Category Archives: autobio

A Little’s Enough

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I wrote fan mail once and I mean like once in my whole life. 

I facebooked Tom Delonge from Angels & Airwaves (also Blink 182) and tried at first to NOT sound like a deranged teenager and then gave up because who cares?  I wrote about what his music had meant to me at an especially wounded time.  I went ahead and threw in a “you saved my life.”  I’d be more ashamed except I really truly meant it.

Secret Crowds

Everything’s Magic

Love Like Rockets

A Little’s Enough

 

As I was writing a chat window popped up and “Tom” asked me for my info to send me free tickets.  It was obviously a hacker, and I don’t recall whether I bothered to hit send on my email or not.

All that to say that as much as I like to think of myself as someone who holds her shit together around people who are celebrities, Tom Delonge was above and beyond.  If I met him?  Pregnant and out on rape charges.  That’s how that would go down.

This weekend I had a mild inner ear infection.  The kind that make you dizzy, really, really dizzy.  I spent my weekend on the couch crocheting.  I was feeling better today and in yoga pants I’d put on Friday night and never bothered to change, I took my bike up to the corner grocery store.  It’s important to have a visual of my wet hair, sequined tshirt with cat hair, and bike helmet.  I had about 18 items in my cart but since I’m in that store like every third day I know that the express lanes are often waiting and totally accepting of more items.  I have the decency to pretend to care when I start unloading my items onto the counter. 

“I hope they don’t count past 15,” I mutter to the tattooed elbow in the corner of my vision, just so I don’t seem like the bitch who ignores signs.  Rocket ship tattoos, it registers.  Really awesome rocke- HOLYSHIT.

HOLYSHIT.

HOLYSHIT.

THIS IS HAPPENING.

HOLYSHIT.  I know who that is.  I glance at the clock beyond his head.  Yep, that’s Tom Delonge.  I pretend to consult my blank wrist to the time on the clock.  Still very Tom Delonge.  Stop looking at a blank wrist.  Tom is buying groceries with his daughter Ava.  I am melting down while wearing cat hair, sequins and a bike helmet.  He’s attempting to do normal people things.  I’M attempting to do normal people things while watching him do normal people things.  Do not touch him.  DO NOT BURY YOUR FACE IN HIS TSHIRT AND CRY, VJ.  STOP MUTTERING THESE INSTRUCTIONS TO YOURSELF  TO YOURSELF UNDER YOUR BREATH HE MIGHT HEAR YOU.

He turns and looks at me.  I hope I wasn’t making strange strangled noises, I don’t think I was, but who really fucking knows?  His eyes meet mine and my face splits in an enormous smile and there was a moment of I-know-you-know-that-I-know-and-I-know-that-you-know-that-I-know and Ava said “Daddy!  something I didn’t catch.”

.

.

The cashier said “cash back?” and I stopped blinking. 
“That was Tom Delonge from Blink-182, you know.”
“Was it?”
“He’s kind of the only person that I don’t know that I totally care about.”
“You should catch him in the parking lot.  I’ll hold your stuff.”
“No ……. I don’t think I could do any better with words.”

It’s never what you’d think.

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When I was eleven, my dog Jubilee was put to sleep.  She was …. a bit overprotective.  Over the years she tried to protect me against a toy poodle, a passing car and then a horse … You get the idea.  She protected us right into a lawsuit.  But she had such soft ears, and she loved me.

They gave me her collar, and I hung it from a nail in the back of my closet.  I didn’t cry.  Not at the empty yard, not at her chewed up yellow food dish.  A few months later, I was rumaging for something at the back of my closet and bumped her collar.  The so familiar clink of her license tag hitting against her id tag set me suddenly sobbing.

I can still conjure up that little sound in my head.

I used to go to summer camp every year.  I have letters from the friends I made, I have tshirts signed with “Keep In Touch” and “Don’t Ever Change!”  I spent a fortune in film.  And nothing has ever ever conjured up the memories of that place like the day I was in a diner and I wiped a napkin across my face.  That napkin must have been the same brand as the kind used in that camp cafeteria.  Isn’t that just the strangest thing?  Napkins having a smell?  And yet suddenly I could remember the black metal chairs with the red padding, wondering if I’d have any mail from home…

I make it such a point to capture the moments when I’m truly happy.

That vacation in Hawaii?  I daily, faithfully stole hotel wifi to document it.  Post cards, that magnet on my fridge, that local handmade Christmas ornament.  And then one day dry skin has me rummaging in my travel bag and there’s that mostly empty lotion sample from the hotel.  One whiff and I’m back between those yellow walls, watchin my little brother practice magic tricks.

Sometimes I think souveniers are useless.  Memories pack themselves in your luggage, and unpack themselves when you least expect it.  When you most need it.

I was sorting my laundry tonight.

I’ve been cautious around anything baby related since my miscarriage.  Everyone warned me, and I think expected me to dissolve around Drea’s perfect little daughter, Audriana.  And I didn’t.  I’d given myself all the permission in the world to choke up around my pregnant friends and instead found myself only sharing their joy.

I almost wondered if I wasn’t a little bit cold.  Compartmentalizing my memories so neatly.

And then, tonight with the laundry, I was matching up pairs of socks.  And there was the black and blue pair of Betsy Johnson socks.  Sharp as the lightning bold down the back of the ankle was my memory.  Brady’s mother gave me these socks.  They were the first contact we ever had actually. 

Brady, newly armed with the knowledge that he’d accidently knocked up yours truely, got on a plane to visit his family for Christmas.  And when he told his mother, she scrambled to assemble a gift to send home.  She read my facebook page where I mentioned my love of cute socks and so on New Years Eve I found myself unwrapping some several pairs of glittery, outrageous socks.  I felt so overwhelmed, so welcomed into their big, loving family, suddenly a part of something much bigger.  I cried into them, my excuse at the time that I was pregnant and hormonal.

I cried over them again tonight.  I was thinking of all that was best of that wonderful phase in my life.  Funny that family was hiding in a pair of socks.

Look here

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There they were, lined up on the back seat of my car.

I’d just picked up my car from the car wash.  You know how when they vacuum out your car, it doesn’t matter how clean you think your car is, they find a few overlooked items, dandruff of daily life.  And they set whatever the find neatly in a row on the backseat.

When I settled into the front seat, I threw a glance over my shoulder, started the car, and then I turned again and really saw what I’d just seen.  SHIT.

I think I need to change car washes.  Also, if anyone cares, I can absolutely explain each of these items individually.

A coil of soft white rope.  A small kitchen knife.  A box of condoms, torn open across the front.  A Sarah McLachlin cd.

Did you know Van Gogh used to paint still life as portraits?  A collection of objects to represent a person?  Not that that thought really helps.  I’m sure even Van Gogh would think I was nuts if he saw my backseat, and he cut his ear off.

Do you ever get caught up wondering what some stranger makes of a tangible sliver of your life?  Like your grocery reciept, or your pile of dry cleaning?

I probably spend too much time worrying about it.  The fellow that vaccumed my car has prolly seen much, much weirder things.  And most likely he didn’t stop vaccuuming long enough to really see the items he handled in conjuction with each other in any meaning ful sense.   The world out there is not as obsessed with me as I’d secretly like them to be.  Right?

But then I recall an order I put in a few years back.  I joined one of those cd clubs (remember buying cds?  Now everything is an iTunes download) and after buying the required amount, I put in one more order.  If you’d reviewed my complete order history, you’d get a feel for my eclectic taste, but if you were the shipping guy who had to package my last order of two cds, you might be a bit confused.  I know this because when I opened the box, in between Barry Manilow and 50Cent was a hand written note.

“This is the first time these two cds have ever been shipped together,” it read.

So I guess, sometimes, there’s someone paying attention.

The Word.

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Just the other day, I got this in the mail.

A letter all in Korean, and two fliers.  According to the pictures, they appeared to be literature on how not to be homeless, and how to domesticate brown bears.  Seriously, right there in the lower right, that little girl is patting a bear while her mother looks on.

Careful inspection shows an address on the back that belongs to the Jehovah’s Witness church.  This is either a mistake, or a prank.  I’m hoping prank.  (“Lola?”)

And it made me think of something.

About eight years ago I lived in an apartment at the end of a long hallway.  There we were, right next to an apartment with two guys, age 18 and 20.  Their girlfriends were 16 and 18.  At least four nights a week I’d have to wade through a hallway full of drunk (occasionally crying) high school girls, there for some party.  Being knee deep in impressionable young pussy didn’t stop either of these guys from knocking on the wall between us, calling out for sex.   We were friends, in a fashion, but their habits GOT OLD FAST.

One morning there was a knock on the door.  I checked my alarm clock (remember those?) and it was 7:30 am.  Slightly too late for the party twins.  I checked the peephole, saw a little kid, and opened it up. 

Classic bait move.  Jehovah’s Witnesses.  They said they’d like to share a scripture with me.  That always makes me chuckle because I’ve never met a missionary who’s more familiar with the Bible than me, much to their chagrin.  (HI JOEL!)  The whole book is so contradictory, and it’s like a ring in their nose, you can lead them in circles for your own amusement for hoursssssssssss.

And then one popped into my head.  Romans 12:19 says “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written,* Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”  *(This is, a reference to Deuteronomy 32:35, “To me belongeth vengeance and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.”)

Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.  I decided to take him up on his offer.

“Oh thanks guys.  I’m already a member of your church.  And I’m so glad you’re here.  The guys across the street, they’re really hostile at times but ….. the other night one of them was telling me that he’s really not sure where he’s going in life and ……… well, I shared some of the Word with him and he was upset that his roommate might find out but he really wanted to read more ….. I could really use a hand.  You just gotta ignore what they say, they really wanna hear this.  Could you guys put them on the list?”

“Oh!  Of course!  Thanks for spreading the good news with them!”

“Well of course.  Oh and ……….. the only time to catch them at home is really early in the mornings.”

“Got it.  God bless!”

“Oh, you too.  YOU TOO.”

I’m not sure if they got religion, or just the early morning wakeups got to them, but either way ……….. peace reigned in our building after that.

A gal only turns 29 once. Well, usually.

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As some of you might know, my actual birthday falls on December 23rd, which is a ridiculous time of year to have a birthday.  (You heard me, Jesus.)  So I’ve done the sensible thing and rescheduled.  This year it fell on Sept 25th.  What day it falls on is subject entirely to my whim.

As you can see, I picked a good day.

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Oh and happy birthday.

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Last Saturday night I became aware of two facts.  One, that assuming you are of average height and build, your heart contains 5,000,000,000,000,000 joules of potential energy.  Two, that I need to get out more, and not stay in and do math on a Saturday night.

I based these theories on Einstein’s E=MC2, which I think you’re all familiar with, and the fact that I was still wearing yesterday’s socks.

Since I didn’t know off-hand what a joule is, other than a unit of measurement for energy, let me put it in perspective.  5,000,000,000,000,000 joules is roughly one sixth of the output of a hydrogen bomb.  That’s what’s rattling under your ribs.  Quite a bit of BOOM.

It’s a strange thought, isn’t it?  But that’s the law of this strange universe, that there is a great deal of potential in even the smallest things.  This idea doesn’t just go back to the origins of our world, it IS the origin.    Every physical thing you have touched or you know or you have seen even in photographs from NASA, every boulder on every mountain that ever was, even the atoms that will someday collect into your future children,  was once compressed in a dot so small that to in any way wrap your head around how small it was you have to understand that you simply cannot wrap your head around how small it was.  And we don’t really know what set it off.  If we had another of these little dots lying around, we wouldn’t have any certain idea of how to open ‘er up.  We just know that this one, the one that had all of us in it, did.

With the seeming randomness of falling in love, something sparked our little dot, and within minutes, a space of possibility had opened up so large that again, yours and my brains do not have the frame of reference to take it in.  And like the how, we don’t really know why.  Is there a point to this?  If there is a point, what is it?  Is it life?  Was life inevitable?  Where there botched attempts before this one?  Will there be more afterward?  If life is the point, is the point of life, humans?  We might be forgiven our assumption it is because currently we dominate the food chain, by at one point in earth’s history so did turtles, so we can’t exactly say with any real certainty that WE were the expected offspring of that pregnant little atom.  We might just be the sperm

We only know that we are the first, that we know of, to have any awareness of the big picture, to take any interest or joy in the discovery.

There is a branch of math/science called fractals.  And the basic, oversimplified version (ie, the only version I understand) of fractals is that what is true of the large is true of the small.  That a branch resembles it’s tree and that a tree looks like a branch, they have the same shape, just on a different scale.

So perhaps if that is true, and it seems to be, that it is also  true that hearts are capable of opening Milky Way sized holes in people’s chests, in no time at all, for reasons we don’t always understand.  That we are walking around with something mystical in it’s ability, right next to our lungs.  That we could fall in love in a way that blows our sense of proportions to shreds.  An d that suddenly fire and rock and fluffy soft clouds could all be somehow in there, scorching and crystallizing and dancing in orbits in a place that didn’t used to exist, while our minds try to take it all in.

And it could leave us with all the same questions.  Is there a point to this?  Was it inevitable?  Will something come of it, and if so, what?  Is it this, this moment, or is there more and stranger and more amazing things to come?

I am reminded that for billions of years after our big bang, nothing much happened.  Well, nothing much that pertains to us.  If we could have looked in on those years from some strange outside perspective, we might think that the whole thing had been pretty damn pointless.  A damn fine show but what did we really have to show for it?  Rocks and gas and lots of dark.

So maybe I’m right on schedule.  Maybe the show is just getting started and who knows when that twitch of electricity will happen in my primordial ooze, who knows when that one cell will knock on the door of that other cell, and something will be set in motion that makes us say, ok, THIS IS THE BIG WHY.

In the meantime, you’ll have to excuse me.  I just know I need to go out tonight.