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Showing posts from 2011

Past the butterfly wall.

Spontaneous pneumothorax is a collection of air or gas in the space between the lungs and the chest that "collapses" the lung and prevents it from inflating completely. Spontaneous means there is no traumatic injury to the chest or lung.There are two types of spontaneous pneumothorax: primary and secondary. Primary spontaneous pneumothorax occurs in people without lung disease. It occurs most often in tall, thin, young people. I feel my phone vibrate in my pocket but I can't answer it. We are in the middle of rehearsal. It is not an uncommon event. We continue to play. The strap of my saxophone cuts into my neck. The nylon is rough against my skin. I look out of place. Everyone else is dressed casually; shorts, shirts, shoes optional. There I stand, a button down shirt and slacks. I'm entitled to dress up a little. It's my birthday.

My phone vibrates again.

I always used to roll my eyes whenever I saw those scenes in movies. The phone call. The bad news. The dram…

I wonder, sometimes.

I am standing on the edge of a cliff face. A breeze whips past me as I stare out into the darkness. It's a familiar sight, comforting. The river bends below me. It stretches out, away from me at both ends. The arch of the bridge traverses the river, silhouetted by the house lights and golf course below us. So far away from us. The highway reaches out before us, straight into the hills and disappears on the horizon. It is silent. There are no cars. No planes. No animals. It is just us standing on top of the cliff. As it should be. It's late. A late weeknight. Just a normal Tuesday night to the world. I step away from the edge.

In 5 minutes, I will be 22 years old.

It's a turning point in my life. A fixed checkpoint. I'm only 21 years old, I'm not an actual adult yet. Maybe legally. But I'm still a child. I'm immature, I laugh at fart jokes. I laugh at everything. Why would I take anything seriously? 21 years old and we still have no responsibilities. We can …

Like the river, I been running ever since.

I am running with a purpose. I have a mission. The pavement is unforgiving under my heels. There is no comfortable roll in my stride, only a dull thud and a rebound. I ignore it. These shoes are not made for running. In fact, as I understand it, they are not made for many things beyond walking and fashionably lounging. These shoes were designed with limitations. I can't help but cringe at the word. Limitations. I hate the word. No, the concept. The idea of it. A limit. A boundary. An innate disadvantage. I am sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall. It seems to be the same spot every time. Light from the window strikes the floor just beyond my feet. I stare ahead at the opposite wall. It is familiar. Not too much so, though. I can almost see the exact spot I always start staring at. He sits at his desk, staring at the computer. A mix of work and personal indulgences litters his screens. There is constant white noise. The scrolling of the mouse. The steady clack of the keyboa…

And the drums, the drums, the drums, the drums.

"Well," he said. "I had an idea and you just totally shot it down." I sighed. I was suddenly exhausted. Too many similar, circular arguments in too short of a span of time. "You didn't give me an idea," I replied. "You just got upset and defensive." He rolled his eyes and shrugged his shoulders. "Fine," he said. "You can just be the only innovator." "Was your idea communicating?" I asked. "Because that's not an idea. That's not a suggestion. That's something I'm actually trying to do with you and you keep fighting me."
I had been so excited to play music with him, too.
"Yeah," he said. "I'm in a band but..." "But what?" I asked. "I don't know," he replied. "They just aren't on my level. They're good but just not as good." "Is that frustrating?" I asked. "Yeah," he said. "I have to write out music so…

The miracle of life.

I make what I consider, given my vocal propensity to do the opposite, a marked effort to abstain from writing about particularly vulgar or insensitive things. It has been, I think, a good policy so far. Certain experiences, however, simply beg to be shared. Especially when they involve restroom visits.
It was a routine procedure, using the urinal. One that really requires no thought. The restroom was empty, at least as far as I could tell. I didn't really expect anyone to be using it so late at night, though. It was a stuffy, mostly unventilated room. The air was especially thick, given the frequent visitation by Barton Springs swimmers. I approached the urinal and began. It began to dawn on me how exhausted I actually was. A long day after a long series of days. A man and his son entered and shuffled behind me, making their way to a stall. "Do you have to pee, daddy?" The boy asked. "Uh," the man said. "No, but I think you do?" They entered the stall …

Been a long time.

We laughed as we drove. The road stretched out in front of us, silence punctuated with green fireflies floating overhead. The music carried on quietly in the background, just audible over the steady rumble of the car. I tried to remember the last time we'd spoken so frankly but nothing came to mind. It was a simple realization. We'd never really spoken before. So many similar and even shared experiences that we had never tried to connect over. So many opportunities for bonding squandered. We were entirely different people yet somehow almost exactly the same. "So, five or six months, right?" I asked. "How serious are you and Kara?" He paused for a moment. "What do you mean, serious?" I kept my eyes on the road. The streetlights whipped past like slow motion strobe flashes. "What do you think I mean, serious?" I could see him turn to look at me in my peripheral vision. "I mean," he said. His voice suddenly had gravity. "We&#…

No story to be told.

The ribbon is failing. The letters barely register on the paper despite the reassuring click-clack of the keys. The metal grinds and creaks. The letters are ghosts on my canvas, faint echoes of ideas and words struggling to overcome age and inherent neglect. Click-clack. The paper travels steadily across my field of view, accelerated by dedication and patience and a strange willingness to sort through feelings and thoughts. Two of the keys stick. I reach in and flip the arms back. Click-clack. Writing with a purpose.
I push the carriage back and continue typing. It takes effort to press the keys down, there's a greater distance to travel before the letters swing up and strike the paper. You really have to want to write. The ribbon refuses to stay in place for any useful period of time. Most of what I write is lost as faint blemishes on the page. It does not discourage me. The sun sets quietly outside of my window but I am preoccupied. I am collected and focused. Finally, I fin…

Happens all the time.

"That's right! I remember now! His name is GAYMAN!!" I had to brace myself against the streetlight because I was laughing so hard. The more I thought about it, the funnier it got. "GAYMAN!? Let me think... Oh, right! I told you to come!" I couldn't help but snicker about it while we waited for the bus to arrive. And I couldn't help but giggle to myself on the bus. And I couldn't help but burst out laughing again on my way to work.
I mean, come on. That's hilarious.
I don't remember when I grew up, probably because I try so hard not to. I desperately don't want to accept the fact that I can't be eight forever. I remember when they took nap time away. Then they took snack time away. Then they took recess away. There was a time when I couldn't fathom spending my time anywhere besides the playground. Or not reading books for fun. Or spending my weekends working. And, yet, here I am. At work in my funny shirt and raggedy jeans, dragging…

Pinky promise.

I was surprised at how attached I was to the play when it ended. Or, at least, surprised at the realization of how attached I actually was compared to how attached I thought I was. Seeing all those people on the stage for the last time, it didn't really register. We were all still on such a high. Even with the final words and goodbyes.
It didn't ever click.
Monday came. And there I sat in my apartment, watching the digits on the clock blink in the dark. 8:00. 8:01. 8:02. And there it was. That restless feeling. Not like before. Not like finishing marching season. Not like finishing a movie. Not like finishing a song. Not like coming home after a long trip. A different restless. The bad kind. It was an empty feeling. Like I was supposed to be somewhere I wasn't.
We sat down in the room on the side, away from the other people. The strangers. All the strange, strange people speaking loudly and singing songs in harmony. Acting strange and playing strange poison dart games and …

You have to promise.

"You should be a voice actor," she said. "Seriously, do it. Promise me that you'll at least try to act." I smiled an empty smile and continued tying my shoes. "I promise." I said. "Pinky promise?" She asked. With some reluctance I hooked my pinky around hers. "Pinky promise." Then, I put on my jacket and walked out the door.
As far as goodbyes go, the whole thing was so appropriate.
In high school, I never particularly liked actors. Theater kids, I mean. Or theatre kids. It wasn't an active dislike, really. I'd never been slighted by them or wronged in any way. It was a tolerance for the most part punctuated with bouts of annoyance. Or not even that, really. I just never had any interest in being a part of it. I could never get myself to be quite so melodramatic about everything that ever happened. This was somewhat funny to me at the time because of how badly I wanted to make movies.
I wanted to be a director. I also enjo…

Let's listen to Pearl Jam.

When I was in high school, I had one of the best teachers ever. Not just because he was a fantastic teacher but because he was also a fantastic person. I've almost certainly talked about him before, but it bears repeating. He shared stories from his life during our classes. Told us about the mistakes he had made. Like going to college with his then-girlfriend instead of his friends. They had broken up, leaving him at a college away from all his close friends. "The lesson," he told us, "is that sometimes, yeah, bad things happen. But these can end up helping you in the long run." He paused, then, and let it sink it for a moment. "I guess sometimes shitty situations turn out well. I ended up focusing on my work and doing well." Then he paused again. "Alright, you know what, just forget it. But remember that good things can happen, okay?"
"When you finish your assignment, turn it in on the schtool."
Just like he said would ha…

You're lucky you're pretty.

Friends are a difficult thing to balance, I've found. Groups of friends, I mean. That also seems to be a universal phenomenon. Associating with several different groups of people. Different interests, different personalities. All just representative of different aspects of your own.
And, naturally, these do not mix.
It's like old friends and new friends. But, instead, it's just friends who don't mesh. Maybe one group is very mellow and tends to fall into routines. Maybe another is lively and energetic. And fun. These people would never have fun with each other. Or, maybe they would. But the catch is that you wouldn't be able to balance between being the mellow friend and the energetic friend. Things just don't work like that. If only.
And, so, decisions are made. Tough, often. Who do you snub tonight? Tomorrow? Next weekend? And then, who gets snubbed more frequently? Eventually you just sort of fall in with one group of friends. That's really all anyone can m…

Now I know much better.

I think I have writer's block. Probably. That or I'm just fabulously uninspired these days. That's a thing that happens, I guess, with some cyclicity. I tried to sit down and write about zombies the other day. It didn't go quite as well as I hoped it would. Lots of writing, erasing, rewriting, and erasing. I remember when I sat down and wrote fifteen pages in one sitting. Now I'm under the impression that it's a good night if I can sit down and write fifteen words that stick. All of the ideas are bouncing around up there, it's just that I can't get them to precipitate the way I want them to. My sounding board has up and left. I've lost my ground. Which, I guess, means it's time to start a different project.
Maybe I'm just working too much. Too much work, not enough outlet.
We made $150 playing the street corner on Saturday night. Just an hour of playing. And I busted the drumhead. Split it wide open after the first song. And yet…

What are you laughing at.

When it comes down to it, I really don't have much to say about Valentine's Day, I guess. I certainly have some acquaintances who seem to have their hearts set on condemning the holiday. It is apparently the most painful day for them to endure whether in or out of a relationship. No pleasing some people, I suppose. I admit to some pleasure from instigating Valentine's rants. In the end, though, it's just another day that slips by. Like weekends and birthdays. My original plan was to stay in and catch up on assignments and do more writing. My friend, however, insisted that we go out. And so, somewhat reluctantly, we set out to the pub on a Monday afternoon. We'd been friends for some time by that point, but not particularly close ones. Simply nature, I suppose. Small talk here and there. But we spent a few hours together and talked about all sorts of things. Life directions, how great it was to be a kid, plans. And then we bonded over some mild vandalism…

Vroom vroom, motherfucker.

I finally got my bike fixed the other day. It wasn't terribly expensive. There were a lot of things that needed fixing. And now, fixed. It was a fantastic feeling, riding it again. Such elegant machines. Such graceful transportation. It's a fluid exercise, really. You move and it answers, moves with you. Complementary elements. Riding a bike is a lot like dancing.
That would be me being clever.
It snowed the other day. There was ice, too, I guess. So the city put gravel out on the roads to help college students drive poorly. And so, since it's not icy anymore, the roads are covered in loose gravel. And so, I crashed my bike. I hit the patch of loose gravel at a very manageable speed and my tires slid out from under me. There's still some gravel and such in my palms that I can't quite get out. I had to get John's help with my knee. This picture really makes it look not that bad at all, but there was a surprising amount of dirt and gravel and tar in i…

Stop the world.

I hope I never get tired of hearing the sound of snow under my feet. It's a unique sound, really. Those crackles, those staccato crackles like walking on sand or gravel or broken glass. So familiar. Predictable. Typical, almost. It's a sound we hear all the time. But underneath it there's another sound. This constant munch. Difficult to describe, but it's always there. The sound of snow compacting under your shoes. This cartoon-ish squeezing noise. Not quite a squish. Just a steady munch. Persistent and reliable. It always sounds the same. Comforting, almost.
Munch, munch, munch.
It snowed here, like it so rarely does. A precious occasion that finds everyone roaming the streets at three in the morning, bleary-eyed and absolutely giddy. Mature young adults when they go to bed but rowdy children the second they're roused from their beds. Laundry basket sleds, miniature snowmen, and names scrawled on the windshields of uncovered cars. It's amazing…

Here goes no mercy.

"Eh," I said. "I wouldn't." He whipped around in his seat to glare at me. "Seriously, dude?" I shrugged. "I don't know, man." I said. "I'm not into that. She's not my type." He tossed his hands up. "What," he asked. "She's hot?" I sighed. I've never really enjoyed those conversations. Not with the company I held, I suppose, but also in general. It feels out of place. Improper, I guess. But maybe not that. Maybe just frustrating, trying to make your point. "No," I said. "She's just..."
"She's not your type?" His girlfriend chimed in.
He laughed. "Oh, I have a type?" I asked. "Yeah," he said. "It's girls who are actually guys." "Yeah," she said. "I know your type. Blonde, tall, way too skinny. Artsy or indie, kind of punk-ish. Into music you don't like. Unfriendly." I fought back the …

Fix it for a cost.

A cynic is just a frustrated optimist. That was the fortune out of the fortune cookie. "How appropriate," they said. "You would be the one to get that." I stuffed it into my pocket because, really, it was an appropriate fortune. I don't even like fortune cookies. They don't taste good. The only reason I get them is to read the fortune. I couldn't care less about the disgusting shit it comes wrapped in.
Quite clearly, I remember reading a book wherein a character was described as cynical. That actually happened on multiple occasions. I never knew what being cynical entailed. Being so young, I couldn't decipher the dictionary definition. And my mother never had a solid way of explaining it to me. People who see the bad in everything, I think.
It's funny to see how cliques form between people as quickly as they do. Even in elementary school. Little group of best friends. Anthony and Luke and Joe and Jimmy. How they've all grown up.…

Don't look so miserable, there's cake.

I went to a wedding the other day. The second wedding I've been to in less than a year. The second time I've been an usher. The second tie I've been gifted. An interesting thing to watch, I guess. My collection of ties has really exploded in the last couple of weeks. Black, silver, purple, red. Slytherin. Not bad.
But weddings really aren't my scene.
Before the whole thing kicked off, I found myself sitting in a coffee shop with an old friend. Or what used to be an old friend. "I can't imagine it," she said. She didn't look up from her notebook. "I know people in their late twenties who still don't know what to do with themselves. I just can't ever see myself getting married." She glanced up. "You aren't planning on getting married, are you?" I took a sip of my drink. "No." "Okay, good." She said. "I just had to make sure. Getting married at our age is an awful idea. It won'…

Trust me, I'm a doctor.

I have awful body image. I shouldn't, really, but I can't help it. My grandparents used to tell me about what a chubby little baby I was. "You used to be a real chubby baby," they say. "But look at you! You've shot up and slimmed up!" For years they've been telling me things like that. "You and your cousin both used to be chubby babies." They say.
"But you got real slim."
And I'm terrified of the day my metabolism slows down. Or the day I look in the mirror and can't see my ribs anymore. I don't ever want to gain weight. Or flab. Or pudge. I just want to be skinny as hell, safely below 150 pounds. It bothers people, I think. They think it's just part of the whole being an asshole thing. But no.
It's legitimate vanity and narcissism.
I was crossing the street the other day trying to get to the bank. A girl walked up to me, trying to hand out books of coupons for businesses around campus. "Would you like some c…

This right here's as high as it gets.

I've had this lunch box, this one lunch box, since I was about five years old. I remember because the lunch box I had before it was a garish plastic box with dial latches that never properly shut. Everything would always spill out of it, and a Power Rangers thermos can only take so much abuse. Finally, my mom took me to get a replacement: a red Jurassic Park lunch box. The perfect size for the Power Rangers thermos and a sturdy plastic latch. For the briefest of moments, there was a substitute: a soft red Jurassic Park III lunch box. Well, sack, I suppose. Traded a Tyrannosaurus for a Velociraptor. That didn't last long.
Sixteen years later, I'm still bringing that lunch box to work for lunch.
Sentimental, I guess. It's just easy to get attached to things. Meaningless trinkets, especially. Not meaningless, really, since they get assigned meaning. A lunch box. A scarf. A magnet. A bracelet. A dreamcatcher. A cup. A pen. It's kind of nice to notice those things. It'…

New wonders undreamt of.

I spent the last few days playing The Sims 3. And when I say playing, I mean in marathon doses. To the exclusion of a great many things. Like eating and sleeping. Work, almost. I built worlds. Homes, people. Lineages rose and fell. Relationships grew and withered. Loves were endured and hardships were enjoyed. I made people I knew. I made myself. And then, one Sim-day, my Sim grew up. And then the game told me to get my Sim's life in order because soon it would be too late to fulfill all of my Sim's life wishes.
And so I stopped playing The Sims 3.
In an entirely unrelated conversation, a friend asked me if I ever wanted to be an astronaut as a kid. I still want to be an astronaut. I'm going to go to space. And to all the continents. And I'm going to summit Everest. And I'm going to be a doctor. And work at the CIA. And write a book. And make a successful band. And write a movie. I refuse to outgrow the dreams I had when I was a kid. Time's running out, and I'…

Who wants all that garbage.

"Is there an Apple store around here?" The old man asked. "I need to get a charger for my Kindle. I want to read a book." I continued sifting through the displays. I wasn't really paying attention to what I was doing anymore. "Uh," the young man said. "I think there's another computer store somewhere. Maybe on campus or something." He sounded bored. Tired, uninterested. "Is it an Apple store?" The old man asked. I tried not to get involved.
Just not very hard.
"The Campus Computer Store." I said, walking toward them. "I'm headed that way right now if you'd like to come with me, sir." The old man looked at me and smiled. "Alright then, let's go." I looked at the young man. "Thanks." He said. And so we walked out of the Co-op and waited to cross the street. "So much has changed here," he said. He looked at all the colorful signs and shops around him. I looked at the n…

New new doctor.

I saw a peregrine falcon the other day. An actual peregrine falcon. All those years of watching Kratt's Creatures and Zaboomafoo finally paid off. Except, apparently, Zaboomafoo was a show for little kids. Which did not bother me in the slightest. But it sat there on the tree branch, watching me over its shoulder. I stopped and stepped off the sidewalk and sat down on the slope.
And we sat together for a while.
He looked around, occasionally, as I wrote in my journal. We sat in silence for maybe half an hour. I looked at him, he looked at me, and the creek bubbled in the background. The sun drifted lazily toward the horizon when the falcon hunched his shoulders. He froze for a moment before exploding off the branch. He shot through the foliage, not brushing against anything, toward a building on the opposite bank. In the air, he snatched a smaller bird away from its nest and spun around. He swooped back through the dense branches and glided across the road, mere inches off th…