Archive for the eight fourteen Category

8:14 (94)

Posted in eight fourteen with tags on June 14, 2014 by darryl zero

I find it funny that, for all the things I’ve been able to say, think, and do publicly, even professionally, that I’m still so governed by my own fears that the things I’ve always wanted to pursue have been the things I’ve been so reticent to chase.

Grad school was one of those things—I’d get part of the way down the journey toward it, applying, even starting work for it—then chicken out, either scared of the work or the responsibility or just plain scared that I’d fuck it up somehow, which is the common thread in everything and all of this. Predictable Zero. I know.

Lately it’s been the kind of irrational fear that keeps me from writing cover letters effectively—the words that so often appear in abundance when I’m singing the praises of some Jeunet film or ten-second passage on a Full of Hell album completely dissolve in the face of the cold hard fact of me having to tell someone why I’m the best person to do x, y, or z. Even if I actually think I’m the person for the job, those things are so subjective that I find myself completely crippled by the prospect of having to explain why. It’s hard, and it breaks and wears me down more and more over the years.

I consider myself fortunate, of course, that I’ve never had to face anything with the threat of looming obliteration. I’ve dealt with challenging situations, to be sure, but the stakes were almost always fairly low, with some kind of “out” in case I think too hard (or not enough, conversely) about it and lose my nerve.

I’d like to think it’s the absence of control I fear right now, but the truth is I’m just frustrated with myself that I didn’t get out of Iowa when I thought to and that I’m worried what I’m doing, or what I’ve done, or what happens as a result of what I do or don’t do has any impact on someone’s life or happiness. It’s not the staying in Iowa that I fear so much anymore—I can deal with it, especially knowing I am with someone that is as attached to the place as I am (spiritually, but not necessarily practically). It’s the consequences of my being so happy, oddly enough, happy with that person.

And the things that come with that happiness have things that come with them.

And so I’m afraid.

Time’s up.


8:14 (93)

Posted in eight fourteen on September 22, 2013 by darryl zero

I pulled over on the shoulder about five miles south of my hometown just after midnight, taking advantage of the relative absence of cars on the highway to hop out of my car, shut of all the lights, and enjoy the stillness and silence. Although there were two farmhouses less than a half-mile away, the lights were out; with the absence of streetlights, I was able to enjoy the moon and the stars without any intrusive artificial influence.

I love the fact that my hometown is so perfectly situated that one can drive less than fifteen minutes and go from urban to rural.  I love that my hometown is so perpetually full-of-vitality at this time of year, the students back, full of the stupid intoxicating freedom that caught me at that age, their impending petty regrets reminding me of the days in which that was the only thing to fear, that brief span of time in which life had meaning or at least direction, the last time in which I was truly happy before now.

Which I am happy, I know now, I realize it even as I feel sad and frustrated, but I’m happy that I am myself enough again to feel these things in the first place.  It’s not the woman (although I’m certainly thankful for her), nor is it the job (fffffffffffffffff), nor is it anything else–it’s the reason why I stopped on the side of the road, the fact that everything I’ve done has led up to this, led me back to where I’m at (emotionally and physically), and the traceable journey through everything that’s happened has brought me to where I’m at and, even though I’m scared, even though sometimes I feel I fuck it up, even though I haven’t really succeeded at anything I’ve sought to do yet, I am seeking again, my eyes are up and focused and searching and scanning and finding and, for fuck’s sake, the sky was beautiful tonight by the side of the road, stretching into forever in all directions.  Beautiful.

Time’s up.

8:14 (92)

Posted in eight fourteen with tags on June 1, 2013 by darryl zero

So another family’s moving into the house in which my mother and (for now) I live.

My mom’s best friend has a better relationship with her than anyone else does, which wouldn’t bother me so much if I didn’t think it often conflicted with Mum’s relationship to the people related to her by blood–namely (but not limited to) my sister (oops, shit–sister doesn’t like being mentioned as being related to me, but I guaran-fucking-tee you she would change her fucking tune if I were successful, so fuck that) and me.

I probably not ought to describe MOZBF’s situation in any detail, mostly because it’s not my story to tell, but I can’t help but call her out for being the opportunistic cunt she is, so fuck it, right?  So she’s a divorcee–probably around mum’s age–whom my mom met in church and immediately took to.  She’s the only one that shares mum’s enthusiasm for puppetry and ministry (which is saying something–I definitely love the former, but find the latter frustrating at best and offensively pernicious at worst), and, since Mum cares more about her puppet ministry than she does anything else, it’s only natural that she feel a particular attachment to her.

It would be easy to say at least one of two things:

1) Mum’s gay, or

2) the relationship Mum has with MOZBF is the reason for my parents’ divorce.

I suspected the first one for a long time until I actually moved back into Mum’s house and realized she’s asexual.  The latter only seems fair when viewed between a fucked-up lens–Twenty-Five’s, to be exact (believe me when I say Mum probably would have been willing to be emotionally attached to my father if he hadn’t spent the majority of their marriage pushing her away, cheating on her, trying to cheat on her, or just plain being a fuckwit).

Anyway, I’ve actually tried to give MOZBF the benefit of a doubt–she made a shitty first impression on me some years ago when I met her by being condescending (I refuse to be condescended to by my intellectual superiors, and when people I’m more intelligent than pull that shit, the rage reflex kicks in).

(Time’s up, but I’m going to continue–)

Long story short, MOZBF can’t make ends meet, and she and her son (a sophomore in high school) are moving in with Mum.

I know I should be understanding, but it’s hard for me to see this as MOZBF willfully exploiting and ingratiating herself into my mother’s life.  I don’t entirely blame MOZBF, either–it’s Mum’s decision, which is the hurtful part: she actually holds this person in higher esteem than, well, me.  It’s hard not to be angry at Mum for this–I’m a fuck-up and a loser, for sure, but that energy should be transferred to my sister, not some bitch.

If Mum actually were gay, this would be a completely different story, and I’d actually embrace MOZBF as a part of my family.

But now, with this cunt’s stuff in my mom’s house, and mom clearing out and purging all traces of even my things to make room for hers, I feel insulted, hurt, and…worthless.

And I know I’ll get over it, because Mum loves me and this is pretty much the only thing she’s ever done that’s hurt me, but there’s something profoundly wrong with this.

8:14 (91)

Posted in eight fourteen with tags on May 2, 2013 by darryl zero

Some odd months ago (September, gods–it was back in September, and I’m closer to the anniversary of it than I am to the actual moment), I sat down on a bench on the edge of the Boston Common next to a beautiful girl with enormous glasses and a troubled look on her face.  She had a Marimekko bag, and I asked her if she’d gotten it in Boston, and whether or not there was a store in town.  We’ve been friends ever since, and I make a point to think about her at least once a day.

In most ways, she’s nothing like me–we’re from different socioeconomic statuses, different educational backgrounds, different types of families, we espouse different (albeit somewhat more convergent than anyone realizes) interpretations of the space-between-spaces, we approach life from different perspectives–and yet, in other ways, we’re exactly alike.  We both feel in extreme ways, wielding our emotions in a powerful sense, radiating and projecting it across time and space and, occasionally, the internet, sending jets of our own imagination shooting across information and other pathways.  She’s become very dear to me in such a short time, in that way that people do when you want to know them and want to keep them close to you, and it all started when I asked a girl on a bench about her bag.

Meeting people is easy.  I’ve always been good at it; fortunately for me, I’ve been blessed enough to meet some downright fun, interesting, respectable people, but also because I’ve always felt and functioned better when I had some kind of interpersonal context–that is, when I know there are people around sharing the same experience, that you-are-there-and-I-am-there-and-isn’t-this-nuts thing that I think is very much an Iowa thing.  Most of the time when it happens, people tend to shrug it off (at least, outside my home state), give a token response and carry on with whatever special thing they’ve got going on in that moment.  But sometimes, you get someone that actually shares that part of the experience, and you can see it in their face when they look at you that they realize they are there, and that you are where you are, and that it is pretty awesome and crazy and wonderful and beautiful to be there.

I can’t explain it, and I darn sure can’t say that’s what I thought I was getting into when I spoke to her, but I’m glad that’s what I got when I talked to that girl on that bench in Boston.  I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I have the best friends anyone could ask for, and I don’t deserve any of them, but I’m glad I have them.

Time’s up.

8:14 (89)

Posted in eight fourteen with tags , on February 8, 2013 by darryl zero

Things are starting to escape me that otherwise shouldn’t unless I give myself some kind of stimulus.  It’d worry me if I weren’t expecting it. The reflex would be to say it’s because I’m getting older, that the decline I try to delay in my body is now starting to reach my brain, but I think it’s more because I’m filling myself up with things.  I’m into so much–I love so much, even when I think I don’t.  It’s…reassuring.

There’s the part in the bridge of Queen Adreena’s “Siamese Almeida” that catches me in its perfection.  The entire song is constructed around a two-note bass figure–E to C, if my ear serves me correct–that just grinds and moves forward in a chugging, gritting, too-ugly-to-be-entirely-pretty-yet-sexy-as-fuck way that just feels like it needs to be there, and the bridge–if you can call it that–is just a breakdown in which all it is is kick and bass, and Katie Jane Garside’s voice, of course, until the guitars chime in with that buzzsawing Crispin Gray tone on hammered E chords.  The exact lyrics escape me–if I am to say I am declining mentally, I’d cite that as exhibit A–but they are something to the extent of “I will not change what’s in you, I will not change for you,” and there’s that part where she goes from a hiccuped “I will not-” and then, as the guitars sear, she abruptly goes to a throat-searing “change what I hate in you” and the compression kicks in to the point at which the volume of the shriek and the volume of the coo are exactly the same.  I don’t always like that kind of processed vocal, but it’s beautiful in that instant, perfect, catching the emotions I feel so often and re-encoding them into music before spitting them out, into my ears.

It’s one of those moments I have to stop and rewind and listen to over and over every time I hear it.  Beautiful.

Time’s up.

8:14 (88)

Posted in eight fourteen with tags on February 5, 2013 by darryl zero

There’s always that point at which you realize everything you’re doing needs to be as for yourself as possible, until it isn’t.

I find myself dreaming of the touch of someone who, quite frankly, doesn’t exist.  I’m not exaggerating when I say she’s exactly like Melanie–short, thin, off-white skin, cheekbones, the same kind of dueling sincerity and fear in her eyes, her smile, and a voice as sweet at a stolen kiss in the misty, foggy dark.

The kind of people that stick with me, the kinds of people who occupy space in my heart, never make sense to anyone else.  There are the people with whom I end up, the women that have that combination of willingness and comfort, but then there are the ones that see the world somewhat like I do, only they look at it with an affected fearlessness that I can’t even pretend, they attack it with something as if it needs to be held at bay if not outright conquered lest it conquer them first.  I could never do that, and that’s why Melanie sticks with me so much–she was afraid, and confused, and had no idea what to do with the world in front of her, and that fear pushed her in all the wrong directions and tore at her and distorted her into something.

Even though we only dated two  months, even though that “dating” was some kind of fucked-up, odd thing that really shouldn’t have warranted any connection, she is imprinted on me in a way I can’t fully describe, and that’s the reason why I can’t call complete bullshit on someone when they talk about their “soulmate.”  I don’t believe in that shit, but then again, someone I barely knew and barely held to me is someone I will keep in my heart forever.

Time’s up.

8:14 (87)

Posted in eight fourteen with tags on February 1, 2013 by darryl zero

The worst part about this place isn’t the cold, or the snow, or the flatness, or the fact that there isn’t really any decent non-corporate chain food places to eat, or the fact that even the cool people here are so unbearably whitebread.

The worst part about being in Iowa is how easily it is to become completely isolated from the world.  I used to be unable to walk down a street in Portland without running into someone I knew, no matter what the neighborhood or context; in Iowa, if I time everything just right, I can actually leave my mum’s house, go to the grocery store and back and the only people I’d encounter in any substantial way are the people being paid to endure my presence.  Not that this isn’t without its benefits, mind you, but sometimes one wants to embrace, acknowledge, and immerse oneself in the presence of people they love.  I’ve loved intensely and often (and often to my detriment, depending on whom you ask), but the staggering amount of people that simply don’t do anything in this state is mind-boggling to the point of confusion.

It leads me to speculate whether or not the who;e “Iowa being boring” stereotype isn’t at least a part of how people try to program Iowa, not only in the minds of others, but in its citizens as well.  Iowa isn’t boring, at least no more so than any other place forgotten and under-appreciated by the “cultured” world, but people seem so comfortable with it being this way that they only really accept the comfortable, “Portlandia”-type weird in a way that other cities don’t fuck around with.

Probably because they’re too busy actually being vibrant.

But not Des Moines, where it’s easy to just slink back into whatever hole from which you crawled and, for instance, fall asleep before 2am.

Time’s up.