29 October 2009

a conversation, part 3

i pulled over a couple lanes to the right. there was no one in front of me anymore, and i didn't want to look like i was trying to get there. it just seemed like bad form, to stay in the left lane unnecessarily.

she turned on the radio, and i almost immediately reached over to switch it off. there's no escaping car conversation. she made no protest, and went back to staring out the window.

"you know ignoring it's not going to make it go away," i said, more calmly than i meant.

"there's nothing there."

it took a moment. her words struck me in the heart, and the impact radiated out to my fingertips and knees. "that can mean a lot of things."

she had only been thinking of one. she turned suddenly, and i could hear the wideness of her eyes. "oh! oh, no, i--i didn't mean . . ."

"i know."

we drove, and we drove, and we sat and we thought and we spoke, more than really talking. time ceased to exist; it was just us and the road and the moving. it didn't matter where we were going, which was good since we weren't going anywhere at all.

at the end of the road, we got out, shut our doors, and walked slowly forward.

26 October 2009

mirror image

i did get to see the girl in my parents' bathroom mirror last weekend. she looked different, for the first time i can remember. she looked....grown up, in a way. and maybe it was the context; maybe it was who else was in the mirror. she looked like the woman i always wanted to grow up to become.

23 October 2009

Mole Day

a year ago i was having a beautifully awkward conversation on the Cathedral lawn and dancing on tables during Rent.
this morning i woke up next to a person i love more than i knew i could.
that's certainly something, isn't it?

21 October 2009


i love how last night, we couldn't let it slide, and although my slip was completely natural and i did it without thinking, i couldn't continue until it was acknowledged, but i couldn't acknowledge it either. so thank you for saying something and making it comical enough that we could move on. sorry for stalling the conversation. thank you for giving me the opportunity to start that sentence again when i didn't know i needed it.

20 October 2009


so my girlfriend is [becoming] a boy.

nobody's really all that surprised.

i'm getting used to the new name, i'm even doing ok with "he" (although i still hate gendered pronouns more than just about anything on the planet), but in light of this, please forgive me if i have a hard time with the word "boyfriend."

quote of the day on sunday, while walking from the car into the airport:
"your family is amazing."

such a good weekend.

18 October 2009

a conversation, part 2

i flicked on the blinker and changed lanes. i was passing everyone, but at least i was being consistent.

"i'm not what you wanted, am i?" i said slowly, passing a grandma in a red Geo Prizm.

she leaned on her elbow on the doorframe and raked the fingers of her right hand into her hair. she let out a sigh that didn't shudder as much as i might have hoped.

"what are you talking about?" she asked the window, in a voice smaller than i thought her body would allow. "you're perfect."

"do everyone a favor," i began, gripping the wheel briefly as if it could capture my frustration, "and never saddle anyone with that responsbility."

"it's not a responsibility," she protested. "you don't even try."

"i try really. fucking. hard." i could have measured my words with calipers they were so precise. "i try so hard to be nothing less for you."

"congratufuckinlations," she offered, impassive.

there was a pause.

"consider your efforts successful."

"i'm not anything more or less than i am," i tried, grimacing at the tautology. "no matter what i try to be, i'm only human. so is everyone else."

"you really believe that?" it was a sore subject, born of too many nights of too much pot and too little sleep. your philosophy at sunrise is inevitably different from your philosophy at dusk. i gritted my teeth.

"i believe it enough. Occam's Razor and all that."

"very well. anyway, regardless. you are what i wanted, whether i knew it or not. i think."

"am i what you want now?"

"yes." she said it too quickly and too loudly to be sincere. people only talk that way when they are trying to convince themselves of something. she heard my thoughts: " . . . i don't know."

another pause. "what did you mean, whether you knew it or not?"

she took a deep breath, "i just . . ." released it, drew another one. "i see parts of you that match up with parts of me that i didn't know were there. it's like we're every possible set of people; we interact in almost every possible way. you fill expectations i didn't realize i had, or that i gave up on, and a lot of them you fill in ways i didn't think anyone could." then a change, tired: "see? perfect."

"so i'm not what you thought you wanted. techni--"

"no. but that doesn't matter." with no hesitation, in an even tone.
tell her you love her, and it will all be okay. "didn't you ever get that christmas present you wouldn't have thought to ask for, and then couldn't live without?"

we drove past a white cadillac, the newer kind that tries not to look like a cadillac. an older man and his (older) wife were inside, not talking to each other.

a blue mustang with a single driver whizzed by in the carpool lane and cut me off. i honked apathetically once, glad for the distraction but unconcerned. it didn't mean my heart wasn't racing.

i spoke her name over the steering wheel, trailed off, and shook my head. she decided not to notice.

16 October 2009

a conversation, part 1

i've been wanting to post pieces of this for a while. written sometime in july.

i'd never been the driver of a car during a conversation like that. i was accustomed to being the passenger; it was rare enough that i drove at all.

it was distracting, but not so much that i was driving unsafely. after a while, even your conscious mind goes on autopilot. you know, when you're driving, if you've been doing it for long enough, where all the cars around you are and how long you have to stop if you need to. how fast you're going. whether your speed is steady. you start to see without looking. you don't have to concentrate on any given part of the landscape, or make your eyes focus.

she was silent for a long time. she stared out the window, drumming her fingernails on the plastic of the doorframe. the part just behind the handle she always grasps when i take a corner, whether it's too fast or not.

the thing about talking in cars is, you always have a captive audience. no matter how often, anybody jokes about it, they're never going to open the door, tuck and roll. my mother used to talk to me about sex and drugs in the car. i'll probably do it to my own kids too, even though i hated it then. we both knew it was coming, so it was just a question of which of us would break the silence first.

she opened her mouth and there was a sharp intake of breath, like she was preparing to say something, but it turned out she was just gasping at the idea of language, like a fish taking its first breath of air. it knows there's something to be done with this strange substance, but it's not sure if it can do it. the idea generally dies.

"yes?" i opened.

"hm? nothing," she replied, casually looking out the window, drumming. she was a great actor. or, we both thought she was.

i sighed and flipped down the sun visor. driving west at sunset, nobody is ever tall enough.

another minute passed. "you know . . ." i started, and my voice caught in my throat. she turned.

"we can't keep doing this." she spoke my thoughts.

this happened quite frequently. it was part of why conversations like this were so hard; we were so in tune, and we thought so often so much the same, that for us to struggle to understand each other was unfathomable.

i exhaled. "you're right," i said to her.

"i know i'm right." she was looking out the window again.

i don't know what it is people think they can avoid by looking away, even in cars. even if you're not looking at each other, the words are still going to hang there, like stars on the thin wire of a mobile, sparkling between you and strangling you if you neglect to pay attention.

10 October 2009

words i'm thinking about

caring for
taking care of

13 always seems like a good number to me.

06 October 2009

on allies

i had a great ally experience this morning:

in class, we were talking about, of all things, evidence-based practice and evaluating research articles. we got to a point about different types of categories for data: nominal, ordered nominal, and dichotomous. in giving an example of each type, my professor said, "dichotomous--you're either male or female. well, what do you do with someone who's had a gender reassignment?" there were some nervous giggles (my class is full of girls and i'm the only one who even has short hair), and we went on, because this is actually something that people in my profession deal with, but it wasn't the focus of the lecture. it did, however, brilliantly prove the point: even those categories in research we think are dichotomous may not be.

coming off a talk last week which stressed the value of straight allies in a way i'm not accustomed to hearing out loud, i thanked her after class. it was nowhere near as big a deal to her as it was to me.

04 October 2009

sonnet 74

if everybody in the balcony
is texting, reading, doing sudoku,
what is this program meant to do for me?
it might have been intended more for you:
the folks on stage who speak in microphones
and want to think they make some difference.
each of us hundreds sitting here alone
might, if we paid attention, make some sense
of all the things you try to make us learn.
the front row only might have heads all raised,
in hopes that their attentiveness might earn,
from some adjacent dean, redundant praise.
oh, colleague turns to colleague, smugly grins--
the letters you have earned by ego's sins!


02 October 2009

found - article


this literally made me laugh and cry.