Friday, January 20, 2017

Candor

Now Playing: Gustavo Cerati - Artefacto

I was telling Silvia the other day how I sometimes feel like I'm failing to live up to those "say no to peer pressure" after-school specials or the "speak up, say something!" commercials I used to see back in middle school. You know, the kind of mini-programs tailored to teens and preteens that tell them if they see or hear something that's, well, fucked up, they shouldn't worry about repercussion from their peers and instead voice their concerns.

That shit was always cheesy, but grand epic stories are centered around people who saw or heard terrible things and decided to act. So I guess the message is good to impart whenever possible.

Too bad I don't have a backbone.

The few times I've actively stood up to someone who has said or done something that I thought was rude, immoral, deceitful, or fucked up in some way, my limbs turned to pudding and my heart tried to burst out my chest. I cannot deal with confrontation.

Yesterday, when I was feeling melancholic because of this shit country and a possible shit future, I was in the presence of a bunch of boys who were hanging out and having a good time. TBH, I was probably trying to absorb their happy spirits without having to be an active participant.

Problem is, I have trouble discerning how much high regard I have for one of those boys. I think I do like him some of the time. I don't the other half of the time. I especially don't like myself in the overlaps where he and I exist in the same space.

He'll do that annoying thing where he'll use the N-word at random or refer to women as "bitches", probably under the belief that words are paper-thin and our shared, silly, social media-obsessed generation is too fucking sensitive to them. I've never once told him to cut it out, because I don't want to get into the complicated ways in which language influences mindsets/culture and how it's completely asinine to pretend prejudice doesn't manifest and is reinforced through subtle behaviors.

I don't think I could actively change the mind of someone I'm convinced hasn't had to deal with consequences once in his life, but for the most part, I'm too chicken shit to start a fight when we can't sever ties if all goes wrong. Like maybe I can storm out of the room and run down the street if an argument escalates, but I'm sensing I'd have to see him again at some point or another. So I keep my mouth shut.

Then the weirdest thing happened last night.

I don't remember how or why the topic came about. I barely remember exiting it. I know for a fact I didn't say anything, not even a whisper of, "that's fucked up."

He told us a random story involving his dad. When he (the dad in question) was in college, him and his friends would put firecrackers inside bread and then toss it to pigeons or other birds. Then they'd watch the birds eat the bread and explode.

And as this boy told us this story, he laughed. Laughed as his puppy pounced on his stomach to be snuggled.

When one of the other boys said, "that's messed up," he laughed again and said, "no, it's funny!"

I'm sure I had a look of disgust, but he didn't pay me attention. So the conversation just went to some weird, "I guess it's okay because it was different times and animal cruelty wasn't an issue yet."

????

Less than three decades back? At most?

Are they saying humanity collectively developed empathy for non-human, sentient beings in the last 30 years or so?

Wat.

And I went to sleep shortly after and didn't say a word. Not to him or the idiotic justifications that tried to normalize his anecdote.

I don't know who I'm angrier at.

Right now? Thanks to what happened today and what happened last November and generally what this country has contributed to across generations, in both big and tiny, tiny ways?

Me. I'm angry at me the most.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Rose

I have a theory that if you add "Rose" to any name, you've immediately got the name of a YA  or romance novel heroine.

I realized this because I wrote about Caroline Rose once and ever since I heard Anastasia Rose Steele, as it's the worst name of all romance heroine names ever.

But you can totes keep going.

Georgia Rose
Regina Rose
Blair Rose
(cuz Briar Rose)
Jenny Rose
(Jennifer Rose)
Jessica Rose
Theresa Rose
Amanda Rose
Evelyn Rose

and the worst of all:

Liliana Rose.

I think I'll use Blair Rose for something.

(Sounds like an android name.

Everything sounds like an android name to me).

Monday, January 9, 2017

AGHHHHH

Hi me.

This is you, writing from the not-too-distant present.

Sometime in the middle of last week, I kept thinking I swear I'm twenty seconds away from a full out psychotic episode where I rip my clothes off and bolt into the street, shouting at the sky, "WILL SOMEONE PLEASE PAY ME ALREADY?!"

I don't know what the lack of clothes would accomplish. Other than institutionalization.

I couldn't figure out if I was being unreasonable or if it wasn't all that outlandish to believe people you, at one point or another, did work for would let you know when you're being paid. Or pay you at all, for that matter. Or not make you run back and forth in rush hour Miami traffic, getting lost in scary highways, to obtain said payment.

And once all that was over and done, I GOT PAIDDD!

And I thought yay! No need to worry this week anymore. Paychecks are in, bills will get paid this weekend!

Then I spent half an hour juggling numbers around in my head and when I came home my dad saw me and it went like,

Dad: What happened?

Me: :( I got paid . . .

It leads to today, where I'm looking at the last drops of my conditioner bottle trying to remember how much 12 oz cost me last time and thinking of all the other products I need to spend on--especially as I continue on the perilous journey of Growing Out Curly Hair and Use A Shitload of Products To Maintain It.

So if by the end of this week or this month I end up with short, short hair and resting bitch face--

It was all said hair's fault. It deserved that scissor attack.

EDIT:

Unrelated, but check out this cool lighter (it matches my socks!)



Thursday, January 5, 2017

Ragamuffins & Entanglements

Now Playing: Neutral Milk Hotel - Where You'll Find Me Now and Fool

For the last twenty minutes I've been tearing my room apart trying to find my copy of 1984 without success.

(This is not a political post. Never fear, I am being super dumb right now.)

Maybe the real reason I asked for a Kindle is so I'll never again lose another book in my life. Then again, I find it easier to browse for a quote based on general page location than by using a search feature, seeing as I can't locate the paragraph I need through the good ol' internet either.

I'm not 100% sure how it goes. Winston and Julia are lying together, talking, and she mentions she's had dozens and dozens of other lovers. Winston is strangely pleased about it and says it makes him love her more.

In context, I'm pretty sure he's happy because it means she's corrupted the party even more and he loves that she's not pure and perfect (because promiscuity = imperfect impurity. . . then and now and in alternative realities, blegh). But when I read that line the first time, many years ago, (Twelve? Thirteen? Sometime in 7th/8th grade), I wasn't following 1984 all that well, so I went, "??????"

Like I said, contextually, it's quite simple. It makes even more sense now because of Red.

I ask him a lot about his life. From the difficult beginnings to the happy middle to the struggling near-present. I want to hear all his stories about traveling, school, recreational use of alternative substances. All his conflicts and adventures.

I've also asked him quite often about girls he's been with in the past. Ex-girlfriends or crushes or complicated entanglements. It doesn't spark jealousy but I don't take it as far as Winston does. I don't believe it makes me love him more nor does it bring some perplexing spike of desire in me. It's just nice knowing who he once was and the people that have been significant in his life.

But while I've been trying to untangle all the layers, I've caught myself simplifying everyone connected to him.

He told me once of this girl he'd been in love with who hadn't shared his feelings. We talked briefly about her at a cemetery, the day after he told me he was in love with me.

The first time he said her name, I imagined this beautiful, green-eyed waif dressed in converse, jeans, and Beatles t-shirts, with an incandescent smile and long, long blonde hair. The only real concrete thing I got out of that initial story--outside of the romance plot points--was that she'd accidentally kicked and shattered some super expensive, giant bong that belonged to someone they knew.

The girl in my head wasn't all that accurate. I was right about her being pretty and thin and about the Beatles t-shirt--but that last one was easy, as I found it in Red's possessions. It was a leftover of their brief stint of cohabitation with a side of love triangle.

Though he told me stories of the time they'd lived together, I learned more about her by accident. Gradually. The Beatles T-shirt was the first concrete piece I stumbled into.

The second happened on an early roadtrip up to Ocala. Most of my time in his car is spent trying to figure out music, and for whatever reason I decide Neutral Milk Hotel was perfect for the road. I put on a few songs  and he mentioned they were that girl's favorite band.

Another time I wanted to show him (500) Days of Summer but kept having trouble acquiring the movie. While I had that on the back-burner, I learned he has a list on his phone of TV shows and films that he's watched and considered amazing. Much to my surprise, he had The Graduate on his list. I asked him about it. He told he'd seen it because the girl had shown it to him, as it was her favorite movie.

I also learned by the time they'd all been living together, she had already been married and had already been divorced. The whole time I'd been picturing a girl our age, so I asked him to clarify and reconstruct the image he'd so quickly ripped out of my hands. He assured me she was young. Barely a few years older than us. It glued the picture back together.

Though I've admitted to this before, a quick reminder: I have a bad habit of romanticizing people. Especially people I don't know. I'll think of them as if they're the quirky two-dimensional leads of a shitty, indie, coming-of-age movie. Easily describable in one to two sentences.

Thereafter I thought of her as just "the girl whose favorite movie is The Graduate and who listens to Neutral Milk Hotel." Who platonically slept in the same bed with boys who were either in love with her or who she might have one day been in love with. Who has Beatles t-shirts and short, short hair. Who had freed herself  from a marriage that hadn't worked out at such a young age.

I thought by focusing on the details I was trying to imagine the complexities inherent to that chapter of his and her life.

But I wasn't. I wanted the simplicity of a girl-next-door who listens to Neutral Milk Hotel and has seen and loved The Graduate. 

She wasn't the only one I'd done it to. Point to someone in Red's life, and I'll introduce their character to you like I'm pitching the next season of Girls. 

So while at work on Wednesday, I was running through a list of ways I've summarized people close to me and close to Red. Then, as I was crouching at the bottom of the fiction section trying to jam another Bradbury book in its proper place, I saw one of my spiders crawling by my boot.

And I came up with my character elevator-pitch: the girl who works at a library and struggles with getting paid and murdered the fuck out of the worms by the bookshelves (with a broom!) but refuses to disturb the wispy spiders and their webs.

I liked it--for about a minute. It was so ridiculous, thinking it defined me. Thinking it said something about me.

I have no idea who the other girl is. And despite endless talks, I probably have no idea who Red is yet. Or who anyone else is--be it my friends or parents or brother.

I can't figure out how to make people real. In my writing or in life.

And here I thought that was one aspect of writing I'd figured out >_>

The Hatching

This is a Christmas recap~ I keep forgetting I never revealed what was in the scaled-egg present that Silvia and Ren gave me. Since Silvia was at her mom's house the day of without a charger, I figured I'd take her on a journey of my present delving so she'd see whenever her phone awoke.

Here went the texts:

The journey begins!

Styrofoam?! I had to open it in the kitchen since it was causing a bit of a mess.

The hatch Silvia foretold. 

?!?!?!?!?!

AHHHHHHHH
asoeihraswiehrawer

HEADPHONES.

NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES.

I've been living my whole life with $7 to $19 earphones. Then Red one day let me experience the wonder of his noise canceling headphones, I started stealing them on the regular, he got tired of my thieving ways, I stole them on occasion anyways, and thennnn I guess I told Silvia about my obsession or my boyfriend told Silvia or Silvia read everyone's minds and BAM. Her and Ren got me my very own headphones.

She told me later that her plan had involved buying two halves of a Styrofoam ball and then join them together. No luck in that. Instead she found only a full one--no hollow place for the headphones. So she hacked it in half with a kitchen knife, then went at the insides with a spoon.

No wonder it took two hours in total to wrap. I'd have given up 10 minutes in.

I'm grateful. Especially since whenever I get kinda tipsy (shhh. It's allowed, I'm finally legal), I want to do one of two things: talk about German or French cinema and/or listen to music with these. Magic.

I got some other cool stuff. A lego Batman of the aforementioned Bats, Harley, and Deadshot. Also, Fantasy Boy Band Simulator AKA Final Fantasy 15. It's so much trash at times, but so much fun the majority of the time. The yaoi fuel is real. I had considered asking my dad for it as a present but by the time I decided I wanted it, it was like, December 23.

He bought me Day 1 edition. His argument was that he, "always buys me Final Fantasy for Christmas."

It's true. I'm FF trash, now and forever.

Last was an urban fantasy YA book about Hispanic witches written by an Ecuadorian-American writer.

. . . .

Yeah, it's a mystery why I kept mentioning it to people :P

It's called Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova.


Just started it. I never know how I feel about reluctant witches, but hers are also closely associated with death so that's amazing.

EDIT: Now I remember why I originally assumed the present would be a gigantic Ferrero Rocher chocolate:
No wonder I've been daydreaming about it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Owed

At work, I was reviewing my profile on the system with my supervisor as the information had been input by the H.R. department back during my application process. They're very thorough. They assessed me, interviewed me, ran background checks, ran drug tests. I passed everything seeing as I got the job, but as I was scanning my profile, I realized there was a few discrepancies. Maybe they'd been placed there simply because they were the default--it listed me as a natural born citizen and as white.

Due either to obsessive tendencies to be accurate, or maybe because I never gave it a second thought, I went in to correct them: naturalized citizen, Hispanic.

I regretted it immediately.

Not that there's any way to hide that from people who'd really care, but I got this uneasy feeling in my stomach that with the current and future political climate, maybe I shouldn't go around declaring in yet another concrete way that I wasn't born in his country, that I'm not part of the majority.

The day after the election, the immigration website for Canada crashed due to over saturation. People always joke, "if so and so wins I'm moving to [blank]!" around election years. But it felt so much more real now. Maybe because I'm an adult and hopefully one day an independent and it gets a little harder each year to stick my head under the sand and pretend the worst will happen without involving me.

But I could never get on board with the idea of snagging a plane ticket and getting the fuck out of this country. Not just because I neither have the money or resources. But because it felt wrong. I chose this country. I wasn't born in it. I already moved once and I came here and I started to build my life here. I loved aspects of it. When it got rough around the edges, shouldn't I stay and deal with it? It's my home. I don't want to pick another one again. Once was enough and it was all I wanted.

It's like the seeds of patriotism starting to sprout. I feel so committed to this country, I forget immediately it's a piece of land with hundreds of people who don't know me, don't care about me, and might actively hate the idea of me if given enough (possibly asinine) reason. It never owed me anything, and I too never owed it anything.

I have no idea why I ever thought otherwise.

But I'm not wholly pessimistic  (all doom-and-gloom) as of yet.

Mostly I'm sticking my head under the sand.
"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.