Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lend Me Some Shellac, Would You?

Yesterday at 5:00 I was standing on the beach of an island that floats just beyond Boothbay Harbor. My shoes were back in the car, and my toes were sinking into a spongy carpet of seaweed that stretched from sand to tide pool to the water's edge. I had a plastic bottle full of white wine in one hand and a Tupperware container for shell collection in the other. My office-mate was ahead of me, scaling the higher rocks because he still had his shoes on. He had a plastic container of wine, too, and he was remarking about how insane it was that the entire beach was littered with periwinkles.

I was picking up the more remarkable ones--green as pistachios, striped--and trying not to spill the wine--which was surprisingly difficult to drink out of the type of bottle that is designed to use while exercising--and it was the first time I'd been happy in weeks. We'd already been to the aquarium, where I'd held a lobster and a starfish, where I'd petted a shark and a sea cucumber--and then we'd wandered Boothbay Harbor to see the ships and the band and the wares being sold at its annual festival. I bought fudge. I got my picture taken in front of giant sailing ships that had docked for the festival. It had been a nice day despite the clouds, despite the occasional mist. I felt better than I had in weeks.

I don't know what it was there for a while. I guess it was a lot of things. Maine has been under the cover of clouds and rain and clouds and rain for the last two weeks straight, and there hasn't been a day where the sun came through even for a few minutes.

There are also the nightmares. I haven't gotten a good or full night's sleep in weeks. Each night I jolt awake, terrified from one or two or three different nightmares where a variety of people I love or people I don't even know--Conan O'Brien, for example--are dying horrible, unsightly, and very public deaths right in front of me. Or if the people in the dream aren't dying, they are close--like in the dream where I gave birth, decided I didn't want my baby, and left him alone in an apartment while I went out for Chinese food with some friends from grad school.

In addition to all that, the Boy From Work and I decided to quit trying to get ourselves back together earlier this week, so everything has been kind of a mess. And this rain wasn't helping anything. I just need some sun.

And you know where it's sunny? Buffalo. So I pulled out my suitcases tonight, and I started packing early. I'm not waiting around until the middle of next week to go home. I'm leaving as soon as possible. And I'll be gone a long time, which requires some skillful packing. A lot of packing. Every-shoe-I-love-and-a-variety-of-purses kind of packing. So I dragged everything out of my closet and surveyed the mess. Some of my more casual summer purses were filthy with the grime of sand and melted gum, so I began emptying them so I could toss them in the washer. One of the purses had a small writer's notebook in it, and it's an old one, one that was around during grad school and beyond.

I opened that up and found the most ridiculous gems inside. Completely stupid, completely bizarre snippets and ideas and even a romantic intervention. To give you an idea, here's a few things to consider:


  1. "I want to shellac the world." -- Me, at Diana's
  2. "I'll conjugate his verb." -- Author unknown, although that sure sounds like something I'd say
  3. "Will you diaphragm his sentence? UGH! DIAGRAM! I MEAN DIAGRAM!" -- Amy
  4. During a discussion on the magazine Cosmopolitan: "It's a female magazine." -- Amy; "A female manatee?" -- Matt
  5. "Those girls are big, bearded, plaid-wearing, campfire-making lesbians." -- Jeff

Notes to Self:

  1. Sign on 169, heading to Minneapolis: COWS IN ROAD. USE CAUTION. BE PREPARED TO STOP.
  2. Oglala. Lakota.
  3. Pig! [The exclamation is dotted with a heart]
  4. Teacher (young). Gets attention from student (failed a few grades?) Scene: teacher chaperoning @ h.s. dance.
  5. Amy wants her gravestone to read: SHE LIKED CHEESE.
  6. Unsalted butter. 3 1/2 oz. 2 cups heavy cream.
  7. Congratulations Seth & Amanda. Congratulations Seth & Penny. Both on parents' business billboard. Two pregnant girls. Will the parents really announce both?
  8. Amy's students think the word sectionalism is dirty. (Caucus too.)
  9. My brother thinks these words are gross: seminary, rectory, masturbation

Series of Letters Written by Josh (with My Help) at the Bar Where We Use to Work (The Letters Are for The Spunky Russian He Was Then in Love with):

[KEY: blue = his writing; red = my writing]

  1. Dear Baby, What's crappenin'? Here's what I think: my thoughts are not complete. You are one of my favorite people in the world. When you were here it was amazing. Now you're not and there's a little empty space in me. I've been thinking about that emptiness a lot. Instead of cutting you some... I blame geography and I would love so much to be your BF. I'm not sure, though, that either of us is capable of being in a long distance relationship right now. Let me tell you what I think: you used to intimidate me and that made me communicate poorly with you.
  2. Dear Baby, What's crappenin'? Are you capable of being with me even if you're in grad school? I simply can't deal with this random on-off shit.
  3. Dear Liza, I like your ass. Also, I like your hair. Do you want to be my girlfriend? We can have babies if you want. You can't cheat on me. Promise. Love, Josh.
  4. Dear Baby, I'm sorry for this but we have 2 options: (1.) Be my girlfriend and don't cheat on me. (2.) We to back to talking minimally like before (this doesn't mean I'll never see you again.)

None of those letters got sent. (And for anyone keeping track, the night those were written was the night this memorable and urine-soaked event happened.)

That notebook and everything written in it just about made my night. And it--like the few hours yesterday that I spent kicking around the salty town of Boothbay Harbor--made me feel a little bit lighter for the first time in weeks, and I've got to believe that there are going to be more things like that--things that make me feel a little bit lighter, a little bit less like Saturn is continuing to bitch-slap me until the middle of August--coming my way soon, as I run around Buffalo, soaking in everything good that is waiting for me.


Joshua said...

More days home means less days books means you come visit. Gabriel's Gate nous attend!!

Jess said...

"... less days books?"

Are you drunk?

Joshua said...

I wasn't when I wrote that but then I had a lunch break and now I am. Books was meant to be "booked"

Joshua said...

Also I had just ordered a set of six of John Swartzwelder's books for $80. It was an awful impulse purchase. But he's so funny (writer for the Simpsons). I was sober then.

Casey Sween said...

I'd like to verb your noun.