Wine Twilight

And this is the home stretch for a little chapter in my life…okay, it was a huge chapter: college. It’s as good as over. Thoughts have turned full-on to working overseas. Bought a passport today and it should be here before May begins. I’m trying to get to Seoul. Money’s good, chances of meeting like-minded folks is good, and it’ll be good to see a new landscape, learn about a new culture. Am I convincing myself? Sort of. I was thinking Thailand, but the pay’s shite and they don’t fly you there. The plane ticket’s the biggest expense, easy.

So tomorrow I spend at the lib. Scribble scribble scribble DONE. Yeah, right.

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unmaledictive prestruggle – horrible fight

Last night a pin was inserted into a water balloon. Megan and I said some very hurtful things to each other. Details aside, things aren’t good here. I have a lot of pent-up anger that I’m concentrating on letting go. She blames me. I blame her. It’s stupid.

She woke up angry. I didn’t. Wake up.

I’m listening to Arvo Part’s “Summa” from Arbos. It’s a conversational chant, and a little fearsome/sorrowful.

George and Crystal got here yesterday and met me at Kramerbooks, this pricey little bookstore in the neighborhood where we had beer and scotch. This lecher behind us, this fifty year-old Indian fellow was sitting on a barstool feeling up this young girl. She seemed to be okay with it and I didn’t care, but Crystal was revolted. She wanted to punch him in the face. I told her that at any given time you could run a two-handed count of old man-young woman couples on these streets. The soul of this place lies in decision-making, policy structuring, and plain work, which is not romantic in the least. The women here must be interested in something else, like power or money, or smooth talkers. To each her own.

Anyway, we finished drinking at the bookstore and strolled down to a record shop, The Red Onion, in Adam’s Morgan. George found Mingus and Crystal found several folk albums and I found a Lounge Lizards album. Yay John Lurie! My day was going so well. Crystal received a phone call in the record store (a real closet of a place) and began to broadcast her conversation. George and I went outside.

The call was from her friend Julia, another physicist. We hopped on the metro and took it to Shady Grove, the end of the line, and she and her husband Dan (a physicist) picked us up. The score: me and four nuclear physicists. So, of course *physics* popped up and I had no clue what they were saying. We pulled into Dogfish Head brewery and sat down upstairs, where they served us good beer, pizza, fish and chips, burgers, and more beer. We talked loudly for a couple hours and I bought Megan a shirt, which I had each of them sign. Crystal started to sign M-e-g and everyone started laughing. She was only writing Megan a note, and was hurt a little, drunkenly.

Finally we came back on the last metro and when I got home Megan had commandeered all my rye whiskey. We watched a little Colbert with Steve and Mellen. We went to bed and had an awful fight which I feel awful about today. I think I’ll be drinking soon, and my physicist pals are going to phone me looking for a bar partner. I’ll agree and be tipsy all day today, too. Things are very hard right now in this house.

Tuesday, St. Paddy’s 2009

Last night was grueling. Here’s Chinaski:

I was glad I wasn’t in love, that I wasn’t happy with the world. I like being at odds with everything. People in love often become edgy, dangerous. They lose their sense of perspective. They lose their sense of humor. They become nervous, psychotic bores. They even become killers.

It’s true. I can’t even begin to enumerate the ways in which remaining in Indiana has damaged my personality and my ability to communicate. It’s probably why I write. People there live in this Goddamn bubble of hick safety which permits them to grow to be huge (hugely mediocre) fishes in their tiny little ponds. To feel like a fat cat even when on the grand scale you’re a timid dweeb is the goal, and fuck the rest because they don’t swim with you. GAH I CAN’T STAND IT ANYMORE GET ME OUT I WANT OUT I CAN’T BREATHE ANYMORE I AM DAMAGED FOR LIVING THERE SO LONG AND SUFFOCATED AND I’M TAKING IT OUT ON MY LOVERS AND THEY ARE FUCKING LEAVING IT IS ALL MY FAULT OR YOURS, INDIANAAaaaaaaaa

GAH! again.

And so this morning hasn’t held much in the way of interesting happenings. I’m back at Tryst. You know what that means? That’s right, it’s time for the Rabid Character Sketcher to come alive and leer at people again. Who are we skeezing out today? I’m glad you asked!

Directly across from me in a comfortable chair is writer-guy. We are wearing the same shoes: Note-Taker 9000s. We both have blue jeans on. He is of…Italian descent? Beard shadow and greased hair, thick eyebrows and a notepad. Unfortunately for him, he has blue eyes. In them is reflected the great picture window through which he’s staring…right now. I’d say he’s looking at the facade across the street, but know better. He’s got the flush of writer’s block in his cheeks.

Sitting next to him is Ripped Old Guy. We are both wearing tight black t-shirts. He has curly gray hair that used to be blond. A pair of wire-frame rectangular glasses sits over his nose; they’re too wide for his face. He’s wearing gray denim jeans. Oops! Very hip with his MacBook and iPod earbuds.

Next to me is Shaky Girl. She’s spilled her tea several times now and ordered soup, the dessicated remains of which you’ll find next to my shoes, mixed with tea. She has next to no hair, by choice. She’s pretty, and compulsively and vainly checks her Gmail.

I’m reading “Women” by Bukowski, which has granted me license to look at all of these people through a shameless lens. I also just read a short story by a friend and gave him notes. I tend to think there’s an economy in all that reading, meaning that if you’re at it long enough, and you’re doing it actively, it actually decreases the amount of energy you have to write afterward. I could be tired from a shitty sleep, but when I think about finishing this essay I’ve got to crack on (worth THREE credits, mind you) all the inspiration just runs down my leg. Whaddya gonna do? Probably take a shower and drink some green beer, take some photos and get thrown in jail. Let’s do this right.


What evil?

Volcanic ash pirhouettes down, down, pocking the trees and buildings gray and dusty. The cards are falling on the table slowly as if from a great height, such that I can’t see where they’re coming from and am surprised when they finally land. I’m diving head-first into life’s weirdness, and feel at home. This is the way it always has been for me. I’m okay on the burning fringe, but when the air starts to smell of oases’ palms I start to get nervous and shut down.

What the fuck am I talking about? I’m feeling the pull of travel: wanderlust. Southeast Asia is calling, and I can’t fathom why or how I hear it. I’m hanging out in Washington, DC right now and while it’s neat to be in a place where there’s so much diversity and opportunity, it’s still capitalist America, and I don’t appreciate it. Probably experiencing conditions in other countries will help me appreciate it.

Let’s talk about the people in this coffee shop. There’s a couple sitting at opposite ends of a small table. He’s busy at his laptop…they are friends, but not a couple, I don’t think. She’s reading a book. They aren’t old…well, maybe she’s in her 40s and he’s in his early 50s. He has a dumpy, cream-colored baseball cap and an honest, shaven face. She’s raven-haired and wears a translucent brown barette. Her green coat is slung carelessly over her chair; it’s lining is plaid. He has jowls, but they’re from age rather than any degree of being overweight. He has no sideburns, and she has flecks of silver in her hair. A yellow flower on the table marks the meridian between them.

I’m sitting next to a disused fireplace on the south wall and if I look at an 80-degree angle to my left and across the room, a short-haired fellow in blue flannel is sitting at the bar. He’s got glasses and a thin face, and is reading a book. He pauses now and again to scan the cafe for familiar or pretty faces. His leather jacket is bunched up on the bar, along with his backpack.

On the other side of the fireplace there are two comfortable chairs, both occupied. On the left we have a short-haired fellow in a white button-down shirt. His hair is brown and maybe a little greasy, hanging limply over an encroaching forehead. He is nearly chinless. Like me, a laptop sits in his lap. He has straight-cut blue jeans and white casual walking shoes. I order a coffee, and so does he. A little end table separates him from the fellow on the right, also nursing a laptop. This fellow has expenxive jeans and basketball shoes. He is wearing a gray winter hat and is clearly muscular beneath his black shirt. When he orders his very specifc drink (latte, no foam, no this, no that) he smiles, which casts his cheeks, chin, and a brow in high relief; he has next-to-no body fat, and is more expressive for it. His laptop is plugged into some hidden plug inside the fireplace.

Looking around, it seems that mostly men are patronizing this place this morning. The ratio is skewed at least 2:1, maybe 3:1. I wonder why these people aren’t working on a Monday morning. Am I working? It’s unclear.

Megan has asked that I not follow her here. She sees nothing for our future together. That was tough to take, but has been before so it hurt less this time. We’re still seeing each other for now,  but will part when the time comes for us to leave the town we live in now. Every time I spend a year with a girl it’s weird to leave her. It feels wrong, you know? I still have a lot to learn about the world, I think. I’m not in a hurry. I look back on the parade of smiling lovers, all waving goodbye to me, and am thankful to have spent time with any of them. I’ll miss Megan, though. I’ve been lucky to have dated some brilliant women and she’s no exception. I know I’ll regret not being around to see her skyrocket.

The bathroom here is grimy, but so am I.

Back to southeast Asia. Thailand. Thereveda Buddhism = 94%. People just being rather than striving to become something they’re presently not. What class ceilings could there be if you’re desireless? Of course I understand too little of the culture to speak intelligently on it, but that will change. I’m thinking about writing a series of travel journals dressed as novels, a sort of Gonzo-esque account of expat. life in various countries, like Bill Bryson might do but with more of an edge. I really want to paint for a Western audience a picture of themselves as passed through a foreign lens; THIS is what you look like to this culture, America, because THESE are the people you’ve sent here, or something along those lines. Just something biting and blunt (like a good youthful writer might attempt in his endless insolence and pluck) for the masses to see. It feels like a valid step toward establishing the kind of global community I envision when I lapse into “Mad Scientist Dictator” mode. Do I envision anarchy? I don’t think so, but anymore the definition’s been bastardized so much it’s hard to tell. I envision fluidity, an organic global lifestyle that allows people to pass from one sphere to the next and onto the next with as little friction as possible. Misunderstanding feels like a desert of sand in the gears of world culture and my work, if I’m successful, will be designed to act as an oasis mechanic might in the same situation: douche, scrub, polish, replace. Why will my narrow point of view be considered valid? It won’t at first. I’m not going to stop until something interesting falls onto the page, and when it does I assume I’ll hear about it. /churn churn churn

Keep going, Pyle, or you’ll be caught and broken in the trundling wheels.

Oh yeah, the title of this post. Had a brief word with my mother this morning about various things, and it came out that I rely on evil to convey me through the day, and then that I don’t believe in evil as it’s commonly defined. What is evil? Our ancient bestial nature? That part of us that considers daily “What would happen if…”? Is it weird to think that good is so easy to see in everyone all the time that eventually it begins to waft a peculiar, familiar stink? I’ve had to peel friends like onions to find their foibles sometimes, and on occasion this has taken a long time. Finding the darkness in a person is thrilling because it provides counterpoint to their facade, the methodology behind which provides incredible insight into how they operate in other sectors. I don’t know…evil seems really easy to label outside of context but is painted in shades when you look a little closer. That’s what I want to do, I think, when it comes to literature: I want to paint evil in shades like John Hersey, and without casting judgment hold American popular thought up for itself to see and smell.

The only trick left to pull is getting out of here.

Freewriting

Something new is to move forward without glancing back and self-editing through the piece. The most important thing is to drive forward without care to all the mistakes and logic fallacies, just MOVE ON and take the shots as they come when we’re working the back end. Pepper the page with ink and progress, not even looking, just watching the world go by through the window and typing, typing, without regard for content; just GOING. Thinking about Dulles and Reagan! Which one am I to fly into tomorrow? I never know what’s going on in my life and I’ve been incredibly lucky that other have shown enough interest in me to keep me at my appointments because the analysis and consideration never stop and heading out of here will put me in a situation where I HAVE to be present with hands on the levers and dials of a new city. I have to crank and turn and dodge and won’t have time to mess around in my brain, which is just what I need to keep the juices from being recycled up there. That’s what’s going on, I think, is that the same old ideas are beating down the stems in the field, wearing a common and comfortable path through there that SO EASILY becomes a groove, deepens into a rut, and finally matures into a crevasse which I’ve got to claw myself out of at least once a year. The phrase “Lipstick Hierophant” came to mind this morning, and I don’t know why. Also, “Meat Rebellion”, followed by “Meet Rebellion” and “Mete Rebellion”. A twenty-gallon sombrero you could row across a river. Somehow I’m drawn to red pea coats as worn by young women. They catch my eye. This is a mystery to me. When it comes to me, red pea coats are definitely on the menu. Also intriguing is how people tend to look a certain way based on where they’re from. I see an American and I say: That’s an American. I have an overpowering fondness for cowboy boots with squirrelly designs on them. I’d like a pair or three. In South Dakota (boot country) I found a pair of caiman-skin boots worth every dime of the $400 sticker price. I’ve told myself that when I become wealthy enough I’ll own several pairs of cowboy boots and from that point forward take NO CRAP off NOBODY. The boots, if you’re left wondering, foment the mindset and work (WORK) to sustain it. They up your Grit by several degrees of magnitude. They don’t have to have flames on them, if you’re wondering that, either. Why boots? This woman has come into the branch and is sitting across from me. I would look her way to take in her powerful boots but she’s sitting straight-legged and I could easily be taken for a pervert and mind you, an eye twitch from twenty feet would confirm it. I don’t trust myself to look her way, so in keeping her in my periphery I can almost make out the teal and purple designs on those lovely black boots. They are very “gypsy”, and make me think that maybe she’s Japanese. Min the Japanese gypsy with powerful boots and sheer black leggings. She’s a man-eater. Her hair sits defiantly on her shoulders like it would rather be tousled or whipped in the wind. This effect, I believe, is magnified by her boots, which I’m forcing myself not to look at for the sake of her gypsy dignity. Ironically, she’s wearing a red pea coat. Destiny? Is that you, old friend? Where have you been? No, I am not within her league for my lack of real footwear. That’s Real footwear, in case you were wondering, the kind which increase your Grit tenfold. I feel like sometimes my shoes offend the the planet and ought to be burned. I’ll walk barefoot until I can afford Real planet-reverent footwear, boots whose tracks improve the landscape. Making tracks. This is Exodus Week on campus, where the kiddies clear out and head to hot-weather places to imbibe and fornicate. Good for them. It is spring after all, and we all have to frolic in each other’s pants, don’t we? That’s over the line. Barred! Lunch time quickly approaches and these are awfully dangerous things to be sketching on a company computer. Why tempt them, or give them ammunition against me? Why not? Joblessness in a recession; what a nightmare. Can’t hack it. I’d have to do something. Karass. It means something. It means a lot and the people on the fringe are worth snagging when you can. Keep that in mind: Karass.