I'm not a poet, but...

Tonight, let us go there one last time
to where the rooftop's majesty scrapes cloud from
a faceless moon.

Tonight, let us pass unnoticed, not wearing
robes or painted armor.

Let's go to Mars and mine the reddish sands for gold,
for the wanton treasures of space.

Let's forget about mirrors for a moment
and insist on being children.

The other day I was looking at a photo album with my boyfriend's niece, who is two years old. There were some really old pictures of me in there. I was trying to explain to Juliana that that little girl was actually me...she seemed not to believe me. I wonder at what age a person starts to realize that people age? When I was younger I remember thinking that kids were "kids" and grownups were "grownups": not creatures at different stages of development, but enitirely disparate species.

I wish I could remember what it was like to be immortal. Oh well, all my radical ideas about immortality and aging (or lack thereof) have certainly occurred to others.

<M_Turner> "What's up?" <me> "Nothing. I think I am going to daylog. If you want to read that." Is it true that there is a point in your life were it hits you "Nothing really really really matters"? I suppose I belong to the school of those who would say that.

I did it tonight. it had been three months… or so. I donno, I don’t feel bad, in fact I almost feel good, I feel so much freer: i.e. crying makes the world not seem so bad.

What is the problem you might ask? Not really anything, nothing really matters. I suppose there aren't enough hours in the day for me to do everything I need/want to do. Perhaps I do the things I want to do before the things I need to do, but that is because I know that there will not be enough time in the day for everything. I cannot do it all, I don’t go to bed in time enough as it is… pay it forward too many nights in a row; where does it get me? Farther and farther behind, that is where.

I donno. I don’t care if I finish everything in a day that I need to. I told myself I need to start carrying a notebook with all the things that I need to finish, all the things I promised someone I would do. I will get my act together… sounds like a New Years resolution.. or a pie crust promise; yeah you know, "Easily made, easily broken".

I slack off, I don't have enough energy to fight the world, and not enough to keep up. So, I don’t try either. I sit where I am, and do what little I can, and then I do what's next. The under tow of the world pulls me in its wake, but not fast enough to keep up. *sigh* I don't try anymore. When I say I will do it, relax, I will get to it eventually.

I am leaving for Florida with the student senate I am a part of… I leave Thursday actually; I am there till Monday. I was excited, but I haven't heard back from my friend, I don’t know if he is coming up or not… and well… nothing really matters.

OK enough woe me. I am fine… just very very numb.

Do you trust yourself to make it to the next exit ramp on the road of life?

Directions.

Passing every mile marker I find more I have passed over, missed, or lost to the mysteries of time.

Perhaps I should start at the beginning.

Or maybe I already have. I'm not sure when the beginning is. Birth was a beginning. Death was a beginning. Relocation was a beginning. Ends were beginnings and beginnings were endings to beginnings before. When did I begin to measure the stretch of road on which I now travel?

One more toy soldier falls and one more rises to take its place. Are people so cheap that we can replace them so easily? We move forward. It is the only real choice, but how well do we handle the moments in between?

Perhaps I should start at the beginning.

Things are jarringly incomplete, but this seems to have become the recurring thread of my life. I taste wine without really swallowing it. When I swallow the wine it becomes a poison. Difficult it is to understand, but when I travel through the crossings on the road I set something off and I put change in motion. Yet, it doesn't always impact me directly. It is not supposed to. My vision is always meant to be left jarringly incomplete.

Perhaps I should start at the beginning.

I had a vision once and I lost track of it. I became overwhelmed by perceived failures and dropped into chronic depression and eventually suicide. My death itself was jarringly incomplete. I went all the way over and then came back via my own decision. The reasons for my decision were based upon being told about, and then visualizing, events that were yet to come in this frame of reality. The events I was advised of happened, much as I had anticipated, and then they came to an end. The riddle didn't make any more sense after the pieces had been played. The riddle itself was a model by which I was meant to learn how to play out my own life. I was merely visiting.

I still haven't started at the beginning.

Losing faith in yourself is the greatest crime you can commit against the soul. Not just doubting yourself, but completely losing faith in yourself. I had dreams I decided I was not good enough to achieve. There were things I wanted to see happen that I believed never could be. I hoped and prayed for change but none came. I was not able to inject anything into the dreams and thus they eluded me. I failed to realize that I needed to act in order to succeed and that things would not come to me.

Never lose faith in yourself.

Everything was rather bland at one point early on in my life. Other people were outlining my life and all I wanted was to become a published writer. How odd that seems now as publication remains rather unimportant. Writing is merely for self-discovery now and I still intend to write the novel I was meant to write. It just no longer matters that it is published. I used to need to have others massage my ego. Now my ego is so damned huge that massaging it causes it to go into cardiac arrest. I am here to set the stage for my next journey. This one may have already played itself out. I remain to solve one mystery. It is all that really matters to me, aside from all those damned people I try to help and impact from time to time. I have to find what has been lost.

This will be the hardest thing you will ever do.

These were the last words spoken to me while I was still on the other side. I wasn't sure what they meant. The hardest thing certainly wasn't coming back. I came back stronger and with the ability to do things I never could do before. My faith in myself with restored ten-fold. Leaving everything I knew in New England and coming to Florida wasn't all that hard. There were those it was difficult to say good-bye to, but the operation went fairly smoothly. Following the signs and locating the woman who spoke to me in the dream that followed my death was strange but not all that difficult. Playing things out the way they were predicted to happen wasn't all that hard. Even losing my job, my car and all my money wasn't all that difficult. I walked and fought and battled my way back to solvency. It was actually rather amusing trying to survive. I lived in a bus station for a while. What could be the hardest thing I would ever do?

The emptiness.

When I came back there was a mandate, to find someone and to make contact with them and to follow the signs that took me through a series of lessons. It was an adventure greater than any that movies or books could have brought to the table. Everyone who became involved understood in a strange way and helped me by giving me everything that they could. Then it ended. The end credits rolled and everything was the way it was supposed to be, a comedic tragedy with its own life within a life. Once it ended I landed in a fairly mundane job, which I have now been at for more than three years. The visions and dreams stopped. I began working with a group of talented and creative people on a television show involving puppets. I got married. Everything felt rather ordinary.

Ordinary life feels more like death to me than anything I've ever encountered.

The visions returned several months ago along with the vivid and disturbing dreams. The images came slowly, as if testing the waters to see how I would react. Then they became more concrete. I saw death and destruction all around me and people in pain. In death I had seen a river along which people suffered and died. In life the dreams give me a city in flames with people fighting each other to survive. The dreams also gave me back the cabin in the woods where I once saw Tina, the woman who guided me to Orlando. She has left the cabin, she is no longer relevant, but the lesson of the cabin remains. It has a new occupant, a face and form most familiar to me. I don't have to ask who she is, but she is missing. She is nowhere to be found, swallowed by the mists of time. She cries out to me and wants desperately to be found but I don't know where to look. And now I must decide whether to commit all the strength and energy required to find her or to continue with the ordinary life I have become unhappily comfortable in.

I have to find my wings.
My decision may require them.

My world is spinning a little too fast.

I celebrated my 26th birthday on Sunday with a real lack of fanfare. Didn't have a party, didn't go out with friends, just stayed home and contemplated my existence for a few hours. I have plenty to be thankful for, like the fact that every day I go to a job where I actually have the opportunity to make a difference in the world. I'm in the best shape of my life. I'm paying my bills. I didn't kill anybody. All in all, I haven't done too bad this year.

I looked back on the past quarter century and realized that although there is still so much I want to do and see, I've already come a long way. I'm proud of that. And although my life isn't excatly how I want it to be, I'm a lot closer now than I was a year ago, let alone ten.

My only fears associated with growing older seem to be centered around feelings of nostalgia, that I'm having the time of my life and it's all downhill from here. luckily, I have been proved wrong thus far. With any luck, things will stay that way for a long time.

Tonight I wear the gloves to hide the hands. I cut the fingers off to touch you. They are cloud and black. Two blue shoes to kick off before I jump in bed with you. You let me leave my socks on. My hat to hide a nest I keep on my head- the birds have all left and now all I have is bats in my belfry. No long sleeves. I have to move to let the blood flow to fingertips to let love grow. Fingertips are how I love you. If I lose them I will lose my love. How will I love you without my hands? I could not profane your breasts with stumps, so I love my cracked and shredded hands that become special when they touch your face, your hair, your thighs. Touching you in the dark is the best love poem I can write for you. No rhyme but lots of rhythm you produce for my tongue to release- long syllabled words without consenants. My spoken word for you is a language only lovers speak. The best words are made on the intake, the uncontrolled and violent, wild and gutteral. The words from the back of the throat are closest to the heart, and the words I trace on your skin are the best ones I've ever written.

Yesterday my cousin had an appointment to take her sick and aged feline to the vet in order to relieve it of its pain and suffering. When it came time to get it destroyed, however, she couldn't bring herself to do it. My father volunteered to do it for her, and she organised an appointment for this morning. His actions were true to his word - this morning, while my cousin was out, he arrived at her flat, found the key under the mat, acquired the animal, and took it to the vet.

The problem?


He took the wrong cat.

I'm sanguine, all told.

Tired and lonely, and more than a bit full of trepidation, I nevertheless feel that things aren't going too badly. They could be worse, the letters from silly companies who want me to buy their wares or saddle me with debt have slowed down to a trickle, and on some days even stopped. That's something I've noticed, spam has reduced junk mail.

A good side to SPAM? At last? /me shrugs.

You win some, you lose some.

I had to leave work Friday morning because I could barely sit upright from pains in my stomach. Twenty minutes later I was flat out on my sofa sleeping. That afternoon all weekend plans were called off and I settled down for a few days in a feverish haze.

In the catbox, noone knows you are knocked out from the massive offensive mounted by millions and millions and millions of Macrophages, brutally hammering the bad guys somewhere in the lower abdomen battlefields.

Sunday afternoon I went to see the doctor on a whim. He drained me of some blood and ordered me to take a piss in a plastic cup.

Four hours later I woke up having glimpses of a smiling nurse's face. She told me her name (which I immediately forgot) and that I was going to stay here for a few hours until the narcosis wore off. Both of my hands and my chest were moored to various instruments, giving me flashbacks to the final moments of Bishop the android.

Apparently my intestines had undergone a small amputation. You see, somewhere a little above and to the right of your hip is a completely useless piece of biology. This thing goes by many names depending on language and culture. I grew up where it's called blindtarm, but english speaking people (and indeed Latin speaking ones) calls it something else.

They took my appendix without asking.

How rude.

Monday morning I was rolled into room 890, ordered to remove my boxers and slip into something that would only look good on say, Hilary Swank. Pyjamas and robe, hospital issue, obviously isn't for swanking, but for being sick in. I let go since I was sick.

Then Mr. Coward presented himself. He was the only other person in the 5-bed room. At the age of 83 he had outlived most of his family despite twenty-odd years of alcoholism, arrests by Gestapo during the war and had nearly gone overboard during a North Atlantic crossing in the 1930's.

He was brought up in a very strict missionary family where his mother rarely had any kind words to offer him and his two brothers. His father on the other hand was one of the kindest people he had ever known. How those two people came to love each other was a mystery he said he would never solve. He woed to never have anything to do with religion from the day he left home.

At the age of 17 he became an apprentice on an international merchantman, landing in places like Singapore, San Diego, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo. During a particularly violent crossing of the North Atlantic he found himself on deck trying to make it to the machine room. A sudden wave washed him off his feet, treatening to throw him overboard. As it happened, he got hold of a ladder at the very last moment, avoiding the mid-winter Atlantic with the smallest margin possible.

During the war he had been a part of the Norwegian resistance, personally blowing up a German phone exchange inside the Bank of Norway in Oslo. Several days later he and his accomplice were arrested by Gestapo. Mr. Coward managed to lie himself out of it, but his friend was executed at dawn the following day.

After the war he studied to become a civil engineer, got married and had three sons. When his wife died he teamed up with the widow of one of his brothers. This turned out to be a bad move. She was an alcoholic, and following some intense years of drinking he had become one too. It took him over twenty years to break free from the confines of alcoholism and the self-loathing that comes with it. The only thing close to wine he drinks today is grape juice. He is convinced that's what keeps him alive. I'm not so sure.

He had no hearing aid, had his own teeth and didn't repeat any of his stories. Although his head wasn't 83, his body was. In spite of his somewhat reduced ability to do anything useful, everything from the neck up was pristine.

That's how far not whining can take you.

The following morning they let me go home with my pockets full of antibiotics. My stomach muscles would have relegated Brad Pitt directly to the gutter, and my walking style was eerily reminiscent of Mr. Coward's. Too bad laughing felt like being George Foreman's sparring partner.

My father would have told me that it was supposed to hurt, but since he's no longer around, I must tell myself in a grown-up sort of way.

It's supposed to hurt.

Damn.

i am Not Certain
where to Begin.

i am Struck (as if In The Face) by
The Wonder
YOU carry around with YOU; in a Bag
made from the Skin around YOUR heart.

and i wish for a Light
to Strike YOU
and
Cleave Open
the dark Thing
that Sits On YOUR Mind;

because YOU
must
See

how
The Grass Deepens
Where YOU
walk.

And i will
Not
Allow
my heart to Sit in YOUR hands

unless

YOUR hands are

Resting In Mine.

i can Plead
for YOU
and
Push My Way In.

But i will only Move
Into YOUR chest

if YOU Close
The
Hole
Be
Hind
Me.

Based on a true story.

The train approaches Alphington
Durry out and I get on.
The lights are bright, the carriage gleams
And full of homies, who it seems
Are playing with their mobile phones
Showing off their new ring-tones.
"Look, Melissa!" squeals one rat
(In trakkies and a baseball hat
Which surely cost a hundred dollars
From the Mooks tag on the collar)
To some equally vacuous cow
Who, chewing gum, turns to her now.
"I downloaded this today!
"So little did I have to pay!
"The latest hit from Destiny's Child
"On my mobile now resides!"
And out pours some mindless ditty
Sung by some blonde, standard-pretty
And written by some coked-up goon -
Melissa, enraptured, hears this tune
And procalaims it a most wondrous thing
That on the mobile it should ring.

Sighing, I pull out a book
Flip it open, have a look
But all this is to no avail -
Thanks a lot, Connex Rail!
Though by reading I might try
To make this quarter hour fly by
My meditiation is without cease thwarted
By a shrill voice, of course recorded
Who every station must remind us
Where we are and what is our terminus.
"Stopping All Stations To Flinders Street"
I sigh relief at "this service complete"
And stepping off I make the vow
As I have done for three months now
That next time I'll pass my driving test
And sit in gridlock with the rest.


I wrote most of this on the train a few months ago and found it today while cleaning out my room. It amused me enough so that I a) addded the last four lines or so and b) decided to post it here for you to use up your votes on. I know some lines don't properly rhyme and stuff but oh well.

And just when you thought things couldn't get any better...

Those of you who follow my daylogs noticed that I had a bad day on Monday. Well, things just took a turn for the interesting.

Short version:

I was pickpocketed.

Long version:

I had stopped by Argos to pick up a CD holder to keep all my backups organised. You wouldn't believe how many Cds a photographer needs to keep all digital pictures (A picture is 1 MB per original JPEG. Then 5-6 MB per original TIFF, and then another 5-6 MB per edited TIFF. That makes about 10-12 MB per image. Which means you can fit less than 100 images on a CD. I take about 300 pictures a week... You do the math), so I was happy to finally find a proper solution.

At about 13:45, I decided to head home, and discovered I was peckish. To celebrate my cleverness about the Cds (I know.. bad excuse. But good enough ;), I decided to stop by Tescos and get some stuff, so I could make yummy food. I paid the items with a 20 pound note, and shoved my wallet in my inner pocket of my jacket, before dropping the change in my trousers pocket, and grabbing all my shopping.

I start walking towards home. About 3 minutes later, I am crossing a street on a red light. Three kids (16 years old, tops) do the same thing, but in the opposite direction (i.e towards me). They obviously belong together. Two of them walk past me – one on each side, and the third walks straight into me, and starts pushing me backwards with his chest to my chest. I was more amused than scared – I am 6'4, and he was about 5'8 at the most, so I didn't know what he was trying to do. Then he started yelling at me. "Hey man! You should not cross the road on a red light!" To be honest, this struck me as being a bit surreal. He did the same thing, after all. "Stay the fuck off my street, I'm the king of this street". This is where I had enough. I thought he was just showing off to his mates, but I had a (plastic) bottle of coke in one hand, and three shopping bags in the other hand. Neither of which is particularly advantageous if this was going to turn into a street fight. So I told him to fuck off, after which a substantial amount of verbal abuse and threats came. Then I saw him reaching for his pocket.

I thought he was grabbing for a knife, and I put my shopping bags down(We are still in the middle of a street, the light for pedestrians is still red, and there is a bus coming about 200 meters down the road) to be able to poke him in the eyes if it turned out to be necessary. I told him (fairly calm-voiced) "hey, dude, I don't know what you are trying to do, but if you are not out of my face within one second, I'll deck you right here". Suddenly, he backed off, and walked around me, heading for his mates, while calling abuse at me.

I continue walking home, vaguely amused by the whole situation, and wondering where he'd got the balls. Then I remembered I put the keycard to my house in my wallet, and I thought that I'd better get my keycard out of... my... wallet.

This was where it struck me. Already before I tossed my coke bottle aside, I knew he'd taken it. And yes. Of course. My wallet (containing 15 crisp sterlings, my keycard, my student ID card, my press ID card, my insurance proof, my drivers licence, my VISA and my debit card) was missing.

I called Chris – one of my housemates, and had him come down to open the doors for me, while I called the bank and had my cards blocked. Then, we went looking for the little scalley punks. I really hoped we'd find them. And I'm glad we didn't.

So, I went to the police station, where a rookie police officer was taking a statement from someone ("So, you were controlling your motor vehicle when the male, in his light green motor vehicle, pulled up from behind you, hitting your motor vehicle on the left rear bumper") to absolutely painstaking detail. And he couldn't touch type. Why, oh, why, didn't he save 10 characters and write "car" instead of "motor vehicle"?

Anyway.. After 30 minutes, it was finally my turn. I got to tell my story – almost. He thought it was theft from person. (=pick pocketing) Then he thought it was stealth theft (=pick pocketing, but I didn't notice it as it happened). Then he thought it was a robbery (Threats and physical assault-ish). All of which he ran past his superiors via telephone.

In the end, it turned out that it was stealth theft, and I was basically accused by him of having lost my wallet. ("no, sir, I did not lose my wallet. That boy stole it" "Did you see him?" "No, but I put it in my pocket five minutes before he bumped into me, and it was not there five minutes after. You do the math" "But you didn't see him take it?" "No, but he must have done" "Sorry, not good enough"). Another twenty minutes later, I got a crime reference number. And they didn't take a statement.

I could have ID'ed the guys if they had a picture file or something, but he wouldn't have any of it. Nor did he want to take a statement. Or even a description of the people who did it. He basically gave me a crime reference number and told me to fuck off.

Now, what I really wonder about, is why it has to take 1 hour and 45 minutes to give me a number and tell me to fuck off. To top it off, I can't even USE the crime ref number, because my insurance covers none of this.

This week has been interesting so far. I can't wait for the rest of it.

I'm sitting in The Cafe. Brian Eno is nattering quietly from the speakers and a warm caffine buzz is creeping up my arms. This terminal is situated in a corner at the end of the bar; I'm surrounded on three sides by walls in close proximity. The barstools are at least 15 inches taller than the chair I'm in, so it's a moderately cozy little space. On my left is an employee of the Cafe; he is working with aphexious on a laptop, laying out a menu.

A man in his mid-twenties with long hair pulled back into a ponytail slips towards me, and leaning over, places an index card on the keyboard.

------------------------------
|                            |
|                            |
|                            |
|         x198223            |
|                            |
|                            |
|                            |
------------------------------

I pick up the card, turn it over to see if there's anything on the reverse. Printed lines are all I find there. Before I've even finished the cursory examination of the card the man next to me speaks in a quiet parental tone.

"You're doing it again, Mike."

The owner of the card sounds sheepish, or annoyed, or both.

"Can I have my card back?"

I hand it to him and he retreats from my field of view.

I don't know what this means.

TheMouse moves on and posts Human flesh for sale in London, a tale of dark deeds amid the teeming metropolis.

I didn't want to write about the Torso in the Thames case itself, (In any case StrawberryFrog has filled in that particular gap as well as doing some material on Muti and Muti Murder that explains much of the background regarding African witchcraft), it was more a case of being struck by the headline in the British Guardian newspaper "Human flesh on sale in London". (For some reason I preferred "for sale" rather than "on sale", hence the change.) I was just struck by the intriguing idea that somewhere in London was a retail establishment with little rows of severed human limbs and other bits and pieces on display.

It did also make me think that it would be much easier for the magical entrepeneur to simply nip down to Sainsbury's or their local butchers and pick up some appropriate items and just say they were human. How would anybody know the difference? Which sort of made my sceptical about the whole idea from the start.

It was probably my first attempt a "real" write up but was unfortunately rather riddled with typos and errors for which I apologise. My genuine thanks to all those who took the trouble to point them out. I now realise that spellcheckers are there for a purpose and have resolved to take the time to try and proofread stuff before I post it.

------

But just in case anyone thought that TheMouse was losing her touch, of I go and post Free Ticket Booth; a complete piece of nonsense of course, which I think must have annoyed one or two people. But it was really just a comment on the strange way in which Everything2 encourages people to dissect information into the maximum number of pieces possible. This just seems to me to be the opposite of the way in which intelligent people normally work.

All of which leads me to conclude two things;

firstly, that poking fun at the foibles and idiosyncrasies of Everything2 doesn't play very well; (Perhaps everyone leaves their sense of humour at the door.)

but that death, whether of small fluffy animals or children does very well indeed.

So perhaps I should start researching some particularly gory murders or maybe documenting the ins and outs of abattoir practices, both contemporary and historical.

Aren't Sex and Death supposed to be the New Gods?

I taught a training session on how to schedule meetings in Microsoft Outlook yesterday, the first time I've taught this class. Ten people showed, and over the course of the hour only one person actually fell completely asleep. They can't all be winners, folks.

On Sunday we heard the upstairs neighbor across the way yelling at his little girl. It was unclear just what he was mad about, but he called her a retard. Angela said that a few weeks before she'd passed the two of them on the sidewalk and he was angry at her because he'd had to pay $115 on her medicine. Yesterday morning I heard the two of them coming down the stairs as he took her to school; they were playfully counting the steps together in unison as they descended. I keep thinking I want to leave that girl an anonymous Christmas present this year. Maybe a book about a happy little girl who doesn't have a bigoted, surly Neanderthal for a dad.

Our supervisor, whatever her other merits, cannot spell her way out of a bag. We're doing some testing in preparation for a software upgrade later this week and she sent our group an email that referred to us as "genie pigs". I still can't stop laughing.

I freaked myself out today.


Standing waiting for a CD label to print in a room full of noisey churning laserbased paper markers, I saw a lonely message.

M_INK LOW
blink
READY.

Little black letters on the controls for the HP printer beside mine.

M_INK LOW
blink
READY.


I felt sorry for the little printer. His Magenta ink was low, and nobody would help him. I felt genuinely sad.

M_INK LOW
blink
READY.


Thinking, standing waiting for the job I started to finish, I started to feel respect for the little printer. His M_INK was low, but dammit!, he was still ready to print. I swelled with pride.

M_INK LOW
blink
READY.


Thinking more, and feeling a little disturbed, I began to hate the printer. I am READY, but my ink is low. Constant complaining. its low, its low, its low.

M_INK LOW
blink
READY.


This is where I freaked out. Why was I standing looking at this display? My printjob was finished, and yet still I remained, mesmerised by the cold perfection of the black block letters.

I need to get out of here for a while.

Loose Ends

Leaving Florida tomorrow, back to Baltimore. Two days from now, to New York City. Then Baltimore, then Long Island for Thanksgiving, then...dunno. No plans; no job; no pressing obligations; nothing but two bags of posessions and a fair sum of money in my account at First Hawaiian Bank.

Back to Honolulu, sun, my bicycle, my new friends, and the Pacific Ocean all around?

Or go back to Baltimore and see if I can make a new life in my old scene with a new outlook?

Or to some third city somewhere on this earth?

I am open to suggestions. And, if any noders in North America would like to donate a place to sleep temporarily, I make a relatively unobtrusive houseguest. On the one hand, I do shed; but on the other I'm really excellent at washing dishes, I know a number of amusing stories, I can lift heavy things, and I used to be pretty good on the bass guitar but haven't played in a while.

It's amazing how much work there can be to get ready for a meeting with your financial advisor. Lots of papers I hadn't looked at or even thought about for years suddenly need to be found and sorted out.

In my continuing efforts to make E2 the definitive Unicode information center, I noded Specials, which is a tiny code block containing five innocuous non-characters that do some really important things.

The biggest news is that my copy of Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again arrived today. I made the mistake of reading the first few pages, and then was unable to do anything else until I got to the end. My goodness but it's an excellent book (or graphic novel). Equally as compelling as Batman: The Dark Knight Returns but very different. I didn't see how it was going to live up to my enormous expectations, but it did. Get it. Read it.

This evening, we got a sitter for Amelia, so we could go to the Wyoming Fine Arts Center and teach Vintage Dance for The Flying Cloud Academy of Vintage Dance. Today was a review of the four preceding Wednesdays of Redowa and the slide-cut-hop-leap mid 19th Century waltz variations. The handout I made reads as follows. It makes more sense if you took the class and learned what we mean by slide, cut, hop and leap.

from Hillgrove’s Ballroom Guide and Practical Dancer
a complete practical guide to the art of dancing 1863

Mazourka Step
    <hop>slide-cut-hop

Polka Redowa
    <hop>slide-cut-leap

Polka Mazourka
    Mazourka Step, Polka Redowa

La Koska Step
    Mazourka Step * 3, Polka Redowa

La Koska Figure
    La Koska Step
    Polka Redowa * 4
    Polka Redowa Reverse * 4

Varsovienne Step
    Polka Redowa, point

Varsovienne Figure
    Varsovienne Step * 4
    (Polka Redowa * 2, Varsovienne Step)*2 or (Polka Redowa * 3, Point)

La Zingerilla
    slide-cut-hop-hop-slide-hop

La Carlowitzka
    slide-hop-hop * 2, Polka Mazourka

November 20, 2002

7am. Said I'd be catching a runaway train or something like it. Wet, dewy grass, myself and the open road. Walking quietly in the silence.. gravel crunches and I wave to the hombres, shouting out a hasty "Hola, Amigos!" into the silence. I reach the end of the gravel driveway, spotting a lone figure in flannel, just 10 feet from me. I run the rest of the way, clutching him in a strong embrace, feeling only arms, shoulder, neck, cheek, flannel, warmth. Pulling away a moment later, he says breathlessly, "Hey, good morning, good day, whatever, what's going on? I'm your next door neighbor and I haven't seen you in months! I mean seriously, I haven't seen you at all. Are you alright? Where have you been?

I think about what a difficult question that is. I mumble something along the lines of, "Nothing much. Just been sort of.. away.. busy.." Ignoring his worried look, I jump into his truck, take a quick sip of his coffee, he finally got in and we left. Seven and a half minutes later I am on a sidewalk much closer to civilization. The corner of Mark Avenue and Via Real is busy with morning traffic; people work too much, including myself. I stand under a tree waiting for the 21x, Carpinteria Express. Most people tell me they hate public tansportation, they hate buses. Sure they're not so great, but I don't think they're quite all that bad. Gives me time to write, sleep and think about things. Plus, it's free for me. The transit center is a roundish sort of building containing benches, schedules, people and not much else. I arrive there at 8:30am, and leave promptly to walk down Chapala street about a block, checking out the place I will be meeting a good friend the next day. Afterwards I walk up to State street, and back around to the transit center. Calling my boss to pick me up; he drives 20 mins out of his way to get me. I am that special.

Work is alright, it is a quiet secret deadly hell that I wish I could change. And I will, soon. Everything is white, the walls, carpet, furniture, computers, paper, everything. but to me the rooms have black curtains. I can't see out. No, they are not beautiful flowers. The sky is not blue. You must be insane. Do you not see the black? It is my job. I am here to earn money. Luckily the job usually entails the use of a computer so I have at least one hand on my sanity...

I'm back at the transit center around 12:30pm. I don't want to go home, I feel horrible, so I decide to wander State Street for awhile. I pass by an adorable boy with curly brown hair and the goldest eyes I've ever seen. He says to me that he is up for adoption. Great pickup line. He is hopeless and sweet. However, I stop because there's no outstanding reason that I shouldn't. He asks my name, and I just stand there and blush. Like a little girl again. It feels refreshing, in a weird way. He comments on my blushing, saying he is in awe of me. I exchange profound, unspeakable words with him for several minutes. He has captured my heart. Knowing that this could turn extremely dangerous, I hand him a handwritten note of my best advice: "Innocence is my secret weapon. Never let them know who you really are. Live life truly, madly, deeply."

I proceed to stumble to the nearest coffee shop and drink two double espressos in quick succession. I could feel his eyes on me the entire way. It was 1pm when I finally looked out the window; he was gone. I was shaking, on the verge of tears, amazed I could have been affected so strongly by a complete stranger. It always happens this way.

I ride the 20 Carpinteria bus back home... deep in thought. Once home, a call came in requesting an order for 100 pounds of Organic Hass Avocados to be delivered to Playa Azul Restaurant on Santa Barbara and Canon Perdido street. Another call came in for 3 trays of the ranch's Organic Specialty Lettuces. Looked like I'd be doing the deliveries tonight for my family's ranch. My mom offered to drive me, and I gratefully accepted.

I am at Playa Azul, having just delivered avocados to them, and the car is running, parked alongside the road in front of the restaurant. I hop into the car, feeling exhausted, tired, ready to die. The last thing I expected was the sound of tires screeching behind us, and a truck headed for us at top speed, swerving over to the side of the road. My mom's quick reflexes saved our lives (mine and hers), when she pulled up quickly. Thank god the car was running.

As soon as the car stopped, I jumped out of the car and everything was in slow motion. Time stopped. "Somebody dail 911! Somebody... anyone!" My fingers and body were shaking as I made the call from my cell. Everyone running to help. Tears streaming down my face as I stood stunned, five feet from the young girl who was hit, lying on her back in the center of the street. She came into consciousness within 30 seconds and started crying, mumbling she couldn't see, why is everything black, what will happen to her baby, where is she, why does she hurt so much. She didn't feel my hand on her arm or her side. She was several months pregnant. They will try to save the baby. I stayed and watched the ambulance race off to the hospital. The police spoke with us for a few moments, we were witnesses and almost participants. I realized then that I could have been killed today.

Every Wednesday is a Mid-Week crisis for me. Some are minor, some tragic, others strange and confusing. I'm taking my life day by day, you never know what will happen next. I am still in shock. Around nine PM my heart was breaking so I went to bed early to listen to it happen.

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