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I finally recognize why Dean augered in so rapidly. He motivated the Democratic base to action, and deserves praise for that. However, he was too dangerous and therefore needed to be destroyed. He ran against party politics as much as he ran against Bush, and so the Democrats had to bag him and put in someone more palatable to their special interests.

Strangely enough, for all the press coverage labelling him as a hothead, he managed to get re-elected several times as Governor with a Republican-majority legislature, demonstrating a deeper personality than the caricature presented to us . He also managed to shepherd significant health care reform through said Republican-majority legislature over the many years of his multiple terms.

However, I came to bury Caesar, not to praise him. Dean died on the vine because the electorate can stomach the man who is the front-runner, and know Kerry has a broader appeal than Dean. Kerry is damaged goods, but only slightly. Besides, he is our damaged goods. I'd rather have Democrat tax-and-spend over GOP spend-with-out-any-money.

I'll gladly take Kerry over Bush, even though I'm still going to vote for Dean in the primary (barring changes to the choices.) However, Kerry isn't a bad choice, and I understand those who are already jumping ship.

I was walking out the steps of the library when I heard the sound of someone starting to cry; heads started to swivel before they caught themselves in mid-turn and resumed awkwardly whatever they were doing. Bitter silence descending like dropped handkerchiefs. I swallowed and pushed past and stepped out and breathed in.

Turning a corner after lunch I saw white and purple papers take off. The wind caught them and threw sheets like speckled handfuls of pepper; she laughs, and her empty hands echo her tired shoulders.

People stop, though; a woman jumps out of her car and starts chasing after sheets of paper. Behind her, burly construction workers drop their shovels and tape measures to rush under trees between branches; some seventh-graders pick up sheets and add them to my pile. I watch one as it flies away; swirling, it twirls out of reach and disappears between rushing cars and behind hordes of bags and backpacks and briefcases. The construction workers hand their papers to the woman who puts her stack in my hands which go to her hands. My eyes go to her hands to her eyes and she smiles with blue eyes and the edges of her eyes the edges oh the edges change; its good to see her real eyes.

Somedays you let go and you start laughing and things go a mile a minute your way and you're right on the wave riding it and having your time. These days I think that joy is like momentum; its too late now.

Walking alone around Cambridge I was walking for the sake of being alone or alone for the sake of walking. Friend told me to go to Pamplona; I did. Friend told me to walk on the bridge and look for small things; I did. Over the edge of the bridge was a broken television set and a rusted bicycle lying broken on the ice. I looked sideways and all of a sudden I could see people at night pushing things over the rails, beer goggles donned and television in hand; another it seemed like a good thing to do, then. In broad daylight things change; night twists things into a dramatic introspective stupor, and when artifacts from the night before emerge in broad daylight you get the silly feeling that your skin has been replaced with clear plastic and that people in white lab coats are kneeling in front of you tapping on the plastic and jotting things down.

It was too bright to think, so I stepped off and went back underground to wait for the sun to set. Something tangible was churning and turning inside, and I felt like either killing all the people in the world and destroying everything or healing everyone and creating things. Classical teen angst. But. When you grow wise you realize that the cliche is only cliche when you're not in its direct experience. When you grow wise you realize that things can't be compressed that way. When you grow wise you realize that saying 'when you grow wise' is not a good idea. (can't you see that I'm making fun of myself, here?)

So the sun sets and I emerge from a cd store having finally bought something after four other stores and seven more stories. I eat. So my stomach doesn't complain anymore and I go to a bookstore; I wander in and out the aisles but nothing grabs me so I leave. If it doesn't work it wasn't meant to be is most convenient; custom-tailored for my purposes.

Cold white headlights and denying stoplights; people mill around and I find that people turn into clumps of couples; interesting interesting interesting. I watch a him and her and they lean against each other and laugh and smile and nuzzle. People waiting for the subway in multiples of two- my addition makes this number odd. Odd.

The following letters were my attempts to get myself off the hook from a traffic fine. I'll post an update when I find out how I went.

16 February 2004

Dear Sir or Madam

Upon further inspection of my Infringement notice, I became aware the document has incorrect details.

The time of the offence was recorded as “1230” – on the notice it states this time is recorded in 24 hour clock so 1230 is in fact 12.30 pm.

I was nowhere near a vehicle at 12.30 pm, on 15 February 2004.

Consequently the notice is invalid and I am not prepared to pay the $150 fine.

Please find enclosed a copy of the Infringement Notice.

Yours sincerely...

17 February 2004

Dear Sir or Madam

It is with the greatest regret that I write to you in connection with an unwarranted issue of an Infringement Notice by a representative of the New Zealand Police Force.

Please find enclosed a copy of the superfluous document.

As you will see upon further inspection, the alleged offence is: “Fails to indicate changing lanes”. My passengers and I will all testify that I did indeed indicate for at least 1-2 seconds before changing lanes. Contrast to this, the police officers that distributed the infringement notice will, no doubt, refuse to admit their mistake and revoke the ticket.

It is at this point where I become confused. How is it that a person in charge of a motor vehicle may be penalised a) for something that they didn’t do and b) for something that cannot be proved or disproved in a court of law?

I have no doubt that this letter will be processed and a template letter be sent back to me automatically denying all appeals. It’s this kind of attitude that our justice system is adopting that will cause young teenagers such as myself to begin to disrespect the law.

Does one have no rights to a reasonable appeal process anymore?

Your sincerely…

You reckon I'll get off? I don't. Worth a crack Nigel.

My Mum has tried to kill herself twice now, both times by over dosing. She last tried this two years ago, in the middle of my A-levels, because she'd found out that the man she was having an affair with had lied to her. I felt it was purely the act of someone throwing a temper tantrum having not got their own way.
But it wasn't always like that. Her first attempt was the result of years of torment and anguish about feelings over which she had no control - such is the nature of depression.

Anyway, I'm writing this to try and explain how it feels for those around suicide. Two friends told me a couple of years ago that I needed counselling because I'd dared say that I wished my mother had been successful the second time. Does that shock you, too? I can't imagine why it would - I can't think of anything more normal. Of course, I don't want to have only one parent, I can't comprehend a reality in which I can't phone her or couldn't visit her or in which everything we did or could do would be relegated to the past tense.

But then, at least it would be over. All those times I'd sit in my room and hold my breath as I held the door open a jar, trying to work out whether she was crying in her bedroom, or whether it was the wind coming down the chimmney, or one of the dogs yelping in the yard. If she was going through an especially bad patch you might have hours and nights like this. It would be passed midnight, but somebody was moving about downstairs. Would it be her? With pink dressing gown and purple slippers, shuffling around, her eyelids sticking together with tears and a damp tissue in one hand?

There was one awful night when my father, sister and I came downstairs to find her crying in the sitting room. But ths time she wasn't pathetic and tired, she was angry. She dared each of us to come near her and try and touch her - there was no maternal love there, she hated us and screamed at us like a cornered animal. She knew we all just wanted to control her (she said), because we weren't happy with how she was and wanted to change her. She was going to teach us a lesson. The police were called and she pointed at us and asked whether they saw what she had to put up with. Then they made her feel guilty and we had to tell her that we didn't blame her and we understood. I went to bed at two in the morning, my knees banging together, pulled to my chest. At seven thirty the following morning I had to get on the bus with my school back-pack and pretend that I'd had a normal evening - no I wasn't tired, I'd just found the homework trickier than normal. You can't talk to people about it, because mental illness scares people - even if you're not the one ill - the fact that you know or live with someone like that means you must be a bit funny too, or else why would they be like that?

Then, when she left and moved out - it still didn't really get any better, because if you couldn't get hold of her you'd wonder whether she'd gone out, or gone to bed with a bottle of Paracetamol. I remember spending one whole evening, driving around the countryside, looking for her car at her favourite walking spots and drawing pictures of what I might find when I got there.

I know that this all sounds desperately selfish, and it is really. It's just me wanting to find a way of moving on from it. And this is why I hate myself ... because I almost envy those whose loved ones have killed themselves. They don't sit up afraid of when it's going to happen again; they don't have to make decisions based on how long it will take them to rush home. They have something to tell people - because it's final - everyone can sympathise with those who have a dead relation. But when you're Mum has only tried to kill herself people will be sympathetic, but they'll always wonder whether YOU did something to make this wonderfully giving and cheerful woman try something so awful. 'What do you do when the front door closes that reduces your mother to that?' They'd never say that. They just think it.

And what do I say to her? The second time I refused to visit her in hospital, I was just so angry. You're pulled in two different directions, because you know what you really feel - but they're still alive and now are in a worse state then before, so you have to feel a certain way too. I wanted to hug her and make it all better, but knew I couldn't. When I was twelve and waiting for her to come home from hospital, the first time, I spent the whole day tidying the house. I somehow thought that if she came back to a tidy house and somewhere she wanted to live in then she might want to live. I wanted her to see that we still loved her. But then you also want to shout. Why did she want to shut her eyes and never open them to you again? Why did she lie and promise she'd never do it again? I remember the half term, February 2002, two weeks before she took all the Paracetamol and Prozac, washed down with all the left overs from our cocktail party. My sister and I went to the pub until late every night. We did no revsion and then rolled in with our friends, Chris and Lottie. We both agreed that we'd never been so happy. For the first time in our whole childhood we felt like normal children, misbehaving and living our lives without a care for the long distant memories of tears every evening. We thought she was better. Then, on February 27th, two days before my Dad's birthday, I passed my sister on the road home from school. 'Mummy's taken another over dose,' she said matter of factly, before driving on.

When will that happen again?

I just don't know.

I know someone who found her father hanging from the rafters. Do I really think that she'd choose not to swap places with me? Would she see the sense in my saying that I envy her - because she's been given something final to deal with ... whereas I'll never know when my ordeal is over? I hate myself for that. But I don't know how to get over it or deal with it, because it's always there - sometimes only just.
But I always wonder 'when?'

My Laughlin Valentines

We went on a “turn-around trip” to Laughlin, Nevada on Saturday (Valentine’s day). Marcella, Roger, Sergio, and me. Marcella announced during lunch on Saturday that she is pregnant with Roger’s second child. So of course from that point on I began to worry about her drinking that morning. I didn’t see her drink anything after she announced to us she was pregnant but on the bus she had at least one beer and the night before she had rum and coke and a couple of Smirnoff Ice’s.

Since the trip left at 6am we all stayed together in Marcella’s motel room. There was only one bed but it didn’t matter. I never went to sleep. Neither did Roger. Marcella slept on the bed and Sergio fell asleep on the floor. I was planning to do homework while everyone slept so I brought my computer and school books. Well, that did not happen since Roger played games on my computer all night, which was okay. I didn’t really feel like studying anyway. We were all drinking quite a bit of alcohol. And I was way too hyper to concentrate very well on studying for my midterm that is this Thursday.

Well we had the alarm set for 4am. We woke the two sleepers up a few minutes before that, and of course Sergio was horny. I know I should have just said no but for some reason I never can, not with him. I don’t say yes, and I try to pull away but I don’t run or scream. I am just too scared. I have to do what I’m told. Sergio is more important than us. He has to be made happy. I don’t know how he managed to get me to give him a hand job to begin with. He uses guilt a lot but I don’t remember the specifics that managed to get my hand in his pants. And why does he think that automatically gives him the right to start taking my clothes off of me? I don’t want to “get there” but he don’t get that. And I don’t want him inside me, and he thinks its ok to go in just a little bit. Its not. I don’t know exactly how far he got. I know he got far enough in to make me feel sore. He’s big. Everyone has always teased him about how large his penis is. Even just “teasing” me with it hurts. I don’t want him even touching me down there, not even with his fingers. He thinks that it’s okay to finger screw me. He don’t get it. Even that brings the horrible pictures in my mind.

We were switching inside a lot while it was happening so I wasn’t even there the whole time and we were having “flashbacks” too. It was scary. I know Sergio started with his fingers and then he started rubbing his penis against me and attempting to get it inside me but I kept pulling away across the motel carpet. He likes eating me out. He thinks I get off on all this. He told me once that I must have liked it because of the way I kept holding on to the side of the bed so hard your hands were turning color and the look on my face. I don’t enjoy it. I don’t like it at all. It doesn’t feel good. It just feels weird, when I feel anything at all. It sometimes hurts.

I don’t know how to make him never do it anymore. It’s not his fault. Vanessa teases him sometimes and I’m too afraid of hurting him to do much of anything. But I’ve told him that even if we’re playing around doesn’t mean I can have sex with him. Telling a dirty joke is far from being able to have sex!

He thinks we have to kiss all the time too and we’re not dating. He’s just one of the touchy feely people. He hugs everyone who is willing. And since we were boyfriend-girlfriend a couple of years ago and then I did kiss him he thinks I belong to him. He doesn’t understand that I do not like it when he kisses me. A hug is okay, as long as it is just a friend hug and not a sexually touching one.

I do love him, as a friend. But nothing more. I am not sexually attracted to him. I am not sexually attracted to anyone. I have tried to tell him many times and in many ways I cannot handle it but he always ends up trying again. It’s my fault though. If I could just keep Vanessa under control and our mouth shut then maybe he wouldn’t get sprung around us.

I spent the entire day after that unsuccessfully trying not to space out. I ended up cutting several times just to ground me. I drank quite a bit on Saturday. It was all free. The trip was with a bunch of people Sergio works with. Bus drivers, maintenance people, teachers aids, etc. and a bunch of their friends and family. By the time the bus left the district office at like 6:20am they were already serving alcohol and everyone continued drinking the entire 4 hour drive. We gambled on the bus as well. Bingo and the “dollar game” and a couple other things. There was singing too. It was fun. We arrived at the Flamingo Hilton at about 10:30amish and were handed a players card and a buffet pass as we got off the bus. We had to be back to the bus at 6:15pm.

I was already getting kinda sick before the trip but by the time I was back on the bus my voice was gone. On the way home we watched Grumpy old Men and then Enemy of the State and drank some more. A few people tried to sleep but a few others were too drunk and too loud and kept waking most of the sleepy heads up.

I was home about 11pmish. If I hadn’t have lost my voice I would have tried to talk them into going to the last two hours of karaoke. I spent most of Sunday in bed and most of Monday doing homework. And the entire weekend trying not to think about what happened with Sergio.

Update on Internet:
The cable guy is supposed to be at our house between 1pm and 5pm this coming friday. This means by Friday night I should be online and by next week hard at work on my much needed update of all my nodes.

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