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life is elsewhere

Date: 2007-08-10 00:11
Subject: "hopefully new york city will lose you like it did me."
Security: Public
Crowded metro trains are a hell most vivid. Mike Braun, our outgoing Dupont manager, came into the store this evening around 9.40 to inform us that due to a "police incident" they had shut down the MD end of the red line: this did not bode well for my evening commute. I had to wait forever for a train. Then, when the goddamn metro finally did come, it was filled with obnoxious DC United fans griping about the delay. sjfkldsjklsjdlf WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS? This is just the latest in the day to day mismanagement that the red line has become--single tracking, "suspicious packages". The other day the train I was on was evacuated at Cleveland Park because some punk kids fooled with the brakes. Metro police chasing them down the platform. Get your shit together, Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority.
Ironically, the smoothest ride I've had all summer was this morning...it was so smooth, and my car was so blissfully empty, that I fell asleep and woke at Gallery Place, far from where I wanted to be. As Christopher said, I spend each shift recovering from the previous evening, and seeing as I got home at 5.30 this morning, today was obviously no exception.
At work today Christopher initiated me into the true brotherhood that is Second Story. "Have I shown you the daybooks yet?" he asked, almost immediately after our hated bro co-worker had skipped town. I gave him a blank expression. He unlocked a drawer and produced several stuffed diaries, many with stupid graphics of dolls and kittens, all stuffed with papers and photographs. He handed me one and instructed me to begin reading. They're all relics of the Bethesda Avenue store in the early nineties, when they had tons of employees and still griped about staff shortages (current Bethesda employees: three full time, one part time). Each day anyone who wanted to would write things down: alerts about reshelving, complaints from the management, complaints to the management, hilarious customer tales, etc. It was strange to see how much they cared about the store, and there was a weird slacker camraderie amongst the employees that we, in our eternal apathy, couldn't attempt to recreate. Not that they weren't apathetic; there are tons of suicide threats and the general depression that comes along with being a Second Story employee, and a surprising amount of the references translate. The jabs about the owner, for instance--they kept records of "Hilarious Allan Moments" (my favorite: July 6, 1997: Allan plans to open a horse farm for underpriviledged children in his backyard). Pictures of geeky looking 90s boys in front of the Bethesda Avenue store kept falling out of the pages. They seemed to really love to hate their miserable jobs, in, I guess, the same way we do today. My shift went quickly with the daybooks and Christopher, whose company I strangely love, to entertain me. I hated him so much at the beginning of the summer, but now I look forward to Thursdays, when I work swing to his closing and he buys me a coffee and we sit and mock our bro co-worker and the customers and have political debates and whatever else we talk about. I might really miss him, and, for all my complaining, my job. Of course it's completely shitty. But in a hilarious way.
But now I have two days off! which is unbelievably beautiful. I can already feel my soul start to heal.
My parents became U.S citizens today; my mother was displeased at formally renouncing Canada. And I told them I was almost definitely going to Arizona and not Rockville for Thanksgiving; they didn't seem too pissed. Just another day, and they're numbered.
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Date: 2007-08-07 18:16
Subject: "the first experience of working life stamped on his flesh the knowledge of his own mortality."
Security: Public
"there are buildings, and neon signs flickering, and this is a life, and it is here for the taking. you are alive. you look at the pinkish buildings. one day, you won't be here to see them. but today, the sight of these extravagant, fleeting treasures has been granted to you and you alone, and no one can claim to be here in your place."

the barmaid lights a cigarette because there is no such thing as loveCollapse )
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Date: 2007-07-31 21:10
Subject: we went back to your car, and fell asleep.
Security: Public
"Oh Jake," Brett said, "we could have had such a damned good time together."
Ahead was a mounted policeman in khaki directing traffic. He raised his baton. The car suddenly slowed, pressing Brett against me.
"Yes." I said. "Isn't it pretty to think so?"
may the days be aimless. let the seasons drift. do not advance the action according to a plan.Collapse )
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Date: 2007-07-28 06:02
Subject: the world will not perish for lack of wonders, but lack of wonder.
Security: Public
when whitman wrote "i sing the body electric"
i know what he
i know what he
to be completely alive evry moment in spite of the inevitable
we can't cheat death but we can make it
work hard
and when it does take us
it will have known a victory just as
perfect as

wanted to tell you that no guitar, could fix our broken hearts nowCollapse )
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Date: 2007-07-21 21:53
Subject: what i used to pass off as a bad summer could now potentially turn into a bad life
Security: Public
"i'm nostalgic for conversations i had yesterday. i'm reminiscing events before they occur. i'm reminiscing this right now. i can't go to the bar because i've already looked back on it in memory...and i didn't have a good time."

caution: useless bitching definite, as i'm bitter and pissed offCollapse )
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Date: 2007-07-16 23:32
Subject: "You can't concieve, nor can I, the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God." Graham Greene.
Security: Public
This is paradise!, Henry Miller screamed to us years ago, chastizing all those who waited in vain for the glory of heaven, resisting earthly pleasures in the name of age-old doctrine and fear. In the middle of a field, on a hill, we discuss theoretical physics and I look up at the stars in the sky, strumming the only three chords I know on a steel-string guitar.
"If I went up in a space ship at the speed of light and looped around for ten years, I'd come back and you'd be gone. Everyone would be. One hundred years would have passed on earth. And really, this is because of the loops."
"Why?" I ask, making patterns in the stars and wishing I had paid attention in basic math class, if only to understand the mysteries of warped time and space. It's all points of reference, and something about the speed of light, and how if this is true nothing else we know can be, and this is true. From my perspective it's one way, and from yours it's another, and that's the science, the physics, that both things are true and nothing is true at all.
"Because light speed warps time."
"So time isn't definite?"
"Of course not. What is definite?"
Nothing about my life is extraordinary, particularly. The "there is nothing original here" critiques my mother made of my attempts at art apply to my life as well, and to everyone's, probably. Sometimes my mother goes off on long nostalgia fits about her childhood and I stare out the window, bored, watching the passing cars. I can sometimes feel myself doing this to others: it's just strange when things that matter to you with every fiber you have translate into boring trivialities. There's just this ecstacy. We are not the first and will not be the last, and soon we will only be here when we close our eyes, but there's something in the infinity of asphalt and 4am that I have no desire to explain or understand.
Recently I spent the day on the battlefields in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and not unpleasantly, despite initial arguments that it was a waste of a precious day off. I've seen these fields many times and from many angles of life but I love them, strangely, and not because of the history and blood-soaked soil and Lincoln stood here, on this spot: now a town of General Pickett's Buffett and the Old Blue and Gray Gift Shop. The landscape is so goddamn beautiful: panoramic open skies, shadows of blue mountains framing cornfields. Staggering views at all angles--the space preserved as hallowed ground, not a strip mall or Starbucks in sight, countryside and blue and green and gold earth. Three rolls of film spent quickly trying to box the beauty inside a rectangular frame. "What's with you and taking pictures of empty space?" asks Samantha.
As for emptiness, I've been thinking about Graham Greene, two cigarettes stubbed out in the backyard of my childhood, authenticity in thought and word and spirit, the drama of the streets and Albert Camus, absurd ways to die and absurd ways to live. Not to say I'm not terrified, or that I could love any of you any less. I don't know. If time isn't even certain, if this whole thing is just something we invented, how could I ever begin to understand anything else?
And so tonight I am going to sing for you. A little off key perhaps, but I will sing. This is paradise!, this is youth, and we close our eyes and remember only, drunk on the strangeness and beauty of it all.
We all think we're artists but we're really just fools. Cynicism being my main charm. Tomorrow I will rise at some ungodly hour and sell shitty books to crazy people, and the day after that, and the day after that.
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Date: 2007-07-05 22:47
Subject: we were standing on the hood of the car, screaming out loud when the sun came up
Security: Public
"when you become old like me," my 23 year old co-worker tells me as he makes the black coffee necessary for my shift survival, using the mr coffee maker we keep behind the desk for days such as these, along with the books we shamelessly hide from customers for our own benefit, "you will not want to stay out all night. you will want to get as much sleep as humanly possible. you will go to bed at eight, like i did last night."
"your life is obviously one of constant excitement."
"i am making you this coffee, so shut up. and stop yawning. it's contagious."
i got home at 6.30 this morning, and i had work, so there was no point in sleeping. despite this, i haven't felt better in a long time. insomnia is actually sort of great when you spend it with guitars and too much coffee and cigarettes and klondike bars, in and out of diners and basements, sunset sunrise and springsteen sing-a-longs (plus an ad-libbed epic in honor of democracy!), and three of my favorite people in the entire universe.
sleepless, long nights, that was what my youth was for.
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Date: 2007-06-20 21:26
Subject: even when the evenings aren't so shitty, i can't see any stars because i'm too close to the city
Security: Public
"it seems strange that these mountains make me miserable
when the great dividing range merely proves we're indivisible
let's not get metaphysical..."

I bought books today. I bought books yesterday. I bought books the day before that. I work in a bookstore.
Last night I got busted by a cop for hanging out at a playground after dark. Well, more like interrogated: we got off easy since there were obviously no drugs in Danny's car and trespassing was our only offense. But now my favorite swingset has been ruined by fear of that same cop, since we pretended to learn the error of our ways. And a new fear: the homeless people and "vagrants" that apparently, at least according to the officer, live in the surrounding woods. Sweet.
The metro ride on the way to and from work is the only time I can sleep. Mainly because I spend my nights yelling at being yelled at, these days. And because I never slept anyway.
Once I considered slashing your bicycle tires. More than once. It was when the damn system had me gardening outside the school and I had the scissors (I used to have to "trim" the weeds with craft scissors...a humiliating chapter). It would have been easy. I was certainly angry enough. Now I hardly think about you because you hardly ever mattered. I hope all anger vanishes so easily.
Foreign spaces reveal that I value open minds over rigid, excessive brilliance.
And damnit, I will finish Crime and Punishment.
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Date: 2007-06-13 14:42
Subject: the city lights, and the stayaway stars
Security: Public
My past attempts at living the livejournal dream have been less than ideal. I have diaries of my own, and friends to whine to, etc. So can I promise this will be used? Under no circumstances, no. But I hope that this attempt will be less futile than the others.
I need summer employment so that I can stop spending my waking hours glued to DVDs of Dawson's Creek: not even the good, early years, but the college years when everything became sappy and slutty and even the token gay man got some action among the ladies of Capeside. It's fairly absurd that they all end up in the same city, despite Dawson's brief voyage to LA, living in basically the same house, best friends foreverrrr, the college remix. But even as I mock this in my mind I can't help but wish for almost the same thing, a WB ending for my high school days. Never having to call myself a Rockville High student again is a glorious thing, but the idea of taking off and having to start all over in the big city is so damn depressing. Of course, I'll probably feel much differently when the DVDs run out and I'm forced to spend my waking hours (which, thanks to an unfortunate bout of sleeplessness, is now 24/7) contemplating whether I can expend the energy to scrape the remaining peanut butter from the jar to muster up some sort of meal.
At least the late afternoon thunderstorms chase the oppressive and unbearable heat away, if only for a moment.
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Date: 2005-03-14 18:27
Subject: I am still retarded....but..
Security: Public
Um, yes. I still don;t know how to use this. But thanks to Jill I have a sexy icon. Weee.
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my journal
January 2008