Living in the city this past 3 weeks has made me feel so much smaller... like I could go unnoticed forever if I really wanted to. It's an interesting feeling, and maybe even a little tempting, but I'm much too loud for that. And since this is a completely new environment, it's like ice skating right after the zamboni's been run. No ruts to guide me astray. But the ruts form quickly, so I'm struggling to make sure that I make the right ruts right off the bat. Thing is, I really have no idea what "the right ruts" would be.

I really can't define what I want out of life at this point. I spent the last 4 or so years focusing on my career in the graphic arts. It just trashed my love of photoshop and left my creativity a shrivled shell of something once so pure and free. I need art, plain and simple. I can't think of anything more important. Art, love and spirituality. They're all from the same source. I really just want someone to share it all with, though my heart is still very distracted in the most youthful of ways by her. My eyes were just too used to the dark. I'm still seeing spots over a month later because of her light.

Now, it's time to push my creative talents as far as they can go. I'm not sure what to do after that, but that's ok. The path will be lit by the right light at the right time. Besides, God helps those who help themselves.

I'm sitting with a couple of friends, eating my turkey sandwich and generally making a good time of it. We're discussing whatever it is that teenagers make a habit of discussing when quite suddenly an apple bumps softly into my foot. Surprised, I look around me for the source and spot a gaggle of extremely loud girls screaming at one another and giving their food a less than adequate level of supervision. Spurred by a natural desire to instigate the absurd, I roll the apple on back to the girl from whom I expected it came and shouted, good naturedly, "I think you dropped this!"

Maybe it's because I have a young face or maybe it's because I smack of insolence but the girl's response to my statement, instead of "Thank you!" or "This isn't my apple, you ingrate!", was "Are you a freshman?"

In high school, there aren't many things more insulting than being thought a freshman, and being a senior, I was particularly miffed at the implication. For most part, I kept my irritation in check and instead of firing back something really nasty just gave her a big, shit-eating grin and said, "I don't know. Are you a fruit vendor?"

In my mind, this is a fairly light and largely ridiculous response to what (at the time) could be construed as a major slight. Knowing that, I nodded to her in goodbye and sat down to continue my meal. Approximately two seconds later I heard a loud, deafening in retrospect, thwack and ducked to avoid whatever it was that was planning on hurting me. After a moment of inactivity, I cracked open one eye and glanced up to see the hand of my good buddy Matt holding that self-same apple in a death grip.

For a moment, I was confused. Why was Matt holding that apple? I looked at the now standing girl, the stunned expression on my friend's face and revaluated the situation. This person had just tried to kill me with an apple. What does one do in response to that? Attack her? Throw my sandwich? Fortunately, the gods intervened and set off the bell to return to class before things got too ugly. Presented with an easy out, I decided to simply get to my feet, remove the apple from Matt's hand and take a huge bite out of it before walking off to class.

The moral of the story is that apples don't kill people - people kill people. Remember that next time you find a piece of fruit at your feet.

Well it seems I will be going back to Madrid after all. I bought a one-way ticket (e-ticket this time), directly from SpanAir, (part of the Star Alliance), for 65 . My friend Andrew, who is himself of Madrileño descent, plans to meet me there this time, but he's flying standby, and therefore doesn't know when he'll be arriving. I didn't even know that one could still fly 'standby', but apparently so.

For a few hours now, I thought I wouldn't be able to go, because my e-ticket reservation depends on my credit card, which I had thought was lost. I think I might be addicted to personal crises, because it's been a really exciting hormonal journey for the last few hours. I remembered, through the drunken fog of last night, that I had used it last at a Turkish restaurant here in Málaga, and the people who worked there have shown themselves to be kinda, um, shady, in my past dealings with them. So I imagined that they had intentionally neglected to return my credit card when I used it last night there, and perhaps intended to do a little shopping with it. And frankly, if that were the case, it would not be a big worry at all; credit card fraud is a problem for banks, not for consumers. Except that my flight to Madrid tomorrow requires me to present the credit card I used to make the reservation! One simply cannot win!

Now, you may be thinking, 'Why did you go to the Turkish restaurant a second time if they were 'shady' before?'. Well, the reason is that it's the only thing that's open near my flat in the Plaza de la Merced area of Málaga. At the risk of sounding like a fat, greedy American -- and I am neither fat nor greedy, and while unashamed of being an American citizen, I am not a typical American specimen, if only because of my willingness to ask questions -- I do not like the customs surrounding food in Spain. It just doesn't work for me.

So I've just finished getting my hair cut (again), when I realize that my credit card is gone. So I paid, left, and rushed the 5 kilometers back to the Plaza de la Merced, and prayed that the restaurant would still be open (because God only knows when things are gonna be open or closed here in Spain). It was open. I went inside, asked about my credit card, and the Turkish dudes got all defensive. They insisted that they remembered I took it back, which I found hard to believe because, hey, how could they remember some detail like that in a busy restaurant?

So I pulled out my wallet to demonstrate where it should have been, and as I had known, it wasn't there where I would normally put it. And while I was talking with him, I poked mindlessly at some of the many other orifices of my new, black leather wallet. Out popped my credit card. I left the Turkish place, walked across the plaza, wiped my brow, sat down at an Internet café, and wrote this.

So I'm going back to Madrid tomorrow. More soon.

Tell me, where is fancy bread?
From our hearth into my head.
Was athirst, am nourished.
Reply, reply.
It was a day-old loaf of rye:
Walnut, thick and soft, yet dry
Enough to whet my appetite
For milk, although I fear
None is likely to appear
Anytime near.

--July 23, 2004
I received a birthday card from the lesser of crazy grandmas, who resides in a nursing home. Her birthday letters are always so cheerful. For example, my ninth birthday letter contained the opening line: "Things are so bad here on the farm, even the pigs are on Tagamet." This card, as expected, was cheerful as hell, and I post it here, unabridged, with additional line breaks because it's fucking poetry:

"I don't have much to write.
I am very unhappy here.
They have put
an alzheimer's patient in here
with me and she
never flushes the toilet.
Turns off her lights doesn't
know what things are hers.
She is always
looking through my things
and moving them.

She was a nice lady at one time
but can't remember anything now!!
She is always telling me
the same nonsense
while I want to watch TV or read!
I have to keep opening doors so I can breathe
and they have put up signs
to keep doors open
but a lot of good

Yep. That's my grandma. She rocks the mike like a vandal. And waxes chumps like a candle. Word to your mother.

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