Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tom Jones FEAST

After $1 night bowling at AMF and running into Jeremy, we walked over to Arby's for exactly two curly fries and two sodas. Turned away at the walk in restaurant because it was closed, they directed us to the drive in. We returned to the cars, decided one car for seven people was most efficient, especially if the car in question was a Honda Civic. Pulling back around, the drive thru operator was amused by the late night antic. Accordingly, she gave us five extra dollar fries. Score.

Steve F. and I went back home to make brownies and talk. Someday we won't have this weird resistance between us, but still getting there. Almost as soon as we'd cut up the brownies, Nick called to escort me to Tom Jones. It was him, Gabby, Pat, and Aiden (whose name I remember!) in the car. They were grateful for brownies, especially Aiden the birthday boy. The ride was fun, some singing and a good discussion of Neil Young. At TJ's, we met up with Joel, Sarah, and Eric. It was good to see Joel, wonderfully enough. He's so purely oblivious in the best way, and Eric and Sarah are a comedic power couple. All but three of us ordered the Blue Ribbon Special. There was so much food and so much "stuff" on our table, it felt like a venerable feast. We lingered in conversation, tallied the money, but before leaving, saw two unexpected guests arrive in the restaurant. It was none other than Max G. and Ian! And they weren't alone, oh happy night! Taylor, "other Chloe," and Eric were also here! Some of the party in question had imbibed illicit substances, and the one whose body I would most like to touch spoke to me in drunken adoration. It was adorable! I'm infatuated! At this point, it was probably nearing two-ish? They ordered their meals, another round of Blue Ribbon Specials. It was so good! Promises were made for all of us to hang out again before the summer was over, and a few of us after the return to school. I got into my house a little shy of 4am. Beautiful life.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Three Things I Learned at Motorcycling Class

"So be it! So be it! I cry in this manicured wilderness. "Who gives a damn!"
Excuse this outburst.

Motorcycling is not for me, though I learned a lot in the first five hour practice.

First, there are few things in my life I have needed or wanted that were difficult to learn. Motorcycling is one of them. It is a physical ride. My childhood fear of cars reverberates through the manufactured plastic and r-clips, and I question the lack of seatbelt. Frustration with the basic controls is compounded by knowing the consequence of a real-life failure. The pavement is very close and a huge number of otherwise minuscule forces have the potential for a really great moment. I alone seemed unable perform the simple motion of flex and squeeze, and I became childishly frustrated. That is the second thing I learned. I need to know that feeling of failure. It hurt in my gut and at the brim of my eyes- a full-bodied saline aftertaste that choked and stung. I sucked in my breath at the edge of crying. I queued the steps of stopping and asking to quit. Then I started breathing. I let it go. Some things won't come naturally, whether academically, in the work force, or growing a relationship. If I understand and anticipate this reaction, it will be easier to work through. It is how the body forces a reevaluation, whether to find a solution in walking away or trying something new. Finally, I recognized a good teacher. Two instructors monitored our course for the day. One, a retired Cornell math professor and grinning bike enthusiast named Tony, complemented his knowledge with unequaled encouragement. He knew I was frustrated, that I was scared and embarrassed. He responded with a soothing laugh that spoke "calm down, it's okay, take your time." He made me deeply ashamed of my impatient pride. If I am explaining something "stupidly easy" and the person doesn't catch on quickly, I am condescending and impatient in a disgusting way. How many times have I humiliated and discouraged my own mom asking for help? This arrogance needs to be purged if I ever intend to show love or kindness. Failure is a potent reminder to do so.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

An excerpt from Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s, Bluebeard:

"Fathers are always so proud, the first time they see their sons in uniform," she said.

"I know Big John Karpinksi was," I said. He is my neighbor to the north, of course. Big John's son Little John did badly in high school, and the police caught him selling dope. So he joined the Army while the Vietnam War was going on. And the first time he came home in uniform, I never saw Big John so happy, because it looked to him as though Little John was all straightened out and would finally amount to something.

But then Little John came home in a body bag.