Tuesday, September 05, 2006
I want to live
I want to give
I've been a miner
for a heart of gold.
It's these expressions
I never give
That keep me searching
for a heart of gold...
-Neil Young - Heart of Gold
I'm not getting old. But I am getting tired of feeling sad and bitter and brokenhearted. I'm getting especially tired of scraping through the day feeling like I'm going to cry or just simply break from the pain. I know I have to get over it, but I just don't know how. No one has ever really broken my heart like this, and everyone who has done it inadvertently has at least called in the days and weeks afterwards to make sure I'm okay. But not Hayley. Apparently she's above that kind of humanity.
I've been having the craziest, most vivid dreams lately in which I invent new people and have them waltz into my life in the most wonderful and strange ways. Maybe it's because I didn't get to watch commercial television until I was at least 11 years old, but my imagination is as vivid as
it's ever been. The other night for instance, I dreamed I went to an open mike and watched this incredible girl playing the ukulele (you laugh, but on her it was hot). She had long brown hair and huge light eyes like a deer's, and her name was Karen. Somehow we fell for each other in the most simple and classic way imaginable. She was a great kisser and small enough for me to pick her up almost effortlessly. She was also adorable and sweet and fun and utterly free of complications, and when I woke up (due to Cait jumping on my head and her giant 6'4" tall friend hitting me with a pillow....niice) I was genuinely sad that this Karen girl was a complete fantasy and not a real person. Somehow she seemed so alive.
That was the first time I allowed myself to think it might be nice to meet someone who is NOT neurotic, just for a change. Someone who doesn't have weird food rules, or can't stand the sound of other people breathing, or does horribly gross things like stab out cigarettes into yellow-stained nicotine water and flush the filters down the toilet at 8:00 am.
But I digress.
My extended long weekend was great, or at least as great as it could have been given that I'm still really quite close to meltdown much of the time. I'm feeling just depressed enough so that everything I see, be it a leaf on a tree, or a homeless person, or the sunset behind the Space Needle is magnified a hundred times so it's all just that much more beautiful or tragic. The whole world is so exquisitely delicate, wonderful, and cruel, and some days I can hardly stand it.
I know this sounds all so tediously American Beauty, but there's a reason why that movie was so fucking good.
The Mariners lost, but the baseball game was fun nonetheless. Elliot Bay Books was wonderful and a bit overwhelming. I bought three books:
1) Manstealing for Fat Girls, by Michelle Embree -- Just finished it yesterday because I could not for the life of me put it down. It was a hilarious and dark tale about an overweight 16-year-old girl with an outspoken lesbian for a best friend and an absolutely tormented school life in a working class suburb of St. Louis. It was quite brilliant, uproariously funny, and absolutely vivid.
It also really hit the spot after Michael Nava's The Burning Plain, which was a horrifically dark, depressing, and blood-soaked little read. It made me feel decidedly melodramatic and I only really finished the thing so that I can pan it at bookclub this week.
2) Beasts of No Nation, by Uzodinma Iweala -- One of those debut novels that won far too many awards for its own good, meaning of course that's it's probably quite good. I'm hoping it will keep me on the African kick that I started last month with Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible.
3) The Electric Michaelangelo, by Sarah Hall -- A peculiar-looking book about a tattoo artist living between the two world wars. I think it has potential.
At the moment I'm at the beginning of Waiting for the Macaws, by Terry Glavin, who is an ancient friend of my parents. I'm bartending a book event and fundraiser for him at the end of the month, so I figured I'd better look halfway intelligent and read the thing so I can start conversations with people while I pour their wine. It's quite a brilliant and at times truly poetic account of the scary extinction of not only an astonishing proportion of the animal and plant life on earth but also the languages and cultures of the ancient world. It's an eye-opening read, especially given the fact that I know almost nothing on the subject. That's quite shameful, but it does mean that the subject still holds a lot of shock value and makes me want to do something, anything, to help.
[Side note: Is anyone actually interested in what I'm reading at the moment? Or are you all bored to absolute tears? I'd really like to know]
The other highlights of my weekend were having Cait and her friends stay with us over on the island. We went to an island party, drank some sangria from a china creamer (the only drinking receptacle left), smoked some of the copious weed floating around the place, grooved to the fabulous DJ and host's actual living, breathing vinyl records, and lounged on the beach the next day.
On Sunday I bartended the huge dock party our friends organized, which was a blazing success. My mom and my aunt got so drunk that they spent a good part of the evening throwing up wine on the side of the road and lying prone on the bathroom floor, respectively. They were terribly embarrassed, but the rest of us young people were pretty impressed at their attempts to party hard despite a 2-3 glasses of wine alcohol tolerance. I'm sure neither of them has been that drunk since their radical university days in circa 1970. My mom was doubtlessly a pot-smoking feminist and my aunt a peace-marching, passionate dyke, but perhaps these images are more fantasies than anything else.
I absolutely adore bartending. For reasons I don't entirely understand, the chaos and high energy involved in mixing drinks at a big party relaxes me. People always like the person who pours their drinks, and it's a great way to have conversations with everyone and anyone from a 10-year-old girl drinking coke to a 78-year-old Air Force veteran who'd like a little rum with his ice. I talked books with a great local author who promised to read my manuscript when it's finished, chatted about genetic research with a charming Dutch biotechnologist, bantered about cigarillos and weed with Rick, and got a $10 tip from a guy in a sailor hat who randomly arrived at the dock in his giant white yacht.
It was a good time, and I was very sad to see Cait and her friends leave for another year at university a 2-hour ferry ride away. Even my brother has gone back to school. I still haven't heard back from the guy who wanted me for an interview today, and the idea of getting "back to reality" is kind of a sad one.
Really, I don't feel like I have much of a reality to get back to. I need a new job, some new activities, and a rejuvenated social life. After a whole month of feeling shitty, I still haven't recovered from what happened with Hayley, and I'm not really sure whether to keep mourning or try to move on.
I suspect the best thing I can do is hang on to happiness wherever I can find it and hope that exciting things come my way.
It's a big world out there, and I want to be ready for it.
How was everyone's weekend? I have to read your blogs and catch up! Hope you all had a great time.
p.s. about the photos:
1) Top right - My mom's clever rejoinder as she took this photo: "The moment Hayley's gone you're switching teams again!" Gee, thanks Mom. How enlightened of you.
2) Middle left - What in the deuce is a pluot?
3) Middle right - Well, duh.
4) Bottom left - We were pretty sure this bumper sticker on a black SUV in a liberal corner of Whidbey Island was a joke until we saw the "praise songs" cd on the dashboard. Then we just stepped back and went "whoa."
5) Bottom right - Ain't this a stunning spot to mix drinks? Cheers to Cait for being my bar back and official photographer.
Tons more pics to post, but they'll have to wait.