Friday, August 21, 2009

Even when I'm miles at sea

The library is like an indulgent aunt that will give you whatever you want, as long as whatever you want is always books and movies. This isn't all I ever want, but enough of it to matter. And while I am mostly happy to be unemployed for a few weeks, using the library every day makes me feel like I haven't gone entirely off the grid. I put on a nice dress, I brush out my hair, I look for jobs and make requests. I move and shake.

But when I don't move and shake, I listen to Double Fantasy in my apartment. I like it as a record of mutual adoration but also because it so directly precedes this cataclysmic event in Yoko Ono's personal history. Yoko singing "Hard Times Are Over" inspires a wincing kind of empathy in me. She had no idea because nobody ever does.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Maybe I'll settle down with you

Cleaning a small apartment can be real satisfying real quick.

Christian, if you see your papa

1. Practically wooden teeth
2. Sandpaper laugh
3. Use of profanity
4. Use of profanity in direct proportion to improvements in mood, enthusiasm
5. Music lover, finger snapper
6. Meatball maker

Monday, August 10, 2009

You've been told you are a motherfucker

I read Us Weekly at the library today satisfied that it was somehow a more nobel act than purchasing the magazine or seeking out its contents on the internet. I think this is a good way to enjoy unsavory pleasures.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Well I didn't, but they did

It will be a year on October 10th. Time passes and its a real strange thing. My first impulse when my brother showed up was to be embarrassed that it was late morning and I hadn't even showered. He sat down and told me that Sean died, that we had to go home right away, and then Mike came inside. You know, I had a sponge in my hand, just wiping down the counters without looking up while we talked about what happened and what had to happen next.

You think the whole world is supposed to stop but it doesn't. It keeps going and the banal things you were scared about before stay mundane and pointless but somehow worse. Clarity and perspective come later but those first few months, maybe even the first year, you suffer over just about everything you can. I broke a dish, my bike tire went flat, my family is half gone, it all feels remarkably the same. All bad news, all raining down on you with shocking constancy.

You know, I didn't cry for the first few hours. Terry borrowed Mike's car and we drove back to the Bronx in deep traffic, barely moving. His phone kept ringing and he just kept answering it, saying Sean died over and over again, providing the same details over and over again. I laughed at the time because the absurdity hurt so bad I could have died myself. I went home and just got to work cleaning my mother's apartment, just as I had before. Dusting the glass on the coffee table, emptying the ashtrays. It was terrible how familiar it all felt, that there was a procedure and I was following it.

I finally cried when I started to dust under the television, sorting through Sean's bizarre movie collection. It was the everyday artifacts that hurt to look at the most. The things a person surrounds themselves with because they were meant to keep living. The cup he had been drinking out of was still on the table, suddenly loaded and heavy because it was probably the last thing he ever touched. I was cleaning the apartment but there the cup sat and how could I even think to move it. It should stay there like a monument for the rest of my life. Making a thing like that so important, well it's enough to make you lose your mind.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I feel it all I feel it all

I really liked having a desk job because its just so easy to explain to people when they ask what you do. Working at a gallery was almost like being a police officer in that everyone immediately knew what I did the second I said it. Which is to say that I just sat there and looked recipes up on the internet. No one ever came in and not much ever happened. The room was big and bright and I liked watching the fall reveal itself week after week through the picture windows. I wrote papers, read about Hindu nationalism, kept chugging along on what I thought was my impressive academic life, drinking hot tea for seven hours and then closing up shop. Another satisfying feeling. Pulling down the gates, locking them, arming the security system. I had codes! I had security codes and god how much more important could my job be?

I was sick in October, working at the gallery on a Sunday and my mom and dad came by with our family dog. That was a funny habit my father had, always bringing the dog along. Once he drove me home to Brooklyn and brought the dog. We stopped to get gas and when my father stepped out of the car the dog shot up to the front seat and just stared at him with such love and anxiety. It was strange and endearing.

On this particular day in October my mother stood outside chain smoking because she was pissed about something my father had done, the dog was in the gallery which wasn't allowed, but my dad seemed to be in a lovely mood. He brought me soup from the Italian place up by them, walked around the neighborhood and came back again. Steve had given me a Feist record and I was listening to it over and over in this open space, looking out the window as my parents smoked and forgave one another. Feeling good about the coming winter. Waiting for it because it was going to bring me all good things.