i've written a lot of "i went to the gym" posts lately, but that's almost worse than none at all. now i sound like a one-dimensional jock. next up: posts about my daily calorie intake! includes carb counts! even if it was something enthralling, which my gym posts aren't so much anymore, always writing about the same thing is exceedingly boring. i ran across a blog the other day that was almost nothing but word count progress reports on that NaNoWriMo thing, and excuses explaining why she was a few thousand words behind all the time. bohr-RING.
i bailed on kevin last thursday because i'd just been to the gym the night before with rob, and despite being a total n00b, he managed to completely wear me out somehow. sneaky bastard. then kevin had to bail on monday due to family obligations, but rescheduled for tuesday, then bailed again. yesterday, rob called and bailed on our usual wednesday night excursion, saying he's got strep throat. so no gym posts this week.
dang. i've been doing it regularly enough lately so that i'm getting that "my body is on full alert" feeling, and i like it. taking a week off is not good.
i sure am tired of getting scraped up, though. my elbows and knuckles are pretty much perpetually scabbed over these days. i try hard to be careful, but heck, there i am having scared myself into fight-or-flight mode, my lizard hindbrain convinced i am fighting for my life, and i make a big broad ill-conceived lunge for a hold that's too far away or not where i think it is or some sharp thing is in the way and SCRRUUUPP ahhh jeez not AGAIN. i've got a gash on the back of my left hand that is just about healed up, but it was very deep. i can tell it's going to leave a scar. yay.
yesterday, mom went to see our shared dentist, mindy. mom reports mindy says "hi." my first reaction was to smile fondly, but my second, overriding reaction was to bite right down on that and squash it. i like that woman and i wish i could talk to her. i feel strange about it, though. how does one go about initiating a casual conversation with one's dentist? that's just too weird to contemplate. also, i'm not sure i'm ready for that step, strangely enough.
a little bit before she got married, i met my sister at a restaurant. it was the first time we'd talked in several months, due to extended feuding. she was obviously not getting why i thought it was a good idea for me to hole up in front of my computers for well over a year and have little or no social contact. i explained it better than i expected myself to. i drew a couple of intersecting circles on the tabletop with my finger. "every time you make a connection with someone," i said, "they pull you in their direction a little bit. i don't want to be pulled like that. i want to see what i look like, without external influences."
i'm not sure if that part was necessary. maybe it was enough to come back here and confront my family problems after letting them fester for so long. i probably won't know for sure until at least a year or two from now, when i write something much like this entry about it. then i'll find out. right about the same time you do, Dear Gimpy Reader.
one of those teen grrls i read inspired me to go through my cocteau twins playlist again. i am on track 139 of 216. it is difficult to overstate the importance of that band in my life. i'd been hearing the group here and there for years, you can't avoid them if you have any sort of connection to the alterna-music scene at all, but it wasn't until the "heaven or las vegas" period when i started buying the records for myself. that would have been 1990 or so. a turning point came a few months later, when their boxed set of EPs was released. i couldn't really afford the 75 bucks for that, but i bought it anyway. i was late with my condo payment that month. that was about the time they became my favorite band, and stayed there for six or seven years.
i wasn't sorry to see them break up, though. that was in 1998, they were given to serious feuding by that point. they left a very large recorded legacy, it's difficult to imagine that they could have done anything more with their distinctive "cocteau twins sound" than they already had over a period of sixteen years. they were reportedly almost finished with a new record when liz called september sound, their studio, and said she couldn't go on. it would have been cool if they could have finished and released that last record.
i saw this show on pbs once, about africans training elephants for use as natural bulldozers and dump trucks. elephants are too smart for their own good. you can use their big brains against them. when an elephant is a tiny baby, the africans tie it up with a spindly vine around one of its front legs. the baby elephant will try to break free of the vine and discover it is not strong enough, it is trapped. fast forward, decades later. now the elephant weighs two tons and could snap your neck without even meaning to, accidentally. but that same size spindly vine tied around its front leg is still adequate for restraining it. the elephant remembers when it was a baby and could not break the vine. it doesn't even try.
yep, that was me, battling against childhood trauma in my head, as if it were all just as big and scary and insurmountable as it was when i was ten, without the necessary resources to fight it. imagine my surprise when i got here to tennessee and found myself in the middle of those same old scenarios, only now they are nothing. fixing those problems today is like snapping twigs. too bad i can't convince all the other players of that.
(that was at least the third time i've used the elephant-and-the-vine thing as a convenient analogy. the earlier occasions were all during my usenet days, but i still feel the need to report on my self-plagiarization. have a nice day.)
boy, am i ever tired of being here. i guess i have to keep reminding myself how much worse it could be. my year in california was the first and only time i've left some geographical phase of my life at exactly the right time. that was due to the simple expedient that lazing around for another couple of years, overcome with inertia and stupidity, was not an option.
i knew exactly how precarious my situation was from the moment i arrived. i never spent a dollar i didn't have to. i had no tv, not due to anti-tv-snobbery, but simply because i decided it was better for me to scrimp and save everywhere i could. there was lots of stuff like that i wanted but decided to avoid. then my company died, like every other unsound high-tech outfit in the bay area during the dot-com meltdown, and my worst fears were realized. i'd been working with an entire building full of people smarter than me. it was the first time that had happened, something my previous experiences had in no way prepared me for. my confidence was badly shaken. i was competing against a whole valley-full of people just that smart, and the economy had just collapsed. no way was i getting another high-tech job under those conditions. time to cut and run. thank god i had relatives i could fall back on. most people in my position did not.
climbing has given me a mental model for that situation that seems to make the most sense. i was killing myself for years, making harder and harder moves, closer to the top, almost there, getting exhausted, keep pushing, almost there. i made one final desperate lunge for a hold too far away, managed to get my hand around it, but couldn't hold on. i fell off the wall, dangling at the end of the rope. and here i am still, having not quite found my way onto the next route.
now i'm up to the "heaven or las vegas" tracks. that album has stuck to the condo i used to own in wichita, where i was living at the time it was released. as music so often does. if i could go back and talk to that guy, i'd say: leave. leave now! you think you're doing the right thing by trying to make peace with this situation. that if you go somewhere else, nothing will really change. same problems, different geography. i had a lot of friends at the time that made a big show of it, "i'm getting the hell OUT of this hick state and moving to NEW YORK! / L.A.! / BELGIUM! where all the COOL STUFF HAPPENS!" then they'd all quietly slink back home after a couple of months, not terribly eager to talk about it.
for that reason, when i finally did leave, i told almost no one. i didn't want to be one of those people slinking back home in defeat. i was wrong, though. the lesson i should have taken from those earlier explorers was not "there's no point moving, you'll still have the same problems," it was "you've got a whole bunch of friends who are great big L0Z4RS." i've been back to kansas exactly twice since i left in 1994, and both trips were pretty damned depressing. i guess it's right for some people, but personally i wouldn't be caught dead there now.
true blue and real
true blue and real
i'll feel perpetual
i feel perpetual
i'll feel perpetual
true and real