Friday, September 30, 2011

twinkle twinkle

I'm so tired all of the time. But. I love driving to and from work, even when I'm exhausted, because I always see STARS. Like nobody's business, incredibly bright and beautiful things, especially in South Heart. There are no street lights at all until the second exit for Dickinson, but I never really think about that (except when it's raining...), and most of the land is so low and flat that all obstructions vanish in the presence of the night lights. And I just think, ah. We didn't HAVE to have these. There is so much that we have been given that is so beautiful in the world! Life is so rough, in every manifestation of it (from early days of survival to... present days of survival. the means and situations in which we must survive change, but it's still rough, even in the age of iphones). But with every age comes another layer of beauty, too. I do not always see that, so I am thankful when I drive my little geo metro down the overpass onto the highway and see, as I have been every night this week, a shooting star or two pass me by.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

a real human bean, and a real hero.

My lack of sleep lately-- just an inevitability due to my overnight job-- has spelled out strange reactions from me. Runs the gamut, really, from hysteria to thoughtfulness to long stretches of deep sleep when given the chance (to make up for the long, long stretches sans). This deep sleep has given me a variety of LONG, wacko dreams that aren't really worth recounting (a shamelessly long musical/play on the stage of my childhood church, trying to find my friend Kate in creepy downtown LA while she tries to give me directions to a Japanese ice cream place on the phone.. things like that), but I had one last night that woke me up with a strange feeling.

I don't remember the specifics of it at all. It had a grey "look" to it, and occasionally a Contagion feel (apparently my mind choses its cinematographers carefully). It was frenzied at times, but mostly , sad. It bounced back and forth between several "storylines" and I wasn't always present in what was going on (a VERY odd quality of many of my dreams, which leads me to believe I must think like a filmmaker), but the MAIN idea of the dream was that the world as we know it had stopped. Something horrible had happened that shut things down. Either the world was crumbling or something BAD had occurred that meant improper international communication, currency was meaningless, and our general function as a society was moot. The only "scene" I really remember from the whole thing was set on a college campus in Japan (or an American college with alot of Asian students...), where I was visiting my friend. Things were just very, very wrong, and cars were blown out and abandoned, and only a straggle of students were left for finals week, and my friend was still insisting that he needed to finish his tests and that I needed to pick him up. His cat was starving and half-crazed, and the entire campus was stony and broken and bizarre. And I sat with him on the steps of this huge part of campus and tried to make sense of things. I woke up with the weirdest, most haunting feeling of pointlessness. Why on earth were people trying to cling to their normal lives here? Why study and go to school and try to pay for things in a useless currency and drive fancy cars when all of that no longer matters? When the importance of human society is boiled down to survival, or at least the most basic human needs, why was everyone still acting as if it was important to do these things? The world was ending, why pay for a useless degree with useless money? There would be no jobs afterward. There would be building a cabin or a fire in a cave. It was an alarming, dark feeling.

I have had MANY dystopian-themed dreams, which is interesting as I'm not particularly interested in that type of thing (though when it comes to scifi I suppose that's my primary vision-- P.K. Dick/Mad Max kind of stuff). I have had alot of dreams with themes to that end, and even when those themes aren't present there's that FEELING. I don't know why. Do androids dream of electric sheep?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Of course, Pride and Prejudice is my favorite Austen book. Fantastic story. Great characters. Emma is amusing, and another great story, but not a major preference of mine. Mr. Knightley is gallant and all, but really only works if there's some sort of projection that you can manage as a reader. I wouldn't say his character is thinly etched, but he is perhaps not fully fleshed out, as Emma is.

However. Movie-Knightley (AND Movie-Emma for that matter)? Best. Austen. Guy. Ever. Keep Mr. Darcy. Seriously, keep him. Mr. Darcy is an interesting character but only a desirable one because of the significance of the effect that Elizabeth has on him. Everyone wants someone whom they can bring out the best in, the promise that was always secretly tucked under the still waters running deep. Women are especially like that. We promote. We like the idea of seeing something in someone and being able to draw it out.

Mr. Knightley doesn't really need that.

thus, attractive.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Whenever I feel frustrated or disappointed with life or myself, I get an intense desire to cease to exist. I guess that's why I (and the rest of the depressed people on the planet who are too scared or reasonable to kill themselves) turn to sleep so much.

“The debate was wearing me out. Once you've posed that question, it won't go away. I think many people kill themselves simply to stop the debate about whether they will or they won't. Anything I thought or did was immediately drawn into the debate. Made a stupid remark--why not kill myself? Missed the bus--better put an end to it all. Even the good got in there. I liked that movie--maybe I shouldn't kill myself.”

Monday, September 12, 2011

look at me like a HUMAN BOY!

I discovered one of the funniest stupid movies ever this week. Clifford, starring Martin Short. It of course helped that I watched it while completely exhausted and prone to hysteria, but nevertheless. Oozes with genius, I tell you!! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

And also makes me sad because it's doubtful that Martin Short will ever know the Great Joy he has brought me, almost two decades after this glorious creation flopped hard with critics and audiences. The shame of it!!!

the three of us, we could be so happy- them with each other and me with company.

So. The writing begins now. But first, a brief catch-up (and a writing warm-up for moi).

Minneapolis was marvelous. Traveling alone is always a 50/50 things, I have to admit, it's not all fun and shiny. I'm not a good navigator so trying to find the best route to certain places (and parking! evil parking in big cities always stresses me out no end) is not always fun. And I'm notoriously bad at planning, I usually just have a list of things I'd like to do and I just decide in whatever moment which will be next. It seems to work for me, but not without some difficulty at times. And I have to confess that occasionally, just occasionally, I have that tree-falls-in-a-forest-thought: what am I doing this for? Just to better myself? Just to have the satisfaction of seeing something new? To have the satisfaction of saying, damn skippy I went there, and I went there alone? Because sometimes I don't think so. Sometimes I catch myself doing these things just so I can tell people about them someday. Namely, sometimes I think about telling my kids about it.

But that's weird because I don't think I'm going to have kids. Eh right?

Anyway. That's just the sometimes though. Mostly I just enjoy it as it happens. And I do think, when it comes down to it, I do these things because I want to broaden the scope. Also. I am a restless child. And dammit, I'm GLAD I'm not a planner. My best friend of many years is one of these, which is strange, given that we both have such a strong sense of the absurd, such a wild sense of humor-- but when it comes down to it, she's a pretty tightly-wound child and occasionally grows rather annoyed with my lack thereof. I don't suppose I've always been like this. I seem to remember being the opposite, actually, and liking to know what was going to happen to me and when, exactly, but I think life just beat that out of me. I think alot of that was my family-- given our situation, one had to be flexible-- and the rest of that was boredom. My life for so long was so boring! So painfully-- and I mean painfully-- still and guarded and so empty it hurt. My goodness. I don't mean to go on a rant but for so long after my sister's birth we were so UNHAPPY.

Maybe that's another reason why I do this. The "normal one" syndrome. The desire to do everything, to be Good and successful, because the "other one" cannot. And parents lean, they lean! Especially when there's only one other kid. One me. Anyway. I guess that's something to save for therapy, which I can hopefully start going to next year. I miss being counseled, even if my counselor wasn't all that great.

Very well, then, Other Things.


Work, as aforementioned, has been in abundance. I have been scheduled more than anyone else on the "noc shift" (I'm only one of two full-timers now) and I have seized up every available hour (there have been many untaken shifts due to loss of employees-- school starting-- and others cutting down to part-time), taking me to massive overtime. Glory be. This was really stressing me out up until a few days ago when I realized- haha. That's why I'm here. In fact, I'm not even working ENOUGH. NINE NIGHTS IN A ROW IS NOT ENOUGH. I WISH TO WORK MORE! MORE I SAY AHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHA. But then of course one realizes that would not be good. Still. I'm incredibly comfortable with almost everything at work now, and everyone seems comfortable with me, even a good amount of the AM shift who notoriously pick on the noc shift (I have determined this to be mostly driven by the simple contrast of personalities. the noc shift is made up of easy-goers and the AM shift is all about the type-A go-getters. sometimes to a psychotic extent. but. anyway).

All of the NOC folks like me. It's kind of weird to be liked that much, actually. One night I was doing dishes and I was talking about when I graduated highschool, and how much thinner I was, and how much more outgoing I was, and one of my coworkers said "But you're so outgoing now." And I thought, hm. I am. Here I am. Strange. They all want to tell me their stories, they all smile when I walk in. I think it's because I can read them. I am good at that. It gives me a superior feeling, even though it has nothing to do with being better than anyone else. It just has to do with having a sense of people. Which I have. Which, I think, actually prevents me from making close friends anymore. Hmm. More self-shrinking. Let's stick a pin in that for now.

A Work Tale

We have a resident that is rather rotund. He is also one of the more confused of the residents. He is on a fall alarm, which means when he gets up we get a page to go to his room. Usually he just says whatever he's doing outloud, punctuated by cheerful questions like "where should i go? where am i?" and his favorite of phrases, "there now!" or "now we're cookin!"

So towards the end of my shift I get a page that he's up. I'm tired, so I plod in there, help him get up, then show him where the bathroom is and follow him in. The dialogue went something like this: "There now. I'm up now. Where shall I go? Oh, that way. I'm a-goin'. Yeh, yeh. Goin' this way. Goin' down the hall. Goin' in here. Sittin'. Sittin' down here. Gettin' these off. Yeh yeh. There now. Sittin' here." And I just nod and agree as per usual, and sit in another chair in the bathroom while he answers nature's call. Then, as I'm gazing off dazedly into space, he says, rather pronouncedly, "Hmmph. DICK." I pause. What? I don't want to look. I don't want to know what he's doing. BUT HE KEEPS SAYING IT. "Dick... DICK..." I try not to look. I don't want to. But he KEEPS IT UP. Finally, I cast a glance over and see him staring at me. I then realize... I am wearing a DICKinson sweatshirt, which he is trying to read.

...... who's slow now, hm?

Yesterday as I hurriedly got ready for work (needing to leave in about 15 minutes), I lived my nightmare: knocking what is probably my most prized possession DOWN THE BATHROOM SINK DRAIN. Straight down! PLUNK! GONE.

Cue absolute freakout. We are talking about my grandfather's ring, the only thing I asked for of his and wear constantly, the ring of mystery, the Casablanca 1943 ring. GONE. FREAKOUTFREAKOUTFREAKOUT. Run to internet. Search jewelry down drain. Internet says to get wrenches, determine sink type, OPEN sink, retrieve item. I have no time. No tools. No presence of mind to even guess what kind of sink this might be. I continue to search and find the suggestion of retrieving the item with a vaccuum cleaner. HM. Alas, we have no vaccuum.

BUT. Our landlords do. Which, thanks to constant flooding, is kept just outside under the stairs. I made a leap for it. Sure, it says DO NOT USE on there but this was life-and-death. I plug it in. Then spend about 4 minutes trying to find the ON switch and realize that even if I manage to summon up my ring, I may not have the ability nor the time to fish it out of the shopvac. After a moment of pause, I have a brilliant idea. PANTYHOUSE. PANTYHOUSE OVER THE NOZZLE. Over it goes. On the shopvac goes. Over the drain it is. UP COMES THE RING, GETTING PERFECTLY CAUGHT IN THE PANTYHOSE NET BECAUSE I AM A GENIUS. And this genius was on-time for work. Yeah. Yeah she was.

A Sad Story with a Happy Ending
Dave Foley has been gone from my life for awhile. Sad, because despite liking everyone in Dickinson and especially at my work, I connect with few, and that glorious sense of relaxation that one has when they are around someone who doesn't expect anything from you has been absent. I had forgotten how comforting that is, only having it in snatches here and there. Dave Foley (who, let me qualify once again, had become like a little brother or adoptee over the summer-- he is really young and our friendship is odd but not weird, for the record), because he is miniature, has returned to school at the college here in town and therefore is working the bare minimum and is seemingly consumed by his school-load and college adjustments. Not wanting to be a creeper, I allowed this absence and refrained from contact, supposing that ultimately we are to be only work friends, passing only on the holidays and summertime, but honestly the thought made me sadder than I wanted to admit, especially on days when my real friends seem so far away.

Yesterday I showed up for work a few minutes late, and who came bounding out but Dave Foley, arms extended, crying out "I've missed you SO!" I was stunned, because I realized I echoed the sentiment. Also, it reminded me that I have not been really hugged since my return to North Dakota. Some things are happy, then.

Now. I promised my fellow artistic friend and fiend last night that writing and artistic output would happen this week. I also promised myself that I'm going to get somewhat back in shape before my good friend's California wedding. Even if I do succeed in my plot to work out and eat well, I'm not sure what damage I can do before that time, but I would like to look a wee bit thinner for pictures, at least. Be able to smile a bit more freely without dreading what I will look like, immortalized forever in the background of my friend's wedding. Also, I mean to finish the 50000 books I am in the middle of reading before starting another. I picked up A Severe Mercy again this morning and was once again drawn in so deeply by Vanauken's writing. I'm somewhat disinterested in his relationship with his late wife-- which is what the book is all about, of course-- but far more interested in the Christian perspective he offers and his tidbits of repeated wisdom and experience from C.S. Lewis, whose insight never, ever ceases to knock me flat. DAMN, LEWIS, YOU WERE THE MAN. I'm so glad you existed.

Point being: re-dedication. I have it. Onward ho.
Regardless of whether or not it spells doomed, sleepless days and nights here in South Heart/Dickinson, this week I'm pulling myself back together. Getting sick/bored/stressed/sick and overworked set me back, but I've gotta come out winning this one. It's going to happen. I've been taking every single open shift at work, I've worked 9 nights straight, one day off, and then about six nights straight and I'm about to pull eight straight again (my next day off is next monday, exactly a week from now). But I'm not just going to focus on that. I'm going to focus on running. And more than that, I'm going to focus on writing. Finally. Because THAT is the most important thing.

more on what you missed after I tear it up at the gym.

that's right. i just said tear it up.