Monday, March 31, 2008

the seldom seen kid.

I'd like to be able to sink into our quicksand pit of a couch and make it through an entire hour (or two or five) of mindless tv without feeling some sharp worry pangs about all the work and studying and reading and planning I should really be doing. I'd like to not worry, and then not worry about not doing anything about the worry, and then not worry about worry about worry about worry. I'd like to stop snowballing.

I'd like to finish school and travel, finally, again. I'm not lacking for experience: I've lucked out on a bunch of easy vacations in the past, and I took them for everything they had to give. But this winter has been this fucking winter and now I'm itching to get away again. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm moving to Toronto this fall (it isn't home, exactly, but it is only a short subway+bus ride away from home). I'm not moving to London, England (The Big Life Dream), and I'm not even moving to Montreal (The Substitute/"it'll do i guess" Life Dream). No, Toronto it is, and I'm sure it'll be good for me, and I'm sure I'll be good for it, but, really, I just need to get out of here at least once before I have to settle come September. I'd like to jaunt to NYC for a weekend. I'd like to go to Chicago for the Pitchfork fest....yes, again, so long as they add at least one more band worthy of giving me the chills to their roster, and so long as I'm not forced to stay in that horrible hostel again (I'm pretty laidback, but those shared bathrooms were the proverbial final nail-- I awoke one morning to find an unclaimed boy sleeping on the communal couch, and the sink clogged with someone's soaking wet weave. HIYA, HI-Chicago Hostel!)....I'd like to go back to England, as ever, as always, but I guess I'll just put that one in my pocket for now.

I'd like to finally finish the last few lagging pages of my thesis. It's my baby: I wrote the first page on the third day of October, let it germinate over the course of the year, and then finally hunkered down and poured out forty+ pages over reading week (I didn't leave the house and survived on coffee and arrowroots, exclusively) until I was nearly at the end. Now it's my postpartum blues: I haven't added more than a few sentences onto it since the start of March. It's just sitting here on my hard drive, steaming away, waiting for the conclusion I'm more than ready to write. In time, baby, okay? Gotta watch some more tv first.

I'd like to reach that day where I listen to "Someone Great" for the four millionth time and finally get sick of it, because it's been months and months and months and I'm still not there yet.

I'd like to march into a crowd of Western Girls dressed in salty UGGs and droopy sweatshirts and pooch-leaking leggings and scream out "you all look like Tony Danza circa the first season of "Who's the Boss?"!!!" But I never would, because they're all pretty scrappy.

I'd like to be the anti-Western girl: redder curlier hair and paler frecklier cheeks and faster walk and pencil-ier skirts and tougher face.

I'd like to drink white wine straight out of the bottle (20 year old Leslie's poison of choice) and then toddle over to the Keaton and puke in their Pepto Bismol pink ladies bathroom. Yeah, that's right, that's what I think of you, Alex P. Keaton: I love you to death but you make me sick.

I'd like to read as many books as possible while my eyes are still in reading shape and my spirits are still up reasonably high.

I'd like to trade my diabetes with someone else for a week, a day, even. I just need a break from needles, is all. Any takers? We can do a swap. I'll take what you got.

I'd like to not leave you behind.

I'd like to stop writing? I'd love to sleep.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

running, returning

One night some months ago, it was the start of the fall but it still felt like summer and the band Akron/Family (accompanied by members of Megafaun and one Pitchfork writer named Grayson) was setting up a slip 'n slide on our front lawn. It was somewhere around 3am, and any alcohol that may have been associated with the post LOLA evening was long, long gone. There was us (a few fourth year university students) there was them (a group of big-bellied, hairy bearded married musicians in their near-thirties), there were a few strangers we'd picked up during our walk home, there was a sheet of linoleum flooring they'd stolen from a house being renovated down the street, there was a bottle of dish soap, and there was a hose. They stripped and slided. They played a sing-along of their own songs using Karas' guitar. We forced the cat to come outside. We had a big group hug on the front porch before they lurched off to find the hotel they were staying in. It was the tamest, most innocent afterparty ever in the history of afterparties, and it was epic.

I went to bed that night hoping that the craziness that had just gone down would prove to be a precursor for the rest of the year. It had been an intense, unbelievable, unforgettable night, and I had faith that all the coming nights would be just as amazing and weird and good.

They weren't.

This was a year that saw me plummet academically, endure perpetual sweats over the future, learn to breed hatred for just about everybody, and lose contacts with some people and things that used to be of primary importance. I just slipped. (I also literally slipped on the ice one night during the tail end of London's horrible winter, but that's another story.) It was an endlessly hard year, and I'm not even in the clear yet.

Still, though. I mailed away my future yesterday (a single piece of paper cradled inside a way-too-expensive xpresspost envelope.) I felt like throwing up as I handed it to the girl behind the desk. She took my future and stamped it, hard, and then tossed it through a little slit. So there it is...there, it's gone. It's now.

I used to believe that my academic future would entail a leafy autumn campus full of warm old buildings and me, dressed in some sort of Ali McGraw-ish outfit, hugging a pile of books and leather-bound notebooks tightly to my chest. But I've slowly found the flaws in this vision: I don't have long black hair, nor am I attracted to Ryan O'Neal types, nor do I have the arm strength to lug a stack of books around. Come to think of it, Love Story sucked.

I'm surviving the year, just barely, and my future is currently in transit somewhere between London and Toronto. I've decided to pick the other future. The one that isn't connected to any past fantasies of mine. The one that doesn't include old buildings or musty books, but might come to include all these other things I've been too scared to even dream about. Things like slip 'n slides, afterparties, and massive nights. Epic songs filled with trumpets. Long-long-distance afternoon runs that turn my thighs to jelly. Stories that tumble beautifully out of my head after being cooped up in there for months. People who leave me besotted. A city that isn't London, and a campus that isn't Western. It took the entire year, but I'm finally hopeful again.

Monday, March 24, 2008

jump the hedges first.

The surest sign of spring I've seen so far, ignoring the obvious sub-zero temperatures and perpetual southwestern Ontario snowfall: finally visible from beneath a slowly melting snowbank, the body of one dead squirrel set peacefully spreadeagled on a sunny stretch of sidewalk along Central Avenue. Looking like he's just laying out for a light afternoon tan. No bloodspots to speak of. The end of his tail already partially trampled by the salty winter boots of ignorant, good-for-nothing co-eds such as myself. Goodbye, James Squirrel Jones. Hello, springsomething.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

hey london

It's been a while since I've walked in shoes without socks through a muddy park full of ugly urban squirrels, dead or alive, doesn't matter. A while since I've stood on the corner of the intersection waiting for a 21 Huron Heights to rumble past, dreaming of jayrunning to the other side, balmy from the last bits of sunshine creeping through the jagged roof of Jim Bob's. Since I've sidled out of the way to let a slurry girl in 4 inch heels and aStitches tube top lean forward and puke all over her claim of the sidewalk. Since I've seen that homeless man in the all-seasons orginally-red-but-now-concrete-coloured ski jacket shuffling outside of Planet Pizza, or, on occasion, stooping by the front doors of the public library. Since I've involuntarily written stories in my head while rocking uncomfortably, pressure shifting from foot to foot and back again, at some lame can-indie-rock show at Call the Office that I spent way too much cover on. Since I've stumbled home at three in the morning myself, blurred on a stream of terrible vodka and soda's. Since I've run past a dirty river that wasn't sealed off by a sheet of ice. Since I've hugged you and actually meant it, you filthy bastard. It's been a while.