Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Before all my friends went to college, I thought Marijuana was the real enemy. It ate people up, I thought, consumed them entirely. Little by little, they'd become less themselves, less witty, sarcastic and fun, and more...rastafarian. At first all they'd lose would be the subtleties of them, the things I'd spent so long memorizing in their faces and manner. And that would be the worst of it, the hardest part, but from there on they'd just continue to atrophy until they become a walking symbol of what they'd succumbed to: they'd become a pothead.

And there's nothing worse in life than a fucking pothead.

Now I see, though, that marijuana is a afflicition that can only affect a certain kind of person. There are people that are susceptible, and the rest of us are relatively safe. I didn't have too many friends that were the pot kind of person. I had smart, smooth, college-bound kids. They'd fall to something else altogether.

Serena and I commiserate sometimes about how they all drink, all of them. The people we went through high school with, we'd sit at tables with them and scoff at the jocks that were obviously going to spend the night getting drunk. These were the people we'd make snide remarks to about the intelligence and appeal of our fellow students social lives; these were the people who'd always laugh and bitterly agree. And what was alcohol to us? Surely, nothing that could be beaten by a movie in Katie's spare room or a carpool up to Applebee's. Surely, to us it was nothing at all.

I guess there's something about college though that makes you different. Something in classes you can skip without being noticed that makes you thirsty, something about parents being hours away that impairs you.

I guess what bothers me about it so much is that it's such a fucking cliché. This John Hughes teen movie bullshit isn't what it's supposed to be like. My friends didn't write all those essays to get accepted into Animal House. They didn't take the SATs so they could casually assume the roles of Jason Biggs or Molly Ringwald. They're supposed to be real people, and have real interests. Something as one-dimensional as drinking isn't supposed to be real to them.

I'm not the diehard about it Serena is, I have to admit-- I'd even tried it a few times before, the summer of senior year, but it didn't, couldn't, click with me. I always said it was the taste, but I think all I'm really tasting is my own disapproval. I've never had more than a few sips, never been drunk, and I don't think I ever will. And if I do, here's a shocker-- it won't be till I'm 21! GASP!

Because I think the law was probably made for a reason, okay? That's why. I'm not being a hypocrite, I'm not naive, I'm just chose to believe it's not a totally arbitrary number. I believe someone probably decided it for a reason, and that it was probably a better reason than I've heard from any of the drunken 16-year-olds who've tried to change my mind. Aside from which, I just don't have the energy to go around breaking laws on principle.

"She says she's tired of life, she must be tired of something."

I guess I'm starting not to care about the appeal my entries might hold for people, because I don't think there was an ounce of wit traceable in that whole thing. But certain people have been bugging me to write again, and maybe I'm just trying to make a point to them: there's just nothing worth saying anymore.

On with it.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

I am mass-downloading songs by the Counting Crows, the Goo Goo Dolls, and Third Eye Blind, and desperately looking for a copy of a song no one remembers-- Raining on the Sky-- by a band no one remembers-- Naked. All in an attempt to communicate with a part of myself that I fit better into when I had them all downloaded computers ago-- my collection is ultimately skewn across three computers, possibly four, and I've never quite had the time to consolidate. Knowing myself too well to expect the ambitiion to do the work nessecary for such a project, I consult Kazaa in my search for the person who devoted her time equally between midnight conversations with Elorza and witty, well-written e-mails to and from Jeff.

Every song is a thousand left-behind feelings. I am so much less for not having heard them lately, for not closing my eyes and breathing in the whining chords of "Round Here" or dying slowly in the way that "Name" always made me feel. These are the songs that make it clear, if only for moments at a time, what it is the soul really longs for, what it is our hearts truly lack. These are the songs that make sad people so blissfully sad, that make a life spent in grayscale world seem profound and worthwhile.

"She looks up at the building, says she's thinking of jumping.
She says she's tired of life, she must be tired of something."

On our way to Wal*Mart tonight, Zack was listening to a Barenaked Ladies CD that I'd never heard in it's entirety, because the Grand Am we've just bought him, while lacking beauty, dependability, and working locks, does have both a working CD player and a sense of home that had gone missing in our lives since his Corsica's transmission blew. The seventh track was a song I'd fallen in love with years before, waiting to audition for a play that I wanted to star in more than anything I'd wanted in a long time-- "Call and Answer".

The best thing you can do at this point in your reading is to stop and download the song. If ever a breath of me has fallen upon you and you've absorbed the tiniest speck of my being, you will love it instantly. Still, I can hardly expect that of most of the people who have absorbed any significant amount of my being, so for them, I will copy the key lyrics, if I think that I can narrow it down. If you don't plan to read them, the rest of this entry will be utterly useless to you, and I think I'd be insulted if you continued.


I think
It’s getting to the point where I can be myself again.
I think
It’s getting to the point where we have almost made amends.
I think
It’s the getting to the point that is the hardest part.

And if you call,
I will answer.
And if you fall,
I’ll pick you up.
And if you court this disaster
I’ll point you home,
I’ll point you home.

You think
I only think about you when we’re both in the same room.
I’m only here to witness the remains of love exhumed.
You think
We’re here to play a game of who loves more than who.

And if you call,
I will answer.
And if you fall,
I’ll pick you up.
And if you court this disaster...

You think
It’s only fair to do what’s best for you and you alone.
It’s only fair to do the same to me when you’re not home.
I think
It’s time to make this something that is more than only fair.

So if you call,
I will answer.
And if you fall,
I’ll pick you up.
And if you court this disaster
I’ll point you home.

But I’m warning you,
Don’t ever do
Those crazy messed up things that you do.
If you ever do,
I promise you,
I’ll be the first to crucify you.
Now it’s time to prove
That you’ve come back here to rebuild,
To rebuild.


I've lost my train of thought, really, trying to figure what I should censor and what I shouldn't. I want to go on about how I used to associate the song with Jeremey who, against all odds, has become the one friend I truly trust will be there my whole life long, but I don't want to talk about it. I want to talk about what happened listening to that song, over and over again, unpleasantly enough to Zack, the decisions I decided I had to make, and how blunt I was with him, much more unpleasantly. The two major options I have, and what I'd have to do to go through each one of them. The way I've been living in one decision without having made it, or, rather, not living at all. They say the souls in hell don't know they're not alive, so they pray for death, but death won't come. If this is true, all I've been doing for months-- to anyone that's important to me, anyway-- was putting them farther and farther away from me.

They stayed here, and I prayed myself into hell.

"And you can't fight the tears that ain't coming,
Or the moment of truth in your lies.
When everything feels like the movies,
Yeah, you bleed just to know you're alive."

The decision, ultimately, is equally about them as about myself. Do I decide that I want them back in my life, and do what I have to do, and become what I have to become to earn their love again? Or do I stay true to the hell I have created around me, because it reflects what I am, what I am supposed to be? Do I scratch and climb back to earth, or do eat the single pomegranate seed and condemn the ones I loved to winter?

The choice should be obvious, but it's not.

The more I think about it, the more it bothers me to think that I would have to be somebody entirely different to earn back the love I've lost. ("Don't it make you sad to know that life is more than who we are?") Beyond that, do I really believe life is fair enough to participate? Am I absolutely sure that life's not this giant race to death that I'm losing just by participating? And do I honestly think, for a moment, that I could be happy if I tried?

And would I miss the music?

Zack and I couldn't come to any major conclusions, sitting around in the lawn and garden department. We stared a lot and tried faking smiles, and maybe I stood up thinking it might be worth a try. I don't know anymore. There's something about a certain time of night that makes it seem like there's only one solution. There's something in the tones that people take with each other that makes me want to bleed in protest-- it's not just me, truly: it's racism and sexism and Catholism and injustice. It's the way I feel when I hear pain in someone else's voice, how I can't help but live out people's circumstances in my mind when I get to thinking how much something must suck for them. Beatings, murders, wars, Republicans. Periods, surgeries, the cost of insurance, 80-hour work weeks, never getting ahead in life. Overbearing mothers and people who feel make you feel bad about yourself. This guy I met at work once told me he watched an SUV swerve to purposely hit his cat. These images in newspapers I can't get out of my mind, and the way frustration sounds in someone's voice.

There's only one way to make it all go away all at once.

But I wrote vows to Zack, and I promised him on our wedding day that I would try harder for him. I promised him that I would let him help me. Re-reading the vows just now, I feel a subtly sickening disappointment in myself, knowing that, already, in eight months of marriage, I have already failed at the few things I promised in my last paragraph:

"I'm not going to make a lot of phony promises to you about my endless devotion to honor and obey. To me, that's all archaic nonsense. And I'm not going to stand here and tell you that I've learned how to play the instrument, finally, that I am now a maestro of this proverbial violin because as any one of our witnesses today will tell you, it simply isn=t true. But I stand here today, ready and willing to promise the following: that my humiliations and sufferings will, however subtly, start to be outnumbered by the moments of pride and happiness. That when I start to fail, I will make the conscious choice to persevere. The that eyes of the world, whether critical or kind, will never outshine the look in your eyes as I fall asleep next to you each night. I promise you, that when I fail, I will find some success in the endurance of our love, when I fall, I will give you my hand to be helped up. I will help to make a smooth transition for you as things change for us in life; I will wince for you, and cry for you, and glimmer for you; I will let you do the same for me. I promise to you, Zachary Charles Smith, my love, my Angel, that I will stand and play for you, and while I can't promise you that I will never make another mistake, now, each wrong note and missed beat will be part of a brand new harmony: another change, another chance. I promise you that, despite all imperfection, what will remain perfect will be you and I together, and we will play on, play on."

So it seems I have let down not only myself in so many ways, but the man I pledged my life to, a life I would so carelessly take away, a love I would so easily stifle. It seems that I've failed, on every step of the way, the goals I had set for myself as early as my Kindergarten year, and as late as the lawn and garden department. It seems it's not that I wish to be nothing, I am nothing, nothing but a broken promise, a shattered facade, a swallowed seed.

And they say pomegranates are good for the heart. On with it.