Tuesday, July 5, 2011
There's This Whole Speech About America in My Head and We're Going to Leave It There, Because I am America Too
It was one of those weekends that flew by but was also full of momentous and sparkling things. I guess, really, when you think about it every weekend is like that. I was going to say "in the summer", but then I considered what this past winter was like. So every weekend is full of momentous, brilliant, shiny, or dark and intense things. Every moment that you're not at work is. Maybe they don't seem momentous, or maybe they don't stay that way, but at some point in the timeline between something happening and your memory of it, each event or conversation has it's brief important meaning. That's perhaps a side effect of constantly being on the look out for the next thing to tell people about. I hadn't anticipated that. Is it happiness? I don't know, seems like a risky conclusion. But it's out there. It exists. It's pretty fun.
Friday night I had a weird night. The concert was fantastic and heartbreaking. The Elected were amazing, and I couldn't stop smiling despite myself. Saturday I went to a party in a very nice house with a bunch of nicely dressed people, and stood in like one or two spots in the backyard like the whole time while faces came by, stopped, said hi, got moved off by the natural wave through the space. Strangers and I just had weird random conversations in that way you do when you don't know anyone but you're in the mood to talk. This one guy came over to talk and I don't know how it happened, but in like 5 minutes we were talking about, like, life goals and marriage and plans for like ten minutes. Suddenly I was like "oh man, wait, I don't know how this got so deep." And he took a swig of his beer and said "yeah, and like I have to go to the bathroom, but I don't want to seem like a dick." And we parted pretty quickly. The next time we found ourselves standing by each other, we talked about kickball and stand-up while people tried to light sparklers, and it was that kind of night, each person had their set of topics that had seemingly no relation. You just took up where you walked in. The wind picked up beautifully, and then it poured and drenched the streets. I left and met up with my sister and this group of 22 yr old girls she somehow knew. They were all so unworn and new. Later we had hot dogs, quickly and with drunken determination. Later again, at home, my downstairs neighbors were still up from their party that night, and we stayed up till 5am talking about god knows what, skanks and jobs and motorcycle lights, I was already home by then and they gave me more whiskey. We sat in the driveway under their tents with red cups lying dead all over the wet concrete. Nobody got in any fights until after I finally stopped leaning on their car hood and went to bed. I lay there upstairs listening to them screaming at each other, and bottles being broken, the sounds of people who have been drunk around each other for way too many hours.
Sunday, well we're going to talk about Sunday in another post. There are many pictures and thoughts about my mom and thoughts about Ohio. It doesn't belong here. It was actually too daunting for me to try tonight. The really long hours of working in front of a computer, on job stuff and personal stuff, is starting to kill me in the heat. 12 hours a day I feel swollen and inflated and languid. My body longs to be in other positions. Dancing, swimming, fucking. Any movement at all. I wander aimlessly around my house, trying to feel my muscles and bones back into being. Also my tattoo is starting to itch. I think it's peeling, finally. I'm sunburned. Today at the grocery store I bought only bananas, chopped dates, pears, a little cheese, some bread, two bottles of rose to drink over ice. Espresso roast to make an entire jug of iced coffee which I've done already, mixed with half a gallon of soy milk, because it was so imperative I have it. There are four full trays of ice in my fridge. I guess what I'm trying to tell you is my body is starting to enter summer lockdown. It took a minute to figure out what was going on, and then it was like "fuck this shit, hydrate me and cook nothing."
Ever since I got the tattoo, which by the way I still like very very much except for the itching, friends have been asking when I'm getting the next one. In that funny way everyone claims tattoos are addictive. Frankly, I'm still getting used to the fact that my arm is permanently changed, I'm still sort of in awe of that. I look at it and think, there is the passage of time. I have marked myself in the point of my life and it will always be there. There is another tattoo I want, wanted first in fact, but I can't afford it and I don't know if I could find someone around here I trust to pull it off, since the girl who does this style is in NYC, and 300/hour. Someday maybe? The only other one I would get would be if they could somehow take a square of my skin, and paint it completely pitch night black, and then illustrate fireworks on it, but in some sort of paint that glowed iridescent and also smelled like explosives and small patches of trees and brush under streetlights by the river. I would get that immediately.
On the 4th, I went to the beach. The water was perfect, but I had to keep holding my arm out of the water, so I lay in the sun and read southern gothic short stories and the feathers in my hair blew around in the breeze. We met the lifeguard's wife, and the lifeguard told me about how last time we saw him, he was glad I had said goodbye to him in front of his regional manager, because it made him look good. I love that beach so much. After a few hours, we reluctantly got up and went to my friend's house besides the bridge, where the girls were all in sundresses and the dogs digging holes in the new yard, and I drank pear cider and peach beer and felt the sun burning through my skin from earlier. Matt was there, back from L.A., and he had developed this odd veneer, this sort of glossy exoskeleton, that looked good on him but also very different. He was no longer cute goofy faced Matt the music student. He looked like a Spaniard, in catalog clothes. It was hot, in a sort of expensive way, but it just made me want to break him down and get him really fucked up so that he became old Matt again. I'm not being fair to him, he was really tired and had been out at family things all day. He may very well still be old Matt and he just wasn't on that day. But there was something...anyway, it was very nice seeing Matt. I hadn't realized I missed him, but I did.
The boys lit off their fireworks in the backyard among the tomatoes, and the neighbors on the street lit off theirs, and all the houses around for blocks and blocks were full of people and the skies full of noise and light. My friend's dog got so scared by the first firework, he peed on her mom's foot. I myself may have yelped and then screamed with joy. The other little rag dog in the bandanna barked and barked and barked at the sky, long after the lights had fallen down, as if he could scare that horrible noise into not coming back. Or maybe he would hold back invaders from space with his teeth. We all walked down to the Bridge to watch the city show over the river. There were people everywhere, all along it's mile long stretch, leaning against the concrete balustrade with kids on shoulders and dogs on leashes. A group on the other side of the bridge kept lighting up these great paper lanterns, that would fly up into the sky and away past the giant guardian statues at either end, as if it were an actual festival of lights. One man had his dog in his arms, so that he wasn't on the sidewalk, but held him like a child who also wanted to see the show but was too short. I was mildly drunk, and held the button of my camera down on continuous shot, taking over 300 pictures of fireworks for no good reason. There is absolutely no reason at all to ever have that many pictures of anything unless it is to map a planet. But I whittled them down to ten, and if I hadn't taken 300 maybe I wouldn't have these.
The thing I love most about fireworks, the reason they cause me to feel joyful and light and amazing, is they enhance every environment they are in. There is no place on earth that chemically colored gunpowder can't make prettier. I look at these pictures, and squint my eyes, and the fact that it's a city at all goes away. Instead it's just swathes of color and light, abstract patterns across a dark backdrop. Art and jewels and aurora borealis rolled together in a giant glittering mass, throwing light into the backs of my corneas, and then maybe I take those signals and interpret them as a cityscape, but maybe also they are alien cities, or a flotilla, or the universe just exploding piece by piece in slow motion.