Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Dear everyone,

In case you missed it somehow, today is the last day of January and 2007 is off like racehorses and prom dresses and other things that move to other places with alacrity. (Never having gone to a prom I can’t be strictly sure about the accuracy of that second one, but you’re not here for accuracy anyway.) I have spent the month in the following ways: making new friends and then drinking with them, stammering, canoodling, pacing, scratching behind the ears of friendly dogs, proposing to inanimate objects (see also: my red colander, new couch, and the new Busdriver album), shaking my ass, cooking, drinking with old friends, watching documentaries about under the water, and trying to bribe the telephone to ring. Also, lying on the floor, idly conspiring with the ceiling to run away to the very tip of Gibraltar in order to commune with the wee monkeys and set up a network of tin-cans-and-strings telephones to North Africa.

In all I’m pretty satisfied with January. I spent what felt like most of the last few months prior to this one arguing, and feeling by turns annoyed and ignored, and putting a firm end to that was the smartest possible start to my year. (You may have noticed that I did not write to you in November or December, and that was because most of what I had to talk about was strictly off-the-record sort of stuff.) I don't take care of myself as well as I ought, which is not at all good since this is the only self that I have.

The trouble with me is that I am by default kinder than is strictly necessary, so I am constantly stabbing myself in all of my softer places. I am honestly trying to improve myself, and part of that needs to be finding a balance between what is best for you and what is best for me. With any luck, the two won't often be so distant anyway.

And man, am I incredibly rich in friends, I've realized again lately; more friends than any one very flawed little girl really deserves. All these people who accept all of my eccentricities, not just the cute ones. It's a profoundly shocking thing, and one that I hope to never grow used to.

As it stands today I am at home and content in this keyhole. As though on the inside of my skin, written in ribbon, were the words, “If you lived here, you’d be home by now.”


Monday, January 29, 2007

I was reading today about a sort of parasite called Sacculina that takes over crabs. What it does, this little barnacle, is wander over a crab until it finds a joint, at which point it injects itself into the creature. It then wraps itself around the crab's eyestalks and legs and grows until part of it peeks out from under the little guy's shell.
At this point, the Sacculina takes over completely, steering the crab around and occasionally making a boy crab look like a girl crab.

I just thought you should know.

Yesterday I met a very nice old dog with an equally nice old man walking it. We had a brief conversation that seemed to speak directly to another discussion I had had only moments before, and talking to TMS tonight he wondered how it is that I keep getting the answers I need from the world around me. I told him just what I've said before, that we have made ourselves a world of metaphors which are always revealing themselves if we pay close enough attention. That it's all a matter of looking, and looking is what I do. It's not a secret. I've been lost in this driveway before.

Friday, January 26, 2007

When I woke up this morning, my whole skin hurt. Not badly, just lightly bruised all over, like after a long afternoon rolling down unforgiving hills. From the top of my silly haircut to the tips of my cold little toes. I lay there in my warm comfortable bed for a few minutes, considering. I haven't fallen down lately, and I wasn't drinking last night in order to have fallen down and forgotten it. Didn't feel sick; probably not the flu. So I did what any sensible person would do in such a situation: demanded sympathy.
Tobes answered the phone quietly--it was about 11:00 on the East coast and he was at work making widgets or whatever he does now. "Captain Toby," I wailed, "my skin hurts all over and I think I might be melting! Feel sorry for me right now, please!" I could here him click something on his computer and then draw a breath. "Poor mouse," he answered, "should I call you a whaaaambulance?"
In retaliation I called his girlfriend and told her I needed her to short sheet their bed for me tonight. Jerk.

So by tonight my skin still hurts and I think I'm going to take a very long bath. I'm probably just very tired, after Wednesday's lengthy girlparty and last night's show. Inside my head is all rungohide, so everything is normal there, and I'm just playing "When Sunny Gets Blue" over and over again until I feel differently about things. (There are many reasons that that song is my favorite in the whole history of songs, but the big one is that for the entire length of it I feel exactly perfect.) I find it incredibly amusing that I've got you all fooled into seeing Confident and Well Put Together when, if you were to put a buttercup under my chin, you would really see Vulnerable and Easily Broken all stained yellow. But I picked these shoes, and now I'll have to just brazen out the rest of the walk.

Be nice to me, or I will short sheet your bed.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Oh man, Seattle, you are all up in my dance space. Every time I turn around, there you are, trying to climb into my shopping cart and hide underneath the apples. Doesn't seem to matter that I've already looked at you sternly, that my shopping cart is already filled with things I put there myself.

We can hang out and listen to records, Seattle, but you are not coming home with me.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

You know what I love? I love that in a few months it'll be light until 10:30, and that when it's happening it'll really irritate the heck out of me but that right now a sunset just before bed sounds like the best thing going.

The tip of my nose has had a twitch for days. I don't know what that means, but it's provided me with a valid excuse to walk up to many people and go, "Hey, can you see my nose twitching? You know, like a bunny? No? Are you sure? Look right here. Because it certainly feels like it's twitching." Please do not make any references to Bewitched or you will be fired immediately.

I have a bottle of Land Before Time chewable vitamins on my desk at work, because I cannot be expected to swallow those great big horse pill multivitamins, especially not before coffee, but since my diet consists almost exclusively of pizza, beer, and sushi I need some sort of supplement. My problem currently is that everything ever flavored like grape is gross, and now all that is left in the bottle is a thick layer of purple dinosaurs. I don't want to throw them away because that would be wasteful, but I'm absolutely not going to eat them. I'm seriously considering turning them into magnets.

I am tired of wearing pants. I really enjoyed the snow and all, but now I'd like it to warm up just enough that my legs don't freeze off in a skirt, please. Actually, could we just fast forward to spring? Thanks.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

You know, one of these days here soon we are going to go on an adventure. I haven't felt much like adventuring lately, oscillating unreasonably between refusing to leave my apartment and staying out much, much too late; all of which is a kind of adventure, certainly, but not the right kind.

So my plan for us is this: we are going to build a clown car out of popsicle sticks and chewing gum and drive around the block twelve times listening to the Stereo Total song "I Am Naked" the whole time. I can guarantee that I'll be giggling uncontrollably for the entire experience because I think that song is the funniest shit going, and by the time we've finished round twelve and pulled back up in front of your apartment you'll be ready for pretending we're unicorns or bank robbing or boxing or whatever ridiculous thing I've decided is next. And that, there, will be our adventure. Or anyway, part of it.

Because you know what e e cummings meant when he said, "You and I wear the dangerous looseness of doom and find it becoming. Life,for eternal us,is now;and now is much too busy being a little more than everything to seem anything,catastrophic included." Back before I wrote your name on my games of MASH and rigged it so you always won you perhaps wondered if it was even possible to build a clown car out of anything but cartoons. And clearly, the answer to that is yes.

But the more important answer is that the next rest stop might be inhabited by a lost princess with cornflower blue eyes, and we could be her only way to safety. And three towns over could be the shortbread recipe of my dreams. On the other side of this very city there just might be one last lamp with one last genie with one last wish, and I could totally waste that wish on a lifetime supply of gravy.

And that, there, might be another part of the adventure.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

I waited at the bus stop today with the old man. It had been a few weeks since I'd seen him and I was starting to worry, and my relief was clearly plain to him when he sat down and patted my leg. We didn't say much, he slumped at the shoulders and my eyelids sandy with lack of sleep. I've been dreaming the last few nights of dead girls; no one I can recognize awake, but all certainly no longer alive. I spend all of these dreams trying to save, fix, or understand, and they're exhausting.

He smiled thinly at me, looking older than he ever has before, skin stretched tight over his temples. I watched his hands, lightly clasped on his lap and trembling slightly, and wondered where he goes when he gets off the bus.

Later, on the way home, a man sat with a thick picture frame propped on his knees, unconsciously commuting in disguise as a masterpiece.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Tonight, internet, was a night of first things.

The most important of these first things is that I was, strangely, recognized as the muppet-headed personality behind this very website. Now, I've been at this for a few years, and although there are many of you out there that I don't know, none of you have ever wandered up at girls night (or, for that matter, anywhere else) and said hello.

I, honestly, had absolutely no idea what to say, having accepted the fact of existing in near-total obscurity. But, seriously? Second coolest thing that's happened to me so far this year.

The other first thing is that I was tricked into agreeing to karaoke for the first time ever, and, bolstered by whiskey, made my debut with "Hit Me With Your Best Shot." I have really got to stop agreeing to do things in the name of adventure, but the benefit of doing such things at a girl party is that the ladies said lots of nice things about my performance afterwards. They were totally lying (stage presence?!) but I appreciated the vote of confidence. It's too bad that, singing, I sound suspiciously like Scuttle from The Little Mermaid, but fortunately the whole thing eventually degenerated into a dance party in front of the stage while people better equipped handled the microphone.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The trouble is...the trouble is that not all rectangles are squares.

I have a decidedly unpleasant habit of turning anything resembling a molehill into a mountain of card houses, and because I've had all this unmotivated free time lately everything that might invoke dwelling has had food shoved at it. That way when my brain makes attention-grabbing jabs at my soft bits and starts with the, "Hey, why isn't..." I can just tell it, "No, no time for that now. Making cookies, you see. And then this casserole and some muffins. And...pasta! That, there, that you want to think about will just have to be thought about at some other time."

Having a great time, though. Flour-smudges-on-the-nose-and-solo-underpants-dancing kind of fun.

Meanwhile, I'm thinking to myself, "Self, why not change your name to Lorraine? Why not wear your hair in pincurls and learn hypnosis and go on the road with a three-legged dog?" And self answers back, "Sugar, why not just calm your shit down and breathe?"

And what I really want to know is this: if one is playing Trivial Pursuit with someone famous, does that person get a pie if the answer is themselves?

Late tonight, all cooked out and completely derailed by a lingering trace of unexpected vanilla, quiet and pecking softly back at myself on the little blue typewriter. Smiling.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

On the bus today I found myself distracted not by the snow, which was quietly re-covering everything that had been made clear since Wednesday, but by the open circles under the evergreens. At the base of each lay a swath as wide as its branches of clear ground, places where the leaves had proven too thick for the light snow to filter its way down.

The grass in those clear spaces looked wildly vulnerable, bordered as they were by the uniform white of the fresh snowfall. As though I had caught it in the middle of revealing something it hadn't quite meant to say.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

If you were me, you would like:

Curls, on other people
The way that babies heads smell
Drinking champagne from the bottle
The flashes of cameras from the Space Needle at dusk
The gloaming
Being petted
Elderly couples holding hands
Unexpectedly long phone calls

If you were me, you would not like:

Late buses

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Snow is a pretty good trade-off for sadly foiled dinner plans, thick slushy flakes lightly trailing down cheeks reddened from the cold, tangling damply in eyelashes. And so for hours I wander through the empty, muffled streets, walking and walking, feeling at the same time both invisible and covered in photophores, pinpointable from space. Charmed and untouchable.

Later, pushing open the door to a warm apartment, prepared to sit in the dark for hours watching the snowfall. Realizing that it's not so much that everything will get better but that it already is.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Meet me at the corner between there and here. I'll be holding my hands cupped together as though hidden in the soft folds of my palm is a secret, something small and bright and only to be shared just then. Like grains of sand that could be talked into giving up a wealth of smoke signals and soft touches, whatever I have concealed in my hands could change everything.


I am always awkward and that particular corner makes my heart pound and my mouth run. But for the duration of this fantasy we will pretend that that is not so, that I am capable of completing sentences in sequence and do not need a haircut and five really deep breaths. That I do not put too much stake in plans I have yet to formulate. Pretend that this is a costume party and I am only playing the part of the fool.

Only I'm thinking in terms of adventure, now, in terms of gathering up all of the pieces that are more lost than others and turning them into a new skin. Thinking of folding opportunity up and keeping it in my back pocket in case I need it.
Bonus! 2006 in pictures and favorite shows. Madness! Scandal! Intrigue! ...blurriness!


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Hello, handsome, where've you been all my life?

The new couch is here, and seriously, if it were legal to elope with a piece of furniture the couch and I would be on our way to Vegas by now. It is comfy and gigantic and my living room looks a little bit silly with this big piece of furniture in it, but I'll do some rearranging today and hopefully the people that want the old couch will come and get it this afternoon. And then I'm never leaving the new couch again. It's a good thing I went out last night to a dinner party at the French/Harrison residence (and played a lot of Pictionary, too, because that is how I roll), because from now on if you want to see me I'll be holding court on the new couch. Bring snacks.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Whenever Alex would misbehave as a child his parents--who had never wanted kids and didn't like him very much once they got him--would lock him in a closet. The closet was full of his mother's spare clothes, and there was a little chair for him in there right next to a pile of battered formal shoes. They'd leave him in there for hours, sometimes, forgetting all about him, until he was forced by hunger or thirst or excretory options to bang on the door until they remembered him again. He eventually grew fond of the closet and would act out in order to be sent there, and by the time I met him when he was about eighteen he claimed to do his best thinking in small, dark, confined spaces.

This explains much about my friend, and he would often disappear for a day or so when things got bad. If we needed him, we could find him in the closet. Everyone regarded this as a harmless eccentricity and never really talked about it, but on the day that he and Jacinda fell in love with an audible thump I mentioned that he might want to warn her about his occasional disappearing act. Alex, fathoms deep in love already, claimed that he wouldn't ever need the closet again because now he had 'Cinda. Which was very romantic and all but certainly a lie, and sure enough after they'd been married for a while he vanished. She called looking for him and I told her to check the closet, and there he was, sitting cross-legged on the floor and thinking. He still does this today, only now his small daughter thinks it's a very good game of hide-and-seek and continually destroys his secret quiet time, and I've started to hope that he'll soon stop hiding in closets.

I have been sick, sick, sick this week, something about staying out much later than I should be while it's been cold. I'm mostly better now but I can't hear a thing, and though I have claimed grandly to be dying of Legionnaire's Disease it's probably just a bad cold.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

After a long and friendly conversation with my insurance (who seem to believe that just paying for a refill is the same thing as getting it, although to my knowledge money has not yet proven to be effective birth control, and the last thing this poor world needs right now is miniature samanthas running about, quoting poems and demanding dance-offs and losing at thumb wrestling) I tottered off to the corner store. My neighborhood homeless guy was there, a man who on his better--or, arguably, worse--days tends to remember me. Today was one of those days, and he greeted me with a wave and asked if he could tell me a story. I said sure, because memory doesn't care where it lives and even old homeless guys should be able to tell their stories. I missed most of what he had to say, something about troubles getting his medication, because I found myself hypnotized by the ridges and cakes of dirt on his hands.

I'm pretty sure I didn't need to listen, because those hands told me all I needed to know. I smiled and he smiled and we understood each other anyway. We usually do.

I have recently become possessed of a desire to learn how to make meatloaf. I haven't actually eaten meatloaf since I was eight and my mother, who is an awful chef, decided that uncooked rice would be a great thing to add to the mix. None of our teeth broke but our appetite for meatloaf did, and I can only believe that this desire means that my domestic habits are spiraling rapidly out of control. Soon I'll be doing things like making reindeer out of clothespins and macrame and coming home before midnight.

Today, in case y'all missed it, is the perihelion, which means that it's time for gossiping with the sun. You only get to do this once a year, so make it good.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Dear 2007,

Hello and welcome! My name is samantha, and I am very glad to meet you.

When you arrived last night I was drinking champagne with my favorite Josh and the charming Maarten. I had been a little wary of the party, because I don't do well with rooms full of strangers, but it turned out that after enough drinking and general tomfoolery I ended up having a really good time. Many different types of things were imbibed, trips to the photo booth were made, and we eventually made our way to the 5 Point at an indecent hour for things that were fried. I haven't stayed out until almost dawn in a very long time and now I've done it twice in one weekend.

2007, I find you very interesting so far.

Your predecessor, 2006, was for me a year of distancing, of healing from 2005 and all the years before. And though parts of it were bad--the deaths of Jeremy and John, for example, and the troubles with my failing grandmothers--I feel more and more myself, more confident in my own skin. I'm not so scared anymore, and I hope that once I stop being scared I can start being brave. So I really spent most of 2006 talking myself out of corners and trying to hurt as few feelings as possible. And I got what I wanted out of the year: new friends and old ones, monkeys, flowers, adventures, miracles, epiphanies and heartbreaks. I had my wisdom teeth out, went to Nashville and hung out with Ryan, visited Boston. I was sad and restless and inexplicably popular. And I wrote it all down, even if sometimes in code, and while it is sometimes embarrassing to have a detailed record of my behavior I feel like it would be worse not to.

What I want from you, 2007, is more of the same. I'm learning how not to take things so tragically but I could use a little help on your end. I'd like more monkeys and flowers and adventures and recipes, enough rain for effective frog rain boot usage, smiles to bottle up and save for later. I want six epiphanies, at least thirteen perfect moments, and one sunburn to keep me grumpy.

I want to learn to be brave enough to be bold, to be a girl that people can be proud of. To be worth all of the attention that I get.

So lets strike a compromise, 2007. I'll try to go easy on you, to spend you doing worthwhile things, if you agree to do the same for me. Deal?