Sunday, April 13, 2008

I carry a torch...

It is Sunday morning in San Francisco. Despite the few beers I had last night and the late sleeping time, I forced myself out of bed early to come to a cafe and get a few things done--for school, for miscellaneous freelance projects. So I'm sitting in a cafe tapping away at my laptop and the guy next to me has a hospital bracelet on his wrist and I'm wondering if that's a fashion because last week when my cousin's baby was born, even after he'd left the hospital with his wife and new daughter, he kept his bracelet on and when I asked him about it he said he liked it. Which makes sense. So I wonder why this guy sitting next to me was in the hospital. Doesn't seem like a new dad since he's pretty skinny and young, wearing very fashionable jeans and a shirt that shows his flat belly. Okay, so the cafe I am at is just a few blocks from Castro Street and certainly not the place to go to meet straight available men. According to a fifty-something school teacher I substituted for last week, San Francisco is not the place to meet straight available men anyway, since the ratio of them to the women who are seeking them is so out of balance. Moreover, because of this discrepancy, the ones one does meet feel free to act like fools. Aren't we mostly all just beautiful fools, our foolishness fluxuating from one moment to the next? The teacher told me she had to move back east to meet a husband, suggested I do the same. That's why I'm moving to Richmond, didn't you hear? Find myself a husband. Make some babies. Get on with things. But first I need to get this work done. On this sunny Sunday. The weather here is so warm, last night all I needed to wear was a t-shirt. San Francisco is not supposed to be like that. No matter how warm day is, night should bring up scarves and goosebumps. It was nice. Hence the beers, I guess. On my way to the cafe just now I saw a man out jogging. He was wearing a shirt that said "Beijing 2008." And I was all, "What is he thinking?" But really, I'm confused about this whole Olympic hubbub. Can't we just acknowledge that the Olympics are a huge, corrupt, commercial institution, however international and historical? And, true, some athletes work their whole lives to be a part and that's a fine and beautiful thing, a crowning achievement, etc. But, just as the professional level of so many pursuits that start out as dreams, it is a complex thing in regards to where the money comes from and what the business points are. And yes China's human rights abuses are deplorable and disgusting, but don't we have our own abuses? Why are these torch protests more media-worthy than the anti-war and anti-torture protests of some weeks ago? And I'm sure you all know this by now, but the whole torch thing didn't start in ancient Greece but with the Berlin Olympics when Hitler was in charge, when he was not yet a villainous war criminal, though that was the year he banned Jewish athletes from the German team and also the year that some teams didn't send Jewish athletes for fear of offending his sensibilities. This was a bit of information being spouted off on NPR the other morning and woke me up and has stuck with me. And the other night there was a woman sitting at my kitchen table, idly looking at the headlines of the papers spread across it and she exclaimed, "Oh, gosh!" at a story about how the Olympic torch burned hundreds of Tibetan protesters who impeded its path. Then she realized she was reading The Onion.

Like I said, Sunday morning at a cafe in San Francisco, and I've got work to do.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

like moths, moments flitting in and out and back and forth...

Standing on a sidewalk in Boston the other night, alone, waiting, sorta tipsy, around 1:30am, I realized it was snowing. Not soft, white, fluffy, but small, hard shining--"wintry mix," they call it? No matter, it was lovely. I haven't seen snow in three years I guess, and I was already really happy anyway, and so it made me even more happy, punctuated that moment as perfect, etc. And I heard a young lady leaning up against the pizza place I was standing in front of complain loudly to her friend: "When is this f-ing snow sh-t gonna give up?" Ha. They proceeded to have a rather inane conversation with a guy who came up to them wearing a fluorescent safety vest. I can't recall it now but I was stuck to every word, distracted from my snow.

Maha is a common Arabic name and the name of the female character in the Arabic textbook I have been studying from for the past year. Maha is dour and sullen. She feels lonely as an Arab college student living in New York with her parents, who, although they let her dress like all her friends, do not permit her to stay out late or have a boyfriend. Maha is sort of pretty but it's hard to tell since she always looks sad or bewildered in the black and white photos in our textbook or the short monologues on our DVD. Today our new Arabic teacher told us that Maha means "cow's eye" in Arabic, so cow eyes are assumed to be beautiful things. I can't specifically remember ever looking a cow in the eye but I do suppose it would be beautiful, all big and glossy. It's still a sort of strange thing though.

Until today I had not known that there is ample evidence that the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in Baghdad was a staged event. Thanks, P.

What else? Since I flew Jetblue this past weekend, I watched that personal Satellite tv they have. I watched probably ten times more tv than I have in the past three months combined. I want to know if there is any situation now where a camera crew is not present to record people's lives. I want to know why I was so hooked by "Intervention", a horrid show on A&E where a drug addict is followed through their days and then in the end surprised by an intervention of his loved ones. I watched this woman shoot meth, like, five times, and I swear the two men who were sitting around me watched it too. I could feel them both turn their heads to my screen as it happened.

And there is a woman unpacking an entire houseful of ikea-looking furniture into the floor level flat of the house in front of mine. I wonder if she knows how many transients have slept on her new stoop in the years the house has been worked on and I wonder if she fully understands that most of the windows look out onto a tiny passageway that allows home access to me and the 16 other people who live in the two houses behind hers. Or maybe it doesn't matter to her. Maybe she's just the assistant or the shopper or the realtor or the mistress or the whatever.

Weak entry. Tired girl.