with good behavior

I have never managed to keep a grudge. People have done things to me I've sworn I would avenge--and usually a month or two later we're pretending it never happened, or I'm apologizing or they're apologizing and then everything is normal again. I never forget. I just don't hold a grudge. They aren't bad people. Sure, they've betrayed me once or twice. That's fine--who hasn't, really?

So I can't keep a grudge. I can live in terror of someone else keeping a grudge. Against all assurances that they haven't, against all reason, against all evidence--when I've wronged someone I can't confront them. It will go horribly wrong. It will be awkward--all nervous laughs and walking on eggshells, testing the waters, hoping nobody says anything to bring it all back.

I know people are usually pretty good people and don't keep a grudge, water under the bridge and all that, I shouldn't worry about it--but I have to do my time.

my human interactions

I've known people who routinely spend a week or so going without something they feel like they are addicted to--television, the internet, sweets, unhealthy foods. Or they spend a week where they exercise every day or they don't sleep in or they always eat three meals a day at regular hours or they read every day.

I've never quite gotten the point, so I thought I'd try it this last week. I went seven days without any human interactions. I spent the days in my bedroom with a stack of books and wandered out at night to fix some of the foods I'd stocked up. It was challenging to avoid my roommates but I managed, mostly by listening to see if anyone was around, moving quickly and quietly, and not taking food that required a lot of preparation. I managed, though. I saw no one and spoke to no one.

This of course included interactions online. Those were easier than you would think. Ultimately I wrote several poems and filled up the rest of a journal I'd been working on and burned through several books that I'd been meaning to get to. It was nice to be able to focus and get rid of the distractions human interactions cause--and really I think we could all go without them for a while.

You shouldn't have to feel alone just because there's nobody to share your fears with.


camera shy

There was a photographer over the other night. She wasn't here just as a photographer, but he did keep taking pictures--not just of us, but the house, random objects, things she thought were beautiful, things I thought were silly. I asked her not to take any of me, and for the most part she respected that, but as the evening wore on she started trying to when I wasn't looking, trying to persuade me to let her, to stop looking away.

To be honest I don't know what I was afraid of. It wasn't just being genuinely captured on film--no one is genuine when they smile for the camera--but that had to be a part of it, right? She eventually asked me, when everyone else had gone to bed and I was still eluding her camera, why I was so camera shy. Answering the question would ruin it, I said. She insisted. I said it was so I could maintain an air of mystery. She said I was plenty mysterious enough--but that wasn't it, either. If I could have explained it I'd have let her take my picture.


cyanide capsules

I've been seeing someone who is glued to the political blogs, the news websites. There is a certain fervor that perhaps I never noticed in previous years, but it seems more pungent this time around. People are confident in a Democratic victory--the climate is sure of it. But the polls don't mirror that! What's wrong? Which statistics should we listen to?

Of course I've gotten into it, too. It's starting to dominate the topics of my conversations, and it's giving me this shapeless sort of fear, not just for politics, but for understanding. Causes and effects--does worrying change things? Will it make it better or worse? Does knowing about the climate affect how things will happen? Does it simply tide us over?

She's managed to get enthusiastic for November. I just want it to be over with. I wonder if this will make the little rift, some of the tense political conversations, get bigger. I wonder if my worry will affect my daily life--if the worried buzz going around the media is going to win the election but ruin my personal life. She treats my worry like it's a poison, and I agree with her that it probably is. She just thinks I'm doing it on purpose, and I'm not even sure I believe it when I insist I'm not.


uniquely you

After she died I found myself searching for someone else who could be her--her smile and the way her hair was always a mess and her laugh. It's been years now and I'm still searching. The hardest thing has been finding somebody with her smile. She didn't smile often, except when I was around. So it was almost my smile, in a way.

For a long time I didn't understand my failure--put it up to bad luck, perhaps, or being in the wrong city. Maybe I was too late, I thought. She would be older now, more mature. A lot can change in a few years. There were a lot of reasons I could have been failing. I never stopped to consider that I was hoping to meet her again.

There's a song with the lyric "I met a hundred people yesterday, and none of them were you." At some point when I was listening to it I realized that she was unique--not because of any special qualities she had, but because everybody else wasn't her. That there was a convergence of forces so intricate and complex that it would never be duplicated again when she was born, acting on every moment of her life--and that it would only be futility to try to reproduce them.

What else could I do? I gave up.