I’m looking for a safe risk. I’m looking to do something frightening that I’ve done before, so I can have the same sense of exhilaration without all the pain. I’m looking for something that does not exist, should not exist and will never exist. The self is made up of two parts, the seeker self and the merger self. This is according to some theory I learned in a high school summer class… maybe it was Joseph Campbell. The seeker self wants to journey, the merger self wants to stay home. My seeker self and merger self are looking for a compromise. They aren’t going to find one.
revision of random theory
In one short conversation with my mother, my calm was shattered into a million tiny shards of metallic doom. Basically, she said she needed to know what days to take off from work in June. Would she need to drive me from Evanston back home? An innocent question, yet it hinges on what I’m doing after graduation.
So, I think when disaster is imminent, you become more calm. Like, this graduation thing. I’m getting progressively calmer about it. In November, I was freaking out. Now, as it becomes slowly more apparent that June *will* come no matter what, I’m relaxing. It reminds me of the time Pol and I were driving in icy ski country a couple of years ago. We’d just inched up a steep hill in his Jimmy, and found ourselves on an empty, slippery road with nowhere to go but forward. We slid and fishtailed slightly, and I got really scared we were going to end up in a ditch. I had no concept of what it felt like in a ditch, if we’d roll over, if it’d hurt. But then we started to slowly glide diagonally across the road. Suddenly I was resigned to it. I braced myself, but it was out of my hands. Imminent. We just ended up at a 45 degree angle, unhurt, and flagged down a truck to tow us out.
There weren’t any more spice cookies on the tray in the window when I walked into Al’s Deli. I assumed they’d sold out. But no. Before I placed my order, Bob whispered to me conspiratorially, “I saved you a spice cookie. I grabbed the last one and put it in a bag.” He pulled a lone cookie in a baggy out of the refrigerator behind the counter. How cool is that.
I used to be glad when a tough week was over. Now that I’m graduating in June, I just resent that I didn’t get to fully enjoy it.
“How can I get what I want without dealing with all the crap that seems to be in the way?” — Mark
So Sallie Tisdale, the woman I’ve been quoting here for a bit, came to visit my journalism class. She marched in and instead of doing something simple like a reading or a question-and-answer session, she picked up a piece of chalk and gave us a workshop on writing about what we’re afraid to write about. After class, we were all in near-shock about the possibilities for great stories on stuff like sex, race, disease, family and spirituality. Then she went out for coffee with a few of us, and reassured me that I don’t have to be a great reporter, I don’t have to write about what everyone else writes about, and that the best stories can come from within.
At 1 a.m., just for the hell of it, I wrote about 2,000 words on my relationship to water. New and improved version: Now with copy-editing!
I’m drinking Code Red Mountain Dew, haven’t taken a shower today, and have been waiting for three phone calls which may never come. On the bright side, Eliina gave me the coolest compliment ever. She said I walk like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The way Audrey moves in that film has always fascinated me, especially the scene where she’s doing her eyebrows… I could never understand how her wrist moved so gracefully. My next ambition is to become graceful-wristed.
more of bob, on college
Bob, the man from the deli told me today that he doesn’t plan to keep in touch more with people he saw at the reunion. In fact, he now wants to keep in touch less. Only he and a select few will get together next time, he says, for a “non-substance abuse” reunion. “I’m not trying to sound like a Puritan,” he says. “What looks like fun when you’re 21 looks like substance abuse when you’re 50.”
“i want to be back in high school — not because i was happier but because i had so much more potential back then, had time to be a prodigy, hadn’t flamed out.” — Maura at maura.com
On this Day of the Valentine, the 14th of February in the year 2002, I wish you peace, love, and chocolate.
ashes to ashes
“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” … I’ve never done the Ash Wednesday thing before. My family was never particularly Catholic, it was just another ingrediant in our blood, like the Irish and the German and the platelets. I went today, though, partly because I’d never gone before. And I think it meant something to me now, where it would’ve just seemed silly when I was younger, to have someone rub ashes on your forehead and send you off into the world again. It was genuinely comforting to be reminded that if *I* am just dust, imagine how ephemeral my problems and responsibilities of the moment are.
Sometimes life lays out its lessons like a textbook. Like last week, I felt suddenly stricken with the weight of the world. A prof told me in my 8am class that the U.S. lied about definitely needing to use the A-bomb to end World War II, it was mostly for revenge. And what else was I stewing about… injustices that seemed hopeless — racism, sexism, poverty and war. I got all moody and introspective, wondering why I live in this country and when I can get the hell out. I hadn’t felt that way in a while, so it’s not like this is a common occurence. No, I was especially fuming, eating lunch with Amanda at Panera, telling her all this stuff. Then we left, because I had to go to work. But I got to work and realized I wasn’t wearing my backpack. Now, my backpack mostly contained notebooks, pens, a couple of paperback books and a wallet with no money in it. Yet my world suddenly contracted like the pupil of an eye in sunlight, until I, Me, was the center of it. Screw poverty, oppression and vengeful acts of war, my three paperback books are missing! Amanda called Panera, and I walked back to pick it up, realizing that no matter how much I’d like to fix the world, my own measly possessions still elicit much more concern.