2.28.2003

I'm a bit surprised at how sad it made me to hear this morning that Mister Rogers died today, at 74. Even though a lot of kids thought he was uncool, I always loved Mr. Rogers and the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Great music, puppets, and everyone is nice to each other, or if they're not, it's easily worked out. Some interviews with him in the article show him to be exactly what he was on the show, an incredibly nice polite person who wanted to give children something good, educational, and instill in them the ideal of being a good neighbor. It feels like my childhood is really truly over.

2.27.2003

I just found out that I am part of one of the most misunderstood groups in America. See Caring for Your Introvert, from The Atlantic. As someone way on the INFP side of the Myers-Briggs scale, I can identify, although I don't necessarily think all introverts think alike. I have always detested any sort of label, and I suppose INFP is one too, although that test was freaking long, and I think it's a more valid label than most. I've discovered that lots of bloggers seem to be introverts in their daily lives. It's easier for me to write than talk to people, and I think that holds true for many. My introverted brother and I just stare at each other if we end up in the same room, but we can actually have a real conversation over email! Takes some of the pressure off, I guess. One of the few cases (in my opinion) in which the internet can be good for human interaction.

There are definitely things to be said for my office being in the best location in town. During a 30 minute lunch break, I can walk down to the corner of 16th and Taylor, which has got one of the best views of the bay around, then saunter through neighborhoods of lucky people who have nice homes with views, ending by coming back up over Douglas Street to a huge Mount Baker, practically glowing in the sunlight. On the way back, a hawk was circling slowly against a brilliant blue sky backdrop over someone's backyard, before finally dropping down on whatever was lunch. That's the first time I've seen a hawk in town; they are good luck. Although maybe that one's a little lost. These gorgeous sunny days and my spring fever are costing me my overtime check padding, but I guess that's OK. It's cheaper than Prozac, and I just can't help but be happy walking through Fairhaven in the sunshine. I regularly forget how completely cool this town I live in really is. And I got a new bouncy ball today, and chasing a little rubber ball up the sidewalk in the sunshine is the best therapy ever.

2.26.2003

A rare lunch break
today more important than my
synchronization with the Airborne delivery van.
Sitting by the elementary school at recess
listening to two boys discuss their powers
of the lightening spirit.
"I get 17 spirit powers, because we'll say I'm 17 years old,
but you only get 8, because you're 8.
This is our destiny. Did you know that?"
The other boy does not respond, but instead
climbs higher into the jungle gym.
Planted on the wood shavings at the edge
by the chain link fence,
just me, PMS, and an apple core.
The motion of the water below in between the hills.
I don't know what I think of religion, sex, or death,
so why does the dilemma over what color to dye my hair
seem so much more disorienting?
Another boy on the playground runs up to a larger boy,
"Stuart, I'm your servant! What do you want me to do?"
Grabs his shoulders, follows him around.
Perhaps some tendencies are with us from the beginning.
Too soon, time to trudge back up the hill
I hate moving away from the water, turning my head
over my shoulder to watch it as long as possible.
A blue jay berates me, squawling near the office.
If I made the same noise at those who passed by my desk,
do you think they'd give me a mental health leave?

2.22.2003

Trenchcoat Confessions wants to see more realistic sex scenes in movies. Apparently there is one in The Cooler, from this year's Sundance festival, between William H. Macy and Maria Bello. Imperfect people and acts are the most beautiful to me, and something that I agree that we need more of in film. Maybe we would all be happier with our lives if we weren't comparing them to the falsely perfect characters and situations in most films. What is the point of watching something that unreal? All it can do is make you even less satisfied with your own life. The topic of escapism came up, and I just don't see how watching people who are beautiful, perfect, and false provides any sort of "escape." I feel like my life is too short and too wonderful to want to escape from a single moment - I need to experience it all. That's why I go to movies and read books - for more experiences and perspectives. Escape is a negative way of looking at it. I don't want to vacation in Mexico to escape from life here - I want to have the positive experience of a week in Mexico! I'm not going to be thinking, "I'm glad I'm not in Bellingham" while I'm there, I'll be thinking, "Wow, it's cool that I'm here!" You've got to get every experience in when you can, because the most poisonous thing is regret for all the things you did not do. I admit that I'm not perfect. I want to be a writer, but have this sort of fear-infused writer's block that nothing I write will be good enough. So, when I feel that I want to write something, I pick up a book by someone else and read instead. I suppose that is my own form of escapism, and I really need to get over it, or I am seriously going to regret not ever writing anything. I regret missing the deadlines for a couple of publications I was going to submit to, but there will be next year. It's something that I'm working on.

Anna Quindlen's article in the current Newsweek carries the same sort of theme. Her rationale for the current reality TV shows is our need to escape from the fear of impending war or attacks. I watched half of an episode of Joe Millionaire last week, and I just don't get it. If we are attacked, I would regret having wasted valuable time in my safe, priviledged life watching stupid shallow TV shows. The fear that some Americans may be feeling does not compare to the fear a friend of mine experienced growing up in El Salvador, having had a 5-year-old brother kidnapped by guerillas, only to see him later being sent into a marketplace with a bomb strapped to his back. Having had innocent family members murdered in their homes. Having no one to turn to because the police are as corrupt as anyone else. Being forced to leave the home country that you love to move to a country where you don't speak the language and experience daily discrimination against you and are paid wages you can barely live on because you want your child to be able to live and grow safely. My life has been so lucky and safe and full, I feel like I owe it to those who only wish they had the life I have to make the most of every second of it. Also, as Americans, we need to be braver. And that doesn't mean going to war, that means being smart and prepared, without going into panic at every news release. We only had one terrorist attack, while many countries have them frequently. We don't yet have to feel the same fear when we go to buy groceries that people in Israel feel. The media and the money-makers are feeding on our fears and insecurities, and I'm sure it has been profitable to them. Just as it's profitable to Hollywood to show us the superficial beauty and silly situations that we have decided we want our lives to be.

2.07.2003

Here is another place I would like to go. Unfortunately, their weekends are booked until April. Can you tell that I want a vacation?

Another vivid dream you're probably not interested in: I am in a play with my best friend from high school and Dooce, and I haven't even finished reading the script, much less learned my lines. It's opening night a few minutes before the curtains open, and I'm frantically trying to cram the lines into my head, but people keep coming up and talking to me and asking me to do things for them. I think it's a high school play actually, because the teacher is sort of a modified version of my high school drama teacher. Her husband is sick, and he's laying on the bed on the stage, and we have to get him off the stage before the curtain opens. He's a really large man though, and we can't lift him. That's it - then the alarm went off, thankfully before the curtain opened and I didn't know my lines. I have dreams in which I don't know my lines a lot. Does that mean that is my greatest fear?

2.06.2003

This is where I want to go. We have a free hotel deal for 6 nights there, we just have to come up with airfare. I have made an executive decision. Within the next year, we will be lazing on this beach. Oh yes.

Okay, I know usually no one cares about anyone else's dreams, because we're really only interested in our own. But I'm going to write about the dream I had last night anyway, because it actually had lions and tigers and bears in it, and how often does that happen? So, in this dream, I'm at this sort of party and I'm flirting with two guys who I had crushes on in grade school, but whom I haven't seen since then. So, they looked like they did in sixth grade basically, only taller. Did I mention that we are all playing Atari? One guy is telling me that he's so happy to see me again, and I'm feeling pretty nice and flattered, when suddenly these half-size lions and tigers start running in and attacking people. I say half-size because they were smaller than an actual lion or tiger would be in reality, but in the dream they were perfectly normal. So, chaos ensues and all the people at this party are running everywhere. I decide that it would be safer outside, so I run with some people out to the end of a dock that happens to be connected to the house we were in. Then two brown bears and two polar bears start coming down the dock toward us. I get the bright idea to jump off the dock and hide from the bears underwater, so I leap off and splash way down under the water and start swimming. Usually I can breathe underwater in my dreams, but not in this one. Of course the polar bears both jump in after me and another girl who jumped in the water too. So, I'm trying to outswim a polar bear underwater, and I'm going to need to come up for air soon. And then I suppose I must have woken up, because I don't remember any more. Oh my!