Tuesday, August 25, 2009

High Aspirations

The incredibly cute shoe you see has haunted me since April. I saw a pinker version in a store window and once inside saw a milder tan model. I think maybe I tried them on. I think maybe they weren't worth seperation of cash and wallet. I think maybe every time I see them I feel a flutter in my heart.

I glamorize them and thereby glamorize my feet with them on. The perfect summertime shoe (and since there are only a few weeks of summer left this infatuation should end). Light, airy, comfortable (did I mention I tried them on and instictively winced where blisters would appear?) and gorgeous.

That is what I know to be true when I see them. Once I've stepped away I reconsider. This is a shoe more suitable for a coastal surfer with messy hair, a ripped t-shirt and damp boardshorts. Someone suffering for their art...entertainment...livelihood? A poor impressionable youth of the male gender. That is who this shoe is for.

Except that this shoe is for me. I've talked myself out of it multiple times, except when I found them at a sidewalk sale. The only reason I don't own this shoe is my size was gone in the acceptable color and pattern. But looking at this shoe online tonight I remembered an aspiring goal made by me and my highschool friend Oliver.

We would somehow give up on life, or at least the first year of college and make our way to California. Once there we'd become Beach Bums. Captilized because we'd romanticized it. Life couldn't suck if the sand was your pillow and the ocean your lullaby. Oliver made it a bit closer than me. His family actually moved to Southern California and he followed them later. I desperately clung to the mountains, afraid of giving up my winters.

The purchase of this shoe could change all that, I'm just $49.95 away from a life of leisure and garbage-bin breakfasts.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Water Bombed

A fifteen-hour workday on a Friday conjures images of the GULAG, except in 100 degree desert heat. We weren’t going to take it with our heads hanging between our legs. We needed ammo and found it in the form of water balloons. It took 40 minutes to fill them and 40 seconds to bomb the ants climbing up my pants. Totally worth it. And we have 477 balloons in reserve.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Chapter Three

When I was young I dreamt about flying. They always began the same with me running across the field next to our house and as I approached the ditch I'd flap my arms. Of course it was just my arms that lifted me upward, I thought happy thoughts just as Peter Pan taught. I remember waking up and being surprised that my dream self had pulled it off, and a little nervous because that same self was obviously clueless about what was beyond those telephone wires.

These dreams lead to hours of staring out our front window watching the sky as birds flew in and out of view landing on those telephone wires. Eventually I convinced my dream self that some sort of parachute-style device was also needed. My unicorn sheets made the cut and now I could safely leave the ground. I was still nervous to go far but I did explore the neighborhood from the air and always dropped down when I thought my parachute would whisk me away from my mom forever.

Today I sat in the park and saw red, white and yellow crescents floating above the mountain ridge. Paragliders. I watched them until I couldn't, imagining my dream self with the blue and white unicorn sheets among them. A completely freeing thought, an involuntary smile and a crushing blow to the contrast of what I'm working on right now.

I told a friend that I would proof her manuscript. I've actually been in on the process for a while now and have read the rough drafts. I know the story and lived one year of it. I've heard it over dinners sitting across from her intimately at a table for two. I make a guest appearance memoir-style in chapter three. And it still rips my heart to know that her little girl, suffering from RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder), won't look at the sky when she's 26 and remember dreams of flying away on unicorn sheets.

But hopefully after the intense therapy she's going through she won't dream about abandonment either.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Seattle Hangover

I want to tell you that things have improved since my last post and I now love August. Turns out you don't always get what you want.

I cursed the month and then fled the state. Not really connected but you never know when a caring friend will turn up with wedding cake to destroy your self-pity. And I knew my brother Philip and his wife Annie would not have any wedding cake so I could safely hate August from their Seattle apartment.

The dismal gray skies were ordered and delivered after a week of record-high temps. Perfect. On that first day Phil invited me to all-you-can-eat sushi. He convinced me to pile my plate high with the unknown. We sat down and with a boyish grin reminiscent of the horror stories he told me in my youth, he explained the Sushi Hangover. An experience I laughed at...until the next morning.

The day of indulgence was amazing. We walked the city recklessly. Blisters? Never. Side-ache? No. Weary, tired, irritable? I felt like an Olympian, or what I'd imagine an Olympian to feel like if they were high on raw fish. We stayed up well into the night—one of us knowing the next day would hurt, one of us beginning to forgive August.

The next morning we sluggishly drove to the water for a kayaking adventure. I didn't feel too horrible. The day after that we trekked up a mountain. Again I felt fine once I was up. The day after that we went trail riding cowboy style. By now the Sushi Hangover had passed and it didn't seem bad.

Wait. I have the world's slowest metabolism. I know this in the shadowy regions of my mind but I like to forget it. It became unforgettable when the Sushi Hangover hit me on Sunday, three days late. Luckily it also lasted about three days, haunting me through Tuesday. You may not believe, few do. I mocked Phil a bit about it myself and paid a price.

Karma or just old-fashioned big brother knows best?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Summer Isn't Over Yet

This long and draining weekend in which I have disturbed many of my relationships has been continually punctuated by one phrase—Summer is over.

I read it in the family letter on Saturday morning. Summer is over, school will begin (most of these family members are teachers). I panicked for two reasons: 1. As an irresponsible adult I like to think that summer will last until the first snow. That means more volleyball playing for me and not as much 8-3 with the kiddies. 2. My summer only started in July and these letters were supposedly written July 10th. Conclusion: my family secretly hates me and wants me to live with a 10-day summer. It explains a lot.

That decided (the part of them wanting me to be miserable) I mentally congratulated myself for procrastinating reading the letter and quickly disregarded it so I could enjoy my summer. Unfortunately two hours later my employer (also a teacher) recalled the ugly truth, summer is over. She will be returning to school in two weeks which means my hours extend. Hmmm. It was hard to disregard this, but I managed telling myself I didn't have to think about until I returned from Seattle.

Wouldn't you know that two hours later I checked my email and in the subject head read Summer is Over. Really. Gone. Ushered away by the new school year.

August sucks.