Thursday, October 28, 2010
I have been slowly reading through a pile of Renee's letters over the past few months. Slowly because there are not many of them -- that is, there is not an unlimited supply, and I wanted to make them last. Slowly, because each one is a fat 2-sided multi-page packet of joy and possibility, gossip and panic, art and sarcasm. And they take 15 or 20 minutes to settle into. I have been reading them in the morning mostly, as a way to prolong the start of the day, and to see if I can harness some of the That Girl fantastic-ness of 20-ish Renee.
Always more fearless than the rest of us, always more ballsy, and yet (as her letters remind me), also struggling to like herself and the boys who liked her. This pile is from 1987 to 1990 -- the very last of them is a postcard from Italy where she vacationed with her last boyfriend, who she married, and heart-breakingly widowed.
Reading Renee's letters from this time of our lives has made me so happy -- to hear her voice again, and to spend private time with her. It has also made me so sad -- to only have this way to write back to her after all these years.
I marvel at what Renee would have made of the Internet, of "social networking." She would have been on MySpace first thing, because she was a band girl, and would have loved discovering new favorites this way. She would most certainly podcast, and probably Tweet. I think she would dig the idea that Google has preserved her contributions to Spin magazine. She would be a rabid blog commenter. But thinking of her this way is like playing a game of "What cigarettes would Emily Dickinson smoke?" (1) When I try to project her on the 21st century, she seems sort of Photoshopped.
But I know these past 10 years would have revealed themselves to be her time -- Free the Music, e-books, Yes We Can! To have her meticulous handwritten font, in fanciful inks, on linen paper that probably came dear for her grad school budget, but which she thought was right and proper for the intimacies of personal correspondence, also seems True. When I read her frantic (though confident) voice and the ridiculously age-appropriate (and not at all important) problems of her day-to-day struggle for Importance, I feel the girls we were then, and they can handle whatever we throw at them.
My shrine is in the form of these envelopes by the bed. This essay is my calavera. With you forever young, and forever hopeful, I don't dare become (too) old and jaded.
(1) Tareytons: "Because I rather than fight than switch, they kindly switched for me..."
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I've even had the Blahs, which is the achy vagueness that keeps you in your robe all day. You hold the remote and a pint of ice cream, but you do get out of bed for god's sake -- you're not Depressed (not that there's anything wrong with that...). Depression is what's left when Desperation runs out, and I would say it was a Bitch if it were meaner. That's the Reds. Who was it who got the Mean Reds? I just had to stop and look that up for you just now -- it was Holly Golightly. I stopped and web-searched for you. That's how you know I am not Apathetic.
Ironically, Apathy manages to carry with it a certain requirement of conviction -- like how Atheism requires you to think about there being no God more than most theists think about God. I do not have the passion to be so Dispassionate. I am simply.... meh.
If you actually are sick, your Blahs become Listlessness, and I can not imagine being without Lists....
Is that Mellow? Mellow seems so Contented (however drug-induced) and that doesn't fit either. Because I am a little bit Restless..... but not Jumpy.
I have a feeling there is a Cartesian plane here if I think on it long enough. Which is how I know I am not Bored.
Remember being a kid: "Moo-o-ommm.... I'm bor-r-r-r-r-red...." "Why don't you clean your room, then?" yiccch. 20 minutes later I had launched a newspaper, and was working the Back Porch Beat to write-up what the dog was doing. The teachers used to call that Unchallenged. Kids who doodled through World History were promoted, not medicated. "If you're finished with your Question Set, pick something out of the Self Study Jar." or...whatever. As the kids say...
Ennui is so... continental. I don't know if Americans can stand still long enough to succumb. And then they hate themselves.
In The Phantom Tollbooth, Milo ends up in the Doldrums.
"As you can see, that leaves almost no time for brooding, lagging, plodding, or procrastinating, and if we stopped to think or laugh, we'd never get nothing done."
"You mean you'd never get anything done," corrected Milo.
"We don't want to get anything done," snapped another angrily; "we want to get nothing done, and we can do that without your help."
"You see," continued another in a more conciliatory tone, "it's really quite strenuous doing nothing all day, so once a week we take a holiday and go nowhere, which was just where we were going when you came along. Would you care to join us?"
Where I come from, we call these The Mullygrubs. but only girls get them. Boys disappear to a vacant lot and draw in the dirt with a stick.
Melancholy would be entertaining, if I had a lute. But then I would pronounce it Melan-COAL-ya to annoy everyone and amuse myself. And think people who are amusing themselves can not be called melancholic. Maybe just cholic. That's it -- I have COLIC! How great would that be, to just scream and wail all night long, and run the shower at 3 am, then say to your neighbors in the morning (all exasperated)
"Whew...it's colic." (shrug- what can you do?)
It's meh. Just… meh. Too much to do, no motivation to do it, few consequences of not doing it -- or major consequences that I realize don't bother me much if they happen.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
The Mill has become a ghost town. In one of the few public buildings, where I wait to meet with a former millboss, there is no traffic at all, and nearly all of the "retail," which was always questionable to begin with, has gone dark. The coffee shop no one can seem to keep running looks more like the front to a street corner casino than ever, and next to that the dry cleaning desk where I have never seen clothes nor staff, but the door stands open and the lights are on. Am I supposed to leave my clothes there? How do I pick them up?
The gold buyer/vitamin seller is new, and they are having a staff meeting. They seem to have recently acquired, but not hung, some art.
The copy center that used to Buzz (as much as a copy center does) is evacuated. Good retail space for anyone who doesn't really want to do any business. The Senior Center seems happy. They are in the abandoned video game room which reeked of mold, and where no one ever was. Like Quadside.
The lack of foot traffic is entirely due to the cafeteria being closed for the day, but even when it is open, this is not the Statler Bldg, downtown Boston. I may be dating myself, but that used to be where the secretary on 30 min lunch got her bidness done. Those who work there now, please report in.
I am meeting here because meeting in the office requires sign-in privileges, and draws some attention. This time of day, in this spot, we are not likely to attract onlookers. I probably should have called.
This style of unemployment speed dating is awkward for anyone, but I am especially bad at it. I suppose I fake it well enough -- I am good at conversation and I can make people think they are all I am thinking about. Never speak about jobs in these contacts, experts say. This has a WASPish "it is never done" quality I can take on as a challenge. How can I help you... one asks.
The freight elevator has landed. It is painfully slow and dumps into a long basement hallways, so when the riders arrive, they are in full voice conversation and their voices echo off the cinder walls. It is like hearing the rabble approach.
I wonder if I could sit here all day and make it my office. That dry cleaning desk seems set up and ready to go.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
But here we are staring down the barrel of November, and I have to decide whether I am going to commit to National Blog Posting Month for the Xth time. This blog has gone on far too long. November is tricky, too, because I travel, so I need to put some things in the Schedulator in order to keep to the calendar.
(Did you know there is Jane Jetson porn? I didn't either, but I want to warn you against image searching her name)
(why is Liquid-plumr misspelled? The Plumbers objected, didn't they? Now explain why it needs a hyphen...)
I have learned that promises, pledges, and resolutions will not make me do things I am not otherwise doing. I prefer to promise on a sure thing. But winter is coming. That means I get bored, the nights are long, the weather hilarious, and plenty of road trips. And I think we all know by now that it always comes back. Mostly only 1 tweak-mark clockwise, but it comes back.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
He: At Target. They let a lot of people go.