Saturday, December 29, 2007

I defintely haven't missed this.


Enjoying the afterglow of my first migraine in 6 months. One of the juicy ones you can feel in your teeth when you wake up. Moves you from debilitated to functionally blind in 6 hours, no money back.

I had complained about the weather in Kuwait being blisteringly ordinary, and the benefit I reap is that I don't spend a random day screwing my head back on when the air pressure changes. I had plans, plans plans for today. HAH!

We shall try again tomorrow.

I find it amazing that I have three days left here. Naturally, I want to go to Point Reyes, I want to see Pan Dyrektor, I want to take my old staff out to lunch, I want to spend an entire day Mud Skiing at Black Diamond Mines.

I purposely haven't written much about my visit to my old work. I guess I'll save it for my layover in New York. S. (3) is busy making mechanical sushi walk across her mother's head, insisting she has "friends" there. P. has mechanical sushi in her hair, and we're watching a cartoon involving animated vegetables performing acts of pointed altruism. No, no time here for thinking about...

mechanical sushi. God, I miss him like a sixth sense.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Blogging from Dixon

And it is cold, nasty and wet.

It is also 9:30 AM.

I got my car out of storage yesterday. The rear tire had a slow leak that needed a repair, so it wasn't as easy as "Here's your car, see ya!" or I would have had it on December 19th, 3:30 AM notwithstanding.

Once everything was fixed and tidy, once I found the freeway and the right stations on the radio, once I started The White Stripes and switching lanes at 80MPH (not KPH), I paused in my head and pondered the elation. What was it that that had me so pumped?

I have a car in Kuwait. I have access to The White Stripes in all their bass-licked glory.
I can go 80 MPH in Kuwait (125 KPH) if I really want to.
Three lanes instead of 4 don't make that big a difference
The sky in Kuwait is even bigger

So what was it that, even thinking of Kuwait, was getting me a little down?

I drove on, tracing the lines of the hills and trees on the 80 South to San Francisco. I had to make this run from Pittsburg to Sacramento at least a dozen times in the month before I left (70 miles round trip), cleaning my apartment and bringing stuff to storage. There was the memory of Pan Dyrektor too- his place was a regular stop before I crossed the bridge to Concord. I still have a hard time thinking he's not there any more. But good memories of sunny spring evenings, driving breakneck and bellowing tunelessly to songs like "The Reason".

You see, even in November I would pull myself up short. I was living in a foreign country, a chance no one (except M., maybe) could appreciate.

How. F--ing. Fabulous.

Yet I am, still, wrapped around the axle about stupid shit. Drowning in stupid shit. Failing miserably at seeing the beauty and possibility of my own experience because of, stupid shit.

Twenty hours and twenty thousand miles later, I'm asking myself about it. In a coffee shop in Dixon.

Why exactly would I care what people think, in Kuwait, when I don't in California?

I got called on it at 2AM, in a car on the Gulf Road. (Culture Note: Not everyone sticks to the "No arguments after midnight on a Thursday morning" rule of fair play.)

So why exactly do I care?

No punching, no kicking or biting is going to get me out of the situation I live in, in Kuwait. Which is balanced on gritted teeth and toothy smiles. This makes me feel pinned, which frustrates me even more. In fact, just thinking about it pisses me off. I hate being forced to care what other people think for politeness sake. Especially since I work with the building. It's the type of thing that will get me streaking the hallways by April. I am very, very tired of my living situation.

There is a certain amount of refreshment in no one looking at you. Refreshment, freedom, not being under a microscope. Here in the States, there is a blissful amount of "No one cares what you look like or what you're doing!" In California, it is more so. In Berkeley, you can walk around naked for a certain amount of time before you're ticketed by a mildly irritated cop and attacked by a mobile Social Services unit bearing clothing.

In Kuwait, it's not the people on the Corniche. Well, maybe the men because you decided to wear shorts to run in that day. It's not the people on Amman Street. It's the people you work with.

Maybe I'm just lucky, to be saddled with 8 floors and 28 apartments full of teachers over 50. it's like the guy in "Ikiru"- he stared at that girl like she was steak, but it wasn't sexual. It was because she was alive, youthful, fidgety, carefree.

Shed the faintest crack of joy, quietly, in my building, and it's like the sun on a cloudy day. Every face will orient towards That Smell, like bread baking, questioning, sight and hearing blind. Do not bounce, do not throw out your chest and breathe deeply. You'll have a queue of 'Takers" for your joy before you turn around and let that breath out. "How are you?" "Where were you?" "Who was with you?" 'Where are you going?" "When are you going?"

The living space is common property. Unofficially, so is your joy and your spirit.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

More back story

So I'm here in Clear Lake with P., B., and their daughter S.

I realized that I hadn't explained it, but we're working off a simply hellacious year by hot-tubbing and eating as much as possible. P & B being the ones who took care of my while I was sick- S. their daughter who built block towers on me when I couldn't move. The Divine Urge having provided for me thus far, has seen fit to supply me with "High Plains Drifter" on the telly and 3 lbs. of garlic goat cheese. With potatoes.

We were in the hot tub this afternoon, and it started to snow. That was really cool.

Merry Christmas. Hoping all my gentle readers are also equipped with cheese, potatoes and Clint Eastwood, at the least.

Such an amazingly long time

since my glasses fogged from moving outside to in...

Christmas Day

And it's quiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeet.

It also happens to be about 5 AM. Since I arrived in the Bay Area, jet lag blessed me with an unconscious state from approximately 9 PM PST to 4 AM PST. As the 3 year old I'm sharing residence with sleeps at 0 Dark Thirty and awakens at approximately "Coffee Grinder", her mother and I fixed it with a bag of Pre Ground from Starbucks. Now I have 2-3 hours of time to myself without the shell shock of a midget run-by, with my underwear on her head.

Busy residing, hot tubbing, eating copious amounts of ham and those teeny little chocolate chip cookies you get from Trader Joe's that are the world's best breakfast cereal. They come in a plastic package the size of a dutch oven; add milk and "The Bourne Ultimatum". You'll come down 3 days later in the rear seat of a Greyhound Bus, spare changing for organic celery and PBS access on the way to San Diego.

I used to laugh at people who fell asleep right after they ate. Up until about 6 months ago, I would eat and then feel like going for a walk. Maybe it's the first squeaks in my metabolism grinding to a shrieking halt, but staggering two steps to fall asleep on the futon after breakfast and waking up belching with saliva down my chin speaks less for me than for the cook. Who made it to his bedroom and crawled under the laundry before being located 2 hours later in much the same state.

Which reminds me...if anyone reading this has seen Pan Dyrektor, you can tell him that I'm coming for him. He's been hiding since I sang "Sto Lat" on his voice mail last September, and I don't sing THAT bad. T., if I have to drop another 2 grand to come back and kick your ___, it will be money well spent. Just make the Bigos.

Off to work up another appetite with a nice brisk walk. It is dark and cold- who wouldn't want to be wearing clothes and wandering around in the cold dark? This would explain multitudes about my dating prospects. That and the belching/saliva. Maybe I should just buy shares in a Retirement Home now...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

We're in Clear Lake, California.

The one thing I've noticed is how much energy I've had since I stepped outside on Thursday morning- the air here is definitely cleaner and less stale. I want to walk, run, be outside. Something about the air in Kuwait just makes one lethargic by comparison. Maybe it's just me, maybe I need a good bracing temperature to make my body wake up.

And I haven't stopped eating. Everything tastes good, I'm eating every fifteen minutes because it tastes so good.

One thing that people don't understand about somewhere like Kuwait, is that the flavors are very different. You can head down a strip in Fahaheel lined with restaurants that will cook you everything from "Hambuge" to Chop Suey to "Ohmlete", but it's not going to taste like what you thought you ordered. In Kuwait, you're using flavor combinations and spices grown with a minimum of water. Cinnamons and curries and tumerics and cardamoms and pepper. In the west, you'll flavor your meat with rosemary and thyme and green onions and chives and fresh sage.

Makes those ketchup flavored cashews from Kuwait absolutely pale in comparison.

I had my first glass of wine in 4 months. People have always teased me about how long I take to drink wine and things haven't changed- I'm one of those people that would order a half glass with dinner if I could because I like the way it makes my food taste, with a little afterwards. Did I mention I have about zero tolerance for red wine? Two glasses on a full stomach makes for a colorful evening. I can guzzle whiskey, no stomach for Pinot Noir though.

This resort we've landed at for the Holiday is quite nice, overlooking Clear Lake. It is a little like the Kuwaitis who "Go to Chalet" for the weekend. It's like a very nice, large apartment with a hot tub and pool and...a television.

Did I mention I don't own a television? I haven't for the past 5 years. Maybe longer. I like to read instead. The end result, is that I get hypnotized when I fall in front of one. Marketing is an astounding field! I just watched an 8' Cabbage Patch Kid sell car insurance. The mind boggles.

This made

every second of this journey, every penny, worth it.

"A small plant with pretty flowers is our undoing, frequently."