Saturday, January 29, 2005

saying "i love you"

when i left the "living room coffeehouse" last night, mary nan gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek, saying, "i guess this is it until i come back to town next time." she then proceeded to say she loves me. and what i got out was "right back at you."

which if you think about it means absolutely nothing, other than cowardice. perhaps.
it could also mean i don't want your love, since you are pretty much telling them it should go right back at them.

it got me thinking though about why those words are so hard to say to people for whom the feeling is genuinely felt. maybe it's because i feel funny saying them. like those three words feel really sentimental when i personally buck and chafe against the sentimental.

but perhaps that's not it. does anyone else find a shortage when thinking of saying these words to anyone other than parents?

maybe it's a societal thing- a semantics thing, where they are used improperly, when affection, esteem or liking would be a better fit. similar in my mind to when people "cuss", which i think is just plain laziness and not being able to call it exactly as it is. on tv, in movies- people fall in and out of love so easily; these words are spoken with such little aplomb.

but when it's love of friends, it shouldn't be hard to say "i love you." i mean with mary nan, i know she loves me because after all of the fights, all of the shared burritos and giving away of ourselves and our clothing to the homeless for years, she keeps coming back for more. and she can write the best birthday cards ever, that leave me feeling affirmed and knowing i am loved by her.

i think the "i love you" deficit in my everyday vernacular is maybe because it puts you all out there, shows you to be vulnerable and beckons responsibility. because to some extent those you love, you are responsible for, in so far as not letting them throw their lives away without putting in your two cents, or letting them walk out into a busy intersection during rush hour. same principle.

and that requires work and commitment. three little words, so rife with meaning.

so mary nan, "i love you too", but it still feels a little funny saying it.

living room revisited

do you find that if you first have strong sensibilities about something, that if you give it time, they sometimes mellow out over time?

after celebrating katy's debut with her family for her first paying opera (GO KATY!!) at a swanky, lovely restaurant, boulevard, i popped by my old stomping grounds better known as "The Living Room Coffeehouse" for streetkids. for about four years i volunteered and for a time helped run this coffeehouse every friday night, that served as a respite for streetkids to come inside, get off the street and enjoy a movie and pastry. it went through some changes and i found myself being pulled away.

i think it had been a good year and a half since i'd been, until last night. and even then, i didn't want to go. but my old partner in crime, mary nan, was in town and she was definitely going to be there- kind of like old times but not. it's amazing how a space can have such strong intuitive influence. within the first few minutes of walking in, i felt exhausted, almost crushed. as if the weight of the world was coming crashing down on my head. weird.

there were a few faces i recognized like robert, mailman, dan (aka kerosene--looking very healthy, even though his diabetes is still not in check), alexis and others. naturally i gravitated toward the kitchen, to survey the creative cooking that i remember well. within minutes i was put to work- nothing had changed. there was a hungry crowd that needed to be fed, and i was available to help for a little bit. my job consisted of blending a cream, cauliflower and matzo ball soup, with various interesting elements to thicken its consistency.

robert and i talked afterward. he told me he no longer is on the street. he has an apartment, and will even sometimes invite some streetkids back to crash there, provided they don't steal anything or move anything. he knows the proper place for each thing in his house- which makes this possible.

a week ago, a guy named shaggy died in his apartment.

he explained how shaggy had been in a car accident which put him in a wheelchair. all of his "friends" down at golden gate park seemed to dissipate upon this turn of events. he told me that shaggy before the accident had had a lot of money and purchased several lamps to grow weed. he had a lot of friends then.

once he was in a wheelchair though, it was just him and his brother. they had asked these "fair weather friends" if they could crash at one of the hotels they were squatting at, but were told there was no room. robert proceeded to tell me that that put them sleeping in the park for a few days, with just a tarp and a blanket.

he got sick from this and crossed robert's path, who had been his friend for a while. robert brought in shaggy and his bro. and a week before he died, had told his mom that he would be staying with robert until he and his bro. could get their own place. things looked like they were on the up and up.

and then one morning, robert woke up and went in the other room, and found that shaggy was not breathing. he told me he freaked out. but that's not strong enough really. he was likened to have gone mad when he saw shaggy was no longer there. at the hospital, shaggy's mom ID'd him and thus the sad end of his life. i told him i wanted to give him a hug, and he said he was okay.

"I just needed to vent. thanks for listening."

what a mad world. i have gary jules/tears for fears in my head as i write this. i left shortly after. feeling i am different but the same as the blundering kid who used to pour so much of herself into these people. glad to see that friendships carry on, that frequency does not dictate the parameters of friendships.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

bad car-ma strikes again!

except this time i'm on the freeway, 101, heading north to work, listening to this beautiful song, picking out the harmonies. out of nowhere i hear this sound, akin to the sound emitting from
the video game "asteroids"


eyes wide, i eyed the acura integra next to me thinking it must be that car. but as i slowed down, the noise stuck around, even as i saw the integra speed away. i pulled over into a parking lot to survey what i had a sneaking suspicion was the problem.

sure enough, my mud flap or more specifically my splash guard had wrestled free again and was making contact with my tire. the splash guard was shredded at the bottom. ick. i hate this. the same thing happened several months ago and i got it fixed, but somehow it broke away from the bumper. so tomorrow i will be dropping by my autobody shop to get the splash guard replaced.

black january strikes again. and my car-ma remains bad. thank God february is right around the corner.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

the phantom of the unsightly notes

after a long day sitting around and drinking tea, learning about tea, being absorbed into the wild wooly world of tea, i decided to take myself out on a date. it was either that or shopping and i didn't have my gap gift card with me to pick up this cute brown blazer with tipped edges...

i went to see "phantom of the opera" figuring i was in a musical kind of mode (the kind i was NOT in when i originally saw "moulin rouge" which made it such a quirky, laughable experience). i understand now why "the phantom" received such tepid reviews... there were notes that the ingenue heroine christine tried hitting that might as well have been concord grape related. sour, really. and she never opened her mouth, so i wondered how she was able to hit some of those higher notes. hmm. this same christine walked around whenever the phantom was around with her mouth opened a la britney spears. v. annoying bc when it happened i could only stare at her mouth and wonder if the director had directed in the open mouth routines. the big doe eyes. i could almost hear him in my head:

"no, no emmy. more mouth. open. somewhere in between aghast and lust. and i want to see your eyes. open them wide. so wide that the white blends into your eyelids." (okay maybe a tad dramatic of a re-enactment).

i'm sure some people cried when they saw this movie, but there i was in the lovely coronet movie theater kind of scoffing- definitely not my original intent. in the end, i'm just kind of surprised andrew lloyd webber affixed his name to this production. maybe he's going tone deaf as he ages...

so see it if you must, but you have been warned.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

wading my way out of black january

so this year started off on the right foot. fun new year's eve party with good friends in attendance. a nine and a half hour first shot at the game of risk new year's day with me taking a bitter defeat at the siege of Siam and later at the fall of Madagascar. and then it's as if things took a steep turn.

i started feeling ill and my mom can attest that i am such a horrible patient. my head never works right when i'm sick and i can make some bad judgement calls. the day after my cold began to consume my lungs and chest, i got a ticket for making a left turn during rush hour, an intersection rarely traveled after work. and now i know why. the cop turned on his spotlight and pulled me over. a lovely opportunity to attend traffic school.

i have been feeling very funky at work. kind of like waking up in one of your dreams, looking around and saying, "how did i get here? do i really have anything to offer?" self-doubt sucks. but good times with God help. as do little mentions of appreciation from my boss. she mentioned that when i was ready to quit and go work with homeless youth, she and her husband created this job so i wouldn't leave.

"we didn't want to lose you," she said. "and now you have developed it into so much more than we could have hoped for. you know we couldn't do the marketing we are right now if you weren't at the helm."

that minute long mention, along with the book of ezekiel helped pull me up out of the mire.

then last week on the way to work, this psycho driver in a mini-van looked like she was going to hit me, like she couldn't see me. and in my attempts to call attention to my presence in the left hand lane, i ended up making contact with the car in front of me, hood curved like a snarled lip.

my mom's response: that i needed to re-evaluate my life and why all these things were happening. so here's my brief evaluation:
1. i do not believe in karma, but perhaps there is such a thing as car-ma. and if there is, well i'm raking it in right now.
2. i have chosen to dub january with the name Black January rather than see the rest of 2005 as potentially abysmal. (otherwise that will put me in a nasty funk).
3. i can choose to see things as being very testy or see what they are not (i could have been hurt; the cop might not have made up his quota :)

so celebrate Black January with me. give food to the homeless. wave at the insane drivers passing you in the middle lane. go treat yourself to a great hat. but most importantly thank God that there is a beginning and an end to things.

Monday, January 10, 2005

med-head thoughts

over the past week, i lay in bed sequestered from most of the world with a bad bout of a cold. i've never been a great patient or very patient for that matter... but this week i learned several things:
- drink lots of water when consuming tylenol cold
- when you're congested eat spicy food
- wash hands often
- if you stare at a pink cloud long enough it can start looking like a motorcycle
- it's no fun getting wet when you're sick
- ants like to stay dry too
- they provided a good impetus for me to clean out my cupboard
- the movie "what lies beneath" was killer (no pun intended)
- i can see why "the stepford wives" tanked
- "garden state" is a lovely film
- keep a mug of hot lemony, honey herbal goodness by the bed
- dressing in wacky clothing ensembles actually can make you feel better
- it's no good tinkering with a new computer when med-head is in effect
- ditto for working
- i am down to 1/2 day, sick time left for the entire year
- you read more when you don't feel like talking