Saturday, January 30, 2010

backward indication that an inspired word will come across your tongue

Andrew sent me a note today saying though he's loathe to jinx potential career opportunities by talking about them, he's probably moving here in April. I like the idea of Andrew living here, of him being nearby, even though he bugged me when he was in my Masters class. Sitting next to him at 8 in the morning, working on group projects together and hearing his views on Tim Horton's coffee has to be different from going for drinks with him in the evening. And since I won't be working with him I think there's slim chance of me ever having to see him in the morning again.

I like the idea of having a friend who's young enough to ask me what's cooler than being cool because it's stupid and because I know the answer. I like the idea of having a friend who's young enough to want to see Said The Whale and who thinks my Joey Ramone shirt is vintage instead of ancient. I probably just want to pretend I'm 25 once in awhile and since he supports my delusions he's in good favour.


Friday, January 29, 2010

show me all your secrets show me all of them






The zebra is being tended to by the art teacher. He has a broken leg. This is all you get for a chorus of O Comely.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

the tip of my pencil describes what I might have drawn had my left brain and my right hand been in contact broken sentences now read on

This morning as I was arriving for work (a few minutes late), RW, a history teacher, brushed by me looking harried and carrying an enormous paper mache zebra. I said hello and he looked back apologetically and I'm pretty sure he said shop and swap. He mumbled more things I couldn't hear as he disappeared down the hall and I felt a wave of regret for having been so poisonous with him yesterday when he tried to convince me to sing with his band. Something was wrong with me yesterday; I might have been possessed. But I'm over it now and although I still don't want to sing with RW's band, I really do want to know why he was carrying an almost life sized paper mache zebra. However I was scheduled to invigilate an exam and couldn't follow him. Tomorrow I'm going to show up for work on time and trade RW one song for the story behind that zebra.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

about the difference between real and show

Semester break now. I don't have enough to do to keep me from sleepwalking around the building which is meant to prevent me from falling asleep in my pile of paper. I wonder why it's so hard to sleep at night.

When I was in the office looking at my new schedule, one of the young PE guys strutted over and posed in front of me. I ignored him. He said I am looking for a work-out partner and I see you have a prep in C block too. He delivered this like it was a grand gift and I should have been flattered that he wanted to practice boxing on me. I told him I am looking for someone to hide behind the portables and smoke with me during that block. He laughed like I was the funniest person in the whole world... as if I'm even kidding... as if I wouldn't really do that if there was anyone to share it with... if I was a smoker and if I was sixteen.

I didn't know what else to say so I just left without saying anything, closed the door on him as I went. Escaping to the hallway I was immediately stopped by Mr. School Union Representative who wanted to know how court went and if I needed the union's assistance with anything. Irony. I told him I'm fine and he looked crushed because he'd love to don his cape and pick me up and fly me back to that courtroom and start the whole process over again with me playing victim this time. Sometimes I hate everyone. But I don't think I really mean hate the way other people mean hate.


I like anger when it isn't coming in my direction. It interests me in that I don't feel angry very often, sometimes find myself too lazy to even raise an eyebrow in disdain. The energy and the commitment behind it is fascinating and I want to know where people find the stamina to be angry both with frequency and with veracity. When I say I'm angry I really just mean I'm nettled and that's pretty much the best I can do.

When I think of things that make me angry the only thing I can come up with is magicians. I hate magicians and they make me angry. But when I say that I probably just mean I feel a little scornful of magicians and they bug me. It's a mild statement devoid of passion. I don't like being tricked or deceived and I find street magic condescending. But even magic doesn't make me angry enough to yell out my window or to throw pointy objects. Or anything. I wish it would.

I wish I could be angry about some things because I think it would be cathartic to have a tantrum or to smash things but I can't seem to muster up enough feeling to make the effort. Instead - it makes me feel wilted.

Greenberg would say I'm emotionally focused, going straight to the underlying emotional core, but I think there's a good reason most people get angry instead. It's more fun and it feels good. I say I'm just pretending - I need to see where you made that card go - it's just more trickery and magic.


C was discharged from the ninth rehab this afternoon and immediately went back to Hairy Scary so she could be stoned in time to call J at 6:30. It's disappointing to J who wanted to think this time was going to be different. I'm not scornful or nettled or bugged or wilted. I am unsurprised and I do not care.


Watching Shawn prepare to move across the world is making me itchy. I'm making large plans to run in the dark as far as I can go with my eyes closed until I inevitably stumble. Because I want to be in the dark, I want to be far away, and I want to be falling. I can't get angry but I can probably get lost.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

rough hewn

-I would start to say I do not intend to be invisible, dry dust cloth resting grey -I always feel this way when I am surrounded and exposed - - -


Friday, January 22, 2010

what a beautiful face i have found in this place that is circling all round the sun

This morning on the Skytrain a man in a suit licked his lips at me. They should provide barf bags on public transit like they do on airplanes.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

But I still have to face the hours, don't I.


Friday, January 15, 2010

allons y

I have to go to court as a witness to something stupid and irrelevant and about which I could not care less. My shrug under oath looks totally boring next to Carolyn's fury. She's the other witness and she's livid about being forced to testify. Listening to her rage about it all week has made what was left of my comparably mild irritation completely dissolve which is disappointing because I would like to be fired up too because it seems fun and colourful and hilarious to be so angry.

When the lawyer talked to her, she said, she was careful to be professional (she always is) and gave him only exactly the information he asked her for. Her rehearsal lasted half an hour. When it was my turn it took all afternoon. I told him everything I could think of, I asked him all kinds of questions (I always do), and he showed me a bunch of documents I wasn't really allowed to read while the guy from HR turned pale. If I have to do this I want it to be interesting.


K has learned that his office is located in a "high security area" and will be cordoned off during the Olympics which means he will not be able to go to work for two weeks. He is annoyed about this in spite of the fact that he will be able to work from here instead, and I have no way to relate to this. I would love not to be able to go to work for two weeks.

I have been wearing K's watch whenever he's home which perplexed him at first maybe, but now he seems used to it. It's a very heavy watch. He calls me a name in Dutch when he comes to take the watch away from me but I can't remember it long enough to look it up. I think it means Pest.


Shawn's getting the Job-Changing feeling again and I think something big is coming. Only custody orders keep me stuck so we'll have to live apart, and this time it looks like half a world away instead of just a province or two. K will be back in Holland by then which is too bad because this house is too big for just me and J.


After school today J went out with her friends which left me with the first Friday afternoon free that I can remember in a very very long time. I decided to accept the invitation to go for drinks with staff, which makes the first time I've ever done Friday drinks after work since moving here two and a half years ago. And I drank beer, which I also haven't done for years. In spite of the newness of both the situation and the drink, it all felt strangely comfortable and familiar.


Saturday, January 09, 2010

J took this picture for her school project about hands. This picture makes my hand look enormous, bigger and stronger than it really is. This hand is not very big or strong but it is good at holding onto things that should easily slip between the fingers. It can grip.

This hand can measure angles without my eyes and it can still remember all the signs for Away in a Manger after thirty years. It can remember and hold onto a chance encounter forever. It remembers your touch. This hand is clumsy and doesn't know where to put itself when you're talking. But it helps me to explain things you cannot see.

Friday, January 08, 2010

for the rest of your life when you're ready

After sending R to the hallway this afternoon so I could have a moment to think of how best to kill him, my annoyance dissipated too quickly and I forgot him out there. By the time I remembered him he was gone. As I stood there looking at the empty spot where he should have been I imagined him slipping into the second dimension the way Mario does in J's video game, turning to the side and becoming a thin black line, almost invisible, making juicy musical noises to signal the switch. I scanned the hallway for lines but there were none. If only annoyances always disappeared so cooperatively.


I slept through the night for the first time I can remember in months and I think it's because of the watch, like my own Tell Tale Heart, beating under my pillow, but instead of keeping me awake it lets me sleep. Instead of pricking my conscience, it clears it, and the dreams are not frightening.


J is nearly as tall as me now which isn't saying much, and she keeps wearing my shoes. The fact I own shoes a thirteen year old wants to wear seems weird. I have some growing up to do. I can raise children and lower adults simultaneously... watch me.


Tomorrow I'm going to the sea.


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

parallelograms of light

I'm in love with K's watch.

He has this measured way of speaking which forces me to go slow when I want to go fast. I can't decide whether this is because he is a person who likes to think about what he's saying before he says it or if it's because we are not communicating in his native tongue. When I convince myself it's the former I'm overwrought with envy because I would love to have this kind of control over my mouth. When I think it's the latter, I think about the fact that my first language is all but gone and I wonder if he still thinks in Dutch.

Instead of asking him about why he doesn't wear the watch inside the house, I decided to just ask him if I could see it. I feel like I've been trying not to touch it my whole life. He said I could have it. He did not mean have, he meant I could hold it in my hands which I did as soon as he went upstairs.

I've never seen a watch like this. It's heavy, so heavy, and the bracelet part bit my the inside of my wrist the second I put it on. The face is glass both on the front and on the back so you can see the inner mechanism from either side. There's no face plate, just metal pieces that revolve around each other perfectly. I feel like I could almost understand what time means. It says Grönefeld around the perimeter of the face.

I was still wearing the watch when K came back downstairs and so I handed it back to him, but he just put it on the kitchen table. Then he told me that he can't remember what his wife looks like. He doesn't say ex-wife. I told him I can't remember what Shawn looks like either because he takes too long in the shower, and then I felt a wave of regret because it sounded like I was being flippant but I wasn't. I just meant this kind of memory, memory of faces, is based on recognition and not on recall. No one really remembers what anyone looks like when they're not there. Do they?

I picked up the watch again. It's four thirty, I said, Look - it's still light.


Sunday, January 03, 2010

I want to sleep.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

I will be with you when you lose your breath

I didn't wait. I couldn't. K was awake again this morning when I came downstairs. He was dressed and showered and drinking coffee at the kitchen table at quarter to seven. Why do you get up so early when you don't have to? I asked him. Why do you. he said. No question mark. His voice goes down at the end of every sentence, even questions.

I can't sleep. Don't know why. I used to be good at sleeping, but suddenly this conversation seemed too personal to be having with this man I hardly know. Maybe the reasons I can't sleep aren't personal, but maybe they are. Sometimes I can't tell until it's too late. The same applies when asking questions; sometimes I can't tell if I'm asking something personal or not. I decided to stop the sleep questions and go after the watch, which was what I really wanted to know.

Why don't you wear your watch in the house? I said.

He looked up from his coffee cup and I suddenly felt self-conscious about being in my pajamas. There was a long pause during which I could almost hear his watch on the table by the front door ticking out the awkward silence. He didn't answer. Instead he said, I made coffee.


Friday, January 01, 2010

Something strange I've noticed about K is that he takes off his watch when he comes into the house and puts it on the table by the door where we put the keys and the mail. The raincoat, the shoes, and the watch come off every time he comes in. He puts them all back on when he goes out. It's like time only exists when he's outside. I asked Shawn why he does that. Shawn said he doesn't know why but to give K a couple of days before I start the Inquest.

I hate waiting. Impatience... power and curse.


stay with me, let's just breathe

K is home from Holland and we spent New Year's Eve in the airport waiting for his plane to land. Now he's ours for a little while on the karma payment plan. K is Shawn's friend and I'm only on the edge of understanding him. I like his Dutch accent; I like the way he looks at me like he thinks I'm lying. I haven't lied to him about anything though. I don't really do that. He's lived in Canada for ten years but he still seems very European. Maybe he's just preparing to go back.

J used to sleep all the time when he lived here after his wife left. This morning when I awoke at 7:00, K had already made coffee. I sat at the kitchen table with him, still in my pajamas, and while Shawn and the dogs slept, we talked about why this isn't going to work, why we can't really live together. Based on early impressions.

I thought hard and selected the fact that I didn't like the way he had pointed at the menu while he was ordering his drinks last night, as though the waitress should be able to read his finger. He said he hadn't cared for the way I drove the car home with the heat on and the window open at the same time, which proves his limited capacity for sensation. We're off to a rocky start. He said we could talk about what we did like so far, but I didn't want to hear anything nice yet. It's too early for compliments.