September 2, 2002
Russia, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan. These fifteen countries all used to be part of the Soviet Union. The Soviets also invaded Afghanistan in 1979, no doubt trying to make it the sixteenth Soviet republic. Yesterday was the day of the birthday party for little—oh, I don’t know his name. My great-uncle lives only about half a mile north of the Decaying State-Native State border. I rode up with my Grand Ma Normal Family and Great Aunt Crazy, and I begged them to stop at the border but Grand Ma said that there was nowhere to pull over. We got there and it was a bit awkward as we didn’t know anybody, but the situation worked out. I met my second cousin, Cousin I Barely Know and her boyfriend. My initial impression of him was that I do not approve of him at all. He seemed quite a “hillbilly.” I wonder if there is a proper word for “hillbilly,” for in my opinion to use the word “hillbilly” makes one sound like a “hillbilly.” On the way back to Beautiful Town I rode with Grand Pa, Grand Ma, and Powell. Ya idoo na dom. Babushka idyot na dom. Brat Powell idyot na dom. [Translation from Russian: I ride home. Grand Ma rides home. Brother Powell rides home.] We looked for the sign that would announce that we were crossing the border into Native State, but we couldn’t find it. A shame, as Grand Pa had agreed to stop. I will now list my family members, in Russian, on my father’s side:
Tyotya Blonde Aunt
Dyadya Mustache Uncle
Dvayuradnayii Brat Rowdy Cousin
Dyadya Tall Uncle
Tyotya Jewish Aunt
Dvayuradnayii Brat Tall Cousin
Dvayuradnaya Sistra Curly-Haired Cousin
[Translation from Russian:
Male cousin Rowdy
Male cousin Tall
Female cousin Curly-Haired
September 3, 2002
Just eight days left. Solo ocho dias entonces el aniversaria del once de septiembre. [Translation: Just eight days and then the anniversary of September 11th.] It is so sad. My second week of school has started off wonderfully. The only thing that bothers me is that I truly want to change math classes. Y, yo no se si ua chica va a ir con yo a “Homecoming.” [Translation: And, I don’t know if a girl will go with me to Homecoming.] In Gym I hit a bull’s eye and was exempt from taking a test. I got an automatic A. Advanced English I today was the most sexual English class tat I’ve ever had. We students spoke of Roman and Greek theatre. Apparently Greek was very proper, but Roman was like dramatic porn. I even told Blonde Girl and some others about my Dick Wack jokes. In Government something else happened. I learned from Rich Girl that she nearly got into a fight with Walrus Girl! Walrus is the girl who became known for calling me a “damn jackass” all of last year. Rich Girl confided the entire story to me, which surprised me, as she usually fins me annoying. I suppose that there’s always change. Anyway, apparently Walrus was bragging about how a boy named Random liked Walrus better than Rich Girl. Anyway, Rich Girl tapped Walrus on both cheeks and jokingly said, “Shut up, Walrus.” And then Walrus started yelling at Rich Girl! Rich Girl pointed the boy out to me and told me that Walrus doesn’t really like him. She was simply furious for the entire class period (Rich Girl, not Walrus. Walrus doesn’t have any classes with me this quarter) Kto eto? Eto Rich Girl. Chto eto? Eto dyevushka. Adin, dva, tri, chitirye, pyat, shyest, syem, vosit, dyevit, dyesit. [Translation from Russian: Who is it? It’s Rich Girl. What is it? It’s a girl. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.]
September 5, 2002
Today at school auditions were held for the play “Lend Me a Tenor.” I was so nervous as I sat in the auditorium. When I first came in I was shaking so badly that I had difficulty maintaining composed speech as I asked general questions. I excused myself to use the bathroom and peed, quickly going back to the auditorium and trying to be confident. I kept repeating in my head, “It’s already yours, it’s already yours.” I wasn’t trying to be self-centered or conceited, just confident so that I wouldn’t mess up. I then had to run back to the bathroom to apply deodorant. I was so nervous sitting there. At first I couldn’t find a partner, but then a Junior girl came up to me and told me that she needed a partner. I said that I would be her partner. However, as we watched couple after spectacular couple walk up onto the stage, the girl decided that she didn’t want to audition. I tried to talk her out of it, saying that it was better to try than to not try at all. I told her, “The worst that can happen is that you don’t get the part.” But she wouldn’t listen. And I myself was a little intimidated. The girls that stand out in my mind are a blonde, who was exceptionally good. She moved around the stage, yelling and throwing her arms in the air. The other girl was a foreign exchange student from Germany. Not only was she reading and speaking in another language, but she was also adding an Italian accent onto her English! And her acting was incredible! The girl who I think will certainly get a main part is a Hispanic (or I believe she was Hispanic) girl who blew me away with her acting skills. There were about three very good boys that I could remember. When my turn came to go up, my partner stayed behind and another girl went up with me. I think that I did fairly well, although my partner (well, the girl who was supposed to be my partner) said that she didn’t think I’d get it. One boy complimented me, and two girls. I still have doubts. Dad told me to have faith, and I do; the end result, all of it is all in God’s hands.
September 6, 2002
Oh Timeless Father lights Above,
Oh glorious Embers of Origin,
Oh Maternal flames of Life
Bearing me eons ago
Oh vast expanses of unmeasured passions
Oh fiery Birth
Siphon of all Existence
Loving, loving God, my Creator
Oh Divine Fate
My heart beats with the fire of Devotion and Love when I look upon thee
Oh mysterious Eternities of Brightness
Will Fate make us destined to come together again?
Or Forever will we proceed obliviously in insignificance?
Oh Unmasked Purity, will we meet again?
Oh Soul of Humanity!
Oh Endless Visage of Being!
Will we meet again?
Oh unparalleled magnificence!
Oh Heavenly artwork!
Will we meet again?
September 7, 2002
I was so inspired yesterday evening after looking at the starts that I felt as if I had to write something down, that I had to express my feelings. I didn’t make the play. No Freshmen made the play. No comment on that “coincidence.” I was a bit disappointed, but my father told me not to be intimidated. And I’m not. Instead, I’m grateful for the experience, because it renewed in me something that I hadn’t felt in four years. As I said, I was very nervous waiting in the crowd. But as soon as I got onto the stage this feeling overcame me, and I felt so comfortable, and it seemed so perfectly natural that I should be there on stage. It felt so good, like a high almost. Although I’ve never been high, I’m sure it must feel very good. However, I’ll stick to acting highs and things like that. Artist, artistka. [Translation from Russian: Actor, actress.] I can now count to one hundred in Russian. I will go by tens:
[Translation from Russian:
Now, I must learn a new number: two hundred. Dvyesti. [Trsnaltion from Russian: Two-hundred.] Oh, also, yesterday I met a boy from Oil-Producing-South-American-County named Paco. His English wasn’t very good so we spoke Spanish most of the time and English for a little bit. Fue divertido! Hablar espanol con una persona espnola! Paco tiene cuarenta anos, como yo. Pero el es bajo! El tiene pelo negro y corto. Tambien, el dice que yo tengo un acento Americano cuando hablo espanol. Yo pregunto si hay terroristas en, Oil-Producing-South-American-County y el dice “No!” Nosotros hablamos sobre el once de septiembre. El dice que el fue aqui, en los Estados Unidos en el once de septiembre. La aniversaria es este miercoloes. Asi triste. Este noche, a las siete de la noche en la television, hay una programa sobre el once de septiembre en chanel once, yo creo. Lo se llama, “Native State Recuerda.” [Translation: It was so much fun! To speak Spanish with a Spanish person! Paco is fourteen, like me. But he’s short! He has short black hair. Also, he says that I have an American accent when I speak Spanish. I asked him if there are terrorists in Oil-Producing-South-American-County, and he said, “No!” We talked about September 11th. He says that he was here, in the United States, on September 11th. The anniversary is this Wednesday. So sad. Tonight, at seven o’clock, there’s a program on television, on channel eleven, I believe, about September 11th. It’s called “Native State Remembers.”]
September 10, 2002
Tomorrow is September 11th. I can’t believe it. It feels as if it was only yesterday that I was sitting in school, terrified, as it happened. I had begged my mother to take us to Hick State that day, I was so frightened. Oh, no! I just received a telephone call from my Aunt Ostentatious! My grandmother Hick Family is in the hospital! Well, she was supposed to be, because she’s getting surgery, and now I think that they believe she might die. I feel absolutely terrible! Powell and Idiot Cousin and just about everyone used to mock her but it was all quite good-natured and now she might die. Grand Pa is terribly upset, as is understandable as they fought terrifically of late. I’ve gotten ahold of Dad, but it took me the longest time. And anyone has yet to get ahold of my mother. It’s absolutely ridiculous how hard they are to reach. If something were to happen to one of us we would never be able to reach our parents in time, and we would just have to call 911 instead. Our embassies in both Malaysia and Indonesia have been temporarily shut down due to terrorist threats. Also, our government has raised to Terror Code from Yellow, which it has been at since March, to Orange, which means that there is “a high risk of a terrorist attack.” I’m not exactly sure what Yellow was, but I know it was something like a mild risk, or so I believe. Code Red, obviously, is the most extreme threat level. I had the most odd dream that my parents loaded us all into a car and began to drive, saying that they wanted us to get away from the East Coast. We stopped in Midwestern State for some reason and I told a boy that I met why we were there. And he said, “But nothing’s going to happen on the East Coast. Something has to happen on the West Coast.”
Air defense systems have been deployed around Washington, D.C. The Pentagon is considering arming them with missiles, and in Bahrain our forces are on Alert Level Delta. What is going on? Now we’re worried about suicide bombings in the Middle East. The Attorney General is on television saying that we have “specific information.” The Vice President has just been taken to an “undisclosed location.” Also, he’s canceled a speech in Washington, D.C. for tonight. They’re saying that the threat seems to be mostly overseas, but they’ve also been saying something else. On September 10, 2001, they also thought that there might be overseas attacks last year, and then look what happened. The President is at the Afghan Embassy in Washington, D.C. He’s supposed to address the media, soon I hope.
Ah, here’s the President. He looks as if he’s been weeping! Oh, this is all quite terrible. He’s such a good man, our President!
September 11, 2002
*September 11, 2001*
It seems more unbelievable to me now than it did then. Or not so much unbelievable as horrible. How could those huge buildings have collapsed? How could it be? The buildings were finished in either 1971 or 1973, and they were magnificent. They sound like the kind of place that I would have enjoyed working in. We had a discussion about September 11th in our Government class today. It’s so sad. For some reason I have this image of a Christmas party in one of the towers. I wish that it had never happened. All of the stories are so sad, particularly the stories of some of the Pentagon families. It doesn’t seem like a year. Things that happened to me more recently seem farther off. I’ve noticed that some of the television specials today, such as the one that my parents were just watching on the History Channel, have ceased showing pictures of the planes hitting the buildings. This is good. I want to go to New York City one day. I want to see the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street. Maybe business would be a good avenue for me. I’ve wanted to be an actor for a very long time but I find that I’m not very good at it. Well, I wouldn’t say that I’m not good but I’m certainly not as good as I thought I was. Maybe I can still do it, who knows? Whatever I do, I mustn’t be middle or lower class. My life must be luxurious. I must have a wife and children, and we all must be very happy. I think about the future often when I am alone and with no other distraction. I think about the future so much so that I can motivate myself to do well. I found myself wondering today how long this country of ours will last.
September 15, 2002
Our President has gone before the United Nations to rally support for a strike against Iraq. I believe that we’ve won over Russia and Norway, at least. Iraq has promised an attack against Israel if Israel aids the United States in invading Iraq. In 1991, during the Persian Gulf War, Iraq fired dozens of SCUD missiles into Israel. Israel has promised to retaliate if Iraq attacks. Today has been a lazy, lazy day. I got up and ate and dressed and cleaned up my room a bit. Then Powell had to go help Dad at work and Mom and Thomas went grocery shopping, so I was left by myself for a few hours. I ate some soup (I love soup) and called Grand Ma (Normal Family) and then I had some Reecees. Mom hid these from us because we like them so and she says that we eat them all and that there are none left for lunches. I’ve discovered this hiding place in the pantry, in a glass ceramic jar that has a Southwestern pattern on the outside. I dare not reveal this to Mom, or she will hide them somewhere else. And do you believe t, she lied to me! Just to see if she was really hiding them, I asked her when she had a few out, “Where did you get those? I thought we were all out.” And she said, “These are the last ones.” Ha! Kind Gothic Girl came here last night. She has just turned fifteen but is still a Freshman because she failed last year. People misjudge her and think that she is a Goth, but truly, she isn’t. She seemed so sad last night as she spoke of depression, and she looked as if she might cry. She hinted that she thought she might be clinically depressed. Also, when I said that I couldn’t understand people our age who commit suicide over depression and social rejection, she said something that alarmed me: “Some people feel like they don’t have any other choice.” As soon as she left I asked Powell if he thought that she was suicidal, and he said no and acted as if I’d asked him something stupid. I hate how he reacts to some things. Honestly, if I didn’t know any better I’d say that he was stupid.
September 20, 2002
I’m sorry for having not written in so long. Lo siento para no eschucho [meant to say “no escribo,” translating to, “I’m sorry that I didn’t write” rather than “I’m sorry that I didn’t listen.”] I asked Math Class Girl to Homecoming. She told me that another boy had asked her, and that she wasn’t sure if she’d even go with a date at all. And now Blonde Girl wants me to go with her—again. I remember the disaster that that caused last winter, and I’m not sure that I’m ready for that again. Rich Girl told me that it would be stupid to go without a date, so I might not go at all. There is another girl that I would ask, she goes by the nickname of Government Class Girl. She’s cute and seems very smart, also she’s friends with me but I don’t know her nearly well enough to ask her. My Government project is due next week. Mi proyecto de la clase de gubernacion, mi maestro necesita este projecto en este viernes. [Translation: My teacher needs my Government project this Friday.] I’ve just finished making an election ballot which gives you the following problem to solve in order to vote for Al Gore: 3(x+y)-43*8/ 9/10+ 1(1-141)*x10-2/ y * [Pi] + the absolute value of the palindrome of 879. My teacher thinks that Al Gore was the rightful winner of Presidential Election 2000. I think that perhaps Al Gore should legally have won, however I also think that George W. Bush is an excellent President, and I am happy that he is in office. Tomorrow, Mom’s Old Best Friend, Military Man (her husband), Wide-Eyed Girl (their cute little daughter), and Older Hispanic Woman (la mujer de Mom’s Old Best Friend, ella es de Impoverished Country y ella habla espanol. De vez en cuando yo no puedo comprender su ingles, asi, yo quiero hablar en espanol con ella [Translation: Mom’s Old Best Friends’s mother, she’s from Impoverished Country and she speaks Spanish. Sometimes I can’t understand her English, so I want to speak Spanish with her.]). Did I mention that I stayed after for math class today? I didn’t want to fail my Chapter 2 Test (which I will be taking Monday) and now I think that I’ll pass the test. My Algebra teacher is so nice, she’s so short and tiny, and she has this tiny, cheerful little voice. She’s the perfect little teacher. Ella es baja y ella tiene una cabeza pequena. Ella es muy simpatica. Ella ayuda yo con my trabajo de matematicas, pues, con algebra. [Translation: She is short and she has a small head. She is very nice. She helps me with my math work, well, with my algebra work.] The weather was so nice outside tonight. It was cool outside. Until recently it was cold in the house, because my father gets hot very easily and he keeps the house like an icebox. My mother can’t stand it. But in the winter, which will soon be upon us, he relents.
September 21, 2002
I’m so insulted! My father has refused [Code began here] to allow me to sit in the dining room with the adults! [Code ended here] I was simply outraged, and I still am! I am an intelligent human being, and yet he denounces my society because of my age, saying, “Yo no quiero escuchar el opinion de una persona quien tiene solo cuarenta anos.” [Translation: “I don’t want to hear the opinion of someone who’s only fourteen years old.”] He said this in English of course, but it’s so degrading and insulting that I’m too embarrassed to write it in English! Doesn’t he understand that because of my age that the forced society of younger siblings (one of whom acts like an idiot, the other of whom throws punches when contradicted) bores me? Yo necesito hablar con personas quien tiene mas anos. Me gusta hablar con mis amigos, pero nos de mis amigos estan aqui ahora! Que es porque yo debo voy con las personas quien tiene mas anos! [Translation: I need to talk with people who are older. I like talking to my friends, but none of them are here right now. That is why I need to go with the adults!] It’s such pretentious bullshit! In school, I am so sociable! I often find myself surrounded by friends, and we speak, well, [Code began here] like any adults. We speak of world affairs and things like that. [Code ended here] The fact that I have attained such a social standing makes this even more degrading. Perhaps if I were an idiot this would be understandable. And do you know, even my mother agreed to it! She suggested it, and he said no. The last time this happened, I remember vividly. We had just moved in. Anyway, we were also having company that night, and I was so offended that [Code began here] I wouldn’t that I wouldn’t come downstairs at all for dinner. Eventually, though, my Grand Ma came into my room and she convinced me to come down and eat at the kids’ table. [Code ended here] Now, I’m honestly thinking about doing the same thing tonight. Except, of course, for the last part. Necesito hablar con mi papa sobre este situacion. Estoy muy enojado, muy enojado a mi papa. Este es una cosa cruel hacer. Estoy mas entonces enojado! [Translation: I need to talk with my father about this situation. I’m very angry, very angry with my father. This is a cruel thing to do. I’m more than angry!] However, I need to control myself. I shall speak with him. Oh, hopefully I can just enjoy this evening. And now he just sits downstairs, and the almost-funny part is that he probably doesn’t even know he has upset me. That angers me further, the fact that he has probably already dismissed the entire situation.
I have won. With adult intervention and perhaps the hand of Providence, I have won. Poor Ms. Older Hispanic Woman (Mom’s Old Best Friend’s mother, who is from Impoverished Country) is ill and couldn’t make it. My mother insisted that we move two chairs into the dining room and seat everyone there. My father didn’t object at all, which is odd, because just moments hence of that I told him how mortified and offended I was. He rudely replied that he didn’t care. Mom, however, took sympathy, something I don’t often see her do, and she intervened. This evening promises to be an interesting one. I wonder if politics will come up, as there is a terrible mess going on in Israel even as I write this. They’ve invaded Palestinian territory due to suicide attacks and are bombing Yaseer Arafat’s Ramallah headquarters. They’ve caused several buildings to collapse. Yaseer Arafat, now that his own life is in danger, has told the Palestinians, well, the terrorists who happen to live in Palestinian territory, to stop their attacks against Israel.
It’s as if I’ve traded a victory for a defeat. Mom’s Old Best Friend stayed until past nine o’clock. Her baby daughter is absolutely adorable, and she cooed and we all made a fuss over her. They all left, and to my delight Mom’s Old Best Friend and I did not quarrel. It was after they left that things got bad. We were all watching South Park, but it was deemed inappropriate for Thomas and Dad changed. He stopped on a station that was broadcasting a live performance of some old country singer. Whereas the cause for the concert was very good, the music was terrible. I was just putting my popcorn in the microwave and I heard Powell remark about how he hated the music. Dad said jokingly, “Well, then go to bed.” I said from the microwave, also jokingly, “You go to bed.” He flew into a fury of words, saying that I shouldn’t talk to him or any adult like that. I insisted that I was sorry and tried to bargain, but he called me a “smart ass” and said that he didn’t “give a shit” about what I had to say. He ordered me up to bed. When I resisted, he seemed ready to physically strike me, so I went up quickly, feeling ashamed of myself for letting my rights be violated. I quickly reviewed the 1st Amendment in my head. I hadn’t used fighting words, I hadn’t used obscenity, I hadn’t advocated the violent overthrow of the U.S. government, and I hadn’t incited clear or present danger or used slander. Even at the age of fourteen, my rights are guaranteed. My rights have been violated. I feel a mixture of anger and confusion. This time, though, I’m going to hold this against him. I’m going to try to go as long as possible tomorrow speaking with everyone else normally, but not with him. I think I’ll ask this school week what would happen if I reported this violation of my rights. And then I think I might report it.
September 23, 2002
Dad let me off last night so I decided not to report it. However, I now have another violation. I’ll go into that later. Fall has crept up on us, it seems literally over night. Last night it was so hot and stuffy, I couldn’t get to sleep. Powell came in to keep me company and we joked about Dad’s, well, the name of Dad’s kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Yankoff. I am not kidding. Powell and I pondered her first name. I said that it might be Ima. Oh, by the way, I found out that the Wack guy’s first name is Censored-So-My-Readers-Can’t-Figure-Out-Where-I’m-From. Anyway, after Powell left, I heard it raining outside. I finally opened my window in frustration. Slight breezes came in every once in a while, and it felt so good because of all the heat that I had been enduring. I thought that I heard someone crying. I heard this little whimpering. I could have sworn that it was Thomas. But when I went to check on him he was sound asleep. So I went back to bed and I heard it again. So I closed my window. I discovered that the sill and blinds were covered with rain. The sound became less audible, but I still heard it. For a moment I thought that I was going crazy, but it went away. I suppose that it was something outside. This morning in school I saw my guidance counselor about a scholarship for a foreign exchange program. She’s getting the names of a bunch of exchange programs (all credible of course) with vague descriptions, and having me pick the ones that I think are best. Then she will give me more specific information on the ones that I picked. I have to see her again tomorrow. We did presentations in Inventions and Technological Advances of the 1930’s. My group also mentioned the collectivization that was going on in the Soviet Union at that time. Thanks to me. I’m the only one who knew what it was. At home, oh, wait, it was so beautiful. The sun was shining, but the air was already cool and crisp. That’s why I said that it’s as if the seasons have changed over night. I asked Dad how his day was and then I went in. Dad was working right over at Pole Humper [a boy]’s house. Anyway, I went back outside to ask for a soda and Dad told me that I needed to cut the grass. I did. I also did a terrible job on it. By the time I finished, Mom was home. I started my homework. Powell and I were having a conversation as we did our homework. Mom told me to go upstairs and do it at my desk. Well, there’s simply not enough room. I objected. I said “no.” She ordered me upstairs and announced that I would go to bed at 8:30p.m. I left the kitchen, put my backpack upstairs, and promptly went to tell Dad. I thought that he understood her tyrannical ways, because just days earlier he had said that he was sick of her giving “stupid” punishments. Not so. It was easy for him to say that to us, but while she was actually there he sided with her. She followed me outside and got him to side with her. I went out again and he told me to write five hundred sentences saying: My parents make the rules and I will obey them. I instead didn’t do it. I haven’t done it. When they left for the store I went out walking when I had finished my homework. I was out for quite a while. At least an hour, and I probably walked between three and five miles. I stopped, well, I came in once to get two poptarts, and then walked more. It felt so good to defy them. Oh, it felt so good. When I finally did get home, they were already there. Dad gave me an hour to complete my five hundred sentences, saying that I’d be punished all week if I didn’t. First of all, that would be nearly impossible. I haven’t started them and I don’t intend to. I feel for the first time as if I’m practicing what I believe in. I’m suffering, and I will suffer a week for my defiance, and for my use of Freedom of Speech. All because of the word “no.” I’d do it again, too. Snickers came home today. He was declawed. Midnight was so anxious to see him. She was sniffing him and following him around. Dad was convinced that she missed him. It made us all so happy. I saw Polaris (I’m not sure if I spelled that right), the North Star tonight. The sun was still setting as I saw it, and it was so magnificent. Amidst a blue, gold, pink, and purple sky one single, large star shone bright. I don’t believe that I’ve ever seen it like that before, or at least I can’t remember seeing it like that before tonight.
September 28, 2002
So much has happened. I’m sorry that I haven’t written. Today is Saturday. Let’s see, what’s happened to me for the last five days? Well, my English teacher has assigned us the most tedious project involving flash cards. Oh! I must tell you! I called Foreign Exchange Program today regarding scholarship information. A woman in Hippie State answered the telephone (it was free, though, as it was an 800 number) and we began by talking about the foreign exchange program but our conversation progressed into something else entirely. It was one of the most insightful conversations that I’ve ever had in my life. The woman was twenty-six years old. She had passionate views against capitalism, but also thought that everyone should be peaceful. She was not violently driven. She expressed deep criticism of the East Coast and our obsession with the stock market and the economy. I didn’t even get her name. What a deep thinker she was. The conversation even disturbed me a little. She even went so far as to say that she wished that Hippie State would secede the United States, although she said that she knew that it would never happen.