It has been quite some time since we last saw each other. A month, I believe. How are things with you? Things with me are alright. Nothing spectacular. I think I might be going through a funk. I’m not sure though and that is a really strange place to be.
All that being said, I do have plenty of things to share with you including a whole bunch of links, some more personal journal entries, and my main piece which was inspired by something very strange and may negate the piece if I told you what it was before you read it. It’s actually kind of funny but I’ll let you try and figure it out as you read it thursday. Plus that might distract you from how much I kind of don’t like it now but I’m going to post it anyway. There are a shit load of rhetorical questions in it and I find it irritating now but I guess they have to stay for the spirit of the piece.
I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ve been doing that a lot lately.
Now is a time for introspection. Spending the past few months bitching about the country has taken its toll and now the lens must shift in order to keep my sanity. No amount of blogging can cure the world of its ailments.
Great job, Anthony. What a great way to start a blog post. Negate the underlying founding philosophy of the Compass. I really need to figure things out and get out of this strange, confusing state I’ve found myself in. Don’t misunderstand me; things aren’t bad. I’m doing quite well. Life is great. Same as it ever was but my mind never shuts up and this it where it happens to be right now. Time will fix everything, I suppose. The natural selection of thought.
We’ve all been trying to make our lives as close to The Adventures of Pete & Pete as much as possible but we keep failing every single day. It just ends up with a closing shot of us walking alone among the trees. I need to stop being so depressing.
Here are some links! Take care of yourselves and I look forward to further confusing you and myself this week.
Be nice to each other and no hitting,
- Every two weeks, my job gives me two rail passes that are good for a full week. Once the week is over, I’m stuck with these paper cards. I have not thrown away any of them yet since the beginning of August so now I have a bunch of them accumulating on my extremely cluttered desk (some things never change). There were only two foreseeable things I could do with them: 1) make a suit or 2) use them as bookmarks. I ended up choosing the second one but ran into a problem: the massive amount of bookmarks I have now means that I have to read as many things as I can. So now I am reading the following works: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5.
- The following books are the ones I plan to start Thanksgiving break. Not when I finish the other ones but on Thanksgiving day. Don’t ask why. I’ve stopped asking why too: #1, #2, #3.
- @WaffleHouse now follows me on Twitter.
- Speaking of Twitter, They Might Be Giants put out a new rarities and b-sides album amazingly entitled Album Raises New And Troubling Questions and I tweeted that it made my day instantly better yesterday. @TMBG tweeted me back thanking me for my “kind words.” They Might Be Giants talked to me over the internet. I’m kind of a big deal.
- The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs is on now. It comes on every sunday at 9pm. One of my favorites was voted off on the first episode and it pissed me the fuck off but there are still plenty of amazing people left. It’s only been one episode.
- You don’t know shit about the cretaceous period. Learn something before you talk about it. You just sound stupid and ignorant when you open your mouth.
- Apart from the TMBG album, the following recent albums are well worth making your earholes all wet and sloppy for (sorry): #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6.
- Here are 11 songs that I’ve been listening to (“To Forgive” by Smashing Pumpkins would be on the list but Grooveshark doesn’t have any Pumpkins songs):
My main mode of transportation here in D.C. is the subway, known locally as the Metro and I have developed a great distaste for it. But it gives me time to think about things. The following are clips from my journal entries about it, thoughts on the first week of living here not knowing anyone (which has changed; I have several good friends now. Thoughts and situations are organic and change with time), the state of our country, and a family emergency. This is the largest group of any of my journals that I have shared with anyone. This is possibly the largest transition period I have faced thus far in my life and I actually feel like sharing this time. That doesn’t happen often but it doesn’t feel that hard to do right now. Whatever. Enjoy.
They stood in the mouth of the cave and watched them. The bombers were high now in fast, ugly arrow-heads beating the sky apart with the noise of their motors. They are shaped like sharks, Robert Jordan thought, the wide-finned, sharp-nosed sharks of the Gulf Stream. But these, wide-finned in silver, roaring, the light mist of their propellers in the sun, these do not move like sharks. They move like no thing there has ever been. They move like mechanized doom.
-Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls
20 July 2011 - 14:46 A.M.
It is probably about time I started writing again. I’ve lived here half a week now. I’ve been too busy doing nothing, if that makes any sense. There is a massive heat wave right now, people are getting murdered in neighborhoods, water main lines are bursting, our country can’t pay the bills, so I’m not going outside today. This is an exciting time.
I live in the basement. I really like it. It is hidden, no windows, which is really nice actually. I mean, there are windows but they are those small basement windows. I like it a lot. It doesn’t feel like part of anything. It exists on its own. It is very zen. It is a physical extension of my own mind with no outside influence. This place is mine.
22 July 2011 - 9:11 P.M.
To say that I want to go out tonight would be a lie. But I don’t want to be alone here either. Maybe I just want someone to talk to. New or familiar, I don’t really care but someone who wants to hold an actual conversations. All of my Washington relations are loose connections now. Tiny glimpses into a persona but mainly they serve as a memorial landmark. I haven’t met anyone yet that cared enough to make me care. I partially blame Facebook.
Today I went to HQ and was fingerprinted as part of my background check. Everyone I met seemed very nice and equally as excited as they were nervous.
Doing the dishes makes me sad. It might be the lighting in there; it is very institutional. Or it might be because I am doing no one else’s dishes. I haven’t had a meal with another person in eight days. I am out of sandwich stuff and hotdogs. And I have far too much fruit.
24 July 2011 - 9:15 P.M.
Tracking. (I just filled out my I-9 and W-4 forms yesterday.)
You cannot be alone regardless of how much you may want to. You leave a footprint and institutions can track you. The phonebook can track where you live. The internet tracks what you are interested in. Your phone tracks who you talk to. The fact that you own a phone means you cannot exist by yourself.
“No man is an Iland, intire of itselfe…”
Your credit card tracks what you buy, when, and where you buy it. Your metro card tracks where you go. We can track what music we’ve been listening to, what movies we’ve seen, what type of liquid we drink most. We can track types of gasoline, doughnuts, clothing, groceries, toilet paper, whatever. Our idealism can be tracked though our personal choices and canons through books on our shelves. Our vinyl collections. Our lunches can reveal that type of people we are. Things can be read into, some shouldn’t, but all do, but probably for the best.
We can track milage in our cars. We can track satellites in space, pages in a book, songs on a record, ink in a pen, blood in our hearts, electrical outlets in the wall, high scores in arcades, bodies in war zones, finger positions on a guitar, television channels, DNA sequences, home addresses, thread counts, play counts, dime bags, fat grams, text messages, ipad apps, nuclear weapons, grains of rice, tears.
The blinking light in the VCR can track where you were at that moment. And it doesn’t stop. It will keep blinking as ling as your brain can process that it isn’t completely alone. It records that small section of the timeline, of your life. And all you were doing was staring at it.
With everything the way it is, it is impossible to be anonymous but would you really want to?
26 July 2011 - 12:54 A.M.
My whole place smells like fried food; it is upsetting my stomach. I hope it doesn’t seep into my clothes and towels and shit. Someone suggested the other day that I get some chicken and bread crumbs and fry it up with some oil. In a panic at the grocery store, I was only able to find Panko flakes and I thought I had pepper back at homebase but I didn’t. I was still excited. Now that a person lives on his or her own with a very limited budget, you find yourself not eating meals. You just eat food, if that makes sense.
Anyway, it needs some work but I did ok. It was just a bad night to realize I’m out of paper towels. This smell is driving me crazy. At least its not like the Draino fumes from last week. This place isn’t well ventilated.
I rode the subway during peak hours for the first time today. It was scary as fuck. From riding around at strange hours all this past week, I guess I assumed that the metro would always be that empty. People are just crammed in there like they were going to a gulag or something. I couldn’t move. I didn’t want to breathe either because if one of those people were sick, that’s hundreds of others who could get it too. Each person there could have been a breeding ground for some crippling, airborne virus. And of course because of all the weight, the train cars make tons of extra mechanical stress noises as it blows by the wall three inches away. On top of that, someone at work said something referring to “the red-line crash” which I ride the red-line. I don’t even know what that was and it scares the shit out of me. Its like Space Mountain but instead of memories and pictures and laughter at the end, there are bills. Bills in one direction and taking care of them in the other. The subway is a false escape but I suppose that is all the escape some of these people have.
28 July 2011 - 1:42 A.M.
The bugs seem to move slower here. I can snatch them out of the air with very normal effort. It is strange.
I leave tomorrow to visit Paul and James at home in Delaware. I miss them so it will be good. Plus it well be great to have an actual meal. My family laughs at me when I ask them to send me Ramen.
I had something to write but I can’t remember what it was. Fuck it.
31 July 2011 - 8:16 P.M.
Wilmington was nice. The Riley’s are great people. Despite my protesting, they still gave me sandwich stuff to take back here with me. I needed it but I didn’t want to take theirs. I feel bad about it. Deliciously bad.
Let’s say the federal government can’t get their shit together. Let’s say with each bill they can’t pay, we start ignoring. Let’s say that institutions begin shutting down one by one. What would I tell my grandkids when they ask why we are a third world country now instead of a first world country? That, at the time, party-progessive agendas seemed more important than the future generations’ wellbeing? Will I have to apologize to them? ”I’m sorry, kid. We had no idea that this would happen. My vote was not for this”. Rich parents will warn their kids about culture shock before they visit on service trips. The America I live in now will only exist in movies and music much like the Roman Empire and Atlantis are. ”I’m Sorry. I’m really sorry. I wanted better for you. I really did.”
Living here alone has been just as solitary as when I lived in Elmira during those few days in the summer and Burlington, Vermont for those few months but I don’t seem to focus on the loneliness as much now. I can feel it at nights sometimes but it does not sting as bad as it used to. Am I becoming jaded to loneliness? Me in high school would have never stood for this, to exist only for work and not for love. Should I do something about it? But what? My cause is much bigger than I am and just driving away would be selfish. Is this growing up? Does not caring enough allow me into the social definition of adulthood? Does not caring lead to my death? There are a lot of emotions going through me right now but all I can do right now is wait to see how the next month or so plays out. I miss New England surprisingly. The Berkshires.
Work officially starts tomorrow morning. I kind of want to go home but that might not be possible anymore. I think everything wants me to redefine it. The least I can do in my life is to give someone else the comfort of home through that redefinition. That seems kind of cruel.
1 August 2011 - 9:22 P.M.
After doing this, living alone, for about two-three weeks now, I realize what I hate the most about this growing-up business. I absolutely despise ironing my clothes. I shouldn’t have to do it. Even though it looks “professional”, it should be the work done that speaks for itself. My uniform that I’ll be getting later is different though. When I wear the uniform, I am no long myself. I have become the cause. But for any other occasion, I should not have to worry about appearance. No one should. It is superficial and I have decided that for my career, I do not want to be in a position where I have to play this fucking dog and pony show bullshit with my clothing. But this uniform I can deal with. With pride.
With the above uniform stuff in mind, I have realized that I cannot approach the coming year with the goal of learning more about myself. That can happen but it cannot be my primary focus. What comes first are the kids. Their educational needs are most important above all.
My family, including both of my grandmothers, are in Montana right now and I am very jealous. Part of me wants to quit right now and drive to them- another part realizes the importance of this year of service. Another part wants to stay. Selfish fear, guilt, and nerves. What the fuck is going to happen when all of this is finished? Bonnaroo. And then what? Today is day one and I’m already freaking out. I haven’t even been assigned a school yet.
I fucking hate the metro and everything it stands for. I need sleep. Tomorrow I wake up earlier.
2 August 2011 - 11:00 P.M.
Horrible news from out west: Nona fell down the stairs in the condo in Big Sky and broke her hip. They called the ambulance to take her to a hospital in Bozeman where all my family is now. Right this moment, Nona is in surgery.
Wait. On the phone.
Dad just called. She is now out of surgery and everything went fine. She didn’t actually break her hip apparently. It was her upper femur which they just replaced with a titanium rod. Four to six weeks in rehab up in Montana so my dad is going to stay the month or so with her.
When I found out earlier today, I was walking out of an elementary school in Anacostia and was around coworkers about to get on the metro. I couldn’t really react the way I felt (which would have been going into a frenzied crying fit while trying to buy a plane ticket) so I had to wait until the Friendship Heights station when I was alone. Then I started to panic.
I found out what caused the massive delay on the red-line yesterday. Someone at my metro station fell on the tracks and was hit by the train. I didn’t know this going to work today so I didn’t notice the odd smell of something burnt. A scorched stench of biomaterial. It didn’t smell like it was electrocuted flesh, that pork-like cooking smell, it was far more smoldered than that. It smelled like they cleaned the track with fire and burned off all the remains. Sidenote: I also found out that the red-line crash was a head-on collision that killed two people and injured around thirty. Side-sidenote: This is just what I heard from other people.
That smell greeted my emotions when the train doors opened at Friendship Heights. My station there also happens to be very poorly lit, and when I was riding the escalator up the massive fallout-shelter-esque tunnel with the sound of the haunted house homeless orchestra above and the wailing sound of the escalators’ innards, which I can never tell if it is actually the escalator or a man with a saxophone on the landing above playing Ornette Coleman, I started to hyperventilate and choke back tears. I got angry at myself for not being there. Instead I am here more concerned about making a paycheck. This is why I hate this society. This is what is wrong. It makes us slaves and we can never be where we need to be. In order to be with the people I love, I have to make money to get to them, and in order to do that, I have to go to work away from them. If I quit and just go, I do not make money for rent or food and then there are three options: 1) go back in the opposite direction of my heart, 2) mooch, or 3) die. It is cruel the way this world works. It is not the people. The people are all human and for that sole reason, I love them. It is our material dependency. On tv, refrigerators, bank accounts, back yards, flights, books, ironing boards, educational means. We have created a world that we cannot survive purely off of love, which is the only thing we really need. That and food. It makes us choose.
Obama signed a debt bill today. So yeah. Whatever at this point. There are enough people who care about the country enough to make sure the headline news pundits are proved wrong. People we will never know about because they are our neighbors and each other. We run this country, I suppose. And if things ever get too bad, if things start shutting down, first school systems in the south which basically only upsets people on public radio (it should be everyone), next Starbucks locations within five blocks of each other, that’s when people will start buying ammunition and kevlar and bottled water in bulk and gasoline in mass quantities, when that happens, I am getting my family the fuck out of here. I’m not going to let some crazy soccer mom with a glock hurt my family because she can’t buy soy milk anymore.
Maybe we could move to the islands. We just have to keep Nona away from stairs.
4 August 2011 - 6:06 P.M.
Nona is not doing so well today. Mom and Dad told me that her blood count was low and she wasn’t looking too good this morning, pale, fragile. She had a high fever and could not stand up for her rehab. They gave her a blood transfusion today and she is exhausted but she is looking better. They have x-rayed her and are monitoring her heart and lungs for liquid since she hasn’t been exercising the past few hours. I did not know that the post-op for the elderly is the serious part and not the injury as much.
This can’t be it. She is ok and I’ve been told she is ok but my panic attacks are coming back full-swing. It feels like I am moving backwards at high speeds in a car but I’m sitting at the desk. I can’t even imagine what is going through my dad’s head and heart right now. Nona means the world to us. I can’t think of my life without her. She’s given me so much and I feel terrible for not giving back equally. I would not be who I am if she wasn’t there. I love her and I am scared.