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12.25.01 1:13 a.m.

i'm in love with the world through the eyes of a girl
who's still around the morning after
we broke up a month ago and i grew up i didn't know
i'd be around the morning after
it's always been wait and see
a happy day and then you pay
and feel like shit the morning after
but now i feel changed around and instead falling down
i'm standing up the morning after
situations get fucked up and turned around sooner or later
and i could be another fool or an exception to the rule
you tell me the morning after
crooked spin can't come to rest
i'm damaged bad at best
she'll decide what she wants
i'll probably be the last to know
no one says until it shows and you see how it is
they want you or they don't
say yes


 -Elliot Smith, "say yes"  




This Entry Features: fourteenth century men giving me appeasement for manners becoming me, far too much discussion of clothing, Buddhists, laundry lists, poetry, eggs

Purgatory
As always, too much to write about in too little time. Ah, such is life, only spoken of in the wee hours between the suns.
I would have started writing sooner. In fact, my intent was to do just that when Emily left. However, I got OCDed into trying to organize my room, and life by extension. Mostly I was lacking closet space and knew there were shirts I would likely not wear. (Hardly interesting reading thus far, I know.) The odd thing was the reaction I held toward shirts given to me by Kate. Most of them I had not worn in over a year and frankly couldn't much fathom the situation wherein this would seem reasonable. They were largely light-colored, short-sleeved, button-up work shirts. She insisted at the time of our courtship that they made me look highly sexy to her. Largely, they became my property when I would spend the night in her dorm room on the spur of the moment and needed something presentable and clean to wear to class the following day. So, they were the rough equivalent of recompense for nocturnal companionship, though without the pleasant sexual connotation. Incidentally, she inherited these shirts from her older brother, whom she idolizes to no end, and her father, whom she has a tenuous relationship at best. And they became mine...
Now most of them belong to the garbage bags in the back of my closet. My reasons are simple. One, I do not much like them. Two, they are too small to suit my billowy tastes. Three, I have absolutely no interest in being attractive to Kate and no one else ever expressed much interest in the clothing. I've been attractive to Kate, remember, and it caused me to feel entirely too empathetic toward Mr. Smith's lyrics presented above. Four, the psychic attachment of the shirt, in that Kate inherited them from a brother on high (who, likely, was high) and a distant parent figure, hardly inclines me favorably. So, they are moth food (the sort of moths that chew through plastic to get to polycotton blends. Damned mutants.)
...And I just wrote a paragraph about shirts. My god.
I am hardly done with the organization of my room, but I feel better about it. When my room clutters, it usually signals that my life is cluttered (in that I spend all my time dealing with these problems and do not have the time to vacuum and put away clothes). So, of course, a clean room makes me feel more relaxed, as I feel on top of things. Or I am bloody OCD.
Today, Emily remarked that I lack a classification as per the socially accepted groups generally represented by twentysomethings on college campuses. Well, she said something to this general effect, I'm paraphrasing liberally, obviously. She continued that, though I wore the clothing of a (and I hate using these words in reference to myself because I hoped to have left such distinctions in high school. Maybe earlier. I am literally getting irked writing them) "prep," "goth," "freak," "hippy," "normal," etc. I was none of the above and I was all. I was relatively comfortable in any of my clothes, the physical extensions of the facets of my personality (I feel vapid externalizing and materializing things so abstract about myself). I became demure, as this was a compliment, that I was simply myself and dressed as I felt suited me. One day that might mean a nice sweater and blue jeans, the next it may require a pleather bondage shirt and leather cuff, the day after tie-dye. Except, you know, I stated that much more briefly with fewer examples. Many words are not needed around Emily.

Diamonds without heat, time, and pressure
Today was Christmas. I think I have given enough build-up here. How Emily has never had a Christmas. How Emily had a mystery gift for me. Such matters.
Today made me think a lot, in Dickensian fashion, of Christmases past. Of where I have been and am. Last year at this time, I was firmly imbedded in a notarelationship with Kate. I had found out around this time that, despite cuddling with me and making me feel close to her, she was spending nights in others' beds. I felt immensely hurt and betrayed, as you can read, and she was out of the area. Years before that, Katie's parents were threatening to have me arrested because Katie had run away from home and I was clearly to blame... You know, Kate and Christmases lacked a certain something... I remembered how my younger brother hit me in the face with a hammer on a Christmas Eve over ten years ago and I had to get stitches. I was rather irked when the doctor offered the offending brother a lollypop afterward, while I lay, numb, on an ER cot. More is attached to New Years Eve, however. But we will get to that if someone reminds me.
I should give you some background information that I feel changes the spirit of the holiday. Most of my family, with the exception of my father and myself, is a form of atheism. My father attends Christmas Mass, but had done so alone for many years. The last time we went with him, someone tried to break into our house. That sent a pretty clear message to my family. In addition, it turned out that I was allergic to a good deal of the cloth ornaments on the tree and my mother was nearly deathly allergic to the tree itself. So the tree was give to a needy family that was going to have a tree that would make even Charlie Brown scoff and the cloth ornaments found there way back into storage when I was out one day. We now have a very shiny, artificial tree.
The night before, I had stayed up too damned late. Such was not my original intention, but I started trying to clean my room in order to make room for whatever gifts I would be receiving. Then, of course, it occurred to me that the gifts I had procured for my family were a bit bare. My father, well acquainted with the last minute needs of the extreme procrastinator, had ignored my mother's request to destroy the wrapping paper. Even if one can in good conscience call my actions at this juncture anything bordering on constructive, I will have to confess the real reason I slept so little. I discovered the wonderment that is late night Cartoon Network, specifically Space Ghost, more specifically the Christmas episodes. It is possible the funniest thing I have scene in a while and is well suited to late night television, when the viewers are half asleep.
Upon waking, I pulled my stocking off the wall and spilled its contents on my bed, as per tradition. Well, I might have peed first, but the stocking was a close second. When I was a wee Xen, my brothers and I would wake up far too early and play with the stocking toys for hours, until my parents allowed us to wake them up. As I grew older, I grew patient. The presents would still be there when I woke up. Merely because they were not yet in my possession, didn't mean they weren't mine. And I would enjoy the opening the presents more if I had something bordering on 7 hours of sleep. So now, I am the one that has to be awoken.
We still ended up opening present early, after Dan came down. I had kept myself willfully ignorant, as I wanted the constant element of surprise to keep me happy. It's no fun to know everything you are getting, because you still have to wait to get it.
I got, for the record, not counting the hordes of gifts my loving friends will have procured for me out of love:

  • Russian amber angel pendant. It was all very clever how this was purchased and given to me. My mother slipped $100 behind a stuffed frog, which Emily picked up when she verbally noted that she had never noticed the frog before. She purchased the pendant soon after, while she was on the phone with me, in fact. Emily gave the pendant to my father when he asked her to move her car so he could get out, only she didn't actually have to move her car. I was getting to the end of present to unwrap, and still no sign of the small jewelry box that would contain my pendant. I thought, perhaps, that my mother forgot. I was opening up a clothing box. Inside was taped the jewelry box. Clever spies.
  • dead computer user statue
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky. I had read this book in an hour and a half in Katie's dorm one night and loved it. They insisted it had a surprise ending. I was not surprised and was actually confused as to what I should be surprised about. Still, an excellent coming-of-age book I needed to possess.
  • The Real Witches Handbook, Kate West. Bryan got me this book. I am hoping it is better than the title suggests.
  • Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk. I figured I loved the movie so I needed the book. Only, the narrator's eventual motivation and the end of the book are so different that I think it is possible that I do not like the book. Which rather sucks for me.
  • Blood and Gold, Anne Rice. Because, though I know they are bad, I am such a vampire whore.
  • Eliot Smith Either/Or CD.
  • The Cure Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
  • Jill Sobule Pink Pearl Love me my Jilly.
  • Violent Femmes Add It Up
  • Tool Undertow. I need rage-y, cathartic music.
  • The Last Unicorn VHS. Eventually, I will possess every fantasy movie that is worth watching. Plus, this features the voice of Mia Farrow, who I found decidedly attractive in Rosemary's Baby.
  • three pack of boxers. Necessity.
  • socks. Necessity.
  • Kind of a see through blue sweater given to me by my grandmother. Evidently, I look quite nice in it, though.
  • green corduroy pants
  • brown corduroy pants
  • blue plaid pajama bottoms. The shirtless scenes I can do with these babies!
  • Muppets From Space VHS. I need Muppet movies.
  • Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas VHS. Little known Muppet movie. I need Muppet movies.
  • The Muppet Movie VHS. I need Muppet movies.
  • The Great Muppet Caper VHS. I need Muppet movies.
  • The Muppets Take Manhattan VHS. I need Muppet movies.
  • some sort of an interactive marmot vole. I swear to you, the interactive toys are going to take over my room.
  • a baby robot that won't go to sleep. It still hasn't gone to sleep, and it has been more than 24 hours. Emily has a theory that if it goes 72 hours, it will become clinically insane. I am just glad I can mute it, or it would already be dead.
  • Black hempy's backpack. The green one, rest its soon to be illegal soul, could no longer hold anything.
  • cotton candy. I don't like cotton candy. I will, occasionally, eat a little at circuses, because that is what is done. But I find it too sweet (it is spun sugar) and unpleasant. It did have $25 attached, though. I consider this a bribe from the cotton candy commission.
  • nice black gloves. For killing people.
  • large stuffed walrus (coo coo ka choo)
  • Portable CD player. I almost annually get one of these. I have very bad luck with them, though, and they end up non-functional.
  • big arse stereo. I definitely needed this. It is practically surround sound and allows me to listen to music while writing.
  • Levi's watch. I don't know why. It's not indiglo, so it lacks use. Plus, I have a watch I like. Not that it matters; I think the Levi's watch is broken.
  • three pounds of Chex Mix. I have no idea why I was given this. I was wondering why there was no Chex Mix in my house.
  • $40 Gap gift certificate from Dan. Emily has stated that she will happily take it off my hands. I think not.
  • black cashmere three quarter length coat. Sexiness is a constant duty to society.
Around one, Emily came over. Christmas morning is a family thing. Christmas day is not. I had been dying to know what Emily had made me. Aside from the white gold, diamond ring I gave to her as soon as it was given to me, I got her a Groovy Girl doll with corresponding karate outfit and a red crystal start pendant. It had been a Christmas ornament at a store in Cold Spring. I thought she'd enjoy have that little Christmas star all year 'round. My family got her a singing karate hamster, a Mickey Mouse ornament, and a television (her first ever). She had told my family that, for Christmas, her family would give her a tangerine and a dollar because they are Jewish but didn't want her to feel left out. However, for Hanukkah her big present would be a book. So... yeah.
Oh, what did Emily make for me? You really want to know? Are you certain? Because once I tell you, that's it. There is no going back. Okay, she got me a blank book handmade by Buddhist monks in Tibet. In this book, she wrote numerous poems, none her own that I have found. Isn't that an amazingly appropriate gift?
Well, I had better head off to work, but I will write again soon.

Soon in Xenology: I see the inside of Sarah's apartment and hope that she is the girl I grew to love. I love too much and get terrible hurt. I get presents. An orange wrapped in aluminum foil is dropped. I tell you of a failed alien expedition. I tell you of my first legal alcoholic experience. I see Dave's band play. I fill in holes.

last watched: Muppets From Space
reading: Silent Invasion Ellen Crystall
listening: "Time Again" from August and Everything After by Counting Crows
wanting: Not sure. I am pretty contented. I want Emily to always be warm.
interesting thought: At least a billion people believe that Jesus was born exactly on December twenty-fifth.
moment of zen: reading the poems.
someday I must: get back to Pine Bush.

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.



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