Tuesday, October 28, 2008

mania in motion

I am writing this post at 9 pm, somewhere outside of Richmond, Virginia. I’m almost in my eleventh hour on the train, and we are running horrendously late, so we’ve got almost seven more to go. I stupidly got on the train with a small bag of snacks and zero cash or booze, so it’s going to be a long ride that feels even longer.

Can I tell you what transpired in my last night in Charleston? After having a homemade lasagna dinner with the parents of my CS host at his childhood home, we zoned out and watched television while I pounded vitamins because I wasn’t feeling well. But I didn’t want to deal with more rejection, so I briskly hugged him goodbye and walked out into the night. Charleston is not a big place, and I ran into several people I’d met during the weekend. That was kind of nice. A little before midnight, I decided it was time for my second dinner and a game of pool, so I paid my tab and went to migrate to another bar, when this old fortune cookie fortune fell out of my wallet: Everything is coming together.

At the bar I met a sweet guy who works as a lawyer for the ACLU and we bonded while waiting almost an hour for the food he ended up paying for, and talking to a big white guy who doesn’t believe that mankind has any impact on climate change. I thought ACLU was charming and intelligent—everyone knows I have a weakness for Southern boys—though he was not a boy at all, probably a good fifteen years on me. When we left the bar and he invited me back for a nightcap at his place. This led to an hour of the following inner monologue on repeat:

I shouldn’t do this. Stranger. Rental car. Hotel. Not my city. Makings of a disaster film. But that’s not reality! This is reality. This is a nice, sweet man who works for the ACLU. I’m not afraid of him at all. I actually really like him. I trust my instincts. Or are they really my instincts? Am I just drunk? I don’t think I’m drunk. I’ve only had seven drinks over as many hours. See, that complex sentence structure shows just how lucid I am. But what if I regret it? What would I regret? Am I just being paranoid? I hate not trusting someone who seems totally trustworthy. It makes me feel like a paranoid, crazy freak. Seriously, you should just go home. But where’s the fun in that?

He was staying at a fancy hotel downtown, and hadn’t even checked in yet. It was two a.m. and I looked like hell, and when the concierge asked us if we needed one key or two, I suddenly felt like a prostitute. Hotels do that to me. We went upstairs, had a brandy, and I started to leave because you know how I feel about hotel sex…

So I am thinking about dissolving this blog because I think it’s gotten way too personal and I feel like it’s apt to cause more problems than it solves, mostly because it doesn’t really solve any problem other than the satisfaction of my gratuitous, self-obsessive impulses.

After a few hours of sleep, I suddenly woke up and realized I had to leave right then if I were to get done what I had to get done—buy cartons of cigarettes, get back to my host’s apartment to pick up my stuff, and get to a café to download some work files—if I wanted to make my train. When I got to the lobby, I was greeted by three staff members, and for the second time in several hours, I felt like a whore and was so flustered that I ran out the wrong exit, cornered myself in the hotel garden, and had to pass them all again on the real way out.

I thought about him in the back of my mind all day, and regretted only one thing: running out on him this morning. He looked so confused. I don’t know where this flight syndrome comes from, but I find it very hard to fight. Then I convince myself that I was in love with them, and I feel tragic and infantile and pathetic. It’s one thing to want what you cannot have, it’s another thing to prevent yourself from ever having what you want.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

dispatch from chucktown

So much has been going on that I don't know where to start, so let's just say that I'm in Charleston, South Carolina, and that I kind of never want to come back to New York. Cigarettes are cheap, booze is cheap, I'm not wearing a jacket, and all the boys have that sexy, slow, southern air about them. Well, not all of them.

This is my first time truly traveling alone and I love it. I made the mistake of sleeping with my host here the first night (okay and the next day too), and he has been clingy and I've had to be alternatively diplomatic, aloof and selfish in order to get away from him to do what I intended to do here in town: see fucking everything. I also just had to get out of The NY for a minute and away from all the talk about boys and school and therapists who think I need more therapy and more drugs. In this latter respect it's been very successful and I feel good. I think that you can only really know who you are when you remove yourself from any defining context--the place you live, the people you love, the things you do. When all of those things fall away, who are you? It's too easy to define yourself by these things, and these are things that may say things about you, they're just hints at the real thing.

Of course I lost my phone Friday night, as I'm wont to do about every three months now. When I realized it was gone I was pretty excited because it meant I could wander about town without relation to anything, and it would be difficult for my host to catch up with me. He [oh Love Affair just IMd me. My heart always freaks out when he does that] got arrested Friday night and was in a bad mood. I felt sorry for him.

I was so liberated to be without phone, without contacts, and without a plan that I went a good two hours without food or coffee or nicotine. I think that being alone is good for me.

Oh god, Love Affair, why do you torture me? All right, now I'm totally distracted and can't concentrate on what I was thinking, where I was going with this. I guess this proves my point completely. I need to move to the woods.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

sex on the brain

I ran into New Crush again on my way out Friday and we had another non-exchange that was even better than the first. I let it fuck with me all the way out to Brooklyn on my way to see Joe.

I am trying to fall in love with him. He sang my favorite song and I was happy. I don't know why I wake up feeling anxious when I'm around him. Sometimes I want to blame it on the booze, because it's more like the sobriety that makes me anxious. I suppose that's normal but I've been seeing him off and on for several months now. Something won't let me relax completely--not just around him, but in general.

I can't even relax when we're having sex. And I'm very happy to be having sex with him again. Of the past ten guys I've slept with, he's the best by a long shot, and still I can't fully get lost in it. First I thought I was over sex by and large, and then I have sex with him and it's all I can think about for days. In the morning whenever I wake up at his place I feel like I'm wasting my life. Is that fucked up?

Last night I went to see Keith Jarrett, Jack Dejohnette, and Gary Peacock at Carnegie Hall. After some craigslist failures, I just went and bought a ticket from a guy on the sidewalk. It ended up being a super sweet box seat on the far left, first row. I chatted with the guy sitting next to me in the box and he offered me a drink during the set break. He was probably in his late forties, and was in from upstate just to see the show. He was sitting between me and the stage and I couldnt help but stare at him for most of the show, and kept thinking about having sex with him. I was somehow sure that he would be great in bed and that it would be fun. After the show I went to get a few drinks with him anyhow, and he ended up being a great resource for my thesis. People have so much surprising information inside them. I kept thinking about having sex with him, but then when he mentioned the Marriott, I remembered the last time that I had sex at the Marriott it was not a good time. And it is horrible to wake up in Times Square.

The couchsurfers should be gone by now and I can't wait to go home and smoke a spliff in the bathtub and watch Aqua Teen Hunger Force DVDs on my laptop, which I put on the toilet when I'm in the tub. It's bliss.

Friday, October 17, 2008

dicks, planes, marbles and love

At $chool trying to do work, mostly drifting in and out of consciousness.

Today I started to think of my hangover as a precious feeling that I carry around in my head. It's like a symbol that I drank too much tequila last night, smoked some shitty pot that I allowed some guy to sell me in the Lower East Side, and sleeping five hours last night, if you count the hour I fell asleep on the train and rode all the way to 211 Street. I've kicked myself out of my apartment to make room for couchsurfers and have been crashing at Neighbor's place while she is out of town. Her futon is basically rock hard and it's unbelievable how well I sleep on it. Like I'm dead.

I got up to meet a visiting friend from San Francisco whom I haven't seen or spoken to since January. It was nice to see him, and I ate the most delicious eggs florentine with spinach and tomatoes and potatoes and smoked salmon and drank about four cups of coffee.

I am wearing a ridiculously short skirt today in the hopes that I would run into New Crush at school. I love having a new crush at school, because it makes my comings and goings so much more multifaceted. I don't know anything really about New Crush, except that I fell in love with him last week. Let me tell you about it.

I went outside to smoke a cigarette and he was outside doing the same. I sat down and babbled in hopes of distracting him with my speech away from how shitty I looked. While I was babbling, I interrupted myself because I was distracted by a shiny object on the ground that looked like a luminous little bubble. When I pointed it out to him, he reached over and picked it up--it wasn't a bubble after all, but a glass marble. Then he placed the marble in my hand.

At that moment I fell in love with him. I've been thinking about it for days, what it meant. What I've managed to understand is that in that moment, so many things crystallized--all my vague feelings about the delicacy of existence and sanity and how I find it all so beautiful and terrifyingly fragile, and how at that moment he turned all that I fear into something concrete and unbreakable, a source of strength rather than weakness, and put it, literally, in the palm of my hand.

Ever since then, I've been obsessively seeking him out at school, and glimmering whenever he alights across my path. Today I saw him and I was so happy and said hi but didn't stop to talk to him. I am feeling fuzzy. I want to go home and sleep and I know I should but I also think I'm going to end up in Brooklyn tonight because Joe is playing a show and I know he will sing me my favorite song and I will feel all happy and blissed out when he does and then I will sleep with him and all will be well and good in the world and I will forget how tweaked out I feel until tomorrow morning when I wake up naked and confused and zone out on the ride back, wondering why I always feel like this.

Last night at the bar an old dude was looking at this astrology chart he had, and he said to me that things will calm down and simplify soon: am I ready? He said that there are many men right now, but that I am the one in control. He said I have to be mean: in a pointed way, and not drag things out. Then he said, "You have the dick. You're the one flying the plane. You know? You're in control." He repeated it about four times: You have the dick. You're the one flying the plane.

I have the dick. I'm flying the plane.

I just don't know where I'm going or how I'm going to land.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

abuse of all things

I have spent the week largely hungover. I don't know how it happens; it just does. Friday night I canceled all my plans and nursed myself with pot and the excellent film Manhattan. It's kind of nice to be a pothead because halfway into the movie I realized I'd seen it before, so it was vaguely familiar, but still awesome. I get to rediscover the things I like, all the time.

I have decided to stop dating everyone simultaneously. Friday was a healing day. I woke up because John was biting me and I had a headache. He was whining that he hadn't seen me in so long, even though I'd seen him last week. When I left he said in a snarky way, "So, I'll probably see you in what, three weeks?" I said, "If you're lucky." As soon as I got out of his apartment, I knew I'd never go out with him again. I went to lunch with my friend and tried to text break up with a boy I've only gone out with once but somehow he's convinced he's in love with me. I was hoping to just let it slide away, but his text messages were getting increasingly impatient, so I told him to leave me alone. This put me in a bad mood regarding all things male-related, so I canceled my date with Joe for that night. Then his messages got really dramatic and desperate, culminating in a four-page text sent at 6 a.m. that read:

Hi its me again. Yes i know, i am bothering you again. Sorry for that, i cannot seem to get you out of my mind. For the first time in my life, i want something so bad. Dont mean to scare or put any pressure on u. I know u have so much on u right now with school and everything. All i am asking is that u give me the chance to get to know u better. It dont have to be right now when ever things slow down with school. Like u a whole lot for that short time i know u. Just want that opportunity. Its up to u anything u decide i will respect it. So text me your thoughts, want to know what you think.

I'm not kidding! I thought I'd made it clear by saying I was too busy, which everyone knows is clearly just a gentle no, because no matter how busy a person is, if they really like you, they will make time for you. I was actually awake at 6 a.m., having gone to sleep at 9:30 Friday night, and I answered him immediately: This is ridiclous. Please stop sending me messages.

It made me hate everything, myself the most. I feel like every girl in my life this week has said the same thing that I've been saying to myself all my life: how can this person possibly like me?

I titled this post "abuse of all things" because I was going to detail this week's adventures in booze, but now I don't feel like it. It's the same story, over and over again, of ritual self-abuse that is slowly killing me but I honestly don't know any other way. And it can actually be quite entertaining in the meanwhile.

"C'est l'histoire d'un mec qui tombe d'un immeuble de cinquante étages au fur et à mesure de sa chute il se répète sans cesse pour se rassurer: jusqu'ici tout va bien, jusqu'ici tout va bien, jusqu'ici tout va bien... mais l'important, c'est pas la chute, c'est l'atterrissage." (La Haine)

"It's the story of a guy who falls from the fiftieth story of a building and while he's falling, he says to himself over and over again to reassure himself: so far so good, so far so good, so far so good...but what's important isn't the fall...it's the landing."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

motivation and change, institutionalised

Yesterday a counselor at $chool referred me to the Center for Motivation and Change, what she described as a "skills center" for wealthy, functional people. I think she said something like, "Oh, you know, it's full of like, stockbrokers and lawyers who know that they party too much." It kind of cracked me up. It is totally expensive and the home page is littered with stock photos of Buddha and bamboo, but apparently $chool will cover parts of it, which I find both hilarious and exciting. I am motivated to change, thank you very much. I just don't really believe it is possible, when poisoning myself slowly has proved itself so effective and accessible.

Last night I smoked a spliff, watched Ciao, Professore! and went to sleep at 8:30. It was so needed. I was so bitchy and exhausted Sunday night that I almost didn't go out when Curly called me over to Red's for what has become a weekly Sunday night cookout, followed by dancing at Black Betty. But of course I did go, and didn't get home until almost 4 a.m., and so I was a sad sight yesterday, trying to talk to the counselor and conduct a phone interview with an ICT policy wonk in DC. He was interesting though. Functional and wealthy! Hah! That makes me laugh in my most sad, deeply cynical way.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

serious questions

Things have been quite serious lately, because Mom was in town last weekend, and Little Brother just left about an hour ago. Serious Family Time. I've also kicked it into high gear lately with $chool, and using $chool as a distraction from the boys who are driving me insane. My brain has been chugging, tweaking, exploding, and twisting itself into uncomfortable knots that make me think that it's working, that I'm learning, which is both exciting and overwhelming.

My three dates in three nights a week ago was a little intense-o, and the exchange I wanted to have with John didn't work out Tuesday. It did, however, work out that way with Joe, who ended up spending the night Wednesday, and in the midst of our heart-to-heart/reunion, I sent a text out to three friends saying that I couldn't tell if I was in love or just drunk. Their three responses were: (1)Drunk! (2) Different! and (3) I think they are somehow related.

All three of these responses were true, which leads me to some serious questions. When I drink, I am flooded with intense feelings of love, particularly for other drunk people. Although when I drank with Moms and Little Brother these past two weekends, I definitely loved them too. But why is it that lately my level of love/engagement seems directly related to my BAC?

Thursday night I had a couple birthday drinks and bumps with John before going to meet up with Little Brother. John in my mind is intertwined with cocaine, and this is somewhat troubling and begs more questions. Like why does he do so much coke? And why do I love coke so much too? And why is it such a bad thing? Are all of us who (ab)use substances just inherently unhappy people who just don't know any other way to make ourselves feel better? Because that's why I think I do drugs. (This kind of endears John to me in a way. I know that's fucked up, but I never claimed to be anything else.) Or maybe inherently unhappy isn't wholly accurate. We desperately want to feel a certain way, and we know that drugs will allow us to feel this way. I've realized that when I talk about stability, I'm not talking about a form of life, I'm talking about a form of feeling. Some people do things with their lives to effect certain structural and interpersonal changes with careers, locations, and relationships. Other people take a more chemist-like approach to their happiness through a combination of drugs, complex carbohydrates, and fried cheeses. I know that I definitely fall into this latter category, and whenever something feels amiss, I have several tried-and-true ingestives to which I can turn without many negative consequences. In moments of extreme sobriety, however, I can't escape the thought that I am slowly killing myself, but I don't know any other way to live. Attempts at self-preservation seem so fruitless and misguided.

Friends, lovers, and strangers, please tell me something: Why do we do drugs? Is drug use indicative of unhappiness and immaturity, a lack of a developed manner of handling all the rough spots in life?