What’s wrong with mining the little diamonds anyway?
I taught myself I deserved VHS tapes.
Canned responses are dependable. Static sounds good on summer nights.
Covered with dust, they play better than you do.
One of my favorite memories
is an afternoon spent driving around with my Auntie Tunie. I don’t remember the particulars, just that it was a lengthy drive, and may have involved dropping someone off at Pensacola airport. My mother and her siblings were army brats and, though they lived in about twenty states growing up, that town in Florida was a home base, and the backdrop to my haziest early memories of the U.S.
Now that I’m finally a driver, there’s a little more charm to connecting the dots as to why, for as long as I can remember, sitting passenger has been my default. Along with this, in many respects, has come a diffusion of responsibility so complete as to be damaging.
Mom drove early, grabbing her agency and translating it into German. She drove all around Europe in a little red Toyota and, although when I was born, I didn’t cry too much, I did not sleep, save for in the sway of my car seat. From that seat came my first word, an unexpected little “thank you” in chorus with a succession of French toll booth workers. The back seat became a bassinet, a soother, a mind ranch where my brain wandered; purposely losing time, accidentally precitating new skills.
I was maybe eleven or twelve sitting next to my aunt that afternoon, and by this point had picked up enough cultural touch stones to have an opinion of rock music. The Pensacola heat bore down on us, improving the effect of the freedom at hand; driving car, radio, ice in our fountain drinks.
Pearl Jam was playing, and my aunt said, “This is definitely a cover. Of an old song, from the Fifties I think.”
“Really? I prefer their own songs.”
At that moment I remember being struck by how much she looked like Eddie Vedder. Dark hair, sandy forehead, the sun magnified the resemblance.
She laughed, “I think I have a tape of theirs at home. I’ll give it to you.”
We drove for a while, absorbed the sun and drank our drinks. My mind wandered a little bit, but I was there with her, passenger and co-driver.
Get a grip
Were your hands forced off the reins? Was it fear that flung them? Hopelessness that slowly pried them free?
Did someone else take them up in your stead? Someone that sounded like you, did the dishes, made the money, sat you in a corner and said in your voice, “it’s okay, you stay here.”
Or, maybe, the cart ran wild, authorless, careening into weight change, bottomless depths, repetition in corners.
Either way, I hope your crash came quickly. I hope you didn’t lay there too long, wiggling your fingers, and trying to open your eyes again. I hope shapes formed for you, and your mind started thinking, and, in one glorious moment, you felt your hands close over something real.
Starting to think
of the end of a codependent relationship as the unstopping of a bottle. It frees cultures that have been developing there all along. The sudden void THEY have left is overtaken by potent things that crawl and reach. You struggle to string together the you that existed before THEM and this thing that exists after, staggering backwards like the liquid metal Terminator after taking a shot. You feel the need to explain THEM to people, particularly new people, possibly dates, if only to feel the warmth of that comfort again, briefly, like the flame of a lighter against the wind.
need kneading out like flower oil.
Fingers squat and thicken over this work, sending their frustration up through shoulders.
Years pass and they yield the sweetest little drink; heavy, certain, and clear.
begins with gratitude.
I am grateful for every person I’ve talked to, smiled at, loved, been insulted by, insulted.
I’m grateful for every group I’ve functioned within, been on the fringes on, sneered at, coveted being a part of.
This begins with my family; the first step of a marble staircase my Dad dreams of. They are one stone step, comical and alone, a piece of work carried over oceans. It sits on my chest when I forget that success is illusory.
I’m grateful for all the context I’ve been given, and grateful for all that I’ve seen radically dismantled.
I’m grateful I’m grateful and that I’m not always grateful.
I think when I have a satisfying dream, I imagine I’ve had it before for the button pop completion of a REM cycle feeling it gives me.
Lately, these -possibly- reoccurring dreams involve being able to visit lots of things at once. In one, my body picks me up and floats me through an auditorium filled with different groups of people I’ve known in my life; classmates, workplaces. I solve a murder mystery and stand up for an oppressed party. I lucid dream apply my waking wisdom to situations that exist now only as things that have already happened, inoperable in life, but fixed for one (or a few?) filling nights.
Another has less easily identifiable pleasures. I visit some traveling museum/zoo - but really- aquarium where smallish wet-life flop around in a web of plexi glass. The water in the cells are murky, and the animals small and fast enough to seem like insects.
Oh my God this age.
I have come to believe biology determines everything. Like every memory and experience makes itself into a little ridge on your brain, and these build into pathways new memories roll down. I have been pulled by my brain chemistry past all the levels of self-fixation;
Can I survive past playmates?
Can I survive past friends?
Can I survive past rivals?
Can I survive past lovers?
Can I survive past knowing that all I’ve survived so far is for naught, because everything begins and ends with me, and it’s my greatest privilege, and to my greatest detriment that nothing else matters.
A monogamous relationship can be like a nest holding two egos. The more bolstered by communication (or padded with diversion,) the longer it lasts. Time will pass and they’ll hatch different things anyway.
She’s All That
is the definitive millennium movie. Oxygen is showing it because Paul Walker died.
One of the trappings of my adolescent obsession with Christian Slater was that I sought out all his movies and their reviews. I read a review of “the Legend of Billie Jean” that described Billie Jean’s movie boyfriend as something along the lines of “a repulsive specimen of 80’s guy.” Late twenties are allowing me to appreciate the stew of references to other decades (Rachel Leigh Cook= Winona Ryder), and the arbitrary points of fashion (literal points in 2000= that raver bleach blonde segmented Hellraiser hairdo) that harden into zeitgeist.
Like that 80’s guy, Freddie Prinze Jr. IS the Millennium guy. I know he’s married to Sarah Michelle Gellar, and had a tv show but, he is a creature of one specific time, and he and his own distinctively 2000’s hairstyle, will live in that box forever.