Friday, August 3, 2007

Ma snnuseezz

ah weally, weally kwogged.

an ah cand taste anyfing.


Thursday, August 2, 2007


When one makes the decision to close up shop and move to another country, what does one take?

Did you leave in a hurry? Did you plan it? What do you leave and what do you pack?

When you're walking through the living room, what odd knicknacks and books do you find yourself in when you pick them up? What selves do you choose to take, that look back at you from foreign rooms and tabletops?

What parts of yourself go under the cardboard and tape, waiting for a distant day of sudden light and realization and maybe joy? I don't remember putting this in here.

Where is your core, where is your true self? In the suitcase or in the boxes, or in the faces of the students your left behind? Is it carried with you, in your chest and behind the slide show of all important clothing? Or did you stash it safely in that Well, off Ul.Piękna so you know where to find it?

Will you come back?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Bedtime Fairy Tale

Back in the day, (this would be 1992) Josie's mother stamped her foot, and made a wish in anger. Some passing Fairy heard her, and took her at her word. One of Josie's brothers sneaked out of the house in the wee hours a week later, stole a car and killed himself running from the cops. Our Princess was almost sixteen, he was almost fourteen.

Curiouser and curioser- her sister went gray overnight, and dyed her hair ever after. But Josie stopped growing altogether. For 13 years.

Our Princess had many adventures and many mishaps during that time. Her age and her gender were pretty ambiguous, so she could be who she wished when she wanted, for what suited the moment. One day, in her latest fit of "Ima Not Doin' That"(these are frequent), she walked out of where she was and into a rather chemical smelling fishpond.

Our Princess was not familiar with fishponds. Or the frogs that live there- she's kind of a Hill & Ridge type. But there was a frog, a large frog sitting quite close and Josie was always curious about why people choose to live where they do.

"You could give me a hand, you know. I'm, er, actually quite the Prince," said the frog.
"I'm not sure I'm really it," said Josie. "You see, I'm not much of a Princess. And I'm not very pretty. Now the one coming behind me? She's got a Unicorn even."
The frog shrugged. "Well, then do me a favor and scratch behind my ear, wouldya? This flipper bit is killing me."

Without realizing frogs don't have ears, she cheerfully leaned over...and there was some confusion, as frogs don't have lips either. Our intrepid amphibian made use of what he had, and the rest was, simply put, history.

Dogs miaowed, cats barked, mirrors cracked, and that Fairy who had been holding the hands on Josie's clock let them go. The frog remained very much a frog, but the rest of the world ash she knew it was...gone.

The comfortable place that she'd known, where there were plans to buy a house with someone she loved deeply, evaporated. The life path she'd mapped out so carefully, had disappeared without a trace. Plans years in the making, gone up in smoke. And what can one say at almost 30?

"Sorry, I didn't realize. I mean, I kissed a frog."

There was more.

Food that used to land on her lap didn't make it- it landed on a shelf between her chin and navel that hadn't been there before. People she'd equated with good sense and discernment and bitchin' power tools, would now carry on an entire conversation with her calves. There was now padding to sit down on, and eyes that used to meet hers lingered on the food spots between her chin and navel. As a crowning indignity, her hair curled one night after a bad day at work.

What the hell was this place? No one wanted to work with power tools, but they told her her hair looked good. No one wanted to go shooting or go fishing or build Draino Bombs, but they liked her pants.

Our heroine, sitting on the bank of the rather chemical smelling fishpond (with a smug looking frog), unable to go back where she came from but not able to fathom the rules for where she's at now. Writing practical messages to herself in the mud:

Don't one-up other people's knife fight stories even if yours is better
Not everyone is straightforward and honest
Let people help you sometimes

We'll leave her there for now.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Chair Story

Taking a bit of a break from packing...

Back in the day, oh about in 1999 now, I lived in Emeryville. And it wasn't the Emeryville you see today, coming off the Bay Bridge and heading north on 80. This was at the time they were still debating permits, because of Shellmound St. None of that big shopping complex was there- Ikea had just opened.

I lived off Peralta St. in Dogtown, across the street from a gutted school in a little fenced off group of apartments, in what equated a Tool Shack with a toilet. What the hell- I was happy! I was on my (second) Volvo, purchased from Big Daddy's Auto Repair and Car Detail down the street. Twenty two, recently divorced, just graduated from school. The world was my six foot oyster with a swimming pool of Tabasco sauce too.

I had taken the afternoon to go into Berkeley and run some errands, and for some reason I had taken the bus. On the way back down College Ave., I saw it. Sitting on someone's lawn, ignored by the rest of the crowd hunting through boxes of baby clothes and records. The Chair.

It was a wing back chair, dilapidated and magenta and some sort of terry cloth. Clearly well loved, the age was not clear but the lines were. I got off the bus and went back.

She (seeing neither truck, car or disapproving friend) thought I was crazy, but told me five bucks. Hence, I picked up this over sized, dilapidated chair, and carried it to the 51 Bus Stop some 50 feet away. And waited.

The Bus Driver thought I was nuts too, but said if I managed to get it on she'd let me ride for free. So down College, then Broadway we shot (two kinds of AC Transit rides: Bombs and Crawlers), I'm in the back with a five foot, magenta, dilapidated wing chair. No, I am not remotely phased by this, because I have the greatest wing chair in the world and they do not.

I got off at 40th and Broadway, and The Chair came too. The 58 stop was right around the corner, so we went and waited again. This time, the Bus Driver was not remotely interested, and we got into a cussing match that raised the paint on cars across the street. The bus went on. What to do?

If only there was a shopping cart...

I was reluctant to move more than 20 feet away, for the obvious reason that someone with trunk space would certainly come by and pick it up for the privilege of selling it back to me in 15 minutes, unless I was sitting in it.

Nevertheless, I walked around the corner and the god of idiots and thieves had indeed provided. Shopping Cart, and evidently unclaimed. Up went the chair, and onward went Josie, walking from 40th Street and Broadway to Hollis Street in Emeryville. On the way home, I got five different offers to buy it.

The chair has gone on 5 moves, and been rejected by Goodwill at least once. It has also been rejected by my excellent, excellent family for harboring fleas the size of prunes, who proceeded to suck the cats anemic. It has been in storage, it is now in my living room looking at me. Magenta Terrycloth hideousness and all, because I still haven't got around to re-upholstering it.

And I can't bear to part with it.