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Friday, October 31, 2003

The [key]Strokes

I've been delivering mail for the Foreign Language building now for just over 4 months.

With the help of two elevators and a four foot tall beige cart I scale throughout all 4 floors of this upside-down pyramid of a structure, delivering postcards from Warsaw, packages from mom back in France, quarterly Chinese language journals, round poster tubes from Italy, massive steel rolls of film canisters from Switzerland, a broad broad array of various advertising pamphlets, including the monthly Victoria Secret newsletter to several naughty naughty staff members working here in the building.

So whatever. I've delivered hundreds of messages in handfuls of languages to dozens and dozens of different people. I am just one of the many intermediating forces between one nameless, faceless, handshakeless, small-talkless entity and the other. Though I pride myself as a conductor of information, a sieveless filter, a dreamcatcher with no strands, just a hollow hoop with no bad dreams or paranoia.

There's point A, there's point B and there is me, disappearing between the two points, strecthing thin with the gossamer thread that trickles and traces it's way across a really big blue ball. From point A to point B: "We miss you, please come home."

No handshakes, no small talk, "Don't miss out on this special offer!" No quick furtive peeks and shy glances away, "This is how much you owe us:" No shaky stuttering or random outbursts of nervous interruption, "Yeah, but- No, but-" no ruminations about what you could have should have would have said, "Learn how to speak five different languages!"

Simple. Direct. Bold. Impervious messages delivered from point A to point B; it's just overcompensation for being unable to get to point You from point Me.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Last Night

Hesitation. Nervous, Scolding, Judgmental hesitation. Two large jugs of alcohol still standing, standing still, waiting for me at the apartment. The spirits within colliding with the spirits without.

"I deserve this," rationalizing unhealthy behavior.


"Hello, yes i'm very interested in what you have to say. Sorry, I have a bad case of homophobia. Won't you come sit with us? Hey at least I tried. Do I look cool smoking these cigarettes?

Tell me all about faraway lands while I pour te-queel-ya shots. Do you enjoy my hospitality?

Let us pray."


"I'm not too good for cheap beer." Old Glory hangs faded on the balcony with a view and people-people. "I'm a people-person too." A thin blanket of wetness (blanket: watching mom watching it as she floats it down on your bed) lies over the black pavement below, reflecting fluorescent lines of red from above, from the bar next door, Legends. "So tell me stories about your faraway land," legends.

"Why hello there, sorry to interrupt" now casually make your way back inside with the people-people.

And the Mom:

An older woman uncomfortably coursing her hands over her booty. Ample bottom, round rotund dairy-air. "Close-fit me, hip-hug me" she says to her jeans.

Dear Slim Fashionable Modern Woman,

Your slight random knee-jerks and fickle hands and hair adjustment, all of this: of course you feel out of place now come to baby.

baby needs milk,
A Lug to Chug

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

words that describe (but don't belong to) me

Today in Spanish class we were all instructed to anonymously write down three different adjectives for three different people, respectively (i.e. three for each person). Mine are as follows:

-"comico, divertido, relajado";
-"extrano, divertido, chistoso, especial";
-"ablante, funny, amable";
"-interesante, calmado, buena gente";
[Because of the grammar, I can tell my teacher wrote this one]:
-"humorista (buen sentido del humor), inteligente (contribuye cosas nuevas), original";
-"comico, inteligente, determinado";
-"pensador, carinoso, inteligente".

Later on today in group Psychology class, coincidentally, we were also instructed to write a comment directed towards an individual regarding their contribution to the discussion of gender roles and homosexuality. I was touched by several of them:

"Marty: (Absolutely) I appreciate your honesty and the expression of your fears. I know what it's like to feel scrutinized and to feel like I should've said something different in the group setting ... but ultimately it was important for me to realize that I can NEVER be at fault for simply being open. You never imposed your ideas on anyone, so you have no reason to feel bad!."

"I appreciate Marty for admitting that he spoke before he thought."

"Marty, I appreciate how open & honest you always are. I view you as an extremely insightful person, a asshole is the last thing I would have thought to call you."
(I said I felt like an asshole for unleashing some disparaging remarks concerning lesbians.)

"Marty, I appreciate your openness. You really sparked a informative, and educational discussion."

"Marty - I have appreciated everything you've ever said in class but today you took a huge chance & spoke from within. You have alot of courage not only to be honest but to also admit you mis-spoke or spoke to soon. You're amazing."

I try not to hold on to words, words that don't belong to me.
But it just feels like sometimes, some words hold on to me.

La Higuera
por Juana de Ibarbourou
Si ella escucha,
si comprende el idioma en que hablo,
¡qué dulzura tan honda hará nido
en su alma sensible de árbol!

Y tal vez, a la noche,
cuando el viento abanique su copa,
embriagada de gozo le cuente:

¡Hoy a mí me dijeron hermosa!

Sunday, October 12, 2003

ella tiene un novio

She gave me a sweater to wear as I walked home from her apartment at 4 in the morning last night.

I told her I would try not to get too sentimental with it, hiding from her the fact that I wanted the sweater more just to have an excuse to see her again than to fight the chilly 20 minute long walk home.

But it was colder than I thought it would be, and walking home warmly I gradually began to appreciate her kind-hearted act of compassion.

Friday, October 10, 2003

milk shakes and bloody knuckles

We were driving to Steak and Shake for a late night bonanza of calories and saturated fats yesterday, Rahul my roommate in the driver seat and me riding shotgun with a Lactaid pill in my pocket. I can't digest lactose, a chemical in most milk-products, but with this pill (which contains the enzyme that digests lactose) I greedily ordered a chocolate milk shake from our waiter, vindictively mocking the Gods of Lactose-Intolerance.

Eating so much so late, I knew I was going to have nightmares so it was no surprise later on in deep sleep when I heard violent yells and vicious screams from all around. But the dream started to become too realistic to believe. I woke up, got up, and looked outside my window, groggily staring down at what was apparently a fist-fight between two guys who wanted to "settle things like men." The hooting and hollering of each of their groups of homies eventually transformed into astounded silence while the irregularity of loud thuds and smacks, fists flying about, skin-smacking and pounding gradually turned into a steadily repetitive, gruesome thumping noise. One guy was obviously beating the shit out of the other, and although I couldn't see but only hear all that was going on, it was obviously time to stop the fight.

The more physically wounded of these two victims of aggression was pulled to his feet by his friends. I finally caught a glimpse of him as he walked into sight of my window and off into the early morning night.

"Fuck dude, I'm going to need to get stitches for these bloody knuckles," he said, and I went back to sleep.

get well soon

I saw a girl being carried outside of Lincoln Hall today in a stretcher. The entirety of the naked bottom half of her body was showing through a thin partition of a white blanket that covered her legs while the paramedics loaded her into an ambulance. I saw no blood or scratches or any other obvious signs of physical trauma. The white baseball cap she had on couldn't hide the look on her face that could have been at the same time either a hysterically manic smile or a distorted, painful grimace. Given her unfortunate situation though, I pretty much doubted that she was in high spirits. She laid on her side motionless all the way into the ambulance but I had to keep on moving.

Tuesday, October 7, 2003


I swear the ladybugs are taking over campus.

I didn't think any much of them at first, especially when I swallowed one of them on my way back home from Spanish. It was sunny outside and I think I was singing to myself too loudly or inhale-whistling too deeply. So whatever, no big deal.

The next I heard of them, (their annoying presence at least) I was walking with a girl who told me she got bit on the neck by one. "Ladybugs don't bite," I asserted, only to be painfully corrected a few days later when one actually did- bite me, that is, on the underside of my wrist. "It's all good," I told myself. Ladybugs are cool, they're orange and have polka dots, and maybe sometimes they bite, no big deal. Besides, the bites don't really hurt or leave any permanent scarring.

Well the past few weeks have forced me reconsider my favorable disposition towards ladybugs. When I'm watching the sunset through the seventh floor window of the Psychology Building, there they are, clamorously banging the window, absolutely convinced that if they bang themselves against it long enough, they will eventually make it through. Directly on the other side of the window, through two seperate one-inch-thick window panes, FYI, are tons more ladybugs. Now those motherfuckers must have telekinesis or ESPN or some shit like that cause I KNOW they can't smell each other through those bulletproof windows.

ANYWAYS, being forced to share the sunset with ladybugs really is at the bottom of my list of concerns, so cool, whatever, I go home and make dinner. But there they are outside the screen of my window of my room. There they are scattered throughout little crevices on the ceiling of my outside balcony. There they are again, today, biting not only myself, but others in my Psychology 396 class.

And here comes the horror story. Today, during the 15 minute break of our 3 hour long 396 class (*) I look up at the light fixture in the ceiling near the water fountain, near the window and the girls bathroom. Somehow trapped inside the fixture are dozens and dozens of moving ladybugs, several of which appear to be immobile corpses. There are also about fifteen to twenty ladybug larvae being carefully attended to by the more agile of the spotted insects.

Then I saw the QUEEN LADYBUG. This bitch is BAD. It's about the size of your pinky finger, flourescent green moldy jello with tiny little hairs scattered all along its spine (or front, or side, who the hell knows) So I stood there staring at her royal majesty like a 20 year old insect-dork while a few of the girls in my class filed out of the bathroom.

I pointed up at the fixture and said, "Ladybugs!"
"Ew, gross," most of them said as they made their way back to class.

Eventually I found mine as well, but not without a determination to see the end of this orange and black polka-dot infestation.

*=15, 3, and 396 are all factors of 3! :-P

Saturday, October 4, 2003

Geek USA

So i'm reading this book called the Psychology of Awakening, concerning "Buddhism, Science, and Our Day-to-Day lives." Well i've gotten through one-third of the book and so far i've read some pretty impassioned and interesting ideas and parallels drawn between traditional Buddhist thought and modern-day philosophy, psychology, and society.

There are a lot of thought-provoking ideas but little to back them up scientifically. Recognizing the emphasis that has been placed on the necessity of including supporting empirical data in order to establish a decently tenable theory, I kind of snuffed, especially at some of the later articles, as being interesting and well-written but, well, shallow.

So when I turned the final page of the last article of the first third of the book and read the opening title of the second part of the book, "Body, Mind and Spirit: the SCIENTIFIC (caps added for emphasis) Perspective." I literally dropped my head back, looked up at the ceiling and exclaimed "Thank God!"

One of Buddhism's main distinguishing features from those other belief systems termed "religions" is the lack of a belief in a higher, authoritative Supreme Being outside and seperate from the individual. So you can imagine me slapping my hands on the table and shaking my head back and forth, chuckling to myself as I realized that I attributed a greater sense of the credibility of Buddhist thought towards God, a supreme being outside and seperate from the individual.

I looked out the window of my classroom, up through the huge skylight of the atrium of the Psychology Building, out at the grey October sky, wrote about this, then realized that I need to get a life.