Saturday, September 26, 2009

something about that jesus position just felt so right

During college, I used a desktop computer that was totally reliable all the way up until the moment it spontaneously exploded one day during my senior year, almost definitely as a result of my downloading one too many mp3's and Davey Havok videos. I wasn't one of those computer users who did any kind of backing up of anything, ever, so it wasn't just a matter of getting a new computer. I needed this specific computer back. And when I mentioned to my parents that my computer had exploded, they took it to their Computer Guy, who was the friend of a friend's cousin's sister's brother-in-law's ex-girlfriend's dogsitter, a man completely unaffiliated with any legitimate computer repair service, and he solved the problem by reinstalling Windows on my computer. A bootleg, unauthorized version of Windows. And the best part about this bootleg version was that it came complete with pop-up security updates informing me that it -- IT, ITSELF! -- was unauthorized, warning! warning! warning! Needless to say, my computer was returned to me as a withered shell of its former self, albeit with all Davey Havok videos intact.

Shortly after that, I invested in a laptop and my life turned into one long orgasmic caffeinated possibility of working on a computer IN COFFEESHOPS, and the old withered shell of a computer was tucked away into the closet. And I had every intention of pulling all of my old files off of it and then recycling it, but it took me a while to feel up to the job of hooking it up to a monitor and navigating its unauthorized innards.

And so it had been a while, but I finally spent a few hours the other night going through old college-era journal entries, photos, academic papers, etc., off of that computer. Among other files I found, there is one ongoing Word document that served me as a journal between January 2000 and October 2005, and it is NINETY-NINE PAGES LONG. Ten-point font, single spaced. It is the Holy Bible of my confused, sarcastic, thoughtful, despairing, earnest, undergraduate, 18-to-23-year-old mind.

For example:

My Undergraduate Mind on things that are attractive in a man:

He is sick and has been complaining for the last two days, every time we talk on the phone (once a day), and sounds like a goat. God I miss him. I have been thinking about him and writing sappy poetry and dawdling for days. I have images of knocking on his door tomorrow, throwing myself onto him, and doing indecent things in front of the fireplace. I keep replaying scenes in my head, like that time he came into my room while I was trying to study, and I lay with my head in his lap while he told me about the time he singed his six-year-old ass on an open light bulb while making butt shadows with his brother.

My Undergraduate Mind on having a "mid-life crisis" at the age of 19:

Last night I watched “Road to Perdition” at AMC Mercado 20 with Jack, after he called asking me if I wanted to go do something. It was the weirdest thing… I think I wanted him to kiss me. It was like… the desire to do something uncharacteristic and stupid, like having a pointless fling. I think this whole mid-life crisis thing may be the end of me. In fact, after the movie ended—in that one surreal point that always happens after a movie, where the theater is still dark and the whole audience is weirdly united by the movie experience—I was going down the stairs and Jack put his hand on my back. Maybe it was just to stabilize me in the dark, but in that moment, it felt as though we had gone strangely back in time to senior year while we were going out, and I kind of automatically reached back as if to invite him to hold my hand. Then I thought better of it, converted my gesture to a simple hand-flap as if to acknowledge his presence, and felt stupid. Then we didn’t talk about anything except the movie on the ride back home, but I think we could have had quite a discussion about Other Things had one of us brought something up. I think it’s a good thing that we didn’t. I just hate feeling lonely. I hate feeling like myself, sometimes… in the sense that I want to lose myself in new experiences, and possibly stupid ones too. I wouldn’t call them “self-destructive” activities, in the interests of avoiding sounding suicidal. Instead, I’ll just quote Samuel L. Jackson in “Pulp Fiction”: I sometimes feel like having one of those experiences that “alcoholics call ‘a moment of clarity.’”

My Undergraduate Mind on learning that a late-night drunk dial from an ex-boyfriend does not mean that he loves you and wants to have babies with you:

I checked my voice mail yesterday afternoon and found that Jeff had left me a drunken message at 2:30 a.m., saying that 1) he was drunk and just wanted to talk to someone, and 2) he had an extra ticket to the Cal basketball game on Monday and I could go if I wanted to. As usual, I interpreted this message to mean that he must still care about me on some level, if he’s gonna call me to talk to me at 2 in the morning. This interpretation was, in fact, a mistake. I finally got up the nerve to call him back around 8 that night, and he not only said that he did not remember leaving me a voice message at 2 in the morning, he also completely forgot about me after he asked me to hold on while he answered call waiting. After waiting about two minutes, I hung up and waited for him to call me back once he was done with the other call. Five minutes passed, I was getting cold (I was sitting on the balcony, the only place in the house where there’s decent reception), and I called him back. Oh shit, he said. He’d forgotten about me completely, and gotten sidetracked when Dom called him. Thanks, bud.

So I’m going to the basketball game on Monday night, but I’d like to consider this as being merely a situation wherein I take the ticket because it’s free. I harbor no particular expectations about seeing him. For all I care, he can ignore me completely all game long, and I’ll enjoy the game for the sake of the game.

Haha! Of course you will! Good luck with that reaction formation!

There are also, of course, photos. So many photos. This one is one of my favorites.

Annie, Allyson and I used to do this OFTEN during the year we lived together in the dorms. It was always Allyson in the middle, Annie and I flanking her on either side. For some reason, all three of us found it extremely comforting. We would just lie there in the middle of the hallway and talk. We called it the Recreation of Jesus on the Crucifix.

Then there was Adam, my best friend in college, my buddy, my first real brother in all things.

We took endless road trips together, particularly the San Francisco-to-LA stretch; went together to Cal football games, concerts, college parties and everything in between. We once spontaneously drove all night to Las Vegas to catch a free Red Hot Chili Peppers concert over July 4th. We saw more of each others' embarrassing moments than we knew how to give each other shit about. We talked about the hard things and joked about the hard things.

And, despite all of the confusion, there were lots of good times:

My 21st birthday bonfire at Ocean Beach (San Francisco), which I remember fondly. We grilled hot dogs.

With my friend Verna on a New Year's road trip to Joshua Tree, Palm Springs and Santa Barbara.

I've been embarking on a self-documentation project of sorts -- sorting through old photos, journals and videos -- so probably more to come. It's a trip to look at myself with different eyes.