Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

This is my first Christmas in our new home, and I have the delightful intimation that it will also be the last one I spend here. This place is beautiful, but it's not meant to be mine. Next year looms on the horizon, a whirlwind of work and wonder and responsibility that a part of me fears--but that I know I must embrace.

I hope that all of you find yourselves surrounded with love and plenty on this Christmas Day, and I hope you are illuminated with joy for something. Whether that's a lovely present, or a holiday trip, or a lover or a child or a dream, I hope it lights you up.

This has been a year of difficulty for me, and an assessment of my pitfalls cannot fail to sober. But I am, the pain aside, filled with joy. It's joy for what will be, for what I'll be, for who I'll meet and what I'll do and the person I'll become in 2014, in what I have the irrepressible feeling will be a year of sunlight. And if I'm wrong, then I'll have achieved something in the effort.

A Merry Christmas to you all.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Selected Entries: January 2005

In January 2005 I was sixteen years old. As my junior year of high school reached its midpoint I faced the prospect of yet another disruptive interstate move and the apathy of the parents who were uprooting my life. My growing awareness of their callousness provoked rare profanity, while on January 20 I ruminated over a different kind of mismanagement when George W. Bush was inaugurated to a second term as president.

January 1, 2005

The funeral yesterday went very well. There was a brief scene in the funeral home with the body in open view. Most people (including Powell) went and kissed the forehead of the deceased, but I couldn’t. The idea of kissing a lifeless rubber suit was completely disturbing for me, and so I just leaned over the casket and made a sound like kissing. 

The coffin was carried, without incident, to the cemetery. I liked Grand Pa’s funeral much better. Great-Grand Ma’s service and burial were too automated, too impersonal. At one point during the service the preacher actually had to stop and look down at his paper to remember her name.

At the end of her life she didn’t look like the plump, happy old woman I’d seen when I was fourteen. She was so thin and shriveled yesterday. I’m just glad that it’s over.

January 2, 2005

School begins again in three days. I have no idea why we’re going back on a Wednesday, but that’s how it is. I’m anxious to see how I did on my AP European History portfolio. Not only does it count as my midterm, but I put a lot of creative effort into it. 

Man, I’ve really slacked during this Christmas holiday. I haven’t had a shower in two days! Isn’t that disgusting? Blonde Girl came by today and we talked about school and whatnot. Someone crashed into the neighborhood gate on New Year’s Eve, and now a pile of rubble is in the road. A police officer told me this evening that a drunk driver was to blame. The security people are improvising, but oh, my gosh it's so funny looking.

January 7, 2005

I wanted to go to a Little Christmas church service today, and of course it couldn't happen. Mom had an unexpected business meeting, which meant she couldn't take me at 9 a.m., and Dad didn't even pretend to try, so I spent today in school. Then when I got home, Dad informed me that we're probably moving again soon and asked my opinion. 

Well, let's see: I have an internship with a Democratic senator lined up for June and my name is in the ring for Boys' State, which takes place in May. So any move before the end of the summer could really muck things up. I told him that and he basically said he wasn't making any guarantees on the timeline.

Frustrated, I exploded at Dad that for once I wanted something to go right, for once I deserved to avoid being screwed over. Dad became indignant and now I’m just going to bed. Fuck him. He can take his  forty-one-year-old loser self and peddle his bullshit for someone who cares to hear it. As usual, they make some spur-of-the-moment decision and the rest of us are left to deal with the consequences. Perfection.

January 20, 2005

Dad was diagnosed with diabetes on January 18. I was shocked to hear this. After all, diabetes is the same disease that contributed significantly to Grand Ma Hick Family’s early death (it left her weaker to fight the cancer). Grand Pa Hick Family was beside himself when he found out about Dad’s diagnosis. We’re very lucky, because it’s not advanced at all and still in the earliest stages. If Dad eats healthy foods and exercises regularly, it could go away entirely. 

President Bush’s inauguration ceremonies continue on live television. I watched his inaugural address at noon. As was to be expected, he talked a lot but said very little. I must have heard the word “freedom” mentioned twenty times inside of thirty minutes. I kept waiting for him to say something concrete, or even to deliver some particularly stirring rhetoric, but it never came. 

They’re almost like royalty, the First Family. Watching all the pomp and circumstance this afternoon, it’s so odd to think that Bush’s second term in office was actually decided by a bunch of backwoods bumpkins whose social lives center on the local bar and whose knowledge of politics couldn’t trump that of a doorknob. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

It Was Time

One of the only constants throughout the life of this blog has been my 1996 Oldsmobile. She was a solid and loyal old steed, and on her wheels I rode through college and beyond, but over the weekend of Thanksgiving she at last expired of a cracked head gasket.

It was time to upgrade.

The need, of course, had been gnawing at the back of my mind for a while; the check-engine light in the Oldsmobile had been on consistently for about five years, and starting in 2009 or so I found myself sinking ever more money into repairing a car I could not afford to replace. With an internship and attendant daily commute on the horizon for the New Year, some part of me knew that my faithful Elizabeth wasn't going to make it. I just didn't expect her to go so soon.

"I tell you what," said Uncle Car Salesman. "Let me look around and see if we can't find you something. I'm sure we'll be able to get some kind of deal."

A week later I was driving around in a 2007 Prius that I paid far less for than I should. This car is great. It's dependable, it's in good shape, it is a shade prettier than Elizabeth--bless her memory--ever managed, and it gets absurd gas mileage.

That's right: BB's entered the 21st century, and he's saving money doing it.

So now my Marble City internship won't be imperiled by a lack of transportation. With my car in hand and my lodgings secured--Viking Ninja, an old college friend, offered me room in his house for a bare $250 a month--all that's left is for me to show up.

It's a really strange feeling when you know that for the the moment everything is taken care of. But, for the moment, everything is taken care of.