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Category Archives: Philosophy

Have you thought about the nature of romance lately? Not rose petals and candles and all that rom-com shit. Romance, that grand, elusive quality of certain intangible… it’s not easily defined, and when one tries, it slips through one’s metaphorical fingers.

It didn’t occur to me until today, but love in and of itself is not romantic, not even romantic love. When someone clarifies love as “romantic”, they usually mean that as something more than friendship, something different from familial devotion. Maybe there’s no better word for it, but no kind of love is really romantic. Love is mostly pedestrian moments- sure it’s a lot of fun, and maybe sometimes there are romantic moments, but most of loving someone “romantically” is logistics and certain enjoyable activities. It’s nothing like romance.

Romance is the essence of the most dramatic moments of our lives. The best kind of love is not this way- certainly, it makes better movies when love is so dramatic that it seems romantic at every moment, but love is so much better when it’s easy.

True romance requires hardship as well as euphoria, because it can have no mundane moments. While we all have difficulties as well as some really amazing ones, romance is being something of a mess all the time. We know when we see it- just look at a black-and-white photo of a puddle on the sidewalk with a red rose or a teddy bear or a rag doll and tell me that’s not romantic. Sad, yes, but still romantic. Smoking a cigarette at a bus stop alone in the rain is another romantic activity. Passionately kissing your lover on a boat in the moonlight is definitely romantic. Think about how many great things are NOT romantic, though. Puppies? Not romantic. Going swimming with your significant other? Also not romantic. Teasing your boyfriend about his nerd cred? Not romantic.

I haven’t posted in this blog in months because I haven’t been inspired to write. I’ve figured out that it’s because I’m a romantic writer. I can only write anything good when I’ve got an intense feeling of romance. And you know what? I’m totally in love and happy, and I don’t feel that vague feeling of elevation unless something tragic happens, like the death of one of the greatest young singers. Otherwise, I just live my life and don’t sit here reflecting on it through the written word. Maybe one day I’ll find inspiration without the emotion, but if I don’t, I think I’m okay without it.

This time baby, I wish I had a tougher skin. Singing to myself, I realize how much damn easier it is to not try. If you don’t try, at least it was your fault it failed. At least this way I don’t put everything I’ve got into it and then watch it collapse when time or circumstances or someone else comes and smashes it all with a hammer. Bulletproof. It doesn’t matter what kind of armor or protection you wear, you go out into the world, you expose yourself. You walk around with a bulletproof vest, and someone slits your throat with a box cutter. You can’t see it all coming, so it’s easier to sit in your house and just wait for other people to invade it- at least that way, it wasn’t your fault. It was their damn fault for invading what you’ve got. You put yourself out there, you hope for the best, you sing as loud as you can, you put the depths of your soul in your voice, and they hate it. They tell you it’s shit, that more is necessary. You already put all of what you have out there- they’ve sucked it out, your blood, your tears. They’re making fucking cocktails out of it and sipping it, and then they say it needs more lime. Well dammit, I don’t have lime. Is it weird that I seem to be both myself and you at the same time? Maybe it’s easier to think about it when I’m not really talking about myself. It’s still easier not to make the cocktails in the first place. They don’t know whether the fruit of yourself is sweet or not until they try it, before that scary moment when they take a sip. And maybe that risk is worth it, if they take a sip and they find it’s delicious. But is being found delicious worth the risk of being found repellent? Hell, not even repellent. There’s not a big chance of that. What if they just find it adequate, but they like someone else’ cocktail better? And it’s not really their problem. They get to just sit around, sipping their cocktails, judging you without having to really know what happens to you. They can say all the horrible things they want about you, know that you’re going to hear them, but not know what it does to you inside, to know that someone else is better than you. They don’t have to see your pain- and really, it couldn’t be any other way. How else could they make an objective judgment? Everyone who submits their cocktail in this contest is a sympathetic character; if they based it on that, even if they decided based on whose story was most sympathetic, they might end up with the worst-tasting drink. So they sit around, sucking down bloody cocktails, laughing about the latest episode of whatever the hell they watch, sucking down the lives of those they judge with every sip.

But that’s really all life is- the vital fluids drain and drain with all your efforts over time, and you die sucked dry. Or maybe your throat gets slit with a box cutter and all your blood and vitality- everything you are- pours out your neck, gushing onto the pavement, splashing horribly in a hot, crimson tide. Bulletproof, huh? Maybe you should’ve spent some more of that blood on some better task. You clearly didn’t use up all of it. What was the point of slacking off, being lazy? Your life swirls into the gutter whether you pour it into song, into your work, or into the street when someone cuts you up. There are better things to do than throw vitriol at people you don’t care about anyway. There are better things to do than worrying about punctuality. There are better things to do than dwell on the things that didn’t work out. You can do so much better than this. You don’t need to lay in a beef stew when you hate beef stew. You can swim to the edge, maybe use a potato as a raft, build a tower of carrots and get out by climbing up. You don’t have to stay where you don’t want to be. And with that, you can rip off the stupid Kevlar and leave it in the stew. Watch it sink, for nostalgia’s sake, then turn around and see what the rest of the kitchen looks like. Maybe you need some limes…

Sometimes things just seem so uncertain. You’re on a train, and you watch the other trains go by, and you don’t know where they’ve been or where they’re going, and you also wonder whether you should be on them. You also wonder if you’re on the wrong train, whether the other ones are going somewhere better, whether they came from somewhere better than the place you just visited and whether you should’ve gone where they came from instead. You wonder if you’re really doing enough to make sure your life is going in the right direction. Is it weird that I write so much about doubt? It’s like I only write in the blog at my strongest and my weakest. At my strongest, I believe I want to tell everyone who’s listening that I’m queen of the world and they’d better get used to the most deliciously decadent despot in history. And at my weakest, I just hope someone’s listening. Are you listening to me? I feel weak and lethargic right now. Sure I have a stuffed up head, but I think it’s more that I’m waiting the way Didi and Gogo wait. I’m waiting to get my acceptances and rejections from colleges, I’m waiting to go to college, I’m waiting for February to start on my New Year’s Resolutions. I made them already, but I haven’t started on them. I’m waiting for Godot the way everyone else is, since life is just what we do while we wait to die. You have to do something, and I’m doing it. What the something is, I’m really not sure. I know that the days keep flicking by both slowly in minutes but far too quickly in hours, in pieces of my lifetime. Is it normal to think about mortality as much as I do? I think most people have to be reminded. “His/her suicide/illness/sudden death reminded him/her of his/her own mortality.” I must have read a line like that in a dozen books, heard it in movies, whatever. It’s everywhere. I don’t think most people walk out on the street and think, that car’s accelerator and brake wires might be fucked up and I might not make it across this street alive. And you know something, usually I don’t either. Because I can’t live my life in fear. I managed to be afraid for all of one week this year. I was afraid of men for an entire week. But I realize now: life is full of trade-offs. I trade the extra security of locked doors for the joy of having my family and friends just drop in on me. I trade the fun of being single for knowing that my boyfriend is happy with me. I’ve traded away friendships for the comfort of not being so upset. Maybe some of what I trade is wrong, maybe unwise, maybe it won’t be the best in the long run. At least it’s fun to bargain…

What’ll you be doing on the last day? I don’t know, but I’m sure that getting drunk and/or having sex will be on a lot of people’s lists. Maybe mine too. Probably a lot of the same people will hug and kiss their loved ones, some people will listen to their favorite song for the last time. Do you ever think about the last meal of the guy who’s going to executed? Do you think he can really taste it? Maybe he’s managed to get lobster or something, because it’s his favorite food. Hell, maybe he’s having deep-dish pizza with roasted garlic and sun-dried tomatoes and portobello mushrooms and everything else possible. Throw in some basil and oregano and call it a last meal. All that stuff has a strong taste, but is it stronger than the taste of imminent death? And could you ever ask someone who would really know? “Hi, I’d like to know if it’s possible to enjoy a meal when you know you’re going to die today.” What would they say? Probably fuck off you insolent twerp. Well, maybe not that. But something with a similar message. Or maybe they’d just start sobbing. Maybe you should’ve just kept your curiosity to yourself. Maybe your need for knowledge is not nearly as important as compassion for a condemned prisoner. Of course, if I had my way, this would be an impossible question to answer. There are no prisoners condemned to death in my perfect world. Not even my perfect world- my ever-so-slightly improved world. The death penalty is borne of a revenge instinct, and revenge is essentially a desire to cause another pain. And why should we encourage that? There is enough pain in the world without introducing more. I believe that the goal of all people should be pain reduction. Don’t sit there with a headache when you could just take a pill and make it go away- that’s pain you don’t have to have. Don’t fear becoming a “pill popper” when all you’re taking is ibuprofen- chemical addiction isn’t possible with that stuff, and even if it were, you’d have to take the stuff consistently over a long period time to get an addiction. Once a month with your period cramps ain’t doin shit. You know what else ain’t doin shit? Congress. They fucked up healthcare. It’s really that simple. I was so hopeful (dammit, Obama, look what you did) that something would get done, that something would get somewhere. But you know what we have in Congress? People who’ve forgotten why they’re there in the first place. Yeah, the Republicans are against having it because it would look good for Obama if it worked. Now, one wonders, why would it look good for Obama if it worked? Because it would be good for the country, perhaps? Thank you, GOP. Isn’t that what I want to discourage? The desire to cause more pain. It’s preemptive revenge- it’s a lot like preemptive war, and we see how well that works. When you’re the world’s remaining superpower, there is no good reason for preemptive war. Seriously, what’s going to happen if you wait for them to attack you? Probably nothing, since they know what happened to the LAST guys who tried that. AKA Pearl Harbor. 9/11 doesn’t count because that wasn’t an attack, that was a mass-murder. Only countries can start wars. But we couldn’t treat this like a crime, because then the perpetrators would have a right to trial in the world court, and in addition, there would be absolutely no reason to go to Iraq. Oh wait, there still wasn’t any reason to go to Iraq. Baby, what are we going to do? I’m stuck on you. I think of the guys my age getting shot in Iraq- guys literally my age. 18. 18 is just so damn young, when you think about it. I mean really, I make tons of youthful mistakes just because I’m so inexperienced- and yet I often feel more weathered than other people my age. And then these kids get shot in Iraq. With no experiences. Hell, I bet some of them are even virgins. Can you imagine that? Going to Iraq and getting shot before you’ve even had the chance to hit a homer? But hell, you don’t need to go overseas to get shot. You can just go trick-or-treating in Alameda and be extremely unlucky. You can just walk around East Oakland too late at night. Hell, you can just sit down to your piano lesson when you’re seven years old and never walk out again. You know, when the Supreme Court said the ban on handguns in a public housing project was unconstitutional, I wanted to force Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito LIVE in a housing project for a year. Hell, they wouldn’t have to leave town. I’m sure DC has plenty of nice, dangerous projects to choose from. When are we going to realize that old white men know jack shit about the world? Seriously, we elect these numbskulls and they’re so afraid of inflation that they advocate for a spending freeze in a recession. The problem is that when no one’s spending anything, someone has to, and no one else has the power to make money. Just the government. Just like only the government can run an effective military. That sucks kids who aren’t even old enough to drink into service to get shot.

Maybe that’s enough bullshit about bullshit for now. Happy new year.

…I wrote this:

There is a thing such as homesickness. One may not believe in it for a long time, over a decade in fact… but it most certainly exists. Knowing that it is Christmas Eve and you haven’t had any eggnog all season, or listened to Bing Crosby sing any carols, or seen any of your good friends home for the holidays, or even kissed your mother and said “I love Christmas”… this is homesickness in essence. It isn’t truly wanting to be home, and really, there’s nothing that special about it- it’s just doing nothing or something other than what you want to be doing and being prevented from doing what you really want to be doing not by time or money or other people, as is usually the case, but by place. It is knowing you are in the wrong place for what you want to be doing, and wishing you were in that place so you could do what you always do. It’s wanting to be home not because you like your home, but because you do things at home that you cannot do in Mazatlan or Bahrain or even the next town over from your home.

Perhaps most people are more attached to their family members, to their friends than I. It’s strange to think that because so many people are important to me, to the extent that I would donate a kidney for them and I would let them call me at 3 am if they thought it was important enough to wake me up. But up until now, I have never been homesick. Most people, especially children, get homesick at least once before they really leave their parents for good. I witnessed many children at summer camps and sleepovers being homesick, and for me it was much like my relationship with shyness- I could see it happening to someone else, I could recognize it, and I knew what its effects were, but I honestly could not understand it. Shyness is still beyond me. I truly couldn’t do it if I tried. But homesickness, I begin to understand. For children, it is the fear of the unknown. If something goes wrong, they can’t run to their mother to save them, and they feel very alone and unsure, which isn’t a nice feeling. They cannot run for the familiar help of their parents if something is wrong- place prevents it. It’s another thing that they cannot do not because they don’t have the time or money or because their parents don’t have the time or money, but because they are not home.

And as children get older, they don’t need to run to mommy. The fact that they can’t get their parents to solve their problems becomes less of an issue, because they find that their parents can’t really solve their problems anyway. They may fear the unknown, but their parents couldn’t save them even if they were at home.

And so children grow into teenagers and adults who don’t get homesick so much. But there are certainly things that can bring it about once again- a crisis, Christmas, food that has the same name as it does at home but really isn’t the same. You wish you could have a hug, you wish you could see your family and wish them a Merry Christmas in person and sing “Break Forth” the way you always do, you just wish you could get a damn milkshake that tastes right. And you know that you can do none of these things, because of place. Again, it is the problem of place. You are sick for your home because you are not there. And so you realize that at some decent hour today, you must call home. Because certainly you cannot cure your homesickness- being in the wrong place- but you can do something to assuage it. You can call and listen to home, whatever that happens to mean. And maybe you will still wish you were home, but you will feel better knowing that at home, everything is the way it’s supposed to be. Knowing that maybe home changes too, but in the important ways, it is still the same home you left. And with that, you can enjoy the experience of being away from home and wish everyone else a very merry Christmas and happy new year.

Somehow, I’ve found it and lost it simultaneously. What is it? Maybe I’m sure, but perhaps I’m not. I think I won’t tell you. You’re gorgeous. I hope you know that. I hope you sit on your roof in a swimsuit and shades, soaking up the summer sun into your skin and miraculously not burning or tanning, just basking in the warmth and the light. Maybe you’ve got a bag of apricots up there and you take one out and bite into it and make seductive sucking sounds with your beautiful lips, slowly consuming the delectable flesh of the sunny fruit. Is it just me or is summer the most sensual season? It’s hot, it’s delicious, so much of it is spent on the beach in tiny amounts of clothing… it just seems like the perfect setting for physical love. I adore being buried in the sand at the beach. The weight and the contrast of the coolly wet under-layers with the dry floating grains above makes me feel enveloped in the embrace of the shore in it’s fully sexual symbolism. I remember the first time my English teacher told me that the ocean was a female symbol in literature- between the sea and Saturn’s chopped of balls, Venus was born. How horrible is it that the goddess of love was the result of a castration? Poor Saturn was turned into a steer by his own son because there could be only one bull in with the heifers. What a sexist society. Really, couldn’t they have settled for just some of the women? I can settle for just SOME men. I don’t need that many, really. It’s funny, I always feel so protective of male bits. I hate it when someone gets hit in the groin, I really do. It makes me feel like carrying them to a safe place and sitting with him until he feels better, and then staying with him forever to ensure that his balls will be safe from attack. Oddly enough, I think that’s still my weird maternal instinct coming through. I just hate to see people in pain like that. I can’t see people in any kind of pain without having sympathy. I can see the hurt on their faces, and it makes my forehead crease and my guts churn and my chest ache in a way that suggests that their pain is double what I can feel and that I need to take it away somehow, that I need to help these people. There are so many people in so much pain in the world. They mourn and weep in this vale of tears. Sorrow often causes me to think of my Catholicism, like right now. Sometimes I wish my friends understood my relationship with God, but it’s not their fault that they don’t. I suppose it’s like anything that is uncommon among my social circle- love of football, cars, calculus. At least with those, however, I know someone else that likes them, and I don’t feel uncomfortable that my friends don’t like them because it’s not personal. My relationship with God is so personal, and not only that, any conversation with my friends about him involves some reference to the fact that they don’t even believe he’s there. And I know that they have justification for thinking that, that I cannot blame them or judge them for it, but I also feel like it’s so disrespectful, like talking about someone who’s right in front of you as if they aren’t there. And I know he doesn’t mind, that it doesn’t bug him. But it bugs me. It makes me feel so bad for him that people talk about him like that. Hell, it makes me feel terrible when people say things like “If God existed, he wouldn’t let things like Hurricane Katrina happen.” All those people who are angry with God, who actively hate him- it just makes me sad. And can you imagine how he must feel when he sees signs at funerals that say “God hates fags”? Taking the Lord’s name in vain isn’t about swearing, it’s about using God’s name to give credence to things he would never approve. Being God would be like being eternally misquoted in the news and never getting to write letters of correction to the editors. And yet somehow, he’s serene enough to deal with it. This is why I’m a Catholic. I cannot begin to understand how God is so great, but I know that he is because somehow, he deals with it. He deals with all the pain and suffering of the world and he manages to not break down and destroy the whole damn thing just because it’s too much for him. Because it’s never too much for him. Somehow he deals with the denial and the hatred and all of the other things that come his way, and somehow he finds time to help little old ladies and cheating middle-aged men, dying children and whiny teenage girls. He finds the time, and he cares about everyone and somehow, it’s never too much for him. He just keeps going, doing his piece with the grace and peace of his being. I suppose with that, I wish you good day.

I try to describe it. The lurid bliss of freedom, calling to me with its vivid hues and dramatic cliffs which everyone jumps off and either finds that they fly or that they fall flat, just seems ever so much more attainable. I’ve been listening to all this jazz (granted, it’s all by the Seatbelts, but still), and I think something about it is seeping into my moods, warming them, making them more spontaneous, making my spiritual cooking that much more innovative and carefree, laughing at life the way the lady sings. I went faraway and discovered that not only was I desirable, I was more attractive than I liked being. Perhaps flirting is the national sport of France, but I would like to not have to play if I don’t want to, but it was damn hard to avoid. I guess the gentlemen here don’t prefer blondes, but I’m a hit in Europe. Something about dressing myself better makes me feel just gorgeous too. I feel like it doesn’t matter if I lose out with one or two- there are just so many other possibilities just waiting to happen. I feel like I’m good with my money, like it’s nice to have money, like it’s nice to be generous and take my mother out to dinner, to not eat so much just because it’s there. If I’m not hungry, I won’t eat. So simple. I’ll eat a little, but if I don’t want more, I don’t need more. Gluttony is just silly. I feel like I don’t need the fast, cheap, half-assed pleasures of life. I believe in the sensual indulgence in the beautiful, the rich and decadent, but in nothing else. If I don’t really want it, I’m not going to bother. I will never go into a store and feel obligated to buy something I don’t want just because I went to the store. I will only buy something that really makes me feel fabulous, because nothing in my lifestyle should be less fabulous than me. I guess I know what they mean when they say “I feel like a million bucks.” Because I’m getting better at it. Normally I’m the lady singing the blues, and today, I’m laughing at life, not thinking of the ghost of yesterday. Screw yesterday. It can go wank because I’m off to glamourland without it. I just want to go around with a fairy wand in my new Italian suit and bestow good luck on everyone, because I feel lucky. I better not play poker right now, because when I feel lucky, I always bet like I’m lucky and then my luck runs out. So I won’t play poker, because I feel like I shouldn’t waste my luck on poker. I’m going to go off and be productive now, because this glamourgirl isn’t too high-fashion to clean her room. And I’ll do it faster than ever before, you just watch me. I am going to conquer the universe, and you won’t even notice that it’s happening. You’ll think I’m the nicest, most charming, prettiest girl in the world, and you won’t even notice that everything is going along to my scheme for world domination. Oh it feels good to know that I can run the world, even if I don’t. And well, this saxiphone sound is damn sexy. I can indulge in the grunge sound, because even dirty and sleazy can be just so delicious and jaded. There is a disgusting beauty in extravagent living, isn’t there? It’s horrible that people steal all the money in order to have gilded toilets while other people starve, but on the other hand, the gilded toilet is just so pretty. It’s what I hate about pop art. It should be prettier for the amount of decadence it represents- but it’s not. It’s not pretty. It’s just- cool. I feel like the emptiness should be more cleverly disguised than it is- more embellishment, more gorgeous material, more distinction. But it’s not disguised. The rich barely dress differently from the poor. They should. Without luxury, how can you hide the triviality of money? The ediface is what you buy, because you certainly can’t buy the happiness. I really can feel the cool washing over me just listening to this music. It’s from the soundtrack of Cowboy Bebop, which is a beautiful anime, just so full of life and style. I cried at the end. That’s right, I cried over the death of an anime character. Some things are just so sad. I guess sometimes sadness is romantic- there’s something beautiful about it. The problem is that the sadness is not worth the romance or the beauty. Maybe beauty is just not what it’s about. It’s too bad, because I seem to be radiating it right now. I’ll just dream my little dreamy dreams I suppose. Maybe I shouldn’t quote things so much in my own writing, but it’s as good as biting a chocolate covered apricot, it really is. Oh summer fruit. I love summer. The heat, the beach, the long days, the fruit… it can’t be better.

The better the high, the worse the comedown. I’m not sure that it’s an entirely accurate aphorism, but it seems pretty apt today. I was really really happy for like 2 solid days, and now my body has decided that I should feel old and worn out. I felt like I wanted chocolate frosting, so I made myself some. I started eating it, and it was good for a while, and then it became gross and made me feel sicker than I had before. Sometimes it seems to me that the more you like something, the worse it is when it turns sour on you. I’m sure part of the bitterness is the memory of how good it was. Not only is what you have now sour, it’s nothing like as sweet as it was. At least with something that started out bad, you expect it to stay bad. I think half the pain of the comedown is the pain of comparison. Oh God I feel like crap. Are these ridiculous mood swings part of being human, part of being a woman, or just part of being me? I feel like my namesake in The Nightmare Before Christmas. I’m so great when I’m all sewn together, but my seams keep ripping and I have to keep repairing myself, sewing myself back up. But every time I sew myself back up, I lose a little of the stuffing. I never put myself back together quite right. If I were a better seamstress, perhaps I would stop ripping. I suppose the problem could also be in my inferior materials. But how do I learn to sew better with my metaphorical thread? It’s not like I can go to psychological sewing class. Dude I totally feel like I’m going to throw up. Maybe I should do that. Or not. Oh I’m so bloody indecisive.

So I’ve decided that as part of my new and spiffified organized life, I’m going to blog weekly. No more of this “creative spurt” business (hahahaha, Zachy, I’m turning into a girl!). So maybe I won’t always be brilliant, but there will always be something.

I had my senior piano recital yesterday. The only one of my friends who could come was darling Katie L, but that’s fine with me. It was kind of scary anyway. I wasn’t as nervous as when I did the Foreign Language Talent Show, and I also wasn’t as nervous as any of my fellow pianists. But it was so different from doing a regular recital with Ms. Queener or even like a school talent show. I suppose it was knowing that I was in front of people who knew what good piano playing sounds like- they all knew one of my classmates, or they wouldn’t have been there. I did all right though I thought.

It’s… strange to me to think of how so much of my life is ending. I’ve been going to piano lessons since I was five. I just basically did the biggest performance of my piano career, since I’m not going to pursue it as anything other than a hobby after this year. I might have a teacher in college, but I’ll never play piano professionally because I’m just not that good. It’s strange to think of all these “talents” that kids take lessons for and they take up so much of their lives- and when they leave home… some of them just don’t last. I remember meeting my cousin George’s wife and talking to her when I was in Florida in 8th grade, and I remember playing her piano. And she told me that she had taken lessons through her senior year of high school and she never touched the piano since. And it was totally inconceivable to me that I would ever be like that, but I know so many adults who did things in their childhoods and just never pursued them further. I also know many people who continue to do things they did as kids, like my uncle and his trombone and my aunt and her softball and Paul O and his tap-dancing, but I’ve noticed they don’t do everything they did as kids. They pretty much have time for one hobby, the rest of their time is spent working.

I know it’s strange for a seventeen year old to say this, but I just feel like there can’t possibly be enough time for everything I’d like to do. I would love to be a surgeon, I would love to work with cyclotrons, I would love to run for congress, I would love to be a singer, I would love to spend all my time restoring paintings or blowing up stuff or helping people get jobs or… everything. And that’s just careers. I think of the things I would like to do as an adult that don’t make money- I’d love to travel the world, maybe do a musical, get a bridge club like my grandma, throw awesome parties for my friends, go camping, learn some foreign languages, go to church every week, raise a couple kids in Alameda, play rugby into my forties, keep in touch with all my family and friends, do proper Christmas every year…

…so how the fuck am I going to have the time to retire and go to Tahoe for a couple months a year and read New Yorkers on the beach? I just think of that and it makes me feel so sad. That was what my dad was going to do, you see. Retire and sit on the beach at Tahoe, reading his New Yorkers. He kept all the ones he didn’t finish reading on time- so we have several boxes of them, dating back from the late eighties. And I just think, we all plan like we’re going to make it to ninety-three. Like we’re going to be able to enjoy everything just as much when we’re little old people as we can now.

Carefree youth. Maybe some people manage that. I wonder sometimes where mine went.

I tried a long time ago to write a blog post about The Sun Also Rises. I never published it, because it just wasn’t very good and it sounded pretty condescending, which is not how I meant it. But I feel like I can really explain Brett Ashley.

She’s not a slut- not by the definition below, anyway. She’s much like the heroine of The Barefoot Contessa– at some point in her life, she thought she had it all. She thought that she had found her one true love, that she could just spend the rest of her life making him happy, giving him kids, giving him her body, giving him everything. And she would have been so happy to do that. If Brett could have Jake, really, she would never look at anyone else. She says to him “When I think of the hell I’ve put chaps through. I’m paying for it all now.” She used to just play with the affections of men, using their libido to support her lifestyle and her ego. And then she met Jake and fell in love with him. And so her total and complete love just built up in her- she just wanted that life where he was her world. She just had all that physical energy for him. At some point his accident shattered her hopes and dreams for the perfect life. I know it’s not usual to say this, I know that usually guys use this as a cop-out for douche-bag behavior, but sometimes girls have Needs too. And Brett has no outlet for them. She can’t give absolutely everything to Jake because he can’t take it- he can’t satisfy her. But neither can any other man because she doesn’t love any other man. His injury killed not only his happiness, but hers as well. So she returns to the life she led before- seducing men because she can- but she can’t take any joy in it because she knows what she’s missing. Brett Ashley is “tired of living but scared of dying.” She’s only alive because she doesn’t want to die- she isn’t alive because she wants to live. She has nothing to live for, but she also has nothing to die for. She’s in a perpetual limbo of mere existance.

And that, ultimately, is really what I think about when I face mortality. I think of my endless possibilities for happiness and fulfillment and then I think of my infinite capacity for defeatism, and I think maybe I’ll end up like her. Maybe I’ll end up like Brett Ashley, or Maria Vargas, or any drunk on the streets, drinking because they don’t want to remember that they’re failing at living.

So that’s why I’m getting my ass organized. Maybe it’s more beautiful and smooth and free-flowing just living my life moment to moment, blogging when I feel like it… but maybe life isn’t about the beauty. Sadness is a beautiful, romantic thing to behold. Ultimately, though, I feel like beauty is such an intangible, fleeting thing, and at the end of the day, it’s just not worth it. Who says that the Mona Lisa is more valuable as a work of art than Mark Rothko’s Number 14? It’s beautiful, but maybe art isn’t all about beauty either. Maybe art is really about life. Why do we study the cave paintings at Altamira, anyway? Why do we study the art of the Egyptians? Is it because it’s beautiful? Isn’t it really because we want to know the painters?

I don’t know. Perhaps I overindulge my rambling tendency. God bless you, you just read over thirteen hundred words.