ever lived.

We'd all been at the park on his last day in town, jumping off the swings and smoking cigarettes and trying to look cool, and Otis walked me home when the street lights came on. He walked me right to my front door and then said, "I'm leaving tomorrow. Can I kiss you goodbye?" His accent was thick and I sometimes had trouble understanding him, but I understood that and my heart and stomach leaped in opposite directions. I mumbled yes, completely terrified and knowing that my mom could open the door at any second. He pushed up his glasses and leaned forward and kissed me softly, and I think time actually stopped.

When time started again, kissing had moved up to the top of the list of my favorite things to do.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Even if all rectangles actually were squares, there's no guarentee that any of them would be the same size. And you couldn't coax them to become the same size, either, not even if you tipped your fingers in harmonicas and gestured them a little song. Squares, I feel, are stubborn.

Sometimes stolen hours are best, hours when the should be places and the actually are places are completely different, and no one knows. Even if the chance never comes up again, the time we took has already been spent, and is now recirculating in all directions like a sack full of nickles fished out from the prettiest fountain in town.

I knew that I was going to take them when you looked at me like a new species of girl that you couldn't even begin to categorize.

So squares are untrustworthy, and I'll be continuing to look for the points of overlapping orbits. I've got a spare baseball glove and a foosball table on hand, just in case.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

You'll have to forgive me, but I've been terribly busy lately, so busy that I actually fell asleep down at my dock on Monday like a hobo when I tried to take a little while to sit by the water and read. I have spent the last few days primarily hanging out with fellows whose names start with the letter "b," and who knew I even had that many of them around? I might also have held forth again at length on how drummers who wear glasses are approximately twelve times cuter than drummers who don't because of the simple fact that trying to drum and push your glasses up at the same time is adorable. And I'm fairly certain that I declared that I'm going to let other people make all of my romantic decisions from now on, a decision that I think I'm just going to pretend didn't happen. (Pretending that things didn't happen is the new black.) On the other hand, since my decision-making process recently has largely been a shrug and an, "eh, why not?" maybe it's not the worst idea.

I'm hoping to find a few hours soon to finish my damn boat, but what are boats compared to people who want to drive all the way from Yelm just to swap a pony for a postcard from Utah, and then to drink and be funny and charming? Exactly.

I know, I know. You paid for the whole seat, but so far you've only needed the edge. Trust me, it's all very exciting, in a sexy teen movie sort of way. Like any minute now Freddie Prinze, Jr. is going to show up and do a spontaneous but well-choreographed dance number. If that happens, I'll be sure to let you know.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

I was one of those kids that secretly dreamed of spending the night in a museum. Any museum would have done, although my main frame of reference was the Dali museum, which would have given me a little more than I'd bargained for, I think. Anyway, it seemed like an excellent idea to stumble out into the morning having spent the time I should have been sleeping looking at art. So spending from about 2-5 AM last night at the new SAM was a pretty acceptable fulfillment of that childhood dream.

The shots of tequila beforehand and the incredibly hot male company were not part of the original vision, but I feel that adolescent samantha would seriously approve of the upgrade.

Next on the wish list: making out in the planetarium at the Museum of Natural History. Hi, New York? I'll be there in three weeks. Let's make this happen.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

My yous are always changing.

When I think of you I think of the Fourth of July, and how we'd driven around for ages trying to find fireworks only to learn that everyone was holding off because of the impending rain. Instead, we took everyone to that place with all the restaurants and settled them in a booth and took a little walk because we still liked each other better than anyone else in the world. We stood on the balcony and talked about how scared we both were about how quickly and thoroughly everything was happening, and then we kissed. Somehow just like in a movie at that exact second the fireworks off the pier started, and it began to rain, and we both stepped backward because something important was happening but we weren't sure what. I knew just then that everything was about to change.

When I think of you I think of how you'd call me as soon as you put me in a cab home, and how you would keep me on the phone until I was in the door. Until I was safe.

When I think of you I think of the day that your car broke down on the side of 60 about three miles outside of Lake Wales. You were getting married in two days, and she would have snatched you baldheaded if you'd missed the rehearsal. And my parents didn't even know we'd left town because I should have been in school. So we did what any two sensible adventurers would do in a predicament: we pulled the frito pie off of the engine block and had a picnic on the trunk of the car.

When I think of you I think of sitting by the water talking about the stars, knowing exactly what was going to happen next and feeling like I might burst from surprise and anticipation.

When I think of you I think of how even when you were dying you managed to greet everyone that came to see you with a smile. The last time I saw you, you knew that the end was near, and you made me promise to do all the living that you were going to miss. Because up until the very end you thought of everyone else before you thought of yourself, and because you had a serious flare for the dramatic. Because you knew that living is a problem for me.

(PS, I've been in Seattle for four years yesterday, and while I wrote my usual letter I haven't published it. I'm trying to live without the summing up.)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I'm just standing here. Holding these plums and wishing they were ripe already, cracked and patched over with slivers of stained glass. You don't get to look through these windows. Just because I say so.

It's only that there are too many things broken. All over. Everywhere. I'm starting to think that the problem is simply that my heart beats in 3/4 time.

Sometimes climbing into a bed that smells of unfamiliar but, moreover, largely unremembered. Unimportant and unremarkable. Because at some point the who of the whole thing matters less than the what, collecting calluses to string together and build a fortress against what I can't even begin to prepare for. All in the name of poking sleeping monsters with sticks, really, to make sure that they're still sleeping and still monsters. Still with the scary sharp teeth. Like the man I read about who spent years in a Stalinist labor camp and, once released, dedicated his life to collecting keys without locks, as though the symbol of what had once trapped him had become what eventually set him free.

And while perhaps it is not the best decision to gather tangible relics of whatever it is that tortures you, I have heard somewhere that in the middle of the storm any port is liable to look like home.