Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Nightmares and Dreamscapes. True Confessions.

(Just out of curiosity: do these pictures make you feel warm and fuzzy, or do you kind of want to barf?)

My friend, mentor, and fellow BBC drama watcher, Daniel, hates to hear people talk about their dreams. HATES IT. (I dedicate this post to him, though he doesn't even read the slog.)

I had this dream last night...

I was doing a crazy round of speed-dating in an empty parking structure. You know how it is. For each round that a girl makes it through, she runs up a level on the structure. The goal was to reach the top, and be paired off with the person of my dreams. But, I kept getting distracted, and then allowing myself to get swept up to the next level without actually choosing anybody.

When I reached the top, a bossy woman asked me who I chose. "I don't know," I wailed. "I forgot to decide." Well, she gave me a list of the names that were leftover. But she said I could pick two. The leftovers! I picked the first one, "Eric Smith." I remember so clearly, because I thought Eric Smith had had really cute glasses. (Who is Eric Smith? No idea. In my waking life I don't know any Eric Smith.) Then, I picked some girl, because I am apparently pansexual in my dreams.

But, when they emerged from the crowd, it was a different Eric Smith--no glasses. He stood there, smiling at me, not the person I thought I'd chosen, and then the girl came forward. She walked toward Eric, and he reached out and put an arm around her, and they started kissing. I just stood there like, "What just happened?" Even leftover, odd man out, not-the-right Eric found his match.

And the cheese stands alone.

I woke up in a cold sweat, with my heart pounding, knowing FOR CERTAIN that I don't want to end up at the tippy-top of the parking structure of Life, without having picked somebody.

When I forced Scott to listen to the dream, he said, "Well, there's not too much subtext to figure out there."

Here's why I had that dream:

1. My friend Wendy just recently told me that she knows someone who filled out an eHarmony profile, and was REJECTED. From eHarmony. Millions of people on the site, and a person can just get told, "Sorry, you're on your own"?? I've always assumed that if nothing else works out, there's eHarmony--but MAYBE NOT! This fills me with dread. If eHarmony told me they couldn't find a single match out of millions of profiles, what kind of chance would I stand in 3D? None. None chance.

2. At the grocery store, I told someone I was moving to LA, and she said, "Why not? It's not like you have a baby or anything." Which, though inarguably and wonderfully true, also unsettled me because...

3. I recently read an article about women having babies later in life. It said something like, "What most women don't realize is that their fertility takes a NOSEDIVE in their late twenties, and continues to PLUMMET into their thirties." And isn't that language dramatic?? But also, oh my god, I'm LOSING TIME!!

4. I watched a Paul Newman movie directly before bed. Suffice to say, of all people in the world, ever, he's who I would choose as I ran the levels of any garage--I'd pick him again and again and again. Forsaking all others.

In my waking life, I don't much care if I'm climbing the levels of the parking structure in solitude. I like it fine. But apparently, in my subconscious, I'm going just a little bit crazy.

Daniel would say it's something I ate. My subconscious brain free-associating. Nothing to puzzle over. But I'm puzzling.

In honestude,

Monday, April 19, 2010


(This is from a google image search for "people on busses." I've got no idea who they are.)

(My bus did look just like this. But empty.)

Last week, I did something I've never done before here on the Palouse: Public Transportation. Public transportation is not often needed when you live in the sort of town where you can park your car and forget it for days on end. But friends needed to borrow my car for the weekend--and on account of them always being willing to loan me money, or their baby when I really need to cuddle her--I said YES. I said, "I'll have no trouble getting a ride home from Lewiston." And I thought I was telling the truth. But then, I did have trouble getting a ride home from Lewiston.

So my dear, patient boss (who, at this point, probably would not be surprised if I asked her, "Hey, Mary, can you show me how to tie my shoes? It's so tricky!") explained how to catch the bus in Lewiston to get home to Moscow.

Apparently, you sit at the only bus stop on campus a little before 5:20, and when the only bus comes board it. This made me very nervous. I convinced myself that maybe the covered bench that said "Bus Stop" wasn't actually the real bus stop. (It's too easy.) What if the real bus stop is actually that sign-less shady, grassy spot on the other corner of campus, and I'm sitting in this old, out of use bus stop like a total schmuck? (This really is how my mind works.) Then, I worried that I might get on the wrong bus! I consulted the transit map posted at the Bus Stop. I confirmed, again, that there is only one bus and it says "Moscow" when it is headed North, or "Lewiston" when it is headed South. I was already in Lewiston, so I felt pretty confident that I should board any bus that said: Moscow.

Can I tell you about this bus, that I did eventually successfully board? Well, it has twelve seats. Total. How many of them were occupied on this, my rush hour commute? One. Mine. I was worried that the bus driver would then try to talk with me, but good news! The bus shakes like that taxi cab that transports Bill Murray through space and time in Scrooged. Were I made of cream, I'd have been butter by the time I reached Moscow. I'd been churned.

With no music, no book (tooooo shaky), no talking to anyone (so loud!), I had the strange experience of being an entirely passive passenger. I had no responsibility! I was bored! There weren't even any other passengers to watch. When on public transportation, there is little to do but marvel at public transportation, and also to marvel at the fact that public transportation is, to me, worth marveling at.

But a girl can only marvel so long at the smell, the heat, and the sounds of a bus. I started reading every posted sign I could find. I saw bus schedules on which someone had written, "Obama and Biden" and then crossed out letters, writing over them so it read "Osama bin Laden." I saw a sign that said in jumpy bubble letters: "Anyone can ride the bus, Everyone should." Right next to it, a sign read: "The bus driver has the right to refuse any rider for reasons he/she sees fit. These include, but are not limited to anyone: apparently under the influence of drugs/alcohol; possessing offensive body odor; carrying communicable diseases; a danger to himself/herself or others."

Apparently not just anyone can ride the bus.

Then I thought: I wonder how many people in the world have, at some terribly low point in their lives, exhibited all four of those "grounds for refusal" at once? Probably a whole, whole lot. And of those people with body odor, communicable disease (yikes), and the potential for self-harm, how many of them have mothers, fathers, sisters, husbands, children who worry for them? How does a person become the odorous, dangerous, drunk type of bus rider? There must be a story for each and every one of them. They were babies with sweet-smelling heads. They were little kids who got nervous about school. Then, obviously, something changed: addiction, or illness, or tragedy. But they each have a place they're coming from, and a place they're trying to get to.

On crowded public transportation, I always watch like a hawk for that unsavory type of rider--and I stay well-enough away. But, probably because my bus was empty (I've got a heart, but it can be small and lazy), I was temporarily able to suspend judgment on all those people that bus drivers (wisely) refuse. And it felt nice, I felt lighter, to have put judgment away for even a little while. (At the end of the ride, a woman boarded who was a total mouth-breather, and I found myself, once again, a judgmental little wench.)

The good news for this slog is that I've got my car back, and once again I spend my drives singing terribly to songs on the radio. I haven't gone all bleeding heart for good, or anything.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

News from the Spider House.

Hello Slog!

Sheesh. What does one do when life starts happening and all you want to do is tell your blog about it, but no time! NO TIME!

Things that have happened:

1. A handyman came and put some terrible, terrible, dangerous, deadly acid down my shower drain. It created a chemical reaction that I could hear banging all through the pipes that run all the way under the house. It also made my entire apartment smell like the inside of a hard-boiled egg. The handyman said, "Do you know what this is?" He held up the bottle. "This is pure, concentrated evil." But--

2. My shower DRAINS. This will be especially good news for the AP, because she gets here tonight, and her shower experience will be significantly improved (sorry to other guests--Mom--who had to put up with the bath-shower (the bower, the shath) situation).

3. The clearing of the pipes, by pure concentrated evil, may make it harder for deadly, not-so-itsy-bitsy spiders to make it up the water spout. Hurrah!

4. I had a TERRIBLE dream about getting bit by a Brown Recluse spider (not yet sighted in my apt.), that looked, in my subconscious, like a tarantula encased in a bouncy ball and could smell fear, and would come bounding (bouncing) after me. Spiders. They are the central drama of my life.

5. It's spring in Lewiston, which apparently means: lawn mowers. Here's the weird thing--I can be anywhere on campus: my office, a classroom, the coffee shop, the copy room, and as soon as I open my mouth to speak, a lawn mower starts up in my immediate vicinity. I'm in my office right now and guess what?!? Lawn mower. Lawn mowers are the soundtrack to my life. My students resent it, of course, because I'm shouting even louder than I usually do.

6. I have cut the bloody hell out of my thumb. It seemed, at the time, like a good idea to slice a sharp knife through some soft cheddar cheese in the direction of my fingers. So, when blade met skin, as was inevitable, I simply said, "Well, I knew that was going to happen." And found myself a Bandaid.

7. Hmm...what was the last thing? What was it? I had something else to tell you...Oh yeah. I'm MOVING TO CALIFORNIA. Here's a song about it. (Check out the 1:20 mark for a shout out to Bea Arthur, hallowed be her name.)

Here are some California Raisins about it. I've missed you, Slog! How do you feel about living in California?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Today, I woke up and had a familiar thought: "Do I really have to get dressed, again? I just got dressed yesterday! And the day before that!" Does this happen to anyone else? Do you think, as I do, that finding clothes to wear every day is kind of monotonous and awful?

(FYI: I am grateful to be able to have a variety of clothes to choose from. That's lucky, and I know it. But this isn't a gratitude blog, it's a slog.)

(We miss you Brittany Murphy)

Remember Cher from Clueless, and how much fun she had putting together matching ensembles? Well, that is not real life! In real life, if you're me (and last time I checked, I am) you're so bored with the task of clothing yourself that you just keep a pile on the floor, and pick from it willy-nilly, looking for what's not too wrinkled, or too visibly stained. In real life, we also don't have our closets computerized, nor do we think thigh-highs are acceptable to wear to high school. At all. Right?

The trouble is, when you start out a day feeling overwhelmed by the mundane task of putting on clothes, the rest of your day is probably not going to go well, either, because you've got a bad attitude. And by you, I mean me. I had a bad attitude.

To wit: I put on clothes; I called someone who wants to rent my apartment; I called my landlord to tell him about aforementioned person; I told the landlord about the TERRIBLE things happening in my shower (whenever I run my sink, black gunk spews out of the shower drain. I probably won't mention that to the potential new tenant); I made an appointment at H&R Block to see Captain Kelly (more on that later); I closed my index finger in a bathroom stall at the gym--which is forcing me to type without using it, and it is taking at least twice as long as usual.

Now, Captain Kelly is a tugboat captain, as well as a renowned Moscow Taxman. I saw him last year, and during the course of our two hours (at least), he asked me some very personal questions (why am I still single? do I want to have kids? if I do, I best not wait until it's too late, he knows too many women who regretted waiting, etc.). He told me a bit about tugboats, and about how he got really into grunge music while living in Seattle. He was in a book, even, talking about the best jukeboxes in Seattle.

So, when I brought my bruised index finger into H&R, I was sure that at least I'd get some good stories out of Captain Kelly. But...I think he was having an off day, too. I got only one story (he once dated a woman who said "bunchels of [insert noun]" instead of "bunches." That was a long time ago, but she was a really neat lady), and even worse--I could tell he was frustrated at me for forgetting one of my W2s. I know he was frustrated because he kept saying, "I'm going to take care of you like you were my own daughter, just like you were my own daughter." But, he wasn't saying it to assure me, he was saying it to steady himself. Like, "if you were some stranger, I'd really let you have it and kick you out of here, but I'm not. I'm going to keep dealing with you, like I would have to if you were my own daughter."

So, I left Captain Kelly to finish my taxes (we ran out of time, on account of me leaving to track down a W2), and my awesome day continued with laundry, recycling, running the sink so that the plumber will see the putrid stuff that comes up the shower drain, and then I got in my car. This is the part I've been trying to get to all along (you say: then, by god, get to it ALREADY):

A Justin Townes Earle song was playing, here it is if you fancy a listen:

Isn't it something how a day, and a life, can contain such mundane junk: plumbing problems, missing W2s, loads of recycling and laundry, busted fingers, as well as containing art? Art just kind of popped up right in the middle of all of it, and I relaxed, and my bad mood lifted, because people are out there, making things that are meaningful and beautiful and meant to be appreciated by sloggers like me. And then I thought to myself, Hey, I might just get dressed again tomorrow.

Nine-fingered but powering through,


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Look what the Easter Bunny brought!


I'd like you to meet Cerie. My new laptop. This is now where I am blogging from. As you can see, it is a new, very pretty laptop--young and gamine. Thin. Thus, Cerie, after the character on 30 Rock. We're still getting to know each other, but so far so good. I've promised not to break her, and she's promised not to break me. It seems fair.

But, we don't get anywhere by forgetting where we came from. Here, then, is a photo of the Toshiba Satellite, which I never bothered to name (that may have been where our problems began). It was a good, hard-working computer. I should've taken better care of it. When its internal temperature rose to, I don't know, eight million degrees, I should've looked into fixing the computer, instead of forcing us both to slog ahead, sweating. Honestly, I'm surprised I never got second degree burns from the heat of the keys. My bad, Toshiba. My bad.

This is the laptop on which I wrote my applications for MFA programs, and my master's thesis. (Hence all the food crumbs down in the keys--it's like I physically couldn't compose that thesis without some crumby snack in hand.) It's where I started my Facebook page, and my slog, and lost countless hours researching celebrities and other material for my fiction: favorite such searches include "ice mummies," "dirt-eating," and "marionette horror movies." Doesn't that make you want to read my stories? I know.

I don't know if you can see it, but the oil and dirt from my wrists actually imprinted themselves into the Toshiba, making two heart-shaped stains. Isn't that nice? And also a strong hint that I ought to wash my wrists more? Point taken.

Now I'm in this weird no-man's-land, where most of the work I need is still on the Toshiba, and it will let me turn it on for ten minutes, so I have to prioritize the items I most need to rescue, and then save them to a thumb drive and do it fast. It's daunting.

Also on the fritz: my iPod, my TV remote, and my shower. So, just another day in the endless, endless, battle between me and All The Technology in The World.



Thursday, April 1, 2010

No Computer.


There is so much I want to blog about, but my computer has crashed.




Using a friend's computer. Got to go.