I've been making big plans lately, and dreaming big dreams; but I've also been waking up in the middle of the night with my heart in my throat, wondering if this will finally be the moment when I fall off the edge of the map, and wondering if I actually do have the strength for complete oblivion.
At this moment, the wheels are in motion for me to go to Prague for the month of November to study for a CELTA at the International House. I've been accepted into the program, so all that's left is make my final arrangements, pay the money, and go. I'm excited about that because I've never been to Prague, but I've seen ample evidence that it is beautiful. I know they experience a winter over there, and I can't wait to be cold and wearing my hat and scarf. More importantly, though, I really need a change of scene, and there's nothing I dream of more than travel.
I'm trying to use this time of being unemployed to find a way to do the things I've always wanted to do; travel, write, and maybe even follow through on just ONE of my millions of incomplete projects. The question, though, has always been "how in the hell can I fund my endless summer, whilst taking proper care of my precious little monkey in a manner befitting a little monkey like him?" One solution I've come up with is teaching English as a foreign language to foreign people in foreign lands, which gives me the benefit of being in foreign, unfamiliar places. I like to hope that it would be a rich and rewarding experience for my boy, and it would also allow me to break entirely with my well-worn tracks while giving me the opportunity to leave this godforsaken country should George W. Bush be re-elected.
Teaching might be a good way, and if it can be combined with travel, I think it's worth it to roll the dice and find out; but that brings me to another point. I am freaking terrified of gambling. If I go to Vegas, I play along by putting about $7 into the slot machines, and then spend the rest of the time taking pictures on the strip. The only time I enjoy gambling is at the race track, with a cut-off at $25, or that one time I won $50 when Freddie Rodriguez became US Pro Champion for the third time. That was cool, but I was pretty darned sure that bet would go my way. Needless to say, when it comes to the care and feeding of my boy, I'm really not a gambler. For the past ten years, I have played it very safe, and opted for security over happiness. When I lost my job, I don't mind telling you that I freaked out (and seriously, the use of the past tense in that last sentence is disingenuous on my part), but at the same time, I would never have had the stones to quit my miserable slavery in search of something as silly as happiness. Now, I'm flat broke, my car is broken, and I'm about one disaster away from the bitter end, but at least there are possibilities; which doesn't mean that I'm not completely beside myself with terror. There are TWO OF ME TYPING RIGHT NOW.
To take the rolling of the dice even further: readers of my blog will know how much I am positively jonesing for Scandinavia, land of snow and Vikings. I'm sure my pre-occupation with the frozen north is at least two parts unfounded romantic silliness, but really, what could be better than Viking Sagas, implaccable forces of nature, clean northern cities with spotless subway systems, and the very thought of SIMPLY NOT OWNING A CAR? If every single detail comes out just as I hope it will, I will soon be visiting a very kind friend in Kolding, Denmark, who will help me investigate the feasibility of my moving to wonderful Copenhagen, to take up a post. IF ONLY. Seriously, people; I would cry tears of joy.
I'm writing this down because my knees are knocking together, and I feel like I'm about to ante up way more than I can afford to lose. At the same time, I'm full of hopeful anticipation, and feel like the chances are good that all of this could come to pass. I also want to go on record as to the nature of my plans so that I will feel embarrassed in front of the entire internet by my cowardice if I fail to put my full weight behind them; but if I crash and burn, I hope you will all avert your eyes, because it's not going to be pretty.
On another note, I hope you've all enjoyed the insane melodrama of this and other recent posts. I want to remind you all that I am well aware of the fact that I am freaking OVERWROUGHT. I can't capitalize that enough.
Time for another poem, I think. I really like the hell out of this one. Maybe some of my Daily Peloton compatriots will know why I picked it today...
I would like all things to be free of me,
Never to murder the days with presupposition,
Never to feel they suffer the imposition
Of having to be this or that. How easy
It is to maim the moment
With expectation, to force it to define
Itself. Beyond all that I am, the sun
Scatters its light as if by accident.
The fox eats its own leg in the trap
To go free. As it limps through the grass
The earth itself appears to bleed.
When the morning light comes up
Who knows what suffering midnight was?
Proof is what I do not need.
From The Penguin Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry
Edited by Peter Fallon & Derek Mahon
Oh, REALLY, Matt? How about this one:
Oh yeah, baby. We are well on our way to a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Wimbledon: First off, I'm coming clean on this: Paul Bettany is blindingly sexy, and plays the part of aging British tennis pro, Peter Colt, with charm, wit, and impeccable timing. Ladies, this film is worth the price of admission on that basis alone, believe me (and when I say ladies, I mean you too, Matt). Other than that, it's a serviceable romantic comedy/sports movie; not the best film ever made (although my sister announced that it was "the best film in history" as we left the theater, but I think she was still drunk on the sweet elixir of Mr. Bettany's charms, which are, as I mentioned previously, ample), but it's certainly not the worst, either. It's shot through with clean tennis colors and bright sunshine, and impressively, actually achieved suspense in the film's final match, which in a basically formulaic film is something of a magic trick. Did I mention that Paul Bettany is smokin' hot? I did? Well, it's an objective fact. Recommended if you like hotties, and can suspend judgement on the entire romantic comedy/sports genre long enough to enjoy a couple of competently rendered hours of lite fare at the movies.
I'd read that it was poetic, pretentious, enigmatic, romantic, postmodern, and shot in Copenhagen; so count me in. In fact, it was all of those things, and I found myself absolutely willing to forgive the pretentious postmodernism because of the truly uncynical, palpable yearning and true romanticism of the love story. It's a narrative that attempts rather a lot - it's literary, highly intended, and approached with the kind of open aim at high seriousness that we anti-intellectual Americans rarely approach without irony. The story is non-linear and reminiscent of the mobius strip feeling of David Lynch's latest films, but without the kinkiness; it's about making pictures of love, and finding ways to believe in them, but also about how those constructions of desire give us shape. I loved its tangled, unresolved threads and themes, and felt thoughtful and inspired when I wandered dreamily out of the theater into the afternoon sun. I'll probably see it again. Also, I learned that Copenhagen is not suffering from a shortage of lovely little cafes that look like pools of warmth in the night, it has a gorgeous subway system, and the Copenhagen Hyatt is sleek, beautiful and modern. My travel investigations aside, this was a film I really loved. Strongly recommended, people.
Also, this interview with director Christopher Boe is interesting.
Oh, how I hate and fear the dentist! No dentist has ever harmed me, and my dental history, to date, contains nothing fearsome - only 2 cavitites, and the occasional x-ray and hygiene appointment. I have never suffered even a moment's pain at the dentist, but that doesn't seem to stop my guts from wrenching for hours prior to the dreaded appointment, and when I leave, I always feel wrung out from tension and the guilt of having failed to floss adequately, or some shit.
What is it with the dentist, that they have to make you feel, in addition to the discomfort of sitting there and having some stranger in latex gloves poking around in your mouth with clicking, cringe-inducing, sharp little tools, while they blow water into your mouth and suck out saliva and what not with the fucking little vacum hose, but on top of that, they pile on the guilt about whether or not you've been brushing and flossing three times a day?!
Here's my conversation with the dental hygienist:
Him: How's your flossing?
Me: (lying) uh... good. (in fact, my teeth are pretty far apart from one another, and I do floss, but nothing like the twice a day this guy is advocating, Jesus! First, I'm inadequate, then I'm actually lying to save face!
Him: Do your gums bleed when you brush?
Me: (guilty, and a liar) Sometimes...
Him: (disapproval writ large all over his face) That's BAD.
Me: (getting my just deserts and feeling like a grody-mouthed loser) Oh.
Friggin' dental bitches! By the time I escape their clutches I am so spent! Plus, I can't get over the sense of distrust - the same sense of being asked, in a vulnerable moment, to bend over that you get at the auto mechanic - that they are going to drill the crap out of your teeth needlessly just to fleece the insurance providers for an extra buck. Then you'll have have to listen to that noise the drill makes.
So, to make a long story short, trip to the dentist = fear of pain, fear of wallet rape, lying to save face, gross sounds, plus guilt and inadequacy. Yeah, it's a good time. But, more importantly, holy shit, people, am I some crazy, overwrought bitch, or what?
Here are some links that will help you get off my blog:
My friends, the rockstar librarian over at Sheets & Blankets has given me an idea. Unfortunately, since there is no one to whom I am authorized to write actual love letters, I've decided to institute a new feature on my blog called Love Letters to People I Don't Know. Rest assured that often, while I'm writing them, I will be sighing deeply, as tears splash melodramatically and copiously on my keyboard.
Gregory Peck will be first. He died last year, but he lives on in my heart as, seriously people, the ultimate man. Whenever I pass his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on my way back from the Farmer's Market on Sunday mornings, I always leave flowers; and whenever I see a movie at Grauman's Chinese, I put my hands and feet into his hand and foot prints on the sidewalk. I love Gregory Peck, my friends. He was bewilderingly handsome, and by all accounts, virtuous and kind. Even in his later, white hair, enormous glasses, and bushy black eyebrows days, sometimes I'd run across him hawking KCET on my TV box or something, and close my eyes and just listen to his voice. Dreamy. They just don't make 'em like that anymore. So on that note:
Dear Mr. Peck,
I was only a girl when I saw you in To Kill A Mockingbird with your kind, handsome face, gentle hands and that beautiful summer linen suit. After that, I imagined what it would be like if you were my father. I grew up in my mother's house, but the way you played Atticus Finch made me wish for a father I could lean on: steady, honorable, and tall enough to lift me high above any troubles that might pull me down in the woods. That's not to say that I don't love my own father very much, but he's always been far away, and he's never really been available to watch over me or defend my honor. Later, it struck me that you'd have made a supremely comforting doctor, too. I imagined that as I suffered in the throes of some terrible sickness, you could put one of your enormous brown hands on my knee and tell me in your sonorous voice that everything would be alright, and there's no way that everything could ever make a liar of you. If you had become a priest, as I once read that, as a young man, you wanted to do, I would have embraced the Roman Church on the strength of your presence there alone, and should I have confessed tearful sins to you, I would have prayed my rosary with fervent passion, and believed completely in your absolution.
Later, when Roman Holiday became part of my personal mythology, I experienced my first blinding crush on a movie star with epileptic intensity. If I had been Princess Anne, and you had kissed me on the banks of the Fiume Tevere after we swam to shore from a barge lit for dancing to escape the secret service of my fictional country, I know I could never have returned to the palace. Princess Anne is definitely a better woman than I am. Oh, how cheerfully I would have forsaken all of my crunching crinolines, satin slippers and duty to my country to die the poor wife of an American newspaper man! I can remember watching as a little girl, my lips parted with rapt and breathless expectation, the scene in which your Joe Bradley says his good-byes to Audrey Hepburn's Princess, and crushes her birdlike frame against his broad chest. My stomach was actually churning with the physical sensation of envy, but I knew my love for you was the kind of sensation that would keep me on the straight and narrow in the years to follow, and would always make me dream of something finer. I still watch Roman Holiday once a month. A girl needs to be reminded.
I've never quite been able to believe that I deserve, or could bear the love of a man like you: so tall, handsome and good. It seems like such a thing would be too rich for a girl like me, and I would feel greedy if it were all mine. When I imagine what it would be like to be looked upon with affection by a man with your soft, brown eyes, it's with girlish purity of heart, all trembling chasteness and downcast eyes. I would want to be sure there was a pink satin ribbon in my hair, and that my nails were perfectly modest.
Yes, yes. I had a fun trip to San Francisco, and the race was a thriller. As usual, I got the journalist's seat, which means that the entire event turned into the best amusement park ride in the world, speeding around the course on the race moto, feeling very Streets of San Francisco, and practically sitting in the riders' laps while they toiled up Fillmore Hill like the superstars they are. As usual, I loved every minute of it in a wholly unironic fashion, and cheered my brains out for my boyz.
Of course I made the journey with the three beautiful ladies you can see in my last post, and they are totally bitchin' sistas; and sure, San Francisco was beautiful and sparkling, as you can clearly see in this lovely view from our hotel window:
I even made the acquaintance of a fella to whom I've been nodding silently for a couple of years now. I've always thought he was real cute, and he even asked his friend to get my phone number, after we neglected to exchange digits. That was cool. But, then again, he lives in New Jersey, so a lot of good that does me.
Now, I'm back in Los Angeles, still unemployed, my car is broken again, I don't fit in with girls, no one loves me, I'm cranky and there's nothing I want to eat in my refrigerator. Right now I'm really kinda hoping this mood is nothing but an especially strong bout of hormoaning, but I'm a bit too angst-ridden to be funny and bloggy-clever right now. My good friend Matt Ambrose reminds me that angst can be a big hit in the blogiverse, but I can't bring myself to unburden on the world wide web.
I suggest you go on over to his site where things are MUCH more interesting. I'll just sit over here and whimper. Have fun. Meh.
PS. Notice to Commentors: NO MOLLIFICATION.
Dudes, we rocked Bryan Adams' greatest hit SO HARD. Watch out, San Francisco!