Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I can't get to sleep...

Our hot water heater ran out of oil two days before I left. We figured out that's what the problem was the next day, but I was too busy getting ready to leave to do anything about it. I offered to schedule it if anyone would tell me a good time. no one did.

A week later someone started rounding up the money. By time I came back, I expected it would all be settled. Disappointed. The tank had been filler, but it had been a few days and no one knew how to light the pilot light. I came home to cold showers.

This morning I woke up and started complaining. I was pissed that I had to pay 80 dollars for oil I'll never use, and I still can't take a damn shower. I started cleaning to sooth my anxiety about it. The fridge smelled, and I didn't know why. I usually clean it out every three or four days, but I had been gone for a while. SO I started to unload things that looked too familiar. I wanted to clean out the veggie drawer before p
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utting my vegetable in because its gross to store food in a dirty space. Then I saw brownish water in the space beneath the drawer and the bottom of the fridge. I took them out to wipe it up and saw mold floating in it. I gagged as I sopped it up, freezing cold with a towel I had found wadded up on the floor. This place was disgusting.

I spent the better part of an hour muddling around with the furnace down stairs to no avail. I grumbled under my breath as I moved bags of clutter out of the way to find the tools to work on it. When I finished, my pants were stained and my hands reeked of oil. I couldn't believe some people had lived here for a year and didn't know how to do this damnit.

I went on the porch to update people on the situation and hint that someone else needed to pick up where I left off. My room mate's cigarette smoke rolled into my space. I coughed a little and then went inside.

As I lay in bed on the edge of sleep, I'm unable to go under. I'm kept awake by the smell of oil mingled with stale cigarette smoke, by annoyance translated into compulsion and neurosis, by the insistence that others have wronged me. I'm going to bed disappointed, critical and alone. I'm going to bed the same way my mother went to bed for the last 20 years, and I can't get to sleep because I'm a little scare of how I'll wake up when I'm through.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Disappointment Strikes Again

I pressed my greasy finger against the cool glass of the airport check-in kiosk. I’ve been sweating since I woke up this morning and now I’m enjoying the AC in another over-sized glass building where I’ve spent too much waiting since I’ve been here. I was in a bad mood because I had only slept about an hour the night before and for no good reason either. “This flight may be full. Would you be interested in volunteering your seat for compensation?” the kiosk offered.

“Sure.” I thought in my easily impressionable state, “Why not?”
I arrived at the gate moments after the agent pushed the little red button of the walkie-talkie and articulating my name in a perfect accent into the speaker. My timing seemed too good.

“Soy Chlirissa Perez”

“Do you still want to give your seat?”

“Yeah. I mean, wait… when can I get another flight.”
He described to me how I’d have to spend a couple hours here and then couple in Chicago. I’ve slept in Chicago. Really, it’s worth the flight to an unemployed soon-to-be student. Whatever vague thoughts I had about the situation, I was registering value not experience… what was my time worth not where would I go. Last year I had wanted to visit Ashley and Tessa, but they didn’t move. They broke up, and neither of them are leaving the East for a while. Instead, I went to Detroit for a conference because the ticket was on the verge of expiring.

When I’d done this before, it seemed like it could be the kind of adventure I dreamed about as a child toppled over in a fort between the couch cushions. Moreover, under the pretense of dharma, I was carrying out an ego-driven quest to prove to myself how rugged and resourceful I could be. Groundless ground had grown less novel in the interim since though, and I had had more than my share of spiritually challenging travel stories. All the same, I nodded my head at the man and grumbled that I was fine with it. What is a couple more hours of waiting if I’m going to be dazed out on miserable already?

It was only after I sat down and begun typing that I remembered I have someone I want to see who lives a plane flight away. I’m sure this seems an absurd detail to overlook, but it wasn’t until I returned to my niche (I’ve learned to treat any seat within two feet of a power plug as a home away from home at this stage in my life) that I remembered how desperately far away the West Coast loomed. I remembered how sleepless I had been since she told me she had made that final decision to move. I let myself begin to imagine what it might be like to share another first with her, to stretch further across the country than I’ve ever imagined myself going. I’ve said before that the West Coast might as well be another country, and I set to work in my mind illustrating my passport so as to make it more believable.

My day dream was interrupted as the agent announced that the plane was to leave late. I strolled up to the desk to get information so that I could leave an excited message on her answering machine. He told me he had changed his mind. Why had I let myself indulge that daydream? A woman once told me expectations are premeditated disappointment. It sounded cheesy at the time. But as I sat sulking in my missed connection and the hours of waiting that ensued only to learn that I had to take a plane the next morning, I damned myself.

She's been dangerous from the beginning. She challenges me to want, to know what I want, and to let myself entertain my wants. She makes me want to have dreams. When I think of her I give myself permission to believe in things just because I dream them. And the airline is just the latest co-conspirator…

Going Everywhere Going Nowhere

“Where do you want to go? The beach? The water park?” the daily inquiry fell on my ears stale from the first time.

“No me importa. I’m not here to see Puerto Rico, I’m here to see you.” I responded as honestly as I could, fearing I may hurt her feelings by not giving her the answers she wanted.

“Well, you’re seeing me and Puerto Rico. Just tell me where to take you. I want you to tell me how you have a good time.”

The harder we each tried, the farther away we got.

“I just like to explore… take walks... see how people live”

“Oh, explore and walk. You want to go on a tour of the rainforest.”

“Sure…I guess…”

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Biolumenescent Bay

As the sun sank behind the picturesque horizon, we paddled two by two into a single file line. I thought of baby ducks clad in yellow life vests advertizing our tourism company. My uncle and I struggle for control of the boat. Our paddles clanked with the stubbornness of him refusing to take my lead, and me insisting on leading anyway.

As the entrance of the mangrove approached, the wind grew still and the water shallow. The ripe odor of stagnant water mingled with our repellant drenched bodies. As was swerved back and forth, zigzag with and against the channel, we did our best to avoid the roots that stretched out into the inlet. Did you know that Mangroves are the only trees that can stick their roots in salt water and thrive? I wonder they can ever feel it burning and still continue.

We could hear whistling and hooting, the hollowed sound of some special kind of frog. When we’d reach a particularly intergrown bunch of threes they’d form roofs over our heads that blocked out the light in a perfect display of blackness. We had been seeing little glitter like specs of the bioluminescent creatures we had come to admire through the clear bottom of our kyaks. In these enclosures where we couldn’t even see one another or the shore, we began to see our paddles like up as the swept through the water. We kept paddling.

After twenty minutes, we finally came to the opening in the tunnel. We could see the light of the full moon brilliant on the surface of the bay. And as we broke through that curtain of light, the creature greeted our paddles fervently. When we lifted them out of the water, a glistening streaks of light would flow down, leaving bright green drip marks all over the surface of the water. My hand felt the water warm and smooth like melting butter as I swooshed it around to reveal a trail of glow like fireflies and light sticks. We splashed the shimmering water at one another and I found a strand of vegetation from the bottom that when I ran it through the water appeared like a comet trailing my finger tips.

We paddled to the opposite side of the lake and turned around for the most picturesque moment imaginable. The moon peaked up gradually through the densely interwoven branches. It was so many layers of beautiful piled on ontop of the other. The moon, the silhouetted mangrove trees, the serenity of a secluded bay brought alive by the playful kyakers splashing around in amazement. Wonder filled the moment like magic.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Puerto Rico Prelude

I've gt lots to say about this place, but for now I will elude to upcming srticles that I will hopefully post.

Tags for my experience thus far in Puerto Rico…

Early morning, Planes, missing love ones, the l word, coast line, No walks, not safe, gated communities, vegetarian, wheel chair, not safe, hording food, Spanish, English, Spanglish, mas espacio por favor, corporations, new party, eco-tourism, amigo, Wal-mart, parking lot guard shack, toys r us, not safe, largest mall in Caribbean, separate cars, traffic jam, not safe, steak house, Caribbean cruise, not safe, beach, motorcycles, high-femme, moonlight, bioluminescent bay, mangrove, beautiful, manicured…

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Advice to my fifteen year old self

my advice to my 15 year old self...

Drop out of school--you spend too much time there trying to please other people because it hasn't occurred to you yet that you need to figure out what you want. Besides, you can make your own reading lists and project assignments.

Learn to surf before you leave Virginia Beach. I know you hate the potheads, but learn anyway. It's fun.

If you think someone's cool, there is probably a reason. You should connect with them.

Don't stop writing. If you do, then one day you'll meet someone who will remind you how much you loved it, and it will make you sad.

Drive someplace other than school and work. It's hard to imagine that other places exist, but actually, there are people who care about things you don't know you care about yet and when you meet them, it will be awesome. (not to mention that if you listened earlier, you wouldn't have a school to drive to)

Skip the NATO dinners and get politically active instead.

Tell your mom to get lost. Maybe not in such a way, but realize that she has her own family issues she's dealing with. Realize you're a worthwhile person regardless of what she says, and that the problems you guys have are largely based in a major difference of values.

Spend more time with Daniel. One day you won't be able to.

Read Stone Butch Blues--it will help you make sense of experiences you're gonna have later on.

When you go to Peru, stay there a while. College can wait.

But most importantly... don't be afraid of people just because they care about you. It doesn't make them sick, delusional or untrustworthy. Just accept it dude.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Updated Children's Book list

I have once again been spending time bumming around the children's shelves of politically correct new england bookshops (this time at Raven used books; all under $10). Aside from fawning on some dyke families (I will never grow tired of seeing women with inch-long hair pushing double strollers on Northampton street corners), I also accomplished adding a few titles to the my list of children's books that promote radical values.

In case you haven't noticed the pattern, I'm updating it at the beginning of each month (the link is in this article title, so you don't have to dig through the archives for June) and the newest set will appear in burnt red. Share some ideology and indoctrination with a child you love today. Or maybe just start a conversation about something you care about.