emma b. says

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Infomercial

OK Barack, whatever ambrosia your sellin', I'm buying.

I called my dad immediately afterward, we were both teary.

I have never, he had never, seen anything like that. It's a new era of the cinematic politic. I am both enchanted and deeply suspicious.

What a country. In one breath on NPR you have African American voters in St. Louis thrilled to vote for the first time at thirty, after a decade and some of lassitude, in the next you have a bunch of white supremicists whose factions are divided as to whether to get rid of the n***** now or let him be elected and therefore bolster their fanatic numbers, this they speak of candidly of National fucking Public Radio. Good God, really?

Closer, my peer group here in Portland is skirting dangerously close to the rounds of lay-offs, I count my lucky stars before I sleep I landed somewhere stable. Salary be damned, poor is the new black.

Friday, October 17, 2008

One Year and Five Days Later

I find myself employed.

I find that I have taken a salary cut the equivalent of a small economy vehicle.

I find that I am slightly panicked, but overall I am grateful. (this economy, these benefits)

I find that I really like this new company and the work that it entails.

I find that my Friday night consisted of raking leaves, a quick run, San Marcos Almonds (an extravagance) and cheap wine.

I find the future auspicious.

*note to the Fates - oh ha ha ha, fine then, your senses of humor are perverse and ribald, don't think that I don't appreciate all the little clues you've been dropping willy-nilly, couldn't be clearer if you sat a beatified Jonathan Safran-Foer in front of me - or whatever his name is - to read Everything is Illuminated in the motherfucking flesh. Please call Loki off, and ask Pan to cool it with the wine, though I wouldn't mind if you sent down Venus to abet me in getting laid sometime before I turn forty. Go on and sharpen your shears, ladies. As a personal favor, I'd be most indebted if you cut short McPain and the She Beast.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Portland, Year One

The moon is full, it's clear and cold. It's warm in the house and I am well fed. I am in good spirits. I shouldn't be, really. What with my joblessness and the hideous state of the economy and all these harbingers of doom gathering like a chattering murder of crows. A year and then some of working willy-nilly if at all, and all I can think is that I have been fortunate to travel my new city and meet all kinds of people. That oughtta count for something.

There is still time to scour Ebay for used carpetbags and jalopies before the shit seriously hits the fan and the media lapses into assissination speculation.

I am just about to let go of every plan I ever made, let go of every facsimile of a career that I should have had, let go of every expired expectation, right after I get out of the bath and just before I quit smoking for the eleventy-ith time.

We are tottering on the brink of medieval country justice, I am careful to lock my doors and I keep my pitchfork handy, just in case.

But in the slightness of this calm, my calm, I take the time to purchase a very swell pair of red shoes. I go for a run beneath a benevolent moon, I eat left overs and finish last night's wine, I sing in the kitchen as I unload the dishwasher, I am mindful to give thanks as I round every corner.

I've made it a year, I can make it another.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

I missed my train thanks to a drawbridge and a barge. (also my hair takes forever to blow out, but that is neither here nor there)

Speeding down wet streets, getting lost, getting to the station, getting a ticket on the next train to Seattle, getting a parking ticket, thinking about mixed blessings, getting coffee, going for a run, killing time before getting to the train station to do it over again.

I pulled into the parking garage for attempt number two and had one of those sudden claps of certitude that I had parked next to my ex-boyfriend's, the engineer, car. Swell. I was suddenly glad I had missed the 8:30 train to blow dry my hair, knowing him, insofar as I know him at all anymore, he was on the early train.

I boarded noonish. Settled into my window seat with my i-Pod and the New Yorker and my book and my expensive, yet crappy train sandwich and my expensive, yet crappy demi of chardonnay, and proceeded to reach backwards as the train swayed northwards to Seattle. All of the other trains, in other states and other states of mind, and continents and countries a decade or so ago. I'd go to Seattle just to ride the train. For the syncopated jostle, the lurch and lull, for the countryside and the backsides of small towns and the underbellies of middling cities unfurling in the window. Temporarily mesmerized by blurred passage of elongated freight trains. I kept Andrew Bird on repeat, it felt appropriate. I'd ride just to remember, it's always better to remember when you are going somewhere unfamiliar, through a landscape devoid of the footprint of memory.

Flashes of bay I don't have a name for, no orientation on my personal map, I miss large bodies of water, I miss the ocean like I miss the presence of my best friend, but at least she and I have email. Me and bodies of water have only the kinship of proximity. Brine only has immediacy.

Seattle recalls San Francisco except it isn't. I stayed with my new friend and she showed me the town. Pike's Place, the usual tourist destinations. Last night we hit the town and closed down the bars, I met a women who is my economic doppelganger and together we solved this crisis with the aid of some truly spectacular cocktail slinging by an exceptionally hot and exceptionally talented bartender. I was impressed by the array of seemingly available men specimens.... I was standing outside with two other women engaged in debate when some intrepid fellow barged in on our conversation and was all whoa, yer talkin' economics and I looked him straight in the eye and said yes, it's a real boner killer isn't it, and chastened he turned tail. I felt sorta bad for half a sec, but whatevs, this is the reason, dear readers, that I haven't been laid in seven months.

ms. D and I went to the russian baths this afternoon. Hot, cold, tepid salt water, banya, the beat down with oak leaves, repeat as needed. I then had a deep tissue massage by a tiny lady with really strong hands, as my body went into spasms, I haven't been touched for such a long time, I am super ticklish and I have a year's worth of the stress of unemployment embedded deep in my tissue that I emerged half drunk with relaxation, she stuck an elbow into my right hip and I nearly bucked her off, she said, you're kind of overdue for this, aren't you. Ya think? I stayed awake on the train back long enough to do a cursory reconnaissance to see if I could spot the engineer, get some wine and wilt into the chair and surrender to the syncopated jostle, the jolt and lull. Much better to sleep on trains than planes.

Off the train, down the quay, it's gotten so inky dark with the change of season, it's gotten wet again, my mind is off thinking of kissing as I clickety-click to the parking garage, and then there we are, side-by-side, loading our luggage into our trunks.

I met the engineer on a plane.

I haven't seen him in a year, we make small talk, I decide I... I decide that cycles are strange, indeed. I decide that I am free to be heartbroken again. Or not. I decide that a full beard is not a good look on him, but I decide that I might hit again for old time's sake, even though that would be unwise, and then I get in my car and drive away - what on earth is there left to say.

In a week I will have been here a year.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Welcome to Weirderland

In the past fourteen days I have ridden the world's smallest loop-de-loop in the world's most peculiar semi-permanent amusement park, down by the river where the carnies are not intransigent, housed in barracks and I danced something called the "chicken dance" at a dissipated Octoberfest.

I have oomp-pa-pa'ed at the Polish fest.

I have shambled at the last Last Thursday.

I have sat on my porch during a short, but incredibly hardy torrential downpour, I have given strangers shelter on my porch.

I have lunched idly with my neighbor, who was then laid off.

I have danced for change and bar tended for none for Obama.

I have watched the debates and found them wanting.

I have been blissfully unaware of the massive stock tumble. Fuck me, if I am not ever tired of the jabbering heads and their fear mongering prognostications.

A few days later I cried in my car, listening to Frank de Ford rhapsodizing about Paul Newman taking his wife's hand at the theatre.

I have been surveying the wolf spiders that live in great abundance and have grown to great girth all over my yard and porch. I shooed an enormous one off of the porch this evening as I was suddenly and compulsively taken to hose off the porch. I walk like an elephant about my yard, flapping my arms furiously, surprised by the tensile strength of the webs I inevitably blunder into.

And I have been to see the baby olyphant at the zoo, found a good place to feed the ducks, seen the swifts dive into a chimney and have been generally delighted that Portland smells so good, watching as the leaves switch hues, lament the onset of darkness and the inevitable rain, have been grateful for a hale September.

I am looking forward to carving pumpkins and gainful employment, as always.

In twelve days I will have lived here a year.