Soft Boiled Egg

Time enough to write today?
I think there must be.
I am feeling decent.  Sufficient.  Improved.  Supported.  Free.  Slightly masterful.  Lots of disparate concepts, but overall: good.
I got in early to help with a meeting where I did not need to help which I have decided means I can leave a bit earlier.  I paid my credit card bill.
I got requests to help from a few counterparts who really appreciated it and which I had time to focus intently upon because I am mildly without tasks, as I’ve mentioned.  One of whom always said hi to me in the hallways and I would smile back and it is only at this point that I realize what her name and department is.  Now, I hear she thinks I am great which is the thing that is said about someone who smiles at you when you pass in the hallway.  Apparently, they need help and they don’t have help.  And I can provide help and have oodles of time.  I am hopeful that in some way a few well-placed favors with a few people might save my skin around here.  That is the sense here, that in the end, like any society, it just works best if you go ahead and scratch someone’s back based solely on the tacit understanding that someone’s going to decide to scratch yours.  Eventually.  Work your nails down to the nubs and never tell anyone you’re feeling itchy.  Nobody wants a job, everyone will offer a favor, so scoot along little cowgirl and try and make friends.
Trying to make friends and not just endlessly curt and awkward circuitous conversations.  That’s the philosophy right now.  Just befriend everyone and say yes to the grunt work because, frankly, you can handle grunt work.  This higher-level tarantella everyone else seems to be able to accomplish in their high heels and pearls is not liable to be your dance.  Not ever, not after years upon years of knowledge being foisted upon you and experiences to teach you better than you know right now.  There will be no graceful flamenco.  You just try and do-si-do and promenade, do whatever the caller asks you do and hope no one pulls out the hook while you’re on stage.  I need to enjoy this time.  It is awkward to try and nose about, forage for the truffle of a task to keep me from seeming like I sit at my desk and write blog posts all day.  But somehow, I will end up in some spot that will demand more of me than this and I will look back and sigh that I didn’t keep it a secret so I could sit and spin on the company dime.
No.  That’s not in my blood.  The guilt, my friends, the unholy guilt of just trying to type this up before I go, oooh.   Still, the feeling of knowing the post is done is worth a twinge or two.  I like that I have that time.  Having the food there is so valuable, too.  So much easier just to let the refrigerator contain the wide expanse of possibilities and know that in just a few days, I’m going to restock and can make a whole fresh batch of choices so I don’t have to panic.  I can already tell that when I do have another meal out, it will be something that I look forward to, that will actually contain some element of celebration and achievement in it rather than an almost burdensome excess.  A demand to fill up on salt and fat and smile.  Quality vs. Quantity.
In the same vein, I’ve started making some lists – looking ahead to the holidays – realizing that if I can get a few stitches in now, how much more enjoyable it would be to have
If I can figure out who needs a gift, who needs a card, well, maybe I can print the addresses on labels, maybe I can draft a general Christmassy letter that people will be pleased to read, and I can actually take care of what I always want to – which is to make people feel joyful at Christmas.  I always run out of time, and in the past been embittered with the retail holiday gloom, but now, there’s a chance to both have the money and energy to be smiley and bake cookies and feel cheerful for more than just Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Of course, this does make me mildly irritated that J is too anxious about things to come and see me and eat turkey at my table.  This means I will have to be constantly pulled over those days to check in on him, mid-meal, even.  I will feel a compulsion to keep one foot in each world when I am so craving the silence of my own imagination, the quietude of being untethered to a computer desk, to making jokes with the family, to the congenial world that we make when we are all together at Thanksgiving.  A place he doesn’t know, and much as he would like to know it, it’s far too far a trip to consider.  It seems thus.  Not on a whim.  But this is well past a whim, past a favor, this is…the job.  The job of being together that neither of us wants to concede we’re employed at, despite finding ourselves clocking in and out everyday.
Eventually, I think I’m going to get stretched too far to come back together and I’ve never chosen this unknown world instead of my own mind to save me from being split.  Really, King Solomon’s never concerned himself with my heres and theres.  He is fine if I am bisected along my spine and useless everywhere they lug me.

Reify

I have no idea what it means.  Not the word, I know that one, just the newness around my life these days.  The thing that needs reification inside of my brain.  Where am I? What is my value-add? Why am I talking and thinking and being the way that I am?
I think lately I’ve been scaring myself.  Testing my memory and freaking out when I can’t remember, worrying about driving at night with bright lights, feeling flighty and panicky.  Stressing about stairs and heart attacks and bodies in motion rather than, as they ought be, in perpetual rest.
If I give myself this moment to contemplate, an opportunity I’ve experienced a certain dearth of these days, I can understand the paths that converge to bring me here.  The unresolved status I hold right now after the departure of my reason for being hired.  The unending eating out to salve and reassure myself that there’s money in the bank account and everything is okay because we can go to the burger place, the pizza place, the other burger place, the Mexican place, the Chinese place and on and on and on – to the point, the surfeit that I revisited the other day in my title, that I can’t even stomach it. At the end of September, I was just wasting food and burning cash. Ordering in meal after meal, despite not being much more than mildly hungry on any given occasion. Bringing home bag after bag, box after box. It almost was painful, but this compulsion remained because of the salutary idea of eating out that is affixed in my mind.  This sense of biochemical succor that overtakes me. Even now, the idea of a hot, prepared, aluminum-wrapped meal with all the accoutrements included in little plastic two tablespoon cups alongside it set in front of me has this magical, mirage-like appeal.  Like a smoker must contemplate a cigarette, I know it really would quell the yapping, roiling, confused sea inside me, even if the method requires a giant cannonball of heedlessly salted carbs.
But, for two and a half days, I have found some method of subduing this beast without having to get the deck wet.  Already, it’s Tuesday, yes.  The plan, thus far, is working. I have actual supplies on hand now so that I can circumvent the mental process of constantly interrogating myself for the answer to where do we want to go for food today?  It’s home.  Or I have it.  I don’t have to go strolling to the cafeteria for an inescapable Rice Krispie treat (or two) because I have to get something in my mouth so I am sustained.  I brought it and I can eat it and then this massive space opens up of…odd security.  I didn’t have to spend the money.  I didn’t have to go out in world and stumble about.  I can just do as I intended to do.
So it’s not low carb.  It’s not low fat.  It’s not really controlled portions.  It’s not dieting.  It’s just not letting myself go mad on guacamole and unprocessed stress.
And I have plenty of food set for the rest of the week – things I am interested and willing to eat and won’t throw over the plan for.  This is a good, good thing.  That I hope will lead to a sense of control again where I can plan out something legitimately healthy that I can stick to.
There’s just a lot of quiet here and not enough to do and it’s the nature of the calendar that it is logical for me to not be overburdened with tasks while everyone’s getting ready to head out on a business trip, so I can’t caterwaul and beg for activity and things to be thrown on my plate.  Might regret doing that anyway, but that’s the plan for when everyone is settled.  Today has just been a taste of what it’s like to be unoccupied. To find yourself deleting old emails, remembering ancient times, the importance of people who have since drifted into the background. To have fallow fields in your brain pan, an agenda absent of agenda items.  To float with achey muscles.  Maybe I’m getting sick.  I wonder if it isn’t just another layer of sabotage.  Can’t be distracted by a massive tray of tortilla chips, the brain has to rush ahead and think of things that might be broken .
Just give me some water, put me in bed, let me play, let me read, let me dream a bit.  Let me trace back the road to the Faithful Light, not to Mildred but to the child Mildred once was, to a crimson turning of the season.  To full-on autumn and not just a prelude to winter.

Goluptia

This is two weeks or so, maybe more, maybe less, of playing Wil E. Coyote, suspended in mid-air.
I don’t like the part of my brain that keeps clipping sentences.  That doesn’t want to sit and luxuriate in the possibilities of the white, blank page.  I don’t like the part that is mired in so many jutting, stuttered, action items that it can’t conceivably settle down and contemplate a wider world.
It feels safer just to not speak than to say something that might insist on being mentally accepted through the process of having said it.
Sure, I’m freaked out about the unknowable future.   The future that is reliant on me becoming more of this professional, be-yoked person with more of this tunnel-vision, more of this aggressively tight style of brainwork that I don’t like, that demands it else the bottom falls right out, but the future that presents me as a stronger person, a person who might have the strength of will to achieve some of the objectives that me, myself, and I have agonized over for millennia.
Essentially, they are keeping me on for now.  The for now of this for nowness is wildly fragile.  It’s ultralight glass.  I am to serve others, like some sort of chattel servant, until they find the next lord or lady where I may be installed as seneschal.  Or, deemed unworthy of service and shunted to the side, unceremoniously set out on my ear while some more polished and bold chambermaid takes over my duties.
A fellow from work was asking me about my future the other night at the party where we said the first of the long series of goodbyes to my current boss.  I said I didn’t honestly know.  He said, well, you should be fine, so long as you keep adding value.  And I nodded, lamely, subserviently, meekly, distractedly.  I nodded because what do you say to such an earnestly provided and frightfully mechanical statement as that?  Is my printing that email providing value?  Is my wiping down that white board value.  Yes.  On some level, it rolls up into the larger ability of the organization to function.  But the corporate speak, the sense of yourself as a unit, a cog, an ox at the mill, that’s so demoralizing.   Harder still to know how I once idly craved it.  Thought it would protect me from attempting to step out on my own as a writer, from walking against the storm. The storm comes with the fear and the fear comes with me.
But that’s not precisely right if we do care about the precision of language.  I am not a cog now, or I am not meant to be.  I am in the forefront of a lot of people who doubt me at the same instant they are required to trust me.  I am a name that is attached to other names, an engine of emails.  I warm a seat, but it is a well-known, important seat.
My boss hugged me at her party, after she’d had wine and there had been memorializing videos and technical difficulties on some of the videos and whispered “Thank you for everything.”   I said, “Thank you for everything.”  Meaning her basically not letting her doubt overtake her trust, at least so far as our short seven months together allowed.   Who will the next boss be?  What will they expect from me?  What will I provide them if my brain is half-hopeful that I can just write my way out of these places that I’ve always had to walk out of before.
So, one says, go follow thy passion, thy bliss.  Put your feet in the cold river, wander around in the dark, singing to the trees as you go.  Fear nothing, grasshopper girl,  Winter, as so many say, is coming. But winter only comes but once.
You’re supposed to have saved, one says, by 35, double what you’re making in salary.  That.  Will not happen.  That will not even be close.  We will be playing catch up to this benchmark until the end.  Greedy, fearful ants, burrowing in the heat of the lightless earth.
I say these things not to provide clarity of meaning, but to say…damn.
What a fretful, frightful time.

The Body Is A Robot: Elsewhere

I am waiting on the stoop for a sunrise to appear.  I hardly know what to say these nights when I aim to be so occupied that the words in me dry up.  My thoughts are singular, not kaleidoscopic as the work demands.

Where does the need to write go when it goes, if it goes?

It goes in a scrap heap, with every other sort of faith and belief in intangible things.  Go to work, press the start button, buy the coffee even if no one particularly likes the coffee – it’s too bitter, type the emails, remember to check the mailbox, follow the steps, twitch and snort when out of view, taste the salted flesh preserved and simple, and constrain your metal heart.

If it goes, you go, really, with it to the scrap heap.  And the robot runs the work, while you nestle without pain into the witch jar of rusted nails and half-broken thumb tacks and sharp memories claimed to be forgotten.  You dream in the lemonade, you start floating around with the chili pepper, you burn and reformulate.

We do not say I love you afterwards, but it hardly matters when everything is kind and soft and urgent and sincere.  Sometimes I almost do, and I stop myself. We do not say the name so we do not conform with casings and shells and polymers and masks.  But we are somewhere while the body is the robot.  We are somewhere and we are there together.

I find it difficult to remember because I am trying so hard to recall everything about it.  Every breath and the way the voices sound as I make them, the one I lapse into without trying, this coquette, this flirt, this woman I never knew I knew so well.   I want to name her, this persona so casually undertaken, but already she feels like dream dust.  All of this feels like the sort of thing I would make up, with the bends in it to make it seem real even though it’s all a blue caravan trundling through the dark trees along the mountain pass.  Steady and not stopping, no matter your curiosity as to the nature of its contents.  It whirls in my head, that this is happening, and it’s heady like a drink first feels when the alcohol sets in.  It is chemicals, the scientists say, and I say, but the body is a robot. This is me and I am elsewhere.

Today has been marked down as Friday and perhaps the world will end soon.  Terrible things are happening – hate is just spilling out like so much acrid, poisonous sulfur bubbling up from caverns we had long held to be sealed.  So sealed as to be forgettable, paths forsworn, unnecessary for any travel reasonable souls would undertake.   Terrible things and as one of those things, we are given to watch from our robot eyes and these arms so new with such shoddy articulation that we have yet to finesse our grip.

Meanwhile, we are not there at all.

 

 

 

 

Moonache

The bad habits.  The bad, bad, bad habits.  You give one inch to one of them and down the hill you roll with them all.

Now, I have some ice water.   It seems to be a medicine and I can think again.

Tomorrow: brunch.  And then, we have an order of groceries that does not give a centimeter to the plots of bad habits.  Back on track because failing this has been boring and bothersome.  A sugary slurp, a salty grind, a belly ache and a delirious desire to pay a ridiculous fee for the opportunity.  I feel the reasons out quick as ever as to why a woman who eats out for her meals at every opportunity might feel ill and ungainly.  I lose one wagon, but I know where I can find another one to climb upon.  The path I chose is the only one that will improve my lot.  Out, out, damned spots.  Let me have the future I desire.  Some slice of it, the parts I have my will to alter.

And I hope to find the words tomorrow.  Tell me what we are.  Tell me what you guess we are.  Tell me that this is not the most painful sort of game.  You call yourself single.  Outright.  For all the world.  While an hour later, you say, stay with me.  Just stay with me.   And I do, because where else would I go, and you hardly mean anything more than stay on the line.  Stay attached to this very long strand that clutches around my throat, the one you’ve tied to some bedroom door so that every time you enter I feel a gentle choke.

Because it can’t be real.  Me here, you there.  And as soon as I am the one who begins to believe it possible, as soon as I swear on stones that there’s some grander scheme at work, you go and say, I am single and things are hard being alone.

So I, not wishing to look a fool, say, with delicate darts to keep the truth hemmed up, pinned in, I, too, am looking for the sort of man who…the kind of man who is…the wistful dreams of my heart have yet to be requited in any mortal form and I am amongst ye, oh, walking and wakeful damned who have found your hearts cleaved in full from that of any others.  I share your fate.  I have no answers.  I have no claims.  But no, none of you dare approach me for succor or support, because if you do I shall be forced to drive you out of my presence.  For what manner of villainy would allow for me to idle for hours in some communal, if imaginary bed, and reciting any manner of romantic assertions, cooing and giggling and playing the part and then, wordlessly, doing the same with someone else?  How profaned would I be to learn that he might afflict such an act upon me?

So I have nothing.

Give me the strength to take my nothing in one lump, one gasp, one shot.

 

 

 

Good and Ill

What can be said in thirty minutes while hanging off the edge of the world?

  • Forgot my laptop today.  Given it’s a 40 minute ride to work, that was a tremendous up-fuck I was luckily able to fix.
  • Dreamed just prior to that about failing in work responsibilities – although my dream set it at the clothing shop, safer, I suppose. I just wandered off when they asked me to do something. Not paying attention.  A bit frustrating that is my response.
  • Reconciling myself to the facts that my choices have consequences.  Good and ill.

Sparkle

Watching:  Tried Ripper Street and it was a bit too straightforward for me.  Fell in and out of a couple of MST3Ks and Rifftrax episodes which I love but don’t require anything from me beyond that.  Have wound up watching Edwardian Country House/Manor House which I watched when it was originally out on PBS and probably have watched again and mentioned here at some point or another.

Doing:  Not so very much doing today. I do need to sort out how to get myself exercising – I’m getting to that point in the dieting cycle where there’s been a bit of weight loss.  Just enough that I can feel a difference in some places,  while not in others.  Just enough where I see a trajectory.  The way to work on this belly is to get myself moving enough that there’s any hope of it melting a bit.  Right now, I don’t have anything happening that is intended for that purpose.

Thinking: We talked three times today.   Once whilst laying in my childhood bedroom. Strange how he can say a thing like how he misses me and I can feel it at so many different layers and points of meaning at the same time.  He misses me and I miss him and it is a patent fact given our closeness, given everything we’ve shared over the now going on eight months.  He misses me and I miss him and neither of us has any real, specific clue as to what exactly we are missing.   How can we, living so far apart, a photo here, a video there.  He misses me and I don’t know yet about what missing entails, what that longing that comes coupled to knowing.  I’ve been through the painful stretching process of missing things that were half-invented anyway.  I’m only just learning what is to connect to someone deeply.  There are no watermarks, no tracing lines.  We just do what we do as we do it.  Still, I thought with yesterday…I’m afraid I have to be vague here for my own sense of propriety…that we could just sail along being in that delirium.  That particular brand of delirium that I seem to crave of late. And today, there was kindness and sweetness and being called beautiful even without makeup, and I am glad of all of that…but…well, I suppose it would get old in its way if you just…

Still.  It is all these things at once.

Eating:  the low-carb continues.  I thought that there might have been some pizza thrown in my path this weekend, but there was not.  So I now have kept going, and I do feel endlessly better when I am eating this way.  It’s situated enough now to be able to tell the significant difference in just…brain function.  I feel more able to sit down and write a page up, I must say, than I do when I’m swirling through sucrose overdose.  I’ve felt alright, and I don’t want to give that up, so the hunt for the next two or three pounds of this weight loss continues.