Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I got a camera phone.

This has prompted several strange phenomena:

  1. A renewed sense of self-created loneliness upon realizing how few people call me and how few calls I can force myself to make
  2. A yearning for a real camera (which I cannot afford, nor would I have any idea on how to use one at this point)
  3. A game with Papa Biv

The game started the day after I got the phone, when I was excited and sent a photo of government center, asking my father to figure out where I was.

My father called me, sounding peeved, asking what the hell I sent him and why and he didn’t understand it. I gave a lame, giddy schpiel about how pretty Boston can be, and can he guess where that photo’s from, and blah blah.

He seemed unamused, but then again, he guessed wrong.

A week or so later, I sent this inscrutable gem.

No reply, until I called my mom a few days later and she asked about “that nice photo.”

Then today I had a date that ended… weirdly. I was left in downtown Boston during MBTA rush hour and decided to walk around. With the changing landscape I grew increasingly self-pitying and antsy and exhausted, having woken up at four for three days in a row. I headed toward Ugly, for some reason, and looked around me, trying to peer outside of myself. I counted trees, tuned in to birdsong, and watched the Fort Government Center swell and ebb in foot-traffic.

The paved, bricked, molded world was quiet. My legs ached. I was alone. The benches, I kept thinking, are so uncomfortable, but wide enough for the homeless to sleep on. I became a speck in an artless Speck that was trying to be a SPECK. I was disappearing.

My father’s voice is jubilant on my voicemail.

“Well my guess is – the picture you sent, is again, it’s from gov’t center, and it’s on the North Station side looking towards—umm the Oyster House .. and the Haymarket area, on the lefthand side of the square, um, where the ugliest iron sculpture ever created is. That’s my guess. Let me know if I’m right. Love you darlin’. Byeee.”

He’s right. But why did I send that picture?

When I was small I used to try to sleep on my stomach with my arms spread. I would reach for the ends of the mattress, and wonder about the day when they would reach – how good it would feel. I felt I couldn’t truly sleep until my hands could grip the sides.

Now I look down my arm as I lie in bed, think how long it’s gotten. I try to remember my small arms, before chicken pox scars, countless summer burns, bumps, bruises, accidents and temper tantrums. Before I was heavy enough to make much of a dent in the mattress. I wonder if I felt myself set precariously on top of it, like I was balanced on the dome of a zeppelin. Why did I need to hold on? When was I first afraid of sleep?

Monday, August 06, 2007

winds of change

When I come up from the Government Center station at 5:24 in the morning, I have to force optimism. Anyone would, I think, when greeted with a wide expanse of dusty brick nothing overseen by the harrowing jumble of dark concrete they call city hall.

I force myself to look around the corners of that building. I look around the drunk newspaper guy and the haunting scent of urine. In the corners of the world there is soft, felt blue sky and seagulls. The air moves in unpredictable ways, and every four seconds a whiff of sea air reaches me.

Some days that's enough. I stand there for a second and sniff it in and pretend that the ocean is two steps away, that I'm not really sallying forth to serve coffee to the masses. I put into my head a mantra something like "I live here. I actually live here in this city." I think of all the things I love about it, and that they're all within reach. I calm myself.

And THEN I sally forth.

What, I always wonder, propels me? Is it boredom or greed or curiosity? Maybe general embarrassment. At any rate, something is pushing me now. Maybe it's fall coming. I love that season and always feel most capable when the leaves start to turn. I'm sure it has something to do with the rhythm of school - how school was the strongest link to my teeny ego for twenty years. I feel like maybe my brain clicks on in September and all of my life hurdles bow down a bit.

I'm trying to keep this feeling under my skin as much as possible. I can do this. I can look into the world and withstand its long stare back at me. I can do this.