Secret Pop

Apr 10, 2005

The weight of days is dreadful.

I made a collage. I like it. That is usually a sign of something. In this case, restlessness and disappointment. In many cases, the cocktail is the same.

I knew there would not be much sleeping in this weekend. Out-of-town visitors. Plans. Concert tickets. In being social, I sat down to more meals than I would have preferred. I wish the ritual was less filling. I don't really enjoy eating the way I pretend I used to. It's not that I don't like it. It's that I am not willing to look forward to it. Or to look back on it with any sense of congratulation. I am doing my best to not always be talking about this when I'm sharing a meal with someone. Because it is decidedly a drag.

Krissy and Pamela and I went to the Bounty on Friday night. There was a carnival looming on the other side of the street. It made parking such a game of cat and mouse. I remember going to a carnival last year with Kevin and being talked into getting on the Zipper and only wanting to die for several hours afterwards. I just wanted to go in and take pictures with my Lomo. Instead, I told myself that a ride wouldn't hurt. But then after being shaken around like so many dry beans inside a rattle -- having the contents of my handbag rained down on me as our doomed cage spun and rotated on far too many geometric axes -- we came to a stop, and I have never wanted more fervently to throw up. Coins and salt packets littered the inside of our gondola (I don't know what else to call it, but that's not what it was), and my mother, in the retelling, was angry at me for not having picked them all up.

We did not go to the carnival on Friday night.

After the bar closed, we went back to my place and had more drinks. The whiskeys I drank didn't seem particularly stiff to me. These days, I only seem to notice their potency when I have a cut on my lip or something that will alert me that that stinging sensation is because I am drinking something that has disinfectant properties. Krissy did not finish the martini I made her. Pamela did not finish her beer. But I drank two whiskeys and stayed up several hours past them. And when I was sitting in bed, finishing a chapter of my latest book challenge, I noticed that the vitamins I had just taken -- in an effort to stave off a relapse of under the weather -- seemed to still be lodged in my throat. And it was when I was washing them down with the last few sips of my whiskey that I wondered if this might be a portrait of "a problem." But since I talk about it, I assume that makes it okay. People who have a problem keep it under wraps. At least that's the rule I made up to keep me in the safe column.

I only slept for a couple of hours -- and by "couple" I mean two -- before getting up and showering and taking my guests to Nick's for the earliest weekend breakfast I have ever had there. The owner was awfully nice to me for some reason. He told me I was his favorite girl that day. I told him I would write that in my diary. He asked if I still keep one of those. I said, "Of course." And I refrained from adding that, these days, it's called a "blog." Because that would have been obnoxious. The use of punctuation and emphatic typeface on the Nick's menu leads me to believe that no one who works there is on the Internet. This is not based on science. But I have a hunch.

After breakfast, we went back to my place and watched Fathom and made fun of it, and then I had to go to workshop, which was godawful too warm and not as beneficial as in previous sessions. Then I changed out of my jeans and into a skirt (in my car) and met Dean at The Echo, for he had bought tickets for us to see Deerhoof there weeks and weeks ago. Which is a mercy, because the line of hopeful last-minute ticket purchasers was daunting, and we had the luxury of not having to wait in it.

We walked over to The Brite Spot to have eggs and coffee, ran into a friend of Dean's whom I met at that pirate-themed birthday party of a few months back but who was apparently too far gone on that night to have remembered me, then we walked to a gas station, because I was out of gum and also Red Bull. And I was glad it was finally dark, as we walked back to the club. Though it was windy and a bit too cool out, and the several suggestive entrées made from passing cars and trucks only made me more aware of the length of my skirt. I was surprised by the turnout at the show. Bands have a way of blowing up these days. I wish them well and am happy for their success, but I can't help but feel resentful of all the trendy fashion plates, skulking around in their miasma of unconcern. This is particularly the case at an all ages show in Echo Park. What a study in hairdos and cropped denim. It was like high school dances at the teen center when I lived in Japan. Only back then, we were dressing like it was the '80s because it actually was the '80s, albeit the very last part of them. And we had much more access to booze.

Dean was ever so gracious, given the dampening of my mood that happened by way of my friends. There are certain friends of mine -- I wonder why they would ever want to spend time with me when it seems that so many of our outings involve me not being myself. Or me apologizing for how tired I am or for how unenthusiastic I seem. There are certainly the Martíns of the world, who have seen me at every point on the spectrum and can be expected to remember that I am not always morose or exhausted or underwhelming. But the friends who see so much less of me -- well, I worry that I provide them with much less statistical proof that I am any fun at all. I have been called "intriguing" three or four times in recent weeks. I'm beginning to wonder if it means what I think it means.

I was so frustrated on my drive home that I was sure I was about to cry. And I wanted to slap myself in the face and scold myself for being so stupid and fragile. But it all felt a bit too Catherine Deneuve. Or Annette Bening in American Beauty. I have my excuses. I've been working so hard. And the aftermath of my car accident is perpetually stressful. And my father found a lump on his collarbone a couple of weeks ago, and how can I not be thinking about that and how it felt to be in junior high school and finding out my dad had cancer and that they did not expect him to live to see me graduate. Of course, he did live to see me graduate. And well on into excess of the five years they had projected his remaining lifespan to be. But I think I am always thinking about that feeling I had when we went to kiss my dad goodnight before his surgery and my mom reminded us that people don't always wake up from surgery. Even minor surgery. (Thanks, mom.) And my dad laughed like we were silly when he saw all his girls were crying.

Jessie called me while I was driving. The plans we had made had fallen through, too. And by "fallen through," I mean that she never called me. And when I called her, she was already on her way to calling it a night. Maybe she felt bad about that. I don't know. She called me back and suggested we go to a dive bar. But the songs in my head made me sad. And that is reason enough for me to have returned home and pitched myself headlong into an art project. Yet another instance when my life looks to have been written for the Scholastic Book Order.

I've come to learn that the only way to avoid disappointment is to purge yourself of expectation. But it's really hard to set your clock by that. Only angels know unrelieved joy -- or are able to stand it. And my belief in angels is specious, at best.

No comments: