Secret Pop

Nov 15, 2005

So you think you can love me and leave me to die.

It's midnight and there is a fog on my street that makes it look like my imagined version of Merry Old England. I've been working from the moment I woke up. I haven't even had time to have a shower. Or to go running as I'd planned. I took a short break to make some chicken curry and some peas. And then I got back to work. And I ignored the phone calls from Jessie that would have told me she was coming over to check on me because she was worried about me. Lord love her for caring enough about me to not allow me to self-destruct the way I am prone to. She knocked on my door, and I momentarily considered not answering it. But that's only because I didn't know it was her and didn't fancy a visit from the creepy guy across the street who intends to marry me despite the fact that he will have to kill me first. Fortunately, I took a chance and opened the door, and Jessie came in and sat with me for a while, and listened to me talk (and cry just a little bit) and blow things out of proportion and trivialize them in the same breath. And never once did she let on that she is tired of me or my mountain range of bullshit. And then I heated up a bite-size portion of chicken curry and rice for her, and she said "yum."

So Jessie just left, and I took Audrey out for a walk, and that's when I noticed the fog. It's nearly white outside. And bright. It's the middle of the night, but it looks like early morning. It looks like daytime. Everything is wrong about it.

Yesterday, Sarah and Paul took me to see Robert Wells at the Civic Theatre in San Diego. I would have stayed in San Diego a smidge longer, but I had so much work to do, and switching computers has left me occasionally up the storied waters of Shit Creek. I end up far from home realizing I don't have the software I need or the files I thought were on the hard drive. Without fail. It's hard to plan for things. It's hard to pack for trips. It's hard to be prepared for everything that happens. I, for one, nearly never feel prepared, though I'm certain I give the impression that I've always got it together. And I certainly carry most of the right things in my handbag. But to be truthful, much of the time -- most of the time -- I am at a loss. I feel out of place and uncertain. Nervous, awkward. When Martín and I were at Disneyland last week, I heard it in my voice. The sound of that silly little girl in my voice. The one with nerves all a-jangle. Maybe I don't let my voice take on that cast as often anymore. Maybe it's because I am so seldom in the comfortable bosom of enduring friendship. Instead, I'm so often playing at being this version of me that even I've gotten used to. And I detest playing the role so much that I think I've shut down. And maybe that's why I never want to answer my phone anymore. Maybe that's why I don't know what to say.

In addition to a fine rendition of the beloved Bohemian Rhapsody, the musicians at the Robert Wells concert (who included Ruben Studdard, and he didn't appear to have lost any weight, but he sang like an angel -- a big fat angel) also came out for an encore that was a medley of ABBA hits. Of course, I sang along. The man to my left was wearing a tuxedo. He did not sing along. And he also did not seem to be able to remember to clap on the twos and fours.

I worked all day, through episode after episode of Little House on the Prairie and then Star Treks Deep Space Nine and The Next Generation. They were all episodes I remembered. Even the Little House ones. And I haven't watched that show since childhood. It was the two episodes with Jason Bateman when he and his sister lose their parents and then end up being adopted by the Ingalls family after being temporarily adopted by a really mean family and then by a bear trap. Deep Space Nine is in the season seven portion of its rotation. One of the episodes today was the one where Sobor is disgusted by Kai Winn's carrying on with Anjohl (who is actually Dukat in disguise). Kai Winn sends him away one morning, and he asks what she will be doing, and she says something that isn't "making out with Anjohl," and then Anjohl comes in, ever the lothario, and Sobor says wryly, "I see." I remember how much it made me laugh when I first saw this episode back in its original airing. I laughed again today. And then I thought (wryly) how disappointing it is to have to find all of my pleasure in the memory of it. Among the three Next Generation episodes today was The Inner Light, one of my favorites and the origin of that pretty pretty flute melody that I used to listen to on this CD when I worked at Protein Polymer Technologies. I listened to it over and over. Mostly to that flute theme and then to the music from The Trouble with Tribbles. The days seemed endless back then. I listened to this CD a lot during those days, too. So pretty. All those variations on La Folia. Something I like to play on my violin a lot. I played one of Corelli's variations at the Governor's Mansion in Guam. Later, that governor killed himself. Like a few years later. Not "later that night." I don't think it was my fault, but you never know. Everything seems to find its way back to everything else. At one point I eventually started listening to this CD. Which serves to remind me that there was once a time when I only had a CD player that could play a single disc at a time. And now I have in iPod. And my control of the music I listen to is much more masterful, but all the music I listen to still seems to mean the same thing it used to.

And yet it doesn't. Driving home from San Diego, I played songs that mean certain things to me. Songs that have meant 2002 or that trip to San Francisco or updating my web site in the winter. And I could barely pay attention to them long enough to remember how they used to make me feel. I remember what they used to remind me of. I remember being made to feel things by listening to them. But now, for some reason...well, it all just seems blank now. I seem to have cauterized all of my nerve-endings. I just can't feel a thing.

Cold and hot. Something tingly? Everything is...strange. My measurement devices don't seem to work. I'm even tired of taking pictures.

Nothing really matters. Nothing really matters to me.

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