movies [ confusion.cc ] I like… Many more to come when I take some more time to think about it. I’ve seen too many movies. It took me forever to get this up here. Thanks to J—- for asking the original question that lead to the creation of the list, and to S—— for never deleting the email that had the list in it. (for god’s sake it’s been over a year since I sent it to him!)
Archive for January, 2004
The only sound is the crackle of the snow on the frozen leaves of the tree to my left. And the soft crunch of the snow under my feet as I walk. The falling snow causes an unnatural hush to overtake the normal sounds of the city. The normally busy street at the end of the block seems a mile away, no noise from the few cars that slowly creep along, thin cones of snow extending from their headlights.
The snow makes the city seem clean. Everything covered in hush makes it artificially peacefully. Makes all the things I wrote about this afternoon fade into the background. The crisp air clears my mind, the cold makes me feel alive. An empty buses tire chains momentarily shatter the quite, then clink into the distance and Dupont Circle is peacefully again.
Two couples walk through the circle in opposite directions, quickly, heads down, holding hands. But mostly the circle is empty, at least one homeless man sits on a bench in a tent of black trash bags. He makes a sadly comical site now with all the snow covering his little tent. There’s almost two inches on the ground now. I wish I had my camera.
The coffee shop is almost empty. Which is good since I have to take my glasses off to see because of the condensation. And I can’t see without my glasses. I order a cup from a guy who can hardly speak English, though his accent is un-placeable. I can’t speak a foreign language, despite years of classes in high school, so anyone who lives in a country where they speak anything other than their native language has my respect, and envy.
The guy who hands me my coffee is talking to the manger—”we don’t have any decaf at all.” “That’s not a bad thing,” I reply, “dirty brown water.” “Ha, I don’t think the people allergic to caffeine would agree with you.” The manager replies. “Natural selection.”
The comfy chairs by the window are taken so I head back out. Walk by my old apartment. It’s on a very nice street, tree lined and sloping down a hill. You can see the lights of U St. fade into the falling snow. I like this street better than the one I live on now. But I like my new apartment better than the one I lived in here. And having a roommate makes life feel less lonely, because I spent a lot of evenings alone on this street despite the half million people who lived just outside my door.
What type of music goes with a snowy evening? Jazz. I’ve been listening to a lot of jazz lately. Billie Holiday, Nina Simon, Ella Fitzgerald, Edith Plif. Am I getting old? Yea—halfway there. I flip through the jazz section of Melody Records for a few minutes. Pick up a ‘Back to Mine’ CD by Underworld from the techno section—’a personal collection for after hours grooving.’
I wrap my scarf a little tighter as the snow is blowing a little now. Logan Circle is dead. The only vehicle is the snowplow, screeching and grinding itself around and around the circle. Trying it’s best to put an end to any peace the snow is causing. Around the corner—less than a block away from my apartment the snow has started to level out the ground. I know the sidewalk is not even but the only rises or depressions in the snow are the half covered footprints of someone else who passed this way some time ago.
I totally forgot about the big depression next to that tree, across the street from the Church. It’s always filled with water—S—— walked through it in his sandals in the fall and had to suffer cold wet feet—and J——- and I making fun of him. But it’s 20 degrees outside. Now it’s full of ice. And covered in snow. And now I’m laying on my back, right side covered in snow and my hand bruised from trying to catch myself because I forgot about that depression. And the only sound is the crackle of the snow falling on the frozen leaves of the tree on my right. And my soft laughter as I get up.
I’m reading this book—Prague—right now. It’s very good, S—— got it for me, good choice. And I did not get him anything for Christmas. It’s a good book, in the way The Age of Reason was—not as good, but having the same sort of effect on my psyche.
I hope it has an effect, some sort of good effect. I’ve fallen into an emotional slump. I’m fairly happy most of the time but it does not take much to annoy me and put me in a foul mood. At work the slightest thing goes wrong and I am immediately in the every-other-word-is-a-cuss-word mode. Partly it’s because of dealing with one of our customers and one of or product suppliers is grinding on my nerves (though thats not a valid excuse because things like that do not usually bother me much—defiantly don’t put me in a permanently foul mood.)
But that’s not all of it, and not even the main thing. I had hoped that going to the gym would reduce my stress—I did not used to be very stressed. I think no, I’m fairly sure that my stress level and has been rising, though ‘stress’ is not really the right word for it, since I got back from England a year and a half ago.
I think the root cause of it is personal loneliness. It started because I missed C——- when I came back, but lately has been transformed into a much more general feeling of emotional loneliness. I miss C——- but I also miss C—— and M—- and so forth. I miss just having a girlfriend, I miss the emotions and the closeness. I miss something that I don’t have. The rest of my life—my friends, my job, etcetera, could be better only by dream-come-true changes and I am feeling more unhappy sometimes than I have in a long time. C—— would tell me I’m never happy and always bitch about my life. And she would be right…
No—it’s not a super bowl number… ;) And there was not much drunkeness.
S—— and I where having dinner last night and talking about this article [ paulgraham.com ] titled ‘What You Can’t Say.’ Basically it talked about how many things we are told by various people (political parties, religious groups and other peoples in power) that we should not say may in fact be true and that these people do not want them said for fear we will realize these things are true and counter to what they want us to believe. Anyway, the author points out that an easy way to find such things is to look at how they are labeled—saying something is ‘false’ is a statement of fact (whether you got your facts right is another story) but when we are told something is ‘blasphemy’, ‘sacrilege’, heresy’, ‘indecent’, ‘improper’, inappropriate’ or ‘un-American’ then we should examine why these labels have been applied. Perhaps the people applying them feel threatened by these things?
The one label that really gets me is ‘un-American.’ And the quickness with which people label things as ‘un-American’—especially politician and most especially since September 2001. I cannot think of any thought or idea that is ‘un-American.’ Now everyone has a right to free speech and therefore a right to label things as they see fit—even ‘un-American’ but I can’t comprehend it. It is our duty, as Americans, to question the things our government does (it is our complacency in this duty that tends to get us in trouble—but that is another rant.) Not only is it the right of every American to think and speak anything we wish (we are for some reason not allowed to say things like “I’d like to kill President Bush’—but I think that if I want to SAY that, it should not be illegal) but it is our most precious and valuable freedom. Embodied in the first amendment to the Constitution—the very first entry of the Bill of Rights. So if the right to speak your mind is at the core of being American how can anything any American say be ‘un-American?’ Anti-American, yes—un-American, no. Impossible.
Hummmm. I opened a new journal entry with some idea as to what to write—and now that idea is as elusive as xanadu. Maybe I’m getting old. In any case I will be getting old in a week—or at least older as far as officail like documents are concerned. One more growth ring, though I joined a gym and am trying to remove some of the old growth rings.
The past few weeks my mood has been very manic—some days I’m happy and energetic and other I just want to be left alone—very alone. Not really sure whats up. I know that mid December to mid January are never the best of times for me. I try not to live in the past but there are a few things from this time of year that just bother me, no way to not think about them and no way to fix them. They bother me less with time but I think they will always be there in the back of my head.
Anyway, it’s a new year. Leo Buscaglia once told a story about ancient Egyptians and their version of St. Peter. That they believed that after death their answer to two questions would determine if they where to enter paradise of not. The fist; ‘did you find joy?’ and the second; ‘did you bring joy?’ Rather than waiting for the afterlife lets ask these question of the last year.
Did I find joy? Yes. There was a lot of pain in the past twelve months but overall I believe I am happier with my life than at the end of the previous twelve. Did I bring joy? I hope so. I think so. I know I brought my share of pain and anger but I hope that over all I come out as a bringer of joy.
And what of the coming year? Will I find joy? Will I bring joy? Well… One can only hope. So, happy new year.