Yesterday Travis and I decided to walk to a Bento/Sushi restaurant in downtown Portland for lunch. We'd heard the food was excellent and inexpensive. The restaurant was about 10 blocks downtown from our office, and turned out to be every bit as good (and inexpensive) as people said.

After our delicious meal, we began our journey back. It was a cold, blustery, drizzly day, but even so, we were enjoying just being out of the office. We were crossing a busy street at an intersection with a light (which was telling us we were welcome to cross) when suddenly a very largeish woman in a Dodge Neon rental car blatantly sped through the red light, nearly hitting both of us and never even glancing in our direction.

She pulled into the parking lot of the rental car company on that block, and I lost no time in approaching her.

"Excuse me," I said. She did not respond. Her back was to me as she tried her best to squeeze her bloated body out of the car. I'm really not exaggerating this. She was having quite a bit of trouble getting out.

"Excuse me, ma'am," I said again. She continued to ignore me. I repeated, loudly, several variations of "Excuse me, ma'am" at least six times as I followed her -- at a distance of no more than three feet -- into the rental office.

Finally, she had to turn around and face me in order to sit down in the waiting room of the office. I said "Excuse me" again, and at first her eyes darted away from me but then, as if having second thoughts, she decided to acknowledge me.

"What?" she replied, finally.

"I was wondering if you realize that you ran a red light back there. You nearly hit me and my friend."

"Well, what do you want me to do about it?"

At this, I was stunned for a moment. It took me a few seconds to come up with a response that didn't contain vulgarity.

"You could try to be more careful in the future. You could have killed us," I said finally.

"Why don't you go get a damn job and stop harassing people," she spat back.

Again, I was stunned. All I had wanted from this woman was a simple apology, an acknowledgment that she hadn't seen the light and would be more careful in the future. Was that too much to ask after she had nearly run me over? Apparently so.

As I was standing there with my mouth agape (I'm not used to such blatant rudeness), Travis finally caught up with me (at first he had waited back at the intersection, but then decided to follow me). He had apparently just caught the woman's last reply, and I was relieved when he said, quite loudly, exactly what I would have liked to say if I hadn't still been trying to collect my thoughts. This is what he said:

"BITCH!"

He then slammed the rental office door and we walked away.

I don't live downtown, so I very rarely encounter this level of rudeness. In fact, I don't think I've ever encountered this level of rudeness from an adult before. The big question in my mind is how best to respond to it.

Travis, having lived downtown all his life, had immediately insulted the woman. I can't say I think it was a bad decision, really. But what is more effective in getting through to someone like this woman? Will insulting her merely meet with her expectations of us (she had clearly insulted me by implying that I looked like a bum)? Would it be better to continue being nice and polite in hopes that she'll later realize what a horrible person she is and, hopefully, change herself for the better?

Your average religious person would quote the Bible, which says that returning a person's rudeness with kindness is like heaping hot coals on their head. But how much truth is there in this? I strongly believe that some people really are too self-centered to care.

Maybe I'll figure it out eventually.

Can't sleep, keep having horrible dream about ex girlfriend. We talk for a bit (her hair is different that real life, but otherwise she is the same), over dinner, and she tells me about this guy she's been cheating on me with and how she's lost interest in me etc,

She never cheated on me, to my knowledge, nor would I ever accuse her of such an act. I miss her horribly and can't help wodering if she's ok. We broke up on good terms in January, and by that I mean we weren't fighting or anything, and by good terms I mean her terms - I didn't want this.

She said her parents were moving and that her best friend was doing her best not to marry some asshole and she said a lot of other things that did not apply to herself and me, but that they somehow affected her and her ability to "handle a relationship". She claimed I was the only good thing going in her life, but she just couldn't "handle a relationship" right now.

Now every time we pass it saddens me, she just turns away with the saddest look I've ever seen on her face. It makes me want to cry so badly I can't stand it. Nothing hurts me more than to think I might have done something to hurt her or cause her anguish.

I can't help but think she was lying, whether consciously or not I don't know. She gives excuses for ending it, but I really think she was just afraid. Afraid that, come May, I would leave her (there was a chance I'd be going to MIT next semester, which is not the case anymore) and she would be hurt more than if she ended it now (January). The only other thing I can think of is that she stopped caring for me or found someone else, but I think if this was the case she'd have respect enough to tell me.

I had no plans to leave her, I would not have done so, I loved her - though I never told her so. I wish so very much to just walk up to her and tell her what I think - that her reasons for leaving me were illogical and didn't make sense if they were in fact the truth. If she was having trouble, she should let me help. If she's just afraid, I would tell her that I'd never leave her, that I love her, and that she makes me feel more complete and happier than any woman ever has or can. Instead I'm telling it to you, the random internet reader who happens to pass by this log.

Why? I don't know, maybe it's easier to tell random strangers, I know it's easier to say things electronically - it's almost as though you won't have to deal with the consequences of saying it, like it wasn't real because it didn't come from your mouth.

Kristin - if you read this, I love you, and I miss you. And given the chance, I'd be with you for as long as you're willing.

it's ridiculous in the morning on a wednesday, but i just have to drop in some commentary about monday morning...firstly, i'd like to damn the assassin for putting the idea into my head. i prolly shouldn't have done what i did, but, hey, i did it anyway; chalk it up to being intoxicated, angry, alone, and encouraged. "i'm sorry," he said to me, "but i have to go home tonite. you could always take the bishop with you..." i can never tell if he's joking. "mikey? hah. you've gotta be shitting me. doc, maybe, if agate wasn't trying...or swanson...mmm...swanson looks good." in fact, swanson had looked good from day one, but i'd be damned if i was gonna do anything about it. "hmm, perhaps you're right," he said, "you should try." it was a rather decisive statement. "what and fail miserably and totally make an ass of myself in front of my other players? you must be kidding." i think i laughed weakly. "you fail? nooo," he paused and looked at me with patent disbelief, "you can get him. you should try." and with that, the assassin left the party. some hours later, i finally won an ongoing battle of wits with swanson. i'd tried dancing, talking, singing, nuzzling, and cuddling, and at last it was the cuddling that wore him down. i didn't mean to win against swanson. i rather meant to win against the assassin, and prove that i couldn't win with swanson. oh well, anyway, this lands me with a lovely young virgin in my bed. i must've asked him a dozen times if he was sure it was what he wanted, and every time, the answer was yes. so, well...things occurred. i can't raise the assassin on the phone, now, and this makes me unhappy. i thought he'd like to know he'd won. i also think he should hear it from me first. just in case he *was* kidding...i am never sure with that one, and i am an unfortunate person to try to bluff. well, i've been stupid. perhaps really badly stupid. i don't regret it, but i fear the reprocussions because i have no idea what they are. i'm in limbo, here, and i hate not knowing what's going on. but tonight it should clear up. i hope. as long as i live, this will sit in my memories -- just another bitersweet taste of victory.

Which one of you geeks wrote this one?

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply.
Your question was:

> O been efficient sore ankle, I beechtree thee 2 ants sir mai quest
> chump,
>
> Is it best to have loved and lost, to have never loved at all, to have
> not loved but lost anyway, or to lose one's shirt to love?
>
> Oh, yes, and what do you think of everything2.com?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Ohm lee two ants?
}
} I advise you to cease all relations with Everything2 and put your shirt back
} on. That hussie E2 is just a wanna-be know-it-all, with delusions of
} grandeur.
}
} You owe the oracle 3 C!s and 200 XP.
You are as beautiful as you are cute... most of you anyway. The messages you leave on my answering machine sometimes just make me want to run to it and hug it. That would be pretty silly, don't you think? But since you're out there, who would know?

I miss waking up next to you. I miss the sweat that builds up between us when our skin has been in contact for too long. I miss the uncomfortable decision of trying to figure out what to do with my lower arm while lying there. I miss the monopolization of my life to the point at which I no longer felt the need to spend my time wandering the odd website or two.

What are you doing in the middle of the day, I wonder. I hope you are enjoying your classes. I hope you are enjoying your assistanceships. I probably wouldn't be enjoying them myself, but hope against the odds that you do. I hope they make you feel good about yourself.

I count the days until May. I count the days until you are here.

I know you are already here. Already always with me. I keep telling myself that, but it's not enough. I feel restless. Aimless. I feel like I have to write about angst when I really just want to write something funny. It must be just one of my moods... or is it? How much control over our own minds do we really have?

Let me be funny, please! I'd even give you a, err, a... hmm, what is it about our culture that makes me feel like I have to give you something in return? How about just a compliment? If only the world were funnier. All the death and destruction, the lies and fabrications, the attempts to insult our intelligence - it must be funny, somehow. It's probably just a matter of perspective and I have the wrong one.

I have been unemployed since February of 2001, that's 13 months for all you people who can't be bothered to look at dates and work it out for yourself. I have always worked in offices for a variety of financial institutions. Banks, stockbrokers, asset managers, but also in telecommunications, rubber manufacturers, and a load of other shitty places to work. Last year I studied to be a Fitness Instructor, having become sick of working in offices. I qualified not long ago. I sent my CV out to 50 gyms, and have had 6 interviews with various health clubs, all of which have been unsuccessful, and left me in the pits of depression.

Last week one of my old business agencies phoned me up out of the blue about a position in an accounts department, I said they could put me forward for it as I have nothing else to do. I went for the interview today, acted exactly how I always do in interviews, i.e. nervous and unable to put together a coherent sentence, but I got the fucking job, I found out about an hour ago! On the one hand I'm really happy, well actually more relieved to have got this job. But I can't believe I spend months trying to get into the fitness industry, all the time with genuine enthusiasm, then this shitty little accounts job comes along which I want, but not really badly, and I get it just like that. In one way I'm back to square one. I'm rejoining the ratrace, wearing my shitty suit which I thought I would never have to wear again. It just goes to show you that you can never really plan your life, well I can't seem to. I try to do things, but in the end it just boils down to chaos theory and chance. I still might go into the fitness industry, but I can see myself becoming lazy, and not bothering, and the moneys crap, so basically I'm getting fucked one way or the other. Anyways, I start tomorrow.

Ok, so my first daylog about my trip in Amsterdam was a little, shall we say, boring as shit.

I am having a great time here so far, apart from feeling a little sick and wanting some major dosage of Vitamin C, I couln't ask for more.

The bud here is amazing and most of the people tend to be very outgoing, although not as cheery and welcoming as the Irish.

Yesterday we went to the Van Gogh museum which was amazing. They had Monet paintings there too and it was beautiful. We went to a couple different coffee shops, and then headed to the Irish pub down the road from our hotel,called Dirty Nelly's.

It was fun because a rugby game was on and Jared and I just sat there all spaced out from Space cakes, getting a little tipsy from the drink.

For some reason Jared went out by himself after we left the bar, when he finally got back he was wasted and he ended up falling off the bed. I was laughing my ass off because he didn't get up for like 5 minutes.

When we woke up the next morning he didn't remember anything, which is typical I suppose. It is weird though because I have been waiting to come here for like six years and I still haven't really been able to fully process the fact that I am here yet. I have been thinking about a lot of shit while I have been here, which has made the experience a little strange. It is almost like I haven't been able to enjoy myself because I can't keep myself from thinking about things. I guess the weed isn't helping the situation because I always tend to think about my life and life in general in a very analytic way when I get stoned.

It's still been fun here, although I think I will be able to really go off about all that has happened when I get back to Ireland.

All in all the last two days have been quite enjoyable. I think next time I will only come for like three days though because my brain is starting to feel a little dead and I am such a workaholic, that I am getting bored and want to get back to work!

Ack!

Is that possible?!

Well ,cheers, till next time. Peace.

Spring Break 2002, day 3: Arlington, Texas

The world’s drying out right now, after two non-stop days of torrential, almost apocalyptic rain. For only the second or third time since I’ve been here the outdoors smells good, like things are growing and spring has actually come true. Funny thing about the rain, its song is chaotic and beautiful as any other, but it smells of rust and exhaust; toxic. That’s okay now though because it’s gone, leaving a bright blue sky and fresh osmosis for any green plants which have survived it.

I’m writing perched on the stairs of an apartment half a block from where I’ve been staying. Arlington has perhaps the most apartments of anywhere I’ve ever been. Dozens of complexes, each with one-hundred buildings, two stories high and all exactly alike, spread out over the flatscape like so many blotches on a red delicious apple’s skin, every complex packaged in its own cell wall of wrought iron or cyclone fencing. In the apartment I’m sitting by lives a Mexican woman who occasionally scolds her youngest one or two kids, and the one across the fence has seen four brightly-dressed black men come and go in their 140-decibel cars since I have sat down. Where I come from stagnation masquerades as diversity; here every self-similar block is rich with difference.

Dwelling on the past has never been one of my weaknesses, so I often do not realize how much I miss lost friends and family unless violently reminded. After not seeing some of my best friends ever for half a year, staying with them these few days has been just such a reminder. I have missed: having fun past 5 am routinely and without regret; laughing with those who appreciate the twisted and bizarre aspects of modern life; being with those who are open (and accordingly lie so little) about their sexuality; seeing reality with some innocence, that play-time makes as much difference in the long run as work-time. Voices, smiles, in-jokes and references, my longing for these things and more finally fulfilled.

So that’s where I stand for now, midway through my first real spring break. I’ve never really been the vacation type, more often choosing to stay where I am and pursue my own interests in the time allotted, and rarely having enough money in any case. But here, in an interesting place surrounded by people I love, on this vacation, I may have found happiness for the first time in a long time.

Who is this contradiction?
this southern belle overseas,
choosing Verona over the veranda.
She is making changes on her own terms
trading in gelato for Juleps, looking out over the turquoise blue sea instead of
bluegrass
--waiting for two Gentlemen who are not callers.

for L.

The sky is as bored as I am. Its gray and drippy - not rain, just this sort of ceaseless, damp, fog-drizzle through dead, 75-degree weather. It's not even warm enough to go swimming since the apartment complex pool is unheated. So I sit in the midst of piles of textbooks, sketch pads, and clothes and node for the first time in months. It's not like I have much else better to do.

I'm supposed to be excited right now, I'm supposed to be thrilled. Not only am I a teenager on spring break, my best friend (who I have seen once since I moved to this hellhole 3 years ago) is coming down for 5 whole days in a little under a week. And I just found out today. And yet, the jumping-up-and-down and shrieking-high-pitched-ly-with-delight wore off hours ago. To be steadily replaced by boredom. So now the sky is picking up on it.

The cloud cover has made up its mind to thin out. Its so bright it hurts my eyes. The wind is picking up, probably blew in off Galveston. It didn't bring any fun with it. Just blinding whiteness thats taking over my room. White with no change, light grey with no change. Colorless. And the sky is just showing the monotony.

Someone out there is looking up at the sky and seeing the promise of rain. And someone imaginative who likes clouds is seeing shapes of shadow and mist in the sky. The little boy at the end of the block is probably seeing a sky crying from a cancelled Little League Baseball game. Looking out the window, I can see that the cloud cover's blown over.

I'm sitting on the train on the way home from a pleasant evening in the pub with a friend. I notice the conductor having a discussion with someone a few seats in front of me. It's a bloke in his fifties or so. He's a little inebriated and he can't find his ticket.

After much fumbling he finally produces a tattered, scraggy looking ticket. The conductor frowns at it. I can't hear them talking over the train noise, so I'm watching a kind of mime drama, but I've seen this before, so I know what's happening. It's an old ticket, days old, no longer valid. The conductor goes to check some other people's tickets while the drunk bloke goes through the pointless routine of patting various pockets as if a valid ticket might have been magically bestowed upon him by a benevolent pooka.

By this point I'm pretty sure that he's going to be asked to leave the train at the next stop, but there's a new development. As the conductor comes back after giving him his last chance to produce a ticket, the drunk bloke turns around to the chap sitting behind him, apparantly a friend of his (although not enough of a friend to buy him a ticket). The friend has a cardboard box on his lap marked 'B & R POTATOES'. The box has holes in it and straw coming out. The drunk bloke fumbles with the box for some time, giving me time to wonder what could be in there that will help him. Surely he doesn't expect to find a train ticket? Perhaps he's going to produce a bottle of whiskey and try to bribe the conductor?

Finally, he gets it open, and to my considerable surprise and, I must say, delight, produces a live rabbit. The rabbit is brown, with floppy ears. Despite being rather the worse for drink, the bloke is very very careful with the bunny, cradling it and stroking it while he talks to the conductor. The rabbit, for its part, sits quietly in his arms, apparantly quite at peace with hurtling though the countryside on a train in the middle of the night. Mentally, I name the bunny Harry. It just looks like a Harry.

As he continues to talk to the conductor, it's obvious that the drunk bloke feels that Harry will somehow help his case. I still can't hear, so I imagine the various things he could be saying. Bribery? "Let me stay on the train, and you can have this rabbit." Pity? "You wouldn't throw a man with a rabbit off a train, surely?" Or maybe this is expecting too much of the drunk - perhaps he's just hoping to distract the conductor. "Well, you're right, I don't have a ticket, but LOOK! A BUNNY! Look at the BUNNY!"

Alas, whatever his tactic, it fails. The conductor dismisses his argument, and he is told to leave the train. He carefully returns Harry to its owner, and gets off at the next stop. As the train pulls away, he waves. To Harry, perhaps.

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