Sunday, May 23, 2010

★23 A la Dr. House

I just finished watching the latest episode of House.

The ending shocked me and yet it didn't. It made me happy but it also made me cry harder.
Like House, I thought, could it possibly be real?

Do good things really come to those who try and wait? Or did it only happen to House because it's a television show?

I'd like to think so. That good things happen to good people. Bad things too of course, but that if you sincerely make an effort to deal with yourself and improve your life that things will work out and in the end you'll be rewarded somehow. Maybe things won't be perfect, and maybe all of your dreams won't come true, but I'd like to think there will be enough good things to keep you going. If not all you could wish for, at least a taste to keep your motivation going strong.

But sometimes I just don't know. Sometimes it's just one thing after another and you think you're getting a break when BAM. Slap in the face. Another hurdle. Not yet, baby, you're not quite done.

Then what is there but


What does it mean to hope?

I always have hope. I can't let it go. I won't let it go.

Like Caroline says in 'Caroline or Change.'

"Don't let my sorrow make evil of me."

But sometimes.

Sometimes, damn.

What's the point?
I'm sick of trying.
I'm getting nowhere.
This is bullshit.
Fuck it.
What's the use?

It's an assault from the brain.
Comes at you full force and from all sides. Like some kind of fucking cancer of the spirit. Except there's no chemo for this shit. It's all about strength of mind. Of stretching your limits. Of just marching forward.

And it's hard, man. This shit can be hard.

I'm no superman. I'm flawed live everyone else. I lack patience. I need to feel like I'm doing something right. I need to see that my efforts are paying off.

I'd like some confirmation. Some sign. Some relief.

But who doesn't right?

I don't expect anything or anyone to come save me at the last minute like Cuddy did for House in this last episode. It's a silly notion (though appealing, not gonna lie) and frankly, no one can save you or give you answers except yourself. That's crystal clear to me.

But when someone is sitting on that bathroom floor with two pills in their hand about to throw their life away a la House, and all that stands between them and their fate is one decision that, though simple, they're not sure they're strong enough to make. When that's the case but there's no Cuddy... Then what does one do?

That's the scary part isn't it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

★22 The Push

Lights up on SUMMER sorting through a pile of her belongings. She picks up a name tag and stares at it, lost in thought. DEAN enters, pauses to look at SUMMER, then sneaks up behind her.

DEAN. (Right next to her ear.) Almost done?

SUMMER. (Startled.) Dean!

DEAN. Summer!

SUMMER. (She takes a moment to calm down.) My heart’s going a mile a minute now. Thanks.

DEAN. I do tend to have that effect on you.

SUMMER. (She smiles.) Maybe, but you need to work on your methods. Scaring me half to death is not the best way to get my heart racing.

DEAN. (He laughs.) Noted. (Pause.) Don’t forget to turn the name tag in on your way out.

SUMMER. I won’t. Even though I sort of wish I could keep it.

DEAN. Why? It’s a piece of plastic.

SUMMER. I don’t know. Memories, I guess.

DEAN. You don’t need it for that. (Takes name tag from her and holds it in his hand with his own.) I need to give mine to the manager too. I’ll wait for you.

SUMMER. (She nods.) Did everyone else leave?

DEAN. Yeah, just now. We’re the last ones. They’re waiting for us at the bar. You’re coming, right?

SUMMER. Oh, I thought… Why are you still here? You could have left with all the others.

DEAN. (Jokingly.) I have to turn in my name tag. (Beat.) Are you almost done?

SUMMER. Yeah. (Pause.) It seems weird that we won’t be working here anymore, doesn’t it? It was only a temporary job for the holidays but I got so used to everyone. Funny how things just come and go so suddenly. Begin. End. Like life. It seems like forever when you’re in it, but then it’s over and you’re left disoriented and scared, like gasping for air after a dive.

DEAN. Don’t get all pessimistic on me. Things change, sure, but the end of one thing doesn’t have to equal the end of everything. Come out with us tonight.

SUMMER. I probably shouldn’t.

DEAN. And why not?

SUMMER. I just can’t.

DEAN. That’s not a reason, unfortunately.

SUMMER. I just don’t think it’s a good idea.

DEAN. Still not a reason. Try again.

SUMMER. I really can’t, okay? Drop it.

DEAN. No, I’m not going to. Tell me why.

SUMMER. I’m sorry, Dean. I just can’t go out.

DEAN. There was a ‘with you’ at the end there, wasn't there?

SUMMER. Ok, fine. I can’t go out with you. With any of you. Not under the circumstances.

DEAN. What circumstances?

SUMMER. These. It’s our last day of work. It’s over. That point where our lives intersect is going to be behind us after today. We’ll never see each other after this.

DEAN. Not with your attitude.


DEAN. You’re scared.

SUMMER. I’m only being reasonable.

DEAN. I find that the most reasonable people do the stupidest things. Come on, Summer. Don’t you want to see where this could go?

SUMMER. No. It’s better not to want.

DEAN. Bullshit! You’re full of excuses. You’re terrified. That’s why you’re saying no. Today’s it, the fork in the road, and you’re avoiding the path.

SUMMER. We should get going. I’m surprised someone hasn’t come looking for us. Did you clock out already?

DEAN. Oh no. We’re not done here yet. It’s finally getting good.

SUMMER. Dean, honestly. I’m not going to play around. Let’s just go. You have a bar you need to go to.

DEAN. So do you.

SUMMER. Look, I told you-

DEAN. I don’t care. You’re coming.

SUMMER. Oh so now you’re forcing me?

DEAN. If I have to.

SUMMER. Because that’s the way to a girl’s heart.

DEAN. We’re not leaving the staff room until you’ve agreed to come with me.

SUMMER. You can’t be serious.

DEAN. Cross my heart, hope to die.

SUMMER. Stick a needle in my eye. (Tries to push past him.) I’m not doing this. Let go.

DEAN. Someone has to make you do it.

SUMMER. Dean, I’m warning you…

DEAN. So what? What are you going to do about it?

SUMMER. (She kisses him quickly on the lips.) There. Satisfied? That’s ultimately what you wanted so now let me go.

DEAN. You think I’m looking to get laid?! Wow, you just keep ‘em coming.

SUMMER. Aren’t you? This is a fling, so what else can you want? You’ll go back to life at Columbia and I’ll go back to my life and that’s that.

DEAN. You go to NYU! It’s not like we’re a thousand miles apart. We can make this work.

SUMMER. That’s not the issue. Why can’t you see what’s going on here? This is circumstantial. You like me because there’s no one else around. You’ll go back to school, realize that there’s so much more out there, and then leave me behind. It's how these things go.

DEAN. So you’re leaving me behind first. I get it.

SUMMER. Think of it however you like. I need to go. (She tries to get past him.)

DEAN. Not so fast. I’m not the one who runs away. That’s you. Didn’t you say you wanted to leave after graduation? Where did you want to move again? California? Because God forbid you stay in one place long enough to develop any kind of lasting attachments. You’re always telling me how you keep moving on to the next thing; always searching for something: the right person, the right place… Well maybe you don’t give yourself enough time to find what you’re looking for. Stop looking ahead and look at what’s in front of you for once.

SUMMER. And what if I stop and find it and it’s still not enough? Or worse, if I stop and nothing happens. I don’t want to find that maybe what I’m looking for isn’t out there; that there’s no place for me and no right person... Because, then what?

DEAN. Then things would be pretty much the same as they are now. Don't you see that? You're the one getting in your own way!

SUMMER. (Beat.) I don’t think I’d be very good at this. You’ll find someone better.

DEAN. I don't want to find someone better. Stop thinking you’re not good enough to stick around for.

SUMMER. You say that now but later...

DEAN. (He holds her face in his hands.) Why worry now about later?

SUMMER. You’ll hurt me.

DEAN. Maybe. I won’t lie and make promises I can’t keep. But I want this. (Pause.) And so do you.

SUMMER. I’ll try to run again.

DEAN. I know.

SUMMER. And don’t think you need to save me or something.

DEAN. I don’t.

SUMMER. I don’t even like bars.

DEAN. (He smiles.) I’ll buy you a drink.

DEAN. Give me your hand.

DEAN reaches out. SUMMER looks at the hand and after some deliberation finally takes it.

DEAN. Shall we?



Tuesday, May 4, 2010

★21 Want

I actually wrote this a year or two ago.

People don't really change all that much, do we?


I am not subtle. I don’t want to be, anyway. I don’t have the patience. There is too much already left unsaid as it is. When I feel something I want to yell it out to the world. I don’t want to keep it all in. I want to tell it like it is so there is no confusion, no doubt, no mistaking of intention. I want to yell and laugh and rip things apart and come really loudly and cry until my throat is dry and my eyes red as cherries. I want to never let go and never hold on and wrestle in mud and pass out from hunger or exhaustion or both. I want to be literally green with envy and high on life. I want to feel the pain of childbirth as muscles push and tear and the joy of holding new life in my hands. I want to beg and be begged and get on my knees and throw a tantrum. I want to stand up and start dancing at the most inappropriate time. I want to tell every fucking hot guy I see all the things I’d do to him if I could and if he’d let me. I want to kill myself but then I don’t and I want to stand on stage and bare it all. I want to be split open. I want to be blown away and shaken up and scared to fucking death. Then I want to be held in strong arms and lulled back into comfort. I want to stop giving a shit and to tell people to fuck off and take me seriously. I want to eat all three pieces of cake in one sitting. I want to get in a row boat and row for miles until I can’t see the shore. I’ll lay there floating with the sun in my eyes and on my skin –burning- the waves the only accompaniment to my silent monologue; the clouds my only witness. I want to get lost in oblivion. I want to forget, but not really. I want to get it all back and live it all again and turn up the volume really loud and put it in slow motion or is that fast forward? I don’t know. But that’s okay. I don’t need to know what I don’t know I just need to know how to deal with not knowing. Who knows and wants to tell me? Sharing is caring but also an obligation. Do we share because we care or because it’s the “right thing to do?” I want to be a kid again but then not really. Yet I miss the security blanket. It’s cold without it. I still have goose bumps. I want to wake up from a dream and realize I was never dreaming in the first place. I want to drown in tears of happiness. I want to feel dirty and sacred and desperate with want. I want to feel pure and calm and serene like a garden in one of Monet’s paintings. I want to be the first to know and the last one to leave. I want to disappear –fall off the face of the earth, be invisible- and look on to see who cares. I want to walk down streets –never looking back- just going and going until I reach the horizon and can kiss the sun and there’s no where to go but down, down, down. I want to giggle and bat my eyelashes and lose track of time.

I want……

I want this list to end.

It doesn’t.

★20 As May Kasahara

Hi, again, Mr. Wind-up Bird.

Last time,I got as far as telling you about how I'm working in this wig factory in the mountains far away with a lot of local girls. This is the continuation of that letter.

Lately, it's been really bothering me that, I don't know, the way people work like this every day from morning to night is kind of weird. Hasn't it ever struck you as strange? I mean, all I do here is the work that my bosses tell me to do the way they want me to do it. I don't have to think at all. I spend seven hours a day at a workbench, planting hairs into wig bases, then I eat dinner, take a bath, and of course I have to sleep, like everybody else, so out of a twenty four hour day, the amount of free time I have is nothing. And because I'm so tired from work, the 'free time' I have I mostly spend lying around in a fog. I don't have any time to sit and think about anything. Of course, I don't have to work on weekends, but then I have to catch up on laundry and cleaning, and sometimes I go into town, and before I know it the weekend is over.

But still - but still - it does not bother me at all that I'm now just part of the work I do. If anything, I feel that by concentrating on my work like this, with all the mindless determination of an ant, I'm getting closer to the "real me." I don't know how to put it, but it's as if by not thinking about myself I can get closer to the core of my self. That's what I mean by "kind of weird."

So strictly speaking, I am not enjoying the work here. All I'm doing is trying to accept the work in every possible way. When I'm making a wig, I don't think about anything but making that wig.

"The Wind-up Bird Chronicle" by Haruki Murakami.
Book Three: Chapter 15 This Could Be the End of the Line (May Kasahara's Point of View: 3)

My work in the classroom isn't quite as mindless as May Kasahara's wig making, but doing a job that you're not thrilled about for hours on end five days a week you have to adopt a kind of 'mindless state' in order to get through the week. In that sense, it really is living in the moment. You take things hour by hour, class by class. Now I prepare, now I teach a lesson, now I get on the train, now I walk home, etc... I don't dislike my job. But I think I've realized once and for all that I don't want to be a teacher. I don't want to settle for this. But for certain reasons I need to do this right now and as far as jobs go it could be worse. So I'm trying to accept each day as best I can. And I feel, like May Kasahara, that there's something in the discipline and mindlessness of routine and work that really allows you to get closer to that "core self." No time for fruitless throughts and too tired for frivolities, the mind becomes empty in such way that, if I continue to dwell in this state, will eventually bring clarity and self-realization. For that reason, and for the simple fact that I've made a commitment, I won't leave my job. Even though recently every day feels more like a chore than anything else.

So in this coming year I will do my best to cultivate this emptiness (because something has to arise out of it) and I will make the best I can of this experience. So that hopefully by the time I'm done and am able to move on to what's next for me I will do so having developed a stronger sense of dedication and discipline. Of perseverance.

So here we go, Golden Week is almost over and soon it's back to more of the same.