Friday, April 10, 2009

Highlights from DC.

~Changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns. I don't know what set me off, but I was in tears.
~Sitting on the lawn across from the White House, just relaxing and taking it all in.
~Library card for the Library of Congress! Terrible picture on it, though. Fuck it, who cares?
~The Capitol building is immense and truly a thing of beauty. I could stare at it for hours.
~The Metro is amazingly clean and pleasant.
~Walking around in the rain, past the Grant statue, and wishing I could share this feeling with the world.
~Everyone here is very friendly. It's staggering.
~The Coast Guard Honor Guard putting on a show at the WWII Memorial. What an awesome bit of serendipity that was.
~Bucket drummer guy. Some of the best laughs and certainly the best 20m. spent here.
~"You fucked Lumbergh?"
~Drunken Metro ride
_being CB'd by gay friends, blonde girl Ronnie squeezing some poor sleeping guy's nose shut
~giving away pins and rings
~Bohemian Rhapsody slurred and butchered by a howling group of ecstatic drunk people (myself included)
~smoking in bars
~"Ghandi kicked your ass"
~Yuengling on tap
~falling in love on the Metro
~Venture Brothers at midnight and hushed snickers, "I dare you to make less sense"
~goofing off on the Mall
~surreality and naturalism of seeing James and Chris
~knocking over potted plants in The Leadership Institute
~South Park in the Metro station, "ooooh, -naggers!"
~Thai food and Cold Stone
~"that's a pun!"
~$3.50 for a slice of pizza bigger than my head
~P-90s on the Secret Service guys
~cherry blossoms and beavers
~the perfect layout of the park & restaurants
~being hustled at pool and then being treated by the same guys to the grossest and most wretched strip club I've yet seen
~tequila shots that were way too big
~cute Chilean women

and ever-so-much more.

What a silly world.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Reflections on Washington, D.C.

Walking out of the Smithsonian Metro station, right outside the Department of Agriculture, an unappreciated building on the sidelines of the famous National Mall, out into the brisk wind and clear, star-filled night, there's an energy in the air that is indescribable. Not the feeling of walking up the escalator at Penn Station, seeing the towering buildings and hearing the bustle of a city constantly awake—something less tangible, something more ethereal, an energy that pulses and compels, not to move and shake and bustle but to stroll, bask, and generally stop everything but the sublime reverence of the things around you.

A couple of quick steps and the outrageously tall Washington Monument welcomes you to a place that is indulgent in its history and meaning, shameless and having no reason to feel shamed, magnificent in a scope respected and unintruded upon by presumptuous skyscrapers and tight one-way grids of pavement and activity. The W. Monument is unabashedly glowing, the bright fog lamps at its base billowing light onto the unevenly off-white obelisk.

However, it isn't until later, having taken ten minutes worth of steps, that I truly understand the grand and majestic scope of D.C. Lit gracefully and reverently are the WWII Memorial and, farther along, the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, somehow distant and mysterious, regal and filled with gravitas, and my head is spinning at the sight. My friend casually tells me to turn around, and there, a mile and hefty change away, looms the US Capitol Building, just as impressive and foreboding as the much-nearer shrines to America's immortal leaders. I feel like collapsing into an irrelevant heap on the grass and humble sidewalks of the Mall.

The enormity of D.C.'s famous and well-tread wonder is pervasive, both in the district proper and parts of Arlington, VA, just across the Potomac River, a stone's throw away from the tidal basin that leads to the abundance of standing water and available fountain-space. The district has fountains like Colorado has mountains, each more extravagant and billowing as the next, and the designers of this sacred American space left no monument un-watered.

Furthermore, there is a feeling of true American spirit all around. Not like the spread-out open plains of so-called Americana that dominates the Midwest, the corn-stalking can-do attitude of rugged individualism by-way-of working the land and getting one's hands dirty. This is the feeling of what being American means, the unadulterated spirit of America as best country in the world, the unironic edifices of American prosperity and determination, the carving out a place in history in a time that most dynastic cultures of the world often consider a footnote.

Americans feel like true Americans in D.C. There is a feeling that we're all in this together, and obvious foreigners feel that much more out-of-place, the sound of foreign languages spoken almost intrusive in the American cultural and political center of gravity. On the other hand, Americans seem to have a hand-in-hand familiarity and empathy for one another here. The district reeks of nationalistic brotherhood, a “we're all in this together” sympathy and collective consciousness. Even the Metro system, clean and pleasant but almost fascist in sensibility, is friendly and conversational, the spiritual opposite of New York's dark and dingy Subway system, where eye contact and anything more than whisper are grounds for dirty looks and distrust.

Washington invites me, the somewhat distrustful and intentionally unintrusive traveler, to act like a tourist. Rarely do I hide my camera or the gawking looks at the towering buildings, unlike Manhattan, where my eyes almost never travel above their natural horizon and my camera remains carefully hidden at all times. Washington encourages the appreciation of its spectacle, wraps its arms around you and says “it's okay” the moment a sense of self-conscious worry sets in.

All of this lends to the sharing of moments that are more personal despite their being shared. I make many comparisons to New York here because New York is the only other example I have of a major city that embodies a certain American-ness, so bear with me here. In New York, a street performance or random street-level spectacle is expected as part of the experience, and a certain distance is maintained from such events—it is simply “how New York is,” I suppose, and little thought is given to the uniqueness of the experience.

In Washington, every serendipitous and unique experience feels much more like it is serendipitous and truly unique. My friend James and I were waiting for other people who had missed the crowded and nigh-impossible to board Red Line train when we ran into a man playing buckets with table legs in spectacular fashion, a percussive tour-de-force for pocket change and errant dollar bills. The drummer, a haphazardly dressed black man in his late 40s, was personable and inviting, and at various times my friends and I got to play along with him. James even sat down and played the whole thing on his own for a spell. We all got a good laugh when I was handed one stick, and moments later a Persian gentleman with a similar lack of musical acumen found himself holding the other. We slapped out a sloppy and cacophonous mess of thumps and rattles, laughing unembarrassedly at the lousiness of it, the rest of the spectators laughing along in shared sympathy and appreciation of our dreadful performance.

This would never happen in New York, where street-level performance has a business-like feel, where performers attempt to capture the attention (and a sliver of the wallets) of a bevy of busy people, tiredly waiting for the next 6 train uptown for some reason or another. There is no “play-along” element to it, whereas in the district every performer seemed more than happy to stop for ten minutes and have a conversation with anyone willing or interested.

Then there are the moments that are strictly American, things that foreigners can really never understand, that drove me to tears of pseudo-patriotic reverence and joy. I say “pseudo-patriotic” because I am not interested in these things as symbols of “my country,” but rather part of the shared culture that makes me different from a Canadian or Briton—I may not always like “my county,” but I am distinctly American, and our culture is often just as moving and powerful as the Pyramids or Notre Dame.

One of these was the changing of the guard at the Tomb of Unknown Soldiers, a demonstration of discipline, grace, reverence, honor, dignity, and sense of meaning unlike anything I have ever seen. The 21-second increments of the guard's routine, smooth and impossible to disrupt, broken in half-hour intervals by a routine so well-choreographed and executed that we watched it twice just to see if there were any perceivable differences from one changing to the next. There were not.

On the first changing, the wreath that decorates the tomb was changed. The wreath to be placed was dedicated by a middle school in Minnesota, escorted up to the stand and placed by two young children, who (contrary to what I even thought possible) behaved with a hushed reverence and understanding and moved with a slow, measured, humble sincerity. The whole ceremony had me misty-eyed and sniffling, but the Marine playing taps after the placement of the wreath caused the big, meaty tears that had pooled atop my eyelids to let fly. For the first time in years, I proudly and honestly held my hand over my heart and felt proud to be American. Other nations have their rituals and ceremonies that elicit the same sort of pride in their cultural heritage, of course, but there is no way a non-American could feel the same feeling at this event.

Arlington National Cemetery offers this beautiful and unnaturally quiet ceremony, and just the layout and magnitude of the place tends to make one inclined to shut up and show some respect. There's one in every bunch, though, and the crowd around the JFK gravesite managed to be infuriatingly loud and boisterous from time to time. Rarely have I felt the need to hit someone based on their lack of respect for something others consider sacred (being a proud user of the word “cunt” and a member of an irreverent and often sacrilegious theatre company, myself) but this was definitely a place where general sense of decorum and decency was not forced and obligatory but simply the way of things—one does not horseplay and make “down and to the right” jokes while overlooking the great granite slab covering the resting place of one of America's most celebrated leaders.

Some people, I have really cemented after years and years of resolute suspicion, simply do not get it.

There are many more things to be said about my weekend in the District of Columbia but I simply do not have the energy to tread over them yet. The memories are all still too fresh in my mind, and the burden to document them is still overwhelmed by the urge to relive them over and over again in my mind, appreciating them constantly before their vivid color and shape become more abstract. I will get to them, I am sure, in bits and pieces over time, woven into the narrative of other musings, popping up as relevant, by then just nostalgic recollections more than pivotal memories that shape the course of my life. They will, regardless, be both—a sort of epic mark on my consciousness that will, nonetheless, begin to blend in with everything else, not unlike the scar on my belly from a surgery long-since-irrelevant but eternally present in the mirror and in photographs.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


So not much to report on in the past few days. Played an awful half-round of golf on Saturday, dreamed up an idea for a play (exciting, I suppose), and finished watching Battlestar Galactica.


Saturday, March 28, 2009


I think my arms feel worse today than they did yesterday. This isn't right and it isn't fair, not unlike not being able to smoke indoors anywhere anymore. At least the sun is out, I have coffee, and the world isn't imploding in on itself or anything.

I have decided that, when I get back, I'm gonna stop fucking everything in sight and actually try to find someone I'd like to be with for some extended period of time. I am doing quite the opposite of pulling out the stops, because I am in fact putting most of the stops back in. This will require me, naturally, to branch outside of the circles of friends I've created. That's always fun.

It hurts to lift my coffee cup to my lips. My triceps are tightened up and belligerent. I walked down here with my jacket packed into my backpack—it got sunny and enjoyable about fifteen minutes after I left and hasn't let up since—so that I pretty much had a fifteen pound weight around my neck the whole way. That isn't so bad until extrapolated over the course of a few miles. My vertebrae are popping like crazy over here.

I had a quick chat with coffee shop girl while ordering said coffee and the bet is settled on that count. Now I suppose is the matter of the next step, the more presumptuous (regardless of how unlikely the rejection) act of actually saying “I should like to see you in a context outside of your place of employment” with any amount of sincerity and confidence. Though my confidence does seem to be coming back, it's a slow and involved process.

I am listening to Gogol Bordello and stretching out the muscles in my arms and texting James and watching the half-bevy of people strolling about past the window. I have eschewed the comfortable couches in favor of a stool and table by the window. I can see the people coming and going more easily and also have better line of sight to the counter. I may want to settle down for a bit but I think I will always be a creeper. Nothing to be done about it.

I was asked earlier if I eat, and if what I eat can be considered human food. This was in regard to my enormous coffee consumption while in here. I actually have been eating human food lately, and it has been quite nice. I told her that I do eat human food, assuming that ramen and easy mac can be considered human food. I am quickly growing to understand that it can, but only just barely. I am being spoiled simply on the count that I have protein and roughage in my diet for the first time in years.

I wish I had more clothing here. Wearing the same few shirts over and over is getting quite old. I find myself wishing, really, for just a couple different pairs of pants and maybe three or four shirts. Even still, I am coming to realize that I really do have an excessive amount of clothing. That will change when I get back. I am going to slim down my wardrobe, but not until I have worn everything except the things I have now. I will not want to wear this damn Rilo Kiley shirt for quite some time once I get back.

The shop is practically empty. Two people who work here, two people all the way across the place from one another, working on their laptops, and myself, by the window, isolating myself just as much as anyone else. That is bad. I am going to stop listening to my music, take off the headphones, and perhaps read my book and present a more open demeanor.

Ciao, my lovelies.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


So, then. I have taken, I suppose, step one in being a normal human being again—I introduced myself to the cute girl working at the coffee shop. Nothing more, but it's something. I know her name now, and hopefully that will become something more than a familiar nod here and there or some such pleasantry. Her name is Chelsea, and apparently she had meant to introduce herself but was nervous or some such. Amazing how that works.

I have been watching Battlestar Galactica and have blazed through three seasons in about a week. There's only a few episodes left, then, and they haven't finished downloading yet. It will be okay, I think, to take a break and wait for the rest of it—less distraction to occupy my time, fewer things to escape into instead of doing things need doing. I do hope to finish it soon, though, so I do not miss out on all the conversation on the internet about how it ends. I have managed to avoid spoilers thus far. The internet has honed my information avoidance skills.

I really have to pee. I am skipping out on working out for the day. My rotator cuff is sore as all get-up and I am really not feeling like aggravating my already-sore muscles. I think I work harder at it than my dad does—he may run further and faster, but that is due to his already being in something resembling shape. I am working hard, and I start to think it may be too hard at times. I cannot drive at this pace so constantly—I always feel as if my body has had no time to recover any, and that is bad for business.

I don't know what any of that had to do with having to pee, but I am leaving it as it is. I think my dad is somewhat disappointed that I am skipping out on workouts, but I have been highly consistent and haven't taken many off days. He can deal, and I suspect I can, as well. My body has hurt all day—even sitting in certain ways that are normally fine are terribly uncomfortable. My left shoulder and triceps, especially, are brutalizing the bits of my brain that process pain.

I am going to drink more coffee and try to keep up at this writing thing. I have taken a few more pictures of the neighborhood I am in, particularly the view from the balcony of my house. I have taken pictures of it before and have never felt satisfied that they convey the grandeur of the view. I doubt that I will be able to. Perhaps I will post a video somewhere that demonstrates the scope of it. I will ensure that I take video at sunset, when the spectacle of it is at its height.

A woman missing most of her teeth but not lacking in extra weight just joked that she is going to sell her body, but in a way that didn't immediately convey the humor intended. She has a bad lisp and the hectic, erratic gestures and diction of someone who is either off meth or kicked the habit but not before it wrecked the brain. Her sort is familiar, given the Springs' infamy for meth production and addiction. She occasionally gets a long stare, gazing off into nothing for moments before snapping back into cogency. She came in with a partner who has the wide eyes and gaunt face of someone still in the throes of methamphetamine.

There's a man here with them, a man I've seen before, a man who comes in and sips his drink and simply watches the people in the cafe, blatantly and unapologetically people-watching, observing, with a fuck-you posture and the steely, pursed-lipped demeanor of someone tired, suspicious, and fed up. I remember seeing him a couple weeks ago, watching me as I watched people, our gazes occasionally meeting and holding for several seconds at a time, I trying to see behind his eyes and he, unwavering in his stare, as if to say there is nothing behind the eyes to see. He walks and moves with the same exhausted focus. He seems like he is perpetually seething, anger simmering under the surface, hardly contained

A young couple is sitting next to them, the gentleman trying to explain Tropic Thunder to the lady, both of them tired, weary, the conversation slurred and lazy, like both of them stayed up all night and are desperately trying to stay awake just a little bit longer. They seem bored in a way that fatigue exaggerates. She obviously doesn't want to talk about the movie but he seems to have nothing else to say, so he stays with it. They have been together for some time. Those conversations don't occur to the newly-acquainted.

It is 5:09 in the evening and two young women have just come in and sit on the couch next to mine, divided by a table with a lamp on it. I wish I had the cafe to myself, just the coffee shop girl and I, so I could have a comfortable conversation with her. On the contrary, the cafe is too crowded to have a quiet chat.

She was an existentialist, I think, in a certain way—I think she said she was Wiccan?” “She didn't live for the past or the future, she lived for right now, in the moment, for right now.” Overheard between the two girls to my left, meant to be slanderous, “she was turning into a monster.” Apparently this unseen victim of unkind words shaved her head a few times, ran away a few times, met a guy who was mixed up in the wrong things, dropped out of high school, only has a 9th grade education, et cetera. The two girls are 17 or 18, short, thin, attractive, dressed casually, and have the vocabulary reflective of their age and the diction stereotypical of girls their age. “You're a terrorist and I'm a drug lord, high five!” one (the white one) says to the other (the brown one).

Their conversation is boring me—one of the billions of conversations in a given day that have no weight or interest within them, the general chatter of two people on any given day. Not their fault—I certainly haven't had a conversation with anyone today that has any weight or interest (the therapy session aside, I suppose—that certainly had merit, though I doubt anyone aside from me would agree) so I am certainly in no position to judge. Sometimes I type things and move my arm a certain way and my arm flexes and then it hurts like hell.

The two girls have to be closer to 17 than 18. They're too short, undeveloped at the jawline and around the wrists, and move with the over-exuberant spring of girls who think they're women and children who think they're adults. I still really have to pee. I should take pictures of this place so you know what it looks and feels like. It has lighting that is half Montague's and half Pike's Perk, white light mixed with yellow, bright but atmospheric, the furnishings comfortable but not resplendent or gaudy. They play good music here—sometimes satellite radio tuned to atmospheric instrumental music, sometimes their iPods mixed with Regina Spektor and Sufjan Stevens and Johnny Cash and all sorts of other bands that I enjoy.

Both girls gossiping, their laptops open, Facebook loaded, commenting on others' pictures aloud, working on some sort of school work intermittently, the rest of the patrons with noses glued to laptops (just like me) or having chats with one another (unlike me) or having chats while their noses are glued to laptops (unlike me and somewhat indicative of the future) while coffee shop girl shoots off texts and makes myriad coffee drinks and prepares machinery for future use.

I am going to use the restroom soon, then get a refill and drink my coffee with a cigarette or two, map out my plan of attack on the rest of the evening and the bulk of tomorrow, curiously anticipate the weekend with unnecessary expectation, and carry on glancing about the establishment with furrowed brow and sidelong spatterings of curiosity. Curiosity is a word that trips me up spelling-wise. I always put the “u” in, “curiousity,” like you would expect but not like it is. I am going to shove it into my head like I have “license” and “suspicion,” words I have to spell out by letter in my head to make sure they're right. Same with “believe,” always spelled it “beleive” for some reason, though it looks completely wrong.

Girls say that a friend's writing compares to Hemingway, other girl doesn't know what that means, whether that's good or not, whether she should like it or not. I have my doubts as to whether he writes like Hemingway but I also have my doubts as to whether I deserve to have even ignorant people put me in the same stylistic category as the writers I adore. So at least he's got that going for him.

It is 5:33 in the evening and Operation PISSCOFFEESMOKE has reached T minus nothing re: execution. Make it so.

I had to branch plan the operation—I went to have a refill only to find that I still had half a cup of only slightly-warm coffee remaining in my cup. So, I took it and smoked two cigarettes, drank the coffee (finishing it off halfway through the second smoke) and then went inside for the refill.

Once inside, the other cute coffee shop girl served me and had a brief chat about the value of the three pennies remaining after the transaction—the cost is 97 cents, the available funds one even dollar—and concluded that, though seemingly useless, those three pennies are worth three Swedish Fish or, if you are so inclined, three Sour Patch Kids. We both agreed that such an acquisition is a worthy endeavour, though I still resigned the three pennies to the tip box, therefore ensuring a bevy of loose change either in a pocket or left to languish in the tip box into perpetuity.

Enthralling developments, I know. Coffee shop girl number two, though cute and interestingly round in the face, is not the object of my intrigue and enthusiasm. I do intend to make efforts to be friendly in kind with friendliness, of course, and the waitstaff here are ever-so-eager to please. How much of that is driven by me and how much is driven by their general demeanor is a subject of mystery, but I am not so arrogant as to presume that any amount of special treatment is afforded me, free refill doled out by Chelsea earlier in the day notwithstanding.

Did I not mention that? Free refill. A man cannot argue with the meaning inherent in the shits-and-giggles distribution of coffee without expectation of compensation. One also cannot argue with the small wave offered earlier in the day, in a previous visit to the coffee shop, given as I said “thank you” and departed. A “see ya” with a small, nervous wave seemed like little more than an unexpected courtesy until I found myself in the bathroom several hours later, imagining myself at work and mimicking the tone, volume, and delivery of the “see ya” and the shy, stilted breadth of the wave. That was not a courtesy but, rather, an attempt at something more connective, akin to a wink or a slight upturn of the mouth at the corner, but put through the filter of introversion and hesitance.

That wave was, at one point, ingrained in my muscle memory, and revisiting it was a warm nostalgia, a remembering of a time when I did occasionally delve outside of my own neuroses to connect with persons of interest in a tangible way. Though seemingly feeble and passive, it is the most I was once able to muster, and more than I have been able to scrounge up in quite some time without the benefit of intoxication and reduced inhibitions. It is a vestige of that year and a half and more I did without alcohol, the days between waking up one morning and deciding I wouldn't drink for a while and waking up one morning and deciding that I was getting back on that horse shortly after my 21st.

It is overcast and dreary, with a steady half-wind half-breeze mulling about, indecisive as to what degree of discomfort it would choose to dole out on the town of Newport. It has trickled a thin layer of rain on us, intermittently, while back home snow is seemingly falling by the inch by the hour. The girls next to me are talking about Twilight and the white girl said her friend's dad is reading it, followed by “fail. Epic fail.” She describes it as “softcore porn designed and marketed for fourteen year old girls,” a claim that I cannot assert with any conviction (not having read the series) but can speculate as being reasonably close to the truth.

I am unsure if I have given a good description of Chelsea, coffee shop girl, and so now I will endeavour to do just that. She is of average height, perhaps 5'5” or so, thin but hinting at the prospect of curves, dressed in pants that pear-shaped indie girls tend to wear close to their form but that fit her close in the hips and upper thighs but loose around the knees and ankles. Her hair is short, chin-length, and blonde with a generous helping of pink and red streaks throughout, bandana holding her hair back, not worn as I wear it but folded and tied into a band, the bangs that flank her temples dangling long and loose around the frame of her face. She has half a snake bite on her left lip, sometimes with a stud and sometimes with a loop that goes over the lip, glasses with black rims and hybrid retro-modern design, not the thick black hipster rims that men have made trendy and then beaten to the ground but general thinnish black ovular shapes, a black hoodie advertising the head shop across the street, skater shoes but not beaten up like a skater's shoes, thin red and black and green fabric bracelets on the wrists, rings abound across the range of her fingers, unknown piercings in the ears. Not an elegant description, not a sensual description, but the elegance and sensuality are implied, understood as something inherent but not broadcast, something I know without knowing.

That went on far too long. I think she is leaving now. I hope she'll come by and say something, “nice to have met you” or “hope to see you again soon,” but I have my doubts. It could be I'm misinterpreting everything, that my inferences are misinformed, that she has no interest in me beyond what is presented, a common courtesy and occasional generosity doled out without consequence or hope of same, a platonic gesture welcoming me to the establishment. I am going to go have a cigarette and hope to catch her on her way out, provide an environment somewhat more receptive to casual conversation, someplace where her coworkers are not necessarily dropping unsubtle eaves. Many spies have many eyes—Frodo, don't wear the ring, the magical bling-bling.

Back in moments you won't even perceive have passed, excepting now, as I return, to tell you that moments have passed.

It occurs to me that I am quite gassy today. That's not entirely something good, aside from demonstrating the health of my gastrointestinal system. Two guys next to me, at two tables put together, studying physics equations and every so often asking one another for an explanation of some formula or another. It was not raining when I went outside. Chelsea just left, bundled up and with backpack slung across shoulders, without so much as a glance or a motion in my direction. Alas for the course of things, I suppose.

It is 6:22 in the evening and I will be down this way for another half hour or so. Jewel, old Jewel, “Who Will Save Our Souls,” hurt to lift my coffee to my mouth earlier, while the cup was in my left hand, The Aviator, wave of the future. I do feel like taking a bit of a walk around town, finish my coffee and listen to music, singing just above my breath, strolling around the murky gray of the outdoors, fluidly crossing from street to street, guided toward a general direction but unpredictable in the course, like a leaf fallen into a river.

Half a cup of coffee, half an hour, half a chance, half a clue, half a mind, halfway gone and half-cocked, a man with half-missing arms, a woman dressed like a man but definitely a woman hugging him from behind as he half-hugs a friend, halfway there, O Glory, I'm halfway there.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Providence and Other Thoughts.

From my notebook, 3/18/09:

So, Providence. I have a chest cold and it's a nice day and I'm strolling about. Finally found a coffee shop amid the banks and strip clubs that dominate downtown. It's a beautiful city for about fifteen minutes, and then all the dirt under the fingernails and tartar on its teeth become noticeable. Walk 10 minutes in any direction and notice how nervous everything becomes.

It's 1037 and I am in limbo between chilly and overheating, depending on whether my jacket is on or not.

The streets here can get confusing but not like a lot of cities. Unfortunately, it's easy to drive around and suddenly find yourself on some state route heading out of town. There are twists and surprise curves and almost random one-way changes and lane merges.

Tons of shitty housing, lots of homeless people loitering about, hanging around outside amazing colonial-era buildings and statues of Burnside. Asians and hipster girls come and go around RISD near the enormous brick courthouse my mom is hanging out at, watching RI Superior Court cases for a class.

Business people and a strange woman with an Anonymous/4chan tattoo on her ankle examining her broken side mirror. She is legion and she drives a fucked-up Ford Escort. Be afraid, Scientology. What a strange tattoo. What a strange person. Think she may have been a trap.

I wonder if there's a Fight Club-style organization to Anon, and Operation Mayhem to their bluster and braying.

I don't really know what to do with the next two or so hours, really. I don't really see myself "discovering" anything too interesting without going too far off the beaten path. Have my camera but haven't seen anything really worth photographing. There are many pretty things to see but nothing I couldn't get on a postcard.

A cold breeze is coming in right at me. Perhaps the table right net to the door was a bad idea? Police--no, ambulance siren, cute girl comes in for a croissant, two plain women in khaki pants talking business, I making eye contact with people crossing in front of the shop, cars driving by, I glancing in and them glancing out.

Some girl from a social networking site wants to meet me at Starbucks and fuck me in the bathroom on Sunday. It all sort of came out of nowhere and I'm not exactly sure what to really expect. I think she's just a young girl who got burned and wants to have a little fun but I sort of expect her to clam up really quickly when/if we actually meet. If this chest cold progresses into something more, if I wind up with the flu, we'll have plenty of time to think it out a bit. Time will tell, but she's really hot and I could use some good fucking.

We'll see.
1059 3/18/09

Further notes:

I think I will look back and find therapy one of the better choices I have made lately. I feel like being able to talk to someone whose sole relationshio to me is to help me think and feel better is a good thing.

Today, I feel very confident and uplifted, my understanding of myself and people better refined, and as if a load is beginning to lift from my shoulders.

I must keep it up.

1300 3/19/09
PS: coffee jitters blah!

I have talked more with this girl and all of my initial doubts have alleviated some. If it is some sort of hoax, trick, ploy, etc., it is remarkably well-developed. Her Facebook page, OKC page, and all manner of other different online presences reinforce that this actually is a human being who is representing herself somewhat realistically.

I do think she is a young girl trying to figure out what she wants and who hasn't been free, previously, to explore her sexuality. I know this is not something I am supposed to approach philisophically (from a LCD cultural standpoint), but rather something I should be rather gung-ho about. Get some trim, enjoy the freedom from committment in all endeavours, etc. However, I am, despite myself.

It occurs to me that I may be responsible for shaping the sexual identity of this girl, and that is somewhat compelling (but not necessarily attractive) to me. I've been with ten times as many people as this girl claims, and even if that number is artificially low, I still likely have a significant edge on her. What will that mean, in the moment? What will it mean to her? How will this impact her future sexual encounters?

I cannot know, so I shrug. We will see how things play out. I know that most of the people who read this will shake their heads and mutter something along the lines of "Greg, Greg, what are you doing?" I am asking myself the same question, and many many others.

The chest cold is still around, though it has moved more into my face. The cough is replaced with sinus clogging and post-nasal drip. I am sneezing often. I am convinced it is just the common cold, though my mother seems to be afflicted with the same bug and it is hitting her harder. We will see there, as well.

There is little to report, otherwise, in my life. I look forward to the prospect of playing golf with my dad this weekend and I have some work to do editing his students' exam papers. Some of these people, the brightest officers the US military has to offer, cannot write their way out of a paper bag. Today, at several points, I had to simply stop reading, take a break, smoke a cigarette, and get away from the papers due to the sheer frustration of seeing 30-something professionals butcher and molest the English language.

Tomorrow (today, really) I will be checking a few suspect passages and sections for plagarism and giving one more quick look over all the papers before forwarding them to my dad. This after I work out in the morning, a mere 6 or so hours from now.

I started off running two miles at most and biking 6 or so per workout session. I am already running two miles as a matter of course and biking more than 8. It feels good to feel like I am growing stronger, mentally and physically. We play racquetball with some frequency and I have quickly shifted from getting my ass handed to me to winning 2 out of 3, though usually by narrow margins. I feel, strangely enough, as if I am learning and perceiving with a sharper focus as of late. It is reflected in a great many things.

It is 0334 and I have turned out the lights. It is time to drink the remainder of my water and retire. Enjoy yourselves until next we meet.