Today (yesterday? last night? this morning? it's all a blur) got off to a pretty miserable start.

At 11am on Saturday I came home from my night shift at Paypal, made some spaghetti, drank a bit of wine, and went to bed around 2pm, intending to wake up around 10pm for my next midnight shift.

My sleep deprived body had other plans for me. After two months of insomnia, sleep deprivation, 60 hour work weeks, and irregular sleeping patterns, my body staged a mutiny.

I hit the bed and immediately fell into a deep, deep, comatose sleep, impenetrable to the nagging of my alarm clock and the curious, slightly worried knocks of roommates on my bedroom door (do you want to take this phone call? are you going to work tonight? are you alive??).

I don't think I was alive. The silent, dreamless, and dark void of sleep that I was immersed in was the closest thing to death that I've experienced.

For nearly 16 hours, I slept...and slept...and slept.

Finally, at 5:30am Sunday, 5 and a half hours late for work, I woke up, completely bewildered and disoriented. For a moment, I couldn't discern whether it was the morning or evening. I couldn't tell what day it was, whether I should be at work or whether it was one of those 'wake up on saturday and realize there's no school today' experiences. I couldn't tell if my reality was my reality, if I had a job, if I was me. Lost.

As the fog in my head cleared, I realized I was me, I did have a job, and I was late. Very late. As this realization sunk in, I accelerated to a frantic pace, hurriedly brushing my teeth and putting on the first clothes I could find. Then it hit me: it didn't matter. I didn't care. I decelerated back into the slow motion lethargy of utter indifference . I showered and smoked a cigarette on my lawn before leisurly heading to work.

At least if I lost my job I could get some sleep.


and now, it's time for bed. i wonder when i'll wake up? who knows.

experiment in the human condition: day 4

Today, depression sets in.

I'm sure this isn't really the place for me to be spouting about how shitty things have become.
Anyways, I've never been a big fan of the whole angst movement; So I'll keep this short.

My girlfriend waited until I got to work today to call me and tell me that she's going home to Jerusalem for a little while. She wants to "think things over". I suppose she'd rather be there, blocks from the Sbarro bombing, than at home, to try to work things out. Par for the course, I suppose.

This seems to be the season for everything to fall apart. Just in the time I've typed this, 3 more of my friends have told me of the sense of impending doom in their relationships. This is before I've said anything about mine. Odd.

Beyond that, I've been doing some reflecting myself... A few days ago, I had mentioned that I was distressed about the way people have been reacting to the tragedy on the 11th. A friend of mine was kind enough to gently remind me that I was merely being a grumpy old man about it, and that I wasn't really looking at the big picture.
He was right, of course. Throughout this, since this has happened, the nation has really pulled together, and done some wonderful, wonderful things. My next door neighbor is a fireman, and just got home from NYC for a few days. He's a changed man; that tells me how bad it must be there; since this is no stranger to death and all things horrible.

Still... I can't help but think that we should have been as kind to begin with. By no means am I saying this from a soap-box, I'm just as guilty as not caring as the next guy.

It looks like my travel has been delayed again. It's really quite odd to be living out of a suitcase while you're still at home.. Maybe next week I'll fly.

I can't bring myself to get excited about my next trip to London... I really do like it there, but I'm just going to be working working working.

Went back to the old apartment today. I was in town for a close friend's wedding. I wonder when I will finally get over the need to drive by all our old apartments. I spent a good five minutes parked underneath the window of our first apartment. Every apartment I went to I became fascianted with the windows. I found myself thinking, on the other side of that window is where we used to sleep every night. That's what I miss the most...sleeping with him. Falling asleep in his arms, kissing him goodnight and knowing that he would be there in the morning. There really is no lonelier time than night time. I cried again. When will that stop?

I spoke with a good friend today, over Denny's french fries. She told me that she sometimes wonders if she married her husband because he reminds her of one of her ex's. I worry about that myself. I worry that I will fall in love with someone just because they remind me of him. Sometimes I think that maybe I will purposely not let myself get involved with someone because they remind me of him too much. But most of the time I just think that I won't ever fall in love again....

The wedding was one of the bestest I have ever been to. All my friends were there. I was originally supposed to be her bridesmaid but then we had a bit of a problem between us and she asked me to 'take another role' in the wedding. I took the role of ordinary guest. It hurt me when she asked me to step aside but I was gracious about it, reassured her that it was her wedding and I would be cool with anything she wanted. I wanted her wedding day to be perfect, and it was. Those two are an amazing couple. The best man gave an awesome speach. It was a day for seeing the beautiful side of everyone I knew. So many friends were there that I hadn't seen in practically forever. There was a very gentle, tender feeling about the crowd. We all had missed each other so much, none of us realizing just how much until it was time to say goodbye again. It's such a shame how people have to move so far away. Here's to the nights we felt alive, Here's to the tears you knew you'd cry, Here's to goodbye, tommorrow's gonna come too soon....too soon...I miss them all so much already and it hasn't been an entire day since I last saw them. But one of the most beautiful parts of our friendships is our ability to connect as if we had spoken just the day before. I got so many warm and fuzzy hugs this weekend. I wish that I could store them all in a bottle and pull them out one by one as I need them.

Driving around Rochester made me wish again that I could move back. It's kind of the same urge as the urge to drive by the old apartments, uncontrollable. I went to Dibella's and had a sub for the first time in about four years. It tasted better than anything I have ever eaten in my entire life. The good news is the manager of the store said that they might be opening a shop here in the Albany area. Sometimes I feel like visiting Rochester is torture. I still think of it as home and I love feeling at home there. And did I mention that I miss about a million people?

I chased after a bunch of boys this weekend. Not really chased, more like kinda sorta chased. I was goofing around, looking for some attention. But then I found one boy that I actually liked. He's someone I have known for awhile, someone that I have always thought was attractive, and I had an idea that he could be sweet and thoughtful but it wasn't until this wedding that I really saw how sweet he could be. He gave a great speach, and he looked mighty fine in his tux! But I don't think he would ever be interested in me. I told him before I left that I hoped that he would find the right girl, and that if he didn't to call me:) I meant it. But I don't think he would be interested....oh well...that's what crushes are for...to crush you. I'm just happy that there is someone out there that I might actually possibly consider intersting. I think what I like about this guy is that he's built perfectly. He's taller than me (not all that difficult a task to accomplish but hey....) and he's huggable! He gave me more than one super comfy warm, safe and secure feeling hugs. I love being hugged. I really think that might be my favorite feeling in the world. But anyway, I've got a silly crush....silly is definitely the word, but that's ok. Silly can be good sometimes. But I will try not to think about it too much, cos there's really no point in letting yourself dream about such totally unplausable things.

Maybe next time I will skip over the apartments...it has been almost three years....
0 | - | +

So I seem to have found myself in a somewhat degenerate situation. Among other things, I'm behind in all my classes, mostly because like an idiot I didn't register or go to most of them at all the first two weeks of school...guess I've been in major denial about the whole school thing.

But also, I have no idea how to meet people. I mean new people. I'm talking about people with relationship potential, of course. I talked to my mom today, and she was asking about that. She acted all surprised that I wasn't seeing anyone. Kept saying how I used to have girls falling all over me. Now, I haven't gone out with someone since October of last year, so from my point of view that is clearly not the case. But before that, I'd generally been going out with someone all the time.

Our story so far:
Starting in maybe 10th grade with Kim, Jackie after 12th, 'till halfway thru Freshman year (remember the year off before college) then various flings/one nights/orgies etc. (you know how freshmen are) till I started seeing Maeli over the summer. Went out with Maeli almost till the end of Sophomore year, saw Sharon for a short while, but broke that off at the beginning of the summer. Near the end of the summer, I started seeing Cecily while I was in Austin, that lasted till the aforementioned October.

Now, not one of these people did I go out of my way to meet. Kim and I were set up at summer camp -- as predicted we were perfect for each other, at least until I met Jackie. Jackie wrote her phone number on my hand on yearbook-signing day. Freshman year, Elena and Lydia I definitely worked on, but ended up in drunken trysts that led to nothing but more drunken trysts. However, they both lived on my floor so meeting them was automatic. I threw myself on Rudy at a cast party completely drunk off my ass. Maeli, a friend of high school friends, asked through my friend Mike if I'd want to go out with her. Sharon hung out in my room because of my roommate Cyrus. Cecily I suppose I went after a little, but we met at an organized event (karaoke of all things).

So now I'm a senior. I know all my friends' friends, everyone I know is already going out, it's really a bleak local scene.

I've been to some frat parties and other house parties, and they're ok, but again the number of potentials is very low. Moreover, I feel out of place at those sorts of events, because I don't know anybody there, have no idea what common ground exists. Oh yeah, and I can't really dance, either...at least not the sort that goes on at those parties.

So what am I? Socially anxious? Or just inept? What manual was I not issued?

So here is what I fear. Going to work at a place like Microsoft where I won't even have female co-workers. Trilogy at least organized many highly social gatherings. I just can't imagine cruising nightclubs or whatever aimless shooting blindly ugh. What I need is an algorithm. ;-)

*heavy sigh*

Being in a relationship always gave me something of a reason to do things. Lack of motivation is my defining character trait. I think I've said that before, but it bears repeating. Just witness the state I've found myself in.

Another day, another writeup I suppose. E2 is becoming less and less of an addiction and more of a hobby I suppose, even though it meant much more than that at an earlier time. What is a guy with not enough time to do I suppose?

The day was rather mundane to say the least but at least I got to buy me two korean cds, Baby V.O.X 5 and S.E.S Long Long Time VCD. Mind you, it doesn't mean to me as much as it did before, that being a cross between an infatuation and a full obsession. Cheap too. I don't really doubt that it's illegally copied but to save a buck, one must forsake ownership of the original to get an inferior product at a reduced rate. I'm glad that I bought it though, especially since I'm still staring at the videos right now as we speak. What a dreary life I lead, but then again, it could be worse. Much worse.

Work is becoming a bore and a source of constant stress as a newbie isn't pulling her weight. My supervisor asked me for my opinion, but instead I gave my professional criticism. I suppose in this case, there isn't really much of a difference but at least I tried to make it impersonal and simply from a viewpoint of a veteran looking at a rookie. I wasn't really sure how to explain that what she was lacking wasn't experience but a sheer willingness to exert effort. So I placed it in his hands and changed the subject.

Playing pool has become a weekend ritual for myself, mrfurious, dawadeving and our buddy Mike. I suppose it's one way for a bunch of guys that don't have much in common other than primal sexual urges towards attractive members of the opposite sex to bond. That and the fact that there are usually hot ladies at the local pool hot spot. That combined with the owner playing my favorite Korean videos once in a while convinced me not to play anywhere else. Since the owner hired a very very alluring young woman to work there and her willingness to talk to us is another plus. Life is getting better. Or until she quits anyways.

I was asked by one of my lady friends to help her write a report regarding the economic turmoil that the United States are going through due to the attacks two weeks ago. I tried to help to the best of my abilities, which at this point, with no formal education in commerce or business, went better than I thought. She was ecstatic to say the least, with me promised sweet favors for the services rendered. I feel like a moron, being simply manipulated like a piece of putty under the skillful hands of a master, or a 3 year old child for that matter, but simplicity dictates that I should be happy of what has been provided for me. But the adult in me stomps the ground in frustration as I try to deal with the futility of doing favors for the sheer "kindness" of my heart. But for now, it is deemed necessary to play the game like so.

For the first time in the longest time, I get two sundays off! Deciding what to do, I would hope to have the opportunity to go over to my friend's dormitory so we can somehow conjure a culinary masterpiece together. I'm no slouch but I'm not sure whether I can teach her anything well. It's a situation of "The Blind Leading The Blind", at least to put it mildly. I'm leaning towards one main course, one quick dessert, and of course, a personal favorite, Oreo cheesecake. I think the hardest part of that task would not be the preparation of the food but to keep my simple friendship simple. Due to situations beyond my control (few are actually under my control), a romantic encounter didn't happen before but I suppose a lingering feeling of nostalgia and disappointment has disturbed me. But that's okay. Let them all come back.

Off to sleep I believe. I hope that my coughing does not keep me up again as it has the last few nights. If I get enough sleep, maybe I'll have the opportunity and strength to tell my friends the truth of what's been happening lately. Maybe. Or I'll wait until they're all asleep.

A few months ago on my way to work, I was driving down the little road to White's Ferry when I noticed something in the road ahead. As I got closer, it looked like someone had hit a squirrel, so I moved to avoid it, still traveling at the same speed. At the last possible second, what I had thought was a dead squirrel in the road jumped up and scrambled off to the side. I don't know how I managed to miss it, but I did.

A short distance further, there was another squirrel sitting in the road, motionless.

Oh, no, I thought, I'm not falling for that trick again.

I honked the horn. The squirrel scurried off. Fine.

I went around the turn at the river, and there's another squirrel sitting in the road. I slowed down a bit. It doesn't get out of the way until it's obvious I'm not stopping.

A little further down the road, guess what I see? Moose? Demon llama? Phlegm-spewing bronchial yak heads? Nope. Another squirrel. Sitting in the road. Not in one of the hundreds of trees on either side of the road where there are no cars. Not under one of the hundreds of trees where it would stand a better chance of finding nuts or something to eat. Nope. In the road. This had all happened within a span of about sixty seconds, so I starting thinking the squirrels were conspiring to make me late for work.

My daily commute takes me past a llama farm, among other interesting things. I've gotten into the habit of taking different ways home from work. There are dozens of little winding country roads which will all eventually get me where I want to go, and since these inevitably lead past abandoned buildings, I get curious and pick ones at random to drive home on.

Just outside of Hauptratte-Sperren's campus is a little one-lane road that someone at work told me about, and I checked it out on the way home one night. It had a lot of hills and turns, and eventually turned into a dirt road. Very bumpy. Then, after a little bit of that, there was a standard yellow diamond-shaped road sign which read, quite simply:

STREAM

Sure enough, a little further ahead, the road went through a little stream. I had seen a big old pickup truck pass me a few minutes earlier, so obviously if one had a big old pickup truck, one could cross the stream. I, however, had a cute little Honda Civic hatchback. Hmmm.

I stopped at the stream and got out to take a look. It was about 20 feet across, and maybe a foot deep at most. At this point, my little Shoulder Angel pops up and says:

"That looks kinda deep. You might get stuck in the middle of it, and there's nothing but abandoned buildings and evil squirrels conspiring to get you for miles around. You should turn around and take the main road home."

And then my little Shoulder Devil appeared to add his two cents:

"C'mon, where's your sense of adventure? If you got a running start you could make it across that no problem." Then he took my Shoulder Angel and strapped him to a giant inflatable horse and posted nekkid pictures of him all over the internet and said he wouldn't show me unless I crossed that stream.

So I got in my car, backed up a bit, and started driving through the stream. I remembered too late what my Shoulder Devil said about getting a running start. Oops.

There were lots of rocks and sand in the stream. I felt them in detail as the front wheels of my car started slipping on them midway across.

"Yaaaaaaaaahhh!" I yelled, to nobody in particular, and in another second, I was safe on the other side. Whee!

I sort of giggled and babbled to myself as I drove down the road some more, and eventually came out next to the llama farm. I don't take that way home anymore, simply because I don't want to be involved in any real-life Gothic Horror movie where the unsuspecting commuter gets stranded out in the woods and devoured by squirrels the size of Saint Bernards or something.

I want to smoke the day's last cigarette. I want to remember what I said.

Tomorrow I will be 26. I have passed the halfway mark to 30 where things just change. I don't know how or why, but they're changing. I'm changing, and I have many changes to make.

I have struggled to quit smoking on and off for the past year, to little avail and with limited success. I have listed my reasons before, so I won't bother. I wanted to get a leg up on it, wanted to quit while I was still young and could not yet feel its effects on my body. Now I can see that maybe many smokers have wanted to do this but were not able to. I am not able to, not without a full on struggle with my own flesh.

I would like to believe that I simply haven't made any promises to myself in life and, therefore, I have not disappointed myself by failing to keep my promises to myself. This is simply not true. Part of it is the rage, sadness and confusion I've been through within the last few weeks, but it goes back further, to when I first moved here to New Orleans and first attempted to make a fresh start in a new place, completely alone and on my own. Being alone is part of my trick, you see. The less people I have in my life, the less vulnerable I have to be, the less I can fail. I help anyone who needs it and love what friends I have dearly (often playing a mother or counselor role because I like to listen and help others), but it is extremely hard for me to be the weak one, to ask for help, even though there have been several times as of late that I have needed it. It is a combination of pride and the need for control, and I have some clues where it comes from, but I can't seem to alleviate it in my life.

I make lists of where all my money goes. I either go hungry paying bills because I can't think ahead or, when I have a little extra money, go overboard buying things that I've needed for a long time and have nothing left over. I was like this even when my income was double what I paid in debts. I am angry at myself for not aspiring to be something more than I am now, career-wise, and I am scared to death of failure. People have to literally coax me into applying for teaching positions, and I have had a couple opportunities land in my lap that haven't panned out.

I feel sometimes I am waiting for my life to, well, start. I guess there are many people like that, and the way things are set up, you could feasibly never begin living and yet still be alive, still hold a job and pay taxes and feed yourself. The human will enables all levels of survival, but will default to the base needs when the heart cannot be stirred.

And I am sick of that shit.

My goals are to quit smoking, cold turkey, with no exceptions. When I finally get moved into my new place (next weekend hopefully) find the binder with my resumes and get the school from Sheri that needs 5th grade teachers. I need a second job now anyways, so I need to look for that too. I want to join a gym. I joined one last year for a year and lost a nice amount of weight; I want to get back into that. My body cannot (or will not soon in the future) be able to metabolize my poor diet as well as it used to. I want to write more, and more constructively. I need to seek publication, or I will go nuts in my apathy. And I need to start saving money. I need I need I want. How's it feel to want? It fucking sucks.

Today I finally became 2 (Novice), after too many months in level 1. Why did it take me so long? I guess I had a bad start: I liked Everything2 from the very beginning, but when I finally started participating, all I did was noding not-funny-at-all jokes and writeups that had no actual meaning. Downvoted again and again, I've learnt my lesson and started all over, this time investing in each and every w/u.

It wasn't until my id Software w/u that I really got the idea of this whole thing. I've worked on this node for a long time and kept (and still keeping) it updated, so it'd be my best one. Quickly my XP became positive again, and I was thrilled by it all.

When I've experienced a massive downvote by some1 who I guess didn't really like me, I got rather dissapointed of E2. And so I 'took a break', leaving my XP and w/u count just bellow the minimum required for level 2. It took me some time to get back to it and start writing again.

Anyway, I'm back now, and I made it. I'm happy. And I'm writing all of this because someone once told me that what's great about daylogs is that nobody reads them.. o_O

I guess it calls for a new bio in my homenode. Well, why not. I shall work on one when I return from somewhere tommorrow morning.

This is me, signing off.

That was my first daylog. seriously.

Saturn,

I bought a car yesterday. My wife said "go check the local Saturn dealer, they are good cars" So my two kids and I drove over to take a look. Now where I am living, we have public transportation, City busses. However the drivers are on strike. They are teamsters and are striking for unfair wages and the like. I am sure it is a noble cause. But that leaves allot of people in a lurch, like my wife. She uses the bus to get to work. So it is in her best interest to have a second car. So buying a car is actual supporting the teamsters if you think about it, but I am also hurting the bus drivers locally.

Go figure.

I'm home for 21 hours.

Gary and Shawn, I wish you could have seen dad this week instead of last. For some reason he is more alert. I'm so glad you came down anyway.

Little Larry and Meghan came to visit yesterday. I'm so glad they did and that Meghan got to meet Larry's PopPop despite the diminishment of his mental faculties. Dad ate 2 pop sickles yesterday (Larry fed him one) with the gusto of a 2 year old and nodding his head with appreciation like a wine connoisseur. He actually smiled at Meghan (I haven't seen a smile in weeks). I think he understands they are a couple and he is happy for them. He is still comfortable most of the time and the once a day or so he is not Tylenol still does the trick. Hospice will provide morphine when and if he needs it. His care is excellent at this time. He is turned every 2 - 3 hours, well positioned, checked for pain and medicated appropriately. I am made welcome and at home by everyone there. My recliner makes a surprisingly comfortable bed.

I came home last night with Larry and Meghan arriving at 10pm. I left my van at the nursing home. My neighbor is going to see his dad in the same town tonight at 7 PM (things got delayed for him) and will drive me back to the nursing home at the same time.

I got to talk to Larry and Meghan for 2 hours in the car, Christie was in bed but awake so we went to sleep together talking about her week. We went to the orthodontist together this morning. I got up at 1 AM and started a load of laundry and down comes Joey so we talked briefly (one never gets more than a brief time with Joey, he is too hyper to sit for more than 10 minutes). I even had my cat purr on my shoulder for a little while. I came to my own bed with my sleeping hubby and made brief foot to foot contact without waking him up but I knew he was there and went to sleep. This morning 3 of my friends Becky, Linda and Marian and I had a low fat fruit and French toast breakfast, chat and prayer. They are the wonderful women who are covering for me so I can leave work so long. I feel so reconnected with my normal life.

Today I mowed my lawn and picked my flowers, fed my cat and will soon make Grandma sauce (most of the work was already done and frozen ahead of time). I swept the floor and did the laundry; all the "usual" things. It felt good.

I'm packing other things I've realized I need or want and may have time to plant a few bulbs.

Then its back to the nursing home. I'm most comfortable there right now.

I have gotten comfortable with the fact that he no longer eats and give him ice chips and sips of water and pop sickles when he is awake and says yes to the offer but I don't push him to take more than he wants. His vocabulary is about 5 words, he makes a few communicative faces and watches TV sometimes. He seems to know me most of the time but sometimes needs a reminder, he did know Larry and made his wide eyed "HI, what are you doing here" face at him yesterday.

I go out walking everyday while Dottie visits with him. I found a wonderful hiking trail or I walk to the nearby mall. I listen to books on tape and read garden magazines. I lift my weights. My cell phone is with me all the time and it roams so I can be called by anyone.

I'm thinking my father is dying today, he was dying yesterday and he will be dying tomorrow. He may be dying for a few more weeks. It is a long process yet it seems so short. I just want to be with him.

I'm happy to have this brief respite at home but anxious to get back to him. I'm so grateful for the support you all have been providing my kids. Susan, Christie has been so busy with you this week and loved the concert. Cary, Donna and Jackie I know you are there for them. Paul, the rides have meant so much to me. Larry, Honey, I know this is hard on you and I love you for taking over so I can be with dad.

Love and thanks to you all

I know I am going to suffer some downvotes for this, but I must rant.

I am so sick of hypocritical patriotism! It seems that some people who would never even own a flag, have rushed out to buy several to hang from every available space they can find.

The same goes, btw, for prayer. For years, all I've heard about is keeping prayer out of school and separation of church and state. Then a national tragedy occurs, and what do you know, our nation is "called to prayer". I am a Christian who believes there is a reason for separation of church and state...but I digress.

Don't get me wrong, I am happy to live in the USA. Sadly, I often take the freedom I have for granted. At the same time, I am not blind to the fact that the US is not the ONLY country in the world. I think it's very sad how many Americans can be so ego-centric when it comes to their attitudes toward other countries.

The horrific events of a few weeks ago have made me deeply sad, angry and scared. However, I didn't hang a flag on my car before 9/11/01, and I'm not going to now. It's just not something I do, and it annoys me when people try to force me to wear ribbons and flags. This does not make me any less of a good citizen than the person who paints his house red, white and blue. It just makes me less visible.

And if I have to hear that sodding Lee Greenwood song one more time, I may have to kill someone!

I've got five days left of vacation and I'm milkin' it for all I'm worth.

It's good to be back on E2. I haven't missed three days since I first became a noder here, and it's weird how little changes can freak you out. I missed being here, but it was nice to have a change. I was in Atlanta at AWA (Anime Weekend Atlanta), for those people not obsessed with my life and following every daylog I write.

Not much has happened yet today (I rolled out of bed, got a really good backscratch from my ex-boyfriend, ate some food, and gave up on cleaning my apartment), but I have a lot to node about for the last three days at AWA.

First of all, we went in two cars, with a total of three guys and two girls. The other girl was my ex-roommate Ammy, and we dressed up as Sae and Nanaka from Maho Tsukai TAI. We entered the costume contest but we didn't win anything--not surprising, since our costumes were made with crappy Wal-Mart fabric and held together with fabric glue. But we still looked kawaii. (Pictures available to those who request, I hope.) I got a lot of compliments on my hair made out of sponges.

Because we are cute girls (assumingly), we were given the information about the "con suite," where they had free food. We gleefully kept the secret from the boys we were with. It was fun. At one point in the con suite, right before rushing off to the costume contest, someone was talking to Ammy about the symbol on her costume. We hadn't known what the symbols meant, but one girl was claiming it was a "Wiccan letter." I had never heard of any Wiccan alphabet, and though I am not Wiccan I know quite a bit about the religion since it is derived from what I study and practice. The girl actually said to me, "You didn't know there was a Wiccan alphabet?" Um, there isn't. I said there hasn't really been time for a written language to develop considering the religion was invented in the 1920s. The other girl with her said that Wicca wasn't "invented" in the 1920s but that that was just when they gave the practice a name. That is also bullshit and I told her so; the religion was basically invented by Gerald Gardner, and though he pulled a lot from old books and actual Pagan traditions, he invented a lot of stuff, collaborated with people to create other stuff, and basically stole the rest from Crowley, which is a bit strange. One of them said that it was a secret alphabet that was mostly passed down through families. I could not stay to discuss this with them because I had to run to the contest if I wanted to be in it, but I was telling Ammy all the way about how there was no way there could be a "Wiccan alphabet" that pre-dated Wicca considering most of the people who practiced the Craft in the rural Pagan days were freakin' illiterate and didn't know their OWN language, much less some other mystical one, and therefore it's a bit unlikely that there's a widespread underground language used for Wiccan purposes. High Magick and Ceremonial Magick, maybe (they're always full of codes and glyphs and whatnot), but not the simple country stuff Wicca was derived from and professes to be today.

I looked it up online today, by the way, and what she was talking about is far from being a "Wiccan" alphabet. The symbols they were talking about were simply adopted from Theban lettering, which is ancient, but there were no equivalents in the Theban alphabet for certain letters, so they were simply invented . . . yes, around the time of Gerald Gardner, for the purposes of encoding "secret" documents. I found it funny that those girls tried to treat me like I was all clueless about something well-known, when it's just one of many letter-by-letter encoding systems. (Incidentally, the symbol on my cape was the cipher for "S," for my character's name Sae, while Ammy's had the symbol for "N" on it, for Nanaka.)

Ending that rant, I ended up seeing some good anime music videos and having my picture taken like a hundred times (even a couple random people tried to take my picture when I wasn't wearing my costume--I guess I look like I'm in costume even when I'm not). We saw some really amazing costumes, and out of like 90 people Ammy and I were chosen--at separate times, randomly from a hat--to be in a game show. I didn't win shit, and she got a consolation prize. Fun.

On the way back I had a Chinese dinner and whoever made my fortune cookie had no concept of English grammar: "You love of life will be happy and harmonious." At least I know it's authentic.

I'm annoyed and I have a clogged e-mail box, so now I'll stop blathering. Thank you, thank you.

Yesterday, Monday was the night to actually turn the page.

Before turning out the light, I picked up my phone and erased all the SMSs from her that I had been keeping. I had put this off for a week, partly because I didn't want to think about it, I was hoping that I could still be somehow able to treasure them, and partly because the actual act of deleting them would be too hard.

But now I was ready. I tried not to read the words, but you have to look in order to cut, and so the words flashed up on the little screen. Not very long ago, but from another life. It wasn't a long time, only a few months.

When it was over I turned off the light and lay in the darkness for a long time, too wound up to even think about sleep, thinking over all the useless questions:

How did we get here from there? Did I try too hard, did I not try hard enough? Would it have been better never to have opened up. I did it consciously, deliberately, shedding layers of armour because I believed it better to feel. So now I feel. Again. A raw wound. I got broken bones, not from the sticks and stones, but from the words I don't want to want to remember now.

Why doesn't this ever get any easier? I should know what I'm doing by now, unlike her. When did it all come to mean so much?

Does my anger impede or help the process of picking myself up and trying again? Where do I start? Tick Tock, the silent red digits on the clock roll over, 0:00. And all we have is time until the end of time. Nothing to do or to want.

Would it be better to keep my silent pride and say nothing, or to call her up and call her a cold-hearted bitch. I'm still silent so far, holding in the pressure. Hence, I suppose, this unburdening.

Some time after I wept, I slept.

Today I arrived in Tokyo, Japan for the second time. I took a NW airlines flight from Shanghai, where I had been living for the summer- the flight was less than three hours and very routine. I had the seat directly next to the emergency door. The two businessmen sitting next to me were from the southern part of the United States- they were really nice (they were engineers, doing a trip in asia in order to do research on production facilities). I also talked to the stewardess a lot. She, and apparently all the staff on the flight, was from Beijing- as are all Northwestern flight attendants on flights from China, as I discovered. The plane was very crowded, with basically all seats being filled with Chinese, a few Japanese and Americans.

Upon my arrival in Tokyo, I took the Narita express to Shinjuku station. It was here that I recieved my first shock- 3600 yen!(US $36) Japan is a lot more expensive than I had expected, or to put it better, I am still not accustomed to paying lots of money for things. After arriving in Shinjuku, I waited in the crowds at the south exit for my friend to come and meet me. Shinjuku is a horrible place to meet people, particularly when you have not been there before and are exhausted from carrying luggage. After arriving at my friend's apartment in Kunitachi, I met my friend's brother, her friends from Waseda, and also met her ex-boyfriend for the second time. Her ex-boyfriend is one of the people that I have met that I really want to emulate in life. He speaks Shanghainese, mandarin, Japanese and English incredibly fluently- he was back in Japan to visit, because he had been working in Manhattan at the time of the World Trade Center bombing. He said that he couldn't go back to NYC because he still remembered too much of what he had seen when the buildings went down.

At dinner, we drank a lot of beer and ate a lot of takoyaki, after which I fell asleep.

I love the Bay Area, don’t get me wrong, but it just doesn’t have thunderstorms like the Midwest. Damn, even, it tried hard this evening. I and my housemates sat on the new porch couch and smoked cigarettes as the lightning struck in the distance. After cigarettes, the rain came and we moved inside to the living room. The storm moved so as to accommodate our limited vantage, and the place lit up with each next flash.

Then I realize that it’s my dishnight. There are few dirty dishes piled up, and someone else has already put away many of the things on the draining board. So I run sudsy hot water and begin with the pint glasses. It seemed that one of them, a blue one, must have been cracked, because before I realize, I have a broken glass, and half a square inch of flesh dangling from the base of my thumb. It seems like too much to just bandage and walk off, and it bleeds profusely. Two of the housemates just stare from the dining room table. Another one of the housemates declares, "you will need stitches". So begins my adventure into health care for the uninsured.

It’s a quiet Monday night at the emergency waiting room of the Highland Hospital in Oakland. The triage nurse calls my name in about 10 minutes and replaces my red paper towels with fresh cotton gauze. I return to the waiting room to find my housemate sitting in front of a ball-sliding toy, playing with it merrily. About 40 minutes later I get called to fill out paperwork. This time I return to the waiting room to find my housemate perusing a copy of The Watchtower. How’s the adrenaline feeling? he asks. I’m feeling like custard now I answered. Another 40 minutes pass before they call my name, and show me and an older man, who has chest pain, to a room.

The older man is told to lie down on the bed. I get an apology and a (comfortable) chair. An intern steps in, looks at both charts and begins to work with the chest pained man, trying to diagnose whether he has a heart attack or gastric reflux. Almost 10 minutes later, I get two interns, How’s your hand? . . . Can we see it? I oblige, but think that their response (which does not involve anesthetic or stitching) is less than helpful. Thanks, they say, and leave.

The older man is eventually diagnosed with gastric reflux and sent away. I must have read the in hospital advertisement for Dermabond about five times. A doctor comes in and says, Mult-Lass, let’s have a look. Okay. This will probably hurt, but try and touch each of your fingers to your palm. Good. We will have to check for nerve damage. He obtains a cotton swab and teases out the end. Tell me if this tickles he says as uses the swab to lightly lick each of my fingertips. I seem to pass these simple tests for tendon and nerve damage, so the doctor gets out the sewing kit rather than call in a specialist.

He starts with a few injections of anesthetic to the postage stamp sized chunk of flesh hanging from my knuckle and the better attached area around it. I’ll just tack this down, should be about a dozen stitches or so..

It’s a strange feeling sitting there while someone sews you up. I could see the doctor’s arm movements, and I could sense the difference between the needle and the thread as it pulled through me. Around the sixth stitch I decided that I wanted to watch. The shard of metal with the attached nylon thread went into my hand. I am fascinated unto not breathing. You felt that one – oh, you’re watching. You sure you want to do that?
  .  .  .
The surgeon did not take the opportunity of my outage to finish sewing me up. He kept me upright in the chair, massaged my neck and shoulder with one hand. And then helped me up into a gurney, we don't want you to come in with a laceration and leave with a concussion. He set the gurney to half-recline and rolled up a tray for his tools. You don't have to feel it, I've got a whole drawer full of anesthetic.

When he finished his sewing, and taped some gauze over the wound, I was sent out to the waiting area until called to discuss financial services. My housemate had discovered a year-old copy of National Geographic. In about 10 minutes my name is called again, and I step into the middle of three small offices. Inside is a man wearing a tie and a small desk with a standard office computer. We run through a number of questions concerning my address, my employment status, whether I was injured while working, my income. At the end of it I sign a couple papers and pay $50. It leaves me feeling a little amazed.

My ex-girlfriend visited some months later, and upon seeing me reach across the table for a pepper grinder, exclaimed what happened to your hand?
I told you I cut it washing dishes.
But I thought you were being dramatic.

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