…a window into our past selves.
Temptation, circa 2003?
The rain is falling. The melody of his decent permeates everything around. He pours down hard, with urgency, spilling into the earth, diving towards the ground, as if the two of them were epic lovers reunited after long separation. Long it has been. The desert has not seen her rain all summer, but there was another suitor. The sun has courted her without relief. At first he brought her light, then warmth, at last he gave her heat, then only grief, for he was not the one she yearned for. Scorned was the sun and scorching was his fury. Deaf to her pleas, he burned her flesh and did not spare her beauty. His final gift to her was death. Critters, birds, frogs scattered across her plains, all dead, bitter reminders of all that is unrequited in this world, all that we dread.
When earlier tonight the air grew still and thick, I knew rain had come back to her and readied for a flood. For hours nothing stirred. There was no wind or movement in the night, even the stars had hushed their glow while all the rest laid low in quiet anticipation.
At last he had arrived. He swept her up into his arms, as if no time had passed between them. He spilled across her body with abandon, covering every inch of her and leaving none exposed.
He told her of his love and of his sadness, b egged she forgive his absence, eased her pain, then pulled her back to life and clear of madness. He kissed her face, caressed her skin, nourished her wounds and wiped away the death, then he made promises again he would not keep and hushed her with the sweetness of his breath.
I haven’t undergone any major epiphanies lately, sorry. Life’s been much of the same, nothing to gripe about really, but I’ll try anyways. Somewhat isolated out here in the gentrified desert, bouts of self loathing, a little road rage here and there, some brooding and wallowing, lots of coffee, rereading of Byron’s letters volume 3, an occasional Xanax to calm my idling nerves, lots of television (regrettably?), the cooking (amazingly well as usual), hiking with dogs a lot, riding of horse less than is my custom….etc.Sounds quite nice though doesn’t it, I work hard to remind myself of how nice it is, harder than I should sometimes.
I hadn’t played tennis in a couple of weeks because I broke my strings on all rackets and it took me forever to get them back, also there is a hole in my tennis shoe :(, also because my hitting partner is ignoring me and I haven’t a suitable substitute. It’s hard to be very good at something where an equally good partner is required. Poor me.
Someone asked me why my blog is so sort of “me centric”, asked why I don’t share more of my strong opinions about things that matter. The tone was markedly disdainful but somewhat masked by a compliment towards my “whimsical” writing style. As I am presently endeavoring to be more tolerant all around, I contained my knee jerk eye-roll and indulged, to some extent, the obnoxious querist. Firstly, I am not publishing a gazette here, it’s a “public diary of personal reflections”, it says so in the subtitle. As such, its primary function is to be all about me. Why? Is justification or cause needed for being self-involved in this medium? Ok. I am keeping record of my innermost thoughts so that in some far off future my brain can be reconstituted as a computer, with robotic reanimation and eternal life being the ultimate end goal of course. Also I don’t write a lot of opinion pieces about current events etc. because I mostly don’t give a shit, or don’t want to have to educate myself thoroughly enough on any meaningful subject in order to be able to really write about it. Maybe less people should express their opinions actually, cus few are informed enough to rightfully form them. A daily cocktail of ennui, apathy and sloth informs my creative efforts and outputs. Plus I wouldn’t want to make an enemy of The Atlantic, I don’t have a death wish. Additionally, Mark Twain said to write about what you know. Well all I really know is myself and my life, so I write about it. Is it indulgent to incessantly rant and rail as I do, sure, but is there a place better suited for this activity than a WordPress site, fashioned like a blog and read only by the hapless few who Google-search the word “slap” and are erroneously guided to my humble internet cubbyhole. Nope.
I spent Saturday at the Maricopa dog pound going through a two and a half hour volunteer orientation. I don’t know why I hadn’t gotten started with this years ago, I’ve thought about it plenty ever since I got my dogs from that very same pound. Wait I do know, being at the pound makes me very very sad, but I think I’ve wasted enough time choosing my peace of mind over whatever relief I can offer these dispossessed animals. I have chosen the necessary job of cleaning cages and tending to the needs of the animals on the Euthanasia list. I think I can do most good there, as my people skills are unpredictable at best. Adoption counseling and picture taking would go over easier on my nerves no doubt, but not on my conscience.
My infamous intolerance though did flare up during this “orientation”. As I sat there for a miserable 2.5 hours, all I could think about was the utter inefficiency of their process content wise. The two women leading the orientation talked and talked and talked, spinning endless, irrelevant tales and anecdotes about their personal experiences, their dogs, families and their shelter related career paths, with an occasional, seldom bit of pertinent information sprinkled in. It was so tedious and pointless, that I had to completely tune them out half way into the presentation. Though I know they are just eccentric, well-meaning sort of folks, I became deeply irritated with having my time thusly wasted by them. People, like myself, who drive up to 1 hour one way with the singular purpose of acquiring practical knowledge necessary for a specific task, needn’t be held hostage in hard plastic chairs for over two hours by two women who just want to talk about themselves. Amidst the blather I started composing on my phone a biting but constructive anonymous email, addressed to the two of them, about the virtues of time management, efficiency and conciseness. Writing out my frustration in this way helped stifle my ire and I mustered the willpower not to send it just then. This is probably for the better, since they both were/are, I am sure, lovely, warmhearted people, better in fact than most for having devoted their lives to helping the world’s four legged orphans. I had to center myself, remember my newly minted tolerance mantra, recite it and just sit there like a fidgety statue flipping through Koala memes on my phone.
On a better note, I am going to Vegas next weekend, this is mostly exciting because I get to see my most adored friend Anna from whom I am otherwise separated by 400 unbearably long miles! I am driving myself, which is a loathsome development, but the trip is so spur of the moment that I can’t justify the criminally inflated rate of flying. It is a robust 5 hour drive, which with my tiny bladder makes an 8 hour drive, and I am dreading it already. I am counting though on an exceptionally fun time there to prepare me for the 5 hour volunteer training session at the dog pound that is scheduled for the day after my return. Most certainly handling dogs on the Euthanasia list will turn me inside out and upside down, but I have to say I really look forward to helping and being of general use to them. I have been feeling more and more as of late, that the meaning of life has fallen outside my purview, I’d like to urgently restore it to its usual place inside my shiftless soul.
And, as always, I’d like to say that I miss my childhood and my grandma…and those pink pants. But mostly my amazing, beautiful, brilliant grandma, from whom I got all that is good in me.
I am a very curious, horridly direct, incisive sort of person, afflicted with uncontrollable truthfulness, which means that I find most people obtuse, insecure, boring and kind of namby-pamby. It also means that I frequently make these same people quite bothered or at the least uncomfortable. Being, as I am, in the minority, I realize that I am perhaps more the problem than they are. It’s a miracle really that I managed to get married, and happily, and early on, even my mother thought I would end up as a bit of a feral thing living deep in the woods up in some tree surrounded by wet man-eating koalas.
The qualities that I respond to in people are universally hailed as well as claimed by most, while being in fact possessed by almost none. Earnestness, good nature, true inner confidence, directness, decisiveness, insightfulness, self awareness, consideration of others and an agile mind are just some of the things that are necessary for me to form connections with other people or simply to find them likable. I am not just rattling off a catalog of positive human qualifications either, I take careful inventory and fastidiously measure every one of the items mentioned in all whom I meet. The list is absurdly long too, but it has organically grown inside me like a weed, regrettably I am not its gardener and haven’t the power to redact it. Trust me, I would if I could, life would be plenty easier.
If I had to sum it all up I’d say integrity is what I find to be most lacking in my species, and I mean the daily kind, the integrity of little things, small decisions, ordinary moments, minute conversations. I think this is a legitimate gripe against western peoples and something that amply justifies my burgeoning misanthropy-ism. The trouble is though, that it’s the other, much less weighty, much more superficial stuff that often informs my feelings about my fellow humans. Sometimes, before I even have the chance to examine their deeper, more substantive aptitudes, I find myself either painfully disinterested or worse, not being able to stand them at all. Therein lies what I’ve discerned to be my central (and only actually) character flaw. Intolerance.
I am intolerant. Sometimes it means that I’m short, sharp and dismissive. It also means that inside my head I am unkind, judgmental and even unjust. The side effect of my, lets call it “persnickety”, mental conformation is that I have throughout my life been sort of socially lacking, more so than my communicative, lively nature would ideally have it.
One of my resolutions for this new year, which marks the beginning of the fourth decade of my time on earth, is to better myself (where betterment still can be attained). There aren’t a lot of areas for improvement here, cus I am obviously awesome, but this intolerant thing, well I’ve started working on it. It’s time to do some changing. I’ve realized that not all friends have to be great or close or real even, some can just be friends “lite”, like the free version of the app you want with the ads and the limited functional scope. A connection does not have to be absolute and exact to warrant some level of friendship or social engagement. I don’t know if this is progress or regress, because it certainly smacks a bit of a kind of disillusionment and settling. I am hoping though, that it’s not so much an abandonment of my exalted ideals, as it is their necessary modification and softening. Bonding being achieved not through an instant congress of souls or minds but rather through repeated physical proximity and shared social experiences? Seems like reasonable recourse.
It has not been easy. These new friends might look good, but they are trying the hell out of my patience and resolve. I do find myself having bits of legitimate fun here and there, and whereas my mental health is sometimes stretched to its limit I opt for hugging, rather than kicking or biting. I am testing the theory that negative thinking can be remedied by positive body language. I realize this might seem utterly ridiculous, but I am actually a very physically affectionate person by nature, and hugging or touching those I love is very natural to me, so I’m hoping it works similarly in reverse with those I am trying to love. Also, going out has given me a reason to color coordinate again and that’s like totally like EVERYTHING.
Mmmm that’s all I care to say on this subject right now…but it will be a multi-part post, detailing my experience as a newly minted social person with friends and things to do on a Saturday night.
I lied. I have nothing exciting to tell you.
I finally got a new car, suffice it to say it’s fancier than i deserve. Few shortcomings in design have really stupefied me. Cup holders, completely unusable, retractable, flimsy appendages that are a sneaky scourge of coffee cups and their drinkers. Hot liquid everywhere. Another weird feature is a push button style ignition, fashioned though like a regular key which turns like a regular key, but does not come out. Instead there is another key that you always have with you. This make no sense at all. I have tried to pull out the mock key dozens of times only to remember that it is in fact a “mock” and to feel like an idiot. Well played germans, well played.
Recently I decided to be a little shameless and take up someone i just barely know on his offer to get me tickets to a sporting event. Yesterday, we picked said tickets up at will-call and there we were sitting in the very worst seats in the house up by the roof of arena, flanked on both sides by fat little kids throwing nachos at one another. I made the grievous error of assuming seats would be half decent and taking with me my very polished, fancy model friend and her fiancee. To her credit she didn’t complain once, sitting there in her loubotins with her armani clad fiancee amidst the unwashed masses. ( 😱) I couldn’t handle it, we left early. She opted to finish watching the game. In this way i realized she is a better woman than i, and if nothing else, i came out of the ordeal with an added measure of regard for her and her man.
I had high hopes for The Imitation Game. Here is a summary of how i feel about it.
There were many glaring shortcomings here. The central problem for me is that this is a movie about a genius which treats its audience like grade schoolers. The lead was not relatable because he never seemed like a real person. I think it’s equal part bad writing/bad acting, but his autism played out so exaggeratedly, that the idea of him being aware of his homosexuality or having had sexual relations at all and worse with multiple men was not believable. Then there is the notion that everyone around suspects him to be a homosexual so it’s hardly ever a revelation, but what are these suspicions based on? We are simply told that it’s obvious, while the man we see presents with no sexual nuance at all. In fact the character is completely devoid of nuance of any kind. His relationship with the girl is also not believable, two misunderstood geniuses, underdogs connecting, an unlikely friendship, it’s the very stuff of emotional engagement, but not here, here it’s flat and dry, at best they always seem like acquaintances joined only by the common goal of decoding the Enigma.
Parts of the writing seemed exceedingly trite, like a bad TV movie. When he tells her he didn’t ever love her in an effort to push her away for her own good? Is this Nickolodean? It’s plain stupid, and somehow she believes him, slaps him and stomps off in a despondent rage. Come on, these people spent years together, they would know better. When his team finally stands up for him? But what’s this fierce, newfound allegiance based on? Apples? I think the key problem is that none of the climactic moments read real, and neither did the chAracters. When the most pivotal scenes come off as counterfeit, the entire film feels like a runner with no legs.
A scene that i thought was exceedingly sophomoric was in the end when he had finally told his story to the investigator and asks “so judge me am i a hero or a criminal” And the investigator, astounded by what he had just heard, responds “i can’t judge you” etc. No duh, you can’t. And owww my nose, must you hit me on it?!? Again it’s like a lifetime movie, what goes unsaid gets said, and whatever little bit of finesse or emotional restraint yet expressed through the writing is thrown out with the cheesy dialogue and one dimensional character development. Keira Knightly, whom i don’t usually like, is actually quite cute in this role, so there is that tiny redemptive morsel.
One day a really good film will be made about Turing, god knows he deserves it. The story of his life and works offers ample inspiration for something as brilliant, and heartbreaking as he was. This flick just isn’t it.
Saw another movie-Inherent Vice. The title alone seemed like something right up my alley. But this film has no alley, no purpose, no reason to be made. Unwatchable is the only word i can think of to describe it. Its singular redeeming scene was Josh Brollin sensually consuming a chocolate covered banana, i won’t lie, i enjoyed that.