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I didn’t know about the bee trouble. They’re flying off and then not going home. “They get disoriented,” J told me. But I had more questions. Why aren’t they going home? To which she had blanket answers like Maybe Global Warming and Or It Could Be Cell Phone Related Radiation. “Sick bees don’t go home when they’re sick. They can’t find the hive. They just keep going and then die, I guess.” I guess she’s right.
I suggested that maybe the bees didn’t want to go back to the hive. They’ve been out in the world and have a new life now. “Maybe it was women’s lib!” I told her.
It’s a big deal because bees are used to pollinate crops– and without them… agricultural nightmare. First the almond crops and then and then.
For corroboration I found this article in the New York Times. I guess it’s honest rather than foreboding that I’m getting my nature news from the business section.
Meanwhile, across the country, my nearest and dearest are abuzz with trauma and possibly wondering where home is.
“Yes, once in a blue moon I actually have #5 -dinner – happen, but I would
trade it in a heart beat for lots of #3 and #6!”
two friends. It’s the same party.”
San Francisco is both warmer and colder than I anticipated. A recent windfall of tragedies has left me staying with J’s friends in SF. She has flown back to Georgia for a few days and I’ll be on my (wicked) own here.
Things I have learned about SF: 1. Most of the plants are not native. The palm trees were imported mysteriously by people who wanted California to look “more like California” and the Eucalyptus were carried over by emigrating koalas (circa the War.)
2. Things that you didn’t think whole groups of people would actually do, they did do. Case in point: the plastic bag ordinance.
3. City Lights Books actually smells like testicle.
4. Boulder, Colorado’s town twin is not– despite Boulder’s most vociferous claims– SF but, rather, Santa Cruz. It’s gourmet-type organic, full of very tan white people who wear shorts and flip flops despite the fact that it’s 10 degrees too cold, populated half by wandering tourists and half by famblies, aging purple hippies, and college students. Santa Cruz is almost half as big and 7% more Latino. Wikithanks in order for the last “fact.”
5. J doesn’t know what a redwood looks like but is willing to take advantage of the fact that I don’t either if she thinks I might be impressed by her botanical knowledge/believing a tree is a redwood.
6. Talking about how celebrity-sponsored Katrina animal relief work is a fucked up use of resources is about as palate-cleansing and light-hearted as talking about the ethics of cigarette taxation.
7. In case of emergency, pick 4.5x the amount of strawberries you think you need.
8. On Fauna: Seals and Sea Lions are apparently two different animals. Seals are a lot cuter than you’d think and Sea Lions probably have rough skin. Gardner Snakes can appear if you wish hard enough. One of the largest great white shark breeding areas is just 30 miles west of SF.
2. Cause: Sleepwalking. You go out the front door and stand in the snow. Someone comes to get you and they learn to lock up at night. Treatment: Restraint.
4. Cause: Wide-eyes. In 13 years you will forget why it started happening– but remember all the same wresting energies. Although it is smarter than to be fooled by common remedies: hot baths, keeping the bed a sleeping place, Valerian, relaxation techniques– it can be treated with more innovative methods until it adapts. Discover by trial and grave, grave, error. Treatment: Hypothermia. Close the door and open all the windows in the middle of the winter. It is well below zero and somehow your little room is cold enough to pour drafts down two floors and across the house. Your father comes in to say, “What are you doing? There’s a three-foot snow drift on your bed,” and you later regret not opening your eyes to see the snow for yourself and always wonder about the texture of snow blown through a screen. In the summer sing in a loud whisper to yourself and enjoy the sound of your own, out-of-tune voice.
1. Cause: Heat. Your first summer in Massachusetts you stay in a brick box on the fifth floor with no window or fan. Every hour or so you wake up gasping for air and wonder if anyone’s ever reported suffocation by heat. Death isn’t scary enough yet so you can go back to sleep with ease just by looking at the chapel tower and finally being alone. Treatment: Company. Sleep on an extra-long twin bed with someone else instead. Preferably a bunk-bed so that there are three of you in close quarters. His roommates will get used to seeing you naked when he goes to class in the morning. Stay awake all night fucking and walking around and only go inside to check in for curfews. If you have to be alone, be sure to have sex all afternoon and then sleep in public next to other teenagers who are smoking all night on the bridge over Mass Ave.
4. Cause: (pre)Occupation. Night jobs. Treatment: Don’t sleep. The insomnia will treat itself and you will find yourself, always, miraculously tired. It will be the biggest relief of your life.
5. Cause: Worry. Fret yourself hard until you are cross-hatched with fraught. You know you’re doing it right when you can hear every movement of your gurgling stomach– or, at least, you will know that your stomach is gurglingly in motion. Treatment: Divide all your food into rations and write up lists detailing the exact amount of food you can filch from roommates. Figure out how many days you have to skip the subway in order to afford something besides rice and rice. Plan to steal vitamins in the meantime. Think about how sleeping is the mature solution to hunger and calculate how much you can save just by spending more time unconscious then solve all your problems by doing the responsible thing.
7. Cause: Disturbance. Life is elsewhere and your dreams are equally terrifying. Keep all your options open to safeguard against terrors. You’re having recurring dreams about inanimate objects that swell and threaten and then chase you. They’re things without legs or wheels and most of the dream is caught up with being afraid that they are about to come after you. You run through a maze and shoot the thing to bits until a whole field is covered in the parts. They wobble and explode into growth and come at you in droves. One night it’s the button-eye of a doll and the next, two glass blobs stacked up like 2/3 of a snowman. You tell your shrink but there’s only so much you can do about being obvious. “In the dream, where are you?” “Inside the castle walls, and I know that if I only get out– but I’ve also done the dream before so I know how it ends.” Treatment: Cultivate obscure information fetishes. Look up the lengths of books and fact-check rumors. Image-search film stars of the 1930s and lesbian pulp. Compile lengthy documents and plan very long jokes that rely on the convergence of a high number of unlikely factors. Fine-tune your punchlines so they’re ready when the chance arises.
Well, it’s the season. The sci-fi kink crowd is prowling the streets. People of all ages are standing in five hour long lines. The Mennonites are handing out lavender Jesus brochures. My ladywife, Alex, has been reduced to the ole duck n cover into my shoulder every time someone mentions those magic words, “I know how it ends.” The familiar sirens and tubas of Mass Ave have been supplanted with child-type people screaming out of car windows at the top of their lungs: Harry Potter Rocks.
Leaving me with only two things to say:
1) I DO know how it ends.
2) People have got to stop telling me about how woe-is-them for always being mistaken for H. Pott. Dedicated readers might notice this is blag #2 on which I’m complaining about this phenomenon. That’s how annoying it is. Do you get it? Enough to make someone blog on two DIFFERENT sites. (I have closed down the other one, but thanks for all the good times.)
a. blogging hasn’t worked
b. must try a more direct approach to nip-problem-in-bud. See below a list of all the people I can think of who have made this inane conversation with me. Please feel free to comment with other accusations. Only you can prevent forest fires.
i. Alexander “pie” Weissman, “A to the K Ward” Kasia, Nicosystem, Spencer (reprieve: he’s 9), Tom White,
ii. I will provide the email addresses, phone numbers, and shoe sizes of all these offenders for a small fee
*for reference see L. Coleman’s explanation of Foucault’s Discipline and Punish. In particular, the facts that confess themselves.
An old video favorite for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure. Link courtesy Erin.
Ms EM cooked us a lovely dinner last night and we had a long talk on her porch. I met some new root vegetables– beets mixed with carrots, which tasted just like carrots but had the same exotic appeal as blood oranges. Anyway who doesn’t like to eat blood-colored things? Answer me that. I don’t need to recap the talk because Nora, currently traveling through the South reportedly topless, told me that her first discovery on the road is that there are only six topics of conversation: gossip, confusion, racism, sex, consumption (see wiki for disambiguation as always), and mechanics. I would hate to disprove her hypothesis so early on.
Ms EM and I kept it mostly to two of the six: racism and what Minohla Dargis and A.O. Scott described in the NYT as “girls, an altogether different chamber of secrets.”* Because I’ve been spending a lot of time between the gym and my bed, I’ve had a lot of time to come up with various ethical dilemmas, inane questions, cute and corny straight lines, and saucy retorts to inflict upon the stationary and tipsy. All my best questions were thwarted, however, when, after giving a long preamble-anticipatory-excuse to a straight-forward question that I wanted EM to take the immoral/unethical/better/easier side on, I opened up my first beer to be jeered with “Lies are slippery, like eels” printed on the lid.
I didn’t know beer was in the habit of giving advice these days. What happened to the Magic 8 Ball, Ouiji, and the all-knowing Snapple? All legitimate but out-moded forms of divination?
The old stand-by, word of the day got me but good anyway.
Now rare. 1. Of or relating to presence; having or implying actual presence with a person or in a place; present. 2. Having presence of mind; attentive to the matter in hand, alert; = PRESENT adj. 4. Obs. 3. a. Grammar. Relating or having reference to the present tense.
presentialist n. Obs. nonce-wd. a believer in the Real Presence; see REAL adj.2 2b.
San Francisco in just a handful of days. Will be happy to have the world mock me in a new, cooler, time zone.
“Harry Potter and the Four Directors.” New York Times, July 15, 2007.
There is someone else at my school with the same name. Actually, it’s one letter off– but it’s a contestable silent letter that people don’t hear you say when spell your name outloud and you have to emphasize it like a fool. For some reason people are passionate about their nascent opinions about my name.
I like the co-named trouble-maker, I do. She’s hilarious. She’s rambunctious. She’s a Sagittarius for heavensake. Ok, technically we’ve never met… Although she’s received a lot of my queer mail and I’ve received a lot of her bills. Already (since she arrived a year ago and I almost swiped her $10 “free” copy card just because I could) the University imbeciles et al. have argued with me for roughly 48 collective minutes about whether or not I am right about basic facts like my age and hometown and whether I’ve ever lived in Indiana and might possibly have a twin with the same name, born two years younger. One of us doesn’t exist they think. I told them to recount their tuition dollars and divide by $42,000. Idiocy at University: par for the chorus.
This afternoon I went for my neurotically regular and always delightful Ob/Gyn appointment, truly always a delight, and discovered a minor flaw in the scheduling system. Health Services schedules by name but checks in by ID number and apparently I scheduled the wrong me an appointment. AND THEN.. even though she’s probably frolicking around California with her mom and mom, completely free of the paralytic trauma of having a name-twin, I couldn’t convince the health center to let me have the appointment. So everyone just sat there grumpy and stubborn while the nurses and receptionists talked wide-eyed and to my face about how she’d missed her appointment and they (re)booked me for September.
Originally uploaded by femmefare
Should you see homeless, irradiated produce, in the area, someone misses it. I sympathize, remembering a similar instance of a thrice mislaid brisket in a winter downpour. High holy days, NYC. Fortunately, I got to stay nestled in bed watching the cinematic stylings of Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal in the ingenious disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow, while N donned a series of even more oversized overcoats and searched the streets in the pouring sleet, eventual success prevailed– for twice the price. It doesn’t escape me that N and Jake look not unalike, especially with all the extra overcoating. (See also: Greenhouse Effect, Eerie Convergence of Events/ Actor Lookalikes Unbeknownst, Dress your Family to Check Wunderground.com Before They Go A-Shopping.)
3. Night Sweats. Arise late in the month and catch you by surprise. After two years of fucking him, it’s over and every cleft is full of residue, skin smudged. You feel it first at the corners of your mouth moist with sweat and spit that somehow can’t be wiped away because you haven’t any clean sleeves and it’s too hot in the basement to launder. It is the first time you know you will leave someone you loved and it makes you briefly euphoric to be hale enough to choose to be unloved. You wait for September to take a clean shower and know he will go on loving you after you’re gone.
4. Inflammation. Avoids the joints which loosen instead, affects the abdomen and back. First, you will notice a taut line cinching your waist and displacing your bowels into your chest. You might think you have been lassoed but the infection is internal. You will find out where she and her girlfriend are going so that you can drop by. You will practice casual conversations in order to be capable of them. When everyone else strips down and jumps into the pond, you will avoid each others’ naked bodies because you are both horrified by the tightening line that bisects you into two bruised parts: sex and sex.
5. Delusion. A peripatetic flutters darkly onto the periphery and you chase the black coat and fables into a long walk. A month from now, at the end of the night after four false goodbyes and a pie she couldn’t eat, you will kiss her cheek over her bicycle still a mile from your home. But in July you won’t know that and will only write notes into the ether and wonder how mad and madder who is. You are.
6. Disorientation. When the train stops, you no longer understand where you are. There are only two verbs, to rush and to loom. Because you are a fugitive you try to look casually at all the subway maps and wonder why no one lists the city or, even, state. That kind of information would certainly help you figure out how to behave next. Your lover attends to you but you have deserted your body so she tends to someone else while you watch and get jealous. In a lucid moment, you have a bagel picnic in the park on the river and all but forget it until a year later.
7. Shock. Your tongue swells up and the walls of your throat kiss each other, perilously. You gasp for air and chew on the inside of your mouth, probing and measuring. It’s worst after you eat, especially fruit or drugs or the sound of going-right-to-voicemail. You carry your id everywhere and walk around the 24 grocery store for hours so that someone can call 911. Finally you are diagnosed with something vague and you are told to take two pills before bed. They make you flush and clamor to the top of your body– trying to scratch and tread back to the surface, sure you will die if you can’t vomit. It is the first time you have ever drowned in yourself and it’s the only cure anyone can come up with. You take higher and higher dosages to shorten this fit before sleep but it always requires a little lapse in life for you to fall. Every night you are sure you will die as soon as you stop trying to breath and every night you have to go to bed anyway. Soon you discover that it’s not the sedation that the doctors think will help but the expected inurement to mortal fear.