Watched “Perks of Being a Wallflower” with Roomie. Among other things, it was weird to hear them talk about Penn State like it was the be-all-end-all of colleges, and for me it was the first clue that it was set in PA—I have never met a single person outside of PA who was so anxious to get in. Also, Ye Olde College Diner gave me the shits every time I ate there.
But it was still nice to hear about it. Maybe I’m kind of homesick.
Closest to me, I see wires, scores of thin wires all coiled into one thick rope, bringing electricity, cable t.v., internet, phone. I think how weird it is that we depend so heavily on what these wires bring us; one set stretching into each house, all across this city, all across this country, and how, when I felt myself fill with the desire to become untethered, I came to a place where tethers stretch as far as the eye can see.
Past the wires, I see rooftops, and strangers contained within. I do not know who these strangers are—I have never seen them, despite living so close that I can see into their windows, can see what kind of cereal they keep on top of their fridge, can see their ivy-covered garage-top deck, a space where they can sit and enjoy being outside, where they can also look at the sides of houses, and perhaps one treetop perhaps two, which is the last thing that I can see, before the sky.
I watch the tops of the trees sway in the spring breeze. Sometimes the scent of new flowers is heavy enough to overpower, for an instant, ever-present fumes of cars and busses and trucks and vans.
One tree has leaves, and when did you get there, leaves? The other tree is bare.
I look only out the window as I write. My acting teacher said once that she never looks in the mirror while practicing; it is more important to feel what you are saying than to see how you look while you say it. I think that maybe if I look at screen while I type, I will concentrate more on thinking of something to say than on saying what I think.
An airplane crosses the sky far away. A bird crosses my window, near.
I see that things are quiet right now, and I feel the breeze come through my screen, and I know that this is a bubble, contained closely, with me inside it; me, and the air and the birds and the church bells and the strangers’ windows and the far and the near. Outside it, all the other bubbles with their walls and all of the tools we use to help us stay inside these walls to feel safe from the world we all try to escape by living in this place which is said to hold more, but also holds less.
It appears that I’ve spent so much time away from Tumblr that everything has changed since the last time I updated.
I don’t have anything in particular to write about—nothing deep or world-shattering to observe or report—but the past several months have been more about making ends meet in Chicago than living in Chicago, and I’ve just spent nearly the entire day sewing and watching “The Office” on Netflix to supplement my next paycheck, which is spoken for down to and well past the last penny. My roommate came home at 9:00 a.m., having spent the entire night going to bars with friends, taking cabs, and then walking to the lake to watch the sun rise. While I have no wish to have joined them with the club-hopping and the getting trashed, I did envy their energy, and part of me wished that I had had the wherewithal and the resources and the balls to come out here when I had graduated from college, to have spent my energetic post-college years conquering the theatre this city has to offer instead of retreating to the safety, if not the comfort, of my parents’ house and immediately getting stuck working in an alterations shop. Altering and mending the clothing of other people remains, as in literature of old, the vocation of those whose true desires have, through any means, been denied them. My boss had wanted to be a nurse, but on the day when she was set to start her classes, her father told her that she was not allowed to go to college, that instead she must stay home and take care of the family, and so she did as she was told, and then she did what she knew how to do, which was sew. There was not a single co-worker at that place who did not wish they were somewhere else, doing something else, and I certainly wanted to be elsewhere and other-what. There is an alterations shop near the train I take to work every day, and I always look in as I pass. I check out the machines, the thread supply, the people working. Last week I saw a woman about my old boss’s age and a young woman next to her, about the age I was when I did alterations, and I was glad to not be in that position anymore, and since then I’ve been wondering if my position is really much different.
No one wakes up one day and says “I’d like to take in other people’s pants for the rest of my life,” or “I’d like to draw up summonses to sue people who have defaulted on loans they took out in an effort to make their lives look the way t.v. would have us believe it ought to look.” You don’t say that. You say, “I’d rather work in this place and do something with my hands than sell clothing to uptight real-estate-broker type ladies who remind me of my newly ex-boyfriend’s mother.” You say, “I’d rather get paid to do this job that will compound the unhappiness of a new batch of strangers every week than have to default on the loans I took out so that I could go to college, because I would rather have done that than stay at home with my parents.”
Yes, I spent a good portion of today feeling discouraged and angry with myself for the choices I’ve made. I didn’t set out for Tumblr this evening with anything in particular to write about. I just wanted to write something, anything, before I went to bed. Put something out that comes from my own head, so that my head does not forget how to create. Or that it can create. Or that it wants to.
I really wanna know who said that now.
Whenever I think Frogman can’t do something more awesome, he goes and does something more awesome.
I love this so much. My therapist and I had a joke about this quote—I think he used it seriously only once, in reference to a mug he had. Eventually we just referred to it as “the mug.” I wish I could show him this.
And Frogman is so wonderful.
Hey, Tumblr. I’m not much if one for emoting on the Internet, but I don’t know where else to put this (I guess this is the place to put things you kind of hope someone, anyone, will find).
Right now, I feel so sad that I also feel sick. I do not know why this is, or what to do.
I have been in this city nearly six months.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe how routine it has become.
At first, it felt like I was taking a vacation. Everything was new and full of immediate possibility, and I was presented promptly with a minstrel boyfriend and sunny days and swirling leaves and summer markets and festivals galore.
It has become a bit more difficult, and approaching this minor milestone I note the places where romance has ceded its place to reality. Living without the burden of a car and taking the train wherever I want sometimes means standing shoulder to shoulder with strangers in a car that lurches, sending us flying into each other’s personal bubbles, at which point we all somehow manage to still behave as though we were completely alone in the car, surrounded, perhaps, by coat racks or mannequins. It can mean dragging myself to the train stop when I have a fever, worrying about how to get to the doctor when I feel too sick to walk but cannot afford a cab.
It is also, some mornings, sitting on the El with a book, on my way to the Land of the Organized, and reaching a moment when I look up and see the city approaching. I am, at times, still awed that this is where I live now. It is not just a place of too many cars and far more people than I have ever been used to. It’s a place where, with some regularity, you can watch a man come to the LaSalle Street bridge and drop two large bags of bread scraps into the river for the ducks and geese and gulls to fight over. It’s a place of fastidiousness: in the Land of the Organized, paperclips are arranged into alarmingly straight rows and nary a cent goes unaccounted for. It’s a place where the setting sun washes rosy on the vast fronts of buildings, wide and tall. It’s a place with a glowing clock face and a perfectly-tuned carillon.
It isn’t always the best. It certainly isn’t easy, especially after six years of sitting fearfully in a place where I had not intended to land. But I am here. I am living. I have made a large first step, and I will make the next, and the next, and I will build for myself something new out of the strangeness and the loneliness and the happiness and the fear and the laughter and the sparseness and the music and the grief.
The purging saga continues. I do give myself credit for only having one box full of miscellaneous papers to go through, and one other box of miscellaneous knick-knacks to go through, and I do remember how many bags and bags full of my stuff I got rid of before I moved. But I look around at all of my stuff and I still feel like I have too much of it, and I have acquired very few things since I moved to Chicago. There is a small bit of unused shelf space (miraculous in this storage-space-less apartment), and once I get a long-overdue project finished and to its eager wearer, there will be still more.
I find the process of getting rid of things somewhat intoxicating. My roommate and I have broken several kitchen items since we’ve both lived here—so far the count is at four wine glasses, two salad plates and a small pie plate—and I don’t care when things break. I’m even just a teensy bit glad to have one less thing in the cupboards.
I’m actually thinking of what a pain it will be to move out of this apartment. I’m not entirely sure how long I want to deal with Shady Landlord, but, well, I’m here, and it’s a nice part of town and the rent is very low.
Boyfriend and I have talked vaguely a couple of times about moving in—a prospect at once thrilling and terrifying. What if things go wrong? I’ve never lived with someone I was in a relationship with before. I feel like the time is approaching for Shady Landlord to ask whether Roommate and I will renew the lease. I don’t know the answer.
Ah, well. It’s too late in the evening to be musing about things like this. I have to prepare for another day of going to work and messing up things that I wasn’t even aware I was supposed to do.
don’t ask my why Darcy is a penguin. I do not know. I have a penguin drawing illness.
I’m sick. People like giving things to sick people. I would like to humbly request that “I have a penguin drawing illness” be meme-ified.
Oh my God I feel like I’m dying. My thermometer is broken, so I have no way of measuring my fever, but it must be high because my skin hurts, and I feel like I have some sort of spiny thing lodged forever in my throat. Tomorrow is a terrible day to have to miss work, but it looks like I don’t have a choice. This beast began to descend at about 8:00 pm. It’s almost 4:00 am and I have felt so horrible that I’m near tears for at least two hours. If this is a real-life version of “The Stand,” I hope I’m Molly Ringwald and not Maura Tierney.
I want my Mommy.
This is a true story, used to illustrate a point. For those who do not have the patience to read the whole story, here is the point: Be nice.
If you’re not an actor, these are still good thoughts. If you are, this is a bloody relief to read. And that girl is a jerk. If you have a hard time keeping your criticism to yourself for the sake of someone else, then at least do it for yourself, especially if you are ripping to shreds someone who is in your field. Any time you do that, not only does it undermine the thought and work of someone else, but it also reflects poorly on you and even if no one ever hears what you say, feeding that sort of mentality within yourself will inevitably be a detriment to your own work.