daylight savings

March 14, 2010

I’ve generally hated Daylight Savings Time for several years, I guess since I started feeling sad.  Why do I need an extra three hours of light to remind me of what I’m not doing with them?

Though I am keenly aware of the time change when it occurs twice a year, I can only place my whereabouts at the most recent one.  It was last October and I had a mustache drawn on my upper lip with black kohl eyeliner.  I was also dressed up in a blue-and-white-striped leotard, shiny disco shorts, and a beret — a little French pansy.  The important part, though, is that I was falling asleep on a living room couch with a guy channeling Rick Astley, dressed in head-to-toe denim, and I was unbelievably happy.


A pair of ice skates, size 9, an innocuous yet definitely not stylish shade of gray, a strange pair that look like, as he informed me, a cross between figure skates and hockey skates, but leaning more towards the former.
Both of us recognized the cheesiness of it, the couples skating arm in arm around the tiny makeshift rink, but we were going there precisely to be one of those couples and that was exciting. Growing up in Michigan, he was a born hockey player and had his own skates. I, on the other hand, had only been on ice a handful of times, and though I knew I was at least pretty okay at skating, I was still worried that I’d come off as unathletic as people say I look.
It was December in San Francisco and my grandma had just died. Usually when I tell people that I say, “Not the good one,” meaning not my mom’s mom, my favorite grandparent. I know that sounds awful. I had driven to Oregon the previous weekend for the funeral. I left on a Friday and came back two days later, but that meant two days apart and I didn’t quite understand until just now that we had spent so much time together that two — only two — nights apart seemed like a very, very long time. I miss that feeling so much, and I know right where it belongs — in my chest, a little to the left of my heart in a space that, when it’s not there, is so utterly, completely empty that it causes me to press my hand to my chest several times a day, close my eyes and think about anything but the void.
This makes me even more sad because today marks the fourteenth day I haven’t seen him — or more accurately, the fourteenth day he hasn’t wanted to see me.
But back then when we were ice skating, it was kitschy, it was adorable, he said he wished he could go around the rink faster and I asked how to tell if a lake was safe to walk on when it’s frozen over. He said you just know.
I think there are a lot of things like that in life. You just know.

the race

March 2, 2010

When I settle into bed each night around one a.m., earlier if I’m feeling nostalgic, electric blanket set at the highest temperature, past 1 through 9, to something so hot it can only be represented with an H, I lay my cheek down on the pillow, think, “I did it,” and fall asleep quickly so I don’t have much time to wonder why I’m so disappointed by this.


January 27, 2010

My face is crooked. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say the features on my face are crooked. My nose is atrocious. The right nostril is the size of a dime; the left is the size of a penny. My mouth rests heavily on the left side of my face and it’s tiny. My eyes are mismatched in both color and length: one is blue and long and the other is green and compact.

It’s hard to look in the mirror.


January 26, 2010

It’s strange how some people look the same when they’re five years old as when they’re thirty years old. I’ve looked at photos of friends and been struck by characteristics that I knew all too well: a gently sloped nose; an indignant, pouting lower lip; black, dramatic eyelashes. If one’s looks stay similar throughout life, does that mean so does one’s personality? Are we doomed to be the children we were at age five? Is it any better if we’re not?


January 22, 2010

I feel sorry for the men when I leave them. This might come as a surprise to you because I’m sure you’ve heard I have no feelings. But trust me, when they’re sitting on their beds, usually in boxer-briefs, elbows resting on legs, heads in hands, begging me not to go, that I’ll regret this forever, that — tears choking them — they love me, I really feel bad. I do.

It’s selfish, but it’s me. I find no one interesting for more than a few weeks, which, inexplicably, is the time I’ve found it takes for a man to fall ridiculously, confusingly, and pathetically in love with me.

I’m uncomfortable with this. Maybe if I was smarter, prettier, more athletic, a better cook, a world traveler, well-read, thoughtful, better at math, or loved animals, I could understand my allure instead of being constantly awed by it. But that’s not the case.

When I was young, my mother took me to the mall around Christmastime to get my photo taken with Santa. My mother was always very impatient and decided the line was too long, so she took me to get an ice cream cone at the food court. We sat on the edge of the huge fountain that served as the centerpiece of the mall, and as I licked my bubble-gum flavored treat, my mother opened her purse, fished out a quarter, handed it to me and said, “Make a wish.”

I remember wanting to just keep the quarter — I had an obsession with those tacky, 25-cent candy machines inside of grocery stores — but to make my mother happy, I clenched it in my palm, thought for a few seconds, then tossed the quarter into the water.

My mother smiled a closed. tight-lipped smile and I finished my ice cream cone. I never got my picture taken with Santa that year and my mother never asked me what I wished for. It was probably petty and unimportant anyway.

All I know is that now, every time I’m walking away, the questions are the worst part.


January 13, 2010

He woke up at 1:03 a.m., or what he thought had to be around 1:03 a.m. — he had always been a very accurate estimator of time, often down to the minute, for as long as he could remember — in the bed of a very black-haired, very asleep, very naked woman he had never seen before.

Or had he seen her before? He remembered clearly the beginning of the night, a cluster of four, five, then six, seven friends, Bud Lights in hand, gathered around an aging wood table at a bar owned by a couple from Nebraska, the opposite side of the country, joking about their jobs, their girlfriends, about how life since college had been anything but a joke. The beers led to shots — that he knew, there was no other way it could have gone — but after that, black.

The naked woman was sleeping on her side with her back curved towards him. He didn’t try to look at her face yet. First, he needed to get his bearings, pull himself together, figure out where he was and how to feel about ending up there. Though it was the middle of the night, large, curtainless windows illuminated the bedroom with a soft almost light.

The first thing he noticed were two guitar cases leaning against each other, which, in turn, were leaning against a wall. Both cases were black. One was ragged, falling apart, weather-beaten; the other seemed pristine, perhaps brand-new, protective and sturdy. A nice contrast, he thought.

Another contrast. On the wall across from the bed in which he lay was mounted a 47-inch flat-screen television, the picture of NEW and TECHNOLOGY and EXPENSIVE, while the charmingly rickety, likely antique side table directly underneath the television showcased various oddities from another time: a mason jar full of marbles; a glass soap dish holding buttons; a Kodak Brownie 127 camera; an old library copy of “Wuthering Heights.”

A worn, deep blue loveseat made of leather sat against another wall of the bedroom, though it was barely distinguishable under the mass of tossed sweaters, jeans, tops, and women’s magazines. He briefly wondered when the last time was that the couch had actually been used as a couch.

An upright garment steamer stood starkly near a chest of drawers. This he recognized from his two-month stint at Men’s Wearhouse during a particularly exhausting summer during high school when he unsuccessfully attempted to save money for a Ford Mustang, THE car of choice of the cool kids in his hometown. Unfortunately, right up until the day he left for college, his mode of transportation remained a bicycle.

Hanging from the steamer was a long, black, beaded gown, and even in the relative darkness, he could see it was fancy, and that meant this woman sleeping next to him, ice-cold toes unconsciously brushing his bare leg, was fancy as well, too fancy for any occasion he would ever be attending again.


January 10, 2010

the way frozen chopped spinach looks after it’s been microwaved, but before it’s been drained — sopping, full, bursting with potential.


January 9, 2010

Streets covered in a staggered sheet of warm-colored leaves newly parted from their previous homes. Fireflies — lightning bugs, as her friends from the Midwest call them — flitting about in a mason jar held by a fascinated toddler at dusk. The Manhattan skyline from a high-rise apartment building. A hot-pink sunset. Two people that aren’t scared to be happy.

These are things she has never seen.


January 3, 2010

He walked around today so unhappy he could hardly breathe. He couldn’t decide then, and is still unsure now, whether it’s an incredibly dramatic or incredibly truthful way to live.