...if this is your first night, you have to fight.


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Sunday, June 30, 2002

"Broken"
all your rules are belong to us.

Funny. I began writing this post on Friday night, but due to technical difficulties, lost it. At the time I thought I had broken three of my iron-clad rules. Turns out I've broken four.

I know... I know, some of you are amazed I even have rules, but I do. They are few, but they are rules to live by. Suddenly, however, I've decided to say fuck it and pitch those rules right out the steamed-up car window of reason.

RULE ONE: Don't shit where you eat.
This is an unecessarily harsh way of reminding myself not to date coworkers or anyone who lives in my immediate vicinity. It all ties in with the probable dissolution of any relationships. I don't want to run into my ex at work, I don't want to run into my ex taking the trash out at midnight, I don't want to run into my ex at all, if possible. It's awkward, it sucks, and I'm not having any of it.

RULE TWO: Don't date anyone too young to have a pint with in a pub.
This one's a no-brainer. I mean, it's not like I have to have a pint with my date, I just like that option. It's my yardstick, so to speak. The closer I get to 30, the easier this rule is to uphold... or so I fucking thought.

RULE THREE: Don't get too attached to anyone who isn't going to be around long.
Why set yourself up for that kind of misery? Sure there's that whole belief that any truly good experience is worth the pain of brevity, and I suppose there was a time I subscribed to that theory myself. But these days, I just don't feel as... well, resillient as I once was.

RULE FOUR: Don't get caught fucking in a car by the cops.
Oh. My. Gawd.

Okay, so by this point, it's pretty painfully obvious that I've fucked up on a multitude of levels. So why am I so happy? Really, I'm happy. For the first time in I don't know how long, I'm so hi-dee-ho-happy I could shit. I'm having a blast.

I know I've mentioned in the past that I'm a bit of the solitary type. I've lived in this town for three years now, and other than a small handful of coworkers, I really haven't met anyone of note. This is not a big deal. I'm an only child, and being such a classic example, I have no trouble entertaining myself, make friends cautiously and I'm incredibly slow to trust. And as far as dating in all of this time, not only have there been no prospects around here, there hasn't even been any fucking scenery, for chrissake.

The last person I dated was 36 and probably the biggest baby I ever met. When he unceremoniously dumped me 'round April 2001, I was grateful. Of course, there was the initial sting of rejection, but immediately behind that was some of the most profound relief I've ever known. He was a lot of maintainence, and I was thrilled to get back to my own odd but comparatively relaxed little world. Since then, I have been reluctant to say the least as far as getting into any new situations.

...Now that I've set the tone for you...

This year, 'round the end of April, beginning of May, a strapping young lad came seeking employment here at Drugco. From the second I laid eyes on him, I liked him, which was an instinct that hasn't reared it's head in... I don't know how long. There was just something about him; clear, slightly heavy-lidded blue eyes, a wide, sly smile, and a general look of being amused and relaxed. My initial reaction to that face was to grin, which, if memory serves, is exactly what I did. I felt stirred from a long sleepwalk. I knew I just had to know him.

He handed me his application and I talked with him for a few minutes about when was the best time to catch our store manager for an interview. From then on I turned into a little cartoon devil on everyone's shoulder, poking them with my tiny pitchfork and suggesting; "We should hire him. He seems smart. He's not an idiot. We should hire him." And after a few return trips seeking our elusive store manager, I finally went to his second-in-command and my favorite assistant manager and said; "You should talk to this guy, you'll see what I mean. We need him." So she did and after consulting with the store manager, he was soon hired.

Imagine my glee when I found out that they'd be giving him a position in my department; the photo lab. I'd get to train him. Mmm... close proximity. I was giddy. So who can blame me when I noticed his application on the desk and just took a little peek-see at the birthdate field. That's when my heart sank. 1984?! I did the math in my head. Nineteen years old. Oh, damn too young. Waaaay too young. I mean, I remember buying the George Orwell novel "1984" just to see if his idea of the future lived up to the year in which I was living. Jeeze. Ah, well, So I checked my initial urge to be "on the prowl" and decided I'd be mature about the whole thing.

Well, turns out I was right. He was everything I sized him up to be; smart, funny, mature and fabulously sarcastic. And, I could objectively observe, cute in a way that made me wish I was nineteen again. Training him was a breeze, as he was an incredibly quick study, so we had plenty of time to shoot the shit and discover that we had a frightful lot in common. For example; he was a "Young Ones" fan. Those are hard to come by, especially in this neck of the woods. You're lucky to meet anyone who's ever seen it, let alone someone who's a fan. A fan with not only all the episodes, but the same sneaking suspicion as me that not all of the episodes were included on the available tapes. A fan with a "Young Ones" tee-shirt, no less. He was also a "Man-o-War" fan, so I took great delight in informing him that I had seen "Man-o-War" at the "Thrash Bash" in Boston in 1989, to which he proclaimed my metal-y goodness. There was no reference too obscure for us, and in fact, it was the most obscure reference of all, a single word, that unlocked the door to our friendship...

"Interoscitor".

Did you get that one? No, of course not, nobody would. But he did.

It was in the midst of training that we stumbled upon this word. I was showing him how to test the lab in the morning, and how you create various print and film tests to be read in the machine's densitometer. Of course, no one calls it a densitometer, everyone calls it "this thingy" or "that slot" or "the reader", never the proper word. People look at me like an oddball whenever I use the correct word, so as a result, as I was showing him how to get a reading I said; You put the film strip in the densitometer" and then I paused, smiled and said; "I know, it sounds like one of those fake 50's sci-fi movie terms" and continued, with a smirk; "You put the film strip in the interoscitor..." and immediately I wondered why I said it, because no one would get that obscure little reference. But, at the mention of this word, his bright blue eyes flared and he grinned hugely and said; "Oh man, that's one of my favorite movies!"

Dear readers, it was at this moment that my hard little heart skipped a beat. Here was a kindred spirit, someone made just for me. Because, you see, "interoscitor" is a word frequently uttered in the film "This Island Earth", which was parodied in the film it turns out we both adore; "Mystery Science 3000 - the Movie". So, from here on in, "he" will be known as "Cal", the hero of the film "This Island Earth".

From then it became impossible for either of us to trip up the other in terms of obscurity. Despite the vast age difference, we had all of the same weird cultural references. We enjoyed the same things, shared the same outlooks and philosophies, and all in all found ourselves endlessly entertained by each other's company. I found myself wondering just how young was too young, and then feeling obscurely guilty for thinking like that. I maintained my good behavior for a long time actually.

I had casually mentioned to my favorite manager one day that it was a pity that there was such an age gap between Cal and I. She observed that she had definitely noticed our obvious kinship, but said little more on the matter. Well, quite recently, Cal expressed like-minded sentiments, and before long my beloved manager was urging us to overlook the years and spinning the hands of fate for us.

Before long there ensued the confession. About last Friday, to be exact. After abortively attempting to avoid all awkward conversation and simply steal a kiss from him (the conditions were just not right), another door was opened, via e-mail, and hence the confession. Here are some excerpts:

FROM CAL TO ME:

"...yeah...i would really like to know what ever you were going to say, do, touch, untie, kick, spit on, fondle, show, or whatever else it might have been today that you once claimed as "important". you cant blame me for being extremely curious for the rest of the day and then staring at the computer screen for twenty minutes thinking of how to ask you. so please gimme a retort."

FROM ME TO CAL:

"Anyway, yeah, the whole "meet me in the breakroom" thing. How fucking embarrassing it is now. Dammit. I had so many grand designs for today. Curses, foiled again.

Originally, my plan was to wait outside just before four o'clock. When you came in for work, I was going to stop you, hide us behind one of those nasty brick building supports and kiss you. Just because I really wanted to. But of course, I keep forgetting we have that little problem of customers, and some of those human roaches infested photo and I had to deal with them. I saw you walk in and thought; "Shit. There goes that idea."

Naturally, that original desire to kiss you didn't readily go away, so I schemed like a bastard trying to come up with another opportunity to pounce on you away from the prying eyes of Big Brother's multiple camera angles, as well as the eyes of our chatty co-workers. I scuttled nervously in and out of the warehouse a few times while you were in there, not to mention the whole "come hang out with me in the office" ruse. Did you notice? Did you see my cheeks burning bright red as I eyed the tiny space near my locker where I thought this transgression might go unchecked? Would you have welcomed my advances? Would you have been disgusted and horrified? Would you have gasped slapped me, calling me a "cad" like a character in an old, black-and-white movie? Would it have fucked with your head too much for us to ever have a normal, easy conversation again? 'Cuz that's what I was really afraid of.

....to be continued...I just wanted to hurry up and send this now in the hopes that I might still catch you online...."


FROM ME TO CAL (PART TWO):

"So...uh...yeah...

Where was I? Oh yeah...

So I decided to abandon all fear and hatch a new plan. Did you hear the high-pitched, almost panicked tone of my voice when I said; "Well, time to cash out!"? I was watching the clock knowing the seconds were ticking by and my giddy act of spontenaiety was turning into an overly-contrived mess. But I didn't care because if I didn't kiss you before I left today I was going to die. I might be dying right now...cough, cough...oh, no...that's just too many cigarettes and the edgy feeling like I made a fool of myself today. Me in my natural habitat.

So I counted my drawer ssssssllllllllooooooowly...as slowly as I could, wishing I was an idiot savant and simple mathematics was enough to distract me from this excruciating, gut-wrenching, head-spinning, burning-red-cheeked need to kiss you. To reach up and frame your jaw with my hand, and open your lips with mine, hoping you didn't lurch away in horror.

This goes back a long way, by the way.

Did you notice way back when you asked for an application, when you were returning over and over again, hoping to catch an audience with the elusive Mayor McCheese, the hopeful way I cheered on your attempt to become a member of the Drugco family? That's because as soon as you walked in I swear I thought; "Thank fuck! Finally something...SOMEONE...in this wasteland of a town worth noting." Because I just knew, from the second I saw you, that you were someone worth knowing. And I was right.

And while I'm being entirely, humilliatingly honest here, while I've already got my metaphorical balls on the chopping block, I might as well add that my intentions toward you have not always been pure. I can't help but wonder what it would be like to kiss you. I've been wondering for a long time, it seems. I can picture it *way too well*, quite frankly, and I usually cannot picture kissing people that I will never actually kiss. I'm sorry, but I get like that sometimes. Is that weird and wrong?

Anyway, I decided today, of all days, I just couldn't stand it anymore. I had to kiss you or die. (or smoke too much and feel stupid until all hours of the night) When I realized that I had literally no opportunity, I was my usual stubborn self and forcibly created one. I said "meet me in the break room, it's important" because it was. I wanted to be one of those cool, impulsive, slightly unbalanced people, the kind of girl who would wait outside work to kiss you because I've never done that. But I couldn't and everything got so complicated and that 40 extra seconds in the break room was enough time for me to get scared and say "wait, what the fuck am I doing?! this might be a bad judgement call." and then "D", god bless her, picked the worst possible time to stumble into the room. She's almost like a weird manifestation of my conscience. What was she doing there, anyway?! Did she walk in before you or after you? Because I honestly don't remember, it's a blur! I think I blacked out or something because all I could think was "Mission abort! Flee the scene! Eject! Eject!" She asked me what I was doing there (I know, the nerve of her, right?) and I said; "I was looking for my lunchbag. I can't find it. It's weird." which put such a ridiculous spin on the whole scene. OOOOooooh! Awful. How embarrassing, huh?

"D" could have been counted on to remain cool and tight-lipped if I did, indeed, lunge at you and kiss you, she's good like that, but frankly, I just didn't want to put you in that position. That would have been too weird even for me, I think. I love her to death, but damn, couldn't she have just kept going on her way to the ladies room? At least then I could have stolen a quick, nervous peck and you'd have understood what the hell was wrong with me and maybe my nerves wouldn't be so goddamn frayed right now.

Which reminds me; I've intermittently pounded the "get mail" button on my e-mail program, because I no longer trust my "auto-check for mail" feature, and I'm not hearing a peep from you. This means one of two things; either you've gone to bed or you're writhing on the floor in disgust right now. Can you imagine how hard it is for me to hit the "send" button and launch the rest of this mess into the ether. Should I have cut my losses so you could claim you never got the last e-mail? The one that started this confession? I wonder. But I'm not going to do that. I'm going to be brave (or stupid) and hit "send". Just pretend none of this ever happened if you are not similarly inclined to this kind of insanity. I hope to christ I haven't ruined our fully excellent friendship. Blame it on the hour, if you like. Or not.

[deep breath].........here goes. [hitting "send".....now.]"



So, after an agonizing stretch of time, I hardly remember how long as I was blurry with anxiety, he wrote back with this:

FROM CAL TO ME:
"i just had the first opportunity to check my mail for the first time since last night. well damn. that was quite a lengthy response and damn, girl, you could have eluded me some more and just told me to meet you in a dark alley or something, but cmon, you gave away the whole plot! ok, so heres the skinny...im a man of few words and those few words are usually a big jumbly mess especially when dealing with emotions that are the spring time type, if ya know what im saying. so heres all im gonna say and i think youll get the message. if by some chance you wanna meet in a dark alley somewhere, sometime, and do what you had planned on doing, ill act suprised for a sec, then grab your ass and slam you against a wall in order to show that the feelings are mutual. i mean, cmon, how could they not be?"

So, needless to say, we went out Monday night for the first time. The date lasted 'till about 2:30 AM and I spent all of that time wondering why the hell we didn't do this sooner. We went out again on Thursday night, had dinner Saturday night and hung out watching movies, and right now we have plans to hang out Sunday.

I'm having a hell of a time, and only sweat the age thing in theory. (which translates to; yeah, sure, I'd love to meet his dad, but I really don't think that's in either of our best interest.) But there's a brutal, awful catch to this tale...

I mean other than the fact that I am ten fucking years his senior...

He's leaving nearabouts July 13th. He's leaving to return to his home in South Carolina. "Surfside", to be exact. I had kidded myself that these plans were tenative, but he just got a call from a friend in S.C. who has already purchased the plane ticket to get down there so they can both drive back.

I am pained, dear readers. I am pained and I am trying to just shut out this upsetting development and enjoy the moment, but it ain't easy, I don't mind telling you. I like him a lot. I like you a lot, Cal, if you're reading this, which I hope you are. You spun me out of my comfortable coccoon and I don't know if I can retreat back to it with the same level of Zen-like calm after you go. But I'm grateful for this tiny span of time anyway, grateful for our reckless nights gripped with sweaty summer passion, grateful even for the bruised lips and the multiple mosquito bites, grateful to have met someone as cool as you. I hope you feel the same, Cal.

So in the meantime, let's live for now and feel sorry for me later. And if I don't post too often in the next couple of weeks, I hope you all (all three of you) forgive me and understand why.

Cheers.

posted by taiwan_on 'round 4:38 AM#
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Saturday, June 22, 2002

"Commence Meltdown"
in four...three...two...

I'm so embarrassed. I'm so fucking embarrassed. I mean, I'm still so fucking embarrassed, and this shit happened like, more than a week ago. Check out what a hormonally unbalanced bitch I am.

Alright, now, I'm not generally one of those weepy types. I'm pretty tough. I can hang, goddamnit. But for the past, oh, I dunno, month or so, I've only been able to sleep in 20 minute increments. Go ahead and speculate on the cause(s), if you like. God knows I have.

It's horrible, really. I don't particularly like my job, as I've stated in the past, and I sure as shit still don't appreciate waking up at the unholy hour of 7(ish) every day. Granted, I like my nights and weekends free, although for what purpose, I'm not entirely sure. But all in all, this whole societally enforced nine-to-five bullshit can suck my dick. I've never been too good at it, and I suspect I never will. But I deal with it. For the most part, I deal with it.

However, it gets really incredibly difficult to maintain my jocular smirk when it takes me a minimum of 40 minutes to fall asleep after turning in at an hour too late, and then spending every restless night waking up in 20 minute intervals to blearily groan at the green glow of my digital clock. Occasionally these bouts have been accompanied by half-remembered dreams that edge uncomfortably into the realm of nightmare. As a result, I have been getting bitchier and bitchier with coworkers and customers, forgetting shit a lot, suffering a constant queasiness, mumbling jumbled words, and barely understanding what people are saying to me before it completely slips my mind. I mean, someone is talking to me, and I'm nodding going; "oh..ok..really?..no..uh-uh..yup", and basically praying that they didn't ask me any questions requiring more than a yes or no answer, because if they did; I totally didn't even hear it. I'm just hoping that they go away soon so I can stop burning all of that precious energy looking like I'm listening.

Not to mention I want to go back to my own surreal world where I can repeatedly ask myself; "Oh, Jesus...am I dreaming?" because most of the time, I honestly don't know. That can be fun at first, because you still have enough hope to rock gently on the balls of your feet expecting to blithely take off and fly...drift through the humid air all the way back to bed...caressing the green leaves of treetops along the way before you float in through your bedroom window and land softly on your cool, clean sheets...giddily finding rest and discovering that you also found a rip in the space/time continuum that allows you 14 hours of blissful, uninterrupted sleep. But soon, the novelty of bumping against the thin membrane of dreaming and waking as you go about your day wears off and you start to wonder how long you can go on like this before you end up drooling in a state ward somewhere.

I've found that I can go about 32 days like this before I lose my shit and only barely evade the men in white coats.

Last Thursday, it was a particularly tough morning for me. I gagged down my coffee and Star Wars cereal, all the while pouting that my job fucking sucked and I simply could not survive a whole day there. I comforted myself with the thought that maybe I'd hook a coworker to come in for me and make an early exit around noon. I never do that, so I figured I'd earned it. I dragged myself out the door and shuffled off to the bus stop.

About 1/2 way there, I thought; "Damn, I wish I could hug my dog." I just wanted to sit on the floor, put my arms around his neck, feel him rest his drooly chin on my shoulder, and listen to him sigh and grunt while he waited for me to get over whatever was bothering me. He was good like that; patient and understanding; always knowing when I needed a hug and sitting there still as an oak tree until I could get up again and go back to pretending to be a grown-up. But of course, he's gone now, and thanks to a nice sleep deficit, this thought strikes me with renewed strength and damn near makes my knees buckle. I can feel my throat tightening and tears stinging my eyes, but I think; "NO! All I have in my purse in the way of paper products is a couple of panty-liners, and I'm not gonna' wipe my snot-nose with a minipad. Get a grip, bitch." I manage to suck it up a little, but for the most part I'm miserable, teetering on the edge of a full-on sob the whole way, and tilting my head back a lot to try and get the tears to ooze back into my itchy, underslept eye sockets. From that thought, I drift into a whole host of sorry-ass, oh-woe-is-me thoughts, testing my own seemingly boundless boundaries of self-pity.

Suddenly, I've somehow teleported myself to the bus stop, because I simply cannot recall actually walking there, so I stand there continuing my silly game of trying to contain my lachrymal secretions using my upturned face as a bar set with two shot glasses, still hot and slightly cracked from the boiling dishwasher, desperately overfilled. Just me clowning around. I have a humilliating encounter with a manager (whom I carelessly dubbed "Big Bird" one day and the name just stuck) as he drives by the bus stop, spots me, and foolishly asks if I want a ride. This requires me to lower my face to decline politely, which causes the pent-up tears to sluice down my cheeks like twin Niagra Falls from my swollen, red, piss-hole-in-the-snow eyes. I say; "Thanks anyway, but I'm feeling a little...unstable in the moment." His look of horror is almost comical, and he speeds away so fast that he practically sprays gravel. Not only do I not blame him, but I am incredibly relieved. Chivalry may be dead, but some of us could not possibly be more thrilled at its passing.

It takes a Hurculean act of strength to board the bus when it comes, and I'm so completely exhausted that I wonder if I can just stay here, unmoving, and ride it back and forth all damn day long if I hand the driver my wallet. Because I must have enough in there to cover it, and making change at this point would just be too goddamn complicated and tiring. The only thing that gets my ass out of that seat is the coffee shop next to my job, and I find myself wishing I could just shove my two bucks into a hole in a wall, have them shove the coffee back out at me, so we can avoid this whole human-interaction thing today. Instead I manage to shuffle in, head hung low, get my fix, and miraculously remain composed when the lady that works there, who I adore by the way, asks me; "Are you okay, sweetie?" I nod desultorily, offer an embarrassed smirk and just say; "I just can't believe it's not Friday. You know how it is." and laugh. I'm so fuckin' funny, aren't I?

I summon the hidden reserves to blaze into my job like a bullet, hoping I am moving way too fast for anyone to get a glimpse of my face, which I'm sure is a fright at the moment. I just don't want to have to explain anything right now, it would just require too much energy, and I need all I can to get me though to noon. I hustle to get some early orders started, glad everyone is too busy to have noticed my decidedly un-grand entrance, and while I'm waiting around for the stuff to come out, I decide to speed off to the ladies room for a good, healthy, private bawl. When I'm safe in the hadicapped stall (which I never use), and I'm sure there's no one in earshot, I let rip with some girly weeping and extremely unladylike nose-blowing. I go; "sob-sob-sob... hhhhhoooooonnnnnk... sniffle-sniffle... gasp-gasp... bwaaaaat!... honk-honk... boo-hoo... toot... sniff..." but the shit is just not showing any signs of stopping. However, I am noticing that the more I cry, the less nauseous I feel. This could be a good thing. Hell, I could make a day of this.

Of course I can't, you understand, make a day of this. Crying like a little bitch in the bathroom. This is pretty unforgoddamngivable. I daresay, absurd. Highly uncool. I start to feel like a bit of a ponce, so that helps in stemming the flow. I think about how good it would feel to splash my overheated, cried-out, sleepy face with cold water, and the idea of it is so delicious it's almost erotic. I slam out of the stall and dive for the sink, groaning as I splash and splash that sweet, icy-cool water against my scratched, paper-thin eyelids and salt-stung cheeks. Oooh, yeah...that's the stuff. I haven't felt so good in...well, ever I think, but then my short-term memory is down to about three seconds these days. I can't even remember what I got all weepy about. I'm not sure I even knew in the first place. I feel so much better, I decide to go and do my job now.

Well, that good feeling lasts about as long as my short-term memory, so in about 3 seconds I'm back to feeling sick and sorry for myself and just dying to go home and I think; "Okay, this isn't good. I'm a danger to society right now. Fuck it; I made an attempt, didn't I? I'll just go the fuck home now. Forget about my noon cut-off." I wait until the only person in the office is my boss, to minimize any extra embarrassment, and head in to plead my case.

Apparently, I look even shittier than I thought, because my boss' first words are a stunned; "Are you ok?" to which my precariously maintained facade crumbles and I slump into a chair and sob; "No...no I'm not...I haven't slept in months." and I lose it for good and start crying uncontrollably. Poor "Mayor McCheese" (yep, I gave him a name too, but that's the nice one), he hates that shit. The crying, I mean, and I'm really, truly sorry to be doing it to him right now, but really I'm more sorry to be humilliating myself. This, of course, feeds on itself like the mythical Uruboros, the snake eating its own tail, and I couldn't stop crying if he paid me. Which he wouldn't anyway. He just fumbles and bumbles around the office, using the Kleenex box like a hand-grenade he's pulled the pin on and dropped at my feet in the hopes that I will magically dissappear in a flurry of tissue paper bits. This works to some degree when an assistant manager accidentally happens upon this ridiculous scene and compassionately offers me a ride home. I hurry the hell out of there so fast that I have to ask her to punch out for me when she gets back. Sorry. Sorry. Oh, god, I am so fucking sorry, you have no idea. To which she replies, smiling; "Ah, shaddap, you! Don't worry about it!"

When I get home, of course, the waterworks cease. I still feel shitty, though less shitty resting my weary head on my cool kitchen table watching the Sundance channel with one eye while my fresh cup of home-brewed coffee steams nearby. I sigh a few thousand times and then make myself a tuna sandwich. Extra potato chips, naturally. After my "sammage" and chips and lovely cup of Joe, I feel so relaxed I decide to nap. Actually, that's a lie, the whole time I was eating I was thinking of bed. Oh, you beautiful bastard bed, you...I can hear you calling me, the soft "shush" of you rubbing your sheets together seductively, waving the bedspread like a tart lifting her skirts. You are going to get it. You just wait, bed. I'm gonna' make you crazy! I'm gonna' lay all over you!

And I did. And the most lovely thing happend.

I dreamed I somehow ended up back at work. I wondered what I was doing there, seeing as I just left, and walked back out. I went home, walked through my door, and there was my dog, Jude. He was sitting in my dining room, waiting at the door for me, thumping his tail on the floor. He looked as lovely and healthy as he did in my favorite picture of him, but even in the dream, I knew he wasn't really there, that he was long gone. It didn't quell my joy at seeing him, however. I smiled all over and said; "Hi Jude!" and he ambled over to me, head down, eyes up with that affable doggy grin on his face as I knelt on the floor and wrapped my arms around his neck. He just sat there, hugging me back, grunting before finally kissing the side of my face. Then he got up, nosed the back screen door open and went out into my sunny back yard. I walked over to the door, but I knew I wouldn't see him out there, that he was gone. And sure enough...

Anyway, I woke up immediately after, realizing I had only been asleep for about 10 minutes. But how can I describe how much better I felt? I needed to hug my dog, and that was exactly what I got. I laid there for a few minutes feeling strangely comforted, not at all sad, before drifting easily back to nap-land. There I dreamed many amazing things, not the least of which was sitting in a movie theater and watching an entire film about a man with an incredibly rich dream life. The problem is, his dream life is so rich that he wakes up every day a little more exhausted, until soon the thin membrane that separates his waking life from his dreaming life tears and both realities begin to bleed into each other. Characters that he once only dreamed about begin to walk through his waking world and he wonders if he should tell them that they don't actually exist. This of course leads to him pondering his own existence and the nature of reality. It was a wonderful, fascinating, terribly exciting movie, and I'm pretty sure I dreamed it in real time because I napped pretty solidly for a good two or three hours. I woke thrilled and am still pondering a way to put it all down on paper knowing it will never have the life it had in my head. It was amazing. Thumbs up all the way. I wish I could have given you guys passes or something.

Did I mention that since that day I haven't had that little sleeping problem? No, I sleep like a rock now. Back to my old, lazy ass self. No more waking up every 20 minutes. No more crankiness from me unless you earn it. No more mumbled, jumbled words, and no more emotional fucking outbursts, thank jebus. I should be good for another year at least, before I cry again. Good old, heart-hearted, thick-skinned me. Dreams can be funny like that.

In fact, I wonder if I'm dreaming right now. There's a certain co-worker of mine that I've been harboring a secret crush on. Thanks to some uncharacteristically weird behavior from me today, I just got an e-mail from him that's given me pause, and I think, in the middle of writing this, I might have e-mailed a confession of sorts to him. If this was a poor judgement call, you'll probably never hear another word from me about it here. But if all goes well...well...guess you'll have to wait and see!

So, happy Friday, y'all, although I think I've been up so late it's now officially Saturday. In any case, welcome to the weekend. And if, like me, you are up this insanely late, sweet dreams. And if you're not, well, sweet dreams anyway. May they all, in one way or another, come true.

posted by taiwan_on 'round 3:17 AM#
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Thursday, June 13, 2002

"The Maid & The Hidden Door"
a fuckin' fairytale.

Once there was a maid.

Not a princess, enchanted with all of the usual princessy things; a castle, a handsome knight to win her heart, nor even a lovesick page to dog her royal footsteps. She was just a maid. And even then, she wasn't a princess' maid; a young "lady-in-waiting", awaiting her charmed dowrey full of royal hand-me-downs, not the least of which would be the lovesick page left in the lurch. The one who would turn his broken-hearted eyes to her at the royal reception to discover he'd been a fool all along, and they would live happily ever after.

No, she was just a maid; a bookseller's assistant at that; solitary and full of strange ways. She was not beautiful, like a princess, either. At least, not the kind of beautiful that troubadors would write ballads about to sing outside her window on clear, moon-stunned, spring nights. She had not the feminine majesy artisans would pay tribute to in oil on canvas, or enamel on porcelain miniature, painted with tiny, fragile brushes no thicker than a cricket's leg. She did, however, have "a certain charm", as she liked to call it, that made it difficult to get to the bookseller's without attracting the crude whoops and hollers of the craftsmen and bravos that idled along her route. It wasn't until she cut her hair and began to dress like a boy-apprentice that she could walk in peace. But as much as she preferred the freedom of her apprentice dress - there were no whalebone corsets to pinch; no voluminous skirts to fear muddying; no rouge to touch up; and no tight, high shoes to shorten her stride - her clothing brought with it it's own silly pitfalls. The troubador's and artisans who's eyes she wished to turn to her favor treated her with only a friendly, jocular camraderie. They'd often meet her at taverns and alehouses when she left the bookseller's to lament their invisiblity to princesses and courtesans, their inability to make handmaids and ladies-in-waiting swoon. They'd unblushingly recount bawdy jokes and tales in her presence, and she took pride in often outshining them with her own risque leanings. There wasn't a single one among them that could match her in the billiards halls, either. Her friendship and ease in the exclusive World of Men was often remarked upon with something like admiration and sometimes, though rarely, unease.

Once in awhile, every so often, they would make sly advances on her (Or she on them! For she had that kind of freedom.). And although these fanciful, sometimes truly memorable tumbles lacked the mythic proportions of immortal, artisitc homage, they were nonetheless not without, again, what she smillingly referred to as "a certain charm". Her ballads consisted of whispered endearments and shouts of passion. These songs, instead of drifting on the wind into her cottage from outdoors, were wept directly into her ears in the immediacy of intimacy; forever to reside in the songwriter's copy-book of her mind. And although she never met her likeness in a framed portrait, or delicately painted on a watchface, her body was a kind of canvas illuminated with a history of burning kisses, the artful strokes of talented caresses. Those rare, beautiful nights of love left her changed like clay in the hands of sculptors, her cheeks suffused with an underlying crimson like the work of the finest, subtlest dollmaker's glaze. And, she'd dare venture, the feeling was mutual. For as much as this "art" was an intangible one, it was an art nonetheless, a shared art, and her own artist's signature could be found in a certain sweet, stolen glance. Her maker's mark reflected in an unexpected blush or charming, knowing smile. No, she'd offer, she certainly couldn't complain. And she rather liked this freedom, this privelidge, to do as she pleased without having to answer to anyone, as women of that time often did.

So, although she was only a maid, and not a princess, or even a man afforded all of the freedoms and status that seemed to be visited upon men by the mere good fortune to be born as such, she was a rather happy maid. She was content, self-sufficient, strong, competent and not at all troubled to live life without a knight to rescue her, or a footman to wait on her. For, as I've said, she was a solitary type, but she enjoyed her solitude and felt blessed in many small ways that perhaps she wouldn't have had she been gifted into a life of royalty where luxuries were the norm. However, she was, for all her talents and "certain charms", let us not forget, only a maid. Not the usual object of an enchanted story, which is why our remarkable tale begins with the rather unremarkable line;

Once there was a maid.

She lived in a small village in a small cottage, alone, where she worked at a bookseller's during the day. She spent her nights, which were her own, reading, writing, dreaming or visiting the taverns and the billiard halls dressed as a boy armed with a slim dagger, and, when necessary, a very forbidding glare. And although she had friends, and even a few lovers, the maid took great pains to maintain her cherished solitude. For our maid, already unconventional, one might even say strange in many ways, was keeping a rather amazing secret.

For within our maid's small, unassuming cottage - and by unassuming I mean it was a typical stone cottage with a thatched roof, nothing anyone would readily take note of - there was a secret door. It certainly didn't look like a secret door, it was merely a door at the back of the cottage, like every cottage in the village had, perfectly visible to any friend or lover who visited there, although always curiously locked. And when the maid was alone, she would unlock this door and open it and sit in a chair in her cottage before it and marvel.

Why did she do this?, you ask, well, I'll tell you why. Although a butcher lived in the cottage behind hers, and his shop opened into the narrow alley they shared, the maid's cottage back door did not open to the butchers bloodied block and dead, dangling displays, nor the village she lived in, nor anywhere of this earth. No, the maid's cottage back door opened onto a strange and beautiful vista that went on and on and on. It had soft green grass carpeting gently rolling hills, dark, mysterious forests leading off forever on either side, small, sparkling brooks and serene, cool lakes and a shining, glittering road that led to a massive, sprawling crystal palace that threw colors like a prism in the various lights of the seasons' passings. Although she'd never ventured the road to it, although she'd never left her cottage to roam the gleaming halls, she knew, somehow, that castle, and its entire miraculous kingdom, belonged to her, that it was hers, and this alone was enough.

Every day and long into the nights the maid would throw open the door upon returning home and sit, smiling at her secret world. She knew that if she was to venture out the front door of her cottage, and walk around to the back, she would see only the butcher's gutted wares and his leering grin as he sharpened his knives. But, if she went back inside and unlocked the very same door that led to his tableau of murder and commerce, her incredible landscape would be there, beckoning, shining with a million amazing promises.

Well, why didn't she leave her tiny cottage to claim her kingdom?, you may ask. I'll tell you why. For all of her strangeness, for all of her foibles, our maid was a rather sensible woman. She knew that this gorgeous vista was as impossible to grip as the wind; would slip through her fingers like water. Her kingdom was made of the same shimmering material as dreams and to go through that door meant one or two things; either she would launch herself, arms outstretched through that door and collide straight into the butcher's block, or worse, the butcher! Or, she would fall into that impossible world and be forever lost to it, forced to live out all of her days, maybe longer, in either joy or misery, she knew not which. So, rather than destroy the illusion completely, or remain an eternal prisoner to it, she stayed where she was, in her tiny cottage, content to enjoy the view; the mere perfection of its inexplicable existence.

Of course, upon its initial discovery, the maid wanted to share this view with someone. She wanted to open the door for a friend or a lover and have them see it too; that curious, impossible marvel, if for no other reason than to see the same amazement and delight reflected in someone else's eyes. But the maid, whom I mentioned was sensible, was perhaps too sensible for her own good. She would speak in riddles, in vague reference to her secret world with a chosen few. But if she was met with what she percieved to be incomprehension, or worse and more rare, hostility, she would fall silent and apprehensive, turning the tide of words to more palatable, easy to digest subjects. This only lent more strength to her air of strangeness, making her somewhat awkward and inacessible, aloof, some might say. She was plagued with the fear that others, if given the chance, would see nothing at all when she flung that secret door open, which in turn made her fear that it would dissappear for her as well. And so, our maid keeps the door locked in an effort to keep her diaphanous, shimmering kingdom a secret, known only to herself.

And how does this tale end?, you may ask. Well, I'll tell you; it doesn't. This is a tale with an ending pending. For she sits there still, our strange, sensible, solitary maid, gazing out at her lovely landscape from within, silent and with awestruck reverence. Of course, sometimes, she still grows restless with the desire to open the door to someone, someone chosen with great care and with an eye for magic, but those times are becoming rare. Some might consider this an ending of a kind, I suppose, but the real ending is in the hands of you, dear reader. It can end here, or it can go on and on, like an imaginary landscape, a mythical kingdom, a still and eternal wish shrouded in the smoky mists of dream.

posted by taiwan_on 'round 9:50 PM#
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Sunday, June 02, 2002

"Stand Up & Be Counted"
vote on you crazy diamond.

Yay for me! I've conquered new ground with this month's "Cupcake of the Month". That's right, I nominated a girl! Not just a girl; a grrrrrrrl. A woman even. As in; whoa-man. Oh, c'mon, how could I resist? Just look at her for chrissake! And she's Scottish.

Bitch, please, don't tell me you don't want her just a little bit. Nobody's that hetero. So go meet The First Lady of Cupcakes.

Oh, aren't I just so secure in my sexuality?

Anyway, enough of that. I have other fun news. The "Cupcake Archive", where every Cupcake nominated over the past three years is stored, now has a new feature. That's right you, yes, YOU now have a say in the hottest "Cupcake of the Month" nominees ever! I installed a poll where you can vote for all of your favorite babes. And I've even been so thoughtful as to eliminate the need to narrow down your descision to just one cutie. You can vote for as many Cupcakes as you like before you hit that little "submit vote" button. Be sure to choose wisely before you vote, young Jedi, you won't be able to vote ever again...

...at least until you clear out your cache.

So please, puh-lease, visit the "Cupcake of the Month Archives" and decide which of these heavenly creatures you'd most like to play "spin the bottle" with. Why? Because your opinion means so fucking much to me.

I only curse like that when I'm being really sincere.

posted by taiwan_on 'round 1:29 AM#
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Saturday, June 01, 2002

"Hi-Dee-Ho, Abortarinos!"
RU486? Yes I am, sir.

So, there I am, hanging out, watching a Nova documentary on Bower Birds, when all of a sudden I hear my mum yell; "Hey, come on out and look at this!".

I stumble out and look up to see a biplane towing a huge, colorful banner behind it. It takes awhile for the banner to become visible, and when it does, I'm met with a rather...'er, unexpected sight on this balmy, cheerful, summer-like afternoon.

Up against a childhood-blue sky dotted with puffy white clouds, there is a black banner, and in bold white type it says; "Abortion: Ten Weeks." flanked with two enormous and graphic full-color panels of dismembered baby limbs lying in smeared, bloody clots of tissue.

My mom says; "Oh...sorry. I thought it was something good."

I whoop and bolt back into the house, giggling while manaically shouting; "Where's the camera? Where's the camera?!" (probably not the desired effect) But by the time I find it, the plane is heading on west and every time I look through the viewfinder, only the sun sears painfully back at me.

Probably DA LAWD trying to smite my right eyeball. What with my recent and conclusive "heretic" status and all.

As I stare on helplessly, damning my lack of photographic evidence, I hear the distinct crack of a baseball bat followed by a crowd cheering and realise that the plane is heading straight for the local little league game.

Oh, of course, this must be who they're trying to reach, right? Because there's no greater impact your message could have when you fly it, airborne, over the heads of that massive 10-year-old-boy voter demographic. Or maybe they're trying to sway the greatest proponents of abortion yet; resource hogging, SUV-driving, suburban soccer families with 8.5 kids and enough fertility drugs stashed on them to guarantee the future overpopulation of the entire known fucking universe with their hardy, christian, fast-food lovin', stupid-sitcom-perpetuating, obesity-prone spawn.

Nice job, guys. Keep up the good work.

Ah, those pro-lifers. Aren't they cute?

posted by taiwan_on 'round 4:44 PM#
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Bloody Hell...
!

I'm a Heretic!




Which Enemy of the Christian Church Are You?


A(nother) Robert and Tim Creation



posted by taiwan_on 'round 12:41 AM#
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Female/26-30. Lives in United States/Massachusettes/Brockton/North Brockton, speaks English. Spends 20% of daytime online. Uses a Fast (128k-512k) connection. And likes Film/Writing.
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United States, Massachusettes,
Brockton, North Brockton,
English, Female, 26-30,
Film, Writing.



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