On One Hand

June 30, 2006

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June 29, 2006

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June 26, 2006

Quotes

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 11:24 pm
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A young, 20-something guy walked in to where I work with bloodshot eyes and a vacant look on his face. His communication consisted of grunts and waves and very few words, and he seemed unsure of where he was.

After he left, Me: “Dude, that stoned guy’s eyes were so red I thought lazer beams were gonna shoot out of them.”

Jess: “Yeah, I could have scraped the resin off of him and smoked it.”

June 22, 2006

Boxcar

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 5:09 pm
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Last night I was riding on a glass-walled boxcar train, with a skinny blonde 20-something in a black wifebeater in front of me, kissing me, and futuristic metallic high-rises and elevated highways flashing past on either side. At throttling speeds we rode East, across an America turned on its side in a spaceless interplay of disparate lands, past mountains and deserts, across the Atlantic full of ships and floating cities, across the Sahara of orange sands irrigated and planted with juniper shrub in a massive future environmental reclaimation project.

My parents were there breifly, talking about vacationing in the Middle East, and gnarly wires poked out of the streets of Los Angeles. Poor nations had risen to power and rich nations had become poor. In the middle of a passionate kiss I got a text message from my ex boyfriend…

Clay: “I want you back.”

Me: “I’m sorry, I’ve moved on.”

Clay: “Aww, he wouldn’t understand?”

Me: “No, I mean literally, I live in London now.”

Then he was holding me again, a smiling collage of every boy I’ve ever loved, his steady eyes gazing at me and his legs straddling mine where we sat on the rough metal surface of the train car. I woke up by a shake from a friend who asked for a ride to class.

I don’t know why so many of my dreams take place in the future. Maybe my dreams are futuristic because they combine so many different elements of time and place, and realizing that nowhere does the past look like that, my mind assumes that some moment in the infinite stretch of time to come will resemble what I see and places it in the year 2150. Maybe the dreams are prophetic, which is a happy thing, since I know that the post-apocalyptic days will be filled with youth, transformation and love.

June 20, 2006

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Theatre Groupies

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 8:25 pm
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What’s ten times cooler than being one of those obnoxious, histrionic theatre kids always gnashing at each others’ throats to steal the limelight?

Following them around!

For some it’s because of a job in the building, for others its friends, and for me it’s my ex boyfriend, who invited me to spend countless, exhausting hours with the Theatre kids so I now know most of them by name.

What’s an actor without an audience? Unreasonably narcisistic! But, an actor WITH an audience: REASONABLY narcisistic! See, they need us!

We are the seekers, not the prophets; we’ve found something that steals us, something higher than ourselves, something that tugs at the very heartstrings of the human condition! It’s about the witty banter. It’s about the comp tickets. It’s about the work study job in the box office. It’s about watching common crisees bear the utmost of importance in the group. It’s about standing alone at the party with the plastic cup of cheap vodka and Sprite wondering what the fuck these kids are talking about. It’s about hating everyone and loving everyone and talking about it ALL THE TIME. And most of all, it’s about the computer lab in the building that’s always unlocked, where you’re allowed to eat, drink and be merry without the ITS guardians bearing down with vengance!

Here’s to all the non-theatre majors who have, willingly or not, spent countless hours wading through that churning sea of angst that is the CU theatre community.

June 19, 2006

Gaps

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 9:17 pm
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Lately I’ve been pulled away from the real world into a sort of transitory limbo that lays hollow between fond memories and vague, indistinguishable future. Two people in my extended family are dying, in the same hospital, of unrelated causes. One has been on kidney dialysis for several months and is now tired and has chosen to be unhooked. He is 89. The other is unconscious and finally cannot breathe on her own after decades of emphysema. A few hours ago, while I was at work, my dad called to tell me they unhooked her from the machines keeping her alive. She could be dying at the very moment that I write this. She is 79 years old and an only child. Her mother, who is 99, is still alive in a nursing home.

I don’t know either of them well; I’d have to ask my mother exactly how they relate to me. In my life I’ve probably spent a total of 100 hours or less with either of them; far less than I have spent with coworkers I feel absolutely no attachment to. I think that one, Gloria, is my great-grandmother’s, sister’s daughter, making her my great-aunt. The other is my grandmother’s, daughter’s husband, making him my great uncle. Beyond that I know little of them except for memories of family reunions and holidays.

I do distinctly remember talking to my uncle Jim when I was four or five years old, his perpetually frowning yet good-humored face seeming to glare down at me under a shock of straight, wash-white hair. Jim was loud, sarcastic and rude, with a cutting sense of humor that was hard for me, a small child, to find as anything but hurtful. But I was always intrigued by an old wound on his shin that had healed long ago with bone showing through. Like a cut-off branch of a tree now partially grown over by the expanding trunk, the white surface peeked through a cusp of skin and gave me a sense of amazement that I could actually see the inside a living person’s body. To look at a living bone defied one of the laws of nature and I felt I was a part of a spectacular magic trick. I have not seen my great uncle in the few years that have passed since that leg was amputated, but always remember him by that peculiar, and to him either annoying or insignificant, wound on his shin.

My aunt Gloria was much quieter but always had kind things to say to the kids, always invited us to pick from bowls of peanuts or candy that lay around the house for guests, and was always concerned about her mother, Leena, who Gloria lived with almost all of her life. Leena was hunched over from osteoporosis and sat a fleshy lump on the couch, face seeming to come from the middle of her chest and two beadlike eyes peeking out at all of us. I saw Leena last year around Christmas time and she joked joyfully about how the men in her nursing home complex “don’t do nothin’ for me” and that when I was a toddler I used to jump on her bed. Despite her shriveled appearance, she is very healthy. Recently she asked her daughter to will her two thousand dollars, and the fact that she will outlive her only child isn’t a surprise to most of the family.

I didn’t visit Gloria or Jim in the hospital as they were dying – this all caught me off guard and I didn’t think to skip summer classes and would likely get fired if I skip work. And at this point it’s too help much anyway.

I don’t know what my responsibility is to dying family members so far removed from me. At this point in my life I’m realizing that the most important thing I can do as a human being is to be there for others in times like this, but I think my mother would have asked me to go to the hospital if she thought it was important. Aside from the biblical imperative to care for the sick, I know that my dying relatives haven’t been lonely; my mom said that Jim was extremely touched by all his visitors he has had in the last week, while Gloria is completely unconscious anyway. Jim is now fading out of reality; my dad told me Jim was babbling in his hospital bed this afternoon, telling my visiting parents to “remember to pick up some ice on the way home,” and he soon won’t be able to recognize us.

I have never experienced the death of someone I have been close to. All times I have felt great loss have been when relationships end, and those are the moments I dread more than any others. I remember when my uncle died and my dad fell apart for two years, and I remember my cousin’s death when his mother, my aunt, lay on the floor for hours, and my dad found her sobbing on the carpet when he arrived at her house. I’ve only seen such loss in other people – I didn’t know my uncle or my cousin well – and have always been unable to help those who were suffering greatly.

Yet whenever someone in my family falls apart, someone else steps up, if not for the sake of the person hurting, then for everyone else. When my Dad’s brother died my father was an utterly different person for two years – angry, violent, demanding, artificially masculine; I was sure he hated me and we fought every time we spoke. I was afraid of him, flinching ever time he raised his arm to point or pick something up, which made him angry, and I think also hurt him to see what his behavior was doing to his son. Back then it was my mother who became the strong one, not always knowing what to do but doing the best she could. When I came out to my mother years later, she cried, prayed rosaries, prayed over me against my will, threatened suicide, said I hated her, said I hated women, said that the her life was ruined forever. That was when my father stepped in, and he was always calm and rational. Then we formed a closeness we have kept ever since. The way one person would fill in the other person’s gaps seeded my concept of what I now feel a family should do, what people should do, and I’ve been looking for that in all my friendships and relationships ever since.

I guess my family is filling in for me now. I have school, work, and my therapeutic activities; while my emotions are shattered across the floor and I’m trying to put them into some logical order, and I can’t accept much responsibility. My family is filling in by recognizing my condition and therefore not asking me to do what I can’t. My parents are getting older, and though they’re doing fine now, someday they won’t be. Then will be my turn to fill in the gaps for them.

June 17, 2006

Dating

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 10:27 pm

First I hung out with a guy who I met and liked last fall. Being as he was nineteen, he called me after I hadn’t spoken to him for months to ask me to buy him beer, and invited me to hang out with him. I brought some 40s to his place where we settled down to watch a movie. He started conversation by telling me that his collection of electronic gadgets and the condo his parents bought him shouldn’t indicate that was spoiled, though he admitted it seemed to be the case. He needed a second laptop computer, he explained, because his first laptop was actually too big to carry around.

After the early disclaimer, his preferred item of conversation was mathematics. “Math changes you,” the kid told me; “when you learn it, you see it everywhere and you never think the same again.” I found his thoughts intriguing, but as the hours passed, my friend’s genuine interest in numbers sounded more and more like an obsession. Every intellectual college freshman does it to a degree: you fall in love with your major for a while, and then it passes; when I was done with my first year in college I thought sociology had re-defined the whole of human civilization, religion, art and science for me as a vast and flimsy illusion constructed and agreed upon by an unwitting, oppressive wealthy class. A semester later, I dropped sociology as a major and haven’t thought about it much since.

But my friend’s obsession with math got only worse. His own thoughts, he claimed, were superior to thoughts from those who do not study math, because math is the only thing that is accurate one hundred percent of the time and because all processes in the universe are reducible to mathematics. He was angry at me when I suggested string theory was unproven, indeed not even tested; it is in fact a hypothesis, not a theory, and in his barely-concealed frustration and clenched teeth I saw that any possibility of chemistry between us was extinct. Our topic of conversation drifted to love, which he insisted does not exist, as love is not necessary when you fully understand math. But the fact that I claimed to have recently been in love intrigued him, and he asked me, repeatedly, if I was thinking about my ex. “How about now?” he asked, “are you thinking about him now?” I said, “I came here to forget about my ex.” He paused, then asked me again, “ok, but now are you thinking about him?”

Later in the night when I refused to give him a blow job he almost kicked me out of his apartment. I would have left voluntarily if I wasn’t too drunk to drive home. My experience was far better than that of a friend who spent a night with he same guy, who claimes to have been asked permission to pee in his ass. I’d be willing to hope for a strictly platonic friendship with this guy, but seeing that I haven’t seen or spoken to him since that night I doubt it will happen.

I met an attractive guy in the bars a few days later, who, like myself, was recovering from a painful breakup. I told my friends, who were deep into their own heterosexual conversation patterns, that it was nearly impossible to pick out the gay guys in a room full of colleged-aged adults but that somehow I needed to find someone right away. I went off on my own, feeling hopeless, and about forty-five seconds later I was talking to a guy who offered to follow us to the next bar. He was single, friendly and interesting, but I connected better with his straight roommate, who was with him, who told me he knew how to play guitar. The two lived in a run-down apartment near mine and generously housed a 30-year-old homeless women who slept in the hallway between their bedrooms. She had a pretty face if you could ignore the enormous, unmatching sweat clothes she always wore (knee-length red sweatshirt and baggy gray pants), and she spent most of her time sitting on the stairs asking random, borderline-inappropriate questions of whoever was in the apartment: “Congratulations on being gay, but would you ever try to sleep with a girl anyway?” When we went out to the bars as a group, she would gaze longingly at parking meters or ask strangers if they’d drive her to Vail if she paid for gas. When we insisted that one of the richest, most elite small towns in Colorado is not the ideal place for a wandering homeless woman, she answered “but Vail has such a romantic name.” She asked a group of strangers for a cigarette, and, when offered a flame to light it, explained, “I don’t want to smoke the cigarette now; I’m saving it for when I get stressed.”

After I let any romantic interest for the new guy slip into hope for a friendship instead, it turned out that the ex boyfriend he spoke of frequently was someone I also knew, and their desperate entanglement was continuing beyond the relationship’s end. The awkward connection shut down two potential interests at once and left me grateful that my own breakup was relatively clean and final by comparison.

At a party I re-connected with an old friend I occasionally hooked up with last August but hadn’t spoken to in a long time. My friend was now living with a girl and another gay guy who fawned on him incessantly and made his longing painfully obvious to everyone at the party. I felt for the roommate; I know what it’s like to want someone like that, and having the object of your unrequited attraction at such close quarters must be emotionally agonizing. Later in the night, too drunk to drive home, I snuck up into my friend’s room and nudged against him in his bed. A few minutes later his drunk roommate burst open the door without knocking. He staggered across the room and lay down beside us, or more specifically, beside me, patting my stomach as he chatted with the guy I was lying next to. I was too nervous to speak, I’m still not sure if the roommate knew I was there or if he thought the large lump of limbs under the sheets was actually just one person.

I hate the feeling of lying in bed with someone, being soft and affectionate, but meanwhile missing, desperately missing, an entirely different person. The heartache dominates your thoughts and, though the affection you are now sharing is genuine, you can’t tell which feelings in the clash are more present and which come only from an instinctual, secondary part of your consciousness. Is the new emotion failing to bury the other, or is it better to see it as a new identity that happens to carry some baggage? When I started dating Clay it was as true as it ever has been; I was longing for Matt and wracked with guilt that I was leading another person on while I waited for Matt to come back. I fell in love with Clay after a few weeks of doing that, and now I realize that the longing period a necessary part of getting over someone you can no longer love – it passes as you grow more accustomed to a new, more trustworthy person, and the presence of a new person is what helps you get through it. It’s like moving out of the house and getting a new one, waiting for it to start to feel like home. Going back to this time last year, I realize how far I’ve come: I don’t think about Matt now; I never thought that would be the case, but though I may cherish some memories, I don’t feel like I’ve suffered any loss. Soon the same will happen with Clay.

June 9, 2006

More to Life

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 9:19 pm

I strive for happiness. There is more to life than happiness, dammit!

If everyone spent life sedated on beds with tubes that supported all of the body’s functions, loaded with drugs that blocked any emotion but total, utter bliss, everyone would have happiness. But I think that most people, if given the choice, would decide not to be hooked up to such an apparatus.

It’s about LOVE. Yes, or no?

People think that’s cheezy, romantic, or unrealistic. But when you realize you do not crave hapiness alone; if someone told you that you could be completely happy but only by being the last person on Earth, you realize you would not accept that. Life is about striving for love and suffering to love. It’s about expressing love and giving love.

There are moments when my whole body is full of pleasure. I’ve been looking up at the stars or gazing out over a city from a high place and have been overwhelmed with a sense of appreciation and beauty. But there is always a pang of sadness that I’m not sharing it with someone I love. It’s the difference between union and masturbation.

Love is my state of grace. When I do not love, I do not have grace. Love is my home, my anchor. Who will I find that in? One person? A group of friends? A family? A community? The world?

I need all of those, wrapped around me in layers. The innermost and outermost layers are God. They are all God.

Love is what human beings do for each other. How do you help someone suffer through a disease? You show that person love. How do you help someone cope with a loss? You show that person love. How do you celebrate a person’s accomplishments? You show that person love. How do you help a person accept mortality? You show that person love. Love is the greatest and only thing a human being can do for another.

How do you love? You make yourself as emotionally present with that person as you can. You share time, energy, resources, and experience; you make sacrifices knowing that it isn’t a true sacrifice because you gain so much when your gifts are accepted and appreciated.

Who am I to say all this? I’m so weak in love. I get angry when I don’t get love back, I get bitter, and my rutheless mind starts churning, plotting ways I can make people love me or ways I can comfort myself thinking those who don’t love me are actually miserable. I have to slap myself out of it and sometimes I know I should slap myself and I don’t; I just let those selfish feelings sink in.

But it’s what I beleive. Life is about love. Take my love or don’t take it. Somewhere in the world is someone who will.

June 8, 2006

Bitten

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 1:56 pm
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Excuse me he said
in the middle of the wine and candles
i have to pass
an emotion

so he sauntered to the bathroom
and cringed in the agony
and thought
and cried
until it was through him
that river
until he was ready to give me
both his eyes
and then he explained
that once you’ve been bitten
you want it more
each time and
are you ready for that?

am I read for that?
i said yes
yes if
yes as long as its slow
thoughtful as I am
and steady
and most of all
yes most of all
i’m ready if this time
it holds on

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