Saturday, April 28, 2007

Why was I writing about an "eating plan"? What is an "eating plan"? Does a question mark go inside or outside the quotation marks? That has been plaguing me for years, actually. Maybe I'll try to figure it out right now, instead of working on my Crim Pro outline. (It's Saturday, the exam is on Monday, and I basically just started the shit.)


Okay, according to the first three results on Google, question marks in the scenario above go outside the quotes. Good for me. If they were part of the quoted text, like if I were saying:
  • He asked me, "What's your eating plan?"
...they'd go inside.

Problem solved, in about one minute, after worrying about it for years. Time to go back to studying.

Friday, April 27, 2007

You know that "eating plan" I just mentioned? That shit doesn't work at all. I just ate a huge pile of couscous because I was so hungry after having a pretzel at 2:00 and some cookies at 3:30.
Want to know my eating plan? Here's what I try to do (though I never succeed). I don't eat right away when I get up. Instead, I wait till like 10:30 or 11:00, and have a small breakfast, like a bagel or a bowl of cereal. This is supposed to tide me over until like 2:30 or 3:00. (As I write this, it's 12:57, and I'm starting to get hungry. So, just, take that into consideration too.) Then I have small lunch, like a piece of pizza or a half a sandwitch. This is supposed to tide me over until regular dinnertime, like 7:00 or thereabouts, at which time I eat a regular dinner. See, the idea is that it keeps me from eating too much or spending too much on food. I also keep some mints or something around to keep my blood sugar up when I need it; and of course I take advantage of every single opportunity for free food that presents itself. E.g., at my work, they have cookies every Friday in the afternoon. I tend to stock the fuck up.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Here's an email that I just composed to our realtor. It kind of sums up where things are right now as far as the whole house-hunting project. A couple things: I was actually trying to write in W's voice, because she's been corresponding w/ the agent, and I'd kind of like to limit emails from me to the very businesslike -- like, I'd only write if I were saying, "you're fired," or "we're taking you to court," or "we have to figure out how to fix this or else you're fired." But the message here is, "I'm upset and I'm trying to figure out whether you can help me" -- appealing to their emotions and desire to help a struggling young couple. Oh, another thing: I haven't sent it, not sure whether I will.

~+++ ~

Hi P,

Thank you for your frank reply. I appreciate it. I'm just trying to work through my feelings about everything that's happened here. I'm confused and dumbfounded, really, by what went on with [the house we were buying]. Every detail of it seems odd to me. Here's the rundown from our perspective -- keep in mind, we've never bought a house before and are 100 miles away, so it's all very foreign to us:
  • the seller's agent makes an offer to the buyer's agent orally; she does this, I assume, knowing that someone else is coming to look at the house that night. Why wouldn't she just wait a couple hours to see what the other prospective buyer did? If she, the seller's agent, didn't know someone was coming to look, that seems awfully weird too, particularly given that the seller was supposedly out of town, so he couldn't have arranged for the person to see the place. Anyway, presumably somebody knew this guy was coming to see the house, but they made us an offer anyway. Were they planning on backing out of any agreement we made if the other guy made a better offer? Please tell me that's considered unethical.
  • the buyer's agent, knowing that this seller has in the past made offers orally and later gone back on what she said (i.e., "oh, our offer of $395K wasn't really an offer, that was just the agent talking"), doesn't try to get this offer in writing ASAP. Why not? I gather from your email that, had we worked out the details and faxed something over right away, the seller's agent would have had to get the seller's signature that night. Why weren't we encouraged to work it out right away?
  • even though the offer is not in writing, the buyer's agent congratulates the clients on finally having a deal, despite knowing from experience that this seller had no compunction about going back on oral agreements.
  • then, the guy who looked at the place apparently unbeknownst to the agent makes a full price plus offer with no inspection contingency -- this despite the fact that the place is a hundred years old with an open sewer line in the basement and two salvaged wood beams holding up the kitchen. Why would anyone do that?
It just feels to me like something's not right. I have no idea what it is, but it all seems so weird. But whatever -- that's in the past. I'm just trying to make you understand why the whole thing bothered me so much, besides the fact that we were left with nowhere to live.

I suppose I shouldn't have used the word "serious" to describe our offers in my email. I didn't use the word in the sense of being "able to compete and win," obviously, since they weren't. I just meant to highlight that they weren't frivolous. Two were over 95% of asking price -- after you told us personally that we could expect to pay about 90% of asking -- and yes, the third was a sort of a hardball approach, but remember, it actually resulted in a deal. A deal that the sellers backed out on, but a deal nonetheless. If their offer had been in writing, it would have resulted in a sale.

I appreciate that you felt bad for us, and I know you mean it. The main reason we wanted to work with you -- even after you begrudgingly admitted to us that you actively try to hide the fact that you're also a teacher from your clients, and even after we realized that you guys didn't tell us up front you were selling a house in the neighborhood where we were looking to buy -- was that I really feel like we understand each other and get along. So I know you mean it when you say you feel bad. I guess I was surprised that, after all that had happened, you guys just seemed to fade away, stopped sending listings, didn't really express any regrets about what happened or offer to help out with the aftermath. It seems weird to me that there haven't been any listings, given the time of year, but I'm glad to know that that's the market, not you guys. At this point, we've done a lot of hustling to get rentals but are still struggling; we might ask for your help if that's something you think you can help with. One of us will be in touch with you in the next few days about that if we do need help.

Anyway, thanks again for your reply. I do hope you guys are doing well.


So that's it. I really just post it because it sums up some facts about our house-hunting situation and gives a clue as to the feelings that have been swirling around lately. We're really having a hard time, honestly.

UPDATE: So, I showed that email to W and she was like, "well, this obviously isn't my voice." We decided to send it, but I sent it from myself, not her. Hm. I wonder if that was a dumb move. The thing is, though, we're pretty much beyond all the fucking role playing at this point. They know us pretty well by now. I'm not fooling them anymore. So I might as well just let it all hang the fuck out.

I want to write this down before I forget.

So, as I've mentioned a few times, our friend L died a few weeks ago. I believe she committed suicide, but honestly I still don't know. Anyway, I had a dream about her that I don't want to forget. It was pretty incredible.

I dreamed that she wanted to die, and the way she arranged to do it was to have one of her friends shoot her. So all of her friends -- all the people who'd known her over the years -- gathered on this rooftop. She gave somebody a gun, and then she just sort of started baiting them, trying to get them pissed off enough that they'd be able to do it. It was all understood ahead of time what was supposed to happen. At some point, I ended up with the gun. I was standing there, and L was yelling at me, getting me more and more upset, and then she threw a cup of coffee on me. Instantaneously, without pausing or anything, I shot her in the head, point blank.

All of her friends then gathered her up and took her downstairs, to a bedroom somewhere inside the building, where we were going to sit with her as she slipped away. We sat around her, all looking at her, listening to her reflect on her life, for a long time. She was taking a very long time to die. Slowly, people began leaving the room one by one. They were getting tired of listening to her talk about herself, and they had other things they wanted to do. But I was the one who had shot her, I couldn't leave. It just wouldn't have been right. I sat with her for hours and hours more. Eventually it became clear that I hadn't delivered a fatal wound -- she wasn't going to die. But she did have this hole in the back of her head, and she was hurt pretty bad.

Well, that's basically the dream. At some point during the dream, I realized that L had finally gotten what she wanted: she was the center of attention, all eyes were on her, she was getting to talk about herself and everyone would listen. It was so sad when people started filtering out.

I don't know what else to say about this. I hope that you, dear reader, will understand. It's weird. Sad. I think this dream is full of commentary on, not just L, but on myself and my weaknesses. I often have dreams where someone is taunting me or mistreating me and I lash out violently and make them sorry. Obviously, this is something that never happens in real life, and I think I fantasize about it a little in my sleep. I think this dream had an element of that. But there's also an element of my feeling that I can never really make anything happen -- I can never "pull the trigger," as it were. So I shot L, but I didn't kill her. And then I was stuck in the mode of the killer sitting with his victim, for eternity it seems. And there was L as victim. That's the way she lived her life, and that's what she frequently was. So in this dream, despite having arranged the shooting herself, she is the victim. And there's the obvious comment on what happened in reality -- something that W pointed out to me -- everyone had written her off, but when she died, there they were at her memorial. Giving her the love and attention she'd wanted all her life. Oh, but it was so sad in that dream when they tired of her again and started leaving the room.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Fucking momentous.

I just finished my last law school class... ever.

Fuck yes.

I am sitting, alone as I am wont to do, in the bar near school. Dark as hell in this motherfucker, like I like it. It's a beautiful evening outside (it's about 8:45) but at the moment this is where I want to be. In a cave, alone, anonymous. Listening to music and getting a little tips... A Guinness and a Maker's on the rocks. This place plays good music almost all the time. Right now it's Peter Tosh singing "I-man are the bush doctor...." And it's nice that they have wireless. And there's an old Clint Eastwood western showing (no sound of course).

New song. Now it's "Come on Eileen." This is one of those songs that I used to like, like really love, back in the days that I went out dancing. It's still a good song, but it's a little played for me now.

But damn! There's a table of loud people back here. It's just me and this one other table -- a total of four other people -- back here, and I can barely hear the music. The guy was just stomping his foot because he was laughing so hard! Maybe one day something will be funny enough to me that I'll want to stomp my foot, but that day has yet to come.

New song. "Rock This Town" by the Stray Cats. No Peter Tosh, but not bad.

Dude -- the stomping guy just leapt out of his seat out of excitement. He's sitting again now. Still
yelling, though.

No way -- new song: "Jump in the Line" (or whatever it's really called) by Harry Belafonte. "Okay! I believe you!"

Dude!!!! My man is screaming. Literally -- you know what "screaming" means? Where your voice gets high and breaks a lot? That's what he's doing. Seems like this one guy is the whole reason for the loudness.

New song. This one is still, like, basically good, but it seems like the trend is downward... "Hungry Like the Wolf."

Ai ai ai. So many god damn things to worry about. I called W to tell her I was going to grab a drink before I came home. Our conversation inevitably turned to the various things we "aren't going to worry about right now" -- in other words, all the things we really have to worry about, but are going to try to put out of our minds for the evening. Here's the list: (1) we don't have a place to live in our new city. (2) We don't have any real source of money starting in about a week. (3) We are ...

just wanted to note, my man just stood up and stomped his foot... he's still standing, out of sheer excitement...

...anyway, number three was that, while we're hoping to buy a house, it seems that all the houses that have been languishing on the market are now under contract, and no new places are going up. Well. Personally, I'm resigned to the fact that we're renting for the near future. So what's happening now is that supply is declining -- and demand is probably increasing due to the time of year. So things are not looking good for buyers in the current, say, three-month period. But that doesn't mean that it will be terrible for us in a few months.

That said, of course, it really does look like prices are steadily increasing in the neighborhood we're interested in. And interest rates are going up too. So shit does not exactly scream, "just wait!"

Whatever. Can't fight reality. We will do our best. We have submitted an application to rent a place. If we get this place, it will be the shit -- it's hands down nicer than any place we've ever lived, with the exception that the neighborhood is a bit weird. Not scary -- not at all -- more, touristy. It's right next to the big museum in town. But anyway, my point is, maybe we can stay in this place for a little while, and simultaneously look for our dream house -- a Victorian somewhere in the not-too-distant suburbs. I'm sure W won't love that idea, in that it entails waiting. I don't blame her one bit for that -- she's been waiting a long fucking time. But it might be the right thing to do.

And -- among the things that we're not worrying about tonight -- it's far from a given that we'll get this place. We've submitted an application, which shows that we don't have any income to speak of at the moment; the place is very pricey. We'll see what goes down. If we don't get the place, we'll have a lot more worries.

Meanwhile, the loud table has left. The music has changed, and frankly it's bee a bit hit or miss. I think it's the Police right now, not sure. I told myself I'd order another drink if the waitress came over, and she has been pointedly ignoring me. Maybe it has to do with the way I'm back here in the shadows looking shady. But I suppose this is the good lord's way of telling me to go home to my wife.

For the record, by the way: when I do this, I always get one beer and one whiskey, and then head home. Because of tonight's special circumstances, I was considering having something extra -- a little celebration, you know. But it's not to be.

Ooh, it's "Hey Jude" now.

See you later.

Friday, April 20, 2007

I've been through a lot personally since I last posted. I don't have the time to go into it all here. But here's a quick summary: W, after the episode I described a few days ago, fell into a horrible depression -- literally staying in bed for three or four days, with the curtains closed, and taking pills like they were cough drops and drinking. It was nuts. She began slowly coming out of it on Sunday, I think. Then I had another meltdown, this time of a different variety: I was washing the dishes, and W made her way out of bed and came into the kitchen and hugged me. This was a very good thing, a wonderful gesture. She was quietly crying -- but she'd been crying at different volumes for days on end, so really that meant very little. But then I started sobbing a little. I tried to hold it back, because I want W to know -- or I guess I should say I want her to think -- that I'm okay, I'm in control, I'm taking care of things. She can freak out, and I'll still be strong and holding shit down. But I was completely incapable of holding my tears in, and then I just started crying like CRAZY. I don't know if I've ever cried like that before. I kept saying "oh my god, oh my god, I'm sorry, I'm sorry." I didn't want to cry in front of her, and I realized that I was so sorry that things weren't working out. I just felt like, I have FUCKED UP YET AGAIN. I've failed my wife -- again. I put her through three years of waiting, put us so deep in debt I can't even think about it, and now when it's time for her payoff, I can't give it to her. And I cried for like twenty minutes, or more. I made my way to the bed, and was lying in the fetal position with my hands over my eyes, just sobbing. And W was comforting me, and telling me that it was all okay with her, and that she loved me.

Now, this is what I wanted to post about. I realized, thinking about this episode and its effect on W, something. I know she doesn't want a man who is vulnerable and needs taking care of (at least I'm pretty sure) -- she wants the guy I was trying to be, who will be strong and handle things, and take care of her and pamper her. But I think it is good for her when I show her my vulnerability. Because she pulled herself out of her horrible depression, to be strong for me. And ever since, she's been coping. Don't get me wrong, she still cries on the daily and breaks into bitter tirades about how horrible things are. And actually, the day following my meltdown she went even further than ever before, telling me that she seriously wanted to commit suicide. That's something I can't forget or ignore. She came to me, as if she wanted to propose this idea to me -- what if I killed myself? Everything would be so much better for everybody, she said. I sat with her, for hours -- basically all day -- and held her, and told her how much I needed her, and told her everything I could think of -- that I would be furious with her, that I would be completely helpless and lost without her, that I love her and need her in my life. And eventually she came out of that too. I have to remember this though. That's not the kind of thing that just goes away. She will raise that again some time, and I'll have to be ready.

Anyway -- having reminded myself of the timing of that episode, maybe I need to rethink my idea about how it's good for her when I am vulnerable. But the point is, I want to write this idea down so I don't forget about it, and so I can build on it if it makes sense to do so.

UPDATE: this is a few weeks later. I've been thinking about this. It seems completely crazy for me to say that she reacted to my breakdown by being strong and coping, when the following day she actually told me she was planning to commit suicide. But for some reason, it still seems true. I can't quite figure it out. Possibly -- and listen, this is so fucked up sounding -- possibly she said that to me to sort of even things out between us. I'm sort of picturing a scale here, you know, two pans. She had been very far down for days. When one of us is down, the other one goes up, to balance the other out, and to be able to take care of the other. Then I abruptly plummetted, and she went straight up. But her position, being up, didn't reflect reality at all: she was feeling absolutely horrible, and that fact didn't in itself change. Some part of her knew that I couldn't be allowed to languish at the bottom, because she needed me too; so I wonder whether she came to me saying the awful things she said as a way of evening out the scales between us. I sound like I'm accusing her of some horrible manipulation, but I'm not. I don't suggest she did this consciously at all; I just think this is the way our relationship works. I mean, I'm actually saying she has intuitively learned the lesson that I was just figuring out when I first wrote this post -- that by showing vulnerability one of us can be the catalyst for the other's recovery.

Something else that I'm not suggesting is that she was somehow lying to me when she said those things. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that she was feeling the horrible things she said she was feeling. But I think she came and sort of presented them to me as a way of saying, "look at me, I need your help, I need you to be there for me." And that's exactly what I did. And the fascinating thing is that we've both been coping ever since. Barely. Just barely. But we've been coping. And she's been strong for me.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

i have made everything 100,000 times worse
I just want ot apologie to her and tell her i'll leave and she can be alone here. and that i love her and that i'm her friend and i'll take care of her and that i would never do that. and that she's not alone. i love her.

but here's the thing: after something blows up -- after an arguemtn, or even a particularly tense conversation -- i have a tendency to balme myself and get all caught up inside my head worrying about what i did. I mean, this even happens when a conversation wasn't tense, when i it just occurs to me that maybe something I said was rude or offensieve. so am i doing that now? and it always makes things worse when i try to apologize, etc. if I do that, apologize, basically beg her to forgive me and tell her i'll do anything, if i do that, will it make things worse?
I don't know how to put into words what has just happened to me. I am at such a complete loss about what to do that I'm writing it down. Because I don't know what else to do. I am sitting here in my apartment alone, because my wife has just left. I really don't know what to do.

Here's what happened. I came home early from work because we received the upsetting news that we aren't getting the house we thought we were getting. I knew my wife was very upset. She gets upset about unexpected things. Not that it's weird to be upset about losing this house, but she really feels like renting for a few more months would be the end of the world. So I knew how upset she was, because this means we almost definitely hafe to rent. And it means we got fucked be people. So I came home. I found her lying in bed with a hooded sweatshirt on, all the curtains closed, lights out, dozing. I saw that she had smoked some pot, something that she almost never does anymore. She asked me for some water, and when I brought it to her I saw that her arms were limp - she almost dropped the water in the bed. I asked her what drugs she'd taken, she told me she'd taken a xanax, a valium, and an ambien, and had smoked some pot. I don't know when she took those things. She was able to talk and walk around, and after a couple hours she seemed basically like herself, except herself in one of her horrible mooeds. We started talking, and as we always do when she's upset, we started arguing. She wanted to post a message on craigslist saying "this realtor is guilty of being unscrupulous and outright lying." I told her not to do that, and we argued, because she thought I wasn't upset and I was advocating letting these people get away with fucking us somehow. She said "your such a... never mind." I asked her what she meant, and of course she wouldn't tell me. A classic, CLASSIC trick to get someone riled up. And I fell for it. I got really upset. I am going out of my mind here about the house too, and more importantly about how W is taking the whole thing. I mean really out of my mind. Finally I suggested that she get in touch with her mom's friends who are realtors to ask them what we should do. And at this point, I honestly don't remember what happened. I remember that she said something sarcastic and mean to me, and the next thing I remember I was sort of on top of her shouting, "LOOK AT ME!!!!! LOOK AT ME!!!!!!!" and saying "don't... you... dare!!!!!" Meaning, I think, don't you dare talk to me that way. She closed her eyes and wouldn't look at me. I tried to pull her eyes open with my hands. I have never lost it like this before, ever. And now, she's gone. She left. She tried to get me to leave and I said no. She said she didn't want to be in the same house as me because she was afraid. I told her I would never hurt her. And after 11 years together, this is the most physical it's ever gotten, and she must know that I would never hurt her. Never. NEVER, EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVERF EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER VE ER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EV ER EVER EVE ER EVE R........................................ I WOULD NEVER. She said she wasn't sure she believed me. And she started packing a bag to leave. Then she decided she was too high to drive. But I wouldn't leave. And so then she stalked out of the apartment. I thougth she was just going to go for a walk to cool down, but I think the car is gone. She doesn't have her phone with her. I have no way to contact her to tell her I'm sorry and that I'll leave of she'll just come home. And she might hurt herself out there. And I think she brought a couple bottles of pills with her. I don't know anything could happen. And I'm just sitting here. And I can never fix this. Never never never never. And this is going to become what she thinkgs of.... when she thinks about moving, or when she tinks about our realtors, or when she thinks about the city we're moving to.. The whole time I'm typing this I'm not looking at the screen because I'm looking out teh window to see if she or the car come by.


I am .. there's no words for hwo I feel. It's more than upset. It's more than really really upset. I am out of my head. But I want to try to get mseyfl straighened out here. Like, what can I do? I don't know when she left, but maybe a half hour ago or so. Maybe a little more. I obviously can't call the police. She doesn't have any friends in this city who are still in town. And she doesn't have her phone, so she can't call anyone. She might go... who knows where. I really don't kow if I can predict what is going to happen now. There's a pretty good chance she'll drive around for a couple hours and then come back. But I don't know how much satisfaction she's going to get frmo driving around new york city. which means she'll get on the highway. she is going to get stuck in traffic. it's rush hour. it's possible that she will go to a motel somewhere in jersey or something. She said a number o ftimes that she was going to her parents' place, but she didn't bring her overnight bag with her, and she doesn't have her phone. it's not unlikely that she will try to go to her parts' place. if she does that, she'll be on the road for, i don't know... it's a six hour drive or so, I guess, but it's rush hour so it'll take seven or eight hours I think. Seven hours from now is 2 a.m. With all those prescription drugs and pot in her system, she won't be driving for that long. Without her phone, she migh stop at a motel in jersey.

she also might drive to e & k's house in rural NY state. but she probably doens't know the way there. so

i dn't know what the fuck to do.
...and just like that...

The sellers of the house we were on the verge of buying got a full price offer last night, before signing our offer. So yet another house has been torn out from under us. Now, we are truly fucked. FUCKED. I wrote an email to our agent saying something like "this can't be legal -- we had a binding agreement, i.e. offer and acceptance." I assume that argument won't fly, what with the fact that we can't afford and don't want to take them to court, and the fact that we'd probably lose anyway under the statute of frauds. I feel like dying, and I know someone else who feels that way about 100 times more strongly than I do. She is crushed.

And, just generally, we're absolutely screwed. Where are we going to live?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

So our friend L died last week.

I don't know. I wanted to note this. I wanted to talk about it. I wanted to discuss the fact that all of our friends, people I haven't been in touch with in years, seem to have been thinking about her last week just by chance. I wanted to think a little bit about death. And about the meaning of Easter, and of Passover. She was at home with her family, apparently, for Passover. She was not doing well -- this is all information I got from an email that wasn't even sent to me, it was forwarded, accidentally I think. But she was apparently not doing well at all. L was a heroin addict. Last time I saw her she was coming from a methadone clinic. She was trying to get better, but that was many years ago. God knows what has happened in the interim. She never, never, never had any peace in her life. She was constantly struggling against loneliness and sadness and an obvious sense that she needed to fight for love. And this year, at Passover, she was not doing well, and she asked her parents if she could stay with them for a while. They said no. I'm sure that was not easy for them to do -- I think she probably worked their nerves to no end, and more importantly I think they probably believed it was best for her to not have the safety net. She had to learn to take care of herself. So they told their own daughter, the junkie, to go figure it out on her own. Here's what that email says:

"She asked her parents if she could stay for a while and they said no. While it seems like this really wasnt planned, when they went into her place she was in bed and it was messy, and we all know that if L were planning this it would have been neat there would have been a well crafted letter, but anyway, she does seem to have known that she wasnt doing well. But then again, L hadnt been doing well for so long."

I don't really know what this means. I'm not sure who "they" are, and I'm not sure why they went into her place. I don't know exactly what it means to say she "wasn't doing well." I can't tell whether this describes a suicide, an OD, or something else.

I wanted to write about all this, and write about the unbelievably complicated feelings that this raises in those of us who knew her, loved her briefly, and then wrote her off. And I wanted to take a moment to think about her, who she was, why we loved her, why we hated her. All the incredible things she brought to the world. And she really brought a lot. And I wanted to use this as an opportunity to think about the possibility of some sort of hope, of rebirth, you know, of metaphorical resurrection. But I don't have the time. I have to go. I'm going to be late.
I'm at school, sitting in one of the very public study areas. It's quiet. It's almost exam time, so people are seriously working. I have just had a fucked up series of days (what else is new). Just swamped with work. W and I took an impromptu trip yesterday to look at another batch of houses. We just felt we had to, because time is now ridiculously short if we really want to buy a house before the summer. So I haven't had any time to myself at all. And I haven't been sleeping well, on top of cutting my slumber short so I can get some work done in the mornings. And finally, a friend from college -- someone I really loved for a short while, but who was just too troubled to maintain a friendship with -- died last week unexpectedly. Probably an overdose, maybe suicide.

And today, I've been running around trying to get my shit together to finish my application for the bar exam before the deadline (which is four days away now). But it's tax season, so the post office is just not useable in any way. Finally I resolved to do it tomorrow, at a time of day when people are less likely to be in the PO. And I settled down to do some work in this study area.

My phone rang after I'd been here for about three minutes. It was our realtor, telling us that the seller of a house we've been wrangling over for just under a month now has made us an offer that's within our range of acceptability. We told him to take the offer.

So now I'm sitting here. W is at home, she's been freaking out for days now. I have class in 45 minutes, and I just can't miss another one. So I have this weird dead space, sitting in this room with a bunch of strangers. I am about to lose my shit, I think. I have to keep my head about me. Tomorrow I have to start negotiating with mortgage lenders to get us a good mortgage. I have to figure out about housing insurance. We have to make an appointment with an inspector -- W has promised to handle that. We have to talk to our parents about getting a bigger gift than the one they've promised us. And we have to talk to the sellers -- these people who've been dicking us around for a month now, and are no doubt infuriated with us -- about letting us move in before the close. All this on top of starting and finishing a 30-page paper; preparing for exams; working on a habeas corpus petition for a death row inmate; doing paid work for my job; getting my bar exam application together; figuring out about consolidating my private student loans; dealing with my student loan differment; and possibly, just possibly, enjoying the fact that I'm graduating from law school.

This is a very positive thing. This is a very positive thing. I am happy. I am happy. Don't freak out, idiot.

Okay... I just emailed W a message in all caps with lots of exclamation points about how exciting this is. That got my mood up. It is incredibly good news. ... She just called, and I reminded her what good news this is. That brought both of our moods up -- we were both focusing on the scariness ahead.

HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Alright. It's important that I write about this, because I really don't want to forget about it. This is like one of the most important things that I want to remember.

It's the fact that W and I have had some great friends here in NY. I'm not a real friend-having type dude. I don't get close with people, basically ever. (I used to, but something happened along the way. It's pretty sad, really.) And yet, I love our friends. I have to write about them, because we're leaving, and we probably won't see much of them.

So this past weekend, we went with our friends M and K to semi-rural NY state to visit E and K (this is going to be confusing -- two K's). E and K just moved out there a couple weeks ago. We brought our dog, and M and K brought theirs. We chilled in the back yard -- the weather was perfect until the sun went down, when it got pretty cold -- and grilled up an enormous feast of meats. K (of E and K) really likes to prepare insane meat dishes for us. It was delicious. And we played Bacci out there. I am not any good, by any stretch of the imagination, at anything that requires any level of coordination. And I'm inclined to not want to put my badness on display. Call me crazy, being humiliated isn't one of my fave raves. In fact it's on my "pan" list. Anyway, I participated in the Bacci game and goddammit I had a good time. The whole vibe, all weekend, was just fun. After dark we went inside and played poker. Of course there was lots of beer. D curled up on the couch next to K (of E and K), who doesn't like dogs.

And an account of the weekend would be only half done without mentioning E and K's 17-month old son, I. He is ridiculous. The best, cutest little kid you ever saw. He's a ham. He's gotten lots of adult attention all his life, and he just loves to look around the room and smile at people.

The sweetest moment of the weekend probably came on Sunday morning when I (the kid, not me) was tottering around the house looking for things to get into, and D (our dog -- it's getting confusing) was lying all stretched out on her belly. She's not known for her self-control, and she gets very excited around kids. But she lay there, wagging her tail, and just hoping he'd come over to her. When he did, she just looked at him until he got close enough for her to reach out and give him a couple little kisses on the nose. Then she left him alone, but just watched him and wagged. It was something to behold.
Just finished my reading for a while. Feels good. I'm drinking a beer to celebrate. (I'm also drinking because I started slipping into a loop of anxiety earlier today when I realized how little time we have left. I'm freaked.) Also to celebrate, I just took out the guitar. I sounded truly awful. But I found myself playing the song, "The Golden Vanity," an amazingly beautiful song about a ship sailing on the "lowland sea." The crew fear they're going to be overtaken by the "Spanish enemy." But a brave cabin boy steps forward and says to the captain of the ship: "what would you give to me if I swam alongside of the Spanish enemy and sank her in the lowland sea?" The captain promises him riches -- and the hand of his daughter. That's good enough for the cabin boy, and he jumps overboard, swims alongside of the enemy ship, and bores three holes in her side with his auger. She sinks. He swims back to his ship, but the captain won't help him out of the water -- he regrets his promise. Finally, the boy makes it around to the port side, where his messmates are. They pull him up, but it's too late: he dies on the deck. His messmates stitch his body in the hammock, and lower it overboard, where it drifts with the tide before sinking.

I wish I could write story-songs. And there's something about that song and story... For some reason, the tragedy of it is so human, so recognizable. It just feels like something you've seen in your life before, somehow. I was thinking while I was singing that a younger me probably found great significance in the class dimension of the story: the captain of the ship on one side of the boat, the messmates on the other; the captain letting the boy, wh's just saved his life, sink into the lowland sea. I'm sure there's a lot of truth to that, if I'm receptive to it. But this time, it was something else about the story that was hitting me, I think it had to do with the futility of the boy's heroism, and the sense that, in the end, there was nothing anyone could do about the tragedy. The messmates pull him up, and he dies. The sew his body up, and they let it drift on the ocean. There's something about the last couple lines:

His messmates pulled him up, but on the deck he died
And they stitched him in the hammock, which was so fairly wide.
They lowered him overboard, but he drifted with the tide
And he sank into the lowland sea.

The word "but" in that second to last line -- I might have added that myself at some point unintentionally, I haven't heard anyone but myself sing this song in well over ten years -- anyway, it just adds so much pathos. They lowered him overboard, hoping, I guess, that his body would just sink and he'd have some peace. But instead, he drifted with the tide. No one could do anything about it -- he was buffetted by circumstances even in death. And his messmates had to just watch from the ship as his poor body, stitched in the hammock, drifted. I mean, that's some incredible shit.

And it's interesting to think that the word "but" might have just crept in accidentally at some point, and yet I can find so much significance in it now. I often think about how art might or might not have some intended meaning, but the person experiencing it frequently finds some personal meaning in it. It isn't necessarily the meaning its creator intended, if indeed any meaning really was intended. But it can be so significant, regardless. And once you realize this -- that a song can have truth in it that no one ever put there -- you're actually able to start finding that kind of meaning elsewhere, in things that definitely don't have an intended meaning. The sound of leaves brushing against each other when the wind blows, or the way a pearl gradually grows over something abrasive that's accidentally made its way into an oyster shell.