Secret Pop

Dec 16, 2003

Tally Running

I just saw a guy I know on a Stagg Chili commercial. He made me laugh once. I congratulate him telepathically. And Carson Daly is really a preposterously bad interviewer. Dumpy, canister-headed, and preposterously bad.

If I were to list all my temporal expenses over the past few days, the list would be great but still that: a list. Obligations were ticked off. Appointments kept. Expectations fulfilled. My neck and collarbone bear the conspicuous marks of my violining. Everyone -- and I mean everyone -- makes the hickey joke when they see the marks. But I've never had a hickey that bled and the bruisy plum on my collarbone was just about ready to by the time I wrapped up. I'm never really amused by the hickey-themed accusations anyway. Maybe because they are obvious and tired. Like when a bigly pregnant woman shows up and you feel you have to say, "Hey, whore, who knocked you up?" Or, "Nice gut, fatty." Of course, these are not at all the same thing.

Still nearly no sleep to speak of. I wouldn't have wagered I could get by on as little replenishment as I've had these past five days or so. I usually think I can come up with great mountains of exuberance when I have to. But I didn't know that I would ever be convinced of the must quotient. I had things I said I would do. Things I needed to do. Things I wanted to do. But nothing the not-doing of which would have landed me in jail or the morgue. And yet, I soldiered on. And in most cases, I don't think I was any the worse for it. Even today, when Tommy and I went on our all-day shopping date, I wasn't sure I had it in me. But sure enough -- I did. That's to his credit, though. He's sweet and thoughtful and patient and considerate, and he doesn't judge me when I spend hundreds of dollars on hosiery and fanciness. And he doesn't tell my mom.

I donated a big box of porno to a white elephant gift exchange and made a young man's day for a little while. And someone broke a coffee table trying to lean across it and surrender their 15-pack of mac and cheese to me. But all of that was forgotten in the hot tub. And then the hot tub turned tepid in the shadow of dramatic buzzkill. Little of anything lasts as long as it should. The things that might please you forever exist for mere flashes. And all that would destroy you persists. For as long as you let it. For as long as you feed it and nurse it and tell it how lovely it is.

It gets old, you know. Going past all the same freeway exits. Seeing all the same streets. Latching on to the same flutters of winged memories. Everything that is has been. Even what is new is the same new thing as the last time something became new again. The days that dared to stretch their corners. Secret meetings. Lazy excuses. Driving directions taken down for the first time. My phone no longer rings Deep Space Nine, but that's the only thing that has changed.

Many times over I've asked myself if coming home is ever really a homecoming. And the answer is always the same. An un-answer. There is no home to come home to. There is only a place where one waits until it is time to be somewhere else. With a lock on the door and a light in the hallway and a box where the mail comes. Sometimes you are expected. Sometimes you are not. Sometimes you are welcome. Sometimes you are fearful. Sometimes you are not sure you have ever seen any of this before. Like waking in a world you can't remember where everything is white and shapeless and the light makes you squint and shield your eyes. Is this heaven? you might ask. Am I dead? But no answer comes. These are words that have no meaning. They do not belong.

It's hard to stay beautiful when there's so much madness in the world.

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