(this is annie)

Boyfriends and birds

In Belize, I have many boyfriends. It helps to have a boyfriend when you're traveling alone, because men like to say hello. Hey, Snow White in Belize City. Look at those red lips in Caye Caulker. My favorite: You like to read, huh? in Cayo. (At least this time, unlike last, I was not propositioned by a teenage boy. "Ay, mami," he'd said while cruising by on his bike. "Yes," I thought. "I'm old enough to be your mommy.")

In almost every conversation, a man asks where my husband is. No husband? Boyfriend, then? Yes, boyfriend, I say. Depending on who's asking, he's either waiting for me in the States or back at the guest house. Sometimes he is a scientist, other times he's an artist; these details shift for no reason at all. He is always possessive of me, though, and I can't be gone too long or he worries about where I am. Of course, no such gent exists -- and if he did, he would certainly not be the kind of stifling person I'd date -- but my "boyfriend" helps steer the conversation away from whether a drink can be purchased for me tonight.

(For what it's worth, the attention isn't about me. It would happen to any solo lady. I feel the need to say this so you don't think I'm egomaniacal.)

In San Ignacio, the lies became a little lighter because I roomed with two boys. Will had sat next to me on the plane down from Houston, and oddly enough, we ran into each other at the Belize Zoo. He, his friend Brian, and yours truly rode a very hot, very crowded bus to San Ignacio where most rooms were sold out. When we found a room with three beds for $100 BZ, we took it. So when this mildly sketchy guy kept hitting on me last night -- asking me three times if I was traveling with friends -- it was comforting to truthfully say that two guys were in my room upstairs.

And then, just as I told Mr. Can't-Take-a-Hint that it was strange that it was unlike my Belizean friend to be late, up walks Louis looking exactly the same. "Your hair is longer, Annie," he said. I don't know why this simple statement was so comforting, but it was. (FYI, he always calls me by my name, which is nice.) Louis had spent the day studying, I'd spent it spelunking, and we finished it with milkshakes. How wholesome, I joked, because it was.

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I think Oscar Wao left me some of his fuku, because this trip has been a bloody adventure. LITERALLY. Yesterday's snorkeling adventure involved many marine sightings, including the big excitement of the trip: a sea turtle. (Yes, it is possible to coo underwater.) Unfortunately, at the second snorkel stop, there were sharks and stingrays. They didn't make me nervous, but an angry moray eel did, and its snakelike appearance made me swim away a little less carefully than I had earlier in the day. Leg, meet coral. Leg, meet pain.

All of the travel-book warnings talk about how if left untreated, coral scrapes can become infected and then your leg swells up and they have to cut it off but you wind up dying anyway, all because you are scared of eels. But I decided to stop worrying and get on with life.

This smug satisfaction lasted for less than 24 hours. I decided to take a clothed swim. Clothed because, despite my freakish reapplication of sunblock yesterday, my back is the color of a lobster. (We saw lobsters while snorkeling, too.) It hurts and I'm too cheap to spend $13 US on aloe vera gel. Anyway, I was very careful while floating around the Caribbean. Didn't want to step on starfish (can they hurt you?) and so I'd look through the clear water before putting my feet anywhere.

Until, of course, the point at which I really should have been careful.

I crawled onto the concrete barrier that separated the sea from a little inlet, and oh, looky there, a mini angelfish or something similarly cute and bright! And oh my god, what was that? Pain! In staring at the fish, I'd forgotten that the concrete was jagged in places. I thought it was just a scratch, so I went back to fish-watching until I noticed that the water was getting cloudy. I moved my foot and a bright red blot of blood stained the sand. Shit shit shit. Blood everywhere! Oh god, sharks, they're going to come for me and someone else will get bitten and it will all be my fault! Etc.

I limped back to my lodging, dripping an impressive amount of blood all the way. Blood flowed over my flip-flop, leaving a little trail of blood behind me. "Did you step on a nail?" the proprietor asked. I don't know, I just bleed here. "You should get a tetanus shot if it was a nail," she said.

I bicycled to the store, where the clerk spoke only a few words of English, and I didn't know how to say "Do you have Neosporin?" in Chinese. (After scouring the entire store, I can report that they do not have Neosporin.) Cleaned the wound with alcohol and hydrogen peroxide, began thinking of the clerk's tetanus question, and went to the guest house's computer to IM Scott about whether he thinks I need to get a shot. He is the one who taught me how to properly clean a wound this past summer, and when I bleed, I think of him.

So. Off to the clinic. I'd like to pretend that I'm super cool and laid-back about this, but instead, each painful throb at the wound site is another sign that I'll need to be airlifted to the States. (Each word written here is another way to fill the time before the clinic closes, because guess who is terrified of a tetanus shot?)

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Annie meets another Jet

While I was waiting for my Pterodactyl Airlines flight to Caye Caulker, a tiny little old man came up to me. Or more accurately, he came up to my boobs. "Ellomeese," he said. Close talker, shrill Lynchian purr of a voice. "Wattis your nay-ayme?"

I told him.

"Ah, Annie! Mrzrll jetbarumrrrbunch!"

Oh Jesus. "Pardon me?" I said.

"Mrzrll jetbar rumbunch! Me! Bessin Belize," said The Man From Another Place.

It took a good minute to understand that this wee man was trying to get me to visit his airport bar. As a solo lady traveler, I felt it would be unwise to have rum punch before getting to my tropical destination. I am a lightweight and I imagined myself falling out of the puddle jumper. "I'll have some when I'm leaving to go to the States," I told my new friend.

He put his hand on my shoulder and leaned in. "Meesannie," he stage-whispered. "If you donut try, you donut have bessin Belize!"

Abruptly, he walked away, only to return a minute later with a Xeroxed magazine article. He'd autographed it for me: ANNIE LOVE JET. I sat down and read the story, which described our friend Jet and his bar. Apparently, Jet is notorious for accosting ladies in the airport and persuading them to try his rum punch. Or hot dogs; he has those, too.

"See? Famous! If you donut try..."

At this point, he leaned in to kiss my cheek. Oh hell no! I love a harmlessly lecherous old man as much as the next young lady, but I draw the line at first base. "My father was older than you," I blurted. I don't know why. It stopped the smooch.

"How old?" he asked.

"He would have been 79," I said.

"Ha!" Jet said. "I'm seventy-two."

All right then. Normally, random smoochy men raise my Take Back the Night hackles, but I couldn't help but smile at this character. So before I hop aboard my flight back to the States, I will head to the airport bar, order some rum punch, and remind Jet that my eyes are about a foot higher than where he's currently looking.

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Annie's on a vacation far away

...come around and talk it over. After 10 hours of traveling, I made it to Belize. One of the great things about returning to a favorite spot is that its scent is familiar. In my mind, Belize didn't have a smell, but it does. Kind of earthy, like leaves we don't have in the States.

Customs was odd. Nice guy asked me if I knew anybody in Belize. Yes, I said. Where? Benque Viejo. Did I bring any gifts? A book. Apparently you do not need to declare books, and from there I went to book a flight on Pterodactyl Airlines. Cash is king, delivering a 30% discount if you skip plastic. So I bought my ticket (which is actually just a Xeroxed form that the clerk scribbles on) and went through security.

When traveling, I try to bat Bambi lashes and charm people. This, I feel, should minimize any hassle. Unfortunately, there was a snag at the x-ray station. Belize also bows to the tyranny of the 3.4 ounce liquid rule, and the x-ray scanner guy said he'd need to examine my bag of liquids. "You can't take this through," he said when looking at my Target brand SPF 70. "It needs to be two ounces or less."

I silently called bullshit. Of the three sunblocks I packed (different ones for different needs!) the Target one had the girliest packaging, but the La Roche-Posay weighed in at 3.4 ounces compared to Target's 3.0. I'm just saying, this clearly had nothing to do with size. I suspect our guy liked the tulip on the Target tube.

"Are you sure?" I asked.

"Yes, no more than two ounces. You can't take it."

I pointed to the official Belizean airport security sign that clearly stated it was a 3.0, not 2.0 ounce limit. "All right, you can have it," the guy said sullenly. Why did he want my sunblock? I like to think he wanted to give it to a special ladyfriend. Still, it was my SPF 70, and those of you who know me understand my freakish heliophobia. A tiny part of me feels like a jackass for not letting the guy hork my sunblock, because it's expensive here, and... let the first-worlder guilt begin!

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Año nuevo

Last night I caught up with Thomas, who had finally moved from the Beast — that's the East Bay, get it? — to the city proper. We met at Blue Bottle, where the baristas didn't even try to conceal their disdain at our non-caffeinated orders. (Some of us have delicate stomachs and never properly developed a taste for coffee, you know.)

Thomas speaks French better than anybody I know, and he has a do-gooder job that saves the planet. When he told me about an opportunity to do a Captain Planet style job in France, I asked him why the hell he hadn't applied yet. If there's anything I enjoy, it's encouraging people to go for what they might be afraid to want. I really enjoy being that kind of cheerleader. One of these days I might figure out how to root for Team Self.

It had been a year, almost to the day, since Thomas and I had seen each other. It felt like no time had passed. We joked and bitched (mostly me) and sighed like furnaces. I mother-henned Thomas about being careful on his bicycle, because you never know when you might fall off and break your foot. He asked me about losing my father, and I walked through the rain with lightness and clarity after we parted. Some people drain, and others lift. It was good to be lifted. I hope to do that for people, too, but lately I feel like a tiny little hurricane. Fitting, then, that it's almost time to return to the place where I experienced my first flood.

(Sorry this is boring and crappy but I'm trying to write every day. See above re: self-cheerleading.)


Having grown up as an only child, I am proficient at occupying my time by myself. When I was young and my parents were at work, my summer days were filled with blackberry picking and tree climbing and I Love Lucy episodes. I don't remember it feeling lonely very often, and this is probably why I require so much alone time as an adult.

But for some reason, I've been gripped with loneliness during the past couple of days. It became more severe yesterday. For work, I had a super-swank hot stone massage. Tough job, someone's got to do it, etc. It was luxurious and wonderful, but it was also the first time I'd been touched in weeks. Months? It felt so good, so human, and I wanted to cry because I suddenly felt like a wee monkey clinging to a terrycloth mother. You don't realize how lonely you are until it's pointed out to you.

I woke before dawn, as I usually do these days. I pushed open the blinds and peered through the rain that pelted my hotel-room window. The ocean was churning through the storm, kicking up white waves that briefly flashed in the darkness. While eating breakfast, I watched the rest of the water reveal itself to an overcast sky. Tonight, I will go home and pack a suitcase for one. Preparing for a solo trip has never bothered me before, and maybe it's just a temporary blue spell, but I really need a hug and I don't know why.


One of Milo's most amusing traits is the seriousness with which he attacks perceived enemies. He's a playful little creature who seems to have no idea that his legs are short (and therefore comically adorable).

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Tell me, how does it feel?

The newspapers say that today is Blue Monday, allegedly the most depressing day of the year. The formula takes a variety of factors into account:

weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing our new year's resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action.

If I still lived in Chicago, I'd probably feel pretty blue right now. It's not the city; it's the SAD. The first year after moving to California, I was shocked by how much lighter I felt during the winter months. Without having to endure frigid temperatures and face-whipping wind tunnels in the Loop, I am in an overall better mood. Don't get me wrong, Chicago's a fine town. But you really understand the unique brutality of its weather only after leaving.

I remember the moment when I decided to leave Chicago. It was around this time a few years ago. I was shaking and shivering underneath multiple blankets; my teeth were chattering and my fingertips were blue. "There are people who don't have to deal with this nonsense," I said to myself. And then it hit me: I could be one of those people. Packed up and moved that spring.

So if today is the most depressing day of the year, it's nice to get it out of the way. I suspect 2010 is hiding harder days up its sleeve, but I feel good about this year. Maybe I feel that way because the end of 2009 was so difficult that things have to get better. Whatever the reason, I have a lot of faith in the year ahead, like the way you feel when you're 17 and you don't know where life's going to take you, but it's exciting enough just to be going.

Edited to add: Perhaps I spoke too soon. Just found out that Carlos Hernandez Gomez died last night. He was 36. I never met him, but hearing his "I'm Carlos Hernandez Gomez" signoff was part of the backing soundtrack to my years in Chicago. Some of my friends counted him as a colleague and friend, and by all accounts he was a great reporter and a good man. So it is indeed a blue Monday after all.


Today I went through an entire box of Kleenex while battling a particularly aggressive cold during a six-hour stretch of work. Thanks to nearly non-stop sneezing and nose-blowing that has rendered my nose and upper lip raw and puffy, I look like the love child of W.C. Fields and a trout.


In just over a week, I'll set the alarm for 2:30am and be on my way to Belize again. Last time, I didn't get to see everything that I wanted to see thanks to a tropical depression. (That's what you get when you travel during hurricane season.)

This time, I plan to snorkel and swim with nurse sharks. I hope, with the same greedy desire that children have in toy stores, to see a sea turtle or two. It is so wonderful to go somewhere and be close to animals you've encountered only in pages or behind glass windows.

As before, I am paranoid about being attacked by botflies and snakes, both of which are probably plotting against me with the help of their jellyfish colluders. Oh, and there's some sort of disease that you can get from swallowing snail-tainted river water. Need to watch out for that. Then there are the fire ants, some of which crawled up my pant leg and bit the back of my thighs about seven times; it took almost a year for the scars to fade. See, relaxing!

I haven't told Louis that I'm coming yet; part of me wants to surprise him by calling him from San Ignacio. "What are you doing for dinner tonight, Louis?" I could ask. But he works so much — and I mean really works because he's a rancher — that I imagine he's busy most of the time, and it would be more polite to give advance notice. Or maybe I will go help him herd goats again.

All of this is an elaborate setup to highlight the best thing I found today while researching the trip. The website for Crystal Belize is proudly garish, yet oddly charming in the innocently showy way that Belizean advertising favors. Were I to rent a car, I'd skip Avis and go with these guys all the way.

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Give give give give give

There are times when throwing money at a problem doesn't help. This isn't one of them. I'm not trying to be a second-rate Sally Struthers, but the people in Haiti desperately need help. And by help, I mean your money. (I donated to Save the Children; Frank texted 90999 to give $10 to the Red Cross. Yep.)

Everything I try to say seems maudlin. It seems unfair that these people, already so destitute that you and I can barely comprehend such poverty, had nothing and are now left with even less. I keep going back to this story, which begins with a man pleading, "I just want my wife's corpse."

I think it's safe to assume that most of us will never have to make such a heartbreaking request. Donating money won't immediately fix the situation, but it is the easiest way to help.

One of my goals is to be a kinder and more thoughtful person. Most people think I'm nice enough, but in my mind I'm not always so friendly. I genuinely want to like strangers, but they frequently make it difficult by (non)virtue of being rude and selfish. A reluctant misanthrope. So if I can't automatically like people by default, maybe doing nice things will help.

Last night I got on a mostly packed train. Two stops into the ride, a woman hobbled on while carrying grocery bags, calendars, a broom, and some other stuff. Basically, she was overloaded in an overcrowded train. Because she was carrying so many things, she couldn't hold on, which left her teetering like W.C. Fields. I tapped her on the arm and offered her my seat. She politely refused, but I insisted.

I stood up from the seat and did the "no, really, you sit" thing to Broom Hilda — but as soon as my ass had left the seat, some girl greedily darted in there as fast as though she'd been playing musical chairs. Broom Hilda's face fell and she tried to regain balance. Calendars fell. It was awkward. Now, see, this is where I'm only partly nice. If I were really kind, I would not have thrown my mother's disapproving stare at the oblivious seat-ganking girl. Did she really think that I was just ditching my seat so I could stand next to it in a sardine tin of a train? Ugh!

At the next stop, someone else alighted, and the other passengers politely pretended to not want the empty seat. "You could sit right there if you like," I said to Broom Hilda, who hadn't noticed the seat. She smiled, and as she shuffled over, the younger woman's face had a look of ashamed realization. She stood up and insisted that Broom Hilda take her seat. The older woman did, and for the rest of the train ride, she and the guy next to her chatted happily.

So you see what I mean? My initial instinct is to be considerate, but I have this weird impulse to judge. And then I wind up feeling like a bigger jerk than I would have if I'd just stayed in the seat.

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The price of salt

When I was almost a teenager, my mother had an office buddy named Julie. I was grateful for Julie before I met her, because it seemed like she absorbed some of the bitch sessions that the 40-hour week brought out of my mom. When you're 11 or 12, office drama is baffling. I remember thinking, "It's just a job, not your whole life." (Still good advice that I now give myself when prone to grousing.)

As she and Julie continued their friendship, my mom got more glimpses into her life. Julie was hilarious, smart, and kind, but she never talked about going on dates. She was in her late 30s and had a roommate. My parents and I were eating chicken breasts and broccoli one night, when my mom said that she thought Julie might be a lesbian. "I wouldn't say anything to her unless she brought it up," she said. She didn't want to make her feel uncomfortable, judged, or any of the dozens of other things that closeted gay Michiganders might have to feel.

Not long thereafter, my mom came home and said that after work, Julie had asked if they could talk. "Val isn't just my roommate," she'd said to my mom. And in one of the moments that makes me proudest, my mother had given Julie a hug and said that she'd love to meet Val sometime. She meant it.

From then on, my mom became friends with both Julie and Val. They came out to our house for wine on summer nights; our whole family went to Julie's birthday party and celebrated. I liked both women very much, and their partnership seemed completely natural. I don't think my parents were trying to teach me a lesson on how to treat people, but they led by example, never talking about Julie or Val's relationship as being any less valuable than a straight one.

I'd like to wrap up this story in a pretty lavender bow. I wish there were photos of their wedding to share, or maybe a tale of an adopted baby and a nontraditional family. Instead, there is this: Everyone loved Julie but Julie. She'd suffered from depression on and off for most of her life, and her deepening gray thoughts convinced her that Val — and everybody else — would be better off without her. One day, she called in sick to work, drove 50 miles north, checked into a hotel, unpacked a pistol, and fired a bullet into her head.

My mother was shocked. "I knew Julie was having a hard time," she'd said, "but I didn't understand how hopeless she felt." She reviewed the preceding days, weeks, and months to look for signs she must have missed. I think there was a funeral; I didn't go, but I don't remember the reason. Maybe it was because funerals present undeniable finality. Nobody really knew how to talk with one another after Julie died. Val stopped returning my mom's letters, presumably out of grief; we also fell out of touch with Julie's family. She was our commonality, and she was gone.

Every now and then, my mom will get quiet and say, "I still miss Julie." So do I. Even understanding the bleak self-loathing of depression, I wish she'd lived to be able to legally marry. (In some places, anyway.) I wish she'd known how many people loved her, and how our lives have all been dimmer since she left. And I wish I were able to call her and tell her how grateful I was to have known her and Val. Their love and bravery helped shape the way I see the world. I wish I could thank her. Instead, I can only remember her and wish for an alternate, impossible history.


Get off my lawn

The good thing about getting older is that — if all goes well — you are wiser, more experienced, calmer, and more mature. The bad thing is that you realize what a nincompoop you were when you were younger, and the even worse thing is that you know you'll say the same thing about your current self 10 years from now. Which, in a way, is the same as the good thing. Oh my gosh, it's the CIRCLE OF LIFE.

Recently, I was working on a project with a few people in their early to mid-20s. They said things like "it's the bomb dot com" and "chillax." And in the annoying way that very young people complain seriously about "getting old," they began grousing about their alleged hoariness. "Wow, we're ancient," the tattooed 22-year-old said.

"Then I'm paleolithic," I said.

Blank stare.

"Ancient," I said.

He asked my age. I don't like to give it out very often, and this has nothing to do with fear of aging. It's because I take after my grandfather and like to create a little mystery. (That, and I sometimes forget if I'm 30 or 31.)

But I was feeling charitable, so I revealed the number to our young friend Mr. Inky Knuckles. He looked surprised. "No way, man," he yelped. "I thought you were way younger."

A pause. "Man," he said, "if I'd known there'd be cougars here, I woulda brought some catnip."

Shortly after this exchange, I moved to another area where I could be alone with my large-print Reader's Digest. Later, S. told me that she'd spotted Inky Knuckles rubbing circles around his nipple. When she asked what he was doing, he cleared things up. "Turnin' on the heater," he explained. I sighed, did a shot of Metamucil, and vowed to procure a lawn just so I can tell the damn kids to stay off of it.


In search of lost time

When Betty came to visit, she gave me a single paperwhite bulb. I didn't have a proper container to force it, so I jury-rigged one out of a votive holder and some tin. Within a few days of being given water, the roots began to reach down and a tiny green shoot began to work its way out. This week, the flowers bloomed, and looking at them brings me peace. The plant is so fragile just floating there, but so pretty, too.

After taking this photo, I deleted some recent shots to make more room on the memory card. Other photos have remained on the card for months, to stay indefinitely. Even though they've been downloaded and saved online, I worry that those copies might somehow get lost in a hard drive crash or a data outage. I cannot bring myself to remove the files from my camera, because it feels like I'd be erasing the people in them, too. How can I look at the last photograph of my father and press delete?

I like — perhaps need — to collect tiny pieces of people. That makes me sound like a serial killer, but you know what I mean. I have a box of souvenirs: photo booth strips, emptied matchbooks, a scrap of my grandfather's tie, a gelato wrapper, a thread from a wool dress, an expired RATP ticket, an origami crane, a drawing on a post-it, lakes cut out from a topographic map, a pressed maple leaf from the day my father died. I feel compelled to pour the importance of a moment into something small and tangible, so I can hold it and prove to myself that it existed.

When it comes to our autobiographies, we are all unreliable narrators. Our minds translate personal fictions into personal truth. So this is why, when I click the camera's wheel backward and spin backward into time, I linger on those photographs. They are evidence, they are a link to the past, and in some cases they're all I have left.

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Scene snippet



Two elevators open their doors at the same time. ANNIE looks left, then heads right into an empty car. She balances her juice on top of her oatmeal and presses a button. Just as the doors are about to close, MIDDLE-AGED RICHARD WIDMARK LOOKALIKE steps in.

Good morning.

Good morning.

What's that you got there?

This? Oh, juice.

What kind of juice is that?


Well, that is crazy! Carrot-orange juice! Now why would you want to drink that?

It's... tasty?

Me, I don't eat anything that's orange. Filled with chemicals, that stuff.

It's orange because of the carrots.

Well, I don't trust it.

Oh. Well, uh, here's my floor!

You have a nice day!

Thanks. You too.

Annie exits and the door closes. Annie wonders what this man — or anyone, really — could possibly have against carrots.


Aujourd'hui, Camus est mort

Fifty years ago today, Albert Camus was tooling around in a tiny little car, and then he died. I remember delving into Camus as an undergrad, but it wasn't until my mid-twenties that it started to make sense. Much of it still doesn't, which is why I like his writing so much. The ideas are like onions, and age sheds layer after layer, revealing more depth when my mouse-brain is ready for it.

A little over a year ago, I had lunch with a Frenchman. He is one of the most respected people in his field, so I tried to not screw up my French too badly. (When meeting someone like him, it just seems rude to start off in English.) So he politely let me stumble over clumsy French for a few minutes, and then he asked who my favorite French writer was. Camus, bien sûr.

His eyes lit up. "Ah," he said. "I knew Camus."

"Really," I said. I was all cool exterior, but inside, it was holyshitholyshitholyshit. His parents had been friendly with Camus, but because he was a teenager, he didn't realize how big that was. Hearing his stories was a privilege because they revealed pieces of Camus the man, not Camus the symbol.

More than a few people have said that Camus is depressing, which makes me wonder how we can possibly be reading the same words. He is one of the more hopeful writers I've read. I'm not a Camus scholar or anything, but I've always admired the idea of knowing that you're going to lose — as we all do eventually — but fighting the good fight until you do. Pushing the rock up the mountain.

My favorite of his quotes used to be taped on my wall:

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.

This is the deepest winter of my life so far. I don't know if I have ever felt this broken before. Not just broken-hearted but mentally and emotionally Frankensteined. Sometimes there's nothing I want to do more than nothing. Just slither under the covers and close the curtains and give up. But I make myself move through the world because I have to. What else can you do, quit? Hide?

I'd like to say that this attitude has led me to feel better. I can't. It doesn't change anything or erase my sadness. I still go to bed most nights trying to find answers to unanswerable questions. Things are not better now, but they will be eventually, because they must. And to quote another, less eloquent philosopher: At least I'm fucking trying. What the fuck have you done?

This is super corny, even moreso than MacKaye-quoting, but the last scene of Angel has always felt Camusian to me. To summarize: Angel and the gang are faced with a terrifyingly huge army of demons (told you this is corny). Wesley's dead, Gunn's almost there, and it's obvious that there's absolutely no way they'll win or even make a dent against their opponent. Evil's going to win. Then Angel, fully knowing the futility of it all, picks up his sword and says, "Let's go to work."

I think about this scene whenever I feel like giving up, and it helps. (Stop laughing at me.) If I keep pushing, even and especially when it seems like I'm getting nowhere, one of these days, things will get better — or at least I'll get a Dark Horse comic-book spinoff like Angel. Not sure how I got from Camus to Minor Threat to the Whedonverse, but there you have it.

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From Cancun to D.O.A.

One of the highlights of each week is the commute to my therapy session. The bus I take winds through Chinatown at a snail's pace, which allows me to observe scenes unfold among the hustle and bustle. Unfortunately, my therapist moved to a new location that requires a comparatively boring train ride.

So, equipped with spy camera, Eric and I spent the day walking around Chinatown. We've been friends for at least 12 years now, and I think it's pretty much impossible to have anything less than a fun time with him, unless you count that time I broke my foot — but that happened after we parted ways, which further supports my theory that Ericless time is inferior to Eric-filled time.

We watched a live chicken get stuffed into a paper bag, three strangers karaoke "Amazing Grace" in front of a store, and a toddler cross Columbus in Power Wheels. We concocted a foolproof life-improvement plan that involves me going on a date with the crazy guy in the park, giving birth to someone's baby so I can work from home, and moving to Los Angeles. (What can possibly go wrong?) It was a good day, we agreed.


Gouge away

After spending the afternoon walking around — and, by the way, rain does make the foot ache in a strange way — I decided to rest at a cafe. It was nice to write and watch people pass by, with the exception of an assclown who made a lewd comment. And then, while packing up to go home, I spotted him: Overly serious-looking guy about my age, closely clipped hair, thick Kissinger spectacles, coffee in his cup, reading Friedrich Nietzsche. Repeat, reading Friedrich Nietzsche. It was a living and breathing coffee-shop dude archetype, and it filled me with delight. I love it so much when clichés pop up in real life. In college you get to see (and be) them more often, but it doesn't happen often enough these days. A fun start to the new year.


say hello

    it's anniet at gmail.


© 2009 avt

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