Y'know - my life and everything you have no natural reason to care about. Come love me.
The post before this I wrote in Arizona, but only just released from draft form. I put it up because it leads nicely into my new blog, which I'll be setting a link to shortly.
So, for those not in the know, if anyone still bothers to check this, I am in Phoenix, Arizona, surrounded by sand, and days away from a seven day, solitary excursion into an area known as the Superstitions, where, according to my camping guide at a little shop I found, I have a decent chance of finding water, although we can't be sure.
So I haven’t been updating. But at least I have a decent excuse. Instead of complaining about not finishing my book, I finished my book. (A very special thank you by the way to the office printer, which was there to provide me my first copy.) (Also, a very special thank you to my boss, Amanda, both for letting me use the printer without her knowing, and for all her other help.)
I’d like to say something really interesting happened while I was away from you, but it didn’t. Well, except I came out straight to my gay boyfriend, my girlfriend is planning on taking a hike in the desert for 50 to 80 days somewhere in the near future, and my entire living/job situation is up in the air. Other than that though, really not much has happened.
So, given all that, I’m sure you’re wondering, “who the fuck wants to live in the desert for two months?”
Me too, my friends. Me too.
I haven’t been writing (so, presumably, you haven’t been reading) because nothing all that interesting was happening to me. At least nothing allowed to break the compu-personal barrier, so I stayed in hiding. Last night changed that though, and if I hadn’t been bordering on exhaustion around when it occurred, I would have typed this up then.
So last night I stopped by the bar to visit the lady, who – as those of you have who have worked in a restaurant will understand – was having a hate-all-people day, so she felt bad and offered me her car to drive myself back home. (It takes an hour for me to get there by train from work.) I took her up on it and sat around on the computer, until she called to tell me how slow things were and that she was already done. I said I’d come get her. We haven’t seen much of each other lately, and I’m kinda missin her.
So I drive back out there and then turn around, picking up the dog from her parents’ place. We’re in the middle of a conversation, just coming through an intersection, when an SUV runs a red.
Well, those fuckers are big. And you don’t realize how big until you see one head on coming at your driver’s side window. Actually, to be fair, you don’t see the whole thing. You just see the grill. Maybe a headlight… where your brain is about to be.
Small cars, like, for example, the infinitely tiny Chevy I was tooling around in, really don’t have much of a chance against those things when they’re hit. And I suspected, doing some fast math, that my aluminum-foil door wasn’t gonna beat their frame-reinforced, momentum-bearing bumper, perfectly heighted to crush my ribs into my heart upon impact.
I jerked the wheel to the right around the same time my eyeballs pushed out past my skull and held my breath.
The good news, as you can probably guess, is that they had good brakes. They stopped a few inches shy of my essentially useless shielding, and for a few seconds, we just sat there. Then I pulled forward. Call me paranoid.
I don’t know. I mean, I understand that people respond to intense situations in funny ways, and that you shouldn’t judge…
But I would have felt a little better if the driver wasn’t laughing.
We bought fans today. The weather has flipped, and with it all sense of comfort.
Without getting too graphic, sweating and I don’t mix well. Oh, sweating likes me fine enough. I just don’t get the same enjoyment it seems to from our relationship. Now, I’ve got the pits well in hand, but it’s the rest of me I’m a little flustered with. Actually, I’m about a half-step from covering my face in deodorant, which I think might be illegal.
Back to the story, we bought fans. Not an air conditioner. The lady doesn’t like air conditioners. The lady likes hikes in the desert. The lady likes open windows.
I, on the other hand, love to spend money. So, if I’m not buying an air conditioner, I’m buying the most expensive fan I can find. Also, I shop the best places. So let’s just jump over to Walgreens.
They had these “tower” fans. Large cylinders that apparently blow air around just like tradition fans, but more expensively. I wanted those. The lady couldn’t understand why. She tried to get me to buy a regular fan.
“But where would we put it?”
“On the floor.”
“Doesn’t that seem…ghetto?”
“Who else is going to see it?”
I didn’t give in though, and eventually I found our baby. Babies, actually. Dual fans. Window units. …Thermostat.
Oh yeah. You heard me. Fucking digital read-out.
Now, I don’t know what it is about the technology that has me so impressed, but any minute now I might start beating off to a picture of the damn thing. 74. 75. 74. How could I not fall in love? That’s why I bought two. Even worth finding out they were in the wrong place and cost 40 bucks apiece instead of 20.
The bedroom is working like charm. Very cool. Very breezy. Did I mention it uses 80% less energy than an air conditioner? Awesome. The den though, not so much. Due to the height of the windows, that air blows right into the couch. End result: fresh, new-cow smell, but… 79. 80. 79.
I’m going back to buy a normal fan for that room tomorrow.
She was only half-right.
A friend of mine is hurting, and I want to help them, but I don’t know how. I don’t know how to tell them what I need to. It’s the second time this has happened. I'll tell you about the first.
See, I wanted to let them know a secret. I wanted to tell them that life isn’t graded on length. That living longer isn’t living better, and living less isn’t living worse. Living is living, I wanted to tell them.
My friends had a niece born with, well, far too many problems. There was no question of “if,” just one of “when,” with the horrible possibility of “any minute.”
I saw her after she came home. I saw her laying on a couch. And I say laying here on purpose, because she could not lie herself down. In my memory, she is wearing blue, or covered in a blue blanket, although I hardly think it matters. Her face is distorted. Not in pain though. Just… distorted.
She is sleeping. She is beautiful. And I am scared to look at her.
Her brother, very young as well… far under ten - although again I can’t remember exactly, and again I hardly think it matters – quietly walks, almost crawling, up beside her on the couch, and just watches her sleep.
He isn’t scared. He just loves her. He is beautiful too.
I almost want to skip the details, but they’re so important here, for so many reasons. She stopped breathing. Not just once. Many times. So many times. But then she’d start again, suddenly sucking in air. In my imagination she shakes, almost like any baby does in a dream before settling back into a steady rhythm. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that she died not once, but ten, twenty times in the minds and hearts and arms of her parents. Once less time then that, she came back.
I can’t imagine many things being more horrible. Knowing is one thing. Finished is over.
That is just torture.
But what I wanted to tell my friend, although didn’t know I wanted to say, was this…
Her whole life, that beautiful girl was surrounded by love, was close to her family, and valued for every second she gave. As terrible as each shaking, sucked in breath may have been, I doubt her parents would have given up a single one. Her life was short, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t perfect. It was just different.
For me, the challenge isn’t in dealing with the fact that life is unfairly balanced; it’s just remembering that it’s unbalanced so heavily in our favor.
From time to time, I remember things from my life. Not long things, or involved things, just moments. A glance between me on the platform and a girl on a passing train, the smell of the molding carpets in the stairway of the apartment I grew up in, the way it felt when I fell off the slide and broke my leg.
Any one of those, any one of any memories I have or have long forgotten would have been worth it. Nothing seems more hideous to me than never existing. Every life is beautiful.
We shouldn’t be afraid to look at them.