Thursday, August 28, 2014

This Summer.

I spent 3 days in Flagstaff, listening to and telling my old friends stories, wandering up to Lowell, gaping at the night sky, drinking Macy's Specials, eating popcorn and toasting Pabst B Ribbons at the castle, walking my friend's dogs. I felt my Flagstaff happiness return and didn't really want to leave and could picture myself living there again, some day.

I spent 6 weeks in Princeton, working in a cubicle with two monitors, stacks of paper, and meeting reminders, and not minding it one bit, making new friends who shared a love for puns and science and ice cream and quiet, walking miles and miles around the campus and along the canals and through the neighborhoods, pondering how a place could be so green, listening to Yolanda's stories on Mexico and life, trying to catch lightning bugs and squirrels on camera. I felt a new kind of happiness and didn't want to leave it behind and could picture myself living there again, some day.

I spent 4 weeks in Reno, passing precious time and eating mounds of kale with my mom and sister, getting one last, quiet, indescribably beautiful day with the Dusty Dude, playing new, slow songs on my old favorite piano, catching up with old friends, driving cars and finding cars to drive,  making coffee for my mom in the mornings, kickboxing until the familiar blisters returned, shopping a little bit too much for myself and friends, making another visit to American Flats with dad and Austen and Jaden, and, of course, not having enough time to go to Lake Tahoe or do the other billion things I always think of to do when I visit home. It's a place of unconditional happiness and I will always envision myself living there again, some day.

I returned to Antalya yesterday, where I found my apartment surprisingly clean and welcoming, despite a 2 months' thin layer of dust, where I have good friends who I am excited to see and who are excited to see me, where I can walk for hours and never really get tired, where people compliment my horrible Turkish and are pleasantly bemused by the fact that I am American, and where there are so many cool places to visit every weekend it's a little overwhelming. This is where I live now, today, and I am happy about that.

Every year, the world becomes more freckled with the places and the people that I love.          

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A rare moment.

I'm at my best when the sun is bright, the temperature is cool, and my mind is occupied by the thoughts and feelings of no one.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Squirrels.

I wonder what kinds of wars and riots squirrels would have if they had the ability to research, document, and remember everything that ever happened in the entire history of the existence of squirrels. What would they be like if they could remember the fights of the generation before them, who were fighting the fights of the generation before them, who were fighting the fights of the generation before them, each generation of squirrels adding some sort of new fight for the next generation of squirrels to remember and carry on. Until the entire population of squirrels knew how to do nothing but fight and remember all of the reasons that ever arose in their entire history to hate. I wonder what they'd be like then.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Other Side

How does he decide?

What's that?

How does he decide who goes where?

What do you mean?

Everyone's saying if you do this, you'll go to heaven. If you do that, you'll go to hell.

You mean God?

Yeah. How does he decide? They said that he decides.

Oh...well...I think he sends you to heaven if you do good things. You've got nothing to worry about, kiddo.

But how does he decide what's good? How do I know if I'm doing good things?

I don't think you need to worry about it. Use your own judgement...do the things you think are good things. You'll feel it if you're doing something bad. Usually people kind of feel it when they're doing something bad.

Like squishing bugs?

Maybe. Does it feel bad to squish bugs?

Kind of.

Then you probably shouldn't do it.

I like to think...he brings them all together. And let's them decide.

What do you mean? The bugs?

Mm-hmm. I think he decides from them. I think when you die he brings everything you've ever touched in your whoooooole life, every living thing you've ever done anything to...like bugs and dogs and people...he brings them all together. And all the things that you were nice to and helped and maybe saved, all of them line up on one side. The good side. The heaven side. And all of the things you were mean to, or maybe even killed, line up on the other side. The hell side.

You mean the bad side.

Yeah.

So all the bugs you squished will be on the bad side?

Yeah. That's your bad side, where you were mean. Where you squished bugs and kicked dogs. They're all there, angry at you. The two sides all line up and face eachother and growl and spit and get ready to fight. The good side wants you to go to heaven, cause you helped them. They like you. The bad side doesn't want you to go to heaven.

Cause you were mean to them.

Cause you were mean, yeah. They don't like you. Both sides're all lined up...and God's got this flag. And you're standing off to the left, waiting for them to decide. God holds up his flag in the air, then he swishes it down real fast, like this, fffwish. When he does that, all the animals, everything on the good side and everything on the bad side, charge at each other. And fight.

They fight?

Yeah, but...you know, they don't hurt each other. It isn't really real. It's not real. It's just this thing that God does to decide. I think.

Oh.

So they fight and fight and fight until one of the sides wins. If you've been good and nice to things, the good side will be a lot bigger. And stronger. And they'll win pretty easy. Then God decides that you get to go to heaven and hang out with all those animals that like you. But if you've been kinda bad, that side will be bigger and stronger. They'll beat the good side pretty quick.

Then what happens?

God sends you to hell. So you go there and you have to be around all those animals that don't like you. And people. Who you hurt.

That doesn't sound good.

But that's how he decides.

How do you know?

How else would he decide?

I don't know, kiddo. I don't know. That's a lota animals to worry about.

Yeah, but you just have to be nice to them. It's not that hard.

Well. When the time comes, I'll be on your good side, k?

K. Thanks.

You're going nowhere but up.

K....I'll be on your good side, too. K?

K.

 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Like Most Things

I don't miss the piano until I remember that it exists. And that I know how to play it. And that I like to play. Because it brings me joy. And then my heart hurts for a while. Until I forget that it exists.

Monday, July 28, 2014

on the bus to teaneck new jersey

i don't get that guy.

what guy?

that guy up there yellin' at that lady to GET OFF THE F'ING BUS.

oh...yeah.

why's he like that?

yeah.

i mean, why be like that? we all come from the same place, we're all goin' the same place. why be like that?

i know.

what's it worth? all this fightin'. yellin'.

i know, i know. terrible.

all over the place. don't they understand? don't they get it? it don't matter. fightin' over this land, fightin' over that land, fightin' over this f'ing bus. fightin' about who's right. fightin' about who's better...fightin'...fightin'.

fightin'.

we all come from the same place...we're all goin' the same place. in the end. right? you know what i mean?

mmhmm.

we're all startin' in union square...startin' there...and endin' at 42nd and broadway. that's where we end. all a us. that's all we gotta do is get there. that's all we GONNA do. some of us gonna walk. some of us gonna drive. soma us take a taxi. soma us gonna bike...soma us take a damn jet. but nona that gonna matter...cause we all gonna end in that same damn spot. we all gonna be there. all a us.  

the same.

the same. so, i'm sayin', why be like that. why BE like that.






Wednesday, June 25, 2014

On a Sunday

Sunday walks are my favorite walks. I love walking on any day of the week, but particularly on Sundays. People seem friendlier. Yards look better kept. Cars drive slower. Dogs bark softer. I'm fully prepared to accept the fact that all of this is in my mind. It's as though everyone in the city, myself included, has gotten the questionable stuff out of their system over the weekend and is thinking about the week ahead as they water their gardens or watch their kids play or chat with their neighbor or heat up the coals, and have no time to give much thought to the strange lady walking alone at sunset down the sidewalk. As though we all - both them and me - believe that no harm can come to us on a Sunday. Maybe it's a remnant of my days in Sunday school surfacing, giving me a false sense of security on the holy day. Every other day of the week, I wish I had a more obvious reason for walking. A dog. A bag of groceries. A flashy camera. A casserole to deliver. Anything to answer the questions that I imagine arising in the minds and the eyes around me. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, I feel like I'm slightly somehow inadvertently propositioning every thing that I walk by. I sense sideways glances and pauses in low-toned weekend-business discussions. Like I, despite my calm appearance, could potentially do or say something to get the party started at any second. Or maybe they just need to say something to me, then I'll get the party started. I scurry past each person, each group, purposeful and with a set jaw, till I'm well out of party-starting range. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I feel kind of creepy when I walk. Like parents get one look at me and call their kids in for dinner, in where it's safe from the strange lady walking down the street alone. Dogs don't seem to trust me on those days, either. Trotting away with their ears low, ready to nip at the weirdo who just wants to give them a pat. Neighbors watch me walk by, noticing my resemblance to the menacing character on the "neighborhood watch" signs posted all over the place, the one with the pointy black hat and cape and a large red X over it. I've always wondered how those signs work. Do people in a neighborhood really get together and say to each other "let's watch out for one another and show those bad guys they can't mess with any of us...'cause if they mess with one neighbor, they mess with the whole neighborhood!" and then they cheer and hoist their signs high in the air and go around, together as neighbors, and plant those signs. Frightening the bad guys and the strange ladies. I hope that's how they work. I feel none of these hidden, and probably mostly imagined, thoughts from people on a Sunday. All I sense from people on a Sunday, if I sense anything at all, is "I hope nothing bad happens to that nice lady walking down the street alone." That's all I sense in the smiles, nods, waves, and good evenings. Enough to make a strange lady's heart soar and to make walking every day of the week worth it.