Caveat lector: I had originally planned on putting this wirteup in a non-daylog node entitled "Her name is Lisa," but then thought about the nature of what I am going to talk about, and decided that it was, in the lingo of e2, too GTKY for a stand-alone node. Hence, it is here!

So, it's maybe October, or thereabouts, and I am standing at the bus stop on Carson Street. There isn't anything particularly special about the day at this point - perhaps because it was still rather early. Many of those who waited with me were the people whom I see every of a particular day during the week, and I presume we have similar schedules. It's unfortunate that I know not the names of my fellow bus stop waiters, for sometimes I have the distinct impression that a few or more of them may have something interesting to say. However, it is unlikely that I will be the one to strike up a conversation with any of these denizens of Pittsburgh, as I tend to shy away from social situations. Sometimes, as I am about to describe, it can be rather painful.

As I was saying, the day was uneventful for the time being. The same faces, the same bustle of cars moving past the stop, the same unloading of packages and various cargo from the shipping trucks parked along the street, and even the same delay of my bus. Nothing new here. Then, like the proverbial ray of light, I see someone stand out from the crowd. Her hair was dark, and her eyes were burning intensely with deepness. She stood about five foot eight, and had just the slightest hint of femminine facial hair - the soft kind that is practically invisible, yet strangely attractive in so many ways.

Thus began my quest.

Perahps the word "quest" is somewhat of a misnomer. Perhaps "directed casual voyerism" is a better phrase for this bill of goods, in spite of it's lenghty nature, and my desire for concise explanations. At any rate, yes, I had begun. It's strange to remember someone without a name attached to the face, because, even if they are somewhat memorably, they tend to melt into the memory of the day, lost in the amalgam of a thousand breif experiences. Yet, something about her stuck. What was it? I wasn't quite sure. Ceritainly, I do not recall the feeling as something sexual in nature, but more of an intense drive to know her - to talk on esoteria and watch the fire of the world burn together. So, in short, she stuck. An interesting affliction I am blessed with indeed.

Weeks passed, and either my memory went limp (unlikely), or I was simply not crossing her path as often as I would have liked. I saw her waiting a few times in November, but no more than I could count on one hand - and none of those times had I surfaced the courage or mania to say hello. Perhaps I procrastinate on these things because I spend too much time rehearsing, planning, devoting entirely too much of my time in a waking dream, crafting the perfect approach, the perfect execution of every deft movement. Alas, no deft movements took place.

December. Snow! It was Thursday the 5th of December, which is the last day of classes in my fall 2002 semester. I had been up all night the previous evening, working on a research paper on nanotechnology, for an economics class. Incidentally, it snowed! I love snow! I digress. I was dressed in only a pair of polar bear pyjamas and a light jacket that morning, despite the cold weather and the frosty percipitation. And there she was, in all her jasmine splendor, wearing a black cloak. The euphoria from the snow was causing me to smile quite a bit at every person who happened to glance at me (or me them) so, I believe that Thursday was the first time my smile caught her eye.

One week later. Honestly, I can't recall the day of the week, which is odd - though, I am sure that if I think hard I could figure out what day it was. I want to say it was a day I had a final exam, but that seems likely, as Monday my exam was late (and I remember the scene with her in daylight); Tuesday I received a ride home from a friend; and Thursday I recall... not much. I need to spend more time on this to figure it out. What I do remember, however, is what happened with respect to my querey. As usual, I was standing at the stop, waiting for the glorious 54C to lumber down Carson Street. She stepped up to the curb! She had covering her ears a set of headphones, and she wore her traditional black cloak - but! - this time, she also had her backpack on. (Perhaps she always did, and I simply never took notice of the precious gem which was attached to one of the zippers.) Lo and behold, my dear, dear epicenter of the bus stop universe had a wooden carving attached to her bag, which read "Lisa." Lisa! Her name is Lisa! All the weight which was so much of a burden on my shoulders seemed lifted at that moment, and I trembled deep inside with all the anticipation and excitement of a ruddy young schoolboy. Her name is Lisa.

So, now I had the opprotunity to say hello in a more personal (if frightening) way. Of course, no chance of that happening before the bus arrived. Einstein was perhaps correct when he asserted that "When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute and it's longer than any hour. That's relativity." And all I had were a few minutes in the morning.

You will notice that I never mention seeing Lisa on the return trip to the South Side. Why? Perhaps we have different schedules. That is the logical explanation, of course. At any rate, not once during the three months of silent and passive viewing had I taken notice of her on the ride back every day - so, you can imagine my surpise (pleasant!) when, lo and behold!, I saw her climbing on the bus at the Craft Avenue stop!

Be still my beating heart.

I often feel like somewhat of a cosmic mooch when I pray for blessings of this nature - but when they are so blantantly delivered for me, I feel almost obligated to act upon them. And, as a matter of fact, I had been looking for something to tell me that the day was over, and was done in good fashion. A sign from somewhere, maybe, or just a smile from a friend or stranger. Forces of the universe deliver Lisa to the seat two in front of me. It was if I was being pushed into saying something to her - anything! But, not knowing a person at all is reason enough for me to shy away.

She was carrying a plastic bag or two in one hand, and it really appeared as if she needed some help getting off the bus - but I stayed back, and simply took the path to my apartment, without greeting her. I did, however, notice that she went left where I went straight. So, it seems as if she lives a few blocks East of me.

School starts on 6 January for me. I won't be so shy this time.

No, not you, consuela.

It's the first night of Christmas break. After being miserable all day yesterday despite having hot food, a warm bed, and a woman who loves me, I'm back at my parents' house scavenging the fridge and cupboards for something to fuel a marathon reading of Ender's Game. Earlier this evening, Dad and I had stopped at a Pizza Hut where we shared talk of logic circuits and a deep-dish pizza. On arriving home in Erie, I found that Mom had a smile, a hug, and a cake waiting for me. Even my little sister was less obnoxious than usual and talked to me for a full five minutes before eating half my cake and skittering off to play video games. And now; now I've found all of my favorite comfort foods in the kitchen. No-one else likes the frozen pizzas from Aldi's or Miracle-Whip-and-cheese sandwiches. No-one else drinks regular Coca-cola here. I'm quite sure no-one else has a fetish for instant mashed potatoes and ketchup. And yet, here they are in all their gluttonous glory. All because one of their children has come home for Christmas break and that's reason enough to spend a little more money they don't have to make him happy.

I love my family. I only wish I told them this more often.

Yesterday, it happened. Again. Ground Zero Two. Ground Zero One had been a more gradual affair, but this time the realization hit me, like a diamond bullet through my forehead, that I had been harbouring delusions once more.

If you happen to be less experienced than me, which is unlikely, let me give you some advice when it comes to women: Don't try to read them. You'll fail, and you'll save yourself a great deal of pain by simply not trying. This leaves you with another equally large problem, however: you wanna take what those bitches say at face value? You're in the shit!

It probably didn't help that as the object of my affections I picked (or rather, by her very existence, she picked me) a female not to be applauded for her decisiveness or rationality. This is, however, I am sure, part of the attraction - my cold, cynical, pragmatic nature yearns for the fire of an idealistic, loving person.

The cardinal sin in human relationships is to say "I love you" and not mean in. The very fact this weapon can be wielded by anyone with vocal chords sends shivers down my spine. In the usage of this phrase, there is a danger of context, I concede - it may be said in terms of friendship, and heard by the other in terms of undying devotion.

Shortly before Ground Zero One, I told her I loved her. I didn't use those exact words. I waxed lyrically on the subject for quite some time as we lay in my bed, and listened as she told me she had no idea I felt this way. Mistake number one, which had been the cause of perhaps five months of anguish: I thought she knew. Lesson number one -

If you want someone so bad, tell them. This is the only way it can progress, otherwise you will merely continue to exist in your world of angst.
Ground Zero One occured soon after. I knew what was coming almost from the morning after the night in my bed; I just had a feeling. Sure enough, only a few weeks later, there I am lying on my patio listening to Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straights and smoking an entire pack of fucking lung bleeders in a pathetic display of teen angst.

And that might well have been the end of it, because these things pass and in the grand scheme of things don't have terrible importance. A few weeks later, though, like a bolt out of the fucking blue -

"I'm not actually sure I gave the right answer when I said I wouldn't go out with you."
Bang. The possibility of us going somewhere has been opened up again, and I'm hooked once more. This was mistake number two. Lesson number two -
People don't change.
It develops for a month or so. She starts saying she loves me. Given what I've told her before, how can I take this in any other way than love? But at this stage she doesn't know I still feel the same way, or if she does she doesn't choose to pursue it any further. And I don't set her straight. This was mistake number three. Lesson number three -
Never, ever violate lesson number one, you stupid fucker.
Last night, we seemed closer than ever before. Fuck, I thought, maybe we're finally going somewhere. And then, with the embrace of my best friend, and a kiss... All was lost.


Ag*nos"tic, n.

One who professes ignorance, or denies that we have any knowledge, save of phenomena; one who supports agnosticism, neither affirming nor denying the existence of a personal Deity, a future life, etc.

As a self proclaimed Agnostic, I'm almost offended by this definition. I claim no ignorance of other religions, and in fact seek out knowledge of other religions. While I'm not quite into Comparative Religion as much as one of my other Agnostic friends, I do have a basic understanding of most popular religions and am interested in learning about what else is out there.

I used to consider myself an Atheist, until I really came to understand the term and what it meant. Saying I'm an Atheist, as I understand the term, basically means I believe in nothing. That I live and then I die, and there is nothing else.

I changed my label when I was in college. I attended a Presbyterian school, one that made you go to church once a week and made you take a religion course in order to get your degree. I considered this a test of my beliefs. If I really believed what I said I did, then nothing would change. If I was only one of those people that did the popular thing..then I would probably change my tune as it would be popular to go with Christianity in this setting. It certainly would have been easier. I had people try to convert me..mostly peers but once an R.A. actually tried to force me to a Christian Revival. Things were thrown my way like "If you don't believe in God then why did you see Prince of Egypt?" The spokeman in this case offended that I attended a viewing of a cartoon about Moses. I looked at her and replied, "Well why did you go see Hercules? You aren't Greek are you?" The idea that I can't enjoy a religious movie because I am not that religion is absurd, and frankly gives me a bad view of religious people.

Then there were the problems with professors. The religion teacher, an ancient Reverand who moved about two inches per minute, gave out grades according to what religion you were, if you smoked and if you lived by the ocean or not. I was lucky in that although I didn't live by the ocean or smoke..he never asked me my religion and he liked that I had a German heritage. He would speak a few German words, I would respond and my "B" was secure. Very little religion was actually taught in this class.

One day I heard the term Agnostic and cocked my head to the side. What is that? I had heard it before, but had always assumed it was another sect of Christianity. So I asked around and learned that an Agnostic is someone who doesn't believe in a God, but does have some form of belief system. Aaaaaaaaah, at last something that sounded like me.

My personal belief was developed over the years, and through learning of other religions. I thought..well they can't all be wrong? Someone has to be right, but who? Then it hit me when I heard something in some movie somewhere. A religious person (Christian I believe in the movie) said something along the lines of: "God" doesn't care what house you pray in, as long as you pray. Well, if "God" doesn't care if you're Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Wiccan, or whatever..then why should we? That's when my brain began to turn and I settled on something that I haven't veered from in many years. I think everyone is right. If you believe when you die you'll go to a Christian heaven..then you will. If you believe you'll be in a land of a thousand virgins..then you probably will. I personally believe in reincarnation. I don't name a higher deity and I don't pray to anything.

The thing about religion that I think so many people forget, is that it is all about faith. People get so wound up in proving the facts and science of religions they overlook its basic component. If you could prove there was a higher being out there, would you pray to it? Likely in our society we'd blast it out of the sky as part of some alien invasion. And would it be religion at all anymore, or would it be some new form of life to document in a science book and study? Religion is there to comfort you, it's there to help you through the rough spots and give you hope about your future. People that don't believe in anything, Athiests, are likely less comforted by the thought there might be some higher power out there controlling their lives. They find more comfort in what can be proven, they need to know for sure what's going to happen.

I've been told I'm choosing the easy way out. I've been asked what was so awful that I stopped believing in "God". I've been told I'm going to Hell, and that my soul is damned for eternity. To those that say these things I smile and reply:

  • Picking a religion isn't easy; saying to you that I think you're right, but I also think I'm right isn't easy either. I could just say that I believe what you believe, that would be the easiest thing to do. In fact, that's what most people do. They decide their parent's are right and never challenge themselves.
  • Nothing horrible happened. I never believed in a god. I sat in church and thought what a neat story, I wish I could travel in time and meet this Jesus character. I just couldn't pray, couldn't believe that when I died I went somewhere and rested or burned. I prefer to imagine that we are all made of souls that are thousands of years old, and that we are reborn to experience different things each life and learn something new. And besides, how can I go along with Christianity which claims the "one god" theory when clearly Jesus was a demi-god as he was the son of a god, kind of like Hercules really, and so the whole "one god" theory becomes questionable.
  • And, I don't believe in Hell, so my soul is going to be just fine thanks.

I think Bertrand Russell's definition is a little more clear and closer to the truth: An agnostic thinks it impossible to know the truth in matters such as God and the future life with which Christianity and other religions are concerned. Or, if not impossible, at least impossible at the present time.

Bertrand Russell Definition:

  • School is out.
  • Play time has arrived.
  • I'm already bored?

School is out.
I get a week and a couple of days without schooling. No more tests, homework, or other annoying things that you do at school. Learning can still be done, just more relaxed. Reading is always fun, I'm reading the Odyssey right now. Unfortunately I did leave school with homework, an AP Euro take home test. They aren't too hard, but it is still going to take a couple of hours finding every answer in the long chapter book. But at least school is out!
I also have an eye doctor appointment today. I look forward to getting new glasses.

Play time has arrived.
I went to see the amusing James Bond movie "Die Another Day." I couldn't believe how much sexual content that movie had. I could go back and count about seventeen crude jokes that were sexual, and pointed to James, or one of the girl agents. I'd say the worst one is when Bond says, "I always keep my tip up," referring to his sword, *COUGH*. I also saw my girlfriend, and bought her a really cute stuffed bird teddy, a gorgeous necklace, and of course some chocolate! The rest of my play time included sleeping, eating, and playing on the computer. It's a good break.

I'm already bored?
Wow, I can't believe how fast time went by, and then slows down just to make me mad. Ugh, when there is a ton of things I can do, I just say, "there is nothing to do." I call it boredom. That is only when you arrive at the conclusion that any of things you could do, are going to take some effort, and you can't give any effort, its vacation! So I'm bored... Because I won't go do the numerous things I could do, if I put effort into it. I've only had a weekend off of school, Christmas is right around the corner, and I'm going to choose to be lazily bored.

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