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(subterranean) Street Scene

So, the 4 Train was a mess today. It happens.

I got on at Fulton Street but, owing to a delay in the tubes ahead, we sat, doors open, waiting for the obstruction to clear.

You know the circus gag with the impossibly large number of clowns streaming out of an impossibly small VW bug? A train idle at its platform, at rush hour, with its doors open, is that in reverse. Most people get to the turnstiles, see the train waiting, swipe their cards and make a mad dash for the closest available doors, in this case mine. And most people, upon being greeted by the impending closing of said doors, will make a lunge for it, occasionally propping the doors open with their children's strollers. No foolin' - I'm not sayin' it's smart or anything, just that people do it.

The Warholian-type sauntering towards the train, though, had a touch of class. He saw the doors closing, shrugged and slowed his pace, intentionally bringing everybody behind him up short. His aplomb was considerable, I thought, until, at the last minute, I saw him stick his tongue out at the train's engineer.

...and then I got stuck in Union Square waiting for the goddamned 6 train, but you know.

I've always done my own taxes. For ten years I have done them. Usually on paper, usually a few days before the deadline. I don't have a lot of assets, I don't make a lot of money, my 1040 is pretty straightforward.

There's one little catch though, I run a little freelance business on the side. This year I finally made enough that I have claim every expense I can, and I'm getting a painful last minute introduction to the world of depreciable assets. I'm knee-deep in a sea of publications and my CPA friend is not answering his phone.

Let me be clear. There is no joy for me in accounting. I have no aspirations to grok the US tax code. So it is with a bizarre mix of horror and pride that I can honestly say the following sentence makes perfect sense to me even though this morning I didn't understand a single word of it.

To figure your depreciation deduction under MACRS, you first determine the depreciation system, property class, placed-in-service date, basis amount, recovery period, convention, and depreciation method that applies to your property. Then, you are ready to figure your depreciation deduction.

Oh! Is that all? To deduct $15 for a mouse I bought for my business I just need to fill out a 20-line worksheet and then lookup a percentage table to discover that my deduction for this year will be $5. That is, of course, unless the mouse is vandalized resulting in costly repairs and I need to use an adjusted basis, in which case I have to compute the deductions manually. I need a better accounting program.

The phone call that I get at the hotel is always the same. It is always a man, usually with one of the various lower class accents that we have here in the midwestern United States. The sounds of domestic disturbance are usually quite audible in the background, usually a crying (or screaming) woman that is often accompanied by the sounds of upset children.

The hotel I work for is a chain of business class hotels, that is a way of saying we have pretty nice rooms but that we don't have room service, or bellhops or any of that four star nonsense. My particular chain has hotels all over the country, but rarely has more than one in a single city, and thus it is one that most people are not familiar with.

"Do you have weekly rates?" they always ask. "No, I am sorry we don't." is always my reply. They then always go on to ask how much it would be for a week, and upon hearing the total of $872.97 with tax they always promptly hang up on me. I have never had one who didn't hang up on me. Of course I never even bother quoting these guys anything but the highest price, as I don't want to be even the mildest accessory to what they are doing, which is of course, walking out on their family.

My academic career:
September 4, 1990 — April 13, 2007

Today is my last day of school. Not just within the confines of this particular term or academic year, no. Today is my last day of school ever. Perhaps I ought not to say "ever." There is a continuing education certificate I'm seriously considering and I may yet pursue another undergraduate degree at an as-of-yet undetermined date, but that is of no matter right now. I remember my first day of school like it was yesterday. It was my birthday. I was five. I had no idea what "school" was, only that it involved a bus and some other children. When the day came, I was ushered onto the bus that stopped outside my house. I sat next to another little girl named Bianca. We were friends for a long time.

We got to school and met our teacher, Miss Lorraine. She had us introduce ourselves. I was last, most likely because of alphabetical order. I announced my name, as all the other children had done, and Miss Lorraine knowingly asked whether there was anything else I wanted to share. "Well," I said sheepishly, "it's my birthday." Miss Lorraine seemed to think that was a pretty big deal and went to great lengths to try to get the other children to sing. This was not a good idea. I was nervous enough about suddenly being surrounded by children I didn't know. I have never enjoyed being the centre of attention, and I've always thought the song was just dumb. So I burst into tears. A rather extreme reaction, yes, but it worked. The rest of the day was a blur; I got home and didn't want to go back.

Somewhere between that day and today, I moved, finished elementary school, started and finished high school and wound up in university. Am I glossing over nearly 17 years of schooling? Yes. Are those 17 years particularly unique or interesting? No. What is interesting to me is the way the start and ends dates are bookended: my birthday and Friday the 13th. Looking at the dates creates the impression that there was something special about the entire experience. No. It was mind-numbingly normal. The only thing that might seem even remotely strange about it is the fact that I embraced my geekness from the get-go.

I learned so much without feeling as though I was learning anything at all. It was odd in that sense. And I have regrets, too, but there's no sense in dwelling on our losses. We just keep on lighting the lights. I do regret not pursuing a history degree, or perhaps a degree in political science, but there is time for these things. Life is for living, and I have a lot of living to do. For 17 years I have thought of few things other than school. Even my writeups reflect this. Some are foot- and endnoted like an essay. Others are written in essay format. (dannye told me that someday I'll look back on those and cringe because I wrote them while a student. He's right.)

 

Yesterday I took the bus to work as I normally would. The last passenger to get on board stumbled through the aisle as he did so. He was muttering something under his breath, but it was loud enough to hear. "You're going to burn. You're all going to fucking burn. Fuck with God and you'll fucking burn." He was pointing at various passengers with his index and middle fingers, thumb pointed upwards. The universal symbol for gun. Oh God, I thought. This is just like some crappy movie where a police officer or fire fighter or oversized cowboy hat with a camera inside dies a horrible bloody death the day before he or she retires. Then the man sat down right across the aisle from me. In retrospect, I don't think he was armed. In retrospect, my life was probably in more danger because the roads were slippery. Nonetheless. Weird.

The transition from student to non-student is going to be strange and ridiculous. The transition from journalist to non-journalist is going to be so much more exciting. I've been looking forward to that one for so much longer. I'm anxious, but there's no sense in being anxious. I am at the edge, not at all sure where I'm going to land or how much it's going to hurt if I do. I could crash and burn, I could. I could just as easily fly.

Nonetheless, there is nothing else to say. I am no longer a student. I am no longer a journalist. I am quasi-employed, and it will be enough to get by with for the moment. Soon I will leave my co-op placement desk for the last time and, much like I did on my first day of school, get onto a bus. The paper's year-end party is tonight. I wouldn't miss it for the world. There are no other people I'd rather share the milestone with (apart from you, otherwise I wouldn't be writing this). I am finished with school but I am not finished. I am loved. I am happy. Who could ask for anything more?

Godspeed, academia.

-30-

Essentials

My "religion" is very strange, complex and grants much room for reinterpretation. Personal mythology entwined with a convergence of the shared elements of existing faiths gives me a guiding light I myself hold. It is at its most powerful when times are difficult and things go wrong. While others find themselves painted into a corner, broken by those things that failed to "be" what they were expected to be, I spin the wheel and reset "the game."

Although I admit, sometimes reinterpretation takes time. In the present tense it has taken, and is still taking, more time than the usual. This is because current events have been more dire and distressing than the average disappointment.

I am temporarily trapped in a place I don't want to be, dealt some really bad cards, so bad I didn't just want to fold, I wanted to burn the entire deck, the card table, the chairs, the room the table was in, the house around the room, the town around the house, the... well, anyways...

I suffer from a strange sort of Cassandra complex (as well as two or three other notable complexes), where I see the future and then refuse to believe what I see is possible and disregard my own vision. I don't believe in myself until things get bad and I have no choice. There is a message in that somewhere. Going back nearly three years, there was a series of dreams, one of which I logged here. They involved a reunion with the one I always considered the greatest love of my life, The Muse, The One Queen... and they all came before I reconnected with her and eventually returned to New Hampshire to be with her. The dreams also involved the cryptic tale of "the fourth queen," an entity which has never existed in my weird personal mythology, which tends to revolve heavily around a series of three queens. This "fourth queen" was said to bring disaster to my house and to throw everything into disarray. At one point I was told I would identify her because her name could be spelled out by taking letters from the name of my "dark angel," Ekaterina. I told you my religion was weird and complicated, didn't I?

And it all pretty much happened as I saw it, but refused to believe it could happen. And the house fell down as I was pretty much forced to relive the events that started me down the road to suicide many years ago. Events were so similar it was eerie, as if I had to face this ghost once again and this time live through it. There may be something to that. Knowing that I have survived and will survive empowers me in a big way, despite my ego's insistence on me being able to undo what has been "written" and is out of my control.

So, as The Muse turned out to be self-destructive without my being of any use in turning that tide, and then went on to carry on an affair while lying to me and stringing me along over it, she allowed herself to be downgraded in my pantheon. It became necessary for me to extend my full trust and belief in her in order to let her choose her path, as any betrayal of me under the promise of completely honesty and trust would cause he to seriously devalue herself and to box herself out of my immediate life. And she took that road, leaving me to pick up the pieces. Which isn't so bad when you consider that she created the scenario to allow me a clean break without having to venture any thought towards "what ifs." I'm not as dumb as I look most of the time.

This, of course, required me to enter into a deeply meditative phase and to reinterpret certain lines of scripture in my religion. The office of The Muse has always required certain things, one of them being a belief in me and my "work," the second being the ability to drive me to work harder, write better, write more and to always stay just out of reach, just outside of where she will ever be truly satisfied. Well, she who betrayed me no longer fits that bill, nor has she since our reunion (which I never actually wanted, but had to desire for what I consider "muse theory" to function). This required that I find and name a new muse, and upon much reflection and study, I realized that this question was the answer to another question. She who inspired me to keep writing, to keep trying to understand, and who believed in me when I was at my lowest in the past, and who I disappointed by never being able to reward her for all she did for me. In a really queer ceremony conducted while I was in a pink tracksuit, Tammy was named The New Muse. I can pretty much trust her not to reappear at any time in the near future.

In order to change your life when things are at their lowest, it is important to be able to reconfigure things in a way that works better than the configuration that has collapsed or failed. This is much easier to do when you have faith rather than an unnatural reliance on static rationalism. Rationalism and this whole rotten business of taking things at face value is what will eventually destroy mankind if we allow it to. They already tried to destroy faith and mysticism by trying to rationalize it, but we can still take it back. This shit wouldn't work at all if I didn't have a deep and abiding faith in it all.

Tell me something dangerous and true, baby, because I am back and I'm rebuilding the mystery. This has been one bad bump in the road, and I have miles to go before I sleep. Chris would be so happy.

Today's hymnal selections
From the Convergent Church of Rancho Nuevo
"Three Days," Jane's Addiction
"Road to Nowhere," Talking Heads
"My Name is Prince"
(First song recorded by said individual after his "name" change)
"Building a Mystery," Sarah McLachlin
"Good Morning Blues," Count Basie

I don't play
But when you do
I never lose
As soon as you play... the rules change.
Thank you for playing.

Yours truly,
(Still) The Jack of Hearts.

Desperate man! Need help!

I haven't had a chance to communicate with valuable and assertive internet friends due to complications with my trying to get right the situation with Dale's wife who is by all rights my girlfriend due to flirtations with your friend Behr and the placement of Behr's private issuances upon a serving tray used for holiday delivery of deviled eggs to hungry Christmas Eve party guests. Finally there has been a break in disturbing action surrounding these events and other events so I can update you and ask you for your help!

I had hoped that leaving former friend Dale a CD upon which was recorded the song "Purple Rain" by international recording star Prince would keep him from doing the wrong thing, which would be involving law enforcement type persons in our little affair, which should have simply been a matter of me taking Dale's wife (who is in a loveless marriage with Dale) and making her be Behr's girlfriend (where much love would be made by force if necessary) but Dale had to involve the police, which was sad in and of itself. My friend Chopper and me had brought Dale's wife back to Behr's home, where we were met by other associates of Chopper's, a man the name of Bruce, who wears a lot of sleeveless shirts and has muscular but very hairy, and I mean very, very hairy, arms. He talks a lot about things like "that guy I fucked last week" and "that pansy I killed at the bar in 1978" so I don't know what to make about Bruce except he is crazy. We also had in attendance someone Bruce and Chopper call "The Slow Kid" who is their driver when they need a getaway, because although he is apparently slow in many ways, he drives very fast and in a proactive way. From talk I hear he wants to drive in NASCAR but cannot due to long criminal record.

We had to get out of the house, Chopper, Bruce, The Slow Kid and me. The police were surrounding the place and demanding to know about the status of Dale's wife. They were wanting to plea bargain with your friend Behr, who was in the right in this situation, so negotiating with terrorists, who the police had become, was something I was unwilling to do. So, with The Slow Kid at the wheel we all piled into Bruce's 1970 Ford Thunderbird, the "Thunderbird of Thunderbirds" with Dale's wife and headed out to the western part of the state of Virginia where there is no law to speak of and where we could be free to live right and good lives.

We stopped at a Burger King, and this is where my new friends turned on Behr. I was forced to take off my pants and go into the Burger King without pants as part of something Bruce found funny since there was a sign about "No shoes, no shirt, no service." My stuff was hanging in the wind and Bruce and The Slow Kid taunted me and Bruce pointed a semi-automatic weapon at me and insisted I go inside, with it all hanging out, order a five-piece chicken tenders from the dollar menu, along with a chocolate shake and not come out until I had made these very specific purchases. I could not refuse, and so I went in, placed my order, and cried as I asked them not to call the cops since the police were already involved and there is no real law to speak of in western Virginia anyway, so any lawman who was called would likely have been something akin to a Dennis Weaver character who would have his own ideas about what to do about a man with no pants on trying to order a shake and chicken tenders at Burger King.

Dale's wife was still tied up and gagged, and Bruce was doing things to her that made Behr want to remind him that she was Behr's girlfriend, but with his hairy arms and the way he made her suck on his gross fingers made Behr so angry he could not talk. And then the semi-automatic weapon was shown again. Behr was not allowed to put his pants on, although he almost had a chance to until The Slow Kid started yelling about "Erection Patrol," which meant something to these people who I was no longer quite sure were my friends or not but some discussion would be required to make any kind of serious determination on that front.

We stopped at a cafe so Bruce and Chopper could drink coffee laced with whiskey and I saw there was a computer terminal available with internet access so I am writing this now. I am in western Virginia and things are getting out of control. Thank God I had enough time to put links in this daylog! Someone help me. Preferably a lady with nice cans.

There is something caught in my throat making its way out, like a worm digging its way up from the earth. But the earth's crust is hard and there is pressure, pressure pressure

I can't bring forth what is stuck inside I feel the need to express something but I do not know what

I can't bring myself to say the things that I need to say and it is making me ache it is making me tired and wishing

and wishing

One day you will touch me on the shoulder and I will fall to dust.

Once upon a time there was a girl who wasn't allowed to cry. So she made a deal with the sky. Every time she felt sad, the sky would cry for her. Big fat raindrops washed down her window. And somehow, she felt a little better, watching it.

But as she grew, all the tears the sky had were not enough. She felt a small ache that began to grow. It started in her throat and spread. Her eyes burned with need to cry. So one night, she locked herself up in her room, and she cried. And the wind howled outside to hear it.

And every day, she would cry when she was alone. And nobody knew about it. They thought she was happy. She was not. She was not.

The sun would kiss her on her shoulders. The wind would whisper into her hair. The air would listen. Everything would go still. She learned that not all tears were sad. She learned to be strong. She learned the secret of happiness from the birds. She filled the ache.

Now when she sees the sky it doesn't hurt so bad. She grew stronger. She learned love. She is ok.

She is more than ok.

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